Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (12/4/06)  

The Wii is now out (and sold out) in Japan. This makes the second part done on Nintendo's new usual goal of launching consoles worldwide. They did it with the DS, and it's going on again with the Wii. It is great to see at least one console launch going according to matter how much it makes it hard to find one for those who didn't pre-order or camp.

On that note, I'm still fully enjoying Zelda: Twilight Princess. Despite how Zelda games in the past have usually lasted about 20 hours, even with some searching for the hidden heart pieces, this one is a nice long game. I'm getting ready to finish the fourth real dungeon, and I've topped 20 hours...and then some.

So far, I'd have to say the Wii controls are awesome for this game. While I have some issues with the nunchuk's sensor telling what I intend to do (a wave will do a spin attack and a forward thrust gives a special ability you unlock if you know how). I've found myself doing a good number of spin attacks when I intended to do this other ability (no spoilers). Besides that small issue, the Wii controls for Zelda are amazing and fun...even if they make you look like you're having a seizure as you play.

More than that, however, I am very impressed with the plot this time around. I think this is the first time when a Zelda game has had a plot more advanced than "Zelda in trouble...teh save her!" In fact, there's a good real story with some nice elements of betrayal and sacrifice (unlike past Zelda games when there was only the clearest and most obvious of plot "twists").

Anyway, I've given up on playing anything else until I've finished Zelda. FFV Advance? Nope. Haven't touched it for over a week. Trauma Center? Not for about six days. Monkeyball? Not until I get another Wii-mote. Wii Sports? Ok...this one is fun for small bursts so I've given some love to it. Afterall, it's hard to turn down a small and quick game like Wii Sports when one's attention span is not up to what's needed for Zelda.

Anyway, I don't have much else to say except for this; Go Seahawks! Yesterday the Seahawks put on one hell of an awkward and confusing game. Luckily for Seattle, Denver had an even more inexplicable and confusing game plan. Nothing like the plan of putting your kicker in severe danger, and then watching him mess up his hamstring. Brilliant...? All so you could turn a fourth down with a very possible field goal into a first down and very possible field goal as the quarter expired.

Maybe Denver needs a cue from Seattle. We have our kicker (who is easily Seattle's MVP for the season after kicking his fourth game winning field goal with less than a minute left!) pulling off some awesome plays (like his tackle that led to a fumble from a kick off), without our coach telling him to risk himself.

Anyway, this win keeps the Seahawks on par to possible be seeded number 2 for the NFC, assuming we don't lose anymore games this season. Of course that's assuming we can survive an assault by San Diego (as they possible help to destroy Shaun Alexander's single season TD record) in a couple weeks. That's also assuming we stop losing players to long injuries, like we may have to deal with after Mack Strong's problem yesterday.

Now if Holmgren can only figure a way to get the Seahawks to play a good game the whole game and not just in one half or the other, like we've been doing all season.


Malik (12/5/06)  

I don't know if it's continuing by the time this post is online, but Microsoft has/had their sign up session for being part of the Halo 3 beta test. I honestly don't care. It's not that I don't care that much for Halo (which is partly true...Halo rocked my world, but Halo 2 left me feeling a bit down), but rather that I'm just getting sick of FPS.

It seems, to me, that FPS is the direction that console gaming will continue to take. Unfortunately, this is, to me, the single worst part of the evolution of console gaming. When the PSX or even the PS2 were king (before the XBox launched), FPS seemed impossible to enjoy on a console. Therefore, the majority of FPS titles were on the PC...where I still had plenty of other options from RTS (another genre which still cannot really handle the console lifestyle) to RPGs (of the PC variety). However, with the proof that XBox gave us via Halo that FPS could be handled by a controller, the climate changed.

This climate change was not bad, in and of itself. However, the part that made it bad or intolerable was that Halo was a massive success. Bungie made some serious bank off of the Halo franchise, and in the modern console publishing world, success is something to be it will inevitably lead to imitators. For example, we now have each new console pushing a majority of it's advertising budget on the "must have" FPS launch titles. PS3 has Resistance and Wii even has some over abundant love for Red Steel (despite it's many short comings).

