Sunday, November 20, 2011

Speculation on Skyward Sword Recalibration Issues

Note the first word there: Speculation. I'm still waiting on Skyward Sword to arrive in the mail, and meanwhile, I hear these complaints about people having to recalibrate every thirty minutes or so. And on the other hand, I've heard from folks who played SS the whole way through and only had to calibrate the Remote at startup.

My totally uninformed theory is this: Some players.. well, a lot of folks, are playing SS incorrectly. I know that the standard Wii Remote games aren't immediately intuitive. For example, instead of wildly moving your arm around as your first instinct might have you do, you usually just need to move your wrist. I know that I had problems playing some games until I figured out how to use the Wii Remote right. For a "casual" console, the Wii can often be quite hard to play occasionally.

I find some evidence for my speculation in this video. Note how the player makes subtle wrist movements, which work just like standard Wii Remote usage, except with far more accuracy:

(video from Zelda Informer's Youtube Channel).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Skyward Sword: Robots?

The world is not exploding.

Ocarina of Time was an awesome game, and it still is an awesome game. I've moved on from Neutopia to playing a 3 heart run of OoT in my spare time. Ganon's Tower (on the N64 version) looks like total shit running up the stairway now, but aside from that, it's held up pretty well, you know. The remake helped us Zelda nerds solve the mystery of TP-Ganondorf's ears, but I don't think it was all that necessary, honestly.

I digressed from the subject on Ocarina of Time because of the influence Ocarina of Time had on the canon. Most of its storyline was present in A Link to the Past (albeit mistranslated in a few spots), but Ocarina of Time brought A Link to the Past's manual into the game. We were able to see the creation of Hyrule by the Goddesses pictured in that manual. We were able to see inside of the Temple of Light and observe a building Nintendo modeled with Sacred Geometry in mind. And the themes of Ocarina of Time were very mystical, as the game's text continually referred to the prophecies of Zelda, and the ancient legends regarding a Hero that would come. All of these things gave a very magical feel to Hyrule. One that A Link to the Past gave as well, but there's a difference.

A Link to the Past talked at length about the ancient civilization of the Hylia. Sahasralah talked about the "Great War Against Evil" that took place generations ago and how all of the knights of the Hylia were wiped out. Ocarina of Time, as best I can recall, doesn't mention that ancient civilization that often. This has caused some to think that maybe Ocarina of Time's civilization was that civilization, but the text of Old Woman causes me to disagree. She was clearly referring to a civilization along the lines of how Atlantis is depicted in the movies (as a great civilization with powerful technology). The point I'm trying to get at here is that Ocarina of Time's magic may well be supplanted by the technology implied in A Link to the Past. Time will tell.

Even though when I first played Alttp, I'd thought that the advanced civilzation she was talking about was pretty cool. But, having said that, I'm not 100% on wanting to see it, especially if it involves adding robots into Hyrule's PAST. I would have preferred A Link to the Future.

But the good news is that Skyward Sword looks like it's going to be a pretty decent game, and at least the robots don't look like robots. I guess I'll get the bundle since I need a Wii Remote Plus. Ack.. friggin' add ons these companies want you to buy. *grumbles*

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Neutopia Vs. Zelda (Or Much Ado About Nothing)

So, I finished up Neutopia a moment ago and wanted to ramble about it. First, I'll say that it's pretty friggin' sweet no matter how you look at it. Some negative things have been said about Neutopia and its relationship to Zelda. Well, as with most Zelda related topics, I'll rant an opinion about it here.

If we're comparing Neutopia to the original Legend of Zelda, Neutopia is a better game in a few ways. But it also loses a few steps here and there by virtue of its not being a complete clone.

Firstly, these bosses are more reminiscent of A Link to the Past than they are LoZ. And I'm sure there's an almost unanimous consensus of Zelda players would agree that LttP has better bosses than LoZ. You can't just manhandle a boss with a single bomb: You have to fight them all with your sword or with the rod. This is something they could have employed in the original Zelda game, but they simply opted not to.

Secondly, (and this is just through the merits of superior hardware): Neutopia has more and better music. Most of it's pretty fitting, although that dungeon theme gets tiresome after a while.

Of course the graphics are better, but 8-bit Hyrule has its charms. Finally, I would add that the text LoZ might have had if translation ability and game space allowed is in Neutopia. "BURN THE TREE AT THE DEAD END." has been replaced with something along the lines of "Your fire rod can burn down trees. Try it out in various places to find secrets." Since I played LoZ first.. I had to figure that shit out the hard way (and by the hard way, I mean look up the location of a dungeon, at which point I found out that candles burn trees. doh!).

One area that Neutopia sort of loses completely to LoZ in is the way the original Zelda game was conducted. It's a very unique game that hasn't been followed up on (at least by another Zelda game). There is no help in Zelda. They don't tell you what to do. They just say, "Hey! Ganon kidnapped Zelda. Go find some triangles!" And that's it. Who knows which way to go? In fact, there are numerous ways you could go. You could play Level-2 first if you were so inclined. You don't have to get all of the items. You don't even have to get the sword until it's time to fight Ganon.

Oh yeah, LoZ has a Second Quest. Can't forget that. But in fairness to Neutopia, I'd submit that the bad collision detection and infinitely more challenging bosses make some parts of Neutopia as hard as Quest 2 of Zelda. So it's almost equal, but LoZ wins by a nose for having more content.

A more interesting comparison would be Neutopia and A Link to the Past. A Link to the Past was made later, and they're very similar. One has to wonder if Neutopia had a little influence on Zelda too.

But anyway, I think that the flack that Neutopia gets for being a clone is mostly unmerited. Nintendo doesn't have a monopoly on a damsel in distress stories. Medieval Europe has that. Nor does it have a monopoly on collecting mystical items to save a given land. The hero myths that preceded Zelda have that. But Neutopia should have came up with some new items aside from the few that they did. You burn down trees and you bomb walls in the center of the room. Those mechanics are just blatant copying.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some Thoughts on Nintendo's Hard Times

Check it out: Nintendo has lost nearly a billion dollars. Startling, eh? Well, I'm no economist, but I have my theories on what brought them here. Of course there are the exchange rates which probably account for the bulk of it, but I think there's something more pressing.

Nintendo largely abandoned their traditional market with the Wii. It was the first time they'd released a console with indisputably inferior hardware. Sure, long before the N64 had employed inferior cartridges, and the GameCube suffered from a similar small disc size, but with the Wii, there wasn't any real comparison at all. The only improvement were some gimmicky motion controls that no one really wanted.. except their new market. They ate that shit up and Nintendo made billions.

But, one day, Nintendo decides to sell a 3DS, a handheld system. Call me a madman, but I don't see Wii Sports players taking time out of their lunchbreak to play Metroid 3D or whatever. The market that might have bought this system is looking elsewhere because Nintendo they thought Nintendo would probably release (and in fact did release) a bunch of demoesque crap for it. But, lo and behold, their new market didn't come through and buy the system. Imagine that!

So, basically, I think the Wii retroactively bit them in the ass. They made a lot of money, then they lost a lot money. Of course, Nintendo isn't totally to blame. They haven't really dominated the 'hardcore' market since the days of the SNES, and I guess they wanted to look elsewhere. But all they really had to do was release a system comparable to the 360/PS3. That la di da "Nintendo is for children" garble Sega spewed up years ago would have fallen by the wayside if Black Ops had looked better on Wii than it had other consoles.

And what's worse is that we're probably going to see this continue with the Wii-U. My fear is that the casual market will eventually abandon them too, and we'll live in world without games like Mario and Zelda. That would suck.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Skyward Sword's Lack of a Left-Handed Option

You raised my hopes then dashed quite expertly, sir! Bravo! -- Tinny Tim, Futurama.

Of course, as readers of my blog might note, I follow these Zelda issues rather closely, and I recall hearing that the game would not have a left handed option. As a person who does almost everything with my left hand, I found that to sort of suck, of course. But I toughed it out and tried to start holding that Wii Remote in my right hand to prepare for it. I rather like Zelda, of course, and don't want to miss a console title just because of some hand preference issue.

But then, there was hope! IGN made a video saying that the game would indeed have a left handed option. This appeared to resolve a much more trivial issue of mine.. that Link is now right handed. The only reason it matters to me is that, when I see the sword in his right hand, he looks sort of odd to me. It was particularly evident in Wii Twilight Princess, but that might have been because the title in question reminded me of Ocarina of Time.

Anyway, before I started trying to play Wii games right handed and become halfway decent at it, I'd hold the remote in my left hand and the nunchuk in my right. Like playing the guitar right handed, it took a decent degree of effort on my part. I certainly would understand if someone didn't buy Skyward Sword because of the issue in question.

However, there is good news. Initial testimonials from E3 seem to indicate that the game can be played pretty well with the Wii Remote in your left hand. That's good news, but there's one rather large issue with doing that: The game won't look right. This was a large issue for me the first time I played Twilight Princess (using my left hand for sword swinging). The actions on screen didn't match what I was doing, and I was very aware of the fact that I was using some gimmicky tacked-on motion controls. Will Skyward Sword be the same? Well.. with vastly improved controls, I should the think the lack of realism for left handed Wii Remote users will be infinitely worse!

So, anyway, I'll be playing it right handed, but there are people who can't do that or just won't want to take the time to learn to do it. I understand that, and *grumble grumble* Link is.. was.. a left handed hero! Don't give me that sprite mirroring garble, either! Lefty is lefty is lefty! :P

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On Fanboys and Greedy Corporations

The Wii-U will not have GameCube title support. But, low and behold, you can buy those same games again to play on your Wii-U. Convenient, eh? That's bullshit. But you know what's more bullshit than that?:

Ad hominem-ed actual response to my pointing it out:
"OMFG You troll! Nintendo is totally right about omitting that kind of functionality and replacing it with an overpriced abortion of a controller. To say otherwise is to cause pain to my rectum! Stop it now!"

