Pikuniku Benny Kong

Indie Game of the Month – Pikuniku

‘Every day a new indie’ – that’s the way I sometimes feel when I’m visiting the Nintendo eShop, watch YouTube videos or browse through my Twitter feed. Or even easier: When having a look at my (physical) collection, where the majority of the games are indeed indies.

All of this is great, since the Nintendo Switch with its mobility aspect is a great home for games developed by independent studios and it’s wonderful to see how many studios are supporting Nintendo’s current console. Indies and the Nintendo Switch are a great match. Because the amount of quality games are constantly rising, it’s often hard to pick a title to buy or play next. I’m facing this issue constantly (and the backlog gets bigger and bigger), I decided to introduce the “Indie Game of the Month” series on Benny Kong to highlight the titles that are standing out to me and give you an idea, which games should not be missed. Not necessarily on a monthly basis, but regularly.

Preservation of Outstanding Titles

By picking my next title to play, I stumbled upon a game that I even wanted to play since I saw the first coverage by Nintendo Life almost 2 years ago:

A gameplay video that made me laugh non-stop, totally weird – and hard to describe what this was all about. But I fell immediately in love with the bizarre and obscure humor and put Pikuniku, developed from Sectordub, on my watchlist. During one of the upcoming Nintendo eShop sales I was able to snag a pretty cheap digital copy, but haven’t had any time to play the title yet. So now it’s about time! And it seemed like a perfect opportunity, since Special Reserve Games (the producer and manufacturer of extremely limited edition collectible physical versions of the world’s most celebrated indie digital video games for Nintendo Switch), was running a limited print edition for Pikuniku!

I had to check out my digital copy basically now to better evaluate if I should get the game for my physical Nintendo Switch collection. Since I’m dedicating here an entire blogpost to Pikuniku, you can guess that I pre-ordered my physical copy already. And good news for you: At the time of writing, there are still some physical copies available for sale.

One of the Funniest Titles I Ever Played! And Weirdest!

Right from the start booting up Pikuniku, I giggled basically the entire time! Again. Luckily I could not remember much of what I’ve seen in the gameplay video from two years ago – to my defense. Just a couple of minutes in the game, I laughed out loud! So loud, that my girlfriend who was sleeping next to me on the couch, woke up. I tried to explain what just happened in the game, but unfortunately she didn’t get it. Either because she was still sleepy – or because sometimes funny things are hard to explain. And this is the feeling I have with Pikuniku! You are just doing things, some make sense, and some don’t. And it’s funny. You try to solve puzzles, mostly physics-based, and there are wonderful funny dialogs that put a huge smile on your face.

I decided to not give you any concrete examples of what’s so funny about the game or give the storyline away so that you can experience this game as spoiler free as possible. Experience the jokes for yourself – it’s absolutely worth it.

The writing is just brilliant and underlines the weird set-up your character finds itself in. Pikuniku is an absurdly wonderful puzzle-exploration game that takes place in a strange but playful world where not everything is as happy as it seems. You find yourself in the midst of a deep state conspiracy and will have to help other villagers along the way to overcome their struggles. 

Verdict: Humor Meets Depths Meets Puzzles

Pikuniku stands for a colorful and bright world that you can explore at your own pace. You will have to help quirky characters with their unusual requests, will giggle about the dialogues and solve clever puzzles. But there are also platforming elements and mini-games. 

Occasionally there was some backtracking since I didn’t know how to proceed, as the game is not always telling you what to do next. Do yourself the favor and try to solve the puzzle by yourself without looking up the solution. It took my roughly 5 hours (okay let’s be precise: 4,3 hours) to finish the campaign.

To me there is a decent amount of replayability value since the humor and the writing is just excellent and pretty unique. The writing is so witty! But please note, that I played in English and don’t know if the wordplays and the dry sense of humor also works in the other languages the game offers, such German, French or Spanish to just mention a few. There are also multiplayer trophies to find, so in fact I’m looking forward to a 2nd playthrough in couch co-op as soon as this is possible again.

Don’t miss out on this wonderful adventure! 

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Nintendo Direct Benny Kong Prediction

Nintendo Direct Feb 17, 2021 – Predictions & Wild Guesses

Hooray – Nintendo is treating us today with a brand-new Nintendo Direct! That’s a very exciting moment for the entire Nintendo community, as it’s roughly 15 months since this format took place on September 4, 2019.

As it’s always fun to predict a bit what games might be revealed or not, and which titles are on one’s personal wishlist, I kicked around some ideas and would like to share them briefly with you.

Let’s keep in mind that the focus of the Direct is actually on content that will be coming to Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2021, so the predictions cannot be that crazy:

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fighter reveal:
    • Expectation: It’s about time! Crash Bandicoot as playable character
    • Wish: I’d prefer #Shantae or #DixieKong as a new character 😉 
  • Trailer on upcoming features and content for Animal Crossing New Horizons, eg Spring and Summer DLC
  • New trailer & deep dive into New Pokémon Snap
  • The Legend of Zelda 35th anniversary in February 2021:
    • Announcement trailer The Legend of Zelda 35th Anniversary Collection:
      • Ocarina of Time Remastered Version
      • Majora’s Mask Remastered Version
      • Twilight Princess HD
    • For The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword I could imagine dedicated releases that contains some added gameplay/story elements
    • New trailer & reveal of final title of the current working title of The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild 2
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle 2 reveal trailer
  • Another Microsoft IP joins the fun!
    • Rare Replay announcement trailer or – what I’d loovie to see even more:
    • Banjo-Kazooie Remastered Double Pak (Banjo-Kazooie & Banjo-Tooie)
  • Donkey Kong 40th anniversary in July 2021:
    • Since Nintendo is celebrating the anniversaries ending with a “5”, I’m not speculating on a Anniversary Collection such as we had with the Super Mario 3D All-Stars Collection
    • I’d love to get a Donkey Kong Country Trilogy HD Remaster Collection that contains remasters of the SNES series at some point though – an announcement trailer with a release date in the second half of 2021 would be wonderful.
    • More likely than this (since we have the classic SNES games accessible via Nintendo Switch Online) could be indeed a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, since Tropical Freeze was released 7 years ago for Wii U. And also the enhanced port for Nintendo Switch is almost 3 years old. So indeed time for a new Donkey Kong Country adventure.
    • (Note: July 2021 is for me still in the first half of the year :-), so you see how much I wish for a new Donkey Kong Country title)
  • Metroid 35th anniversary in August 2021:
    • Will we finally see the long awaited Metroid Prime: Trilogy HD Collection?
    • The Metroid anniversary is actually not in the timeframe of the games Nintendo wants to cover in this Direct (“first half of the year”), but I could imagine we will see an announcement teaser (no trailer!) of the Trilogy HD Collection.  

And there you have it! What are your predictions or wild guesses? Please let me know! Let’s see which games Nintendo will reveal later this day.

I wish you all a great Nintendo Direct day.

Benny Kong's Pickups in 7 Months

My Nintendo Switch Pickups of the Last 7 Months

The ones that are following me on Twitter, Instagram or keeping up with the blog, may have noticed that I haven’t been that active for a good portion of the beginning of the year 2020. Or let’s be more precise: In particular in the months of March – May 2020, especially during the uncertain and difficult events that started in Asia, spread to Europe, then to the United States and soon locked up pretty much the entire world, I went a bit on radio silence. The last time I shared my pickups was in February 2020 and haven’t shown much of my new additions since. So why haven’t I talked about my pickups on a monthly basis as I usually do? Or haven’t I bought any new video games? Keep reading and find out!

