3DS GBA Ambassador Games

I've still only touched a handful of the ten free Game Boy Advance games I got along with other early Nintendo 3DS owners late last year. I've played quite a bit of them though, and this is what I think.

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity - There's a type of gamer that has emerged fairly recently, one who probably has the skill to complete games on harder difficulties, but is more interested in seeing all the content a game has to see than being challenged, and so plays on easy mode in order to do so without frustration. They are content tourists, and I have been known to become one when I'm playing a type of game I'm not really into. Racing games where you have to finish a certain place or better to advance to the next course are not kind to this type of gamer. F-Zero is even worse, because there's no chance of coming from far behind - you have to finish at a certain place in each lap, and that place gets higher with each circuit. And with the fact that every course looks pretty much the same, I'm not much interested in acquiring the skill to do better in order to see all that content. A functional game but not a very fun one.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit - Super Circuit is a bit better than F-Zero, because at least the easiest mode actually seems like it's pretty easy. It's still not terribly entertaining, though - racing games done with non-3D tracks are just a dicey proposition, and this version of Mario Kart is playable but just not very enticing. I've played a bit of Mario Kart 7, and it's night and day how much more fun that game is, even with the increase in annoying item usage. Another game I don't intend to revisit.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong - This is a fun though occasionally frustrating puzzle platformer, which at times places great emphasis on both of those skills. Donkey Kong captures a bunch of Mario's little robot versions of himself, and he has to get them back. Each world has a similar progression - six standard levels, which require you to find a key on one screen and then a robot on the next, a seventh level where you have to guide the robots you've collected to a toy box, and a boss level where you face off with Donkey Kong before he runs away and you go to a new world with a different theme. As I said it's a pretty entertaining game, though there are some weird quirks, like how there's a tutorial video before each level that only hints at what you'll have to do next, and even with all of that help plenty of game elements are introduced without explanation. A whole second mode was unlocked after I saw the credits the first time, but I don't find myself interested in it - I think I got my fill of the gameplay already.

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! - I definitely had more fun with this than anything else on this list, despite the WarioWare thing not really being a fresh concept anymore. The game is basically the industry itself in a nutshell - you visit various developers around the city, and try out their various games in some sort of strange situation that can handily represent your metaprogress in the actual game itself. The games can mostly be finished in three seconds or left, and your goal is to just finish as many as you can before you make too many mistakes, as they are randomly chosen and fly by at great speed. It's a funny and addictive experience that's also packed with a lot of extras such as endless versions of some of the microgames or special two player ones which can be played on a single system. There's a manic, crazed energy to the whole thing, and it's just a good time.

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DLC Round-Up 5

It's getting close to a year since I've done of these. I'm not quite as focused on seeing every piece of content from every game I play as I used to be.

Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den - Minerva's Den has a reputation as one of the best DLC add-ons for a game ever made, and it's well earned. If you didn't need to buy Bioshock 2 first to play it, I'd say you could just skip it and play Minerva's Den to get all you need out of the experience. It serves as a sort of smaller version of the main game, again having you play as a Big Daddy and collecting most of the same equipment as you experience a story that's a lot more tightly written and emotionally effective than the main game's. It always seems a bit odd to focus on praising the narrative of a video game, especially a downloadable add-on, but Minerva's Den really is exceptionally well conceived and executed. Worth checking out even if you didn't love the main game.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link - Another add-on that acts as a microcosm for the main game, The Missing Link explores a gap in Human Revolution's story and basically allows you to make a new Adam Jensen from scratch that you will use for a few hours before the story wraps up and connects back to the main plot. You begin on a ship and eventually end up on another secret base, which you can either sneak or shoot your way through until you reach the ending. Obviously this DLC doesn't capture the other side of the game that lets you just walk around and explore, and there were a few annoying aspects of the level design, particularly the way the mission requires you to go back and forth in the same space repeatedly and pass through the same extremely slow doorways until you get sick of them. But if you really enjoyed Human Revolution like I did, it's hard to say no to another clandestine base to infiltrate, especially if you can get it on sale.

