Thursday, June 28, 2007

No Review Today

Sorry guys, I said I would have another review up today, but I haven't been able to find the time. It's not my fault, I swear! I had some company over from another province and I couldn't just ditch them for a couple hours to write a review. Unless some other unexpected event pops up, my second review will be done by Friday or Saturday.

I recently purchased Tetris DS, so you can expect a review of that sometime. I've been playing it most of the day today and I'll tell you this much: any sanity I might have once had is being permanently driven out of me. That ****y game provoked the anger and might in me to punch a dent in the wall, and when I saw the dent I nearly threw my DS across my room. It was then that I told myself to take a chill pill and come write this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Affiliate: The Hylia

We've gotten our first affiliate; The Hylia! I'm proud to be affiliated with such a high-calibre website. The folks at The Hylia do a phenomenal job of keeping track of gaming news. They also do occasional reviews and other features. The Hylia is one of my favourite and one of the most reliable gaming news sites on the web, so be sure to check it out. The link is on the right, under Affiliates.


Today I worked long and hard at creating a camera set up so I could make a Galaga gameplay video. I took a table top, attached legs to it with packing tape and put two thick books and on top of that. Then I put all this on a coffee table and put my camera on top, knowing that if the packing tape were to give out at any moment the camera would be done for. I centered up the camera up with the TV perfectly, so no borders were showing. I then pressed the record button, and began playing. It was an absolutely perfect gameplay video; the double shots were shown, I got to two challenging stages without dying, acing them both, and when five minutes of gameplay was recorded I pressed the record button again to stop. I watched the recording on the mini LCD camera screen, thinking about how delighted my viewers would be with this absolutely perfect recording. Then I plugged it into the computer and transferred the video. When the transfer was complete, I watched it… and screamed. Well, not literally, but my mind was screaming loud and clear. The video was horribly choppy, running at probably only four or five frames per second. The sound was fuzzy, and five seconds behind the video. When I watch the video on the Wii photo channel it is fine, but for some reason it gets all messed up when I transfer it to the computer. I'm probably not going to be able to do any video features until I get video transfer cables, which hopefully will be soon. I'll try transferring the video again tomorrow, because maybe it was just a one-time problem, but I have a feeling it's not.

I'm still debating whether I should review Mario Kart DS or Sonic and the Secret Rings next. Maybe I'll end up doing another virtual console review. Another review might be up tomorrow, but it’s safer to expect one on Thursday.

Monday, June 25, 2007

More Site News and Info

Hi people, I thought I would let you know a bit more about what will be happening in the future of this blog/site. So, if you're in for another read...

A few people have asked me about what game comparisons I will be doing and when. Here's where it stands right now. First off, I won't be comparing any games that haven't been reviewed yet by me. I will be releasing as much content as I can related to each game I review, but a review will be done before any additional content is put up, including comparisons. This is why I will be reviewing some older games (like Mario Kart DS) or popular games that already have lots of reviews from various sources (like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess); reviews are just a doorway for additional content. After Mario Kart DS is reviewed, lots of additional content will follow, including videos of all the tracks, gameplay modes, Wifi matches, etc. After Twilight Princess is reviewed, lots of additional content will follow, including videos of different items in use, town explorations, etc. As you probably noticed, I'm placing a heavy emphasis on video, but I will do written features as well. Anyways, I hope you get the point. Reviews are not the primary feature of this website, but they're just a doorway leading to several other features.

