Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (12/18/06)  

No post on Friday since I was in day two of no power. Power left me on Thursday night and didn't return until late Saturday. It's not like I can really complain about my situation (Velveeta loves candles, and I love outdoor grilling). At least on it's own. My only issue was the fact that I couldn't post, and that I really hate watching the more insane of people freak out over the smallest things.

I mean the gas station a mile from my home (the closest one with power) was in the news when cops had to break up a melee over gas...all while lines stretched on in each direction for over a mile. Meanwhile, literally with a 15 minute drive (far shorter than the up to 3 hour wait for gas at that station) away was Seattle...with gas for all. It's just amazing how much people refuse to think when the lights go out. It's why we see people grilling and using gas generators in their bedrooms during this shit. Hint: There's a "don't use indoors" warning for a reason (not just because "the man" is trying to keep you from enjoying tasty meat products in the comfort of you own bed).

I even know of a few friends who were told, as they cut fallen tress from their property, while the power was out, by some passer-by to use an electric saw, since it would make the job easier. Intelligence is king in the land of the blackout...all hail the anarchy.

Speaking of stupidity, Nintendo is offering to replace all Wiimote straps to prevent more Wiimote accidents. I'll say this and I'll only say it once; it's a $40 controller ($60 with a classic or a nunchuk attached), so don't f$#@ing let go! It's not that hard. On top of that, I've seen enough web sites testing the strength of these straps (sorry, no links since power outage made me lose track of a few too many links) to know one thing; they are pretty damned strong. Able to hold 25 pounds of weight, strong. Plus, if you don't let the damned thing go, then there's absolutely no problems. If you do sweat enough to need that type of help holding the Wiimote, maybe you need to consider just buying a sweat towel.

Well, I didn't really enjoy much geeking this weekend. No power kept me more on a survival mode and less in a mood to have electronic fun. I did see Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny again to kill time on Friday. It's still a good movie, even after seeing it a second time to avoid the cold and dark that was waiting at home. Also, on Sunday, once power returned, I didn't even get to enjoy Elebits...I don't know why yet, but I think it relates to f%$#ing around since the game was supposed to come via overnight delivery, and it was released last Tuesday. I guess this is another reason why I need to forget about Amazon as being a real merchant (it's the same thing they did to me with Smash Melee all so many years back).


P.S.  Elebits did arrive today...thanks for being so f$#@ing slow, Amazon!

Malik (12/19/06)  

Datel is making a Freeloader for the Wii. It's not really worth mentioning, since Datel has always been there to do this type of stuff for us Japanese Nintendo console game fans...but it's good to know, none-the-less. If things happen with the Wii like with the GCN, I know that a nice injection of an occasional import can work wonders (Like Naruto 3 did on the GCN for this geek).

Anyway, like I stated at the end of my post yesterday, finally shipped me Elebits. I pre-ordered almost a month before launch, and paid for overnight shipping, and it managed to find it's way to me yesterday. Way to go. Even better, the free gift (usually called a pre-order item) didn't even come with the game. After all of the delays, the least Amazon could've done is included my plush Elebit. Oh and learn. Amazon is only as reliable as you trust them to be. If it wasn't for this game being paid for with gift certificates, I would've never trusted Amazon with it.

Elebits is starting to really show me something, along with games like Trauma Center, about how the Wii can be handled. There seems to be two schools of use on the motion sensor technology we all affectionately call the Wiimote. It's just like with the DS touch screen. Some companies try to push the technology into weird and new directions, while Nintendo shows the best way to do it.

On the DS, Nintendo offered novel ways to control a game. The best example was either Wario Ware Touched or Mario 64 DS. Those used the touch screen as a assistant in controlling the games. Meanwhile, other companies, like we saw with Konami and Castlevania: DS, use it as a crutch on game design. In fact, no matter what you think of the Nintendo made DS games, ultimately, you still have to respect the controls. The non-Nintendo games usually left you with a nice assortment of game ideas, but all with some sort of dual screen and touch screen limitation.

That is also the case with the Wii. While games like Trauma Center and Elebits, one could really love the innovative ideas involved in the game play, but the controls ultimately serve as a hindrance. For example, if you have access to Elebits, try to play for a bit and then aim the controller completely away from the sensor bar. If you don't have the game, let me just say that you'll spin in a direction (think of an 360 FPS with a broken right analogue stick). This is also seen in other forms, like when you want to do some fine aiming and instead you find yourself targeting anything but your intended target, due to the overly sensitive controls.

On the other hand, Nintendo has done awesome by using the Wiimote for things like Zelda (swing the Wiimote for a swing of the sword) and Excite Truck (steering and nothing else), and most of all for Wii Sports. Nintendo has taken the most obvious direction for this type of input do anything but aim. It's like with the DS, and how Nintendo uses the second screen for anything but direct control of fine movements.

