Wii Storage Solution. FINALLY.

I’m sure everyone’s excited about the DSi and the new Punch-Out!! and the Chibi Robo Wii port and all, but the big news I took from Nintendo’s recent flurry of press releases was Iwata’s announcement that we will finally be able to play Virtual Console and WiiWare games from external storage!

This is the best thing that could have happened for my Wii.

See, I haven’t been playing much Wii these days. In fact, I haven’t been playing any Wii for the past few months. It’s not for lack of desire either. I’m extremely eager to pick up Mega Man 9 and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People and play them all hours of the night, I really am. But my Wii’s 512MB of internal storage filled to capacity a long time ago, and I really didn’t care for Nintendo’s original “delete old stuff” recommendation. Now we’ll be able to use SD cards to offset internal storage woes! And with 2GB cards being so cheap nowadays, this is going to solve my problem quite readily.

So I guess I’ll be playing these newfangled VC games some time around Spring ’09. No spoilers please.

(courtesy of Wii Fanboy)


The Gamer’s Bill of Rights (kinda like the other Bill of Rights, only it doesn’t mean anything)

Figured I’d be a few hours late to the party instead of a few weeks (like normal): Stardock (developers of one of those OS X Dock hacks for Windows and probably other stuff) and Gas Powered Games (developers of the technology to end games’ names with “Siege”) have teamed up to pen a Gamer’s Bill of Rights. Edge Magazine ran a piece by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, who lays out his mandates in a clear-cut manner and goes into a little detail on a few of the juicier declarations. The document is basically a laundry list of complaints both old and recent regarding the PC gaming environment (the consoles are largely devoid of these grievances). Though I try not to make a habit of reposting large chunks of others’ content, I feel having the entire body of work will help the discussion along (go check out the article as well, of course):

The Gamer’s Bill of Rights

We the Gamers of the world, in order to ensure a more enjoyable experience, establish equality between players and publishers, and promote the general welfare of our industry hereby call for the following:

1. Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund.
2. Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
3. Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game’s release.
4. Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
5. Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer.
6. Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent.
7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
9. Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
10. Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.

Personally, I would have liked it if such an important document had been created by some sort of gamer legislature, instead of a missive from above (you know, a series of laws instead of a pair of stone tablets), but it’s hard to argue against any of the points made. The efforts on the part of game companies to curb piracy has resulted in an environment that hinders the average legal game owner’s ability to actually play the game they paid for. I love The Orange Box, but it feels awful weird having to connect to Steam whenever I need a quick offline Portal fix.

The saddest part about this whole document is that it had to be made in the first place. Most everything listed (except maybe having the physical media in the drive to play; it’s an effective anti-piracy measure that every owner of the game should be able to easily comply with, so quit yer whining) is common sense.

Of course, I do understand the needs to stop piracy, and a company blindly accepting these as policy without coming up with alternative means of protecting their assets is just asking for trouble, but it’d be nice if they gave some thought toward their customer’s… well, I wouldn’t exactly call them rights. More like ideals. In any case, I’ll readily support any company that supports such a bill (printing it on the box would be a nifty gesture). Speaking of which, this is apparently a picture of the document, possibly as seen at PAX?

(courtesy of GamePolitics)


E3 2008: Duke Nukem Trilogy trailer: what the hell were they thinking?

A trailer was released at E3 for the Duke Nukem Trilogy. Watch it please!

As far as I can tell, Apogee had nothing to show for their efforts but felt they should at least release something for the big show. Too bad that something was so completely devoid of content as to be almost four minutes of the titles of the games jumping around to a metal track. And why did they linger so very long on Duke’s crotch at the end?

I suppose we won’t soon forget the names of the games, seeing as how they featured the titles so prominently. And repeatedly.

This trailer just makes it look like another Duke Nukem Forever, doomed to development hell for all eternity. I don’t think it helped their case to make a trailer with absolutely no game content, gameplay information or release dates. Do they think the killer Duke Nukem license is enough to hype up the product? Because they’re mistaken. Duke Nukem’s time as a game-seller has long passed.

But at least the trailer is freakin’ hilarious in its utter lack of substance. Won’t you laugh along with me?

UPDATE: Friend Matt just showed me this, and I thought you all should see: Burger Time trailer!


Mega Man 9 Appeals To My Unfounded Sense Of Nostalgia

Anyone else hear about this Mega Man 9 news? Game news sites across the Web basically exploded a few weeks ago when it was learned that the new entry in the series would be presented in a style akin to the original games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Anyone who knows me should be aware that this prospect excites me to no end (to those who don’t know me: this prospect excites me to no end). I figured I’d wait to talk about it until some kind of fancy official trailer was released to drool over, and IGN delivered!

