All posts tagged wii

We return refreshed from Thanksgiving in thankless LA with more than turkey under our belt, but a few things learned as well!

– Do not enter the Alterdimension of Wedding Preparation wantonly. Trying to balance our desire for a humble affair with my parents' desire for a sort of go-for-broke-extravaganza-cum-Chinese-cash-machine was a hopeless venture, as if taking the back-end of a No. 2 to the indelible Dorian Gray. I'll end up kowtowing to a much more showy affair… literally.

– Daniel Craig fuckin' rocks as the new James Bond. He's got equal parts soccer thug, rapier wit, and loyalist to the crown, making him the most British of the Bonds. The Bond girls this time are top notch too, the Tanqueray Ten to Brosnan & Co's Tanqueray. Pay the man some respect and go watch Layer Cake if you haven't already.

– The Wii is being marketed in a completely new way. I stood at Target watching the infomercial? trying to decide if they were selling a game console or a sonic toothbrush. The very fact that I hated the approach probably means they'll tap into a geriatric mother lode of casual gamers.

– Democrats may be a good change for Congress, but they're stopping at nothing to be a disaster on the economy. Between the populist minimum wage promises that really affect only 5% of the workforce (mostly part-time teens), the complete avoidance of the Alternative Minimum Tax law (which you'll learn about very soon if you didn't get surprised by it already), the lowering of mortgage interest rates (are they nuts?), and their simultaneous insistence on Republicans balancing tax cuts with budgets cuts while their own tax cuts are being paid by the ghost of Christmas past, we're in for trouble. But that's ok, since they get to blame it on Bush's expensive war, you know the one that made us forget about Clinton's social security scam?


A wild week eh?

First, a tumultuous launch, raucous and powerful as fans braved BB gun attacks and fisticuffs to lay their hands on the PS3, showing that the hardcore gamers who sip in the absinthe of the Sony brand name chase the rarest fairy of all. And my were they rewarded! Queue heroes of Japan, facing the Marxist raffle system that was sure to placate even the most mannered repressed society on earth, were not so lucky. The mere 80,000 grails stamped for that country were brilliantly cornered by rich business men hiring swarms of Chinese immigrants to infiltrate the line. At one department store, all twenty of the first PS3s went to proud, happy octogenerians who spoke not a whit of Japanese, and gave ecstatic stares when asked what games they were going to buy.

Then, the storm wept itself out, a wink of time passed, and the lines formed again for the Wii, this time with grandmothers instead of gangsters, kids instead of their pushers, and the horizon beamed with hope. People brought goodies and Nintendo paraphenalia out to appease this teletubby crowd, but it was all in vain. As the eleventh hour faded, a man dressed as Mario purchased the first Wii, turned to the press that was broadcasting the perfect launch across the world… and broke into an insipid lullaby that will cement the uncool factor of the Nintendo fanboy for all eternity. So say we all. So say we all.

Yet I must say, as the first launch I hadn't waited in line for something for, I do wish I had at least driven past a line. I would have liked to wait those long morning hours vicariously, and from the comfort of my heated leather seats and loyal crate of In-N-Out offerings. But I think I shall watch this war from afar. I will bide my time. I am, after all, a PC gamer at heart, neither impressed by the graphics of the PS3, nor by the lackluster lasting appeal of Nintendo's minigames. On Gamasutra, we see that price is an overwhelming factor for most people. It is for me. And the gambit I shall make, my quinceañera into next-gen, will be this amazing Amazon deal. It begins!

Mark Twain says:

"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right."

In a downward spiral of serial debacles, Sony announced today that after the estimate of 4 million PS3 units by end of year was slashed down to 2 million, with launch seeing a paltry 100,000 units for Japan and 400,000 for the U.S., guess what? Japan, the heart of PS3 loyalty, is actually going to be getting 80,000 at launch. In completed unrelated news, end of year units for the Wii is expected to "handily" beat 6 million, with 1-2 million estimated ready to go at launch. Preliminary reports rumor 24-120 Wii's per Best Buy.

