Wii 100% backwards compatible

I was going through my monthly clean-out of my Yahoo email address I came across this tidbit from Gamespy:

From: Joseph
In a recent news article you mention that “530” gamecube games are playable on the Wii. Is this the entire cube library, or are there limitations to the backwards compatibility as with the Xbox 360?

Li C. Kuo: I did a quick search on Nintendo’s official website and found a list of every GameCube game out so far. According to the website, there are 549 titles available for the GC right now. More are still being released. That’s a bit more than 530, however, Nintendo said “more than 530” GameCube games are playable on the Wii. We then asked Nintendo about this and were told that the Wii is “100 percent backwards compatible.”

The jury is still out on how much backwards compatibility actually matters, but it’s good to know I’ll still be able to break some necks with HUNK and RE4 Mercenaries.

This may be common knowledge, but it’s the first place I can remember seeing it in “print.” So there you go, future Wii owners — all your Gamecube games will work on your Wii.

So now what?

I haven’t devoted as much time to games recently as I have to finishing Resident Evil 4. Before I started playing RE4, I wasn’t playing anything with any regularity. I played some Guild Wars when I got the chance, maybe a game of Mario Kart DS or Animal Crossing Wild World, but other than that, I wasn’t too commited to anything.

Finishing up RE4 has renewed my desire to game again and now I’m not sure what’s up next. Playing through RE4 has piqued my interest in the Resident Evil universe, so I may play some of the older RE games. I started playing the REmake of the first game for the Gamecube, but never really made it that far. I know most of the older games are flawed in their controls, so that may be hard to overcome, having been spoiled with the over-the-shoulder camera and controls of RE4. Nevertheless, I’d really like to see more of these character’s pasts and get more of the back story. I still say Capcom should capitalize on the success of RE4 and repackage all the Gamecube editions of the series in one mega-pack. Throw in a couple sweet collectibles and I’d be all over it.

I’ve also got “The Queue” to work on. I really should get back to Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. The list is long and I should give it some attention. But it’s probably not going to happen.

It’s not going to happen, because I’m strongly considering giving EVE-Online a try. The guys over at Kill Ten Rats, one of my daily reads, are always posting excellent EVE bits and pieces and I’m very intrigued. I almost bought EVE-Online last year when I was looking for a new MMORPG to play. I ended up with Neocron instead of EVE (which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing). Neocron was fun but eventually fizzled out. It didn’t exactly put Massive in MMORPG, which always bothered me. EVE looks much deeper (maybe it’s too deep) and a lot more vibrant. From the looks of it, the crafting system is complex and confusing. Just the way I like it. A good crafting system is one of my basic needs, so this may be the clincher. I loved Neocron’s crafting system (the best I’ve experienced) and EVE’s looks much better. So there’s a good possibility I may download the client and give the 14-day free trial a go. I will still have to grapple with the monthly fee, but that’s something that can be worked out.

You guys have any suggestions? Any experiences with EVE? Anything else I should try out?

Resident Evil 4, case closed.

I have defeated Lord Saddler once again. Just like last time, he was much easier than that son of a jackal Krauser. So how does the pro difficulty compare to the normal level? Was it twice as hard?

Not really. Even though I died over a hundred times more than the first time through, it wasn’t that much harder. It took me about 3 hours longer this time through, but I took my time and looked for all the treasures. I killed about a hundred more bad guys, but I was more efficient, increasing my hit rate to 74%. I also finished “Assignment Ada” and I’ve now unlocked all the weapons goodies. I don’t have the million pesetas to buy the infinite rocket launcher or the Chicago Typewriter, but I did acquire the hand cannon and it packs quite the punch.

Resident Evil 4 easily stands heads and shoulders above 99% of the games of this generation of consoles. Even though I feel it lost a little of its spookiness and tension once the action moved onto the island, the game still has atmosphere and suspense. I can’t say enough about it. I’m glad I went through it a second time. A must play.

Prepare for your death, Leon!

Jack Krauser
Yeah, so that’s the idle threat Jack Krauser sends your way when you finally confront him for the last piece of the gate key leading to Ashley. Like I said before, I knew the Krauser battle was going to be tough, I just had no idea how tough it was going to be. After eighty-nine attempts, I can assure you that he is very tough. Well, I should rephrase that. If you don’t know his weakness, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I found that out for about the first eighty tries or so, last night. He was taking ten rounds from my Broken Butterfly and not even breaking a sweat.

When I beat Krauser the first time, I used the TMP with about 200 rounds and just shot at his exposed feet (when he shields his body with his mutated arm/wing, his feet are vunerable). It took me about five tries on the normal difficulty. Since I’m going through this play without the TMP I needed a different approach.