Anyways, back to where I was. For those of you who want to see my list of planned future game comparisons, here it is. Many of these games are not released yet, but I plan on doing all of these comparisons in the future.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Super Mario Bros. 3 vs. Super Mario World
New Super Mario Bros vs. (winner of Super Mario Bros. 3 vs. Super Mario World)
Metroid vs. Super Metroid
The Legend of Zelda vs. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Super Mario 64 vs. Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Kart vs. Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart DS vs. (winner of Mario Kart 64 vs. Super Mario Kart)
Donkey Kong Country vs. Donkey Kong Country 2

This is just a list of game comparisons I have definite plans of doing, but some others may be added, such as F-Zero vs. F-Zero X, Megaman vs. Megaman 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Now some other stuff you should know about. You may have noticed how I titled my Galaga review. I first put the name of the game (Galaga), then the platform (Virtual Console), and lastly the feature type (review). I will be titling all video game content I put up like this so it will be easier to find what you want in the archives (on the right-hand side of the screen). As you know, this is a blog, therefore it’s not built for easy navigation, but I still want it to be as easy to navigate as possible.

You can expect at least one more review this week. I am currently debating whether I should do it for Sonic and the Secret Rings or Mario Kart DS. If you people would prefer one over the other, please post a comment and tell me. I also hope to have a Galaga gameplay video up sometime this week, but I do not know how to videotape my TV while I’m playing. I’ll try to find a table that is the right height to set my camera on, but I may or may not find one. If you have any suggestions, then again, post a comment. I will be doing on-screen recording in the future, but I don’t have the right equipment yet to do that, so I have to use a digital camera for now.

Stay tuned, and tell your buddies about the site. I’m trying to get some affiliates but I’m not going to be able to until a lot of content is added and some major upgrades are made.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Galaga: Virtual Console: Review

I was planning on doing a review for Mario Kart DS, but today has turned out being very busy for me, so I've decided to review a much shorter Virtual Console game instead.

I'm very surprised at the amount of Wii owners I've recommended Galaga to that haven't even heard of the game previously. The gameplay is very basic and only makes use of one button, but it's just as awesomely (or should I say horribly) addictive as it was back in it's arcade/NES days.

This is the sequel to the early arcade game Galaxian, which was also released on the very first home console, the Atari 2600. The controls are simple enough; left and right on the D-pad moves your ship left and right, and 1 or 2 on the Wii controller is used to shoot. You simply have to destroy all the enemies to complete each level, but these enemies do more than just sit there shoot at you; they're suicidal. If you leave them for too long they will come down at you in bee-lines. There's almost no way you're going to get them all before they start coming down, but you have to get as many as possible or else you're going to get showered by fly-like enemies, and most likely die. If they get by you without hitting you then they will appear again at the top of the screen, where they will settle into their normal positions for a few seconds before raining on you again. It's highly fun, highly addictive and highly frustrating when you shoot five or six times at one of these things, miss every time, and then they hit you. But that's a good kind of frustration; the kind that will keep you coming back to a game over and over again.

The thing that really sets Galaga apart from other shooters is the ability to have two of your own ships on the screen at the same time, therefore having double shots. The method of getting the double shots is creative and unique. In each level, there are four ships that are stronger than the rest. These are the green/teal ones in the above picture, and they take two shots to kill rather than one. One of these four ships has the ability to abduct your ships; as you may or may not have guessed, this is referred to as The Boss. The Boss will come down in a bee-line like the other enemies, but will stop when it gets close to you and sent out a vacuum beam. If you have any spare ships, then befriend this kind
ship and allow him to take you in. You will then use one of your spare ships, and with it you are to betray your new friend and kill him. Your old ship will then go back beside your spare ship, and you will take control of them both, therefore giving you double shots. I should note that you cannot shoot the boss ship until it starts coming down at you again or else your lost ship will remain an enemy and you will not get double shots. Since your two ships will be beside each other now you will be a larger target, but you will also be able to inflict twice as much damage. Good bargain, eh?

Every few stages there is a bonus stage. The game calls these “challenging stages” for some unknown reason. Challenging stages are made up of forty enemies entering the screen in several separate lines. They cannot shoot or damage you; they're simply targets. You will get 100 points for every one you destroy and a huge bonus if you destroy all forty of them. These stages are fun and they’re a nice change from the ordinary. Having the double shots for challenging stages gives you a huge advantage.

