2.26.2007

To My Love Gone Sour...

Dear Ocarina of Time,

My beloved, I keep looking at you every day.



After all of the years we've known each other, damn baby, you're still hot.

Oh man, I've tried to love you. Don't you understand that? I've tried to love you for years. But ever since your little friend the Deku Tree (read: more appropriately known as the Duke Tree) belittled me so, I've found it hard to come back.

Yes ma'am, I am telling you that you are way too hard for me. Why can everyone else beat you but me? I've always wanted to see everything you offer, you know. Your vast, large world. Yes, that amazing kingdom of Hyrule that everyone always tells me about! I nod my head and smile when people tell me about it, but I don't know how awesome you truly are!

Why can't I enjoy you? After all, you are the highest rated game of all time. Shouldn't I love you and all of your greatness? Should I not want to play you all the time, day and night?

Why do I get such a quick enjoyment out of your sisters, like Link's Awakening? At least she's good for some quick fun. Or your little cousin, Wind Waker. You know, that's how I got so into you again; Wind Waker made me happy and showed me some love, and she didn't even mind that I cheated the entire time! Heck, even Twilight Princess is somewhat nice to me even after I did her entire family and gave up on them. And hey, at least the Original Zelda gives me a lot of action.

But I don't just want action, baby! I want you! I want your action! You and your action and moves are amazing! I need to play with YOU again!

But you're just too hard Ocarina of Time. You intimidate me! How can I ever live up to your expectations? Because I can't complete you, I feel like I'm a failure. It's so bad that I've been hiding, my love. You scared me so, and I thought that it would be fitting to play around with your family. I am so sorry.

Your dungeons are too clever, your world too large, your villains too maniacal, and your puzzles too tough for my weak mind. Why can't you just make things a little easier so I shan't be tempted to play with your family?

Last I visited you, I conquered the Deku Tree with assistance. We had a little fun together! And then I defeated King Dodongo! But then you left me hanging, baby! I got desperate; I found some help! And then what? Nothing! You left me cold again in Zora's Domain!

I just don't know what to do! We need to work together, don't we? How can I fix this if you don't cooperate?

Is there anything that I can do to fix this?

I eagerly await your reply. I need you in my life, my dear.

With more love than Ganondorf has hatred,
Mr. Green

P.S. I really want to rub this Lon Lon Milk all over you again. Don't you want the same?

2.23.2007

The Follow Up: New Virtual Console Developments

So look at that, things are getting better already.

NEOGEO and MSX are heading the Japan's Virtual Console, along with Ocarina of Time and the first submission by Square-Enix, Actraiser, among other titles.



Very nice. NEOGEO is home to series like METAL SLUG (which was compiled in Metal Slug Anthology, but hopefully will turn out better released on Virtual Console), King of Fighters, and others. It will certainly be nice for those long-running franchises to be featured here.



And, of course, the highest rated game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That's always a nice asset.

2.20.2007

Game Boy, Game + Watch, And More: The Virtual Console Rant



Virtual Console currently offers Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, SEGA Genesis, and NEC TurboGrafx-16 titles.



But wouldn't it be great if Nintendo released Game Boy and Game & Watch titles on Virtual Console?



GoNintendo's RawMeat Cowboy sure seems to think so. And so do I.

(Quotes from the comment I left on that article)

"GameBoy games could really help fill the gap between big, AAA Nintendo classics. For example, while the US waits for Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, wouldn’t it be great to see Virtual Console updated with Link’s Awakening for $4?"




Either of the Link's Awakening titles would be great (original or DX for the Game Boy Color) to see on Virtual Console. So many gamers today who love Zelda haven't been able to ever experience the excellent Game Boy installments, including the aforementioned Link's Awakening and Oracle of Ages and Seasons.



"If Nintendo released GameBoy games on Virtual Console, I think it’d be in their best interest to keep price points very flexible and below $5. For example, the original Super Mario Land? No more than $3. Donkey Kong ‘94? Perhaps $4."