I had ten rounds in the Broken Butterfly and three hand grenades. I’d either dodge his attack and blast him with a couple rounds or get him exposed with a grenade and then blast a round or two when he was dazed. I could get eight or nine of the .45 rounds to connect and he didn’t even seem fazed. I’d unload a clip of the Blacktail and a couple headshots with the rifle and he wasn’t going down. I was getting desperate and it was getting late. I went and looked for “hints” because I coudn’t get this far to give up. A quick google search revealed that the knife (THE KNIFE?!) is very effective against Krauser on Pro difficuty. Again, the knife? I was incredulous but willing to try anything at this point. So I gave it a whirl. He came in on me, I blasted him with the Broken Butterfly and when he went down on one knee, I started hacking away with the knife. I made three or four good slashes when he started to get up. I figured I’d keep slashing, just to see what happened and I must have been in a good spot because I could keep slashing at his feet. It took eight or ten slashes but he went down. Finally! I grabbed the pieces to open the gate and made my way out before the tower blew up. I had beaten Krauser. It felt good.

I’m still a little miffed that the guy can take eight rounds of the Colt .45 to the face and shrug it off, but a few gashes with a knife and he goes down like a paper bag. That just isn’t right. But down he went, and I’m moving on. The end is in sight and I am looking forward to victory over Lord Saddler.

Back on track.

Maybe I was too tired last night. Whatever it was, I was frustrated and had to vent. Now that I got that out of my system, I’m back on track in RE4. I sat down this evening with a cool head and breezed through the section of the game that was giving me such fits. In fact, I was on such a roll that I made it past “It” with just two attempts. The first time through, I died a bunch of times in that section. I made it all the way to the part where Leon has to take down Krauser to get the insignias to get through yet another gate between he and Ashley. The Krauser part was the toughest last time so I’m assuming it’s going to be tough again.

Leon with Broken ButterflyAnd can I say how much I love the “Broken Butterfly”? Easily my favorite weapon in the game (also the best name for a weapon). Sure, I’ve never heard of a 12-shot Colt .45 revolver, but the Broken Butterfly is my weapon of choice. Little details can be overlooked when I’ve got the President’s daughter (and the world) to save. My sweet Broken Butterfly took “It” out with ease and I’m hoping to have the same success with it against Krauser.

So yeah, I’m back on track. Sometimes all it takes is a step back, a deep breath, and a good night’s sleep.

Arrgh!

[ Mood: FRUSTRATED ] [ Listening to: Whatever is on the TV ] (This is what my entry would look like if this was a Live Journal blog.)

Holy fricking crap am I frustrated right now with Resident Evil 4. I’m currently stuck at the point where Ashley is driving the big dumpster/bulldozer and you’ve got to run up and raise the elevator lift. Ashley lamely sits in the truck while you’ve got to fight off the bad guys, hit the button, and keep the baddies away from Ashley. Get out of the driver’s seat and run away, you nit! Anyway, I’ve got that part pretty much down pat. The truck then drives on some more, fighting off waves of baddies, before you’ve got to take out a runaway truck coming straight at you. I must have done this sequence twenty times this evening. Something would always go wrong — I’d miss the peep-hole target in the runaway truck, Ashley would get shocked before I could get back to her, or one of the ganados’ head would turn into monster-tentacle-death dealing claw-head and would get me with one hit. It’s frustrating for so many reasons.

If I hear Ashley say, “I’m leaving it to you,” I’m saving the ganados trouble and I’m blasting her myself.

So I might be taking a short break from RE4. Or I might be right back at it tomorrow night.

I’ve got needs, after all.

What I’m playing

Even though I have a stack of unplayed games (hereafter to be referred to as “The Queue”), I am currently engrossed in Resident Evil 4. Even though I finished the game over a year ago, I’ve been playing the Mercenaries mini game, off and on, for the past couple months. Just recently I decided to endeavor to get 5-star scores on all four boards with the five characters. I unlocked the last character (Albert Wesker) and then spent some time racking up the scores needed on each board. Upon doing so, I unlocked the “Handcannon” which would be available to me next time I played. So I started the regular game over again, this time with the “Pro” difficulty. I figured I’d get to the first encounter with the merchant, buy the Handcannon, go blast some baddies with it and be done with the game. Things didn’t go as planned. I got to the merchant and the handcannon wasn’t available. But I had been enjoying myself so much that I decided to finish the game on Pro difficulty. I just rescued the President’s daughter from the church and now we’re trying to get out of dodge.

