Shoddy Nintendo hardware, Battalion Wars 2, about our editorial on reviews, and more in this week's mailbag. Send us questions!
I read this week's mailbag and much like Icarus I've gone through a pile of GameCube controllers. Essentially, I feel it is the worst constructed Nintendo product since the original NES (Blinky Blue Screens Anyone). I just want this poor guy to know it is not just him. I've had all the same Analog problems. As a solution, I brought the first couple to a local certified Nintendo repair shop and they replaced them for free since it was an equipment malfunction and not of my doing.
Port Orange, FL
That's cool that Nintendo replaced your controllers, but I must disagree with you on your assessment on the GameCube pads being the worst product Nintendo has ever made. I would have to give that award to the Nintendo 64 controllers. The analog stick on those things quickly loosened, and produced a ton of plastic dust due to excessive friction. If you've haven't picked one up recently, then you wouldn't have realized how cheaply put together they were. They were still adequately durable for being Nintendo products, but they were the crappiest controllers Nintendo has ever made. At least, I think so.
I have been using Gyration wireless keyboard (yes, that Gyration) that I had been using for our old media PC. It works fine.
Getting it to sync was a problem, mainly because I always assume it's going to be less trouble to guess how to sync things than to go try to find the probably-thrown-away manual.
I mean really, I should be able to hit both sync buttons in any order and it should just figure it out right? Had the same problem with the Wii controllers. Anyway, I got it to work eventually.
- planet idiot
While reading your mail bag the same day I picked up a wireless keyboard for my Wii, I can confirm that yes, a standard USB wireless keyboard does work on this console.
I'm currently using the Logitech EX110, I plugged in the USB receiver and simply popped the batteries into the keyboard itself and voila! Instant living room Internet solution! I'm pretty happy with it's performance as well. I'm sitting about 10 feet from the screen and it's got pretty much no lag. Every now and then I will need to hit the "connect" button on the bottom of the keyboard, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the amount I paid for this keyboard ($36 dollars CDN) .. Pick up this keyboard refurbished and you'll probably even pay a cheaper price!
So, Logitech's Cordless Desktop EX110 keyboard/mouse combo works. The mouse, as expected, is pretty much function-less. Ah well. It's still a pretty good deal!
- Mathew V.
Well, there you go. Leave it to our awesome readers to solve the mystery of wireless USB keyboard support on Wii! You guys get some Scooby Snacks.
What do you guys think about Battalion Wars II? Why have I not heard it hyped at all? I have been told that Nintendo has been quoted as saying that it will be released in late October, but I have not heard much about it since the Leipzig event in 2006. Why was it not at TGS? Am I crazy?
BWii is a second-tier Nintendo release, meaning Nintendo isn't going to be pushing it as hard as it would a game like Super Mario Galaxy or Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Most people probably wouldn't know that it's coming out this week, if not for game news sites like ours. The gamers that attended E For All should know a little more about Battalion Wars 2, since it was at the show in its final retail form. Unfortunately, the two kiosks that featured the game were relatively empty for most of the show. At least, I never saw a line of people waiting to play more than three deep.
One could make the argument that the lack of interest of the game was people just wanted to play more Mario and Smash. Then again, there was a lot of time to check out every game on the show floor. Maybe people weren't very interested in it to begin with? I hope that's not true, because after I played the game for a good 45 minutes, I fell in love with it. The online battles look as if they'll add a lot of longevity to the game. I just might be picking it up myself before the year is over, if the entire game is just as good as what I played.
But that's the thing about a game like Battalion Wars 2. It's not a game from a well-known franchise. Maybe Nintendo isn't pushing it as hard as it could be because of how relatively unknown it is. Summarily, people aren't getting excited about it as much because they don't know there's much to get excited about. Or maybe they're just saving their excitement for Galaxy, which is now only two weeks away.
