A poetic tribute to Satoru Iwata

Bound by earth no longer you are,
Gone to regions we know not where,
A season too long, a place too far,
Leaving behind much precious fare.

We treasure your love for yellow fruit,
Your Peppy nature,
Your mellow mood.

(C) Johnathan Sia 2015

Your passing from this earth was too sudden, too quick. Your contributions to Nintendo and indeed, to the rest of the world are incalculable Iwata-san. Rest in peace. May you be surrounded by your creations.

Satoru Iwata, CEO, Nintendo, 1959-2015

On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.
– Satoru Iwata, speaking at the Game Developers Conference in 2005

Wii U – How much for the whole setup in the UK?

Wii U Sign

Wii U Sign (Photo credit: GamerGrrlz)

After the Nintendo Direct announcements on 13 September 2012, I postulated the total outlay someone in the UK might need to spend if they wanted a complete Wii U setup and they didn’t have a single Wii peripheral on hand – New Wii U – Estimated total cost for first time buyers who want the top package. That article was based off the announced prices in US and Japan – so since actual prices will differ thanks to taxes and import duties, here’s an updated article based on what’s already been announced through Amazon UK and other UK retailers.

I thought it would be fun to speculate on the total cost of the entire WiiU experience if you want everything with a cherry on top and presumably have a treasure trove lying somewhere to derive funds from for it.

Note: I chose Amazon as the main place to get Wii accessories pricing from so in some instances, you can get them cheaper elsewhere, for example, if the Wii Sports Resort MotionPlus Bundle was going for £35 or less…

4 x Nintendo Wii U Remote Plus – Black = £35 x 4 = £140

4 x Nintendo Wii U Nunchuk – Black = £15 x 4 = £60

1 x Wii Fit Plus and Balance Board Bundle – Black = £70

1 x Nintendo Wii U 32GB ZombiU Premium Pack – Black = £329

4 x Nintendo Wii U Pro Controller – Black = £38 x 4 = £152

Wii U GamePad – Not available for sale separately until 2013.

What does the Wii U Premium SKU get you?
A lovely black Wii U (the Basic SKU only gets you the white version), 32GB memory, HDMI cable, console stand, GamePad charging dock, GamePad stand, and a two year Nintendo Network Premium subscription until 2014.

What’s the damage?
Total cost for the whole shebang is a mouth watering, wallet busting, partner cringing, bank account screaming £751 (Which is a whole lot cheaper than my previous estimates based on Japan’s prices – £1,232).

How does this compare with say, getting a PS3?
Well, Let’s see now…

1 x Sony PlayStation 3 320GB Slim Console = £208

3 x Official Sony DualShock 3 Controller = £36 x 4 = £108

1 x PlayStation Move Starter Pack with PlayStation Eye Camera and Move Controller (PS3) = £35

3 x PlayStation Move Motion Controllers = £28 x 3 = £84

1 x HDMI cable from Poundland = £1

That should get you up and running (without a game though) at a cost of £436. Which is actually fairly attractive, so it does depend on what games you enjoy playing. Nintendo’s Wii U console is pretty much the only way to go if you want Metroid, Zelda, Mario, Kirby, or Bayonetta 2.

Ten games I think would be perfect on the Wii U

The official Wii U logo Español: Logo oficial ...
With any impending release of a new console there’s naturally going to be speculation about what games can and should appear on it. Remember when the Wii was originally announced and how you immediately thought to yourselves, “Lightsabres!” Yeah, we’re still hoping for a Star Wars game with 1:1 lightsabre zwanging action though, judging by GameRadar’s article on 5 reasons a Wii lightsabre game would suck, we might not like the end results.

Here are my picks for ten games and forgotten franchises that would be just peachy on the Wii U.

10. MechCommander series

Remember that MechCommander intro sequence when a path was plotted with a stylus of sorts and a Raven was guided away from a MadCat deathtrap? If you don’t there’s a handy trailer above that’s accessible with just a simple click of your mouse (or a tap of your finger depending on how you’re viewing this article). Yeah, that would be pretty sweet on the WiiU. Granted – it’s a really old game now but it’s been crying out for a revival for several years now – especially after the entire MechCommander series was released as freeware in 2006.

9. Sim City series

Imagine this classic city building sim series with the new community features that the Wii U offers. And then imagine the precision you’d have with the stylus when playing this on the Wii U. Then put two and two together and realise that SimCity on the Wii U would be a marriage made in Nintendo silicon heaven.

8. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Transformers: War for Cybertron was already the best Transformer game ever made (it didn’t have much competition though apart from the well-crafted Transformers Armada) and having the sequel on the Wii U would make a lot of sense. The Wii U GamePad will allow you a much greater level of immersion in the game world and could even be integrated into the gameplay like how it was done in Batman Arkham City: Armoured Edition. It may be unusual for Batman to have a controller strapped to his arm but it’s oh-so-natural for a Transformer to have it integrated with it’s circuitry.

7. Deus Ex series

See the argument made for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron above. The same applies naturally for Adam Dent and his world of augmentations. Imagine a variation of the Wii U GamePad integrated into his arm with nanotechnology. Having such thumb-easy access to augmentations would make going through the game that much more intuitive and immersive.

Also, Wii U’s community features can make this game truly shine – imagine going through a section and seeing a message pop-up saying teasers like, “try sneaking past this section to get awesome stuff” or “look up. There’s more than one way out of here”. You can even explain this in-game as a nanotechnology feature. Eidos, please make this happen.

6. Injustic – Gods Among Us

I’ve played Street Fighter IV 3DS and Bleach: Blade of Fate DS so there’s no doubt in my mind that playing fighting games with the aid of a touchscreen is joy incarnate. Edit: While writing this I found out that Injustice is also slated for release on the Wii U – clearly I’m on the same lines with the developers.

5. Bioshock Infinite

This is a long-shot considering the close relationship Irrational Games has with Sony. Already, the PS3 version looks like the definitive one to own as it’s the only version with support for 3D. It’ll certainly give you another reason to enjoy that spanking new 3D TV you’ve got in your living room.

When I imagined Bioshock Infinite for the Wii U, I was thinking along the same lines at my ideas for Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron as well as Injustice: Gods Among Us. I’d love being able to arrange my plasmids on the Wii U GamePad and having them at my fingertips. The additional screen would also be perfect for the hacking mini-game (a clone of Pipe Mania, a classic arcade game) introduced in the first BioShock.

4. Wing Commander IV

This suggestion might seem a little out there since it’s a well-known fact that the best way to experience this game is with a flightstick like the Thrustmaster T Flight Stick. It’s just not the same playing with a mouse/keyboard combo or a regular gamepad. Where this might differ on the Wii U is the potential ability to replicate the HUD on the Wii U GamePad and just keep the priority information on your TV screen.

That’ll release valuable screen real-estate for stuff all we gamers enjoy, more of the actual game.

3. Minecraft

The Minecraft phenomenon has helped to transform the indie gaming scene since it’s launch in 2010. Tens of thousands of gamers have revelled in their new-found outlet for their creativity and promptly worked to create lavish and immensely creative maps. Check out the following video:

Here’s another title where the Wii U’s community features can really shine – map recommendations, in-game hints, tool sharing, the sky’s the limit.

2. R.U.S.E

Just watch that trailer and tell me you don’t want to be able to do something similar with another mate on the Wii U GamePad?

1. Starcraft series

The best home for RTS games have always been on the PC. No question about it. All other RTS releases on consoles have made concessions to the control scheme to make it somewhat playable.

What the Wii U now offers is the potential for proper RTS gaming on a console. The DS already has a couple of examples for how this can work, most notably with Final Fantasy Revenant Wings and Robocalypse, so it would be a special day indeed if Blizzard were to release a Starcraft 2 on the Wii U.

Add your own idea into the mix

Have a game in mind you think would also be perfect on the Wii U? Sound out in the comments area below. The more outlandish the idea, the better. Think big. Think bizzare. Think maybe Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle or Football Manager 2012.

Day ten of my temporary PC-less existence


WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

I’ve kinda given up all pretex of blogging exclusively via the mobile application. After having used them for several days, there’s no way they are in any position to replace the desktop functions of WordPress. Blogging via mobile apps also excludes me from taking advantage of Zemanta functionality within WordPress as well as WordPress’s functionality to recommend tags for my post based on what I’ve written about.

Round, round, get around, I get around
I’ve finally ordered my tickets for the Beach Boys concert, in Berlin. I’m so stoked to finally be able to see them in concert for the first time in my life. Even my mother and sister have watched The Beach Boys sans Brian Wilson – and I’m so much more Beach Boy mad than they are.

I do think I’m probably the only Malaysian that’s really nuts about the Beach Boys – I’ve got both the Good Vibrations: Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys box set and the The Pet Sounds box set. I only lack the Smile set to complete my collection of Beach Boys box sets (I don’t count sets like the U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years 1962-1965).

