Introducing My New YouTube Channel!

Pandas at Play

It’s official! I am so excited to finally announce my new YouTube Channel – Pandas at Play! You can find it here! http://bit.ly/2nvJ2Lu

My awesome wife (CrystalDragon) and I are co-running the channel, and we’ll be producing fun Nintendo video content, including:

  • Pandas at Play – A series where my wife and I play through Nintendo games together, letting our ridiculously silly personalities shine! Our first episode is posted below!
  • Reviews – Edited video review versions of the stuff I’m already doing here! Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting written reviews. My goal is to have the videos supplement my content here. The first review is posted below!
  • Discussions – Podcast-like dialogues, sometimes with guests, in which we discuss games we’ve played, upcoming games, or anything else related to the pasttime we love! A very fun discussion is coming up on April 6!
  • N64 Project – What? More teasing? This is probably how I first mentioned this overall project to some of you. I am happy to say that this is still happening, and I already have the first part of this mostly done. I’ll need some more time to complete it, but I hope you enjoy what was the impetus for this channel!
  • And more! Right now, the sky’s the limit for us! We’re looking to see what we can do and how we can better entertain and inform you with our fun Nintendo videos!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Video Review

Without further ado, I am proud to present the premiere video, one that I have worked hard on for the last few weeks. Here is my video review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch!

This is a spoiler-free review, and there is no video footage of any major plot points. Hope you enjoy it!

Pandas at Play – Snipperclips Co-Op Part 1 – Stabby Sticks

Also premiering today is our first episode of Pandas at Play, where my wife and I tackle the first few stages of the ridiculously goofy and fun Snipperclips for the Switch!

We’ll be playing through the whole 2-player campaign of Snipperclips and uploading episodes on Mondays. Our goal is to produce video content biweekly, ideally on Mondays and Thursdays. We’re planning to post Pandas at Play episodes on Mondays (starting April 10) and other additional content on Thursdays. In the future, we’re hoping to post three times a week (Mon-Wed-Fri). We actually have a second, equally fun Pandas at Play game that we’re playing through. It’s a much longer game, and we’re planning to use it as our third weekly video.

Please check out our videos and let us know what you think here or on the video comments section!

If you’ve watched and enjoyed the videos and would like to see more, please subscribe by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/2oaYX1r

YouTube Channel Art Template V2

Channel Origins

This YouTube Channel, as you have probably guessed, is the project I’ve been teasing for some time now. I’ve been hard at work developing this channel for the last few months, sometimes even losing sleep over it. There have been a lot of hardships during this process, and I’ve spent a lot of time developing new skills as a result of this endeavor. I’ve been especially antsy this week and am filled with glee that I’m finally sharing my videos!

I never planned on doing YouTube videos when I first started this blog. I’m a very shy, introverted person, and for my whole life, I’ve been convinced that my voice is secondary and generally unimportant. My wife, CrystalDragon, helped give me the courage and encouragement I needed to keep going both for this site and for the videos. I owe all of this to her, and I’m extremely glad that she will be a huge part of the channel. Thank you for showing me that my voice matters and helping me know that I matter. You’re the best!

Panchams

Special Thanks

I also wanted to give a huge thanks to my close friend christianrob90 for all of his assistance in planning this channel and getting it ready! He was an instrumental part in both starting up this channel and for helping me learn how to do it. He’s also been a great friend and support, and you’ll hear him in some videos in the future. Couldn’t have done it without him!

And a tremendous debt of gratitude to another close friend, Cherry, who is playing a big part in giving the channel its personality. Thanks so much for your support and creative assistance! I can’t wait to show you what she has cooked up!

Thank you so much everyone who’s ever supported me by checking out what I’ve done and encouraging me through your messages and friendship. As I’ve said before, you truly are a wonderful community, and we want to invite you to our gaming lives. I hope you enjoy my newest foray, and as always, I hope you will continue to support me. You all rock!

Super_Mario_64_Cake

Finally, I’ve been telling some of you that I would subscribe after watching your great videos too, and that I needed to get my account ready. Truth be told, it was a complicated route figuring out what kind of account I was going to use before I settled on my own personal Mr. Panda account. I’m very happy to say I can subscribe with the account I will watch them in, and I will do that as soon as possible. If you have a channel you’d like to share with me too, please let me know, and I’d be happy to check it out!

