Archive for Video Games

Ocarina iPhone app

I’ve been wondering why we haven’t seen more iPhone apps that take a page from the DS and incorporate “blow into the mic” functionality. Since I don’t own an iPhone (yet!) though, I may have missed some.

But how cool is this? Nevermind that the movie below demos the “Zeldarian mode,” but get this: apparently it responds not only to your breath and multi-touch, but to the tilt of the iPhone as well. And you can actually listen to other Ocarina app users around the world.

Right now it’s 99 cents. ZOMG!

Ocarina in the App Store.


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Image by *spacecoyote

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Kororinpa – Fun, actually

Kororinpa: Marble Mania for the Wii doesn’t deserve the bad reviews it’s gotten. Thing is, I never would’ve picked this title up on my own except that it got recommended from Ryan on a recent episode of the The 1Up Show. Hooray for game rentals.

Ever stopped along the curb when there’s water streaming downhill to drop a leaf or a stick on top and watch it sail down to the bottom? Something about this always fascinated me.

On Sesame Street, they used to show a 2 min. or so video of a red ball rolling along what I can only think to describe as a mini rollercoaster. Accompanied by a spare drum soundtrack, it would trip little flags that popped up as it passed, along with other things I can’t remember. Eventually it would drop into a funnel and a kid would have their hand cupped underneath as it got churned to pixie dust that they would eat.

I LOVED watching this. Playing Kororinpa is kind of the same for me.

You don’t create the tracks that the ball rolls on. Gameplay consists simply of tilting the Wii-mote to roll the ball along the track (or board) to collect gems and reach the goal. Control is solid and there are no time limits, thank God – you get as many tries as your patience allows. I’ve never played Super Monkey Ball or LocoRoco but this mechanic strikes me as having similarities to both.

The level design can get quite creative. The board will sometimes need to be turned entirely upside down in order to progress. Very, very light puzzle elements here in trying to figure out how to orient it to keep rolling.

Music and art direction are cute. You can choose what kind of ball to use at the start of play, anything from a kitty to a basketball, a galaxy or a ladybug. They make sounds when they roll and bounce, with the latter emitting from the Wii-mote speaker. A subtle touch that I’m glad the developers added in.

Each ball rolls differently which is where difficulty comes in. But you can use whatever ball you like and each level is short and sweet; making this title friendly to casual gamers.

One potential frustrating thing: falling off the board places you at the beginning all over again. I wish they programmed in more “re-spawning” spots all over, but I can see how that would’ve made each level almost too easy. K stopped playing after a while because he’s not into games where a little trial and error is sometimes required to reach the goal.

A split-screen two-player mode is available. It’s as competitive as you make it – each player can go at their own pace. Though K and I quickly turned it into a race.

The game is short too. But I don’t hold this against it. Just about everything in Kororinpa is approachable and fun and I recommend it highly.

I’m not willing to pay full price for it, however, even with my GameFly discount. When it comes down in price, I think it’s a great title to own.

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Here’s my take on Destructoid’s STFUAJPG:

Amaterasu on her back

Max Galactica says STFUAJPG

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Wii News Channel Launches a Day Early

Yes, bitches, I got my Wii. Two full months after launch. But I’ll have to update you on how it all happened later.

Right now, it’s movie time!

Waking up to a glowing slot this morning, I found a message from Nintendo announcing the availability of the News channel, a full day earlier than expected. Here’s some shaky cam footage of my first acquantence with it.

I edited together the movies hastily. The volume starts out low (sorry, it was still early in the morning) and I didn’t decide to do a bit of mumbling commentary until the last couple of movies–didn’t want to provoke the derision of K, still in bed, since I was filming Wii channels. 🙂

Some initial observations: parts of it struck me as very Mac-like. Specifically, the Zoom in and Out feature, and the Globe view. The way that words in the former, and news pages in the latter rearranged themselves reminded me of Exposé.

And I caught the Help cat! (Use the A + B buttons to nab it.)

Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to frame the footage correctly with one hand, while using the Wii-mote to navigate the News channel with the other, but the the interface for browsing headlines seemed a bit clunky. Perhaps this is what the Slide Show feature and Globe “browser” is supposed to alleviate.

Reading stories about the dumbass DJs and seeing quotes about “rabid video gamers [getting] help keeping in touch with the outside world ” via the News channel was very meta.

The background music needs to be peppier, though. It was a bit too downtempo and mellow for the early morning, which is when a lot of folks might check the news.

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Snowglobe for OSX

I found this nifty bit of freeware last year. Just particle effects, but still a neat idea because it’s:

  • Portable – You can email it other OSX users or post somewhere for them to download
  • Personalizable – Drag and drop your own jpgs, gifs, pngs or pdfs
  • Interactive – Shake it!

Thank you Freeverse for the fun toy. Happy Holidays from me! 🙂

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N64 Kid in BMW Commercial

Whoa. What a strange convergence of things.

Tonight was the first time K and I watched an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” as it actually aired. [Side note: Boring! Maybe it was having to suffer through the commercials.]

But one of them begun with a familiar scene. Here’s the full video:

I wasn’t sure where it was going, except that maybe it was an updated commercial for the Wii (looks like the video was taken down, dang).

The marketers are getting smarter and smarter. Hitting the scifi fan, gamer, viral/Web 2.0, gearhead demographic in that sweet spot. Except for the fancy car thing, they nailed me perfectly. Ha ha! Too bad I have no interest in buying a BMW, despite their attempts to swathe it in gamey goodness.

Damn, just realized I’m doing the work for them by blogging about it. Tricky! Um, buy a hybrid! Walk more, take the bus…

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