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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nintendo and Demo Play to Pamper Non-Gamers this Fall

Ninendo’s gone and done it. Or rather, they will go and do it (if that makes any sense). They’re introducing – with New Super Mario Bros. Wii this fall – Demo Play, or as a I call it (censored, of course), Sucky Player mode. This will allow players to pause the game, enable Demo Play, and let the computer AI take over for parts that are “too hard.”


What’s gaming coming to, when players are going to need the game to play itself for them? Hell, why sell controllers? I can see it now, the next generation of consoles will be used thusly:

  • Push a button on the system and the game will boot itself up, saving the user from having to figure out how to do it themselves
  • The game will then promptly beat itself, removing that unnecessary burden from the gaming experience
  • Once beaten, the game will shut the system down for you, so you don’t have to stick around and wait for the game to be done to shut the system down yourself

Unbelievable. Look, if you think your gamers are that freaking stupid, just put a damn “I win” button on the controller, a’ight? Push that, and you win. No need to even play the game.

Nintendo, you’re better then this. See the light, and scratch this concept. The world will be better off for it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Movies, Moose and More

This has nothing to do with, but I want to share it anyway. I’m a huge fan of B Movie review sites, such as JABOOTU The Bad Movie Dimension and One of the reviews I like re-reading is the review of It’s Alive on Jabootu by Ken Begg. I’d never seen it, though. That is, until last night.

Beta and I were wrapping up watching the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals on a last-at-bat fowl ball (I’ll explain in a minute) when I noticed that It’s Alive was on the Independent Film Channel. I flipped to it during Bella’s rant about how Greely had tortured her. Beta and I immensely enjoyed ripping the movie apart, with Beta commenting that Greely was just a stupid old man and that the whistle he blew to wake up a sleeping Bella was more annoying then ‘cruel,’ as Bella called it.

“What’s he going to do next? Throw a water balloon at her? Light a candle and let the wax melt on the floor? Oh no, that’d be terrible! He’s just so evil!”

We laughed until the end, when the monster showed up. Upon seeing the titular beastie, Beta just sat there, stunned. I tried to ask her for her opinion of the monster, but she seemed in a coma. Finally she simply said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. That is so sad!” That about sums up the movie, I feel.

Back to the Indians game. The Indians won when right fielder Shin Shoo Choo hit a ball up the middle in the bottom of the 10th inning that hit one of a gaggle of sea gulls sitting in center field, interfering with Coco Crisp’s attempt to field the ball. This allowed Mark DeRosa to score the winning run for the Tribe. Beta, upon seeing this, said, “Couldn’t they call that a technical foul?". I cracked up as it dawned on her the unintentional pun she had made. Beta’s the best I know at unintentional comedy. One day a year or so ago she was rambling about how bad a day she was having, and wrapped up by saying, “and on top of that, my mousse died,” meaning that her hair mousse had lost it’s ‘puff.’ That didn’t stop everyone within  earshot of saying something to the tune of , “aw, poor moose!” As a matter of fact, after it occurred to her that she’d made a foul/fowl joke, she added, “yeah, and my moose died, I know.”

Beta has a hard life.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Alpha Goes Mac… Kind of


I’ve recently gotten bored of my computer. I sit in front of it for inordinate hours at a time, and I felt I needed a change. Call it a PC user’s mid-life crisis, but I felt like playing with a Mac. Of course, budget constraints here at preclude buying a new computer on a whim, so I did the next best thing: I skinned Vista. Using Stardock’s Windowblinds app, I applied a fan-made OS X Aqua skin. I also added Objectdock, a Mac-styled floating icon toolbar also by Stardock to further the illusion. Finally, I installed Safari to complete the gig, switching over from Firefox for now. I was happy with how it looked, but the performance was beyond abysmal. I couldn’t work at all due to slowdowns and crashing. I reluctantly unloaded the skin and toolbar.

About an hour later I began to question why my ‘puter was running so poorly with these changes. I looked it up and came to the conclusion that my antivirus was clashing with Startdock’s software, so I told it to ignore Stardock softs for now and reloaded everything. Bingo! I’ve been using it for about seven hours straight with no crashes or slowdown yet. During this time I downloaded some OS X Aqua themed desktop icons for my folders and such, replacing my Vista ones with more… Mac-like variations. Beta complained some, stating that I was giving the poor computer an identity crisis (“Which am I?! I don’t know what I am anymore!!” lol)

I’m enjoying myself right now, if only for the change of scenery. Would I consider buying a Mac in the future? Maybe a laptop, and then only to work on the site with. I’m too hardcore a gamer to leave my PC and it’s varied functionality behind. I get a buzz from successfully trying to max out my framerates with new hardware, and I don’t see most of my favorite games (well, most games period) available on the Mac. I’d rather put my money down on an Alienware or Falcon Northwest uber-gaming rig then a Mac (not that any of those are an option financially at this time). Still, I really like how the changed appearance makes the old feel new again, and with Windowblinds, I’m set to easily change it up when I get bored again.

BTW, I love my wallpaper. If people want a copy, lemme know and I’ll post a link to it here.

Review Previews

Beta and I have spent part of today playtesting Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Excitebots: Trick Racing, both for Wii. Here’s some summaries of our opinions to tide everyone over for proper reviews.

  • Here’s my first thought on Excitebots: WOW. I really love the sensation of speed this game gives you. You’re also not just turning the wheel to steer either; you’re constantly shaking it to recover from crashes, moving it around in a circle to spin around a bar, and more. This game is a blast, and we had a good time racing each other. The buzz was phenomenal.
  • The new Harvest Moon, on the other hand, has some drawbacks. HM’s gameplay seems to have gotten slower and slower, to me, since Back to Nature on the Playstation, and this game doesn’t reverse this trend. My favorite Harvest Moons are Back to Nature (PSX) and A Wonderful Life (GC), and this one isn’t looking to crack that short list at the moment. It does, however, have one laugh-out-loud funny feature – the storms. Now, Harvest Moon games somewhat revolve around rain in that you want it fairly often to alleviate some of the tedium of watering your plants daily. However, never before has the sound of thunder been played by a toilet being flushed. I swear to God, that’s what storms sounds like, just repeated flushings of a toilet. We laughed so hard when it dawned on us that that’s what it sounded like. I say, rent it just for that and get a laugh.

In other news, we obviously have The Sims 3 and are reviewing it as well. Great fun, and it truly breathes new life into the series. A quick anecdote: Beta was playing Sims 2 the night before we got the game, and she was getting tons of lucky breaks. She was having a great game, which she said could be attributed to the game saying, “Don’t leave me!”. Funny stuff.