What I'm Playing: Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

What I'm Playing: Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

I loved the version on the DS, so I got this the moment it was released on Switch.

You start by picking from a set of little human pieces, which you can recolor their skin & hair, but not their appalling clothes. I almost went with Dad there, but in the end Cool Bro looks better. Looking at the random other players later, I see a lot of them chose that or Suit Guy. As I've noted before, Nintendo has Mii avatars, and then doesn't use them in games even where it'd make sense. You see a little face photo of your Mii in some games, but it should use your Mii in the world! Nintendo is so frustrating and anti-social.

Then you go to a globe UI, with figures representing "guides" that give you a menu of a few games. Or you can just pick any game from a preposterously long line menu, or you can hit X (up button) to switch to a grid which is more reasonable. UX is very confused, always a couple extra button presses or spinning the cursor around a too-large area to get to anywhere you want. You unlock more guides by playing games, earning trophies.

Your piece has up to 5 "recommendations", but you can't set them from in the game, you have to go all the way back out to the globe, find your piece, and add them from a list. And these don't help you jump back to a game fast, you have to find it in the grid every time.

Like almost all Nintendo software now, there's no settings for audio, and the "music" is driving me insane, but I need the sound to play some of these, so I'm constantly muting and unmuting. At least in the old days, Nintendo's music had complete scores, but they've apparently fired all their musicians, this is just beep-doo-beep-de-beep, over and over until I stab someone.

Each game starts with couple figures playing the game with often amusing commentary—the kids narrating Connect Four as a samurai duel is fantastic—often enough tutorial for anyone, but it immediately comes up to a menu with "How to Play" and Play, and hitting + in game usually gets a help menu. They're trying to teach you games you may be unfamiliar with. However, showing the tutorial EVERY time you start a game until you hit X (up) is insipid.

There are medals for winning against the AI and playing at least 2-4 times depending on the game, so there's a little grind possible if you're into that.

Nintendo History guide gives you: Hanafuda, Gomoku, President, Shogi, and Riichi Mahjong, which Nintendo made for a century before going into the videogames business.

Many of the games have local and Internet multiplayer, which I haven't yet tried. I expect the usual Nintendo® Quality™ networking, which is to say everything will drop out constantly. I'd rather play against AIs.

Current playlist of 11 good, 16 bad, 25 unplayed doesn't seem all that positive, but the good games are usually very good, and you can just ignore the stupid ones. The constant terrible music is the only strong negative.

I'll keep updating this post as I play more of them.

★★★★☆

bold is good, italic is bad, plain is I haven't bothered to play it yet.

