This just in (Or not) – NINTENDO’S WII U HAS A RELEASE DATE AND IS AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER (sorry for the all caps, but this is important).

 

 

This is not a drill; I repeat is not a drill! I swear this is just like the ‘Fall of Games’ for you. A few posts ago I said that this year’s games for the fall were a bit underwhelming. Then, as if they were listening, the powers that be, who as if responded: ‘Oh yeah?!’, slapped me (and the world at large with) with this bombshell. If you somehow missed my ridiculously huge and embolden tag line of top then I’ll repeat it now: the Wii U is not only available for pre order now but will be out in a couple of months. Ah yes players the next generation of console wars starts today and I’m pleased as punch. Why? Because to be honest I didn’t think I wouldn’t think I would see the Wii U this soon, and as I said before this year’s Fall of Games was milk toast. Now I got something to be genuinely excited for – doing the Mario in the streets kind of excited. In my opinion the Wii was the most innovated video game console in my lifetime; simple to learn & fun to master it broke barriers between gamers and non-gamers. Proving once and for all anyone could not only game, but game well. Back in its prime you couldn’t find the Wii anywhere and if you got one you were half temped to sell it on eBay to quadtriple your investment. It was family friendly but had games with an edge to them too, never mind their brilliant inclusion of channels (i.e. apps) and the Miis which by themselves were hours of fun (creating different Mii versions of real/fictional people –don’t deny it). Even their competition had no choice but to follow suit and come up with their less than stellar knockoffs just to offer something comparable. So in short the Wii was awesome – but it has its weaknesses.

 

 

 

 

Many a gamer said its graphics the machine produces is bad, which I agree, don’t get me wrong; when a developer puts in the time (more on that in a minute) they can make it work, but for games ports you can always tell the difference between the PS3 Ghostbusters game and the Wii version. Only other complaint about the original Wii is that the games are bad, which I strongly disagree. The Wii is a very unique system, in turn might not be the easiest thing to develop and program for; but that’s just an excuse for laziness (that’s right I went there). Some of the best games for that system was Madworld and No More Heroes; games that people put in the time, effort, and a dare say love into them it make them the great works of art they are (violent art but still). However some developers don’t care about making a half descent game, but rather making a quick buck on a popular machine by churning out shovelware. That said shovelware devalues the excellent console gives it the stigmata of ‘too kiddy’ or ‘amateur console’ to this day. Now thanks to the Wii U those complaints will be irrelevant: the graphics will be comparable if not better than the 360 and PS3 platforms, and combined with the new Wii U’s mini tablet controller will give those the non-conformist developers more than enough to work with for their latest violent, hyped up shooter for next year (doesn’t matter which one). *Sigh* And yet I still hear the doubts and complains on how Wii U is not enough or will be overwhelmed by the upcoming Xbox 720 or the PS whatever in the next year. This is also a fallacy – know your history, a lot of people wrote off the first Wii before it came out; only for them to be proven wrong throughout most of the console’s lifetime and against consoles who, on paper, are superior.  The Wii U has all the strengths of its predecessor, and none of its weaknesses; to bet against it now would be unwise. Go, preorder, now!

 

 

 

PlayStation Move & Xbox Kinect – Don’t buy the hype

Phew! Dropped a deuce this time!

Hello all, my name is Boss Bronze; I am known as and by many things. The one thing I am truly proud of however is that I’m the one, true, Omnigamer (or Gaming Guru in some circles); that means in the world of video games the buck stops with me. I’ve grown up with video games (and other technologies) since the Atari 2600 (and the IBM PC Jr); I’ve played, rated, traded, advised, researched, and put into business cards (in middle school no less) gaming before ‘the game’ had a name. I say this not to stroke my own ego (insert your joke here) but to say I’ve seen a lot of shovelware peripherals come and go through a systems’ lifetime. I thought for sure I’ve seen the current consoles poor showings as well, but when I heard about both Sony and Microsoft going into motion controls for their product I knew I was wrong. Now the Playstation ‘Move’ and the Xbox ‘Kinect’ are out and about for the Christmas season this year – people I implore you do not buy this (or rather these). Now, now, I know what you all are either thinking or saying right now:

“Why not buy them? I love <obligatory console>.”

Or

“The Wii is for kids and their games look horrible unlike <obligatory console>.”

Or even

“You’re a Nintendo fan boy who doesn’t like <obligatory console> stealing the Wii’s thunder!”

