We've Got A Lot Of Catching Up To Do

Well this just makes my ability to play Mario Kart 64 upside-down seem small and insignificant in comparison. This guy can beat the first level of Super Mario Bros. without looking at the screen! He even gets a mushroom! Granted, he takes the weak man’s shortcut (though he gets bonus points for getting all the coins), but I don’t think I’d be able to pull off something like this. Click on to the TV In Japan blog to take a look-see, and be shamed once again by our so-called friends across the Pacific. Of course you know, Japan, this means war.

Also, watch more TV In Japan in general. I’m consistently entertained by the zaniness.

EDIT: YouTube took the video down, but I found an American kid doing much the same thing. He even gets partway into World 1-2!

Next task: Beat The Lost Levels blindfolded.

[Comment]

Real-Life Trauma Center

I got a kick out of this. Granted, I get a kick out of anything that reminds me of Trauma Center: Second Opinion, but…

A recent study performed at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York has determined that the doctors who played video games were better at performing certain kinds of surgeries. From the Reuters report:

Out of 33 surgeons from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York that participated in the study, the nine doctors who had at some point played video games at least three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before.

“It was surprising that past commercial video game play was such a strong predictor of advanced surgical skills,” said Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile, one of the study’s authors.

It supports previous research that video games can improve “fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, depth perception and computer competency,” the study said.

You can totally ignore the second page of the article, which talks about silly nonsense like gaming being linked to aggressiveness and poor grades. Plant your kids in front of the tube, throw a Wii Remote in their hands, and you’ve got an instant formula for a medical degree!

…As long as they’re playing Trauma Center, obviously.

[Comment]

The Quest For The Wii Points Card

Apparently I’m in the minority on this one, but I’ve been exerting quite a lot of effort this past week in an attempt to obtain a Wii Points Card. For those not In The Know™, this card is used to purchase items through the Shop Channel on the Nintendo Wii such as Virtual Console games and the Browser Channel If You’re Not Quick Enough On The Draw When It’s Released.

When I set out on a mission to purchase one of these cards last week, I didn’t think there would be much to it. It’s a gift card, I surmised. You can pick up such cards for the iTunes Store with relative ease just about anywhere, so a Wii Points Card should be no problem.

Oh what a fool I was.

As it turns out, the Wii Points Card is harder to find than the Wii itself was in the weeks following its release. By this I mean that, though the Wii was pretty much impossible to find anywhere, at least the people you called knew what it was. Here’s the gist of one call I made to the Wal-Mart in Dixon:

Me: Hi, do you have the Wii Points Card in stock?
Wal-Mart Electronics Department: …the what?
Me: The Wii Points Card? It’s like a gift certificate for buying games through the Wii Shop Channel.
Wal-Mart: Shop… Channel?
Me: Yes. On the Wii.
Wal-Mart: …Whee?
Me: …

This wouldn’t have been as bad if the item in question wasn’t listed on their website, indicating that they do indeed sell it. Though the other stores I checked with weren’t as ignorant of their own stock, I couldn’t procure one through Target, Best Buy, or numerous GameStops and GameCrazies in the region. They had all either run out and had no idea when they were getting them in stock again, or had never seen one with their eyes. In desperation, I went back to Wal-Mart’s page and ordered one through their Site To Store option (where the item is shipped to the store when it’s available, and I can go pick it up there. No way I was gonna spend $6 on shipping for a piece of plastic!).

It’s a sad situation when something as simple as a gift card is out of stock. Unlike the Wii Remotes and Nunchucks and the like, Nintendo is basically printing money on cardstock with the Points Card. They should be shipping these things out by the truckloads across the nation and to our (proverbial) doorsteps. Instead, they’re exercising the same level of caution as they are with their entire product line, thinking the world gaming community still isn’t ready for their radical new gameplay.

Hey Nintendo: we’re ready. Quit holdin’ out on us. We can’t use your Wild Wacky Wii Sticks if you won’t sell us any.

Oh yeah, and don’t charge tax on gift cards. I’m pretty sure crap like that isn’t kosher, and trying to market your gift card as something that isn’t a gift card isn’t gonna fool anyone. That we can buy Wii Points through the Shop Channel and not pay tax should be a safe indicator that you already know better.

[Comment]