Playing With My Weiner

Gaming at the mercy of miniature daschunds.

Weinercast Wednesday! January 28, 2009

Filed under: DS,Games,WeinerCast — Gwyddia @ 8:16 am
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The Weinercast is go! This week: Gaming On The Go.

As always, the Weinercast is available on Gwyddia - Weinercast

Please leave us a review or a comment/question, and we’ll address it on air next week!

A non-iTunes link if you need it.

 

Animal Crossing Racial Slur Causing ESRB Fracas December 6, 2008

Filed under: DS,Games,Nintendo,Other Folks — Gwyddia @ 1:49 pm
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baadsheep
Here’s the back story: a racial epithet made its way into the speech of an Animal Crossing character. The epithet was user-created and only found in fourteen review copies of the game, all of which have been recalled and changed. Now, of course, people are pointing fingers at the ESRB, saying that their ratings system is a failure for letting something like this slip through.

 

Simply put, no. The ESRB warning on any game with online play clearly states that “Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB”. This is because online content can change a game at a moment’s notice, and the ESRB aren’t a psychic Gestapo. Further, this was a bad joke found not in the retail version of the game, but in a very small number of pre-release copies. The issue was discovered and dealt with quickly and efficiently.

 

The ESRB could not have caught this, nor should they have. I, for one, do not want the ESRB or anyone else constantly looking over my online shoulder. Every online content provider has an abuse notification system for cases just like this, and if the swift reprisal here is any indication, that system worked.

 

Finally, remember that the people who saw this “atrocity” were fourteen adults in the media – not impressionable kids. If you really think your precious little snowflake lacks the maturity to handle the vagaries of an online experience, play with them or don’t allow them to play. Only if players and parents take the responsibility for monitoring their own online experience can we have worldwide gaming that is open and available to the community at large.

 

No Peter Venkman In Next Gen Ghostbusters? December 3, 2008

Filed under: DS,Games,Kotaku,Other Folks — Gwyddia @ 12:29 pm
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[Ed. note]: As of about 9:00 EST, Kotaku has corrected their error. 

 

I ain't afraid of no mic.

I ain't afraid of no mic.

According to Kotaku’s story today on Ghostbusters DS, the next-gen versions of the game will not feature Bill Murray’s classic wisecracker Peter Venkman.  It seems that the DS version will have him though, because there is no voice-acting in that version. This stands in stark contrast to Kotaku’s earlier story about Bill Murray enjoying recording his game dialogue so much he would actually consider a third movie.

 

 

In fact, Murray himself has appeared on Conan O’Brien and the Today Show talking about the voice work that he has already put in the can. I’m thinking this is a blown call by the big K, and we can expect to see and hear Dr. Venkman in due course.

 

[Edit: Check out this trailer that clearly features Bill Murray.]

 

Review: Chrono Trigger DS November 29, 2008

 

Can we come in?

Can we come in?

In the Year of Our Ceiling Cat Nineteen and Ninety-Five, Square released a little game called Chrono Trigger.  The story is simple – young adventurers save the world – but with a twist – by porting through time.  Due to its epic nature, branching storyline, and multiple endings, Chrono Trigger is widely considered to be one of the best RPGs of all time.

 

 

Wikipedia rightly describes the Chrono Trigger developers as the “dream team” – Hironobu Sakaguchi, Kazuhiko Aoki, Kazuhiko Aoki, and composer Nobuo Uematsu. Yuuji Horii and artist Akira Toriyama.  Masato Kato wrote most of the plot and composer Yasunori Mitsuda scored the game with Uematsu finishing it when Mitsuda became ill.

 

Art:

The art is classic Horii and Toryiama – anime figures, large foreheads, and bright colors.  The DS version includes the well-received anime cutscenes from the 2001 North American PlayStation release, now without load times!  Unlike the recent Final Fantasy remakes, however, the art hasn’t been given a total 3-D makeover. Instead, the sprites have been polished up a bit and given more fluid animation, but the original distinctive art style is there.

 

Gameplay:

Lots of screen real estate across two screens.

Lots of screen real estate across two screens.

Like the original, Chrono Trigger DS uses an Active Time battle system, meaning that each character may only act when their timer is up.  Different characters have different physical and magical attacks, including advanced physical attacks called “techs”.  What Chrono Trigger added to the RPG genre was the concept of cooperative techs – combining up to three characters’ techs to create double or triple attacks. Notably, there is no apparent slowdown when using even the flashiest of techs. 

 

The DS version has two play modes – “DS Mode” and “Classic Mode”.  DS mode allows you to use both the touchscreen buttons for controls, and Classic mode is a play setup identical to the original SNES version. There are other features exclusive to each mode, such as a DS Mode option to toggle between ‘Walk’ and ‘Run’.