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for your support, everyone! We’re not sure where this endeavor will take us, but we’re excited to get on board either way! I sincerely hope you check out our videos! Let us know what you think! And most importantly, enjoy!

Advertisements

Celebrating My 1st Pandaversary!

One Year Old

It’s official: Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews is one year old!

Panchams.jpg
Yay!

I want to extend my sincerest thanks to you all for your readership and support throughout this year. I’ve been incredibly blessed with a wonderful community of kind, intelligent, and fun gamers, both online and offline. I wouldn’t have made it this long without you all. You’ve all been amazing, and I will be sure to give you proper recognition by the end of this post. But before I do, I wanted to share a brief timeline in review for the blog as well as a special announcement tease.

Goddesses_Ocarina.png
Not included in timeline: Creation of Triforce

Timeline

Era of the Blog’s Creation

I first started this blog during a tough time in my life when I just needed to get away. It was a time when I realized I needed big changes in my life, and I wanted to do something more. I wished to follow my dreams. My incredibly supportive wife walked with me every step of the way in my crazy endeavors. I decided to write video game reviews with hope in my pocket and a passion to discuss my favorite pastime.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam paper-jam

2662719-preview_ffexplorers_20140920 Final Fantasy Explorers

Yo-kai Watch cropped-tempbanner

I already knew which three games to review first, the above 3DS games. Funny enough, I neither loved nor hated playing them. Rather, I had strong opinions about how average they were. As it turns out, though the games are just decent, I love where they brought me. Discussing them at length helped me develop my initial style and tone.

Era of Opportunity

I was happy to finally do something related to video games. Just having them available for others to see made me ecstatic, even if very few people noticed those early reviews. At least one notable person saw it though. None other than the wonderful Mike_Scorpio of Miketendo64 noticed and eventually gave me a big opportunity for collaboration. I am still very thankful for this partnership, and most importantly, that he cared to share my writing. Thank you very much, Miketendo!

Super Mario World SMW_banner

Miitomo Miitomo

Hyrule Warriors Legends Hyrule Warriors Legends banner

Star Fox Zero Banner Star Fox Zero

Fire Emblem Fates Fire Emblem Fates Banner

mini-mario-friends-amiibo-challenge Banner Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge

Banjo-Kazooie Banjo-Kazooie_Boxart_(North_America)

Era of Adventure

Even though I love writing these reviews, I wanted to try something new. When Nintendo began making big announcements for upcoming games like Pokémon Sun & Moon and Breath of the Wild, I wanted to write about those, too. This led to some of my most exciting posts, previews, and analyses for these upcoming games. Both games have since released, but it was fun to speculate. Plus I guessed some things correctly, right? Maybe?

Pokémon Sun and Moon Preview Sun Moon Starters

BotW_Title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Preview

Pokémon GO Preview Pokemon_Go

Charles Martinet Photo Op Mr. Panda Meets Mario – Charles Martinet

One of the most memorable moments of my life was meeting my childhood hero, the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, whom I also wrote about. He’s such a fun guy, and it was a pleasure to see him.

Era of Experience

I soon found myself with even more prospects to write about games with DarkStation. I am very grateful to the site for giving me this amazing opportunity to review games beyond my usual scope. Although I haven’t posted many of them here yet (one day I will!), I wanted to share some of my favorite non-Nintendo reviews with you.

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book AtelierSophie_PC_Review,jpg.jpg

AzureStrikerGunvolt_PC_02.jpg Azure Striker Gunvolt (original)

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 DragonBallXenoverse2_PC_01

MightyNo9_PC_08 Mighty No. 9 (original)

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge (original) MutantMuddsSuperChallenge_PS4_Banner

UltimateMarvelVSCapcom3_PS4_Review.jpg Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Era of Questions

There are many times when I post and feel like I’ve made a mistake. Truth be told, there were times when I felt like this wasn’t worth it. These are hard devils to avoid, and although I struggle, I’m grateful for those that support me. I do my best with these reviews, but in the end, I know that they don’t define me. And there are those who encourage me unconditionally.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix Rhythm Heaven Megamix Banner

TwilightPrincessHD_Banner The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Pokémon GO Pokemon GO Banner

Era of Community

As I’ve said before, I owe so much of this blog to the fantastic community. It means a lot that you splendid people are willing to read and discuss video games with me. Even more, you’ve continued to encourage me, nominating me for awards. The internet can be a rough place, so I’m incredibly lucky to have met some of the kindest people on the web. I’m always flattered by the amazing things you say, and it is my hope that we can keep talking about this great hobby. And I hope I can share my own kind words with you all!