Hey NWR I loved your article on Review scores and what you said is so true. The franchise comparisons to other franchises or their own franchise is just silly. No game is perfect and people are happy if the sequel changes something and yet criticize that it is not like the game that came before it. :-( As a gamer I disliked SM64 and Sunshine and yet based off of previews, I am getting Galaxy. I like TP better than OoT. And on the topic of graphics I'd take the outdated PlayStation FF7 compared to this remake rumour. :-)
Evan's editorial on reviews made some excellent points. I don't disagree with him on how pointless a numerical score is on a critical review of artwork. However, I think a numerical score on a critical review of entertainment is very important. While games can be considered an art form, they are forms of entertainment first and foremost.
Entertainment media—books, movies, music, video games, etc.—are not free. As a consumer, you need to use your judgment to decide what you're going to spend your entertainment dollar (and free time) on. The easiest way for people to do this is to look at a rating of some kind. Film, music, and book reviewers use a start scale to deliver their opinion on something. While the body text of the review does analyze the artistic qualities of the work, the score is what people look at if they want to compare two or more things. When you only have enough money to buy one or two movie tickets, or one game, you need to see a level of quality to make that decision. Music is as old as time, but publications still rate albums. That's just something that needs to be done in today's money-driven age.
I was looking at GameStop for new games that are coming out when i saw Dementium: The Ward to be released on Halloween. I also saw that it was a survival horror game that was supposed to "3D visuals... that brings the world screaming to life" (ya right, with DS graphics!) and at the very end i saw that it was rated M. Do you think this means that other rated M games will be on the DS and Wii & why do you think Nintendo is letting M games on their system?
- Erik Uri
First of all, M-rated games on the Nintendo DS are kind of a rarity. Including Dementium, there are only four of them on the handheld. Four games out of over 500 released on the system. The reason? The graphics capability of a system like the DS isn't the type to lend itself to the realistic graphics that usually equate to realistic violence. Most multiplatform games with a Mature rating get downgraded to a Teen when releasing on a handheld, for that reason alone.
Of course, out of the nearly 400 Wii games available, there are only 13 games with an M rating. Nintendo has said that it's pursuing more games for the mature gaming market, and as the emerging market leader there will be plenty more games for the 17-and-older set on the Wii moving forward. It's not a matter of Nintendo allowing M-rated games to appear on its consoles—why wouldn't it, since the majority of game players are over 18. Nintendo knows it needs those games to make sure its games lineup has a broad appeal for all ages.
This is getting ridiculous. At first I lumped them in the same category because they were both "Catch and use monsters!" style RPGs, but they were still different.
In the past few months though, Digimon is slowly starting to become more and more similar to Pokemon. They released two games (Digimon Dawn and Digimon Dusk) at the same time with each featuring game specific Digimon and areas. Then a few days ago a new Digimon game was announced where you capture the Digimon using your stylus. Sounds very similar to Pokemon Ranger, no?
They need to stop. Digimon used to be a somewhat respectable license. The anime was good. Now they are embarrassing themselves by blatantly copying Pokemon.
Digimon was kind of a Pokémon clone to begin with, so I don't see anything totally outlandish about (Namco) Bandai's thinking. Pokémon is the hottest thing in games since Mario, so of course there are going to be others looking to sneak in there and catch the wave a little. It's not like the Digimon games are the first to try that two version thing with a single game, either. Many, many companies (Hudson and Capcom, just to name a few off the top of my head) have done and are doing the same thing. If it worked for Pokémon, why couldn't it work for them?
Speaking of copycats...
Have you all seen the Wii wannabe. At Wal-Mart there was a handheld electronic game. It came in several kinds - football, basketball, racing, etc. It's basically a Wii-mote with a little black and white screen at the top where you see the game you are playing. It says on the package it is motion sensitive and everything. I sent an email through my cell phone with a pic I took of it at the store. It's like $7. Is this legal? Will there be a lawsuit??
- Video Game Wife
St. Louis, MO
Any time there's a hot product, the knock-offs are going to follow it. The sole reason these kinds of products exist is because there are a lot of poor fools out there that think the cheap knock-off is the same thing as the real deal. You can't blame them for it, but that's what happens.
