Jumping on the Bed!

The continuing blog on anime, games, movies, computers, college, and life in general

Archive for the 'Wii' Category

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii

My thoughts on Mario Kart for the Wii… I don’t think I have EVER been this worked up from playing a game before. No, wait, I take that back. I used to yell at my brother because I could feel his body heat when I was trying to defeat the three stages of Dracula in Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, but I was 13 going through puberty. And yeah, I get flustered in Guild Wars when there’s no chance to get anything done without tacking another score of deaths to your tally, but Mario Kart… this “game” infuriates me like no other.

We have a saying since the days of old when Playing Mario Party 5. “The Friggin’ Millennium Star is Rigging the Game!” And guess what ladies and gents. The Millennium Star is back in full f’n force here. It doesn’t matter how good you are, or how well attuned you’ve gotten to using the steering wheel. The game decides who wins. Not you. At the end of the race, <x name of character x> is going to be in third place. God help you if you’re in their spot.

Speaking of the steering wheel, it’s actually a pretty impressive addition to the multi-functionality of the Wii. It’s a shame it’s shaped the way it is though, because while it is a steering wheel, it also holds an uncanny resemblance to a frisbee, and let me just say it’s a damn good thing that stupid strap was on because I well would have ricocheted the thing off three friggin’ walls after the majority of the cup races I’ve “played”. ;(

Liz once did a college paper about artificial intelligence in gaming systems. Some are good, some are terrible, and if they’re in a Mario game? They’re God. The system knows that 78% of racers come along a particular corner in a certain way. It knows the exact tangential angle is needed to bounce that green shell off the wall to nail your ass so you spin out at exactly the right time so you get tag-teamed by an invincible Donkey Kong and knocked over course into the lava only to be brought back up inches away from the boost that you needed to clear whatever fire-breathing crevice was right in front of you, squandering your 2nd place to dead last 12th.

It’s not so much that you’re playing the game, you’re being man-handled by digital equivalents of Albert Einstein mixed with Chris Pronger and a little bit of Charlton Heston. Insanely intelligent evil cooks without any hesitation to fire whatever weapon is nearby. 11 of them, all linked into their own little Matrix against you as your loose-handling cart and your onscreen avatar squealing “Wheeeee!” ignite into a fiery death upon atmospheric re-entry again, and again, and again, and again…

Yeah, the f**king Rainbow Road is back too.

So much like all of the Mario Party titles, the only skill involved is luck and I for one don’t want to spend what few hours of time I have at night hoping that perhaps this time I’ll get lucky and get through the 100cc Grand Prix only to go from 1st to 1st to 1st to 12th and come in 4th place again and again and again. I just don’t have the patience I used to have. All I wanted to do was unlock characters and vehicles for the little gaming nights we occasionally have. I shouldn’t be punished for that.

(“airbag” radiohead – ok computer)

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SSX: Blur (Revisited)

SSX: Blur - Kaori

So I’ve spent a bit more time SSX: Blur and my opinion of the game has changed only in the fact that I can enjoy it more now… Most of the time. While I have gotten better at most of the basics and the Über Tricks and have gained some points to increase my stats (edging, speed, tricks, and boost), I still don’t quite “feel” like I should playing an SSX game. On edge.

Most of that is because there are parts of the game that are exceptionally frustrating. I’m stuck on Peak 1. Why? Because the Slalom is my new worst enemy. You thought thought it was hard racing chocobos to get those balloons was hard in Final Fantasy X? It’s got nothing on trying to hit those damned poles without careening past them on the wrong side. If I ever get past it, I’ll let you know.

Another problem I have with the game is that there is very little expanation. How do I get to the second peak? Is there really any difference between skis or boards? And why the hell is the font so small? It’s hard to read the inane mumblings the skiiers spout during the loading screens.

Perhaps with a lot more practice I’ll get really good at it. But then, when my time is caught between Final Fantasy XII, Titan Quest, Super Mario Strikers, Guildwars, Super Swing Golf, and about a dozen others, it’s not easy to be the game most likely to cause me to intentionally send my Wii-mote through my tv.

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Cooking Mama: Cook Off

Cooking Mama: Cook Off

Last summer Mancer mentioned some sort of game for the DS that was a “cooking” sim. “Huh”, I said, “That’s kinda cool.” not exactly dismissing it, but not exactly thinking it through which isn’t strange considering neither of us had a DS. Later we found that the game was coming state-side and Mancer’s interest was piqued. He received a DS for his birthday last year so Sabrina and I picked up a copy of Cooking Mama from BestBuy and a black case for him for his birthday.

After Mancer begrudgingly allowed us to put our “grubby paws” all over his shiny Onyx DS, we played “Cook” with Mama for a bit. Mama is so kind and gentle and gets pissed when you burn your meal, but that’s alright; Mama’ll fix it so you won’t starve. The controls are extremely intuitive even if the actual path is not. Perhaps I’m only good at cooking Spaghetti Carbonara and Chocolate-chip cookies. Using the stylus as a knife, a potato peeler, a ladle, or dragging ingredients from the counter into a pot and stirring is instinctive. I think that having practiced a lot of the moves in Wario Ware: Smooth Moves like (The Mortar and Pestle, The Umbrella, and others) will help out tremendously. Quick, simple, effective motions.

In two weeks, Majesco is releasing Cooking Mama: Cook Off for the Wii. While I’m not sure how well some of the activities will transfer from the stylus to the Wii-mote, I think we can trust that the game itself will be just as much fun. The only disadvantage that Cook Off has to its DS predecessor is that while the original Cooking Mama was only $20 and Cook Off is slated for the high-end pricing (of Wii games anyway) at $50. Add to the 300+ recipes the ability to battle it out with your friends, a lá Iron Chef, and you’ve got yourself a kick ass title the whole family should enjoy.

Fukui-san!

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SSX: Blur

SSX: Blur

I thought games were supposed to be fun. While, most of SSX is enjoyable so far (all 20min of it), the tutorial makes me feel retarded. The Über Tricks specifically. Mancer and I have found that holding the Wii-mote out directly in front of you to draw the shapes (Clover-leaf, McDonald’s logo, Zorro, Heart, etc…) works immensely better than trying to draw just using your wrist. That being said, it’s still very difficult to pull of an Über Trick with any regularity.

Mark, on the other hand, is very much into the game. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him having so much fun playing games before. Sure, Mark’s been this loud before, but generally because he was getting frustrated. I’ve never heard him ‘Wahoo!’ and ‘Waaaaaaah!! Yeah!’ before. Heh, quite amusing.

Perhaps once we get some more hours into it we’ll appreciate it better, but for the time being we’re finding the steep learning curve kind of off-putting. We also miss hearing the boarders’ voices as they careen down the slopes. The boarders just don’t have their personalities, and that is half the fun of the franchise. There’s nothing like edging out a race using Kaori, neck and neck with Maya 20 meters away from the finish line, dropping her with a snowball to the back of the head and coming in first. The announcer says some inane thing, the crowd cheers, and Kaori? She just waves her hands in the air and claps a couple of times… a mute. After all of the great quips we’re used to from the previous games, it’s a bit anti-climactic.

SSX: Blur is a commendable first attempt at the new system, but I hope EA puts more attention to the tricks and finer details like vocals and fireworks that make the SSX series what it is. An adrenaline-pumping over the top down-hill experience with tight controls, and the most important thing SSX has over EVERY other ski / snowboard sim… Personality.

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