K-Mart Black Friday deals start this Sunday at 1AM EST (Zelda 3DS for $30 and more)

If you haven’t already picked up Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, then 1AM on Sunday is the time to do it. K-Mart is kicking off Black Friday five days early, and they’re offering some solid prices and free shipping on a few dozen games (listed below). Zelda won’t dip below $30 this holiday season–believe me, I’ve checked–so if you’re itching for it or any other gaming deal, here’s what to do:

  1. Sign up for K-Mart’s membership program (don’t worry, it’s FREE)
  2. Get your cheap ass over to K-Mart.com at 1AM Eastern Standard Time
zel

Who’s saying no to a brand new Zelda at $30?

That’s all you need to do to have early access to K-Marts Black Friday deals. As for what else is on sale, check below. Note that $25 is the cheapest I’ve seen Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate (3DS).

 

Consoles

:wiiu: Mario and Luigi Bundle – $299.99 (plus $20 in points for members)

:ps3: 250GB Holiday Bundle w/ The Last of Us and Batman: Arkham Origins – $199.99

:3ds: 2DS Electric Blue or Crimson Red – $119.99

 

Games

:3ds: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – $24.99

:3ds: Animal Crossing: New Leaf – $29.99

:3ds: Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D – $29.99

:3ds: Pokemon X – $34.99

:3ds: Mario & Luigi: Dream Team – $34.99

:3ds: Mario Kart 7 – $34.99

:3ds: New Super Mario Bros. 2 – $34.99

:3ds: Batman: Blackgate – $24.99

:wiiu: Nintendo Land – $19.99

:wiiu: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD – $39.99

:wiiu: Just Dance Kids 2014 – $39.99

:wiiu: New Super Mario Bros. U – $44.99

:wiiu: Super Mario 3D Land – $49.99

:wiiu: Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack – $49.99

:wiiu: Disney Infinity Starter Pack – $59.99

:ps3: Ratchet and Clank Nexus – $19.99

:ps3: Beyond: Two Souls – $39.99

:ps3: Dead Space 3 – $39.99

:ps3: Disney Infinity Starter Pack – $59.99

:360: Just Dance Kids 2014 (Kinect) – $19.99

:360: Dead Space 3 – $39.99

:360: Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack – $49.99

:360: Disney Infinity Starter Pack – $59.99

:wii: Just Dance Kids 2014 – $19.99

:wii: Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack – $49.99

:wii: Disney Infinity Starter Pack – $59.99

Advertisements

Too little, too late? New Zelda to make legitimate use of 3D in the wake of the 2DS era

Just when you thought I’d get through a full week without Zelda speculation, this comes to my attention. According to Gamespot, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma stated last week that A Link Between Worlds will incorporate 3D effects that impact gameplay. My guess is that 3D visuals will help distinguish height differences that may appear unclear in 2D. Height played a role in the E3 Trailer, with Link launching skyward to reach upper floors of a dungeon. How else the 3D benefits puzzle-solvers is anyone’s guess for now.

lbw

That red smiley-face in the bottom corner is actually a launching pad. It’s likely that 3D effects were implemented to make vertical-jumps more discernible.

The other half to this story is the fact that the unveiling of the 2DS shook up Aonuma’s plans. Though he didn’t unload specific details, he did claim to make changes so ALBW could fully function at as 2D-only experience: “We found out about the 2DS during development, not before, and we also made changes so that we were sure that you could still play and solve the puzzles only with 2D.”

lbw2

 The paths that cave-drawing Link can take may be easier to distinguish in 3D.

This all echoes back to my earlier thoughts on the 2DS and what it means for the future of 3D gaming (if there is a future). Though gamers and journalists alike have labeled the 3DS’s namesake effects as “gimmicky” and “unnecessary,” Aonuma was clearly trying to prove otherwise with this latest Zelda installment. Then the 2DS arrived at the most awkward of times. In one corner we have Nintendo’s golden franchise ushering in some potentially innovative 3D effects, while in the opposite corner stands a brand new system model that may as well carry the casket for the original 3DS.

Your winner? Flat-screen gaming. For now. But don’t be surprised if some of Aonuma’s ideas leak into future games.

Zelda 3DS producer ditches hand-holding; wants you to “get stuck and be lost”

Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma is going all-out to ensure that A Link Between Worlds has old-school, open-ended grit to it. He’s dedicated to the point that he spent a whopping three days arguing with his developer over removing a hint in the game. And you know what? They removed it.

zelda3ds

The lost art of in-game exploration: coming to a handheld near you.

