Gaia loves Final Fantasy Crystial Chronicles.
I was hesitant to purchase the game because, frankly, who wants to play a Nintendo DS game on your big screen, but once you're over the terrible, terrible graphics, the game's not too bad. Fun, even. I love the action-adventure take on the Final Fantasy game, and the new Chrystal Chronicles games seem to fit that bill. I wish that the DS had a little more graphical oomph, though. Managing two screens on one play space is hard on a 16:9 aspect ratio, I can't imagine playing on a square television. Also, the internet play has not been kind to me. In fact, unplayable.
But best of all, Gaia loves to play. She's old enough now that she can understand how the controller works, so she runs her party around the overworld, and jumps and shouts. Awesome. And she follows the story.
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.
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.
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.
I bought a game off the PlayStation Network today. I don't like their DRM any better than Nintendos, but I'm actually ok with buying software electronically, especially if it's cheap. $10 is exactly the right price for a great little game.
It's called "The Last Guy."
You play the titular guy and it's your job to run through satalight maps of cities and coax survivors of a zombie apoacolypse out of their homes and to the rescue locations. So far I've played on Fisherman's Warf, San Jose, and at Washington CD. And on Writelarge.com. And on a picture of Pete.
See! You can play the last guy on any webpage. Try it out. It's a great little game and well worth the $10. It's not horribly deep, but it's fun to play though the levels a few times and see how horrifically you stack up on the online-rankings. Last I checked, I was the 9,494th best player at level 1 in the world. I was only 2 more points shy of the 9,493rd best player. It was neck and neck all the way.
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.
Today is a very special day on Nintendo's Virtual Console, as Bubble Bobble has been released to the awaiting masses.
I can't tell you the fond memories I have of playing Bubble Bobble with my brother, mostly because he told me over Christmas that he does not/will not authorize the use of his likeness for use on the Internet. So Instead, I'll tell you about the fond memories I have of playing Bubble Bobble with my imaginary brother whose name happens to be Red No. 5.
Red No. 5 and I played Bubble Bobble so much that Red No. 5's cockatiel learned the theme song. So that when the game was on or off, it would sing that catchy little ditty. Over and over again. Through all 112 levels. and again through the next 112.
Years later, I would program my first polytonal cell phone to play the Bubble Bobble theme whenever Red No. 5 would call. And When I showed it to my sister, she screamed and told me, "Stop. Don't play that song! Oh! That song!" The she fell to the floor and started shaking and a flood of water wooshed from the sky and swept her out of the frame and set her at the top of the screen. Talk about surreal. Then she ate the last Zen-chan and all our leftover bubbles became pickles. It was awesome.
Anyway, Red No. 5 and I had a great time playing Bubble Bobble as kids. We played it a lot. He was pretty good at it, and I think it was more than just because he played with the NES advantage. That kid played with power.
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