Friday, June 29, 2007

Nintendo was Right: Microsoft Agrees

In typical fashion, Microsoft plans on taking over the world - now they're going to attack the "Casual Market" and focus on "peripheral based" gaming. Of course, in doing so they are validating Nintendo on every level possible:

  1. Casual Gamers matter (I've explained exactly what those are, unlike everyone else who doesn't have a clue yet pretends to).
  2. Motion Sensative Controllers and Pointing Devices trump dicking around with your thumbs using Gamepads.
  3. Price matters.
Actually, we've yet to see if Microsoft can do anything about #3, as their Xbox 360 can't get much cheaper.

NOOOO! Dreaded Wii Videocard/GPU Pixels of Death

I bought Resident Evil 4 and immediately noticed the issue.

That's what's happening, although that guy has it worse.

At first I thought something was wrong with my Sharp 32" 32SC26B, but then, once I knew what to look for, I saw the issue in every Wii game I have, just to a lesser degree (since, surprise surprise, WiiSports doesn't exactly tax the system).

So sad. I bought my kids' Wii in December. And here I was SOOO ready for RE4 - I made my kids leave the room, even my 10yo who doesn't scare easy, and my brother and I sat down and we were ready for some action. During the car ride sequence we started to wonder what was up.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Got TV-Out Working!

All I had to do was plug the Adapter to the secondary port of my Master X1900 XT, not the main one, and turn off Crossfire, and then Pharra can "see" the TV and start outputting to it.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

DVI to Component Out Adapter doesn't work

The darn ATI DVI -> Component Out adapter [see post] I bought does nothing.

I set my resolution to 800x600, then went to Advanced, Adapter Tab, "See All Modes," set 640x480, 32bit color, 60MHz (didn't see 30MHz for interlaced TV), and shut Pharra, my PureXS [blogs|shrine], down. I turned on the Sharp 32" TV, rebooted, and nothing. The TV never got a signal.

Perhaps X1900 XT's can't do this. Perhaps I should turn off Crossfire... but not, it should have gotten a signal at least.

Bleh. $25 for the adapter and $20 for the (far too short) component cable). And here all I wanted to do was run MAME.

I love N'gai Croal and Reggie Fils-Aime

Put the two together and I get all hot in my pants.

  1. Interview Part 1
  2. Interview Part 2
N'gai Croal is the greatest videogame journalist I have found. Catch up on some of his work at Newsweek.

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, needs no introduction.

ATI DVI -> Component Adapter and Component Cables en route

They're on their way!

Model 100907
Features DVI to HDTV Adapter

Model 29112

Velocity component video interconnects by Impact Acoustics will improve the performance of your progressive scan video sources by providing a much better interconnect solution than the “throw away” cables that are included with most consumer electronics products. The oxygen free copper center conductor and foamed PE dielectric work to maintain 75 ohm characteristic impedance. The dual braided oxygen free copper shields and aluminum foil sheath offer protection from environmental noise and interference. Robustly constructed using color coded molded connectors that attach to an ultra flexible jacket, Velocity cables are the epitome of easy installation and identification. 24K gold plated heavy duty connectors ensure long lasting, highly conductive signal connections.
Connectors: RCA Plug x3 to RCA Plug x3
Oxygen free copper conductors for efficient signal transmission
100% Aluminum foil and braided OFC shield protect against noise and interference
Bonded cable construction provides for neat and easy component video connections
Molded connectors feature precision made 24K gold plated contacts to ensure long lasting quality
Ultra flexible jacket for easy installation
UL listed
Type Component Cables
Length 3 FT
Color Blue

A high quality component video interconnect, a perfect upgrade to the cables that come with consumer electronic components. Ideal for connecting progressive scan video components to monitors and other devices.
Weight: 0.38 lbs

Hopefully this will get my PureXS working with MAME on the 32" TV.

Monday, June 25, 2007

N'Gai Croal on Manhunt 2

This pretty much sums up Manhunt 2 for me. Italics and emphasis are my alterations.

Croal writes:

The thing is, while I can quibble with the BBFC and the IFCO's descriptions of the game, for the most part, I can't really disagree with them.

Yes, there is a "bleakness and callousness of tone," though it's certainly not "unremitting," as evidenced by that one darkly comic sequence during our joint play session that prompted us to first drop our jaws to the floor before laughing out loud. (Since you were wielding the Wiimote and nunchuk during that scene, I'll give you the honor of describing it to our dear readers.)

