Thursday, February 26, 2009

What the hell is ExciteBots: Trick Racing?

"Excitebots™: Trick Racing has elements that make it one of the more unique racing games on the market. It launches April 20 and lets everyone in the family use the Wii Wheel™ accessory in unique and changing environments, play fun minigames and perform crazy tricks in a game that builds on the Excitebike™ and Excite Truck™ franchises."

That's all the info we have on this new entry in the Excite franchise, as "announced" earlier today. Time to open the floodgates on speculation!

First off the is suffix "Bots" in the title. First Bike, then Truck, and now Bots? My thought is that the vehicles in the game will actually be transforming robots, which will be able to switch between bike and truck forms, and maybe even more than that. Aerial vehicles are sounding unlikely, though, considering the "changing environments" line in the above quote. A hill turning into a valley wouldn't matter much to a helicopter, would it?

The controls will probably somewhat simplified over those in ExciteTruck, perhaps removing a bit of emphasis from lining up perfect landings and such. For one, the Wii Wheel and the way a wheel generally rotates go somewhat against the way the controller is twisted and tilted when playing Excite Truck. Second, they've tossed in the line "everyone in the family", meaning the controls will probably be somewhat simplified for the non-gamers in the household. Maybe ExciteTruck style controls will be an option for the more skilled players? Hey, you never know.

"Minigames"... That word always worries me, and there it is in the above press release. Trying to figure out how they'll be integrated into a racing title is somewhat perplexing. Perhaps the robots will take on a humanoid form in this situation? Or perhaps the minigames will be entirely separate from the main game, instead using Miis as avatars? Or, if you want to get really crazy, there's also the possibility that all the minigames will be racing-centric, with the "Bots" maintaining their vehicular form the whole time. A whole set of minigames where the central focus is always racing? I don't think even Nintendo's up to the task of making a varied set of those.

I'd love to write more speculation on ExciteBots... But I don't even have enough info to do so! They've actually managed to release such a tiny amount of information as to render more than a small bit of speculation nigh on impossible. The only other speculation I can form is somewhat disturbing, and that's the thought that ExciteBots is a game of robots... Footracing. Please don't let this be it, Nintendo. Please. Unless all the robots are Optimus Prime. Then you're forgiven.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Legend of Zelda: Title of Inadequacy

Another short article. Thought it up last night, and figured I should write it down before someone else does... Again.

I love the Zelda series, maybe more than any other in existance. I love the gameplay, the characters, the sense of adventure, the writing... Pretty much everything is number one in my books. Two things that annoy me, though, are the terrible, terrible names given to two of the series' installments.

It didn't take long for the franchise to hit it's first naming failure, with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link being, quite possibly, the worst title of all. What can someone unfamiliar with the franchise gleam from this title? Well, they'd see that it's the second game in the Zelda series, and that it's about the adventures of one named Link. That's not a problem. However, if this is The Adventure of Link, then what the heck was the first game, and for that matter, all following iterations in the franchise? The Legend of Zelda: Link's Non-Adventure? The title of Zelda II makes it sound like the first game was not an adventure at all! Nope, The Legend of Zelda was just one huge illusion of adventure.

And now the series lands on the Game Boy for the first time, and does so with a name that's practically a spoiler. Link's Awakening just about gives away the twist ending before the player even opens the box! As we all know by now, Link's Awakening ends with, well, Link's awakening. The whole game was a dream. And what does Nintendo do to keep the ending an absolute mystery until the player reaches it? Slaps it on the front cover of the box. Bravo.

Oh, I love you, The Legend of Zelda, but when your installments falter in the important department of their very name, well, I can't help but notice. Just make sure you don't title the next game "Link Kills Some Monsters" or "Zelda Dies at the End", and maybe I'll forgive you.

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Shouldn't downloaded games be cheaper than retail?

