IGN pulls together lots of Wii facts for easy digestion

Super Smash Bros GameCube Wii comparison In a move that I’m sure many will find useful, IGN has put together a six-page article that takes most of the information known about the Wii as of now and produces an easy-to-read shower of information. Decorated with fancy pictures of the Wii(mote) and various other nonsense, I can see it being a good resource for people to share with friends when explaining the Wii and whatnot.

There’re also a few facts buried in there that while I’m sure have been public knowledge for weeks, I simply didn’t pick up. After all, even the best of them can’t be aware of everything, so I certainly can’t. An example of something I missed includes the fact that even if you lack a wireless network in your home, you can still plug in an old-fashioned USB adapter to connect a normal broadband modem or whatever.

Another interesting tidbit is that the inbuilt speaker is very low quality, which while I was kind of expecting I didn’t know for a fact. I’m hoping that Nintendo will provide a way to completely disable the speaker and route the sound through your normal speakers instead, since not only would the Wii speaker sound pretty out of place when alongside an extremely expensive sound system, but it might be annoying for those who want to play at night using headphones as I sometimes do.

Super Mario GameCube Wii comparison Also of note is that the classic controller (basically a SNES pad, but with a few more buttons that bring it to at least the same number as the GameCube) also connects wirelessly, but it plugs into the bottom of the Wiimote as a replacement for the Nunchuck. I’d have preferred it if it were a completely standalone wireless controller, but I guess it’s still better than having the wire going across the room for people to trip over as they frequently do in this household.

One thing I’m not absolutely sure of is the implication that the channels (see my post on those) the Wii ships with might only be the beginning. The article quite plainly states that the Wii can hold up to 48 channels, but whether or not they can be filled up with customisable versions of existing channels (ie: one for each user of the console) I’m not sure. Perhaps Nintendo is planning to introduce other channels over time? It’d certainly tie in well with their “frequently wake up to a new surprise” statements anyway. I mean, the damned thing only ships with about seven channels. That’s a lot less than 48.

And finally, there’s confirmation that the Wii is roughly twice as powerful as the GameCube. While anyone who’s actually played on a GameCube can establish this fact immediately after looking at Wii videos, and even though rumours going back well over a year put the performance increase at around 250%, it hasn’t stopped people describing the Wii as a repackaged GameCube with a fancy new controller. Erk.

So yes, it’s a good article. Give it a read.

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New gameplay video of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Zelda: Twilight Princess As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m really looking forward to the next major Zelda game Twilight Princess, which is basically the spiritual sequel to the Nintendo 64’s amazing Ocarina of Time in that it has a realistic, fantastical tone as opposed to a cel-shaded, piratey one.

So when a new gameplay montage video hits IGN, I’m obligated to share it with you. While IGN does have quite a few videos of Twilight Princess already, few of them are particularly interesting and generally consist of showing off the fishing sub-games and whatnot. But this is an all-out compilation of various gameplay scenes, and a lot of it looks absolutely superb.

I’m also really amazed by how visually rich this game is. It’s a real reminder of how even though the Wii will not have hardware on par with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, its games can still look pretty damn sweet. And don’t forget that Twilight Princess was largely designed for the GameCube, so Wii games could easily look better than this considering it has better hardware (even if not the kind of jump the Xbox and PlayStation 2 made).

I highly recommend watching the video since it really is very good. All signs are pointing towards this game being on a similar level to Ocarina of Time, and if it manages to beat it then we’ve seriously got a new candidate for the “Best Game Ever” title. It being a great game is almost inevitable considering it is a full-on Zelda title, but the Ocarina of Time set a massively high marker to reach. Here’s hoping Nintendo will do themselves proud.

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Why the Nintendo Wii’s price is not excessive

Zelda: Twilight Princess As you’ve undoubtedly heard fifty times over by now, it was revealed several hours ago that the Wii will launch for £180 in the UK, with games being pretty much the same price as the GameCube’s. Although the reaction has been largely positive, there have been a few criticising the price.

