Nintendo announces 2DS, Wii U price cut, Zelda Wii U bundle and release dates

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I will not be posting day-to-day news, unless of course it is something which my massive group of 3 followers demand ;-). I do however want to talk about the bombs Nintendo dropped this morning. I just want to share the information and then chip in my opinion.

First up is the new iteration to the 3DS family, the 2DS. Here is the announcement trailer:

A budget  version of the 3DS which has no 3D functionality, no hinge, a single speaker, smaller screens and as a result is 50 dollars cheaper (109.99 pounds in the U.K, 25 pounds cheaper). So what do I think? Well, I can certainly see where they are coming from. But at the same time, it’s not for me, it’s not something I feel I will need to purchase in the near future.

I’m just going to be blunt here and give a list of people who are potential buyers of this system. First off you have those who don’t like the 3D effect and even those who can’t see it at all. Every 3DS game has to be fully functional with the 3D off. Even though I personally really enjoy the 3D and can see where and when it adds to the experience, who am I to say what the ideal experience is for somebody else?  The regular 3DS of course can be played with the 3D off. But did I mention it’s 50 dollars cheaper?

Next are kids of all ages and in particular, kids under the age of 7. I actually feel this is the biggest demographic for the machine. In the wrong hands the hinge became a serious breaking point. I’ve seen first hand a snapped screen (R.I.P brave soldier <3) and it’s not a pretty sight. As a kid and even up until 4-5 years ago, I was awful with tech. I never really looked after any of my handhelds, phones etc. Constantly dropping them and such. This model doesn’t have the hinge and also plastic to protect the screen. It looks bulkier too, so it might survive the odd fall. It seems like it was built to last. Kids under the age of the 7 actually aren’t supposed to use the 3D as it can cause damage. So, pool all that together there you have it. Parents on a budget with young kids who want to play the latest Nintendo games now have this more affordable option.

There are also those, for whatever reason, are on the fence about picking up a 3DS. Maybe it really is the price point. Maybe there are just 2 or 3 games they want on the system and therefore can’t justify the expenditure. On every pokemon video there’s always that one comment: “May pick up the 3DS soon for this”. There are genuinely people out there who just want to play pokemon. And, I believe that Nintendo releasing this on the exact same date as pokemon was no accident. I mean, the launch colours are red and blue. Here’s a console for those pokemon fans.

There are people who tick all the boxes. There might be a guy who doesn’t like 3D, has a budget and only wants to play pokemon. You get the picture. So that’s why I see where they are coming from. It’s a budget/entry level console, it’s not supposed to be an upgrade. If you don’t like it, you are not the target. The 3DS and the 3DS XL are still there for the core gamers. I actually fall into this category. I personally don’t like the design. I look after my XL, the hinges have never been a problem. I think it’s a really nice looking console and it fits great in my large man-hands. I love the 3D effect and I can afford to maintain it. So I have no need for the 2DS.

Finally, it doesn’t seem like it will fit in your pocket. I checked and my XL just made it. That being said, I never put it in my pocket and never did with my regular 3DS. The remedy to this is they come with a nice carry pouch. Which in stark contrast to the console itself, I really liked:

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Obviously though, it’s still a drawback for those who want to carry it around in their pockets and just have no time for carry pouches. No time.

Now maybe none of the above people exist and this will not sell at all. It’s just as big a possibility. Lets wait and see the numbers at the end of the year and decide then whether this was a good or bad idea.

Our next topic of discussion is the Wii U deluxe bundle price cut. It’s fairly obvious this is to drive sales along with the software line up in the run up to Christmas. The Wii U basic bundle has not been selling, people made the decision to throw down the extra 50 dollars and get the deluxe. Now they no longer have to throw down the extra 50 dollars. This of course benefits everyone but Nintendo, who take a 50 dollar hit with each console sold. Obviously, it’s a long term strategy. I will not make a definitive statement here. The market is a strange place. Even though these are the exact conditions that worked for the 3DS (price cut + strong line up), we just can’t be certain of anything. In my head, I see the sales picking up. But, we can just never be too sure. Again, I can’t draw any conclusions on this decision until we see the numbers at the end of the year. There’s just no point at this time arguing over events yet to happen.