Just a short little thought I need to get out

I went on a bit of a shopping spree on Saturday, with Left 4 Dead being one of the main reasons for the trip. However, there were no copies in stock, so I couldn't get it. I thought "Well, maybe I'll just download it off Steam instead". So I get home, look it up on the Steam Store, and... It costs $50 to download the game? But it would've cost me $50 to buy it in a store! Why download it here when I can just go find it in another store for the same price and get a box, booklet, and a physical copy of it for the same price? Seriously, the downloadable version of the game costs practically nothing to produce, as opposed to the physical material and shipping expenses of the game we can buy in a store. In my opinion, downloadable games should cost at least 25% less than the retail copy. Server fees aside, each download of a game costs the seller absolutely nothing. The lower cost of distribution should be reflected in the price the buyer pays. It's ironic, really, considering Valve president and founder Gabe Newell himself has recently been quoted saying that games are too expensive nowadays. Start practicing what you preach, Mr. Newell. And no, a limited-time-only, 50%-off sale doesn't count.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

DSi dumps Rumble Pak support: Nobody notices or cares

This is basically a big pile of rambling. You have been warned.

I remember that the big thing people complained about when the DSi was revealed was the lack of a GBA slot (Well, that and the crappy cameras, but that's another story). However, I never heard a peep on the subject of the now obsolete Rumble Pak. As I ate dinner at the local burger joint a few nights ago, I sat and thought "Well, why didn't they just build one into the DSi? Hmm, I should write that up!" So I got home, walked halfway to my bedroom and thought "Wait, why bother putting rumble in the DSi? In fact, what good has rumble ever done for a portable system?" I had a very good question in need of answering.

Made popular on the Nintendo 64 by Star Fox 64, rumble offered a new level of immersion to any game. You can see it on your TV, hear it through the speakers, and now feel it through the rumble. Hell, throw in the ability to smell and taste and you've got all the senses covered! Just... Turn those features off when playing in any sewer levels.

When it gets taken down to the handhelds, though... It's as if some of the magic is taken away. Maybe it's the smaller screen, maybe it's the inferior graphics, maybe it's the decreased punch delivered by the tiny rumble pak, or maybe it's just the fact that the screen and controller are on the same piece of plastic. Whatever it is, something's just different and, well, wrong, in an impossible-to-define way. It just doesn't deliver the same amount of immersion.

In the past I was fascinated by rumble in handhelds, but looking back I can't really see why. Perhaps it's because I never had the opportunity to hold that legendary Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak in my hands. Perhaps it's because, up until 2003 or so, I'd never played a single console game with rumble implemented. I was a little late to the console rumble party, it would seem. Before I got my hands on a DualShock 2, handhelds were the only places where I'd experienced rumble, and even then my only exposure to it was in the form of Pokémon Pinball. I was fascinated by the way my entire Game Boy Color would shake as the ball bounced all over the table. Looking back, though, it was more of a tiny little addition hardly worth the AAA battery needed to power it. The only reason I enjoyed it was the novelty of the idea, the fact that I had the power of rumble in my little Game Boy Color. If I were to dig out my old copy of Pokémon Pinball today and play it, I wouldn't even care about the rumble. Heck, if the AAA battery in there is dead, I wouldn't even bother replacing it, except perhaps for old time's sake.

Oh, the memories...

Thinking back, the only use of rumble in a handheld game that stood out to me even in the slightest was in Star Fox Command. Instead of just rumbling, the Rumble Pak also shook in such a way as to create sound effects syncing up with the action in game. When charging a blast and firing, the rumble would slowly ramp up in intensity and volume, then let out a loud "VRRRUMP!" as the blast is fired. Not even console games have managed to use rumble in such a way, meaning this is the only time in all of gaming history in which handheld rumble has been superior to that of a console. Other than this, though, rumble has really done nothing for the handheld industry besides drain batteries.

What really gets me, though, is the fact that I've never heard a single person share these thoughts. Am I needlessly bitter? Are people just saying so without me hearing? Do people just think so little of rumble in handhelds that they don't even bother talking about it? Or am I just missing the point altogether? Well, it's time to find out with this simple question: What do you guys think? Has rumble in a handheld game ever been that great? Let me know in the comment section or this forum thread, and together we shall find out!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Poll #77: "Do you think the iPhone is that much of a threat to the DS?" results, banner

"Very much so" 1 vote (4%)
"Sort of" 2 votes (8%)
"Not really" 11 votes (47%)
"*Histerical laughter*" 9 votes (39%)
"I don't know" 0 votes (0%)

Can't say I'm at all surprised with these results. The iPhone is an impressive piece of technology, but it's by no means a threat to the DS' dominance.