Home Office, Video Games and Economy of Scarcity

To me it is honestly (and luckily) not a new situation to work from home. Over the last years, I mostly worked more days per week remotely than spending time in the office. Of course there were also occasionally working weeks with a lot of physical meetings or business trips, but in general I had the freedom to work wherever I wanted to work from. But it’s a totally new scenario when it’s a recommendation to not only work from home but to stay (the fuck) at home, only to leave the house for the absolute most urgent and most important necessities and practise social distancing. It was a scary and unknown situation, especially in March, April and May 2020!

Often my girlfriend and I got up in the early morning with the intention to buy certain goods in the supermarket or drugstore, such as packed (spelt) bread, pasta or the obvious toilet paper. We were basically lining up in front of the store around opening time, but found ourselves leaving the store empty handed again. Sometimes this happened for several days in a row. Before the real world situation was officially declared as a pandemic, we usually also did our grocery shopping online and used services such as Amazon Fresh* or local food shopping in Germany such as Rewe Online, but during these times in Spring 2020, delivery services were booked out for weeks. Most of the food delivery services even stopped accepting new clients and were only serving regular customers. After several weeks of not being able to order online due to booked out slots, we could finally place a food order again at some point. It felt a bit like normality is coming slowly back.

But not only certain goods (and services!) were scarce! Also FIAT money, like the Dollar or the Euro were scarce – what resulted in crashing markets in March 2020. All major markets, such as the equity market, precious metals, cryptocurrencies or commodities were taking significant hits and investors were panic selling. Since I’m very interested in markets in general, I dedicated a lot of time in paying close attention. So markets started to become an intensive hobby for me in Spring 2020. I used this time to educate myself further, and opened up for instance an account with Trade Republic** Europe’s mobile and commission-free broker*, to trade directly via my phone.

So all of this kept me busy! But there was also a situation with our DHL delivery driver in March 2020 that made me think: We were standing in the stairways, roughly 3 meters away from each other, waiting for his scanner to reboot, while our driver was telling me that his current workload increased tremendously:

People are ordering now basically everything online, currently I’m only managing half my route in time. 

Back in our apartment I looked at my shelf and then in my excel sheet: There were 113 physical Nintendo Switch games in my collection, the majority still sealed, and a huge backlog of games I’m very excited to play. And Animal Crossing New Horizons around the corner! So do I really need to add more games to my collection – and cause my delivery guy more work? And maybe the cause why other people don’t get an immediate order in time, just because my delivery guy dropped a new game delivery at my house? No! I decided that I did not want to be part of the problem, that I want to be happy with the games that I already have and that I wanted to limit myself to only order what really matters.

But by writing this, it’s important for me to state that everybody has different priorities and different needs:

For one, a certain Nintendo Switch game is a necessity as it serves as the perfect item for distraction purposes during these difficult times, whereas for others the same game is just a collective item in the collection, which can also be added later. And for others it’s essential to add a certain game now to the collection, as collecting is the distraction and brings the joy. So we are all different and have different needs – both gamers and collectors. My personal decision to hold back a bit with buying video games is solely based on my individual situation. And that’s mainly also why I haven’t shared that much content on Twitter in spring 2020, but still enjoyed to see others posts on new additions.  

Hardly Any Pickups in April, May and June 2020!

In April 2020, there was no single game delivered to my doorstep, while in May 2020 I added Tetris 99* (because of the included Nintendo Switch Online membership) and Super Rare GamesWorld of Goo (SteelBook version) to my collection. In June 2020 I picked up some more games, but this was just driven by the fact that I did get a huge parcel from Limited Run Games, containing 7 limited print releases that I ordered a pretty while ago: 

Talking about Orders in 2020: A Comparison to 2019

When you are collecting limited print releases, then you know that very often there is a huge time gap between pre-ordering a game and actually getting the game. The Limited Run Games that I received in June 2020, contained in fact pre-orders from November 2019 and January 2020. So with my decision in March 2020 to not hunt down every limited print release, the result (meaning less pickups) will be visible in a couple of months and will not have a direct impact on my additions (and on my delivery guy’s work!) during the pandemic started in Spring 2020. But I really tried to discipline myself and held back in general with my Nintendo Switch orders! That’s the numbers of games that I ordered the last months:

  • March 2020: 2 LRG games (I ordered Animal Crossing New Horizons in February 2020) pre-ordered
  • April 2020: 1 LRG game pre-ordered
  • May 2020: 1 SLG game pre-ordered, 1 general release (Tetris 99)
  • June 2020: 1 LRG game pre-ordered (Shantae!)

As you can see, I really limited myself with new orders in the months of March-June 2020 and only bought basically 6 games in 4 months – which is on average 1,5 games per month. In the same time frame last year, meaning in March-June 2019, I placed orders for 35 games, which averages in 8,75 games per month. So just by looking at these numbers, I can proudly say that I definitely slowed down with ordering new games! That’s a start.

However in July 2020, I placed some more orders again (8 games), which is of course also sometimes (too often!) driven by the releases from limited game companies that you simply just don’t want to miss. So in July 2020 I pre-ordered for instance the Limited Run Games’ Star Wars Episode I: Racer Classic Edition, The friends of Ringo Ishikawa or Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl Classic Edition, and I pre-ordered Untitled Goose Game*.

August 2020 was again a quiet month for me (I only ordered Chroma Squad from Super Rare Games), while also September 2020 was not that busy either: I only ordered the obvious Super Mario 3D All-Stars* release (which is also a limited print release – check my blogpost on this release here) and Tokyo School Life as well as Donut County.

Let’s look again into my ordering behavior of 2019 to better evaluate if I was really able to decrease the amount of Nintendo Switch game orders 2020: 

  • March – September 2020: In these 7 months I (pre-) ordered 19 Nintendo Switch physical games, what is equivalent to 2,71 games per month
  • March – September 2019: In these 7 months I (pre-) ordered 67 Nintendo Switch physical games, what is equivalent to a whopping 9,57 games per month

I hope these numbers above speak for themselves and show that I really changed my collecting behavior and that I limited myself with (pre-) ordering new Nintendo Switch games!

But now to the moment of truth: Which games did I add to my physical Nintendo Switch library during the last 7 months?

My Additions to the Nintendo Switch Collection between March and September 2020

Finally! After talking about plans to pick up less Nintendo Switch games, ordering numbers and lots of other things: The data we are all waiting for:

Benny Kong, what did you add to your collection between March and September 2020?

Over the last 7 months, I added 22 physical Nintendo Switch to my collection, which consists now (as of the time of writing) of 135 games.

In case you are wondering because you counted 23 games on the picture: I don’t count my duplicate Super Mario 3D All-Stars copy twice. In exceptional cases, in which I prefer to buy one physical copy to play and one copy to collect that I keep sealed, I count the game only once.

Along some pickups, the physical games came even some little goodies, such as a sticker, a keychain mini-case or a CD soundtrack, which is always a great value added:

To me, an important measurement for future decisions of buying or not buying normal retail releases is the size of the backlog and the spare time to play video games. So out of the 22 games that I picked up over the last 7 months, I only opened 4 physical games to play them: Meaning, I just played 18% of my new additions. 

I have friends that break the seal of every new game and play it briefly directly after they picked it up. On the contrary, I usually only open a game when I plan to play it for the next days/weeks. So the picture above represents my playing behavior: Usually I’m trying to 100% a game before I’m moving on and starting the next one. Hasbro Game Night* or Animal Crossing New Horizons* are exceptions here obviously, since I haven’t 100%’ed the games yet, and will certainly not do so. 

To conclude this blogpost:

In the course of the last 7 months it was important to me to slow down a bit with adding new Nintendo games to the collection. When looking at my Nintendo Switch additions at the same timeframe last year (March-September 2019), in which I picked up 55 Nintendo Switch games, I consider my plan as a success: As I only added 22 new games, I was indeed able to slow down a bit.

