Wii Can Work It Out.

melmoth, plastic instruments, wii 3 Comments »

So Zoso, being the fake plastic rock junky that he is, has recently purchased the Wii version of The Beatles: Rock Band. Actually, he has progressed a large part of the way through the game, and so in a KiaSA exclusive we can now confirm that you don’t, in fact, get to a point in the game where you break up with the rest of the band and then spend the rest of your days waggling your Wiimote in bed with Yoko Ono.

So I guess he won that bet.

Posted by Melmoth at 8:16 am

Where we WiiWare

wii, zoso 2 Comments »

Back when I first got the Wii I bought the browser for 500 Wii points (having annoyingly missed out on it being given away free) to tinker about with various streaming media options, and because you never know when you might need another web browser (what would I do if my internet tablet was stolen, the PC exploded and the laptop battery was flat and couldn’t be charged for some improbable reason I can’t be bothered to make up?) As Wii points are sold in multiples of 1000 I’ve had 500 points kicking around for a while, with nothing on the Virtual Console or, more recently, WiiWare really demanding to be bought.

Guitar Hero World Tour finally gave me the opportunity to spend some of those points, downloadable songs costing 200 points each, so I bought a couple last year. Then there was a free Reggae Rock Pack released over Christmas that I finally got around to downloading the other day, and while in the music store browsing around the wide selection of available songs I was tempted by a bit of Nirvana or maybe the Eagles, only having 100 points left meant I’d need to go and buy some more. Switching to the Wii Shop, it struck me that I had no idea what the £/Wii Point exchange rate actually was, I was assuming somewhere around 1p/point as anything more than a couple of quid for a song would be pushing it. Turns out 1000 points are £7, so a song for £1.40 isn’t too bad. Having to leave Guitar Hero to go to the Wii Shop and buy points was a bit of a faff, but then while I was there I remembered World of Goo! The original plan had been for World of Goo to be released as a retail box for the Wii in Europe instead of via WiiWare, so I was going to wait for that, then sometime during the Great Gaming Glut at the end of last year that changed; a quick poke around the WiiWare section of the shop revealed it was indeed there for 1500 Wii points, a swift point buying spree and a bit of a download and I was ready to get Goo-y (with the added bonus of enough spare points for a few more Guitar Hero tracks).

Not much I can add to the Eurogamer review of World of Goo, really, it’s a wonderful game. One of the main reasons I was waiting for the Wii release rather than getting the PC version was to play it with my wife, and initial skepticism (“Eh?”) rapidly turned into advice (“Put another one on the left! No, below that, you’ve overbalanced it now!”) and then involvement, as simply firing up a second Wiimote activates a second cursor for co-operative Goo-ing, with only minor side effects (“get off, that’s *my* goo!”). If you haven’t done so, BUY IT NOW! And then drink your weak lemon drink.

Posted by Zoso at 4:27 pm

BabeWii.

melmoth, mini-melmoth, wii 3 Comments »

Theoretically speaking, if a certain someone had calculated that they could strap a Wiimote to their infant child and, in the process of jiggling said child around for hours on end in order to soothe, calm and ultimately send them to sleep, they could at the same time complete Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Lost Winds and perhaps even Mario Kart Wii, at what point would Social Services become involved?

Posted by Melmoth at 12:34 pm

Reviewlet: Guitar Hero – Aerosmith

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Guitar Hero – Aerosmith is… Aerosmith-y. This isn’t terribly surprising, what with it having “Aerosmith” in the title and everything, and a picture of Aerosmith on the cover just in case you missed that; 29 of the 41 songs in the game are by Aerosmith (or Joe Perry), you play them as motion-captured Aerosmith, there are short snippets of Aerosmith interviews between the levels as the game tracks Aerosmith’s career from playing a high school dance to intergalactic megastardom, you can play as one of the Aerosmith guitarist on the rest of the tracks if you buy/unlock them as a character in the Vault, playing signature Joe Perry Gibson guitars

If you’re unsure whether you should get the game or not, here’s a detailed in-depth questionnaire to help you decide:

1) Do you like Guitar Hero?
a) Oh yes! It’s a work of plastic instrumental genius!
b) It’s OK I guess.
c) No, it’s a stupid waste of time, learn to play a real guitar.

2) Do you like Aerosmith?
a) Oh yes! Who doesn’t like the multi-Grammy winning biggest selling American hard rock band of all time?
b) They’re OK I guess.
c) No, I hate them and everything they stand for.

If you answered:
Mostly (a): buy the game right now
Mostly (b): maybe rent the game, see how you like it
Mostly (c): don’t buy the game

Hope that helped.

Personally I remain fairly ambivalent towards Aerosmith, they’ve got a few catchy songs but I’m not rushing out to buy their entire back catalogue, so the game’s a neat enough diversion while waiting for World Tour rather than something I’ll play solidly for the next few months. If you love Aerosmith, though, I’m sure you’ll love this (unless you hate Guitar Hero).

