This weekend, Nintendo Switch owners in my FFXIV Free Company got together to play some online Mario Kart 8 for the first time. We got Syn’s Switch set up and running, and Discord did surprisingly well on phones and wireless headsets as a means of group chat for Switch play.
For some people, playing Mario Kart online is old hat. For me, this is the first time I’ve been online with a group of people like this. I tried it out back when the game first launched with 3-4 racers, and yesterday with Syn alone. But the game really starts to ramp up once you get a solid group of friends together!
It was all pretty casual and fun, since some players were new to this version of Mario Kart. We took to some of the tracks first, then, as some of the players left the game to do other things, we ended with a round of battle mode, which was really fun with team play.
Later in the afternoon, once everyone went off their own way, I decided to spend a little time practicing and unlocking kart parts, since I haven’t done much of that on this version of the game (had a lot of parts unlocked for the Wii U version, so need to catch up).
While I usually play using my Mii character, I decided to try out something different and started racing with Cat Peach. I’m not usually one for picking the cute, pink, girl characters, but I have to admit, she’s pretty adorable, especially when she taunts.
The first thing I unlocked on my solo play was the pink cat cart, so I decided to take it for a spin, and actually did pretty well on most the tracks I tried. Of course, this is just 50CC, but you have to start somewhere.
I’m still experimenting with my kart build, but for now, I’m consistently coming in first on the easy tracks, so I’m sticking with what’s working. I’ll probably have to adjust once I move up to a higher speed.
Overall, I enjoy the Switch version of this game more than I did the Wii U version. I think the major issue was that the Wii U’s main control pad was so huge and bulky for me that it made it difficult to play games that required quick response. The smaller joycons in their holder have proven to be extremely comfortable and easy for me to use in comparison.
So I spent a good chunk of my weekend playing my Nintendo Switch, and I had every intention to blog about it yesterday. But that was before I came down with this cold/flu business, and before the Stormblood hype took my attention away.
I juggled between Zelda and Minecraft most the weekend, and overall had a pretty awesome time with them both.
Most of what I did in Minecraft this weekend was to take the little village I discovered and start building protection around it. Seen here, it has a nice snowy mountain backdrop and everything.
I built my own house as part of the town, and tried my hand at actually building something more than a box for once. It’s not fantastic, but functional for now.
As I started putting a fence around the village and placing torches, I found a hill I decided I wanted to level so I could use the land as pasture or more building space.
As I started pulling it down, I discovered there was a tiny underground cave with a pool there. I thought that was kinda neat, so I kept the water and turned it into a village swimming pool area. Here’s what it looked like after I got it cleared and fixed up.
Me being me, I also captured a bunch of horses, including this mother and son pair. Once the son grew up, I tamed him, too!
I’ve got most of the fencing and lighting complete, and have been testing it at night to see where danger might come from. I’ll be building more houses to hopefully expand the population soon!
I went in thinking that Rudania would be as difficult or harder that Ruta. I was really surprised when I breezed through it, including the boss fight. Unlike Ruta, I only got stuck on one of the doors, and it was due to a technicality.
So I beat up the boss there and gained a new protection skill for Link!
Following that, I cleared a handful of Shrines, and found a new fairy for gear upgrades!
I then tackled clearing some of the towers, including one up in the north that I’d been puzzling over for a while. This unlocked a bunch of the map I didn’t have before, and I felt pretty darn accomplished. I still have a lot more to go, though.
I headed off to the south west where the land turned dry and desert. Though I’d faced Death Mountain, which required fire resistance, this area required heat resistance instead. It’s still very neat and atmospheric.
I got my first glimpse of the next Divine Beast on my list. This looks like it’ll be a doozy with sandstorms and lightning.
And then, I run into Gerudo Town, which doesn’t allow Link to enter because he’s a guy. Of course, the answer to this was pretty simple.
Anyhow, I got in to talk to the chief there, and they gave me a quest to recover a stolen artifact to prove I’m really a legendary hero. And…. that’s pretty much where I left off.
Honestly, my quest log in BotW is getting quite long with unfinished quests to the point I’m getting antsy and feeling a bit behind in that area. I know it’s not important and that you can play the game at your own pace, but I don’t like a messy quest log. So I might have to clean that up before I keep moving forward.
One last thing about the Switch. Disgaea 5 came out today, and though I pre-order a copy from Amazon a week ago, my copy didn’t come. It seems Amazon had oversold their pre-order stock or something, and they don’t know when they’ll be getting any more in.
Seeing that between the Prime discount and some Amazon trade-in credit I got the game for an extremely discounted price, I’m going to try and wait it out on this. I’ve got plenty enough to keep my attention with Zelda and Minecraft, especially after hearing just how deep down the rabbit hole Disgaea can take you.