Three days. Possibly 72-hours straight for all we know. And all to guarantee that the experience will cater to hardcore fans and usher newbies into classic-style Zelda exploration. Aonuma even insisted that he wanted to “make a game where it would be fun to get stuck and be lost.” Whether this will turn-off modern gamers remains to be seen. 

Soon as I read the news, I instantly thought of the NES Zelda, which went skimpy on hints and let you discover dungeons at your own pace. Remember having to burn a random bush to locate a dungeon? I doubt A Link Between Worlds will have objectives that are that unclear, but at least the game won’t ride us from dungeon to dungeon on a magic carpet.

loz

Nintendo was once nasty enough to hide a mandatory dungeon under a generic bush.

While I’m stoked for the new Zelda, the bigger issue here is a backlash against the gaming trend of hand-holding. The past decade-and-a-half has all but evicted the magic of exploration and challenge in favor of moving things along. Some games are simply linear (Final Fantasy XIII), while others spoil exploration by pointing you to the finish line (Metroid Fusion). Worse yet are the games that play themselves once they’ve determined that difficulty is bad for you. It’s awful, like a basketball coach urging you to pass the ball instead of refine your jump-shot. The New Super Mario series is the biggest offender here, and I was even appalled when Super Mario Galaxy 2 offered to complete a jumping segment for me.

This upcoming Zelda is a throwback in more ways that just its Link to the Past-inspired overworld. I was on the fence about the nonlinear dungeon order, but soon as I heard the game would go thin on hints, I was sold. November 22, my friends.

New 3DS Zelda to have nonlinear dungeon order–Good news or bad?

While I doubt anything will stop Zelda fans from gathering their rupees for the November 22nd release of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, there’s news of a surprising wrinkle in the upcoming game. Turns out Ninty has decided to shake up the dungeon order in the game. Entirely.

According to Joystiq, Nintendo dropped Zelda’s traditional linearity in favor of enabling players to hit the dungeons in any order. Now, if you’re a longtime Zelda fan like me, you’re thinking, “Wait wait wait, what does this mean for obtaining items?” Well, it appears that Link will have access to all of his classic and new items via a special shop. So theoretically you’ll be able to get your hands on the hookshot, bow, etc. right after you press start.

zel

For all we know, this might be the first dungeon, the eighth, the fifth, the forty-second, anyone’s guess.

My feelings on this are skewed, mostly negative. I do like the idea of Zelda taking a more nonlinear approach, but I’m hesitant about what it means for the storyline and difficulty curve. Wouldn’t it suck to to throw your mind against dungeons 7 and 8 first, then frolic through the easier dungeons like 1, 2, and 3? And what about puzzle techniques that are best learned in dungeon 1 or 2… if I started with #3, would I be able to solve it without slamming my 3DS off the floor in ire?

The aforementioned concerns are relatively minor ones. Ready for the big ones?

1) What happens the the magic of hunting down a dungeon’s exclusive item, then using it to solve the remaining puzzles and defeat the boss? I don’t know if I can live without this formula. Zelda dungeons gain their identity from their exclusive items. For instance, the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time was a pain in the ass until you found the Longshot (okay, it’s a pain in the ass, period). Now, let’s think in ALBW terms. How much of a buzzkill would it be if Link walked right into the Water Temple, his hand right on the trigger of the Longshot? You’d mow right through the place.

zel2

Gone are the days of fighting bosses with your newfound item.

2) What about retreading old areas with new items? One of the best parts of completing a dungeon is exiting with a brand new item to help explore the world map. You know the feeling–using your spiffy new Boomerang to open new areas and unearth treasure in old ones. It’s addictive, just ask any Metroid fan. But now you’re telling me I’ll just rent [insert item here] to uncover [insert secret here] at anytime? No deal. That’s too easy. I want to salivate over secrets. I want to make mental notes about unreachable treasure. And then I want to leave a dungeon and point my shiny new Hookshot at a chest full of Nayru-knows-what.

I trust Nintendo when it comes to Zelda. They have yet to mail-in an awful game in the series. But then again, they’ve never deviated from the get-item-solve-dungeon formula like this. It’ll be interesting to see if A Link Between Worlds can create the same tension and mystery with all items rent-ready from the start.