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Thu 10th Sep 2009

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argus commented on This NES Arcade-Style Unit is a Thing of Beauty:

It's weird that the screen is the wrong aspect ratio for the NES. I guess every game will have black borders on the sides. For the photo they chose a screen with a black background to make the it less obvious, but it will be quite noticeable while playing. The other option is to have the screen stretched.



argus commented on Review: Xeodrifter (3DS eShop):

People are complaining about $10 for a 4 hour game, but I think it's important to put this in perspective. This game was inspired by Super Metroid, which sold for $50-60 in 1994. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $80-96 in 2014 dollars. Maybe a casual playthrough of Super Metroid while exploring everything would take about 6 hours. For $80-96! So, $10 seems like a good deal to me. Games are cheaper now than they've ever been.



argus commented on The Man Behind Sega's Wonder Boy Series Hates ...:

I grew up with Atari, NES, SNES, and Gameboy. I played all the "retro" Marios when they first came out. And he's absolutely right. The first Super Mario Bros. has awkward controls! So does Super Mario Land for Gameboy. The jumping and friction just don't seem right. Controlling Mario in midair is weird, and sometimes you wind up jumping left while facing right. Precision jumps don't feel the same as the rest of the series.

The rest of the series (SMB2, SMB3, SMW, etc.) has excellent controls! Also, the Mario All Stars remake of SMB1 has improved controls. I don't know about the Gameboy Color remake. But the original SMB1 on NES was awkward.



argus commented on Review: Vampire Crystals (WiiWare):

"certain levels tend to jump in difficulty so drastically that they’ll take any player several tries just to complete."

So you're saying the difficulty is like every game from the 80s? I don't see the problem with this.



argus commented on 3DS Retail Codes Being Sold Through Online Ret...:

If Nintendo is being very rigid about the price of digital downloads, then retailers aren't able to lower the price. This will lead to lackluster digital sales, and then Nintendo will think "I guess people don't want digital after all"... when really the problem is that physical copies are cheaper. :/

As far as I can tell, Nintendo is thinking of these download codes as a "gift certificate" worth a specific price. And of course, nobody ever lowers prices on gift certificates. But that's not what these codes are! Nintendo needs to change the way they think about this.



argus commented on Review: Amoebattle (DSiWare):

I haven't played this game, but it occurs to me that there are plenty of $5 games that do not have this issue with music. That's because most developers understand the limitations they're working with and plan ahead. For example, the developer could have used some sort of tracker music (MOD, .xm, midi, etc.) instead of fully digitized tracks.

The only excuse I can imagine is if the developer was informed of these restrictions at the last minute, when it was already too late. In that case, the blame might lie with the publisher or Nintendo. Otherwise, it sounds like a case of poor planning on the developer's part.



argus commented on Feature: Bargain Bin DS Games:

"Elite Beat Agents, with a friendlier if slightly schizophrenic song selection ranging from Led Zeppelin to Avril Lavigne"

Hang on a second there - Led Zeppelin? There's no Zeppelin in EBA. It would be awesome if there were, but there isn't.

Now you've got me wondering which track you mistook for Led Zeppelin. Please don't tell me you mixed them up with the Rolling Stones!



argus commented on Reggie: Virtual Console on Wii Isn't Dead:

To the people asking for Square games, Neo Geo games, Capcom, etc... that's not Nintendo's fault. You need to ask the respective companies. I saw someone here say Nintendo had better release Mega Man X2 soon, and someone else wants Reggie to release Mortal Kombat. But Nintendo doesn't own these games.

To the person who wants old Disney games, I agree that would be completely awesome. But we should be begging Disney and Capcom for those games - not Nintendo. I bet Disney has no idea that anybody wants those old games, because everybody just directs their frustration towards Nintendo.



argus commented on Submit Your Amoebattle Questions for Intrinsic...:

How long did Amoebattle take to develop?
What's it like to develop for DSiWare?
Are there any plans to bring Amoebattle to other platforms?
What other projects should we expect from Intrinsic Games in the future?
Are there different environments/habitats in Amoebattle? If so, how many?
What can you tell us about replay value in Amoebattle?



argus commented on Wii U Touch Screen is Resistive, Not Capacitive:

Many people don't know this, but the DS touch screen is pressure sensitive. I don't know of any games that use this feature, but there's a homebrew drawing app that reacts to how hard you're pressing with the stylus. It was quite surprising when I first tried it! It allows for very natural drawing, like the stuff shown in the Wii U video.

