Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mario and Luigi, Wii and Hostel

Over 24 hours later and Wii is still Wii.

Nintendo have tried to defend the name (rather unsuccessfully) and the pun have just carried on and on and on… I don’t think I’ve ever seen the game forums so damn busy.

I must admit that the word in print looks good, it’s just saying it that sound so damn daft. Why not pronounce Wii as “why” and therefore escape all possible associations to urine?

It’s probably only the UK which has got a purile “carry on” sense of humour, to which this name has such an impact, but then again the UK markets is quite sizeable!

It’s certainly different and it’s certainly got attention! Maybe it was Nintendo’s intention to get the attention of non-gamers to see what the hell this Wii nonsense is all about.

Either genius marketing or complete and utter Japanese bonkers… Knowing Nintendo, it’s more likely just bonkers!”

Games played:
Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time.

Just completed this… A very enjoyable and charming little good. A good buy for the DS. The 2nd to final battle really is a bit of a slog though, I don’t dare imagine the amount of time I spent on it!

Now I’ve got to turn my attention to Phoenix Wright, Metriod, Tetris and Brain Training… Not to mention Dragon Quest.

Oh dear… Too many games!

Film Watched:

I was slightly miffed that the Mallard (local cinema) decided not to show this. They seem to be avoiding all the promising looking horrors of late (including The Hills Have Eyes and Silent Hill – still want to see it, I know), so I imported this on Region 1.

I have to say that this is without a doubt one of the goriest films I have ever seen. I winced on at least two occasions. For those that have seen this film, I’m talking about the “eye” moment and the “feel free to leave” moment… If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean!

All the same, it wasn’t a complete and utter splatter-fest, there was also a decent story along with it, together with characters that you felt for. If I was to pick a hole in the film, however, I do wonder how the two characters “escaping” near the end of the film, possibly managed to run around so eagerly with such vicious wounds… But hey, this is all make believe… right?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wii and wee?

Nintendo have just announced the name of their next generation console, previously code named Revolution. I had predicted (even hoped) that they would stick with Revolution, but no, that was just a code name...

The name is...

Drum roll........................


Let me repeat that.

Wii. As in Wee, or wee wee if you must.

Wii. Yep Wii. Really, honestly. Wii. No joke, April Fools day was weeks ago,



WTF? (excuse my language).

Yep - here's the logo alright.

Well... Nobody was expecting that. I know that Nintendo admire ipod, but just adding two ii's too a name is just taking th piss (pun intended).

As shock and horrified as I was, you just have to read the forums, they really have put a smile on my face... The reaction is really quite something! It's certainly got people talking, if nothing else!

Take a look: Here

Really, can you imagine walkiing into a shop and asking for a Wii? Really?

I suspect that this is worse in the UK, where "wee" is more associated to "wee wee", maybe it doesn't have the same meaning in the US or Japan???? Didn't anyone think to check with Nintendo UK first?

Maybe they'll use this for their adverising campaign???? You really should watch this...



Hmm... Still want a wii though :)

Talking of wee. We (too many we's!!!!!) have been potty training Elliot the last few days. The first couple of day have been disasterous, however, the last few have shown some progress. Trust me, potty training is no laughing matter.

You try cleaning up a puddle of wii (sorry wee) from the floor!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Who, Strangers, Dragon Quest and “best at Mario Kart”

I must admit that I was very impressed by Saturdays Doctor Who “Tooth and Claw”. I wouldn’t, however, be surprised if the BBC got a ton of complaints for 2 reasons.

1. The show was less than complimentary about the Royal Family. Even suggesting at the end that they may now be a family of werewolves!

2. I’d imagine that for the younger audience, it must have been damn scary. The werewolf effects were really very convincing for a television show and although you never actual saw the werewolf kill anyone, this was implied numerous times off screen.

The episode was also noteworthy because it introduced the origin of the Torchwood (an anagram of something – think about it) Institute, which will eventually be the basis of a spin-off series from Doctor Who.

Films watched:
Strangers on a Train
One of Hitchcock’s earlier black and white films. Funnily enough, I was originally introduced to this by another film, “Throw Momma from the Train”, a comedy staring Billy Crystal.

