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Gaia and Kyra's Nintendo DS Face Combo Picture

The Nintendo 3DS has this feature where it can merge the faces of two people who are standing in front of each other. It’s a little strange and finicky, but it works sometimes, and the end results are… weird.

Like this picture of Gaia and her cousin Kyra merged, that looks a good deal like Kyra at age three or four.

Merged Faces.

I think that there is something really space-age about a pocket computer with three cameras that can combine multiple images to make composite image of pair of faces. I have been really impressed with the 3DS, as a Nintendo game system and fun toy for a six year old, it’s a really great experience.

The Law of First Zelda

There is a special thing, in the video game world that I call “The Law of First Zelda.”

The Law of First Zelda states:

The first incarnation of The Legend of Zelda for a new Nintendo console is the definitive one. Do not fret the second coming of a “Legend of Zelda” for a console, for it’s nature will be unclean and despoilt.

This. I. Believe.

I also believe that the 16th installment of the Legend of Zelda series, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first true Legend of Zelda title developed for the Nintendo Wii. The previous game, Legend of Zelda: Twighlight Princess, was originally developed to be the second Zelda offering (and indeed was offred on) the GameCube system.

Meaning that with the release of Skyward Sword, we celebrate the first Legend of Zelda that accords with the Law of First Zelda since the release of Wind Waker in 2002.

And therefore, it is a thing to be celebrated and enjoyed. A special and rare thing.
So rare and special, that indeed, my child, who was but a twinkling the last time the Law of First Zelda was in effect, is now of the age to wield the Master Sword in and of her own device.

And so we have celebrated this fact with the purchase of a shining pink wiimote. And we have adorned our t-shirt, and hoodie which bears the great Hylian Crest and we have found our magic boomerang, which is not magic.

Pride and shame is brought to your family.

And we shall be found, in the evening times, after homework has been completed, but before the time of bed has arrived, defending the world, once again, from the dark and sinister things – in search of the elusive triforce, which it is again our pleasure to seek to unite.

Nintendo WiFi Connection Blues

Well, look at this. It turns out my 1999-era wifi router, the one that runs my network, affectionately named “Slowand Broken,” is one of the routers on Nintendo’s lists of “routers that don’t work so good with Nintendo WFC.”

It has been our experience that this router typically requires specific changes to be made on the Wii console in order to have a stable connection to our online services.

This is sad. But surmountable—it simply requires a manual configuration. I mean, God forbid I upgrade to a router made within the last 10 years.

Animal Crossing Addict

A pair of dreams dies over The Spot

Almost bi-annually, I hunker down in a new hastily named village in Animal Crossing and spend two or so months slowly playing my way through paying off the first few renovations to my little house.

And then the novelty wears off and I put the game down.

Along comes Fall of 2008 and Animal Crossing: Lets You Can Has City for the Nintendo Wii.

Interestingly, this time, I’ve actually resumed playing the DS version (Wild World) at the same time, which, is fun, considering that there is only so many things you can do in Animal Crossing in a single play session.

The most awesome thing in the world about Animal Crossing for the WII is the ability to take a screenshot and save it as a JPG on the Wii’s SD Card; I bought a 2 GB SD card exclusively for this feature.

As for the game, it’s pretty much the same-old, same-old. The Online Component is hysterically frustrating, the fishing as overly simplistic, and there are only about six personality archetypes between all the villagers.

Gaia's drinkin' coffee now.

What makes it so much more fun this time around is that Gaia and I are playing together. She has a guy, I have a guy, and we run around our little village (embarrassingly named “The Spot”) and we go to the city and get our hair did.

Even though a combination of game-crashing wifi-bugs and the insanity of Nintendo’s “Friend Codes” system has made any kind of online meet ups impossible for me, It’s more fun when you play together. That’s thanks to Gaia.

My So-called Life as King

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King [homepage] the first piece of WiiWare to suck $15 out of my pocket and turn it into largely useless bits of data on my Nintendo console is a worthy investment, really.
Serve Fahtzburgh, or die.

I mean, I only bought it yesterday, and with the ability to give my imaginary town a name that tickles and delights my inner 12-year-old, the $15 was well spent. Lets talk about the whole concept, though? Ok?

First and foremost, My Life as A King is an RPG that dismisses PG part of the conceit. You play a roll in this game, and the game part that you're used to -- you know the adventuring and plodding through random battles to raise your stats -- is played by the game. That sentence is confusing but accurate.

As the monarch, the loan player character commissions "party members" to adventure on his behalf. Those characters run off stage and have statistically determined adventures based entirely on their numeric condition. Then they come back to the town and you read about them in the newspaper in the morning. Reading through the battle logs, which play out nearly exactly like every other RPG you've ever played, is as close to turn-based combat you get in My Life as a King.

And that's fine. But it makes you wonder if you've ever really played an RPG at all. Think about that the next time you're three sheets into Final Fantasy XII. Are you playing the game, or is the game playing you?

Once you've wrapped your head around that one, understand this: if you don't want to be the king, you're playing the wrong game. This is a game about land-use management, resource tracking, and clicking the damn talking penguin when you're trying to catch a runaway adventurer. If you don't find the City of Celebration, Fla., deeply fascinating, this is probably not the game for you.

It has that damn "one more time" quality however, that makes it a prime time-sucker. Since yesterday's results are only given at the start on the day, players are easily sucked into another quick day's worth of game-time. And So on.

Wiimote blues

An observation: I realized what it is that's different about the Wii and the PS3. It's the controllers. The controller on the Wii sucks. Yeah, that's right. I _hate_ the Wiimote. In Nintendo's rush to break into the mainstream -- which they seem poised to do, if they could ever put enough consoles in the stores-- they developed and embraced a new paradigm in human/console interface devices. And I don't think the new Paradigm was warranted.
The Sixaxis controller, (Read: Dualshock 3) is a friendly, familiar pal that, with the exception of the pointing features of the Wiimote, does everything that the Wiimote does.
When I sit down with the Wiimote, I'm holding a 'mote. I'm preparing to interact with a console. Keeping it pointed and configured toward the screen is often a big part of what I'm doing with it. Don't get me started on the awkward mess that is the numb-chuck. I don't need a remote that I can't run one-handed.
The fundamental problem with the remote is one of responsiveness. When the wiimote controls are based on arbitrary arm movements, there is going to be a certain degree of vagueness in the interaction because of the variation in rooms, sizes, and arms. Whereas, pressing "triangle" to swing high and "square" to swing low is pretty concrete.
It's that concreteness that makes the Sixaxis a better controller. It's not vague, it's a "precision tool." My controller should be part of my hand, not something I'm holding on to. The Wiimote hasn't made the leap to intuitive friendly extension of my hand yet. It's gimmicky and unnecessarily imprecise.