This would be excellent. So many classic titles were released on Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Donkey Kong '94, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Tetris, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, you name it, the Game Boy had it. And so many people missed out on these amazing titles. Since Game Boy games have a reputation for being simple, why not offer these titles and more to a new audience that would appreciate them, especially at a budget price?



"Another idea I’d love to see happen is the release of Game & Watch titles on Virtual Console. So many gamers only got a taste of that simple series through the Game & Watch Gallery series, and if they missed that, then they didn’t get to play around 60 Nintendo games. Since Wii is about simplicity, Game & Watch could really be opened up to a new type of consumer. Furthermore, the games would be extremely cheap, which would be extremely attractive as an impulse buy. Who wouldn’t drop between 50 and 100 points on the Game & Watch version of Super Mario Bros? Or Climber? How about The Legend of Zelda?"




Several Game & Watch versions of key Nintendo franchises were created years ago and only released in Japan. Nintendo can make a pretty penny off of these titles if they release them at the correct price point. With the Zelda craze going on right now after the stellar sales of the Wii version of Twilight Princess, the US in particular would be a great time to re-release old Zelda titles. There's even a market for other Game & Watch games, like Ball or Fire, because they're so simple that anyone can play them. In Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten, released only in Japan, Nintendo put Ball on the card, and in Shaberu! DS Oryouri Navi, Chef was thrown on the game card. Heck, Club Nintendo even got Game & Watch Collection as a promo. It's obvious that Nintendo can see some use in Game & Watch games, so why not offer them to the public? For a dollar or less, each of the games would be an impulse buy in the highest.



"Nintendo could provide a number of options with how people would buy Game & Watch games. People could pick out games individually, or perhaps Nintendo could offer “Value Paks” with 10 games for 400 points or less. Each game would have to feature a virtually recreated model of the Game & Watch itself, as well. I would also hope that Nintendo provides a system update to allow Game & Watch titles to be grouped so that they don’t flood the Wii Channel Menu."




It's obvious that all shoppers love bargains. In the grocery store, people will stock up on milk or anything if it's on sale. It's be great if Nintendo capitalized on this by offering "Value Paks" where people can purchase several Game & Watch games at once for slightly less than if they bought them individually. A recreation of the original Game & Watch on-screen is important as well, if nothing else then for control lay-out and nostalgia factor. And, of course, Nintendo would need to expand the Wii Channel Menu's capacity by providing a system update that allows for the simplistic grouping of Virtual Console Channels and/or more than 48 slots on the menu, since the way things are going for Virtual Console and the additional channels available in the Wii Ware section of the Wii Shop Channel, this extra capacity will be needed. External hard-drive support and the ability to back up entire channels on SD cards or other external storage devices would also be important once that 512 megabytes of internal memory runs out.



"Another interesting way Nintendo could present Game & Watch games is through a “Game & Watch Channel.” The navigation of this channel would work excellently with the Wii Remote, and it could take on the museum feel of the Game & Watch Gallery series. Imagine seeing a giant gallery of Game & Watches on your screen. Then, using the Wii Remote, hovering over each Game& Watch would reveal its name and perhaps a little description of the game itself. Clicking on the Game & Watch would bring it up to the screen and allow for play. Perhaps scores and win-loss records on multiplayer Game & Watch games could be stored to individual Miis. The Channel could be released at a price anywhere between 1000-2000 points and added to the Wii Ware section. Perhaps it could be priced even less than these price points and give the player about 10 Game & Watch games, and then the rest could be bought through a catalog system within the Channel."




I always love new Wii Channels, as everyone does. I really think that a "Game & Watch Channel" of some kind would be great as something for Nintendo fans, as a contribution to Gunpei Yokoi, and as a market opportunity. The Channel could be an all or nothing affair, where the consumer would buy all of the Game & Watch games by buying the channel, but I think it'd be more popular if the Channel itself had 10 or so titles initially available, pushing the cost of the actual channel down, and then giving the user the ability to add more Game & Watch games by spending additional Wii Points. This spending of points of Game & Watch titles would be handled within the "Game & Watch Channel" itself, so as to not make the user head back to Virtual Console to download additional content. By allowing scores and records to be tied to individual Miis, new life can be brought into games that were previously thought long gone.



