Video games
Notes & News
Previously posted
John Orr talks about OnLive's portable interface, and "Star Wars: The Old Republic." January 2012
Having fun with Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario 3D Land is a complete blast
January 26, 2013

Well, it almost breaks my heart to admit it, but we just can't cover video games as well as we would like to do in Triviana.

We just don't have enough people available to write about and review games and consoles, etc., and other areas of Triviana and other projects of my own -- including a novel I wrote -- are taking a lot of time.

So, we will drop in here from time to time with news and notes when we have time, but probably not too often.

For now ...
"Super Mario 3D Land" from Nintendo, for the Nintendo 3DS, is a complete blast. My son Riley and I have both been playing this surprising and funny platformer from time to time for months and continue to have a lot of fun with it.

The game play is challenging and fun throughout, with some new moves for our favorite heroic Italian plumber, as he runs around hoping to save the Princess, who, once again, has been kidnapped by Bowser.

Riley has gotten as far as saving Princess Peach, at which point he found that Bowser now has kidnapped Mario's brother, Luigi, and Mario must now save his brother. In that part of the game, the player can switch between playing as Mario and playing Luigi.

I haven't gottent that far in the game myself -- I am not an 11-year-old boy with lots of free times -- but I have never failed to enjoy this game, often laughing out loud has some clever thing has popped up.

We use the 3D feature sometimes, but not all the time. It can be useful to have the visual depth sometimes, in figuring out where Mario needs to jump or grab or run. It is a kewl feature -- you don't need special glasses to use it, you just push a little slider switch. But often the 2D is just fine, and less of an eye strain. It's all colorful, which fun maps to explore, jumping coins to grab and the three star coins to capture in each level.

Super Mario 3D Land is available at

The Nintendo 3DS itself, by the way, is a terrific little device. For game play, the 360 joystick is a great innovation, that makes for rapid ease of movement in games. Riley took to it right away. It took me a little time to get used to it, and now I dig it, too. And there are previously seen control pads as well, and the bumper tabs.

One of my own favorite aspects of the 3DS is its wireless connectivity. It can hook up with other 3DS consoles for game play, for instance. But what I like most is being able to connect to Netflix and watch movies. Late at night, earplugs in my ears and in bed, watching a film. Sweet.

It also can make 3D photos and do all sorts of other things, which makes it a pretty amazing little chunk of technology.

The Nintendo 3D console is available at That link is to the black one, but look around, it comes in several other colors.

The Nintendo 3DS XL is a slightly bigger version and costs a bit more.

"Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir" is the rare Nintendo game that Riley and I both just didn't like.

It's a very neat idea, really -- The 3DS shows players "ghosts" around them. Point the 3DS camera at the wall in your playroom, and it shows you a "ghost" standing by your bookcase or whatever.

But the gameplay is annoying and tedious. Players have to photograph artwork from a booklet that comes with the game and go through too much nonsense to make use of it all. I just found it annoying, not fun.

You can read more about it at, where the price on the game has dropped tremendously since its release, for good reason.


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