I’ve known about the Disgaea series since the first game released years and years ago, but never played any of it. I even own one on Steam, and was told I needed to play it. It was just not on my radar, not even Disgaea 5, which is releasing on the Nintendo Switch next week.
So, I’m coming into the series as a noob that’s only distantly heard (good) things about Disgaea. I knew it was humorous. I judged that it was probably wild and over-the-top in an anime type way. And while I enjoy good anime, I’ve kinda lost tolerance for crazy eye-roll anime as I’ve gotten older.
I don’t remember what convinced me to try out the Disgaea 5 Demo that came out on the Switch this week, but I’m glad I did.
Note #1: I did not expect to like this game.
Note #2: I ended up really liking what I played of the demo.
Again, this is from someone who knows nothing about the series, and was wondering why conversations on the Reddit about Disgaea all ended in “dood.” I quickly found out (and fell in love with prinnies).
So, yeah. The game has a zany, take-me-as-I-am feel to the humor that isn’t too overwhelming partly because it seems to be poking fun at itself… or at least, at annoying anime tropes. For example, I’d like to dump Seraphina and her “Ohohohoho!” laugh… but I get the feeling she’s like that specifically because the game wants to point out how annoying this anime character type is.
All these years, I’ve also stereotyped Killia when I saw him on the covers of these games, imagining him as the annoying, powerful, emo guy who doesn’t care about anyone and sulks through the whole story. And that turned out to be… really not true so far.
He has a bit of that aloof tough-guy act, but at the same time, he goes out of his way to help Seraphina learn how to fight for herself, even if she’s forcing him into the situation.
He has a logical and mellow approach to most things, which reminds me of one of my own characters (Tai). I think that this helps to off-set a lot of the other more eccentric characters and situations and make the game palpable for me.
I can sense a deep strategy game underneath all this. I was amused by the combo and throw system, and interested in developing my hired troops. Though some of my pre-made Prinny troops had some… interesting names.
As someone who knows nothing about how the game worked, the first few battle scenarios did a lot to help teach me some of the systems. I like how the game kept the tutorials in character the whole time, too. This is how you do a game tutorial.
I have a feeling that I’ve only scratched the surface of the battle systems since I stopped playing the game as soon as I felt like I was sold on it. Good thing that I did, since the demo save doesn’t carry over into the real game when it releases next week. I quickly deleted the demo so that I wouldn’t be tempted to spoil anymore for myself.
Trading In Smash
I did pre-order this game. While it was fairly expensive from Amazon, I got a nice 20% off the pre-order as a Prime member. I also have started to trade in some of my pre-owned Wii U games I know that I’ll probably never play again, so I had some extra cash from that on my Amazon account.
The game I traded was Super Smash Bros for the Wii U. Gasp and horror, I know. How dare I trade in Smash?
The truth is, my sister and I both tried to play this game together a few years back… and neither of us liked it all that much. The new Smash games are just all over the place. We both felt there was too much going on and it became overwhelming quickly. Plus the bulky Wii U controller really didn’t work well for a battle game for me.
We loved the original Smash and even Brawl, but this new Smash was just not that fun for us.
I picked it up as a Lightning Deal on Amazon around Black Friday, so I only payed about $34 for it originally. But it was still one of those games I had a lot of buyer regret about since I just couldn’t get into it.
Thankfully, I could trade it in to Amazon for $20… so while I did lose some money on the purchase, I felt it was better to trade it towards a game I knew I’d play rather than see it gather dust here to never be touched again. I haven’t sold a physical copy of a game in a very, very long time as I usually keep them for my collection, but this just bugged me, so I pulled the trigger.
Fare well Smash!
Oh, and for the record, trading a game into Amazon was super painless. They even pay the shipping and immediately credit your account for the trade in.
One positive aspect of having only just played Minecraft for the first time last year is that, unlike some folks, I haven’t already invested in the game on a million different platforms. That, and, the fact that I can still play vanilla Minecraft and be blissfully unaware of all the mods that are out there.
I do love my PC version for all the mod potential that it has. I bought the Wii U version on a whim, but struggled a bit with the console controls. In fact, the console controls were one of the reasons I almost didn’t pick the Switch edition.
However, several things happened this weekend that pushed me into the impulse buy:
I had a 4 day weekend thanks to it being my birthday last week
I learned you could select from different control schemes on the Switch (this may have been true for the Wii U version as well, but I never thought to look)
The worlds are larger than the Wii U version
Easy to take and share screenshots
I had more than enough gift card cash on my Nintendo e-shop account
I had a “lack” of games on my Switch screen
I decided this is probably the best portable version of Minecraft you can have (supports both controllers and touch pad)
New Minecraft Adventures
Anyhow, it’s always fun to start a new Minecraft adventure. Also, this time around, I figured out how to select a proper skin for my avatar, as well. The Switch version came with a number to choose from, but I went with the Knight.