Let's step back from the numbers here. What the heck is Sony doing? Do they really want their plentiful holiday season preceded by plentiful consumer base exposure to their competitors? And their weapon against the monumental XBox Live is a petulant adaptation of XFire (for which support falls into the duties of individual developers), completely ignoring the necessity of the online community in the console world, a need PC gamers have taken for granted? Even the Wii Channels system is taking the Animal Crossing model to make gamers networked and personal. The story is quickly going from a Miracle on 34th St. to Great Expectations to Macbeth.

Admittedly, their launch list looks like the strongest of the three so far, but it's almost as if they were actively sowing the seeds of confusion and disappointment into their product. From PR snafus to logistics drama, we're seeing a lot of weakness as they strut and fret their hour on the stage. Though people who find the whole console war debate irrelevant would say the market is robust enough for them all, and the industry stands to gain no matter who is the victor, if they're wrong, there is no doubt that Sony has its hands furthest down the cookie jar.

Despite growing apprehension in the currently overbought market, I recently bought a good chunk of Nintendo stock, something I should have done a long time ago. Even with a soft landing, the economy isn't too supporting of the PS3 price point, nor an alinear jump in game sales (yes I know it's cyclic). I think very soon, the industry will realize that huge budgets net huge revenues, but huge profit margin is what ultimately counts. As it stands, only the Big N seems to be on that terra firma. Looking at how game stocks did this past year, shareholders agree that "next-gen" is just bluster, signifying nothing. Show me the money.

Details for the upcoming Nintendo Wii were finally released, and it's been quite a doozy. Any gamer should be able to use his pants as a substrate for ludological pregnancy about now. Yes, I really do feel as if I've been knocked up in a good way, because it's been so long that the industry has catered its adolescent demographied garbage to the lowest common denominator, the bedazzled consumer whore. Nintendo has put its words down in the edifice of the casual market, and its booming, Lovecraftian voice not only prophesizes a paradigm shift, but delivers, to the doom of this stagnant market.

Let's recap:

– US Release November 19th, $250 w/ Wii Sports included.

– Japan Release December 2nd, $220 w/o Wii Sports.

– 30 Launch titles by year's end.

– New gameplay trailer just astounding! Watch it!

– Built-in Opera browser, image surfing/editing tools, weather/news channel, and more. Link here.

Mii avatar creation system. Awesome. Here and here.

– 24/7 connection for the Wii to stream in game updates and community stuff daily.

– Virtual Console featuring downloadable NES, SNES, Genesis, Megadrive, Toshiba MSX, and Turbo-GFX 16 games, $5-$10, 60 games by year's end, 10 more added each month after.

As tasteless as it is, this is my favorite reaction from the public…

Hurray! I realized today I've hit my fashionable 101st post for this blog, something I didn't think I'd have persistence to do when I first started. To date, there has been some 25300+ visits, but the few hundred who visit these days rarely leave comments. Leave some comments! I love being told to stop making up bullshit, don't be shy you voyeurs out there.

I figure a good way to celebrate is to link to this new HD trailer for UT2k7, which I am waiting for with drool deluging my digits as I type. The music, the explosions, the utter shameless teenage action it's replete with so saturated in the series' trademark gaudy technicolor arenas, it's all enough to make a grown boy cry. Xstine and I were total AS-Convoy whores, having played enough assault to navigate the game blind. UT2k7 is to FPS's what Children of Bodom and Kataklysm are to metal, so you snobs can fuck off, and you newbs can stick with Halo. Seriously, if you're going to turn a tech demo into a game, do it right (ahem… DEAD RISING… cough). Although I got to admit, shoving a showerhead into a zombie to get it to rain blood was pretty darn funny.

Besides this trailer, news from the Leipzig Games Conference in Germany also brought word of Battalion Wars 2 for the Wii… with multiplayer/co-op online! Basically, we're talking online Advance Wars. Utterly sick.

