Tag: Amiibo

Marketing with Brand Recognition

Marketing with Brand Recognition

I tried Super Mario Cereal for the first time this morning.

Honestly? Was not a huge fan of it.

For those who don’t know, this stuff was a special tie-in breakfast item for the red plumber’s most recent adventure, Super Mario Odyssey. The box itself acts as an amiibo that gives Mario some bonus collectibles like coins or hearts in-game, though I haven’t used that particular functionality yet.

What I have done is eat the cereal — a combination of little grain stars and marshmallows shaped like Mario power-ups. It’s essentially rebranded Lucky Charms, which makes sense considering it’s a Kellogg’s cereal.

Even though Lucky Charms are a General Mills brand. So I guess it’s more like a competing Lucky Charms?

But I digress.

While I’ll mostly stay away from that cliché of the cereal not looking like it does on the box, the grain cereal bits actually stuck out in that regard for me. Instead of being fat little golden stars like you might see in Super Mario 64, the stars in this cereal are fine pointed like an asterisk.

It’s a bit un-Mario in appearance, but also I get the sense that the quality of the cereal itself would have been better if it were fatter. Because in it’s current state, this cereal is very granular and has some hard-to-chew shell bits in it.

The marshmallows are fine in their own right. It’s kind of hard to make a bad breakfast cereal marshmallow I suppose, though if I were to nitpick it did seem like each different kind of mallow tasted the same. Kind of like raspberry oddly enough, and I might have appreciated more of a variety there.

This little post has to be pretty weird for you all though, right? Because who am I to just be reviewing cereals out of the blue?

It’s not like I proclaim to have an expertise in cereology.

Which I thought was a term I made up until I saw it didn’t come back as misspelled and discovered cereology is the study of crop circles. Consider that my fun fact of the day for all of you linguists out there.

Frankly I wanted to talk about this cereal less for its merits as a cereal and more for its strange position as a marketing tool, because that’s something that I was thinking about while eating it.

I just figured it would make sense to start with a short discourse on my opinions of it as a tangible object before going into more strange psychological places.

See, in my house groceries are a pretty big topic of forethought. While there are impulse purchases on occasion upon seeing something interesting during a trip to the grocery store, more often than not we decide what we need before going.

Usually those purchases fill one of three goals:

  1. Replacing a commonly used item for the week, such as milk.
  2. Gathering more odd ingredients for a specific meal.
  3. Fulfilling some kind of craving.

Because of those general categories most food items fit into, a lot of the ideas behind shopping for specific items comes from top-down processing. Either we know which brand we want because we’ve used it before, or we’ve heard good things about that brand compared to others and decide to go down that route as a result.

When it came to the Super Mario Cereal, however, there wasn’t too much of that.

It’s very much an impulse buy despite the fact that (I at least) had heard of it before, because I never had the desire to buy it. So I never looked into it enough to garner an opinion on how it would be ahead of time.

Yet most items that we haven’t done at least some thinking about ahead of time wouldn’t usually get this kind of immediate pass. I’m willing to bet that 99 percent of the reason for the exception here is because of the Mario branding.

Let’s be honest, everyone knows who Mario is. People who don’t play video games know who Mario is. He’s that famous.

But I love video games. Mario makes up a pretty large percentage of the reason why.

So my family typically knows to buy video game-related things when we see it. If for no other reason than the novelty of the thing being attractive and fun.

I can’t imagine I’m the only video game lover that has instilled that kind of sentiment in his family. I’m willing to bet it’s exactly that kind of sentimentality which drives the (presumed) success of this kind of marketing project.

We buy Super Mario Cereal for the novelty. Because the cereal itself isn’t quite as super as it’s mascot would lead one to believe.

That, in its essence, is the brilliance of the marketing.

But that’s just my opinion on bizarre marketing pushes based on sentimentality and brand recognition. Let me know what you think about the topic below, and if you’ve encountered an item you’ve bought almost purely due to the brand recognition rather than any knowledge about it.