What about you? How many (physical) Nintendo Switch games do you add to your collection on average on a monthly basis? Do you give yourself a certain budget or do you just buy whatever you like? And also super important: Are you trying to save up some money – and even better: Invest some money in Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies), Gold, Silver and stocks? Happy to learn your strategy! 

Affiliate link: In case you haven’t bought the mentioned items yet or just you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate links for Amazon or PlayAsia would mean a world to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

** Sign-up for Trade Republic with my personal invitation link and receive 15 €: https://ref.trade.re/h03qsx7x

Donkey Kong Country SNES Nintendo Switch Online Benny Kong

Playing Donkey Kong Country via Nintendo Switch Online in 2020

The Choice of Systems

Donkey Kong Country (DKC) is one of the most meaningful games to me – as I already highlighted in my retro section of Benny Kong. I own and have played Donkey Kong Country for several Nintendo home consoles, but first fell in love with the game as many others, with the OG version for the Super Nintendo (SNES) from 1994. Consequently I also bought the digital versions for the Wii (2006) and the Wii U (2015). I was actually super excited having this fantastic game playable on (back at the time) Nintendo’s current generation of video game consoles, but something was missing:

The OG Super Nintendo Controller. It provided me not only with super-power when playing with it back in the day, no: It brings back exactly this Donkey Kong Country vibes I felt as a kid – or teenager. Plus: As of now, I consider the Super Nintendo Controller the best controller to navigate Donkey and Diddy through Donkey Kong Island. To me, playing Donkey Kong Country with the original Super Nintendo Controller is a mix between functionality and reminiscences.

Revisiting the digital versions of DKC were never that enjoyable to me, since I was missing that level of control that I usually have with the Super Nintendo Controller. So when I was in the mood for some Donkey Kong Country in the past 20 years to this point, I usually put out my Super Nintendo. As soon as the SNES Classic Mini hit the market in 2017, you could finally play DKC with the Original SNES Controller and relive the DKC vibes – and all good? Basically yes, but there was indeed something that bothered me again:

Since I don’t have a dedicated playroom (yet), from a practicability standpoint it is not the most convenient approach to have a controller cable across the living room, since the controller needs to be connected to the console – as back in the day. That’s cool, but as a kid, I was playing while sitting on my bed, close to the TV; or sitting on the carpet, directly in front of the TV. So nowadays, players like me usually play in different set ups – since the times and places of playing, have changed.

This has of course nothing to do with Donkey Kong Country necessary, but due to this set-up, the SNES Classic Mini has not made my revisit DKC at the end. For sure I could have bought a wireless 3rd party controller, such as the popular ones from 8BitDo* that are quite similar to the OG controller, but only quite.

Finally! In September 2019, Nintendo made an announcement that made many “retro bugs” like me very happy: With a Nintendo Switch Online membership you will now have access to a large collection of Super NES games. Hooray! But wait? No Donkey Kong? Exactly, to the disappointment of many, the Donkey Kong Country series was not added to the catalogue of SNES games for Nintendo Switch Online any earlier than July 2020. And we are not talking about the entire trilogy here, since at the time of writing, only the first title in the series, Donkey Kong Country, is available for Nintendo Switch Online.

Equipped with the wireless Super NES Controller that Nintendo launched in December 2019, I happily took the opportunity to join Donkey and Diddy in one of their best adventures in August 2020 – and played the game like I used too as a kid.

Donkey Kong Country and Super NES – Nintendo Switch Online Features

Donkey Kong Country is considered a hard, but fair game. But! Be prepared to eventually play passages of a level multiple times and to feel relieved when finally reaching the checkpoint (Continue Barrel) or the rewarding exit of the level. It will be necessary to time your jumps, or study certain patterns of enemies or spinning objects, such as moving platforms or Barrel Cannons. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to time the moment when the Kongs are supposed to be shot out of a Barrel Cannon over gaps or to other Barrel Cannon. Certain types of Barrel Cannons are even automatically firing the Kongs when entered.

After you timed precisely several shots out of a Barrel Cannon in a row, just to fire yourself into a Zinger and lose your last Kong! Moments like this can be annoying and the Nintendo Switch online feature “Rewind your game” can come handy to decrease these moments of frustration. I tried nevertheless to use this feature as little as possible, to keep the game as close as possible to the experience from back in the day. But for sure:

Sometimes it’s just too handy to quickly rewind the game when you were hit by this lonely Kritter waiting for you directly in front of the exit, instead of restarting the level from the Continue Barrel. On the other hand these moments are also bittersweet, as you are kind of upset with the developers of the game (back at this time: Rareware, second-party developer for Nintendo, now Rare and a studio of Xbox Game Studios) and ask yourself “Why-the-Kong” they are so mean doing this to you! But this anger usually drives you in the second try for a perfect run, just in order to show “them” (the developers) that you can do better. And by re-playing, you will usually automatically collect bananas and other valuable items to be rewarded with extra lives as a positive side-effect.

So don’t over-use this rewind feature since nowadays platformers usually are not “trolling” you that much anymore. Enjoy these R(r)are moments!

I can remember the struggle as a kid, teenager or now adult, how difficult it was sometimes to reach Candy Kong in order to save your progress in the game. In particular in later worlds, such as in Vine Valley or Kremkroc Industries Inc., mastering 3 or 4 levels in a row without the opportunity to visit Candy’s Save Point, can be a real struggle. 

As a result you saw the Game Over screen once in a while (or maybe even too often), but at some point and after sufficient enough practice (and after some cursing here and there), you finally made it to Candy. In the Nintendo Switch Online version it’s up to each gamer if they want to use Nintendo Switch Online’s “Pick up and play” feature, where you can create individual save files and jump back into the action where you left off: 

Using this feature makes playing Donkey Kong Country obviously much easier as on the original SNES version, where you had to fight hard for a save point.

Even Candy confirms that we are coming a long way!

It is also important to know that Candy’s Save Point only saves your progress and does not save lives or bananas collected. So in case you stacked up a lot of lives and resetted or switched off your SNES, you started exactly with 5 lives again. And 5 lives sometimes aren’t enough tries to get to Candy – or to use Funky Kong’s “Funky’s Flight” that allows you to travel to areas of Donkey Kong Island that you already visited, and jump in Candy’s “Save Barrel”.

Start and Select Instead of Rewind

Both Nintendo Switch Online features (rewind, pick up and play) are absolutely not unique to Donkey Kong Country, but in my opinion they do have a big influence on the gaming experience – maybe even to a bigger degree than on other games. Creating aforementioned suspend points can provide a certain level of convenience in games such as Super Soccer, where the player doesn’t have to use any passwords anymore. But this convenience aspect does not have any influence on the difficulty of the game itself, such as in DKC, or Super Mario World, where the gamer usually needs to access a save point in order to save the progress.

Paired with the rewind feature, both Nintendo Switch Online functionalities reduce potential moments of frustration and Game Over screens significantly, which makes Donkey Kong Country more accessible and enjoyable. This is great for e.g. players with less experience in platformers, but also comes handy for gamers that aren’t used to such challenging games as we had back in the day. In nowadays platformers there aren’t usually even any Game Over screens or progress lost in order to avoid frustration and also to appeal to a younger generation of players.