Yes, the overall game context "constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing," though as you point out, the protagonist is sufficiently horrified by his first kill that he drops to his knees and vomits.

Yes, there indeed "is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged."

Yes, the game does have an "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying," and there is a "sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer."

And yes, the game does include "acts of gross violence or cruelty including mutilation and torture."

My response to all of that is, so what? What does that have to do with adults like you, or me, or the aforementioned magazine editor making our own decisions as whether or not we want to play this game? What does that have to do with the countless number of adults in the U.K. or Ireland for whom the BBFC and the IFCO have decided to play nanny, wag their respective index fingers, and say, "We know better than you, and we in our infinite wisdom have decided that you can't play this game"? Unless they have good reason to believe that this game is an imminent threat to the public order, or that it will in and of itself incite adults to violence, their decision seems to me to be based on taste, and I will never believe in substituting anyone else's tastes for my own.

I am not a believer in censorship, although that doesn't mean all things appeal to me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New Pictures

Craptastic Camera Alert
I have uploaded new pictures to my Flickr account. Someone buy me a decent camera? Mine died (memory card writer died - can't take pictures without it as there's no onboard memory it seems) so I'm using my 10yo's "toy" digital "craptastic" camera.

Esteban with Dulce and Alejandrita
Dulce is marveling at the new Sharp 32” TV (32SC26B).

Esteban is playful with the children and, lacking a job and being Mexican (Mexicans don't like loafing around with nothing to do - they never had such free time growing up and they sure aren't sure what to do with it once grown up - so the tend to spend it on something constructive), has kind of made being a great Uncle his job.

Contrary to being spoiled, this has actually meant my children now have more chores, because Esteban cleans, cooks and fixes things in the house, and save for the last part, makes my daughters involved in everything he does.

NEW 32" TV!

I got a Sharp 32” Standard-Definition Digital TV (32SC26B).

Some hyper-rich college student named Brianna was selling it because, she said, she's moving to Iowa to enroll in Law School. I found it on Craigslist, which is classifieds specific to the city you are in - if you don't use it try it out.

I say "hyper-rich" because she lived in a gated, passworded, ritzy condo complex. She was thin, blond and prissy, and had two or three girlfriends who were much the same, and one tall, skinny white guy with them.

I brought with me my daughter, Maria de Guadalupe, and my brother, Esteban.

First Test: WiiSports (Wii)
To test the TV we attached the Wii and its component cables and tried WiiSports. The women didn't want to touch it but the guy wanted to try bowling. Maria joined and the white guy was surprised he and I were not only being beaten, but trounced upon by a little girl. Esteban whispered to her in Spanish and they'd chuckle. "Who's winning? Lu-pi-ta!" emphasis on the "little girl beats grown men." She and Esteban giggled until she beat us 287 to 237 and 239, mine being the lowest score.

Second Test: Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
The birds in the distance, just a few pixels big, look blurry on my wife's 32" Sylvania (RCA inputs), and looked clearer, but shimmered on the Wal-Mart special, the 32" ILO (IWT3206) that I had to return. But the 32SC26B supports 480p, not just 480i. The birds no longer shimmered, and the picture was much clearer. MAN! What a difference between 480i "SDTV" and 480p "EDTV".

White People Are Funny
So it came time to pay $200 (for a $369 new) TV and take it home. The white guy offered to help carry it, and I said "Sure, I'll let Esteban take my place, he's stronger."

Well the white guy tries to heft this thing and mind you, he's only about as big as me, only taller, and with GAP clothes... so it's not long before he starts to lose it. His face turns red and he starts to slip, so Esteban, perplexed, just leans into it a bit and ends up hefting most of the TV across the street to Rafael, my wife's minivan.

By the time they get there, the white guy's face was about as red as Esteban's (brilliant red) shirt, and my brother and my daughter start laughing. I go back inside with the guy to pick up the TV stand and come back, and they're still laughing about something.

"What?" I asked. They made shushing noises.

"What? What's so funny?" They shook their heads and made motions to be quiet, while they kept chuckling.

"Okay, sirs, well I'm gunna go." the white guy said and left with one of the prissy girls. Then Esteban and Maria burst out laughing.

Esteban said "He looked like he was about to pop. He came up acting so strong and I'm thinking 'What's the matter? Pffft this isn't so heavy.' so I just carry more of it myself."

Maria pointed out "His ego was stronger than him." Esteban and I got a kick out of that observation.