One last thing is it gives an initial distinct price point between the big 3; 300-400-500. Of course the overall cost will be circumstantial. If you owned a Wii, you already have your secondary controllers. There are also no online fees. In reality, the gap could potentially be bigger. Some people saw the Wii as a secondary console to put alongside another machine. Certainly this could happen with the Wii U too, with it’s new price point and it being cheap to maintain. It will be my main beast however.

Next up is the Wind Waker bundle:

wii-u-zelda (1)

This was my second favourite piece of news. For the same price as the deluxe bundle you get a digital version of the Windwaker and Hyrule Historia thrown in. There’s also a Zelda themed design etched onto the gamepad. If I didn’t already own a Wii U, I would pick this up.

Finally the best piece of news, in my humble opinion, was the Q3-Q4 release dates. After all, what is a console without games? Nintendo has exchanged the Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario 3D World dates. I couldn’t be happier, the earlier I get this game the better. Certainly Mario is a better system seller than Donkey Kong. So I assume this was strategic. Here’s a full list of the release dates:

Wii U:

Wind Waker: Sept. 20 (downloadable), Oct..4 (packaged). RRP $49.99

Wii Party U: Oct.25 (comes w/ wii mote+ controller and stand) RRP $49.99

Super Mario 3D World: Nov. 22 RRP $59.99

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: Dec. 6 RRP $49.99

Wii Fit U: Launches this holiday season

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games™: Launches this holiday season.

Third-party titles:  

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure (Sept. 24)

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Fall

Skylanders SWAP Force: Oct. 13

Call of Duty: Ghosts: Nov. 5

Sonic Lost World: Oct. 22

Rayman Legends: Sept. 3

Just Dance 2014: Oct. 8

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag: Oct. 29

Watch_Dogs: Nov. 19

Nintendo 3DS:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Nov. 22 RRP $39.99.

Mario Party: Island Tour:  Nov. 22 RRP $39.99.

Third-party titles: 

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure: Sept. 24

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril: Fall

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate: Oct. 25

Skylanders SWAP Force: Oct. 13

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!: Nov. 19

Sonic Lost World: Oct. 22

Loving it.

So, let me know your feelings on any of these things, I’d love to hear. Is there a game in the list you can’t wait for in particular? I’ll be picking up Rayman Legends on Friday (technically tomorrow). I’ve also got the Wonderful 101 on the way in the post. I can’t wait to play both. I just started playing Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and am having a blast.

-Tim Out!

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Pikmin 3 Review/Discussion

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It’s been a long wait (10 years to be exact) but Pikmin 3 is finally here! For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Pikmin 3 is a real-time strategy game developed in-house by the video game legend (and personal hero) that is Shigeru Miyamoto. The player takes the role of one of three captains Alph, Brittany or Charlie and must collect fruit, beat enemies, solve puzzles and defeat bosses.

The story is simple. The main characters come from a planet called Koppai which is currently having a food shortage crisis. Thus they set out on a mission to find other planets that may provide a sustainable food source for Koppai. This is how they come to crash land on planet PNF-404, which is speculated to be Earth and is the home of the Pikmin. The Pikmin and captains spark a mutually beneficially relationship; Pikmin collect fruit, which turns out to be a viable food source for the captains and the captains keep the Pikmin organised and safe from the predators of the planet. As such the captains actually use these Pikmin to perform the mentioned tasks. Throw a Pikmin at a fruit and he will attempt to bring that fruit back to your ship. Throw a Pikmin at an enemy and let the fighting commence!

The Pikmin come in many varieties. Each different coloured Pikmin has their own set of skills along with advantages and disadvantages. For example, the winged Pikmin hover above the ground and so can carry objects across water and other obstacles. But, they are terrible fighters and so it’s not advisable to pit them against the larger enemies. A key part of a good strategy is choosing the right Pikmin for the right task.

