Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Coffee Talk

In trying to make good on my goal to play more of my Switch backlog, I began playing the game that I picked up over the holidays with the Switch gift card I got from family. I’ve had my eye on Coffee Talk for a bit, and seeing it on sale, decided to pick it up.

Coffee Talk might fall into the visual novel category… maybe… except unlike most visual novels I’ve played, this one doesn’t have you making choices and trying to romance a character in the story (so far). In fact, about the only thing you as a player do is make the best coffee or tea for your customers as you can.

Oh, and you serve as sort of the central heart of the community and cast of characters in the game. Which is really what the game is about.

The combination of low-fi music, pixel art style and slice-of-life storytelling in a modern fantasy Seattle connects with me. Each night when you open your store there are new folks to interact with, new coffees to learn to brew and new or expanding stories to hear.

Much of the game is observation and listening. Really. That’s it. The characters (including your own) interact on their own – there’s even a button that allows for conversation to move automatically without you needing to press a button all the time.

Every now and then you have to fix something for someone to drink, but it’s nothing like some of those cook-serve-delicious timer games. This is laid back, and you even have a in-game phone app that updates as you learn new drinks or when you need to reference drinks you’ve already made.

The app also includes news stories for the world these characters live in, which is a very interesting world! You have modern-day humans and elves and cat girls and and orcs and vampires and werewolves all rubbing elbows at your counter each night. You never know what personal trouble someone is dealing with and who at the counter might provide advice for their situation.

The characters are well-defined and feel like individuals with their own backstories. They also have social media pages on your in-game app where you can go back and look at the details of their profiles. These update as you discover new things about the people who frequent your shop. I’m definitely finding myself fond of them.

Each night serves as a new story arc, and these can last from 15 to 30 minutes each. I find it pretty easy to sit down and play through a night or two each day as it doesn’t require a whole lot of time to do. It’s also quite chill and relaxed, so I’m finding it a nice game to pick up each evening for a story or two.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, I’d say give the game a shot. I’ve really enjoyed it!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

My Nintendo Switch Review Made Me a Little Sad

Nintendo sent out a year in review for Switch-playing folks a few days back. When I got mine, I was surprised and a bit sad about some of the statistics I saw there.

First, it determined what kind of player I was — turns out, I played Animal Crossing the most of all the games this year. This made sense.

It also turns out that I tallied up this many hours…

Wow, did I really ONLY play 23 hours on my Switch in 2019. That makes me sad, for one. But Animal Crossing certainly got me putting more time in on my Switch this year.

What made me sad was the tally of games that I played this year:

FIVE?

Only FIVE games? I could have sworn… no… well… maybe that WAS all that I played this year! How tragic, especially when I had goals set to spend more time with my Switch!!

What were the five games I played?

Bargain Hunter and Graveyard Keeper were both games that I got for my birthday, so I made an attempt to play a few games I got as gifts this year. But the rest of it was simply dismal.

I have got to do so much better than this in 2021. I have a LOT of fantastic games I want to play on this console. It’s just lack of time and focus that keeps me from doing so.

What a wake up call. 😦

Posted in Gaming

Amazon Adventure: When Your Nintendo eShop Code Was Already Redeemed…

I am no stranger to Nintendo eShop cards or codes. Friends and family alike know that the way to light up my birthday or holiday is to slip me some credit for my Switch. That being said, I rarely purchase a digital code – I unusually get them in the form of physical gift cards.

Here is the story of the time the Nintendo eShop code from Amazon arrived… already redeemed… and how I got the issue resolved. I’m not sure who should have taken the responsibility for this issue. But in the end, Nintendo was pretty quick to resolve it… after I’d jumped through a few procedural hoops.

Sunday, December 13, 2020: My dad buys me a $10 Nintendo eShop code as part of a Christmas gift on his Amazon account.

Hours Later: The code still hasn’t shown up in his game downloads section. I do some research around – some say that the code could take up to 4 hours to process. This went far beyond 4 hours.