The rewind feature can be great for backtracking and screening the level for secret paths and bonus rooms. But when it’s about to beat the level in the first place, the feature should be used with care in my opinion, since it can break the smooth gameplay that the game provides. In my experience the player is better off when just playing a certain passage again to get into the flow, practice to time jumps or memorize patterns of enemies, or it’s recommended to press Start and Select to quickly exit and re-enter the level. This not only increases the likelihood by finally mastering the passage you had problems with, but this additional practice might also contribute to your overall DKC gaming skills. And last but not least: You will automatically collect bananas and stack up some lives, what makes the game a bit easier to beat eventually. Same applies as well for backtracking: When you smash a Barrel into a wall, hoping the fragile wall will lead into a Bonus Level, what turned out unsuccessful: Just hit Start and Select

Donkey Kong Country is a Must-Play

In case you haven’t played the Donkey Kong Country yourself yet: 

Please do so, it’s really great! In my opinion, Donkey Kong Country is one of the best games ever made. It’s absolutely worth playing in 2020 and beyond. Donkey Kong Country sold over nine million copies and became a milestone in gaming history. Highly innovative and ground-breaking graphics in 1994, as well as a never aging, fantastic and remarkable soundtrack in 2020. Without Donkey Kong Country, this blog would not be called Benny Kong. And playing it via Nintendo Switch Online, with the wireless Super NES Controller, that’s the best package. The Donkey Kong Countries series and the Super NES Controller belong together.

I truly hope that Nintendo will release Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3 at some point as well and I am also looking forward to playing these games again – on my Nintendo Switch. Preferably I’d love to have a Donkey Kong Country Trilogy HD Remaster Collection (for instance paired with Donkey Kong Country Returns) on one cartridge.

Or some more wishful thinking: Imagine there will be true remakes, that will let us enjoy the Donkey Kong Country series games in such a brilliant quality, as it is being showcased here for Donkey Kong Country 2:

But until we get there, I’m happy to have these remarkable games accessible via Nintendo Switch Online.  And it seemed as Big N has read my thoughts: Basically in the midst of publishing this article, Nintendo announced that the direct sequel to Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2 – Diddy’s Kong Quest, will be added to the Super Nintendo – Nintendo Switch Online library, September 23, 2020. That’s fantastic news!

Please stay tuned – I am not done with my Donkey Kong Country coverage: In of my next blog posts I’ll be taking you on my journey through Donkey Kong Island, going for all 101% that you can find in the game.

What are you thoughts on Donkey Kong Country – and maybe in particular playing it via Nintendo Switch Online? Which Donkey Kong Country game is your favorite in the series? Let me know in the comments section!

* Affiliate link: In case you intent to purchase any items mentioned in the article or just you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate link for Amazon would mean the world to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

Super Mario 3D All Stars Benny Kong

It’s Mario Time – Super Mario 3D All-Stars Announcement Time

It has been rumored for quite some time over the course of 2020: A notorious Super Mario 3D Collection will hit the Nintendo Switch. Obviously one of the worst kept secrets in Nintendo’s video gaming year 2020 so far!

First brought to light by VGC back in March 2020 and eventually announced by Nintendo during a dedicated Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct on September 3, 2020, we finally know the what, and the when: The long-rumoured Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection will be available for Nintendo Switch, September 18, 2020.

Cued in by a “It’s a me, Mario”, the Super Mario 3D All-Stars announcement trailer answered some essential questions on the contents of this collection.

Get Ready for Mario’s 35th anniversary with Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch!

First things first – what can we expect? The collection will include optimized versions of following classic 3D platformers:

  • Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64, 1996): improved picture resolution, 4:3 visuals (720p docked and portable)
  • Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube, 2002): higher-resolution, 16:9 visuals (1080p docked, 720p portable)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, 2007): 16:9 visuals, 1080p docked, 720p portable.

All 3 iconic games will feature Joy-Con controls as well as Pro Controller support. The bundle will also contain an in-game music player mode that allows you to listen to a catalogue of 175 timeless Super Mario tunes.

It’s feels super-right to finally have these three Mario titles from three different console generations bundled up for Nintendo Switch:

Interestingly it seems that Nintendo never revealed a blockbuster game with such a short notice: Based on the day of the announcement, Super Mario 3D All-Stars* will hit physical and digital shelves only 15 (fifteen) days later. And another super important fact:

The collection will be available as a limited-run retail edition and a digital version that will be only on sale until March 2021. This limited-time only aspect caused a lot of polarization among both players and collectors and will be discussed later on in this article.

No Love for Super Mario Galaxy 2?

Since the idea of a Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection first leaked, the aspect whether Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be part of the collection or not was speculated heavily. As we know now, at the time of writing, the Wii game from 2010 will not be included in this Nintendo Switch 35th Anniversary celebration edition. This is surprising, since for many players, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is considered better than its predecessor, Super Mario Galaxy:

One leading opinion for Super Mario Galaxy 2 as the better overall game is that the level design is by far more creative, there are more stars to be found, it’s the longer game and Yoshi makes his debut in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and introduces new gameplay mechanics. As I actually haven’t played Super Mario Galaxy 2 myself yet (but I have it in my Wii collection), I can’t take any side here.

So why is Nintendo excluding Super Mario Galaxy 2 from Super Mario 3D All-Stars? And more interestingly: Why hasn’t Nintendo even mentioned the Wii game in their entire Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct? Everybody that doesn’t know better, could claim Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t even exist.

For sure, Big N doesn’t need to justify their decision why not re-releasing a certain game, but gives us players and collectors certainly room to speculate now.

Looking at the commercial side, Super Mario Galaxy 2 hasn’t sold that well as Super Mario Galaxy did (7.41 Mio. units vs 12.8 Mio.). But Super Mario Galaxy 2 outperformed Super Mario Sunshine regarding sales units (6.28 Mio.). This could be based on the fact that the Wii has a much bigger installation base than the GameCube has. Nevertheless, I don’t think that Nintendo’s decision to not include Super Mario Galaxy 2 in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection was a sales-driven one. To me it seems that Nintendo may have further plans with Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Maybe there is a new Super Mario Galaxy 3 in development, and to market this release most efficiently, we will get a separate Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 collection to create momentum? Or we might even get an entire Super Mario Galaxy collection, including Super Mario Galaxy 1 -3? Or maybe more realistically – but still wishful thinking: There are still a lot of ideas that haven’t been used for Super Mario Galaxy 2 and we will get a Super Mario Galaxy 2 – The Lost Galaxies release?

I’d love all of that! But I honestly wouldn’t appreciate when the only reason why Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not on the Super Mario 3D All-Stars cartridge is that Nintendo can release the title separately later on. For sure Nintendo could have ran into some development delay and haven’t managed to finish the Super Mario Galaxy 2 remaster to be ready for the 35th Anniversary collection.

Or Nintendo simply didn’t want to flood the market with too many Super Mario releases and overwhelm players with too many options? But when, when not during the Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary celebrations?

My Thoughts on the Limited Run Aspect

Another controversial aspect is Nintendo’s limited-run policy on this release: As we learnt, Super Mario 3D All-Stars will only be on sale from September 18, 2020 until March 2021, physically and digitally. The physical boxed version is a limited run print that can be bought as long as supply lasts, whereas the digital version will be removed from point of sale at the end of March 2021. These practices arouse a lot of question marks among the Nintendo community, but is not completely new:

In 2010, Nintendo released the Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary collection for Wii. The compilation contained the four classic Super Mario Bros. games from the NES area, combined together with a booklet detailing the history of the series and an audio soundtrack of the platforming games of the Mario series.

But the interesting part of the story is that the collection was a limited run as well: Despite the “Limited Edition” aspect, Nintendo issued re-prints of the Wii retail version under the Nintendo Selects label in 2016. However, this 2016 re-release did not contain any bonus material though. So can we maybe expect that Nintendo will also be doing a re-run of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection at some point? Time will tell.

