Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Wii things worth mentioning.

One - If you are hooking a Wii up to a TV that uses the 'Y' (green) channel of the component video input  for also decoding the composite video input, expect it to look dark if you use the Wii's composite video cable. Obviously if you have the component video cable for the Wii, you should use that when possible. I happened to notice it over the weekend when my son got to play Sengoku Basara on the TV at my Dad's house. I presume that it's because there's less signal to go around, so the TV assumes that the picture isn't as bright (even though I'm sure the TV's electronics are fully capable of compensating for it.) I had the chance to go get the other cable, and turned progressive scan back on, and the picture was pretty much back to normal brightness. If you were confused by the use of the words 'component' and 'composite' in this context, refer back to my post about HDTV.  

Two - If you didn't have the Netflix channel loaded on your Wii before you put in The Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword, the Wii will do a 'System Update' that adds it for you. Funny, I just checked for a new system update the other day when I reset my router.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gaming Things I did in 2011

I finally set Urban Reign to 'Easy' so that I could finish the story mode and unlock Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law. I was stuck on a board just before the end that featured Golem and Napalm99. Yes, I realize it's an old game. It was already an old game when I picked up a couple of copies of it upon its arrival in the discount bin.

I finally changed the settings of Street Fighter 3:Third Strike on Anniversary Collection to 1-star difficulty and 1 round matches so I could beat Gill with the last few people I hadn't finished with in order to unlock Gill as a playable character. Since I was trying to work through the characters in alphabetical order, I hadn't really used Yun and Yang that much. Once I unlocked Gill, I discovered that since I had been playing SF4 occasionally elsewhere my Ryu skills had improved. I was finally able to get a high enough score once I set the game back to its default settings that I was able to fight against Q. (I even finished the game with only 3 continues and a C++ ranking!)

I finally warmed up to Sonic games. I had a hard time with Sonic Riders and Sonic Heroes, and I had a really hard time with Shadow the Hedgehog, but I started to warm up to the Black Knight game, and I really like Sonic Colors (which my older son is playing right now while I'm typing this.) My older son is really the one that got me started, since Super Smash Brothers Brawl piqued his interest in Sonic in the first place.

I finally played NBA Street, which honestly seems an awful lot like NBA Jam with better music. The character animations don't seem to hold up by today's standards, and the voice-over is a little... unnatural. The game is fine, and considering that I paid around $5 for it, I'm pretty sure that I will get my $5 worth.

I finally accepted the fact that I like using Dan in Street Fighter IV, and I'm now comfortable telling people that's who I use. I seem to have a thing for Dan and Sakura since they're both Shoto-misfits. Sean from Street Fighter III hasn't managed to make me feel the same way about him, though. There's something about his rushing tackle move that makes him seem too different to me. I also know that when and if I ever get my own copy of Street Fighter IV, I'll have to endure endless requests to play as Hakan from my younger son. I played Dan because I have an odd sense of humor, so it makes sense that my younger son would take it one step further.

I also finally purchased a Pokemon game - but it wasn't for me. So, 2012 will be filled with frank discussions about evolution of water types versus dragon types, and what moonstones are for - if we can ever stop playing Skyward Sword.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Everything happens during the holidays.

As usual, it's been too long between blog posts, but I think that it's better to have too much real life going on instead of too much internet life. I have also decided to be more inclusive of my musical life in this space.

The band  that I'm in is losing its keyboard player, but we seem to be making the adjustment.  I have talked to a few people about the position, but I have not spoken to anyone that I thought would be a good match yet.  We're in no hurry to put a new keyboard player on board unless they're really going to work out. For what we do, we need someone with traditional piano skills and modern keyboard chops.  Despite all the kids that get forced to play 'Fur Elise' until Zombie Beethoven rises from his grave to eat their fingers off, it's harder than you think to find a substantial keyboard player.  And even if you have classical chops - it's no guarantee that you also have the funk.

A big part of what I like about the holidays is that I get to help other people with video game shopping. I was happy to play the demo of The Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword at the Nintendo Wii kiosk at Walmart this week, but not as happy as my son was. I only played part of one of the dungeons, but the demo also includes a bird riding section, and a boss battle (and my son played all three sections).  We explained to a few passers-by that you needed the Wii Remote Plus for the game, but that it improves the swordplay a lot. I had to stop playing after a couple of minutes since the controls are slightly different from Twilight Princess and I didn't want to pick up any bad habits just yet. I was also a lot happier being able to recommend the Xbox360 or the PS3 to people with younger kids now, since Microsoft and Sony have made real strides in the last year in widening their audience. But, my most favorite thing this holiday season is being able to answer the question "Is that Batman game any good?" with "Yes, it's awesome" after so many years of telling people to stay away from any licensed games that weren't "Goldeneye" for Nintendo 64. Oddly, the first Batman game in that series (Arkham Asylum) didn't spend too much time on Walmart's shelf, and I can't even tell you why. It's just as good.  Maybe it's because the original game wasn't a holiday season release, or maybe it's because there was some Gamestop promotion that overshadowed anybody else selling the game.

Other than doing some random cubing demos at the local elementary school holiday breakfast while all the kids were throwing snowballs, and at the top of the bridge at our local boat parade, my cubing activity has been somewhat minimal.