While one or two FPS titles are a great thing, it's when we see a shit ton of them that I start to feel a little...annoyed. The same goes for almost ant genre or franchise, but FPS is especially obvious when it's been over produced. While some genres will just spawn dozens of half assed games that offer minimal entertainment, a bad FPS breeds frustration. What I mean is this; if any game genre is to suffer from over production, it will be the one with the most delicate needs for controls. FPS fits that bill since it's the genre that needs the most responsive, yet controllable, of control schemes. A bad run speed, a bad level of aiming sensitivity, too much sensitivity, poorly mapped buttons, or too blurry of visuals and a half assed FPS will not just be's will be a burden upon everyone who associates themselves with the game.

True, Halo 3 will probably be a pretty good game...however, I still cannot care less. It will undoubtedly have awesome controls and wonderful visuals. However, I've just seen too many FPS games, and far too few games representing the other genres as of late. Where are the hyped RPGs, strategy titles, platformers, puzzle games, or any of the countless other neglected genres that don't see any love (besides the occasional bastardization from EA)? They simple fall off the radar and possible they don't even see the developmental pathway.

Anyway, I'm still playing Zelda and loving every second of it...well, nearly every second. A few new abilities are pretty annoying and frustrating. The first time you face jousting, any time you have a difficult puzzle with the new spinner item (imagine riding a top...the spinning toy), or any time you simple want to solve a few of the side quests in a hurry (none can be solved in a all) those are all huge pains in the ass. However, the rest of the game is beyond solid.

I guess my one other complaint is that the game uses a few too many of the obvious plot extenders. *This is a slight spoiler, so feel free to go to the next paragraph about now*. You first have to solve three dungeons to find the three pieces of "fused shadows". That's fine. However, once you solve them and start the dungeon to find the "twilight mirror" you find that the mirror is broken...into four pieces...and you have to beat three additional dungeons to re-assemble it. Maybe something unique would be better than feeling like I'm stuck in a constant fetch mission.

*Those spoilers ended*

However annoying the plot can be, at least the game play is solid enough to keep me always coming back for more. Best of all, whenever I feel a bit jaded on dungeon crawling, the minigames of Twilight Princess are all fun enough to kill some time with. There's fishing, which is hella sweet with the Wii motion sensitive controls. The raft riding game to shoot down targets while riding a canoe of sorts down some rapids is great. There's even scoring money by jumping off a cliff while holding on to a chicken to slow your fall, as you pick up money icons. Even the rewards for most of these exercises are great (more bomb types to play with, larger quiver for your arrows, bigger bomb bags, opening new stores with new items). It's all fun on it's own, but the prizes just make it go from fun to rewarding and fun.


Malik (12/6/06)  

It's one of those days in which there is almost nothing to talk about. I mean, maybe if the thought of a Bob Ross video game being canceled is news, then there's something. Think of those damned happy little trees.

Other than that, there's nothing major in terms of news. I'm still waiting for the Wii Channels to actually have content. In fact, I feel a bit disappointed in one part of the Wii...those nonexistent channels. The weather Wii channel is still not online (at least the last time I checked...yesterday), the news channel is also in the same state, and there's no sign of the Opera browser promised by Nintendo several months ago.

While the Wii has, arguably, the best launch of any console this generation, Nintendo is doing like everyone else; making promises and not delivering. Friend Codes are jokes since the only thing it can give you is more Miis on your Wii. The channels are all empty and waiting for an "update". The browser, which is supposed to be free to download until July is still not found. Wiimotes and nunchuks are almost impossible to find. The classic controller seems to be more of an urban myth than anything. Even the component video cables don't really exist, unless you ordered from Nintendo directly about a month ago.

I guess the only bright side of Nintendo's launch is the obvious; there are more enjoyable games at the Wii launch and fewer system errors than found with the PS3 or the 360. I guess that is something. Still, promises being delivered upon would be even better. head is not in the geek side of things today. I'm getting ready to look for a home loan, and therefore I'm a bit more focused on damned "grown up" finances. So, I'll just keep this all short today.


Malik (12/7/06)  

Very short post today. I'm just short on time and patience.

