Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Nostalgia and why it's so hard to beat Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time

It's pretty much inevitable that every time a new Zelda or Mario game comes out, Super Mario 64 and Zelda: The Ocarina of Time are brought up. There are great reasons for thinking that these games are the best ever.
But I can't help but think of one important aspect that makes these games unique; eternally so.
Super Mario 64 in particular as it was a launch game for the N64. After so many Mario games that were all 2D side scrollers, all of a sudden this game stood out. It was everyone's favorite mustachioed plumber in 3D where you could run around and perform various different jumps, slide around and everything!
I believe that an important component of the nostalgia that people associate with SM64 is this transformation to 3D that simply will never happen again. Only kids who you bring up playing the old 2D classics and suddenly expose them to the next 3D mario game could you reproduce that same awe.

It's kind of funny how it's similar to how some jazz musicians wish they could forget more about their musical training. To have less knowledge upon which to improvise on. Kurt Rosenwinkel once said that to him, improvising is like taking everything you've learned and bringing it to an altar to sacrifice. I have recordings of many of my lessons at the conservatory and while my playing was wonky and lacking in many places, there are many concepts I now hear and think "wow, that was actually a really neat line!" and wish I could play with whatever was going on in my mind.

I wonder how it would be if I could erase my experience with certain games and play newer incarnations of its series, like the recent Super Mario 3D World - which by the way I'm not planning on buying as I'm biding my time with other games until Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2 release for the Wii U.
How would it be to have had Twilight Princess, Wind Waker or even Spirit Tracks on DS as my first ever Zelda experience?

Is this the perspective of those old folks who wish they could be kids again?

Ad addendum: TL;DR clicky

Blog update


Just a quick update here before I put up a proper post. I got my laptop back and am trying to get all my software to run again. I'm looking to post a simple jazz tune to see if most of the stuff works before continuing on with the game music stuff. Sorry for all the delay, it's not fun for me either =(

I'm picking up a PS4 this Friday, I'll see if I can put a fancy link to my twitch channel for if/when I stream on the side of my blog. But just in case you want to follow my channel or what have you, it's right here. And yes I'll have a camera so you might catch me with my mug up on screen! I'm not responsible for any damage done to your eyes or monitor as a result of having my face projected to either one.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

What's with all the bugs this year?

This might be a rant post, but I can't help but ponder about the level of polish some of this year's AAA games have launched with. This year's CoD looks and runs bad on PC, EA's Battlefield 4 is flooded with stability related bug reports, I'm stuck in the loading screen going out of the Batcave to anywhere else in Batman Origins and this year's Need for Speed (on PC, at least) is atrocious. I'm probably missing a few.

The launch of two next gen consoles has to take some of the blame as a lack of focus in development is never good. So many games this year are coming out on a lot of platforms: PC, 360, X1, PS3, PS4 and Wii U is a pretty basic and automatically assumed setting. And considering the install base of the last generation this situation could keep going for quite a bit longer. If it goes on for too long we will be stuck with smaller worlds to immerse and get lost in. But there's been a first light ray of hope in the past week of news.
A trademark for Fallout 4 was made, and we all know how great that was. I have to confess that I never finished that game, nor did I clock many hours in to it. It's on my backlog, but I know I loved what little I had played.

After having played over 15 hours of Batman: Arkham Origins I'm still on the fence. It has a slight sense of new and/or refined elements, phenomenal writing paired with a generally boring and straightforward story, slightly enhanced but very familiar visuals and the polish is everywhere and nowhere. I really wish they had simply waited until around now to start development on a new Batman game, making it next gen only. Instead it denies Arkham City being the last great game of its series on last gen while also denying itself an amazing entry to next gen.
And in that aspect I'm kind of happy that they got a more lukewarm reception from the press and gaming community because hopefully that will get the message across and get their stuff sorted out.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Fit Meter

 I thought it'd be nice to do an article about a game (if you can really call it that) that surprised me, and a little gadget that surprised me even more.

Paying attention to yourself

There's plenty to criticize the whole Wii Fit stuff for, and a lot of it is quite justified. The emphasis on BMI in the body test can give an awful experience if it doesn't make sense for your body like if you're already a mass of muscle. Which I'm not, though I'm by no means obese either.
There's also the issue that the game doesn't take your entire form into consideration when doing some of the workouts where you'd really need it like Yoga. I think most fitness coaches who have checked out any of the Fit games have said that it's far from perfect, but it does do a great job of getting you interested in personal health. And that's where I have grown to embrace it.