Nintendo is right that I own a DVD player, a GameCube, and a Wii. So, I don't really need them to include the backward compatability. But having said that: It would be nice. Why must I keep my Wii hooked up because it has more functionality than the damned new console I just bought from them?

I hope someone from Nintendo reads this. I'm seriously reluctant to buy it just because it's going to take up so much space next to all of the other crap that's hooked up to my television.

I still remember when Nintendo promised that the N64 would be backward compatible will all previous consoles. Looking back on it, that was extremely unrealistic, if only due to cartridge sizes (they could probably do it, but it would look pretty bulky I'm sure). But now, in the era of discs, I would think that backward compatibility would much easier. And I somehow doubt that the software engineers at Nintendo are incapable of this feat. The reason it's not happening is cheapness, not the difficulty involved. (as some diehard Nintendo defenders would have you believe.)

But, well.. that was a fun rant. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

GC Graphics vs. Wii (Or A Matter of Substance)

I haven't really looked up the system specs or any such, but I've played a few GameCube games and a good many Wii games. I missed the GC when it was still a modern console, so I occasionally like to pick up some of the better games for it and play them on my Wii. They're all pretty cheap now, which is just fantastic, especially when you get the point I'm about to.

The Wii is probably capable of delivering better graphics than its predecessor, but there's a matter of style to be concerned with here. Nintendo was still courting those so-called "hardcore" gamers with the GameCube. Graphics were a high priority, and this is why the GameCube was designed to deliver better graphics than the PS2.

But with Wii, do they really even care? Is it important for Wii Music to be groundbreaking? From the outset, Nintendo had opted to abandon their traditional market. Too many folks had bought PS2s and Xboxes, and I think they thought the ship was going downhill. It's unfortunate, especially since their new plan involved implementing crappy motion controls.

If you compare Wii titles to GameCube titles, the difference is almost always breathtaking. Compare GameCube titles like Zelda: The Wind Waker or Resident Evil 4 to some of the casual games like Mario and Sonic at the Olympics or Wii Play Motion. The difference is that developers are not trying as hard with graphics.

Even with some of the "hardcore" Wii games like Black Ops, the graphics seem to have been done sort of hastily. It certainly doesn't look as good as some of the comparable GameCube titles to it.

Maybe, with the Wii-U, we'll see a return to the graphical quality Nintendo was known for for so long. Here's hoping.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Death to Realism!

In video game graphics, of course. You artsy folks can revel in the breathtaking graphics of Jules Breton all you want.

In the days of the SNES and Genesis, realism wasn't an option. We got what I'd call cartoons. They were pleasing on the eyes, and they allowed you to enjoy the games without going, "ZOMG! It's like I'm really killing these people by stabbing them in the foot!" Reality was some lame thing that didn't involve the SNES.

After that, in the realm of yander N64 and PS1, we see the birth of this demon that plagues us even now. The N64, being the seed of SNES, knew not to make any games that looked too realistic. But PS1 brought in those tacky avi cutscenes. The ability to put actual reality into games caused a plague.

By the time of PS2 and Gamecube and da Sex-Box, this cancer killed all save Gamecube.

And.. today. Nintendo hasn't totally abandoned those animations we love, but they're not exactly making the same caliber of games anymore, either. It would be good if we could see more titles that were just pretty and not necessarily real. PS3 sucks because it's such an amazing console! There! I said it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zelda's Difficulty: Then and Now

I'm reluctant to use the term rant since my content won't be angry in nature, but this is another analysis of Zelda "then and now." I'll try to keep my points rooted in reason and not in nostalgia, but with topics such as this one, it can be difficult. So bear with me.

Let's go back to those good ole days. Ah, yes, we could go back to 1985, but I'd rather not go that far since I'd regress to being negative 2. Let's go to 1991 instead. A Link to the Past was just released. Now, I've spoken with some younger Zelda players and older folks who came to the series in the era after OoT, and everyone who played a 3D Zelda title first seems to agree: A Link to the Past is much harder than any Zelda game that came after it. Why is that?

Hearts: It's all about the hearts

These enemies do a lot of damage, even with the Blue Mail (a defensive item, for those who've never played it). You can only take a few hits off the final boss before you have to start resorting to potions. And if you don't have any, you die. Of course, this is all assuming you found one of the optional protective Mails, and if you didn't, the game's difficulty increases a hundred-fold. This can be a real problem if it's the first time you've played a 2D Zelda game or even just A Link to the Past.

But where do you go???

A Link to the Past certainly wasn't as unforgiving in terms of non-playable character assistance as the original Legend of Zelda or even Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (but I'd say Zelda II and ALTTP are pretty close in this area), but it did have its fair share of puzzles without readily available clues. For example, to get to the second dungeon, you need The Book of Mudora. There is a man in a cave out in the desert near the dungeon that tells you this. You could easily miss him, and I'd imagine most people just find the Book of Mudora before ever seeing the Old Man named Aginah.

Nowhere to run to baby!

In 2D space, things are harder. Consider the battle with Mothula in the Skull Woods. There are something in the area of 30 spiked traps that fire off from one side of the room to the other, going faster and faster as the battle goes. That's not even mentioning the fact that there's a giant laser shooting moth that takes up half the screen! Unless you've played this game thirty or forty times all the way through, your only hope of an assured victory is to have four bottles stacked with blue potions to restore your life and magic.


That's really the gist of what I think makes 2D Zelda so difficult. But there's a catch here. The first two points show that 2D Zelda could have been made easier, and they also show that 3D Zelda could have been made more difficult. Three readily available examples of "easy 2D Zelda" we have are Link's Awakening and the Oracle Games. So perhaps some of the problem is in not the transition, but rather the developer's intent to make a more accessible game.

What I've neglected to mention so far is possibly rooted in nostalgia. Those 2D games were hard and they all required a certain level of commitment to fully conquer. So, I think that the youngsters who are playing Spirit Tracks or something for the first time are really getting cheated out of the full Zelda experience (which mostly consists of frustration, throwing controllers, and cheering when you finally win).

A Look at the N64 Zelda Titles:

The enemies in Ocarina of Time do damage comparable to that of A Link to the Past. The same could be said of Majora's Mask. But they both have what I'd consider a possibly unfixable flaw in the form of being in 3D space. You have a good deal of control over Link in those games. It's very to easy to dodge Volvagia, even if he can shave off four of your hearts. Perhaps, in future Zelda titles, they could give you less room to move around, thus simulating that arduous "Why the hell can't I dodge it?" BS from 2D Zelda. Or maybe could just let the enemies have more firepower and do even more damage.

volvagia 64 Pictures, Images and Photos

Wind Waker and Twilight Princess:

As I've said elsewhere on this blog, I rather like the Wind Waker in many ways. It has, in my opinion, the best art style the series has seen. But, in terms of combat gameplay, it's almost a copout. I died four times while playing it. One time, I died to the Black Pig on Outset Island. The other three were to Ganondorf (in what was the game's only challenging battle). These enemies didn't do enough damage. I understand that the game is puzzle based, but the lack of a fight in The Wind Waker just verged on pitiful. The hardest thing about the Wind Waker was finding enough Rupees for Tingle, and even that was pretty well laid out for you. (To be fair, I think I might have been frustrated by that last particular thing when I was.. four or so. This goes back to my point about accessibility. :D)

One thing that the Wind Waker succeeded in was a relative non-linearity reminiscent of the original Legend of Zelda. They told you where to go and there even artificial boundaries set by your boat, for sure, but you had a certain degree of freedom with the sailing. Hopefully Skyward Sword will improve on that by removing the boundaries.

Twilight Princess found a way to fail in a relatively new respect: Collecting tear drops. That stuff with the collecting belongs in Mario 64, or at least as an optional quest inside of the dungeons the way Majora's Mask did it. THe vast majority of enemies did a quarter-heart damage. The Valley of Ordeals was a good addition, but it didn't up make for the entire game being one big linear walkthrough, fully equipped with artificial boundaries.


What frustrates me the most about Twilight Princess is that it could have been amazing. The dungeons all have great layouts and graphics and contribute to the series' overall beauty and mysticism. But this game follows the formula set by Link's Awakening in finding the boss' weakness, exploiting it, and winning easily. The problem of being in 3D space just makes it that much easier. Above is a good example of a possible solution. Now if only they could find a way to implement that in a dungeon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

N64 RPGs

As I said on my other blog, I'm sort of trying to build a collection of N64 games right now. Here are all the "true" RPGs that I've read about so far. Of course, the list is pretty short since the N64 didn't have too many games in that genre. Fuck you, Squaresoft. Zelda 64 games > FF ps1 games. (I'm just being facetious I suppose, as the sheer amount of content in those multi-disc Final Fantasy games made a cartridge version impossible.)

Ok, so the list:

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage
I don't know much about it, really, but the wiki says it's supposed to be a sort of action rpg. I'm guessing something in the vain of Zelda but with the leveling system. Fifteen bucks at local shop. It's a priority purchase for my collection.

Ogre Battle 64
Again, I've never played this. Supposed to be a tactical rpg. Something like the Shining Force of maybe Final Fantasy Tactics? It's 30 bucks at the game store and I'm not paying that. hehe

Quest 64
I can talk a little about this one. I rented it back in the day. Yeah, this game sort of sucks. It's difficult to follow, doesn't really have much of a story, has a unnecessarily complicated leveling system, vulnerabilities that make no sense, clonelike towns, and various other things that are lame.

Although Zelda shares more in common the genre naming 1979 classic, Adventure, I really think that it's the best thing even resembling an rpg on the N64 (that's easily and cheaply obtainable, anyway).

I should do a post on Adventure, eventually. Would be cool if Atari did a 3D remake of it or something.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Rant About Game Copying

Now, I guess I don't give myself enough credit. With age and increased geekiness, I've learned to take care of my stuff. When I was a teen, I had god knows how many ps1 cds scratched into inoperability. But with my current console of choice, the Wii, I've been pretty careful and haven't had a game mess up yet. The only one game that does sort of mess up is The Wind Waker for GameCube, and that's because I bought it used.

