Proud Dad

I just have to take a moment to say that, as a gamer dad, I am a proud dad.

A while ago, I posted the video of the live-action Super Mario Bros. My oldest son has watched that video a hundred times. He loves it. Recently, he’s been loving New Super Mario Brothers and has even tried his hand at Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. He doesn’t get far, but he loves every minute of it.

But he really made me proud when my wife asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday (he’s turning four). When he said he wanted a “Mario Cake.” I couldn’t be prouder.

So, to help out the wife and set expectations unreasonably high, I used PicLens to search Flickr for some “examples.” (This one makes me mad) The quality of the cakes range from “so-so” to “no way I’m making that” (both direct quotes from the wife):

Mario Cake

Mario Star

And the one I’m voting for:

Mario Wedding Cake

My daughter, not to be outdone, asked for a Princess Peach cake. Good luck with that, mom!

Magic Mushrooms and Tanooki Suits

Today, during the Super Mario Galaxy show (for the munchkins), I defeated Bowser for the seven hundredth time in my life, saving the Princess yet again (from herself). I haven’t “finished” SMG yet, as there are plenty of stars still to be had, but the Princess is safe, at least for the time being. I plan on heading back to get the rest of the stars. I had found 70 before I saved her highness.

Super Mario Galaxy, as frustrating as it can get every so often, is a great game.

But that’s not the point of this post. I have really enjoyed the new power-ups added to this iteration of Mario. Besides the Fire Flower and 1-UP mushrooms, there are a bunch of new power-ups for Mario. So I want to know: What is your favorite Mario power-up? (from any game).

I really like the new Spring power-up in Super Mario Galaxy. In fact, I think it’s my favorite power-up mushroom of all time.

What’s yours?

[Gamer Responsibility] Growing Another Hand

Wii Fit comes out this week.

Nintendo, please…stop.

Actually, my wife and I were excited about the possibility of Wii Fit—more so about the possibility of using Wii Fit. We’re not getting it now. For having the cheapest selling (more on that in a minute), fastest selling, and most unique console, Nintendo kills you when it comes to peripherals. I would assume that most readers here who have a Wii don’t just have the basic remote and nunchuk.

How many other games are going to use the Wii Fit peripheral? Looking back, how many used the drums, dance pads, guitar(s), microphones, wheels, etc. other than their bundled games?

Since the release of the console, it appears that almost every AAA first-party title on the system has needed more than just the Wiimote. Sure, many titles can be played with just the included controller, but many of those same titles play better with the nunchuk (also included). Let us see: Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Strikers Charged, Metroid Prime 3, Mario Kart Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Super Paper Mario, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit. Yep, it seems as if every title needs a controller add-on. Excite Truck may be the only other major title that can be played with just the remote. It looks like the good ol’ ‘chuck needs to be used on most of them. What happens when you add a player? That $250 console just became a $310 console (another controller plus nunchuk). Now add two more players.

Ouch. We’re in Sony and Microsoft territory now. Their better online play exempts buying another controller for me. I have two 360 controllers. Interestingly, most third party titles get away with just using the standard remote. Of course, they don’t have a need to sell an add-on either.

We won’t even discuss the “classic” controller which is not really all that classic in look, style, or feel. (another $20). And the Wii Zapper? Terrific.

A couple of the games listed earlier let you use the Gamecube controller to play, and ironically it’s even preferred by most gamers on one title. Speaking of Gamecube, I own three drums and two dance pads. Ask me how much we use them.

Why do we need all these extra controllers? Why? I’ve not even touched on all the guitars and instruments that usually work for one game or their sequels…maybe. It appears that the next Guitar Hero is going to have it’s own instrument set. My guess is that it’ll even be exclusive. I really don’t know. I could care less about the music games—Boom Boom Rocket is my level of video game music depth, oh, and Audiosurf—a music game that doesn’t need an extra device to play. In the end, some gamers are going to have more instruments than most real bands.

When I saw the Wii remote for the first time, I was pretty excited about the possibility of playing games with as few buttons as possible. Control simplicity seemed like it was back in our grasp, so to speak. Pointless thinking. (Pun gloriously intended—both times). I will admit, however, that the Wiimote/nunchuk setup for some games is rather intuitive. Excellent, even. I cannot imagine Metroid Prime without it. Keep the gaming design there. Stop. No more add-ons—by anybody. Nintendo is certainly the leader, but, terrifyingly, it appears that the big money is in peripheral bundles.

We already have a Rubbermaid box by our couch that holds all our system controllers and add-ons for a 360 and a Wii. It’s full—a five gallon tote. No more room for another device will use for a period and it’ll sit in the box not to be used for anything else.