However, drawing on the DS never felt right to me. The screen is just too small, and the resolution is too low. On the other hand, I've had good experiences using Wacom tablets on PC. So, the good news is that the Wii U controller has roughly the same size writing area as a Wacom tablet! This thing is going to be perfect.



argus commented on Rumour: Project Cafe Controller Contains a Camera:

Since E3 is about a day away, I'm just going to type up my wacky prediction here. That way, it will be funny to come back and laugh at how wrong I was. I haven't been keeping up with every bit of news, so maybe my theory has already been disproved... but here it is anyway, for posterity:

The Wii 2 IS the controller. The game is inserted into the controller, and the processing power is all in the controller. However, there is also a small unit that plugs into your TV. The controller processes the game and wirelessly streams the video/audio output to the TV unit. The small unit that plugs into the TV only handles outputting whatever the controller tells it to. The controller is the console.

Is it possible to fit this much power into the controller? To be honest, I don't know. But I think it's a cool idea. So, I will continue with my theory:

Secondary controllers will be sold without all of the powerful hardware inside; instead, they will wirelessly sync with the primary controller, which handles all of the game processing for all players. This means the secondary controllers will be simpler and available at the traditional price for a controller (around $50). Or, there is a chance that the secondary controllers might just be the Wii remotes that we already own (but I doubt it).

The primary controller will be big enough for a Wii disc to fit inside. When players want to play Wii games, they put a Wii disc inside the controller and set it down next to the TV. Then the player picks up his/her Wii remote, and the "Wii 2" controller sits next to the TV, acting as both the Wii console and sensor bar.

Promo videos will show off the versatility of the system. We will see players sitting on the couch playing a 4-player game, an individual gamer who takes the primary controller out of the house to continue playing, and a family who uses the controller as a Wii console when they want to get off the couch and move around. Maybe we will also see the family using the controller as a video camera, and then they stream their home video to the TV moments later. Emphasis will be that Project Cafe is different from anything you've seen before, but it can still play all of your old Wii favorites. There will also be an emphasis on social features - like maybe a video call with grandma.

Because the controller will have the strength of a console, it will come with a charging dock and encourage players to always put the controller in the dock between play sessions. It would make sense for this charging dock to be combined with the TV receiver that I mentioned earlier. That way, the charging dock can be designed so that the controller acts as a Wii console whenever it's in the dock.

My request for a launch title: Mario Paint. I can already imagine the promo video of a family passing the controller around, creating something together. We will see people holding the controller like a palette and drawing on it like a Wacom tablet. I'd love to see Mario holding the controller like a palette.

Whether I'm right or wrong, I think the Cafe/Wii2 will blur the line between what we consider a "console" and a "handheld". That means it will have the best features of both. It will have power and HD output to a TV screen, which makes us think of consoles. But it will have a controller with tons of features (including a screen), which we usually associate with a handheld. The 3DS would still be a valuable asset, because the dual screens and 3D are unique features. In conclusion, Nintendo dominates the world.

Make it happen, Nintendo!



argus commented on Talking Point: What's in a Console Colour?:

Nice article. Personally, I'd like to see some sort of color gradient or a simple pattern with nice colors. I'm looking over at my TV now, and here's what I see: a boring white box (Wii), a boring silver box (PS2), and a boring black box (Blu-ray). They're all functional designs, but none of them really say "fun" to me.

When I think back on my old Nintendo systems, I remember my NES, SNES, and Gameboy all being the same dull shade of light grey. I've also owned both models of light grey PS1, and I bought the silver Gamecube because it was the best deal at the time. I've also had a white DS Lite. Finally, last year I bought my second DS Lite, and this time I got the dark blue one. It took over 20 years, but it's my first video game system with some color!

So, I'd like the Wii 2 to launch with something other than solid white/grey/black/silver. A color gradient would be perfect. I want something that looks modern and classy, but also fun. Some laptop designers know what I'm talking about.



argus commented on DS Lite Drops to $99 in US, Mario DS Games Go Red:

They managed to keep it at $129.99 for five years! That's impressive. $99.99 is a great deal. The game library is enormous, so the DS Lite still has a lot of fun to offer.

About 6 months ago, my DS Lite died after 4 years of gaming. I wanted to replace it, but the DSi just seemed to expensive for the features it offered. Thanks to Black Friday sales, I wound up finding a DS Lite new from amazon for $89.99. The cheapest DSi sale was $129.99, so there was no contest! I wasn't going to spend an extra $40 just to lose GBA support, get a camera that I had no interest in, and gain access to an online shop where I would spend more money.

DS games are crazy cheap, too. You can find Elite Beat Agents new for $9.99, FF4 for $16.99, Chrono Trigger for $16.99, etc. I'm sure you can do even better if you look for used games or old GBA cartridges.

As far as I'm concerned, the DS Lite is still the smartest purchase of a video game handheld. For a family with 2 kids, you can now buy two DS Lites and a couple of multiplayer games for the price of a 3DS with no games! Or for an individual gamer, you can buy a DS Lite with enough games to last 1-2 years for the price of a 3DS with no games.