But what if I screwed up and inadvertently drove a car over one of my Wii games? That might sound a little absurd, but it could easily happen to anyone! You take it to a friend's house play it there, set it on your trunk to get out the groceries, and then the next day: Destroyed Wii game. What recourse would I have? That's physical damage. If it's a first-party game, Nintendo will not replace it. My only real option is to go buy a new video game. Hopefully it was one of the NintendoSelects titles and I'll only be out twenty bucks.

But Fair Use is supposed to give us another way in making a backup copy. Alas, however, all of the copying devices for video games are illegal. We have the right to make the copy, but we do not have the right to actually purchase device that enables us to make the copy. Presumably, the only "legal" way to do it is to build the device yourself. There are also other considerations. The game discs probably have a specific property which prevents you from using just any dvd or whatever.

Anyway, the whole point I'm getting to is that discs aren't as durable as cartridges. I never once needed to make a backup of a cartridge based game. The technology, "superior" as it may be, is certainly much more flimsy. It would all too easy to go and break one of my Wii games now, but would I have the same luck breaking a NES game or a SNES game? Seriously, I really did drive a car over Super Metriod once. It cracked, but the game still plays to this day.

But I digress yet again. I think that companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft should come with up some method of backing up games that wouldn't decrease their sales (or worse increase them because I have to go buy another game!).

On a final, final, note: Why is it easier to just rip a game to your computer and play it on an emulator than it is to make the (hopefully usable) copy you're legally allowed to make? The world is crazy! You'd think they'd be more comfortable with the hypothetical product mentioned above than the (arguably) legal method that eliminates the need for a console.

Friday, August 19, 2011

On The Notion of DK64-2

I was reading a post that advocated the idea of another 3D Donkey Kong platformer, and I felt I had to spew out a few words on the topic.

Go play any of the DKC games, and then go play DK64. Now, maybe it's just nostalgia on my part, but the gameplay is much more enjoyable in DKC. Perfect case in point: The Rhino. Ride him in 2D and then ride him in 3D. It's just much more laughable and enjoyable in 2D. The same goes for the Dolphin (although he actually had pretty decent controls in DK64).

The DKC's are for the most part pretty easy. Sure, there are tough levels all the way throughout, but they give you enough lives to keep you going for a good long while. In DK64, the gameplay is noticeably easier. Mini-game this, spam B at that.

All of them make you collect items to give maximize replay value, but DK64 is a work of friggin' Biblical length when it comes to the collecting. Any new 3D platformer would have to be shorter, but would we want it to be shorter? I think I might complain if it's of shorter length and the gameplay is still just as mediocre.

Basically, I wouldn't mind if it they made a new 3D Donkey Kong platformer, but I hope it's nothing like DK64. There are enough collect bananas/stars/whatever Banjo collects games out there. It should be like a 2D platformer, with jumps that kill you and enemies that aren't just there to take up space, but in 3D. Has that even been tried yet???

Friday, August 12, 2011

What is a casual gamer?

I've been thinking about this just because I keep running into it when I look up game reviews. The accepted definitions at the moment seem to boil down to whether or not someone owns six hundred fps titles. Anyone who owns 599 or less fps titles is, by definition, a casual gamer. (This is an ad hominem made just for kicks. :D)

Seriously though, the line between hardcore and casual is pretty ill defined, and the definition seems to change with the person giving it. With that in mind, I thought I'd make my own definitions for hardcore and casual gamers, respectively.

Meet Billy McMario. Billy likes to play Wii Sports... a lot. In fact, Billy likes Wii Sports so much that he obtained the Pro Rating in all of the sports. He also talks about Wii Sports a lot, and he's always looking forward to similar titles in the genre. He got Wii Sports Resort, Super Mario Sluggers, the Mario and Sonic games, and he plays them all extensively.

Meet Johnny Von Deathrape. Johnny sort of likes to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. But he's not that into video games. The experience of going online and causing his teammates to lose in a deathmatch makes him smile a little, but most of the time he'd rather go watch a movie or something.

In my bizarre logic, Billy is a hardcore gamer because of his committment to Wii Sports and similar games. Johnny would be a casual gamer because gaming isn't one of his favorite activities.

Perhaps I'm just a madman with my definitions, here. I guess the issue of casual and hardcore games would be a different matter entirely. But honestly, I don't think that these labels are very useful for the titles themselves. Don't we already have genres for that? For example, Wii Sports is a sports game... a mediocre sports game with few features.

Anyway, take that!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

An N64 Controller Guide

Let's face it. Every controller ever made for the N64 sucks. All of them either have a weird design or just a design flaw which ends their lives prematurely. Anyway, as I continue trying to hunt down stuff for my N64, I thought I'd organize my thoughts on my potential options with this "Guide to the N64 Controller Shopping". Just for kicks, i'll give each controller a rating while discussing its pros and cons.

First Party Controller by Nintendo

Why not start with the official first party controller? This product, which is produced by Nintendo, is probably your best choice, assuming you can find one new...

Because if you can't find one new, you can rest assured the analog is either very loose or completely broken. Over time, use of the controller wears out the internal plastic used to keep the analog tight. Even if you buy one new, you're looking at this happening to yours within a few years. With that in mind, new Nintendo controllers go for about 60 bucks now, and with time, the price is sure to rise even further.

First party is usually better than third party, and this is no exception. The Nintendo controller is ultimately easier to use than any of the controllers I'll mention from here on out... assuming the damn analog works. Rating: 8/10.

Mad Catz Advanced Control Pad


Perhaps I should increased the size of that image by about forty times, because that small pic doesn't do the thing justice. This controller is enormous! That's the primary flaw. However, there is another flaw, and that flaw is that the analog of controller ultimately breaks off. I've seen this happen to friend's Mad Catz N64 controller, and then I read about the sixty people it happened to who bought one on Amazon. I've used the controller, and I not only hate its size and nonexistent analog, but also the design of its buttons! As bad as aging first party controllers are, this one is just that much worse. 2/10.

SuperPad 64 by Interact (aka Performance)

I used to have one of these. The control has some of the same problems with weird button shape and feel as the Mad Catz Control, but you'll be delighted to hear that the analog works just fine. Heck, I even like the analog's larger size (as compared to the small Nintendo one)!A lot of people complain about the controller's short and fat grips, but they never really bothered me. However, again.. the controller suffers from poor design materials. Instead of the analog button breaking, you're going to have to deal with the Z-button breaking. For most games, the Z-button is less valuable than the precious PRECIOUS analog. So maybe you could even get buy with a Performance controller for a long time if you don't play stuff like Zelda. Rating: 7/10.

Super Pad 64 (Version 2, also by Interact):


People on Amazon claim that this controller has the same Z-button problem as the previous controller, but I never experienced that (although I'm sure it does.. I was probably just lucky!). What I did experience was sticking buttons. Maybe after using the relatively similar Gamecube controller now, I could go back and enjoy using this one. But the design, as you can see, is significantly different from the N64 mainstream. It's actually very usable and everything, but it takes an adjustment for someone who's used to that good ole loose analoged Nintendo controller. Rating: 6/10.

These are all of the controllers I've ever used for the N64, and they're probably the only ones that are any good. Mad Catz and Interact are the "good" third party providers, and neither of them did that well for the N64, alas. There are some really cheap knockoffs on Amazon right now, and based on the reviews I'm steering clear of 'em. On the whole, I'd recommend either one of the Performance controllers, if only because of the durable analog.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wii Virtual Console's lack of Rare Games

Has anyone stopped to consider how hard this sucks? I'm going to list all the great Rare games I think of that might be available if not for the little rivalry between Microsoft and Nintendo.

Killer Instinct (Arcade and SNES Versions)
Diddy Kong Racing
Perfect Dark
Goldeneye 64
Banjo Kazooie
Banjo Tooie
That Conker Game

The list may seem brief, but these are some of the most beloved SNES and N64 titles ever produced. Thank the gods we didn't have to include the Donkey Kong Country series in those lists. I wonder how Nintendo was able to get away with releasing those games, but not some of the other titles. Perhaps it's just Donkey Kong's copyrighted namesake? Of course, he is the undisputed property of Nintendo (unlike Banjo and Conker).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Neutopia Rules!

Before I played Neutopia, I'd only played one other game that really reminded me of Zelda. That game, Star Tropics II: Zoda's Revenge, had a elements of Mario, Zelda, and Final Fantasy consolidated together into a formula that was just great. The plot wasn't exactly one you could follow up with another game, but in the back of my mind, I sort of wanted to see another addition to the Star Tropics saga.

That's all pretty irrelevant, but Neutopia also reminds me of Zelda. I totally missed out on the Turbografx-16 as a kid. Clearly, they're trying to emulate the play of the original LoZ. THey do a good job, but I wish they'd opted to make a more free-roaming quest like the original LoZ. You have some degree of freedom and exploration opportunities in Neutopia, but none of that really extends to the dungeon order. There is an order that NPCs insist you follow, but fortunately it seems to be occasionally optional.

I'm about halfway through this great journey now and loving it. Four medallions and I'm waiting for time to find five and six.

I'll end with a final note to Hudson Soft: Neutopia 3. Make it. Just clone Zelda again. It will be awesome.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Black Ops Wii (And What It Probably Won't See)

I'm sure there those (including myself) that have been waiting ever so patiently for Treyarch to release some sort of map pack for Black Ops Wii. But, it's starting to look like it's not gonna happen. Unfortunate, but why? I have a few baseless theories.

System Memory of Doom: Obviously, the Black Ops Wii DLC would be a lot smaller than the ones for other platforms. But how small? Could they get away with making the download smaller than the system's actual system memory? Imagine if someone downloaded the skimmed down map pack into their system. It's going to take up all the space. And when they go to download the original Mario Brothers or whatever, they won't have enough space! And since our sample Wii user isn't bright enough to go out and get an SD card, their Wii is now clogged beyond repair.