Another option for Game & Watch titles on the Wii is to release a be-all end-all installment of the Game & Watch Gallery series on the Wii. Place every Game & Watch game possible on the disk and add in "modern" modes of play like the Game Boy installments do with Wii Remote control, and I'm sold, especially if it's released at a budget price with an online component. Being able to connect in an instant and play Judge with a casual gamer in Europe would scream old-school and could really attract a different kind of online audience.



"The possibilities are really endless with both Game Boy and Game & Watch games. Hell, I’d love to see a Virtual Console version of Hanafuda, Color TV Game 6 and 15, Racing 112, and all sorts of other Nintendo classics that most people haven’t heard of, all for a bargain price. Games with dials llike Color TV Game 6 could utilize Wii Remote control much like WarioWare: Smooth Moves accomplished it."




Nintendo has a lot of other software that they've produced over the years that is simply a perfect fit for Virtual Console. Offering a virtual recreation of Color TV Game 6, Color TV Game 15, and Racing 112 for extremely small prices (using the Wii Remote to substitute for dials and steering wheels), honoring Nintendo's card-making history through a Virtual Console version of Hanafuda (with full instructions, single-player, local-multiplayer, and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection support). How about Computer Othello? Or maybe some of Nintendo's other old arcade games, like Sheriff or Donkey Kong, which is clearly superior to the NES version in every way? Heck, it's even a possiblity that old Nintendo Power issues and freebies can appear on Virtual Console. All of these old titles and giveaways now have new found potential on Virtual Console.



"What about Virtual Boy? Obviously, the console did horrifically in stores and was a complete and utter failure for Nintendo. But there were a few gems found on the console that so many people never got to play, such as VB Wario Land, which I myself have never been able to play. Obviously, technology has improved since the time that Virtual Boy was released, so certainly there must be someway to emulate the pop-out 3D effect that the Virtual Boy produced without making it as painful to view. Yes, I know that Virtual Boy content on Virtual Console would never happen, but I can certainly dream."




Yes, many think I'm out of my mind suggesting this, but I don't care. There were some real gems in the Virtual Boy collection, most notibly Virtual Boy Wario Land. Yes, the game system was literally a pain to use, giving those who put the headset on headaches due the the channels of black and red color swarming their eyeballs. But if Nintendo emulates the 3D effect of Virtual Boy on Virtual Console, maybe slaps a warning on each title to take a break due to the potential of headaches, and sold them for 500 points or less, these titles which never had a chance when originally released can finally get the appreciation they deserve.



"There’s just so much potential for Virtual Console and the Wii Ware sections of the Wii Shop Channel, both for Nintendo games new and old, as well as indie titles. I’m really hoping that Nintendo sees the value of allowing us to play Game Boy and even Game & Watch titles on our Wiis, and even give us the option to beam them to our DSes. Virtual Console is a celebration of Nintendo’s past and the past of other console developers, and so to leave Game Boy and Game & Watch games out is, in my opinion, horrible."




Virtual Console has some of the biggest potential out of any feature of the Wii. Nintendo has a lot of money that it can make and a huge amount of old content to potentially bring to the service. With that said, Virtual Console can also be a showcase for connectivity. By allowing users to beam NES, SNES, SEGA Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16 titles to their Nintendo DSes for portable play, as well as adding Game Boy, Game & Watch, and maybe even Virtual Boy titles with the same capabilities would also be excellent. Even better would be seeing "new" NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, TG-16, Game Boy, Game & Watch, and Virtual Boy titles up for download, where Nintendo and other developers (including indie) can use older tools to create a new, original game for Virtual Console.



Speaking of these indie developers, if Nintendo aggressively goes after indie support as many are suspecting, then Virtual Console can and will be flooded with content if Nintendo handles the delivery of the kits, technical support, and the actual approval and uploading process correctly.



