Club Nintendo Program Discontinuation

On January 20th, 2015, Nintendo sent out this notice to all Club Nintendo Members.

Dear Club Nintendo Members,

Thank you for your continued loyalty to Nintendo.

We launched Club Nintendo 6 years ago in North America, and we’re grateful for all of the feedback that our members have provided on your experiences with our products.

In order to focus on planning for a new customer loyalty program for our fans, we’ve decided to wind-down the Club Nintendo program. We are deeply thankful to our members for being a part of Club Nintendo for all of these years.

We will share details about our new program at a later date. For now, please see the schedule below for information on the discontinuation timeframe for Club Nintendo.

All Coins will be deleted when Club Nintendo accounts are closed on July 1, 2015. As a result, to give our members the best opportunity to use their Coins, we will add dozens of downloadable games and a limited quantity of exclusive reward items to the rewards catalog in February. In addition, as a small token of appreciation for your loyalty, all Club Nintendo members will receive a free download code for Flipnote Studio 3D in February 2015.

The hardest part about the Club Nintendo closure is just logging in these days. Even though the announcement was almost a month ago, it still takes me multiple tries to login successfully.
Continue reading Club Nintendo Program Discontinuation

Nostalgic Flash(cartoon)backs

While hanging out with my brother this weekend, we reminisced varying recollections of some “old school” flash animations. Fair warning, none of these movies make any sense whatsoever and watching them will probably cost you IQ.

First up: MARIO TWINS.

I slightly prefer Super Mario Blitz, made to accompany the OCRemix track: Dirty Mix by A Scholar & A Physician, but I admit Mario Twins can be catchy, too. Dirty Mix can be accused of being overproduced and I doubt I’d like the track solo as much without having seen the video first. Basically, there’s no accounting for taste and I’m impressed anyone is reading this.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the online crap we watch in the wee hours of the morning, but I do want to share / remind you all of one more thing: The Demented Cartoon Movie! by Brian Kendall.

Yes, that is thirty minutes long. Yes, this took ages to load on our ancient dial up connection at the time it was released. This short film enjoys playing with expectations, repetition, and showing off mad MS Paint skills. I still like it as much now as I did while younger. HMMMMMMMMMM. I will concede that it’s probably funnier at 4am after a drive to and from downtown in bonkers wind with two drunk athletes and bonus McDs breakfast. Either way, the sound effects rock.

Old Rental Scam Finds New Life

DISCLAIMER: I don't usually need one of these for my own blog, but this is a special case. I have permission from the friends mentioned to reproduce all the emails and images below. Also, the more this scam gets written about, the more people will be able to find it in search engines and the more people will hopefully be able to avoid this kind of nonsense without losing money! Woo all around. Don't forget to follow basic scam protections guidelines when looking for a place to rent.

tl;dr version: you can jump ahead to the CBC article about this type of scam, originally posted on February 4th, 2015

Are you old enough to remember when escrow scams were a big scary thing on eBay, which pretty much the only online marketplace at the time? Err, me neither. You might also not be familiar with common rental scams, now making a “comeback”. Please read those “airquotes” as “this has been happening non-stop since forever but it only makes the news once in a while when there’s a twist”.

A friend is shopping around for a new apartment. My brother and I have found some great places through kijiji in the past, you just have to wade through the crap to find something good. Looking to rent is never fun since there’s no point in getting an agent and it’s a lot of hours flipping through ads like “hellhole, crap, too expensive, dump, someone was clearly murdered there, if I live there I will get murdered” and “hey, that’s not bad” before you can even book a viewing. Then you call the nice lady and find out she rented out the place ages ago and never took down the ad. Arghlebargle. NOW IT’S STORY TIME!
Continue reading Old Rental Scam Finds New Life

Operation Vanguard Extended

In a completely unsurprising move, Valve announced that Operation Vanguard will be extended from the original end date of February 10th, 2015 until the end of March. The Operation pass is now also half-price, not that the Operation’s page reflects that yet. Now a pass costs $2.99 USD / $3.79 CAD (from $5.99 USD / $7.49 CAD), though don’t forget to check the Steam Market for the occasional person dumping their spare ticket for a good deal. If you buy the pass now, you will have access to the full backlog of available missions, so you’ll have more than enough available to get a gold coin if you’re willing to put in the time for it.

How to tell if a Counter-Strike Operation will be extended:

» every previous Operation (except for Breakout) was extended at least a week

» no word from Valve to map makers to ensure their next submissions are in

» no blog post from Valve until late on the original scheduled end date

My CS:GO Operation Vanguard Gold Coin
My CS:GO Operation Vanguard Gold Coin

Even though I was pretty darn certain that Operation Vanguard was not ending, last night I still logged in to cram a few more missions for the paltry drops. Vanguard allowed us access to just a few missions at a time, with more unlocked as we beat them and after a timer. One mission unlocked for every four days. If you bought the extra mission packs available within Vanguard — Maghreb and Eurasia Theater — then you’d unlock an extra mission per four day period per extra pack. That sounds more complicated than it should be, I know.