The game is split up into 15 minute bursts which encompass a day in-game. The goal is to gather as much fruit as possible before the day ends. At the end of the day said fruit is turned into fruit juice and consumed by the captains. If you run out of juice, then it’s game over. The overall goal however is to try to complete the game in as few days as possible. Your day count gets added to an online leader board to see how you rank up with the rest of the world.

Another key part to the strategy of Pikmin is choosing the right control scheme. There are three available to the player. First is the gamepad, second the wii-mote/nunchuck combo and third the pro controller. Which is the best comes down to personal preference. Personally I actually found both the first and second schemes good for different situations. I never felt like there was any reason to use the pro controller, however. I took some footage to show what I mean. First up is the wii-mote/nunchuck combo. I used this scheme typically only for boss battles. The advantage of using it is the precision that comes with motion controlled aiming as opposed to aiming with the analogue sticks. Also with the gamepad you can only aim in front of you, with this scheme you can aim and target at things behind you too by simply pointing in that direction.

Next up is the gamepad. I think a little discussion of its uses is needed to understand the footage. The game refers to your gamepad as the “koppad”. Using the koppad the player can split the captains and Pikmin into three different groups. The player can then switch between each group by tapping the “Y” button. Once in control of one of the three groups we can tap the gamepad’s screen which instantaneously pauses the game. On the gamepad screen is a map of the area. We can mark out an place on the map we want this group to go to and then send them on their way. Then we tap “Y” and repeat for the next captain. Thus this lets us do three things simultaneously. Honestly it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experience before in a video game. It really brings a whole new level to strategizing. Playing in this scheme, I understand what Miyamoto meant when he described the Wii U as a machine made for Pikmin. Here’s the footage to show you what I mean. I hope it’s not too blurry

Do you see what I mean? It’s just awesome. By the end of the clip I had my PIkmin doing 3 different things for me.  Continuing on like that and the player can manage their time super efficiently. Another benefit to using the gamepad is the full 360 degree camera rotation you can do with the right analogue.

The game is visually stunning. The levels are beautiful and well polished as expected by a first party Nintendo title. Miyamoto’s genius shines through with the level design. The music is simple and ambient, which really captures the feel of each area. As the game progresses and you acquire a bigger Pikmin army it because immediately apparent why that boulder is there or that piece of fruit was put on that particular ledge. Players can tap a camera icon on the gamepad, this takes you into a first person mode. Here you can snap pictures of your Pikmin in the environment and post them to miiverse for all your friends to see. Here’s a particularly funny one

Capture

Finally there are two other modes for the player to enjoy. One is bingo battle and the other are missions, both are single and two player. Missions can be anything from collecting fruit in a particular time limit, defeating enemies or replaying boss battles. At the end of each mission the player is awarded points and/or a medal. I absolutely loved the mission modes. Me and my girlfriend had a blast playing them together and still play them from time to time.  I actually grabbed some brief footage of one of these missions. I wanted to show off the gamepads off tv play too, here it is (Cover your ears at the start!)

Again, sorry about the blueness, I may sort out getting a new camera!

Pikmin 3 is just one of those games where it becomes immediately apparent why it HAS to be on a Nintendo system to get the best possible experience. I’m putting it down as my favourite game of the year thus far. Its mechanics are fresh and innovative and showcase Nintendo’s vision of the gamepad.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the game. I’d love to hear about yours so please drop a comment. If there is anything else you wanted to know about the game, ask away! I definitely did not cover all that could possibly be covered.

Again thanks for reading

-Tim Out!

Upcoming: Sonic Lost World Wii-U

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‘Upcoming’ is a section where I will discuss upcoming games I’m anticipating. And where better to start than with Sonic Lost World for the Wii U? Well ok, with literally a bazillion titles coming out from here until December I probably could have found something better. But come on guys….Sonic!

Do I honestly need to explain what Sonic is? An action-adventure that forgot it was a platformer for a few years. Sonic has admittedly been through a bit of a rough patch with games like ‘Sonic 2006’ and ‘Sonic Unleashed’ receiving mixed opinions from critics and fans.  It’s a pity because Sonic was definitely a go-to-game if you wanted a definite fun, well polished and all around family friendly title. I have personally played neither, though. I have however played Generations for the Xbox 360 and 3DS and  both are excellent titles. I’ve also watched some game play of Sonic Colours and think I’ll pick it up sometime soon, because it looks awesome.

