The UK is Wide

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I kinda hate patriotism…

wideuk.jpgI look forward to a time when we are a global village. But I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of pride when playing with the Everybody Hurts… I mean Votes channel on the ol’ Wii tonight.  The results have come in for “Is the TV you are watching now a wide screen TV?” and heading the Yes’s by region is the UK by quite a margin!  Crazy.  Lord knows how that happened.  The US is quite a bit down the list.  Dunno why I singled them out…

Bowser had it coming to him

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Finished Paper Mario N64 style in record time the other day.

pmariobow2.jpg Loved every moment of that damn game so much that it completely ruined any day between buying it on the Wii VC and completing it.

The hardness factor was spot on, it never became frustrating but was challenging enough that I had to at least keep one eye on it.

Good news for my health is that I am not enjoying the sequel Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door any way near as much.  They’ve tweaked the combat and I’m finding it a heck of a lot harder.  The dialogue seems a bit flabbier as well.

Paper Mario 2001 Edition

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We’re still waiting for Super Paper Mario in Europe but in great timing Nintendo have added the original Paper Mario from the N64 to the Wii’s virtual console. It’s 1000 points, which is around 7 quid.


Being from the N64 it’s 3D but with an extremely limited polygon count, it was also obscenely low res, even squinting doesn’t mask the pixels. But, none of this seems to matter with paper mario because the art design is eye poppingly colourful.

It’s a completely different kind of game to what I expected, it’s a japanese style rpg (is JRPG a genre?), that is if you collide with a nasty you’re pulled into a turn based fight, utilizing items and power-moves, but being a mario game many of the moves involve jumping on people’s heads.

It’s similar in gameplay to Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time on the DS, but unlike the DS game which I found a tad forgettable and only something worthy of passing the time with, this Paper Mario is incredibly addictive. I cannot stop wanting to play it! It has some really silly and funny plot points, which in some ways actually remind me of the classic lucasarts point and clicks. Even the dialogue is funny at times.
Unlike other games of this type I’m not finding the turn-based fights annoying, they don’t happen frequently and randomly like the Final Fantasy games, and they usually have enough twists to keep them interesting enough.

I love it so much that I couldn’t resist buying the gamecube sequal. Problem is that that’s trickier than it sounds. All of the usual sites, amazon, game, play only had second hand copies and they weren’t cheap. Even ebay, any going aren’t as cheap as you would expect for a second hand game. I can only presume that it was released during the Gamecube’s waning years and only had some kind of limited release here in the UK.

Also complicating things, many are NTSC and I expect my Wii would toss it out, choking. Did manage to secure a copy in the end, after some hassle for 23 quid which I don’t suppose is toooo bad.

The photo was supposed to be a nice hdr affair but i think I went a bit wrong somewhere.

More dues

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I’ve decided it must be punishment, I don’t believe that a god exists, but if he/she did they were tut-tuting everytime I make a “beyond my means” purchase and cursing said purchase to upset and befuddle me.

The latest upset, well, I actually bought it weeks ago but as seen as I fell out with the world for a few weeks… I only write music for fun, a silly hobby and I’m not even very skilled at it. So splashing out on extraordinarily expensive software bundles for just a hobby, when you have financial problems (due to other deeper problems… shush) is a wholey stupid thing to do. But I am stupid so I went and ordered NI Komplete 4 anyway.

It turned up in an impressive looking box, albeit one with ugly stickers thrown all over it.

Open up the box and you’re greeted by some lush bounty, a multi-dvd box and an entire shelf of manuals. It comes on 8 full-size (8GB DL) dvd’s, for all the software and sample libraries, enough to fill even a freshly formatted HD a couple of years ago. Installing the application’s disk was OK, just a standard mac installer package type affair. But then you have to load an app called NI Service Centre, which activates the software. NI have some very strict copy-protection going on and every time I tried to activate it would fail telling me “a technician has been informed of the problem.” I hit NI’s forums to discover that most people are having the same problem and it appeared to have been going on for days. So you pay all this money, and you can’t even use it when you get it! It was a further few days before activation worked.

Oooh, I’ve got some reading to do, lets dive straight in shall we?

Whaaa? I suddenly can’t read!!! And ever page of every book is illegible. What’s wrong with my brain? Yup, I purchased the bundle from a quite respected UK based musicians equipment store, and yet somehow, I’ve ended up with german (I think?) manuals! Arrrrgh!

