Friday, June 20, 2014

Shall We Do It? (Tomodachi Life)

Even after all of the forehead-smacking, hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing that followed Nintendo of America's ham-fisted and tone-deaf response to consumer complaints that its recently released 3DS title, Tomodachi Life, wouldn't feature same-sex couplings, I still went ahead and picked up a copy of this quirky "life sim" (of sorts) at launch.

Although I've since spent about eight hours with the game, I'm not yet sure what I think about it. Oh, it's definitely cute, and there's no question it has a surprisingly sharp sense of humor, but it's also true that all of the above's already starting to wear a bit thin with me.

Anyway, compare my experience so far with this title to, say, the one I've had with Animal Crossing: New Leaf--a 3DS cart I played for a couple of hundred hours (OK, maybe more) before any feelings of burnout set in--and it should be clear why I'm currently a bit skeptical as to how long Tomodachi Life's content is going to continue to appeal to me.

It doesn't help, of course, that Tomodachi Life is far less engaging--in my personal opinion, of course--than New Leaf. In part, that's because in the latter, players fully control their avatars as they race around town picking fruit, planting flowers and plucking fish from the sea, but in the former, all players do is tap the screens of their 3DSes now and then in an effort to see what their avatars are thinking or to hand them food, clothing or other presents.

I fully understand and appreciate that Nintendo's designers likely went this route in order to create an experience that's as far removed from the company's Animal Crossing series as possible, but the fact is that I would've much preferred it if they'd simply made Tomodachi Life be something along the lines of "New Leaf with Miis and a closer-to-real-life setting."

Other than all of that, some of you probably are wondering how I feel about the title's aforementioned lack of what's known to most North Americans as "marriage equality." Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot to say about that aspect of Tomodachi Life either, as my lookalike Mii has yet to form a romantic bond with any of his neighbors, gender be damned.

Once that finally happens, though, I'll let all of you know how I feel about it in a future installment of "Shall We Do It?"

I'd expect those feelings to be more positive than negative, by the way, as my lookalike Mii's technically a female--I made him look and sound male--and as a result he should earn the affections of one of his burg's (it's called Rainbow Island--creative, I know), uh, "fully male" ("truly male"?) counterparts.

(Please don't take the above to mean I'm OK with Nintendo of America's decision to leave lesbian, gay and bi relationships out of Tomodachi Life, as that's the complete opposite of how I feel about the situation. I'm glad a workaround of sorts exists for folks like myself who want the experience to be as gay as humanly possible, but I can guarantee you that should the company release a follow-up for the 3DS' successor that fails to fully allow and embrace such pairings, I'll ignore it without batting an eye.)

It's possible, though, he'll attract the isle's lone lesbian--Madonna, who's male "below the covers" but in all other aspects is the cat-eyed, beauty-marked "Queen of Pop" we all know and love (or love to hate, in the case of some of you).

Here's hoping that's not how things play out and my lookalike will start macking on Tomonobu Itagaki, Hiroshi Yamauchi or, uh, Fox Mulder, while Madonna will hook up with Princess Zelda, Gwen Stefani or Steffi Graf.

In the meantime, are any of you also playing Tomodachi Life? If so, what do you think about it at this point in time?

See also: previous 'Shall We Do It?' posts

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I have a feeling The Lost Valley may be my first Harvest Moon game

This may surprise some of you who haven't heard me talk about it previously (such as on the most recent installment of The Nichiest Podcast Ever), but I've never played a Harvest Moon game--despite the fact that the decades-old series of adorable "life sims" would seem to be right up my alley for all sorts of reasons.

My short explanation for this admittedly embarrassing gaffe is that I ignored the first few titles for reasons I no longer can remember and after that I quickly became overwhelmed by the myriad options (and sequels) the series presented to me.

I'm starting to get the feeling, though, that Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, the upcoming 3DS iteration that's being made internally by long-time North American publisher Natsume and not series creator Yasuhiro Wada (who helmed the Bokujō Monogatari title that will be released here as Story of Seasons later this year), may be the game that finally introduces me to the Harvest Moon world.

Why? Because I really like this version's low-poly art style--which can be seen throughout The Lost Valley's first trailer, above--for starters. I also like its seemingly Minecraft-inspired elements.

What do all of you think of this divisive 3DS game? Are you interested in it, too, or will you be passing on it--possibly so you can pick up Story of Seasons instead?


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The reports of The Nichiest Podcast Ever's death have been greatly exaggerated, take two

The last time I published a post about The Nichiest Podcast Ever, it was late January. So, if you thought I might never write about it again, I can't really blame you.

Anyway, what do shidoshi, Anne and I cover in this particular episode of the podcast, our ninth? Well, we chat about what we’ve been doing in the months since we last recorded, we reminisce about tennis RPGs (yes, you read that correctly), we look into the big Harvest Moon shake-up, we discuss some of the niche games that were on tap for E3, we talk about the titles we’d most like to see announced at the show (one of which came true!), we go rogue in our re-titled segment "Harassment Squad & The Lone Cheerleader" (Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing PerfectionTomodachi Life and Yoshi’s New Island) and we square off once again in "The Nichiest of Them All." Oh, and we read a letter sent in by a listener!

Should you want to check it out, you can do so by directing your favorite Internet browser to

And if you'd like to check out previous posts I've published about The Nichiest Podcast Ever, click here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Gay Gamer Giveaway™: Penguin Land (GameBoy) Edition

I don't know about you, but I think it's about time we kick off another Gay Gamer Giveaway™, don't you?

The giveaway this time around will be a loose (as in just the cart--no box, case or manual) copy of Pony Canyon's GameBoy port of Sega's Doki Doki Penguin Land, which drops the Doki Doki in favor of simply being known as Penguin Land.

I've written about this game a few times before now, by the way. I first mentioned--and showcased a video of--it in this post, and then I spent some time chatting about its packaging in this post and its instruction manual in this post.

So, you may want to check out one or all of those previously published posts before you decide whether or not you want this cart.

Should you decide that you do want it, just leave some sort of a comment below between today and the morning of Monday, June 23. Even a simple "yo!" is OK if your username is unique enough that I should be able to tell you apart from all of the other people clamoring for their very own copy of Penguin Land.

See also: previous Gay Gamer Giveaway™ posts