So what the physical limited print is concerned that’s not completely new. But today we are also talking about a delisting of the digital version of Super Mario 3D All-Stars at the end of March 2021, which is being criticized a lot. In general one could argue that special anniversary collections are quite common in all industries – may it be music albums, clothing, cologne, or even cars. All kinds of brands are bundling up certain goodies to celebrate a variety of occasions, and customers can benefit from these special offers. Are these certain purchase opportunities extended, special collections are usually not purchasable in the way they used to be in this special timeframe. One was lucky to snag this limited edition, whereas others were missing out (and are complaining now).

Although we are mainly talking about physical goods here, I think honestly, that this also can apply to digital goods: 

Nintendo is giving us a window to buy a special product to celebrate Mario’s 35th Anniversary – so should I still be able to buy this dedicated 35th Anniversary product in 2023, when Mario celebrates his 38th birthday? Maybe there will be even a better product out in three years?

The fact that Nintendo is releasing three iconic platformers in one collection at a fair price, should be considered as a gift – and not being taken for granted. All three games could be also released individually at a later stage, but that’s usually not that handy from a customer standpoint as having the games bundled up in one collection. We don’t know what plans Nintendo has for all of these three games in the future. But one’s for certain: Nintendo needs to protect their titles’ individual value, their Intellectual Property (IP), and not dilute the value by having too many releases out there. The argument that Super Mario Sunshine sees its first digital re-release since the GameCube release in 2002, supports this value protection approach.

Nintendo is entertaining us with Mario games since 1985 and provides us with tons of hours of gameplay – but Nintendo is also running a successful business that needs to be sustainable. And protecting the business’ IP by carefully balancing the amount of re-releases per title, is an essential aspect and understandable approach in my mind.  

My Verdict on this 3 in 1 Collection

I think it’s great to finally have these three iconic 3D platformers with Super Mario 3D All-Stars on one cartridge – or available as one download. And that’s why I also pre-ordered a physical copy (actually even two physical copies for collecting purposes), and given the limited nature of this release, I even consider buying the digital version. 

Since I only 100%’ed Super Mario 64 so far and never finished Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy, I’m really looking forward to revisiting these games on Nintendo Switch. My plan is to play them all in chronological order to witness the evolution of Mario’s 3D adventures at best.

As Super Mario 64 is one of my favorite games of all time, I can’t wait to play it on Nintendo Switch – despite the fact that I beat it a couple of times on my Nintendo 64, and completed the game even on the Wii U back in 2016. Nintendo also released a digital version of Super Mario Galaxy for Wii U in 2015, but since you were required to play the game with Wii Remote and Nunchuk, I never purchased that version digitally for Wii U. The motion controls aspect was actually the reason why I was never that much into that classic game from 2007. So I’m really excited to dig into the game – playing with my Pro Controller. What Super Mario Sunshine is concerned, this is the very first time that we will get a ported version of the GameCube platformer – what may explain the hype on this release. And also my hype – as the Benny Kong guy, that never finished the game back in 2002.  

But there are also some downsides of Super Mario 3D All-Stars:

As highlighted earlier, there are a lot of criticisms that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection – and I’m honestly disappointed here as well. The fact that the platformer is missing may be due to several reasons, but there are even some scenarios, which will make it up to us. So even though Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not included in the 35th Anniversary collection, doesn’t mean necessary that the game will not be released on Nintendo Switch at some point. 

Another downside of this Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection we are getting for Nintendo Switch is the aspect that the package only contains optimized versions of the games. At the time of writing we don’t know exactly if Nintendo has some surprises planned since we only know the trailer so far, but currently we are promised higher resolutions and an optimized gameplay experience for Nintendo Switch.

I honestly also thought that we will get proper remastered versions, such as Activision’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy* or Spyro Reignited Trilogy* which are actually remaked versions – often also categorized as remasters. But to me, we have to differentiate between a remaster, which is usually just some (quick) fixes and improvements of the resolution, e.g. HD coat of paint, additions of new effects, improved interfaces etc, or a full remake. The amount of work for a remake is considerably higher, since in Activision’s case, the games were built from the scratch using a different engine, what’s the reason why the Crash or Spyro Trilogy versions are absolutely stunning and provide a gorgeous visual improved experience, as you can see below:  

Honestly I also wished that at least Super Mario 64 will be a remake, instead of only applying resolution updates and releasing it as a remaster – what is basically an enhanced port. It’d have been so amazing to see new assets such textures for walls or the grass, as Nintendo demonstrated already in the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey:

Wouldn’t this be wonderful? I was really hopeful that Super Mario 64 will be a remake, giving the gratitude of this game – and the occasion, as it’s Mario’s 35th Anniversary. And! Nintendo is not new to remakes! Nintendo also remade the Super Mario Bros. series from the NES and bundled them into a Super Mario All-Stars collection for the Super NES in 1993. 

Not only had every game in Super Mario All-Stars been remade; brand new and totally redrawn graphics utilizing the rich colour palette of the Super Nintendo, Nintendo also added the western release of the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, presented here as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, to the collection.

That’s exactly what most of us also wished for Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch: Getting a remake with some gameplay goodies, such as additional playable content, instead of an optimized remaster with a music player.

So what about you? Are you happy with Super Mario 3D All-Stars? Have you pre-ordered already? Which game will you be playing first? Let me know in the comments section!

* Affiliate link: In case you haven’t bought Super Mario 3D All-Stars yet or just you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate links for Amazon or PlayAsia would mean a galaxy to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

Animal Crossing Fishing

Animal Crossing New Horizons is Missing You

Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH) has been out now for more than 4 months and many of us are still playing the title on a daily basis. The daily activities are usually dragging the player in the game, since it feels rewarding to hunt every day for new recipes, get the message in a bottle, plant a money tree, catch new fish or bugs, find new fossils, talk to other villagers, shop for new clothes, furniture or K.K. Slider records, check the Turnip price and make perhaps a profit on the Stalk Market, visit friends’ islands, fill up one’s Nook Miles account by participating in activities around the Deserted Island … or just be creative in one’s house or make one’s island a more beautiful island to live on. Maybe even the latest summer updates and added activities such as swimming, diving or since some days: dreaming via the Dream Suite, let you play ACNH regularly?

Pause From the Island Vacay After 130 Hours

I basically stopped playing ACNH after 125 hours, which was actually in the middle of June 2020. Not because I was bored I think, but I haven’t had that much time playing (after work) or the weekends lately, and when I had only a little time to play, I prefered going back to more challenging games, such as New Super Lucky’s Tale* or Horizon Chase Turbo*, where my jump’n’run or racing skills are needed. Or let’s say it differently: Maybe I’m not just bringing the creativity to the table, that ACNH requires to really really have fun with it – in the long run. But then I popped in the Animal Crossing* cartridge into my Nintendo Switch again at the end of June 2020 for some hours – exactly after not being on the island for 13 days.

In case you are still playing on a daily basis and you haven’t taken any break from Animal Crossing New Horizons yet, please consider that the rest of the article contains spoilers. Since I’m not time-travelling myself, I don’t know if the response of your villagers to your absence is similar, but let’s see now how my island, BK Isle, welcomed me when I returned. 

How BK Isle Did React to My Comeback

I actually expected that the island changed a lot, everything would be full of weeds, villagers would have left or new villagers would have moved in; or villagers would tell me how much they missed me. Maybe even some bugs would welcome me when I entered my house – that’s how I can remember it from the GameCube version, that I played around 2004.

In a way I was a bit disappointed, since my villagers’ reactions were not that emotional as I thought they would be. Neither there weren’t any bugs in the house. And the island also did not look like the Deserted Island I thought it would look like. Maybe I was just not gone that long – what was actually true! 13 days, that is not too long. Maybe for me it felt that long, since I was pretty busy these 13 days and haven’t managed to play other games intensively during that time.

