Previous month:
October 2006
Next month:
December 2006

November 2006

Wii Virtual Console Roundup

Bonk's AdventureOne of the neat and ongoingly expensive aspects of the Nintendo Wii is the Virtual Console which allows players to purchase and download every classic video game ever made ("every" meaning whichever games publishers deem profitable after all these years).  Unfortunately, not every game offered on the service is worth the money. has a great review of the first crop of VC games in which they separate the junk from the funk.

Yeah, so there are only fourteen titles current available on VC. That's not so many. The good news, of course, is that this is an issue that should resolve itself in time, as Nintendo has promised to release a dozen different titles every month. Until then, you have this handy reference guide to let you know what's worth your hard-earned Wii Points.

So far I've taken the VC plunge with Hudson's classic TurboGrafx-16 title Bonk's Adventure (as foretold by the prophecy), and while I like the overall experience, I'm looking forward to better games than the Solomon's Key and Wario's Woods currently offered.  Then again, I'm not saying anything that hasn't already been said this week by every other Wii owner with an Internet connection. 

Wii Retro Update

Virtual ConsoleLeave it to Retrogaming with Racketboy to plunge straight into the Nintendo Wii's backward compatibility ability, as he's compiled some great material about the highs and lows of both the Virtual Console's behavior as well as the Wii's ability to play GameCube games.  The consensus?  Nintendo's off to an OK start, but there's room for improvement.

Anyway, there have been some pleasant surprises, but I have to admit, I've been disappointed with what I've seen so far of the Wii's retro gaming capabilities. Perhaps I got caught up daydreaming of how perfect the system COULD be, but hopefully Nintendo will improve on the system by the time I decide to pick one up.

I don't see myself buying any retro titles right now (everything offered at the moment is either junk or a game I already own in another format), but once those classics I missed out on back in the day start rolling in, I believe I'll take the leap.  Bonk's Adventure, you will be mine!

Mini-Review: Yoshi's Island DS

Yoshi's Island DS Once upon a time Nintendo released a little Super NES game called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.  Set in Mario's infant years, the game followed the adventures of the Yoshis as they attempted to ferry Baby Mario across an island full of dangers towards Baby Bowser's castle for a reunion with Baby Luigi.  The game went down in history as one of the best side-scrolling games of the 16-bit era (if not all time).  Then came the darkness.  Nintendo followed up with lackluster disappointing Yoshi adventures such as the beyond-kiddie Yoshi's Story, the too-short Yoshi Touch & Go, and the disappointing Yoshi Topsy-Turvy.  Now, eleven years later, Nintendo and developer Artoon have come back to the classic Island formula, crafting a new adventure for the Nintendo DS that retains just about everything from the original game, but makes it all bigger, larger, and more involved.  At long last, it's Yoshi's Island DS.

Continue reading "Mini-Review: Yoshi's Island DS" »

Weekly Poll: At Long Last

Weekly Poll for 11-10-2006I'm glad to see that you all enjoy PTB's ongoing series of articles.  This poll was just to satisfy my own curiosity regarding which articles were more anticipated and enjoyed.  I'll still be writing both The Forgotten and Secret Origins as the mood strikes me.  I even have a third series in mind that I'm preparing as I have the spare time.

As for this week, now that the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 have launched alongside the Microsoft Xbox 360 we're officially in the next generation of gaming.  My question for all of you is whether or not you joined the upgrade march this past weekend.  Did you buy a PS3 or Wii on opening weekend?  Cast your vote and leave some comments as always.

Would-Be PS3 Thief Hits Wrong Store

Popple I'll stop writing about the Sony PlayStation 3 madness just as soon as people stop behaving like idiots in a quest to acquire the console.  Today's craziness comes from Rockledge, Florida in which a nineteen year old would-be thief in search of a PS3 broke into the wrong store.  His target was a store that sells video games, natch, but instead he somehow managed to break into an adjacent jewelry store instead.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, two deputies responded to a burglar alarm at the Char'Don Jewelry store at 8530 N. Wickham Road around 4:30 a.m. Friday. They found the glass on the back door smashed out but the grated door still secure. One deputy went around to the front of the store and found a man police identified as Ryan Kelly crouched behind a trash can. Kelly fled, but deputies found him hiding behind a dumpster at Temple Israel. When interrogated, deputies said he told them he was trying to break into the EB Games store in order to take a Sony PlayStation 3 game console, but got into the jewelry store by mistake, Florida Today reported.

Remember, folks, that's the Sony PlayStation 3: the console of choice for hardcore gamers and idiot thieves everywhere.