System Memory of Doom (Again): So, it takes so much memory for Wii to load Black Ops from the CD. Perhaps the amount of memory and/or processing power it takes to run from an SD card and the CD is more than the Wii can handle. Maybe they tried to skim it down and get it working, but the Wii's limitations just proved too much.

Wii Update: Ever since some wise souls discovered that you could hack the Wii by changing Epona's name from an SD card [in Twilight Princess], Nintendo has been giving it everything they got to keep the Wii as secure as they can. Perhaps there was a security change that proved lethal to Treyarch's would-be designs. That aforementioned bit about SD-card changes is particularly relevant.

Well, the manual only promised downloadable content, which the Wii has received. When you first try to play online, it downloads a "Pay and Play" update. I do hope that, some day, we'll be able to download Five, Ascension, and all those other good zombie maps. But until then, I'll settle for forging crackpot theories on why it isn't happening.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sega Makes the Best Nintendo Games

That's clearly an opinionated statement, but heck... it seems pretty true to me. Fifteen years ago, in the height of SNES v. Genesis mania, no one would have thought that such a strange happening would ever occur. Sonic 2 was just as good as, if not better than, Super Mario World, right? There was no conceivable way that Sega would ever stop making consoles, right? Heh heh heh.

With the lone exception of CoD: Black Ops (which, truth be told, I don't even like that much), the vast majority of Wii games I'm interested in have been developed and/or published by Sega. Sonic 4, the Mario and Sonic Olympic Winter Games, Thor: God of Thunder, the Conduit 2, and a few other titles I've seen on the shelves.

Mario and Sonic is right in the thick of Wii casual game mania, but there's a lot hidden depth in the game. It's even got a Diddy Kong Racing style "Find the hidden coins" quest. While it's certainly not the greatest Sega title ever produced (and not really worthy of a comparison to the aformentioned Rare classic), it is pretty damn good.

Sega seems to understand that a sizable portion of Wii owners want to play non-party games (I'd assume any way). I'll be keeping an eye on what few games they release for Wii as the system's life comes to a close. Also, I'm pretty sad about Sonic Generations not getting a Wii release. Like a Sonic game even needs to be in HD. :P

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Zelda II Versus Faxanadu

Alright. I finished up Faxanadu. I'd played it a little on the original nes (back when I used to have a nes game collection the size of most closets), but I hadn't really thought about playing it the whole way through until I came to appreciate the gameplay of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. In fact, I downloaded Faxanadu onto my Wii purely for playing a game like Zelda II. I was not disappointed. The gameplay in these two sidescrolling action rpgs are pretty similar. There are a lot of similarities, but there are also a lot of differences. Due to those, I thought I'd compare the games here and try to decide which one I like better.

The Story: In some alternate universe, Faxanadu is part of the Zelda canon. Had it taken place in some realm outside of a tree, you could almost mistake it for a Zelda game. It's very much the same as the more beloved titles in Zelda. The elven hero runs from town to town, finding problems and helping resolve them. He battles forces of darkness, and everyone is counting on him. In the end, he vanquishes the evil one, and his world can begin to rebuild. And just like in Ocarina of Time, our hero leaves his home world after the journey is over.

Amazingly, however, Zelda II isn't one of those common, almost recycled, Zelda plots. It's the only Zelda game that takes place in a world where Ganon recently died. Rather, this time, the Triforce storyline really begins to develop, and Link goes on his quest to find the lost Triforce of Courage. He needs to awaken a sleeping princess of astounding beauty. And in the end, his greatest enemy is himself. Although it's just making parallels with Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty, the whole thing comes together as rather "deep". Link has to battle his physically defeat his dark side in order to touch the all powerful Triforce.

I'm obviously partial to Zelda stories, but I think that AoL story wins by a hair. Faxanadu gets lots of points for the unique idea of being inside a tree, but nah, I still like AoL's story more.

Graphics: There is no comparison. Faxanadu wins here. Zelda II's graphics are pretty terrible, in my opinion, even by nes standards. Faxanadu, on the other hand, has some of the best graphics I've ever seen on the nes. Granted, now, the mist areas of Faxanadu suffered from gridlike pixellation, but that's just one area. By far and large, Faxanadu presents beautiful buildings, detailed character closeups, and pretty well drawn enemies (even though most of the enemies look a little meh).

Sound: It's close. There are some good tracks in Faxanadu (Fortress theme, Last Level theme, Mist Area theme), but some are pretty annoying to the ears (game over theme). The same could be said of Zelda II (overworld theme). I haven't listened to them side by side, but there are songs within Zelda II that would be almost radio worthy. (dungeon theme, great palace theme). I'll call it a tie to avoid Zelda bias.

Overall Gameplay: The graphics of Faxanadu make the realm more interesting to walk around. Everything from the towns to the font is nicer. Again, Zelda II looks pretty bland in comparison. The secrets in Faxanadu are also more of a challenge to find.

Just like the original Legend of Zelda, Zelda II has some BS in it that makes no sense. As candles burned trees in LoZ, so too do hammers chop down trees in AoL. Fortunately, Faxanadu features no such secret, nonsensical, confounding mechanic.

Faxanadu has an astonishing series of towns. The pricing schemes actually make the player have to do some shopping around. There are little untold stories given via character placement (e.g. The absent nurse at the hospital went to a neighboring town to buy food at the food shop.) Zelda II, while it has very similar towns to those within Faxanadu, seems to have used them far less artfully.

You have a lot more control over Link than you do Faxanadu's Hero. His sword skills make your job much easier. Faxanadu's on the other hand, seems rather crippled in comparison. Ganon could send his AoL minions into the world tree and conquer the place in a day. Why? Because No one can crouch to stab the darknuts! I suppose they omitted a crouching stab to try and get you to use the magic system more (which is a very good system), but it often makes things needlessly difficult. A little spiked crawly thing shouldn't be able to sneak up and kill you because your character can't reach down with a sword!

The boss fights in Zelda II are among the most exhilarating in the series. Dark Link makes his first appearance, as does the Ball and Chain warrior that later appeared in Twilight Princess. Thunderbird is a formidable opponent if one ever existed. Even the easier bosses in Zelda II such as Barba (aka Volvagia) and Helmethead have a gimmick that makes the fight enjoyable. Faxanadu, however, uses the same tactics to fight bosses over and over again. There are so moments with Castlevania style platforming, but for the most part, it's either walk forward and stab or jump up and stab. Even the final boss of Faxanadu can be defeated by standing in place, jumping up, spamming B, and using potions as necessary.

So, in the end, I guess I'm far more likely to play Zelda II because I think it's just a better video game in terms of controls. But Faxanadu is a beautiful journey, has good projectiles, and is definitely worthy of at least one or two plays.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

An Open Letter to Konami

Dearest Konami,

Great bringers of Gradius and Castlevania, some time ago one of your games promised a sequel. That game, Axelay, was fantastic in every way, but alas, you seem to have forgotten to actually make the sequel. No worries. I do similar things all the time. Why just the other day I promised to give a debtor ten dollars and then ten more dollars, but I never got around to giving the second ten dollars. But I digress: Just know that we understand how something so important could slip your minds.

I see that you've got all those ReBirth games on the Wii Shop Channel. How is it that you can make a Gradius game and forget about ole beloved Axelay? With all due respect, Axelay kicked Gradius 3's ass, good Konami.

Speaking of the Wii Shop Channel's ReBirth games, that would be a fine style (and venue) for Axelay 2. You could even go as far to release it in the Xbox Live Arcade and whatever Sony's equivalent is. I think I speak for all Axelay fans when I say that the ReBirth games exemplify what we want out of Axelay 2! The same game.. again.. but with new enemies, weapons, and bosses!

I trust that this notification has brought you joy. Don't mention it.


P.S. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth was amazing. Loved it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Dialogue with Fantasius

Charlie: Oh, Fantasius. What brings you to the dinner party this eve?

Socrates: Welcome, friend of Charles. It's so good that you could join us. We were just discussing the finer points of Hyrulean ideals. I'll say, I sure am glad I fell into that time portal and got to experience the Legend of Zelda. It sure is a great roleplaying game.

Charlie: Agreed.

Fantasius: But sirs! Ye are mistaken. For I can assure that this Zelda is not a roleplaying game. It is not as Final Fantasy is, that most beloved of titles.

Charlie: I would disagree, but certainly you do not err in saying that Final Fantasy is beloved.

Socrates: It is the mark of an educated man to entertain an idea and not accept it. Please, Fantasius, tell us why Zelda is not an RPG.

Fantasius: Very well, but as you often give Charlie at these dinners, allow me as much time as I require to make my case, Socrates.

Socrates: Take as much as you require, friend of the dinner party.

Charlie: I also agree. Please, deliver unto us your argument.

Fantasius: *breaths deeply* If we look at the definition of roleplaying game, we will see that it involves playing a character in a fictional setting. Final Fantasy is an example of this. Final Fantasy games take place in a fictional universe with fictional characters. You play as these characters as you progress through the game.

Fantasius: Indeed, but Final Fantasy also contains a leveling system, which was certainly influenced by the leveling systems of real life roleplaying games. You run around, listening to fantastic music and leveling up your party. This is the hallmark of roleplaying game gameplay. But Zelda, on the other hand, does not have this feature. Therefore, Zelda is not a roleplaying game.

Charlie: I am confounded by this brilliant logic.

Socrates: Confounding, certainly. Brilliant, definitely. But there is just one problem: Zelda, as I understand it, meets the criteria of your initial definition. In fact, many games do.

Charlie: Thanks, Socrates. It's good that you became such a hardcore gamer.

Socrates: It's even better that I didn't have to drink that hemlock!

Fantasius: Lies! Well no True RPG plays like Zelda!