As for this week's banner... I got nothin'! The current banner will just be sticking around for a little longer, I guess.

And then we have the matter of this week's poll: Will you be getting a DSi? I've been hearing a lot of negativity towards this little beauty lately, so I figured it'd be a good idea to check if most people really don't like it, or if the people who do like it just don't speak up very much. And what better way to find out by asking how people will be voting with their wallets? So then, let's have it!

Tonight's article is running kinda late. I'm having a hard time finishing it off... I may have to leave it until tomorrow. In other news, I now have two reviews pending, so that's something to look forward to!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Coming attractions

It's no secret, folks: The last week has been pretty abysmal for updates here on One Duck's Opinion. Fear not, though, for I have plenty coming your way in the next while. Tomorrow I'll be headed to a Best Buy with $200 in my pocket, and you know what that means: Plenty of new games, and tonnes of new articles. Of course, even if by some bizarre twist of fate I don't get my chance to blow $200 on software and junk tomorrow, I still have one small article just about finished (I'll probably clean it up and post it tomorrow if I have time), a few more article ideas floating about, as well as a review just about ready to get written (Nothing big, though, so don't go nuts). Whatever the case, things will be picking up around here. Just give me a couple days, and everything should be back to how it was, if not better.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nintendo DSi: The next generation in disguise

The DSi is more than just a redesign of the DS line of handhelds; It's also the next generation of the system. Here's why.

First, there's the fact that the DSi is proven to have a faster internal clock speed than the DS and DS Lite, and, as the hacker who discovered this says, "the DSi seems to be to the DS what the Wii was to the GameCube". Put simply, the DSi is twice as fast as the DS or DS Lite.

The Nintendo DSi: Smarter than the average bear

Second is the confirmation of specific software that will only work on the DSi, yet will be physically similar to the basic DS game card. This ringing any bells, folks? Remember the old "black" and "grey" carts from the days of the Game Boy and Game Boy Colour? This is the same deal. The DSi is this year's Game Boy Color: The next generation in disguise.

I figure, eventually, Nintendo DS games will go out of circulation and be entirely replaced by DSi software. This is far from a bad thing, as these games would benefit from the DSi's slightly beefier hardware, as well as the many new features the console brings with it (A new Boktai using the camera as a light sensor? Hell yes!).

Now then, how long would this phasing out take? Well, this is the interesting part. See, there's already almost 100 million DS units sold worldwide across all three iterations. Nintendo wouldn't just dump all those millions and millions of users overnight. That's why I'm seeing the DS and the DSi living alongside eachother for a long, long time. How long, you may ask? Well, you may think I'm crazy for saying such a thing, but I'm gonna say six years. By 2015, the DS will be entirely replaced by the DSi. What makes me think this? Well, back in the days of the transition between the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color, the last Game Boy-compatible game was published in 2002, roughly four years after the Color was released. I'm seeing the transition to the DSi taking longer, though, considering the DS line has sold significantly more than the Game Boy and Game Boy Pocket combined*. Expect to see many "black**" game cards over the next few years, with the "grey**" game cards starting to slowly become more prevalent.

*A real number isn't available, but since the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color are said to have sold 118.69 million units combined, I'd guess somewhere between 70 and 80 million of those were of the two original models.

**The Game Boy Color games that also worked on original Game Boy models were usually coloured black, thus the popular nickname of "black cartridges". "Grey cartridges", obviously grey in colour, worked only on the Game Boy Color. Seeing the same happen with the DS and DSi is surely possible.

And such is my take on the DSi and its relation to the current line of DS handhelds. What do you think? Is it like I said, or will the DSi live peacefully alongside the current models? Have your say in the comment section, or in this forum thread.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Poll #76: "What do you think is the best feature of the DSi?" results, banner

"The new shape/size" 2 votes (7%)
"The camera" 2 votes (7%)
"The DSi Shop" 16 votes (59%)
"The SD card slot" 5 votes (18%)
"The new Wii Channel-like menu" 0 votes (0%)
"I don't like the DSi at all" 1 vote (3%)
"I don't know" 1 vote (3%)

A little surprised to see "The new Wii Channel-like menu" didn't get any votes. That's probably my third or fourth favourite part of it! I just love the expandability that sort of menu brings. Maybe most people just don't know about it. After all, I've only found three or so screenshots of it.