Also, if you really like the Super Mario Cereal, I suppose you can tear me down about that somewhere on the Internet as well. I won’t judge.

Something Sonic this way comes

Sometimes when you’re sitting around with your friend looking for a thing to do, you come across something so incredible that it transcends all expectations as both a concept and an experience.

For Juan and I this afternoon, that something to do was this:

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Shout out to my OG Splatoon Amiibo

Sonic the Hedgehog. A SEGA Genesis game. From 1991.

Ported to the Apple TV.

Hoo boy.

As would be expected for an Apple product, this port is actually a general iOS title available on iPhone and iPad as well. On those devices the control schemes are based on virtually imposed joysticks and buttons. To be expected on any sort of iOS port or emulator in my experience.

… Not that I emulate games on my iPhone. I just saw that sort of thing going around a lot back in high school as different people played Pokémon on their phones.

Obviously the Apple TV doesn’t have a touch screen, so that begs the question. How exactly do you control Sonic the Hedgehog using an Apple TV remote?

Spoiler alert. Very. Very badly.

Yeah… This is a thing. Whoever decided to give a platformer swipe-sensitive controls like this is some kind of person.

While the controls are rather atrocious, there are other things about this port that simply baffle me.

For one, the game’s App Store information page suggests that the title is free with in-app purchases. But Juan and I looked through every conceivable place and couldn’t find a single microtransaction.

They didn’t even pull something dirty and offer a continue when you game over for a few bucks. There’s just no in-app purchases.

So why did they advertise them?

Also, when you first load up the game, the first major studio credit after SEGA themselves is Christian Whitehead. Which blew both our minds.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Whitehead is one of the chief members of the team who developed the widely successful Sonic Mania for SEGA for the blue blur’s 25th anniversary. He’s a mega-fan that did such good work with such a passionate interest in the series that he actually got to add onto its canon.

So what was his name doing on a port of the original Sonic game on my Apple TV?

Well as it turns out, porting the original two Sonic games (and Sonic CD) for mobile devices was what got Whitehead recognition in the first place. That work wound up also being available on the Apple TV as you can tell, giving me a perfect transformative end to my day.

In all honesty, as much as I joke about the baffling controls on this hilariously placed port, I might actually keep playing it. Assuming I can get past Marble Garden Zone sometime soon — it’s easily the worst thing in this game and I’ve only seen up to it.

I missed out on being able to play Sonic when it first had its run because I was a Nintendo kid primarily. So it’ll be really cool to go back and experience the original game in the series that has become such a… Controversial mainstay in our popular culture.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even talk about the game as a game on here at some point. We’ll see.

Why I hate Funko Pops

Why I hate Funko Pops

Remember the other day when I got meta about the human brain and talked about money? In that post I mentioned the fact that my trip to the mall with Juan inspired some other ideas I was hoping to talk about.

Welcome to the post talking about the other things I was referring to there.

Yeah I bet you weren’t expecting a conversation about Funko Pops, were you? They don’t exactly seem like the kind of thing in my area of interest.

I’ll admit that they aren’t for the most part. In fact, I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops overall as my clickbait-y title might suggest.

If anything I’m willing to admit they’re rather cute for the most part. Plus I have been known to collect a somewhat useless series of plastic figurines in the past myself.

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At least I only collect the Smash Bros. Amiibo…

So really there’s no reason I should hate this fairly harmless Hot Topic-stuffing collectible mogul, right?

Not really.

See I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops as an inherit object that exists. What I absolutely abhor is the corporate design mentality surrounding Funko Pops.

As anyone who knows anything about Funko Pops must know, there are Funko Pops that exist for literally anything AND everything.

You like anime? Pick your favorite, there’s a series of Pops to go with them.

You like HBO television series like Westworld? God knows I do, and there’s a series of Pops to go with them.

You like the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You like video games? You like football? Actual real life football?

