Results tagged “Nintendo Wii” from kwc blog

Google just transferred my Analytics account to the redesign and I like it very, very much. The new graphs are much more legible (they were very difficult to read for long data ranges previously). There are also sparklines next to summary data for easy trend reading, draggable date selection widgets, and a customizable dashboard for viewing your favorite reports.

There really wasn't any trouble adapting to the new interface as it pretty much is the same old data with the same basic navigation structure, but it is so much easier to grok now that it feels like a whole new product (one digression: thinner lines and scalable y-axis would help even more). It did crash my Firefox, but luckily SessionSaver saved this blog post from oblivion. Also, the 'Site Overlay' feature doesn't work for me anymore, but it's not something I used very often.

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Zelda: Twilight Princess (a bit of a letdown)

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zeldaI beat Twilight Princess a couple of days ago but I can't say that it was the pinnacle of Zelda gameplay that I had hoped it would be. Instead of propelling the franchise forward, I felt more that it stepped backwards to Ocarina of Time with spruced up graphics. If I had played Twilight Princess before Ocarina, then I'd probably be inclined to call Twilight Princess the best game ever, and plenty of reviews have referred to it as the best Zelda ever. For me, the lack of novelty occasionally left me bored. The visual design was also a step backwards. Wind Waker was the most expressive Link to date and it truly helped the storytelling. The Twilight Link is a plastic doll barely able to raise a single eyebrow of emotion. For someone like me who buys the next Nintendo platform to play Zelda, I perhaps have unsurmountable expectations that, until the Wii, have been met. Strange, considering that the Wii has been the most impressive platform release for me, ever.

My reaction is best understood when touring of some of the past Zeldas. (bolded titles were the next-generation releases):

  • Legend of Zelda: this game was amazing for its time, but without friends and Nintendo Power to tell you where to bomb, I probably never would have finished this game.
  • Zelda II: never played more than a dungeon or two as the side-scroller never caught my attention
  • A Link to the Past: this game greatly expanded the Zelda story and universe. It established the story elements and puzzle mechanics that are general basis of later Zelda games (Hyrule Castle, hookshot, parallel universe, master sword as story element).
  • Ocarina of Time: took Zelda into 3D and ranks as one of my favorite games off all time. I'm still amazed as to how well the designers were able to translate Zelda-ness into 3D.
  • Majora's Mask: I enjoyed this game, even if it did reuse of the Ocarina engine. It was not a next-generation Zelda, nor was it meant to be, but it had an entertaining 3-day story construct that made it different from previous Zelda. It also had a complete lack of a Hyrule/Ganon storyline, which kept it a fresh experience. I am impressed that they managed to deliver a game that was so similar to its predecessor in technology and feel, but different enough to remain entertaining.
  • Wind Waker: The Gamecube-based toon shading helped deliver the best visual design of any Zelda (still) with Link actually able to emote and use facial expressions as clues. It also introduced a continuous world, but had to hide load times in large expanses of sea. I appreciated the fact that they took a risk and did away with the Hyrule-Castle-spoke-and-wheel map model and I loved the game overall, but like many, I eventually tired of the sailing -- you know its bad when you can point your boat, go to the bathroom, and still not have arrived where you need to. With an outboard motor and a more densely populated world, it could have been a perfect game.

Then you come to Twilight Princess. Twilight is weird because it is a Gamecube game ported to the Nintendo Wii, so its not truly a next-generation effort. But it is also entirely different from its Gamecube-brother Wind Waker. Regardless, it is not a game designed for the Wii. This isn't necessary a bad thing, but for Zelda games its uncommon. I've often joked that Nintendo designs each next-generation controller for Zelda -- the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube controllers both seem a bit odd until you play the Zelda game for that system. Along this line of thinking, for Twilight to truly be a next-generation Zelda experience, the Wiimote would have to be more than a tacked-on experience. Unfortunately, it's clear that you could play the game with a Gamecube controller as everything (except for fishing, which I hate) has the same mechanics as Ocarina/Wind Waker.

About the only time I found the Wiimote really engaging was during certain boss fights that required Link to plunge his sword into the big boss. I found myself gripping the Wiimote like a dagger and violent plunging it into the air. These were the moments I was hoping to have more of. I'm hoping that Miyamoto has a true Nintendo Wii Zelda cooking in the oven, one that takes previous Zelda mechanics like the ocarina, wind waker, and howling and gives them the fun, stand-up experience of the Wii.

Mortal Kombat for Wii

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Gamespot has an interview and demo video with Ed Boon of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Watching Boon swing around the controller forward and back to throw Scorpion's spear has me pretty excited to see the fighting game genre adapted to Wii controls, even if I was more of a Street Fighter II player than Mortal Kombat back in the day. Quarter-circles, semi-circles, and forward-back motions look far more graceful when executed with a Wiimote.

