Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Can't blog now...

Too busy beating Zelda: A Link to the Past. I can't believe I forgot about this game. I'm sure the nostalgia will wear off eventually, but for now, it's fun revisiting games I played when I was twelve.

Monday, January 22, 2007

SNES Zelda

Nintendo added Zelda, A Link to the Past (from the SNES), to the Virtual Console today. I actually forgot about this game, but the fond memories came rushing back when I downloaded it and played for a little while before leaving for work this morning. I loved this game.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Looking for a Wii?

Update: Walmart ran out of stock. :(

Walmart has the Wii in stock online right now, so long as you're willing to buy a 5 game bundle. To my chagrin, compared to what I paid for my Wii on eBay, you get four games for less than $100. That's a pretty good deal. I also see plenty of rumors flying around about Wiis at various locations this Sunday.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tiger Due in March

The current Wii golf lineup leaves much to be desired. I like Wii Sports Golf, but it only supports four clubs and doesn't know a thing about swinging a golf club; does anyone on the development team actually play golf? Super Swing Golf oozes too much of anime for my taste. Tiger should have no problem filling the void. WP has some screenshots, and PlayWii summarized hands on reviews from Joystiq and IGN.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wii Sling Bag & Game Wallet Review

We picked up the Wii sling bag and game wallet before the holidays so we could tote the Wii along. As much as I love the Wii, beware both of these accessories. The sling bag is barely big enough to hold two remotes and nunchucks. It has no compartments to protect your peripherals. I had to take a battery out of each remote so they wouldn't bang around, turn on, and drain the batteries during the trip. The bag has one mesh pocket barely big enough to fit the two AA batteries I took out. You'll have to carry additional remotes, classic controllers, steering wheel chassis, etc., separately. Thanks to the shoulder strap's cut, the bag only felt comfortable on my left shoulder. While walking through the airport, I ended up stashing the Wii bag inside another one of my bags. The game wallet is even worse. The pages are awkward and flimsy, and my games constantly fall out and scratch. You'll be better off carrying your Wii in a normal backpack and your games in a sturdier CD case.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Learn some new moves from Leisure Suit Larry

According to BBspot, Sierra plans to put the Wii-mote to some novel uses in their upcoming Leisure Suit Larry title. The game will come with yet another plastic remote chassis, "the Wiimote will be placed into a strap-on harness for a whole new angle on the game." Larry, you've come a long way from the land of the lounge lizards.

Back in business...

We sincerely apologize for the recent technical difficulties. That's the risk we early adopters take. The entry queue has backed up, so stay tuned!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Does the Wii strap result in a false sense of security?

If you've seen Wii Have a Problem, you know the kind of damage a broken Wii strap can allegedly cause. Meanwhile, I play strapless (don't try this at home), and I've yet to have my Wii-mote leave my hand, not even during the third round of an intense boxing match (knock on wood). Maybe strap users are more careless and willing to let it fly?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Godfather

IGN just posted video of the upcoming Wii title The Godfather. My wife has been pining for this one, but I'm not that impressed by the video. I'll have to take it for a spin before I pass final judgement.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wii TV Size Callibration

You might have already read my speculations regarding the Wii and TV size. I hoped I could widen my sensor bar, thereby tricking my Wii into thinking I was closer to the TV than actuality, thereby lining up the cursor on the screen with where I physically point the remote. No such luck.

Tonight I put my theory to the test using two votiv candles (candles emit infrared light which the Wii-mote can detect just like the sensor bar). The candles worked great as a sensor bar replacement, but based on the experimental results, the Wii does not compensate for your distance from the TV. I wrongly hypothesized that the Wii measures the distance between the two infrared lights and adjusts accordingly. It does not.

In other words, whether you're 5, 10 or 15 feet away from your TV, if you angle the remote the same way, you'll find the cursor stays at the same position on the screen, regardless of whether or not the remote physically points to that position.

The only solution it seems is to find the ideal distance to stand away from your TV given its size. I'll leave calculating these distances to a follow up experiment (though it should be a simple linear function).

Take the following photographs as an example (and evidence). As you can see, I did my best to keep the Wii-mote steady across each shot (bottom left hand corner). I moved the candles farther and farther apart, but the cursor's position on the screen stayed nearly the same (near the bottom of the third icon in the top row).

_MG_7874 _MG_7871 _MG_7873

You can safely attribute any discrepancies in cursor position to my inability to keep the remote steady while moving candles and taking a picture. I'll be sure to use a tripod the next time. ;)

Surround Sound on the Wii

Up until a few days ago, I thought surround sound required a digital connection (as in optical or coax as opposed to stereo). Then, while playing Wii, I was surprised to hear distinctly different and directionally correct sounds coming out of my front and back speakers. Upon investigation, I learned the Wii supports Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound. According to Dolby's site, "Dolby Pro Logic II also enables video game consoles to encode five-channel surround sound information into a stereo signal." I can attest: the Wii may not support digital surround sound, but it supports surround sound nonetheless and still sounds pretty damned good.

If that weren't enough. we still have the speakers built into the Wii-motes. They may not have the most stellar sound, but they do add another dimension to games.

How can I calibrate my Wii-mote for the size of my TV?

