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.

papermariosm.jpg

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.

Wii want component x2

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Trouble with losing access to your blog for a week is that you completely lose the will to live.  Um, i mean the will to blog.

So i’ve neglected to mention the fun with the TV and the 360, i’ll probably talk about that next and describe it as if I’ve only just unpacked them.

Whilst it’s just happened i’ll skip forward and berate a cable i’ve just received.  It’s this XCM component cable introduced to me by gizmodo. I want something like this because my TV only has 1 set of component connections, and I have both a 360 and a wii wanting to get at them.  I was originally going to connect the 360 to the VGA port to leave the component for the Wii, but that ended up a no go, I found the VGA picture less viberent, and it turned out that my TV doesn’t treat the VGA input to its image “enhancement ” filters.  So as seen as giz had mentioned this component switch i figured it would be OK, but sadly the picture from the 360 through it just doesn’t look as sharp as with the original microsoft one.  You can see some ghosting and if you look really close at the image you can even make out a little static buzzing around.

With the 360 being more deserving of the component connector than the Wii I really don’t want to stifle it’s image quality for the sake of only a minor improvement Wii wise.  So I guess it’s back to composite for the Wii, poor thing.

There are other, more pro looking switches for component, but they can cost upwards of 70 quid.  And then there are other cheapo ones that look a little on the unbranded side, i wager they will looks just as bad as this one.

Hmm, hope i can get a refund on this cable.  Damn, maybe I should have waited for the xbox 360 elite and the next version of my TV which will have 2 HDMI’s.

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, amazon.co.uk 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.

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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