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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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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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Wii Midnight Launch at Ballard Fred Meyer

I didn’t get one. Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

So, here was the plan.

I’ve commented on other blogs that I hate Best Buy, EB Games and Gamestop. Walmart is just plain evil. I don’t do preorders. Blah blah blah.

Instead, I picked Fred Meyer as the place to buy a Wii. Last week, I asked a clerk in the electronics department what the deal was:

  • 70 units
  • Midnight opening
  • Random drawing – “to discourage camping” and “to be more fair”. Numbers would be handed out at 11:45pm.

K and I had going away party to go to for a good friend, and I wasn’t about to spend all night driving around to different stores during his farewell bash. With this information, it was gonna be a drive up at 11:40pm, hopefully get called and return to the party with a Wii under my arm. And if I didn’t get one, no big deal.

A call earlier today to Fred Meyer and there was no line. But at the party, some friends had reported seeing about 20-30 people waiting around 7:30pm. A call to another friend confirmed there were now going to be 90 units available.

We arrived around 11:20pm to find a line of about 100 or so people, and we were right behind this sign:

Liars, fools!

Some guy was messing with the number 90, but what bugs me the most is the part about no raffle.

I knew I should have checked with more than one person. But I told myself that I wouldn’t go crazy and drive over to Northgate, where there’s a cluster of places that must have been mobbed (Target, Best Buy, Toys R Us, EB Games, Gamestop).

We waited anyway. K found out that there was a list at the front with 90 names already on it. No chance of getting one. But I insisted we stay just to make sure.

They came down with their clipboards, reading off names and handing out pink slips to the lucky ones. They stopped about 5 people in front of us and had one extra ticket left from some fool who wasn’t present.

My call for a random drawing/knife fight went unheeded. The next person in line got it. So close! The misinformation about the raffle really screwed us, which is a shame.

Oh well. We’ll see how well I can balance staying calm with obsessive calling around to other Seattle stores in the next few days. I’m determined to remain laid back about acquiring a Wii.

At least I got a present to display in the meantime.

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Wii Gift in Animal Crossing

So, if you open your gates in Animal Crossing: Wild World in the next few days, you’ll find a letter waiting in your mailbox from Nintendo.

Spoilers below.

Pix of the letter and the item in my living room.

Animal Crossing - Wii letter from Nintendo

Wii present from Nintendo - Animal Crossing

Yes, my character’s name is Darcy, and she lives in Pemberly. Since I still don’t have a Wii, looks like I’ll have to content myself with this for a while.

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It’s Mii!

notawesome - MiiSee this is why I wanted to learn Flash. I can’t believe this guy was actually able to pull this off just by watching videos and stills.

Roll your own Mii, pre-Wii, via Joystiq.

It’s actually pretty accurate. Though the attire is very Star Trek: Next Generation (guess the blue would make me medical staff?). Maybe I’ll try to recreate the whole crew later.

Can’t wait to do this for reals on November 19th.

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