ps2: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Joe)


gba: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (Joe)

gcn: Mario Kart: Double Dash (Boris)

gcn: Simpsons Hit & Run (Joe)

gcn: Soul Calibur 2 (Boris)

ps2: Ape Escape 2 (Joe)

pc: Rise of Nations (Boris)

gcn: X2: Wolverine's Revenge (Joe)

Finding Nemo
PlayStation2

- by Joe, 01/17/04
Here's a game that has some solid ideas behind it, and a fairly nice integration of movie and game, but it's obscenely hard. It's unforgiving at the most annoying times, causing lots of level restarts. The best levels are horizontal [more]

[more quick reviews]


Mappy Mecca


MST3K's Mitchell:
The Card Game


Red Dwarf:
The Card Game


Ambush Bug Archive


Disney's TaleSpin:
The Card Game

 

 

 

 

 


01.16.04

Mappy coming to GBA!
11.30.03

Ambush Bug's first new appearance in over 11 years!
10.10.03

Link farm relaunched.
ongoing

Collected Pokemon Sapphire Diary + user message board
ongoing

Collected Animal Crossing Log + user message board


01.23.04
11:48PM
One step forward, two steps back.
- posted by Joe

I've been hating my iSight camera for months now. It's just not designed for what I want to use it for, and it's rather overpriced for what it does do. See, I want a friggin' webcam. Before the iSight, getting a webcam to work with OSX was a bloody nightmare. After the iSight, well, it works... but the design and lack of software support heads it directly towards a single laser-focused purpose: a camera for iChat AV and nothing else.

But I've been trying to use it as a webcam, uploading images from my den every five minutes. In addition to the $150 price tag on the iSight itself, I had to spend another $20 for FTP camera software (not from Apple)... and that's a function that really ought to have been included in some way by Apple.

That was all fine if I welded the damn thing to the wall and forgot about it, but I like to move my webcam around. Point it at the cat, some new toys, out the window, that sort of thing. Positioning the iSight in any direction other than front is an impossible task, because it has a terrible range of movement and doesn't come with a fucking proper positionable camera stand. The acrylic stands that come standard are these bizarre tilted modules that require you to thread the cable inside of a central firewire cuff. So any time I wanted to move the camera, I had to fight the built-in unmovable nature of the plastic stand.

But I'm an inventive guy, sometimes, so I tried a homebrew solution. I bought a 15 foot firewire cable - which doubled the working sphere of the webcam - and I used an old Dexter's Laboratory action figure to hold the stupid thing upright. It's the one with Dex inside a big robot. The robot's claws hold up the firewire, the joints of the legs and torso let me position the camera, and the big feet give it reasonable stability. I believe it cost me $8 at Toys R Us about three years ago. Plus it looks like Dexter is holding some kind of terrible weapon, which is an aggressive stance that usually suits my mood when I'm fiddling with the iSight. Like so:


There is gloom and doom and things go boom.

So imagine my thrill when somebody finally invented the wireless webcam. Hey, I have a wireless network! I'd like a webcam! It's the two great tastes that go great together.

I checked out both the Linksys and D-Link version. One nice tidbit of the Information Age is that you can download the complete instruction manuals of just about anything, so I could fully research both cameras and not rely solely on marketing bullet points. Turns out that both cameras are pretty much designed for security use, as in they provide streaming video to any web browser with verified access. But the D-Link one also has a built-in FTP service. Sold. I would have rather bought the Linksys cam since my router is Linksys and I prefer the design, but no FTP, no JOE.

There's another reason to prefer Linksys. D-Link blows. Well, this one product is pretty lousy; I haven't used anything else they make, but I'm willing to make snap judgements. The D-Link DCS-1000W works, but it doesn't work well. (But at this stage of the game, I'm willing to take "works" over "turns me into a frothing mess.")

The whole camera is run through a web-based interface, which I'm used to from working with my Linksys router... but the D-Link interface just sucks ass. The graphics are all shittily compressed jpegs, the layout is amateurish and ugly. The navigation is unnecessarily complex. It doesn't timestamp the still image. One button promised in the manual simply doesn't exist (the "Go" button for manual upload.) And the FTP feature is woefully under-developed. It took me several days and multiple tries to get it to upload anything, since it lacks 90% of the options and tweaks I've come to expect from FTP programs. And the video image it throws is rather washed-out.

I need to figure out the streaming video part. Since that is supposed to be the camera's primary function, I might as well use it. It is a security camera, after all. It even has a "FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY" sticker on the bottom of it.

