Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weekend!

And so concludes yet another week of One Duck's Opinion. Happy Canada Day to all my fellow residents of the Great White North! This country's getting OLD!

Also, if you're playing Pokemon Battle Revolution online and you meet up with a player named P.Duck, that's me. Prepare to lose!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Is digital distribution really the future?

The current gaming generation has barely just begun, and already people are speculating about what the next wave of consoles will be like. In almost all of these speculations, digital distribution is touted as "the future" of video game sales. But is it really? Here's my take on the whole thing.



For those not in the know, digital distribution involves paying for a product (Game, software, etc.) online and then downloading it directly to a computer/game console. Direct2Drive, the Wii Shop Channel and XBox Live Marketplace are all good examples of digital distribution. Many think that, some time in the not-so-distant future, all games will be distributed via the internet, and physical stores will become obsolete. I won't argue whether or not this will happen (I'm no psychic), but I will say why I believe going to a store and actually buying a disc is superior to digital distribution.

As of today, the size of games has grown astronomically. Games are now on discs with storage capabilities upwards of 6 gigabytes, a far cry from the minuscule storage space on the earliest game cartridges. The sheer size of current-day games may very well be the biggest problem digital distribution faces. Downloading Super Mario 64 on the Virtual Console can take upwards of 5 minutes, and that's for a mere compressed 64 MB game! Imagine trying to download a game the size of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion! Sure, this can all be overcome with super-fast internet connections, but isn't that asking a little much of the consumer?

Another problem with digital distribution is how incredibly easy it would be to copy and distribute games. One person could download a game, copy it 5 times, and give it to 5 friends! Games on DVDs have anti-copying software built in so this can't happen, but any PC can simply copy the contents of a folder and paste it elsewhere!

Even worse, a pirate could pose as an official digital distributor, sell the games, and keep all the money for themselves! Not only would the game companies be losing sales, but innocent shoppers could be giving their credit information to a crook!

Also, a huge driving force of game sales is word of mouth. If we become restricted to only downloading titles, there'll be no way for us to share our games with our friends! Say you're going to a pal's house, and you want to show him your new game. Too bad! Unless you plan on lugging your entire game console over there with you, you're outta luck! However, with games on discs, you merely pop the DVD into a case, and go on your way, no problem.

So then, if digital distribution isn't the future, then what is? In my opinion, the future is already here. We'll still be using discs as our primary form of media for quite some time to come. Sure, they may cost a few more bucks than a digital download, but they're much more secure and resistant to pirating.

And besides, if you're too lazy to hop on a bus and go to your nearest game retailer, there's always GameFly!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pokemon Battle Revolution review

So then, I've spent almost 10 hours with this game so far, and I think that's plenty long enough to base a review off of. That being said, on with the review!


Developer: Genius Sonority
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: June 25th, 2007
ESRB Rating: E (For Everyone)
Features:
Online battling, customizable characters, all 493 Pokemon, DS connectivity

I'm a huge Pokemon fan, and I have been ever since the first games hit the shelves in 1998. So it pretty much goes without saying that I was absolutely thrilled when I heard that Pokemon would be hitting the Wii. So, did it live up to my expectations? Read on to find out.

First of all, I must say that Pokemon has never looked better. Each and every creature, object and backdrop is rendered beautifully, and the impressive lighting makes it all look that much better. If they made the Pokemon any more realistic, they wouldn't look like Pokemon anymore. They really truck the perfect balance between realism and the art style.

Were the visuals falter, however, is when the Pokemon fight. I know I said in the impressions that if a Chimchar used Scratch, it would run right up to it's target and scratch it. Well, further playing proved that this isn't always the case. Take my Dialga's Dragon Claw, for example. When he swipes, he's still standing well far away from his target. Seriously, folks, Pokemon has been in 3D for about 8 years now, shouldn't combatants at least make physical contact with eachother by now? Also, when a Pokemon attacks, it stands in front of it's target for a while. Then, when the camera angle changes, it's magically back in it's corner. I'm pretty sure that Golbat doesn't know Teleport.

Speaking of attacks, certain moves have effects on the screen. For example, if you use Surf, water will drip from down the screen, as if on a camera lens. Also, if there's a hail storm, the edges of the screen will become frosted. One problem with weather effects, though, is the fact that they're only visible in between turns. If there's a sandstorm ripping through the stadium, it is completely invisible while the Pokemon are attacking.

Also, many of the Pokemon from previous generations seem to be recycled sprites from Pokemon Stadium, Colosseum and XD. Gloom does the exact same spinning jump we've been seeing for the last 8 years, just with a better rendered sprite. And is it too much to ask for the Pokemon to look a little tired when their health is low?

Finally, the trainers' movements can be very clunky at times. One second, their arm will be outstretched, holding a Pokeball. The camera angle changes, and they're magically already reeling back to toss another Pokemon into the ring. This is minor, yes, but it still detracts from the game's polish.

As for sound, every stadium has it's own distinct background music. Also, the announcer has quite a few different phrases programmed in. However, you'll still manage to hear all of them within a couple of hours. One other minor problem with the announcer is sometimes it's very obvious to tell where different sound bytes were spliced together. For example, say you're sending out a Cresselia. The announcer would say "Cresselia" in a completely different tone from "was sent out". But, if it really gets on your nerves, you can always turn off commentary in the options menu.

Another low-point in the sound department is the fact we're still hearing the same old Pokemon cries from 1998. Cries which were originally recorded for the Game Boy Color, so you can imagine how ill-fitting they sound on a TV's speakers.

The presentation is top-notch. Instead of a bland menu screen in between battles, there is instead an attendant there to help you out. When beginning the game for the first time, she'll help you understand the many different options and selections to be made in the main menu. A very unique system that works incredibly well.

The controls are also incredibly streamlined, largely thanks to the simplicity of the Wii remote. Point, click, done. Too tired to hold your arm up? The D-pad also works well for navigation. You could lie down, curl you arms up underneath yourself, and still play! Oh, and don't worry, they didn't shoehorn in any waggle.

Well then, by now you're probably thinking "Come on, get to the online part!". Well, settle down, spaz, because I'm just about to do so. Anywho, Pokemon Battle Revolution is the first Wii game in North America to utilize the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (Elebits only used WiiConnect24, so it doesn't count). What kind of a first impression does it make?

Finding matches is easy enough, especially due to the complete lack of a need for Friend Codes! One more: NO FRIEND CODES. Got it? Good. Starting a random match is as easy as clicking a few buttons and waiting. If someone else is lookin' to start a fight, you're matched up, and the battle begins. Simple as that.

One problem is sometimes your opponents won't have a very strong internet connection. This can lead to a lot of lag when selecting attacks or switching Pokemon. I've had to wait as long as 20 seconds between clicking the "Fight" button to actually being able to select an attack.

But, this is not always the case. If you can find an opponent with a good internet connection, there's virtually no waiting at all.

A big thing missing here is a way to track your wins and losses. There is no chart or anything within the game that tells you how many victories you have claimed online. All it keeps track of is how many rounds you've gone on the Wi-Fi Connection, and that's it.

And local multiplayer is very impressive, too, especially if you and your opponent both have a DS and a copy of either Pokemon Diamond or Pearl. If this is the case, you and your friend can sync up your handhelds with the Wii and use them as controllers. This isn't necessary (You can battle with just one Wii remote altogether), but it is helpful for one very big thing: Keeping your moves a secret from your opponent. When you battle with just a Wii remote, all your selections are displayed on the TV screen for all to see. However, when using a DS as a controller, all your moves are kept a secret. Neato!

