Tag Archives: wii

E3(D)

18 Jun

So E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) for 2010 happened.  I wasn’t there.  But Nintendo announced (again) the 3DS which is another version of the Game Boy but with two screens and one of them is 3D* and doesn’t require glasses.  How does that work anyway?  How soon will laptops and iPads be in 3D?  Does it mean we’re getting closer to this?   (hint: it doesn’t)

SW HologramAnyway, the important news isn’t about the new revolution in 3D and motion-controlled (controller-less?) video gaming, the important news is this:

*Actually, like all the 3D movies that are out these days it’s actually stereoscopic 2D.  We haven’t invented actual 3D yet.

Today in the life

7 Nov

I upgraded my laptop to Leopard today. It’s cool when a new operating system makes your old computer faster. I like the new overall look a lot, particularly the bright blue gradient that highlights menu items. It’s quite pretty. I like the new dock a lot too, when it’s on the side…

I also bought (a whole $5) Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Wii. I then proceeded to discover that my 2D Mario platforming skills are greatly deteriorated. I died in world 2.

For those that don’t know, I’m working construction in the mornings with an independent contractor. It’s cool because I’m learning a lot, building up my tool collection, and getting paid. In the evenings I am tired.

I’ve discovered that the official name for one of my interests is “Industrial Design.” It’s something that part of me wants to go to Grad School for. The other part of me is refusing to go to Grad School for anything unless there’s some sort of job placement program for graduates.

This entry is short on writing. This is because the world is short on writers. This is due to the strike.

Guest Blogger: The Mythical Cassowiirie

19 Oct


     You may have noticed that mythical beasts like The Cassowiirie don’t tend to blog, but being part Wii himself he is becoming a bit concerned about how the media is treating the Wii.
      Greg Howson, for the games section of the Guardian Unlimited, recently interviewed Patrice Desilets, the creative director of upcoming video game Assassin’s Creed.
      Game company Ubisoft has spent lots of money and time making this game, and they want you to know about it so that you buy it and make their effort worth it. At least The Cassowiirie is pretty sure that was the intent of the interview.
      Unfortunately for The Cassowiirie, who doesn’t own any video game consoles other than his own Wii abdomen, Assassin’s Creed isn’t going to be available for the Wii. And why isn’t it? Well… good Patrice is here to explain it to us.

“The Wii is all about casual games.”

     Speaking as a creature who is part Wii, The Cassowiirie can tell you this is simply false. Now, Patrice doesn’t bother to explain what “casual” means here, but as far as The Cassowiirie is concerned, games like Zelda: Twilight Princess, RedSteel (a game by Ubisoft), Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Prince of Persia: Rival Swords (another game by Ubisoft), and Metroid Prime 3 Corruption are not “casual” games. Those games take something like 15,000 hours to complete! Each! They also all happen to be Wii games. The Cassowiirie guesses that by “casual games” Patrice means “games that are for the Wii.” That makes her statement technically correct as well as stupid and redundant. Patrice continues:

“ In terms of processing power and graphics capabilities the Wii is roughly equivalent to the PS2 and the first Xbox.”

      Alright, yeah, you know what? The Wii doesn’t have the graphical capabilities of the XBox 360, or the Playstation 3. (It’s also about $4000 cheaper.) But it does have graphical capabilities stronger than the Gamecube, which had capabilities roughly equivalent to the PS2 and the first Xbox. I guess by “roughly equivalent” Patrice means “better than.”
      Or she’s just wrong. That could be too.
      Maybe she’ll say something right if we keep reading…

“On the team and at Ubisoft in general, we are big fans of the Nintendo approach. I like the controller and the fact that the Wii is bringing a new audience to games but Assassin’s creed would never run on the Wii hardware.”

     So, you all really really like the Wii, and Nintendo, and their approach, and their controller, and their new audience, so you decided to make a game that wouldn’t work on the Wii. Brilliant.
      Also, since you’re releasing a version of Assassin’s Creed on the Nintendo DS, the tiny handheld system with hardware weaker than the Wii, this statement kind of comes across as a lie. Obviously a version of Assassin’s Creed could run on the Wii, you just chose not to make it do so.

“There’s a big audience that’s looking for immersive gameplay and a cinematic entertainment experience with graphics that rival the best CG.”

      Probably, but there’s an even bigger audience of people who own Wiis.
      Look, The Cassowiirie doesn’t want to come across as mean, (it’s not good for the mythical beast image) but reading this interview made me wonder if Patrice might be using words that she doesn’t know the meaning of. Like “intuitive.” The Oxford Dictionary says that it means “using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.” Yet Patrice, when talking about the controls for Assassin’s Creed says that they are “intuitive.” Actually, what she says is this:

“It’s a new concept so it takes a bit of time to get used to but once you get it the controls are intuitive.”

      The Cassowiirie isn’t sure, but based on the actual definition of the word, he thinks that if something both “takes a bit of time to get used to” and requires “getting” a “new concept” then it is, fundamentally, not intuitive. The Cassowiirie is inclined to think that he’s right since Greg says the controls were “not exactly intuitive.”
     Of course, The Cassowiirie will never be able to find out for himself, since Ubisoft decided they won’t let him put Assassin’s Creed into his mythical abdomen of Wii game goodness.

People Want Lightsabers – Game Design Challenge

30 Sep

So LucasArts (the George Lucas company that makes video games) recently announced that their new video game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, will be available for the Nintendo Wii. This is exciting not because it’s a new Star Wars video game (there have been many, very few of which I’ve actually played) but because people want to have lightsabers.

See, in case you’re unfamiliar, the Nintendo Wii uses motion based controls (in addition to traditional buttons) for its video games. The two part controller includes a “wand shaped” (or, perhaps, “lightsaber shaped”) remote, which you hold in one hand while playing. This “Wiimote” contains a speaker, vibrates in your hand, and is motion sensitive. This is one reason the Wii is so fun. If you want to play baseball, you swing the remote like a bat and your character swings his bat. If you want to play tennis you swing the remote like a racket and your character swings his racket. If you want to bowl you “throw” the remote like a bowling ball, releasing a button when you would release the ball, and your character bowls the ball. Finally, and perhaps most obviously, when you want to swing your lightsaber (which is humming and vibrating, like a real lightsaber does) you simply swing the remote like a lightsaber and your character does the same… except that there is no lightsaber video game for the Wii. Yet.

This is why LucasArts’ announcement made such waves on the internet. People want to have lightsabers, and the Wii potentially brings us that much closer. Closer than we’ve ever been, really. I say potentially because this is actually a very interesting game design challenge.

If you take a real lightsaber and swing it at another lightsaber, they hit each other and stop. This is physical feedback which requires physical strength. Short of hitting two Wii Remotes against each other (which I wouldn’t recommend) there is no equivalent physical feedback with the Wii. So how is LucasArts going to actually do this? If it just involves waving your arm around wildly it actually won’t be all that fun. If it actually manages to be 1:1 with its movements, which a lot of people seem to think they want, the game would require actually being good at fencing/swordplay – and thus it actually won’t be all that fun, since that’s really hard. Hopefully the game designers there are up to the challenge. Because people want to have lightsabers.