Internet / Gmail on the Wii
Gmail is not only easy to read, the TV cuts off less at the top and bottom of the screen, which was a bad problem on the junky IWT3206. Maria is quite happy.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
The component cables I got for the Wii also has adapters for the XBOX 360 and PS2/PS3 (which appear to be the same).

Not only does the game look crystal clear (so clear, some textures shimmer, but overall I'd say the detail is more pleasing to the eye than a blurry picture with less apparent shimmer), but the TV allows you to arbitrarily set it to 16:9 format! The craptastic IWT3206 didn't - it supposedly recognized wide-aspect cable feeds and adjusted itself accordingly, but it had no idea if a videogame was using that resolution. The 32SC26B allows you to just set 16:9 anytime you want - so I can play Shadow of the Colossus in widescreen and see more area left to right if I want. I can probably do this with widescreen Wii games if there is a setting I can get to to make the game use that mode regardless of what it thinks the TV is.

I am very happy with the TV and first and foremost grateful to God. It is so frequent that he blesses us on a special day (Father's Day, a Birthday, etcetera) by giving us something that seems bad (that TV I had to return) and ends up even better (a TV better than the one I bought if it had worked for less money).

I went without a 32" TV for two nights - returned it Tuesday, got the "new" one on Thursday evening and had time to play WiiSports at home, and show Esteban Shadow of the Colossus after Maria went to bed.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kids at Play and Esteban

I've uploaded some pictures taken with Maria de Guadalupe's craptastic camera. I even snagged two of Esteban, but my poor brother hadn't had a chance to come his hair yet.

Also featured is "Jose Francisco versus: The Dirt" and "Jose Francisco versus: The Cold Sprinkler Water"

As for this shot of Alejandrita, I liked the depth and pose here, look at her arm and the curve of her back and her dress - quite cherubic and innocent.

By all means, see the Flickr collection of photos if you like.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Brother from Mexico Has Arrived

Esteban's Arrival
Esteban arrived on Monday night at 11PM at the local airport. I recognized him from far off because he really does look like my wife, only he was born a boy not a girl. Oddly, given that description, he's quite handsome. He also speaks great English for someone taught by English courses. Maria, my 10yo, was with me to greet him.

Esteban got stopped and questioned by INS three different times, basically every stop but the last, each time he said he could tell they were comparing notes from the interview before, even though it was different people in different airports and cities. I'm not sure why the US has taken such a horrible turn against immigrants that aren't Canadians, but they have. Being Hispanic can't be confused with being Muslim, but Hispanics are definitely not "in". It's basically open season. He didn't mind, he just realized what they were trying to do - catch him at a different answer.

Esteban is like...
Esteban is quiet and thoughtful, hardworking and observant. He's a good cook. He says that if the choice for his father is getting his daughters Magdalena, Gabriella or Marisol to cook for him, dad will ask them to fetch Esteban. I ate way too much of his cooking at lunch on Tuesday.

Mighty Tuesday
I took the day off from work on Tuesday and took my extended family to the Salvation Army, where we bought Esteban more clothes than the one suitcase he brought. Esteban told me that he's studied psychology, philosophy, theology, Mexican history (as opposed to world history), and trained incoming workers how to put together computers at an IBM factory.

We dropped by Perfection Auto and saw Mr. Nuñez, our mechanic who runs his own shop. Mr. Nuñez spoke with Esteban in Spanish. He gave Esteban his card and said in English "Call me as soon as you get your papers sorted out." Mr. Nuñez has a specific way of talking and emphasizing things.

I asked Esteban, realizing what I thought just transpired (he just got offered a job, tentatively) "Do you know how to fix cars?"

Esteban smiled lightly and nodded "Sure, yeah."

My mom hit the issue a bit more clearly: my great grandfather, who went on to become the Governor of Colorado, hit the train tracks as a hobo for a year. Got his head straight, saw the country, carried around Shakespeare with him. My mom said "Back then, this was an excepted thing to do - often you'd find hobos were really just men seeing the country, not homeless or drug addicts like today."

When Esteban lost his job at IBM (first in, first out, and Mexico has felt the same small downturn we have in the last year) there was just no reason to not come here. Clearly, it was not for lack of education or the ability to walk into another job, which I knew already, but I didn't know how many things Esteban knew.

At any rate, since I've returned my 32" TV, I've asked Esteban for help considering what to do - buy computer parts for $300 and have him build one (with me helping), or buy wood working equipment so he can have fun with that, or something else, or just put it back into savings.