Bringing over formerly Japanese-only content to North America is also important. How about the totally localized and ready-to-go Mother 1? The first installments of the Nintendo Wars series anyone? How about all of those Japan-only Fire Emblem games? It is important for Nintendo to translate and localize these titles for regions other than Japan and let them loose on fans in other territories. Just as importantly, cancelled Nintendo games, such as the basically completed Star Fox 2 also have a new opportunity to make it out of Nintendo's vault and onto the Wii consoles of fans around the world. Does the Mario Artist series have a chance? What about some other cancelled Nintendo 64 Dynamic Drive projects? Would it be possible to see some Broadcast Satellaview-X content on Virtual Console? Wii's internal clock could be the key to making it work.



Let's not forget third-parties. Many third-parties are beginning to support Virtual Console, with the ESRB now listing ratings for Virtual Console versions of Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and others. These companies are important to Virtual Console's success, as not all of the classics on these old systems were developed by Nintendo. Third-parties deserve to see as much success with re-released Virtual Console versions of their back-catalog of games as Nintendo does.



Finally, what about new, original titles from Nintendo and its partners? For starters, the Wii Sports Airplane demo from E3, as well as even the Obstacle Course demo from the same event would be great to see as Virtual Console games that take advantage of the Wii Remote, have a certain amount of charm, and are fun and easy to play. Maybe we could see some new, small Virtual Console games, games that are on the level of depth of those found in Wii Play? Perhaps even "toys" like those found in the WarioWare series of titles would be markettable on Virtual Console for budget prices.



It would be in Nintendo's best interest to create games like these with both Miis as the stars and popular faces from Mario, Zelda, and other Nintendo series. How about a Yoshi breeding game? What about a Metroid-themed Morph Ball maze game using the Wii remote to tilt the environment? What about an full-fledged, stand-alone version of the long-loved Zelda fishing mini-game with Wii control?



What about remakes of older games already on Virtual Console? What Nintendo fan wouldn't download a cheap, modified version of Super Mario Bros. that features Mario running through levels and moving the remote upwards to jump (as seen in WarioWare: Smooth Moves)? Or an SNES Star Fox remake with the graphical and control updates presented in WarioWare: Smooth Moves? A motion-sensitive version of PilotWings or PilotWings 64, anyone?



The reason why I keep using examples from WarioWare is because the mini-games (NOT the four-second Microgames the series is famous for) and toys found within the games in the series are the kinds of things that would be great for Virtual Console; software that is fun to mess around with for a small amount of time, takes up little internal memory, and costs little money.



Virtual Console is shaping up to be an impressive service that Nintendo needs to take full advantage of. It would be a shame for the service to not be used to its full potential, because it makes it even easier for developers to make a profit off of the Wii, as well as satisfy gamers. The service will also be important in getting the next generation of game developers into the industry if it is handled correctly.



Nintendo has its own plans for the Virtual Console service, obviously. I'll just hope that some of our ideas match.

2.19.2007

Violent Games Causing Aggressive Behaviors: Debunked?

An article at GamePolitics shows off Dr. Christopher Ferguson's new research on the affects of video game violence.

According to Dr. Ferguson:

Despite the relatively young and sparse nature of the research on violent video game effects, some researchers have claimed that the evidence is conclusive…
Yet a close read of the literature reveals that many of the studies used to support this link provide only questionable or inconsistent evidence.

Part of the problem may be that video game researchers have adopted unreliable methodologies from media violence research in general… Most of the research (particularly laboratory research) employs unvalidated ad-hoc measures of “aggression”.


Hmm...I'm not too sure that Jack Thompson will like that.

2.18.2007

Random And Amazing

Nothing says "wow" like this:

More Kirby Goodness

While on my search for Kirby's Pinball Land pictures for that last post, I came across this little beauty:



Score one for German advertising, although that overly masculine Kirby scares the bejesus out of me.

Impulse Buys Are Fun

A GameStop opened in my area the other day, so I went to check it out yesterday.

