Beautiful Katamari has been made official for the PS3 and 360.
While no Wii version, which was being rumored, is included in this
announcement, I really don't mind. The thought of playing more
Katamari, even without it's creator at the helm, is too good of a
thing to ignore. Also, just thinking about the Wii playing a
Katamari game has me a bit concerned.
How would one use the
Wiimote to control the rolling ball of doom? Motion sensing in a
game as fast and as precise as Katamari would be nothing short of
annoying and almost painful on the wrist. To use the d-pad and the
analogue (of the nunchuck) would not be as precise as one would hope
for (as seen with the face buttons being used on the PSP version of
Katamari). In the end, this is the right type of game for dual
analogue sticks, and anything else would be nothing short of wrong
Plus, there is enough of
the 360 console for game enthusiasts to be able to pick up the game
comfortably. The Wii, which is still going through shortages, would
be a better way to reach a large audience than the PS3, but it would
not be larger than the 360 audience, and that is what Katamari and
Konami need; large audiences to ensure the games keep coming along
and entertaining us all.
I didn't get in many
games this weekend. I had too many chores to do (like planting trees
and all of that...and no, it wasn't my early Earth Day
celebration...it was the prospect of fresh produce growing in my own
yard sometime soon) and too many games of D&D to play.
However, I did get a
chance to watch Hot Fuzz. That would be the new movie staring Simon
Pegg and from Pegg and Edgar Wright's (Shaun of the Dead) minds, in
case you're not up to date on British comedy.
Hot Fuzz is am awesome
movie. I guess it takes the British, as I've always known, to make a
good spoof that doesn't feel forced. It's a basic spoof of the
classic police buddy films (Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, Bad Boys), but
with a great sense of humor. Not to mention, the action scenes were
I also took a little
time over the weekend to finish up with Super Paper Mario. I can now
put that game to rest and never have to look back. In the end, I
feel the same way I kept saying since I first picked up this title;
it's a great game concept that just reaches a few too many
bottlenecks as the speed drops down for pointless fetch quests. If
you actually enjoy fetch quests (in which case, I pity you and am
amazed by your complete lack of taste for quality gaming
conventions) and platformer style action, then this is an ideal game
for you. If you like silly comedy, this game is also for you.
However, if you like all of the basic elements and just cannot stand
another fetch quest based game, then I'd go the rental route. The
game is worth trying, but it's probably (for you) not a game worth
the full price of admission.
At least Mario Galaxy
should make up for this poor treatment of Mario and his world. That,
and Smash Brawl will also help to give us some more of Mario on the
Wii, but without this annoying idea of fetch quests (and yes, they
are that bad and plentiful enough to ruin the entire flow of SPM).
By this time next year, Mario will have been avenged...and then
I don't have too much to
talk about today. It's mainly due to me being involved in some Hank
Hill (from King of the Hill) style antics. I have a poor looking
lawn and I needed to spend about three or more hours last night
hitting the dandelions and other weeds with herbicides and all of
that stuff. Yup.
However, I finally
did download my first Wii Virtual Console game; Beyond Oasis. It's
an old game, in both terms of being a game from the 1990's and being
a game that's been on the VC for a few weeks. However, I may have
owned it as a kid but I never played much of it (lent it to a friend
and when I finally got it back, I was no longer interested...dumb
mistake). It is a great game. Along the lines of Zelda, but with a
nice change of pace by taking more of the Arabian Nights type of
I'm only about an
hour into the game, but I'm enjoying it on so many levels.
Additionally, this has given me a chance to try out my Classic
Controller. It's a good way to play a game like this that requires
three buttons, but made use of the Genesis six button controller.
The only other
thing I found time for last night were my guilty pleasure on TV
(Drive) and my favorite show of the current TV lineup (Heroes). I'm
happy to see that Heroes finally returned with something far more
substantial than what Lost brought us when it returned from it's
I won't post
spoilers, since some people have taped/recorded Heroes but have not
seen it yet, but I will say one thing; I am glad that Heroes has the
balls to kill off characters. Lost seems to be afraid to remove
anyone important (except for Mr. Eko...the worst death ever on TV
and the worst loss Lost could have seen). However, Heroes will kill
important people while bringing in new people that we actually give
a damn about. I mean, adding Malcolm McDowell as a returning
character is awesome. He is the perfect Magneto for for this type of
show...he's evil, but is he really "that" evil?
