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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why we're not Friends with the PS3

I originally wrote this post for my personal blog, but thought a wider audience might enjoy commiserating. I also I added pretty pictures to this version.

For Christmas my mom bought us a Playstation Move in a bundle pack (the Mayhem Bundle for those who are curious) with 2 games and a gun as well as one additional game. We didn't particularly want a Move because we have a Wii that takes care of all our motion gaming needs, but we've been wanting to get the House of the Dead Overkill: Extended Cut that's PS3 only, and we like shooting digital things and it was already there, so we decided to keep it. We played the separate game, Everybody Dance,  right away after Christmas and it was fun enough, but after that initial trial run though we've been ignoring it. My Mom has been asking me if we tried the 2 bundled games yet and I've been tired of telling her no, so today while everyone else in the household was occupied and I wasn't doing anything better I decided to try one. Only that's not at all what happened.

First I had to try to set up the little Move motion camera, as we'd kind of fudged it when we used it at first. The Move it doesn't work without that so it's sort of an important part. Unfortunately because of the aforementioned Wii we already have a little gaming doodad on top of our TV See hand Illustration:
My MSN Paint Skillz are AWESOME (though I didn't actually make this in paint)

Two gaming doodads trying to be in the center of the TV just wasn't working out.  After several attempts of shifting, twist tying,  and sticky thing-ing, I admitted defeat and just sort of fudged it again by wrapping it around the Wii bar and letting it sit a little bit precariously off the TV.

My Skills are still lacking but I used a nicer arrow this time.

Then, I got out the gun. The Move Gun we have is called the sharpshooter and it is a big ugly mess of a thing.
In spite of the name probably won't help you get a high score in Hogan's Alley

It might be fine for men with longer arms and no pesky breasts in the way, but for me just trying to hold it was difficult, and gaming with it seems like it might be borderline impossible. The Wii zapper is a much much better design. In any case, in spite of my disappointment with it's size and unruliness, I decided I'd still try it in game.  I popped in the game disc and naturally because it's a PS3 game it had to update.

I was expecting this update because I think I've had maybe 1 PS3 game ever that hasn't wanted to update immediately when you put it in, it's one of my biggest peeves about the system as a whole. But this game (Resistance 3 if you're curious) had not one, not two, not even three updates it wanted, it had four mighty updates that we had to install to play the game.  If you've never had to go through this experience on a PS3, one update is usually enough to make you give up any hope of playing the game you're interested in. They've take anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour in our experiences and that's just for one! So we decided to let it go ahead and do it's dirty downloading while we did other things. Approximately an hour and 15 minutes later, it was finally done. (Amazing that our XBOX360 also demands to update games but can do it in a fraction of the time)

Over and hour is a completely reasonable amount of time for an update download isn't it?

By this time Jen had finished the paper she was working on, and I was the one looking over it so I decided she could try the game. She wakes the controller/gun back up (they go to sleep after a period of inactivity) and navigates to the game start only to discover she has to calibrate the controller before she can start. This is normal with any motion controlled game and really a good idea, but most things let you point at the corners and center of the screen and call it a day. Not the Move, the Move wants you to swing the controller around your feet while standing on your head and facing due North...OK I may have embellished that part slightly, but it was much more involved than any other motion controller/console I've played with. So Jen tried unsuccessfully to complete calibration with the controller still strapped into the gun apparatus, naturally, it refused to work. So she took it out of the gun (not hard necessarily but still sort of involved) and finally got it to work.

So finally she starts the game again and it has to install...That's right it needs to download itself to the hard drive so we can play it which for some reason it didn't do when it was doing all that other downloading an installing. Back in my day console games ran from a disc or cartridge with very little of this crazy downloading business *shakes head*. In any case the little install bar took about 15 minutes to finish, but that alone wasn't enough then it also had to install it's trophies so we could rub in our friends faces exactly how many hours we spent killing an unreasonable amount of digital creatures in new and exciting ways and gaming isn't gaming without that!  But after about 5 minutes of the trophy loading we realize the game has frozen and that was the last straw. Jen turned off the PS3 and played GTA IV on the XBOX360 instead.