My projector projects a 105" screen. Where I point my remote and the location of the cursor don't even come close to lining up. Navigating the Wii menu isn't so bad, but Duck Hunt is gonna suck. I want the cursor to go where I point, not Y * N feet higher.

Should I build a custom sensor bar and place the LEDs a couple feet apart? If I make the sensor bar N times longer than the default, perhaps the Wii will position the cursor vertically at Y * N / N (cancelling out N, the ratio of my TV size to the Wii's default), or exactly where I point the remote. In other words, I'll trick the Wii into thinking I'm closer to the TV than I really am.

Could this possibly work? How do I calculate N exactly?

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Wii-mote Recharger

Nyko announced a charging station for Wii remotes. I was relieved to hear that the charger works with your existing remotes replacing both the batteries and the battery covers. The new battery cover even has a rubberized grip. Each station supports two remotes.

Compared to using normal AA rechargeable batteries, you don't have to take the batteries in and out every time you recharge. You just dock your remotes when you're finished playing, no muss, no fuss.

Unfortunately, the station doesn't appear to come with or even support wireless nunchucks. I'm just going off the pictures though.

The case of AA batteries I picked up at Fry's has treated me well, but I would like to be more friendly to the environment. I wonder if the wireless charger announced at CES has Wii support:

Monday, January 8, 2007

Wii Play Review

N-Sider reviewed Wii Play. The verdict: shallow even compared to Wii Sports, but realistically it'll only set you back $5 because it comes with a free Wii-mote ($40 retail value). That's the same price as an NES VC title. I need one more remote anyway. According to the Wikipedia, those of us in the US will have to wait until February 12th to play.

Discounted Wii Games @ Best Buy

Best Buy knocked $10 off the price of Need For Speed: Carbon. I'm not sure why. Need for Speed is easily one of my favorite Wii titles.

They also discounted Super Swing Golf. A "magical handbag" as a caddy? I wanted a good golf game so badly I ignored my intuition and bought it anyway. Steer clear of this piece of crap. We tried the multi player mode and each of us had to choose the same character because none of the others were unlocked yet. Talk about confusing. I actually appreciate Wii Sports Golf now.

Last and least, they're selling Rampage for the low, low price of 30 bucks. I don't have that one yet. Deal or no deal?

Word of the day: schmup

In honor of Gradius's VC debut, from the Urban Dictionary:

schmup (n): Old-school horizontally or vertically scrolling 2D shoot-em-up computer game, such as R-Type or Gradius.

Who needs a wireless nunchuck?

I do! The various naysayers must have either unusually short arms or more physical coordination than I do (not difficult). I nearly dislocated my elbows when I forgot about the wire and sprang my arms apart during Madden '07. That's not an official gaming gesture--I confuse easily. I equate some of these Wii-mote moves to rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time (feel free to turn that into a Wii game). If that weren't enough, I can't recall how many times that damned wire whipped me in the face as I fought with a German over a rifle in Call of Duty 3 or duked it out with my father-in-law in Wii Sports Boxing; I've blocked those memories. Call me a "sissy." I deserve it, but I'll get the wireless nunchuck when it comes out.

5 New Sega Virtual Console Titles

If you're into that sort of thing, Sega will release Streets of Rage, Bio-Hazard Battle, Gain Ground, Comix Zone, and Bonanza Bros. on the Virtual Console. I had an SNES personally. N-Philes has the full press release.

Design Web Sites for the Wii

David Storey advises over at My Opera. Put simply:

  • Remember, even with the component cables, the Wii only supports 480p. We're talking circa 1995 resolutions.
  • The Wii supports embedded Flash 7 (not 9) and has limited RAM compared to a desktop PC.
  • Due to the Wii's limited resolution, Opera utilizes the same automated transcoding for both the Wii browser and handheld devices. For starters, it forces your site into a one column layout to prevent horizontal scrolling. Use a handheld stylesheet to override the automated reformatting and manually tweak your site's appearance. You might even look for "Nintendo Wii" in the HTTP agent header and send back a custom stylesheet.
  • Use big fonts and take up the whole screen. Not everyone has HD.

Gradius!

Gradius, the staple NES side-scrolling spaceship shooter, came to the Virtual Console today. Gradius was the second NES game I ever saw (after Super Mario Brothers). Yet another timeless favorite--I know what I'm doing tonight.

Nintendo uploads new games to the VC every Monday, 9 AM Pacific.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Baseball ≠ RBI Baseball

I accidentally mistook Baseball (as in NES Virtual Console, not Wii Sports) for RBI Baseball. Big mistake. Had I known, I would have saved my 500 points.

While Baseball looks and plays more like an Atari game than an NES game, RBI Baseball features our real life childhood heroes and still claims quite a following. My college roommates played RBI Baseball on the original system well into the late 90s. Think McGwire, the early years.

Until RBI Baseball comes to the VC, I guess this complete reenactment of the 1986 World Series game 6 will have to tide us over.

Happiness

We'll happily look forward to Sadness, an adult-only title from startup Nibris. When we say, "adult-only," we mean, "adult-only;" Nibris asks if you're 21 or older before entering the Sadness website.

Talk about expanding the gaming audience. After Sadness comes out, surprise your loved one and follow up a subtitled foreign flick with a little Wii.