I just hope that
George Takei makes more appearances as Hiro's father. In fact, I
hope all of the characters keep being interesting and enthralling to
watch. Unlike Lost (the best comparison show to Heroes), I have yet
to be disappointed by any character being brought in, as well as not
being sad to see any of them go since the deaths of characters have
Now, I would truly
be happy if Lost could follow suit. My advice; kill off Jack and
Kate. That would show the fans that the show means business...and
they could stop this stupid love triangle that keeps dragging Lost
into the romantic genre. Sawyer could remain, since he's a good
balance for Hurley, Jin, and Charlie...but Kate and Jack need to go.
Yesterday I received my
new CPU heatsink/fan. I have yet to install it onto my board, but
this should allow me to really unlock the potential of the E6300
Core 2 Duo chip that's running (and heating) my computer.
From what I've
heard, this CPU, that's clocked at about 1.8GHz out of the box, can
reach speeds in the mid to upper 2GHz range without any real issues.
I've never had such a CPU or motherboard before that is so friendly
together for overclocking anything above a minor 5% increase. It
will be fun to see what I can push this computer to do and how
quickly I can get it done.
I'm still on a bit
of a PC gaming kick right now. After all of the upgrading I did a
couple weeks back, I really want to push my abilities to the limit
and have some fun doing it. Sadly, my game of choice right now is
probably going to be Half-Life 2. I would go with a fresh start on
the PC version of Oblivion, but I could barely get through the 360
version as it was.
Not that the 360
version is bad and ruined the Oblivion experience for me. It's more
of how my experience with Oblivion is tainted by the stupid idea of
leveled enemies and treasure. I like to play my role playing games
in a setting which is a little structured. I like open ended games
which throw out the idea of linearity. However, I like to know that
when I finally find glass armor (the staple best light armor of the
Elder Scrolls) to think that I earned it...not that I simply killed
a dude while I was level 20. I also like to think that some bandit
demanding 100 gold from me is not so wealthy as to have some glass
armor on his person (which sells for far more than the amount I'm
being robbed of).
If this levels
idea was not involved, I would have no problem giving Bethesda some
more of my money to buy the PC version of Oblivion and even the
Shivering Isles expansion. I'd also love to try out the great line
up of community made mods. However, as long as Oblivion stands for
leveled equipment, I think I'll just pass it by and hope that in 5
years The Elder Scrolls 5 will bring us back to a world that is not
a giant random treasure generator.
Beyond my PC
gaming fun (which, despite having a nice powerful PC, is spent
mainly with free casual games), I have had little time for much
else. I have been tweaking my entertainment system, including
finding ways to set up my consoles to give them their proper access
to important resources (like how after last night my 360 is back on
Live and not too far from a network cable).
At least I could
always use my lack of game playing time as another excuse for why I
won't go back to Super Paper Mario...since I always hate to walk
away from a Mario game...too bad SPM warrants such a departure.
I was able to add my new
CPU fan and heat sink to my computer last night. Afterwards, I was
able to safely and with great stability overclock my CPU to over 3.0
GHz. That's 3.06 GHz on a chip that's clocked for 1.83 GHz. I'd call
an increase of over 1.2 GHz pretty damned nice. I'd also call it a
testament to the wonderful abilities of the E6300 Pentium Core 2 Duo
processor and the wonders of ease I could do this with as a
testament to the user friendly nature of my Asus P5N-E SLI
If you are looking
into the possibility of buying a new CPU and motherboard, I could
not recommend this combination any stronger...unless you like the
thought of going to 3.6 GHz...then it sounds like the E6400 is the
way to go.
The only downside
is that I had to drop about $40 (after shipping) on my new heat sink
and fan and a small tube of Arctic Silver 5. However, since the
E6400 is only clocked for a hair over 2 GHz and it's $50 more, I'd
call this cost one well worth it.
Using this new
setup, along with my DDR2 chips that are only clocked at 667MHz and
my 8800 GTS video card, I was able to max all settings in Half-Life
2: The Lost Coast (the only game I could find with a video stress
test that I had access to) and run at over 120 FPS. Not bad for a
person who usually sticks to being one step behind on computer
hardware. Now it just makes me wish I had this a year ago, so I
could have bought Oblivion on a system that allows for the fun of
user made mods (the PC).
I did take the
opportunity last night to download the Infernal demo found on Steam.
I have to say that beyond all other thoughts, this is one amazing
game from a visual standpoint. It's just a shame that the great
visuals and the great story concept cannot be utilized in a game
that feels like it's being handled properly from a game play
The game allows
you to utilize a sneak button and the ability to use walls as cover
while picking off your foes from around corners and behind boxes.
However, I must ask; what is the use of sneaking and cover when the
enemy always knows where you are. If you can use a sniper scope to
find a foe, even if they are at the farthest possible distance from
you, then they are already aware of your presence. The sneak concept
is completely nerfed by the ability for all enemies to find you
without you making yourself known.