Sonic Lost World certainly seems like it could be THE game to rightfully put Sonic back up on that ‘platform’ (get it?  ;D)  he once held. Like Sonic Colours this game will be exclusive to Nintendo platforms, that is Wii-U and 3DS. It’s the wii-U version I’ve been following closely because it looks absolutely demon. I figure I’ll let the footage speak for itself.  First up is GameXplain’s footage from Gamescom of a level appropriately titled “Frozen Factory”, check it out:

Wow. I am loving everything about it. The art and graphics, the level design and the gameplay.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that the ball is controlled using the gamepad’s gyroscope. We can only hope! Does this level in particular ring a bell with anyone else? The first thing that came to my mind was the “Rolling Gizmo Galaxy” from Super Mario Galaxy. If you are unfamiliar (shame on you), I’ve got your back:

Indeed, many people have been comparing Sonic Lost Worlds to Super Mario Galaxy since the initial trailer hit the web over a month ago.  Well, they’re not wrong, it’s certainly very reminiscent of the classic Nintendo title in parts. But, at the same time, it’s still its own distinct game with mechanics and level design unheard of in Galaxy. The next clip is also from GameXplain. This level is titled ‘Windy Hill Zone 4″:

The Sonic team have promised a balance between 3D and 2D platforming. At around the 1:03 mark we see some of the 2D platforming and boy does it look fun. The way the level spins around Sonic as he goes through some of those gravity defying loops gets me giddy. Those of you who have played Colours will be familiar with the wisp power ups. They are back for this game and will be controlled via the gamepad (although there could possibly be an analogue stick alternative). We get a glimpse of one at 1:16. Unfortunately for us, the guy fails miserably at executing it. Oh well.

Sonic Lost World releases for the Wii-U and 3DS in all regions during October. The game has been confirmed to run at a buttery smooth 60fps, with off tv play, two player, miiverse item sharing functionality and has Wii-U – 3DS compatibility.

So, don’t be afraid to drop a comment if you have any questions about the game. I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s thinking about buying it. It will be a day one purchase for me. Pre orders come with some free DLC too. Here’s to hoping Sega can fully redeem themselves with this one.

Bottoms up!

-Tim Out!

Currently Playing (21st August 2013)

I thought I’d write some light pieces over the next few nights as I get ready to make a massive Pikmin 3 review. I hope to include some personal game play and plenty of pictures. I want to show some two player footage too, so I’ll have to wait for the girlfriend’s working shifts to calm. All things considered I’ll probably have it out Saturday night.  That said what follows is simply a short list of the games I’m currently battling through.  I hope something catches your eye!

The already mentioned Pikmin 3 is at the top of my list. I’ve actually finished the story but me and my girlfriend have been really enjoying the multi player modes. Here’s an absolutely adorable commercial Nintendo of America put out, very reminiscent of 90’s game commercials :

Xenoblade. Oh Xenoblade. I can not wait to talk about this game. Just yesterday I hit the 60 hour mark and have not yet  even completed the story. It’s soared up to the top of my favourite rpgs list, along with titles like Kingdom Hearts 2 and Final Fantasy 7.  It’s a game that literally does not give a f*** it’s on the wii. Here’s a trailer for it:

I’ve also been playing through Kingdom Hearts 3D for the second time. You can read about my thoughts here:

https://nintimdoblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/kingdom-hearts-dream-drop-distance/

Finally I’ve been playing Gears of War for the Xbox 360. The only other shooter I play is Call of Duty, so I’m trying to expand my horizons and see what’s out there. Here’s some gameplay of a part I found fun

So that’s it for now. I’d honestly love to hear what you guys are currently playing so don’t be afraid to drop a comment! Has anyone picked up Mario and Luigi Dream Team? I’ll be getting stuck into it as soon as I finish up Kingdom Hearts or Xenoblade.

