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Tag Archives: nintendo

While perusing the RFD forums, I came across a post which mentioned that Futureshop was clearing out their bongos for $20! It was an old thread from before the new year, but there was some recent reports that FS had them back in stock, so I stopped by the FS on the way home from work.

Unfortunately for me, they didn’t have any in stock. So I left it at that, I didn’t really need bongos anyways. Anyways, I was down at the local Staples last week, printing out my thesis, where I had a 30 minute wait; so I decided to check out the (much more convenient than the original one I checked) Futureshop. Lo-and-behold, they had not one, but two pairs of bongos left. I was tempted to buy both, but I decided against it.

If you are at this point, scratching your head wondering why I would goto Futureshop to buy bongos or why I would want bongos in the first place, maybe you should read this review of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat first.

DKJB was Nintendo’s answer to DDR or Guitar Hero, but based on their strong brand lineup. I suppose bongos were the best they could do unless you wanted a game where you strum a plunger or hit a triangle with a sword. The interesting thing about DKJB was that it wasn’t a music game (I actually wanted to get Donkey Kong Konga which was the music game), it’s an adventure game. In the vein of Sonic, you have to guide DK to pick up bananas and then fight a boss at the end of each level. I had in the past tried to play normal games using a DDR pad, which doesn’t work out so well, but this game was designed to be played with bongos!

I put DKJB through a quick playtest over the weekend, and it’s a hoot. It’s not intuitive that you have to clap (or hit both bongos? I can’t remember now…) to jump so usually when I have to do stuff, I just end up bongo-mashing. But it is still quite cool and fun, because DK does all sorts of chaotic stuff on the screen and eventually I end up at the end of the level. At that point, there’s a boss fight which usually entails figuring out the attack pattern, and then paralyzing the boss. When this happens, it’s CRAZY TIME where you have to hammer on the bongos as fast as you can to do all sorts of critical hits — quite hilarious and tiring.

I’m glad I got this game, and it was a pretty good deal. Here are some random things I want to say, but couldn’t fit in:

  • The graphics are pretty advanced because DKJB was released in 2005 (one of the last GC games); there are some Monsters Inc-type hair effects!
  • I saw a set of bongos only (i.e. no game) for $40 when I bought this. That didn’t seem to make much sense since packaging the game was like -$20.
  • It’s too bad there’s no multiplayer mode, because this seems like a neat party game.

I’ve been playing Animal Crossing which is one of those do-nothing type of games (you know chores and such) like Harvest Moon. It is “fun” and addicting in the same way that The Sims is, due to the gamers’ NEED to level up collect every piece of clothing, carpet, wallpaper, fish, bug, fossil, etc. It is more attractive because the characters are cute (i.e. animals), and well, that’s it.

What’s interesting about this game is that I think there is a programmed block against playing too much. After playing a certain period of time within a day, your fellow townies ask you to do a series of actions which end up in a logic circle, so you can’t really get anything done. By that point, all you can do is wander around town, even if you want to keep playing levelling.

What the Gamecube version is missing however, is a social aspect. This game would be great if you could visit other gamers’ town without having to physically cart a memory card to your friends house; something that they fixed in the Nintendo DS version. In Animal Crossing: Wild World, you simply need wireless. I also think there are traits of the Animal Crossing character system are built into the design of the Wii. A Mii which you can send over to wirelessly to your friends’ system is a lot like visiting another person’s town!

Alex lent me his NDS the other day so I could duel Keith in Brain Age, and I handily lost the match as well as 2 rematches; even though Keith had a handicap of using the incorrect orientation. My excuse is that it was my first time playing and my brain isn’t trained, even though Brain Age is incredibly popular in Japan and now North America. T mentioned that one of our friends, Mike, was able to complete the activity that we played in 8 seconds. That is, to answer 35 addition, subtraction, or multiplication questions with operands less than 20 as quick as possible.

8 seconds may seem pretty incredible but I think it is doable; although I was no where close, with my best being between 35-40 seconds. I had several problems though, first my writing wasn’t recognized in some instances, and I got thwarted all three matches by 8×3. FYI, 8×3 does not equal 11.

If I were to overcome those problems, I don’t think I could reach 8 seconds. But we brainstormed a couple of ideas on how to speed it up. First, after playing the game a lot; it devolves from actual math to memory association. If you see a certain series of characters in a row, you will know instantly what the answer is. Secondly, you pipeline as you would in say DDR; which is a geeky way to say that you are looking a question or two ahead when you’re writing the answer to the current problem.

Now, if you can do that, you can get a great score. But guess what, you don’t “train” your brain and you don’t get any smarter. Brain Age is a scam, even the other parts of it (Sudoku and counting syllables) won’t help you to consider, for instance, who to vote for in the next election. Yes, Brain Age will not help you to vote against George Bush #3.

We went to Wasabi on Hwy 7 for dinner last night, I’ve been disillusioned about buffet’s for awhile for two reasons: 1) While there is a ton of stuff to eat, there’s also a ton of stuff not to eat because you don’t get “value for money”; so I get tired of the stuff that I can eat and find that there’s nothing to eat at a buffet. 2) I don’t like the places (usually Japanese or hot pot) where you have to order from a menu and have them deliver the stuff. The delay in time between ordering and gratification makes it feel like a normal restaurant, but advertised as a buffet.

Wasabi suffers from both of those faults, but it is decently decorated so at least it didn’t look rundown or Chinese. Here’s a better review of Wasabi which Horace linked in the invite.