Neat, huh? I realize they very well may not be treating NES-style graphics and sound as the legitimate art style I consider them to be, and that they likely are depending on old-school gamer chumps like myself to fork over hard-earned cash on something that may have taken them very little effort to complete, but a guy can certainly dream. There do seem to be some indications that they put some good time into this title. I’m no Mega Man aficionado, but I don’t recognize the music from past entries in the series (Die-hard fans, please correct me for likely being wrong). They lay claim to having created like a million new enemy sprites for the ninth entry in the series, and I suppose I can buy that.

But the most important thing is, they made a retro sequel to a classic game series! New Super Mario Bros. was fun and all, but this, for all intents and purposes this is a new NES game, and that’s something very special in an age of fancy Mode 7s, breathtaking full-motion video intros and advanced spline reticulations.


Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Get Smart

Carlo and I went to the Regal Cinema Stadium 5 in Davis this Independence Day weekend to see Get Smart. I must admit having somewhat low expectations going into this, but I like Steve Carell enough to give his projects a chance. It was basically an Agent Michael Scarn movie, which is not a bad idea at all. Instead of doing a Don Adams impersonation, Carell decided to take his own spin on ol’ Agent 86, and I thought the results were pretty okay!

“But how were the trailers, man?!?” I hear you asking. Well ask no more!

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Hmm. I hate to nitpick, but if you were to fall thousands of miles and land in water, you would die. At terminal velocity (and probably even at lower speeds), hitting water is supposedly a lot like hitting concrete. It bugs me when movies use bodies of water as magic cushions to protect their freefalling protagonists. The rest of the trailer, with its crappy CGI and Brendan Frasereses, did nothing for me. This is like the third ADAPTATION of a classic story, and I’m going to guess it’s probably the worst of the bunch. PROVE ME WRONG, HOLLYWOOD.

Step Brothers
Is there some script writer in Hollywood throwing darts at a board covered with situations for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to play out in their buddy films du jour? I’m not complaining necessarily since I enjoyed what they did in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby so much, but I don’t necessarily want to see the same two actors portraying the same two stupid guys in the same kinds of movies for the next decade. Wikipedia says ORIGINAL, and Wikipedia is always right.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
I could have sworn I saw a trailer for this movie during a previous HUR, but the archives yield nothing. SEQUEL of an ADAPTATION. I had no interest in seeing the first movie, and was about to write this one off until I learned it was helmed by awesome director guy Guillermo del Toro! It’s got a freaky monster guy without eyes, which just made me think of the similar freaky eyeless monster guy from Pan’s Labyrinth. Then I found out that del Toro did the first movie too! Guess I’ll have to check them both out…. on Netflix or something.

The Accidental Husband
I guess this is about as ORIGINAL as a romantic comedy can be. Except it isn’t, because it’s a romantic comedy. The trailer actually reveals more than enough of the plot that no one needs to go see the movie; Uma Therman initially doesn’t like the guy but eventually does like him! Who saw that coming? The answer is: nobody saw that coming. We are shocked.

The Dark Knight

TOTAL: 66.67% (4/6)

Bottom line: as of a July 5th screening of Get Smart at Regal Davis Stadium 5 in Davis, CA, Hollywood is all set for 66.67% unoriginality. And the ones that were original, I probably won’t go see. Sucks to be you, Hollywood!


Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: WALL-E

WALL-E was so cool! Incidentally, I went and saw WALL-E on opening night with some friends at, uh… damn, I have no idea what theater we went to, as someone else bought the tickets. I do know I was in San Mateo though! That ought to count for something.

WALL-E was so cool! This very well may be my favorite Pixar film to date, and that’s saying something. Any critics complaining about the lack of dialogue probably weren’t paying attention to the movie. It expertly conveyed emotion and backstory with minimal spoken lines. So yeah, critics are dumb, and WALL-E isn’t.

Perhaps I’ve become a little too attached to the HUR portion of this blog, but at least some of my pre-film excitement revolved around seeing a set of trailers from a rarely-explored genre: kid and family films! Let’s see how that went, shall we?