-Tim Out!

Kingdom Hearts…Dream Drop Distance!

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Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance is Square Enix’s latest entry in the Kingdom Hearts series, exclusive to the 3DS. I’ve played all of the Kingdom Hearts games to date, apart from that seemingly disastrous mobile game “Kingdom Hearts V CAST” (Check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjvxiKQYJ9E). I have, for the most part, enjoyed them all.

This game’s story takes place directly before the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 and right after Kingdom Hearts re:coded for the DS. But that doesn’t really matter; At points where the game touches upon lore from one of the past games the player is presented with a choice to read a brief summary of the past game’s story. This immediately puts it all in context, thus making it friendly for those unfamiliar with the series. It is also really useful for the hardcore fans as the Kingdom Hearts story is revered by many as being so complex to the point of confusion. By slowly fitting the picture together for the player, the game almost feels like one giant recap as preparation for Kingdom Hearts 3. Which will finalise the saga (but not the series).

In brief it’s about two boys, Sora and Riku, who wield a sword-like object in the shape of a key called the keyblade. They are tasked with traversing many worlds which in the wake of previous confrontations are left in a “sleeping” state – i.e riddled with monsters known as Dream Eaters and with time paradoxes – and setting them free with the power of the keyblade(s). This is all considered both a test and trial for the boys known as the “Mark of Mastery” exam. Should they succeed they will not only be considered keyblade masters, but  prepared to take on the saga’s main antagonist Xehanort. Of course this being Kingdom Hearts we are talking about, that was one gross simplification. The game is a Square Enix and Disney crossover. Each world essentially covers a different Disney film and usually integrates Sora and Riku into the existing plots.

The worlds are absolutely beautiful. The game really pushes the 3DS hardware and the result is some lovely graphics which look all the more lovelier in 3D. I personally kept the 3D slider at the midway point as it’s what worked best for me. The sense of depth really brought more life to the worlds. The game is however (like all 3DS games) fully playable with 3D off and it certainly won’t inhibit the experience if 3D is not your thing. All of the environments were very faithful to the source material.

The game play was very fun and with the addition of the new flow motion mechanic felt very fresh. You defeat hordes of Dream Eaters, have some clever (and epic) boss battles and platform/parkour with flow motion . The game also retains its traditional rpg elements with an experience based levelling system, magic abilities and upgradable weaponry.

Sora and Riku actually split at the start of the game, but fear not as you are not alone on the journey. You are assisted by your own ‘good’ Dream Eaters. There is a ‘linking’ mechanic you can perform with them once you’ve filled the link gauge. For Sora this lets him perform certain powerful abilities and attacks. For Riku it powers him up and changes his handling. The Dream Eaters have there own little ‘day care’ in the main menu. From here you use the experience they have gained to unlock items, power ups and abilities. You create new Dream Eaters and change around your party. Also you can even pet and interact with them using the stylus. You can throw them food and play some fun mini games with them. It’s a game within the game. Gameception.

The music score is what you would expect from a Kingdom Hearts title: wonderful. It opens up (typical) with an orchestrated rendition of Hikaru Utada’s simple and clean. It’s absolutely glorious, here is a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsq0A–aVLs

A tear inducer for the long time fans. Most of the levels have original  compositions which can sometimes draw on ideas and motifs from previous games. In any case I always felt that the music was adding to the experience and never deterring. One world in particular “Symphony of Sorcery” uses famous classical tracks to set the scene. Each stab of the keyblade cleverly produced a smack of percussion. The use of the music, along with the aesthetics, left such a lasting impression on me. I’d consider it my favourite Kingdom Hearts level. Here’s some footage from it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kox-DtmAKzg

All in all I have to say I really enjoyed Kingdom Hearts 3D. I even played it twice!

Have you played the game? Did you enjoy it? Did you feel it lived up to the Kingdom Hearts name? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Thanks for reading, I’ll post two more images below

-Tim Out!

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This is the map, displayed on the touch screen.

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A final snap of the game.

Mmmmmighty Switch Force….HD!