And the misery didn’t stop there, a few weeks later, because I hadn’t needed yet to use some of the sample libraries I came to install the rest only to discover that I had 2 disk 6′s, meaning I didn’t have disk 5. Double Arrrgh! To be fair the online store have been helpful, for the manuals they are arranging a replacement from the suppliers and letting me keep what I have so far so I don’t have to do anything other than wait. When it came to the disk, it was a little trickier but still they arranged for a courier to arrive at me house the next day and collect the spare disk 6. But the suppliers still haven’t come up with the goods. Turns out Native Instruments and their distributors are freeeeaking useless and I hope them a crappy christmas.

On a more positive note, had some more wii’s to sell today, they emailed to tell me they were putting them online at 3pm-4pm, so there I was at 3pm refreshing feverishly and at around 3:15 my work paid off when it appeared and I purchased quick as. I must have been pretty lucky because I checked back at the page just after completing the order and they had already gone. Knowing my luck though it will probably turn up with a power cord designed for china.

Google Spreadsheet’s in time

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Google Documents and Spreedsheet, meet Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time and other garbage.

Waaa Waaa!  Google have gone nuts, or has my browser?  One of the two have, maybe both.  You can’t get any closer to having Safari 2.0.4 than having Safari 2.0.4 can you?  Ah well, I loaded Firefox and tried it in there instead.  It is all stylish and pleasent on the eyes like most of Google’s services but I don’t think I’ll personally use any of it.  I was interested in using the spreadsheet because I still haven’t got a good spreadsheet app on my mac, they’re either bloated and take an age to load, like Openoffice/Neooffice or they are some unusabliy limited freeware effort.  I can’t seem to be able to figure out how to do certain things with Google’s spreadsheet though, things that are must have features for a spreadsheet.  For instance how do you complete a sequence of numbers?  Usually you can just type say “1″, then “2″ and “3″ and then drag select them and then expand a box in the direction you want it to complete the sequence.  I just can’t seem to do it in Google’s.

I’ve gotten my mitts on Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time for my DS Lite.  It’s spot on fun from Nintendo and surprisingly eventful, constantly surprising things happen.  I love it!  I’d describe it as a light-hearted cartoony final fantasy, you walk around colourful maps occasionally being pulled into step-based fights.  It’s got quite a sense of humour too, in my last playing session I came across 2 Kooper Trooper’s who had been fitted against their will by alien probes and the probes were making them speek in l33t.  Seriously, they called my characters n00bs and said things like w00t and pwned. lol nintendo aren’t trying to be hip with this, they’re taking the piss out of the culture. lol

Lastly, Arrgh I want me’s a Nano Product Red!  Actually, I want a pink nano but i’d risk being beaten up for having one.  But the Red one is defo’s the next best thing and you’d be doing your bit for charideee.  But arrgh, for some reason it isn’t appearing on the UK apple store site, it’s on the UK Apple site but not the store.  Grrr.

Fix my iMac damnit

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MrsidesaddleThis is Mr Side-Saddle, double barrelled name, very posh. Oh, could be a sweet-heart and vote for my podcast at Podcast Alley. Knowing my reach that means no votes but hey ho.

Being without the iMac is difficult, I’m suffering cold sweats. I checked the repair status but alas nothing has been noted yet. I hope they are treating it well :-(

I’ve finally managed beat that bastard with the helmet in Zelda, I must have only been lacking by about one swing of the sword all them failed attempts, the relief was massive. So cannot wait for the Phantom Hourglass on the DS.

Nintendo GBA Zelda games are here to stay

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DS & GBA GamesSo yeah, I bought a job load of ebay-ed GBA games to play on my DS Lite the other week and I have them all now. Just look at my collection, anyone would think I was some games nut, seriously, I’m as casual as casual gamers get. But yeah, my main reason for going mad on the the second hand GBA front was to catch up on some Zelda action. Those 2 GBA carts at the topmost of the pic are Zelda 1 “The legend of Zelda” and Zelda 2 “The adventure of Link”. These 2 games were originally on the NES… Nintendo’s first ever console (or the famicom in japan), it was an 8-bit machine, not great compared to today’s standards, and these 2 GBA games are direct ports, nothing has been tarted up. But ya know, I grew up with a ZX Spectrum, I knew crap graphics. So I knew what to expect, but I also thought that 8-bit graphics weren’t any reflection on the game-play and fun to be had. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Both Zelda 1 and Zelda 2 are incredibly frustrating, fiendishly hard with very little payoff. Also, I kinda figured that playing the very very early zelda games would shed some extra light onto the whole Zelda saga, and maybe uncover some lesser known secrets I wouldn’t know from playing the more modern incarnations. Sadly, it also turns out that the NES was too underpowered to have much of a story-line with these games. In fact, the first zelda has sod all dialogue at all. So sod that, anyone want a couple of free zelda “NES Classics” games?