Charlie: What about Zelda II?

Fantasius: No True RPG lacks battle cutscenes!

Charlie: Well, I'm stumped again.

Socrates: Likewise. His logic seems flawless. If only some fallacy from my time covered this matter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some Games the Wii VC Needs

Title should be self-explanatory. Let's roll.

Mortal Kombat: Yeah. I don't like it, but what kind of SNES/Sega library lacks it? Better yet, they should hunt down that arcade version for Wiiware.

Killer Instinct: This is the one I want to see. How will the newbie-folk of chatrooms here and there fully understand the importance of breaking combos if they cannot experience a true combo breaker? Also I like the music.

Legacy of the Wizard: Everyone that's a fan of RPGs and/or platformers should try their hand at Legacy of the Wizard. You've got a party that gains gold, items, abilities, and the like, and they're trying to... I forget what they're trying to do. But the point is this is game should be on the VC.

Solstice: It deserves a place alongside the original LoZ in the VC, because it's just as good in some ways. It's like an 8-bit The Wind Waker, in the sense that it's puzzle heavy (though this game is much more difficult. heck I've never finished it).

Dragon Warrior: I was honestly surprised to see the list lacked it.

Rad Racer 2: It's got the radio stations and some good tracks for the NES. It's certainly my favorite racing title off that system, and I've probably played them all. ;)

That RPG... and that other RPG: I forget their names. One's a NES title that's a lot like Final Fantasy except it's not Final Fantasy, and the other one's a SNES title. You're like in an airship or something. It's also not Final Fantasy. Haha!

Link's Awakening/Metroid 2/Every Other Gameboy title the DS lot has access to: I've got both of those games, fortunately, so I'm in luck. But folks shouldn't have to run out and pay Nintendo 300 bucks just to pay them six more bucks. I for one refuse.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some thoughts about Wii-U!

Check check it, yo. Ok, as Bob Segar might say, I'm just too early for the rolling touchscreens.

Does anyone else feel that this is a remarkably stupid idea? Let's not beat around the bush, either. It's not revolutionizing anything. It's making the situation more complex. I want more of those sorts of games that use ordinary controllers, but yet... I do my love my Zelda.

I have a theory about Nintendo's attempted Sacking of the Video Game Kremlin: They're taking a proactive approach to preventing piracy. Take the Wii as a case in point. It could (and has) been emulated, but it sounds like it's going to require some moneys and know-how up front. Plus, there's the issue of quality. Do they even make PC controls that are as awkward as that nunchuck? If you really want to play the Wii that bad, you'd probably do just as well to spend the 250 bucks and go buy one. It'd be better, easier, and possibly even cheaper.

Anyway, the Wii U takes this habit defying conventions to a new level. How would you even go about replicating the built-in touchscreen on a control? In my mind, it's a strange, unfamiliar, product which will likely suck. But people seem to go for this sort of outside of the box thing. Not for me, alas. I'll stick with Wii, and if necessary, I'll downgrade to N64 or SNES.

Friday, June 3, 2011

An Ode to the Wii Classic Controller

When Wii had grown tired,
of Wii's motion control,
Nintendo was inspired,
by generations of old,

and N64 corollared',
With Gamecube no less!
The Wii Classic Controller

It works from dpad only,
with no pointing or clicks,
Recuse yourself Sony,
With two analogs, it's slick!

Mario, Black Ops, and A Link to the Past,
All from one helm,
Could such joy ever last?
Alas, good friends... whelm...

The buttons are backwards,
for the N64,
Link rolls when he swings,
but could you ask for much more?

The SNES reincarnated,
and it rose up to say:
Step back mutha fuckas!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Otherworld War 3

Yep. If you believe random channelers, it's happening. Read about it here. I'll try to sum up the gist of this startling prophecy and give a few interpretations of my own.

According the the channeler, the Otherworld (the Sid/moors/place where Tuatha De Danann are at) is sort of like the Light World from A Link to the Past. It is geographically identical to our world, but is in much better condition because faeries love the environment. That's right: We live in the Dark World. :P

Anyway, some of the faeries seem to worship the Tuatha De Danann, which is a pretty neat angle on handling the whole issue of whether faeries are faeries or gods. The channeled spirit, Mr. E, indicated that the Unseelie faeries have a different religion. Since we know Mr. E is in some way involved with Danu worship (according to what I read on their forum)... it's probably safe to assume that the unseelies worship the Fomorians. Not a big leap eh?

The unseelie court, alas, wants to exterminate the human race. This is again, indicative of the A Link to the Past rules of the Otherworld. Whenever something happens in one world, it affects the other world (no redundancy intended). So, our destruction of trees and wut-not.. yeah that's harming the unseelies. But don't worry, the Seelies want us to live and return to harmony with nature! Joy. Hence the title, Otherworld War 3. There is war in Otherworld over the fate of the human race!

If the Seelies win and the human race returns to nature and magic.. it appears that our worlds will reconnect as one. "But now you've defeated the evil Ganondorf. His Dark World will vanish..."

Addendum: This whole thing reminds of an environmentalism oriented article I once read about Otherkin. Another thing.. the website's logo is remarkably similar to's. To be honest, I don't know what the symbol is supposed to symbolize. If anyone knows, by all means elaborate in the comments.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fact: Reason is a Bad Thing

I've been battling this line of thought lately. It's kind of crazy, but I think it might help to spew it out so that all of my facebook friends (and whoever stumbles across) can read it.

What do nuclear bombs, anthropogenic global warming, and guillotines all have in common? Two things that I can think of off hand: They're all bad, and they're all the direct the result of someone using reason. If mankind had used a little less critical thinking, we'd probably still be hunter-gatherer/agrarian types of people, and we'd probably have a longer longevity (as a species) because of it. Our beloved idol, the human mind, will eventually destroy us. And there are so many ways technological advancement could kill us!

If we'd only used reason for the most basic kinds of self-preservation/community organization, we'd probably be ok. But, with nukes... it's just too late to embrace irrationalism. It'd be great if we were running around with sticks and spears, but irrational folks deciding when nukes are launched sounds like a pretty awful idea. So, I guess we're stuck playing this dangerous game of technological development.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why Rocky V Wasn't That Great

I've always liked the first four films in the series, and at the end of the day, I think the fifth one is pretty good. I haven't seen the sixth one, but that's pretty well irrelevant. Here's my take on Rocky V.

Before he is a boxer, a husband, or a father, Rocky Balboa is a hero. This is hero image is presented in the first four films. It's formulaic, but people rather like it: Rocky wants to vanquish the Dark Lord (or his boxing opponent) to protect his family from the evil air (or poverty) that will befall them if he fails. However, Rocky knows that he's not strong enough to complete this quest alone. To succeed, he will need council from an Old Man. The first Old Man is Micky, the second Old Man is Apollo, and the third Old Man is Apollo's manager. With the great wisdom he receives from Old Man, Rocky successfully defeats the Dark Lord and light is restored to his financial status.

It's a timeless tale, and it's one that's particularly special to us humans. You could replace Rocky with Hercules, Bran, Cuchulainn, Perseus, Link, or whatever hero you like. However, Rocky V is a slight departure from the traditional Hero's narrative. Instead of an epic quest for justice, we get a sort of Hero's Drama. You can find parallel stories about most heroes. The film portrays Rocky in a transition stage. He is becoming less and less of a Hero, and becoming more and more like Old Man.

Since Rocky is now basically Old Man, it's only a matter of time before another aspiring Hero approaches him. Tommy Gunn is that aspirant. Old Man Rocky of course obliges to help Tommy on his quest to become the Hero. However, as Rocky accompanies the Hero on his quest to find his Holy Grail, his son becomes frustrated by his Old Man's absence. If left alone, who knows what will happen? Will Rocky's son become an anti-hero to stop these foolish quests for virtue? This sets the stage for the drama.

Meanwhile, Rocky assumes the entire role of Old Man, and he is convinced that Tommy Gunn is the Hero who will cast down the Heavyweight Champion. However, like Rocky's son, Tommy loses his way, and he ultimately falls to the Dark Side of the Business. This is where the film fails. Due to the fact that this story has been told a million times, Rocky needs to become the Hero once more and help the aspirant realize his destiny. His son will realize that his father is a great warrior, and that he should try to emulate his every action. After a battle between the Hero and the Aspirant, they work together to defeat the Dark Lord.

Rocky V did not do this. The aspirant Hero is cast aside. They try to compensate by making the aspirant look evil, as evidenced by the early aggression at the gym, as well as his punching of Pauly. However, Tommy doesn't come across as a Dark Lord, because he isn't. Since Rocky and Tommy never reconcile, the film feels incomplete.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

IceWM: Shutting Down the Lazy Way

A little background for those who might surf across this: I'm running Debian Squeeze right now, and IceWM didn't pick up whatever the appropriate shutdown command or script is. So, I found myself perusing these interwebz for a solution. The most common method seems to be adding another user without a password that has access to /sbin/shutdown. Yeah... screw that stuff. Sounds like a headache, especially when there's an easier way. Seeing as my "Ubuntu 10.10 Network Error Fix" post for empathy was fairly popular, I thought I'd add a little more linux rambling. Behold:

If you haven't already, copy the IceWM configuration files over to the .icewm folder in your home directory (they were in /usr/share/icewm on my installation.. snoop around). Open up the preferences file in an editor of your choice (off topic: I like nano and geany). Search for ShutdownCommand="". Uncomment the line by removing the #. Then slip in gksudo \"/sbin/shutdown -h now\"". All together, it'll look like:

ShutdownCommand="gksudo \"/sbin/shutdown -h now\""

That works great, but the only problem is that gksudo and IceWM's confirm logout are going to pop up one right after another. So, I disabled the logout confirmation. To do that, search for ConfirmLogout (in the same preferences file), uncomment it, and change the value to 0.