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Mighty Switch Force is an indie game developed by Wayforward Technologies originally released as a downloadable 3DS title.  For whatever reason (I was probably busy playing other games), I passed it!

With the release of the Wii-U, Nintendo presumably threw a few dollars at Wayforward (probably right in the face) to get an HD upgrade going. Lucky for me I was itching to download some of the stellar indie games available on the eshop and this little gem was on sale. If my memory serves me well, and I added the 5 and carried 3 the right, I’m almost 86.57% sure I got it for 6.99 euro (reduced from 10 euro). That’s about 9 U.S dollars or 6 U.K pounds.

The game is a platformer with puzzle solving elements. The story is very bare bones and really serves as a simple premise for the fun. The main character Patricia Wagon (Patty-Wagon get it? HA….) has to round up 5 convicts who escaped during transport. The core mechanic of the game is your ability to instantaneously ‘push’ blocks from the background into the foreground (and vice versa) to use as platforms. You can see from the picture above the faded blocks which are currently in the background. You must be careful however. If you stand in front of a block as it comes out, it pushes you towards the screen. With a cute little crack animation, YOU DIE A PAINFUL AND AGONISING DEATH. Hmmm…

The switching mechanic is used in many other ways, which of course leads to some seriously clever level designs. As the game progresses, so does the difficulty, with some of the later stages providing  serious challenge. The controls are tight however and there is rarely flawed level design (like jumps the player could not have possibly know were coming up, I’m looking at you Donkey Kong Country). So it always felt like it was my fault when I died. Along with switching, you can jump and shoot. It has a slight Megaman vibe in that respect.

I personally found the game very aesthetically pleasing. I loved the hand drawn cartoony look of the characters. The music was composed by Jake Kaufman who has a massive repertoire  under his belt, having written for many games across many systems. The songs are funky and fresh and really suit the tone of the game. I had them on my mp3 the night I got the game. Here is an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRyR27l7vks

After the main game you are provided with a few extra bonus levels. But wait..there’s more! The HD version then takes all them levels and remixes them for twice the fun. That gives you a whopping 42 levels. There are also par times, these are the recommended time to complete each level within. Doing so will get you a nice blue star for bragging rights. One thing I really enjoyed was completing the level, taking a snap of my time and posting it to miiverse as a challenge to other players. For me it added another level of re playability.

Finally the game supports off tv mode. I used it mainly when friends were over but I’ve crawled into bed and had a few plays before drifting off on the odd night in. When playing on the tv screen however, the pad acts as a radar and shows the location of the nearest convict. It’s quite useful for the later levels. The game also supports the pro controller. I’ve posted a picture below of the game running on the Pad.

I managed to squeeze fifteen hours from this game before packing up, but I still pick it up from time to time. Not bad for 7 euro, not bad at all!

To finish up thanks for reading and I hope I may have convinced some people to look up some gameplay to see if it’s a game they might enjoy.

Did you play Mighty Switch Force? Did you like it?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments 🙂

– Tim Out!

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Introducing….Me!

Hello,

First and foremost thank you for taking the time to read this. If my name wasn’t a big enough clue, I’m a massive Nintendo fan! But, I really enjoy games of all shapes and sizes on a plethora of systems and am open to anything really. I want to use this site to give some bite sized “reviews” of games I am playing  (or have even played in the past). I hope this will lead to some discussion, should anyone actually read or care about what I have to say. I’m going to try my best to keep the overall tone of the blog a positive thing. Not much discussion of silicon and plastic, this is purely about the gaming experience.

I hope you like my picture of me in the Tardis at comic con Dublin (below). I went there this summer (2013) and really loved it.

Here is the basic information:

Name: David or Tim (Hence Nintimdo)

Age: 22

Live in: Kildare, Ireland

Currently in my fourth year of college

Finally, a warning. I would like to point out that my spelling and grammar are and will continue to be atrocious. I’m a firm believer in using language for communication purposes. So the rules can be disregarded if it’s obvious what’s trying to be portrayed. That’s not to say that I won’t try at all. I hope my posts will be legible 🙂

One last time, thank you for visiting

– Tim Out!Image