I was a little confused with this trailer. Though the computer graphics looked to be of a similar quality to Pixar’s works (the human character models in particular look like they were directly ripped out of The Incredibles), Pixar’s logo and name were nowhere to be seen; the movie was branded as a solely Disney affair. Perhaps Pixar did have some involvement (not an unreasonable assumption, since Disney owns them, and they seem to basically run the animation department now), but it doesn’t show in the writing. ORIGINAL, perhaps, but it also looks a bit boring.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
AAAAAAAAAAH!!! I caught a glimpse of the teaser for this film awhile back when the RiffTrax blog brought it to my attention (presumably because they hate decency over there), and my brain died for like a week. The film did not redeem itself to me upon repeated trailer-viewing, no matter how ORIGINAL it may be. What inspired this movie exactly? The fact that numerous soulless celebrities carry around small dogs in purses? Is that the audience we’re pandering toward now?!? (EDIT: OH GOD HE’S POSTED ANOTHER REMINDER THAT THIS FILM EXISTS. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SANDPAPER IN THE WORLD TO SUFFICIENTLY SCOUR THE SURFACE OF MY BRAIN AND REMOVE ALL TRACES OF MEMORIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS MOVIE)

The Pink Panther 2
Steve Martin is dead to me. SEQUEL of a REMAKE of a once-good film series starring a once-funny comedian.

The Tale of Despereaux
Sucks to be you, Universal! The definitive rodent movie came out like a year ago! Your ADAPTATION of a children’s novel has no effect on us. Mostly because it looks kind of saccharine.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
I could feel my entire group cringe when they started playing that horrible “I Like To Move It” song. Then animal asses started swaying on the giant screen. It all went downhill from there. A SEQUEL I may just miss.

The Longshots
Am I too hard on movies made for kids? Because this ADAPTATION of a true story doesn’t look appealing in the slightest to me. I try to argue that kid movies were a lot better when I was a kid, but am usually accused of viewing my childhood memories through rose-colored glasses. Then I punch the other guy and win the argument by default. Ice Cube is annoying!

Fly Me To The Moon
0_o Bad pun title. Poop-eating jokes. Tech college commercial-caliber CGI. ORIGINALity cannot save this waste of hard drive space and processor time.

TOTAL: 57.14% (4/7)

Let’s rock-talk: as of a June 27th screening of WALL-E in San Mateo, CA, Hollywood (or at least the part of Hollywood that little kids care about) was primed for 57.14% unoriginality. I had expected a much higher value, since kid movies are so often grabbed wholesale from books about witchcraft or wizardry or lions or witches or wardrobes. That said, the “original” films seen here were generally pretty derivative. My biggest disappointment stemmed from the fact that we didn’t see a trailer for Pixar’s next project; I can’t remember the last time that happened, and hope this doesn’t indicate the Next Great Film from That Totally Awesome Animation Studio will be a long time coming.

WALL-E was so cool!!!


Guitar Hero: World Tour details emerge, apparently the Wii version won’t suck?

IGN and Joystiq have both released huge detailed accounts of their experiences being shown the latest build of Guitar Hero World Tour (read one or the other, the information is pretty much the same in both). Sounds like a decent revision to the formula, with Neversoft adding a few Rock Band-y features (drums and vocals with accompanying expanded multiplayer modes) as well as their own touches (full song creation, extreme customization of characters and instruments). Of course, as a Wii owner, the only thing that I could think of was how we’ve been shafted for features in both Guitar Hero III and Rock Band, what with the lack of DLC and the complete removal of online modes in the case of the latter title. Luckily for me, the developers appear to have been sympathetic of said shafting, and went out of their way at the ve-eeeery end of IGN’s write-up to mention:

Activision was quick to point out that the Wii version will have the same features as the PS3 and 360. You can create songs, upload them, download them, and purchase famous downloadable tracks on Wii.

This is excellent news! Couple that with the promise of backwards-compatibility with the Les Paul controller (minus some fancy touchpad functionality in the new controllers, which I’m not so sure is necessary outside of the song editor), and I’m suddenly once again happy about the future of guitar-based rhythm games on my favorite next-gen console! I did find it amusing the way IGN stressed the fact that the screenshots were not from the Wii version, but hey, Guitar Hero III looked decent enough.

EDIT: Further details have come out! According to GameDaily, the Wii version of the game will support the storage and playing of DLC via SD card!

GD: With those downloadable packs, will players download that directly to the Wii’s internal memory or have you worked out a way to store those music packs elsewhere?

KB: Players can either download songs to the Wii System Memory or store songs on a SD Card, called the “Rock Archive”. When you want to play songs from the Rock Archive, players can create a custom set list, and then choose a venue and play!

GD: Will the packs feature music that’s more compressed to make sure that Wii owners can download other packs and save memory?
KB: The music is stored in a custom format for Wii so it’s as compact as possible, but still sounds great.

The good news keeps on comin’! Have to wonder why Nintendo insists that playback of media on SD cards isn’t a viable option if a third-party figures out a method of accomplishing this very task. Guess I’ll finally be picking up a big ol’ honkin’ SD card.