  1. Mancala: aka Awari. Anyone who's typed in games from Basic Computer Games is intimately familiar with Awari. It's a weird little game, but fast and fun, and there's just enough strategy against a smart player (not the AI) to make it hard to win.
  2. Dots and Boxes: "Boxing" is also very familiar from school. The first player (default to you) is at a severe disadvantage, but it's possible to only give up a few boxes to the second player, and then clean up the rest.
  3. Yacht Dice: aka Yahtzee, Poker Dice. Nice enough, but I found the controls a little finnicky, it should not use the "do stuff" button for both pick and reroll. Slaughtered the AI, as one would expect.
  4. Four in a Row: aka Connect Four. Pretty dull, aside from the tutorial.
  5. Hit and Blow: aka Mastermind, Bagels, etc. with an unfortunate translation name. But I dislike the color-matching version, I'm a numbers person.
  6. Nine Men's Morris: I don't understand this game. You start playing while setting up, and it just screws anyone who loses one piece. Also obviously should have been #9.
  7. Hex: Again, should've been #6. It's a road-building game, dumb low-challenge game.
  8. Checkers
  9. Hare and Hounds
  10. Gomoku
  11. Dominoes
  12. Chinese Checkers: aka Pegboard. Not Chinese, sort of checkers except nothing is captured.
  13. Ludo: aka Parcheesi, Sorry!, Trouble, etc. I switch to the 3 dice to come out rule, rather than automatic/on 6, otherwise it's Parcheesi (not quite Indian Pachesi), a good being-dicks-to-each-other race game.
  14. Backgammon: An ancient dice game, a good fun game. I dislike the joycon controls, cursor-moving by spike around the track instead of selecting individual pieces left/right.
  15. Renegade: aka Othello, Reversi, etc., pretty standard. I lost really badly the first round, and then eked out a win, I've always been bad at this game, or anything that requires me to do deep analysis of simple positions (go, checkers, etc.), I'm a broad strategy for complex positions (wargames) thinker.
  16. Chess: There's a sort of lesson program, but the starter AI is incredibly suicidal, so it's not even interesting. Probably it gets harder, but I'm not that interested yet. I dislike the set design, it's very hard to tell the pawns apart from bishops, queen from king, and there's no alternate set option. Still, it's Chess.
  17. Shogi
  18. Mini Shogi
  19. Hanafuda: Very pretty cards, but I've never learned the sets, and visual association like this is harder for me. AI let me win 3/3 on this, which is crazy since I was just clearing chaff, I never saw more than 2 cards of a good set. However, after winning the guide "gave me a gift" of Mario-themed Hanafuda cards, so that might be easier for me. I think this might be worth practicing at.
  20. Riichi Mahjong
  21. Last Card: aka Uno, Crazy Eights. The card branding is almost but not quite infringing on Uno, so it hits that uncanny valley effect, and I kinda hate looking at it. AI didn't stand a chance, I don't know what they were even doing, picking cards at random? There isn't much strategy to Uno, but no strategy means you lose.
  22. Blackjack: Gives a limited number of rounds, and chips but you can go into debt. Does not have Split, which is kind of amateurish, and it doesn't have the dealer check their down card on A or 10 up, so you might play a round and find out they have Blackjack. It's bizarre beyond belief that they didn't make Blackjack be game #21, but #22. But I can always play a few hands of Blackjack.
  23. Texas Hold 'em: aka Poker.
  24. President: aka Asshole, Daifugo, etc. Kind of an annoying party game, giant hand of cards to manage at start. I hate the rich-get-richer mechanic, which is why it's sometimes called Capitalism, but it's more like Monarchy.
  25. Sevens
  26. Speed
  27. Matching
  28. War:

    War, huh!
    What is it good for? Absolutely nothin'
    Say it again, war, huh!
    What is it good for? Absolutely nothin', come on!
    —Bruce Springsteen, "War"

    I timed this, and it takes 5 seconds and one button-press for each card, and it always resets the cursor to the rightmost card, so it takes a minimum of 2.5 minutes. Was this included as a prank?

  29. Takoyaki: Ten octopus. Almost as random as War, but you get a choice when Joker is drawn, and it's much faster. Winning this nonsense unlocked a Mario-themed card deck!

  30. Pig's Tail: aka Buta no shippo. Instead of a little action game of throwing drawn cards into a pile but avoiding matches, it's a completely random War-like, with a slow "penalty cards" deck.
  31. Golf: Cute little putting game, only has 3 clubs: Driver, Iron, Putter. It's not quite a wacky golf or mini-golf, but it's not any kind of realistic golf simulator.
  32. Billiards
  33. Bowling: Has touch controls or joy-cons, but I have a Switch Lite, so I just went with touch. A little rocky start, but then I can get a strike most throws. IRL, my aim is a little too erratic, but I've played hundreds of hours of Ramp Champ and other touch-stroke games on iPhone, so this isn't hard for me.
  34. Darts
  35. Carrom: Like marbles or pogs, but without the freedom of motion, and a strange "queen" you have to take another coin after or you put it back. I don't know that I like this game, it takes too long and the controls are stupid (stick to move up/down only, L/R to aim?!), but it's competent and kind of interesting.
  36. Toy Tennis
  37. Toy Soccer
  38. Toy Curling
  39. Toy Boxing: Lightly based on Rock'em Sock'em Robots, but without the pop-up heads or movement forward/back, just button-mashing. Controls are A/B to wobble your guy's arms out to hit or up to block, which is implausibly hard to switch between, they should've used L & R shoulder buttons. Normal AI is easy, Hard AI is brutal, I assume the others are unwinnable?
  40. Toy Baseball: Accurately simulates a cheap mechanical baseball game from the '60s, with maybe the worst pitching stick control I've ever seen. Once I got the hang of it, I recovered from 0 runs to 3, while the machine that doesn't fumble with sticks got 6. Not likely to play more. There's no Toy Football, as that's not "worldwide".
  41. Air Hockey
  42. Slot Cars
  43. Fishing
  44. Battle Tanks
  45. Team Tanks
  46. Shooting Gallery
  47. 6-Ball Puzzle: A weird collapsing ball Tetris variant, not as interesting as Bejewelled or Tetris.
  48. Sliding Puzzle
  49. Mahjong Solitaire: 20 layouts each for Beginner, Standard, Advanced difficulty. Has a nice color-assist, which is good if you can't easily make out the stack depth. I can see this being a big time-killer for me.
  50. Klondike Solitaire
  51. Spider Solitaire
  52. Bonus: Piano: The piano has a single octave, the help says the buttons or shaking joycons does something, but it does nothing on the Switch Lite at least. Turning the device upside down gets you a synth with 4 octaves selectable by button, but the keys don't rotate into normal position, so it's pretty unusable. I would prefer a real "toy piano" simulator, but then you may as well buy a teaching piano toy or a proper cheap synth, they're $30 or less on the 'zon.