But at least there were some reactions from my villagers – not emotionally as I expected it though, haha.

A Longer Break from the Island Life

To be frank, this rainy day at the end of June, it was June 28, 2020, did not motivate me further to continue playing ACNH. I put the game aside – again.

At the end of July 2020, not in particular because of the announcement of the Summer Wave 2 Update, I felt the urge to pay my island a visit. I was interested in which fish and bugs were added in July 2020, and so plugged in the ACNH cartridge again. But what was that?

After Isabelle’s daily drill, I was totally surprised and even thought there was something wrong with the game! Bravo Nintendo, this is exactly what I wanted to see! And I have not even expected this – so ACNH totally surprised me.

And even entering the house made me smile!

My Villagers Were Worried

Also my villagers seemed to miss me – for real! And it’s actually super funny, since this is actually the reason why I’m not so active at the moment – as I also shared on Twitter:

Let’s look into some more reactions of my villagers!


I’d have not just left like this, dear Deirdre!


I Always enjoy talking to you, Maple! Do not worry!


Aww cute – Flip was about to visit me!


Ohh no, I’m sorry about your apple strudel, Portia!

Animal Crossing New Horizons is Missing You – Differently

As first hand experienced, obviously Animal Crossing New Horizons* is missing you – and differentiates between the duration of the player’s absence. That’s a feature that I like a lot. Let’s see if there will be further differences, eg different animations for 2 months, 6 months or even 1 year or more of not switching on one’s Nintendo Switch to play Animal Crossing New Horizons.

What I don’t appreciate is that Tom Nook, who plays one of the most important role in ACNH, and all other characters in essential functions, such as Isabelle, or that are operating stores, such as the Able Sisters or Timmy and Tommy from Nook’s Cranny, have not noticed that the player left the island for quite some time. Basically Tom Nook and Isabelle, who are running Resident Services should be interested in the whereabouts of their villagers and should be on top of things, but maybe that’s something that Nintendo will patch in at some point.

I’ll keep you posted on that – either with a follow up article or on the comments section.

Have you experienced something similar? How many hours have you put into ACNH so far? Are you still playing the game or have you moved to the next title? Happy to learn more about this in the comment section!

* Affiliate link: In case you haven’t bought Animal Crossing New Horizons yet or you are interested in any other Animal Crossing New Horizons items and you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate links for Amazon or PlayAsia would mean the world to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

Bamby & Benny Kong in Animal Crossing

My First 100 Hours in Animal Crossing New Horizons – The Rise of BK Isle

Animal Crossing New Horizons is Different

It does not happen to me that I’m playing a video game every day – almost as a routine -, without even noticing how much time I actually invest in the game and how little I actually achieve. In most of the games I play I’m looking for challenges and want to achieve something: master the level, find all collectibles, discover secret areas, beat bosses, win races, or solve puzzles. Usually, when playing my favorite video game series such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Banjo-Kazooie, or Yooka-Laylee, I’m always getting to a point where the game feels like a challenge. In a fun way for sure, but nevertheless competitive in such a way, that I cannot relax while playing after a long working day or on the weekends, which usually requires some warm-up time to get back into the controls to play as efficiently as you were a few days ago.

So when for instance attempting to master the “Final Kingdom” in Super Mario Odyssey*, “The Darker Side”, or trying to beat “The Impossible Lair” (the OG version) in Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair*, I had to ban my girlfriend from the living room because I needed full concentration. So understandable, that you cannot relax with such challenging video game moments when being exhausted. But Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH) is different and fills exactly this void for me personally: Playing a video game in a relaxing atmosphere without the necessity to time jumps accurately or to study different patterns or hit zones of enemies in order to proceed.

In the following blog post I’d like to take you on a journey through my first 100 hours in ACNH and share my personal highlights. You might all have experienced similar scenes on your island, but in these difficult days where staying home is the recommended option, moments where we can walk and meet freely digitally, can be much more appreciated. Please note that the article may contain spoilers, although I’ll not focus on the storyline.

Benny Kong’s Arrival on BK Isle

What a crazy coincidence! How does the game know that me, Benny Kong who is supposed to be a Kong, coming directly from the Donkey Kong universe, provides me with two other monkeys as my fellow villagers? No better neighbors than Flip and Rocket!

Tent Mornings

Can you remember “them days”, waking up to the sound of your brand-new Hi-Fi stereo system was pumping? CD1, track 10? This is what I felt when waking up in my tent on BK Isle the very first morning.

I dreamt I was a cowboy!

Island Life

This is what I’d like to do: Chillax, let the world go by, and play some Nintendo Switch. This picture stands for the majority of my working weeks in March and April 2020: Having a little break with ACNH after all the online meetings were done, spending some minutes on the island, just to get back fresh to the desk to wrap up the working day.

Mabel’s First Visit

…. and there she is! BK Isle definitely needs a bigger variety of clothes to shop than the limited apparel Tim Nook has to offer, so I am happy to see Mabel visiting and having a little merch stand. Flip knows what I’m talking about. 

Drop-Off Box, But Only 80%?

Nahh, not with Benny Kong! I don’t know what your strategy is, but I actually wanted to sell my hard caught bugs or fishes for 100% of the market price, and not only for 80%. So to skip the handling fee and sell for the entire shop trade-in value, I hoarded my valuable goods every night just right in front of Nook’s Cranny …

… or directly near the beach. That’s how you cash in big-time the next morning in Animal Crossing New Horizons!

My First Flight

It was time to do some island hopping and pay the airport a visit. My first trip was actually about visiting my friend Marco’s island, who you may remember from my very first blogpost on Benny Kong. It was super fun! Visiting friends in Animal Crossing New Horizons is actually a wonderful thing – not only because of the difficult times of confinement in current times. Stay tuned, as I’m planning to dedicate an entire blogpost on visiting friends in ACNH.

The Bench

Not only Forrest Gump, but also my villagers consider the bench on BK Island as the perfect spot to have proper chat. In particular in the beginning of the game, since there were not many other attractions on the island, the bench came in handy and was visited frequently.

First Rain on BK Island

Nothing new in The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild*, but in Animal Crossing New Horizons I had to wait almost 2 weeks (although I played daily), to see my first rain. Here you see me posing in front of the newly built Nook’s Cranny.

… or rocking my brand-new, customized designed BK Cap while fishing. Fishing in the rain! Did you know that fishing on a rainy day is the only possibility to catch a Coelacanth? Infamous for being one of the rarest fish in the Animal Crossing series, Coelacanth is back in New Horizons. Another benefit of having rain in ACNH is that you don’t have to water any flowers on a rainy day.

The Museum is Built!

And another highlight – and I don’t mean the exclusive BK shirt that my girlfriend designed kindly for me: After donating sufficient unique creatures to Blathers, the loquacious owl decides to move permanently to the island and upgrades the tent museum into a proper one. That’s how you unlock the museum in Animal Crossing New Horizons*. Splendidly! At the time of writing, I’m considering moving the museum a bit more up north. 

Ain’t No Party as a Rocket Party …

… as a Rocket party dooooon’t stop! I was pleasantly surprised when I entered Rocket’s house to find her celebrating her birthday together with Flip. Too kind that they both even waited for me to kick off the celebrations. 

Let’s get that party started.
Birthday vibes!

A bit of a bummer: As you probably can see from the timestamp: Since I came empty-handed (never got an official invite to the party tho), I quickly left the party to check out my storage in order to find a present for Rocket. By the time I got back to her place, the party stopppped. 

Mystery Island Tours

A great way to refill the stocks on wood, weeds, stones, clay or iron nuggets or even find new types of flowers in ACNH, are Mystery Island Tours. But there is also the chance to find a random villager on these islands, that can be talked into moving to your island as a permanent resident. That’s how I found one of my favorite villagers as of now: Alfonso.

