New Super Mario breaks records, Video Game Stuckness, & Eco Boxes for the Xbox 360? – Welcome to the column that is about to act a fool, up in here (up in here) known as Dare to Play the Game.
There comes a time in a man’s life when he’s forced to make difficult decisions. Decisions that he never thought he would make. After years of bashing a product, he was led to make a decision by the most important denominator of all. His bride to be. Yes my fledgling fans, your favorite column writer has bought a Nintendo Wii. And yes, Sarah was the primary influence.
I actually cashed in on the Walmart $50 gc offer which started this past Saturday at most Wally’s. Darn that Walmart and their low prices. Sarah grabbed a purple third party Wii controller w/motion plus and I grabbed a 2000 points card along with Wii Sports Resort. The $50 gc is already spent since we needed groceries. But alas the Wii isn’t hooked up yet. Why?
That is because I forgot the freaking component cables. There is also no way in heck I am hooking it up with basic a/v cables either. However, I do have some coming from Amazon (shipped late Saturday from Nevada), so it won’t be long I figure. Also in that Amazon order, I went ahead and ordered an 8gb SD card. That has yet to ship but I’m not too worried about that for the first few weeks.
This is Adrianne Curry. She won the very first Next Top Model and has been seen in Playboy and many other popular mags. Recently she twitted herself (sounds kinky doesn’t it?) playing World of Warcraft in the nude. You can find the picture fairly easily. I’m calling BS…you heard me. She’s hot, sure. But I didn’t see no WoW in the background or anything. She must meet me on the battlefield of WoW and I will take my dwarf shadow priest and rip to her shreds. If she beats me and has the video of her doing so (preferably with her still in the nude), I will be glad to proclaim her as a true gamer girl.
Stuck in a Rut
I am so stuck on a video game right now. Should I rage quit, read a walkthrough or just cry out to the Internet via random forums to help me?
Each of those ideas presents problems to me as a gamer. Rage quitting is usually beneath me as a lady. Walkthroughs are only for use when I need to get through a game quickly for work purposes. And asking the Internet for help – particularly on puzzle games where there’s no way to give hints without just telling you the solution – just feels wrong.
Obviously, my circumstances are different from the average gamer’s because I have publicists for many games on speed dial. However, I don’t like to abuse these connections when I’m playing a game for fun and not for review purposes. So instead, I usually stick to a ritual of behavior.
First, I pause the game during the part where I’m stuck. It could be a bum boss battle, a room where I can’t figure out how to progress or at a point where I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing or where I’m supposed to go. I’m the level-headed type, so I assume that this must be a case of user-error. Maybe I need to review my stats or my gameplay objectives and make sure I’m not under-leveled or something. This solved my stuck problem during that level with the train in Valkyria Chronicles.
If that doesn’t work, I usually double back in the game to look for a special item or grind my level up in the case of bum boss fights. I usually don’t have to do this because I’m a completion-obsessed gamer who searches every area, breaks every crate and fights every random encounter just for the experience points. But, hey, sometimes I missed a crate – sometime I forget to check the shops for all the armor upgrades. So maybe being stuck really is my fault. This tactic resolved an ugly boss fight in Tales of Vesperia– you know, the one with the demo boss only he’s way harder in the retail game? And you can’t go back and grind very much because the road is cut off?
The third time, though, I stop blaming myself and indignation sets in. Why would they make a game this hard? How could I possibly have missed whatever it is I need to get past this point? What is wrong with the developers that they make something I can’t figure out? This is a dangerous line of thinking because it’s a small step away from a rage quit unbecoming of a lady. It also has way of contaminating the rest of my opinion of the game. Which is why I never finished the first Modern Warfare on Xbox 360 (stupid barn mission with the tanks – why don’t you shoot them, Price, while I try not to die for the millionth time!).
The final part of my ritual is to quit the game – not rage quit, mind you; just a normal save and quit – and sleep on it preferably ‘til a Saturday morning. Then I come back to it while in my jammies with some cereal, the same way I played many a video game on Saturday morning as a child. It calms me down, gives me a fresh perspective and reminds me that games are supposed to be fun. This totally saved my experience with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (I hate you, Vamp – die in a fire).
There are exceptions and games that totally defeated my ritual, of course. I broke down and used a walkthrough on The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time after two and half years of wasted Saturday mornings ($%#&ing Water Temple!); I also looked up a puzzle solution in Puzzle Quest because I really wanted to capture a Wight or something and just couldn’t figure it out.
But for gamers out there like myself who sometimes hit a wall with games we love (or would love to try and love), I ask you: How do you deal with being stuck?
