Archive for the 'Wii' Category

19
Jun
08

A note for those looking for Wii Fit

In about mid-May, I decided to buy Wii Fit for my wife for her birthday.  She had indicated that she wanted to be pretty aggressive in trying to lose her baby weight and from what I had read about it, Wii Fit seemed like a good way to kick start and keep track of weight loss progress, so it seemed like a good, um, fit.  However, I knew it would be tough to find.  I thought about going out to try to find it on launch day (May 21st), but that was my daughter’s birthday and we had a whole day of activities planned.  The following day it was sold out everywhere.  Furthermore, the more I read about it online, the more it became clear that it wouldn’t be easy to find.  I had looked on Walmart.com and used their inventory reports to see availability at brick and mortar stores and while they sometimes reported that they had units in stock, when I called, they inevitably told me that they had just sold their last unit.  Plus, the nearest Walmart is not very near, so this wasn’t a great solution.

On Monday, I decided to step up my game.  I did some more digging online and I found the following two sites: WiiTracker.com and WiiAlerts.com.  These two sites have scripts that trawl all the main retailers and can report their inventory status nearly in real time.  WiiAlerts allows you to enter your cellphone number so that when a product is in stock, you can get a text message telling you so.  It paid off for me this morning.  I got a message shortly after I got up telling me that Circuit City had Wii Fit in stock.  I quickly ordered it and about half an hour ago, I got a shipping confirmation from them.  So, if you’re interested in getting Wii Fit without having to pay extra on sites like eBay or Craigslist, check out the two sites above.  They worked for me!  (Queue cheesy smile and thumbs-up gesture.)

23
Apr
08

Potpourri

Ok, so this post isn’t actually about potpourri. Rather, it’s just a mix of a bunch of stuff that I’ve collected over the last two weeks.

  1. The Pirates won again tonight (2nd in a row) after losing 6 straight, including being swept again by the Cubs. Matt Morris and Adam LaRoche are officially terrible. Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, and Ryan Doumit are awesome.
  2. I had thought about starting a new segment on my blog where I post a line from a song to see if people can figure out what song it’s from. Then, I realized that, in the age of the internet, that task is trivially easy. I had planned on using the line “Who put the shield around the ‘k’?”, from “K for Karnival” by Nothing Painted Blue but just typing the line into Google gives you the answer. Curse you, internet.
  3. I also thought about introducing a repeating segment in which I would post a picture as a RAW file and have people submit their take on it. I may still do this if people are interested.
  4. On Patriot’s Day our family had an outing to see the Boston Marathon. On our way home, I saw this:

     

    imgp2070.jpg

    That’s right, a “Wii Sports” jacket. Now, I like my Wii as much as the next guy, but I’m not about to wear something like this.  That said, the “Wii Sports” jacket is a step above the bowling pin costume I saw the same day:

    imgp2054.jpg

    Alright.  I think that’s enough for now.  I’ll post more when the mood strikes.

01
Mar
08

I’ve still got it, part 2

This is a follow-up to a post from July 8th of last year. In that post, I documented how I had downloaded Super Mario Bros. (SMB) for the Wii Virtual Console and then proceeded to beat it in a little over an hour. Well, sometime within the last 2 weeks I downloaded SMB 2 (not the real/Japanese version of SMB 2) and on Tuesday I beat the game in almost exactly 2 hours without using any of the warp zones. I mentioned in my post about the original SMB that I was suprised by how many little tricks and things I remembered given that I probably hadn’t played the game in 10 years or more. The same was true for SMB 2 – I remembered the locations of a lot of the power-up mushrooms (many of which are not near the potion) and some other tricks.