Liebster Award LiebsterAward

Blogger Recognition Award Blogger Recognition/Entertaining Blogger Awards

One Lovely Unique Versatile PANDA give-a-panda

Era of Development

I have since been trying to improve myself and my writing style. With each review, I have felt sufficiently challenged, either attempting something new or changing up the style ever so subtly. I could literally go into the most boring commentary about each individual review, but I’ll just summarize by saying that I am constantly learning. I’m thankful that for every hardship I have come across while doing this, I’ve emerged learning important lessons about life and about writing.

Zero Time Dilemma ZTD_Banner

pw_banner Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice

Monster Hunter Generations mhgen_fate

yw2_banner-2 Yo-kai Watch 2

Pokémon Sun and Moon pokemon-sun-moon-logo

super-mario-run-cover Super Mario Run

Fire Emblem Heroes fireemblemheroes_banner

Era of Travels

My wife and I took a break a couple of months ago to take a dream trip to Japan. We got to engage in lots of fun shopping, eating, and sightseeing. As huge fans of video games and anime, it was one of the best vacations we had ever taken. We love sharing our adventures here. They’re video game-related, right? I’m still in the process of getting future photo posts up, and I apologize to anyone who’s been waiting for them. I have more planned, so don’t worry!

Tales from Japan – Ikebukuro’s Pokémon Center, J-World, & More

img_2397
Ikebukuro

Tales from Japan – Akihabara: Land of Video Games, Anime Shops, & Final Fantasy Cafés

img_3375
Akihabara

Era of Switch

And finally, we’ve come to one of my favorite periods, a new Nintendo console launch! Having such a big system to write about has been a new source of invigoration, and I get giddy thinking about what surprises are in store for the Switch. Though I’m sure the system will have hardships, some of which I have noted in my articles, writing about it fills me with joy. The Switch has been an excellent system for me so far, and I’m happy to be able to write about it, whether hardware, games, or fun stories. This has culminated in one of my new favorite reviews that I’ve written: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Why I’m Excited for Nintendo Switch nintendo-switch

super-mario-odyssey-hat Nintendo’s Switch Presentation Highlights

Top 10 Anticipated Switch Games switch_zelda_banner

Luigi's Mansion My Nintendo Switch Launch Horror Story

Nintendo Switch First Impressions IMG_0234

Zelda Breath of the Wild Banner The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

From my first review of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam to my latest review of the most epic Zelda experience to arrive on Nintendo’s newest console, I’ve had quite a year. It’s a very special journey, and one that I am glad to share with you. It hasn’t been the easiest, but it’s definitely been one of the greatest!

Question_Block_NSMB.png

Special Announcement

To cap off my first year’s timeline, I wanted to tease a special announcement. Very soon, I will be unveiling my newest project, on which I have been hard at work for a few months now. My goal is to finish within the next week or two. I know I’ve been teasing it for a while, but it’s finally coming and I’m happy to share it. Though I won’t say much about it until then, I hope you all will enjoy it! Look forward to it!

ThankYou

Special Thanks

I want to extend a special thanks to the following people who have been amazing friends and supports for this site! You all mean a lot to me!

Thank you to:

  • My wonderful wife, to whom I owe this all. She already knows this, but I want you all to know that this wouldn’t be possible without her support, love, encouragement, and editing. She is an amazing woman whom I am very blessed to have in my life. Thank you CrystalDragon, my Mrs. Panda!
  • My friends outside WordPress, whom have not only supported me, but even helped me with various projects. Big thanks to gorgoalmighty, christianrob90, Cherry, ShadJV, Auradis, IsaMaLisa, for supporting my site directly with your readership and comments! Your encouragement and friendship never goes unnoticed, and I hope that I can show it outside of the site. Thank you for reading this!
  • Mike and Jack of Miketendo64 for allowing me to collaborate and share my writing to a new audience. Thank you for believing in me and for being great partners!
  • The awesome people at DarkStation for noticing me and giving me opportunities that I shall never regret. Truly grateful!
  • The Well-Red Mage for being one of my first followers, for nominating me for several awards, and for being a great gaming friend to discuss the hobby with. Also for the Arcane Trophy for being a regular commenter!
    Arcane Trophy Well-Red Mage
  • The Shameful Narcissist for consistently kind words and great gaming discussion, for nominating me as an Entertaining Blogger, and for a 1st Prize Ribbon for guessing characters correctly in her wonderful Final Fantasy Tarot series!
    final-fantasy-tarot-1st-place-ribbon
  • Pokeninja90, Retr0pia75, benez256, Evil Wizard Esq, vahrkalla, Luvva, Sebby29, and lilsamueljones for your consistent encouragement and for nominating me for awards. I’m truly flattered whenever you think of me for these!
  • And to all you amazing followers and anyone else reading this! I know I missed some people, so apologies if I did. Please know that it means a lot already to me that you’re here!

