Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nvidia Shield [chat]

Nvidia Shield announced at CES press conference.

I vote "yes".

Friday, January 11, 2013

Emo Pokemon

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Giant Squid Video

We apparently have a "colossal squid" label.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daily Show: This Poster Exploits Kittens

If you didn't catch it last night, check out that PETA poster.

I want a full sized one so much.  I would give so many monies for one.

Pokemon X/Y Trailer

I don't think PC Makers Understand Computers

The screen grab below is of a women caring her new 27" Lenovo tablet around her house. Maybe I am old fashion, but that seems pretty impractical.

Edit: Here is the video. You can see the lady lugging it around the house around the 50sec mark.

Monday, January 7, 2013

3DS Mario Tennis Open: Review

Video gaming started with tennis. Pong, released in 1972, was the first commercially successful video game, and its success spawned the video game industry. While gaming has expanded beyond the realm of tennis simulation, it remains beholden to tennis' core gameplay mechanic: Multiple players vying for points by means of manipulation of some third entity. Despite the integral role played by tennis, there are very few quality tennis simulations available in the contemporary gaming market.

Previously, I maintained that Mario Power Tennis, for Gamecube, was one of the best Gamecube games, and an excellent tennis simulation. It offered, at base, a comprehensive and refined tennis simulation. Unfortunately, the game was afflicted with "Mario-Game Bullshit Syndrome," a dreaded video game malady in which dickholes at Nintendo take a functional gaming structure and inundate it with repugnant stupid nonsense. Nonsense such as power moves, item bonuses, trick courts, and all the shit we've come to expect from the assholes who made Mario Party.*

Mario Tennis Open, for 3DS, seems to have been inoculated against Mario-Game Bullshit Syndrome, and so offers a refined tennis experience, with Mario characters, absent all the usual Nintendo nonsense. Moreover, the game takes advantage of some of the 3DS' bells, without succumbing to its wasteful whistles.

The most impressive feature of this game is gyro mode. There are two options for player control. The first is a top-down mode in which players control character movement via the waggle-stick, and aim shots via the waggle stick. The better option, called gyro mode, automates character movement while allowing the player to aim shots by rotating the 3DS. To aim left, move the 3DS to the left. To aim right, move the 3DS to the right. Here's a goofy picture, with some moonspeak, that illustrates gyro mode:

But it gets better. Instead of engaging with the oft-lamented requirement of memorizing button-to-shot correspondence, a plague of the fighting game genre, gyro mode simplifies shot selection by displaying shot buttons on the touch screen, and players select their shot by tapping it.

Lobbing a shot to the left does not require a player to press A+B while waggling the waggle stick to the left, after waggling the waggle stick to position one's character. Instead, one rotates the 3DS to the left, and touches the yellow area of the touchscreen. It's fucking magic.

Some reviews have lamented this feature, calling it "dumbed down" and "over-simplified". I prefer to think of it as bullshit removal and refinement. Players can focus upon their shot aiming strategy, rather than stick waggling for movement.

The only "gimmicks" to be found in the game proper are little glowy power circles™, which probably have an official name but I don't care to search for it at the moment. Standing in the blue little glowy power circle™, and performing a slice, gives one's shot a power boost. These are not technically gimmicks, in the sense that manifestations of Mario-Game Bullshit Syndrome are gimmicks. Functionally, the little glowy power circles™ serve as indications of the proper shot to take. It's not goofy peripheral nonsense but rather an extrapolation of the core tennis game.

One reviewer stated that these little glowy power circles™ reduce the game down to Simon Says. My reply is that tennis was never anything other than Simon Says. It's just that, usually, the proper shot is not explicitly indicated by little glowy power circles™.

Predictably, the game offers a wealth of content to unlock. New characters, courts, tournaments, items, etc. are available to compel continued play. A nice feature of the unlock system is that it requires users to engage all aspects of the game. One unlocks items via exhibition / tournament matches, and unlocks the currency to buy said items through minigames. Luckily, the most efficient way to amass currency is to play the easiest minigame (ringshot) in the easiest mode. After a bit of practice one can amass slightly over 200 coins per minute, so coin acquisition is not difficult. The most efficient coin-farming minigame is also the best minigame for tournament practice. Ringshot requires players to aim shots through randomly appearing rings, so players can practice their gyro-aiming while amassing coins. There are some other minigames, but I haven't spent much time with them since they're inefficient for coin accumulation, and dumb.

A feature with which I do not have familiarity is online multiplayer. This is because, for online matches, one equips one's Mii with gear unlocked in single player to gain various stat bonuses. I have not yet unlocked all of the best-in-slot items, and I shan't play online matches until I have every possible advantage, because I'm that guy.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention: One selects between gyro mode and normal mode by 3DS positioning. If you place the 3DS in your lap, then it displays normal mode. If you hold the 3DS up in front of you, then it switches to gyro mode. I happen to habitually hold the 3DS up in front of me, and so my habituated manner of holding portable consoles affords me the ideal gaming mode. If you habitually play with things in your lap (such as your penis, vagina, or unidentifiable mess, you poor bastard), then you may find yourself having to break your habit in order to play gyro mode.

Mario Tennis Open is a welcomed addition to the Mario Sports Game franchise. It's everything you would want from a Mario Tennis game, without any Mario-Game Bullshit Syndrome nonsense. And best of all? The entire game can be played without ever turning on the 3D. Because fuck 3D.

I give this game three blue shells, out of a possible banana peel.

*You insulted Mario Party: Lose a star.**

**You lost a star. Gain two stars!

Nvidia Shield CES Demo