This week's banner resulted from a session of Team Fortress 2 I played last night. I just love it when the picture of the guy who just killed you shows him about to bite the dust himself. So satisfying.

And finally, the poll: "Do you think the iPhone is that much of a threat to the DS?" To be honest, every time I hear an Apple CEO say something like "Oh yeah, the DS' days are totally numbered" I can't help but laugh and laugh. The iPhone's little "apps" and time-wasters are nothing compared to what the DS has up its sleeve. Also, the iPhone costs about as much as three DS Lites. Yeah, not interested, pally. Call me when you grow some buttons.

I'll probably start writing something later tonight, but I wouldn't expect it any earlier than tomorrow. After all, it's a holiday! WOOOOOO

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Games set in Canada: Where the heck are they?

Okay, so I decided to write something today anyways. Been meaning to post this for a while, so here ya go... And stuff.

As most of you know (Or should know, due to the personal information in the sidebar), I'm Canadian. I've lived here my whole life, and like any patriotic citizen of any other country, I love it. I suppose it's understandable, then, that's I'm somewhat upset at the incredible lack of games that take place here. Aside from some hockey and baseball video games featuring Canadian venues, there really aren't many examples of a game really happening in Canada. Aside from the Canada tracks in Excite Truck (Which are entirely fictional in design) and the upcoming Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, I can't think of a single, official, professionally-published game that's taken place in the Great White North.

I have, in my entire life, come across only game that both takes place in a real Canadian location and isn't sports-centric. Thing is, this game is merely a student-made project called City 7: Toronto Conflict. Even worse, the website hasn't been updated once in over a year. So, that's it. One game. Sure, it was well-made, interesting, and based on several real-world locations all over Toronto, but it's all I've been able to find.

You may ask "Why don't sports games count?" It's quite simple: Every single hockey rink, baseball diamond, football field, basketball court and soccer pitch is exactly the same as any other. Sure, structurally they may differ, but the field size and dimensions are kept the same by the associated sports commission. Playing a game in Wrigley Field is exactly the same as playing one in the Rogers Centre. Even the Olympics are all generally the same in the way regardless of location, aside from the obvious difference of variations in the mountains (Not to say I won't be picking up Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games anyways. I mean, Mario in Canada? Hell yes.).

Now, I wouldn't be suggesting having a game set in Canada unless I felt it could truly be something great because of it. I think an amazing sandbox-style video game could be made out of the Greater Toronto Area, which, ironically, is GTA for short. There's an incredible amount of environmental variation within this city, from a scenic valley to urban canyons to an amusement park on an island. With many twisting roadways, a major highway, an extensive subway system and several fantastically unique examples of architecture, Toronto is a perfect fit for a Grand Theft Auto-style game.

Future site of Grand Theft Auto: Great White North?

Another franchise that would do well to take things Northward would definitely have to be Fallout. In the series' fictional timeline, a worldwide lack of resources and moral order led to China taking over the entire state of Alaska. Of course, the United States couldn't just sit back and let this happen, so they began a military offensive against the invaders. Eventually even the military superpower of the United States began to be affected by the lack of resources, leading to the country annexing Canada for supplies*. And then, shortly after that, the bombs fell, destroying what little order remained. What I want to know, though, is what happened to Canada after all this?

*This is incredibly condensed, mind you. For the full details, please see this page on the Fallout Wiki.

So far, not a single shred of official information has been released about the condition of my country after the war, despite it technically being part of the United States in this fictional story. How about we take a trip up North in Fallout 4, or in an upcoming expansion for Fallout 3? I'm quite interested to see the condition of the CN Tower after a nuclear blast (My money's on half of it being in the lake), and the thought of what has happen to those isolated on Vancouver Island is certainly worth pursuing. In fact, I'm even just curious to hear if there's anyone left in Canada at all! Vaults were only built in the United States, so what did we up here do to survive the blast? Did all of Toronto attempt cramming into the Rogers Centre, under its solid concrete roof, and manage to stave off most radiation? Could the same have happened in Calgary's Saddle Dome and Montreal's Olympic Stadium? I'm just dying to know!

