Category Archives: stupidity

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp — What’s Wrong with the Game Designers?

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp - Bunnie isn't taking your shit
Angry Bunnie

Edit on Saturday, February 17th, 2018: As of version 1.2.0, the quarry help, event creature catching success rates, and, to a degree, animal requests have been addressed. Hoping to see more improvements in the future!


I’m going to assume there’s more than one person involved when it came to designing the user interface and experience. It just boggles my mind that the following was given a pass by the designers and the folks that QC’d the app:

  • Sending Shovelstrike Quarry help requests to each friend individually.
    I literally have to spend 2 – 3 minutes everyday going through my list of 20 or so active players to ask for assistance. Did Nintendo honestly think players were going to just stop at 5 people? Maybe we would if we knew who would reliably send help every single time but as far as I know, that information isn’t shown.
  • No categories for flower trade.
    Some moron on staff decided it was a good idea to just lump everything onto one page and have everyone scroll for an eternity to look for the item they want to trade. To add insult to injury, the focus will jump back to the top of the list after the transaction is done. =____= Here’s what it looks like in action:

  • Constantly needing to re-initiate conversations with animals
    I realize that this is something from the main Animal Crossing games, but in those ones, you rarely had a need to speak to them multiple times in a row. In Pocket Camp, however, you’re trying to fulfill their 3 requests so why in all hell do I have to keep tapping on the animal over and over if I have everything they need? Why not just leave the dialogue topic menu open and let me close it myself if I have to go and get the items needed?
  • Abysmally low success rates of catching butterflies during Rover’s event
    I guess Nintendo made it nigh difficult to catch butterflies in hopes that players would spend leaf tickets (a.k.a premium currency) to get Lloid to catch them. If anyone did, it was most likely the whales and they’ll spend on anything to “win”.

    Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp -- Topaz butterflies from Rover's Crappy Ass Event
    A sight like this was not uncommon.
  • Useless “cutscene” of a Re-Tail delivery
    Unless you have severely short-term memory, you are most likely NOT going to forget what completed item you just tapped on in the Crafting menu so why show your character receiving it? It may just last a few seconds but it’s completely and wholly pointless. I’ve sent in a request to have an option to turn off the scene added. Who knows if it’ll ever happen?
  • The Market Box
    You can only see a preview of the first 4 items, you HAVE to go to the user’s camp to see the rest or buy anything, and you can’t collect all the Bells you made from multiple sales at once. It seems like the people involved in making the Market Box was thinking about the most inconvenient and roundabout way of using the damn thing.

Aside from the above, Nintendo also introduced the whole gardening bit without giving a thought of making life easy for everyone when it came to accessing other players’ gardens and identifying when a friend’s flowers needed watering.

They’ve addressed these two issues in recent updates, and they’ve released a notice not so long ago stating that they’ll be making changes to some things I’ve pointed out above. It continues to amaze me how common sense escapes everyone that’s involved with making Pocket Camp.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp - Future improvements
Nintendo is too blind to realize what common sense user experience is and needs the community to tell them that.

Something I hope to see is a re-balance on animal requests since I run into situations where all 4 animals would ask for multiples of the same fruit, fish, or bugs.

I get that they want us to make use of the Market Boxes and/or stay in the game/log in a few times over the course of a 3-hour cycle to collect the necessary quantities. But realistically, that probably doesn’t happen often for anyone playing. And along with Boxes being annoying to access, a lot of players simply put in rare items so good luck finding the squids or monarch butterflies all the animals are simultaneously wishing for.

As for fruits, I’d use the fertilizer more often but that would require spending leaf tickets to replenish them so nuts to that.

Incidentally, if you’re finding certain things rubbing you the wrong way in Pocket Camp, be sure to let Nintendo know! You can access the feedback form from the game’s menu under More. Tap Misc. and then Customer Support. From there, choose Feedback. The rest should be self-explanatory.

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App Developers, Stop Asking for 5-Star Reviews!!

Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about the dos and don’ts of requesting and writing reviews on both Google Play and App Store. Nothing’s really changed from 5 years ago; people are still writing shitty useless one-word “reviews” and developers still put those prompts for a 5-star rating in their apps.

