Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Asus Eee Stick game controller and Wii like pointing devices

Eee Stick MotionEver since I bought a Wii I have been wondering why no one has hopped on the Wii like pointing device bandwagon. I rarely use my Wii but I love the Wiimote, I find it really excels at relaxed web surfing. What do I mean by relaxed web surfing? I mean laying back on your couch with a wireless pointing device and surfing YouTube or your favourite daily websites. The downside to Wii web browsing is the standard definition screen which makes surfing blurry and text hard to read.

Keep Reading 

Apple developing a Wiimote game controler?

An interesting read over a AppleInsider about the possibility of “Apple developing 3D gaming controller for Apple TV“. I am still surprised no one has jumped on this band wagon. The web browser on the Wii is not HD, so it’s pretty fuzzy and not really an option for serious browsing (at least for me), but the Wii Remote makes browsing so intuitive, relaxing and fun. I’ve been waiting for someone to bring this kind of functionatlity to the masses, maybe Apple will. I would buy a blue tooth Wii Remote type device in a second.

More discussion at Mac Rumors.

Top 10 games of 2007

My personal list of top games for 2007. This is based on games that I played, and coming up with 10 was pretty hard. Until I got a DS Lite the list stood at 8. These are somewhat in order, although a few would be tied.

  1. Call of Duty 4
  2. Eternal Sonata
  3. Crackdown
  4. Super Mario Galaxies
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass
  6. Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
  7. Orange Box
  8. Puzzle Quest
  9. Resident Evil 4 Wii edition
  10. Assassins Creed

Call of Duty 4
By far the winner for Multi-player gaming. It has about 95% of my online gaming attention. The game it replaced was of course Gears of War.

Eternal Sonata
The next game, Eternal Sonata has two entries on my blog, the first review and Eternal Sonata revisited once I finished the game. This probably got the majority of my single player gaming in the later half of the year.

A great single and multi-player experience, even if only two people can play it at once. This game had much fan fair at the time of release, because it gave access to the Halo 3 Beta. I personlly think this game is better than Halo 3, and I played it a lot more. The very definition of this game is FUN.

Super Mario Galaxies
Thi game has literally redefined the platformer genera. You really have to play this game to understand it. It’s one of the first Wii games I’ve played that feels like it was designed specifically for the unique Wii controllers.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass
I have only just scraped the surface of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass and from the moment you load up this game you know it is a top notch DS title. Again Nintendo innovates on every aspect of game play, from using the stylus to move to blowing out candles through the microphone.

Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
I had never even heard of this game until I tried it and now I’m pretty hooked. It won’t be for everyone, it’s basically an RPG and virtual life simulation. The depth to this game considering it is a DS title is unbelievable

The Orange Box
What more can be said about this package of 5 games. You get Half-Life 2, episode 1, episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. You have a 1 out of 5 chance of getting a game you like. The sheer value of this game makes it worth it, and the best part is that all 5 games are great. If it wasn’t for Call of Duty 4 I would probably be playing a lot more Team Fortress 2 online.

Puzzle Quest
I actually tried on a friends DS Lite several months ago, and then ended up buying the Xbox Live Arcade version. This game is so under rated. It’s an RPG / Puzzle game combined into one, and it really works well. This is a game that has to be played to truly get it.

Resident Evil 4 Wii edition
While originally released in 2005 the Wii edition came out this year. I had never played the original, and although I haven’t finished the Wii edition, it has been great fun, and it is one creepy game.

Assassins Creed
Here is a game I have very mixed feelings about. If you had of asked me how I felt about it one hour into playing it, I would have said it was the game of the year, but like many gamers, after 10 hours into the game it becomes downright monotonous. I still believe it deserves to be in the top 10 for 2007 because the graphics are stunning, probably the best out there right now, and the game is still a lot of fun, even if you are just looking around the massive cities.

That wraps up my list of great games for 2007. I hope 2008 is as good or even better.

Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo’s Wii is an incredible system, and the first time you try it you will probably be blown away by its innovation. The second thing a gamer might think is all the possibilities beyond Wii Sports, the game included with most Wii’s. That said the Wii game line-up hasn’t been very good for hard core gamers. Couple that with the fact that that 480p is the maximum resolution with no real HD to speak of and the system starts shinning a little less after the initial novelty wears off. There’s a lot of games out there for it that I’m sure are giving families and kid’s hours of fun, but there are few that are entertaining more hard core 30 something gamers like me.