The game started me out on a savanna, though the biomes on this map changed very rapidly and were somewhat crammed together. Of course, they teased me with seeing a lovely horse within the first few minuets of spawning.
Sadly, this was the first and last time I saw this pretty horse. I’m not sure what happened to it. 😦
I built the normal beginner hut and started putting up fences and lighting. Somewhere along the way, I managed to pick up some bones and tamed a wolf. I’ve tried taming wolves before in other games, but this was my first successful attempt — on the first bone!
I want to take note of the Achievement system. I don’t recall seeing this on the Wii U version of the game. I know the PC version has something similar, but not quite the same in-your-face achievements.
Once I got the standard housing set up, my big goal was to find a saddle because the game kept teasing me with the horses that were roaming around. I did some fishing (needed food anyhow), but eventually decided to explore and work through some caves.
My adventure took me further than I expected…
And before I knew it, I was totally lost.
One thing I had never learned about in Minecraft was the mapping system. It seemed confusing back when I first started playing the game, so I ended up adding a mini-map mod to my game on the PC.
That wasn’t an option here, so if I were to find my way back to my cozy little box house, I knew I had to learn how to map.
After uncovering as much map as I could find, I realized that this one map did not, in fact, cover all of the world. It was only a small part of the area! Unlike the PC version where you can add to a map to make the original larger, it seems the console version requires you to just make another blank map to start mapping the new areas.
Maps require a good deal of cane to make paper. This was pretty rare to find during my exploration, so I ended up making a bunch of cane farms each time I stumbled upon a new zone of the world.
While I was waiting for cane to grow, I spent the time fishing for food. Sure enough, luck was on my side, and I fished up a saddle, right near a horse spawn!
I wasted no time selecting a nice black horse and taming him.
This made all the difference in my exploration. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d had to walk that entire map on foot. Riding and mapping was so, so much better.
Not to mention, as far as horses go, this one was quite nice — look at all those hearts!
Anyhow, it took many hours before I actually found my way back home. I had no idea that I’d walked two full maps away from my original spawn point! Since I had a lot of iron, nice gear, a saddle, and a horse, I was totally motivated to get back in one piece.
Here’s my fine horse, who carried me home, finally taking a well-earned break. 🙂
Not only that, but I discovered that just to the west of my base, and not that far away, is a village. I’m excited to start building a road out that direction, set up some defenses for them and build it up some.
A quickie review of my impressions — obviously, I had a lot of fun with this version of Minecraft. I spent a number of hours with it, and it played just as well docked as it did in handheld mode.
I didn’t expect to need to play it handheld, but a set of nasty storms rolled through my area on Friday night. I was stoked that I could just undock my Switch and keep playing even while the rest of my electronics were unplugged and turned off during the storm. If I had lost power that night, it wouldn’t have stopped my gaming, either.
I really like having full controller support for the handheld version of the game. I haven’t played the pocket version, but I’ve heard people say that the touch controls are not always idea for Minecraft. I could see that happening. I did use touch controls very sparingly, mostly during crafting and moving inventory around, and was happy that was an option.
I also always love how the console version makes crafting much simpler than the PC version. Sorry. I have so much trouble remembering recipes… it’s more of an annoyance to have to open a wiki to figure out what the pattern is for simple crafting items. The console version just auto-makes things for you if you have the materials in your inventory. I appreciate that a lot!
I know that you can play with your Minecraft friends easily, just by joining their game on the Nintendo network, which is another plus for those who want to play multiplayer online. You can also play with others on local split-screen.
So, is Minecraft Switch Edition worth getting? It was for me. But again, I’m not someone who already has 5 different copies of the game and years of experience playing it.
I think it’s a solid version of Minecraft. I think for someone new to the game, or someone who wants a good portable version of Minecraft, this is a good buy. Or… if you just want another game to add to your Switch screen. Yep.
So my package to Nintendo was sent a week ago, and traveled over a holiday weekend to arrive there on Tuesday. Getting it there was honestly the longest part of all this. I got an email on Tuesday that said it had arrived.
Wednesday afternoon, I got an email and shipping confirmation that it was going out one-day shipping. Thursday, it was on my doorstep when I came home from work.
I’m pretty certain this is a new dock and AC adapter they sent due to the packaging, how neatly that adapter cord was wrapped up (you can just never get it to wrap the same as it came when it was new) and the new plastic smell.