 

The DS version adds some new dungeons, including the Dimensional Vortex and Lost Sanctum.  The first of these is only available when player’s complete the game, and leads to a new, fourteenth different ending.  The second is another endgame dungeon for folks who love to grind their way up as high as they can.

 

Finally, the DS version offers an unneccessary arena system.  Apparently believing that all JRPGs must have a Monster Hunter element to them, Squeenix makes this feature available the first time you save the game.  When you enter the arena, you get the option of controlling a small malleable creature known as a Smidge.  You can send your Smidge to any of the seven periods of time to train them, and then you can battle other trainers, er, players, via DS wireless.

 

Overall:

Useless arena aside, this is a very faithful translation of a beloved original.  Like Dragon Quest IV, the source material still holds up over a decade later, and the DS developers respected that fact.  As a result, like Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger on DS is an excellent game with everything you remember and nothing substantially screwed up by modernization.  

 

For being an amazing RPG now available in pocket-size, Chrono Trigger DS gets 5 Weiners out of 5.

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Chrono Trigger Going To Have New Content After All November 10, 2008

Filed under: Games,Rumors,Square Enix — Gwyddia @ 8:38 pm
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It seems like Square is starting to understand that even their remake-happy fans aren’t going to buy a straight port of a decade-old game.

Siliconera is reporting that Chrono Trigger DS will have yet another ending, this one a DS exclusive. There will also be at least one new dungeon and a monster arena. This goes against previous information that Square wasn’t adding value to their upcoming $39.99 title.

Chrono Trigger DS will be released in the US on November 22.

 

Preview: Professor Laytonmania October 3, 2008

Filed under: DS,Games,Previews,Uncategorized — Gwyddia @ 2:55 pm
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A typical "Curious Village" puzzle.

A typical "Curious Village" puzzle.

People love puzzles.  Japanese people doubly so (see Brain Age, SuDuKo, Go, etc.).  Thus, a few years ago Level-5 rolled up all the puzzles they could find in one tidy package called Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The DS title featured Layton, a natty professor, and Luke, his apprentice, solving puzzle after puzzle in order to unravel a townwide mystery.  Curious Village landed Stateside about a year after its Japanese release, much to the delight of brainfreaks everywhere.

 

The Curious Village sold over 700,000 units in Japan in 2007 and was the top selling game for the Nintendo DS in the United States in the first three weeks after its release, so you know there are sequels.

 

The first sequel is Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box.  This time Layton and Luke are off to visit the Professor’s mentor, who sent them a letter about a mysterious box.  This title, released in Japan in November of 2007, features three distinct areas, including a train and two villages. There are also new meta-games including collecting items to exercise your hamster and brewing the perfect cup of tea.  The game sold over 800,000 copies in Japan as of July 2008.  The U.S. port of Pandora’s Box was confirmed in February 2008, and U.S. gamers are expecting to see it here sometime in November 2008.

Brain game or train game?

Brain game or train game?

 

This has not kept Level-5 from going full steam ahead with Professor Layton 3, however.  They recently released a trailer for Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel.  This time Layton travels to future London for unknown reasons. You can check out the trailer here (in Japanese):

The Weiner enjoyed Curious Village. Some of the puzzles, such as obtaining 4 ounces of water with only a 3 ounce and 5 ounce glass, are classics. It was a thrill to solve piles and piles of these chestnuts. I wonder, however, how many more old saws they can haul out. Are there enough classic puzzles for three games? If not, are there enough new puzzles and variations to keep things interesting and challenging? We’ll have more on this when Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box and Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel are released in America.

 

Nintendo Finally Admits to New DS Design October 2, 2008

Filed under: DS,Hardware,Rumors — Gwyddia @ 9:39 am
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I can't do that, Dave.

I can't do that, Dave.

 

 

As per The Register’s Hardware section (thanks, Araan!), Nintendo has finally set us up the bomb.

 

The Nintendo DSi will launch in Japan on November 1st.  Contrary to popular rumor, the DSi still only has one touchscreen.  It will also sport a 3 Megapixel digital camera, an SD card slot, very slightly larger screens (3.25″ v. 3″), and improved audio.  It will also be a tad slimmer due to the removal of the GBA slot.

 

All in all, this is a nice update, but if you already have a smartphone, probably nothing to write home about. I’ll withhold final judgment until i can hear the “improved audio” for myself.

 

The Nintendo DSi will cost ¥18,900/USD $179 when it is released next month in Japan.  No word yet on when Europe or North America will see it on their shores.