Once again, I will explain why I take issue to the latter:

  • The developer only has one thing in mind: A 5-star or perfect rating means better visibility in search results in the application’s store which ups the chances of it being downloaded. It doesn’t matter if the app is not right at the top of the results. The chances are many users LOOK for 4 or 5-star ones as it gives the impression that it’s a good product.
    .
  • Developers use the bullshit excuse that a 5-star rating will better motivate their team. If you actually valued user feedback, you’d be asking for critiques without tossing in the specific rating suggestion and incentive (or bribe as I like to refer to it as) to review.
    .
  • EVERYONE WANTS FREE STUFF — especially when it’s premium currency so of course most people will bite. Developers know this and they also know that they’ll fall for the following point.
    .
  • Users do what they’re asked to despite how they actually feel about the game.
    Poor user is made to think that the only way to get the gift is by giving the app full stars. :(
    Poor user is made to think that the only way to get the gift is by giving the app full stars. ūüė¶

    PRO TIP: I’m unsure how it is with Android apps but with iOS, you don’t NEED to even rate or write a review to get a gift/bribe. Simply tap on the prompt box and allow the device to automatically switch to the app’s store page. Once there, don’t do anything! Just immediately go back to the app.
    .
    I believe this can also be applied to sharing on Twitter or other social services where you can just cancel the post and still receive the review incentive.

I leave 1-star reviews for companies that practices this sort of shit and call them out. I actually received a reply from one for a game I like playing which stated that players are free to give whatever rating they feel appropriate.

Well, gee. No shit. But as that example screenshot I provided showed, people a) rate 5-stars because they are told to, and b) believe giving a full rating is the only way to get the gift.

I’m not saying developers should outright stop asking for reviews and ratings or giving incentives. I’m only wishing they’d stop being dishonest and deceitful with the review prompts. Users will, in all likelihood, give the full rating and write positive comments if they’re happy with what they’re using. I think that should motivate the team more than all the blind & thoughtless 5-stars.

[Tiny Farm] Add me (to the Power of ‚ąě)

Almost a month ago, users from other Gamevil and Com2uS games decided to throw common sense and etiquette out the door and mindlessly bombard the companies’ message forums known as HIVE clubs with “Add Me” friend requests to fulfill in-game friend invite quotas to¬†obtain special goodies and bonuses.

If you check any of the clubs, you’ll find that they’ve all been infested with these Goodies Hunters. (I brand them as such because sincerely doubt most¬†of them are remotely concerned with actual friendship.)

Tiny Farm HIVE club infested with add me requests
At the Tiny Farm club: Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me. Add me.

For Tiny Farm players, it’s rather frustrating since we use the message board to find information about event quests/objectives and also to seek help from others to tame special animals visiting our¬†farms. The barrage of “Add Me”s end up pushing all the questions, informative posts, and taming requests way down the page and due to the club’s ultra archaic and backwatered design, it’s impossible to quickly locate them as¬†it has no search function or a log¬†that lists all of your own posts. In short, you are forced to scroll through the entire slog of¬†useless crap.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however! While there exists¬†another fan-run message board, it’s pretty much been abandoned since the creator, johnnysilver, has quit the game a long while back.¬†Now a new unofficial¬†message board has been created in the wake of this mess thanks to frequent club users, Eluzyion and Animal House. You can find it at¬†http://tinyfarmcommunity.freeforums.net/¬†ūüėĬ†At the moment, it is free from obnoxious friend requests and it’ll most likely stay that way since unless spam bots start creating accounts, the forum requires registered users to log in¬†before they¬†can even view it. The whole reason the HIVE clubs were subjected to the abuse is the¬†sheer ease of accessing them in-game and the fact that you don’t need to register again to use them once you have a username or¬†auto-generated account number from the game¬†you logged into.

So if you’re tired of how useless the Tiny Farm Club has become, consider joining us at our new home! :3

Actually, It’s About the Ethics of These Mobile Game Companies

This isn’t about issues in journalism. I chose the title because it¬†fits the¬†subject matter of this post. The type of ethics in question, however, is work ethics. I’m mildly miffed that no one else seems to draw attention to the incompetence of Rayark, Inc.¬†in their lack of proofreading text¬†in¬†Implosion – Never Lose Hope, and GCREST with their constant careless updates of CocoPPa Play. I feel strongly about these issues because it makes me wonder why I should support companies (or continue to support in Rayark’s case since¬†I already purchased¬†the game) that half-heartedly¬†work on their games.

Continue reading Actually, It’s About the Ethics of These Mobile Game Companies

To the Point Review for the Movie, Triumph in the Skies (Ť°Ěšłäťõ≤ťúĄ)

Triumph in the Skies promo poster
Triumph in the Skies (Ť°Ěšłäťõ≤ťúĄ)

This is written for the benefit of folks like me who are illiterate to Chinese but can understand conversational Cantonese and watches Chinese movies and TV dramas now and then.

