Tuesday, January 13, 2015

5 Life Lessons from the Nintendo 3DS

So the Nintendo 3DS is a great many things. From an enjoyable plaything to a portable time waster to a tool for taking surreptitious photos up women's skirts (in 3D!), it's given us years of fun. What most don't realise, however, is how many things it has taught us over the years. Important lessons: Fire Emblem Awakening gave us the harsh reminder that death is final. Super Mario 3D Land showed us the virtue of patience and perseverance. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire revealed that 80% of people in the world are assholes, and that said assholes often come equipped with Mega Rayquaza.

These are the most obvious teachings that it has bestowed upon us. But if you delve a little bit deeper, you'll find a hidden layer of gems that will make you wiser, bolder, and Vaiker. Allow me to bestow upon you the invaluable life lessons that the Nintendo 3DS has taught me, and, through the power of bold assumption, therefore taught you, too.

1. Animals are vapid, shallow people

In fairness, animals were never intended to be people to begin with. It's a crime upon both god and nature. But once that line was blurred, we were treated to a world of gossip, bickering and more lost handkerchiefs than an aristocrats' bender.

For one thing, how come nobody in this town seems to have a job, other than the unfortunate few who appear to actually live at their place of employment? If the one human resident goes missing for too long, he returns to a village overrun with weeds. Surely, the goddamn sheep could have done something to prevent that - she doesn't appear to have much else going on in her life.

Animals also seem to love letters. And sure, being sent a lovely letter from a faraway pal is a nice gesture, but if you have to ask a person standing right in front of you for a letter, it a) defeats the purpose, and b) is a clear indication that you don't have very many friends. Then, they can't seem to read the damn things anyway. You wanted to tell your close companion Bill to 'Throw caution to the wind as you embrace the changes riding on the breeze; a telltale whisper that brings forth a new era', but if you want the stupid ducky to decode it, you'll have to dumb it down to 'I like you. You have a good face. Here is a cherry.'

2. Any relationship is possible if you believe enough

Let's face it; you'll probably never get the chance to hang out with LeBron James and Emma Stone. At least, not until you turn on the 3DS and create them yourself, then you can be best buddies forever! You can even coerce them to date one another and get hitched. The resulting baby will probably be named Dexter. You may send him on a journey around the world. LeBron and Emma will be so proud. Don't ever tell any of your friends you did this. Unless LeBron James actually is your friend, in which case, you probably didn't read this far.

We all have our ideal partner waiting out there for us, somewhere, and we're often convinced it's some celebrity who would 'totally dig us if they just got the chance to meet'. You could either pursue this in real life with messy legal ramifications, or save yourself the effort, the emotional turmoil and the lengthy jail sentence by dating a Mii facsimile.

You may even learn something, after all. For example, once upon a time if you told me that Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada would consider romancing Topher Grace while he was inexplicably dressed as a farmer, I'd dismiss that as impossible. Now, I know the truth, and there is indeed love in the air.

...Though I'm mildly concerned about ramifications from her besmirched ex, Walter White. Topher's best course would be to tread lightly. Or beat Walter in a rap battle. That's always an option.

3. You will be rewarded for being attractive

In Pokémon X and Y, you're finally provided with the opportunity to customise the appearance of your trainer. You can give them silly little hats and hairstyles, and make your avatar seem really unique. Alas, they'll always have the same goofy grin on their face, and are perpetually locked in as a prepubescent child. I wanted to make my trainer an overweight Asian man with a mighty beard, but the option was not available to me. Maybe in gen 7.

One of the curious mechanics is that your wardrobe choices will actually have an effect on how people view you in the world of Kalos. Strutting the streets in a beanie and an old coat? You'll be paying full price for everything, and barred access from the coolest places like some kind of leper. Snazzify yourself up, and you'll be treated like royalty. When the cab driver first discounts your fare because of how hot you look, you feel flattered. ...And then, a little bit creeped out, because, like, you're eight years old or whatever. Don't get back in the cab.

And the less said about Mr. Bonding, the better. The mysterious fade out as he 'teaches' you is bad enough, but the fact that you have to look stylish enough in order for him to gift you with the final O-Power (which is, ironically, the power to hatch eggs) is simply cruel. Why are we not good enough for you anymore, Mr. Bonding? Aren't we pretty anymore? Why won't you bond with me?!

... Eight year olds, Dude.

4. Raising a Nintendog is much easier than raising a real dog

As the wise Milhouse Van Houten once opined, 'Dogs are outstanding!', and indeed, they are. They'll be your friends for life, giving you the unconditional love of a true companion. In return, however, you must do the following things: feed them, walk them, train them, clean up after them, and just generally take care of them. As though they were your hairy offspring.

Sound like too much work? Then grab yourself a copy of Nintendogs. For a fraction of the cost of one real pooch, you've now scored yourself dozens of puppies. And, yeah, some cats too, if you're some kind of sick freak.

Sure, you are supposed to do the same kind of things; the feeding, training and poop collecting, but you could just as easily not. On several occasions, I've left my Nintendogs unattended for months on end, but when I walk through that door, there they are! They're filthy and famished, sure, but they aren't emaciated corpses scattered about the living room, and the husky hasn't killed the pug out of hunger or boredom.

Plus, these dogs can make you money! Enter them in contests, fling a Frisbee off into the distance, and watch in amazement as your Jack Russell Terrier does an incredible midair flip before coming down with the disc in his mouth. Aww, little Mr. Pepper won you a trophy! Let's reward him by sending him off to the doggy hotel (read: the pound) so you can buy one of the more expensive dog breeds.

It's a cruel world in there, but I haven't been bitten once, so I can't be doing too badly. Besides, if Animal Crossing is to be believed, these dogs are about as intelligent as the Kardashians. They probably haven't even noticed.

5. Combining two people to see what their baby will look like always leads to tears

I think a divorce is the best course of action here.

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