Let me be clear; I do not like GameStop. But even I have to admit that the people who work at this particular GameStop are quite nice, and the prices on the games available mostly aren't as unreasonable as ones found at other GameStops. Hell, there was even a large number of games and accessories available there already.

And then what do I see? Why, it's the case filled with original GameBoy and GameBoy Color games. And what do I find upon further inspection?

Kirby's Pinball Land.



I bought it. For $10. I'm nuts. I know. I don't care.

This game is hard. Don't tell me it isn't. I realize it's Kirby. Kirby is never hard. Until now. Yeah, you heard me. Kirby is hard here.

Or maybe I just suck at pinball.

Kirby's Pinball Land's story is...well, see for yourself:

Kirby, your pudgy buddy from Dream Land, is back again on Game Boy! This time the game is Pinball, and Kirby will have to face King Dedede and his bosses who guard the three Pinball Lands. In order to defeat King Dedede and his three bosses, Kirby becomes a pinball. This allows him to fight effectively in the Pinball Lands -- each a magical land with all kinds of tricks and bonuses! How high can you score? Can Kirby defeat King Dedede again? Let's find out! Okay Kirby, turn into a pinball and get ready for a wacky
pinball battle!


Straight from the instruction booklet, people. Yeah, it's cheesy. But Kirby has never been about story, so it isn't exactly surprising.



At the outset of the game, Kirby has three areas to choose from, each featuring a boss. Wispy, Krako, and Poppy challenge Kirby before he fights King Dedede. But i order to reach each of them, Kirby must bounce his way up through areas filled with obstacles, enemies, mini-bosses, and the occasional Warp Star.



So, essentially, Kirby's Pinball Land is a "Pinball Adventure Game." Or something like that. Kirby must get to the top level of each pinball area, and then make a Warp Star appear that he can ride to challenge the area's boss. After beating the three bosses, Kirby must challenge the villainous King Dedede:



Sexy, no?

The game controls well and borrows many graphical elements, enemies, and sounds from Kirby's Dreamland.

Hey, it made my weekend!

2.14.2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Even though I can't personally stand it, Happy Valentine's Day to all!

It is a little late in the day...but...

Check out these hilarious Nintendo valentines.

Or how about you take a look at the best Nintendo couples?

Oh...look what just came in the mail. It's a A Valentine's Day greeting from the Rabbids.

How sweet.

Everybody Votes Channel: Wha?

I love surprises like this.

Yesterday's surprise launch of Nintendo's "Everybody Votes Channel" baffled just about every Wii owner. This bizarre little channel allows Wii users to register their Miis for voting, and then can take a number of polls and predict their outcomes, as well as submit their own suggestions for polls.

Users can see their voter's history and prediction accuracy as well as the results for the last 12 polls that he or she has voted in.

In terms of design, this Channel is, in my opinion, the best looking of all the Wii Channels thus far. The "Everybody Votes Channel" features a slick design that is functional as well as attractive.

Experiments like these are exactly what are unique to the Wii; with applications like these, users are more engaged and willing to experiment with these ideas due to the interactivity offered by the Wii Remote.

My one gripe? There are only three national polls at any given time, and currently, there is only one worldwide poll.

Minor complaints aside, the Everybody Votes Channel is definitely a very welcome surprise, and it marks only the beginning of the potential for the Wii Channel Menu and applications of the Wii hardware.

Please see this video for your Everybody Votes Channel fix. If you are a Wii user and haven't downloaded the Channel yet, head to the Wii Ware section of the Wii Shop Channel, download it for free, and then perform a system update!

2.10.2007

Tomb Raider: Legend DS Demo = Ouch.


This is the second time I've downloaded the Tomb Raider: Legend demo onto my lovely DS Lite at my local Walmart. No, the demo isn't that amazing. In fact, it's horrible. That's the exact reason I keep on playing it. I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment.

In the demo, you, yes you, play as the famous, beautiful heroine, Lara Croft. Unfortunately, she isn't very beautiful. You see my friends, Lara is a 2D sprite. This sprite appears on top of the game's environments, which are rendered in 3D.