In any case, this leaves SMB 3 as the only remaining SMB game from the original Nintendo that I haven’t beaten on the Virtual Console. I had a crazy idea this morning – I should try to beat all the NES-era SMB games back-to-back-to-back in one sitting and see how long it takes me. I think that SMB 3 would take a lot longer than the other two. It took me about an hour to beat SMB 1, 2 hours to beat SMB 2, but I’m guessing that it would take me more than 3 hours to beat SMB 3. I guess it would depend on whether I tried to beat every level or if I skipped ones that weren’t necessary to get to the castle in each world. We’ll see. This idea may have to wait for a while, since this type of project would definitely not help me to get my thesis written.

15
Feb
08

Right now…

… I wish I owned Guitar Hero. After a long day at work and my viewing of Air Guitar Nation last weekend, I am primed for some 5-button guitar action.

30
Oct
07

Wii Heads-up

If any of you are looking for a Wii, be advised that they will reportedly be available on Amazon at 10AM Pacific time tomorrow (Oct. 31st). Now is probably the time to try to get one, since demand will only get worse between now and Christmas and Nintendo has already stated that they expect to not be able to meet holiday demand.

07
Oct
07

The Real Super Mario Bros. 2

Last week Nintendo released a couple of games for the Wii Virtual Console that had been only available in Japan when the games were originally released. Among these Japan-only titles is what could be called the “real” Super Mario Bros. 2. According to the Wikipedia pages on the subject, Nintendo decided not to release the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 in the US because it was extremely difficult and very similar to the original. Rather, Nintendo took a different game they had been developing for release in Japan, replaced its characters with Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach, and released that game as Super Mario Bros. 2 in the US. This was a bit of a controversial move on Nintendo’s part and the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2 has never been fully accepted by fans as the proper successor to Super Mario Bros.

mariobros2_title.jpg

The release of the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 on the Wii Virtual Console makes it easy for enthusiasts to satisfy their curiosity and see what the controversy was all about. I downloaded the game today and, as a result of an hour or two of playing, I can verify that it is both very similar to the original Super Mario Bros. and very difficult. As an example of the difficulty, let me present an exhibit:

warp_zone.jpg

Observe that I am in world 3-1 yet I am being presented with a warp to level 1. I went down a pipe, came back up a pipe, proceeded to the right and found myself in this situation with no escape except for the little hole on the left there. So, my choice was to either warp back to world 1-1 or die and start level 3-1 again. I wasn’t too pleased.

As an example of the similarity, take a look at the screen shots. Or, recall the bug in Super Mario Bros. that allowed Mario to climb up walls by sandwiching himself between a column of bricks and the left side of the screen and then jumping repeatedly. That bug is also present in Super Mario Bros. 2.

Despite its similarity to the original Super Mario Bros. I think this is a must-buy for Nintendo enthusiasts. It occupies a special and interesting place in Nintendo history and it’s a fun and challenging game. If you have a Wii, you can pick it up from the Wii Shop Channel for 600 points ($6). If you don’t have a Wii, you can convince your Wii-owning friend to buy it.

 

08
Jul
07

I’ve still got it

Today I downloaded Super Mario Bros. for the Wii Virtual Console.  I played through the entire game (except 4-3 and 4-4: I warped from 4-2 to 5-1) and it took me just over an hour to beat it.  I was surprised by how much I remembered and how quickly it all came back to me.  Maybe I’ll download Super Mario 2 tomorrow and beat it as well.

22
Feb
07

Back to the grind

Obviously we’re back from the weekend trip to Maine. It was fun. I took my Wii and my advisor and officemates tore it up with Wii Sports. We had some interesting conversations and we had lots of fun playing in the snow. I think I dug the longest tunnel in the snow in my life. I started it for Elizabeth’s amusement, but I continued digging even after she went for her afternoon nap. By the time I quit, my clothes were all sweaty and the tunnel was like 6 feet long. It was cool.

That stuff was fun, but we did have two bad things happen:
1) I lost the case for our digital camera.
2) Our digital camera stopped working.