Jose Francisco Meets His Uncle, Esteban
So Jose, my 2yo boy, woke up early on Tuesday and came out into the living room to find someone sleeping on the couch (transformed into bed-mode). He decides it is appropriate to wake up this person and show him his toy Matchbox cars. Then, tired, he gets into the bed and naps with his Uncle until 7AM. They'd never met until this moment, and nobody else was around.

Other than feeling the jealousy of there being another man in the house, this has been how they relate ever since. Esteban and Jose Francisco took turns following each other around in the stores and places we hit. Jose quickly found that Esteban just ignores him when he whines about something, and tells him no when he tries to do something he shouldn't.

My mom told Esteban that it must have been the pheromones that Jose Francisco recognized - he knew Esteban was blood the moment he met him.

Esteban Meets the Wii
(WiiSports) He enjoyed Bowling and didn't understand Tennis any better than real life. He loved Boxing, and hunkered down and jabbed and hooked like he was really there, practicing on some tethered ball in front of him. He still lost because he couldn't figure out how the controllers wanted to be held to block. He laughed a lot, which is something the Wii brings out given the game you play.

So we're all happy Esteban has come to live with us. He has no return ticket to Mexico, which might be another reason INS was so interested in him. I'm just as happy as can be. The van fits everyone, exactly, even when the little ones grow. My wife is happy that her youngest brother is here and he's happy to be here. My kids love him and he's quickly seen what he expected: we are as Mom has told him and as we've represented ourselves on the phone. I don't think he had any surprises, even Wal-Mart didn't seem to surprise him.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Don't Buy This TV / Father's Day

I had a fantastic Father's Day, complete with:

  1. Homemade Breakfast.
  2. Homemade Father's Day cards.
  3. A 32" TV with component input and 480i.
  4. Back pain medication since it was acting up, coupled with cuddles when I napped. I kept feeling the kids swapping who would be on the couch with me as they played around and I lied there, intert.
  5. Lots of attention from kids.
Whatever you do, however, don't get that TV, an ILO 32" IWT3206. Mine came with a permanent color problem on the left hand side - I'm taking it back as soon as I find a vehicle that can fit it.

Naps are Good
It was great having my back pain medicine on a day I didn't have to work. I never feel like getting up from naps when I come home for lunch on those days, and on Sunday, I didn't have to. The kids took turns riding the horse in Shadow of the Colossus, or playing Wii Sports, and someone would always end up on the side of the couch with me - mostly my 7 and 4 year-old daughters, as my 10yo is getting a bit big and didn't have room. I'd drift in and out of sleep and hear their voices. Children are so cute when they giggle and talk to each other saying "My Daddy's asleep."

Wii + Component Output = Good
The Wii works great with Component Output - text that was unreadable on Gmail was now readable on the 32" at 480i... my wife's 32" lacks this input or resolution and you can't read the text even on a big screen. Whatever replaces this TV will also feature 480i at least.

Jose Francisco, "The Strong"
Jose Francisco is quite the baby boy. He stuck a crayon inside the power-button hole in the old TV that just died, and I smacked him on the leg for messing with electronics (which he knows not to, it was just too tempting). In hindsight, I think he was trying to make it work - he loves to try to fix things. Rather than cry and then fall into my arms like my daughters, he kept a grudge for about two hours, and didn't want me around him. I did not press him, knowing that you have to give Jose Francisco his own time to decide things - playing with a sprinkler (something else we did on Sunday), anything. Afterwards he came out and we played cars and games with the giant TV box.

Many adults I meet don't have the strength of personality of my two year-old boy. That's why my wife and I spend so much time trying to give him exactly the right upbringing: obedience that isn't blind, decision making (for him) that isn't abdication of parenting (on our part), and rewards for anything tough or clever he does, from falling (tough) or lifting things (same) or attempting to redirect my attention from reprimanding a sister (clever, he often comes up with something new).

