Thursday, January 22, 2009



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Back on the Pitch

For several months I have taken a break from soccer and most exercise altogether due to a toe injury, but yesterday afternoon I was back at it. It felt great and I even scored a hat trick (that's 3 goals for you non-soccer/hockey fans). Maybe it was because it was overcrowded, but I did not feel too winded over the 90 minutes I played; however, I do feel sore today. Very sore. And we're supposed to go exercise again this evening? Oof.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quick Wii Reviews

For those who might be interested in some wee Wii game reviews, here are some brief thoughts on games I have played. Note: I am not a fan of fighting games; I just have never been very good at them, so you will not find any further mention of those. I need to find more first person shooters; I hear Call of Duty is good. Any suggestions?

Super Mario Galaxy - A great transformation from the old 2D days into 3D. The only problem is when running around a small spheroid, the camera doesn't always follow the way you might want. Rating: A

Resident Evil 4 - Great functionality, very good storyline. The only issue I had was getting across this big lake... took me many, MANY tries. It is fairly dark, not just visually, but thematically, so Recommended but play it before allowing your kids to endulge. Rating: A-

Super Paper Mario - I'm not sure why this one is so highly rated on game sites. While it is interesting to switch between 2D and 3D, I found the timer countdown (limiting how long you may be 3D) to be more annoying than challenging. And the dialogue you must scroll through does not add to the enjoyment... AT ALL. It is dreadfully long and painful. Rating: C-.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - If you like fantasy adventure with great stories, this is a must have. I like the control and don't really have any complaints. Recommended. Rating A.

Mario Kart Wii - Very fun. I read some complaints from those who love the previous racing games from Nintendo, but I found it to be loads of fun. And I played with some kids in South America and the west coast once. It is not too complicated. Recommended. Rating A-.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure - This is a game of puzzles - situations where you must examine an area, which is often bigger than the screen, think ahead and take various actions to get the treasure in each location; you must really anticipate "what might happen if I do this?" It is fun, but and at times the action on screen is a little much and sometimes repetitious. Rating C+.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - I haven't played this one much yet, but it has been good so far. I do know some of the buttons/controls were not how I expected them to be relative to other first person shooters, but with enough play it is fairly easy to overcome. Rating B+.

Mercury Meltdown Revolution - I waited to buy this one farily cheap, and I am glad I did. There just seems to be too much going on in this elaboration on Marble Madness. I am sure I will come back to this one, but I have hardly touched it since the first time. Not Recommended. Rating D.

Trauma Center: Second Opinion - There are a couple ways to look at this, but definitely don't come looking for realism. SWMBO's sister, an MD & PhD, could not stop laughing at how bad it was. And dialogue between surgeries is just rediculous, but almost so bad it's good. The surgeries were fairly enjoyable despite any diversion from reality. Rating C.

de Blob - I really enjoy this one. It seems to be made for a variety of game styles - whether you want to finish a level as fast as possible or paint every conceivable building, tree and sign. Learning to jump from the a vertical surface can be a little tricky, but in all I like it. Rating A-.

Rayman Raving Rabbids - This is primarily a single person game. Very few of the games are simultaneous play; most for mutli-player games are played one at a time. For strictly solo play, there is a small storyline in 1 that is essentially absent in 2/TV. One of my favorite games is the dance-disco with the original Rabbid techno tune: "The Deejay Butcher." Rating: B

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 - Contrary to the first Wii version of this series, this sequel moves very much to the party game; almost every game can be played by 4 players at the same time (shooting games are only 2 player). Also some games are cooperative. No storyline seems to have hurt the ratings but the games are just as fun, even solo. Rating: B+

Mario Party 8 - Much like RRR2 this is also a party game, but it is as if it has been combined with a board game. Characters move around a board and when certain spaces are landed on, the game switches to mini-game mode. Certain games are every man for himself while others are 2v2 or even 3v1! I would say this is a little more oriented toward kids than RRR and the mini games are almost good as RRR2. Rating: B-.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Western Meets SciFi, part 2

After posting about the genre defying Cowboy Bebop, I happened to catch two films this last weekend, one in each of the anime's major genres. Unfortunately, the better film was on DVD. I don't feel like I have seen a good film in the theater in a while. Well actually, the thriller Transsiberian was pretty good and that was only a couple months ago.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I normally dislike lengthy titles, but I like this one more than most. Maybe it is because I liked this film more than most. It had a twisted outlaw feel to it, somewhere along the lines of There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men, but not quite so sinister. With the knowledge of what would happen, the movie was more about the characters and their transformation as the story progressed. Casey Affleck did a wonderful job as Bob (Robert Ford) and Sam Rockwell was very likable as his less intelligent brother. Brad Pitt was pretty good as well and much better than most give him credit.


The Day the Earth Stood Still

Like Brad Pitt, Keanu is underrated, but when he is the best thing about a science fiction film, you're not setting the bar very high. Okay, maybe the best thing was really Jennifer Connelly, but she didn't have much with which to work either except looks. The movie was killed by a poor script which only made Jaden Smith look like a horrible child actor. Actually, I fell asleep here and there for a total of 15 minutes or so - I think it was the heavy burrito and margarita I had for dinner - but my co-viewer confirmed that the plot was not helping.

Not Recommended.