How long will this game last you? Well, as I've said, I've been playing for almost 10 hours, and, well... I'm done already. It's quite the short game. But, I'm not 100% complete yet. I still have to beat each stadium again with even harder rules and even smarter AI. Also, the online aspect adds tonnes to the replay value.

SUMMARY

Graphics: 7.8/10

The Pokemon, arenas and trainers are all rendered beautifully, and the lighting is near perfection. However, actions can be a little clunky at times.

Sound: 7.0/10

Every stadium has it's own unique music style, and the announcer has a decent set of phrases programmed. However, where the announcer's speech has been spliced is sometimes obvious, and the Pokemon still sound like they're on the Game Boy Color.

Presentation: 9.5/10

The menu screens are very well thought out, and the secretary is a great touch. The only thing holding this back from a 10/10 is it's all fairly standard beyond that.

Controls: 10/10

It's a simple as point and click. Also, the fact that you don't even have to use the pointer is really great. If you don't feel like holding your arm up, just use the D-pad!

Online: 8.0/10

Battling your Pokemon online has never been easier! Click a few buttons, wait a few seconds, and you're in business! However, frequent lag and a total lack of a leaderboard really hurts.

Local Multiplayer: 10/10

The local multiplayer is masterfully done, and it's even better if you and your opponent have a DS and a copy of Pokemon Diamond or Pearl each.

Length: 6.5/10

Completing the main part of the game can be done in a matter of hours, but online and bonus conditions help keep this game going for quite a while.

Overall: 8.0/10

Pokemon Battle Revolution is a wonderful extension to the DS Pokemon games. That being said, there isn't much here for those of you who don't have Diamond or Pearl. The "rental" Pokemon are really crappy, and many of the game's features are unavailable to people without 4th generation Pokemon games. If you have Diamond or Pearl, buy this. If not, spend your money elsewhere.

So then, that's how I feel about Pokemon Battle Revolution. What are your thoughts? Have you played this game yet? If so, what do you think?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bits and pieces: Random game ideas

I've had a few ideas for games floating around in my head for a while, but none of which are fleshed out enough to warrant an entire post. So, I figure I may as well slap 'em all together! Enjoy!



Paper Mario DS

Paper Mario has been on every Nintendo home console since the N64, but never has he graced a portable system. I think this is the time to change that! I say Nintendo should bring the paper plumber to the small screen! Or rather, "screens".

Now, I'm not talking Super Paper Mario-style gameplay here, though. I'm suggesting the classic RPG Paper Mario make a return! This would be very well suited for the DS, due to the game's minimalist art style.

Also, the wave of RPGs on the DS seems to be slowing down a little as of late. Paper Mario DS would be the perfect thing to fill this void! Stylus controls would speed up battles significantly much like in Pokemon Diamond/Pearl. Tap a command, and it's done. There could also be touch-controlled puzzles, a field in which Nintendo has yet to fail us. And besides, what's an RPG without a puzzle every now and then? In a word: Boring!

Animal Crossing Wii

Yes, I'm aware this has already been all but confirmed. However, I still have a few ideas to toss out there! Control ideas!

Anyone who's played an Animal Crossing game for more than 6 1/2 minutes knows there are many, many different tools and interactions at your disposal when in town. How would these translate to Wii? Here are my thoughts.

I'm sure that most of us have spent hours tinkering with our stuff in the game, seeing what can be interacted with and such. But, to do so, we merely just tap A and watch. But with the Wii remote, this could become a much more interactive experience! Say you have a Jack-in-the-box (Not the burger joint, smartass). In that case, you'd hold your Wii remote horizontally (As if holding the handle) and make circular motions with it to simulate turning the crank until the Jack pops out. Then, to reset it, merely jab down with the Wii remote to push the Jack back in and close the lid.

This seems all pretty pointless, but imagine if you didn't know what motion to make! You could have an item for months before you figure out how to activate it! In fact, you may never know some of your stuff could even be interacted with! This opens up a whole new level of exploration, as well.

And how about when you meet a new villager for the first time? You could literally reach out your hand and shake their paw! Again, minor, but still pretty darn cool!

Then, of course, we have the obvious choices, such as digging, cutting down trees and swinging the bug net... Yeah, that's about all that needs to be said there!

So then, there are two very flimsy game ideas. Hey, I already told you they weren't fleshed out! Sorry, pal, no refunds.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pokemon Battle Revolution impressions

Well, loyal readers, I finally managed to get a copy of Pokemon Battle Revolution! EBGames got the shipment today, and I ran there like a bat outta hell! It is now MINE! So then, the impressions!



Anticipation for Pokemon Battle Revolution has been high, and that's putting it lightly. I have my copy, so here's how I feel so far.

As we have all found out from screenshots and footage, this game is arguably the best looking Wii software yet. Nintendo struck the perfect balance between realism and the series' trademark animation style with the Pokemon and the people. The only way thy could've possibly made anything look better would be to abandon Pokemon's cartoony look.

Also, for the first time EVER in a standard Pokemon game, the creatures actually make physical contact when battling! It use to be that the attacking Pokemon would make a little motion to indicate an attack, then the camera would swing over to the target and show it reeling and getting damaged. Now, if your Chimchar uses scratch, it gets right up close and personal with the target and actually scratches it! This may sound petty to those of you unfamiliar with the series, but it really does help in a big way.

Controls are spot-on. You simply point at your on-screen command, press A, and there ya go. This really helps streamline the whole experience in the same way the touchscreen helped Diamond and Pearl.

And how about using the DS as a controller? Also very quick and easy. The same controls as in Diamond and Pearl are used, just this time all the action appears on the TV instead of the top screen! There's also very little lag, which is really something considering all the translations your input has to go through.

The sound is great, with different music for each arena. Speaking of different arenas, the announcer's commentary will relate to the environment. For example, if your playing in the waterfall arena, he'll comment on the calming effect the cascading water seems to have on the Pokemon. Sure, it's a tiny little thing, but it gives the game even more of that unique charm.

All the Pokemon cries are intact, which is both good news and bad news. The good news is you'll recognize each screech and growl from your portable adventures. The bad news is the cries are the same thing as we've been hearing for the past nine years, so their quality doesn't exactly translate well to a TV's speakers.

So how about one of this game's most anticipated features, online play? First of all, it's certainly improved over what was released in Japan in December. Most notably, you can actually play one-on-one with perfect strangers. No computer-controlled clones here, just real person VS person battles. So make a note, folks: FRIEND CODES ARE NOT REQUIRED HERE! I've played two matches online so far (Got my ass handed to me both times...), and I've encountered little trouble, except with my second opponent...

When battling foe #2, there was massive lag in between menu selections. I'd click on the Attack button, wait 5 seconds for the attacks to show up, select an attack, and wait another few seconds for that to work. In the first battle, this was not an issue. I'd select a command, wait barely any time at all, and WHAM, I was in business. This can probably be attributed to my opponent's wireless connection strength, so no need to hold anything against Nintendo.

So those are my impressions of Pokemon Battle Revolution thus far! Look forward to a full review later this week! PEACE OUT!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Weekend recap and Pokemon Battle Revolution update

Things didn't exactly go as planned with Pokemon Battle Revolution... Read on for more.

So, as I said Friday, I went to a flea market on Saturday. As far as gaming related items, I found nothing. Nada. Zilch. However, I did find a couple of sweet deals at a thrift shop! Sid Meier's Pirates! (PC) for $3.00 CDN and Super Mario World (SNES) for $2.00 CDN. Not bad, really. But I was kinda hoping I'd find something a little cooler...

