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.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Efficient Inefficency

So I recently downloaded DASM, an assembler for 6502 microprocessor (and several others, or so they say). I'm fairly interested in learning the gist of how Atari games were/are made. Anyway, DASM is a command line program. According to the tutorial I'm following, the appropriate arguments for getting the Atari-style 6502 Assembly is:

dasm filename.asm -lfilename.txt -f3 -v5 -ofilename.bin

As you can see, that's a fairly lengthy command to type over and over. Fortunately, you can arrow up. But with stella, geany, rm, cd, mv, cp, and occasionally nano in the mix, hitting up can get confusing. So, I racked my brain (quite unsuccessfully) over that bash tutorial I read through awhile back. Then I racked through google (a tad more successfully). My intent was to be able to type dasm "filename.asm" and have the script handle the rest of that stuff.

Five hours later...

exec < $1
if [ -e $1 ]; then
echo ${#1}
adjustedlength=$[ ${#1} - 4 ]
`echo dasm $1 -l$newfiles.txt -f3 -v5 -o$newfiles.bin`
echo "File does not exist."

Yes... five hours later. I'm certainly not the best basher in da house. But if I compile thousands and thousands of kernels/games with DASM, it'll probably balance out. heh. I'm sort of tempted to figure out how to add a delete argument to it. As previously noted, the thing creates three files in one go.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Space Invaders vs. Galaxian (And why Galaxian is better!)

I'm taking time out of my admittedly less than busy day to rant about a trivial issue. Galaxian only has 250 fans, but that crappy proto-shooter Space Invaders has 20k. Sure, Space Invaders did it first, but Space Invaders also did it wrong. Shields and moving in place? Too easy. Galaxian has the added excitement of dogfights, and it's later phases are hard... not at all like Space Invaders.

Well, at least Galaga has a good following.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How my (spare) Hard Disk Gparted me

As I rambled elsewhere the other day, I'm trying to get my spare desktop to install puppy Linux. Terror is beginning to consume me; for you see, I've realized that the machine's hard disk is shot. No matter what program I use, fdisk, cfdisk, gparted, whatever the debian installation cd uses, whatever the mandriva cd uses, and whatever the ubuntu 8.10 cd uses, it won't read.

Ever the silly one, I tried sticking it in the cd rom drive's jumper (and of course doing vice versa for the hard drive's jumper). Same result. Then, I switched 'em back and tried a different connector wire doodle (technical term there). Finally, I tried switched the jumpers again with the new connector. Btw, each time I'd load one of my several installation cds and attempt to partition. ZERO SUCCESS.

I'm not sure how it happened, but it probably happened during one of my numerous reformats/partitionings. Woe is me, but it's not so bad. I've got a couple of spare hard drives around here... somewhere. Just a matter of finding them... which is probably going to be more difficult than getting this one to work. I know that one of those is smaller than this one's (which is also quite small at a scant 6 GB. I'd just boot it from a pen drive if the BIOS would allow it.).

There is one last trick up my sleeve before chunking the disk, and that is to connect that hard disk to my working desktop and try to reformat it from a halfway stable machine. Could work... but I kind of doubt it. ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I'm tired of hearing about things the government has banned or is in the process of banning for drug wars. My inhaler is the first of which, but granted that is partially for the ozone as well (which is kind of ludicrous when one looks at the other far more harmful things to the environment).

They've also banned bath salts. I hope that, some day, they discover that cheeseburgers are a key ingredient in meth. Besides, they're far more harmful to both your health and the environment (cow production, GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Then people will know how I feel. It's not right for the government can get away with the shit they get away with.

Oh magnificent Windows...

Ubuntu has spoiled me, I suppose. The sky is the limit on the random things you can do to your pc. But with windows, there are limitations. Granted, Windows 7 has some pretty good functionality, from what I hear. However, the Starter Edition is completely void of any real functionality. You can't even change your wallpaper unless you really work at it.

And that brings me to the subject of this rant: Making Windows feel more like Ubuntu. That's the dream. Sometimes, I have to use this netbook, and I feel so uncomfortable with these weird picture menus and all of that jazz. So, downloaded an Ubuntu theme, and quickly realized the Starter Edition has no theme abilities. Not dissuaded, I began to look for a workaround. And sure enough, you can change your wallpaper. I was thinking that it'd be easy... just logging in as administrator and replacing the wallpaper jpeg... but it actually required assigning permissions in the registry. Thanks to the several tutorials out there.

Now, Microsoft took time out of their day to ensure that you wouldn't be able to change too much. Because if you do change too much, you'll eventually muck up and their defense mechanism will shift your wallpaper back to the ugly blue Windows 7 paper. Wtf? Someone in their camp must have thought, "We've gotta guard jpeg: with our lives if necessary!"

The Login screen was pretty easy to change, and they actually allow you ti import Ubuntu Sound Effects (or any other type), albeit much more difficultly than the heftier versions of Seven.

Ideally, I want to swap out those Icons for an Ubuntu/Xubuntu style menu. Not sure how to proceed, but hopefully the rest of the crap isn't as viciously guarded as the wallpaper. heh