Thank you again to everyone! If you’re a first time visitor, please follow me on Twitter @MrPanda2002 and on Facebook at Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews. Please feel free to support me by following me on those pages if you haven’t already!

My next post will be about my special project! Please look forward to it! Thanks again for reading!

Super_Mario_64_Cake

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) Review

Open Your Eyes

The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma introduced in 2013 a new project that would “rethink the conventions of Zelda.” Skyward Sword was a step in that direction, blurring the lines between dungeon and overworld. A Link Between Worlds further paved the way, allowing players to explore dungeons in any order by offering every item upfront. But that wasn’t enough. Aonuma desired to see a world that was open to you from the start – one with no single correct track. With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the team at Nintendo has achieved creating a fully open world that is truly breathtaking.

Check out my video review here!

The theme of Breath of the Wild (BotW) is discovery. As such, I will avoid delving into any specifics, keeping this spoiler-free. Rather, I will offer the gist of what brings this game and all of its moving parts to life.

Continue reading “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) Review”

Nintendo Switch First Impressions

Out to Launch

The Nintendo Switch has arrived! I’ve been excited about the console and its upcoming games since we first heard about it months ago. After a frustrating launch experience, I finally got the new console, and I’ve been playing it a lot. The big question is: does it live up to the hype? After a full weekend of the Switch, here are my thoughts on the console, controller, and launch games.

IMG_0234
It’s here!

Setup

Continue reading “Nintendo Switch First Impressions”

My Nintendo Switch Launch Horror Story

Launch Day Woes

The Nintendo Switch is finally here! After months of raving about the new console and its upcoming games, I now have a Switch! I’ll have fresh impressions of the system up very shortly. But before I talk about my brand new system, I wanted to share my unique experience picking up the Switch at a little store called Walmart.

Switch Box.jpg
What could go wrong?

Twas the Night Before Switchmas

Like many others who now have the Switch, I was lucky and pre-ordered within hours of the January reveal presentation. I had done so online through Walmart and set it to ship to my local store. I soon discovered that the 24-hour brick and mortar store would be having a midnight launch, so I quickly inquired about it. The employee confirmed that they would be selling the system for both pre-orders and walk-ins. I made sure to ask if that applied to online pre-orders as well, and he responded that it didn’t matter how you ordered it as long as it was for that location.

On the night before Switchmas, I was brimming with excitement. I would soon have the Switch, and a day earlier at that! I traveled to Walmart and found a huge line of people hoping to get the new console. An employee asked if I had a pre-order, and once I revealed my slip, they sent me to a special line near the front. There were about ten or so people in that line, so I expected it to be a quick process. Based on previous launch experiences, I usually paid upfront and when midnight hit, I would receive a nicely bagged Switch ready to go.

nintendo-switch-featured-image
Soon to be in my hands.

But once the clock struck midnight, nothing happened. As it turned out, the cashiers didn’t know where the Switches were. Several of them weren’t even sure what the Switch was or why we were lining up in the first place. Okay, so there was some miscommunication, but hopefully someone could figure it out. Instead, we waited about 15 minutes, asking what was going on and receiving no solid answer. This continued until the co-manager finally came and wondered why we weren’t receiving our Switches. He went to “the back” to look for them while we waited in silence. Once he returned with the systems, we cheered excitedly, ready to finally pay up and receive our shiny gifts. I was excited to watch the first customer grab his Switch and happily stroll off… but that wasn’t what happened.