Monday, December 14, 2020: I check the download section to see if the code arrived. It finally had. But strangely enough, I also noticed that on the item page, it said that two had been purchased (which I know wasn’t so). This was strange….

Not to mention, there was only one code in the download section… so…. that was weird.

Anyhow, I go to enter the code in the eShop just like I would normally and…

This activation code has already been used.

Say what?

Now, there’s not a chance that someone else with access to this Amazon account used this code. My parents don’t even own a Nintendo, much less know what the games download section of Amazon does. And my dad’s account is protected with OTP so no one else is getting in there except him or me.

I try the code again, and got the same response. So, it was off to Amazon support chat for me.

I explained the situation to the rep on the chat and she had someone from Amazon digital games support call me directly. This happened almost instantly – I do have to say that the response times were very fast in support!

Then, I explained the situation to the new rep over the phone. He proceeded to “gather information” about the situation, including what’s called a Control Number – which was provided along with the code. Then he told me he was sending this information to Nintendo Support and that I would have to call Nintendo and they would sort it out for me.

Okay…

This felt like a lot of to-do for a $10 card and an error I did not make.

But this was a Christmas gift from my dad, so to honor the money he spent, I chose to pursue this to the end.

Email from Amazon Support telling me to contact Nintendo…

So I call Nintendo support.

In all the years that I’ve been a customer of Nintendo (since childhood) I’ve only ever called support once – when my Switch dock got fried by a power surge. So I wondered how this would unfold.

Again, wait time was surprisingly short! The first rep I got was pleasant, quick to respond and helpful. He took the information I provided (I guess Amazon’s information had not arrived?) and was able to confirm that the code had indeed been used (before I got it).

He escalates my issue to a Specialist. And this is where the ball sorta drops.

He was like: Did you contact Amazon?

And I was like: Yes, and they sent me to you.

He remarked that this was “very strange.”

Then he was like: Are you sure you used the correct code?

And I was like: Pretty sure. And it recognized it (1) as a code (2) a code that had already been used. That’s why I’m here.

The fellow was polite enough, but he was so very uncertain that there was anything he could do to help me. In fact, he told me straight up, “I don’t know what to do about this.” and later said “I can’t promise this will get resolved.”

I’m like… what…? This is a $10 card for Heaven’s sake! It’s not like I’m talking about $75 or $100. Just $10…

The main reason he was so uncertain (or so I gathered) was because this was a digital code. Apparently, if you have this issue with a physical card, you can take a picture of the back of the card and send a photocopy of the receipt to prove you bought it.

In this case, all I could do was provide a screenshot of my dad’s digital download section and the invoice from Amazon. I had to tell this fellow repeated times that this was a digital code, not a card, so I didn’t have an actual card or receipt to send.

Still, he got the ball rolling for me, though acting still very unsure that I could get this resolved, and certainly having no clue how to handle it himself. And that’s… just not what you do in support (saying this as someone who worked retail and support for years).

He sends me an email from Nintendo Support, to which I have to respond with the information requested. So I do this as completely and thoroughly as a tech writer can. I typed out my story again, using bulleted lists to describe the steps I’d taken to get this resolved.

I then explained this was a code, not a card. But included a screenshot of the digital download section of Amazon and the invoice from Amazon because that’s all the proof I had.

From there, I could do nothing but sit and wait. After dealing with the uncertain Specialist, I wasn’t too confident that I’d get an answer or a resolution.

BUT. A few hours later, I get this email:

Seeing it was only 7PM EST when I got it, I realized I still had time to do this, so I hopped on the phone that moment. With pretty minimal wait time, I was then forwarded to someone who identified herself as a Supervisor.

Okay!

She looked over the notes in my case, and told me that Supervisor permission was needed to resolve this, and that she would, right then, give that permission. She told me that I’d either get a new code in the mail or that my account would be credited directly (since they did have my Nintendo account info).

I came away pretty pleased by that.

Not even 15 minutes later, I get this email:

Wow! I checked my account, and sure enough, there it was.