If you are reading this and raising an eyebrow, you aren’t the only one. Apparently this was written by a very dainty female gamer. The one who sits there very peacefully and plays a game and then when she is done, puts the game back in the case on the shelf and finishes off her Special K. I went there. I kid. But this is totally foreign to what most men do. Boys will be boys.
Now I’m sure there are some men who are level-headed who will read that editorial and go hey that’s me. Those men also wallpaper their bathroom and are comfortable with wearing pink. Most male gamers have many different reactions but not all of them include using their controllers as flight propelled devices into various parts of the room. Some men play for hours on end until they either pass out or their brain blows up.
Some like me will usually consult message boards, hint books, youtube videos and the occasional game manual to overcome certain situations. And for the record, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I don’t have some morally higher ground that I can’t look up a solution. Screw it. I’m a human being, I have faults and I suck at certain games. I admitted it in therapy many years ago.
Then of course there are those male gamers (and some females too) who rage quit like nobody’s business. Keyboards slammed, controllers disassembled, and cartridges torn apart. I have thrown a controller or two in my time, but true anger in my gaming life left after my early teenage years. But there are many who still have fits of anger and at the worst moments of their gaming existence.
The real answer? Outside of slapping your console down the street with a hockey stick, there is no wrong answer when it comes to finding a solution in a game. It can come all lady like as the columnist writes, or it can from a variety of sources such as hint books and the Internet. At the end of the day, it is what you are comfortable with and what brings you satisfaction to your gaming experience. A little frustration can lead to productivity and make better puzzle solvers out of all of us.
Don’t be like this douche. Why that’s a very expensive 17, 19 inch old crt monitor he’s holding. Ummmm, and the others are using flat screens. Fail! I guess if you are going to rage quit, the cheaper the better.
Video Game Sales
Don’t worry! There’s always next week. According to sales numbers from Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, Wii title New Super Mario Bros. Wii nearly sold a million in its first week in Japan.
This is the biggest debut for a Wii title.
Between December 3 and December 6, the game sold 936,734 copies, posting higher first week sales than the previous top first week Wii title Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which sold 816,000 titles.
Despite early concerns that it was too soon for a sequel, Left 4 Dead 2 has sold more than 2 million copies at retail, doubling the sales to date of the original game.
Gamers made noise when the sequel to last year’s cooperative survival horror title was announced earlier this year, but the quick follow-up doesn’t seem to have hurt Left 4 Dead 2’s sales figures. More than 2 million copies of the PC and Xbox 360 versions have sold at retail, a figure that doesn’t even take Steam purchases into account. That’s great news for Valve, who in turn have more great news on the way.
“Left 4 Dead 2 is off to a great start with strong support at retail and great reviews from the press,” said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. “Meanwhile the title has already been played by over 1 million Xbox LIVE Gold account holders, and news regarding L4D2 DLC 1 is coming very soon.”
I’d urge our readers to keep their eyes on Kotaku for said DLC news, but that’s no way to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Strong sales always brings a smile to my face. New Super Mario Bros selling like hotcakes is downright awesome. It’s a fantastic product of true 2-d gaming (well 2.5d anyway) and what great gameplay should be all about. I certainly have my eye on this game and hope to play it in the next few months. True, there are some critics of the game, but anybody with a true gaming pulse that has played the old NES Mario games would certainly welcome this title.
Many people though that Left 4 Dead 2 was simply released too soon. Well apparently all of those same people also decided to go ahead and buy a copy anyway. People were drawn to the game in droves and more zombie killing was had at Valve’s expense. What is more interesting is that the hoopla made the second game more popular than the original. Whether the game is actually better or it can be marked as a successful marketing campaign is anybody’s guess but congrats are in order. It could have been the free in-game baseball bat too. (/sarcasm)
True gaming greatness, Mario, Luigi and two Toads conquering a level. Two Toads? Well I guess they can’t use the Princess and Waluigi would be at the back of the pack just complaining about how everybody is ahead of him.
Xbox 360 owners who have recently invested in holiday season hits like Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II, Brutal Legend or Left 4 Dead 2 may have noticed a change in their game cases. Meet the Eco-box, gamer.
The lighter, thinner cases from manufacturer Viva Group are becoming the new Xbox 360 game case standard. And don’t be surprised to see Nintendo and Sony follow suit, as game cases use less material, reduce their shipping weight and conserve resources.
The move is in part driven by a “Packaging Scorecard” issued by mega-retailer Walmart, an initiative it announced three years ago. The goal, according to the company, was to reduce packaging by 5 percent by 2013, with much of that responsibility shouldered by Walmart’s suppliers.
New packaging plans from Microsoft and Nintendo already exceed requirements, dropping the weight of video game cases by 20 percent or more.
Kyle Sheppard, manager of business development at Viva Group, tells IGN that the new cases offer “marginal” cost savings to console manufacturers, with reduction in materials and carbon dioxide emissions the draw.
