Wii lightsaber

Wii lightsaber

For all us Wii/Nintendo nerds out there… The killer app for the Wii? You know it will never be as fun as you hope but…

“… Wii remote lightsaber dueling. Since the day that the Revolution was first announced, the dream of wielding the remote like a lightsaber has been a common thread connecting gamers across the world. And now, apparently, that dream will finally come true. LucasArts and Travellers Tales have announced that Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga will ship with motion control lightsaber combat…. allowing players to battle with thrusts and slices of the Remote.”

Ars Technica breaks the news

We finally got a Wii


After causally asking about them in multiple stores downtown over the past 8 months (once a month) only to be told they were completely sold out making it one of the hardest items to buy in Montreal, last night I was at futureshop researching a new camera and checking out the latest DS games and I once again asked the question: “Happen to have any Wii’s in stock ?” — “Yes – you would like 1 ?” … and it was done. Not cheap – 450$ with taxes, 1 extra controller and 1 extra game. We now own a Wii.

The fact that they just released Wii-fit (which I’m trying to convince Linda she’ll love) and that Super Mario World seems just around the corner — makes it all that much sweeter.

“Wii Fit is another innovative product from the product developers over at Nintendo. It’s a workout product that features a pressure sensitive balance board that will let it’s users practice and perform activities like aerobics, yoga, and traditional muscle training and muscle stretcing together with all kinds of games. This a brilliant move by Nintendo if you would ask me.” — http://gadgets.fosfor.se/wii-fit/

Wii Fit Intro Video from E3 | Wii website

Rosemarie Fiore and 80’s video games


Rosemarie Fiore has taken some beautiful time lapse shots of a couple 80’s video games. Here’s hoping she does some more. She has another series that I like a lot based on “Exploding fireworks” in a controlled way over paper. And — who could not love her giant “Spirograph” project !!

“These photographs are long exposures taken while playing video war games of the 80’s created by Atari, Centuri and Taito. The photographs were shot from video game screens while I played the games. By recording each second of an entire game on one frame of film, I captured complex patterns not normally seen by the eye.”

See photographs

SketchFighter 4KA

SketchFighter 4KA

If you liked 80’s video games, if you ever had a pad of graph paper, and if you ever drew a spaceship… well this is the game for you. I just tried it out on my G5 at work. Super smooth motion (very high frame rate) and easy controls. Even has a fun “emo-ish” soundtrack. You can play a couple levels without registering (costs 20$).

“Remember those super-cool space ships you doodled on graph paper in Middle School? Pen strokes furiously waging massive intergalactic battles in History class with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance? Well they have sprung to life in SketchFighter 4000 Alpha!

SketchFighter 4000 Alpha redefines “retro” by bringing together the imaginative pen and paper sketches from your youth with a killer resolution independent OpenGL graphics engine. SketchFighter also boasts a unique synthesis of exploration and action game play, which has you alternately blasting cute little lady bugs into oblivion and then puzzling your way through the hand-drawn challenges presented to you.

With a notebook stuffed full of killer challenges awaiting you, and a unique two-player gaming mode that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen, SketchFighter 4000 Alpha brings the fantasies of your youth to life in an absurd yet utterly wonderful gaming experience.”


Idea’s behind the Wii

Idea's behind the Wii

A fun quick read; Business Week asking Miyamoto and another Wi team member about the big ideas behind the Wii. I really do think they got it right. This is also worth checking out — a description of the technology behind the wiimote from CNN.

“Miyamoto: We started work on the Wii around the time the GameCube went on sale in 2001. [Internally, the Wii had the codename “Revolution.”] We started with the idea that we wanted to come up with a unique game interface. The consensus was that power isn’t everything for a console. Too many powerful consoles can’t coexist. It’s like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction.

Ultimately, it came down to whether power should be a key element of the console or not. We didn’t think it was possible to build a powerful machine for less than 50,000 yen ($450). Not only would it use a lot of electricity, it would need a fan, which meant it would be noisy. Moms would rise up against it. Plus, it would take too long to boot up, like a PC, which isn’t an ideal toy.”

Business Week interview with Miyamoto

Wii testing


I have a brand-new, decked-out, pimped up Nintendo Wii for a couple days on loan from a very nice friend. I’ll be posting some impressions and be personally deciding when/if I’ll be buying one. Linda and I fired it up for a couple hours yesterday – and we both had fun. Not groundbreaking but definitely a new way to use the remote/joystick combo… although that nun-chuck left my hand a bit sore. I’ll have to do some further testing this evening.