A super brief background of Triumph in the Skies: the Hong Kong TV series that the movie is based off of was about airline pilots, mechanics, and stewardesses and their hardships and interactions with each other. It also gave viewers some insight on pilot training and other technical but interesting aspects of being apart of an airline crew.

Note: There are actually 2 series: one from 2003 and the wildly popular sequel released in 2013. It’s the second series that gave someone the idea that there should be a movie adaptation.

You’d think that, because the movie carries the same title as the serials, as well as featuring some actors from it, it’d have a similar sort of flair.

Nope.

It is 100 minutes of pure, utter shit.

The English synopsis found at the Wikipedia gives you the plot straight-up; it’s a flick that focuses on 3 separate storylines revolving around the relationships of 3 different couples.

This is literally what you get AT FACE VALUE. The 3 tales are NOT a part of an over-arching story. You will sit there, for 100 minutes, watching a disjointed pot-pourri of random shit happening with 6 individuals that get NO character development whatsoever.

The only redeeming value is the gorgeous cinematography featuring various locales in and around England.

Triumph in the Skies would seriously be better off as a slideshow.

Tiny Farm: Fix your inventory, Com2uS!

Edit on September 4th, 2014: Com2uS actually revised the inventory system an update or two ago so¬†this post is¬†no longer relevant. However, I’m keeping it here just¬†to show folks¬†that infinite scrolling¬†is a really terrible design.

Phew. It’s been a while since I wrote up an entry on Tiny Farm. I’m still playing it because I love collecting the super cute animals. I just wish animal certificates weren’t so expensive. I’ve long exhausted the ability to buy them with gold. Have to rely on Bells now. ūüė¶

Anyway, Tiny Farm received a massive overhaul a few weeks ago. Oddly, the ONLY¬†revision the inventory UI received was reduced icon sizes so now¬†each¬†page has 2 lines of items instead of a single one. While that reduces the amount of scrolling one had to endure, it still means A LOT of scrolling for someone like me that has tons¬†of things in storage. Sure, I can sell stuff like¬†fences and rebuy them but why would I? Why should¬†I have to? I’d rather save the money to spend on other things like the unnecessarily¬†expensive lottery draw events.

I recorded the¬†video on my iPad mini with Retina to show how idiotic the inventory¬†design is. In it, you will see that¬†I have to scroll forever to find the freakin’ Yellow Lotus Lantern that was automatically placed in inventory after claiming it from the gift area. I know I zoom past it in the initial scroll-by but it’s just to show that it doesn’t pop up at the end like what other sadistic developers may do with new things you get. At least that would make some sort of sense. This lantern showed up on page 7 or so.

The video was originally longer to show that every single item I have in the gift area is subject to the same random treatment but I decided just showing the lantern was enough.

So what can be done to improve the damnable design? Here are my suggestions:

  • ALL new items/animals you get should appear at the BEGINNING of your inventory.
  • Additional tabs on the side to sort between plants/trees, fences, and decorations just like in the freakin’¬†Store page.
  • Some ability to manually input a search string to look for something.

I wonder if there’s something in the code¬†that’ll make these additions¬†extremely difficult¬†to implement? There’s no reason such logical ideas haven’t found their way into the game yet. It’s been over TWO YEARS since Tiny Farm debuted. Inventories will only get larger over time. >:/

I might fire off a message to Com2uS about this. A few weeks ago, I complained about the simplicity of the Com2uS Hub to them such as the inability to easily locate one’s post¬†and¬†the lack of¬†a search function (for keywords and¬†users) so what’s another complaint? XD They can make pretty looking games but they sure can’t seem to create intuitive user interfaces. The Hub is SO backwater it’s not funny. The way it functions is like a message forum from a few decades ago. 9__9

Theatrhythm iOS: A New Decrescendo for Square Enix

Theatrhythm iOS menu
Theatrhythm iOS menu

After the fiasco with Demons’ Score, Square Enix remains undeterred and decides to, once again, put their hands into consumers’ wallets by publishing yet another freemium title that¬†requires in-app purchases in order to get the most out of it. This time, however, it seems like the IAP model is the same across the board so Japanese players are also subject to the madness.

One main difference with Theatrhythm is that, unlike Demons’ Score, it’s a port of the $30 US 3DS game.¬†I’m not going to go into detail about the changes since you can read about them at Joystiq¬†but¬†I WILL write about the sheer insanity of the pricing scheme.