Before those who have issues with the price get into a frenzy and forever proclaim your disdain for the Wii, I just want you to take a step back and bear the following three points in mind:

  • The Wii is a next-generation console whether you want to admit it or not; to expect it to be a budget purchase or something simply because it isn’t the most graphically capable of the trio is absolute madness and is exactly the kind of mentality the Wii is trying to break
  • For £180 you are getting a complete games machine that is, contrary to popular belief, more powerful than the GameCube and a lot more power/noise friendly; lots of storage; the extras I mentioned yesterday (including Wii Sports); a Wiimote and Nunchuck; a wireless adapter/transmitter; and whatever other stuff I’ve missed — all that is easily worth £180!
  • The UK (and possibly the rest of Europe) always pays more for worldwide hardware goods due to the general state of the country’s economy, taxes, or whatever; look at pretty much any hardware and you’ll notice the UK pays markedly more; this is not something unique to the Wii or video games in general

Feel free to point out any exceptions to my three points, but the fact remains that the Wii is not overpriced as some are alluding to on forums, chat rooms, blogs, etc. Not in my book, anyway. And just to put this into perspective for the US readers, the £180 we’re paying translates back to $335.

But hey, if you’d rather wait until March and drop £425 on a PlayStation 3 then go ahead.

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Nintendo press events cause lots of Wii excitement

Official Wii website With the multiple Nintendo press events that’ve been hyped up now well underway, a lot of new Wii info is hitting the fan. Most of it is simply confirmation of existing rumours and facts, but it is regardless nice to see a lot more concrete information since Nintendo have been secretive to an almost Apple-like degree thus far.

The main piece of news is of course that the Wii is to release in the US on November 19th at £132 ($250), which is likely to be more like £150-£160 here in the UK as inflation always reigns supreme. But also, two brand new sites have appeared at Wii.com: the official Japanese Wii site and the official US Wii site. The European one will probably launch tomorrow after the London press event.

The US site will be the most readable for the majority of you, and it is indeed definitely worth reading. There’s quite a lot of in-depth information to be found concerning pricing of extras, what’s included with the console, etc. One of the things that really intrigues me is Wii Channels. Basically, you get a bunch of ‘channels’ to select from with your Wii that are largely powered by the wireless internet connection.

Wii's Mii First there’s the Mii channel which lets you create faces that I presume will appear in certain games on your character, and possibly on forums and whatnot. Then there’s Photo, which lets you import photographs from an SD card, manipulate them, slideshow them, etc. Forecast will display a continually updated weather forecast. News lets you read news from all sorts of websites, which I guess will be something like an RSS feed reader — only they choose the feeds for you and you select the categories you like most.

Shop is naturally one of the most important, as it’s where you can make of “Wii Points”. Wii Points are obtained by either purchasing a card in a shop or using a credit card ($20 per 2000 Wii Points), and then they can be exchanged for classic NES, SNES, N64, Megadrive and TurboGrafx games. Tied into this is the Internet channel, which allows you to browse the internet using a fully fledged copy of Opera, JavaScript, Flash and all. The only catch is you have to buy the Opera internet browser using Wii Points via the aforementioned Shop channel (Edit: Check out the update below! Opera will be temporarily free).

Battalion Wars 2 Virtual Console is where you play your purchased classic games. Disc is where you play your Wii or GameCube games. Finally there’s Message Board, a place for you to leave messages to be read by family members, or perhaps friends in other places if they’re added to your friend list. Pretty nice — could be good for arranging multiplayer games (eg: “Get online at 7pm!”).

All in all, this is some sweet stuff. It looks like the Wii has a lot of nice extras out the box, which is kind of an evolution of the DS that had a basic chat/drawing program built in but not much else. Everyone loves quality freebies, and a lot of these look genuinely useful. I’m a little disappointed that you have to pay a little for Opera, but I guess Nintendo haven’t got much choice since they’re licensing the high-quality Opera internet browser. Better than ending up with some trashy in-house solution that can barely render half the internet I guess.

There are also videos on the site as well as many other things. I highly recommend having a good dig around! There’s much more than I’ve summarised here to discover.

