Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The look and feel of Wii, more HD DVD, and those crazy Pinatas.

Running around yesterday I decided to stop in the local EB Games and look around. To my surprise there were quite a few customers in the store (kinda weird for a Monday afternoon) and the Nintendo rep was there also. The store has not received the Wii kiosk yet, but the rep said she had one in the car she could bring in for a little bit (Wii indeed!).

She hooked it up to one of the interactive TV's, and fired up Excite Truck on the console. She had two Wiimotes with her (which on first glance are wiieally small) and a small but adoring crowd had gathered in front of the TV. They started up a split screen race, and soon as they finished they passed the Wiimote to the next person so the next group of two could race. I got a chance too and will admit it was pretty neat. Excite Truck is kinda neat because you get points for a lot of stuff (crashing, driving through trees, big air, etc...) not just winning the race so it's possible the person that crosses the finish line first may actually lose in points.

The Wiimote is small, and at least on Excite Truck really sensitive. It didn't require much tilt to steer your truck, and a lot of the people were oversteering at first, but the longer you drove the better it felt. I'm hoping there is some sort of 'sensitivity' adjustment within the games or controller set-up. Comparing it to the PS3 demo of MotorStorm I think the PS3 controller had a more natural driving feel (even with the plastic harness) than the Wiimote, but it's probably all in the calibration settings. Although the guys on 1UP Yours have mentioned a couple times about how loose the PS3 controls felt specifically talking about Lair, maybe the gyro/sensor in the PS3 control is less sensitive than the one in the Wiimote requiring bigger movement?

Well it didn't take long at all, but UneasySilence have posted a entry on getting the 360 HD DVD hooked up, and playing an HD DVD back through Windows. There is only one piece of software so far that will playback an HD DVD (Windvd 8 apparently that is only available from Japan right now) but as more players come out this will only get bigger. I think once this gets out there will be a lot of non-360 owners buying this drive for their HTPC's.

I started playing Viva Pinata the other day, and that might have been a mistake. It's one of games that you get into and just loose track of time, both times I started playing ended up averaging 2 hours. Viva Pinata is a cross between Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and even a little Pokemon added in. I see aspects of all of those when I play, and even though the game is rated E there is a lot of grown up innuendo in there (of course this is the same company that made Conker's Bad Fur Day so we shouldn't be surprised). You start the game by creating a garden and depending on what you place or grow will affect what pinatas you attract. When you attract a pinata they will be B&W but you can select them and it will show you their resident requirements (ie. what you have to do to make them stay). It maybe feeding them a certain fruit, flower, or even another pinata, or something simpler like having a pond, or light in your garden. Once they join your garden they transform from B&W to color pinatas, then once you have attracted two of the same species you can mate them (pending their romance requirements are met) to create more pinatas, and I'm just scratching the surface so far.

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