The game we keep coming back to: Excite Truck.

Weekend Gaming, at last!

I have been swamped (SWAMPED!) at work the past couple of weeks on a project that has sucked up a large portion of my free time. When I finally to get a free moment, I’m so spent from my other duties that I haven’t had a desire to do much gaming. I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel at work and my mood is already lifting. I’m ready to pick up the familiar controller and get back in the game.

In order to gear up for a great week of gaming when GTA IV and Mario Kart Wii are released, I figure I should knock out another game in my queue before everything gets pushed back to make room for the newcomers. I got very close to finishing Bioshock last year, so I figure now would be a good time to get back to that and finish it up. I really want to see how it ends.

I’m also making my way through Super Mario Galaxy, which I am still thoroughly enjoying. The kids love to watch me play it, so that’s our bonding game. I can’t get over how much fun platforming is again.

I’m also eying a couple DS games, but I’ll probably hold off on those until the real gaming lull hits this summer. I’ve got enough on my plate.

What are you guys playing? Planning on picking up either Mario Kart Wii or GTA IV?

What we’re playing (Weekend Edition)

It’s the weekend and it’s time to get geared up for a great weekend of gaming! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these so I’ve got some catching up to do. I know Nat hasn’t been feeling well, so I’ll let him fill us in on what he’s been playing whenever he feels like it.

As for me, I’ve been pretty busy. After reading Nat’s (and everyone else’s) attempts to actually finish a few games, I took it to heart and placed a self-imposed rule that I had to finish something, anything, before I picked up a new game. I really wanted to get Burnout Paradise, so I gave it the college try and decided to wrap up some loose ends.

Even though you never really “finish” Pokemon Diamond, per se, there is an end to the game, which after consulting GameFAQs once or twice, I finally made it to. I found and finally finished off the last bad guys. It was fairly easy and quite anticlimatic. But it is the first Pokemon game I’ve “finished” so there’s that. I think my Pokedex was more than half full which flies in the face of the mantra of collect them all, but I’m only human. I’m not waiting around for a convenient Friday just to catch a pocket monster.

I also managed to finish the single player campaign in Halo 3 (On Heroic, mind you). I hated the sphincter level, but the last level was most enjoyable. A true homage to the Halo series. The ending was infinity times better than Halo 2’s ending.

Halo 3

Yes it was.

But now I’m done with those two games. Sure, I still play Halo 3 multiplayer like it’s my job, but I doubt I’ll be doing the single player much more except to find the skulls. Maybe I’ll do co-op with someone to get the achievements, but that’s about it.

So here’s what I’m playing:

Burnout ParadiseBurnout Paradise: I’m a few months behind the curve on this one, but I am loving Burnout Paradise. Burnout’s trademark speed and pedal-to-the-metal is still there, with the added open world. I haven’t stopped grinning since I started playing this one. I haven’t played with anyone online yet, but I can definitely see that being a blast. I miss crash mode but showtime mode is a decent replacement.

Super Mario Galaxy and NSMB: Again, I’m a few months behind the curve with SMG, but I can’t get enough of this. A little while ago, my 3 year-old started watching me play NSMB on the DS and wanted to try it. He isn’t bad (for a 3 y/o) and he really likes the Mario character. My daughter loves Princess Peach (duh) so our new past time is to play Super Mario Galaxy. This is another one of those games that are just plain fun. The platforming has been taken to another level with the galaxy concept. I love it. Being able to have my daughter join in the fun with the other Wii-mote is perfect. I’ve gathered 22 stars so far and I don’t want to stop any time soon.

I’ve also been playing a handful of web-based flash games (a few I’m too ashamed to admit to playing, others I’m saving for future blog posts) all in the name of “research”. And of course I can’t go to bed until I get in a game of Spider Solitaire and Tetris.

This weekend I’ll be playing Burnout and SMG, and hopefully getting back to my Mass Effect save. Should be a busy weekend.

NAT: I’ve been playing the “stay hydrated and gain my weight back” game (PSA: wash your hands). Actually, two nights ago, I finally took the cellophane off my copy of Mass Effect. My initial impression is that it’s cinematic. Even though we purchased Brawl, we must be the only home in America that’s just not sucked in by it. We’ve played it a total of two nights. My son has been keeping me busy with a few racing games: Cars, Cars:Maternational, Forza 2, and a couple of the Burnouts. However, mostly, I’ve been playing Bully: Scholarship Edition. It’s been a hoot. Last night, I popped Geometry Wars Galaxies into the Wii and now I have an itch to play a lot of that. This may seem like a lot of titles, but for me, it’s only been 5-15 minutes at a time.

What are you playing?