Guitar Hero: World Tour details emerge, apparently the Wii version won’t suck?

IGN and Joystiq have both released huge detailed accounts of their experiences being shown the latest build of Guitar Hero World Tour (read one or the other, the information is pretty much the same in both). Sounds like a decent revision to the formula, with Neversoft adding a few Rock Band-y features (drums and vocals with accompanying expanded multiplayer modes) as well as their own touches (full song creation, extreme customization of characters and instruments). Of course, as a Wii owner, the only thing that I could think of was how we’ve been shafted for features in both Guitar Hero III and Rock Band, what with the lack of DLC and the complete removal of online modes in the case of the latter title. Luckily for me, the developers appear to have been sympathetic of said shafting, and went out of their way at the ve-eeeery end of IGN’s write-up to mention:

Activision was quick to point out that the Wii version will have the same features as the PS3 and 360. You can create songs, upload them, download them, and purchase famous downloadable tracks on Wii.

This is excellent news! Couple that with the promise of backwards-compatibility with the Les Paul controller (minus some fancy touchpad functionality in the new controllers, which I’m not so sure is necessary outside of the song editor), and I’m suddenly once again happy about the future of guitar-based rhythm games on my favorite next-gen console! I did find it amusing the way IGN stressed the fact that the screenshots were not from the Wii version, but hey, Guitar Hero III looked decent enough.

EDIT: Further details have come out! According to GameDaily, the Wii version of the game will support the storage and playing of DLC via SD card!

GD: With those downloadable packs, will players download that directly to the Wii’s internal memory or have you worked out a way to store those music packs elsewhere?

KB: Players can either download songs to the Wii System Memory or store songs on a SD Card, called the “Rock Archive”. When you want to play songs from the Rock Archive, players can create a custom set list, and then choose a venue and play!

GD: Will the packs feature music that’s more compressed to make sure that Wii owners can download other packs and save memory?
KB: The music is stored in a custom format for Wii so it’s as compact as possible, but still sounds great.

The good news keeps on comin’! Have to wonder why Nintendo insists that playback of media on SD cards isn’t a viable option if a third-party figures out a method of accomplishing this very task. Guess I’ll finally be picking up a big ol’ honkin’ SD card.

(courtesy of Nintendo Wii Fanboy, twice times, plus one)

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Visions of USB hard drives dance in my head

My recent acquisition of LostWinds brought up an issue I was hoping I’d never have to deal with. As I attempted to purchase the title, I found that my Wii did not have sufficient storage space for the download! With much hemming and hawing, I deleted Paper Mario and made the purchase, but I know I’m gonna go through the same process when Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People is eventually released (BOO DELAYS).

What is Nintendo’s solution to my predicament? Delete more old games to make room for the new.

Sorry Nintendo, but YOU’RE WRONG. This is an absolutely terrible solution. I know I can always go back and redownload the games I delete for no additional charge, but this silly tinkering goes completely against the spirit of your home console that’s easy for everyone to use. The entire Internet probably agrees with me that you need to start using those USB ports on the back for an external storage solution. I’m talkin’ USB hard drives here. If we could simply plug in a hard drive externally and run Virtual Console and WiiWare titles from it, all my problems would be solved.

The reason I bring this up on my fancy Interblog instead of just mumbling and grumbling about it offline like I have been for the past few weeks is because of something I read on Games Are Fun today. Apparently Nintendo is hiring hardware and software testers with a focus on those underutilized USB ports! This is potentially awesome news, because my powers of conjecture and random guessing lead me to assume that support for USB hard drives is 100% definitely in the works. I would even be happy buying a special Nintendo-branded hard drive if it helped me achieve my dream of storing all my digital Wii downloads in one place!

You listening Nintendo? Obviously you are, but I’ll reiterate: I will give you money for the ability to run games from a USB hard drive. Right now you are giving up money. That’s just bad business really.

(courtesy of Games Are Fun)

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LostWinds: Episode 1?