Update #1:
A pair of superb facts worth pointing out have hit the web. Firstly, according to IGN the Opera browser will be free to download until June 2007 — a nice bonus for early adopters I guess. And according to the box, Wii Sports will be included with the console free of charge; that means you get (multiplayer) tennis, baseball, golf, bowling, and boxing to mess around with. Very nice.

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Stop your DS Lite cracking; get a different case

DS Lite transparent case As most DS Lite owners are aware, there’s been a few reports in the community of cracks appearing on the hinge that connects the two parts of the clamshell design together. Although this has only affected roughly 0.2% of owners, Nintendo’s excellent reputation for build quality combined with numerous reports of such an issue caused a really big stir.

So how do you ensure you don’t fall victim to this debatable design flaw? Make your DS Lite look like crap, of course! Yes, for a mere cost of around £18 you can get rid of your beautiful white DS Lite case and put a transparent one in its place that exposes the ugly internal circuitry. Don’t put up with a smooth white surface; you need one that allows you to enjoy being distracted by the multi-coloured internal workings of the machine.

But seriously, that is one ugly case mod, and I kind of thought the style had died out several years ago. Though even back then when it was appearing on all sorts of electrical devices, I still thought it looked horrible. I mean, I want to have the internals hidden by a nice smooth cover of some sort; it’s like buying a car with a transparent shell so all the engine and everything is exposed. It wouldn’t be cool or sleek — it’d just look ridiculous. I’ve also always hated those PC cases with big windows on the side, with blue cathodes lighting up all the motherboard and whatnot. Surely I’m not alone on this?

For more photos of this visual disaster, check out the Flickr album. Thanks to Go Nintendo for posting about it in the first place.

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The GobLog is back; updates to resume normally

Ryan's GobLog version 2 The redesign process took a bit longer than expected since I had some random CSS problems (always fun) and worked on it in chunks, but all should be all working fine now. I spent some time fine-tuning the CSS so it appears pixel perfect in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera, and having quickly thrown it through iCapture it appears to be the case for Safari too. Don’t say I don’t love you.

Since there’s now a sidebar I’ve thrown a bunch of stuff on there that you may or may not find useful. Having those links should help new readers to find my various content easily, and hopefully lure them in permanently! Other than that the site is very much the same as before, and I’ve intentionally kept the design quite similar.

One thing you guys are likely to appreciate more than me is that there’s once again no ads, which means the site has gone back to making nothing. Not that I’m too upset or anything, but I was really hoping I’d have been able to get a copy of Mint for $30 rather than relying on third-party hosted solutions for bot-free stats tracking. If you feel really awesome, any and all PayPal donations to paypal@ryanjohnwilliams.com would be highly appreciated. I promise it’ll go towards Mint.

Anyway, updates should resume appearing every day or two now that stuff is sorted out on the design/WordPress end. If anyone would like to do a ‘blogroll’ exchange which means nothing more than that we exchange sidebar links, leave a comment and as long as the site is video game related and updated frequently (once or twice a week) I’ll add it.

Oh, and the header image will change depending upon what tickles my fancy at the moment.

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Superb German Honda TV commercial parodies Tetris

Tetris Honda advertisement Joining McDonalds’ Super Mario Bros parody and Coca Cola’s Grand Theft Auto parody, Honda has decided to advertise its new vehicle by parodying one of the most well known games in the world, Tetris. I don’t think this is quite as superb as the two aforementioned ads, but it’s certainly a good try.

Fortunately for those who aren’t German such as myself, the ad has pretty much no text or speech, relying on the hugely recognisable Tetris tune and the visual imitation of the game’s simple but addictive gameplay to do the business. It is basically a bloke loading the back of his car with luggage, with said luggage being inserted like Tetris pieces to slot in perfectly.

There’s not much to say about this ad since it is what it is. There’s no underlying irony or a dual-parody as with McDonalds’ effort; it’s simply a real-life implementation of Tetris, complete with music and sound effects. Top stuff — thanks to Aeropause for pointing this beauty out.

Update #1:
It looks like we might have a dual-parody on our hands after all! Gay Gamer point outs that The Simpsons ran a very similar scene during an episode, and upon watching the video it’s quite clear that the inspiration could easily have originated from there.

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