But, long story short... (Cast of "Clue": "Too late.") it is working, at least in regard to periodic FTP. It won't rename files so I can't retain the ordered sequence of pictures like I have been doing. But it provides something I've always wanted to do: a roving webcam. Rhonda isn't exactly thrilled by the prospect, but now I can dump the camera anywhere in the house. And so I will.


01.23.04
10:19PM
Cutting through the DS
- posted by Joe

So Nintendo's actually going to launch a third piece of hardware.

On the face of it, that's what's wrong with their recent announcement. Not that there's no pictures of the mysterious new "Nintendo DS." Not that there's only the vaguest notions of what gameplay this device will enjoy. The problem is that Nintendo is throwing resources towards the wrong front.

The Nintendo DS is a Dual Screen portable. Like I said, nobody outside Iwataland knows what it will look like, but I imagine it to be a largish GBA with stacked three inch screens. Each screen gets its own processor, which is intended to provide two ways for the game to display itself. For instance, bottom screen shows inventory while top screen shows action. Or rear view and front view in a driving game. Although it's said to run off a completely different data device - IE, not the familiar GBA cartridges or the GameCube half-size discs - nobody is saying if it will offer simultaneous two player gaming (I bet it won't) or if it will somehow run existing GBA games (I bet it will, but only with some kind of add-on) or if it will connect with the GameCube (I bet it will.)

Despite a kickass holiday 2003 season, the GameCube is still struggling. The PS2 is far and away the best selling video game system on the planet. (And it's a crime that Nintendo should be racing so closely with the Xbox, a system that's made its bones almost exclusively on graphical detail yet can't generate more than one best-selling, must-have game.) The GBA, while still king of the hill, could be in for a rocky road when Sony's own portable comes out this winter. What Nintendo needs to be doing is finding ways to shore up public opinion for the next 'Cube and GBA... not throwing money down the toilet for a third wheel on a bicycle that's barely rolling a straight line.

They would be better served by finding ways to repair their image. Tell us about all the "adult" games currently in development. (I know I don't need that kind of talk, but it's absolutely killing Nintendo's reputation in the 14-24 year old set.) Resident Evil 4 and MGS: Twin Snakes just isn't enough. Come up with new exclusive franchise games that drag back the action-adventure male crowd. More Metroid. A new look for Legend of Zelda. Find a way to push sports games back onto a Nintendo console. I know it's hard to imagine, but Nintendo could (and does) provide a range of games appropriate to varying age groups... they just need to make gamers aware of it. Two years later, I still think almost nobody has bought Eternal Darkness, the game that was supposed to put Nintendo's "new adult reach" on the map.

Their big announcement should not have been "Hey, we're working on this crazy two-headed handheld" and more like "Wait until you guys see the next GameCube. It's going to come with four wireless controller ports, a built-in GBA game player, a removable mini-hard drive, full support for the latest in digital video and audio, and we've figured out how to make online play not totally suck!" That's a hardware press release that the entire gaming universe could have got behind.


01.18.04
07:03PM
Animal Crossing Log Entry 27
- posted by JoeForever

I know I said I wasn't going to bother listing my missing items for you, but what the hell. What follows is everything I need to complete my catalog (according to the Nintendo Power Player's Guide anyway) and my level of irritation with it: Minor, Major, Extreme, and Suicidal. If you want to help me out with some trading, toss me an email, but be warned, I don't cheat and don't use universal codes.

Furniture
Blue Tartan, Dump Model, Museum Model
These are just some items I missed last year. The tartan shirt is entirely tradeable; I just either forgot to buy it last summer or never saw it. The Dump Model and Museum Model are untradeable, but easy enough to get... although the Museum Model does ride on me getting Crazy Redd's damn Basic Painting first.

Gyroids
Mini Gargloid, Mini Echoid, Poltergoid, Mega Croakoid, Mini Strumboid, Mini Rustoid, Drilloid, Mini Oombloid, Mini Sputnoid, Sputnoid, Mini Quazoid, Tall Quazoid (untradeable)
Only minor irritation here. Gyroids may show up randomly after a rainstorm, but it rains fairly often and the buried gyroids never go anywhere if you forget to dig them up. Given enough rainy days, collecting all the gyroids isn't too terrible.

Flower Models
Pansy Model 3, Tulip Model 1, Cosmos Model 1, Cosmos Model 2
Groundhog Day is coming up, so maybe I'll score one or two of these. If not, they're easily traded. Plus, Pansy 3 comes on the Resetti eCard.

Island Items
Surfboard, Diver Dan, Life Ring (untradeable)
These items just require a little work. One of these days I'll get around to sailing down to Dred Island for some dig sessions with the islander. Yeah, this is more random nonsense, but at least I'm in control of when and how often I can do it.