This is one of my favourite early Hitchcock films, and it is quite dark and noir even for Hitchcock, but then again this was written by Raymond Chandlers, so this isn’t too surprising. Such a sublime idea for a story – two people meet on a train and discuss murder. One suggest the perfect crime, to swap murders, only one of the people takes it too literally.

This film also uses some remarkable and imaginative shots throughout. The most effective of which is, in my opinion, the shot of the murder. This uses the reflection by moonlight on the lens of the victims glasses, which have fallen to the ground, to display the scene as she is strangled.

It was a pleasure to watch this restored print of the film on my Plasma, it really was fantastic picture quality for such an old film.


Games played:
Dragon Quest VIII
I’ve been enjoying this immensely.

I’ve seen this game criticised in some quarters for being “boring”. Compared against Disgaea or even Final fantasy, the stats and options really are quite limited, but this doesn’t deter you from the game at least.

It occurred to me, whilst playing the game, that it has some element which are similar to Zelda, in both it’s style and also the way in which you explore the landscape. Also you are free to enter people house and smash/break vases or wooden crates to your hearts content with the intention of finding useful items or money. What is it with these relatively innocent games which condone pillaging innocent villagers? I’m sure that one of these days you’ll try it in a game, be it on the PS3 or Revolution only to hear the villager shout “Hey you” and club you over the head.

I took my new DS Lite down to my parents on Sunday and my sister had an extended go of Mario Kart on it (she used to be a fan of Mario Kart on the SNES). Elliot watched and cheered her on. Elliot also made a comment which made me both laugh and feel very proud of my little boy. It went a little like this:

Elliot: I think Auntie Lynsey is going to win this one.

Lynsey: Of course, Auntie Lynsey is the best at Mario Kart.

Elliot: No! Daddy’s the best at Mario Kart!

You just gotta love him :-)

Roz and I have also been trying potty training again recently, but I'm far too tired to go into that at the moment - maybe for another blog entry.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mamma Mia and Dragon Quest

I’ve just learnt that Mamma Mia (the musical) will shortly be making its way to the silver screen. Now I’m all for musical being made into movies, after all, there’s no better way than to relive the theatre experience (unless of course you have enough money for numerous theatre viewings). Also I love the music of ABBA. Unfortunately I though the musical itself was dire. If you take some great songs and place them over a truly awful story, the result is a mess, or more accurately, just a poor excuse to listen to ABBA music live. There are plenty of other musicals out there which are more deserving of movie adaptations (Les Miserable and Miss Saigon spring to mind), so why choose this trash. The answer of course, is because Mamma Mia is so damn popular… Oh well, rant over.

Games played:
Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King

I've only got it through the post from Amazon today.

3 ½ hours of play later (it is very late) it’s looking very promising. Very much an old school RPG, but then again this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. The carton style really is something special and reminds me a little of Tales of Phantasia, but done so much better.

It’s a shame that it’s sales haven’t been as good as expected – especially in light of the fact that this is the first Dragon Quest released in Europe and that in Japan it’s the only game series to outsell Final Fantasy.. Oh Well, there’s no counting on European’s tastes in games (Fifa cough, cough).

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lawrence, Red Steel, Disgaea and Lite

Pictures of one of the first third party EXCLUSIVE games for the Revolution sneaked their way onto the internet last week. This is the game “Red Steel”, which is from Ubi Soft (a good sign) and seems to be one part first person shooter and another part first person swordfighter (yah).

From the screenshots, this is looking very promising…

Films watched:
Lawrence of Arabia

Possibly the greatest “epic” ever filmed.

This was also the first time I’d watched this since getting my plasma screen a couple of years back, giving me a truly cinema experience of this majestic film.

This is without a doubt David Lean’s greatest film and viewed by many to be one of the greatest films of all time. I know that Steven Spielberg often watched this just prior to starting on a new film for inspiration, and you can’t get a better recommendation than that!