As for Pokemon Battle Revolution, well, I tried my damnedest, but I couldn't find a copy today. My day went like this:

6:45 AM: Woke up
7:30 AM: Left for nearest Wal-Mart
8:00 AM: Arrived at Wal-Mart. No shipments of the game had yet been received. So I go to the attached McDonald's for breakfast.
9:00 AM: Stake out the EBGames next door
10:00 AM: EBGames opens, and I go in. No shipment yet here, either.
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM: I shuttle back and forth between the two stores, hoping that one of them gets a shipment.
11:15 AM: Go to the nearby Wendy's for lunch, and leave at about noon
12:10 PM: Arrive back at the EBGames, and still no shipment. Same story at the Wal-Mart. I go back to the EBGames.
12:30 PM: I strike up a conversation with a young man exchanging his broken DS for a new one. This helps kill time for quite some while.
2:00 PM: The UPS man arrives at the EBGames, and the box is full of... Some other games... The clerk tells me that there won't be any more shipments today, and that I would have to wait until tomorrow. I go back to the Wal-Mart and have a McFlurry and a Sprite. It was damn hot today, and I was freaking thirsty.
2:30 PM: I double check at the Wal-Mart's electronics department, and still no shipment. So I duck into the EBGames again to make sure they didn't get any. They didn't, so I went home.
3:20 PM: Call the local Roger's Video to see if they have any copies in, and they don't have anything, either. Damn.

Well, that was my day. 8 hours spent shuffling around for nothing. The hunt shall continue tomorrow, starting with the Roger's Video again.

Well, nobody can blame me for not trying, that's for sure!

Now I need some sleep... I hope to have a copy to preview by tomorrow night, no matter what!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Everybody's working towards the weekend!

Okay, folks, that last post concludes this week's articles! I'll be hitting a flea market tomorrow, so I may return with some rare Nintendo paraphernalia! Well, I can hope, at least...

Also, Monday morning I will be picking up Pokemon Battle Revolution! You can look forward to some impressions Monday evening, and a review later on in the week!

Until then, adios, amigos!

The Duck Has Spoken.

The three worst DS games

I decided to get crackin' on this one a little early today. If I leave writing articles until later, I don't get much sleep, and I have a few things to do tomorrow. Hooray for time management!



The DS is quite possibly my favorite gaming platform in history, but no system is without it's bad games. Here, in no particular order, I will list the three worst DS games I have ever played.

Zoo Tycoon DS

Developer: Blue Fang Games
Publisher: THQ


I've always loved the PC tycoon games, and when I saw Zoo Tycoon on the shelf, well, I figured it would be a good idea to buy it, despite the polar bear relieving itself on the front of the box. Big mistake.

Now, in the Zoo Tycoon series of games, it's up to the player to manage a zoo and make it as good as it can be. Sometimes players are presented with blank slates, other times it's their obligation to pull a failing zoo out of the financial hole and into the green. This is done by building and modifying animal exhibits, giving the customers and the creatures what they want, and overall delivering an enjoyable experience to all living beings within the zoo.

In the PC games, this works very well. In the DS version, however, more than just the zoo's financial stability is a mess. First of all, controls are sloppy at best. Pressing up on the D-pad makes the camera pan diagonally up-right. Yeah, it didn't make much sense to me, either. Instead of dragging and dropping fences, paths and structures onto the land, you are presented with a cryptic grid representation of the environment, with colored squares indicating obstacles, but not what the obstacles are. Wow.

The sound and graphics are no better, but I feel I've gotten across the main point here: The game blows chunks. Do not buy this game under ANY circumstances EVER. I'm glad I sold this to EBGames for nine bucks. That act alone was more fun than this game. Hell, I have more fun unclogging a toilet than playing this. At least that presents a challenge.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts


Boy am I glad I only rented this stinker... Before this, I had played Need For Speed: Underground 2, a slightly underwhelming DS racer. I figured that there was no way the sequel could be worse.

I was dead wrong
. The graphics were perhaps the most declined of all the aspects. The environments were blocky and blurry, even for the DS. The cars were chunky and unappealing, quite the opposite of how a Need For Speed game should be.

They even managed to make the physics even worse than before! In Underground 2, if you crested a hill at high speed, you went airborne. In Most Wanted, no matter how fast you were going or how steep a hill you were climbing, your car seemed to be being held to the road by super-strong electromagnets. You could not leave the ground or even flip.

The AI was abysmal, as it was always very obvious where your opponents were going to turn and where cops were going to lay down spike strips. Speaking of cops, the way they drive it looks like they dropped out of police school two says into the semester. For that matter, I'm surprised they even had a license! It was much too easy to coax pursuing officers to run into oncoming traffic, walls, or even eachother. I think even Learning to Drive for Dummies would be too complicated for them.

Even though it was only an eight dollar rental, I still felt ripped off. Returned it the next day, and never looked back.

Spider-Man 2

Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision


Out of all the games listed here, this is most likely the one I hate the least. Why? Because I never payed a cent for it! It belonged to one of my friends, so I got to experience the terrible design for free!

Now, this game actually has significantly better production value than Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Zoo Tycoon DS, in that it's graphics and sound were quite impressive for the time. But the levels are super-repetitive, as well as bland and uninspired. "Help, Spider-Man! I'm stuck in a burning building!" How do you save this hapless citizen? You... Touch them. Seriously, once Spider-Man makes physical contact with them, they're saved. Even if you merely tap them in a crumbling pile of burning rubble, they disappear, unscathed. Was that radioactive spider, by chance, a firefighter? It would seem so...

Also, when you break into this burning building, it's crawling with thugs! Dude, the building is on FIRE! Ignore your thuggish impulses for five minutes and get the hell out of here! But, no, they'd much rather whack you with a baseball bat than save their lives. Wow.

Again, very, very glad I never payed anything to play this one...

So, what do you think are some really crappy DS games?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Gamecube: Gone, but not forgotten

Well, it's been 8 months since the Wii came out, and arguably longer since the Gamecube died. In the months leading up to the Wii's launch, the Gamecube was already on it's last legs, with nothing but licensed titles and Smash Bros. parties keeping it going. I say it's time I take a few minutes to appreciate how great the little purple box was.



While nearly universally considered the loser of the sixth generation, the Gamecube was still an amazingly competent console. If it weren't for the little purple box, there'd be no Pikmin, no North American Animal Crossing (N64 in Japan), no Metroid Prime, no Luigi's Mansion! The Gamecube hosted many a good title (As well as the best version of Soul Calibur II), and here are a few I really feel stood out from the crowd (In no particular order).


Battalion Wars
Developer: Kuju Games/Infusion Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: September 20th, 2005


Nintendo's Advance Wars franchise was doing amazingly on the Game Boy Advance, and it had just made the transition to the Nintendo DS. Nintendo couldn't very well have left the Gamecube out of the party now, hmm? The franchise saw it's console debut in a slightly different package, and under the name Battalion Wars (Originally called Advance Wars: Under Fire).

As the story begins, the Western Frontier is at war with the Tundran Territories over a border dispute. This is were you come in. It is up to the player to guide the Western Frontier to victory. However, the storyline soon evolves into much more than a mere dispute over land, tying in 3 other armies. What happens, I will not say for fear of spoilers. But I will say that the many twists will keep you guessing.


It's a great game, and way more worth the discount prices you see today. Grab a copy! Now! Did you get one yet? No? BUY IT!

Battalion Wars will be seeing a sequel on the Wii September 24th, 2007.


Luigi's Mansion
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 18th, 2001


(Now, you couldn't have honestly thought I'd write a retrospective about the Gamecube and leave out Luigi's Mansion, did you? Silly readers!)

