New Motion Controllers – How they do/will perform

June 21, 2009

There has been a lot of talk about Wii MotionPlus and how it will affect games we play. Also, this E3, the competitors have announced their own motion control systems. Let us pick them apart one by one.

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Homebrew Lockdown – The Dystopia of Intellectual Property Part One

February 18, 2009

It is me again. Sorry for the long wait for updates, but I have not really found the time and inspiration for another rant. Fear not my friends, the wait is over, and this time, it is a series. No promise that I will update it frequently though.

To start, I do not really like the word dystopia by itself, as it implies that the word utopia is based on “eu-topos” – a good place, instead of “ou-topos” – non-place. Of course, the pun was intended by Thomas More, but still, a dystopia – or bad utopia – is still a utopia. I have nevertheless used that word, mainly aiming at distinguishability. Utopia carries the connotation of Eutopia far too dominantly to use it for a future of suffering if the audience is not guaranteed to know the ethymologic background.

Also, I want to clarify that this series is not about a dystopian fiction by myself, rather than that, it is intended as an analysis of modern development towards the uncomfortable future as described in the dystopia of many a piece of utopian literature, ranging from Huxley to Barry. Of course, I realize that the nature of a dystopia is always an exaggeration, which would make literal comparison a joke. So of course one has to consider principles, not implementations. Starting with the reason why video game companies such as Nintendo have all reason to hate the homebrew scene – beyond the mere issue of “piracy” arising from it.

As I have alluded to in the introduction, a dystopian author that comes to my mind is noone else than Aldous Huxley.  Having been forced to sit through his Brave New World in high school* English class (Yes, I am a high school* student, so what?), it became evident where the “problem” with homebrew in general lies: Consumption. Read the rest of this entry »

Why anti-piracy measures do not work

October 25, 2008

Thank you Nintendo, for your glorious all-IOS-update. Thank you for putting legitimate users of your product in discomfort while not at all affecting the pirates you want to fight. If you want to lock out homebrew because it enables users to pirate, think before you design a system update.

You see, the Shop Channel was a terrible choice to force the update on users. A pirate, and I think those are the group you are after, has no use for the shop channel. They can get their VC and WiiWare games by other means, exactly those you are trying to seal off. So why would a pirate care if he gets locked out of the shop channel if he wants to continue installing pirate downloads? After all, not using the shop channel is what he has been doing all the time in the first place.

The same thing happens with anti-piracy measures on the PC by the way. I am looking at you this time, EA! Does SecuRom prevent the use of unlicensed copies? No. Does it piss off all the other users? Oh sure it does. SecuRom, or SUCKurom as it has come to be known, installs traces of itself all over your system, barely removable, a phenomenon reminiscent of, and “enjoyed” like, a malware infection. The Spore-type is even better. If your system is damaged or has decayed enough and you need to re-install, you can ask for permission to install another time… how nice, you have bought the game and you cannot use it without asking nicely. Yes, I know, multiple installations are permitted, but in some cases, you might run out of them rather quickly.

And although this is so much of an annoyance for legitimate customers, it does not even affect pirates. Even back in the days of SafeDisk 2, pirates have used No-CD cracks in most cases, disabling any of these protections. As soon as the pirate scene gets hold of a game, you can be sure it is cracked in no time. Just checking for the CD/DVD alone is an annoyance in the name of “anti-piracy” measures a pirate does not have to deal with.

Some thoughts

October 5, 2008
  • Someone should make a Wii Laptop with keyboard and microphone.
  • USB hubs are about to become necessary for full Wii enjoyment – where are the Wii-branded ones?
  • I am sceptical about the DSi – DSiware is intriguing, but the lack of a SLOT-2 bothers me, especially with games like Guitar Hero out.
  • Wii Music needs The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book as a song.
  • MotionPlus + Lightsaber = Win!

The core, the casual and the non-gamers: Different types of players

August 23, 2008

It is me again. My topic today are the different groups of people who play video games, and why I hate some of them.

Starting with my old Smash Pros/Cons post, I have shown my general dislike to what refers to itself as the core gamer. It has been the fundamental driving force of video games in the previous generations and is still responsible for a fair share of sales on all systems. Especially in the light of last E3, the gameplay of Wii Series games and Nintendo focussing more and more on games for the “expanded audience”, the “core gamer” has thrown out claims whose odor alone makes me aggravated, agitated and infuriated. Every month passing without a first-party AAA title containing either a long and epic storyline or a highly competitive online multiplayer mode is seen as an abandonment of this group. They feel withdrawal if there is not at least one, if not more, Zelda titles available a year. Read the rest of this entry »

Apples, oranges and the rest of the fruit salad: Why Wii Music is really more interesting than a game

August 9, 2008

You all know the Grand Theft Auto series. Many like it, some hate it. But one thing is for sure, it is one of the most popular sandbox-style shooters. Let us take for example GTA: San Andreas, the latest title for the PC as of now. You start playing some gangster who comes back to his old home and finds his gang having lost all the former glory and now you have to rebuild your reputation. You can play the story, slowly completing the game, getting kicked around by policemen, gangsters and other beings, finding every hidden item until you finally see your achievement: 100% score. And then what? The game is over, you have done everything. Or you can enter BAGUVIX, FULLCLIP and PROFESSIONALSKIT and start blasting everyone. The former might keep you entertained through multiple 7-hour-sessions, but once you are through, you are through. On the other hand, the latter, which can also be done after you have “beaten” the game (and without requiring some of the codes), might only be good for half an hour or maybe a full one, but is entertaining whenever you try doing it. Welcome to Wii Music. Read the rest of this entry »

Are you serious?: “Exergaming” for serious workout

August 8, 2008

One of the current fads when it comes to Wii games is what some call “Exergaming”, or to formulate it more accurately, video games that use the physical motion recognition available through the Wii platform as an exercise system. Like many fads on Nintendo platforms that spawn many bad games and few good ones (remember Nintendogs and Dogz, the Imagine series or the abundance of brain trainers, just to name a few), it was born by Nintendo creating some of the few good games, and is once again an abuse of the booming casual market drawn into video games by Nintendo DS and Wii. People begin using Wii Sports for workout, a bundle of a Wii console (which includes Wii Sports, as we all know) and Wii Fit is marketed as a personal trainer and various third parties use the opportunity this market behavior provides to spill some of their mediocre games into the casual market, hoping that people who do not spend much of their time with video games will not spend any time researching about which games to buy either. “Exergaming” becomes a huge fad, those games are cluttering the shelves and the uninformed customer does not know which game to buy. Read the rest of this entry »