On the surface, he's remarkably emotionally detached from things, but that's only if you don't get to know him. He picks a sister and gets a hug in the morning - it's not always his little mama (my 10yo). He handles each sister a bit differently:
  • Alejandrita (4yo) is his playing companion and friend (he'll often grab her to show her something he wants to do or join in her activity).
  • Dulce (7yo) is both his help, his target (for wrestling or chasing her around the house with something that scares her, like my belt, which he has learned how to swing overhand quite well), his sympathy magnet (Dulce's a sucker for anyone out of sorts or crying) and sometimes his playtime companion.
  • Maria (his oldest sister) is his partner in crime (he knows she won't tell on him unless it's dangerous or strictly forbidden, and even then she handles disciplining him herself and rarely involves me or my wife - strengthening the trust), his help, his little mama, and his playtime companion.
Father's Day was great, if only because I got to see my kids alllll day, and my wife got a chance to rest - the older two had to cook all the meals.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Where the PS3 and XBOX 360 Failed

Dove cued me into an excellent revelation:

The real failure of the XBOX 360 and the PS3 are the same: Sony and Microsoft both made the console that their fanbase said they wanted. They assumed that people would answer "within reason" or "within how much they would be willing to pay for what they say they want."

Of course, people don't do that. The first rule of usability is "don't listen to users." (Instead, watch what they do.)

Nintendo came along and said "Well, our research says they'll spend $250. What can we cram into that?"

The PSP is what everyone said they wanted - a GameBoy Advance that plays 3d games. Then the NDS comes out with less power and trumps it - because it lets you do something new, to interact in a new way. The Wii is essentially the same. It's called "Blue Ocean" strategy in business leet speak.

GP2X versus PSP
This is something I see come up a lot, for some reason. GP2X versus PSP? Not truly comparable, because the GP2X is such a niche device. If you want a handheld that does non-3d emulation, you get a GP2X. You are already "not normal" for even wanting emulation, let alone open source.

If you could only get one, as always, the question boils down to "What kind of games do you want to play, and how much are you willing to pay for them?"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maria de Guadalupe discovers: The Joys of Multiplayer Disconnects

The wireless router (Ativa) that's gotten our Wii online also let Maria and I try out Mario Kart DS via WiFi. We both choose "Worldwide" and eventually came up with different opponents - sadly, it seems you can't game with friends and worldwide opponents, which is gay.

She's played the game extensively and claims to know every track. I sat there configuring her NDS while she played on my black one and after a while she said "He left."

"Who left?" I asked.

She looked puzzled. "The fourth player."

"The losing one?" I asked rhetorically.

Later still, she said "Now the third place person left! It's just me and the other guy."

I told her "They leave because they are tired of losing."

Before she won the cup, the 2nd place person quit too. She was not amused.

I figured she had a bad game - she'd won two cups before this, but then she kept winning and I realized "You're really good at this."

"Thank you, Papa."

"No, really. Anyone still playing Mario Kart DS should be good."

So we called up Billy's house and I thought Sarah answered, but the voice replied "No, I'm Zach."

Doh. Way to make a boy feel manly. Mistake him for his mother. I fall over myself by quickly saying "Hey I was trying to reach you anyway, what's your Friend Code? Maria and I have a wireless router and want to try out Mario Kart DS with you." Actually I wanted to chat with Billy but this worked.

Zach helped me find out where to find what our Friend Codes were, and I discovered that if Zach was my friend and I was Maria's friend but Maria wasn't Zach's friend - we can't connect. No error message, you just time out after 5 minutes of tedium. We rectified this. I let him and Maria chat on the phone a bit before we switched off again.

Zach then did merrily trounce upon our bodies, karts and all, winning three cups in a row. Partway into cup 1 I heard his mother call him and he whispered on the phone "I can't talk." I hanged up and hoped I wasn't supporting child delinquency and called Billy after the games.

I tried to tell Billy that Zach's achievement (the summary trouncing of Maria and I) was no small deal given that Maria had won nearly every online cup she'd played in "Worldwide" opponent mode, but of course Billy just chuckled.

I don't know. *whispers loudly* I think he knows.

Learning from Milton Friedman

While I have very mixed feelings about Michael Roberts, father of and Linspire, he educated me about Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winning economist. Michael wrote:

I flew up to San Francisco and visited him [Milton] and his wife Rose in their San Francisco apartment. They offered me a cold glass of water and we talked about my Internet and business experience. Then I asked Milton the question I had come up with. "How do you make the world a better place?"

His answer was, "If you want to improve the world you have to create more capital. While creating non-profits makes people feel better, the only way to fundamentally improve living conditions is to create more business." I left the meeting puzzling over that answer. It was a bit more abstract than I was hoping for. Later he sent me some photocopied pages from several books with a nice note.