When the Gamecube was released, Luigi's Mansion was there. Sure, it wasn't a Super Mario game, but dammit, it was fun! The story followed Luigi as he fought to save his brother, Mario, from the evil King Boo. Deep within a mansion in a forest, his poor brother is sealed away in a painting, while the royal ghoul looks on and laughs.

But, Luigi is not fighting alone! The local professor, Elvin Gadd (E. Gadd for short), lends Luigi two of his best ghost-catching inventions: The Poltergust 3000 and the Game Boy Horror.

With these two high-tech helpers at his side, Luigi fights his way through four floors of ghost-infested mansion, all to save Mario. Who says he's a coward? Not me, that's for sure.

Luigi's Mansion was greatly overlooked by the media, and that's a shame. If you can, at least rent this game. You owe it to yourself to at least give it a try!


The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 24th, 2003


Ah, the obligatory Zelda game... Never has a Nintendo console gone by without one (Well, besides the Virtual Boy, but we can just pretend that never happened). But, the thing is, this was no ordinary Zelda game. It was perhaps the biggest change ever to the franchise since The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Link's main mode of transportation in Wind Waker was sailing. Not horse-riding, not on foot, sailing.

This was huge news for sure, but at the time, the general public was too stunned by the game's radically different animation style. Wind Waker had the whimsical look of a very well done cartoon, comparable in quality to Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars (Although the latter didn't exist at the time). People thought it was a sign of Nintendo going "kiddie", something that, to this day, hecklers still won't shut up about (But that's another article...).

But enough about the shock, thrills and spills of pre-release news! On to the subject at hand! The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker followed a vastly different premise at the beginning. It was Link's sister's birthday, and just as the "par-tay" was about to begin, his sister, Aryll, was whisked away by a huge bird. Link, understandably pissed (But so damn cute!), enlisted the help of a nearby crew of pirates to save his sister. Reluctantly, they obliged, and off they went. From then on, it's plot twist after plot twist, all the way up to the final battle against... You guessed it, Ganondorf (How did you possibly know?).

Throughout his travels, Link meets up with a strange, enchanted, talking boat. It is this vessel that allows Link to sail from island to island, searching for treasure, adventure, and of course, answers.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker will be seeing a sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, later this year on the Nintendo DS.

Now, there are many, many more quality games for the Gamecube worth mentioning, but if I don't stop myself now, I may never stop typing for a week! In short, some other games worth a look are Chibi-Robo, Animal Crossing, Soul Calibur, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Pikmin and Metroid Prime.

What Gamecube games did you really like?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Ok, really sorry about this, folks, but...

I just can't seem to come up with a good idea for a post today. I've started two and scrapped them because they were no good, and sat here for an hour trying to think of something else. But, damn, my brain is fried. Sorry, guys and gals, but that's all for today.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Games that deserve a sequel

Too many great games have come and gone, without any sort of sequel or follow-up. Here are a few I feel truly deserve a comeback.

Luigi's Mansion
First game's platform: GameCube
Preferred platform of sequel: Wii


When the GameCube launched, this was the closest thing to a new Super Mario game on the market, and having such great expectations about it, many were disappointed. I, on the other hand, greatly enjoyed it. It was new, different, and above all, it starred my favorite Nintendo character of all time, Luigi.

This unique off-shoot starred Luigi as he seemingly wins a mansion in the lottery. A lottery he doesn't recall entering, I might add. When Mario hears the news, he goes off ahead of Luigi to the new house, and promises to meet him there. When Luigi finally finds his way to his prize, he finds something drastically different from the image in the brochure. Instead of an immaculate, sprawling mansion, he is greeted with a dilapidated old structure, crawling with ghosts.

In the mansion, he meets up with an old professor by the name of E. Gadd. Professor E. Gadd studies the paranormal activity in this house that Luigi "won". After hearing of Luigi's lottery winnings, he regrettably informs him that there never was a lottery, and the mansion's resident Boos have instead tricked him into their lair. When Mario arrived, he was swiftly kidnapped by the leader of the ghouls, King Boo, and locked up in the house's basement. It's up to Luigi to capture all of these ghosts and save his big brother, with the help of Professor E. Gadd's specially designed ghost capturing tool, the Poltergust 2000.

Check the first section of this article for more on how I think this game should play.

Pokemon Snap
First game's platform: Nintendo 64
Preferred platform of sequel: Wii


Way back when Pokemon was at the height of it's popularity, it seemed there was a constant stream of spin-offs. So many, in fact, that it was hard to pick one to buy! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Pokemon Snap, and I loved it from the second I hopped in the ZERO-ONE, the game's on-rails mode of transportation.

This game is really quite unique. The goal of the game is to get the best picture of the many Pokemon you encounter while riding each level's pre-determined course aboard Professor Oak's specially designed vehicle, the ZERO-ONE. Pictures are judged on pose, amount of Pokemon visible and size. So say you caught the ear of a Pikachu a quarter-mile away while it was looking away from you. Yeah, that's a pretty crappy picture there, pal.

There's also a surprising level of skill required to get some Pokemon to appear or evolve. For example, in order to snap a pic of the rare and elusive Zapdos, you first have to coax a Pikachu over to a power conduit. Then, you must play the Pokeflute to make the Pikachu shoot lightning from it's cheeks, powering the conduit. The resulting energy surge shatters the egg the Zapdos is hiding inside of, and there you have your photo-op.

The many facets of this game would lend themselves very well to the Wiimote. Point to look around, hold B to zoom, A to snap a picture, press the 1 or 2 buttons to throw apples or Pester Balls (Respectively), press the D-pad to play the Pokeflute, and so on.

Also, with the comparatively vast storage space of the DVD format over N64 cartridges, there'd be the possibility of every single one of the 493 Pokemon making an appearance in the game. This would add hours to the already expansive adventures of the original game. Add to that more levels and possibly new items, and you've got yourself a winning formula for sure! I really, REALLY hope Nintendo gets working on this! One game is not enough to satisfy this Pokemaniac!

Well, those are two games that I sincerely think deserve to make a comeback sometime soon. What do you think of my picks? Which one-hit-wonders would you like to see return?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What will the next DS model be like?

Every generation of portable Nintendo consoles thus far has had three models: The original, and two redesigns. For the original Game Boy, we had the big, thick, pea soup-screened basic model, followed by the Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Color. With the Game Boy Advance, there was the original model, followed by the Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Micro. And now, with the DS, we have the original version and the DS Lite. What will the second redesign be like? Here's my take on how things should be when it comes to the third DS design.



It will be even smaller

The Game Boy Advance SP was smaller than the original model, and the Micro was smaller still. The same will most likely be true of the third DS. How will they possibly manage to outdo the DS Lite's minuscule size? For starters, I'm betting they'll totally get rid of Game Boy Advance support, at least out of the box. Perhaps there'll be some sort of adapter for GBA support, but I doubt we'll be able to simply slip our old games into the DS 3. As for everything else, size reductions should be possible without any more radical changes. The top half of the DS housing the LCD screen could easily be slimmed down. The speakers may have to be moved to the lower half, perhaps above the buttons.

A revised menu

When the DS Lite came out, it was nearly identical to the original model on the inside, right down to the operating system. Even the screen for changing the GBA screen display still featured an image of an original DS. What the DS needs is a more Wii-like menu, with big buttons and simple images.

A brightness slider

The DS Lite's several brightness levels were great, but you still had to restart the system in order to change the settings. The next DS needs a slider, like the volume switch on the previous models, but for brightness settings. Not only will this enable brightness setting changes mid-game, but it will also allow players to choose the brightness level right for them. Say on the DS Lite, setting 3 was too dim, but setting 4 was too bright. Well, this would no longer be a problem, as there would be no brightness levels. Think of it as a dimmer switch, but for your DS screen!