Two weeks ago, Nintendo finally unveiled their WiiWare download service, wherein developers can distribute small games through the Shop Channel for direct download. I must confess that most of the titles didn’t interest me at all (except Dr. Mario Online Rx, but that wasn’t available at launch), but after seeing a trailer for LostWinds via the new Nintendo Channel, I knew I’d have to give it a try. The novelty of tossing Toku around with the Wii Remote pointer function representing gusts of wind was too cool to pass up, and I’m glad to say I enjoyed every minute of the game.

That said, one aspect of this game bothered me: no one told me it was an episodic title.

Now I don’t have any inherent qualms against episodic games. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Sam & Max series, I bought Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One the day it came out and am loving it, and I eagerly await Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People‘s debut on WiiWare next month.

My issue lies with the fact that I bought LostWinds with no indication present that it wasn’t going to have an ending. I was getting into a serious groove, gaining new wind powers, becoming more skillful in my blowing-around prowess, and fighting a novel “put your newfound powers into practice” end boss, and suddenly the game goes into epilogue “To Be Continued” mode! Credits rolled just as I was really starting to enjoy the game! Witiff?

Please note that this would not have bothered me one smidgen if it had been clearly identified as part of a series on the box (er, the digital eBox). When a game starts with a cutscene talking about evils rising and a hero is revealed to stop said evils, you expect some serious evils-punching by game’s end, not another cutscene talking about how you really need to get around to that someday. Anyone that beat Golden Sun (and *sigh* Golden Sun 2) knows exactly what I’m talking about here. At least with Rain-Slicked Precipice, I know I’m in it for eighty-some-odd bucks by the time it finishes. How much will it cost me to see LostWinds through to its conclusion? And will I still be interested by the time I find out?

Oh yeah, for anyone that hasn’t yet finished LostWinds, Golden Sun, or Golden Sun 2… spoiler alert.

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Grand Theft Auto NES

OB_IMG - GTA NES Tanooki Any ol’ loser can envision a version of Grand Theft Auto for the NES. Plenty of Flash animators can make a passable simulation. But making a fake commercial for said game in the style of original 80s Nintendo ads? Now that’s enough to get me to embed your video on my fancy blog:

All the game needed was NES Zapper support. Still, truly a title before its time.

(courtesy of CollegeHumor, by way of Nintendo Wii Fanboy)

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OH EM EFFIN’ GEE

Brawl is out! Brawl is out! Brawl is out!

I went down to my local GameStop last night to try my luck at the tournament scene (got KO’d in sudden death first round), and to stand in line to pick up my copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl at midnight. The crowd was hyped up and enthusiastic, and the tournament-goers were all good sports. I saw some wonderful homemade costumes so great that I had to snap a few photos:

Brawl Midnight Release - Link Cosplay Brawl Midnight Release - Mario Cosplay

I stayed up for hours playing the game last night, and did another huge marathon session today. This game is a marked improvement on the GameCube title in almost every way (no more sideways midair dodge? You’re killin’ me Smalls!), the online battles are absolutely wonderful, Subspace Emissary is the best single-player campaign they’ve ever offered (if you’ve ever played the Halberd level in Kirby Superstar, it’s kinda like that: long, epic, difficult, awesome; probably helps a lot that HAL Laboratories made both games)… I finally had to take a break to catch my breath. But you can be sure I’m up for taking on any challenger. Bring it, as they say.

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Is… is that a Smash Bros. challenge?

Excuse me, but what was that you just said? Here I was, minding my own business writing entries for my highly successful award-winning weblog on the Internet, when you had to come along on your high horse and issue me a Smash Bros. challenge! Me, of all people!

Now please understand, Smash Bros. Challenger, that I don’t mean to brag when I say this, but when one is the best Smash Bros. player that ever lived, it would be unfair to himself as well as to his challenger if he tried to deny this simple fact of life. Suffice to say, I’m the best Smash Bros. player that ever lived.

I suppose I can relate with your situation. You’re a rookie, green around the gills, a newcomer to the whole video game scene, and you want to make a name for yourself. You played a few rounds of Melee and think you’re pretty hot shit with Sheik (but not Zelda? Man, learn to exploit the full range of your fighter!), and you feel like you’re in a position to take down the reigning champion. I get it, I really do.