Now, I don’t know if it should have been Nintendo or Amazon who rectified this situation. And I’m not going to say this is what everyone else will have to do if they run across this. I honestly don’t know if the fault lay with Amazon’s code distribution or the code itself from Nintendo.

But that was quite an adventure for the $10 eShop credit. And while a little of the Nintendo support was iffy, the first rep and the supervisor who ultimately resolved this were great. I did fill out my customer feedback survey and spoke honestly about my experience – I don’t always do this, but this time, I felt I should.

And there you have it. The story of the already redeemed digital Nintendo eShop code bought from Amazon.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Transferring Screenshots to PC via USB

It’s not very often that I get excited about a system update for Nintendo Switch. Not that I don’t appreciate all the hard work that goes into updating my hardware, mind you, but rarely is there something that effects me as much as this one simple update.

As a blogger, transferring screenshots to my PC is a major deal. Up until now, the process for doing that on the Switch was a bit cumbersome (but thankfully easier than Wii U or 3DS).

I had to:

  • Undock the Switch (I play it docked about 99% of the time)
  • Turn it completely off
  • Pull the SD card of out it
  • Put the SD card into fiddly card reader that I usually had to fight with to figure out the proper direction of insertion every time
  • Put that in a USB slot on my PC
  • Hope the USB reader didn’t give me a fit – if not, find it in My Computer and open it to see screenshots
  • Transfer the entire folder of screens for the last couple months because I had no idea what I already have on my PC vs what I’ve taken since the last time I did this process

Now, it’s as simple as undocking, connecting to USB and tapping a few settings in the Switch menu. Here’s how.

1- You have to have the right type of USB cable.

Just a heads up, not just any USB cable will do. Basically, you’ll need a USB-C cable. The official patch notes says:

A USB charging cable [model HAC-010] or a USB-IF certified USB cable that supports data transfer is required to connect to a computer.

Patch notes

I had to go rooting around to find one that would work. In the end, I discovered the USB cable that came with my SNES Switch controller did the trick.

Once you have the cable, just connect it to the USB-C port on the bottom of the Switch, and the USB portion to a slot on your PC.

2 – Initiating Transfer

Once you’ve made the cable connection, then it’s time to start the transfer. From the Home screen of your Switch you:

  1. Tap Settings, then tap Data Management.
  2. Tap Manage Screenshots and Videos, then Copy to a Computer via USB Connection.

And just like that, you’ll get a prompt on your PC to manage a new storage device. Once you open the folder, you’ll see something like this:

That’s right, the Switch so nicely breaks down your content by title for you, making it much easier to transfer just the screens for just the game you want!

Previously, when transferring from the SD card, the system simply organized files by date, so there was no knowing which game you were downloading screenshots for. I just ended up dumping months worth of screenshots on my PC rather than messing around with it. But then I’d have to fish through those folders to find the screenshots I really wanted.

This is so much nicer!

Just copy the shots you want from the game folders and you’re ready to share, blog or whatever you want to do with your screenshots.

Thanks for the great QoL update, Nintendo!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Steam Gaming, Xbox Game Pass

December 2020 Gaming Goals

Happy December! Welcome to the final month of 2020, and to the Holiday season! I’ve got a bit of vacation at the end of this month to look forward to, but lots of goals on my mind as well!

In FFXIV, we have a patch incoming, which always means taking time out for story and whatever goodies the patch brings. Folks in my FC have been dabbling in Blue Mage lately, and this brings yet another level cap increase for that job.

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Warrior to 80 and do job quest
  • Level Gunbreaker via Trusts
  • Clean up quests in the First (to level tank)
  • Level BLU when patch drops
  • Cap BLU skills
  • Work on crafting Relics for Main and Amon

This time around, I really want to finish leveling the last of my Trust members to 80 for the achievement. This will also coincide with leveling one of my tanks. Once Warrior and Gunbreaker are done, all I’ll have left is Paladin to have everything to 80 and the Amaro mount.