This is all we've been able to see of Resistance 3

Whenever I hear someone talking about how much they LOOOOVVVEEE their PS3, I can't help but wonder if they've ever played another console.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Notes on Demise from Zelda Skyward Sword

There are totally spoilery things in this entry, but if you've read anything about Skyward Sword you've probably seen anything that's going to be covered here as I don't plan on going into too much of the plot line.

I'm aware that I am totally late to the "my thoughts about Skyward Sword" Party. I had the game pre-ordered and got it right away and started playing it right away, so theoretically, I could have done this back whenever every other Nintendo fanboy/fangirl  was doing it, but I didn't because I kept getting bored with the game and finding other things to do, I've gotten to the end finally so I feel like I can appropriately make my comments now. I'm not going to go into all my various grievances with the game as a whole (at least not right now), I just want to talk about one little element, Demise.

Demise is your main antagonist in the game and while he has the common decency to stay in one spot and start trouble rather than following you from temple to temple, it pretty much always comes back to demise. Now my problem with this is that demise starts off as  The Imprisoned. As far as I'm concerned, it's cute, not terrifying. I mean look at this thing:

The Imprisoned

Sure he's got big pointy teeth, but they just add to the cuteness. I mean look at those little wiggly toes. My first encounter with him, was not upsetting, it just made me giggly. In spite of their obvious design differences his armless largely faceless appearance reminded me of the Mome Raths in Alice in Wonderland. While the Mome Rath thing might just be me, clearly it's not just me thinking it's cute, if this plushie and it's responses are any indication.

The imprisioned form of Demise does go through a few "upgrades" and while once is grows arms it does remind me less of a Mome Rath, it does not get any less cute. In fact it's arms are so gangly and silly looking it might actually be cuter.
The Imprisoned 2nd form
 Later on it even flies, but it's basically as the same as the arm one only with a halo.  In spite of the fact that each of these subsequent incarnations causes bigger and more annoying problems for Link, it was hard to take him seriously at any point. That being said I could live with demise being perfectly silly after all the game take great pains to let you know that he isn't at full power in any of those incarnations. So basically that it's an adorable big bumbling monster, is something to be thankful for, not mock.

However as one would expect that's not the final word on Demise. Eventually Demise gets all his unimaginable power and becomes Akuma from Street Fighter.

Demise from Skyward Sword

Now it's possible you've been living under a large rock for awhile and don't really know much about street fighter or Akuma.  This is Akuma:

Akuma from Street Fighter

Still not convinced? Here's the handy split screen version:
Demise and Akuma are totally the same guy
I think the Split Screen version is pretty irrefutable evidence that Akuma got tired of being Dragon Punched and Cannon Drilled and decided to take out his demonic rage on what would become Hyrule. Which if it were the official story of the game, I personally would enjoy. But there's a whole contingent of people who argue, sure maybe he kind of looks like Akuma, but it's clearly supposed to be a precursor to Ganon/Ganondorf. I admit the game certainly makes it seem that way, except well, this is Ganon:

link to the Past Ganon
And if you're not as old school, this is Ganondorf (different from ganon if you buy into the human beast form having 2 different names thing):

Ocarina of Time Ganondorf
And this is Ganon, and this is Ganon even this is Ganon, and well I could go on for quite awhile, but I won't because the point is the Demise to Ganon thing doesn't work for me. Demise is clearly an Akuma who wandered into the wrong game universe.

So basically Nintendo brought me and the other Zelda fans an antagonist who starts off cute and becomes an escapee from another game franchise. This would be annoying in any game, but Skyward Sword was touted as the definitive back story of the whole Zelda saga, making it especially heinous. Would it really have been so hard to create a legitimate demon precursor to one of the most important and well known characters in all of gaming History?

I don't say this that often, but I'm really disappointed in you Nintendo. I feel like you've done a great disservice to the franchise.



Since it came up in a comment, I'd like to point out A) I don't actually believe Nintendo stole Akuma's character design, I think it was more giving him a generic "demonic" character design. B) I'm aware of that particular generic design has some roots in Japanese folklore. For more on either of those things I left a pretty lengthy reply to anon comment to this entry.

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