Because there are pops for all of those things and an infinite amount of other things I won’t bother to go into because look at this catalog. It’s nuts.

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That’s 213 pages not even counting the ‘discontinued’ models

Especially the whole sports side of things. Side-rant I get being in love with sports and following, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers if you’re super into baseball. It’s just bizarre to have a series of collectible figurines representing actual real people that you can stick in your house.

But okay you get the point. If you’ve got an interest, Funko has a Pop to fit it.

Inherently I don’t have a problem with this business model. The fact that this company has invented a series of figurines so simple that literally any form of media can be molded into it is genius, and something the whole world probably wishes they figured out first.

The marketing possibilities are also inherently genius. Did you know there are exclusive Funko Pops that are first available at places like large-scale conventions?

As someone who has played many video games to 100 percent completion, and thrives on games like Monster Hunter where the whole idea is to collect exclusive bits and pieces of monsters to create new specialty armor, I can understand the itch many collectors have when it comes to Funko.

So yeah, if you want to go out and collect Funko Pops, more power to you. My family certainly does, and there are series I’d probably be more than willing to pay for a full collection of.

But that’s only considering the ‘first edition’ idea of these Pops. My problem comes with the alternate forms.

“Wow Jason, that’s ironic. You don’t like Funko Pops for producing alternate versions of characters when you talk endlessly about rare variants of characters in Fire Emblem Heroes like they’re the second coming. What a hypocrite.”

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Lord knows I’m still after Tana…

Yeah I hear you audience, I know.

It’s no secret that I appreciate ‘special editions’ as much as the next guy. But Fire Emblem Heroes and Funko Pops are a little different at their core.

In FEH, the special variant units are just as free-to-start as every other unit in the game. Sure there are practices under the surface that encourage players to eventually spend money, like releasing five valuable banners in a row with few orb giveaways in between, but still.

You could just as easily start the game when a holiday banner is running and be just as likely to receive that unit with free orbs as anyone else.

With Funko Pops, every single one costs money. Just as much, if not more money in fact.

For example:

Do you like Deadpool? Okay, here’s a Deadpool figurine. That’ll be a nice little thing to display to show off your interest in the character.

But wait, why not also buy Deadpool in his pajamas? That’s cute right?

How about Deadpool on a scooter?

Deadpool except he’s Bob Ross? He did that in a 30 second T.V. spot you know.

Okay but imagine this. Deadpool. Except he’s a variant from a spin-off Marvel gotcha game that may or may not be in any real canon.

That’s something you can buy.

Too expensive for you? I can understand that, perhaps you’d just like the OG Deadpool figurine, and maybe some smaller accessories to continue to show your Deadpool love.

Well, would you like the Deadpool keychain with his swords out? Or perhaps the one with the rubber duck and bath cap on?

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Aren’t old memes just the best?

“Alright, alright we get it,” I hear you in the audience say.

I sure hope you do. With the simplicity of the Funko Pop formula, any single character can be given infinite minor modifications and be considered a special variant.

But unlike the model in FEH, where you could theoretically earn the special version for free, every single Funko costs real life money.

Now there are arguments to be made that these are physical objects rather than digital characters in a video, and thus there’s more value to collecting them over time in terms of things like eventual trading or simply selling collections much like with comic books and vinyl records.

There’s validity to that idea. But that isn’t really what I’m here to discuss.

What I’m here to discuss is the fact that a business model allowing for infinite cash cow-ing on the same property over and over and over again, rather than keeping to a finite cap of collectability, is inherently infuriating.

I would be more than happy to spend 60 bucks over the course of a few months to collect five Deadpool figurines based on characters from the movies if I enjoyed them that much. What I wouldn’t be happy doing is spending literally all of my money for forever to keep up with every ‘left hand raised 60 degrees’ variation that can be squeezed out.

