Natchan! My only weakness!

…how did Brian know?


Gifts like this are what remind me of why Brian’s my friend after all these years. (It also reminds me that I owe him a Christmas present… but we won’t talk about that.)

Of Wiis and PS3s

I have neglected to mention here, except via sly inference (specifically, mentioning Ridge Racer 7), that I have a PS3. I also have a Wii.

I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to acquire both, at launch, without waiting in line for more than half an hour each. The internet is a powerful information distributor, if you know where to look—and when you combine that with stores (like, say, EB Games and Toys R Us) that sometimes decide to do last-minute pre-orders, you can get lucky.

I’ll jump to the punchline: I think the PS3 will best the Wii. It seems like I’m going against almost everyone online by holding that opinion—but, then again, you don’t get the chance to look like a genius if you vote with the crowd. (ha)

The Wii is, almost as literally as you can get, a DS made for your TV. By far the most fun game I’ve played on the Wii is Trauma Center: Second Opinionsecond opinion because it’s a remake of the DS game of the same name. Yes, the Wii is a DS that can tell how you’re moving your stylus even without touching the touchscreen—but it’s not as good at that as you would hope. Wii Boxing is an exercise in frustration: to get your character to do something other than a regular face punch, you have to make wild, unnatural motions. An uppercut takes a swift flick of your wrist up—not an uppercut motion. The latter will—at least, for me—result in a face punch. Good luck landing a body blow without dropping your hands well below your waist.

[And, actually, looking at my DS game collection… only Kirby Canvas Curse and Elite Beat Agents use the touch-screen in a way that would be impossible with a traditional controller. The rest are traditional games, that use the touch screen mostly because it’s there. Take Contact, an RPG, that allows you to move your character by touching where you want him to head—is that really a revolution over the D-pad? Even my beloved Phoenix Wright games were originally found on the Gameboy Advance in Japan.]

Where the Wii succeeds is in the same area that the GameCube succeeded: party games. To leave it at that, though, is akin to arguing that the sun is hotter than an ice cube: the Wii completely obliterates the GameCube when it comes to party games. As I’m sure you all are aware, people love the Wii. Not just gamers—people who have never touched a controller in their life love the Wii.

But. The Wii accomplishes this feat by shedding the shackles of most traditional game genres. I happen to like action, adventure, RPG, and shoot-’em-up games. The Wiimote absolutely sucks as a traditional game controller. (I’ve tried, with Gunstar Heroes.)

Yes, you can attach a Classic Controller for your traditional games. Stripped of its controller, though, the Wii isn’t a compelling next-gen* game machine—its graphics are decidedly inferior to the other consoles, and it’s not like Nintendo owns the idea of fun games.

[*When do we start calling them current-generation systems?]

On the other side, the PS3 isn’t the end-all-be-all of consoles. It costs a hell of a lot, and has a woefully mediocre lineup of games at the moment. Since I get motion sick with FPS games, the only PS3 game I own is Ridge Racer 7. I love the game—Brian and I play it darn near every Thursday, after our traditional visit to the Beanery—but, then again, I’ve never played a Ridge Racer game before. Until recently the PS3 managed to make most PS2 games look like garbage; the PS3 still refuses to upscale its picture for older HDTVs that don’t support a resolution of 720p.

I’m not bit by that last issue, though, and Ridge Racer 7 is by far the prettiest game I’ve ever played—the scenery is actually reflected, in real time, in the sheen of your car. Coming from my console-gaming roots, it’s mind-boggling. It’s totally useless, but it’s a level of realism that was totally unheard-of with the PS2 or GameCube. (I don’t play games on my PC, nor have I ever used an XBox or a 360; I understand this sort of thing isn’t so mind-blowing from those perspectives.)

So why do I think the PS3 will eventually triumph over the Wii, when the market says the PS3 is weak and the Wii is strong? A gut feeling, mostly: I sense untapped potential in the PS3, and I can’t shake the feeling that the Wiimote is, at the end of the day, a gimmick. The PS3 still has some cards up its sleeve; the Wii has played its best cards out of the gate.

Could I be wrong? Certainly.

Nintendo’s hope is that the PS3 fails to deliver fun games, while the Wii actually does. It’s happened before, between the DS and the PSP, and it could happen again. But the PS3, unlike the PSP, doesn’t live under the shadow of being “a portable PS2”; the Wii, unlike the DS, doesn’t have a set of traditional controls out of the box to back up the new control scheme.

