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You Should Pirate Nintendo Games – A Controversial Look at Nintendo’s Shoddy DRM and User Account Systems

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Question: Is it too late for a Jack Sparrow reference? Answer: It is never too late for a Jack Sparrow reference.

I haven’t gone crazy, stay with me till the end.

You should pirate Nintendo games. There’s no reason not to. Let’s examine what happens if you buy games digitally and your non-hacked 3DS breaks:

  1. All of your saves and downloads are gone.
  2. You have to start every single game over again.
  3. You have to call Nintendo and sit on hold for a very, very long time.
  4. You have to wait several days for Nintendo to unlink your useless Nintendo ID.
  5. You have to re-download…every…single…game…you own…
  6. Say goodbye to your bandwidth and progress and free time!
  7. You can only download ten things at a time. The 3DS/Wii U have crap network cards. This will take a fortnight. It took me three days the last time I had to do this.

Now, let us conversely look at what would happen if your 3DS was hacked:

  1. Your saves are decrypted, or else you can decrypt your saves, which means it does not matter what 3DS you play on, your saves will always work.
  2. Your games are decrypted. You can decrypt and dump games you buy from the eShop as well, but the point is you can back up your memory card. I know you’re saying you can do that anyways, but that backup will not work on any other 3DS if it is not hacked. If it’s hacked however it will work on other 3DS’s that you hack.
  3. In essence, something happens to your 3DS, you can just grab another modified system, use a decrypted game, load your saves and keep playing.
  4. Did I mention it is ludicrously easy to hack your 3DS? Additionally, on a hacked 3DS you can still play online and access the eShop if you so desire.

Before I get to the part where I explain that I haven’t lost my mind, and explain that I am not an advocate of piracy, rather an advocate of taking care of your consumers, let’s examine a few other pros to a modified system. Also, run on sentence, because y’all get one per article!

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I’m not crazy you’re crazy DON’T TOUCH MY TOAST!!!

Do you like Virtual Console games? Of course you do! YAY NOSTALGIA! Do you like being able to actually see your screen? Better hack your 3DS! On a non-hacked 3Ds virtual console games occupy tiny boxes because Nintendo is too lazy to upscale graphics. Hack your 3DS and get you some roms! Stretch and smooth and play your games full screen! Plus play all the games Nintendo won’t pay the licensing for you to purchase!

Do you like import games? Whether you’re bilingual or not, there’s a good chance those neato torpedo games you want from Japan aren’t coming to America! That’s a whole separate article calling out Namco Bandai and Sega, I’ll get more in depth in the sequel. But the point is, if you like import games you’re screwed. Nintendo is the only company that still region locks their hardware.

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“NO IMPORT GAMES FOR YOU!”

If you don’t hack your system, give Nintendo 300 more dollars to import a Japanese 3DS. If you do hack your system, PLAY YOUR IMPORTS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.

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“Awwww!!!”

 

So now for the part where I show I’m still sane. I’m not advocating piracy, even though I spent half this article doing just that. What I am advocating however is Nintendo:

STOP BEING GARBAGE AT DRM AND START GIVING A DAMN ABOUT YOUR CONSUMERS!

Yes, I just cursed. And yes, I almost never do. Here’s the bottom line: I travel, like, a lot. I travel like, an insane amount. And, for me I much prefer to game on portable systems. Additionally, I only buy my games digital unless I’m wary as to whether or not I’ll like them, whether or not I’ll find them religiously offensive (because there are no game developers, America, Japan or otherwise that care about my faith) or whether they’re rare and neat and I want a physical copy (Shiren the Wanderer, Strange of Sword City, etcetera).

So yes, I have a library of around 200 digital 3DS games. I’ve had the same Nintendo account from the first time digital content came to exist. The fact that my library is badonkers should prove I’m not advocating piracy. The point I’m trying to make however, is that there’s no reason not to pirate Nintendo games. Everything I said for the 3DS applies to the Wii U as well, but it’s even worse since Wii U games are so much bigger.

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Now let’s look at the Playstation Vita. My purchases and my saves are tied to my account. With a Nintendo system, your data is tied to your hardware. What that means is I could throw my Vita in a river, my Vita could get run over by a car, it could brick during a system update, and none of that matters.

My saves are in the cloud. My saves and my games are backed up to my computer. And, at any point in time all I have to do is deactivate the old system, activate the new system, and keep right on playing with no issues what so ever.