A more light-friendly screen

When playing the original DS outside, you could switch off the backlight and simply let the sun be your brightness setting. But with the DS Lite, for some reason, this wasn't so. No matter where you were, if it was sunny, it would be near impossible to see the screen. If I had to describe it, I'd say the DS Lite screen is too reflective. Too much light bounces off the screen, obstructing the player's view. If Nintendo could somehow mix the clearness of the DS Lite screen with the non-reflectiveness of the original model, it would be amazing.

These are just my thoughts, though. What would you like to see in the next DS?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nothin' today either, folks.

Sorry, but nothing today. I'm seriously considering just doing weekdays from now on... At least then I'll be fairly sure to have an idea all the time.

Sorry again, guys.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nothin' today

No article today. Meh, it's a weekend, and I got nothing in mind anywho. I'm not sure what I'm doing with my dad for Father's Day tomorrow, so I have no clue whether or not I'll have anything Sunday night.

So, just in case I don't post until Monday, I'll say it now: Happy Father's Day, everyone!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wii supply: An eternal shortage?

It's no secret that the Wii is a hot item right now. It's sold basically one million consoles per month world wide since November. But, shortages still persist! People still call their local Wal-Marts on Sundays asking if they got more! Will the shortage ever end?



I go to my local Wal-Mart about once every two weeks, and since the Wii came out, I still haven't seen a single console on the shelves. Oh, they're getting shipments, make no mistake. They just keep selling out within the hour! This has been the case for nearly eight months now, and it doesn't seem close to an end. When will the Wii madness finally even out with supply?

Personally, I don't think we'll be seeing a global example of supply = demand until at least 2008. Sure, there are stores here and there with a Wii or two on the shelf, even as I type this, but they are few and very, very far apart.

When it comes to production, Nintendo doesn't have as many options as Microsoft and Sony. Both of the competitors own many more factories due to the companies focusing on more than just video games. If there's a shortage of XBox 360s, Microsoft merely gets a factory churning out PCs to turn their attention to the XBox. Nintendo doesn't have this luxury. They have so many factories making Wii consoles, and nothing else. They don't own or rent any factories that aren't already producing the rapid-selling little white box. If they need a new factory, they need to either build one or strike a deal with the owners. Either way, it'll take a while before the outlets to start production.

Also, instead of consumer interest generally going down later on in a console's life, the Wii's popularity goes nowhere but up! Why? Word of mouth, my friend. One person buys a Wii, and tells ten friends. Then, at least five of those friends get their own consoles, and they all tell ten friends. It just keeps snowballing from there!

And then there's the real problem: The holidays. Every single product on the market sees a huge boost in sales around American Thanksgiving, and the Wii will definitely be no exception. Compounding with the increased Christmas demand will be all the amazing software hitting the market around the same time. Super Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros. Brawl, MySims, and a whole crapload of stuff we don't even know about yet! All this adds up to a HUGE demand for a lacking supply.

There have been very subtle hints at a slowing demand, though. Lately I've been seeing more and more Wiimotes sitting on the shelves in stores, alongside many other accessories. But, this could just be a sign that all of the early adopters have already gotten all they need, and that newer Wii owners are the only ones buying the accessories nowadays.

So, what do you guys think? When will demand equal supply? When will we start consistently seeing Wii consoles on store shelves? It's your turn to talk, folks!

The Duck Has Spoken.

What? Oh, blog, right!

Man, I spent so much time screwing around in Windows Movie Maker today I nearly forgot to focus on the blog! Time to get cracking!

PS: I know the timing sucks in the video, but it got screwed up by Youtube when it was uploaded, making me a sad duck.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Project H.A.M.M.E.R cancellation thoughts

IGN posted a rumour today suggesting that one of Nintendo's new franchises, Project H.A.M.M.E.R, has been canned. They went on to say that the developers of this game are now supposedly working on an "expanded audience" title instead. If this were true, what would it mean for the Wii?

There's already a whole assload of "expanded audience" titles being made by Nintendo, as well as a few that have already been released. Factor in all the third-party titles in this genre, and you've got quite the hefty selection!

But one thing many people feel is missing from the Wii are more "core audience" titles. You know, games more traditional gamers would buy. Project H.A.M.M.E.R looked to be one of these, but if it was canceled, that's one less title for more mainstream gamers.

Of course, there's a good probability that this is all false. After all, it's being labeled a rumour, not a fact. So until this gets set in stone, there's really not much to get worked up about.

Yeah, it's a short article, but that's all there is to say. Plus, I'm tired, so poo.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Elebits review

Surprise! It's another review! I really wasn't planning on writing one tonight, but I was totally drained for ideas! Anywho, enjoy!



Game title: Elebits
Publisher: Konami
Players: 1 - 4
North American release date: December 12th, 2006
ESRB rating: E for Everyone (Cartoon violence)

The Wii's launch window was chock-full of ports. Avatar, Cars, Need For Speed, Call of Duty 3, the list goes on and on. Konami didn't do that, though. They made an original title for the Wii in the form of Elebits (Eledees in Europe). How did it sell? Well, not too well, sadly. However, it was an excellent game, and I'm here to give it the credit it deserves!

Of course, what good is an adventure game without a storyline? This is where I will start. This game follows the story of a young boy who, for some (Cheesy) reason, totally hates Elebits, the little creatures of his world who supply electricity to the people. One day, a large lightning bolt strikes somewhere in town, and the power goes out. His parents, Elebit scientists, go to their lab downtown to check things out, leaving their less-than ten-year-old son to fend for himself without electricity or supervision. What parenting school did they go to? Anyways, the kid gets pissed when he starts seeing Elebits all over the place, so he grabs his dad's conveniently accessible Capture Gun (A sort of hand-held tractor beam), and gets to work catching all the Elebits.

As you can probably tell, this storyline is extremely, well, cheesy, as well as full of consistency and plot errors. But, it does the job, I suppose...

How 'bout dem controls, huh? Overall, they're pretty good. The Capture Gun can manipulate pretty much everything that isn't bolted down, as well as a few things that are (Although the latter do put up a bit of a fight). Once you've grabbed something, you can twist, twirl, push and pull it, all with hand movements. To push, move towards the screen, to pull, move the Wiimote away from the screen. Movement is handled well by the analog stick. If something's up on a shelf too high for your little pre-pubescent arms to reach, you can press the C button to stretch up and stand on your tip-toes. You can also crouch with Z to clear out those hard to reach areas.

The only problems I've run into is it can sometimes be difficult to make enough room for your arm to pull things, especially if you're sitting down. No matter how I try, I still can't get my arm to phase through the back of my couch.

Elebits' gameplay sure is something different! The entire game is displayed in first-person view, with your capture gun behind the camera. The basic mission in each level is to gather a certain amount of watts. Each type of Elebit gives you a different amount of watts, with slight variations depending on what the Elebit is doing (Sleeping Elebits are worth more, scared ones are worth less, etc.). Then there's a time limit, as well as, in some cases, different restrictions, such as a limit to how much noise you can make or how many things you can break.

These limitations can become quite bothersome, as well as somewhat odd and inconsistent. For example, you will visit your house's upstairs hallway quite a few times. The first time you do, you can break stuff until there's nothing left to break. But, a few levels later, in the SAME HALLWAY, you can't break more than 4 things. What?

Also, if you finish a level, then come back to that area in a later level, everything's perfectly in order, more Elebits are all over the place, and nothing's broken. This makes no sense!

In addition to the main story, there is an Edit Mode where you can whip up your own levels! You first pick a location, and then three item sets. Then, you go into the level, and put items wherever you want. The biggest downside is you are severely limited in how many items you can place in each level. Also, manipulating objects can be kinda hard, especially if you're trying to make something really complex.