Anyway, to make up for a lack of content, here's some good advise from Nintendo on how to care for your Wii (courtesy of Kotaku posting parts of the Japanese Wii instructions). Some of this stuff is damned hilarious.


Malik (12/8/06)  

It's now over. Nintendo has finished their world wide launch of the Wii, in a matter of about three weeks. It's nice to see one company (well, two if you count the 360 from Microsoft) pull off it's promises in one way or another. However, we still have two issues waiting for Nintendo's assistance.

First off, there are still not enough Wii (I never know if it's "Wii" or "Wiis" for the pleural form...?) to go around. This will probably be fixed sometime after the New Year. However, my bet is that the Wii will be available for purchase without camping or a major price inflation (auction) sometime around the end of February or start of March. That's as opposed to my PS3 guess of around May. This will also be around the time when a Wii owner can actually buy a second Wiimote or nunchuk without putting in excessive effort.

The other issue is that the Wii Channels are still devoid of content. There's no online games, no online content (besides classic Virtual Console games), and it has not been directly addressed by Nintendo. I bet it will be around the end of December when we see the first Wii Channel content, and it won't be until around February that we see all of the previously announced launch content (weather, news, and Opera browser) all online and running.

I guess it could be worse for Nintendo. They are being adored by the masses, even when promises are ignored or delayed. It's the best selling console this holiday season and it's going to help keep Nintendo profitable and strong for the next year.

On the other hand, things could be better for Microsoft. When the Fall Update was released, it caused a small amount of 360s (less than 1%) to become piles of shit. That is, the update bricked a few systems (and by a few, I mean a few thousand). It was fixed the next day by Microsoft, however, they still demanded their usual $140 repair service for consoles not under warrantee.

That was not good enough for one person who decided to file a class action lawsuit against Microsoft for this action. In fact, while I normally am annoyed by excessive lawsuits, I can fully agree with one as Microsoft did violate the Washington State Consumer Protection Act. This lawsuit filer is asking for upto $5 million to repay the people who were effected by this problem and an additional $5 million as a penalty for Microsoft violating the Consumer Protection Act.

This is just the type of lawsuit I think normally should never happen, but the way Microsoft handled the initial situation shows that they do need some action taken against them. If you track down an old message board post about the Fall Update, you will find numerous people who suffered the bricking syndrome and had Microsoft flat out tell them it wasn't their (Microsoft's) fault. In fact, many people were left with the option of either paying for a new console or paying Microsoft to repair their brick.

In this modern console age in which every console will not receive firmware updates and upgrades, this is the type of situation that cannot happen. No single entity forced console makers to require updates. While updates can be good fun (although the Fall Update in question did nothing important for the majority of 360 owners...except change some icon designs on the dash board...yippee?), they are now required by at least the 360 for online play and access. So, no matter what you may feel about the update (being for or against the "improvements") you must download it...and face the potential for your system being trashed.

I think what I'm trying to say is this; if consoles are now all going to have updates, and if not all updates are going to be voluntary, then they better be quality controlled and quality assured like nothing else on the market. That, and the console makers better be ready to stand behind their product when it works, but really to admit fault when it fails. If Microsoft is going to force an update without any easy to find explanation on what it will do, and if it fails, then Microsoft better be ready from the start to repair/replace ruined/bricked consoles without first denying all guilt.

In fact, this applies to everyone and everything. If you're making a product and you're counting on an update or patch to make it good, then you better be damned ready to make up for faults in the initial release (or better yet, don't release until it's ready) and to be ready to offer customer support all through the products life. I've just seen too much with firmware updates bricking systems, games that don't work until the first patch, and patches that render a game unplayable on some systems or PCs (Battlefield 2 for the PC comes to mind more than anything on that one). If you, as a company, cannot do this, then be prepared for litigation since their are Consumer Protection Acts in many states for a damned good reason...or you could always just sell your product in only the states without such protective laws...and watch your sales be cut drastically.

Anyway, to end on a brighter note...supposedly the new trailer for Mass Effect should be on Live today. Considering how much hype there is for this game, I know I'm not alone in waiting for each little morsel of data to be consumed by my hype-driven mind.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page