I really, really need to work on crafting relics! This next patch is going to drop an update to them yet again… ugh. Not to mention I didn’t even start on the gathering relics. I’m so behind. : /

MISC Goals

  • Continue to level Taming in UO
  • Continue playing Steam Games
  • Play Switch Games
  • Play 3DS Games
  • Play Xbox Pass Games

So I have a few very loose goals here. I do want to dabble in UO again this month. I don’t want that falling to the wayside.

I have a handful of Steam games I’ve been putting time into that I’d like to keep my momentum with, if only a little. I also need to blog about them!

I also dusted off my old 3DS system — there’s so many games there I haven’t touched/finished that it’s a shame. I need to blog about that, too! 🙂

And finally, I really want to put some time into some Switch games other than Animal Crossing. I just need to nail down which one I want to make my focus.

Oh, and Xbox Pass… I’ll… talk about that later.

That’s a lot of gaming! Thankfully I have a week off.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Pokemon

Pokemon Quest – Quick Review

I hesitate to call this a “review” because it’s more of a “this is what this game is about” sort of thing. Overall, I find it enjoyable, though not incredibly deep, and will probably keep playing it casually. If nothing else, it’s been giving me a reason to pick up my Switch and enjoy it in hand-held mode, which isn’t something I’ve done much in the past.

What is it?

Pokemon Quest is a cute mobile game that was released on the Switch earlier this week, and will be coming to mobile devices soon. It’s called a “free to start” game, which means you don’t have to pay anything to play it as is, but you can expect there to be mobile aspects, like timers that limit what you do.

So far, the timers don’t bother me much. I’ve gotten used to these sorts of things with mobile games, I suppose. I rarely spend money on mobile games, and Pokemon Quest is not going to be any different. I haven’t seen any real pressing need to open my wallet as this is just a casual thing I pick up a couple times a day.

How does it play?

So yeah. There are Pokemon, though they have a distinct rounded cube shape. I thought this might be a turn-off at first, but I got used to it quickly. Turns out to be pretty cute.

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You set up base on an island, where your main goal is to find the loot. Not kidding. Even the game tells you it’s all about the loot. I haven’t really found loot yet. I have found Pokemon, though.

You enlist the help of these Pokemon, which you mostly attract by cooking dishes of items you gather while your Pokemon explores areas (similar to Breath of the Wild).

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Game play is pretty simple and straightforward. You build a team of Pokemon. You send them to areas on the map. These areas are marked with a number that indicates the difficulty. If team also has a number that indicates the strength of the team. Usually (not always, but usually) my team doesn’t have much of a problem beating down a place that’s lower than their strength number.

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The part that seems to turn the most folks off is the battle system. Basically, your Pokemon move towards the enemies on their own. You can tap some buttons to make them use their skills, to make them scatter, and to fall back. But that’s really about it.

To be honest, I just leave my team on Auto-Attack almost 100% of the time and do something else while they’re battling. Usually, they’re just fine. This doesn’t bother me at all… I’m used to having mobile games that auto-battle for me after spending so much time playing FF Record Keeper.

It might sound bad, but I prefer letting the game play the fights for me. I enjoy the team building, training, decorating, cooking and setting up stones on my Pokemon more than the battle elements.

Oh yeah. Stones.

As you clear areas and beat bosses, you get stones that enhance your Pokemon’s strength and health. There are also stones with special attributes, such as letting you use skills faster, and the like. Also, some areas on the map indicate that certain types of Pokemon (Water, Fire, Bug, etc) are stronger there… So there’s a little bit of strategy in building a team, picking Pokemon right for the area, and developing those Pokemon.

For example, I got an Onix early on that’s a beast of a tank. I mean, a walking wall. I’ve only seen him defeated twice ever. Without him, I’m sure I couldn’t have gotten as far as I have at this point.

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Wrapping it up…

So, anyhow. I haven’t been playing many mobile games lately… I took a bunch of them off my phone not long ago, actually. So this game scratches that very casual collecting and gathering itch and has a pleasant Pokemon twist.

