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Malik (2/12/07)  

Not much to say today. This weekend was one which was a good lesson in seeing what all could go wrong in life. I saw how some real estate agents can be dicks and lazy (not my agent, but the other side of my current negotiation), and how some people just refuse to do their jobs.

I also tried to go to a rather swanky party. I was decked to the nines in a suit, and was ready to drop some money on gambling and drinking. Of course it doesn't help when any plans involve needing to park in or around downtown Seattle. To find parking on a Saturday night in Seattle is about as easy as finding a good new job when you want one...or finding a good house on the market without dealing with asses who refuse to do their jobs.

At least I did get a few precious hours with Rogue Galaxy. Now that is a great game. I was getting frustrated with the insane difficulty (weapons just were way too weak to kill enemies efficiently). However, that changed when I finally got to the "Alchemy Pot" (for Dragon Quest 8 fans, that should be familiar) equivalent in RG. Basically, you eventually find a frog who will eat two experienced weapons (you have to gain weapon experience to unlock this ability on them) and spit out a more powerful weapon in their place.

Let's just say I went from weapons that had level ratings around 3 to using weapons with a double digit level rating. Now that is one way to make the game go from frustration to enjoyment in a hurry. I'm all for a good challenge, but being under-powered, despite being in my 20's (level-wise) is a bit annoying to say the least.

Not much else to say right now. So, I'll just drop off and hope for some cool news or something to bitch about tomorrow that's not real estate related.


Malik (2/13/07)  

For those saying the Wii drought needs to end, I agree. At least some good news is in the pipeline. Namely, Super Paper Mario is coming April 9th. This will be a great time for the Wii to finally stop the launch drought and show off a little of what the Wii can do. I just hope it goes better than the GCN Paper Mario did.

I also hope the times of Virtual Console releases being crap ends soon. I understand that some people have fond memories of Kid Icarus, but I have some bad news to break to you; Kid Icarus and Ice Climbers really weren't that good of games. Not good enough to drop $5 on and then to play on hardware that could smoke this type of game play. It's about time we see more than 2 N64 games, more SNES love, and maybe we should finally see an honest RPG experience. Afterall, the Genesis and SNES had some of the greatest RPG experiences that any console ever showed. Even the NES had some great RPG love with the birth of Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and some of those sleeper titles (Destiny of an Emperor!).

Plus, why not show some Majora's Mask, Phantasy Star, and real Sonic love right now? I know I would have no problem paying even double the regular Genesis price for Sonic 3 and Knuckles on the Wii. It would be beyond ideal. While we're at it, where are some of the classic fighters, classic platformers, and all of the others that helped to sell the NES, Genesis, and SNES. I would also include the TurboGrafix, but I never had one as a kid, so I wouldn't know. However, it would be a good time to show that side of the gaming world to those who missed it the first time around (like me).

I guess I can't complain too much now that a non-launch game that shows the real Wii fanbase (Super Paper Mario) some love is coming along in less than two months. I just wish the good games could come a little faster.

Anyway, I'm keeping this short today since there's not much to say. However, as I walk off into another sunset, a personal thought; Happy anniversary, Velveeta! It's been eight years since we hooked up, and here's to many more!


Malik (2/14/07)  

Nintendo released another new Wii channel today. I woke up to find that magical blue glow coming from my Wii. It's like it wanted to give me a special Valentine or something. So, now I have the absolutely pointless opportunity to use the "Everyone Votes" (or something like that) channel to vote on polls.

Not to sound like I'm trying to be ungrateful to Nintendo for offering more content, but this seems like a complete waste of time and space. I can vote on the same sort of polls you find everywhere on the Internet. I can vote what I think a good Valentine present or day is, if I like cats or dogs more, and other things. However, what I would've liked to see would be voting on things with more "importance".

Why not have polls that include "What system needs more VC love?", "What Zelda game do you want on the VC?" or other such questions that Nintendo could use to help gauge what VC games to release. How about a question on what features should become new Wii Channels? There are so many possibilities to make this a fun diversion, but instead it's only a waste of time and a waste of space on my tiny Wii memory.

There's also a new update included with this channel. I don't know the down low of it, but I think the bulk of this update enabled the voting channel and there was probably some more parental control settings or better implementation of these controls. In the end, it was another day of wasted Wii updates. Maybe if I had children I would find more use in them...but maybe if I had children I would watch what they play (and play with them) instead of relying on Nintendo to be the guardian of my children in one aspect (the geeking aspect) of their lives.

On a different Wii note, Brunswick Pro Bowling is coming to the Wii at some point in the future. All I can say is that it's about time that someone saw what I've been seeing for several months...a large amount of those who normally don't play games who I've seen buy the system are doing so over Wii Sports. In particular, I've seen Wii Bowling win more Wii fans than anything in gaming history. Casual gamers love Wii Bowling, and it's about time that someone jumps on this line of thinking with a full bowling game.