Lastly: why did I buy a PS3, and not a 360? A major reason is because the 360 mostly features FPS games… and first-person shooters, as I mentioned above, make me physically ill. My primary reason, though, is a bet: the games I tend to be the most interested in—mostly RPGs—come from Japan… and Japan, historically, has strongly favored Sony over Microsoft.

Happy VD (and unicrons!)

The closest thing to a tradition my blog has is linking Donna’s VD and Unicrons page. I can think of no better day than today to do so once again. (This is the first year that I’ve been able to get to the unicorn art page, which is just as hilarious as the rest of the site. Note, as Brian did, how Parisian the Paris photo is.)

I’ve never cared for Valentine’s Day (say what it will of my dating life), but I’ve never had the outright hostility towards it that I do towards, say, Halloween. My coworkers—for the second year in a row, dangit—have decided to emulate elementary school and have Valentine card receptacles pinned up on their inboxes.

Unlike elementary school, I can opt-out this time. :whew:

Making the holiday that much more enjoyable for me this year (aside from Donna’s page, of course) is VGCats’ video-game-themed cards. By far my favorite is the Phoenix Wright one; I could see myself actually using it, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d be the only one who would get it.

Saturday Night Tax

I’m such a happening person that I did my taxes on Saturday night. It was totally awesome, except for the realization that I’m not going to get anywhere near enough money back from the government.

That, and I got ding-dong-dashed at 12:15 am. Mid-tax-preparation, mind you. Note that I don’t have a doorbell.

So, at 12:15, I hear a sudden rap on my door. I’d call it a cop-knock, but that would be a disservice to respectable cop-knocks around the world. I immediately hear some large guy tearing ass down the hallway… and into his room. Simple process of elimination made it quite obvious which room it was.

I was tempted to do the same thing back—at 8:00 am the next morning. (I’d go earlier, but it’s less illegal at 8:00.) Except… I dunno… I’d probably dash for the stairs, and not my room?

Speaking of that Saturday-night dance

My crotchal region is on fire! I didn’t expect dancing to discover so many out-of-shape, tiny muscles in my legs. Though they be tiny, they are absolutely critical to movement.

I apparently need to dance WCS more often. Or never again.

Blogging Living is hard work

A blog is the Tamagotchi of the twenty-first century. Instead of playing with it, feeding it food, and clearing away its waste (…I never did get that…), you have three options:

1) Feed it interesting posts

2) Feed it crap posts

3) Ignore it

<snarky>MySpace is the result of choosing option (2) repeatedly.</snarky>

The sad thing about a blog is that it doesn’t know when to die. You have to take it back out behind the barn and shoot it yourself—and, being the procrastinator that you probably are, you wait far too long before you do that.

This, however, is also the strength of the blog: it’s not going to up and die on you if you aren’t in the mood for blogging.

If it hasn’t already been apparent, I haven’t had the blogging spirit as of late. When I sit down and try to type something up (which I want to do, dangit), I find my output offensively dry—a litany of the day’s events, without any actual flavor or energy to spice things up. (“Crap posts,” in short.) I curb my swearing when it gets to the point where I offend myself; I apparently treat my blog the same way.

Quite honestly, this is the only place where I actually write anything of any substance nowadays. It’s beginning to show.

In my senior year of high school, my Honors Essay and Inquiry class encouraged us to find joy in writing. We would write each day in a journal, and at the end of each week we’d choose our favorite piece and share it with the others—in many ways, that class reminds me of the fictional ideal of a “college class” more than most of my actual-college experiences do. Most days there would be a seed idea we could base our writing on, but we almost always had the freedom to reject that seed and forge our own path. Today, for example, I might opt to curse my foolishness at attending a west coast swing dance on Saturday without properly building up my west coast swing muscles.

It’s high-time to regain that joy of writing. I’ve lost it over the last year, and I intend to get it back.

That’s actually been true of a lot of my life, lately: I feel like I’ve lost the twinkle in my eye, the spring in my step. (I’m not complaining, mind you—the weird thing is that life is going well right now. I just don’t seem to recognize that on some primitive level.) It’s high time for me to fight to regain my joie de vivre.


Jacqui nails the Mooninite issue on the head, in fewer words than I would have used.

This reminds me of the Mario question-block bomb scare from last year. I yearn for the time when people would see things like these and have one of two responses:

1) Childlike wonder/amusement

2) “Kids these days”

Note that I have nothing against the second response; one day I hope to have that kind of response myself. (Yes, a Mooninite flipping me off still amuses me something fierce.)

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