I noticed that metacritic has ‘The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess’ rated at a 96!!! Wow.

“When an evil darkness enshrouds the land of Hyrule, a young farm boy named Link must awaken the hero – and the animal – within. When Link travels to the Twilight Realm, he transforms into a wolf and must scour the land with the help of a mysterious girl named Midna. Using the power and unique control of the Wii console, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess features precise aiming control using the Wii Remote. The Wii Remote and the Nunchuk controller are used for a variety of game activities, including fishing and special sword attacks. Players ride into battle against troops of foul creatures using an amazing horseback combat system, then take on massive bosses that must be seen to be believed.” – http://www.metacritic.com/games/wii/


The res of games

gears of war

We went over to one of Linda’s friends place the other night for dinner. We had an awesome time hanging out in their loft in the village – heated stone floors and a 12 foot long “picnic-table styled” dinner table really appeal to me.

Her boyfriend writes a gaming column for a Canadian newspaper… which is kinda fun! As soon as we arrive, he asks “wanna see Gears of War on the xbox360?” … “sure!”… he had gotten a copy for “official work review” along with a brand new xbox console complete with shiny “GOW branded faceplate”. I sat down and he quickly ran through level 2 for me.

First off – not my type of game (I’m way more Mario than FPS) – way too violent and a bit of a tired formula. But… the graphics and physics of the game.. we beyond anything I have seen to date – rivaling some of the best 3D movies. The visual effects and lenses, distortion, movement, and perspective are stunning. When this quality of 3D reaches beyond these consoles and onto other platforms and applications in the next 10 years – things are going to take off.

Worth just watching for 5 minutes if you get a chance – try to find a version playing on a quality HDTV to see what I mean.

Metacritic GOW

DS and WFC

DS and WFC

Over the weekend I tried the Nintendo WFC service.

I had tried to connect when I first got my DS but my old wireless router just wouldn’t give me an IP (among other problems). Our laptop also had trouble connecting also so I decided to go out and buy a new WIFI router on Friday (found a DLINK DI-624 on sale for 50$). It had the latest HW revision with recently updated firmware and we have one at work that has preformed flawlessly for a year now. Of course when I as picking out this router I made sure that it was known to work with the DS.

After getting everything configured, my DS and my laptop both connected in a snap. I tried out the two games that I own that use the WFC service; Mario Cart and Club House games.

I got my butt kicked in Mario Cart by 5 players from all over the globe. Probably some snot-nosed 10 year olds.
Club House Games was much more fun. The interface is very slick and almost every one of the 35+ games is available to play online. I tried President, Texas Hold’em, Blackjack, Darts, and Bowling. Did very well in all except darts where I got killed. The only small annoyance is the chat system which is very restricted to preset lines of text. I assume this is to support multiple languages easily.

For a free service – well worth trying out. Now let’s see what happens when the Wii comes out.


From Russia With Love


For anyone who’s fallen asleep after a “bout of Tetris” and still watched the blocks fall, turn and snap into place… this is a great little piece.

Tetris – From Russia With Love

A hard to find documentary about Tetris and its creator Alexey Pajitnov. Also covers the rivalaries between Nintendo and Atari and the absurdities of buying copyrights for software from a country that doesn’t believe in property, much less intellectual property. Ultimately, a great documentary about a very important game.”

Watch the Documentary on Google Video

Nintento and the future


I’m a big fan of Nintendo. I always have been. I’m pretty picky about any games I play – partly cause I feel some kind of guilt about playing games in the first place – when I should be reading/socializing/bettering my life in some other manner. I have owned a couple Nintendo systems mainly cause they have good games.

That said … I’ll be buying a Wii. This thing really gets me at some level – the “beyond the traditional joystick” metaphor they are starting is impressive, and like most people who’s read sci-fi from Gibson or Stephenson, those kinda of devices are intriguing to say the least. Not to say this is a huge leap forward, but it is interesting due to the massive launch and huge potential audience.