Over the years I've had time to think about his response. I've come to the conclude it was the most succinct and accurate response possible. Capital is gasoline for the great engine of economic development which creates jobs, grows wealth and responds to consumers needs and desires.

Nothing is free, a friend is fond of telling me. I shall ponder this further. I'm not even sure if I agree with Milton (nor that I'm qualified to disagree) but that one quote makes me want to research further... Milton Friedman's entire series titled "Free to Choose" is now available via streaming video.

Stars & Stripes reports: Rehabilitation with the Wii

I prefer leaving my blog as a non-news service because who the hell comes here for news? But I found this interesting, especially how aware the military is of how many young men play games today.

A Bit of History

That's all, just the link. I found a number of the old items interesting - you can look up "Nintendo Museum" on YouTube. I did and found these:

Add Video to QuickList
Rare Nintendo toys from 1889-1970s, attended by the creators of Super Mario Kart and Nintendogs. Honors for This Video: #40 - Most Viewed ( (more)
From: GovernorWatts
Views: 53,811
Added: 2 months ago
Time: 08:37 More in Gadgets & Games
Add Video to QuickList
Hankyu Department Store chain decided to hold a Nintendo Museum inside their Osaka Store for their 100th Anniversary. The Nintendo Museum spans all the way from their early years (more)
From: ScrewAttackEurope
Views: 118
Added: 1 day ago
Time: 07:34 More in Gadgets & Games
Add Video to QuickList
Hankyu Department Store chain decided to hold a Nintendo Museum inside their Osaka Store for their 100th Anniversary. The Nintendo Museum spans all the way from their early years (more)
From: ScrewAttackEurope
Views: 55
Added: 21 hours ago
Time: 05:56

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Game Reviews: Continuing to provide us what we don't want

I'm glad that someone is writing about how games are reviewed, because the current model is utter crap. Examples otherwise are far and few between.

First of all, game reviews start out with the fictional setting of the game and its story, when gamers really want to know first and foremost "What kind of game is it?" If it's a 3d game, what kind of 3d game is it? 1st person? 3rd person? What do you do? Drive cars? Wander a haunted, indoor environment?

Also important but often omitted: Does the game have cooperative play? Versus play? If there is a multiplayer component, what is it like? How does it operate?

Many NDS games to date have woefully pitiful explanations as to what the multiplayer mode is or does.

After the mechanics of the game are settled upon the fictional setting can be told.

GP2X and Retro Gaming

Retro Gaming
I didn't know there was a GameCube GBA Player. I feel, humbled at my lack of knowledge. I try to not let anything worthwhile in gaming pass me by - a lesson I learned from missing out on the heydays of the SNES and some GameCube games.

I didn't miss out on Shadow of the Colossus! I think I have the 'net's only remaining copy of their technical rundown of how they made the game in English.

GP2X specific Retro Gaming
MAME on the GP2X seems baaad. ROMs that run craptastically in MAME run great on the CPS2 emulator.

Different NEO GEO games like different settings so I'm trying to figure out how to create indifidual "CF" settings files for the Rage2X frontend of the GnGeo emulator. One shoe does not fit every iteration of Samurai Shodown.

NEO GEO Retro Gaming
My 10yo has found she enjoys the Samurai Shodown series (she hasn't seen the bad ones yet, just I and II) and the penultimate 2005 ROM of King of Fighters.

In King of Fighters I pick ... this really big guy who has a toddler son ... and press heavy kick. To mock her, I put my right hand on my head and use one finger - that rests on the heavy kick button, and every time I attack I say "Kick to the Head!" She can't figure out how to approach me, either while walking, jumping, or attacking while doing either of those, without receiving "Kick to the Head!"

She did find a guy who wields a pole-arm that beats this strategy quite well.

My other trick is saying "Block Low." I can pick any fast character and do this, though it's funnier with the drunken master. I run up to her and say "Block Low" just before I attack (I say "Kick to the Head" after or as I kick). While she has kind of figured out how to "Block Low" she hasn't figured out what attacks always counter a low attack, so I usually end up either KO'ing her or knocking her down a lot.

Until she found the guy with the bo-staff I could go through all 3 of her characters with "Kick to the Head!" My right shoulder was almost bruised the first night, so I warned her I'd hit back the next night.

This all makes it sound like she can't play : Samurai Shodown proves she can, and she can pull off several special moves in King of Fighters. She just doesn't understand timing well, or when to block - the old adage of "I know my opponent is about to attack, I'll block now and hit him next." Unfortunately for her, these are the perennial necessities of fighting games. She'll learn it eventually, because I don't always choose my "Kick to the Head!" character.