To further annoy
the gamer, this happens while the audio of your enemies has them
stating how "the intruder" (that would be you) has left the area and
everything is secure. They say that they no longer suspect you to be
around, but continue to know your every move well before you've
stopped sneaking in the shadows.
If it was not for
this ESP-like ability of the AI to find you, then Infernal could be
one hell of a great game. The setting of the forces of good and evil
fighting with supernatural abilities and an arsenal of heavy weapons
(including the best FPS/third person shooter flame thrower I've ever
used) is fun to try to be a part of, and the supernatural abilities
are a blast (literally in some cases) to use. The entire game feels
incredibly polished and fun to play...except for sneaking. Sadly,
that breaks the game for me.
Anyway, I think
I'll be fine with some old school game play on the Wii's VC (ala
Beyond Oasis) for the time being. I also have some Half-Life 2 to
play since I never played more than the demo before and I now own
the whole intermediate priced package (including Episode 1). If I
really get bored with that, since so little else is on the horizon,
then I may have to break down and get the game I keep saying I don't
want to get (not Infernal...sorry, it's just not good enough...I'm
talking about the PC version of Oblivion...for the mods and the
expansion). I think having a good PC has pushed me away from the
next gen gaming world for awhile as I get caught up on the system
that has been with me the longest (PC).
It's when I hear news of
Nintendo selling 5.84 million Wiis (which is more than any other
console maker has sold in this short of a time period) that I
realize more and more than these conspiracies are dumb. By "these
conspiracies", I mean the ones talking about how Nintendo is
intentionally holding back supplies to create artificial demand for
their product. No. This type of talk is maybe suitable for some
consoles, but not for something trying to reach the casual gamer and
succeeding so well at it.
Casual gamers are
not the type who would follow Wii releases each week hoping to snag
one of these elusive machines. They would be more likely to give up
and call it a day early on. To delay the shipments of Wiis in order
to bolster a fake demand, Nintendo would lose millions of potential
sales, and this is not the way that Nintendo is running their
business. Sony? Well, they might do this type of thing when the PS3
sales leveled off to make some extra hype, but they didn't.
Microsoft? I still don't believe those old rumors from a year ago
about how Microsoft made fake demand to help the only HD gaming
system on the market at the time.
I mean the Wii is
becoming such a movement of cultural levels right now that it's big
in nursing homes, it's big with non-gamers (as I've seen with my
dad, who last purchased a game machine, not counting PC, in the
1980's when he got us kids an Intellivision), and it's even being
featured at a work party at my own uptight and boring day job as I
post this (I don't attend these parties since I'd rather drink a
little bit and relax after a long work week than party with my
co-workers...who mainly are the subject of my ire). The Wii is big
and it's not something that will end or be stopped by a lack of
demand. It, however, would only be hurt by the fake demand
On the other side
of the console war,
Ken Kutaragi is "retiring". Why do I feel like this "retirement"
is probably not as much a choice as it is a forced decision? I know!
Maybe because of how this once brilliant mind that drove Sony into
the gaming world and drove them to be the best console seller of the
last generation has become weak and feeble.
Kutaragi has led
Sony into some very troubled times. He made press announcements for
the PS3, prior to it's launch, that brought lawsuits from Nintendo
and Microsoft for slanderous and deceitful comments being told as
fact. He promised gamers anything and everything would be on the
PS3, only to release a console that lacked so much. He told many
things and "wrote many checks" that his lame and no longer "with-it"
mind could cash. It was like when Gunpei Yokoi made the fatal
mistake of designing the Virtual Boy (although some of that blame
at least be placed on Nintendo).
someone who will both be missed, if he fully leaves the gaming
world, and at the same time we should all be glad to see him
leave...and hopefully stay gone. He had a lot of power on his hands,
and he held a lot of respect by those around him. He helped to bring
about the three party system (or is that the three system parties)
we now have had for three generations. He brought Sony to the gaming
world like no one else. He made a system (PS2) that outperformed on
so many levels despite being lower in technical abilities than the
competition. However, he's also part of the problem that now faces
Sony (the PS3). He brought about lawsuits, bad press, bad decisions
to make an "entertainment supercomputer" instead of a "game
console", and a lot of unfulfilled promises.
Sony can get things back on track with their operations and stop
looking to further scapegoat Kutaragi (since he's been held
accountable, even after being removed from his original power, while
Sony did not attempt to fix the problems at hand). By this, I mean
it's time for Sony to look for a way to please third party
developers again, lower the price, and focus on gaming instead of
entertainment in general.
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