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Nintendo is well aware of these concerns. Fans, reviewers and critics alike have voiced them over and over and over again. In spite of this however, in spite of the concerns raised for years and years, Nintendo doesn’t care. Nintendo doesn’t care that you have to re-download every single game in the advent of a hardware failure. Nintendo doesn’t care that you have to restart every game, including fifty to a hundred hour ones like Dragon Quest VII, Legend of Legacy and Bravely Default, in the advent of a hardware failure.

Nintendo doesn’t care that you don’t get to play import games or fan translations. Nintendo doesn’t care that many states still have a bandwidth cap for downloads. Nintendo, in essence, doesn’t care about you.

And, that’s an issue. And every company has them. Sony has ludicrous restrictions on switching accounts and using multiple memory cards with your Vita. Microsoft has dreadful PC ports and horrendous practices for game updates that block you from playing a single one of them until the update is completed.

However, none of those issues make me lose all of my data and half of my monthly bandwidth anytime something goes wrong. How often has these happened to me? Let’s count, shall we?

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How many times have you lost your data? Too friggin’ many times! AH AH AH!!!!

  1. I was hit by two cars. A guy was playing on his phone and hit me, and shoved my car into oncoming traffic. My 3DS was in my pocket. I blacked out. I don’t remember much of that month; it was a blur. I was looking forward to continuing playing Fire Emblem Awakening, but, when the cars hit me my 3Ds broke. Nintendo told me I was piss out of luck. I had to buy a new one and redownload everything all over again.
  2. System errored out during a system update. Had to buy a new one and start over again.
  3. L trigger gave out. Sent it for repairs. I could have taken it apart and fixed it myself, but it was under warranty and I hate dealing with Nintendo hardware. Nintendo wiped the system for some stupid reason.
  4. No idea. System stopped turning on. Nintendo wanted to charge more than the system was worth for the repair.
  5. System errored out during a system update. My 3DS didn’t break this time, but I did still have to redownload everything.

Yeah. There’s a reason I play Vita  more than 3DS.

I say all of this to say, that as tempting as it is, I have not given in to the urge to pirate my games. Even still, I could legally make backups of every game that I personally own and still not have to deal with Nintendo’s ludicrous digital architecture. I choose not to.

But, the casual consumer who is willing to spend fifteen minutes hacking their system? They have no reason not to pirate Nintendo games. And, Nintendo simply doesn’t care enough about their fans to do anything different or better. Nintendo is, in essence, begging and inviting their fans to pirate rather than buy. And, if I lacked the beliefs that I have, I would have no reason not to do just that.

Food for thought Nintendo. Food for thought.

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Mighty No. 9 Review: Icy Snow Way You Should Pass This Cool Game Up!

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I was asked to come out of reviewer retirement to cover a few recent releases as well as provide some updates to my “Games to Play With Your Kids and Keep Your Sanity” list. Updates on our in house projects, such as the visual novel Withering Whispers, momentum platformer Raruna and the Seekers and upcoming novel Pretty Little Whispers are to come.

In the meantime, there are two main things that you need to know about Mighty No. 9. The first, is that this is a game that many reviewers will tell you is bad solely because it is not Mega Man. The second, is that this is Cryo:

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“Pew pew pew, PEW PEW PEW!!!”

She and little sister Dyna are easily the two best things about this game.

Mighty No. 9 is the lovechild of Keiji Inafune, created to fill a void he felt was left behind in the absence of a new Mega Man title. Ya know, since Capcom keeps cancelling all of them. A moment of silence for Mega Man Legends 3 please.

Now then, Mighty No. 9 was a title with a lot of expectations to live up to. Beck is essentially the “little brother” to Mega Man, and quite a few gamers went into this title expecting him to, well, be a carbon copy of his predecessor. Keiji Inafune, in my opinion very wisely, created a game that had a similar feel, but set out to accomplish its own agenda as well. While there are quite a few critics that Beck isn’t charge blasting his way through his levels all the live long day, I personally think Mighty No. 9, with a few flaws, managed to serve a unique, original and quite enjoyable experience. Read on for more!

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Xeawn’s Project Updates – February 2016 Unseasonably Warm Edition

I live in Alaska. Why is it so warm? Where has my winter gone?

 

Xeawn Cross here with updates on our 2016 projects for you. When we last spoke, I announced my intention to leave behind the world of video game journalism (or at least take an extended hiatus) in favor of focusing on the creation of games and other forms of media.