BK is Taking Applications …

… for new villagers to move in. Here I proudly crafted all the required items for a villager after placing the housing kit. Tom Nook was obviously happy with my work. And the fact that I’m literally working for free, but that’s what we all do, don’t we?

You Gotta Love What the Villagers Are Up to

It’s always super nice to discover what your villagers are up to! Here you see Rocket doing some serious weight lifting in the middle of the night. I’m still looking for this dumbbell or her sports jacket. Anybody happen to have a spare jacket in their storage? 

BK Isle Has a New Villager …

… and not only “a” new villager: My girlfriend decided to join BK Isle. After watching me playing for almost a month, and being actually involved in core decisions such as naming the island, placing the first bridge, the museum or Nook’s Crannys, my girlfriend was ready to start her own digital island adventure on the not-so-anymore-deserted-island in Animal Crossing New Horizons. Important side note: Since the launch of the Nintendo Switch on March 3, 2017, my girlfriend played maybe 1 hour in total. So this was indeed a big step and speaks for Animal Crossing New Horizons as a game – and for reaching new target groups.

Bamby & Benny Kong in Animal Crossing

What the hole!

What was that? After playing ACNH for more than a month, there are always surprises and animations I haven’t seen before. Lovely.


Ready for My Second Room

Time to pay that loan and to expand my house, but what to do with the second room? An office, a bedroom? Or a kitchen? I actually still don’t know yet, and that’s why I’m using the room for the time-being to store some items I have some ideas for what to do with. The same applies to the 3rd and 4th room that I already unlocked by the way, haha. 

May Day Tour!

The May Day labyrinth was actually more challenging than expected. I made it to Rover (first trial!), but did not manage to reach all Bell Vouchers. Challenge accepted, labyrinth reset – and playing it for the second time, I was able to be more resourceful with my items in order to reach all Bell Tickets. 

I even developed my own little strategy to save the shovel, but found out later on Twitter, that the shovel will not break while attempting to master the labyrinth anyways.

Save the shovel!

Mabel’s Shop

Part of my daily routine is to visit the Mabel shop to hunt for some new clothes. I really love it and try to combine as many styles as possible. 

And coincidentally my alter ego Benny Kong also likes to match shorts with boots – something my girlfriend tells me every summer, that these two don’t go along …

My Cousin is in Town

I love art and appreciate the Animal Crossing New Horizons May update! The addition of Redd visiting the island once and while is quite fun and I enjoy this little art shopping on his ship.

Resident Services Make-Over

What a great moment! Tom Nook is finally packing his stuff to move in a bigger, proper building. I had to screenshot my last visit to the Resident Services tent and documented the further process. Let’s all welcome Isabelle as the newest member of the Resident Services staff and let’s celebrate the Resident Services upgrade.

Midnight Beach Walks

Loving the walks along the beach during the night! I would not mind also going for a stroll daytime, but most of the time I play Animal Crossing New Horizons* late in the night – after work and dinner. But when the weekend kicks in, I’m looking forward to enjoying the beauty of the island during the daytime. Time to appreciate the sunshine and to put on my digital sun blocker! 

Campside is Built!

I can’t state that I’m a big camping fan myself, but at the moment the campsite is my favorite part of BK island. Another commemorative photo of the inauguration, plus having our first campsite visitor, Eugene, the smug koala villager, that eventually moved to our island.

My First Villager Invite via amiibo

Finally! Our first campsite visitor that we selected via amiibo. Directly after the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct in February 2020 (watch here), I was lucky to snag some amiibo cards* before prices skyrocketed or cards even sold out. We made a selection of villagers that we would like to invite via amiibo to BK Isle. Maple was the first one – and spoiler alert: She wanted to stay.

And there you have it! A lot happened in my first 100 hours playing Animal Crossing New Horizons. 

What are your highlights in ACNH so far? How many hours have you been playing already? Are you still playing or have you moved to the next game? Happy to learn more about this in the comment section! And please let me know if you are interested in a follow-up article covering my upcoming 100 hours in Animal Crossing New Horizons. 

* Affiliate link: In case you haven’t bought Animal Crossing New Horizons yet or you are interested in any other Animal Crossing New Horizons items and you would like to support the blog, using my affiliate links for Amazon or PlayAsia would mean the world to me. Not to get rich, just to get the blog going. Thank you for your support!

Benny Kong Super Rare Games Shirt

Why I Have Subscribed Again to the Super Rare Club

Yes, I did it again. 

But it’s not a “oops, I did it again” – no, it is more like: Yes, I was enabled to do it again, since Super Rare Games, the European publisher and distributor for physical Nintendo Switch indie games, decided to run the Super Rare Club again in the year 2020. But why did I want to join the club again? In short: Based on my experience as a club member in 2019, it was totally worth it. Are you still undecided if you should join? Maybe I can support you in your thought process! Let’s find out which features of the club provided me value in 2019 and made me renew my membership.

Access to Games 48 hours Prior Their General Release

This pre-order feature before the official release is the most important benefit to me. With it you get 48 hrs prior to the official release an email with links to the products that are about to go on sale. You will get access to all Super Rare Game products, which are usually the Standard Game and the Trading Cards, every couple of months the Triple Game Bundle and the Triple Cards Bundle – as well as from time to time even the Collectors Edition. So basically, everything what Super Rare Games will have in store soon, can be bought  almost 2 days earlier – stress-free and with the guarantee that you will get the items which you want to buy. Being a member removes any potential stress associated with going through the buying process – what is a huge value added to me. Who doesn’t feel a certain kind of stress when putting items in the cart on release day and trying to finish the payment as quickly as possible, hoping that the items will not be sold out till the payment goes through? Been there, felt that!

In addition to this stress factor on release days, it is the increased flexibility you gain as a club member: You do not have to shop at a specific time – you have suddenly a specific timeframe to pre-order your items. Launch days were sometimes difficult for me: In my time zone, in Europe (Germany) games are usually available for pre-order at 7 PM; a time where I had sometimes already dinner plans, tickets for the theatre, was on a flight or still sitting in a meeting. As a club member though, I’m totally independent from this launch day.

What’s New in 2020: Quantities of Games & Number of Releases

In the context of any potential purchasing stress on the release day of games, I’m aware that Super Rare Games’ titles aren’t selling out that quick since the print number was increased from 4.000 to 5.000 units in 2019 – and some of the titles haven’t even sold out at the time of writing. Usually you never know how quickly games will be selling prior to their release, so in my mind I’m better off paying the price of a game for the membership for an entire year, instead of chasing a certain game I might have missed because I underestimated the popularity of it – and pay a premium for it. In many cases the markup for limited print copies is double or even triple the original price point on secondary markets such as eBay. And in case you didn’t know: Super Rare Games will be doing some smaller runs in 2020 again: 4,000 units instead of 5,000. Meaning: Some of the upcoming games might again sell out quicker than usual.

Another change for 2020 will be the number of releases: In both 2018 and 2019 Super Rare Games released 12 physical games per year – which meant basically 1 title per month. Recently it has been announced that we can expect 18 titles in the year 2020, which will be 1,5 games per month – or in other words: Every 3 weeks a new Super Rare Games release. Meaning: Without the club you have to block out a certain time every 3 weeks to not miss the launch date of a game you are interested in. In case you are a club member however, you can take it a bit easier, since you will have a launch window of 48 hrs in which you can place your order. Flexible and stress-free. Super Rare Games’ announcement of the decreased number of units per game, and the increased number of releases, contributed clearly to my decision to renew my membership.