I wasn’t constantly running up against the mission limit since I bought the pass back in November and immediately forgot about it for a while. I did the same thing with my Operation Bravo pass back in August of 2013, and that led to me not buying Operation Breakout or Phoenix at all. Oops. My Bronze Operation Bravo coin continues to taunt me with “Operation Time Logged: 14 Minutes”. At least it’s right next to my 5 Year Veteran Coin so I feel slightly better about myself. And 5 years? Where’s my “Pre 1.6 coin” Valve?!?!? ps: bring back riot shields, mwa ha ha.

I had grand plans to keep track of which gun I received from which mission and how much money I made selling the crap and the cases to see if the pass was able to pay for itself in a literally dollars and cents way. Regardless, I feel that I got my money’s worth from the random fun I had trying the new maps — I love Season — and playing modes I usually ignore (looking at you, Demolition). I did the missions, but I did not keep track of anything at all. Next time!

TheScore Launches eSports Portal

Congratulations to TheScore, of all places, to be the first to treat eSports coverage like their regular sports coverage. Mostly. While regular sports remain featured over at TheScore.com, eSports has a dedicated home over at TheScoreeSports.com. Gotta love that double ‘e’, eh? This section contains no actual link back to non-eSports leagues. They’ve presently got an Android app available immediately, with the iOS app to follow.

I frequently walk by TheScore’s HQ, located in scenic downtown Toronto, and I wonder if one day they will broadcast live eSports events on their blindingly bright outdoor screens. Ah, to dream of the future!

This is not a particularly unlikely version of the future, either. The audience for streaming live high-level competitive gaming — sheesh. No wonder people just call it eSports. It’s shorter and you get the same idea — continues to grow across all major titles. To start, TheScore eSports is focusing on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive*, DotA 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Call of Duty. That’s not even an exhaustive list of titles with a high-level scene right now.

Street Fighter IV continues to draw numbers to large tournaments, all leading up to Evo in July. Evo’s game roster is not limited to the Capcom favourite, oh no, they’ll also be featuring two flavours of Smash, the growing Killer Instinct, smaller games like P4A, and the soon to be released Mortal Kombat X. I will likely not shut up about this event as it gets closer.

Evo 2015 Lineup
A fine collection of fighting games

Then there’s Heroes of Newerth, Smite, upcoming/right-now-if-you’re-lucky Heroes of the Storm and probably a bunch more that I’ve missed. Aside from all this there’s the whole speedrunning community, streaming on twitch at all hours on any game you’d guess and a few categories you’d never think of. It doesn’t matter how old or how new the game is, people will find ways to break it and do it faster. Awesome Games Done Quick featured a full run of Beethoven’s 2nd (SNES) in 8 minutes and I’m still not over it.

Even Disney XD Hops on the Bandwagon

Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything:

Conor (Cameron Boyce), a 15-year-old video game phenom, is forced to attend high school for the first time after a thumb injury sidelines him from the glamorous pro gaming circuit. As a coping mechanism, he begins to visualize life as a video game. He is reunited with his three former gamer friends who he left behind for life on the pro circuit World Tour, and he quickly realizes that restoring his friendships is vital in his quest to “level up” to his former glory.

This is happening. A room full of adult executives sat around and discussed different pilots and a show about gaming as a career got picked as something that will be profitable to the network. Obviously it’s too early to know if this will succeed, but Disney is not often “hip” to new “scenes” since they are “a giant mega-corporation” (okay, I’m done air quoting). That they are likely on point about this one, giving kids an accomplished gamer hero to root for while they dream about their own potential gaming career.

Had there been a Pro Super Mario Bros. circuit while I was younger, I would have been alllllllllllll over that. It’s why I, and every other child that bugged their parents enough, went to see The Wizard in theatres. I’m sure stuff and things happened, but I know I was there to see the Power Glove and Mario 3 for the first time. The Wizard deserves a solo post at some point. I need to re-watch it again as an “adult” (fine, so that was the last time) so I can flip some tables and write about how different it is from the parts I remember.

The Wizard Theatrical Poster
Gonna to be a painful re-watch, isn’t it?
*a game I will be talking about more a lot in the near future

Gravity Ghost Pre-Order

Even though Gravity Ghost looks exactly like a game I will be extremely terrible at, I really want to play it! I even broke my own ‘no more pre-ordering games’ rule to take advantage of the $5 off going on until approx. 12 hours from this writing. Tick tock, eh.

I wish I decided to pre-order before the Canadian dollar tanked, of course, but it was still slightly better than paying full price with a tanked Canadian dollar. Gravity Ghost screenshotThis will be one of those things that looks easy right before I start flipping tables, isn’t it? It probably is. If you’d like to see me flip some tables while playing Gravity Ghost, please follow twitch.tv/JennCutter