Zelda 3 “Link to the Past” was originally release on the SNES (Super NES, or Super Famicom, or that one that had a shitty looking bolbus case in america but had a nice slimmer and more colourful case everywhere else for some reason, as if they figured american’s would only buy it if it also had a fat arse) and the difference between that and the 2 NES games is incredibly stark. I now can’t believe what a jump in technology it was. It must be particularly stark with this Zelda game because the artistic design was a triumph. It looks beautiful because the use of colours and the bitmaps are faultless. And so is the gameplay, I had forgotten what games are like when they get your adrenaline pumping, because I haven’t played a game that manages it in so freaking long. When you reach a boss at the end of a dungeon in Zelda 3 you perspire and shake with desire to throat the bastard, and when you finally manage it you can hardly walk straight with a buzz. I haven’t played Animal Crossing for 2 days, Gabi is going to be so mad at me.

NeoAdMonsterJust so that you hate NeoOffice more than you already do it sometimes, upon loading it opens a browser window with their homepage. Thanks, I’m sure all your users really appreciate that. Well, the jokes on them, because when it opened last, you’ll see from this screenshot that one of the Google Adsense Adverts had quite an unpleasant word to say about your mother.

Mr Magoo

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Gabi... My GilfriendHey Ruffian, I forgot I had a blog! How awesome. That’s Gabi in the pic, my girlfriend in Animal Crossing. She calls me Super T because I’m Super. Geddit? She’s feeling a lot better now, did I tell you that?
Me hyperbolic
Them: whats that mean
Me: its a kind of kitchen that tilts sideways
Them: surley not, what would the point be
Me: so you don’t have to bend over so much

I think that might be why people don’t IM me very often. Ah, sod it, I’m too tired to write.

Zelda bonkersness

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Today I went a bit lustful for retro nintendo action. The DS & DS Lite can play GBA (Game Boy Advance) games as well as their own. Well I completely missed out on the whole GBA period and it turns out some nice old nintendo games were released for it.

I’ve fancied playing through the early zelda games for a while and heres a perfect chance. On the GBA they released/ported the 1st one (Legend of Zelda… originally on the NES) the 2nd (Adventures of Link… NES) and the 3rd (Link to the Past… SNES), plus also one specifically for the GBA called the Minish Cap which was something like the 11th so there’s a bit of a jump there.

These games don’t seem to be available on either nor nor any of the usual suspects dot com so I hit ebay and there seems to be enough copies going around for everyone to own them so yay! I bought them 4, along with Yoshi Island which is one of the Mario platformers I never played.

Unfortunately, unlike a bonefide GBA you cannot play Game Boy/Game Boy Color games on the DS, and nintendo haven’t (as far as I can tell) released the game boy zelda titles in a manor that can be played on a DS. If they released a game boy adaptor I could play all the way up to zelda 4…. and even more, if they released a port of Ocarina of Time to the DS (please please please please please) I could play all zelda’s up to … 9!

That surely would be enough zelda to understand the whole history of hyrule.

Kario Mart

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Apparently, the DS has become the fasting selling console of any kind in Japan and rightly so! I’ve become a total Nintendo whore since getting it, it’s the sort of thing you fall maddly in love with and end up carrying around with you all over just in case you can steel a few minutes to play. Even though I’m not a massive games fanatic… I can happily go months without any joystick action of any kind.. I’ve always had a soft spot for nintendo. The N.E.S passed me by, as it did most of us in the U.K for unfathomable reasons (sega did better here in them days… blechgh). Anypoop, ever since the SNES, with maro world, pilot wings, zelda (the one about time) and mart kart, all classic games nintendo have been my one and only, game console wise.

After the SNES they had the N64. Now, did anyone understand why and how that thing was 64-bit, did it need to address TBytes of memory? Did it have to calculate from extremely precise floating-points? Unless that thing had a double life as a data-centre I’ve no idea. Mario 64 was totally crush-worthy on that console, and zelda. But they were the only 2, so that was a little disappointing. And things got even worse with the Game Cube, which had a mario game I really didn’t take to at all, it seemed to have missing all the mario charm. Squirting water everywhere, what was that about?

I’m so happy then that Nintendo are back! Totally. Not only is the DS a tremendous success with the most enjoyable line of games I can remember, but also everyone is salivating over the prospect of the Wii. And Sony have a turkey on their hands! How awesome is that?

I got Mario Kart DS the other day and OMG. Can’t put that bastard thing down, I’ve already completed all the grand prix’s except the mirror one. I’m not terribly good against people on wi-fi though, but I’m getting there! Oh, my Mario Kart DS Friend Code is 1289-2449-0177. Shame no one reads this or I might get some racing offers.
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