But at any rate, we've been enjoying nightly sessions of MAME. There's only, like, a thousand game to try. For some reason she asks for Samurai Shodown and "Kick to the Head!" I mean King of Fighters.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Wii Online: Stupid for Techno-geeks, Perfect for the Average Person

Using the Wii's Virtual Console, Shopping Center, and Opera Internet Browser.

I noticed a strange phenomenon this weekend: people like simplified, easy to use, easy to understand controls better than more complex controls that give them increased capability.

Written like that, it makes sense, but we techno-geeks rarely think about it.

My 10yo daughter has fallen in love with the Internet not on a computer and a mouse (which she has been exposed to), but on her Wii. I observed how she surfed to find out why.

  1. She pointed at links and clicked a big, round A button on the Wii Remote to go to pages. She pulled the trigger and dragged the direction she wanted to pan on the page. She pressed the + and - buttons to zoom. This was all intuitive to her - only the zoom took the first 5 minutes to understand (she was using an option on screen). She found the trigger's function accidentally and moved on.
  2. She had trouble aiming at hyperlinks, so she changed how she was sitting, just like she does when she's playing the Wii in a competitive game. Eventually she reclined again, having found a position the Wii Remote liked (it disliked hitting things at an oblique angle, and she was far to the side of the TV). She didn't seem to realize why things had changed (she had centered herself when she sat up and then relaxed again), and it didn't bother her.
  3. She was able to add favorites (bookmarks) easily, by clicking on a star at the bottom of the screen while viewing a page. The favorite gets a screenshot of the Web page you are on and the title (usually concatenated). I saw her add favorites and then go to another she'd made a Favorite for few minutes before - essentially task switching between pages by keeping favorites she didn't plan on keeping forever. (Dad's note: She did not bother arranging or deleting favorites, though I tried these features out - just two of the three buttons in your Favorites view: add, move & delete.)
  4. She zoomed in to read different parts of pages. If a website formatted badly for a Wii, she still looked at it, but spent less time on such sites before moving on (~1 minute as opposed to 3-4).
  5. She didn't mind that it takes more time to do all of this than with a mouse and keyboard, because for her a mouse and keyboard involves these things:
    1. Turning on the computer, and signing in.
    2. She's not accustomed to the keyboard and isn't a touch typist (although she's used typing tutor programs).
    3. The computer browser is confusing.
    4. She has to go to the computer room, sit down, and plan on spending a while there.
    5. She stated that using the Wii Remote and just turning on her Wii and getting online was much easier than all of the above, which she enumerated in simpler terms.
I found some of her assertions amusing - as human interface engineering teaches you "Don't listen to what your users say, watch what they do." Why? Because users lie, even though they don't think they are. Maria spent more time on the Wii than she might have at a computer, but it didn't bother her because it was more in tune with her usual life.

Maria used the Wii's online Opera Browser to research Virtual Console games - to find out what was good and worth her money. She paid me and her mother $20 for us to buy her "Wii Points" online, with which she could buy old emulated games the Wii runs.

She found that the only thing worth downloading, she bought first: Bomberman '93. Every other good game was either single player (vast majority), or two player, both of which I can emulate for free on my computer. I don't have 4 or 5 joysticks, so Bomberman '93 on the Wii for $6 made economic sense: extra USB gamepads for the PC run $15 a piece at least.

I was proud of her research (she wrote her findings down, whereas I would have used Firefox's tabs) and the fact that she got it all done - on the Wii.

Truimph of the Wii

Gamers have yet to realize: the war is already lost / won.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bad Things

Censorship on the Internet: Bad according to BBC, Amnesty International
It's official, censorship on the Internet is changing people's perceptions and allowing governments to control what people know.

Worst Buy Still BAD
Worst Buy really is bad: They scam people and outright lie, or sign you up for digital subscriptions which cost you money without you knowing it.

Supreme Commander did get better...

Recall the beta review (which was still true post-release) where I ripped Supreme Commander for playing like frozen crap pushed through the grating behind your computer's power supply.

Things have gotten remarkably better.

