Super Mattio Galaxy!

As previously mentioned our household acquired a Wii the other day – that most intriguing of new game consoles from Nintendo. Of course as with any games console, it’s no good having the console without having some games so I’ve now picked up the top two games of 2007 – Super Mario Galaxy, and Resident Evil 4 – both of which are very good indeed. These games are about as polar opposite as you can possibly be, with one being a cartoony romp around the galaxy, collecting brightly coloured star bits and killing the cutesy enemies by bouncing on them – and the other being a tense, heart poundingly suspenseful shoot-em-up through dark, mist filled towns populated by zombie-esque townsfolk under the control of an evil overlord. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to work out which is which, suffice it to say that Mario does not require you to prove you are over 18 to enter their website.

Anyhoo, both games make great use of the Wii motion sensitive controllers – albeit in very different ways, and it’s fascinating to have to work out the completely different body movements needed to play each. Resident Evil is slightly more realistic, with a slashing motion required to quickly use the knife and the ability to point at the screen to aim your gun, but Mario makes up for this by having a wider range of motions to learn. Both are highly enjoyable to play, but one requires me to play loud music at the same time so I don’t have a heart attack whenever a zombie villager jumps out as the game soundtrack is intensely atmospheric and creepy.

I’ve had Super Mario Galaxy a week or two longer and find it much easier just to play when I want to relax, as you really have to be in the mood for Resident Evil. I guess this is why I’ve just managed to finish Super Mario Galaxy all the way through – at least as Mario – with only a few days of practice needed to defeat the ridiculously tricky ‘Purple Luigi’ level at the end. Now I get to go back and find all 120 stars again, this time playing as Luigi… assuming the zombies don’t get me first. Uuuhhh….

We Heart Beautiful Katamari (Old Skool)

Since both M and I are addicted to ‘We Heart Katamari’, the genius, bizarre game that involves rolling stuff up into a ball (like food, toys, people, countries and so on) we finally bit the bullet and retro-graded to buy the original – Katamari Damacy. So apologies to anyone who expected to see us this weekend.

The original Katamari outing is, strangely enough, almost identical to its sequel. You have the enigmatic/mentally deranged King of All Cosmos giving quests to his son the Prince to restore all the stars to the sky, after an apparent drunk driving accident caused them all to be knocked down. You have the wonderful techno-jazz sound-a-like songs. You have cows and bears that really p*ss you off. You have confusing instructions that make no sense. And, of course, you have to roll. Where the game differs is, unsurprisingly, in the handling of the Katamari, the round ball you use to roll everything up. The game mechanics obviously haven’t been as smoothed off as they are in the sequel – so you sometimes find yourself frustrated/confused/shouting about a situation where the katamari is stuck for no reason, or loses a pile of collected items from a very very slow collision, or just won’t get out of a corner – plus the game designers hadn’t yet implemented the ability to see through walls when they get in the way so sometimes you can’t see where you are… Of course all of this is due to us being used to the sequel, and once you learn to forget the other mechanics the fun is still all there, and that’s the important thing. Really.

The only bad news in all this is that the latest Katamari game – Beautiful Katamari – is only currently out on XBox 360. Dammit! There is a rumour about a Wii version, but who needs yet another reason to yearn for a Wii? Please send answers written on a Nintendo Wii to the usual address.

Guitar Hero Tab: Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by The Rolling Stones

One of my favourite tunes off Guitar Hero II, an amazing game that you should go buy if you don’t already have it, is ‘Can’t you Hear me Knocking’ by the Rolling Stones. It’s a driving, simple but grippin’ blues riff that sticks in your head like super-glue or the latest chart topper by Britney… when she has something that hits the charts that is.

Anyways, as part of my irregular series on guitar practice I decided to tackle this classic tune, or at least Keith’s rhythm part.. which thankfully is relatively simple, once you’ve tuned your guitar to G, and ignored some of the nuances. Like playing guitar with a burning ciggie stuck in your fretboard… To try it yourself check out the tab here.

Ps, if you’re feeling suitably rockin’ after that, go check out some of my mate Alex’s smashing rock t-shirts, for the guitar god in all of us.

You’ve Got To Fear These Moves!

As mentioned the other day I recently succumbed to buying Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) for fun not profit. Having watched this little asian kid bounce around and score AA on a hard song I know I have some ways to go still.

On a different video note: this video of a fat kid screaming on a roller coaster is highly disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that he’s falling out of the safety straps on a fairground ride. Or that he’s almost choking as the straps go around his neck. Maybe it’s because the adult next to him is laughing the whole time, even after the kid cries out for help. Or maybe it’s the laughter track from the studio audience, enjoying watching this kid in abject fear for his life – not knowing if he might plummet to his death at any moment. Hilarious.