Nintendo of America told Kotaku that it is transitioning to “a new weight-reduced, recyclable case for all Wii software packaging, effective immediately.” Wii games should be shipping with lighter packaging this quarter, with conversion to new game cases expected by early 2010.
“Nintendo’s new software cases weigh just 48.9 grams, down from 66.2 grams,” a spokesperson said. “That’s a reduction of more than 25 percent. The new cases are 100 percent recyclable, and the lighter cases result in a ‘greener’ product, as they use fewer resources to produce and recycle.”
That transition applies to Nintendo’s first-party products currently, with third-party publishers expected to follow suit.
“We encourage it, and are trying to make it as easy as possible for them to make the switch,” Nintendo reps said. “So far, there are two manufactures that Nintendo has already authorized to make the new lightweight software cases for our licensees. And if licensees come to us with a new manufacturer that they want to use, we will work with them on that process as well.”
Microsoft did not offer comment on its decision to switch to the new cases, but pointed out that it has regularly reduced the amount of material used in its game packaging.
Sony Computer Entertainment America reps would not confirm that it would be adopting the Viva Group’s new case design, which already has a Blu-ray disc-sized variant.
“We’re always looking at streamlining our solutions and evaluating our product case designs to be environmentally friendly, but we have nothing to announce regarding redesigning our cases at this point in time,” a Sony spokesperson said.
While the change may satisfy big box retailers like Walmart and improve the bottom line and ‘green’ scores of video game publishers, it hasn’t been met with much enthusiasm on video game forums and web sites. But Nintendo of America says its decision to make the change was largely environmentally driven.
“Nintendo is always looking to make our products more ecologically friendly, and had taken action already in other areas such as making our peripheral accessory packaging using corrugated cardboard instead of plastic ‘clamshells,'” Nintendo said. “We are always looking for ways to improve our manufacturing process, and as technology evolves and new techniques and practices become available, then we research the possibilities and make a move if it makes sense. The time is right now for NOA to make the move to lighter software cases.”
*deep breath and sighs*. I could go on a rant here, and you know how I love to rant about Eco-Cases. I find it funny that a couple of months ago I bought a large lot of Xbox 360 & Playstation 2 cases. I was hoping they were a preventive measure against old cases, not new pieces of crap. Many of you have already read some of my reviews on dvds and blu-rays that use this packaging. Those cases are also easier to replace.
(Yes, I’m going to rant, I apologize for the women and children in the audience who attended Al Gore’s last green green is me, so says my fat wallet convention better known as Global Warming). Why? Why? Why? Why? I’m getting sick of these cases. They are made paper-thin and only lead to one of two situations. Either you get careless and eventually this cheap piece of plastic breaks down or you do as I do and replace the case with a real one. The latter throws the whole green argument completely out on its ear.
Think about it. These cases are reducing waste by 25 to 30 percent. Alright, but if 25 percent of the people either break them or replace them with real cases, then are we really saving the planet? No, what we are really doing is lining the companies’ wallets with money. And by companies I don’t necessarily mean the console makers either. I don’t them blame them so much because they are merely responding to attitudes in the workplace.
However, I totally blame Walmart and companies in power like them. Believe me, if I thought I could successfully never walk into a Walmart again, I probably would. They always act like they want to help consumers when in reality, they are killing companies with their Hitler-esque attitude and forcing ideas like this down our throats. Read the paragraph where it mentions a Packaging Scorecard.
*waits*, Walmart announced an initiative for companies to reduce packaging by 5 percent with that responsibility shouldered by their suppliers. Walmart isn’t going to help you make that change, you just need to…for the environment. You wouldn’t want to hurt the environment would you? No, and I wouldn’t want you to trade in your Mercedes for a Lexus either, you overpaid monkey of an executive.
I don’t mind lighter cases. Frankly I miss the video games that come in a simple cd case like Playstation 1 and Turbo Graphix 16. They were easier to stack and display. I appreciate initiatives like Amazon who started the frustration free packaging idea. But there are ways around this mess that doesn’t mean using cases that look like 6 small strips of plastic glued together.
The case needs to protect the game. Despite what corporate and earthy types want us to think, a tighter securer case akin to PS3 cases or Blu-Ray full cases (I know there are eco Blu-Rays, these are awful as well) is the way to go. It does reduce waste and still offers adequate protection. So do me a favor and voice loudly your disapproval the next time you receive an Eco-Box as the case that holds your favorite game. Maybe you can carry a pen or sharp object to show flimsy the sucker really is and prove that this is not the way to go and instead influence some good common sense. It’s a long shot, but worth the task.