There's crazy amounts of potential lying within a game placed in Canada, whether it be a Grand Theft Auto, a Fallout title, or even some other type of game I never even considered. Maybe Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games will open the necessary channels to make this happen? ...okay, probably not, but dammit, I'll hold onto any hope!

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Previous article deleted due to massive sucking

Rant deleted. I'm a whiny bugger.

EDIT: As you can see above, I decided to forget the break and just write when I wanna. So then, basically back to business as usual.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poll #75: "Does the 2009 line-up renew your interest in the Wii?" results, banner

"Absolutely!" 4 votes (22%)
"It does a little bit" 4 votes (22%)
"Not really" 1 vote (5%)
"Screw this, I'm selling it" 0 votes (0%)
"I never lost interest" 9 votes (50%)
"I don't know" 0 votes (0%)

I must say, I was expecting quite a few more votes on "Absolutely". I never imagined so many people had stuck with the Wii! One things for sure: With this line-up, the Wii's not gonna be losing me this year.

This week's banner, like last week's, comes to you from me. Notice anything familiar about this? I decided to run with the whole game crossover, "Anything Can Happen Here" theme for a bit, with this edition calling back to last month's "Three types of game endings I really hate". Can you think of some bizarre, "it'd never happen in a million years" game crossover? If so, feel free to whip it up in banner form and submit it via the e-mail listed in the sidebar, or post it in this thread. Who knows? If I like it (And it's exactly 760 pixels wide and no taller than 300 pixels), you just might see it up on the site! Of course, you don't have to adhere to this little theme I've got going, so if you've got some other idea for a banner, feel free to submit that, too!

Finally, as for this week's poll, the topic is "What do you think is the best feature of the DSi?" Personally, I'm really excited about the new DSi Shop that'll be coming with it. Made in Wario and Art Style: PiCOPiCT both look like huge amounts of fun, and that Moving Memo Pad software is just mind-blowing in its potential. Oh, I also kinda like that the DSi has a hinge that isn't broken. I appreciate that.

As for the next update, I've got something in the works. I've been adding bits to it over the last couple of days, and I'd say it'll be up sometime tomorrow night, with midday Wednesday being the latest. Woo, deadlines!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rant: I hate time-limited demos

Warning: Upcoming mini-rant

Today I downloaded the demo for Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box for a bit of fun. Of course, I expected "a bit" to be more than "thirty minutes".

When I play a demo, I want to have adequate time to explore and get a good feel for the game. I like to take my time looking around, checking things out, and basically exploring the area. I don't want to be rushed through it by an insanely short and constricting time limit. I'd rather be given a small chunk of the city with a handful of races and unlimited time to explore than have the whole shebang and a minuscule amount of time to check it out.

I don't see why any developer would decide that a timed demo is better than a content-limited one. While downloading the demo, I thought "Hey, I can give some impressions on this demo tonight" Not with only 30 minutes of gameplay I can't! It took me that long just to settle into the bizarre controls!*

On the other hand, I also downloaded the demo for Crysis today (I was bored, you see). Unlike Burnout Paradise, the Crysis demo offered unlimited play time to complete a portion of the game. In this time I got to get a real feel for the controls, do a bit of exploring, and kill a whole lot of bad guys. I actually had the time to understand what Crysis was about and form an opinion on whether or not I should buy it down the line (Short answer: Nah). Crysis' demo was how all game demos should be.

So then, I ask you, game developers: Why with the timed demos? It doesn't make much sense to me no matter how I twist it. Okay, fine, so some people might just play the demo forever if it's a small bit of the game without any time limit. A bigger problem, though, is distributing the entire product with a time limit, because you just know someone's gonna hack that within days of it becoming available. Then, instead of losing a few sales on folks that are content playing the same level a billion times, you end up with thousands of pirated, cracked-open copies floating all over the internet. Which sounds worse to you?