Exclusive Game Announcements, Insider Information & Dedicated Super Rare Club Community

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Emails with this golden logo on top do mean: Club news – not to be shared outside the club!

All of the following perks are some club features that already made the sell last year for me! It’s great to be part of the club and get some information, first hand before they will be shared publicity. In most of the cases (not in all): The Club knows first which game will be dropped next. Sometimes some days before, sometimes just some minutes. Important rule here: What happens in the club, stays in the club. From my own experience I can assure you, that the community keeps a close eye on social media channels such as Twitter and immediately interfere, in case a club member shares information that should stay in the club. Once we had a situation with one of the very first game announcements that was shared via email with the club, since a big Nintendo exclusive media outlet posted the news on Twitter just minutes after. Some members, including me, were confronting the account immediately why they are leaking this kind of club news. We learnt later that the media outlet had the exclusivity to announce Super Rare Games’ latest release. So all good. But the system worked, members are protecting the club.

In addition to exclusive game announcements, you can also expect to get insider information on titles as a club member, as well as surveys which genres we are most interested in – or just things that George has in mind. Which is a great deal, as you just feel more connected to Super Rare Games by being part of this special mailing list. I personally would like to get more exclusive stories, such as why certain games were picked (as George did once for Adventure Pals),
who is playing what at Super Rare Games – just some random stuff in the world of Super Rare Games.

On top of all of this: As a Super Rare Club member you will be also added to the Super Rare Games server – which contains only members and the Super Rare Team. The community is pretty neat there: Active, friendly, supportive – and so is the entire Super Rare Games staff. A dedicated #Trading-Card-Trading channel or #Game-Suggestions are just two channels that I like to visit regularly.

Priority & Premium Shipping and a 25% Discount on Merchandise

The free premium packing and priority shipping is another feature of the club I value: Maybe not that obvious at first glance, but usually, games will be shipped out on the release date or even sometimes before it, by consequence you are really one of the first ones to get it. The free premium packing might be something you do not consider that relevant, but as soon as you get your first premium packaged game, you will not want to go back – as the packaging really protects your limited print copy. 

Another cool benefit (one use only) is a 25% discount on any purchased merchandise. To be frank, I’ve shopped almost all the merch Super Rare Games has in stock but completely forgot to use my code. As you can see below, I bought the Super Rare Trading Card Binder, the Snake Pass OST Vinyl Album as well as some Super Rare Games Shirts – the latter might be an item I will buy again by the end of January to not waste my discount.

For 2020 I hope Super Rare Games will expend their merch by adding a Super Rare Games Sweater/Hoodie or even cardigan. This would be perfect for Winter/Fall. Who wouldn’t like to rock such a hoodie? Maybe only with a little logo on the chest (as for the shirts) – without the print on the back?

So there you have it: This is why I renewed my membership. In case you are wondering: I did purchase 7 out of 12 games in 2019 – so I did not go for a complete 2019 set, as I was not interested in all the games. But the club membership did nevertheless pay off for me personally, as the club provides me with the certainty and flexibility to get the limited print games I really want to get – plus has some great add ons in place.   

Do any of these benefits justify a SRG Club Membership 2020 for you? Were you already a member in 2019 as well? If so, did you renew your membership – and if not, why haven’t you renewed it? Signups will be running for the duration of January 2020 – so you still have some days to make up your mind. Happy to learn what you think in the comments’ section.

* This blog post is not sponsored by Super Rare Games and solely expresses my personal experiences with the described club membership.  

Benny Kong Nintendo Switch May 2019

My Physical Additions to the Nintendo Switch Library in May 2019

Welcome to my May! As already introduced some weeks ago, I’m happy to bring the monthly series on my physical additions to the Nintendo Switch library to Benny Kong.

This month I have even another little addition: From now on, I’ll share with you my entire monthly pickups! Meaning, we will also have a look into the Wii U, Wii department and for sure, into my retro additions. Whatever I did get! For the time being, I’ll separate my Nintendo Switch pickups from the other Nintendo platform additions to underline my efforts in the #SwitchCorps community – but I’m also happy to change this in case you think it makes more sense to have a consolidated post.

Let me know in the comments section below what you prefer!

My Additions in the Month of May

During my very busy #Switchiversary, I already decided that the upcoming months have to slow down. For April my plan did work out. And for May? I think it did good too.

Two limited print games made it into my collection and I added an Asian release of a game, that you also can buy in the US or in Europe. But why did I import it from Asia? Because the Asian release offer two games on one card, whereas the NA/EU version just contain one game on the card, the other title needs to get downloaded digitally. Since I like to preserve my games in a physical form, I did opt for the Asia import here.

My very first Nintendo Switch addition in the month of May 2019 was actually a very special one:

I won a contest on Twitter and was so lucky to get a Best Buy x Limited Run Games Exclusive! I’ll cover this addition in my SwitchIns section in more detail soon, but would like to say thank again to the generous host of the contest, @TheWaffinator! Thanks for running this amazing raffle and sending the prize all the way to Germany! Having a winner in the US would have been a lot cheaper for The Waffinator, but he even choose an express shipping so that I did not have to wait any longer for this very special copy that found now its place on my shelf. And a special place in my heart! Thank you mate!

Now it’s time to have a look at some footage of my humble May additions:

How was your May? Let me know in the comments section or directly on Twitter via @BennyKong64

Limited Run Games

Limited Run Games E3 2019 Nintendo Switch Lineup

What a Limited Run Games E3 2019 conference!

On June 10, 2019, Limited Run Games showcased in 42.49 minutes, which 50 (!) games they will bring in physical form for various platforms in the near future. As I am in particular interested in the Nintendo Switch lineup, I thought it might come handy to provide a chronological overview on all the 14 Switch games that were revealed during the E3 Showcase (watch the entire conference here) and were published afterwards in Limited Run Games E3 2019 Lineup! blog post.

Let’s have a look at which game carts we can add to our physical Nintendo Switch collection very soon – or even play on our Nintendo Switch for the very first time.

1) Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – June 10, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Gridis even already available for pre-order
directly on Limited Run Games.

2) Freedom Planet – June 21, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.
Freedom Planet is available for pre-order on June 21, 2019 directly on Limited Run Games.

3) Transistor – June 21, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.

4) Rogue Legacy – July 19, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.

5) Double Switch – July, 2019

More info on the game on Nintendo Everything.

6) Bad North – Q3, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.

7) realMyst – Q3, 2019

8 & 9) Turok + Turok: Seeds of Evil – Q3, 2019

More info on Turok in the Nintendo US eShop.

10) Night in the Woods – Q4, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.

11) Blaster Master Zero – Q4, 2019

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.

12) Blazing Chrome – Q4, 2019

More info on the game on Nintendo Life.

13) Dark Devotion – Q4, 2019

More info on the game on Nintendo Life.

14) Super Meat Boy – tba.

More info on the game in the Nintendo US eShop.

And there you have it! All 14 brand-new games that Limited Run Games revealed at E3 2019.

On my side, due to childhood memories I’m especially excited for Power Rangers (great review from Reviews 2 Go on YouTube here) and plan to buy Freedom Planet (demo available in eShop). I added both titles already to my public Nintendo Switch shopping list (my #SwitchList) and will update the page constantly as soon as LRG will put new listings on their website.

Additionally, I’m interested in pre-ordering Transistor (only heard good things about it), Double Switch and Night in the Woods. The Turok 1 +2 release will be a special addition to my physical Nintendo Switch collection, as I did play the games on my Nintendo 64 as a teenager. It will be so great to enjoy these titles on my Nintendo Switch: In HD, anytime and anywhere.

What are the games you cannot wait to put on your shelf?

Let me know in the comments section or directly on Twitter via @BennyKong64.