What I'm Playing: One month of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

I said I was done, and I had quit entirely, but for the 2-year anniversary ACPC has old time-limited items available again in the crafting system, so came back for one last month, and was thinking maybe I'd stick around for the Xmas/New Year's event. Not try-hard, not grinding, just play a couple times a day in the can or before bed. Competition makes these events unpleasant.

My old friends list is about half gone from just being out for 2 or 3 months, some people really purge their friends list quick. Because Nintendo hates social and shut down Miitomo, their only attempt at it in recent history, there's no real connection there and you can't say goodbye or anything. This is the worst part of every Nintendo game, just the endless sadness they dump on you because they're such awkward NEETs themselves, they can't conceive that people might want to make friends and talk to them.

For the most part, this last run has been fine. I like just casually catching fish & bugs, I've got some new items and put them in the camp, got some nice screenshots of it. The flower festival was OK, I only got halfway thru the second stage because I wasn't logging in every 3 hours on a no-sleep schedule like the try-hards, but it is pleasant, the festival NPC was Isabelle, and I got an Isabelle-doing-Powerpoint item for the camp, which is hilarious to me. The fishing tourney started a couple days ago, and I'm again in the bottom 5 of my friends list, but it's OK. I won't be buying any real-money "Leaf Tickets" but the anniversary login has given me quite a lot.

The new mechanics for the trash bird ship are both better and hilariously worse than before; now you need specific items, many of which cost the almost-real-money "Sparkle Stones", and you get to pick from 3-5 unlabelled boxes to see if you get a good item, or just animal snacks. I've sent off a lot of ships with cheap egg clocks and 4 mismatched socks, and got 1 animal friend and a couple sparkle stones for my trouble. Not worthwhile. Nintendo apparently knows this sucks, and are promising to fix it in the update next week.

The "Happy Home" minigame really sucked before; if you had all the items crafted, you just tapped the first item in each dialog and you "won" (no prize, really); if you didn't have them all, don't bother, you lose. Either way there's an excruciatingly long cutscene and progress bar and several dialogs. They've slightly improved it now with some guess-the-item "lessons", where there's a little bit of thought and gameplay to it. Many of the lessons are exactly as bad as before. They keep trying to extract Leaf Tickets from me to pass one of these impossible ones, which is just rotten, shitty mercenary behavior; I loathe Lottie as much as I ever did Resetti, and the developers of both.

But then this bullshit paid subscription thing pops up today, and I'm all "hell, no!" and /r/ACPocketCamp is similarly unenthused/angry rioting mob. I guess I won't be making it to New Year's, and the next time I'll see Animal Crossing is New Horizons on the Switch next Spring. Hopefully they don't let micropayments ruin that one, too.

Nintendo Direct: Animal Crossing New Horizons

More Over…watch? Smash. Poke-Man. Don't care. I'm mildly amused that they make a big deal of cooking curry on rice in Poke-Man. I'm not sure what that has to do with cockfighting.

"Dragon Quest XI S Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition" might be the most Microsofty videogame name ever made. Shame on you, Squenix & Nintendo. But it looks pretty.