It doesn't look great.

Lara is very jaggy and ugly, and she only appears in shades of tan, apparently. Her animation is somewhat clunky, particularly when she shoots out her rope, which, by the way, appears as a white line. Upon viewing Lara the first time I played the demo, I had a bad feeling that things would not progress well.

I was right.

In Tomb Raider: Legend, the action takes place on the top, while your inventory is displayed on the touch screen. Players move Lara Croft with the D-Pad, jump with the B button, take out her gun and fire it with the the A button, pick up items with the Y button, and shoot out her rope (if that's what it's supposed to be) with the X button. Oddly, Lara's gun cannot be equipped while moving, and for some odd reason, Lara can launch her rope if she's facing right or left, but not if she's facing north or south.

Of course, this being a DS game, developers simply have to use the touch screen for something. In the demo of Tomb Raider: Legend, this usage is quite clunky. Although selecting items on the touch screen isn't horrific, some of the screen's other uses are.

When the demo first begins (after language selection), it appears we're outside of a tomb or temple of some kind. On the touch screen we have our guns and a device that seems to be inactive in the demo. Upon entering the tomb, we meet Generic Bad Guy #1. This is where the demo's problems start to appear, as when you approach that bad man, the inventory display disappears and shows a very ugly close-up of our friend. Actually hitting him is done by tapping on his body on the touch screen, which causes Lara to fire her gun. At this point, the game forbids you from using left and right on the D-Pad, deciding that, instead, to move Lara left and right, you'll need to use up and down on the D-Pad.

Odd.

After the ugly enemy is defeated, the games allows for normal movement again, and so we continue onward to our dismay. First, however, Lara must grab the gun that our assailant left her, although the only improvement over the other gun is that it's automatic, which, honestly, isn't really that useful in the demo.

Proceeding down a ramp, there is a wonderful bridge that allows us to pass over the, um, spikey things that lie below. Of course, just as Lara is about to use said bridge, it retracts. In the upper-right hand corner of our top screen, we see an "X." I did not realize what this symbol meant until this very second, which is to press the X button. Jumping straight up and pressing X begins our swing across, until Lara hits the left ledge and falls, resulting in instant death.

...

Upon reaching the area again, diagonally jumping to the right before pressing X is obviously a better choice. Lara swings to the other edge successfully, although the animation of the rope is, well...bad. For some odd reason, the player can always use the rope when standing still on the ground, but when jumping in the air, it only deploys when that one target is near.

As we continue onward up a ramp, we come across another object that is around a corner. I have my lady pick it up, but I'm given no indication as to what it does. At this point, I've noticed how ugly the environment is. Oddly, it appears as if the area is twitching with all of the jaggies and graphical glitches. The music at this point is very grating, as it is the same, short, generic clip that has been playing throughout the entire demo. Lara's jumping grunt and generic weapon noises aren't too bad, but they don't exactly improve this mediocre experience.

Continuing down the path, there is a whole lot of nothing until Lara reaches an odd contraption. The first time I played this demo, I had no idea what to do. Apparently, Lara is supposed to climb this thing by jumping directly into it. As I prepare to do this, I notice that Lara's top half is twitching in place.

How attractive.

After I figure out how to climb upwards with the D-Pad, my inventory disappears to let me know how to do what I've just figured out. Thank you, Tomb Raider: Legend, thank you. Holding left, I jump off to the other rope, climb up some more, jump back to the other one, and jump onto the ledge. It's simple, really.

As Lara continue around the ugly corner, it is clear that there is a pool of water for us to swim in. Upon landing in the water, another use of the DS's touch screen is revealed. The underwater portions of the game appear on the bottom screen, kicking my inventory out and moving all of my meters and things. Gimmicky and useless, but at least it doesn't really have a negative impact in the demo.

...

Apparently, Lara hold her breath for long.

Ah, sweet water, I have reached you again at last! Thankfully, water control isn't horrible, but it doesn't exactly feel perfect, either. Moving Lara in any...

