new mario, new music

There’s an overwhelming number of new games coming out right now, but despite the pressures to buy Modern Warfare 2 or Borderlands, I caved in to my inner Nintendo fanboy and picked up New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Well, I’ll admit, Toys ‘R’ Us selling it for $70 helped. Either way, it’s time to talk Mario!

NSMBW, much like NSMB on the DS, is a straight-up 2D Mario game, with all the usual trimmings and a smattering of new stuff thrown in. After getting it home I quickly played through the first world-and-a-half, and while it was fun, it was tough, and actually frustrating in a way I hadn’t seen in a Mario game before. A lot of that frustration came from the D-pad on the Wiimote, which seemingly isn’t ideal for pushing diagonally.

Fortunately, NSMBW adds one significant spin to the Mario formula that elevates it far above its minor problems — four player co-op gameplay. Like MediaMolecule’s LittleBigPlanet, Mario’s latest lets four of you run across the map simultaneously, but the character interactions you can perform in the Mario universe multiply the hilarity and confusion of LittleBigPlanet ten-fold. It also avoids some of LittleBigPlanet’s issues by giving players a variety of options for getting through the tricky bits.

This game should come with a warning, though — do not play it with casual acquaintances, or people who might get on your nerves. With the thousands of ways you can end up killing, or just generally griefing, each other mid-game, you might never speak to them again.

In other news, I’ve been working on a new track; in fact, I think it’s nearly finished. Everything’s recorded, but the drums need more work to add a bit more variety. Once it’s finished I’ll be sure to post it!

gaming silly season 2009

With September nearly past us, we’re once again moving toward the silly season, and that means another Mega Holiday Gamesplosion — in fact, you could probably argue that Tuesday’s release of Halo 3: ODST marked the season’s official start. A tonne of games that were due before Xmas have since been pushed back to early 2010, but there’s still a solid line-up of stuff that I’m interested in (though I may have forgotten something):

  • September: Halo 3: ODST
  • October: Forza Motorsport 3, Brutal Legend
  • November: COD: Modern Warfare 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  • December: Zelda: Spirit Tracks

I’m as surprised as anyone that there are two Nintendo games in that lot — for all its talk of Wii Sports and Vitality Sensors Nintendo is actually pulling out a couple of big guns this season. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (forever henceforth known as NSMBW) is aimed squarely at the 2.5D co-op platformer space that was so neatly filled by the infinitely charming LittleBigPlanet last year, and I have no doubt that it’ll inspire the same crazy four-player sessions in our house.

Beyond that, I’m trying to limit myself to one game a month, and the only other guaranteed buy there is Forza 3, which is easily my most anticipated game of the year. Brutal Legend will be an eventual must-buy as well — maybe I’ll get that in December instead of Zelda.