Long live the DS Lite!



argus commented on First BIT.TRIP SAGA Screens Incoming:

I have the full series on Wiiware, and it was definitely worth the $42. I think it will work really well as a package. (However, I don't think anyone should be allowed to finish FLUX until they've finished the rest of the games - for story purposes.)

It seems like everybody has their own opinion on which game is the best. My personal favorite is CORE, but most people seem to prefer RUNNER. So, there's something for everyone.



argus commented on Review: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlord...:

If this is the same as the retail game, then $8 is a steal. Puzzle Quest is one of the best games on DS. It's unfortunate if they had to lower the audio quality to fit it into DSiWare, because it has one of the best soundtracks. It's understandable, though.

I've never had any problems with the AI in the retail release. The developer has confirmed that the AI doesn't "see ahead" or anything like that, but many players still claim it cheats anyway. The problem is that players tend to notice the times when the AI pulls off a great combo by luck, and they immediately claim it is proof that the AI is cheating. But if you are a skilled player, then you will pull off these "luck" combos with the same frequency! In fact, these top-of-the-screen combos are a mix of skill and luck, because you want to optimize the top of the board, make smart decisions about which pieces to swap, and then hope for the best. The AI knows how to do this.

I got around 30 hours of gameplay out of the retail version. Since this one is said to be the same as the retail release, but with lower audio quality, I'd say it's a great deal. But, if you can find a cheap copy of the retail release, then you should opt for that one instead - because the soundtrack is really a joy to listen to.



argus commented on Calculator:

Based on the video and screenshots, it looks okay to me. But, I wish the buttons that are used often were larger than the ones that are used rarely. I mean, the number keys look a little small, and some of the extra scientific keys are unnecessary. But overall, not bad. If they can offer this for $2, then I'd like to see a $5 graphing calculator next.



argus commented on Redbox Game Rentals Go Nationwide in June:

This sounds like a good way to test out a game that you're thinking about spending $30-50 on. Since the Wii doesn't have free demos (besides a few Wiiware games), this is basically a $2 demo. I'm okay with that.

To those of you who say $2 is too much - is there somewhere that does a cheaper single night rental? So far, I've seen people say $8 for 5 days or $22 for a month at Blockbuster. Those are good deals, but sometimes it's better to just have a single night at the lowest possible price. You know, just to check out a game or have some fun when friends are coming over.

When I was a kid, nobody offered 5-day or 30-day rentals. There were 1-day and 2-day rentals, and they were roughly this price.

My only complaint - there is one of these by me, and it gets a long line when things are busy. The line makes it difficult to get into the grocery store. People are tapping the screen, browsing the selection, and thinking about what they want to rent. Meanwhile, people are waiting, and I'm just trying to get into the store with my shopping cart.



argus commented on Wii Sports Resort and Wii Party Drop to $39.99...:

I've wanted Wii Sports Resort ever since it came out, but I could never bring myself to spend the money (or ask for it as a gift). Now that the price has come down, it's more enticing. But, I think I'll wait for a $29.99 amazon price around Xmas.



argus commented on Talking Point: What You Want in a New Nintendo...:

My wishlist:

  • Not too expensive. This is important.
  • Can play Wii games.
  • Can transfer and play all old VC/Wiiware games, and can continue to buy from the old VC/Wiiware shop.
  • One friend code per system, like 3DS.
  • Something innovative. It sounds like it will be the controller again, and that's cool. Maybe take the best ideas from the DS and Wii and combine them into one console?


argus commented on Features: The History of BIT.TRIP, Part 2:

These articles are great. CORE is my favorite of the series, so it was fun to read about it. Incidentally, VOID is my least favorite.

I think the checkpoint system made VOID too easy. I managed to finish it on my second time playing the game, and then I didn't feel compelled to play it anymore. CORE, on the other hand, was a total struggle. I had to earn it. By the time I finally finished CORE, I was hooked. So, I went back and played it repeatedly to increase my high scores.

It's really daring that they went with such different control schemes for these games. I personally prefer d-pad instead of analog stick, so that might be another reason why CORE hooked me and VOID didn't.

Gaijin has done something really special with this series. CORE is not only my favorite BIT.TRIP game - it's one of my favorite games of all time.



argus commented on Iwata: Ocarina of Time 3D Will Release in June...:

@Token Girl: The top screen displays 800x240 when the 3d is turned on and 400x240 when the 3d is turned off. Since these images are simulating "3d turned off", it would be accurate to show up images that are 400x240. These 800x480 images are in no way accurate. The 3ds simply cannot display graphics that are this high res. It would be like showing a Blu-ray screen capture to promote a DVD.



argus commented on Review: Arcade Essentials (WiiWare):

For 500 pts, I might pick this up eventually just to play the first two games that were mentioned. It might be enjoyable in the same way Retro Game Challenge was for DS.



argus commented on Iwata: Ocarina of Time 3D Will Release in June...:

@warioswoods - I know what you mean, but I disagree... overall, I think the higher res images make the game look better. In these shots, you can see more detail than a 3ds will be able to show. For example, if there is a small object that is 40 pixels in these images, then it will be only 10 pixels on an actual 3ds. Fewer pixels means less detail, and an actual 3ds will have 4x fewer pixels than these images.