The above? Just something I had to say. Timed demos have always gotten on my nerves, but usually it's just little indie developers that pull that, not the big guys. If you plop the entire big-name game on my hard drive yet only let me play it for half an hour, I get a little cheesed off. I spent over half an hour downloading this 3GB+ game, so I feel entitled to more than the piddly little taste you gave me. Yes, I know that demos are free, but as the old saying goes, time is money. I spent time downloading this game. Call me foolish for expecting the game to spend a little time on me.

*A to accelerate? Z to brake? What the hell?

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brainstorming possible Team Fortress 2 class packs

All the below headers were made from screenshots shamelessly pilfered from this post over on For some reason my screenshots of the class select screen didn't work, so I turned to Google for an easy way out. It is my way. Please don't kill me, staff!

Any day now, we'll be getting our hands on the new weapons and achievements for the Scout in Team Fortress 2. My intense anticipation for this has really sent my imagination into overdrive, with a whole bunch of future weapons and achievements beginning to surface in my mind. So, rather than wait for the updates to actually surface making it too late for speculation, here are some things I've thought up for upcoming class packs.

After the Scout, it looks like our mysterious European friend will be receiving the next class pack. Unarguably the most complex of all the nine classes, updating the Spy will be no small task. Nonetheless, I have thought up one new weapon for our international man of mystery.

My idea is The Whittler. It's a far smaller alternative to the Butterfly Knife, and unlike its infamous older brother, The Whittler can NOT backstab. However, it has one distinct advantage over all of the Spy's weapons: It works when cloaked, and won't break your disguise if used undercover. This is great if you see some ignited enemy retreating while you skulk around his base. You just know his health has to be low. So you trigger your cloak, sneak up while he's distracted by the flames, and finish him off with a quick slice. Then simply sneak away, undetected, with no evidence of your presence except the misplaced corpse. The Whittler would help make the Spy more of a team player and less of a lone wolf, reflecting the word "Team" in the game's title.

Of course, to go along with this new weapon, you'll need some achievements to unlock it. Here are a few I thought up:

Thanks For Keeping Your Back Still: Backstab 15 snipers while they're looking through the scope of their rifle
Secret Agent Man: Sneak into an enemy base, grab the intelligence, and successfully bring it back to your base without dying.
FYI I Am A Spy: Backstab an enemy Medic that has healed you in the current life.
Sneaky Medicine: Have a total of 10,000 health points healed by enemy Medics and dispensers.
Malpractice: While disguised as a Medic, backstab an enemy that is calling for a Medic.
Is Anyone Keeping Track Of My Idiots Killed? Stab!: Backstab five enemy Scouts in one life
Deconstructive Reconnaissance: Sap and destroy ten enemy buildings in one life
Lunch Break: Backstab an enemy Heavy that's eating a Sandvich

The Soldier's one of the most formidable foes on the battlefield, but his slow rockets and inaccurate shotgun make him practically useless at long range. To help better balance this army vet, I propose Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Maggot Killing Rocket Thingy (Or IBTWMKRT for short...ish). The IBTWMKRT would fire much smaller and weaker rockets than the standard rocket launcher, but they would be twice as fast as those chunky slowpokes of the battlefield (And I'm not talking about the Heavy). Also, rocket jumps would only go up half as high with the IBTWMKRT.

Another suggestion I have is an Assault Rifle to replace his Shotgun. I play as Soldier more than any other class, but I can never make much effective use of the Shotgun. It's far too close range for my play style, and when I do find myself face to face with an enemy I can never manage to hit the bugger. So, instead of a Shotgun with a six-round clip with an incredibly slow firing rate, I'm proposing an Assault Rifle with a 20-30 rounds clip and a rapid firing rate. Of course, everything has its downside, and the Assault Rifle's troubles lie in strength and accuracy. Each round does a far smaller amount of damage than the Shotgun, instead being somewhere just above the Sniper's SMG. Also, its accuracy makes it even less useful at long range than the Shotgun. Still, it's far more handy in those tense combat situations where your enemies are too close, numerous and erratic to choose a good target without killing yourself. Just fire away and hope you hurt something!