Easy as pie, right? You'll have to put in your password each time, but for me, that's not a real big deal. But if you're one of those uncool folks who likes to do things the 'right' way, check here for the method I rambled about in the opening paragraph.

Addendum: I was thinking. You may need your name in the sudoers file if it's not there already.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Perspective on Fierce Deity

In Majora's Mask, if Link obtains all of the masks and opts to play with each of the four kids on the moon, Majora will give him the Fierce Deity Mask. The mask's name is a toned down version of a more appropriate translation, which is the Ferocious God Mask.

Before giving Link the mask, Majora says something along the lines of, "Would you like to play a game of good guys and bad guys? I'll be the good guy and you be the bad guy." I was thinking about this alongside Hylian Dan's Tower of Babel theory in relation to the game.

Then, a moment of inspiration occurred to me. I think that the mask may well be the proof of Dan's theory. I think this departs in a few places, but the overall implications of divine punishment are very much the same. Here's why: According to the theory, Majora is the result of the pagan (non-Goddess related, in this instance) hexing rituals of a tribe that rejected the Goddesses. Now, how would Majora view the Goddesses themselves? Obviously, if they destroyed the blasphemous Stone Tower Temple, they're destroyers. So, when he offers Link the chance to play 'the bad guy' by wearing the mask of 'a ferocious God', he's really saying that Link is working on behalf of the Goddesses, and that he is defending whatever form of decision making that led to this cataclysm. The Fierce Deity Mask symbolizes the destruction of the Stone Tower Temple by the Goddesses, and Majora's Mask was the 'good' weapon used in Dan's theory.

I think that this is on the brink of being more than fanon. You can play MM a hundred times and still pick up a new tidbit each time. I was thinking about doing a three heart run of it. I might do some of the sidequests after beating it to look for supporting evidence.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Charlie's Top 10 VC Games

I think everyone has their own list of the games from those eras. The NES, the SNES, the Genesis, and the N64 is included in the VC lineup, which is an impressive array of titles to say the least. If you've read any other sections of this blog, then you know this list is going to be Zelda heavy. It is not my fault that Zelda is the greatest experience mankind has ever devised. That's just life. :P

10: Axelay – My likes are heavily influenced by the quality of a given game's music. Axelay has a powerful array of action-geared trance style music. Like Zelda's music, it brings a certain importance to the gameplay. If the ships are being shot down right, you can get 'in character' like it's an rpg. Speaking of which, this shooter has an rpg-style weapon selection system. You pick your guns based on whatever vulnerabilties you think the enemies might have. Axelay is a brief game, but it is a hard game (especially to those of us who aren't really enormous fans of the genre). I've beaten this game twice and I've tried a couple of hundred times.

9: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – If you like Faxanadu, you'll like this game. It's pretty much the same, except Zelda II has an overworld. Some of the best enemies in the Zelda canon are introduced (Dark Link, Thunderbird, Volvagia, Gooma). Like LoZ, AoL has a brief, but very impressive, soundtrack. The dungeon theme, the battle theme, and of course the fantastic Great Palace theme are melodies you need in your head. The only flaw with Zelda II is that it lacks the customizable gameplay of its predecessor, so the replay value is sort of dampened. But on the bright side, it's an rpg, so you can level Link up with new strategies each time if you choose.

8: Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels(import) – I played the SNES version of this game back in the day on SMB All-Stars. I was sort of pissed off to find out that Nintendo had released SMB All-Stars game as a store title. Since I couldn't download that, I ended up getting this one. It looks just like the original NES classic, but good sir: It is not the original NES classic. It is a thousand times more difficult. It really brings something to the table for those of who played SMB1 a million times. I like it. (If you're wondering: It took me about a week to beat it all the way through. Considering how much Mario I've played, that's quite a bit of time. :D)

7: Punch-Out – This game takes a hit for not having Mike Tyson as the final boss. But it's easy, and you have to use unique strategies for each opponent. It's classic fun.

6: Super Mario World – Not everyone is into Zelda, but almost everyone has played Mario at one point in their lives. SMBW is one for the ages. The only downside to SMBW is that the controls are so amazing, which makes the game too easy. Most gamers of average ability can beat this game with seventy or eighty lives. But even so, there are numerous secrets, namely Star World and the Special Zone. And who could forget the top secret area? This is the sort of game that's so enjoyable that you might go as far to look for additional nonexistent secrets. Get it for your kids; get it for yourself.

5: Diddy Kong Racing – I never liked Banjo-Kazooie, but Banjo's first game is somewhere in the area of amazing. Sure, it's a kiddy game, but it is the greatest kiddy game you'll ever experience. The story mode is fun and has a diverse track selection. The weapon controls are sound and usable (not as good as the original n64 version, but that's an issue for most vc games). Then there's a four player versus mode. Make no mistake: This game is better than all incarnations of Super Mario Kart.

4: The Legend of Zelda – Quest 1 is hard. Quest 2 is harder. People say that LoZ is easy once you know what you're doing. Rest assured they're all talking out their asses. It is the hardest game I've mentioned yet, and with Punch-Out on the list it's in good difficult company. If you like A Link to the Past, you'll like this game. It doesn't have the same calibur of story as some of the later Zelda titles, but it does have a lot of customization options. You don't have to play level 1 first. You don't even have to get the sword. There are a million ways to play this game. This is why I think it's better than some of the amazing titles that I put it above.

3: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – It's basically an A Link to the Past remake, but it's pretty cool to see those Alttp levels imagined in three dimensions. It doesn't have the same kind of relative freedom LoZ does, but it does have an in-game storyline. Plus: The music in this game is fantastic. Everything about this game is fantastic.

2: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask – It's one of the most impressive titles in the Zelda canon. The sidequests add depth to the game that is reminiscent of LoZ's semi-free roaming gameplay. There's so much to experience in MM. Oh and we haven't even gotten to the fact that it's about Link traveling back and forth through time to prevent the moon from crashing into the earth. If you like Zelda, you need to play this game.

1: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – It's just like OoT except harder and faster. You can beat A Link to the Past in a couple of hours if you're good enough. Now, the VC version loses points to its SNES counterpart for not having the instruction manual. The manual had an in-depth storyline and backstory for the gameplay. However, you don't really need to know about the Imprisoning War to see that Alttp is a gem. The way the text is worded adds such a mysticism to the story. The dungeons are gruelingly hard, and they will drive you batshit crazy the first time you play it. There is consensus among the SNES generation gamers: This is the greatest game ever made. Thank the Golden Goddesses you were born into a universe in which this game exists.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pokemon Puzzle League: A Very Brief Fanfic

Ash eagerly ran into Puzzle Village with excitement in his eyes. His lips smiled with joy as he saw Puzzle University, a college he'd never be able to get into. Far off in the distance was the stadium where a new type of Pokemon battle was happening. Without taking another glance at his surroundings, he and Pikachu darted toward the stadium.

With his eyes on the stadium as he ran forward, he suddenly fell hard to the ground. He could feel the metal piercing his side. Beneath him was a series of blue metal bars. He shook off the pain and looked right at his destiny: Misty.

“Ash Ketchum! Get off my bike! Why do you always put my bike in danger? My leg is trapped because of your fat!” She screamed with indignation.

“Gee, sorry Misty! I was just so eager to get to the stadium. They're having a new type of Pokemon battle. It's about puzzles or something. Have you heard?”

“Yes, I've heard! I'm a Gym Leader in it. Now get off me!”

“Right.” Ash stood up, looked at the bike and its rider, and declined to comment on the newly dented tire. “So, Professor Oak just abruptly contacted me on the video phone about it. How does it work?”

Misty stood up, still angry. She dusted herself off and sighed once before saying, “Well, it's simple. You have your Pokemon move around blocks in puzzles and try to get three or more blocks in a row. If you get chains of blocks or score combos, you send trash at your opponent's Pokemon's puzzle. Understand?”

“So, it's like a real life version of Tetris Attack?” Ash asked. “I've got that on my SNES back home in Pallet Town.”

“What's a SNES?” Misty asked.

“A Super Nintendo. Haven't you ever been into my room?”

“Um, no.” Misty responded. “But maybe some time you can show me this Tetri–”

Ash interrupted her statement to brag, “Well, rest assured that I'll win this competition. I may not be the best Pokemon trainer, but I'm a veritable Pokegod at Tetris Attack.”

“I'm gonna beat you, Ash!” And so the two walked toward the Stadium. Ash went on to battle all of the trainers through varying modes of difficult, beating all but Mewtwo on Super-Hard Mode.

The End

Monday, May 2, 2011

2012: Stay the Course!

So, it has come to my attention that people are jumping off the 2012 doomsday train as the time approaches, and perpetuating a sort of Aquarian new age message, instead. As an Aquarius, I suppose I should rather like the sound of that. The world would kick ass if we ruled it. But even so, I think that 2012 believers should stay the course.

Now some point out that the world obviously won't end in 2012. This sounds like a reasonable objection, but rest assured it is not. 2012 was never about the end of the world. It was about roleplaying the end of the world as the day approached. On 12/22, people will wake up, say 'phew', and have a fun story to tell their grandkids.

Furthermore, there won't be a new age of ideals in 2012 either. The world will have the same problems, along with some admittedly hot nude circle dancing, but the problems will never be dealt with due to our new sense of smugness. We begin to say that the nude circle dancing solved our problems, when all it really did was jolly our Roger!

So, why don't we have a massive nude circle dance before 12/21/2012 while perpetuating that the end is coming on that day? Then, we can experience the best of both worlds.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frustrating Dark Sides

I was a reading a certain book I got for.. a dime. Yes, literature is that cheap here. No one seems to think it's worth anything (local library can't hold all of its books, so they're having a sale. I got twenty books for two dollars!). I won't go into the specifics as they are unnecessary and I'd rather not personally identify the author. They really seemed like a good person. :)

First thing: The veil of Christianity is donned. It's a useful tool when you're trying to get a book featured on Oprah, I'm sure. But, of course, science has proven that Christianity is the source of all the world's problems, so a good self help book tries to ween the reader away from that most dangerous of topics. In a fairly admirable way, the author essentially says, “Show some balls. Pan the theism, get with the pantheism.” And that's to the author's credit, for sure. Eckhart Tolle just didn't have the guts to be upfront like that. But this is after 170 pages of Christian overtones, and it's only a 200 page book. I was pretty shocked by this sudden change of heart, though. First, we're talking to God about our dark sides, and now – surprise! – we're deciding that he's just a metaphor for the universe.