Another thing: Throughout each level you have the ability to power up your Capture Gun by catching special Elebits hiding in electronics. In order to start these electronics, however, you must first gather a certain amount of watts. Anyways, you can power up your gun all you want in a level, but, no matter what, it's weak again by the time you get to the next level. There is never an in-game explanation as to WHY this happens, it just does.

So, the continuity holds less water than a colander, but the gameplay is solid.

The graphics? Meh, they're okay. The Elebits are rendered fairly well, as are most of the items. On the bright side, things rarely get choppy, even when you have a whole whack of things floating around on-screen. Also, the art style in the cutscenes is pretty cool.

So, is the sound music to my ears? Well, it's not William Hung, but it's certainly no Queen. The music in the levels is pretty basic, as is the elevator music you hear on the menus.

The real bad stuff, however, is the voice acting. The voice actors have that distinct "I don't have a clue how to act or emote" sound. Thankfully, you only ever have to watch the cinematics once. When you go to replay a level, you can skip them (If you want, which you will). Also, there's very little, if any, Wiimote speaker support.

There is a multiplayer aspect to this game, but I haven't had the chance to check it out yet. So, this feature will be omitted from the review.

Did you know that this game has online features? Well, it does! Using WiiConnect24, you can send custom-made scenarios from Edit Mode to any friend in your Wii Address Book! Sending takes seconds, and you can send it to as many as 8 people in your address book at once! Neato!

How's this game's longevity? Well, I've had it since about mid-January, and I still need to get all the secret upgrades and modes. But it's not as if I've been playing constantly, though. I guess this game has some decent replay value, what with breaking high scores and seeing how much chaos you can wreak.

Storyline: 5.5/10

The story of the Elebits is pretty interesting, but most everything else is pretty basic. Also, plenty of things just don't make sense.

Controls: 9.0/10

There are few kinks here and there, but not enough to really do any harm. This game takes advantage of the Wiimote in every way imaginable.

Gameplay: 7.5/10

Scrambling to capture enough watts before the level ends can get really exciting, as well as just plain throwing stuff around. However, having your gun reset every level is pretty annoying, as are some of the limitations. Also, Edit Mode is a little too limited to be very useful.

Graphics: 7.75/10

Texture and lighting wise, it's nothing special. What really impresses me, though, is the near absence of lag or choppiness, even when things get really hectic. Also, the art style in the cutscenes is pretty nice.

Sound: 4.0/10

The music is merely passable, but hearing the voice actors makes me want to jab my ears with a steak knife. Yes, it's that bad, and I have the stitches to prove it.

Online Features: 7.5/10

Sending your pals levels you made yourself is pretty fun (Especially if you make them really freaking hard!), as well as quick. However, this aspect is somewhat stunted by the restrictions of Edit Mode.

Longevity: 8.5/10

I don't know about you, but trying to unlock those extra modes and features really keeps my attention. However, I'm sure throwing junk around does get boring... Eventually.

Overall (Not an average): 7.5/10

Elebits is a really great game, and I'm very impressed by how much Konami did with the Wii's capabilities. The controls are spot-on, and there's hardly ever any graphical slowdown. However, the voice acting is god-awful, and the graphics are nothing to scream about. Also, one of the game's greatest claims to fame, Edit Mode, is way too limited for it's own good. In the end, it's a great game, but not without it's flaws.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

No post today

Sorry, folks, but it doesn't look like there'll be a post today. I have a few subjects though up (A review and another Future Wii franchises installment), but I really can't think of what to write! Damn writer's block... Maybe, just maybe I'll have something up later, but I don't think so.

Sorry!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What will E3 bring?

Despite popular belief, there will be an E3 conference this year, albeit on a far smaller and more exclusive scale. Nintendo will undoubtedly have some really great things to show. Please note, this article is purely speculation. I have no inside info whatsoever.



Many great things have been unveiled in the E3s of the past. The Nintendo DS, Wii Music, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the list goes on. What will we be seeing this year? Here are some of my predictions, some hopeful, some based on fact.

Luigi's Mansion 2

Around the time of the Leipzig Games convention last year, rumours were floating around that we'd soon be seeing sequels to two Gamecube games, Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario Strikers. Well, Leipzig came, and we heard of Mario Strikers Charged!, but no Luigi's Mansion 2. We did, however, get out first glimpse at Battalion Wars II.

Shortly before the German gaming convention, Official Nintendo Magazine (ONM) stated that they had an exclusive announcement coming in their next edition. When the magazine hit newsstands, gamers were angered to learn that the "exclusive" cover story was about Battalion Wars II, which had already been previously revealed at Leipzig. This led many to believe that Battalion Wars II wasn't meant to be shown at that convention, and something else was. My assumption is Luigi's Mansion 2 was intended for the Leipzig convention, but something didn't go as planned, so they showed Battalion Wars II instead.

It's been 10 months since Leipzig, and we haven't heard a peep about Luigi's Mansion 2. Will there be one? I think so. Will we see it at E3? There's a high probability, yes. I, for one, really hope that they do announce a sequel to Luigi's only solo adventure. I enjoyed doing away with the Boos using the Poltergust 3000, and have dreamed of doing so again on the Wii. The controls would lend themselves quite nicely to the Wii remote. Here is how I would set up the control scheme if I were in charge:

Wiimote

A button: Suck with the Poltergust/interact with objects/talk
B trigger: Flashlight
D-Pad: Elemental move selection
1 button/2 button: Display map
+ button/- button: Menu
Pointer: Aiming the Poltergust and the flashlight
Motion sensors: Manipulate the Poltergust's angle

Nunchuk

Analog stick: Move/select options/change view in FPV
C button: Switch to first person view
Z trigger: Target ghosts/people/objects

I really, really hope Nintendo's working on this game!'

Star Fox Wii

The legendary Star Fox franchise has been seen on every single Nintendo console made since the SNES (Not counting the Virtual Boy), and even the DS! It only makes sense that there'd be one for the Wii! I already gave my thoughts on controls in an earlier post, so there's really not much more to be said here, except that I really hope that Star Fox Wii can return the franchise to glory.

The final game in Pokemon's 5th generation

Except for Firered and Leafgreen, every Pokemon generation has consisted of three games, two of which are released at the same time. Then, later on, a third game in the series is released, usually with exclusive features of some sort, such as new areas or side stories. Well, it's time for the successor to Diamond and Pearl to be revealed. What will it be called? What will be the difference? Heck if I know, and that's why we must wait.

New game console catalogs for the Virtual Console

It's been rumoured that we'll soon be seeing Commodore 64 and Neo Geo games on the Virtual Console. I believe these both to be true, personally. Other possible candidates for the virtual console are the SEGA Master System, Game Boy and arcade games. Don't get your hopes too high, though, we'll probably only get one more console, if any.

More original software for the Virtual Console

It's pretty certain that Impossible Mission will be hitting the Virtual Console as well as store shelves sometime later this year, but what about other games? Back when it was first announced that we'd be seeing original software on the Virtual Console, Nintendo said that they planned on making a few downloadable games themselves. What could they possibly be? A new Wii Tetris? Perhaps a Pokemon spin-off? Only time will tell when or what we'll be seeing, but I'm predicting that E3 will spill some of the beans on Nintendo's downloadable content.

A Wii hard drive/direct play off of SD cards

One things many Wii gamers are running out of is space. 512MB is nothing when you consider how many great games there are to download off of the Shop Channel! Think of how many save files some people must have! I think it's high time that Nintendo announces a firmware upgrade for the Wii that lets us use external storage devices and SD cards and play saved games and VC titles off of them. This would be a great help to those who are quickly running out of space on their Wii's Flash memory.