Mortal Kombat is the first game that I've seen to take a different control perspective for the Wiimote. Wii Sports, Warioware, SSX: Blur and Madden: 07 are all first-person control systems that requires you to think of the characters on the screen as your avatar. Mortal Kombat appears to have chosen a god-perspective control system that makes the character on the screen your puppet. Instead of flinging the Wii controller forward as you would if you were Scorpion in the game, you flick it from left-to-right or right-to-left depending on whether Scorpion is facing right or left. The Mii Creator shares this same god perspective and I'm sure that there are others, but this video was a fresh take for me.

Miis/Lookalikes/Doppelgangers

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Time to clear some similar tabs building up:

Mii Office by n1c2c8 is disturbingly spot-on. d and I haven't been able to do half as well on our own.

Mii Office by n1c2c8

But perhaps we should just drop $5 and have the 'pros' at Miistation make us one.

Finally, it's not a Mii, but it is doppelgangish: Metamerist's McCain/Tigh comparison means someone can kill two birds with one Mii stone.

Metamerist: McCain/Tigh

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I'm only throught the first temple in Zelda: Twilight Princess, but I'm already struck by how much more similar Okami and Zelda are than I originally thought. More specifically, I'm shocked by how close Twilight Princess and Okami are. It's as if they shared the exact same concept art when they were being created. The spirits that you free in Twilight Princess are very, very similar in design to the gods you free in Okami, both feature darkness covering the land that you clear bit by bit, both have a wolf as the main title character, and both have an annoying companion character that rides your back as a wolf. Above you can see screenshots of the spirits/gods for comparison -- I wasn't able to find good screenshots on the Web, but these should give you a general idea.

They are still very different games and I am enjoying both. They are twins that were separated at birth and grew up in to very different adults. Both feature unique gameplay features that are fun to explore: Okami has its brush system and Twilight Princess delivers the Wii remote fun. The overall stories, despite their similarities, are also very different. But I'm still surprised when I come across yet another thing in Twilight Princess that makes me think that someone snuck a peek at the concept art from the other.

Wii'd up

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I got my Wii, an extra Wiimote + nunchuk, WarioWare Smooth Moves, Madden 07, and (of course) Zelda: Twilight Princess. I played a game of Madden '07 so I could ignore the Saints being beaten by the Bears, broke-in my Mii on Wii Sports, and I played several crack-smoking levels of Wario -- odd(ly) fun(ny) is how I can best describe it. Zelda: Twilight Princess remains on the shelf -- I wish to savor it, much like how one saves the best part of a meal for last.

My Wii Code is 1418 3492 0962 8370. Get your own WiiBadge at WiiBadge.com!

FYI: Although it was not my source, I highly recommend Target for future Wii purchases (unless you're going for the $50 trade-in that Gamestop is offering). Targets in Sunnyvale and Mountain View had 70-80 Wiis. Best Buy had 30. Circuit City had 18.

Getting closer to awesomeness

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Every geek wants a lightsaber. When I was playing m's Wii we discussed updating the Lego Star Wars series to use the Wii controls... because it would be awesome. If you can selling a half a dozen different 'remastered'/'special edition'/'classic' versions of the movie, why not have a remastered version of the game as well with cleaned-up graphics and new Wii controls?

Perhaps its best to call it a proof-of-concept of awesomeness, but checkout WiiSaber. WiiSaber lets you connect your WiiMote to your Mac and wave it around with appropriate lightsaber noises. It's an update to MacSaber, which lets you swing around your MacBook and make lightsaber noices. Engadget has videos.

Now I'm sore from Wii

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wii.gifIt's a good sore, but I'm definitely feeling the effects of my boxing bout against littlestar. It was almost as tiring as the real thing, but with less bruising.

I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said in hundreds of similar reviews. You can sit on the couch, flick your wrists, and do quite well in the games. But the Wii invites you to stand, to take the full swing instead of the little flick, because your little Mii on the screen is you. Psychologically, it's just too difficult to sit; you're engaged. It's the most socially intelligent game system I have ever played.

There are problems here and there. The motion sensing isn't as precise as you want it to be and it doesn't work for some games (e.g. Excite Truck), but who cares? It's a whole lot better than repeatedly mashing the A or X button. I can't wait for sword fighting games and DDR++ and the mythical Harry Potter spell-casting wand.

If you really really want one

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Toys R' Us is now selling their Wii bundles online:

The action bundle is the only one of the two that has the games I want, but $600 is a bit too rich for my tastes right now as I am still finishing up some PS2 games.