L.A. Noire: Rockstar Pass - None of the DLC for L.A. Noire was very substantial, but the way Rockstar distributed it was very cool. There were several individual cases that were available for download for okay prices, but if you knew you wanted to play all of it, you could plop down a little extra for the "Rockstar Pass" and get all of it as it came out at a lower rate. It encouraged people to pay more up front with the knowledge that they wouldn't miss anything. The cases themselves seem like they were merely snipped out of the main game without much thought, some of them even revealing certain story elements that were referred to "later" in the main plot without explanation. The original game was plenty long enough, so I didn't feel cheated, and the cases themselves were a natural extension of what made the game fun in the first place. Neat investigations and adequate action sequences abound.

Portal 2: Peer Review - The best kind of DLC is free DLC, and Valve knew that when they put out Peer Review, an extension to Portal 2 that added something similar to the challenge mode from the first game that was missing in the sequel, and more importantly, added a new section to the already stellar co-op campaign. This section mixed and matched various concepts from earlier in the co-op to put together some really fiendish puzzles, creating perhaps the most difficult (and no less entertaining) Portal gameplay that I've experienced. And of course it's framed within the context of Portal's very funny and entertaining universe, which means plenty of new GLaDOS quips and robot antics to laugh at. It's hard to get a better value for your no dollars.

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Some PSN Games

These are all games I got on PSN in 2011 and never got around to talking about. They're all worth playing, although I didn't actually have to pay for half of them.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition - I got two Street Fighter games on PSN because Street Fighter Alpha 3 was the only one I owned, and I figured I ought to have a couple more, if only for history's sake. Street Fighter III is kind of an oddball, with only a few familiar characters and a whole bunch of strange new ones on the roster. Like there's a weird experimental creature than can change shape and a little goblin guy with one arm. I actually liked it more than the other one I got though, because the animation is kind of amazing to watch, it has a fun and deep fighting system, and the challenges that you're always making progress toward add something to the experience. I didn't manage to actually find any opponents online, though.

Super Stardust HD - One of many, many downloadable shooters this generation that you control by moving your ship with the left stick and aiming your fire with the right. I never played the original games Stardust HD is based on, but it doesn't take long to figure it out - you fly around the surface of various planets and protect them from asteroids and other threats with a variety of weapons. The game looks and sounds very nice and is pretty smooth to play. I wouldn't have gotten it if it wasn't among the choices for free games after Sony finally got PSN back up last year, but it's a fun little game.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix - As far as I can tell this is a graphical overhaul of what was considered the definitive version of Street Fighter II, with a couple other bells and whistles added on. The new backgrounds and characters look nice, but because the game has to stick to the same animation cycles in order to keep the gameplay the same, there's a weird disconnect between the smoothness of the images and the stutter with which they move. I ended up switching to the traditional sprites, though of course then you have the disconnect between the fighters and the backgrounds, which you can't change. Still, the core gameplay is full intact, and though it's not as smooth or modern as Street Fighter III, it's still pretty fun. Couldn't find any online opponents in this one either, though.

WipEout HD - The other free game I got when PSN came back was this, complete with the Fury add-on. All of the various futuristic racing games sort of blend together in my head, but WipEout seems like a popular one, and this HD version of it is enjoyable if not particularly original. The standard races are fun, but the game seems more fresh in its other modes, particularly the ones that Fury added. I'm not a huge racing game guy, but WipEout HD looks really nice and doesn't have any major issues.

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3DS NES Ambassador Games

With the recent release of the Game Boy Advance "Ambassador" games for early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS (which seem pretty cool so far), I realized I never wrote anything about the NES games that were released in the same way a few months ago. There's a pretty good reason for this: four of the games are interesting and probably worth playing through, and the other six are basically garbage and I'll be glad to never look at them again. These are those six games.

Balloon Fight - Essentially a rip-off of Joust, Balloon Fight is a game where you try to pop the balloons tied to enemies on screen while protecting your own balloons from the same fate. Repeatedly tapping the button causes you to rise, and neglecting to do so causes you to fall. Don't ask me how these mechanics are actually supposed to translate to a real world situation involving a man fighting birds attached to balloons. If you are above an opponent when you collide with them, congratulations, you win that confrontation. There's also a mode where you try to float through an obstacle course for as long as you can. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Donkey Kong Jr. - A sequel to the original Donkey Kong, and probably the only game where Mario is the antagonist. You have to get through a series of levels, trying to reach the top and rescue your father before moving to the next one. The gameplay is pretty familiar, although there's a lot of gripping onto and climbing of vines. Donkey Kong Jr climbs vines slower than any other ape who's ever lived. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Ice Climber - Although you play as both climbers when they appear in the the Super Smash Bros. series, you only get one in this game's single player mode (none of the Ambassador games actually have multiplayer implemented yet despite the options appearing in the main menu, though Nintendo has said they'll add it in). Your goal is to climb a series of mountains, which are really just vertical platforming levels with bonus areas at the top of them. The way up is often blocked, but you can smash your way through with your hammer. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