That’s not even just for Deadpool too, as much as I keep harping on him. He just happens to be a good example of a character that lends himself to more ridiculous, outlandish variations and repeated re-releases. Any character can have a variant where they wear a different outfit or hold a new pose.

Funko Pops certainly aren’t the first to abuse this model, but they abuse it pretty hard. It’s probably rather petty to be bashing them so hard for it out of nowhere, but I’ve seen similar ideas ruin things I’ve loved in the past.

Does anyone remember Pokémon Shuffle?

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Still have that jingle stuck in my head.

Shuffle was a spin-off game released first on the Nintendo 3DS and then on mobile devices in 2015. It was something of a continuation of the Trozei and Battle Trozei series that became a free-to-start microtransaction-laden title. And I adored it.

Seriously, for the longest time if you had asked me what game handles the microtransaction system most fairly, it would have been Pokémon Shuffle. I played this damn game on my 3DS for years, and I have distinct memories of doing so both on my high school and college campuses.

The game ran on an ‘energy’ system, where you could play five games at a time before needing to wait for everything to recharge. Unless you spent gems, the in-game currency you could buy with real life currency.

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It has been forever since I played this game, opening it up for this was wild.

There are also a bunch of other details related to items you can either grind out or purchase, but the energy was the important thing to me. See those five hearts of energy recharged at a rate of a half hour per heart.

In other words, you could play a full set of games every two-and-a-half hours. Compared to a lot of other games with energy or stamina caps, this was insanely generous.

For a student like me, it essentially meant I could play out my games, go to whatever class I had, then get out to find a full set of energy hearts waiting to be used. Combine this with the semi-regular updates (though eventually the levels got kind of ridiculously difficult) and frequent special in-game events, and I was more than happy to play for years.

But then I stopped. You know why I stopped?

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Special.

Character.

Variants.

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

Just look at this insanity.

My screenshot here hasn’t even captured half of the special variants for Pikachu alone. There are Pikachu wearing every cap that Ash ever wore in the anime. Pikachu wearing costumes modeled after Legendary Pokémon. Hell there’s a Rayquaza costume Pikachu AND a shiny Rayquaza costume Pikachu.

Again, Pikachu isn’t the only problem, but he’s emblematic of it. Everything technically started with the ‘winking’ starter Pokémon line.

This ridiculous cash cow, the infinite special variant system, is what burned me out of Pokémon Shuffle in the end. I was more than happy to keep playing to collect all 700+ Pokémon as a mark of personal completion should they have gotten that far.

But because the game’s creators wanted a way to keep the game going forever and come up with more challenging ways of potentially forcing players to spend money on limited time only extra special dudes, I didn’t feel like it was worth keeping up anymore.

Funko Pops embody the same problem, in my opinion. If you’re going to release the same figures over and over and over again with slight variations just to squeeze out as much money as possible, then why should anyone bother trying to collect them all in the first place?

I’m sure other people will have their justifications for it, but that’s a path I can’t see myself going down. I’d much rather stick with collecting something finite in my real world collectibles. Something I can eventually look at and say ‘this is a complete set.’

That’s my rant for the day. What do you think? Is the idea of infinite variation healthy for a brand like Funko? Or is it detrimental in their long-term viability as a reasonable company, as I’m more inclined to believe.

Though obviously I’m probably in the wrong since, let’s be real, people will continue to buy those things no matter what I say. So the more they can print up the more money they’ll make.

God bless capitalism.

New Year, Fresh Room

Is it tacky to start off two blog posts in a row with the same kind of title?

While I’ve spent some time working on a few video game-themed posts today that I want to get out this week, I wound up taking a little personal detour. As we begin 2018, I figured why not start the year off right by straightening up my room?

Okay so this is definitely a weird set-up for something to write about, I’ll admit. But I’m not putting together because I want to write about cleaning my room necessarily.

Rather, I’m looking to use this post to fill the sort of secret third purpose of my blog. Outside of archiving my professional work and giving me a space to blather on about video games, I also like to think I’ll be able to one day use this place as a time capsule. You know, look back to see how things were or take inspiration from my past or… I don’t know, anything like that I suppose.