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure the real announcements will dwarf my predictions by huge margins, possible in ways I never could imagine. Thoughts?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Sorry, guys

Judging by the few comments I've received, you guys were generally unimpressed with the big article. All I ever said was that it was a big article, and I suppose that was a mistake. The word "big" can be taken many different ways in the vast English language.

Really sorry if you a disappointed.

The Duck Has Spoken.

A few notes on "The Big One"

Ok, I'm guessing you guys were probably expecting something a little longer than this. Truth be told, I had a version of this article going for a while, but ultimately, it wasn't up to my standards, so I scrapped it.

Sorry for all the delays, but I really couldn't concentrate when I was sick. Well, scroll down and enjoy the article!

The Duck Has Spoken.

DS vs PSP: Casualties and victories in the handheld war

It's been over two years since Sony's PSP hit the market, effectively starting the current handheld war with Nintendo's DS. This article shall chronicle what is most likely the most brutal handheld war yet.



When the Nintendo DS was first unveiled at E3 2004, many people thought Nintendo had finally and truly lost it. Touch screen? Microphone? All of this was so weird.

When the PSP was unveiled, however, people loved it! Music, movies, amazing graphics, web browsing, it had it all! People truly believed that Nintendo had finally been dethroned as the leader of handhelds.

November 19th came and went. The DS sold a decent amount of systems, but there wasn't much quality software available. The best game there (By many opinions) was Super Mario 64 DS, and even that wasn't totally spectacular.

The PSP's launch line-up of games included hits such as Wipeout Pure, Metal Gear Ac!d and Lumines. Sony managed to ship a record-breaking 10 million PSPs by October 21st of the same year. Things were surely looking grim for Nintendo.

That is, until August 2005, when Nintendo launched their secret weapon, Nintendogs. To call this game a hit would be a hideous understatement. 250,000 units were sold in the first week of availability on the North American market. Needless to say, this also caused many DS consoles to fly off the shelves as well. In Japan, DS sales increased by over 400% the week the dog-simulator came out! This was the beginning of Nintendo's turn-around.

Another major event for Nintendo occurred a few months later, with their first foray into online gaming, Mario Kart DS. Many game sites, such as IGN and GameSpot gave this game a score of 90% or higher. In January 2006, Nintendo announced that Mario Kart DS had sold over 1 million copies in North America alone. Another DS game going online at the same time was Tony Hawk's American Sk8land, by Vicarious Visions. Tony Hawk's first DS outing was well received, garnering a score of 8.8/10 from IGN, with a press average of 8.5/10 and a user rating of 8.7/10. Sadly, despite the glowing reviews, this game sold rather poorly.

Where was the PSP in all this? Well, it's kind of hard to say. The PSP wasn't really well advertised after it's launch, and I don't hang around any PSP news sites. This is one place where Sony made a mistake: Not enough advertising. Sure, you'd see the occasional bus stop ad and maybe a Mexican fuzzball commercial or two, but these didn't do much for the product. It seems like Sony felt the PlayStation name alone was enough to make it sell.

From that point on, the Nintendo DS did nothing but pick up steam. The amazingly unique Brain Age software was released in early 2006, and it gathered some decent scores and sales. This, like Nintendogs, helped draw in non-gamers to the Nintendo DS.

But that doesn't mean Nintendo was ignoring the core gamer! Oh, no no no! Some great games for the more hardcore set were released around that time, such as Metroid Prime Hunters, Mario VS Donkey Kong 2, Tetris DS and Star Fox Command. Nintendo had truly mastered drawing in all kinds.

Another boon to the DS was released to the public in mid-2006 in the form of the redesigned Nintendo DS Lite. Lighter and brighter, the Nintendo DS Lite was 2/3 the size of the original model, and sported 4 different brightness settings, all of which much brighter than the one brightness setting of the first DS. The screen was also much clearer, and the stylus was much thicker and slightly longer, too, allowing for a much firmer grip. The DS Lite was a huge hit in Japan when it was released in March, being sold out for over a month afterwards! Demand was also very high in North America, but not proportionately as high as in Nintendo's home country.

The PSP had fallen on harder times around then, though. UMD movie support was rapidly decreasing, and the big name games seemed to be coming further and further apart. There were a few spots of ingenious gaming, such as Locoroco and EXIT, but the PSP still saw a larger assortment of half-baked ports than anything else.

And that brings us to the present. How are things standing as of now? As of April 2007, Nintendo has announced that the DS and the DS Lite combined had sold over 40 million units worldwide. Most of these sales were in Japan (16 million), followed by the United States (Nearly 12 million) and the rest of the world (About 12 1/2 million).

According to the website VGChartz.com, the PSP has sold over 21.5 million units worldwide, less than half than the DS/DS Lite. Most units were sold in North America (8.3 million), followed by Japan (Nearly 5.6 million). The cumulative sales for the rest of the world amount to about 7.75 million.

The best selling games for the DS and the PSP are Nintendogs (All versions combined) and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, respectively.

How are things looking in the future? In the DS' case, there are many high-profile games on the horizon, such as Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Dragon Quest IX, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Planet Puzzle League, Phoenix Wright 3, Sonic Rush Adventure and Final Fantasy IV.

The PSP's lineup isn't quite so fleshed out, however. There are a few high-demand games such as a Final Fantasy VII spin-off and Locoroco 2, as well as a few rumoured titles such as God of War PSP, but not much else.

So, in the end, there is a pretty clear-cut winner in this war, and it's name is Nintendo! Sony put up a pretty good fight, really, especially since this is their first ever handheld. But, ultimately, it wasn't enough to take away Nintendo's everlasting handheld superiority.

So I say good luck to Sony with their next endeavor! I hope to see something great from them in the coming years. If done right, they could really do some damage to Nintendo's handheld army. Time will tell, I suppose.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Feelin' pretty good, really!

I woke up this morning, and I felt EXTREMELY better! I felt so much better, I went out for a walk, grabbed an old NES controller and a copy of Ice Hockey (NES) for about four bucks, went grocery shopping... Yeah, I'm certainly feeling a lot better!

I'm gonna try and finish that article now! AWAIT WITH BATED BREATH!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Ok, maybe I'm not feeling that much better...

Jeez, I could barely swallow dinner tonight... Sorry, folks, but "The Big One" is gonna have to wait. I'll be headed to the hospital tomorrow. Hopefully medication is all I need, because I LOATHE hospitalization...

Well, wish me the best. I should be fine, but don't be too surprised if it ain't up by Monday morning.

Now lets hope this is the last post I have to write about bad health. I'm totally sick (Ha ha! PUN!) of all these irrelevant posts...

The Duck Has Spoken.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Feeling a little better now...

My uvula still hurts like hell and is way too freaking big, but otherwise, I'm feeling better. That big article should be up by Monday morning, so hold tight!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A sick duck

Man, I have had the worst few days in terms of health. My throat hurts whenever I swallow, my uvula looks like a frigging stalactite, and I cough every minute or more! I'm really sorry, guys, but the big article's gonna have to wait a little bit.

Time for my cold medicine...

The Duck Has Spoken.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Goodbye, hardcore! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Well, I just posted a reeeeeeeally long comment on Go Nintendo, which can be found in this article's comment section. Well, I was just so damn proud of this comment, I decided to turn it into an article! This is really more just to tide over my readers for now, because that super-big article is taking FOREVER! So, until then, enjoy my take on the term "hardcore"!

I say we abolish the term “Hardcore” now. It’s become to convoluted over the years. Everybody has their own description for hardcore nowadays.