NES Open Tournament Golf - A golf game with a few different courses, I'm not sure if it set the standard for pretty much all golf games that would follow but the archetype you're used to is here. You choose the direction to swing in, the speed of your swing, where you hit the ball, and what club to use. It has a swing meter where you press a button to start the swing, press it again to set the power, and press it again to set the accuracy. Unfortunately it's not a very easy to use swing meter. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Wrecking Crew - A game where Mario is a demolition expert rather than a plumber. Your goal is to smash all of the walls in the level without getting killed by strange alien creatures you don't seem to be able to defend yourself against. There's also a few different types of objects that there's no clear way to interact with. You can't jump, but the levels do wrap around, giving me the impression that they all take place inside silos. Not a bad idea, but the controls are terrible and it's no fun to play.

Yoshi - Yoshi actually isn't that bad, it just doesn't have the addicting quality that all great classic puzzle games are supposed to have. It's a pretty simple set-up, though still maybe a bit more complex than it has to be. Much like Tetris, a variety of objects fall from the sky in pairs, and you have to rotate columns to try to stack like objects and make them disappear. Also two of the objects are the bottom and top halves of an egg shell, and if you manage to get the latter to appear above the former in a column, then they and any other objects between them also disappear. The speed increases over time, and eventually there's too much crap and there's no where to put it and you lose. I actually played quite a bit of a complete rip-off of this game on my scientific calculator in high school. It was just a way to pass the time in study hall though, and I can't say the real thing is any better.

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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition

There's been a lot of Zelda stuff going on this year, being the 25 anniversary of the original game's release in Japan. The 3DS saw the release of a 3D remastering of Ocarina of Time, the first two games were included in the batch of free downloads that early adopters of the system got, and later this year we'll get to play the first new console game in the series since 2006. The most recent part of the celebration was the release of the (temporarily) free Four Swords Anniversary Edition for download on the DSi and 3DS stores, which takes the special multiplayer mode from the A Link to the Past port for Game Boy Advance, and adds a single player option and a bunch of new content.

The one player mode functions well enough, giving you control of two different Links (they are separated by the power of the mystical and stupidly named Four Sword) and letting you switch between them or have one follow the other with a button tap. It's not nearly as fun though as the multiplayer, which was how the game was supposed to be played. I had only one other person to play with, but the game (obviously) supports up to four, letting you link up multiple systems and work together to save Zelda from Vaati. The structure is pretty simple. There are three different dungeons you can tackle in any order, consisting of two floors full of puzzles, traps, monsters, and rupees, and third with a boss. If you clear all three floors and collect enough rupees, a great fairy will reward you with a key. If all the players have all three keys, they can take on the final dungeon and beat the game. You can then unlock harder passes through the game, and new to this version, there are additional dungeons, some of which are based on previous Zelda games and are interesting in their own right.

It's hard to stress how much more fun the game is with multiple players. Instead of worrying about two different things at once, you can just focus on yourself, and put your heads together to solve the simple puzzles and work together to get past some of the obstacles, such as carrying your friends over a platform only you can walk on or defeating an enemy that requires you to throw it at another Link so he can slash it in midair. The dungeons are randomized so it's still fun to visit them with different people and improve your score. It's pretty lean as far as Zelda games go, consisting only of a few dungeons that take maybe 15 minutes each to clear per pass. But it's a lot of fun to play repeatedly with friends, and it's especially worth checking out for free if you have the right system for it.

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DLC Round-Up 4

Surprised it's been over a year since I've done this. But I guess that happens when you don't buy any new games for almost a year.

Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice - This add-on to Costume Quest was roughly one third the length of the original game at one third of the price, which made it a nice way to extend the experience a little for fans. It takes place after the original and has a winter theme, though the gameplay is pretty much the same - you trick or treat until the area is clear, fight simple turn-based battles, find some collectible costumes and upgrades, and find stuff for people. The boss fight at the end was the most challenging encounter they've made so far, although it still wasn't terribly difficult. The ending teases more content on the way, though I suspect at this point it will be another stand-alone game rather than a small five dollar chunk.

Left 4 Dead 2: The Passing/The Sacrifice - Originally, the intention was to release The Passing for L4D2 and then The Sacrifice for L4D1, tying the two games together and killing off one of the original characters. The Sacrifice ended up also being released for L4D2 though, which allowed players of that game to play with the old characters using the equipment and enemy upgrades from the sequel, as well as starting the release of all the old content in the same way. So while the two campaigns are kind of short and don't add a whole terrible lot in terms of new twists on the series, they're still pretty fun and helped Valve experiment with new ways to roll stuff out to players. The online comic that preceded The Sacrifice's release was interesting as well.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare - Pretty darn meaty for ten bucks, Undead Nightmare completely changes Red Dead from a western-themed shooter to a game all about scraping by against a horde of zombies. Ammo is limited, enemies charge at you in groups and only go down easily from headshots, and there isn't a lot of help to be found. You'll usually divide your time between doing missions to advance the lengthy and surprisingly funny story and rescuing and defending outposts from invasions, which is more fun than it sounds. Most DLC doesn't come close to changing the game as much as this one, and it's a lot of fun. There are a bunch of other supernatural extras like side jobs involving horses of the apocalypse and sasquatches. One of the best DLC packs for the money I've ever played.

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PSN Demos 4

 This might be the last one of these I do for this blog. Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of summarizing a few months of game demos is gone.

Army of Two: The 40th Day - You see why these are pointless? I try to wait long enough for a bunch of demos to build up so the post seems substantial, and I end up talking about stuff people have already long forgotten. This demo was all about the online co-op, and it was kind of fun for a while, but my random teammate was bad enough that I knew I wouldn't play it anonymously,  and it wasn't interesting enough to play alone, and I knew I'd have no friends playing it, so it was an easy game to ignore.

Bayonetta - I didn't see any of the game's supposed terrible technical issues on the platform, but the purpose of the demo is generally not to reveal a game's biggest flaws, so that's understandable. Seems like the logical evolution of Devil May Cry, and was totally crazy.

Dante's Inferno - It's been a long time since I've seen a game so obviously derivative of another. It really is Dante's God of War. Not that it isn't fun to chop guys up, I'd just rather do it with Kratos. Also, didn't know you could just put so many boobs in a demo.

Dark Void - One of those games that looks really interesting on the surface but then a few people play it and say how it's disappointing, and then no one else buys it, and then no sequel comes to fix the issues and make a really great game. Kind of fun to play around, but the shooting really didn't even last through the end of the demo.

Just Cause 2 - I was sure I was going to play this game after the demo... and I probably will... I just haven't yet. Not a very big area, but you get a sense for the game's scale and a lot of silly fun out of the grappling hook and parachute.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days - I played this before the original game, and looking back the cover and shooting are definitely improved. It also has a unique and interesting visual style, so I was interested in getting it until I found out the story literally only lasts four hours. That sounds like a discount purchase in a year to me.

Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues - This one shows off some levels based on the last movie, and weren't terribly exciting since they took place in a warehouse and I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do in the boss fight. I don't think I'll ever get on the Lego game bandwagon. Not again.

Mafia II - 1940s open world game, weird driving thanks to the authentic vehicles, pretty good shooting, not really sure why it's open world. Mildly interested in checking it out.

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time (Clank) - See? I reviewed this game last year. But I never told you about the demo, eh? The Clank levels in this game were awesome, so this demo was good.

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time (Ratchet) - Whereas with the Ratchet demo... I was having fun, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was just another Ratchet game. Which is how I ended up feeling playing the real thing. Ratchet games are fun! But I know what they are.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: The Game - An old school brawler with a bit of a sense of humor, some cool RPG progression stuff, and really nice sprite animation. Seeing the movie's a bigger priority, though.

Skate 3 - Only a couple years after really shaking up the extreme sports genre of games, Skate already feels a bit old. The most fun I had with the demo was getting off the board and just jumping into people so they'd fall over.