Since then, I’ve released to the Amazon Kindle marketplace my horror, speculative fiction/fantasy novel Murder the Citizens, and have been steadfastly developing several video game projects as well.

In addition to Murder the Citizens, we are currently creating a locked room branching path visual novel by the name of Withering Whispers, which will be available for the iOS, Android, PC and Mac platforms:

Hot on the heels of Murder the Citizens, we are also developing a gamebook that will be available for iOS, Android, PC and Mac platforms set in the same universe. This gamebook will be titled “Murder the Citizens: Misery Moment” and will allow players/readers to create their own Remnant protagonist and embark on a branching story set before, during and after the second novel in the franchise.

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In Misery Moment you will be able to make and name your own character, as well as select which “class” featured in Murder the Citizens Book 1: Hunger that you would like to play as. Additionally, two new classes are being created exclusively for this gamebook/interactive fiction project. The engine for this game is being designed from the ground up in house with our studio, so you can rest assured gameplay and narrative will stay true to the quality and experience you will expect from the game’s universe.

Alongside Misery Moment, I am currently working on a new hybrid novel/music project known as Shatter the Stars. The first book in the series, Shimmering Oasis is planned for a Spring 2016 release, and will launch alongside a full soundtrack of in-house music to compliment your reading experience:

 

 

 

We have several more projects that we’ll be working through this year, such as the release of the horror/sci-fi fantasy novella Necropsia in the form of a book, a visual novel and a graphic novel, or the fantasy romance novel The Heart’s Broken Whisper Book 1: Sliver, or the novel/action platformer cross media project Raruna and the Seekers, or the visual novel “Thorns, Vines and Brambles: I Love You, So Die!”, or the novel/fighting game cross media project Empire Hearts, however there will be plenty of time for that later.

For now, rest assured we look forward to continuing our devotion to bringing you new and unique experiences that can only be found at Dragon House Studios. More frequent updates are on the horizon, so please look forward to our jam packed 2016 release schedule!

Xeawn, out!

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Excerpt from Upcoming Noir Mystery Thriller: A Sinful Lady Innocent

This story, like most stories, begins with a dame. Don’t take offense ladies; dame, noun, reserved for a woman of such great stature, honor, power and grace as to be the equivalent of a knight. From the Latin or Old French domina, meaning mistress. Which, subsequently is also a noun, meaning a woman in a position of authority or control, such as being the mistress of one’s situation no matter how mired with entropy. Other meanings, a female who has taken the position of head of her household, or a woman who is extremely skilled in a particular subject or activity. From the Old French maistresse, meaning master.

So yes, both in terms of gender and the very nature of the word, this story begins with a dame. Unfortunately, said dame happened to be laying on the floor in a more wretched state of affairs. The predominant question at the time, next to who and why, was whether or not she suffered.

“Looks like we’ve got a real psychopat on our ands, eh Byron? Serial killer I bet.” Jayson Pierce half asked me and half told, dropping the H like he often did, his voice thick with a combination Welsh and Jamaican accent. The chief of police with seven years tenure in the position, there weren’t many that would argue his manner of speech. That was, in the ego and sensibilities of most higher ups, a surefire way to ensure you would not be climbing the corporate ladder any time soon.

“…I’m not so sure Jaice; right now you’re only reconnoitering the most obvious traits of the victim’s field.” I posited, slipping easily yet with practiced control out of my long coat. I held the sage green blended, double breasted turn down collar affair out to my assistant, bodyguard and constant compatriot who took it wordlessly. No eye contact was necessary; I was already focused deep on the woman in plum laid so carefully out on the floor. Shi’Sanna Bronsen took my coat, and carefully folded it over one bare, well toned arm before returning to her candy.

“Ow ya figer, Byron?” Jayson inquired, reaching up to remove his derby cap and then thinking better of it. Good man; no sense contaminating the crime scene with loose strands of hair, though his raven would’ve certainly stood out against her blonde.

“This is too intimate for a serial killer.” I reasoned, slipping on a pair of sterile white gloves.

“Ow so? See’s got er digits acked off, asn’t see?” Jayson grumbled, never one to enjoy being told he’s wrong.

“Good way to make sure there’s no DNA to be found under her fingernails, certainly. Still, too much else is off.”

“Suc’ as?”

“…”

I took a deep breath. She smelled too pretty to be a corpse.