Just know that if you start it on the Switch, you won’t be able to transfer it to your mobile device later. A bit of a bummer, but I think I’ll keep mine on the Switch. The game is tiny and not hurting anything. That way, I don’t have something distracting me at work, and I continue to have a reason to pull out my Switch.

Have you tried it? What do you think of the new little side-game offering from Pokemon? 

Posted in Gaming

March 2018 Gaming Goals in Review

I set out some pretty ambitious goals for March, and was surprised that I actually achieved quite a few of them this time around. I did get a little distracted by Starbound and Second Life towards the end of this month, so not everything was complete. Still, did pretty well overall!

FFXIV Goals

  • Level Black Mage (to 70?) ✓
  • Level Ninja to 50
  • Level Warrior to 40 ✓
  • Level Dark Knight to 40 ✓
  • Level Weaver to 70 ✓

I did, indeed, level Black Mage to 70 this month, and then started on leveling my Summoner/Scholar next… mostly because I’m trying to consolidate gear at level 70. I also got Weaver to 70, and have started on upgrading all of the gear to script stuff so that I can look at improving all of my other crafters’ gear.

The only goal I didn’t meet was getting Ninja to 50… though I did move that up to 42. So, I’m not too far away!

Nintendo Switch Goals

  • Make progress in Mario Odyssey ✓
  • Play Dragon Quest Builders ✓

I’ve only made a little bit more progress into Dragon Quest Builders… still in Chapter 1. But that’s okay.

The big thing was that I finally beat the story mode for Mario Odyssey this month! I want to say this is the first Switch game I’ve actually beat!

PC Goals

  • Play more of Sims Jungle Adventure ✓
  • Try one new Steam game each week ✓✓✓✓

I did play a bit more of the new Sims Jungle Adventure, and wrote about it as well. There’s still a lot I haven’t seen in this Game Pack yet. Will try to make some time to play some more.

Not only did I play a new Steam game every week this month, but I also hit my Steam Challenge goal for the year, to play at least 50% of all the games I own!

A pretty good month overall. Let’s end March with a nice filtered picture of a fountain I took during my Mario play through, but never got to use anywhere else.

mariofountain

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch Excitement

Yesterday was the Nintendo Direct — which is not something I watch. But I tend to follow the news that it spawns after one ends.

Of course, Smash Bros. for Switch was the huge news for fans, and I’m glad they have something to be excited about. My love for Smash ended with the Game Cube version, however.

I hardly played the Smash on the Wii, though I own it. I picked up Smash for Wii U and it was super frustrating for me — I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and my reflexes just aren’t there, or what. But everything seemed far more complex than I remember — including the moves, the stages (that zoom out and make things incredibly tiny), the hazards on the stages (which often were more annoying than fun), and just all the items. I had no idea what does what anymore.

So, I’ve accepted that Smash is not my thing anymore, though I put tons of hours into enjoying Melee back in the day.

What Am I Excited For?

That doesn’t meant that there weren’t some announcements that got me excited, however!

Okami HD

I saw this, then quietly went to my Steam wish list and removed it from there. I’ve been doing this more and more — titles that are coming out on the Switch get removed from my Steam list. It’s making my Steam wish list a lot more manageable!

I did play the original Okami on Wii many years back, but never beat it. It only makes sense to get the new version on the Switch, where the motion controls will be king. Glad to see this one making a port!

Octopath Traveler

octopath

I guess they dropped the “Project” and kept the rest of the name. That’s fine.

I played the demo and enjoyed it a good deal. We now have a July 13 release date. 

This is going to conflict wildly with my interest in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, which has a release date of July 21. July is going to have too much JRPG, it seems.

GameMaker Studio 2

I’m not interested in picking up Undertale a second time (need still to finish it on PC), but I am interested in the fact GameMaker Studio 2 is releasing on the Switch. I own it for the PC, and have dabbled with it a bit there, so I’m curious what it’ll be like for the Switch… Does that mean the coding platform itself will be ON the Switch, or that you can just develop FOR the Switch? And will the Switch will support playing and distributing homemade games from the community?

So many questions!