Games played:

Finished this yesterday – probably taken me a couple of years off and on to complete it and to be frank, there’s still a hell of a lot that I have even touched yet in the game

DS Lite

Well, I’ve had this now for a few days and boy am I pleased. It by far the sexiest handheld out there now far exceeding the PSP design wise. I think I must have retried every DS game I own and in each case they look sharper and more pleasing to the eye than ever.
I can see why this has taken Japan by storm and hopefully when it is released in the US and Europe, it should have a similar effect.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

360, slide, fanboy blogs and Lite.

Roz and I bought a slide for Elliot on Friday and I spent the good part of the weekend building it for him in our back garden. Until you’re a parent, I don’t think that you realise the level of responsibility you have when building something for a child. I certainly couldn’t be slapdash and made sure that everything fitted correctly and that every knot was tightened.

Elliot certainly seems to enjoy it though and certainly whizzes down it at some speed… head first…

I’ve stumbled onto a few good blogs recently on the joystiq site. These are fanboy sites dedicated to current and next gen consoles… Regular reads for me are:

DS Fanboy
PS3 Fanboy

Revolution Fanboy

My new DS Lite is here… Yes it’s finally arrived and looks gorgeous in its stylish crystal white glory and thankfully, with no dead pixels!

I’ve only had a quick chance to play it last night, but the sharpness, quality and overall brightness of the screens really are something. It puts the old DS to shame and previously I had no real complaints about the DS at all.

The best thing of all is that I have plenty of games to keep my occupied on my DS Lite with even more coming out in the not too distant future.

Did I mention how gorgeous the DS Lite is? Thought so, but its worth mentioning again :)

I’m a very happy gamer…

Games played:
I went down to a friends house over the weekend and had my first go on an X-Box 360.

I have to say that the console itself certainly looks very stylish, although the fan is damn noisy, I know if I owned one, it would start to get on my nerves very quickly. Also I still can quite gel with the X-Box controller, it just doesn’t seem comfortable enough in my hands.

I played a couple of games and though I’d quickly post my impressions:


Graphically - phew, very impressive stuff indeed. Even on a non-high definition TV, this certainly looks the business, certainly streets ahead of the current generation racing games out there. Also the car handling seemed quite astute and as realistic as you could possibly get with the current setup.

The only downside is that nothing feels new here. As soon as you get beyond the sublime graphics, you quickly come to realise that this is exactly the same type of racing game that has been regurgitated numerous times on several platforms. Certainly nothing truly next-gen…


Perfect Dark Zero

I was really looking forward to seeing this as I was a big fan of Perfect Dark and also Rare (although they have slipped in the past few years). Initial impressions were very positive, the presentation of the game really is top notch.

Unfortunately as soon as you pick up the controller things slam down to earth very quickly. It just feels so damn awkward to control! Maybe it’s my dislike for the X-Box controller or maybe it’s because I played Half Life 2 recently with the mouse, but it just felt like I was battling with the control system all the time.

Other than that it just looked exactly the same as Perfect Dark, with slicker graphics and very slight enhancements to gameplay. So again, nothing new here…

Overall, I’m glad I’m waiting for the next generation. Bring on the Revolution I say!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Music, Dynamite and Disgaea

Ipod’s are great for rediscovering great albums. I’d completely forgotten how much I love Saint Ettienne… Great stuff.

Also, The Beatles White Album has quickly become my favourite album of all time. I’m definitely going to do my best to lay my hands on the rest of The Beatles albums as soon as possible.

Films watched:
A Fistful of Dynamite
This is probably the least known of Sergio Leone’s films, probably because it doesn’t star Clint Eastwood and isn’t one of his “Once Upon a Time” films.

I picked it up cheap the other day, just so that I could say that I’ve seen all of the Sergio Leone’s films and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. It hasn’t received the attention of the other films, but it is still on par with most of them and better in my opinion than a Fistful of Dollars.

Sergio Leone certainly knew how to pick his actors and in this film, James Coburn and Rob Steiger make an excellent partnership.

For anyone who is a fan of Spaghetti Westerns, I’d recommend that you seek out this unknown gem.


Games played:
Yep still playing away on this (as well as Mario and Luigi on the DS).

I think I’m getting nearish to the end, although to be fair, with a game like this, there could be no end. By the end, I meant he end of the main storyline. I can honestly say that after getting this far through the game that this and ICO are definitely the very best that the PS2 can offer.