Well even if those statements are true (the 3rd one especially) it doesn’t negate the fact the <obligatory consoles> were never intended (or built) for motion controls and all they really are is Sony and Microsoft’s attempt to milk the same cash cow Nintendo dairy farmed for the past four years. At this point in time I can not see any way the <obligatory consoles> can improve what the Wii has already done (outside the visual). Just look at the Move for a second; the control interface is… Similar to the Wii. Eerily similar. So similar in fact that one could dare say it’s an unimaginative direct rip off – and they would be right. Sure they (and you know who you are) would tell you a whole technical book of $50 words on how the technology works with their eye camera, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and the ridiculous mutli-colored sphere on the main remote. They also would say that the games are at a higher caliber and for a more mature audience, but at the end of the day –

This

 

 

 

Is this  with games so mirrored aftered the Wii, you can almost smell the Xerox off their launch titles. For example…

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

 

 

Is this, with a face-lift

 

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

 

 

Is this, without the fun or whimsy

 

 

 

 

 

This

 

 

 

 

Is this, if it was called ‘Eyepet’ and featured a mutant furry instead of a real animal.

 

 

 

And so on, and so forth…

The only real innovate thing about the Move is that their controllers are powered by an integrated lithium-ion battery pack, recharged via mini USB cable (the same is true for their normal controllers as well). However the problem with anything integrated is that if that part is shot, the product is done (see iPod). Wii and Xbox controllers don’t have that problem when it comes to power supply, if they go I’m only down $3-12, for Move I would have to shell out $35-80.

_

The Move tried to play it safe and ultimately became a clone, but what of the Kinect? Well to its credit it is unique; using its device to “scan” in players of different size and shapes is interesting. Also the ‘instance drop in-drop out’ of a 2nd player makes casual gaming dynamic for the Kinect… However:

As you can see – the very first thing wrong with the Kinect is direct injuries to yourself and others by playing co-op/vs games. Sure, yes, there are examples of property damage due to people not having a good grip on a Wiimote (or not using the strap); but I’ve never heard of one flying off and hitting little jimmy in the pie hole. Which brings me to my next gripe, Kinect is a space hog. Seriously, my gaming area is small, I don’t live in a loft people; now my Wii plays fine in the Tetris-like enclosure I call the Armada nerve center but with the Kinect no such luck. If I lost my mind and bought this thing I wouldn’t be able to make a move without banging into the following:

  • Chair(s)
  • Desk(s)
  • Drawers
  • Other consoles
  • TV
  • Cabinets
  • Baskets
  • Desk lamp
  • Door
  • Etc.

It won’t happen all at once granted, but sooner or later something would have gotten hurt, broken, or both… Adding a second player in that room would be an instance fail, so yes big room fine, small room not so much.

_

Here’s another issue: according to consumer reports and gamespot.com the Kinect camera does have some difficultly reading players in low-light situations. To be fair the Wii controls aren’t always perfect, some functions don’t respond well in certain games. Cameras & motion controls don’t always mix very well as well. That being said since the Kinect has no controllers to support the system the camera should be near flawless – no matter the lighting in the environment. I’ll say something else too, when playing a game on whatever system I like the lights on low or completely off. Not only does right lighting fit the mood of the game, it also cuts down on TV glare, which all gamers know (or should know) makes the games easier to see on the screen. I don’t need some uppity $150 piece of tech not working just because it’s having a hard time seeing me in the dark!

Ok so we covered injuries to yourself and others and (what a surprise) a Microsoft product not working as it should. What’s left you ask, how about the powers that be using the Kinect as a tool for advertisers. The good people at tgdaily.com wrote an article on how this is being done, here’s an excerpt:

“Did you know thanks to the Kinect motion camera, Microsoft can now see how you play your Xbox 360 games? And it wants to send this information to marketers.

Not only can players see content that advertisers display, but advertisers can see who is seeing their advertisements. As Microsoft puts it, advertisers would be able to see physical characteristics of who is behind the Kinect camera, how many people there are, and how much they’re moving around.”

Basically you, your image, and how you play can be used by ad men and women to propel the next line of junk to your eyeballs that you simply ‘must’ buy. Are you an overweight fellow who prefers ‘Kinect Adventures’ sitting down, expect a couple of coupon books for pizza hut heading your way. What about a fitness guru who can do the steps of ‘Your Shape Fitness Evolved’ blindfolded, well one could never have enough Bowflexes right? Enjoy Sonic Free Riders; you might also love some New Jersey swap land. See where I going here?  Microsoft does, and they whole heartily support this if any advertising agencies want in.

I’ll say this once; I play video games to have fun, not to buy crap (or crappy DLC games). If I want to see commercials I’ll turn on a TV and see what’s on, or go to the movies, or go online, or use my cell phone…

_

All of this, all of it can be (for a lack of a better term) ignored – they’re annoying but doesn’t cripple the Kinect.