Then Super Mario Galaxy enters the scene to great acclaim. I had to buy this game for two reasons, the first one was everyone is giving it incredible reviews so it can’t be all that bad, and the second reason is I have so few good Wii games. Super Mario Galaxy is my fourth Wii purchase, Zelda Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition being my only worthwhile purchases so far, and I have yet to finish a Wii game. Zelda is one of those games that would have looked better in HD and would have worked just fine on a normal controller, so while still an incredible game, it just doesn’t seem to offer much extra to the Wii Remote other than being a great game. Resident Evil 4 was designed with a standard def CRT television in mind, so it suffers even more from the Wii’s lack of HD support. Resident Evil 4 does however benefit from the Wii Remote and both games are still fantastic and I would recommend both to any Wii owner. Super Mario Galaxy on the other hand feels like they had the unqiue Wii controls in mind when they developed it.

Let me just start off and say that Super Mario Galaxy is one of my best Wii game experiences to date. Yes it is very cartoony and kiddie, it’s a Mario game! But hey, I use to play Mario games for hours on end as a kid, and this game comes loaded with Wii goodness, and lots of Mario nostalgia. The greatest thing about this game is the Wii specific goodness, and what I mean by that is this game actually uses the Wii Remote in great and innovative ways and for once does not feel contrived. I find a lot of Wii games feel like the developers had to add some Wii Remote actions to the game, so they just added shake everywhere. You will still have to shake your Wii Remote in Mario, but there’s a lot more to it than just shaking your Wii!

The game story is typical to Mario games. So saying Bowser has captured Princess Peach and you have to rescue her shouldn’t be much of a spoiler. The game takes place in the universe, literally and you fly from galaxy to galaxy to restore star power to a ship you are working from, basically your home base in the game. Once the ship is fully powered you are told you can fly to the center of the universe and save the princess. No one should be buying a Mario game for the story line.

So what makes the game play so different from other games, or even Wii games for that matter? Well each level takes place on tiny planets, some so small that you can actually run completely around them in under 30 seconds. The feeling is weird to say the least, but that’s a good thing. Mario Galaxy takes place on every 3D plane, upright, upside down, sideways, top down, backwards, you name the orientation and Mario Galaxy’s probably got it. This is one of the things that make the game great.

The Wii Remote is the next great aspect, you actually use it. I haven’t finished the game yet, but so far I have done things like surf, balance on a ball, blow Mario around, point and pick up star bits, shake enemies off the screen, and climb vines just to name a few. All of these require different motions with the Wii Remote. So far I like the balancing ball Mario the best.

There are also different kinds of Mario, the old stand by’s like fire Mario, but new ones like Bee Mario are very fun. With Bee Mario you can fly for a short period of time before you have to land and recharge to fly again. As Bee Mario you can stick to certain surfaces just like a real Bee! Well at least a real Mario Bee. Other powerups include Ice Mario, Bee Mario, Boo Mario, Spring Mario, Flying Mario, and Rainbow Mario, most of which I have yet to try.

The greatest thing about this game is that it’s just plain fun to play. It’s not hard, at least most of the time, and for the most part it is very intuitive. Mario Galaxy is totally new and different, and you can just jump right in and play without much experience and I think this game will appeal to many age groups.

This is the first really solid new Wii game I have played yet. Games like Zelda and Resident Evil are fantastic games, don’t get me wrong, but they feel like they were not developed with the Wii in mind, and in Resident Evils case it wasn’t. Super Mario Galaxy could possibly be the best Wii game I have played to date.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition

I bought Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition last week and played quite a bit over the weekend. At first it took some getting use to and I experienced the same problems I had with Zelda, I am so use to using two sticks on the 360, the left one for move and right one for free look. With Resident evil you have to toggle your look / aim and your move. That said, the game is nothing short of phenomenal, and I have no regrets in buying it. I should also mention that I had never played the originals or any of the prequels before.

The game is very immersive and once you get use to the Wii controls you will find they only add to this great game. Even though the game is showing its age, the graphics are still top notch, and its hard to believe this game has been around for awhile. I find myself really getting into the reloading and aiming of the Wii remote, and head shots are more fun then they are with a standard controller. The tension is palpable and sometimes heart pounding. It’s really not all that scary as much as intense, which I guess for some people could be interchangeable. Atmosphere is top notch, voice overs are great (even though cheesy) and the sound and music are just perfect. There’s really not much I can say that is bad about the actual game itself.

The original received much acclaim and so does the Wii edition which comes with all the extra content that the last PS2 version had. My biggest complaint has nothing to do with the game itself. It is the same complaint I have with every Wii game and that is the lack of HD. This was my main reason for avoiding consoles for so long and exclusively being a PC gamer for so many years. This game like Zelda is so good that for the most part you can overlook the jaggies, but I always find myself longing for HD when I use my Wii. Anyway, now I can’t wait for Resident Evil 5 on the 360.