It’s just that you’re a fool.

Do you really think you’ve got what it takes to beat me, Smash Bros. Challenger? Do you think talking the big talk about challenging me to a game of Super Smash Bros. Brawl makes you a man? I would laugh derisively at your brazenness if I felt like acknowledging your feeble attempts to look tough. You ain’t tough.

More importantly, do you think you’re the first challenger to saunter down the main street, hands at the holster? Plenty have tried, and you sure as hell don’t see them lookin’ you square in the eye right now, do you? Look all around you, and you’ll see the decaying bodies of thousands of other twerps who thought they could take on the best. That’s right, I didn’t clean up afterward. I left them all there as a warning to those who might oppose me in the future. You’ll get used to the smell.

Not too much longer now, my friend. Keep an eye on that friend code thread. Are you ready for this?

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Absolute data corrupts absolutely

OB_IMG - Mr. Game & WatchStill disheartened by those lucky Japanese kids playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl over a month ahead of us, I thought I’d console myself with a little bit of the previous entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee. This was the sparkling diamond amid a sea of GameCube coal. It came out less than a month after the ‘Cube’s stateside release, and I played it almost daily for a long time. Even after unlocking all the characters and stages and sound tests, I still kept playing. The game had an amazingly well-refined balance and complexity to it that made each experience unique. I quite literally saw something new every time I played that game. Though the occasional Super Mario Sunshine or Resident Evil 4 would momentarily attract my attention, I’d always come back to Melee. I played and loved the original N64 game, but Melee surpassed it in every way. Only in the past year have I seriously neglected the game, but it wasn’t out of lack of enjoyment. My hope was to approach Brawl from a fresh perspective, untainted by Melee‘s now antiquated graphics and control scheme. I want to be on the same play level as everyone else come release day. But since release day is now as far back as March 9th, I figured there wouldn’t be much harm in a little nostalgic run-through.

So I was sad to find that my save data was corrupted.

I guess six years is a long time to continually write and rewrite to a data file, but damnit, I had a lot of data! I had amassed thousands of hours (yes, thousands) of play time, fallen countless thousands of miles, and Link had racked up an impressive KO percentage. Kind of a bummer for all that to just disappear. Guess I’ll be making backups of such things in the future.

Sigh.

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There is no good reason for Brawl to be delayed

OB_IMG - Brawl Delay There, I said it. I’ll even go so far as to say it again:

There is no good reason for Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s release to be delayed over a freakin’ month after the Japanese release this week.

What have we been looking at all these months on the Smash Bros. Dojo? Screenshots and videos, every single one of them containing text or spoken dialogue in English. Clearly translation has been hand in hand with game development throughout the entire process. So how come Japan gets the game in January, and we have to wait until March? I wish Nintendo would offer explanations beyond “delays in the completion”. If the game’s coming out in Japan this week, it is finished.

When Melee came out on the GameCube back in December ’01, it had been a mere two weeks since the Japanese release. Both games had the option to switch languages. I can’t understand what the holdup could possibly be getting this game stateside.

Nintendo: I was willing to put up with a several-month delay, but this latest one doesn’t even make any sense.

Also: that last statement doesn’t actually mean anything, because I’m still going to buy the game when it comes out, so obviously I’m gonna have to put up with the delays. But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about the situation.

3D Zelda game marathon run!

OB_IMG Wind Waker LinkA group of, let’s face it, insane Zelda fans at cameronbanga.com have decided to play straight through Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess in the span of 48 hours! Go check out the live video feed! They’re also reading email during the event, so send them a message to show them your support, and let ’em know who sent you! They’re also accepting money donations, and whatever they don’t spend on food is going toward Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity; if you’ve got any money to spend, Child’s Play is a great cause (I’ve talked about it in years past, they donate toys and video games to children in hospitals), and this is an awesome way to support a fine charity. But we can all agree that these guys are still a little crazy.

Crazy brilliant.

Please be aware that they sometimes say naughty things in the feed. I’m not gonna hold that against them, but you kids out there should tread lightly.

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