If Brunswick handles the Wiimote even half as well as Wii Bowling did, then this game is sure to be an instant hit with the casual gamer crowd, while drawing in many of the Nintendo core audience. This is the one game that should have been in the works since day one. At least, despite being a little late, this is some damned good news for those of us who feel that too many developers are not utilizing the Wiimote correctly. Now we just need to see some Tiger Woods love already.


Malik (2/15/07)  

The people behind Okami (in other words, the people who used to form a backbone of Clover studio) have started plans to reunite as Seeds. It's hard to know what this will entail for the future, since it's a new brand with a new name, and probably none of the intellectual properties that Clover once held. However, if there is any chance of this leading to an Okami sequel or another game in the same vein as Okami, this is good new indeed.

With how many different unique and innovative studios are folded or devoured by big business each year, it's a rare treat to get one of the studios back into the light of day. Even if it's a new name and a new set of IPs, it can only hold good things for the future of non-franchised games (in other words, games that EA and Ubi would never touch).

In fact, if there was anything that held a bad prospect for the future of gaming, it's the lack of creativity allowed into the marketplace. The usual direction of game industry work and politics sees us losing more and more of the creative side each day. With games costing more to create as the hardware becomes more advanced, there is not nearly enough influence out there to keep a constant stream of fun and fresh games in the public eye. It's well known that too many of the more novel of games (Okami, Beyond Good and Evil, Katamari, and so on) are just neglected or ignored nine times out of ten.

The only hope that even remains for the smaller companies is to find a well known name, be it an old studio or a famous master of the craft (like Mistwalker did), to carry any new games or projects. This is not the way it should be, but since games cost a lot more than movies, for example, we can't just count on independent studios and developers to take of the slack without something to carry them.

Anyway, I'm still playing Rogue Galaxy. I know, that transition in subjects sucked. I had nowhere else to go with novel games, so I subject leaped like a madman. It's my post and I'm fine with it.

I have to say that my first impression of RG is completely wrong. I thought the game was too hard. While some areas do throw in excessive challenge, the majority of the game is simply far on the easy side of things. For example, if you're ever under leveled going into an area, you just need to hang out around a save spot (which also heals you for free) and fight a few battles before touching the save spot to refresh all your strength. Plus, as you gain experience with weapons, you can fuse them to make more massive of weapons and soon you'll decimate anything and everything you face.

For example, I had to grind a few levels in the last dungeon I played. However, by the time I was ready to progress, I was so damned powerful that I was able to slay the boss at the end of the place with only one character ever taking damage, no heal potions used, and it took about 8 seconds. Not too impressive for an epic game...but it beats battles being so awkwardly hard that you never want to progress in the game.

I think even with the lack of challenge, that Rogue Galaxy will keep me entertained for a while. The plot is not exactly brilliant, but it's fun enough to enjoy. However, the true fun comes from battling and fusing new weapons to make your average party into a group of battle hardened assassins.

Anyway, it's another short post today. I didn't come into this thing aiming to be short again, but sometimes there just isn't enough to talk about...and this is a week of that.


Malik (2/16/07)  

I really don't have anything useful to say today. It's a shame, but it's been a crazy and crappy week for the most part. Nothing like being rejected by two different jobs (well, rejected by one and almost getting another and then seeing it canceled due to the supervisor leaving the company...damn!), losing out on a perfect house to buy, and not getting much time to play games.

The little gaming I've been up to has all been in Rogue Galaxy. That's all well and good, but one thing needs to be kept in mind; it's not a fun game to talk about. It's addictive to play, because of the weapon leveling system...but it doesn't make for much fun when all I can say about what I played last night is this;

I ran in a circle for about 3 hours. Every 15 minutes or so I'd teleport to town, buy some new weapons, and then I'd run in a circle again to fight more enemies. Every 15 battles (how long it take to fully level a weapon to it's fusing potential) I'd equip a crappy weapon on each character and fight 15 more fights. After 30 fights, I'd have two leveled weapons and I'd fuse them to make a new weapon...that I'd equip and use in 15 fights before equipping another crappy weapon for 15 fights and then...yes...they would be fused into a new weapon.

That's it. And when I say "run in a circle", I mean I'd hit up on on analogue stick and left or right on the other and make tight little circles. That way I'd just get into fights and remain near a save/heal/teleport location. Also, the fights I'd get into would typically end in about 2 seconds with my using my most powerful special attack to destroy everything in one hit.

I figure I'll stop and adventure more soon, but I just enjoy making new weapons too much for my own damned good. It's addictive and it can't be explained. However, until I reach that special point (when I feel like I've done enough to over power my party), I don't aim to go anywhere.

Maybe I like it since it seems like a good analogy for my life. I feel like I'm running in circles and until I get a new job (which I am trying to do), I'll just keep running in circles. games are great when you can tie them into life lessons.

At least I aim to have a good drunken Wii (and NBA All-Star) party on Saturday. The one use for the Wii I still haven't been able to properly utilize; drinking assistant.


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