So, why not take a little look at my bedroom as it is now? After all, this point of my life is likely not too far away from the point where I’m going to wind up moving out on my own, abandoning it as a result.

If anyone is interested in seeing the place where I spend most of my time, I guess this is your chance to do so while I feel good about it looking nice. But if not, just know that this one is more for me.

So let’s start out with the place I see the most: My desk.

Overlooking my desk are some nice collectible posters of mine, which you’ll find are a frequent sight in this little tour. Super Mario Galaxy and the region maps for Kalos and Alola are the prime examples here.

There’s also a photo of my high school class up top, opposite the photo I have of my middle school class as a matter of fact. I was pretty proud of the way I laid that out when it first came about.

Some of the most notable things on my desk itself are a Kirby plush bought by my friend Jonathan in Japan and my Rowlet McDonalds toy next to the desktop computer I admittedly don’t really use. There’s also a four-star dragonball that Megan gave me for the holidays in 2016 when we were news editors together, a very dried out flower that I wore at my high school prom, a newton’s cradle that has some written out Pokémon team ideas on top and a piece of quartz that… I don’t remember where I got.

I just really like how it looks, honestly. So its been there for about as long as I can remember.

On the other side of the entryway in is my bed.

The bed itself obviously isn’t much to talk about, but above it are a number of posters and pictures and such. Among them are a map of the Hoenn region, an XKCD webcomic, a table of elements and a Terminator-inspired self portrait I drew for my high school art class.

Oh, and you can see the laundry room outside too.

Meanwhile, in the other corner…

Right now there are some more self-explanatory posters on the leftmost wall, but probably some more interesting things on display for the rest of the space.

I have my original Twilight Princess poster from an issue of Nintendo Power in 2016 – still arguably my favorite Zelda game I might add – and the Pikachu/Mimikyu picture I got for my birthday last year that’s usually up in the Newsroom is currently housed here.

Oh, and I have a signed photo of Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah in one of my favorite, seemingly somewhat underrated shows, Chuck.

Gotta go back and watch that again one of these days.

The floor space in that corner is also what I like to call “the piles of no return.” It’s more or less all of the binders I’ve used for different school subjects going all the way back to middle school. I say that I keep them around on the off chance I ever need the information inside again, but frankly I think I just don’t know what to do with it all since throwing it out would be a waste.

In my opinion at least.

Moving on, we get to to the next corner of my room, notably featuring my over-stuffed book shelf and the papasan that winds up being extra storage space rather than a seat more often than not.

From this angle, you can also see the orange hat I wore when I dressed as Willy Wonka for Halloween in 2016, the Porg I got as a secret Santa gift from my assistant Breanna this semester, a piece of artwork I bought of one of my favorite Pokémon Gym Leaders (Roxie, from Black 2 and White 2) and the second half of my school-year class photos. On the opposite side of the room as promised.

A little more interesting to me are some of the things hanging up on the wall here.

The Star Wars poster is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just a cool Star Wars poster.

The two hanging pieces of print, however, are special for their own reasons. The smaller one up top is the first article I ever wrote for the Daily Titan (about an upcoming ‘Pizza with the Presidents’ event) that was framed by my friend Lissete because she’s great. The one below it is actually my first major front page article for the Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

On the other wall, stuck to the closet door, is a painting my friend Tiana made for me showcasing my favorite Pokémon, Gardevoir. There’s a whole set that she made for each of my other friends in our little group too, which is pretty sweet. Above the closet is also also an award I got in 2014 for “Excellence in Newswriting” at a Journalism Education Association Write-Off Competition. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I’m sure some people must have noticed the metal weapons hanging up on the jutting out part of the wall too.

Yeah… I don’t have too much of a story for these. Basically, I’ve been the Anime Expo a couple of times, and one of my favorite things to see there is the video game weapon re-creations with real metal.