For all of the chicanery, this book is certainly something. I felt a whole range of emotions while reading it. At first, I was sort of offended by the idea of actively embracing evil. For as cool as I am with moral relativism.. there's some absolutist in me, for sure. Anyway, I keep reading, and lulz ensue; it occurred to me that the methods of achieving “wholeness” mentioned are not principally different from running on down to a pentecostal church and getting that holy ghost slapped on ya. Then, in a moment of clarity, I realized that even though the underlying philosophy is silly, the basic points to take away are still good. My final emotion -- and the one that made me take the time out of my admittedly unbusy day to write this post -- was a mixture of pity and frustration relating to the words between the lines. Here's why:

It became apparent from the author's own testimony. Long ago, someone had a bad experience with one of those ignorant, unenlightened, Christian mobs, and the event left the author with a dark side they probably can't even see. This book isn't so much about embracing shortcomings as it is getting back at assholes who banded together to call the author [intentional vagueness here]. I've been there, with the desire for vengeance against the oppressive majority, but it's not a path that leads to anywhere other than writing self-help/angry rant books. Not that there's anything wrong with ranting. Ranting is awesome, which is why I'm doing it now.

Call me a madman, but I see a glorious new day on the morrow. People of all faiths and lacks of faiths will come together, embracing one another, not for their commonalities, but for their distinctions. Young earth creationists will pray to the goddess mentioned in the old testament, and neopagans will develop their own canon of scripture and quote it excessively. Pantheists will look at deists, saying "I love you guys." And deists will do this also unto pantheists. Atheists will form an enormous love circle with agnostics. And such! Well, maybe not exactly that, but you see what I mean, right?

So, yeah, I'm a madman. :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Link Vs. Dark Link (A Spiritual Battle)

Consider how Link did journey on to the Great Palace. After he defeated the Thunderbird, he was allowed entrance into the Triforce Room. The Old Man looked at him, saying, "There must be a test!" And the Old Man and the Triforce of Courage disappeared.

Then, Link was alone and the room was made as dark. Out of the darkness emerged an enemy that Link had never fought, but engaged many times. Verily, that enemy was Link's dark side. If Link is the Legendary Hero who is incapable of fear in the face of Ganon or any other such manner of evil, then Dark Link is the one who cowers before Ganon, saying, "I am too fearful to pursue that which is right." If Link would save Hyrule from the Evil One, then surely Dark Link would surrender and aid Ganon for fear of annihilation.

Link engages Dark Link and the battle begins to fare poorly. Dark Link knows who the Hero is, but the Hero does not understand who Dark Link is. It is as if Dark Link knows his every move, but Link does not know the moves of Dark Link. Terrified, Link begins to cower in the corner of the locked room. Then, Link thinks about who Dark Link is. He says to himself, "Dark Link is part of me." and he knows he must overcome the fear his shadow embodies. Then, before death calls his name, Link begins to voraciously swing his sword in a stance of half cowardice.

This was the manner in which the Hero achieved his greatest triumph. The Triforce was made whole once more, and the Princess at long last awakened.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Some Things to make FB more secure

It's seems like every other day I hear about a friend whose had some robot log into his/her facebook account and start spamming everybody, so I thought I'd mention some of the basic things people can do to lower the risk of having their accounts hacked.

Password Strength: Now, if my close friends and family members are any indication, most people use very basic passwords that often consist of one word. I've never considered hacking into anyone's Facebook account, but if I did, one of the first things I'd try would be to write some sort of script that iterates through words in the dictionary. Facebook probably keeps you from guessing passwords after so many tries, but a persistent soul will succeed. You can easily circumvent efforts like that by having a really long and complex password. It can consist of (multiple) words, but throw in a few capital letters and a special symbol like !, _, or some such.

Watch Your Address Bar: If you see a facebook login at the URL or whatever, it's probably a bad sign. Make sure you're logging into each time you login. Most browsers can read security certificate from companies like Verisign, DigiCert, GoDaddy, and others. So look for that if your login attempt fails. But the main thing is to make sure you're logging into Facebook.

See's who has been logging in: If you click Account, Account Settings, then Account Security, you can see where your logins come from. This isn't 100% reliable as it's related to your IP address (which, depending on your ISP could be, anywhere), but it's one of the best places to look if your account has been compromised.

Check your apps: I imagine there's a good chance much of this spam originates from installed apps. Facebook doesn't really regulate who makes apps (outside of what gets in the directory). will allow to remove spammy or suspicious apps. If you're having problems like of this nature, there would be a good place to look.

Firewall: This really more for your PC, in general, but be firewalled. Head on over to, run their shields up test, and see if you have any open ports. Ideally, they'll all read stealth. Most firewalls inside of routers can accomplish this.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kaepora Gaebora: What is he?

I'm doing a three heart run of OoT (just to brush up on the story for a fanfic, really. three hearts is only for the added frustration). As I was running out of the Kokiri Forest, the familiar owl, Kaepora Gaebora, gave his greeting. He finishes his "Yada yada yada... you're on an adventure... blah blah blah..." speech, and I move onto Hyrule Castle.

In Castle Town, I stop speak to Malon (next to the fountain), then waste no time heading toward the Castle. Then, there's Kaepora Gaebora, again! He seems to understand how the game's time mechanic flows. So, I head on and speak to Zelda and hear one of the key parts of the story I wanted to, and then head to Kakariko. Of course, I forgot that you had to talk with Saria first. So, I journey back to the Kokiri Forest and into the Lost Woods.

A few steps into the Lost Woods and... there's that owl again! Here he is, expounding upon the nature of the Sacred Forest Meadow. You're near the Sacred Forest Meadow, a special place where few people have ever been.(Note: The Sacred Forest Meadow comment raises an interesting question about Beta version of OoT. In that version of the game, the Temple of Time is in the lost woods. One has to wonder whether the owl was indirectly referencing that.) But at any rate, here the owl is again, explaining things that owls shouldn't know about.

And after you speak with Saria, the owl appears again in the Lost Woods, explaining things that are obvious to the player, but things that Link might not necessarily understand. This is another peek into the apparent 'deeper knowledge' of Kaepora Gaebora. And it gets better: This owl seems to know where you are at all times. On top of Death Mountain, the owl will be there. If you head to the Gerudo area as a child, the owl is there. If you head to Lake Hylia, the owl is there. The last two are areas that are completely unrelated to the quest.

And it gets better. Kaepora Gaebora follows Link through his adulthood, as evidenced by the brilliant "flying away" scene in front of the Desert Colossus (Or as Kaepora Gaebora called in while speaking to Saria, the Shrine of the Desert Goddess.. or something).

The Gossip Stones say of Kaepora Gaebora, (paraphrased) "Kaepora Gaebora is the reincarnation of an ancient sage." It's probably that and nothing more, but in light of hearing his apparent larger than life understanding of Hyrule, and seeing him immediately after hearing the creation of Hyrule, I actually entertained the idea that he could be some sort of avatar for a deity.

Another, more popular, theory is that Kaepora Gaebora is Kasuto, the "missing" Sage. All the other Sages, save Zelda, have names from AoL Towns. The one unused town is called Kasuto, who seems to have been replaced by Zelda in this game. Perhaps the most 'mainstream' interpretation of Kaepora Gaebora is that he's Rauru, but that has problems. (Or... he could just be a helpful game mechanic explainer. :P)

Anyway, I'm going to continue paying close attention to him as I play this run through. If I happen to see something about him in a new light, I'll update this post.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Good Things WebTV Had

It's a dinosaur now. Browsing the web with a 56k modem sounds... abominable, impossible, even. However, there were some things you had to love about the box. In a moment of nostalgia, I thought I'd sing a few praises:

Music: WebTV had some excellent midi files. I loved its renditions of classical music. The rendition of Mozart's Symphony #40 was mindblowing. Other good tunes like the Flight of the Bumble Bee and stuff I can't remember rocked too.

Email Beep: Compare WebTV's email beep to the AoL 'You've got... poor voice synthesis' of the era. WebTV will win every time. Of course, I'm predisposed to loves of all clicks, beeps, scratches, and things of that sort. I think they have a rhythm.

The Culture: The biggest credit WebTV had was its community. All online communities say, but with WebTV it was actually true. Microsoft wasn't really developing anything for it (though they did provide frequent updates even late into its Classic/Plus life cycle), and most major websites you might try to visit (notably Yahoo! Games) wouldn't support the box. Seeing this, many users built JavaScript and Flash games (though the latter was probably done on a PC :( ), uploaded midis, stockpiled vast collections of images, and brought content to the box.

I'll go on: I rather liked to browse the homepages of WebTV-folk back in the day. There was a lot of personality on I made some friends that I still keep in touch with. But anyway... all glory to the box!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Could the moon be alive?

I was driving down the road at about 3 A.M. this morning, and the moon was exceptionally large. I've seen large views of the moon before, but something about this one stuck out. It was positioned directly over the road, almost like something out of a UFO encounter. I kept looking at this while almost disregarding the empty road ahead of me. Then, I did something crazy: I asked the moon, "What?"

Sleep deprivation will send me to an early grave, I'm sure, but at the time, acknowledging the celestial object felt like a completely reasonable thing to do. There was this large object in the sky, and certainly felt as if it had singled me out, out of all the other people in the world. It was like the moon had its own personality for the moment. I'd seen the moon many times, but this was the first time that the moon had took notice of me.

