Speed of math

Assuming 8 equals 6, it takes the Milky way most of a day to travel as far as light does in a minute.

Just in case you were wondering…

Oh, and server upgrades mean the blog’s back online and working. ^_^

I’ve recently become quite entertained by Nodame Cantabile, having been flicking through a donated volume of English-language manga and then quite co-incidentally seen the first episode of the anime at an ANUAS executive show-selection screening.

So I was quite surprised to see that the recently-released NDS game… existed. I was subsequently surprised to see it at number four in the weekly Japanese video game charts.

At this point unsurprisingly, but still very pleasingly, there turns out to be a live-action series too (predating the anime) which I’ll be looking long and hard at including in next semester’s ANUAS drama screenings.

I also bought SSX Blur for the Wii on the weekend, as well as borrowing the work copy of Need For Speed: Carbon. Both games are by EA, and both suffered the same control problem, namely that the nunchuck-rolling movement only registers properly if you hold the nunchuck with your wrist fully extended on top. (ie stick your thumb out as far as you can, and then make it parallel to your forearm, palm facing inwards. That sort of wrst position.) This of course works fine when you think about it, but it’s not the natural position for the nunchuck, nor is it particularly comfortable.

That of course was not the only problem I hit. NFS: Carbon I found very very very frustrating to play, as the cars would tend to get stuck to a wall, and then come off only to hit the other side at an even sharper angle. Shifting into reverse with an auto gearbox also seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, leading to the situation where if I hit any wall on the course, I couldn’t win. Granted, I’m not that good at driving games, so I wasn’t exactly expecting the gaming experience of a lifetime, but even so I enjoyed NFS: Underground 2 on the Xbox a lot more.

SSX Blur, on the other hand, was a sharp disappointment. As well as the nunchuck issue, the other problem was that the Ubertricks seemed to be unwarrantedly difficult to pull off. I only managed to get the movement recognised in-game twice, and only once was I far enough off the ground by that point to actually be able to hit the button to end the trick and land. Seriously, this game element could have been saved by simply dimming the screen the button was held down, slowing time, and showing the player the movement the Wii was reporting, rather than continuing to hurtle downhill at breakneck pace while trying to draw Zs and love-hearts in the air.

However, the biggest gameplay disappointment in SSX Blur (Compared to the last one I played, SSX Tricky, against on the Xbox) is the loss of the character chat. It was a great gaping hole in the game that I could no longer enjoy the continuous mutterings of the character (Kaori, in my case, who used to chatter away in Japanese) and was in fact hearing nothing but the sound of board on snow and the inane pseudo-surfer sound of the DJ.

Also, the DJ was very annoying. >_<

The other major loss in SSX Blur was the rider customisation options. In SSX Tricky, I worked repeatedly over the various competitions and challenges, trying to save up enough money to buy the many many many neat, cool and downright weird rider outfit components available. There was something about unlocking peaks and whatnot, but seriously, I don’t care that much about snowboarding that I’d take the game as its own reward.

Fast-forward to SSX Blur, and after winning three races and one 1 on 1 challenge, I was first on the leaderboard, and had unlocked the second of 25 sets of skis/boards and 0 extra outfits. That’s 0 extra, I still had the one I started with. Out of four! Seriously. Four outfits? And they were whole outfits, not the mix-and-match fun of SSX Tricky.

I will concede that snowballs were an interesting new feature in SSX Blur. But there’s only so many snowballs you can throw at your opponents before you miss the ability to board into the shop and buy a cuter and fluffier backpack.

I’ll be trading in SSX Blur tomorrow for The Godfather: Blackhand Edition, since I believe I’m less than six hours away from finishing The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Godfather got good reviews on the Wii. I’m a little apprehensive though, as it is another EA game… If they turn out to have fizzled the controls in this one too, Wing Island is an option. If I keep swapping games around, I’ll either find something good, or one of the holy trinity (Super Smash Bros Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy or Metroid Prime 3: Corruption) will ship.

Speaking of video games, a friend of mine will be in Japan next month, so I’ll be taking the opportunity to score some NDS games to help with my Japanese.

I’ve attached AmazonJP links to the DS games I’m considering… I’d love to hear some thoughts and feedback on these or other suggestions… I’m particularly keen on some kind of fairly simple kanji learning/memorisation game, and something I can scribble kanji into and get dictionary lookups from.

I’ll be modchipping my Wii soon, so any suggestions on Japanese-released Wii games that’ll be playable with my remarkably poor command of the language would be appreicated too. ^_^

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