So I got myself a Master Sword and a Keyblade. And they look dope.

Next up, around the room’s one window, are my main display sources.

These two pieces of furniture are combined drawer and display spaces, and are obviously part of a set with my desk that are some of the oldest things I own.

The main drawers, with my longtime backpack resting in front of it, has a couple of notable mainstay items, including a collector’s Tanuki Suit Mario figure wearing the special Mickey Mouse ears that I got during our senior end-of-ear trip there in 2015, my high school yearbooks and diploma and my Amiibo collection.

Because yeah, I have a bit of an Amiibo collection.

Don’t ask me how this got to where it is now, because frankly I’m not totally sure. I started with Smash Brothers Link, but enjoyed the display value enough that I kept it boxed, and eventually I got it in my head that I wanted to collect every single Smash Brothers Amiibo to make a nice set.

However, I have neither the space nor the resources to really do that, so for now it’s just a little wall of Amiibo that my sister likes to make fun of me for.

The T.V. cabinet and drawer space has a good amount of collectibles on top of it as well. I have a series of trophies from my time doing chess tournaments back in elementary school that are cool because they’re shaped like chess pieces, I have some goodies themed after my favorite mythical Pokémon Jirachi – including a cardboard art piece that I made in my senior high school art class, I have some Lego builds from some time ago of the Fallingwater building, Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship from the Star Wars prequels (Episode III namely) and of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The last one in particular fits in well with some of the other landmark/history-themed goods, like a model of the White House I picked up during a trip to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference some years back and a Ronald Reagan diorama of sorts dating way back to the days of a President report in elementary school. Still proud of how nice that one looks to this day.

There are a bunch of other things I like to keep out on display which mean a lot to me, but that piece of furniture is also where I keep my yearly calendar. Though I often wind up falling a week or so behind when it comes to changing the month over, it’s definitely helpful to keep it so close by in my main workspace so I can jot down important dates if necessary.

Plus, I always like to have something theming the calendar that keeps me happy. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, I went from this:

To this:

Because how can you ever be truly stressed out when you can just turn your head to the left and see some dogs being adorable?

That just about concludes my tour. I could probably go into more depth about a ton of little items strewn throughout the room, but that would honestly take forever.

I do have stories about a lot of stuff, so who knows. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.

Now, as a final note. Is this the silliest thing I’ve ever written about on my blog? Or the dumbest thing? I’ll leave that up to you likely few viewers out there to decide.

On top of that, as a side final note, if this is me from the future looking at this while going through a small nostalgia trip, I hope you enjoyed it most of all.

That said, I’ll catch everyone next time.

My thoughts on the 2017 Fire Emblem Direct

My thoughts on the 2017 Fire Emblem Direct

While I’m a day late and a dollar short on this one, there was a Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct held yesterday that I missed because I was hosting some of my friends for a small get together.  However, given that I’ve talked a lot about how much I love Fire Emblem in the past, I figure I should still go back and talk about what the Direct had to offer, at least briefly, now that I’ve had the chance to sit down and watch it.

If you haven’t seen the Direct yet either and want to watch it alongside me, you can check out the full video here.  It’s only about 20 minutes long and showcases four games, so I promise it won’t take too much time out of your life.

Unless you decide to write long-winded posts about it like I do.  Because then it’s going to take up a lot more of your time. That, I can assure you.


Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

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Image courtesy of gamingrespawn.com

The Direct starts off right away with what I can only call the cinematic trailer for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.  The game, as is then elaborated on after, is a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was a Japan-exclusive title from the early 1990s.

A lot about the art style in regards to character portraits and things like the overworked map in the gameplay footage that was shown reminds me a lot of some of the earlier GameBoy Advanced Fire Emblem titles like The Sacred Stones (which, fun fact, is the first FE game I’ve ever played thanks to the ambassador program for the 3DS, and thus the one that got me into the series).  However, the in-battle style looks like it’s going to have the same impressive 3D polish that Fire Emblem Awakening had and that Fire Emblem Fates more or less perfected.