  • The game doesn't become a jerky, choppy, chop-fest anymore. The game does, however, slow down. Basically it's as though the game speed itself was automagically scaling (some RTS's have a game speed slider most of us leave at "100%" - well imagine that that slider automatically decreased as your computer begged for mercy, and that's what happens). I still find this annoying because a 4v4 game will become slow and drawn out; however, it is actually playable versus before where you couldn't accurately click on units.
  • Supreme Commander no longer has a CD check. Just install the game and play it.
  • Choosing where each player's start location is in a Skirmish / Multiplayer match is now easy - the menu color codes things for you so you can tell.

Ordered Payback for the GP2X

WOOT! From

Order Content
Product ID Product Name Price Quantity Total
003 Payback SD Card Game $29.99
(Tax 0.00%)
1 $29.99
Subtotal Amount : $29.99
Discount : $0.00
Shipping (USPS - Priority (2-3 day delivery)) : $5.60
Tax Amount : $0.00
Total Amount : $35.59

GP2X returns - working!

It's Back!

IPB Image

IPB Image

WooT! Thanks to Grahf!

I'm also now a member of - they have some good stuff with nothing that would make me dislike them (like the full version of Payback). Speaking of Payback I need to buy that! Woo!

I've updated my emulators; having installed a 2gb "image" onto my 4gb SD card, I'm liking that I spent $90 on it oh so long ago right about now. Carrying my GP2X into work with me reminded me of why I like it - I noticed I didn't bring my black NDS.

My GP2X plays music, has a 4gb SD card, plays movies, lots of emulated games and homebrew. My NDS can hold between 5 and 12 games, 7-8 being the usual number, using the G6 Lite, which has 512mb of space. The PDA homebrew ("DSorganize") for the NDS won't work on my G6 so...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wii continues to trample people, competitors alike.

4.7 million Virtual Console titles sold, 100 available to buy. That may not me Microsoft XBOX Live's Marketplace, but it kicks Sony Online Entertainment's PS3 Home right in her tender middle, then knees her in the face on the way down. But lately, beating on the PS3 is easy.

If a Wii Hard Drive does come out, I will scream "THAT'S SO FUCKING STUUUPIIID!" Why? Because the Wii should allow you to plug any USB Hard Drive into it - and then let Nintendo make money on the Virtual Console sales. Who cares how they download it? Just get them to download more!

Some proprietary Hard Drive Box comes out and I will scream. I really will. You just won't hear it from where you're sitting.

Bill Gates thinks motion controllers are hot, but is such an asshole he can't admit Nintendo gave him that idea, and tries to say his idea is different than the Wii. Who does he think he's fooling? I suppose experience has taught him it doesn't matter: getting a product out people buy does.

Wii: Six Month Review and Metroid Prime 3: With or Without Multiplayer - good reads if done so in order.

Sorry for not posting links but I've read so much lately - the Bill Gates thing was over a Tennis Racket - he said "You can't use a Tennis Racket with your Wii" uhhhh okay - yeah. Try asking Joe Schmoe to swing a tennis racket around for two hours instead of a Wiimote and see what happens to his arm.

Monday, June 04, 2007


THIS IS FALSE. For one, anyone who can read all of this and believe the original flag folders had all of this in mind is silly. For another, "Symbolizing George Washington's hat"? That should send off another BS meter.

Apologies for being gruff but everyone needs to wake up and start checking sources, so pardon me for taking a page out of Patton's modus operandi...

I am amazed, flabbergasted, at how much stuff people forward without checking for sources. This is one thing that helped spread hatred of the Jews in France - people just listening to a few and not thinking for themselves, only saying "Hey, that's what I wanted to hear anyway!" and latching onto it. Somewhere out there - Muslim fathers are forwarding each other horror stories describing what happens when men let their daughters lead their own lives, and they eat it up.

Whenever I get this stuff I check it on, so much so that a friend of mine now does so just to avoid me correcting him.

It doesn't matter if something says what you want to hear (remember Anti-Semetism, and recall that a lot of people back then were predisposed to such thoughts), it matters what is real and valid. We should base our lives around truth, not fantasy.

I always teach my children to question things. "I like this." "Why?" "Because it's fun." "Why?" The annoying repeater is the father, not the child. By age 10, my oldest daughter has become so adept at enumerating the whys of things that come under her purview that she came home from a weekend with her grandparents and told me "My grandmother is better without her medicine if she just drinks water, so whenever she asked for soda I gave her water."

All I can do is just stand there and look shocked, and await the day these powers are used on me (lovingly, but it'll happen).

Everyone here is an adult, right?
So ask "Why?"

Note: I sent this in a reply to a general forward I got. Aren't I a jerk about truth?