Having played this game extensively the past week has reminded me why this is such a great game. The game defines what a polished game is. The attention to detail is what gets me every time. From the authentic Spanish phrases (I will be updating the list with words and phrases I missed the first time through) to the gun reloading animations, I can’t say enough. Just a fantastic game, top to bottom.

Ashley Resident Evil 4I decided to go with the “Special Costumes,” an option you get once you beat the game. Leon is now decked out in his Raccoon City Police Department Uniform. It’s a nice touch. Little did I know that Ashley (the President’s daughter) would also be sporting a new, *ahem*, costume. I couldn’t find any screen shots of the new costume, but she’s gone from the demure and preppy skirt and sweater combo to a revealing cowboy outfit, complete with a rather revealing halter top. It was rather unsettling to see her risqué side. I guess I should come to expect such things.

So yeah, I’ll be playing Resident Evil 4 for a while. I’ll eventually get back to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and the rest of The Queue, but for now it’s RE4 time, all the time. I still try to squeeze in a game of Guild Wars when I can and I also check in on Animal Crossing: Wild World to check the price of turnips and to water my red turnip, but that’s about it. My animals will probably be complaining and leaving town sooner or later, but tough for them.

I got escort the President’s floozy daughter to safety.

Just the fun ones, please

B000A2R54M-01-_AA_SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpgOver the holidays last year, I had lunch with some of the guys I game with. As we ate, our conversation drifted to the topic of video games, as it is often does. We’ve been gaming together for almost four years now, so we’ve had a lot of “interesting” gaming sessions, ranging from some serious Mario Kart Double Dash matches to almost coming to fisticuffs over a game of Turok: Evolution, of all games. (We had banned the use of the Dark Matter Cube but someone couldn’t help himself and used the cheapest weapon ever to win a death match. It wasn’t a pretty sight.) For the most part, though, we’ve had some great gaming sessions. No matter how competitive we are, Nintendo games in particular seem to bring out a heated, but relatively friendly, competition. No punches thrown, just some serious trash talking.

We moslty talked about Super Mario Strikers, a game none of us owned but all had played. We all gushed about how fun it was and how easy it seemed to play. It’s nothing more than a simple street-style game of soccer with a Mario flair but it’s downright fun. What was it about such a simple game that made it so appealing?

Later that week, I took my Gamecube to work for some lunchtime gaming. We hooked it up to the projector in our conference room and threw down, Nintendo style. We started off with a little Pac-Man Vs. which is the best use of the GBA-GC link I’ve played. Take the simplicity of Pac-Man and then add in multiplayer and you’ve got a sweet party game. We then moved onto some Mario Kart: DD and finished up with Mario Power Tennis. Two of us had played most of these games and the other two hadn’t. It didn’t matter. All of them were easy to pick up and play. Our Mario Tennis matches took a few minutes to get everyone up to speed, but after a little while we were volleying, smashing and saving like pros. It was good, serious fun.

All of these games had something in common – they were either published or developed (or both) by Nintendo. They all have fantastic mutliplayer modes. They’re simple and easy to learn but complex enough to have an element of strategy and discovery. To put it simply, Nintendo just makes fun games. More specifically, Nintendo makes fun party games.

Even their actual “Mario Party” games are great, even though not everyone agrees. Just look at the reviews for the past few Mario Party games. The argument could be made that this particular franchise is getting long in the tooth. But I think that misses the point. The reviewers may give Mario Party 7 a low score and justify it by saying “it’s more of the same” but that doesn’t capture the whole picture. The reviewers have probably been playing Mario Party since it was an N64 game. Most casual gamers have not. So they don’t care if one of the mini games in MP7 is derivative of a game from MP4. It doesn’t matter. It’s fun, no matter how you play it.

So what is it about Nintendo’s games that make them fun? I think Matt at Press the Buttons was on to something when he was trying to explain why he was describing the Game Boy version of Mario Tennis. “So it’s like Pong,” was the common reply when describing a video game version of Tennis. Is Pong fun? Thirty years ago it certainly was. So is the actual game of tennis. A digital version of a fun game – it’s a no brainer.

But that’s discounting the Nintendo/Mario angle. They’ve distilled the basic mechanics of a particular game and make it accessible through simple controls. Sometimes it seems like you can’t be “bad” at Nintendo games. Other people may be better than you, but sucess is usually easy to come by. Are the games artificially easy for the sake of enjoyment? I don’t think anyone who’s played a Super Mario game would agree with that they’re “easy.” Fun? Yes. Easy? Not everytime.