Somewhat Interested

I’m kinda interested in the Octo expansion for Splatoon. I haven’t played the game a whole lot ately… mostly because I haven’t had much time to play my Switch, and I have way too many other games that I’d pick up first. I might eventually come back around to Splatoon, but a lot of it depends on my free time and other games that want my attention.

I never played Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker in its original form. It must have had something fun about it, though, as it’s referenced often and getting a port. I’m curious, but I have a feeling this will go on my Amazon wish list for Christmas. 🙂

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition… maybe? I’m glad I never picked it up for the Wii U, though I had it on my want list for years. Another I’ll put on my Amazon wish list.

Are you hyped for any upcoming Switch games?

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Happy Birthday Nintendo Switch!

One year ago today, I was rushing up to my local Best Buy to pick up my pre-order for my brand new Nintendo Switch. I was super stoked about the system’s release, and had many, many high hopes for it. A year later, I have to say that the Switch exceeded the hopes and wishes I had a year ago.

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My Switch, One Year Later

I have never bought a console at launch before, so I winced with concern at the issues that seemed to be cropping up from the first batch release. I knew that was a risk you took when you bought early.

Despite all that, I haven’t had any left joycon problems, bent Switch issues, or screen scratches. I keep it mostly in the dock, have a screen protector and a dock sock. I don’t play it in handheld mode all that much.

In fact, the Switch survived a really nasty storm last year that took out many of my electronics (including my TV). The dock and RC adapter needed to be replaced due to surge damage (even though it was on a surge protector), but that got squared away quickly. I knock on wood that I’ve not had any problem with the system after that incident.

My Switch friends list seems to keep growing from this…

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To this:

friendslist

So many friends that I can’t even list them all! These include folks IRL, people in my FFXIV FC, and a number of fellow game bloggers.

So what’s my game list look like a year later? I’m ashamed to admit that I have a backlog forming on my Switch. In my defense, this is mostly because a lot of the games I own here have so much content to make it through (Zelda, Xenoblade), or they’re never ending (Minecraft). I actually have one more game on the way (got a good deal on Skyrim… not like I  need another huge RPG… but…), so that will bring my total to 19 games in the first year (Octopath is a demo).

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I think I’m doing pretty good on restraining myself on digital purchases seeing that I have a wishlist building up.

Any indie that I’ve wanted (Night in the Woods, Owlboy, ect.) that I’ve learned is coming for the Switch, I’ve taken off my Steam wishlist. I’d just prefer to have them in this format, all in one place. I think given the dour outlook of my Steam backlog, games are more likely to be played if they’re on my Switch.

My biggest and only regret with the Switch so far? That I haven’t made more time to play it. 😦

Seeing that it’s the Switch’s birthday today, I suppose I hear some Dragon Quest Builders calling me. 😉

Did you pick up a Switch in the first year? What’s your game list look like? Better or worse than mine? 

Posted in Gaming

SNES Classic SCORE!

I had other things on my mind to blog about today, but that all went out the window. I got a SNES Classic this morning! 

Honestly, I wasn’t going to even try to get one of these after what happened with the NES Classic. I wanted one, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t think there was a chance.

Well, after reading the mega thread on Reddit and seeing how many success stories there were — the fact that there was often more stock than people after them (I think people were like me and were discouraged from trying due to the NES Classic)….

Well, I did a quick search at Brickseek (SKU: 741659089), and saw that the Target down the road from work was supposed to still have 11 in stock. Note, this was an hour and a half AFTER the store opened. So I made a rush before scrum — the worst that could happen was that Brickseek was wrong.

But it was right! Not only did they have some for sale, but the guy at the counter was opening a whole new box of them even after I bought one! He did say there were a number of folks waiting in line before the store opened, but honestly, that wasn’t needed.

Anyhow, if you have a desire for a SNES Classic, I’ll encourage you to hit up your local store THIS MORNING because you’ll probably have decent chance in scoring one. But go for it now, because the closer it gets to the holidays, the tougher it may be.

Good luck!