Trine - I think the controls were more precise on PC, but it's still fun and looks really nice on console. Nice appetizer for the main game.

Vanquish - This game is kind of crazy, a third person shooter with a lot of Japanese hyperactivity added in. But I had a couple issues with the demo - it looks and plays great, but I couldn't really tell what was causing me to die when it happened. Poor feedback.

Yakuza 3 - I was disappointed by this demo. I still want to play the game because Yakuza is interesting, but the graphics are the only thing improved at all from the now ancient seeming PS2 games. The combat feels exactly the same, and it still awkwardly transitions between full cutscenes and text boxes for no reason. Plus, they cut a ton of content from the US version of the final game.

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DLC Round-Up 3

We ain't gonna stop this DLC thing.

Assassin's Creed 2: Battle of Forli - Assassin's Creed 2 was a lot of fun, so I was excited when I heard they were extending its life with a couple of cheap add-ons. They were made up of content that had to be cut from the original release for time, but I was still interested in seeing those gaps get filled in. Unfortunately, both packs had a few issues that made me see why they might not have charged a ton for them. Battle of Forli adds a repeatable mission that lets you play with Da Vinci's flying machine if you want some more of that, and a little more of the story in Forli, a city that you passed through in the regular game but didn't spend much time in. I liked seeing some new details of what happened during that missing period, but ultimately the missions themselves weren't that fun. A couple were fine, but too many eschewed the normal stealthy, acrobatic gameplay for awkward, uninteresting battles between groups of soldiers. It's not that mixing it up is bad, but the game just isn't made to handle it well, and the chapter seemed pretty anticlimactic in general.

Assassin's Creed 2: Bonfire of the Vanities - Vanities cost a bit more and I was hopeful about it, since it unlocks an entire section of Florence that was missing. And it started off fine, giving you a bunch of small assassinations to take care of. Unfortunately, some of them are designed to be arbitrarily difficult with no justification for the ridiculous conditions they set, creating an uneven, sometimes frustrating experience. Most of the problems come from a few missions deciding that you can't be spotted by any guards before intercepting your target, which would be fine if there was any reason for it and if you didn't have to run away from all of the now fully aware guards in the area once you pull it off. It would also help if it was just a bit clearer about what did and what didn't get you seen. There was a more expensive version that also unlocked a few tombs that were exclusive to a special edition of the game, and they were pretty fun, though maybe not worth the five bucks. I don't really regret playing these, although they really didn't add much to the game in the end.

Heavy Rain: The Taxidermist - I don't think this is publicly available yet, but if you preordered the game like me you got a free download code for it. It's pretty much Heavy Rain in a nutshell. You're investigating a possible killer's house, and after a certain amount of time investigating the guy's extremely creepy house he shows up unexpectedly and you have to try to escape. There's a lot of different ways you can go about it, and at least five different ways it can end, some good and some bad. It's completely inessential to the main game's story, but if you had fun with it and want another little piece with the same strong presentation and tense gameplay, it's certainly worth checking out.

LittleBigPlanet: Pirates of the Caribbean Level Kit - I was lucky enough to play this for free thanks to a code from a friend. It's similar to the Metal Gear Solid pack, adding some new gameplay mechanics, pieces to make stuff with, and a set of five levels themed after something famous. I think they only cover the first two movies, which happen to be the ones I've seen, having you escape from some pirates, find a ship, and take on the Kraken. The water system certainly adds more to the game than the paint gun, and the levels are full of the stuff, letting you swim around and solve some new puzzles with some things that float and some things that don't. I'm not sure how I feel about all these premium level packs relying on other properties to sell themselves, but I can't say they aren't fun ways to extend the game's life and inspire players to create more interesting levels. Really, they could keep doing this instead of of releasing a sequel and I'd be fine with it.

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DLC Round-Up 2

So I've played some more downloadable content. It was mostly pretty fun I guess! This is the significant stuff.

Fallout 3: Broken Steel - I liked Fallout 3, but the ending was, well... irredeemably stupid. Without spoiling anything, finishing the main quest ends the game immediately with a cheap cutscene instead of wrapping up the story nicely and letting you keep playing as your character, and makes some giant logical leaps to pack it all into some sort of nice dramatic wrapping without earning it. Broken Steel fixes that by rewriting that portion slightly, still moralizing your actions pointlessly but at least keeping the plot going with a few more missions, raising the level cap to 30, giving you some new equipment, and disabling the switch that basically kills the game. The scope of the new quests feels more like an actual climax to the plot, though in a way it still feels like they're stretching something that's already resolved itself. Still, it's the most essential of the five add-ons Bethesda's released for the game, letting you do whatever you want without worrying about having to load old saves.