Sure enough, I plugged it all up to my new monitor and there was joy!
As you can see above, it’s not as big as my old TV, but I think it’ll work just fine. I have to admit that I’m disappointed in the sound quality from the monitor, though. I know what Zelda sounded like on my old TV, so I can compare.
I did have an extra set of PC speakers sitting around that I plugged in instead, and that helped. But I think I’ll need a new set with more bass to them to get the full experience. Anyone have suggestions on good (small) PC speakers?
I ended up replacing my TV with a larger PC monitor that had an extra HDMI input and speakers, so that I can plug in my Switch (or other HDMI device) and play on my monitor. My thought behind this was that though it’s not as large as a full TV, I honestly only used my TV for Netflix and gaming.
I could buy a nice monitor, which I use all the time, and do the same. So, I did. Maybe one day, I’ll get another TV. But for now, I’m happy with my choice.
When I got the monitor all set up, I tried to connect the Switch to it. I got no video.
I changed HDMI cords. No joy.
Took it to the old TV in the back and tried it there. Nothing.
That’s when I noticed that the AC adapter was also not charging my Switch at all.
Double uh oh.
The system itself was fine, but something had blown the Switch dock or the AC adapter… or both. The other issue is that you can’t buy a replacement dock and AC adapter anywhere yet. They don’t go on sale until May 18.
And, I had no way to charge my slowly draining Switch since the AC adapter was dead.
AC Adapter PSA
I did some research and found that you can buy AC adapters on Amazon. I thought that if I did that, I could test to make sure nothing was wrong with the Switch itself — could it still charge? Also, I could test to see if the dock was busted or if it was just the adapter that needed replacing.
The particular AC adapter I bought said that it was compatible with the dock and could be used as a replacement adapter. So I picked it up and put it on fast shipping.
When I got the new adapter and plugged it in, I was relieved to see that my Switch was still charging. However, when I went to use it with the dock, I got nothing but this on my Switch screen:
Hm… that’s not what the description on the product said. I don’t often leave feedback on Amazon purchases but I did here… that’s a whole nother story, though.
Lesson Learned: You can only use the original AC adapter, or an official Nintendo brand replacement, with your Switch dock. 3rd party adapters may not work with the dock!
So, I had to get a hold of Nintendo Support. I tried going through their website, but every page that was supposed to take me to Switch support took me to a 404 or a dead end page. Instead, I ended up having to call them.
I really don’t like getting on the phone for any reason, but the guy at support was really nice. He did make me go through the troubleshooting steps, despite the fact I was already light years ahead of him on things like unplugging, rebooting, plugging things back in.
In the end, he opened a repair ticket for me, and asked me to send in my AC adapter and Switch dock. He said that the team is trying to expedite Switch repairs, so hopefully I’ll see it returned this week. I did get an email that told me that my components did arrive at their repair facility today. Hopefully they’ll just send me a new dock and adapter and be done with it.
I’d love it back in time to play Mario Kart, which is releasing next week. I’m not a fan of the idea of trying to play it on the hand held mode — this is part of the reason why I’ve also made no progress on Zelda lately. I much prefer to experience these on the bigger screen.
Crossing my fingers that all goes well! I want to get back on my Switch game again!
For example, the whole camera and gallery collection tied to the Slate. Hunting down location memories. Housing. Taming and riding horses. Riding… other things…
Granted, not all of these features are super deep. But put them all together, and they have kept my interest for hours.
Upgrading Link’s gear is another system that I discovered by accident. This is a cool system because it makes the monster drops worth more than just potion brew or vendor trash. It’s a bit similar to the Monster Hunter system, without being too overbearing.
I ran into this system by accident… In returning to the first village, I saw that the painter there had a quest for me. Now that my Slate could take pictures, he commissioned me to photo the Fairy Fountain that I’d found earlier.
I knew where it was already, but I walked up there with him anyhow. I snapped the picture he wanted, and decided that since I was already there, I may as well talk to the great fairy. Imagine my surprise when she informed me that she could upgrade my current gear!
In returning to the painter, he was so happy about the picture that he even gave me a hint about the location of one of the memory photos.
That’s some handy info, thanks!
I later discovered that helping him out with the fairy fountain unlocked the painter who begins to appear at different stables on down the line. He gives hints on where memory locations are based on the pictures, usually somewhere near to the stable. I’m quite thankful because otherwise, I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to find locations without success.
Anyhow, discovery is usually fun in BotW, and the game often sends lots of pleasant surprises. And sometimes unpleasant surprises…
Just a short post today. Tomorrow I’ll have something a little longer when I become a home owner in Hyrule!