The camera had been doing weird things in movie mode for the last couple of weeks. It looked like there was some kind of interference – weird horizontal lines, etc. During the weekend, I took a picture of Heather and Elizabeth outside and then switched to movie mode. At this point, everything went black. The screen still worked (I could view pictures I had taken previously), but when I had the camera in photo mode or movie mode, I got nothing.

On Monday, after we got back, I tried to use the camera again and it didn’t give me anything initially. I tried pointing it at something really bright, because sometimes that had produced really dark, intermittent, kind of smeared out images before. This time, I heard a click and then the proper image appeared. I was able to take pictures again normally. Even the movie mode worked. I had no idea what had happened, but it seemed like we were back in business.

Yesterday, the camera didn’t work again. I don’t know what the problem is. Does anyone have any idea what’s going on? Has anyone heard of this sort of thing happening before? Is it something that can be fixed? If we have to buy a new camera, I guess we’ll have to, but if we can fix the camera for under $100, I might want to go that route.

So, now, I’m kind of in the market for a new point and shoot camera. I’ve spent a decent amount of time looking at cameras on dpreview.com already. Does anyone have any recommendations for other sites that I should look at? If this camera were only for me, I would consider getting one of these super zoom (aka SLR-like) cameras, like the Canon S3 or something similar. However, I know Heather’s not going to want to carry something like that around, so we’re probably in the market for something like our last camera, which is a Canon SD100 (in the Elph line).

16
Feb
07

The power of a picture

I decided the other day that I should really have a camera on my person at all times.  This is because I often see things that are funny and/or somehow noteworthy that I think would make a good blog post.  Unfortunately, simply explaining what I saw is generally not that funny or interesting.  However, if I had a picture of the funny/noteworthy item, the post could be much better.  For example, this whole line of thought was prompted by an experience I had last Saturday when Heather and I were out on a date and Elizabeth was at home with a babysitter.  We went to John Harvard’s, a local brewpub.  On their beer menu, they list a couple of attributes of their beers – the specific gravity and the alcohol by volume and maybe a couple of others.  According to the menu, one of their recent specials had 78.1% alcohol by volume.  That’s 156 proof!  This was obviously a typo.  Anyway, I found myself saying, “Man, I wish I had a camera to take a picture of this menu!”  It’s somewhat funny when recounted in text, but it would be much funnier if I had a picture to show you.

To illustrate this further, I could tell you that my tennis rating in Wii Sports is now off the chart that is used to display a person’s rating.  This is not that funny.  However, when I say this and add the following picture, it is much funnier:

off_the_chart.jpg

If I weren’t a poor graduate student, I might buy myself a camera phone or a really slim digital camera to have with me all the time.  Alas, I am a poor graduate student, so I’ll just have to come to terms with not being able to photograph everything I see that I think would be great for my blog.  Oh well.

11
Feb
07

Excite Truck is, well, exciting

Heather got me the Wii game Excite Truck for Valentine’s Day, but gave it to me yesterday.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Excite Truck, it is an off-road racing game with trucks.  It also involves a lot of flying through the air since the courses include of a lot of (huge) jumps.  Anyway, Heather gave me the game early because she was concerned that, if she waited until Wednesday to give it to me, I would stay up late playing it and would be exhausted the next day.  Giving it to me yesterday gave me plenty of time to play it before the work week started.  This was a smart move because I played it a lot yesterday.  According to the playing summary on the Wii messageboard, I played it for more than 4 hours.  I finally stopped playing at around 11:45pm, or so.  Yesterday’s experience taught me that I need to allow a long buffer period between stopping playing and going to bed.  This is because I slept very poorly last night.  All night I was plagued by dreams of trucks going off huge jumps and flying through the air.  It was similar to the experience I have had after playing lots of Tetris – an unending stream of Tetris pieces cascading down in my mind.  However, Tetris pieces are at least mildly soporific – not unlike counting sheep, I suppose;  trucks flying off huge jumps, not so much.  So, a warning to anyone considering buying the game: it lives up to its name, so don’t try to play it right before going to bed.




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