I’m hoping that the sequel will eventually be released over here. I kow that it’s due for a North American launch later this year, but no word yet for Europe. If not, I’ll just have to wait until the PS3 and hope that this plays import PS2 games as well as import PS3 games.

Got Phoenix Wright and Animal Crossing through the post the other day. I’m saving Phoenix Wright until I finish Mario and Luigi, but have taken a quick look at Animal Crossing – looks good.

I also noticed on the site that an anime is being produced based on Disgaea, below are a couple of screens from this. I just hope that they get the same voice talent from the game for the anime, if so, this should be most amusing.

Yeah Etna… Go Prinny Dood!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

E3 predictions and pleasant surprise

Well now that the GDC is over an done with it a little over a month until the big event of the gaming calendar – namely E3.

As such, I thought I’d jot down a few of my predictions for this coming E3, focusing on both Sony and Nintendo (as I have very little interest in the X-Box 360).



I think that this will be the time that Sony will choose to reveal the PS3 controller. The initial “boomerang” controller for the PS3 went down like a lead balloon and I have to admit that it looks less than comfortable. Just about everyone is pretty satisfied with the existing dual shock controller and as such, I think that the PS3 controller will likely look like a slightly modified wireless version of this.

There is also the fact that as Sony have delayed showing their controller even later than Nintendo that they have likely been watching the reaction with envy. As such I think it’s likely that the PS3 controller will also offer something a little extra, but likely not push the boundaries as much as Nintendo. I’d imagine something that uses gyroscopic technology is possible, or alternatively something that incorporates eyetoy is also very possible.


Metal Gear Sold 4
- likely a new trailer a more details re this

Tekken 6
- This has been hinted at previously, but further details may be announced

Resident Evil 4
- Again a teaser has been show previously, hopefully some in game footage will be available.

Final Fantasy XIII
- Yes I know that XII has only just come out for the PS2 in Japan and likely won’t reach the UK until next year, but I suspect a teaser will be shown for this, together with confirmation of this being exclusive to the PS3.

FinalFantasy VII – Remake
- I know that SquareEnix have said that this isn’t on the cards, but they must realise that they could make a mint on this and the production costs must be less than producing a brand new Final Fantasy game.

Looking at the above, it’s an awful lot of sequels!



Nintendo have said that there a few more surprises in store for the Revolution and they have still not reveal the final name (although I think they’d be daft to change it from Revolution). I think that any hardware surprise that come to light will likely be minor points, just a few bells and whistles to add to the Revolution capabilities.

The real test of the pudding will come when some of the software is shown for the Revolution. Hopefully this will demonstrate that even without HD support that the Revolution is still a very capable machine. I just hope that progressive scan support is standard for all territories on all software this time round.

Of course the Revolution will also finally appear in playable form and it will be good to hear the feedback from the lucky people who first get to have a go.


Wario Wares : Revolution
- I can’t think of a better game to demonstrate how the controller can be used.

Smash Brothers : Revolution
- It’s already been announced that this is in development. I doubt this will be a launch game, and will likely be early in development.

Mario 128 (or whatever it’s called)
- Nintendo must have realised that launching the Gamecube without a Mario game was a bad idea. I don’t think that they’re likely to make the same mistake twice.

Pilot Wings : Revolution.
- Again, I think this would ideally suit the controller.

New Nintendo game
- A brand new franchise that will suit the controller. Possibly Nintendo’s entry into the first person perspective market.

Metroid Prime 3
- Again this has already been announced, but I think that it’ll likely be playable.

Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess
- There will either be a Revolution version in addition to the Gamecube version, or more likely the Gamecube version will utilise the Revolutions controller.

Super Monkey Ball 3
- Please Sega please… The best launch game for the Gamecube would compliment the Revolution no end!

Damn… If only I could suddenly be employed as a gaming journalist and get whisked away to LA for E3!

When I left work today I was surprised to see Roz waiting for me outside. She had finished all she needed to do in the afternoon and had walked all the way into town just to meet me. It was a lovely surprise and a great way to start my weekend.