Products like the one you described are probably legal, but still shady. They usually come from countries like Hong Kong or China, stay on shelves long enough to make some good money, and disappear just as fast. I guess these kinds of products avoid lawsuits because of how they label the packages, but the design of the products, and their price, is what's enough to dupe someone to buying it on a whim.
You know better, though. Just don't buy them!
I have a couple questions for the mailbag.
First the seemingly easy one: who the heck sells a Component Switch box? I can buy S-Video or HDMI or RF ones, but no Component ones. So either I have to downgrade my DVD player, or my Wii, or buy a new TV. All of those options suck. Any leads (that'll ship to Canada) that you can offer?
My second questions centres around remakes. There are a lot of old games out there for the PS1/N64/Saturn and to some extent their successor consoles that could use a remake. For example remaking the core Resident Evil series (0-3, Code Veronica) using the RE4 engine perhaps would be interesting, especially since 2 & 3 were never updated. Call it Resident Evil Chronicles or something.
Sega, especially, should go look at their ignored back catalogue of stuff like NiGHTS, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Shining Force 3. They haven't made much in the way of good games lately (c'mon NiGHTS 2) so it's probably cheaper and better for them to just remake their old games.
Anyway, what do you think of the 'remake' idea becoming more common? Depending on the developer it would be better than a sequel, and it serves as an entry point to suck people into/back into a series much cheaper than buying an old console and old games.
I think we see it a little bit with the Ys Books I+II and Final Fantasy III & IV for the DS, along with REmake, RE4 Wii, Okami Wii, and so forth, but I feel it presents an untapped goldmine.
One more question: Is there any chance of Nintendo reviving some of their classic franchises? I want Kid Icarus & Pilotwings (and Golden Sun) for the Wii, but mostly I want Earthbound Wii.
I think it would be perfect for the Wii. It's weird and non-traditional but still a JRPG and would basically let Nintendo do whatever they feel like in the RPG genre with few restraints. Mario RPG has restraints, Zelda has (had?) restraints, but Earthbound? They're pretty much free.
Mother 3 showed they'd sell enough copies in Japan to make it a success. Either putting Earthbound on the VC, or releasing an Earthbound 0-2 compilation for the DS (or both) would let them test out Eathbound's popularity in NA/Europe.
The Wii is getting a few RPGs, to be sure, like Project O and a good shot at Dragon Quest X, but Earthbound? That would take the cake.
- Wednesday Keller
Component switch boxes: Pelican accessories makes something you'd probably be interested in. It's a multi-system selector with component input, Ethernet ports and optical audio connectors. I can't find it on retailer websites, but you can check it out on Pelican's website. It's model #PL0970.
Remakes: Uh, hello? Senior publishers have been doing this all over the place, and they'll continue to do it. Capcom has been going through its franchises looking for remakes, and Square-Enix has done it with most of its games (Final Fantasy III and IV especially). It's good for publishers (easy and cheap to make) and good for consumers (chance to play a game they might have missed). It's a part of the industry, just like remakes in the film industry. They should, however, remain to be a minority of releases. I'd rather have something new instead of something I played years ago with a fresh coat of paint.
Nintendo franchise revivals: It looks like Nintendo is content to let the Mother/Earthbound series die out with Lucas in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I hate Nintendo for that. I really do. Earthbound Zero could see a Virtual Console release, but unless millions of people buy the game I don't see Nintendo making another game in the series anytime soon. That's a shame.
I think there will be another Kid Icarus game, though. I'm going to play the "Well He's in Super Smash Bros.!" card as my reasoning for this. If a character (or series) is represented in the game, it's going to get a ton of exposure. Nintendo could very easily leverage that exposure into game sales for other franchises. Fire Emblem got a big push, I believe, because of Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Pit in Brawl should get a similar push.
Of course, having Ness in Melee didn't do much for Earthbound in North America...