“For one, there’s the perfume. For another, the outfit. The color coding is ludicrously careful, and the care of the arrangement… Look at her heels, the shoes not literal. She’s worn them often enough, and had them restored more than once. Her hair is immaculate, her makeup perfectly sculpted.

“Intimate. Someone knew her and knew her well. Someone wanted her to die in her Sunday best. Favorite clothes, and I bet if we searched her kit we’d find enough of the makeup to hazard a better than average guess that she likes this color and brand a great deal. Then, there’s the room.”

I rose, and nearly drowned in the intoxication of the rich. Sprawled out before me was a spread that would’ve paled only beside Solomon’s. To say that the victim, a one Suzanne Headly, had done well for herself would be an understatement of the magnitude as to say it is cold in Fairbanks, Alaska in the winter.

Everything was designer, none of it off the rag. A good number of pieces were likely made to order, and at least several vases and other such conversation starters had been featured in some museum or other. There were tapestries hand woven or stitched from remote villages with names too difficult to pronounce and reputations too volatile for a pretty white blonde to venture without entourage. The floor to ceiling windows lining the living room wall had a view of the city that was not just enviable, it was beyond decadent.

The colors and set pieces themselves were coordinated to such an obsessive compulsive degree that I doubted Suzanne owned a single piece of clothing that didn’t fit to great perfection. Even so, when you looked at the deceased, eerily resplendent woman on the floor it was clear this outfit matched the best.

“…This is more than just a psychopath’s playground, and deeper than an ordinary crime of passion. The evening may not have begun with murder on the mind, but the act committed was calculated for a very long time. Call it a hunch.”

“Well I, ey’! Wat are ya doin’ Bronsen?!” Jayson suddenly erupted. I turned my head just so. Shi’Sanna was crouched low, lightly touching at a spot on Suzanne’s throat.

“C’mon Jaice, you oughta know this by now. Shi’Sanna can’t get her prints on anything. Can’t leave behind what you don’t have.” I sighed with annoyance. I hated repeating myself and clarifying what ought already be clear.

“I know, but it still might muss sometin’ up!” he began our age old argument. I bit back a bitter retort as Shi’Sanna slowly looked my way.

“The foundation is sloppy. The foundation was applied, and then re-applied, and then re-applied. The marks are not even despite being meticulous. The hand was shaking. Look here; these marks are from choking. These ones are not.” Came her deep, rich voice, her Trinidadian accent somewhat mired by the years abroad.

And, with that, Shi’Sanna stared at her smudged white fingertips, odd against her rich, whipped chocolate tone, and stood. I nodded, and she took my kerchief out of her pocket to wipe them clean. Retrieving the sucker from behind her ear, she returned to staring idly out of the floor to ceiling windows at the twinkling, pulsating night below.

She likely wouldn’t say anything else for the rest of the investigation beyond “Boss”. Some people mistake Shi’Sanna for being slow; she’s just a woman of few words more often than not.

“We’ll obviously want to examine the rest of the flat, but, one thing is certain. Somewhere along the line, love became hate, and someone very intelligent performed a murder tonight nearly ritualistic in its devotion. Though, I could be wrong. Perhaps not necessarily a lover, rather someone obsessed? Too many variables right now. Either way…it looks like I have a rather interesting case on my hands, now don’t I?”

“Mmm, look at you, some kinda super detective ya?” Jayson chided, a familiar spark forming in his eyes.

“…No,” I began slowly as I turned.

“Life has simply provided me a great many years with very little to do save pay close attention to my surroundings.”

My name is Byron Carmichael, and this is the beginning of a murder that would soon be known as a Sinful Lady Innocent.

Come, let’s walk hand in hand down the annals of the hallways of necrosis and despair…

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The Only Constant in Life…

Is change.

Time for a new post after the long dark. I feel like every few months I’m writing an article like this; generally its related to how I randomly get bizarre health issues or massive workflows. This last one was a combination of a few of those, as well as some personnel updates that didn’t go as planned.

Suffice it to say it’s time for some massive restructuring.

I find it almost ironic that I’m writing this post now, during one of the biggest gaming events out there. During a time that I should be reporting on Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem and how I’m wildly impressed that they managed to do it without involving demons, thus making it so that I can continue to enjoy the Fire Emblem franchise. I should be reporting how I’m jumping for joy at all the small things you can notice in the Mass Effect Andromeda teaser trailer. I should be reporting on…well no I guess those are the only things I’ve had time to look at.