Afterwards, we decided to head over to Victor’s place to play some Wii since Nelson had brought it along. The reactions from the first timers were pretty favorable, I think I must be the only person in the world that thinks Wii is only averagely fun. I tried a few frames of Wii Bowling which I had not played before.

I took some videos on my phone though, here is Victor and Nelson boxing:

Nelson and Rishi playing baseball,

Nelson and Rishi playing baseball again

I was grepping on Flickr for some reasons as to why my portrait of Link was getting so many hits (comparative to my other uploads), and did a search for various Wii terms. I ended up finding some photos from other people who were at the Wii Public Preview including some that the paparazzi took of me!

The photo on the far right is of me just starting to play Wii Boxing, although you can’t really tell but trust me on it. I think actually I’m reading the instructions on how to play. There’s also a blurry picture with me boxing in the corner, but that’s not good enough for me to include here. In the left picture, I’m lining up on the bottom left waiting to try Wii Tennis. The same guy also got a picture of me waiting in line, which I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader to guess who I am.

Also, Nelson’s having a Wii party in case you haven’t heard, in which you have been living under a rock or in your room playing PS3 all the time.

I excused myself from work today and headed down to Atlantis Pavilions at Ontario Place to participate in the Wii Public Preview. I think this is the only event of its kind since I couldn’t find much more info about it. Anyways, the instructions said the the lineup starts at 11AM, with the doors opening at 1:30PM. I headed down and started lining up at noon, and the line wasn’t too long. There were a variety of people there, kids, adults, and students like me. Everyone brought their DS with them and they were playing wifi something.

While in line, I saw lots of people leaving. There was a press version of the event in the morning and so all sorts of TV stations, magazines and random people came out with a Wii bag (apparently with a t-shirt) and other swag. Some Nintendo people also came out and tossed a couple of impossible trivia questions for prizes (I think they were head-of-the-line tickets). Do you what Ganadorf’s last name is? I don’t. People walking by also took some videos of the people in line, so I might appear on the web somewhere in the next few days.

So two and a half hours later, at 2:30PM, I finally made it in. There were 25-30 Wiis setup with various games on them, some multiplayer. They let in about 100 people at a time, so you never had to line up for very long. The first game I played was Boxing. For Boxing, you strap the Wiimote in your right hand (and they were adamant about this, maybe they saw heard about what happened at IGN), the Nunchaku in your left (or whatever your jab hand is), and use them as if they’re boxing gloves. So to punch, you actually punch your hands, and you can move your hands up to block your face, and etc. I got the hang of it in a few minutes and it was pretty fun. I was wondering how they could detect movement in both hands if only the Wiimote had a sensor. I think I have it figured out.

Next I moved on the Rampage because there was no one there. This game was pretty dumb, with the only Wii benefit being that you can swing your Wiimote around to do special moves. I moved on to play Zelda, and again this was pretty boring. I think the problem was that the demo was situated within a village so all I did was walk around, talk to people, and climb ladders.

I played Wii Tennis next. This was pretty basic but fun. Like boxing, you never have to use any of the buttons so you just move your Wiimote around like a racket. Your player avatar automatically moves into position to hit the ball, so all you have to do is hit it at the right time. Unlike Virtua Tennis, when you hit the ball, it’s not guaranteed to land in the court; so timing is essential. I did one crazy serve that smoked my opponent so there is some intricacies for gosu-ness in the game.

Next, I lined up for Ultimate Alliance since it was a game that featured all the heroes in the Marvel universe. I watched the guy in front of me play for a bit and it seemed pretty dumb; just like your normal adventure game. It seems to me that the release titles (aside from the sports) are using Wiimote actions like additional buttons rather than being intuitive (like the sports).

The last game I tried was Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. I wanted to play this because I have Super Monkey Ball 2 on Gamecube. Visually, the game looks almost identical, although the levels I played had a makeover with more pink and flamingos. The controls are pretty basic, tilt down to speed up and up to slow down, tilt left to bank left and tilt right to bank right. Think of it as gripping a real joystick instead of the analog controller.

One problem I had with the Wiimote in general was that using it as a light gun to navigate menus was hard. The cursor would jump all over the place. The controls for Super Monkey Ball however were tight, which I could tell since I was familiar with the game and knew how to control my Monkey Ball. There was a new type of level where you would fight a boss, which was new (and difficult). I don’t think that upgrade would be worth buying this game.

I wanted to try a driving game (Excite Truck or NFS: Carbon) and a fighting game, but I didn’t have time. Baseball and bowling also seemed interesting, but judging from the other sport games I tried, I figured they would be pretty good/fun. In fact, I think the only game I would “buy” would be Wii Sports if I were to get a Wii; which means I should probably wait until better games come out.

The only swag that we received was a DVD describing the Wii (with a sticker on the front saying that the Canadian MSRP is $279.95). There was also a life sized sculpture of Link at the front which attracted a lot of photographs.

The other day, I saw a link to a public preview in Toronto of the upcoming Nintendo Wii. I didn’t get the news very quickly but I figured what the hey, I would try and get a spot; so I sent them an email with my name. I didn’t hear from them until today and luckily for me I snagged a reservation!

So I am off in two Tuesdays time to this event with the hopes that it will be as cool as the private Wii party in Austin (highly doubtful). What strikes me as odd is the timing of the event — during the day and in the middle of the week. This makes it open only to students that skip school/have flexible schedules, bums, or people that play hookey at work. Maybe that’s the target demographic they want, but if you really want to generated hype on the web; you must know that bloggers have to work too!

Piggy-backing on Nelson’s Mii blogs, here’s me:

I couldn’t pick orange as my favorite colour, so shoot me.