There are also apparently some unique elements to Gaiden that have been recreated for Echoes, such as free roaming fights and dungeon crawling.  Both of which sound like amazing inclusions that I honestly can’t wait to see executed for myself.

The game has been given a set release date of May 19, 2017 for the 3DS, and boy am I now excited for it.  To be honest, the anticipation that’s building after watching just this first part of the Direct really does make me want to go back and play more Fire Emblem.  In my early-games-of-the-series catalogue, I’ve so far only played The Sacred Stones and Shadow Dragon, a remake of the original first Fire Emblem game.  I’ll look forward to adding Gaiden to that list with this remake.

Oh, and there are Amiibo, and considering I have an on-again off-again problem with collecting those dumb amazing little figurines, I just might see my collection grow again.


Fire Emblem for the Nintendo Switch

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Image courtesy of gameaxis.com

Next up was the announcement of a brand new Fire Emblem title being produced for the Switch, set to come out at some point in 2018.  As the narrator announced, making my job here that much easier, the new game (with a currently working title) is the first in the series to return to consoles since the games featuring Ike: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.  The decision to do this is interesting, and honestly makes a lot of sense.

Fire Emblem is a game that seems to do best when it’s a mobile experience, when you can pick up your fight wherever you want while waiting for whatever it is you might be waiting for.  The Switch gives the game a chance to have the best possible graphics Nintendo has produced thus far while also keeping the idea of mobile gaming alive, and to be completely honest it’s a clear showcase of one of the reasons I believe the Switch is going to do quite well over it’s lifetime.

That was all we got on the new game in the series unfortunately, but considering we’re still at least a year out it’s understandable.  Just the fact that a new one has already been confirmed so soon after Fates graced the gaming market is nice really, as it means the series is continuing to go strong.  As I’ve said before, we can always use more Fire Emblem.


Fire Emblem Warriors

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Image courtesy of technobuffalo.com

Speaking of more Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Warriors was the next subject of the Direct.  There was a small teaser for the game in the Nintendo Switch presentation earlier this month, but this time we got to see a trailer with some gameplay.

The opening did the same cool orbs-with-swords that led into the Fire Emblem crest.  This time, after the mysterious figure – revealed to be Chrom, the royal Prince/Exalt of Ylisse from Awakening – takes the Falchion, he proceeds to just demolish mobs of soldiers all at once in a few fell swipes of the blade.

But that was about it, we then got the same vague Fall 2017 release date.

However, they did reveal that the game is actually going to be dropped on the 3DS concurrently with the Switch version of the game. That alone makes this game infinitely better in my eyes.  Part of the reason I didn’t get Hyrule Warriors was because I didn’t have a Wii U when it was released, and by the time the 3DS port came out I was too busy doing other things to devote my time to the game.

I’m very excited to try this game, honestly.  I’ve never played a Warriors game before, and this seems like it could be a perfect entry point for me.  I just hope that the developers go back and pull some more older characters that I might know for the roster of playable heroes rather than mostly sticking in the modern games like Awakening and Fates.  I love those games, don’t get me wrong, but I’d also love to do something like play Neimi from The Sacred Stones, probably my favorite archer girl ever.

Considering the treatment that was given for the character roster in Hyrule Warriors, I’m sure that kind of possibility isn’t too farfetched.


Fire Emblem Heroes

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Image courtesy of slashgear.com

Fire Emblem Heroes, the first mobile smartphone game in the series, had it’s opening shown during this Direct as well.  The cinematic, as usual, was beautiful, and featured a bunch of new characters we haven’t yet seen before apparently summoning heroes from other Fire Emblem titles (though all it showed was Awakening and Fates) to fight one another.

Not a bad way to start a reveal, I’d say.