Squenix graciously includes a whopping total of 2 musical tracks: One-Winged Angel from FFVII and Zanarkand from FFX. If you want more you must pay either $1.99 for individual tracks or $4.99 for 4-song bundles. Note that the store menu for songs includes tunes that are NOT among the bundles so if you want all music from each series, you’re looking at at least $7 US for each one. Multiply by that 13 titiles + 1 FFT track, 1 FFX-2 track, 1 FF: CC track, 2 Advent Children tracks + 1 from Type-0 , and 1 FFXIII-2 and you’re at $98 US.

In contrast, $30 US on 3DS will get you over 70 tracks. Of course, if you factor in the DLC, which cost 99 cents each, it’ll probably be another $50 US. But still, it’s not hard to see that the better deal is on the Nintendo system.

The iOS version also keeps a few of the unlockable 3DS characters out of reach by placing them as IAP with a price tag of $2.99 slapped onto each one.

Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll find at the store.

Note (added 11:08 PM EST):

Here’s the story behind the screenshots: I downloaded the game from the Japanese App Store because I thought it wasn’t available in the Canadian one. I also thought the prices reflected in the in-game shop were the actual localized prices. It turns out that the IAP amounts were simply conversions of the yen prices. I didn’t realize that apps now do this because I’ve purchased things from within Taiko no Tatsujin+ and Puzzle & Dragons before and they always displayed in yen prices.

I might replace the screenshots later.

Songs Р$1.99 $0.99 Each:

Not listing  all 59 of them but tracks like Dancing Mad, which is a normal unlockable tune in the 3DS version, is among the list.

Theatrhythm iOS - Some tracks from the Songs IAP menu
Theatrhythm iOS – Some tracks from the Songs IAP menu

Song Bundles Р$4.99 $2.99 Each:

13 x $4.99
13 x $4.99

FFI Basic Bundle:

Battle, Main Theme, Mt. Gulg, Matoya’s Cave

FFII Basic Bundle:

Battle Theme 1, Battle Theme 2, Main Theme, Tower of the Magi

FFIII Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, Battle 2, Eternal Wind, Crystal Cave

FFIV Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, Battle With The Four Fiends, Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV, Within the Giant

FFV Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, Battle at the Big Bridge, Four hearts, Mambo de Chocobo

FFVI Basic Bundle:

Battle, The Decisive Battle, Terra’s Theme, Searching for Friends

FFVII Basic Bundle:

Let the Battles Begin!, Fight On!, Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII, Cosmo Canyon

FFVIII Basic Bundle:

The Man with the Machine Gun, The Extreme, Blue Fields, Ride On

FFIX Basic Bundle:

Battle 1, The Final Battle, Over the Hill, Dark City Treno

FFX Basic Bundle:

Battle Theme. Fight with Seymour, Mi’hen Highroad, Movement in Green

FFXI Basic Bundle:

Battle Theme, Awakening, Ronfaure, The Sanctuary of Zi’Tah

FFXII Basic Bundle:

Clash of Swords, Esper Battle, Giza Plains, The Dalmasca Estersand

FFXIII Basic Bundle:

Saber’s Edge, Fighting Fate, The Sunleth Waterscape, March of the Dreadnoughts

Characters – $2.99 $1.99 Each:

There are some that you won't find in the 3DS version.
There are some that you won’t find in the 3DS version.

There are 25 in total so far.  iOS exclusive characters include:

  • Celes from FFVI
  • Tifa from FFVII
  • Rinoa from FFVIII
  • Garnet from FFIX
  • Auron from FFX
  • Balthier from FFXII
  • Hope from FFXIII
  • Serah from FFXIII-2
  • Ramza from Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Cosmos from FF series

Since the game is stupid unstable on my iPod touch 4G, I can’t even play any stages. However, even if I could, I’d be stuck playing Zanarkand forever since aside from avoiding One-Winged Angel like a plague, I wouldn’t bother spending any money to get more tracks. After all, it’ll only encourage Square Enix to continue with their idiotic gouging on this platform.

Edit at 10:35 PM EST:

Square Enix lowered the prices for all categories? Now singles cost $0.99, Bundles are $2.99, and Characters are $1.99. So the new total will be $147.03:

Singles: $58.41

Bundles: $38.87

Characters: $49.75

I do wonder about something though — when I originally got the game, it was off the Japanese App Store because I thought it wasn’t out in the Canadian one. Could it be that the yen prices were auto-converted to Canadian because a single is ¬•170 which is like $1.99 Canadian. However, the bundles are¬†¬•450 which comes out to $5.28 Canadian. (Conversions are done with http://xe.com/). I suppose Apple’s got its own conversion thing going. Weirdness.

Oh well, the zany overall price still remains but it’s no longer near the $250 mark. ūüėõ