What does is nothing.

The very gall of the genius who came up with the idea of having the player use nothing but themselves to make progress in a game is asinine. Not to mention a very old idea, I remember using an old web camera nine years ago to play a simple game of basketball (the game was part of the camera’s software). Sure it was fun using my hands and head to knock the balls in the baskets, but I got bored very quickly with that simple, simple game. The Kinect is no different from that old web camera years ago, and its games are just as simple. I played Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, and demo boxing game; I swear to you my audience if I didn’t get high scores just by flailing around, then it was giving me static on the simplest things like placing the ball down, putting up your guard in fights, timing errors, not standing the right area, etc.

Without any kind of controller as an indicator on where, what and how; all you’ll be doing is looking stupid – and getting tired of (and from) it.

Where does Microsoft plan to go from here with their ‘no controller’ approach? Their best, most popular games are heavy based on their current form of controls. There is no way the Kinect style of play can handle those meaty titles unless you turn the next Halo game into a rail shooter or the next Fable into a choose your own adventure e-book.

*sigh*

This all may sound like the ravings of a mad, Omnigamer, but I speak the truth on a matter more mine than anyone’s. The reasons I gave are why both the Move and the Kinect are not only bad ideas to buy for the Christmas season, but will simply fail in the months to come. Xbox 360 dominates by their games, while the PS3 their hardware, if they try to fight to Nintendo at their own game not only will they lose, but lose big – after all Nintendo biggest powerhouse ain’t coming from the Wii next year…

The Nintendo 3DS is only a few short months away

 

 

Well I’ve said my piece and I thank you all for indulging me, this is Boss Bronze saying good night and pleasant grinding on Cata, I wish I was there.

Wii – The lo down III

Well ladies and gentleman we come to the end of the lo down segment with Nintendo great white hope, the Wii. Yes this little wonder of Japanese engineering is the love and desire of gamers, and the envy of their competitors. As well all know though, if something too good to be true, it probably is. Does this saying apply to the Wii too? Read on, my friends read on.

Strengths: The blind, deaf and dumb all know that the Wii major strength is it complete control system based on wireless motion movements via infrared sensor bar and their controllers Nintendo DS Lite, Nunchuk and Wii Remote (Similar to the PS3 and PSP but without the motion movements). Now what that means is that whatever motion players make, the character on the screen should make the same motion (i.e. throw a ball, shoot a gun, swing a sword, etc). Of course it depends on the game but you know what, it works surprising well. Which leads me to my next point, this simple style of game play is fun as hell. Sure, you look like you’re have a conniption fit, but you won’t care. Nintendo gives you opinions though in the form of a ‘classic’ controller and the Gamecube controller, so if the whole ‘hokey-pokey’ thing doesn’t work out you can plug them in instead (for most Wii games anyway). Then with the Wii comes with the Nintendo band name games, stuff said there. Oh, their online, which is a cross between Xbox live and Playstation network, also comes with Virtual Console which allows players to download classical (Nintendo or otherwise) games and relive the glory days of the 8 bit era. These reasons alone make the Wii a catch but the real deal breaker is that it’s only priced at $250 plus free game (Wii Sports).

Weakness: As much as I am a Nintendo elitist I must be truthful in all things game otherwise what’s the point? But anyway to start the Wii motion controls are a tricky thing between points. During one point the controls work fine but on others it’s glitchy and inaccurate. It is these types of games that don’t allow the use of standard controllers so you’re doubly screwed and if you want to keep playing the game got to work around this annoying trait. Another thing, the Wii is not a graphical powerhouse compared to the other systems. Sometimes it depends on the game marker, but if the same game is on all systems it won’t look as good on the Wii. The embedded memory storage is a little on the small side (smallest on the three console actually) but you’ll be fine if you get a Secure Digital memory card. The biggest blow to Wii dominance is it online multiplayer; unlike the others where can go online and then go to town on victims. However for the Wii you need ‘Friend codes’ to play online, it’s very annoying; players will have to scour to find these codes and get descent matches online. They still offer random matches, but to say they’re limited would be an understatement.

Overall: The Wii is the latest, biggest thing in gaming; both non and casual gamers find it unique and user friendly. So in turn gives those potential buyers with a family more a reason to buy it. However this tends to push away the Standard and Hardcore gamers, but this is a mistake. With ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles’ and more on the way Nintendo is reaffirming that this is a system for all, and I tend to agreed. If you don’t believe me, call any store, and ask if they have any Wii’s lying around, I dare you. So you all know where I’m leaning towards here; get the Wii as soon as you can. Nintendo got the market and they’re not letting go.