...death...

...and...more...death...

...

Multi-tasking and making Lara swim doesn't work too well, especially since the demo lacks a pause function.

Swimming control in Legend's demo is quite simple. Push any direction on the D-Pad, and Lara will swim in this direction. Lara's swimming animation is bad, but not quite as bad as her other animations.

Amusingly, as I just fell into the water, I accidentally grabbed the left ledge, which causes the game's camera to freak out on the top screen. Very nice. The normal, non-glitchy shifting between land and water is somewhat odd, as the camera seems to jerk around quite a bit.

At this point, I realize how unreadable and indistinguishable Lara's two, generic life meters are. The meter on top of Lara's current screen shows her health. When the meter is completely blue, Lara is perfectly unharmed. However, upon taking damage, Lara's meter begins turning into a shade of grey that is so similar to the healthy blue color that one must almost squint his or her eyes to see the difference. Upon swimming under water, a new meter appears below it that shows Lara's oxygen, with the problem being that it. looks. exactly. the. same. as. the. other. one.

Anyway, upon continuing, I take the time to jump out to grab another useless item. How exciting. Diving back in, I continue to the right until I reach the next portion of our journey.

Oh no! Another generic enemy! Upon disposing him with the power of the Nintendo DS's touch screen, Lara picks up what he has dropped...a grenade!

There isn't much to throwing grenades. Tapping the grenades icon on the touch screen inventory equips it, and upon getting close enough to the next generic baddie, pressing A throws it. It explodes on contact with an ugly explosion, as expected. He drops a med-kit of some kind, which appears on the touch screen inventory as an ugly red box with a cross on it, while everything else is yellowish/orangy.

As I take a few more steps to the right...oh, the demo has ended! Why was I just given a med-kit at the end of the demo? Oye...

The screen is telling me that the game is available in Fall 2006! Hey...that's already passed, hasn't it? Hmmm...

Upon pressing a button, the demo has restarted itself. I would not like to play it again, thank you.

Nevermind the fact that the boxart with Lara Croft on it is misleading (since she barely resembles Lara Croft within the game). Nevermind the generic environments. Nevermind the the continuously looping demo music. Is the final game any good? After all, I only played a short and unpolished demo. Certainly, the final product must be good.

Well, if this is any indication, I think not.

Upon seeing the IGN review of the final game, the two screens shown inside prove that there have been a few improvements to the game graphic-wise. Lara appears in her normal colors, and the rope almost looks like a rope in one of the screens.

I am overjoyed.

As IGN sums it up:

It's the puzzle elements and the collection portion that gives Tomb Raider: Legend its challenge, not the weapon combat, but it certainly would have been nice to have a bit of focus in the latter segment of the game design. The entire product is solid enough and shows that the development studio's getting a grasp on DS game production, but the little loose ends scattered around the product are a little too obvious to ignore. If you haven't experienced the Tomb Raider: Legend story on the console yet this game's a way to check out the tale...but the DS product is no substitution for the bigger product from Crystal Dynamics.


IGN rated gave the game a 6.1 out of 10, or "Passable."

Even though the demo and the final product weren't amazing on the DS, the console versions of Tomb Raider: Legend fare much better, particularly the PlayStation 2 version, according to Game Rankings.

I suppose that, even though the DS version is horrific, at least it isn't as bad as Ping Pals.

Be afraid, be very afraid...

Oooooh...More Star Fox 2...

Wow...no sooner do I rant about Star Fox 2 and post a video, Codename Revolution posts a video from the Japanese beta and 1Up features it in its Vapor Trails special.

It's reassuring to see that people haven't forgotten this potentially amazing game. Check it out, yo.

2.09.2007

Freddy Krueger Loves The Power Glove

Wow.

I was going through videos from the "A Nightmare On Elm Street" series, and I find this beautiful gem from Part 6:



Looks like someone actually liked the power glove!

If it fails here, then try the direct link.