If I had to describe it, I’d say a hardcore gamer is one who buys whatever game they want, regardless of what other people say. A hardcore gamer is one who can enjoy all types of games, whether it’s Final Fantasy or Wii Sports.

As for hardcore games, it has nothing to do with popularity, blood, sexual themes or swearing. In fact, there is no such thing as a hardcore game all on it’s own. What makes a game hardcore is the devoted fanbase that follows it. Thusly, there are many different kinds of hardcore games and gamers.

There’s the casual hardcore gamer, who only plays games labeled “casual”, not because they’re casual gamers, but because they religiously play these games to the bone. So anybody obsessed with Madden, Wii Sports or Tetris exclusively is a casual hardcore gamer.

Then there’s the mainstream hardcore gamer. These people play only the best selling and most popular games, not because of those reasons, but because they enjoy them. Anyone who exclusively plays games such as Grand Theft Auto, Halo or Burnout, and very little else, is a mainstream hardcore gamer.

We also have the fanboy hardcore gamer. This particular breed only plays games from a certain developer. So anyone who plays only Nintendo, Square-Enix or Electronic Arts games is a fanboy hardcore gamer.

Then there’s the truest of true hardcore gamers. These people will play any game, regardless of classification, developer or genre. These people will play any game their heart desires, which means anything from Dance Dance Revolution to Doom. This is the true definition of a true hardcore gamer.

There are also plenty of gamers who are not hardcore, but still greatly enjoy video games. The thing is, they often don’t game quite as much as others, making them simply gamers.

That’s how I think of hardcore, but other people may have a totally different perception of this. That’s why I don’t believe hardcore should be used anymore. It has too many different meanings. So unless the entire gaming community can decide on one single definition, the word hardcore should never be uttered again.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tell me you hate it all you want, people, I don't care.

I've received a few complaints from people lately telling me to stop putting a link to my blog in the Go Nintendo comments section. Well let me say something to you: I will not stop doing this. It is perfectly within the constraints of the rules. Many other people do this, too, and nobody ever seems to bitch at them.

So to all of you people who want me to stop, too bad. It's part of my signature, and that's the way it always will be. It's just a link. Also, it's not like I post stupid, meaningless comments on Go Nintendo just to get another link out there. Every one of my comments has a point. Here is a response to a recent revelation of a new DS peripheral:

I don't know, this sounds a little iffy. For one, you absolutely NEED a flat service for this to work, making gaming on the go near impossible. Also, how are you supposed to concentrate on what's happening when the DS is being slid back and forth on the table? Seems a little too gimmicky and a little too clunky to be any good. But, I suppose one must learn from their mistakes, and this looks like a doozy.

One Duck's Opinion

The Duck Has Spoken.


Now, did that look like pointless self-promotion to you? I sure as hell don't think so. If what I'm doing truly bugs you, don't bitch at me. Go whine about it to RawMeatCowboy (The owner of the site I post these comments on), and let him tell you personally there's nothing wrong with this. Here's some contact info. Good day.

PS: That big article is still gonna happen, but it may not be up until tomorrow. Sorry!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Huge article coming soon!

Hey, guys, just want you to know that there'll be a HUGE article tomorrow! Be sure to keep an eye out for this one!

It's gonna be BIG.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Below the radar

Welcome to yet another new format of article! In this series of articles, I will be naming a few upcoming games not getting the attention they deserve. ON WITH THE SHOW!



Space Station Tycoon

As the developers have said many times before, this is not your typical Tycoon game. It has a story. It has characters. It has humour.

Space Station Tycoon follows the story of Shawn (A young entrepreneur) and Tam (A white-furred space monkey. Yeah) as they flee from their destroyed homes and float through space in a discarded bathtub, and somehow eventually getting into the business of running space station resorts. Nobody said it was conventional!

What else sets this apart from the other Tycoon games on the market? How about boss battles? That's right, there are actually situations in this game where you'll come across a giant robot space-whale (Or something along those lines), and have to fight them. Again, not your average Tycoon game. Add to that varying species of customers and business partners, resorts hanging from giant whale uvulas and random meteor showers, and you have a game that can't be missed!

Space Station Tycoon is due for release in August.

Developer's Blog



Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol

Chibi-Robo: Plug Into Adventure was one of my favorite GameCube games, and I was so excited when I heard Nintendo was making a DS sequel! Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol takes place shortly after the first game, placing Chibi-Robo in a local park. This park has recently taken a strange turn for the worst, with the appearance of strange monsters and the disappearance of several park structures, such as swings and benches, and it's up to Chibi-Robo to solve the mystery and get things back to normal.

Along the way, he'll make friends with several quirky characters, drive several types of Chibi-Vehicles, revive many flowers and overall make this park the fun destination it once was!

Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol is scheduled for release September 24th.

IGN Page

I greatly urge all of my readers to look into these games. They are both very promising projects coming from very skilled developers, and it would be a shame if they failed. So please, check them out! Too many great games have failed due to lack of interest!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, June 4, 2007

How the true Zelda Wii should work

It was nearly 8 months ago when the Wii came out, and along with it came The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. While it was a truly amazing and deep game, it wasn't Zelda Wii. Twilight Princess was merely a port of the Gamecube game of the same name (Which saw release a few weeks later). What will the true Zelda Wii be like? More precisely, what will Nintendo do to further immerse the gamer into the experience? In short, how will we play it?



Right now, rumours are running rampant. The majority of these mumblings are about where and when Zelda Wii will take place. In the future? Present day? In an open world like Hyrule? In space? Well, I'm not even gonna touch those things with a 39 1/2 foot pole. This blog will be purely my speculation on how Zelda Wii should be controlled.

First of all, it needs to at least have the option of 1 to 1 sword-fighting. For those who don't know, 1 to 1 means that each and every move you make with the Wiimote will be portrayed perfectly in the game. The angle, the speed, everything. It would be as if you're actually holding Link's sword in your very hands. The same would go for other stiff, hand-held weapons, such as the new version of the Megaton Hammer.

Secondly, we have to be able mimic the movement of pulling an arrow back in a bow. To do this, once the bow is equipped, hold the Wiimote vertically at arm's length in front of you, as if holding the body of a bow. Then, move the Nunchuk up to the Wiimote, slightly closer to your body. Next, press and hold the Z trigger and pull the Nunchuk back towards your body. At this point, you would be able to aim freely with the Nunchuk's analog stick. Once satisfied with your target, let go of the Z trigger and let the arrow fly. To shoot again, shake the Nunchuk to grab another arrow, and repeat the previous steps.

Also, the ability to swing should be an option if Twilight Princess's Ball and Chain returns. Once the Ball and Chain is equipped, swing the Wiimote around as if you were spinning a lasso, and whip it forward when ready.

Another motion-controlled aspect would be throwing the boomerang. You'd have two control options: Motion with the controller as if really throwing a boomerang (For pros), or simply flick the Wiimote (For those unfamiliar with boomerangs).

Of course, how could I write an article like this without mentioning the famous horseback sequences in Zelda? This particular aspect would be especially involved, as one would have to steer by tilting a pulling the Nunchuk, as well as swinging a sword and firing arrows (When firing arrows, you would be unable to steer due to the need of both the Wiimote and the Nunchuk).

Finally, all the little things should be motion controlled as well, from swiping bottles to grab bugs to swinging the fishing rod.

Of course, sometimes players will be too tired from work and whatnot to swing the controllers around. In this case, the player would be able to select a more conventional, button-oriented control scheme. Also great for those who have been playing for a long amount of time!

That's how I feel Zelda Wii should be controlled. Thoughts?

The Duck Has Spoken.