SNES retro console is pretty great. But we do already have emulators and old ROMS on pirated sites. Some new cheaty features like making Super Ghouls & Ghosts playable instead of a bitter lesson in frustration and failure, knowing that you will never be good enough to see the end of it, are really not appropriate. And they only work while you have a subscription, so when Nintendo shuts that service down in a couple years, your emulator games go away with it. The SNES controller is awesome… but can't be used as a Joy Con, so it's unusable with other games.

More Tetris 99, "daily missions" gamification. Yeah, great, I've already played Puzzle & Dragons.

Mario & Sanic Summer Olympics! Just in time for winter. I do like these kind of games.

Doom 64, Jedi Knights II, Witcher 3, etc. because everyone's porting every old game to Switch.

Grid Autosports is promising. Farming Simulator! That actually makes some sense on a portable console. Xenoblade Chronicles remaster next year.

Animal Crossing New Horizons: 3.20.2020

I must say, I don't like the metaphor of phone as UI to everything. AC is more of an old-timey setting, it should just have a book for tutorial.

The bug & fish catching seems deep like the console games. Not much detail shown here, like everything in this long pre-release struggle.

Maybe too much emphasis on multiplayer? I don't want people on my island, only animals.

Still, I'm waiting for AC:NH to get a Switch. I miss my Pocket Camp a bit, but then I see reddit or other videos mention how grindy it's got, and I'm glad I quit.

Dragalia Lost

A new gachapon game published by Nintendo.

Super, overly cutesy, somewhat like Legend of Zelda (original) with 3D models in a top-down, flat world and dungeons.

You explore dungeons and fight mobs by tapping, combat's fast and very casual. You can bond with dragons you've summoned and shapeshift into them; basically the adventurer/assistant model used in DanMachi.

There's a little comic book story, haven't had time to read it yet. The music is perky and varied, though it's a bit loud until you can get to the main menu and options about 10 minutes into the tutorial.

Cute enough to play a while; I'm still pining for TES:Blades. There's not any obvious equivalent to DanMachi's "Syr's Lunchbox", a cheap monthly subscription of goodies and currency, which I prefer to buying IAP currency directly.

Downloading a bit at a time is annoying. In More, Options, System, there's a Batch Download button at the bottom, to load everything.

Setting a "Helper" (the character you contribute to other players) is under Friends, Helper. Obscure UI. But you get 300 "Wyrmite" (the free gem currency) for doing it!

My player ID as Kamimark is 9320 9801 641, friend me.

Nintendon't Fake NES Controllers

One of the few things I liked in the latest Nintendo Direct was "NES controller for Switch! Though there are good 3rd-party ones, but sweet."

Turns out this is a complete bullshit product: ArsTechnica says they only work with online, emulated NES. There's the Dick Nintendo I know and barely tolerate because they hate their players.

So, 8BitDo is still the best option.

Nintendo Direct

Nintendo Direct 2018-09-13

  • Luigi's Mansion: Eh. I liked the original some, largely the gag being the Wiimote was like a vacuum cleaner or Ghostbusters particle projector, but no interest in more.
  • Katamari Damacy HD: Neat, but just a remaster. How's that Final Fantasy VII remaster going, Squenix?
  • Nintendo Switch Online: Actually saving your game data between consoles?! From anyone else, this is 20-year-old tech. Nintendo has just discovered "using the cloud to not be dicks"!
  • NES controller for Switch! Though there are good 3rd-party ones, but sweet.
  • Diablo III, some other ports. Eh.
  • Town: Boring generic name for boring generic RPG, but it's NEW content. So, good for you!
  • Daemon x Machina: Maybe the worst-looking mecha game I've ever seen, like a reject from N64 suddenly revived for Switch.
  • Yoshi's Crafted World: Branded LittleBigPlanet ripoff.
  • Asmodeee boardgame mobile adaptations. Yawn.
  • Starlink: Is this the terrible Starfox game they previously canned, or a new one? I dunno. I loved Starfox64, but all since is disappointment.
  • The World Ends With You: Fuck yeah. As previously noted, I resent the iOS port ripoff, but I loved the game.
  • Team Sonic Racing: Arcade racers are a thing I love, but they showed a few seconds of gameplay. Who knows.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: How to turn your friends into bitter enemies, the videogame.
  • Final Fantasy XII, and more ports: Nice, sure, but I've got every one I care about on iOS or Playstation. STILL NO VII HD, SQUENIX! WAY TO RIP MY HEART OUT A SECOND TIME LIKE YA DID WITH AERIS, YA FUCKS! I'm fine, it's fine.
  • Smash: Don't care. Even with Isabelle. Enjoy getting face-wrecked by a fuzzy dog-girl, nerds.
  • Animal Crossing: 2019. Fuck! I've been done with Pocket Camp for months. Minimum 3 more months, and "2019" in Nintendo Time probably means Q3 or Q4. My body is ready NOW.

