Game Diary: Just Dance 3, Kid Icarus Uprising, Gamification Course

September 19, 2012

[The Rotation, a recap of the games I’ve been playing lately, is my weekly exercise to write for fun on a more consistent basis and to avoid making excuses for skipping posts because of “how busy I am.” Blergh. Enjoy!]

Ok, I’m gonna make this brief(-ish). I haven’t been able to make time for a lot of other things I would’ve enjoyed this week (i.e., seeing the final presentation as part as The Art of Video Games exhibit with Chris Solarski live and reading more of novelized version of Ico, “Castle in the Mist”), but I’m determined to keep blogging weekly and get in a post before the avalanche of Tokyo Game Show hits and gives me even more to think about, so here I go. :<

My Playstation Plus subscription recently lapsed. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I’m not usually a fan of paying more money to “save” money, but the small discounts on the indie titles that I came to love (looking at you, Papa and Yo, and Sound Shapes) were nice, and the freebies were fun for expanding my gaming horizons (I still shudder at the first few chapters of Walking Dead). For me, Playstation Plus  served as a glorified version of a Sony-driven, long-term game rental service. I don’t plan on renewing until the Vita’s Playstation Plus features go online.

So, with the exception of some disc-based backlog to wade through, my PS3 returns to being a Netflix background-noise generator/perpetual 30 Rock machine. I’ve got a lot of traveling lined up between now and the end of the year, but I guess the good news is that Borderlands 2 might be on sale by the time I’ll have time to sit down and actively engage with a TV screen again (?).

This is kind of old news (a week?), but one of my favorite Japanese-language blogs, Andriasang, recently closed. Luckily, my business-level Japanese is still in some working subscription, especially with the help of my friend Rikaikun/-chan). I’ve toyed with the idea of translating Japanese-language news on my blog but don’t know if I’ll have the time or energy, especially because I have yet another semi-secret project on the backburner. Anyway, Andriasang, you will be missed. <3 I always enjoyed your posts and wish you the best of luck on your next adventure.

I’m still chipping away at my gamification course on Coursera. Aside from what I’ve learned from the course, it’s helped me realize something unrelated to games: that I can carve out a couple hours a week for studying (like a nerd). I just need to be more disciplined about it. *looks over at stack of 2-kyuu-level kanji cards* Scheduling and balance is everything, and I’m still trying to strike the perfect balance.

Speaking of balance and 30 Rock gifs from here on out… let’s talk about my literal sense of balance in Just Dance 3.

Just Dance 3
Years and years ago, I was a Dance Dance Revolution fan who triple-A many of the songs from the series’ Xbox games. I’ve always watched people at PAX East and other exhibitions play the Kinect-based versions of Dance Central, but have yet to participate because, like singing, dancing is something I do in my apartment with the blinds drawn and windows closed and the music turned up so loud that I sound in key.

When I do dance in public, it tragically looks like this:

How I feel about my dancing?:

But Just Dance makes me feel like I look like this:

Even when I’m waving a Wiimote in my hand, and I look like this:

Kid Icarus: Uprising
I’d heard many good things about Kid Icarus: Uprising. So when I scooped it up for $15, I was pretty pleased. I’m at the end of the first story arc and can already see it’s a Masahiro Sakurai game through and through. Kid Icarus: Uprising has that cushy, casual-level entry with plenty of opportunity to up the challenges and take a more strategized approach to gameplay. There are obviously loads more items, upgrades and locked-away levels to uncover, and I’ve just started to scratch the surface.

A very polished game graphics-wise, Kid Icarus seems to be a study in using on-rails cameras to emulate that feeling of flying. It works very well, too. You get the feeling you’re freely soaring the skies, although you’re confined to a predetermined path. The on-ground levels are a nice change of pace and satisfy my compulsiveness to explore every corner of a game world. I’m still adjusting to the touch-screen controls for the ground levels—something about the melee attacks makes me think I should be attacking with slashes of my stylus, rather than using it to aim and beating on enemies with the L button.

The dialogue… isn’t as cheesy as I expected, as saturated as it is with cutesy puns and good-hearted glib dialogue. The voiceovers are surprisingly tolerable (especially when I wasn’t a fan of Pit’s sound bites/barks in Super Smash Bros. Melee).

I’m disappeointed that I haven’t picked up any Kid Icarus-related StreetPass tags since I began playing. I’m hoping my upcoming travels will help round that out.

What’s Next…
September is the beginning of the end of all my free time. I’m fine with this for the most part—I like being busy and because I’m lucky, a lot of the things that are keeping me busy are fun and social. I’ll probably keep playing some of the games I mentioned in the past couple posts until I get my long-awaited portable releases: Pokemon Black/White 2and Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, the latter of which I’ll probably go on a three-day binge to complete.

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