With all updates must come new achievements, so here are a few I thought up for the Soldier:

Bullet-Time For A Photo-Op: Fire a rocket, then taunt while the rocket impacts and kills an enemy
Gravedigger: Kill 5 enemies with your shovel
I Don't Call Shotgun: Use the Assault Rifle to kill an enemy Soldier wielding the Shotgun
King of Spades: Kill 15 enemies with your shovel
Blast Off: Kill an enemy with the splash damage from a rocket jump

The Engineer sadly looks to be the last class that will be receiving an update, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate. All over the internet people comically refer to the phrases "Spy's sapping my Sentry!" and "Spy's sapping my Dispenser!". After all, these two buildings commonly go hand-in-hand. Now, what if that were to be taken one step further?

What I'm proposing is a Sentry-Dispenser hybrid, a... Dispentry, if you will. The Dispentry would replace both the Sentry and Dispenser on the build menu, lowering the engineer's selectable buildings to three from four. The Dispenser part of the Dispentry would supply the Sentry half with metal, always replenishing its supply of ammunition as it's used. Of course, this would mean that the Dispentry would distribute metal to allies at a lower rate, making it less useful on the front lines. Also limiting its effectiveness in the thick of the battle would be the fact that the Dispentry can only be upgraded to level 2, slightly increasing the firepower of the Sentry and the metal distribution rate of the Dispenser.

The bright side to all of this, in addition to the aforementioned Sentry ammunition supply, would be that the Dispentry would have an incredibly high HP, more than that of a level 2 Sentry and a level 2 Dispenser combined when upgraded. Also, it takes two sappers to destroy a Dispentry, one for each half. If the enemy Spy can only reach one half of the Dispentry, only that part of it will be disabled, and it will not take damage. If, for example, the Spy saps the Dispenser part but not the Sentry, the Dispentry would cease to distribute ammunition to the Sentry as well as metal and health to allies, but the Sentry half would remain fully operational. One downside to this is that the Engineer would also need to have access to both ends of the Dispentry in order to destroy the attached sappers. A lot of thought has to go into placing this! The intended purpose of the Dispentry would be to allow the Engineer to leave his buildings alone more confidently, going elsewhere to repair his Teleporter entrances and exits, as well as help out elsewhere in the battle. Of course, the Engineer isn't all that helpful when it comes to person-to-person combat, but hey, maybe one of the other unlockables would help balance that out a bit.

Of course, we can't leave this good ol' boy out of the achievement-farming goodness, so here's a few achievement ideas for the Engineer:

Preventative Maintenance: Kill 20 disguised enemy spies
No Boom For You: Destroy 50 sticky bombs within damage-inflicting distance of your buildings
Close Call, Pardner: Whack a building with your wrench within a second of it receiving damage that would have otherwise destroyed it
Worth Celebrating: Get a kill with your Sentry/Dispentry while dancing
Amateur Marksman: Kill an enemy Sniper with your Pistol
Sneaking In The Back Way: Build a Teleporter exit in the enemy's base
Makeshift Elevator: Suspend an enemy in mid-air with your Sentry's rapid-fire bullets.

So then, that's three new weapons and a new building. Not bad for a bit of brainstorming here and there, huh? What do you think of my ideas? Also, what are some unlockables you've thought up, if any? Let the world know in the comments section, or in this forum thread!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Poll #74: "Is $30 too much for the New Play Control series?" results, banner

"Too much! $20's more like it!" 7 votes (36%)
"Sounds fair to me" 8 votes (42%)
"It's a steal!" 2 votes (10%)
"I don't know/care" 2 votes (10%)

I expected a whole lot more to say it was too expensive. Perhaps I overestimated how many people are upset about the price?

This week's banner is... A weird one. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I made it, but I hope you'll agree that it's too awesome not to use. And how about that line at the bottom: "Anything Can Happen Here"? That would make a pretty nice slogan for the blog...

The question I'm asking you guys in this week's poll is "Does the 2009 line-up renew your interest in the Wii?" Admittedly, I haven't really played Wii at all in a few weeks aside from messing around in World of Goo a bit. I just haven't been all that interested in it. With Punch-Out! Wii, Sin and Punishment 2, MadWorld, The Conduit, and so much more on the way in 2009, though, my attention has certainly been caught.

The next update would have been up tonight, but holy crap do I have one massive headache. Rest assured, though, that I do have a solid idea scribbled out in front of me here, and it will be finished up as soon as possible. For now, though, I'm gonna down some Tylenol and get some sleep.