Post Office Items
Mailbox, Piggy Bank, Post Office Model (untradeable)
These items come with banking tons of bells in the bank. A Valued Customer reward, I guess. If I can manage to hit it big in the turnip market, this is easy stuff. But that's much easier said than done.

Wendell Wallpaper
Mortar Wall, Ancient Wall, Sandlot Wall, Tree-Lined Wall (untradeable)
Stupid fat Wendell. It seems like he only shows up every three months and when he does, you get a random wallpaper that you already have. Asinine.

Snowman Series
Snowman Wardrobe (untradeable)
There are twelve possible Snowman items. I need one of them. It's a pain in the ass to make a proper snowman, and the reward is a random delivery of one of those items. So far this winter, I've made seven snowmen... and not only have they all NOT been Wardrobes, but half of them have been duplicates. Bite me, you stinking self-absorbed snowdink.

Camper Items
Propane Stove, Bonfire (untradeable)
The summer tent minigames are terrible. They're not fun, rely almost entirely on luck, and pay out with absurdly awful items. But occasionally you get a rare Camper item, of which I am missing two.

Gracie Shirts
Strawberry Shirt, Grape Shirt, Fiendish Shirt, Shirt Circuit, Pulse Shirt, Orange Pinstripe, Crossing Shirt, Giraffe Print (untradeable)
Piss me off. Another random item seller who distributes random crap randomly. And, bonus, you get thumb cramps from her obnoxious A button game.

Station Models
Station Model 1, Station Model 4, Station Model 7, Station Model 11, Station Model 12
Yeah, these are tradeable, but who the hell is going to offer them up? You only get one of fifteen per town, so finding the other fourteen means either trading for them... or making new towns and hoping against hope that they'll get the models you need. Nintendo was nice enough to put most of them as prizes on the eCard games, but not all of them.

Redd Items
Lawn Mower, Red Corner, Well, Basic Painting
The ultimate in crappy random distribution. Redd shows up never, and when he does, he only sells three items. And not all of them are even exclusive to Redd, most can be bought from Nook for less. So you never see the guy, he barely sells anything you want, yet he has a needed piece of every furniture series. This shithead is keeping me from completing my super-awesome Wild West room. Assclown.

NES Games
Punch-Out, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. (untradeable)
Who would have guessed that almost a year and a half after the game's US release, Nintendo would still have kept these NES games secret? Clu Clu Crap Land we get, but Punch-Out remains hidden. The Player's Guide only lists Punch-Out as necessary for catalog completion, but we all know the other two are in there too. Maybe someday they'll release the codes for these games, but even the most ardent of Nintendo fans has lost all hope by now.

So there you have it. 52 items, most of which are completely untradeable and frustratingly random. I sort of doubt that catalog completion was intended as the goal of the game, given how hard it is to do... without cheating. Maybe if you lived in a commune with twenty people playing Animal Crossing, you could work together to get one person to finish their catalog. Not that that's a bad idea, a building full of Nintendo gamers, just totally nuts.


I-Clank - Joe, 01.13.04
So jeez, where have I been? I've started about a dozen weblog entries over the past week, but ended up trashing them all. I intended a rant about EGM/MTV's recent "Top 15" video games special, but I think it would have quickly degenerated into me complaining about Splinter Cell. As... [more]

Rough Cut New Year - Joe, 01.03.04
In retrospect, it was fairly risky to plan out an 8-person week-long trip to upstate Pennsylvania in winter. Boy howdy. But thanks to an exceptionally mild and pleasant week of weather, our mini-getaway to the Rough Cut Lodge in Gaines, PA, was lots of fun. Of course, our kind of... [more]

Thanks for playing! - Joe, 12.25.03
We are the Fourhmans that saved Christmas. We just unlocked everything in Mario Kart: Double Dash, having finished All Cup Tour / Mirror Mode with 146 points. The thing about All Cup Tour (which is all 16 races in a row) is that it should end up being academic. As... [more]

Reduccio! - Mike, 12.23.03
You have to hand it to J.K. Rowling. How many people are able to write about an imaginary fantasy world and have in accepted not only by millions of children, but also their dollar, pound and lira providing adults? How terrific is this: people can bring up Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy... [more]

And what about the Grey Havens? - Joe, 12.23.03
The One Ring.net has a link to a roundtable discussion on the spiritual dimensions to the Lord of the Rings movies. As usual, the Christians fall all over each other in their rush to justify their illogical, fairy tale beliefs. Tolkien was a devout Catholic - and although he initially... [more]


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