Fortunately, the moon didn't respond. But I'm glad that this episode left me with yet another interesting (but completely meaningless) thing to ponder. In the interests of defending a potentially existent entity, I came up with several completely fallacious appeals (which I won't share here).

So, basically, I was outside, and I realized the moon existed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tornadoes and Hospitals

Two days ago, a series of storms blazed through the area. A tornado seems to have caused a good deal of damage about a half a mile up the road. The good news is that everyone seems to be ok (at least around my neighborhood).

The tornado hit when I was at the hospital with my brother. I hate hospitals as it is (all they're good for is catching illnesses from sick people! amirite?), but I especially hate hospitals on lock-down. I have a fear of dying inside of a hospital. It seems like such a boring place to die. Seriously, if there's an afterlife and I die in a hospital, I'm asking God for a mulligan. But anyway, there I am, trapped in the hospital awaiting whatever fate has in store.

Everyone was pretty worried, but this is Alabama: We get ten or twenty tornado warnings a year. I didn't see what the big deal was. Hell, I still don't see what the big deal was. But, I guess the aforementioned tornado was the big deal. If I had been on the road just a little earlier, I might have had to play dodge the tornado on the highway.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oracle Finished! (a concession)

Sometimes, you know the right way to do something, but you're already in the process of doing it the wrong way, so you don't want to stop and do it the right way. A case in point for me would be Beardulax. I knew for a fact that including the script inside of document.write(); html was messing up something for Chrome inside of all.js, but I was determined to get it to work!

Five days later, I gave up, deleted the document.write();'s, stuck in four document.getElementbyId()'s, and it worked like a charm... Bah!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something about IE

Internet Explorer doesn't like my script (for Beardulax, my JavaScript Oracle), and I'm not sure why. All the other major browsers can take the script from the document.write(); just fine. However, IE freezes every single time! I think it must be something about the script's syntax, because IE can load Facebook's all.js inside of document.write();. The script itself contains a function with FB.ui for sharing to the feeds. I had the same result when the function contained stream.publish. Baffling!

Btw, if anyone happened to read the previous post, I was able to get the 'publish' option to work in Chrome, Safari, and Opera by trying a different option (feed, if I recall correctly. It looks a lot like stream.publish. I'm not sure what the difference is.)

For the moment, the script only executes if the browser is not internet explorer. I need to learn a little more about IE's debugger, I guess, but as far as I can tell, the freeze is stopping it from spitting out errors! I suppose I'll research the matter and update this post if I find a solution.

UPDATE: I eventually ended up having to give up on the whole method of using document.write(); and it worked just fine. I think the problem was because the script ran at the start of the second page.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

JavaScript Woes!

More research is required for ole Beardy. The oracle is finished (or at least close enough to being finished), but the facebook javascript sdk parts of the application have been nightmare. All I want to do is just create a little share function that I can call on from an html button. Shouldn't be hard, right? Wrong.

I used the example stream.publish function from the sdk files and modified it to my own ends. It works... in Firefox. Google Chrome finds a javascript error inside of facebook's all.js file. Initially, I thought that maybe Chrome utilized innerHTML in a different manner, but a quick test disproved that notion. I was able to call the same ids from my a test function, so nothing is wrong with the way I'm passing values. The debugger traces it back to line 18 of all.js.

But it gets worse: Internet Explorer stops responding whenever I try to include external javascript files. I must be doing something wrong on that end. I'm really not sure. I've got it in the head section of the document.write html... maybe (like Chrome), it needs the file in the body. This would be odd, as I seem to recall IE crashing for the same reason. Again, confused and frustrated!

But it gets even worse: I just learned that Facebook is in the process of deprecating stream.publish, so even if I get it working, I'll just have to switch it to the graph API (whatever the hell that is).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Passing functions to Document.write()

Be advised, reading this post may result in lulz:

As noted in the past few posts, I'm still perfecting that oracle. I actually want to add an option to make it search the user's string and reply with a relevant (but still somewhat random) response. Anyway, I haven't gotten that far yet because of my stubbornnes. You see, I decided from the beginning that I would make the application load from one page and use document.write() to create the "answer" page.

The above worked great until I decided that I'd get ambitious and make the thing a facebook app. Setting up the JavaScript SDK wasn't hard at all, but getting that SDK to work in the document.write() html was somewhat of a challenge. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the example function provided for FB.ui to post in it. I spent hours readjusting the code placing it in all kinds of different places. I even went as far to redeclare the function fb_publish(); inside of a script within the document.write() html! Then, after that failed, I went around adding backslashes to escape everything in the function. I still don't understand why -that- failed..

As mentioned before, I was being pretty stubborn about the whole "one file" thing. The solution was a deceptively simple one: create an external .js file, include it in the document.write() html's head section. Then, you can call it from document.write(); with impunity! Cheers!

The last question before I start working on making the thing give relevant responses is passing variables to FB.ui (user name, oracle response, etc.). But my host's site is down atm (and facebook won't let that FB.ui execute unless it's on app's site), so I thought I'd take the time to rant about this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

onsubmit and Chrome

I happened to take a peek at my javascript oracle from my netbook -- on which I use Google Chrome -- and I was shocked to find out that the application wasn't working. Or rather, it was working, but the page was reloading for no reason. I was pretty confused by it, as the application in question works just fine from Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. So, I did some investigating, and found out the root of the issue:

Chrome seems to reload (or perhaps restore?) the page to its original state after a function is called with onsubmit from a form. If you're whole plan is based on the altered page staying up for the user to read... that's probably not what you intend. Here's what I did:

if (chrome != -1)
{ event.preventDefault(); }

Of course, event.preventDefault(); is the workhorse there. However, Firefox started messing up on me with that in the code, so I put it one of those nifty if statements.

Addendum (several days later): I was fiddling with that same oracle earlier, and I realized that this post is probably wrong. It seems far more likely that Chrome is reacting to the document.write(); I'm calling on and not onsubmit. At any rate, it worked like a charm. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oracles and Spacemen

I created some kind of (admittedly crappy) oracle. The design is awful. I never was too good with css, and the irritating interface of my web host sort of discourages me from making changes to the uploaded file. I think I might add a "prophecy" option, eventually. You can view the sort of done, sort of not done, work here .

Now, I'm stepping my game up. In the process of creating a game with one of them Space Men! It's just as poorly drawn as that oracle. hehe. More to come on that.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Dangerous Dangers of Facebook

Yep. Facebook is -still- blocking's array of domain names, and now they're not even giving a reason for it. I know it's probably because of's free allowance of php from anybody anywhere, but it's not fair because facebook is probably more dangerous than any site on the web.

Now, I've got maybe a hundred friends on facebook. Most are distant relatives I don't even know, and the rest are people that I actually do know or talk to quite a bit online. Out of that one hundred, at least twenty have had their accounts compromised at some point. My best friend from my childhood was spamming stuff on becoming a sports agent for two weeks, and my ex girlfriend's sister keeps telling me about this ridiculous "video link" that tries to trick me into installing an app. And there are others!

So, clearly, if facebook is concerned about security precautions, the logical choice is for facebook to block from being shared.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some Thoughts About the 3DS

I'm, for the most part, happy with primitive games. I like text based stuff, 8-bit console games, and some SNES occasionally to shake things up. Of course I like some of the "3D" stuff I grew up on like the PS1 and the N64. Just pointing out my old fashioned bias up front.

Anyway, Nintendo just released the 3DS. There was a time long ago when this was what I dreamed of. A rich gaming experience that comes to life before your eyes. But then I got a Wii. The Wii has a lot of flash, bells, whistles, and "interactive" gimmicks, but it really does suck on the whole. The (non-VC) games are terrible, and even if they made what I consider to be "good games," they'd probably be better suited to a normal controller. Something tells me that I'd feel the same way about the 3DS if I could actually afford the thing.

I've dabbled with the DS and the DSi. I've got a friend who has one and a little cousin who has the other. As much as I dislike the Wii Remote (when it's used for motion), that little pen-prick thing is ten times worse. Fortunately, some of the "games" (if you can call them that) work with the d-pad. Even if the the 3D effects are mindblowing, Nintendo's string of horrible control interfaces would just ruin it for me. :)

But, I digressed quite a bit there. 3D just doesn't sound all that hot to me anymore. In fact, I think I'd actually prefer the normal screen. It balances out the bad controls. Now neural induction would be impressive. Do that, Nintendo!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Zelda needs more Toon Link!

That's a call you won't often hear the grandpa Zelda fans make. Alas, I've been playing Zelda since the days of AoL (circa 1990, playing LoZ as a very young lad), and I'm one of the few that thinks games such as LoZ: The Wind Waker are better successors than games such as LoZ: Twilight Princess. Here's why:

Graphics: Look closely at LoZ, AoL, Alttp, and LA. These are the games that most consider to be the "heart of the series", if you will. In terms of graphics, what commonality do they all share? They all look like cartoons. Especially Alttp and LA. TWW continues this. Games like TP and even OoT are a departure. Furthermore, the style of OoT Hyrule is rather dreary (to me). It lacks the mysticism of Alttp. TWW seems like a fun fresh place where anything can happen.

The Legendary Hero: The Wind Waker is ridiculously easy, and that's the game's primary flaw, but it continues Zelda's traditions in a place where Twilight Princess largely abandons it. Link is not the Hero from the Legends, and he he is not the Hero chosen by the gods. He is "The Legendary Hero" as as referred to in Alttp and (presumably) LoZ/AoL.

Enemies: Like LoZ and AoL, The Wind Waker had moblins. It did a great job of bringing these creatures into the overworld. I don't think that the style of TP really allows for such creatures. They would look goofy with "serious" graphics.

The Underworld: TWW gave yet another nod to LoZ with the Underworld. Never before had the overworld/underworld concept been so adequately explained.

So, in summation: Toon Link is alright with me. Now if he'd just get rid of that pesky third dimension. It's so unnecessary.