For pre-orders, you generally pay a minimum deposit to reserve your purchase. However, the cashiers had no idea whatsoever how to ring up the first customer’s pre-order deposit. They could see that the customer paid a certain amount, but they didn’t know how to register that in their system. He was willing to simply pay in cash and get out of there, but they literally hid the Switch from him. It was only after ten more minutes that they resolved the problem and let him go. Okay, so we’re half an hour into this and the first person received his Switch. Can we ring everyone up now? Apparently not. The next person had the exact same problem, and it took them another five minutes to resolve that, which was odd considering it must have required the same solution to fix. To this day, it confuses me to no end. Were they just pressing random buttons the first time? Was this like one of those randomly generated puzzles that prevent you from using a walkthrough? After slowly getting through three out of ten pre-order customers, they got stuck once again. And this time, they just gave up.

Reggie Fils-Aime_shrug.jpg
Oh well.

One of the cashiers let out a sigh, exclaiming that they were not trained to do this kind of work as the night shift. I could understand her plight and felt sorry for her, but there has to be something wrong with the training structure at Walmart if this is the case.

A cashier asked us to fetch the co-manager who apparently had run to “the back.” I’m not even going to talk about how ludicrous that request was, considering there were three cashiers doing nothing up front. Nonetheless, a brave soul from our pre-order party had already ventured to the electronics section, saying that he saw the co-manager. Once we realized what was happening, this was the breaking point for most of us. The co-manager was in the back selling Nintendo Switches to the walk-ins. There were people who had just shown up without a pre-order who now had their Switch and were happily leaving the store. Meanwhile, those of us with pre-orders had no clue if we’d even receive one by the end of the night.

After selling the last of the walk-in Switches, the co-manager emerged from “the back” and asked why we were all still there.

Ash_Facepalm.jpg

After the co-manager came to smooth out the issues, it was my turn to hopefully have my pre-order go through, or not as would be the case. I should have assumed early on that if they didn’t know how to handle the in-store pre-orders, they would struggle with my online one. As it turns out, they couldn’t ring it up and said that apparently my Switch hadn’t arrived yet. Wait… what? My own personal Switch order, whatever that means, had not arrived from their Walmart facility. But what about all of those other Switches they sold? And why they did they tell me that I could pick it up with my online pre-order? There was some weird miscommunication going on. How they did handle it? They told me to go to the back of the line while they tried to handle the other customers.

Needless to say, I was frustrated. It wasn’t even about getting a Switch anymore. I just wanted to come out with something after this night. Once I got to the front again (after waiting through more prolonged instances of confusion with the register), I explained my circumstances, but the cashiers refused me the Switch. I sighed and walked away. I would get the Switch in a day anyway, so it would be fine. I was more upset about this whole situation and regretted attending this midnight launch in the first place.

Koizumi Switch Straps.jpg
The Switch was dangling beyond my grasp.

Then, the co-manager looked at me and offered me a proposition. He knew that I had a pre-order, that I had been waiting a long time that night, and that they would be getting my Switch in shortly. They currently had around ten extra units that nobody was ready to pick up, so he would let me buy a walk-in system if I just cancelled my previous order. Then he’d let me leave that night with a Switch in hand. I gladly took up the offer and thanked him profusely. Cancelling my pre-order was no issue at all, and the pickup person was very on top of helping me. The store even offered me a $20 gift card to compensate for the delay troubles.

Long story short, I did get my Switch that fateful night. It took a couple more hours than it should have, but I brought it home, set it up, played a little Breath of the Wild, and went to bed. Looking back after writing this, I’m not angry, especially considering any qualms went away once I was playing my lovely new console. I am still critical about what happened, but I understand that there are likely problems higher up the store’s chain of command that did not properly equip their employees to handle this. While I will likely be looking to other stores for pre-orders from now on, I still have to give props to the sympathetic co-manager and the resourceful employee at pick-ups. This felt like a long losing battle, but on the upside, it helped me appreciate my new system more.

IMG_0234.JPG
Here it is, in all its glory!

Next Time… Switch Impressions!

Thank you for allowing me to indulge you with my launch day horror story. I wasn’t expecting to make this my first post after getting the Switch, but I wanted to share my story with you, both as a cautionary tale and a somewhat humorous retelling of my first Switch experience. Very shortly, I will be sharing actual impressions about the Nintendo Switch, so please look forward to it!

Do you have any launch day horror stories for any product? If you have a Switch, how did your launch experience go? Please share any thoughts and experiences in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!