2.07.2007

Jack Thompson Makes Me Weep For Humanity



So I finally decide to go back to my old friend Game Politics. And what does he do? He exposes me to this:

About a dozen audience members questioned the speakers about their views, and although most were antagonistic toward Mr. Thompson, he got the most applause of the night when he criticized today’s generation, calling them “the most self-absorbed, egocentric generation he’s ever seen…

“Your generation has got to get over itself,” he said.


This coming from the most egocentric man I have ever seen in my entire life, not to mention that he's also pretty damn rude, too. Hell, he even wrote a long, preachy letter to U2's Bono to try and sway him to his way of thinking. On top of all of that, he even wrote a Judge a nasty letter.

Even though Jack Thompson's comments are as vomit-inducing as normal, at least a bunch of the comments on the article are good, like this snippet from "Black Manta":

As I said here earlier, Jack Thompson is a fine example of someone suffering from an acute case of Old Fartism. He, like some old people, live under the delusion that the time they grew up in was “better” and that the world is inexorably going to hell in a handbasket, getting worse every day. The problem with Jack is that he takes it out on everyone else, mostly because he feels that because he’s a lawyer and thus believes as a public figure it’s his obligation to (which is why it ought to be taken away as that’s an abuse of his profession). Newsflash, there were no “Good Old Days.” It’s the same crap over and over, the times and the context just keep chainging. Bad stuff keeps happening, but so does good stuff. It’s the way of the world.


So true, so true, which is why I want to cry when this petition was overlooked by tons of gamers. Sure, it's old, but it's still as valid as it was when it first was written.

2.03.2007

Complete Run Through StarFox 2

This makes me happy, and it's perfect for the weekend. If you've got some time to blow and you're a Nintendo fan, this is your ticket.

There is seldom an unreleased game more infamous than Nintendo's StarFox 2 for the SNES. Featuring some of the best 3D graphics on the SNES, the game was canned after it was essentially completed.

StarFox 2 marks the first appearance of multi-player, all-range mode, and the Star Wolf Team.

What makes the game so special is how different it is from other titles in the StarFox series. Although people talk all the time about how similar StarFox Command and StarFox 2 are, it'll be apparent after seeing this video that they are actually quite different.

So, without further ado, a complete speed-run through Star Fox 2's Hard Mode.

Dell Creating A Hand-Held Console

According to Nintendojo:

At a recent Dell's European Innovations event, UK Magazine PC Plus asked Abizar Vakharia, a senior executive and Dell's Global Gaming Chief, whether the company was looking towards releasing a handheld gaming device in the future. Vakharia's response was "You know, that's definitely one that's on the radar screen, but we have no plans to talk about anything today." While his response added no further details, the statement, if accurate, does confirm that Dell is seriously looking towards entering the gaming market.


This many prove to be an interesting development. All I know is that if, in the end, it goes the way of Game Gear or Gizmondo, I will have quite the laugh.

What's Up With Wii Online?

Okay, so Nintendo was supposed to start sharing details with developers about how to get their Wii titles online in 2007, and now, at this point, we're hearing about developers still being clueless on the matter.

What on Earth is the hold up?

Sure, we have Wii Channels and Virtual Console, but no online games is absolute rubbish at this point. The closest we've gotten is Elebits' sharing of data through WiiConnect24.

Nintendo has promised online titles for the US in Q2 2007. Many third-party developers appear to be very interested in adding online components to their titles and Nintendo is doing nothing.

Take Majesco, for example. The developer is apparently interested in online play with their upcoming Wii title Cooking Mama: Cook Off. This title is extremely important as a casual game, and an online mode would be invaluable to the game's longevity. However, it is a no-go because Majesco has no idea how to implement the mode.

This is inexcusable.

Is Nintendo really still finalizing the service? If so, how much longer is it going to take, Nintendo?

After the wild popularity of the Nintendo DS version of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, I would think that Nintendo would want to capitalize on it on Wii.

For a console trying to not be like the Nintendo GAMECUBE in terms of online gaming, Nintendo sure isn't doing too well with Wii.