Santa brought me DJ Hero for the Wii this year for Christmas, and I have to say it’s the surprise hit of all of my new toys. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In the ancient past, I spent time both in the club scene and as a DJ, so it has a certain appeal to me, but I’ll concede that it’s not for everyone. Having spent some time playing Rock Band at a friend’s house, I can say that DJ Hero is quite a bit harder to learn (even at the easy level) than playing guitar — from a technical standpoint, there’s a lot more to “two turntables and microphone” than “a beat-up six-string.” But the music is great — top quality mixes, by big-name DJs — and the game play is addictive as you try to master the higher levels. Oh yeah, and I got mad skillz!
Last year we bought a Wii. Shortly after we downloaded the Internet Channel for it, one of its biggest limitations became apparent. The Wii ships with an ancient version (well, ancient by computer standards) of Adobe’s Flash player. This version works with some web sites, but most, like Hulu, require a more recent version. So it’s impossible to watch flash videos from these sites. This is supremely inconvenient, and largely negates the value of having Internet access on your TV in the first place.
I am not alone in this sentiment. I really didn’t realize how widespread this problem was until I did a Google search for “Hulu Wii” and saw how many sites are devoted to talking about ths conundrum. Forum posts, rants, online petitions. A huge number of people are interested in this topic. But the point was really driven home when I went to one site that promised a step-by-step tutorial and got rickrolled. You know an internet topic has a following when it becomes a target for Mr. Astley.
Sadly, Nintendo seems to be ignoring this tsunami of discontent among its users, and has not responded to two years of requests for an Adobe upgrade. At this point, it appears likely they will release a new platform before they make this seemingly small improvement to the existing Wii.
We bought the Cars – Mater-National game for our Wii mainly because it is my son Noah’s favorite movie and I thought he’d enjoy watching the game as much as watching the movie. I was not wrong. He loves it.
But I must confess that I like it too, and it’s a very well executed game. The graphics are extremely well done, the story that guides you throughout is imaginative and well-written, and the game play itself is very good. The cars handle in a realistic way (for the most part) and the controls are intuitive.
I especially like the fact that certain areas of the game become unlocked after you achieve certain milestones and that results in barricades with “Road Closed” signs disappearing from roads in the game, allowing you to explore new areas of the map. I also like that time progresses as you go through phases of the game, so sometimes you are driving during the day, and sometimes at night. Overall it’s a great game and I would strongly recommend it, even if you don’t have kids!
With our little girl in the hospital for two weeks, we are trying to make the best of our time there. So we went out and bought a Nintendo Wii console and hooked it up to the TV in Josie’s room. We also got a game we knew Noah would enjoy watching (if not actually playing yet) — Cars – Mater National. It’s a racing game based on the Pixar movie Cars.
So far, I have to say that I’m impressed with the Wii. We got the Sports version of the console that includes trial versions of tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing, and golf. It is really something to see how the console tracks the movement of the controllers in your hands and translates it into very realistic movements of your character in the game. I can also see why, after just a short time playing it, that so many people comment on the aerobic benefits of playing the Wii. It really gets your blood pumping.
It remains to be seen if we will outgrow this game platform, but right now I can see us using it as a family for a long time to come. Thanks Nintendo for making an otherwise unpleasant hospital stay a little more enjoyable!