Miitomo End of Life

When Miitomo came out, I thought finally, Nintendo had got a clue about online services, made someplace that could be a hub for your "Nintendo identity", let you make custom Miis to play in other games, or even use as avatars for other places, hook up chat and friends list for all other Nintendo games…

But, none of that happened. It stayed a small closed service that connected to nothing, never let you do more than change clothes, change the wallpaper and flooring of your tiny empty room, and chatter at annoying questions, the talking people do when they have nothing to say.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has its own much more primitive avatars and limited set of clothing, at least it's active for now, but there's very little "social" to it.

Some years ago, I went into Line Play with someone, and despite spending no money, just freebie coins, I ended up decorating this house, which is still there (had to stitch some screenshots together, there's no "photograph whole room", only a video capture). This is what Miitomo should've been like:

Line Play house

Feh

I tried playing a little Fire Emblem Heroes (FEH!) since AC:PC makes me happy, and I played the first DS Fire Emblem game long ago. Nope.

Pro: Tactical combat is passable; small maps with slow movement, but has some challenge. Character art & voice acting is kinda sexy. Con: The "story" is incoherent nonsense, told thru very slow dialog boxes, and never allows you to make choices or kill enemies. Requires grinding fights over and over. Parties are limited to 4 chars, so by the time you have a tank, cavalry, archer, and magic, you have no flexibility to put in an optional char for levelling or a quest. Very few skill choices, no equipment or crafting. ★★☆☆☆ only because I like tac combat.

Compared to Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, which I played for a year: Pro: Main story was OK, had a few path options. Tons of new areas to fight thru (3-5 stages of 3 random fights) and then open up exploration: traditional FF dungeons & cities with secret areas. Characters are great, all the classic FF chars from 1-13, plus new chars. 5-char party plus an ally, plus summons. Tons of equipment & spell crafting choices, and easy to swap out for a specific fight. Con: Slightly aggressive IAP push, but it's playable without. ★★★★☆ I only quit because after maybe 100-200 hours I had done all the things.

FEH isn't significantly easier/more casual-friendly than FFBE, and it offers nothing much to a hardcore gamer.

Animal Crossing: Winter Wonderland Edition

Shut down the animal schools, snow is here! In the console/handheld AC, there's weather and snow leading up to the full snow day of Dec 11, but in PC it just flipped over this morning. Everywhere except the island is now frosty, whether snow on the coconut palms makes sense or not.

I haven't noticed any actual gameplay changes from the weather yet, but it's early days. I miss Wild World where I'd roll up snowmen, and skid when running, but it crunches nicely under my feet.

I finished the rock stage yesterday, so now my Cool animals can all go up to Level 20. It's pretty loud in the concert pit when a crowd goes over there, and KK Slider's just sitting there trying to play his guitar, man. But now I have another construction box next to it. In a few weeks when all the amenities are built, it'll be nice to not hear hammering and sawing constantly.

And Nintendo announced the gardening and clothing crafting will be coming soon. Interesting they're pushing the expansions out so fast, expected them to wait at least until spring. It's been a pretty flawless launch and support, which I don't really understand how they do it, most mobile launches are garbage for months or years (Poke Mongo, for instance).

I like these day-for-night nighttime shots, since I mostly play in the dark, but it'll be interesting to see how it looks in actual (simulated) daylight.

Autumn River

Winter River

Winter Hollow

Winter Beach

Winter Island

Rock Stars

Winter Camp 1

Winter Camp 2

Winter Market

Winter OK