Round-up of some recent cool stuff worth wasting internet mileage on:

Sushi Samurai – You remember this game, I promise!

Portals – Jaw-dropping in the possibilities it offers!

Dead RisingShaun of the Dead meets Postal? I dunno, but it's shapin' up. Take cleavage shots of local madames to boost wrist strength and stamina. Awesome.

TMNT – Do you really need more than four letters?

And finally, a message from Nintendo may contain the date of the Wii's release encoded in itself. Speaking of, wouldn't Da Vinci have made an amazing game designer?

E3 pics are up!

Most of the big news probably slaps you in the face at each and every game site, so I'm going to stick with impressions and hands-ons, and leave headlines out of this. Overall, this E3 was probably the best one I've been to, with less focus on graphics and more focus on gameplay overall, with the exceptions of the two you-know-whos. Booth babe quality wasn't bad even with clothing restrictions, and watching Fatal1ty bring some wannabe to the brink of tears on the The Longest Yard conversion to Quake4 had me and Xstine laughing our asses off.

So without further ado…

Microsoft Impressions:
Xbox 360 games continue to look better, and I continue to think about getting one. Games look as a they should on a $400 system. Gears of War looked phenomenal of course, but Huxley was surprisingly fun too considering the amount of lag this FPS MMO had, and I was dukin' it with a roundtable of over 30 people. And its framerate was still a SIGHT better than the Crysis engine game, which when not in that Siberia known as the 10-minute loading screen, was trying to impress us with spring-collision driven foliage bending nonsense at a blistering 4 fps. 3D benchmarks are a FAR CRY from being games, please.
Still, Lumines on XBox Live and the announcement of Windows Vista allowing PC and console gamers to meet in sweet swiss bliss gave the system the edge. In Peter Moore's own words, why buy a PS3 when yyou can get both a Wii and a 360 for the same money? As much as I hate the guy, he's right as rain.
Oh yes, Viva Piñata looks rad (see pic), and besides some framerate problems, has got real style. Good job Rare… finally…

Nintendo Impressions:
As fanatical as the gaming media has been so far about the Wii, I have a huge complaint. I never got to play the damn thing since the line of lines, the sweat-infused meta-line that wrapped itself around the vortex of Nintendo's creative navel, was so entangled that I had not the ken to locate its extradimensional entry point. Dammit Nintendo, you spoke of playing is believing, but put your new console in the furthest reaches of E3's 9th circle of hell. My heart wept for a chance to play Super Smash Bros Brawl, but my melatonin begged for just one more day of sunlight.
Still, just watching the announcers playing Wii Sonic on the big screen by just tilting the controller left and right filled me with an instinctual, pheromonal kind of parasymptomatic gravitation back to West Hall over and over. Instead, I settled for some DS games, like Magnetica (aka Zuma) and Brain Training. Why is Sudoku so damn addicting.

Sony Impressions:
Let's forget about the price for a second, and the feature trickery. Do the games look good? Well, as you can see in the photos, their setup at E3 was still running on a bunch of dev kits, but at the moment it looks good. Not $200 good, mind you, but good. Warhawk wasn't very fun, but had that impressive kind of fluidity and SFX density that reminded me of great Dreamcast rail shooters. Madden looked godawful, honestly, with horribly overdone fur/grass. Heavenly Sword looked pretty good, like a PC version of Devil May Cry, although pixilated self-shadowing and jerky animation need work.
The booth area was pretty packed, and people were cheering like mad at the Final Fantasy trailers, but the actual wait time to get into the private showings was about 5 minutes. There will definitely be a market for PS3, evidenced my the throngs of people in the Singstar booth and the Country Karaoke Revolution game. The PSP, btw, went the way of the N-Gage.


PC Impressions:
I was pleasantly surprised. Hellgate: London continues to look great, and although the avatars are ugly, the gameplay is smooth and addicting just to even watch. The Conan MMORPG was graphically beautiful, especially the horse animations, but it seems like there was stuff being killed only when I looked away. Boring.
Xstine and I are both excited about Neverwinter Nights 2, and eye-rolly about World of Warcraft's expansion and its new Dranei Alliance race. NCSoft held a pretty exciting Guild Wars: Factions tournament with Koreans slaughtering Koreans, but nothing was nearly as exciting as THIS…..