(courtesy of Nintendo Wii Fanboy, twice times, plus one)


Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: The Happening

I won’t even do the precocious beat-around-the-bush-not-a-review-but-it-actually-is-a-review thing this time. I saw The Happening on June 14th with friends at AMC Saratoga 14, and it sucked. It was the worst movie ever made. Marky Mark played a constantly confused science teacher, but either M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t know what science actually is, or hates it with a passion and is trying to covertly take it down by having dumb scientists in his movies. Zooey Deschanel has insanely creepy giant bug eyes, and stares at anything and everything in the film determinedly. But perhaps the worst offense a film called The Happening can possibly have is for nothing to happen during the entire movie. Oh sure, people die and the main characters run around aimlessly through the countryside, making mad dashes to outrun the scary wind, and hide out in Plot Point House at the end. But the characters never come to any concrete conclusions about what The Happening is supposed to be. The thing simply Happens, and then it stops Happening, and then it Happens again. On the bright side, the hot dog guy was somewhat amusing (he said he likes the shape of hot dogs; presumably it is left up to the viewer to decide what that means).

But yeah, the God-damned worst movie ever made. My friends and I weren’t sure if he could top Lady in the Water but I’m happy(?) to report that this is exactly what Happened.

Um… trailers!

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Oh hells yesses. I miss this friggin’ TV show like I miss no other, so I’m very excited to see the continuing misadventures of Mulder and Scully. I certainly don’t have any complaints about them classing up the joint with Billy Connolly. I gotta say though, Scully (since that is your real name, and not Gillian Anderson like you keep trying to tell me), you look a lot prettier with shorter hair. I’ll still ogle you during the whole movie, don’t worry, I’m just sayin’ is all. A SEQUEL and an ADAPTATION, of course, I won’t delude myself, but I’ll still be happily standing in line. I’m a sucker for beloved franchises.

Probably because I’m kind of weird, I have a lot of difficulty seeing Kiefer Sutherland onscreen and not thinking he’s Jack Bauer. So when I see him as the father figure in a family being terrorized by mirror monsters, I don’t worry for a second. I know that Jack Bauer will make short work of the mirror monsters, probably by shooting them in the knee and asking them where the bomb is, or simply garroting them if he doesn’t have time to deal with them. Apparently this is a REMAKE of a South Korean film. I don’t really care in any case; Jack Bauer just doesn’t feel very Jack Bauery on the big screen (he rarely even kills one guy, much less fifty, though he did some lovely assisted suicides in Flatliners), so I’ll just wait until the next season of 24 to get my fix.

Babylon A.D.
Oooooooooooh, Vin Diesel in a sci-fi movie with explosions, punching and guns. Best part: Vin Diesel shouts out “What is wrong with her?”, and the “what” sounds completely ridiculous. I can’t even describe it in text. I’m sure I’ll be watching this at Geoff’s house; the man has something of an unhealthy obsession with Vin Diesel. Oh yeah, ADAPTATION of the French novel “Babylon Babies.” I love how Wikipedia lets me say stuff like that, and it looks like I’m just really knowledgeable when it comes to French novels. None will be the wiser!


Swing Vote
Hooray. Nothing more timely than a movie about voting ballots not being counted in an extremely close election. OH WAIT, THAT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO. AND EIGHT YEARS AGO. Also, why does this movie have a thousand actors I recognize? I’m normally terrible with actor recognition, but I saw Dr. Conrad Zimsky, Howard Payne, Major Kira and Frasier! Just so you know, if it were up to me, I’d elect Dennis Hopper over Kelsey Grammer, but that’s just because Speed was so awesome. And- wait, what’s this? ORIGINAL?!? A bright shining beacon amidst a sea of all-this-has-happened-before-all-this-will-happen-againses! Well okay, it looks stupid, but that might just be Kevin Costner.

Nights in Rodanthe
Hey look, that guy from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Otherwise I don’t give a shit about this ADAPTATION based on the novel of the same name by Richard Sparks (thanks again, Wikipedia!). Is Richard Gere sexy? He seems to be in so many romance films, comedy and otherwise, but I just don’t see the appeal. Maybe people are remembering a time when he was more attractive?

Total: 83.33% (5/6)

Wow. As of a June 14th screening of The Happening (sucked sucked sucked sucked sucked) at AMC Saratoga 14 in Saratoga, CA, Hollywood was careening toward 83.33% unoriginality. Hollywood, this is basically a fail for you, especially if The Happening is the best you can do for original scripts.