the walking writer

Image via reddit

Image via reddit

Although I’ve been playing Nintendo games since I was a child, along with several siblings, not every member of my family was interested in games. It wasn’t until the release of the Wii that my entire family suddenly became a family of gamers. Many cold winter evenings were spent playing bowling in Wii Sports. At times, we treated it seriously, complete with bragging rights for the winner. Other nights we held challenges with the various exercise games in Wii Fit. Years later, the Wii is a treasured possession at my parent’s house, now becoming the source of hours of entertainment for the youngest members of my growing extended family.

All of this is thanks to Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo who sadly passed away over the weekend. His vision helped make the Wii one of the best consoles of all time and brought so many more people to gaming because of it. Clearly, he was a man who loved his job and wanted to bring joy to everyone.

I am forever thankful to him for the many wonderful memories my family created with a simple game console.

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered AmericaSuper Mario: How Mario Conquered America
Author: Jeff Ryan

One of my earliest memories from childhood is of my dad bringing home the original Nintendo console with a shiny gold cartridge entitled “The Legend of Zelda.” Although I didn’t get to play it often (my siblings hogged the system, so I ended up just watching a lot), it started a lifelong love of Nintendo games. Beyond knowing about Nintendo’s got its start producing and selling Hanafuda cards, I didn’t know much about the company’s early history. So I was excited to pick up this book and learn some more about a game company that has survived the odds through the decades and continues to thrive.

I enjoyed the majority of the book, but it started to get a little repetitive and a little too philosophical on the role of Mario in the world. Sometimes, it felt like the author forgot people play video games to have fun above all else. After about two-thirds of the book, I was starting to skim as I didn’t really want to read more about the hardware specifications of Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s PlayStation. The book is also a couple of years out of date, so it doesn’t cover any recent developments. There were also some bad jokes sprinkled throughout, and the Kindle edition featured some truly impressive spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, including words repeated several times in a sentence.

Overall, if you’re a Nintendo fan and you’re interested in learning more about the company’s history, this book is a decent place to start. Although this book focuses on Nintendo’s efforts to establish themselves in the United States, you’ll also learn plenty about the company’s history in Japan and some interesting tidbits. For example, did you know that the word Nintendo roughly translates into English to mean “leave luck to heaven?” If you want something more in-depth, however, I think there are better books out there.

I’ve had my 3DS for about a year now.  When I first turned it on, I only half-paid attention to the system’s social feature, known as StreetPass.  Since I didn’t have any games that took really advantage of the feature and I wasn’t planning to take the console out of the house much, I just left it disabled.  A few days ago, I decided to take another look at the feature and finally turn it on.  I quickly discovered that I had been missing a lot.

So, if you don’t know, the StreetPass concept is pretty simple.  Basically, each time your 3DS comes near another 3DS (with the feature enabled), the two devices exchange some basic information, including your personalized Mii. The next time you turn on your 3DS, you’ll see the Miis that you collected waiting at your StreetPass Plaza gate.  After welcoming your new friends, you can play a variety of games specifically designed for the Miis that you collected.  By default, the 3DS console comes with a couple of games you can play with Miis, including a simple but cute RPG.  Last year, Nintendo also released 4 more games that you can buy together as a bundle.

The StreetPass feature isn’t just limited to games designed for Miis.  You can also exchange game information for many of the system’s other games.  For example, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, you’ll download a copy of the other play’s character that will then show up in your game for duels.

For me, the biggest fun of StreetPass is just collecting and “meeting” more players whenever I’m out and about.  I’m hoping to eventually collect Miis from all over the world.  The StreetPass feature is a neat way to encourage people to go out more instead of just leaving their 3DS at home.