Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wii Can't Do That: The Short-Lived, Oft-forgotten Demise of the Wii Vitality Sensor

Who remembers the Wii? (everybody raises hand) Of course you did. Now, out of all of you, who remembers some of the peripherals? The Classic Controller? (No change) The Wii Zapper? (Two people lower hands) The Wii Speak? (Twenty people lower hands) Lastly, what about the Wii Vitality Sensor? (All but two people lower hands) Well, your a bloody liar and a traitor, of course you don't remember it.
You might be asking, what did it do? Whale oil, beef-hooked; I don't know in the slightest, and I'm sure pretty much everybody else is in the same boat. It's basically a pulse oximeter. For all of you uneducated in the art of medical equipment (like me!), here's the quick run-down, hot-shot: "It tests the beep-beep in your pumpy heart." It would've allegedly been used during play sessions to indicate changes in pulse and heartbeat, and could've possibly been used for creating relaxing games and, God forbid, could send data to horror games to mess with you like a test patient. A neat and original concept, sure, but why was it cancelled exactly?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Opinion on the Club Nintendo Closure

In case you haven't heard, Nintendo is shutting down Club Nintendo. All games made after today will no longer have codes; March 30th is the last day to enter in any remaining codes, and June 30th is the last day to redeem prizes.
To be honest, it's surprising how I didn't see the closure coming. Launched in 2007, the program was running successfully, to some extent, for the first couple of years, but the North American rewards became scarcer and less noteworthy. For example, last year I wrote of the lack of soundtracks outside of Japan and Europe, something that I absolutely love; furthermore, there are simply so many prizes.
First, let's take a look at prizes avaliable in the PAL region. The website shows a significantly larger selection of items, all of which are higher quality. For example, there are totally-not-useless-at-all Mario golf balls, a Mario Kart 8 Badge Kit, and my personal favorite, a recreation of the Game&Watch game, Ball. Meanwhile, over in Japan, they have too many great prizes for me to even count. A Famicom notebook, shopping bag, an actual rug, two video game soundtracks (including LoZ: A Link to the Past), and an Excitebikes game for the Wii. No, not a digital download. An actual disk.
Compare it to the sad, barren, and disappointing American site, we have two sets of greeting cards, posters, and a downloadable game.
That is literally everything we have. What hurts the most is that there isn't a reason that we get a bare-bones website while everywhere else is fully-stocked with great prizes. The whole point of Club Nintendo is to make you feel like every purchase is worthwhile, giving you reason to buy games beyond simply wanting them.
In the mean time, before the closure, Nintendo will be releasing several new rewards, which is awesome, as a sort of swan song. I think this is a great idea; it gives reason to empty out all the game cases for those codes to pick up some awesome figurines and stuff to deck out your room. They also plan to make a new, hopefully less embarrass loyalty program, which will be announced later in the upcoming months.
What are my hopes of the future of Club Nintendo and the upcoming loyalty program?
I'm really just wishing that they don't screw it up again. The site was quite good for a long time, but chaos ensued when the new Elite status award was not as great as other years. A few years ago, there was a giant, commemorative panorama of Mario characters. What did we get in 2014? Downloadable games. Let me remind you that I only started last year, and put half of my codes in, over the course of five years, because I was psyched about what kind of awesome, upcoming rewards they would offer. Answer: not much. I'm hoping that this is all fixed for the new program, which will hopefully offer some sort of prize system that is actually worthwhile.
In the end, though, let's just hope that everything won't be screwed up and that the new prizes next month will temporarily return Club Nintendo to the shining glory it once was.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cream a la Crap: The Five Great Games That Mystified The Internet in 2014

Another year has come and gone. 2014 was, admittedly, a rough year for everyone. We've heard enough about how terrible the world is, so let's instead talk about gaming in 2014, and if journalists seem to have unanimously agreed on something, it's that 2014 sucked so hard. You really just have to look up "2014 sucked for gaming" and thousands of results will come up, all stating almost the exact same; games were overhyped, broken beyond repair, delayed, etc. not to mention the abundance of problems on the Internet, namely the spilled gravy boat known as Gamergate. There were also some weird problems; Tomodachi life, a cute little life simulator, came under fire for not allowing gay/lesbian relationships, a problem that Nintendo never truly tackled in the first place.
Aside from the abundance of great releases, such as ORAS, Super Smash Bros, and Captain Toad, there have been some more..... notable ones. Several odd games caught the Internet's attention, turning them instantly famous (for, typically, a few weeks). Here's the five most notable ones, with a complimentary order of sass courtesy myself.
Flappy Bird: The Precursor of Disappointment
 Technically, Flappy Bird was released in the early years of 2013, but it didn't catch much steam until February, when everything fell apart.
"I cannot take this anymore", complained Nguyễn Hà Đông. He simply could not stand the $50,000 paycheck shipped right to his door. Oh, I'm sorry, the "sleep deprivation" and "death threats". This guy is the spitting image of Phil Fish.
Within 24 hours, the game was off the app store. People freaked out. Ebay was flooded with lots full of electronics containing Flappy Bird for upwards of $150. 
Was the game worth all the hoopla? In short, no.
The game was made to be difficult, a task that isn't even fulfilled. By appealing to casual gamers, it forges a fake difficulty that one has to suck at to face. It only appealed to people's short-tempered rage instead of using any real, cheap difficulty. It was pathetic, stupid, and idiotic. It was a game where talent was praised when there wasn't even any true talent needed to begin with. The game required patience and/or extreme boredom to play, and that's not how a real game should be constructed.
In fact, Nguyễn came under fire, not only for his game but for the cancellation. It was less of a real complaint and more a publicity stunt, as he wrung out the money from the unfortunate rag known as the iTune store, let alone the fact that he uncancelled it a few months later to continue his dickish Scrooge Mcduck-ing.