“The Wii’s going to crush. It’s going to do really well. (Third parties) They’ll all be there. They’re all going there. Anybody realizes now that the Wii is going to be a lot bigger than everybody thought six months ago. We all heard about it a year ago, but I don’t think that we realized how impressive it was until we saw it at E3. … Some people thought that it would turn out to be kind of a gimmicky toy, and it turned out to be kind of a cool thing. At the same time, you’re seeing the success of these Brain Age and Brain Training games that you use the stylus to play. People are like, ‘Wow, maybe the consumer wants to be more interactive with the device.’ It makes sense. Nintendo’s onto something. They’re not stupid people. It’s really impressive what they’ve been doing, and [they’re making] a really bold move, and it’s working so far.” – source

Nintendo Wii | Next Gen Article | Wii vs PS3 video (kinda nsfw)

Brain Age

Brain Age

I’ve been playing with Brain Age for the DS Lite. It’s an educational game that’s designed to be played a little each day “Each session includes such brain-training activities as high-speed reading, drawing from memory, fast math problems, and Stroop tests.”

I started off with a “Brain Age” of 46 which isn’t too bad, and have gotten it down a low of 38 in the couple days I’ve played it. So far I’m much better at the mathematics and the stroop tests that I am at the memorizing words. I’m very curious to see my progress over time by. Almost can’t wait to unlock the rest of the daily tests! I have learned not to play at 1 AM when you’re feeling sleepy – My “Age” jumped above 50 quickly!

This is also my first time playing Sodoku – which I’m surprisingly liking a lot and am not so bad at. One you figure out the three or four techniques for devising the proper number – it is quite fun.

A bit more on Brain Age…
“During each session the player may take the Brain Age test, in which there are 3 randomly picked tests. At the end of the tests, Kawashima gives the player a score, called a “brain age”, a number at least 20 (the ideal score), that tells the performance of the mind (a brain age of 37 would be approximately equivalent to a 37-year-old mind). Ideally, the brain age should be lower than the real age, or approach 20. The game tracks the progress of up to four users. To assist the user in lowering his/her “brain age”, he/she can take training exercises which include:”

Getting the Most out of Your Prefrontal Cortex
The prefrontal cortex is like the control tower of your brain-it determines how you use stored knowledge in practical situations. That means that your “practical intelligence,” or ability to apply stored knowledge to your everyday reality, depends upon how well your prefrontal cortex functions. – source

Official Brain Age site | Wikipedia on Brain Age

Nintento DS Lite

Nintento DS Lite

Bought myself a silly birthday present yesterday. A shiny new white Nintendo DS Lite. Grabbed New Super Mario Bro’s and Brain Age with it. It’s a slick little machine – feels very solid and a smaller than I thought it would be. The stylus/touch screen aspects are amazing – very responsive to even the lightest pen strokes. Good sound volume and a “typically Nintendo” perfect control system. It also seemed to charge up very quickly!

Mario and Brain Age (started with a brain age of 46 – doh!) are awesome so far – gonna pick up a couple more games and some friends are lending me some old GBA games to mess around with. Couple upcoming games I will have to buy are The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (trailer”) and LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.

My only real problem with it is that once my girl gets back from organizing a summer camp, she’ll be all over it and i’ll never see it again!

“I’ve bought so many Game Boy products in my life that I wish I could subscribe to a service instead of handing Nintendo my hard-earned cash every few months. The amount of product Nintendo has released in its portable gaming line over the years is amazing. Including the DS, there have been ten portable systems released between the first one in 1989 and now, and that’s not including special-edition hardware and different colors” — ARS Technica

Nintendo DS Lite | Gamespot DS | ARS Technica Review

Video Game Maps


“Q. How do you make these maps?

A. For many I use an emulator and take screenshots of the game and then piece them together into one big map in Photoshop. This is a very long process. Sometimes I find a ROM editor that helps me grab larger chunks of the map at once and see hidden map elements but I still tend to use a lot of screen captures to supplement that source. There’s no trick or shortcuts to mapping. It takes forever, but the results are worth it.”

Video Game Maps – Ian-Albert.com



“Remember those super-cool space ships you doodled on graph paper, waging massive intergalactic battles in History class with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance? Well they have sprung to life in SketchFighter 4000 Alpha! Bringing together line artwork created with One Pen together with a killer resolution independent OpenGL graphics engine may seem like an odd juxtaposition… that is until you give SketchFighter 4000 Alpha a whirl!”

Sneak Peeks > Sketchfighter