The fit meter is great. It's small and low profile that I can attach it to my belt, hidden under my T-shirt. But it's a lot like Street Pass on 3DS. I don't want to leave the house without it. I almost always take the stairs instead of an escalator with it on. I didn't think it would affect my way of moving around so much as it has.
In the short time I've had this little gadget it's become a part of my standard kit when leaving the house - wallet, keys, phone, fit meter...okay, good to go!

The best part is that together with actually doing the workouts in the game, I already have results. My weight has mostly stopped going up and my belly is starting to deflate again. For a dude, I had a pretty good figure but as always you take those things for granted and miss things when you don't have it anymore.

Yes, I'm one of the twelve people that own a Wii U. I never thought I'd get a Fit game, let alone like it and get anything out of it.
If the whole offer of getting a Fit Meter sync'd with your system lets you keep the game forever hadn't existed, together with getting a bargain on a Balance Board wasn't a thing I wouldn't have jumped in to this so soon.
So for the relatively little the Wii U has done for me in its first year in the living room, it's managed to change my life a bit on the long term and I feel thankful for that.

I'm looking forward to next year's warm days for new plethora of reasons now!

Man, I never thought I'd blog about this...

Grrrr(video update)

My Macbook Air is one of the bad lemons of the bunch, the SSD has died and my visit to the Apple Store in Amsterdam yesterday was useless and I needed an appointment. As I use this machine to do my video editing, I don't know when I can actually get back to work on that. This is incredibly frustrating.
The good news is I think I can bring it in tomorrow at a different place so hopefully the delay won't be so bad. If they can't do it, I will be without a machine for at least 2 weeks more. The agony!!

Next post could be about Wii Fit U (the Fit Meter to be precise) or Pokemon! Coming soon(tm)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Blog update

Alrighty! I'm finally back from Suriname and I survived the intial wave of business I had to take care of upon returning.

First thing is first: a big Thank You! to the NBI for awarding me for the Most Interesting Content prize. I'm pretty surprised the jury awarded me this. I will do my best to respect the interest my blog concept has sparked and write regularly. I'm thrilled at the thought that even a few people are interested in these subjects.

The plan

 I'm going to shoot for about three posts a week. I'm looking to get the jazz part of the blog introduced this week or the next, with my Final Fantasy cover upload being delayed due to issues with the video and audio; I've decided to just rerecord the whole thing so that will take another week or so.

I thought about posting about Blizzcon but I'd rather wait and really get my head wrapped around the things they've announced, rewatching some of the VoDs available with the virtual ticket. But I'd like to do a quick run down on some things.


  • New Raid Structure: Had this come around in Cataclysm I'd probably still be raiding today. And with more people that I've known since the beginning or close to it. The flex tech is apparently fabulous and it's great to see their drive behind using it to fix what is essentially a social problem. Very stoked!
  • Draenor, the story, etc: A bit bummed that we're not done with Garrosh yet. I hope that we won't be fighting Orcs and Ogres during the entire expansion. Nor do I want to see an entire raid tier with some level of dedication to trolls again. But something tells me the Burning Legion will get some focus, perhaps in the second raid tier (6.1 or 6.2) before moving on to whatever it is we fight at the end. At least we've been assured that it's not Garrosh that awaits us at the end of the expansion. Phew!
  • I can't get excited about the zones. At least not yet. The premise of exploring Draenor before it all went to crap is cool though. I had no idea Black Temple had that kind of history (spoiler: It wasn't such an evil place) and I always love a good snow zone.
  • Lots of little things like bag management, (auto distribution, no more quest loot, heirloom UI etc) item overhaul, item squish and the fact that they're not adding lots of new buttons!
  • Garrisons a.k.a player housing! Some cool ideas there that once again can expand on what they already have.
  • I'm skeptical of the insta level 90 thing. Hopefully the flood of people that have no idea how to play their class will be somewhat limited and/or mitigated after a while.

D3: RoS

  • I was rather underwhelmed. A lot of the info was old news from Gamescom earlier this year.

    • It was clear that the audience was very hard to get super excited for Diablo 3 anymore. If you compare the enthusiasm for things demonstrated back before the game had orginally come out you can feel the difference. Even as someone who wasn't there! If someone was there and this wasn't the case though, let me know! 

    •  I'm still hopeful for D3 though. The basic gameplay is fun; I've spent countless hours as a teenager playing D2 and I managed to get my money's worth out of its sequel. They're on the right track, but as I'm sure everyone else feels, we have to really see the finished product to believe it. The brand is quite damaged. 


        I still have to let Heroes sink in; see more of it. Nothing really to talk about as far as Hearthstone is concerned. It's an awesome game and it's fantastic that they're moving to open beta by the end of January along with the announcement of an Android release.