Rather than just making a mobile game for the sake of a mobile game, however, Fire Emblem Heroes touts its own brand new story, which makes the game that much more enticing.  It might just be a rough skeleton to encase the idea of making old characters fight in a mobile format, but just the fact that the extra effort was put in makes me more happy to look forward to the title’s release in .

Though the cinematic opening only showed Awakening and Fates-based heroes, there was also a screen depicting heroes from all across Fire Emblem’s history, so even if Warriors doesn’t have a hugely nostalgic cast, this game certainly will.  Though the game itself doesn’t look incredibly complex, the art style is rather adorable overall between the pixel art-based world and the occasionally appearing fully-rendered character art depicting their attacks.  I can see myself getting pulled into it at least.

On top of that, the narrator promises the gameplay will be as “intense” as expected in a Fire Emblem game, which either bodes well … Or not so well depending on how it’s handled.  Not sure having a mobile phone game with stages it takes me twenty years to beat because of BS enemy placement or terrain issues would be all that fun, no matter what the subject matter may be.  But hey, at least the weapon triangle still exists.

Then of course comes the real mobile game edge to Fire Emblem Heroes: Microtransactions.  I have a mixed history with this style of setting up a game.  On the one hand, if handled well, I quite enjoy a system using Microtransactions.  If I can manage through the game reasonably without being absolutely required to use them, that’s A-OK by me.  Even better would be if I love the game so much that I feel I should pay the developers something for their work, even if the game initially comes free.  However, if the Microtransactions are used as a significant roadblock, forcing the game to elongate itself because of how long you have to wait between getting the in-game currency if you don’t pay for it… I’ll likely get warded off quickly.

Seriously Fire Emblem Heroes, I hope you take a page from Pokémon Shuffle‘s book.  If you ask me, that game has a pretty perfect system in place for how they’re used.  The fact that the summoning stones used as in-game currency simply summon characters for you to use I doubt the same system would be possible… But it’s the idea that counts.  If anything the game will probably be more like Marvel’s Contest of Champions with a battle style that I believe I’ll enjoy far better, so I get the impression it will have some staying power.

I don’t know, I can see the problems potentially there, but because the heroes you receive don’t permanently die and force you to wait to summon more, I don’t think it’ll be a huge problem.  Waiting a period to revive is far more manageable if you ask me.

Especially since there’s grinding.  After playing through Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, I thank Naga every time there’s a chance for grinding in a Fire Emblem game.

The end slate for this game says that Heroes will drop on February 2nd for Google Play, and gives a vague ‘soon’ for iPhone and iPad.  Just as long as ‘soon’ is sooner rather than later I’ll be happy.  It’ll be nice to have  some Fire Emblem to tide me over before Echoes.

Plus, if I enjoy it the way I have and continue to enjoy Super Mario Run, then I’ll happily continue to finance Nintendo’s trek into the Mobile gaming world.


That was all we got in the Fire Emblem Direct, but honestly I can’t complain.  Having a more compact game-focused Direct felt much better than the big Nintendo Switch Direct, which had to spread it’s time among a billion different games.  Also, I have to say, the narrator for this Direct had a wonderful voice.  I feel like I could listen to him tell me about new games forever…  Er, anyway.  Everything on the horizon for Fire Emblem looks amazing, and I’m hyped to be a part of all of it.

Hell, I already am a part of it.  I just went and took part in the Fire Emblem Heroes’ “Choose your Legends” event, where you can pick any character from any game in the series to vote on as a character you want to show up in the game.

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Naturally I chose Neimi, because I seriously have so many fond memories of mowing down enemies with her mighty bow.  Though looking through the list really brought up a ton of fond memories for various characters… You would’ve been my second choice, Amelia.

If there’s any game on this list you’re particularly excited for, let me know in the comments below!  Writing a post like this feels like building up to Pokémon Sun and Moon all over again, and it’s good to get back into that mindset if you ask me.

With college starting up again next week, having a distraction to help keep myself sane during long nights of work is never a bad thing.