Is it nostalgia? I definitely think that plays a big part in my enjoyment. Most “older” gamers (come on, I’m only thirty!) grew up with Mario and Luigi. So this is like playing with old friends. The familiarity with the characters, their idiosyncrasies and nuances are what we look for everytime we boot up a Nintendo game.

We’re seeing this all over again with the Nintendo DS. Nintendo makes great games that are fun to play for the casual gamers as well as the serious gamer. Will it happen with the Revolution? Will the simple game play continue? Is it a new shift in gaming overall?

I sure hope so.

We have seen the Future…

… and the Future is Nintendo.

It may just be me (or the fanboy in me), but it sure seems like there is a lot of good press for Nintendo lately. Where to start? First the DS is going like gang-busters. The games and units are flying off the shelves. There’s a lot of reasons why, and Tim Rogers at Next Gen looks at some of those reasons. It’s quite simple why the DS is burying the competition – it’s the games, stupid! Sure, the PSP has that sa-wheet looking screen, flashy looks and sleek design, but there’s no games! If I wanted a portable video player (which the PSP does great) I’ll get a new iPod. For games, it’s the DS. I haven’t booted up my Xbox or Gamecube in almost a month because I’ve been DS’ing. It’s great stuff.

The Revolution is gaining momentum, as well. A lot of sites are already discussing the possible interface for the online component of the Revolution. There also seems to be a lot of buy-in and excitement from game developers for the new controller. I’ll say it again – if the new Zelda game can be enhanced with the new controller, I can wait. Release Twilight Princess with the Revolution. Even if they say they’re not going to do it, I would be an instant system seller. The Revolution seems to be on the cusp of something big. The Big N is aiming for a Thanksgiving release. It’s imperative that they have tons of units available. None of this “supply shortage” shell game. Just get systems into gamers hands.

I think the best stuff I’ve read lately was CNet’s interview with Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime. Read the whole thing. Reggie doesn’t pull any punches and talks some serious smack. Observer the name taking:

The DS is outselling PSP across the world. The DS is also generating huge buzz in the blogosphere. The fact is, we have a number of not only worldwide but even U.S.-centric million-unit selling games, and Sony doesn’t.

And

We will sell more units than Xbox 360 did here in the United States in our launch window. I mean, in December, we sold more GameCubes in the United States than Microsoft sold 360s, and Revolution will do better than that.

I believe the kids say, “Oh snap!”

Finally, the guys at FiringSquad (for hardcore gamers!) seem the most optimistic about the future of the Revolution, going as far as saying:

Nintendo is poised for a coup. As someone who not so long ago was dismissive of what the company can accomplish, I today firmly believe that they’re capable of taking the #1 position from Sony.

Nintendo for the win? I sure hope so.

(links from all over – Joystiq, Slashdot Games, Evil Avatar)

It’s a wild world out there…

So I’ve been playing Animal Crossing for a while now but haven’t mentioned it much past my friend code.

So what about it? Animal Crossing on the Gamecube was a game that I couldn’t explain why I liked. When you boil it down, it’s a game that has no purpose, no “ending” and nothing “manly” about it. The first time a buddy of mine saw me playing it he asked me how I could kill the residents of my town. The conversation went a little like this:

“What’cha playing?”

“Animal Crossing.”

“What’s that? Never heard of it.”

“Well, you’re this kid who moves into a new town populated by animals. You run errands for the animals and plant trees. You can go fishing if you want. Or you can do nothing. You do have a mortgage to pay, but you don’t have to pay that off, either. It’s pretty sweet.”

“Sweet? Sounds lame. Hey, can you shoot that cat?”

“Why would I want to do that? Mitzi (the cat’s name) is my friend. I just took her a shirt that Derwin (a duck in my town) just gave me to deliver to her. She hooked me up with this sweet wallpaper for my house. There’s no shooting, no punching, nothing like that.”

“What’s the point of playing if you can’t shoot anyone?”

“The point? I’ve got a house to pay for and I need to make some bells. I certainly can’t shoot anyone because then there wouldn’t be any one left to run errands for. I guess I could fish, but that’s not the best way to make money.”

“Right… Sounds fun. Wanna play some Turok?”

And so on. I don’t know why I played it so much. It was the first game my wife and I played together, so that had something to do with it. But I woke up early on Sundays so I could buy turnips from the turnip lady because that was the only time she came around. Was it my obsessive nature? What kind of game could get me out of bed? Explaining why it was fun was hard to do.

And so it is with Animal Crossing Wild World. It’s basically the Gamecube version with some added features and it’s still just as addicting. And I still can’t explain why. I’ll probably get to what I like and don’t like at a later time, but I will say that it’s a fun, pointless game.

Without any shooting.