Anyway, does suffer from a slightly frustrating controller setup. Hint: FPS and Wii don't really belong may be the OBVIOUS answer to the Wiimote, but it's not the good answer...just like the obvious answer to milk is to drink it and not to use some cream and eggs and make some ice cream...Nintendo is making ice cream while Konami, EA, Ubisoft, and many others just want us to enjoy a glass of generic milk.

In the end, however, I'm having a blast with Elebits. It's a nice fresh feeling game that evokes some of the classic fun-for-the-sake-of-fun feelings one would get from Katamari Damacy or (a great guilty pleasure) Pokemon Snap. It's simple enough to really enjoy (except for fine aiming), and the concept is easy enough to get into without being a "hardcore" gamer. It's also silly enough that it's not just for gaming lightweights. Like Katamari, it's simply a game that stands on it's own terms.

Basically, the game gives you the classic Katamari concept. You have X minutes to collect X items. This time, instead of getting a bigger Katamari (ball), you have to collect Elebits (little Pikmin looking creatures). Each one will give you so much energy (more or less depending on their mood...frightened Elebits are not worth as much as a sleeping one), and the stage ends when either the timer runs out (failure) or when you get enough energy (success). Also, as you gain energy from your prey, you'll be able to turn on new appliances and open doors. Appliances will net you electric Pikmi...Elebits, which increase the power of your gun.

At first, your gun can pick up and shake around small objects. However, as it powers up, you'll be able to pick up larger items (up to buildings) and shake them to find more hiding Elebits. In other words, it's like with Katamari in which you can pick up more things and larger things as you gain size...but this time it's about what's hidden within the items and not the items in and of themselves.

Besides the control issues, the only other real issue I've encountered so far is the timer. Each stage feels like it's slightly short changed on the timer. In fact, if the timer on each stage was only increased by about 1-2 minutes, I would encourage this game for all people. With such a short timer, frustrations can run high, and that leaves me thinking this is just barely not a casual game. It could have been...but rather you are left with a game that can easily lead to frustration as you constantly fail a mission by a mere second or two.

Anyway, I'll have more thoughts on this game tomorrow, I imagine. For now, it's still one hell of a weird late fall for Seattle, and I'm too cold (and numb) to fumble my way through this keyboard any longer.


Malik (12/20/06)  

Nintendo now has another pointless lawsuit on their hands. This time, some person (I'm betting he's looking for an "easy buck") from Texas is suing over the "faulty" wrist straps on the Wiimote. Supposedly, this type of action is being viewed as an "unfair or deceptive practice" and violates the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

Now the simple truth of the matter is that Nintendo has already started the Wiimote strap replacement program. On top of that, the instructions for the Wii clearly say to not let go of the Wiimote while using it. Beyond that, there is no part of any game that implies that a person should act like a spaz while playing the Wii, and thus swinging the Wiimote with enough force to constantly fly loose and put the strap under that much force.

I would wage dollars to doughnuts that this is just another case of someone trying something dumb to try to score an easy cash settlement from a major corporation. This is not like the case of the person from California who's 360 was bricked by an required update and was asked to pay $140 to replace it. This is simply the case of something not fully handling the stresses of stupidity. To see that Nintendo is already doing a replacement program, which is not needed (that strap is strong...believe me, I know), shows that there's no merit for this whole deal.

Maybe if Nintendo has an update that you're required to download that bricks your Wii and then Nintendo asks for money to repair it...maybe you could then take legal action. However, if you're putting the Wiimote under such pressure and spazzing out while using it, then you claim that the strap broke (I'm willing to bet that this is an echo person had a problem, and now everyone claims to have the problem), there is simply no merit for a lawsuit...especially when Nintendo is already all over the replacement concept.

What next? The PS3 Sixaxis controller requires movement to use...maybe they should be sued for not even having the wrist strap to begin with? No. People need to take responsibilities for their actions. If I flung the Wiimote in a fit of spazzing, then I know I would not call my lawyers to justify my spazish ways. Like Nintendo has said, I "believe the lawsuit to be completely without merit."

On a more intelligent Nintendo note, the Forecast Channel is now up and running. In fact, it was up yesterday...a whole day early. It's not like this is all that important, since if you have the high speed internet needed for Wii online services like this, then you can type in any one of a dozen weather related web sites (local news,, national news, Weather Bug, etc.). However, there is still some fun to be found, no matter how geekish that fun is, in playing with the thing.

For example, the Forecast Channel offers a fun little globe, powered with a modified Google Earth engine, to spin and play with as you check out the latest weather in every place from your home town (or near Bellevue Washington for me), to Paris, to Antarctica, to Tanzania. Plus, at least the thing does load up (from system being off) to the Forecast Channel in a far quicker time than most PCs would take to load the same information...and with a more enjoyable interface.

Now, we have the Internet Channel (Opera browser) and News Channel to look forward to. After that, the promised launch content of the Wii will finally be complete. Of particular fun, the Opera browser should be running (in beta form) this Friday...maybe a day early, considering the Forecast Channel did things a little on the quick side.

While this may not be too important, since internet on a 480p/i TV is not all that exciting, there are some good points to this type of browsing. In particular since this Opera browser should be including Flash plugins, to name just one feature. This means there should be easy access to the common video sites ( and Video Google), and to some Flash game...particularly the ones that could benefit from a Wiimote interface, over the analogue interface one would find with the PSP or the PS3. I just hope that Nintendo may consider updating the firmware to support USB mice.

Anyway, it's nice to see that Nintendo is trying to live up to their self inflicted hype engine. I just wish that the promised material would have been ready out of the box, instead of changing from "launch" to "launch window"...but at least with Nintendo, it's always safe to say that their promises (on first party content) will be delivered. A little better than what one would find from either Microsoft (backwards compatibility and system abilities) or Sony (all of the original PS3 promises).


Malik (12/21/06)  

Nintendo is delaying Wii Play for it's US release. This is not in any way a surprise, since the game, as originally planned, includes a Wiimote. With the massive shortages of Wiimotes and other accessories, I can easily see the lack of hardware available being the primary cause. It's a little of a shame, however, since I know I'd not be alone in buying Wiimote for $10 extra and getting a collection of mini games with it. I guess that I, as well as all the other Wiimote deprived US gamers will have to settle on waiting...sigh...

On a different "mini" game type of note, the Burger King XBox/360 games have sold over 2 million copies. I won't go into details of what two million sold means, but I will say this; I like this promotion. While the games that are being offered are not worth all that much, in terms of quality and quantity of content, but they are definitely worth the $4. Hell, that's the price of a game rental, and a rental is only good for a week...give or take.

So far, I've had a chance to play (and own...thank you, Velveeta) Sneak King and Pocketbike Racer. Both of these are definitely worth the time to play a few times. They, like I said, don't offer the best of game play and experiences, but they are still fun and quite a bit more entertaining than the average 360 release for 2006. Just sneaking around suburbia offering whoppers to hungry citizens is worth the laughs it can produce (hint: drink while playing...the games become 1000X better).

On a different note, I'm still playing, and loving, Elebits. Damn, this is the type of game that all consoles need at least one of. We saw it with the PS2 and PSP via the Katamari franchise, and we saw it on the GCN with Pikmin. I'm talking about the game that on it's surface is rather simple and easy to get into...but deep down, it will amaze you that people can think of these games and not be thrown in an asylum.

The only issues I'm coming across with Elebits is that the game has some control problems. They are not enough to kill the game, but some objects throw bigger "shadows" (try to shoot something just past a hedge and you may find that the hedge is given a larger footprint than the graphics depict) than they appear to have. This will not ruin anything with the ultimate experience, but it can become frustrating when you just want to grab on more Elebit in the current area, and you just can't shoot it because of an object that appears to be out of the line of fire.

There's also that issue I mentioned before, of how FPS and Wiimote are not really ideal together. It's great that there's more third party support for the Wii than the GCN (already), but it will not last long if companies other than Nintendo refuse to get over the FPS implications of the Wiimote. Yes, it can aim with more sensitivity than an analogue stick, and yes it can be a novel and fun way to play...but no, it's not the only way to use the Wiimote. Just look at games like Wii Sports, Zelda, Wario Ware, Wii Play, and even the Forecast Channel to see...there's more to it. FPS aiming is a nice start, but it's only going to cheapen the experience if it continues being the staple of third party supporters. In fact, I think EA was one of the few companies to get it right with the new dynamics of Madden (who would've thought I'd praise a modern Madden game?).

I guess I shouldn't complain too much. For one thing, I have not enjoyed a console launch this much since...well...I'd say SNES days, but even that one just didn't offer quite the punch that I'm getting from the Wii launch lineup. While the true reality is that only the total life span of the console matters, seeing a good launch is still a good thing. It's rarely a sign of things to come (or else the PS2 would've bombed with it's lineup of Fantavision and Orphan), but it at least is a nice reward for early adopters.

Well, I have my official vacation starting about the time I post this. I will be posting from time to time over the next week and a half, but things may become less frequent (especially the next two Mondays). I'll also probably miss posting tomorrow, since I'll be aiming to get a Zelda review primed and good to go. So, just consider this a heads up.


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