Captain N Coming To DVD

Captain N: The Game Master Come along, 1980s Saturday morning warriors!  We must save Videoland!  Or, rather, we must sit and eat cereal while watching the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon on NBC each Saturday morning before flipping the channel to Garfield and Friends on CBS.  Where was I going with this?  Ah, yes, right.  Beloved game-based cartoon Captain N is coming to DVD early next year following up on the apparently successful DVD sets of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and The Legend of Zelda.  The captain is getting the full retro treatment with some nifty bonus features, and TVShowsOnDVD has the story.

The Forces of Chaos, led by the sinister Mother Brain (Metroid), are threatening to conquer the otherwise peaceful universe of Videoland. In a final attempt to fulfill an ancient prophecy, the N-Team - consisting of Princess Lana, Simon Belmont (Castlevania), Kid Icarus, and Mega Man - recruits California teenager Kevin Keene to don the mantle of Captain N: The Game Master! But only as a team can they fend off their rivals successfully, keeping Videoland safe for another day.

Captain N was an important part of my Saturday morning routine during my childhood.  It didn't matter that the cartoons didn't hold true to the actual games (even as a kid I knew that Mother Brain didn't live on "Metroid", she lived on the planet Zebes in Metroid; and don't even get me started on the mischaracturization of Pit/Kid Icarus) and it didn't matter that King Hippo was colored blue for some reason.  All that mattered on the playgrounds of yesterday was that we all wanted the special Nintendo controller worn by the show's hero, Kevin "Captain N" Keene himself, that granted him special game-based powers.  Who wouldn't want a real-life pause button?

Linux Users Demand PS3 Coverage

LinuxNow that the Sony PlayStation 3 has launched game journalists are working overtime to review games for the system.  Those Resistance: Fall of Man and Ridge Racer 7 reviews don't write themselves (well, OK, maybe the Ridge Racer 7 review does).  Nevertheless, with any coverage of a new console launch there will always be a story or two that slips through the cracks.  One capability offered by the PS3 is that it's possible to install the Linux operating system on it, turning it into a $600 Linux box.  On the whole the journalists covering the PS3 aren't talking about the Linux capability, and apparently some people are rather unhappy about that.

I think I can explain why we're not seeing any major coverage of the Linux angle from game journalists: we don't care.  Or, more accurately, we don't care because the mainstream audience doesn't care.  Most people have never even heard of Linux, after all.  Right now at launch most readers in the mainstream want to see reviews of the launch titles and learn what major games are coming up soon.  There just isn't time (and in print, space) to cover Linux right now due to this lack of mainstream interest.  Like I said, that Resistance review isn't going to write itself.  Once the holiday/launch rush ends and we get into the slow news period of January and February 2007 you'll probably see some of the more technically inclined journalists taking a stab at PS3 Linux, but until then I wouldn't count on any major coverage.

Mob Of 600 People Riots For 16 PS3s

Dead Rising This is getting beyond ridiculous.  A mob of 600 people turned up overnight at the Mall at Millenia in the ritzy part of Orlando, FL to fight it out over a mere 16 Sony PlayStation 3 consoles, turning the shopping center into a real life version of Dead Rising

"I've been circling around since like maybe 11 p.m. last night," shopper Matt Bullen said. "People were (hiding) in the bushes and people were hiding under the dock. This is chaos, man."

"A huge crowd of people just slammed everybody into the wall," Michael Williams said.

That's it, gang.  Time to pack it all in for the human race.  We're beyond saving at this point.  We should hand the planet over to the insects or whatever is next on the "dominant species" list.  Obviously the humans have shown they cannot control themselves nor handle their affairs with some measure of civility.

Riots, Shootings, And Mouse Urine: Just Another Day Of PS3 Chaos

Bullet-ridden PS3 box Yesterday the lines of people waiting to buy a Sony PlayStation 3 had to make do with drive-by BB gun shootings, but now that the actual official North American launch time has passed, we're starting to see some actual real violence among the campers.  Some have been robbed at gunpoint, a number of people have been trampled by rampaging crowds racing to the store doors, and one person has been shot after a failed mugging attempt.  One group claims to have been splattered by water balloons filled with mouse urine (it must have taken months to prepare those).  The gang at NeoGAF are keeping track of the carnage one link and anecdote at a time.

I swear, all of this bad publicity from the riots and greed surrounding the launch of the Sony PlayStation 3 is really making the gaming community look bad in the eyes of the general non-gaming public.  The sad thing is that most unofficial reports peg the people in line not as gamers, but as greedy eBay capitalists eager to turn a 1000% profit on the consoles.  From what I've read and heard, most of the eBayers don't even know what the PS3 can do beyond "it plays those games, I guess".  It's all about the profit to these people.  Personally, I say that with that kind of attitude they don't deserve to buy one of the first PS3s.  Those consoles should go to the actual gamers: the superfans who are decent people and don't enforce the stereotype that video game enthusiasts are blood-crazed anti-social maniacs who like to shoot puppies for fun.