I still think the game will look great on a 3ds, though! I'm just being picky.



argus commented on Iwata: Ocarina of Time 3D Will Release in June...:

I have a rant. Everyone realizes that it's not going to look like this on a 3ds, right? Those promo images are 800x480, but the 3ds screen resolution is 400x240. It must be running on some sort of dev system. This is one of my pet peeves, because promo images like this are very misleading. Nintendo has also done the same thing with Skyward Sword images - there are promo images of it that are much higher res than what the Wii can actually display. It gives a false impression of what the game will look like on an actual system.



argus commented on Review: Hyper Lode Runner (Game Boy):

I love these retro reviews. I had this game when I was a kid, and I had a lot of fun with the level editor. I used to stack enemies on top of each other and create fiendish traps.

A similar (but better) Gameboy game is Catrap. You guys should do a review of that one sometime. It's an action puzzle-platformer with a similar vibe, but there is also a time-reversing mechanic (like Braid). Like Hyper Lode Runner, Catrap has tons of levels and a level editor. It has more polish and a better difficulty curve, though.



argus commented on DSiWare Users Going Back to BASIC with PetitCo...:

This is awesome. I'm another geek who spent my teenage years programming quirky little games in QBASIC. Even though it will surely have its limitations, I would buy it immediately if I had a DSi instead of DS Lite.



argus commented on First Impressions: 3DS Virtual Console:

I'm still afraid that DS games will be blurry on the 3DS due to scaling. Either that, or they will be the original resolution - which means the viewport will be 20% smaller than it was on the DS. Either way, it's a serious downgrade and I don' think the games would be enjoyable. Nintendo hasn't addressed this yet (as far as I know), and that worries me.



argus commented on Review: Urbanix (WiiWare):

Hm... the review left me still undecided on this one. I like Qix, and this is only 500 points. I also like the style. But I can see how it could get stale.

My main concern with this game is that you can't see the entire playfield on screen. It looks like they should have included a minimap or something. How can you keep track of where the enemies are if you can't see them until you're close?



argus commented on Features: Nintendo Life Reader's Choice Awards...:

Seems reasonable. I voted for BIT.TRIP RUNNER for Wii game of the year and Dragon Quest IX for DS/overall game of the year. I'm not interested in SMG2, but I'm excited to try Donkey Kong Country Returns. This was a pretty good year for Nintendo systems.



argus commented on Review: Magical Drop III (Virtual Console / Ne...:

Cool! I played this back in the day and liked it.

By the way, this game is also part of the Data East Arcade Classics for Wii. That's $19.99 for a bunch of games on a disc, including this one. I think it's probably a better deal than 900 Wii points for this one game. (I don't know if the versions have any differences.)



argus commented on WiiWare Super Meat Boy Gets Canned:

The size limit isn't a problem for Wiiware. Look at all the great full-featured games on the service (World of Goo comes to mind). We just need developers who know how to optimize their games to fit within that size constraint. It might not be easy, and it might take some experience and effort. But developers know about this size limit before they start a project. Team Meat's mistake is that they never should have announced this as a Wiiware game in the first place if they weren't willing to put the effort into making their game fit onto Wiiware.



argus commented on EA: Nintendo Needs to Drop Wii Price, Help Thi...:

Isn't the Wii the cheapest of the 3 home consoles? Over the past month, I've seen Wiis on sale for $179 including Wii Sports and New Super Mario Bros. The bundle with Wii Sports Resort is also a good deal. Why should Nintendo lower the price when they're already the most affordable system? With all of the new colors and bundles Nintendo did this year for the Wii and DSi, I think Nintendo is probably doing great.



argus commented on First BIT.TRIP FLUX Screenshots:

We won't really know until we see video, but my guess is this: while controlling the "paddle", you have to collect certain objects, shoot certain objects, and dodge the rest. So it's a combination of a few gameplay elements from the series (beat/void/fate). Power-ups could give it features from the other two - I think that's what's happening in screenshot 6 (core).

Whatever it is, I'm psyched



argus commented on Take on Abylight's DSiWare Cosmo Fighters on M...:

It looks really good! I think the limitation of characters/backgrounds (assuming it's just what they showed in the video) is probably because they wanted to keep it small enough for DS download play to work. Anyway, it's a cheap game and it looks like it could be fun to have around if you have friends to play with.