Xeawn’s Gaming Corner is a sister component of Dragon House Studios, my studio wherein I write novels and create other forms of media, all of which are independently published. My initial plan had always been for Xeawn’s Gaming Corner to be a hobby, but somehow XGC grew large to the point that I found myself in Vegas one year, Anaheim another, getting invited to colleges to run forums, give speeches, conduct seminars, traveling from church to church all over Alaska speaking to families and communities, and all around having a blast. And, somehow the original goal, the original dream, the novels that came out of Dragon House Studios just never quite found a foothold in the public eye.

Until something wondrous happened last August that I’m not at liberty to speak on just yet, and something else wondrous happened last September that I am.

I’m creating a video game.

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The game is set in the universe of one of my upcoming novel series, a gothic victorian fantasy epic called The Blackest Rain. I have loads of fun things to tell, and show you about this game. I’m composing all of the music from scratch as well. So far I have composed 56 original songs for the soundtrack. I got to speak at an event about the game. I had a room full of people lose their crap. I actually had to have one of my associates break up two physical altercations when people literally started fighting over the last two demo thumb drives I gave away.

I am way excited that we’ve come so far. Not the fight obviously, but the enthusiasm.

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The game is currently being developed for a PC release, though ideally I want to release it on as many platforms as possible. My dream release would see the game available on PC, PS Vita, Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, Wii and Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and iOS as well as Android. The game is what I would consider 15% complete, or 85% complete depending.

Depending on what you ask? Well, I want to do an episodic release. If I do, then episode one, coming in at 5 hours of gameplay (or 2.5 hours if you’re a big ol’ stick in the mud and don’t want to do side quests or fight epic hidden bosses) is all but finished. Ultimately I want to do 13 episodes, totaling 50 to 65 hours of playtime. I feel like 40 to 50 hours for the main story is a fair amount of playtime, and reasonable to ask full price for a game. I do realize, by the by, that the word full price means something different for each of the above platforms I mentioned.

For now I can promise you that you WON’T see us do like some other developers and charge $4.99 on mobile, $14.99 on Nintendo platforms, $19.99 on Sony platforms and $29.99 on Microsoft platforms for the exact same game as long as I have control over the pricing structure. That’s just silly.

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To say I’m making “a game” isn’t quite accurate though. I have five media projects that I’ll be announcing shortly, which ultimately brings me to the change that is constant.

As of late June early July, Dragon House Studios will be shifting 90% of all focus and resources to creating content, rather than reporting on it.

What this will mean is that we will be reporting on E3 once things settle down with our restructure and office remodels (so sometime this week-ish), and we will still do the occasional game review and flavor article. However, the majority of our energy will be going into creating and discussing our my own games, my own books, my own music, and yes, in the relatively near future an anime series as well.

This is a time of great change. This is an exciting age. I hope that I can count on all of you wonderful people to be just as supportive of our upcoming games, books, music and visual media as you have been in regard to our reporting of other studio’s work.

Certainly not for the last time, this is Xeawn Cross saying thank you, and be blessed.

Oh, and please look forward to the demo video posting this weekend.

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Persona 5: The Hype is Real

Ah whuh? What was that? I’m sorry, was I drooling just now? I kinda feel like I was drooling just now.

“(Your actions…) Will it bring glory…or calamity?”

I don’t really care as long as they bring this game to my hands sooner. So, what do we have so far? A vaguely psychopathic main character who looks like a dead ringer for Vincent’s little brother (if only), a set of twins one of whom is a ballerina, stealth gameplay, stylish platforming, and a high speed high octane combat engine?

AND FREAKING MASQUERADE?!?!?!

Yes please.

Persona 5 is TBA and will be launching on the PS3 and PS4.

And if a metric ton of wishful thinking occurs, then on the PS Vita at some point as well.

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Far Cry 4: Fear and Loathing in Kyrat

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Far Cry 4…*sigh*…where do I begin? I love you? I hate you? I want to see more of you? I think we should see other people? Dang gurl you lookin’ fine? Dang gurl you lookin’ wreck’d? I just don’t know.

Far Cry 4 chronicles the journey of Ajay Ghale as he ventures to Kyrat to do something with his mom’s ashes and find Lakshmana. Not unlike Jason of Far Cry 3, Ajay is quickly kidnapped and embroiled in warfare against a warlord who seems like he’d be a really cool guy to go have drinks with some time. Seriously, I’d totally be Pagan’s BFF, dude is totes chill and wildly hilarious.

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