The Rock & Roll Librarian

July 6, 2007

Wii will allow you to make your own games

Filed under: Gaming,Technology,Wii — Tyler Rousseau @ 6:14 pm

On June 27, the powers that be from Nintendo announced a product that will let the small-time players have a chance at the next big video game.

 WiiWare is game-generator program that will allow people to download content through the Shop Channel and make their own video game.  There will be various pricing options available to the consumer.

 Any game that is created will posted online in the Wii Shop, the benefit being that small time game developers will not have to worry about the price of hardware for the creation of their games.

I’m not sure how affordable the software and content will be for the average person, but it is certainly an appealing buy for those groups of people who have big ideas and little funds.

Personally, this is one of those things that makes me love the Wii model.  They built an affordable machine with so much versatility to the games and software and simply allow creative mind to figure out how to use it.  Woo for Wii!

April 12, 2007

Guitar Hero for the Wannabe Rock God…

Filed under: Game Review,Gaming,Wii — Tyler Rousseau @ 1:24 pm

My nephew, bless his kind heart, wanted to get me a video game for my birthday.  But he’s only three and doesn’t really understand the mind of a thirty-two year old; therefore, he got me Rapala Tournament Fishing.  The thought of spending hours indoors trying to catch fish was about as tempting as the thought of spending hours outdoors trying to catch fish. 

Fortunately, his mom kept the receipt so I brought the game to my pals at EB for an exchange and got a good deal on Guitar Hero II.

To say the game is fun is kind of putting it lightly.  It’s like saying Jeffrey Dahmer was known for his taste in men… sorry, I just couldn’t resist.  Someone had to pick up the slack for Imus.

I brought the game home and hooked it up to the PS2 in my living room.  I played it at a respectable level for about 10 minutes and smiled.  It was fun but I knew what was going to make all the better.  I put it down and made my plans for the following night.

The following night, I brought the PS2 and Guitar Hero down into the basement where I have my surround sound system.  I plugged it in and put the volume halfway up.  A mind numbing crunch flew out of the speakers into the air and forced it’s vibrations down into the very base of my skull… some people might have noticed the noise was War Pigs but I called it pure sonic bliss.

I used to play in a band but I just don’t have the time anymore.  Let’s face it, this is as close to Rock God status as I am going to get for awhile but its pretty darn good!  What’s really nice about the game is how different each song becomes with every level of difficulty; it’s not like they throw in an extra note.  As you level up, you have to start playing bar chords, hammer licks and using the whammy bar is trickier as there is far less time between notes to rack up points with it.

I was keen to the idea of getting this for my library but now it feels like a necessity.  The high I get from playing this is fairly close to that of playing my real guitar.  For most of my teens, they wont have the time, patience or money to learn an instrument…

But that doesn’t mean I can’t give them an opportunity to feel like a Rock God for a couple minutes.

December 26, 2006

Hooray for Wii, a Game Console Review

Filed under: Gaming,Reviews,Technology,Teens,Uncategorized,Wii — Tyler Rousseau @ 5:20 pm

Lucky, lucky me… I got a Wii for Christmas.  I mean, the actual console was there in my hands and ready to go on the very day of gift-giving!  This holiday season, that is a special thing.

 The set-up:  None of these systems are particularly hard to set up anymore.  The system was ready to play within three minutes of unpacking.  Of course, customizing the homepage could take hours, the system is designed with the idea of entertainment in various aspects in mind, not just the game you could play.  I may try to adjust the sensor bar a little bit though to see if I can get the range a little higher, however, this wont be an issue for most people; I am 6′ 3″ and pretty much nothing is designed with me as the main user in mind.

The Controllers:  What can I say, they are every bit as fun as they look on the commercials.  Okay, true, you don’t actually have to give a full baseball or tennis swing to get the characters to respond but you will probably find yourself doing so anyway.  The controllers are very easy to use but incredibly sensitive as well, far more than I expected they would be.  They will pick up on slight wrist changes and send things flying if you are not careful.  And yes, I can totally see how people have inadvertantly sent their controllers through the TV screens.

The Console:  I love the Homepage, it can be personalized to show just about whatever you want (weather, headlines, music, etc.).  Loading a game into the system does not change the interface, you still have to select it from your options.  Along with the customization of the interface, you can create your own avatars to use in the system as well.  These characters can then be saved into the controller so that you can take them to your friends house and use them for there (mobility customization… how socially awesome is that!?)

One of the truly great things about this system is the ability to shop for old games on-line.  Many games from the NES onwards are available to purchase and download onto the Wii system although they may require to purchase a different controller.  The retro games are reasonably priced as well, so thank you Nintendo for introducing an even larger level of impulse buying into the gaming industry.

The Library-Okay, the library of games is lacking right now.  There wont be any cheap, used ones for awhile.  Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos are starting to get some of these games in to test out before you buy them so that’s good.  However, that said, we all know this is a temporary problem.  I definitely look at the Wii as a version 1.0 system of this style.  Game designers will be testing out what works and what doesn’t and how the controls can best be exploited.  The system itself though, will be worked on to continually be improved.  I can definitely see the idea of someone creating controllers for the feet and creating an even larger interactive experience.  Guitar Hero and DDR are going to have their hands full in coming up with the next great thing.

The Reaction:  Simply put, Awesome!  Less simply put- Nintendo has taken on the seemingly insurmountable task of revolutionizing the gaming world and may well succeed in breaking the age/gender barriers Sony and Xbox have struggled with.  I have only gone over basics here, there is a lot more offered in this small little package.  The system’s primary is definitely about gaming, but there is a large social aspect going into it as well.  My wife, who begrudgingly accepts my gaming obsession, has been playing with me… not only that, she has been trash talking and beating me in bowling.  Our New Years plan changed from the annual visit to our Uncle’s house to a small party at our own so that friends could eat, drink and play erm… carefully.

The possibilities that come with this system and its following generation could be mind boggling.  The way the controllers could be used now could become far more intricate than anything we expected in the hands of the right designer.  Sony and Xbox are certainly in no danger of any Techno-Darwinistic extinction from the Wii, but they will face some serious competition as the console finds its place. 

Techno-Darwinistic…. aw yea, now there is a neat turn of phrase!

Nintendo has long been known for having a long standing legion of dedicated and passionate fans.  They anxiously await the new systems and games (Mario still remains one of the most recognized worldwide icons).  With this system, they may have a convert… I am incredibly excited to see what comes out of this system.

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