Fallout 3: Point Lookout - Broken Steel is the most important add-on, but Point Lookout might be the most interesting. It takes Fallout to a different setting, the mutated wastes of Maryland, infested by monsters, a dangerous cult, and irradiated versions of offensive Southern stereotypes. I haven't played the other DLC packs for the game, which apparently whisk you to other areas which are very linear and guided, leaving Point Lookout as the only one that resembles the actual Fallout 3 experience in smaller form. There's a fair amount of wandering you can do to see what's up, or you can just do the main quest line which features some glitchy action (I can't tell if the game is acting up because I've been playing this character for 30 hours or what), unique moments, and interesting if not overly difficult choices to make. It's not exactly classy, but still enjoyable.

Left 4 Dead: Crash Course - I'm glad I got this for free on the PC instead of paying for it on the Xbox 360, but it's still a neat addition to the original game that was made not too long before the sequel came out. It's a quick little campaign designed to be finished in half an hour in versus mode, so it's not the most substantial thing ever, but the two chapters here add some unique and entertaining twists on the formula. It fits in between two of the existing campaigns, explaining what transpired between them, which on one hand is interesting but on the other just makes me want them to do the same for the entire story, and I don't know if that's going to happen with them already announcing add-ons for the new one. Still, no new Left 4 Dead content is bad Left 4 Dead content, and it's worth a trip if you're not already spoiled by the sequel.

LittleBigPlanet: Metal Gear Solid Level Kit - I think this would have been a bit better for the value if it included the Metal Gear Solid-themed costumes as well, but it was still a good time with my brother for somewhere around an hour. Most of the DLC for LBP is packs of outfits and stickers to throw in your game, but once in a while they do a themed one that adds new gameplay elements and trophies (a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed one just came out this week, I think), and I like MGS a lot, so I finally decided to give it a whirl. We probably had the most fun with the paintball gun which you get to use pretty frequently, shooting each other as much as the enemies, and it definitely adds something new to the game. There's some pretty clever boss fights and special events they put together, and I'm always impressed how much people can do with the simple tools at hand, especially the developers. The LBP/MGS cross-over plot was a nice touch too. A bit short, but as cute as anything else in this game.

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DSiWare Round-Up

 The last handheld system I owned was the Game Boy Color, but I recently reentered that arena when I bought a white DSi bundle (I wanted the blue one with a couple Mario games, but I couldn't find it). The "bundle" aspect meant it came with five DSiWare games and applications already installed in addition to the default ones, and here are some brief thoughts on them.

Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters
The Brain Age mini-games are neat little challenges, although I'm skeptical of their actual ability to measure how good your brain's feeling. The daily brain age check picks three of the games to test you on (including ones you haven't unlocked to play whenever you want), although it seems to hone in on ones you suck at. I'm pretty good at every game except for the one that asks you to memorize a list of 30 words, and the game seems to know this, throwing it at me every single day. Not being good at one thing shouldn't bring down my entire score as much as it does. Still, mostly brain exercises.

Brain Age Express: Math
I'm better at this one, mostly because the memorization one is easier to handle. I've always had a mathematical mind, though the game still thinks I could be doing a lot better.

Brain Age Express: Sudoku
I've never actually played Sudoku before, so this is a nice introduction. It's irritating that both of the times I've marked the wrong number, it's been because the controls failed me and not my thinking, especially when one mistake adds twenty minutes to your final time. Still, Sudoku is the kind of brain teaser I like, and they're pretty fun to solve.

Clubhouse Games Express: Card Classics
A few card games, one of which is kind of boring, another is a variety of poker that no one plays anymore, and the other three basically variants of games I've only played in drinking contexts. They work well enough, but I can't imagine many people who would want to play cards without the human element.

Photo Clock
There's a clock you can use your photos with, and an alarm function. That's about it. I guess they didn't want to put too much free stuff you'd actually consider buying in the bundle.

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