I still remember my very first Beach Boys tape, it was a pirated mixbootlef and it was an ecletic mix of Beach Boys tracks. My very first Beach Boys song I ever heard was Surfin USA, but this mix contained stuff from diverse albums like Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile, Friends, and Wild Honey. Some of the tracks I still remember are:

  • Breakaway
  • Wild Honey
  • How She Boogalooed It
  • Bluebirds Over The Mountain
  • Breakaway
  • Mama Says
  • I’m Waiting For The Day

Come to think of it, looking at the tracks above, I can’t believe they managed to get me hooked deeper into the music of the Beach Boys. After all, a majority of those tracks were post-Smile and a far cry from the Surfin USA music that originally captured my interest in the Beach Boys.

Getting deeper into The Beach Boys
After my experience with that bootleg tape, I was truly hooked on The Beach Boys. Luckily for me, Capitol Records were reissuing old Beach Boys albums as two-fers (two albums in one CD). I chose to start my journey in chronological order, with Surfin’ Safari/Surfin’ USA. Few things can replace the feeling I had unwrapping that CD, putting it into my CD player, and playing it while reading the excellent liner notes.

I quickly learnt the parts to all the songs on those albums, with particular emphasis on the bass vocals of Mike Love. In fact, my current bassy voice that has helped me get voice over and emceeing gigs is all from hours and hours of practice trying to emulate Mike Love’s deep bass. It was only many many years later when I realised that Mike Love’s vocals were usually double-tracked, thereby enhancing the bass effect. I’d say it was a good thing I didn’t know that earlier as it made me work hard to get my bass as smooth as Mike’s.

PSU warranty replacement status: Complete
I double checked my Scan account and as far as I’m told, my warranty replacement has been completed – so I guess my replacement PSU should be mailed to me soon? Hopefully it’ll arrive before Saturday rolls around… having a couple of guests over and it’ll be nice if my computer was up and running then.

Antec Truepower 650W power supply unit

Just to remind myself what my PSU looks like ;p

Fourteen days til E3 2012

E3 2010 Nintendo Media Event - Legend of Zelda...

E3 2010 Nintendo Media Event – Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword demo machines rise from the floor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s soon time the biggest gaming spectacle of the year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo – a time when the big three, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, war with each other by way of press conferences. In this unique battle, the company with the most astoundingly impressive announcements and jaw-dropping surprises will ‘win’ E3.

Of course, no one but the gaming community and gaming press really take notice of who ‘wins’ E3 but all the same, it’s fun to speculate and debate about which company’s press conference won the hearts and minds (and hopefully dollars) of gamers everywhere.

As a Nintendo consumer, I do hope for some really impressive announcements and some megaton announcements from Nintendo.

Here’s my top five wishes for Nintendo at E3 2012:

  1. For the WiiU to bowl over the competition and win back the core gamer
  2. For the 3DS to receive more video content rather than the four videos I receive every couple of weeks. Once I’ve finished watching them, there’s not much else to watch. Eurosport content is also pretty slim. Where are my 3D movie trailers?
  3. For Nintendo to show some love to the Wii and squeeze out one more great game
  4. For the Wii U’s price point to be less than $300
  5. To see games that will blow my mind.

Read my impressions of last year’s Nintendo E3 2011 press conference and the announcement of the WiiU from my viewpoint as a Nintendo fan.

Day nine of my temporary PC-less existence

Westfield Stratford City shopping centre

Westfield Stratford City shopping centre (Photo credit: MallSecrets.co.uk)

Didn’t blog yesterday – was a rather lazy Sunday…

Just spent the day with the Mrs lazing about in the M&S cafe over at Westfield Stratford shopping centre. She spent most of the time snapping photographs, and me, I spent my time as Kid Icarus.

Today’s experience of living without my PC will follow later tonight ;p

Day seven of my temporary PC-less existence

After recieving yesterday’s warranty replacement confirmation, i’ve now recieved a confirmation note that my warranty claim has been processed. So, I should be getting my PSU back in several more days… Happy days…

Cover of "Beach"

Cover of Beach

Watching The Beach as I type this out – a movie which starts out serene and goes bat shit insane towards the end. Leonardo diCaprio was really great in this film though and Virginie Ledoyen is as gorgeous as usual. I first discovered her acting in a film called MahJong, a art house film which i found really interesting with a plot that involved three or four disparate groups of people and a small love story that runs through the whole movie like a piece of thread.

Kid Icarus arrives!
I indulged myself this month (since it’s my birthday at the end of the month) and I finally ordered Kid Icarus Uprising for the 3DS. Happily, it arrived this afternoon. I haven’t opened it yet as i was in the middle of playing Tales of the Abyss 3DS but I’ll most likely crack open the seal before the night is through.

Hmmm distracted by The Beach as things continue to go bat shit insane… Haven’t missed the PC today though…we’ll see what happens when I finally try to do some voice recording.