Qix is a very old game. It was developed in the early 80’s and might be best known for its unauthorized porn clones. The idea of the game was simple, you had to claim pieces of a playing field by drawing or cutting them off. Standing in your way would be all sorts of nasties which would force you to be creative about where you finished your draw so to speak.
In certain clones, it would reveal a picture as you captured areas on the field (now you probably see how some took it to more mature domains). Anyway, this is coming to XBLA in its original kid friendly format with updated graphics and multiplayer. Probably worth the 800 bucks if you want to take a trip.
Just last week I was thinking, I would love a Wiimote game with dolphins. Actually I was thinking of the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders, but apparently somebody didn’t listen close enough. In this game, you can teach your dolphin tricks and watch your dolphin swim around. You can also compete in dolphin shows and become friends with other dolphins with different personalities and looks. Take your kid to SeaWorld or the Aquarium, it’s a much better idea.
Another of those puzzlers. Here you are connecting magnets to create electric explosions. Naturally, you will have to anticipate the correct connections in order to get those giant chain reactions and a nice bucketload of points. It’s color matching and the longer the line, the better it is. Multiplayer and co-op are also included in this one.
In the actual interesting ideas department, here is an actual WiiWare game that’s rated T *gasp*, I know. Jack’s dreams are tearing him apart and only you can help him. As Jack, the most stressed out man on the planet, you get a baseball bat and start whacking the crap out of everything around you. That is awesome, I wonder if you can use the baseball bat peripheral. Of course, that could lead to some dangerous YouTube videos, but it would be great to watch.
You are Follie is traveling to meet her auntie with some wonderful Flowerworks seeds. However before she gets there, her ship is pulled off course and crashes. She ends up in a rather dull area where you have to use your seeds to transform this part of the world into a fabulous place to be. Did I walk into a TLC show or something? However, there will garden gnomes and other assorted baddies which will prevent you from fulfilling your quest. Adventure, Freeplay and Tutorials are all included.
I actually have this on the Sega Saturn and it is a fantastic game. The SNES port is also very good and it features 18 characters that you can choose to fight with. Includes characters from the original Street Fighter, Final Fight, and the ones we always end up playing with anyway from Street Fighter II. There are also some returning characters from the Alpha series such as Charlie, Rose and Dan. The only true new character was the last boss: Sakura. It’s not the Saturn port, but at 800 points you can’t really go wrong.
The original Shinobi and one of the best arcade games too. You play as Joe Musashi who has to stop the criminal organization known as Zeed. Zeed has been kidnapping children of the Oboro clan and only Joe can stop them. He has to go through five levels rescuing children and then face some very difficult bosses. Very difficult and this game of course led to many awesome sequels. Well worth the points for classic arcade action.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Safecracker: The Ultimate Puzzle Adventure
That well seems to be pretty dry there partner. I can count the releases this week on a couple of hands and outside of Zelda and Silent Hill, they aren’t even worth mentioning. Another Zelda title is reason for celebration though as it is the 15th installment of the series. This one is based off the Phantom Hourglass engine and Link travels across the map in a cannon equipped stream train (sounds familiar?). The story is set several decades after Hourglass and has more of Link and Princess Zelda fun than you can shake a spirit at.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a remake of the first title back on the PS1 or a re-imaging if you will. This title will also show up on the PS2 next year and the PSP at some point. The Wii mote will be used for puzzle solving and to control the player’s flashlight and cell phone. This could be one I pick up at some point, however I would like to see a few more reviews first.
So to continue the Wii conversation from above (on the 360 front, all I did was play WWE Smackdown vs Raw & Peggle, so we can stray from that this week), I’m now left with the question; well what kinda games do I get? There are obvious ones: New Super Mario, Super Smash Bros, Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario, & Mario Galaxy. Did I get all the Marios in there? Just checking. Smash Bros & Twilight Princess are probably on top of that list but surely there are some other things I want besides Nintendo “R” US (according to my rantings over the past couple of years, I would leave you to believe otherwise)
The rest of my list isn’t very specific. Its types of games. I want a good golf game. Now whether that is some Tiger Woods inspired title or something silly like We Play Golf, I’m not sure. I also want a good fitness title. Whether that ends up being Wii Fit, EA Sports Active or Daisy Fuentes, I could care less. I just want something good that I can stick with and not feel like I’m trying to conquer the world.
After that it becomes considerably muddy, I do want Sam n Max, the retail disc for season one, I do want probably more VC titles than I care to admit. There are even a few WiiWare titles I would be willing to try. But what I’m looking for is exclusive games for the Wii made by third parties that would be fun to play. If it is on the 360, don’t bother, even Sarah says that given the choice, most of the time she would rather play on the 360 the same title. However, I am sure there are a few games out there made by third party guys of some really good Wii games. Express them here and it will be greatly appreciated. Take care kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)