A few days ago Emalyse posted a little sonic doodle she had made, reminding me that I had been meaning to try to record some of the sonic doodling the Nintendo DS game Elektroplankton allows you to create. The thing that's fun about the game is that you just sort of click around on things and it effortlessly turns those clicks into "music." Most of the different modes have pretty unsatisfactory results, but my favorite works rather well. It consists of a grid full off arrows and 4 different plankton that each make their own sets of noises as they follow the arrows. By changing the direction of the arrows you can cause them to go into different loops, drastically changing the "song" that it makes.
I've been playing a fair bit of Tetris DS online against a wide variety of people at different skill levels, which is a lot of fun. Playing online seems to require a somewhat less forward-thinking style of play than that to which I've been accustomed; you simply don't have the luxury of thinking about where to put things for more than a split second. You have to kind of play each piece in turn, clearing out single lines wherever possible, keeping things from piling up too much as your opponent clears lines. If you spend too much time waiting for a Long One, you're going to lose. If you get the wrong Z, you just have to stick it somewhere and work from that point up without worrying too much about it; if you spend too long finding a painless spot to stick it, you're going to lose.
This rapid-paced playing style demands some serius speed. I've gotten considerably faster in a pretty short time, but I'm at the point now where I can't physically push the buttons any faster. I'm still not fast enough to keep up with some of my opponents, though, so I'm looking to gain a little speed in the only area I can.
Historically I've only ever rotated pieces in one direction. My brain knows exactly how many button presses it takes to orient the pieces the way I need them, but often times it takes 3 button presses to orient something when only a single rotation in the opposite direction would have sufficed. Clearly I need to learn to rotate both ways if I expect to gain any speed.
Today I spent some time playing against the computer making every effort to rotate pieces in either direction, but I'm having more trouble than I expected to. It is slowing me way down and my brain hurts from the effort of thinking about which direction I should rotate it. Most times, I rotate it the wrong way, causing even more confusion when it ends up in a completely different position than I expected.
This is incredibly frustrating and I do not look forward to competing like this so I may have to just resign myself to being slow, making up for my slighly slower-than-optimum speed by putting things in better places in the first place.
Do you rotate both directions when you play, or just the one?
(T-shirt idea: "I go both ways," spelled out in Tetris blocks.")
I decided that I simply couldn't live without my DS Lite, so I decided to trade up the old-school non-Lite DS at Game Crazy for a shiny new Black DS Lite (they didn't have pink.) So I got all my loot totaled up ($90.52 in hardware and games), and said "I'd like that DS Lite," pointing at the one on the counter.
"Oh, that's our last one."
"Yes. I'd like it please."
"Well, we can only sell that as a "bundle" with that $55 pile of 3rd-party crap accessories you'll never ever ever want to use."
"I don't want any of that crap, can't you just sell me the DS?"
"Well, if we did that, what would we do with all that crap? Anyway, it makes the DS $5 cheaper."
I'm betting you can guess that I didn't play that game. Crap like that just makes me want to burn places down. They know darn well that these things are scarce, so they're willing to play on people's frustration, knowing that many of them will just give in and buy overpriced crap they're never going to use just so they can have the pleasure of buying what they do want to use. Geez.
So on went the quest for a pink DS Lite.
Here's a way-zoomed-out map of our travels yesterday trying to find one:
Each one of those legs had a handful of stores clustered relatively close together.
In case you're not familiar with the Portland Metro area, that's a lot of driving around. We hit at least 10 places, each one referring us to yet another leg on our wild DS chase. After hours and hours of driving around fruitlessly, we went to the one place that I knew would have black ones in stock and bought one there. The day before they had like 20, yesterday they had 3. No other stores we went to yesterday had any except that one lone Target. So now I'll have a black DS, and D will get the hand-me-down white one when Nintendo gets it back to me.
I kind of wanted to avoid the black one because it's got that same obnoxious glossy finish that Sony put on the PSP, ensuring that your toy will be in a constant state of overgunkfification. Unlike Sony, Nintendo thought of this and made the inside of the DS -- where all the buttons and screens are -- a matte finish, ensuring that they stay gunk-free. Yay for Nintendo.
I've been using my Nintendo DS Lite quite a bit recently, as evidenced by the fact that my right shoulder button completely wore out.
That button is used primarily as Tetris's "save/use piece" function -- which, incidently, I've been using with much more frequency and much less "Tetris Purist" guilt -- to power slide in Mario Kart DS, and to aim your gun in Resident Evil DS. (Incidentally, the Resident Evil folk get mad props for naming this port/remake "Deadly Silence," thus making the requisite "DS" Nintendo puts at the end of every game title actually useful.)
In any case, I use my right shoulder button an awful lot, so I've just taken advantage of Nintendo's warranty feature to get it repaired. In the meantime, I've been playing a little with the non-Lite "Phat" DS that's still laying around, and it has really thrown me off my game.
We spent a couple hours yesterday driving around trying to find a pink DS Lite for me to play with until mine gets back from Nintendo D to have, since she's not terribly thrilled with the Phat either. No such luck though :(
There've been lots of black ones, a few white ones and no pink ones. If I was a betting man, I'd have wagered that the black would be the most popular. I guess I would have lost.
UPDATE: 4-10 days for return shipping info to arrive, 3 days to repair, then 4-10 days to ship it back to me? I'm not sure I can make it...