Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Got my new DSi. My baby blue was picked up monday morning, with me parked outside of the Broadway Village Gamestop ten minutes before opening.

I thought I would be more pleased with the sleek outer casing and larger, sharper screens, but that just wasn't the thing that grabbed me. In some ways, I liked the smooth plastic finish the DS lite. The most apparent thing about the system is the existence of a new home interface.

In and ode to the uniform layout of the PSP/PS3 the DS's interface has a similar resemblance to the Wii's. Not entirely though, it seems more like playskool Wii, which is funny since the Wii's interface is esentially the digital version of FunMobile. Cute, but nothing eye-popping.

I am very into the power button acting as "menu" button, which brings you back to the main screen with a surprising amount of speed. Ditto on the not having to reset the system when removing and inserting game cartridges. It is the exist of the subtle technological fixes that reveal the DSi as a more sophisticated and versatile piece of hardware. It is really a must own for people who regularly use the DSlite and don't own any other handheld piece of tech that may offer more media features.

I am not going to go into the music and picture capabailites because they are just fine, nothing spectacular compared to an ipod or even a PSP but I feel that Nintendo is going to take a more active approach with upgrading the system with downloadable content and fixes.

If you will excuse me, I have to go get my Pesach on. Buy a DSi buy trading in your DSlite for some sweet credit at Gamestop.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Platinum Games "MadWorld" is focused visceral experience that could teach developers a thing or two about creating exciting content without bogging down the gaming experience with over technicality. First of all, "MadWorld" is short. I replayed a couple of the 9-12 levels and still clocked the entire game at something like 6 hours. I didn't replay the levels to upgrade my character or weapons, because there is none of that, I replayed them because the game happens to be, um...enjoyable?

You remember that, when you actually enjoyed the process of playing a game and wasn't strapped down to the experience to achieve a level-up or a +1 armor upgrade? Former Clover Studio head, Atsushi Inaba (acting as the producer on this title) has the uncanny ability to create games that never really burden you. Granted "Viewtiful Joe" and "God Hand" had upgradable abilities and some bonus arena content, but they never felt padded or artifically extended for the sake of some "hardcore" status. As with the aforementioned titles, "MadWorld" keeps the number of levels at a minimum while making each one a unique experience and worth a replay on its own merits.

Of course, the art style and presentation are what made you purchase "MadWorld" in the first place. The stark black/white/red presentation seperates "MadWorld" from the pack and transcends the gimmick by allowing complex shading and shadowing to create a environment that even the jaded "hardcore" gamer will find profound. Blood sprays and sticks to surfaces in thick pools and exits the facial orficies of every enemy you clock between the eyes with violent gusto. As has been said by every major blog/website leading up to it's release, "MadWorld" isn't your typical vilolent affair. The over-the-top finishers and kill sequences elicit more guffaws then cringes. It says alot that a game can use it's violent nature in such an effective way to produce such a response. We are so used to the media employing grit and hyper-violence to create a sense of ultra-realism in order to shake a viewer/player into a feeling of some kind of dark catharsism. "MadWorld" feels more like a non-stop gag reel then a Cronenberg film.

It's an important purchase, if not for its royal pedigree (Hideki Kamiya, of "Devil May Cry" fame was involved), which is why you should be purchasing it, then for all the whiny Wii owners who need some heavy blood shed to incite them to change their minds about the Wii's library.

I wish people wouldn't talk smack about the games available for the wonderful Nintendo system, but this may be a reason to be positive about the future of 3rd party content.