Posted by Zoso at 1:39 pm

Wii Fit Update

games, wii, zoso 1 Comment »

In the month since my last update, I’ve lost about half a stone, so the Wii Fit regime is definitely working. Though technically, it’s not really the Wii Fit regime; I use the Body Test facility to keep track of weight, and run through its muscle workouts now and again (though I could probably figure out how to do sit ups and press ups without the plastic board, if I tried really hard), but I suspect most of the weight loss has come from dieting (drinking lots of water instead of sugary carbonated beverages, eating more fresh fruit and all that) and putting in more time on the exercise bike (while listening to the radio).

So is Wii Fit a waste of money? Rationally, yes, as per the previous update you could get a similar benefit from a workout DVD, set of scales and a notepad (and maybe some graph paper and coloured pencils), and even then I suspect all that is secondary compared to eating less/more healthily (I wasn’t particularly unfit previously, just carrying a bit of extra weight). But… despite, on several occasions over the past five years, making a bit of an effort to lose weight, it’s only since getting Wii Fit that I’ve managed to stick at it, so I’m not sure it can be entirely discounted from the equation, even if just as a psychological spur to stick at the diet to keep losing weight to prove it wasn’t a waste of money.

Anyway, even if the Wii Fit disc starts to gather dust, the balance board can be used for a bunch of other stuff

Posted by Zoso at 9:49 am

Continued Wii Fitness

games, wii, zoso Comments Off

Two and a bit weeks in to the Wii Fit regime, and I’ve lost four pounds. Then gained two pounds, lost another pound, gained several, lost a few, and generally fluctuated. I don’t know if my weight is really changing that much or the game’s having a bit of a laugh about it, but the general trend, broadly, is down (except for the up bits), so that’s got to be a good thing.

Apart from the balance games, there’s not much in Wii Fit that you couldn’t do with a pair of scales, a notepad, a hunk of plastic to step on and off and a random celebrity fitness DVD picked up from a bargain bin for 49p (Step Your Way To Fitness With Reginald Maudling, perhaps, or Andrei Tarkovsky’s Dancercise Workout). I doubt I’d be able to get terribly motivated with those, though, whereas Wii Fit, with it’s game-veneer of unlockable activities, high score tables and record keeping hooks right into my Achiever lobes, so I’m going to beat it, just see if I don’t…

One area that could use some work is the aerobic exercises; three minor variants of jogging on the spot, using the Wiimote as a pedometer, is a bit naff. Hula hooping is a giggle, but not a great sustained exercise. Rhythm boxing, stepping on and off the board and flailing around with Wiimote and nunchuck, would be excellent, but the pace is plodding, and you spend half your time standing watching the forthcoming sequence so hardly optimal for calorie burning. The first two modes of step aerobics, following on-screen steps (with occasional crazy variations like going sideways) are also rather slow, and the single jangly tune drives you insane after a while (daaa da da daaaa da da da da da, da da da daaa daaaaa), so I’m mostly using the final option, free stepping, where you set how long you want to step, then switch channels on the TV and step away while the Wiimote burbles away to itself from the built-in speaker (“Keep your back straight!” “You’ve been doing this a while!”)

Posted by Zoso at 4:30 pm

Wii Fitter, Wii Happier, More Wiiproductive

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I’ve been meaning to get in slightly better shape for a while, though without enough motivation to do anything radical like joining a gym, or indeed leaving the house at all, so OK, I went out and got Wii Fit. Hardcore gamer me, oh yes, though to balance (LIKE A BALANCE BOARD!) things up, I’ll get Grand Theft Auto IV as soon as it comes out on the PC (presuming it does come out on the PC).

I’m not entirely svelte, as Wii Fit confirmed by chanting “you fat bastard, you fat bastard, you fat bastard oi!” when I stepped on the balance board, and it then proceeded to more-or-less constantly insult me about my inability to perform complex yogic movements like “standing there” and “swaying a bit”. Not one for those with low self-esteem, this. (OK, I exaggerate slightly for comic effect, but I didn’t come out the initial tests terribly well…)

The bulk of the “game” consists of four areas, Yoga, Muscle Training, Aerobic Exercise and Balance Games. I had a quick look at Yoga, but when it told me to do a stance called “The Warrior” I couldn’t find a taunt button to spam, so skipped over that. Muscle Training is a variety of stretches, lunges and the like, which our living room isn’t ideally configured for, resulting in a few collisions with sofas, chairs, lampshades and the like. Aerobic Exercises include jogging (not on the balance board, you stick the Wiimote in your pocket as a sort of pedometer) around a pleasing virtual environment populated by other Miis from your console (missing out on a golden opportunity to use a second Wiimote and nunchuck for swift boxing manoeuvres as the flash gits speed past you), a sort of cross between step aerobics and dance matting which I fear will be hampered by the lack of variety in the soundtrack (another golden opportunity missed, for a Guitar Hero crossover), and hula-hooping, which is rather pelvis-swivellingly fun. Balance Games, as the name suggests, are the game-iest options, including slalom and ski jumping. The use of balance is really rather interesting, none of the games are exactly in-depth, but like Wii Sports, it’s more the control mechanism that’s intriguing.

So, that’s a good bit of exercise done, I’m feeling pretty buff. Time for a pie and some chips!

Posted by Zoso at 8:05 pm
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