Finally, some of the coolest things we saw there were these two toys:

Hurray! After living in Opera day in and day out, I've finally got a chance to wax poetic about Opera not just to to every living thing around me, but across the evil empire of unwashed masses. From now on, as part of the the Opera secret police, I will be able to feed you the latest regarding Opera and Nintendo. I hope to invent doublespeak next, and declare war on Oceania.

So folks, what is Opera, the most revolutionary browser, going to do with Nintendo, the most revolutionary game company? Well, how about the soon-to-be-officially-announced Opera Wii.

Opera Wii.

It will load nigh-instantly, and one can only imagine the synergy that is Opera mouse-gestures vis-à-vis the incredible Wii controller. Could it form the UI for the Wii network? Or even for the whole system? Not impossible.

I am currently extracting more information from my hapless leaks, but I hope this gets your imagination roiling. Official statement. With the Wii's 24/7 constant connection that promises to bring new content in daily, we aren't playing Animal Crossing anymore, we're living it. Meanwhile, read more here.

Tom "Big Brother" Nook.

So the news is out. Sony Playstation 3 will be out November 17th at a cost that could buy you two hot hookers for three hot hours. And if you're the kinda swank who shells out extra for greek lessons, you'd be able to get a REAL PS3.

That's correct, there are two versions of the PS3, the poor rich man's edition, and the rich man's edition. The first is for people who somehow can cough up $499 for a 20GB version, but not $599 for the 60GB version. The $599 version includes Wifi, HDMI outputs, memory/SD slots, and rumble… which renders the other version impotent for all intents and purposes. It's like shelling out for $499 for a lady of the night and having her tell ya she ain't going to do it standing. Or sitting. Or even with YOUR dick. Heck she ain't even got a hole.

But that's not the announcement that bothered me, no sirree boob. Here's the shocker. Remember the boomerang? Well, it went flying out the window, and has flown back stripped of all original innovations, but dripping in the blood of victimized Wii. They've gone back to using the original controller design, except with bluetooth and… MOTION SENSING! Who didn't see that coming? Who didn't expect Sony to fake an orgasm and deem it the performance of the night? Oh, that's right, gamer virgins. Of which only 6 out of 10 Americans still are.

Sigh. Honestly, their plagarism would be a lot less shameful if it was implemented with a modicum of creativity. I mean, the controller only detects tilt while in motion! I call shenanigans! And I mean the urethra burning type!

Xstine and I will be heading down for E3 again, so give me a call folks if you're going to be in town. We'll probably be staying at my parent's place as usual. We'll head down Wednesday night and be back up Saturday night.

I've never gone to E3 for a console launch, which is what I'm hoping this time will be. I dearly want to see the Wii and the somewhat want to see the PS3 in action. So far, current-gen X360 games have failed to impress, mainly due to poor and rushed art direction than raw horsepower, but I fully expect that to change soon. Gears of War should be there, and possibly Halo 3, giving our American Ford-Focused console a boost in mileage.

I'll be sure bring my camera to try to capture the idiocies, geniuses, and spectrum defiances that happens in Kentia Hall. Unlike when I was Taiwan, I will probably have a harder time capturing a ghost on film… the Phantom is teh bust. But one can mock hope.

The funny thing is that E3 won't be the most exciting thing of the trip. That honor goes to my intention to do 120mph down the 5 at night in our new G35 while simultaneously thinking of insurance and loan payments. In fact, someone should invent a real driving sim with those realities built into a paranoia meter on the edge of the screen, with reckless driving fueling you with adrenaline and a screaming gal in the passenger seat. Zoom zoom zoom capoeira wants to zoom.

If Guitar Hero 2 is there, however, I won't be coming back. :headbang: