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
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 Amazon.com f%$#ing around since the game was
supposed to come via overnight delivery, and it was released last
Tuesday. I guess this is another reason why I need to forget about
Amazon as being a real merchant (it's the same thing they did to me
with Smash Melee all so many years back).
did arrive today...thanks for being so f$#@ing slow, Amazon!
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, Amazon.com 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
well...live 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.
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
device...to do anything but aim. It's like with the DS, and how
Nintendo uses the second screen for anything but direct control of
suffer from a slightly frustrating controller setup. Hint: FPS and
Wii don't really belong together...it 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 effect...one
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,
NOAA.gov, 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 to...no
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 (Youtube.com 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
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
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
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
For Those Who Don't
Have Flash Plug-Ins...
This Site Links
Contact Us Disclaimer