The graphics in this game are nothing special, but they do the job. The sprites aren't overly fancy, but the explosion effects are good and the starry background beats the blank, boring black one far too many NES shooters have.
The sound is far above average for an NES game. There isn't too much going on for sound at once so rarely is one sound cut short by another like in lots of other NES games. Basically there are just shooting sounds, explosion sounds and short music clips, but it all sounds great.
There is a two player mode, but it’s no reason to buy the game. Like Super Mario Bros, when one player dies, the other player gets a turn. What would be better is if both ships could be on the screen at the same time in a co-op mode, but it is what it is I guess.

Final review:

Graphics – 22/33
They do the job.

Sound – 28/33
The sound in Galaga is excellent. The shooting and explosion sounds are heard even more than the dot-munching sound in Pac-Man, but they won’t ever get annoying.

Gameplay – 31/34
Galaga is one of the most addictive games of all time. If the multiplayer was worth playing then gameplay would get a max score.

Final score – 81/100
There have been an overabundance of shooters released on VC so far, but there are few I can recommend above Galaga, if any. There is nothing fancy about this game, but as I’ve made very clear, you’re hard pressed to find a more addictive game ever made. If I was paying $0.25 for each game like I would be on an arcade, I would have spent close to $30 on this game by now, so paying $5 for an unlimited amount of games is quite the deal.

Casual/Hardcore Appeal – 5/5
Both sides will have an equally good time with this game. I recommended it to everyone, whatever your tastes may be.

So, that’s it for my first review! I hope you liked it. There isn’t much else I can show related to this game since it’s so simple, but I’ll try to get a gameplay video up (off-screen) sometime soon.


Review Scoring System

Banner Added

If you didn't notice, I added a website banner.  It's not great, but it's better than nothing, right?  Right...?

I said I would do a Mario Kart DS review today, which may or may not happen, depending on how my day goes.  If I don't manage to get enough time to review it today, I will review a shorter, simpler Virtual Console game.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Announced Reviews

As I've made very clear, this is much more than a review site, but still I've got a decent amount of reviews coming up.  Here's a list.


Mario Kart DS
Metroid Prime Hunters
New Super Mario Bros
Brain Age


The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Sonic and the Secret Rings
Super Paper Mario

Virtual Console:

The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Super Mario Bros
Super Mario 64
Super Mario World
Mario Kart 64
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country 2
Gradius III
Sonic Spinball

That list may bring up a couple questions.  One probably is Why am I reviewing old DS games and the other most likely is Why all the VC games?  I'll explain.  I admit, I'm a bit of a newbie to the DS.  I just got mine six months ago, and when I bought it I also bought the games that I thought were probably some of the best ones out there, those being Mario Kart DS, Metroid Prime Hunters, New Super Mario Bros and Brain Age.  All of those are fairly old, but I am still going to review them because there are still lots of new DS owners out there who want to know if these games are worth buying or not.  Also the reviews are just a lanching pad for lots of other features and content having to do with these games, and many of these features may be appealing even to those who have had the game for a long time.

As for all the Virtual Console games... well, we haven't gotten a whole lot of good Wii games so far, but we have gotten loads of good VC games at a fast click at a low price, so I've gotten quite a few of them.  Fortunately we will be getting lots of good Wii games for the remaineder of this year, starting July with Mario Strikers Charged.

Even though I only have eight DS and Wii games announced for review, remember, this is not primarily a review site.  Reviews are just a way for me to get a bunch of other features started.

Also some site news.  You may have noticed that this site is a little barren looking.  You know, not a real treat for the eye.  Don't worry, that's being worked on.  This site isn't even a day old yet and it has hardly even begun it's development.  Believe me, it's going to be pretty sweet looking by the time we're done with it.

The Review Scoring System

There are lots of game review sites out there. Most of them all follow one basic scoring formula; they score different game elements on a scale of one to ten, and then give the game a final score on a scale of one to ten. That's basic enough, and it makes enough sense, but I've found that often the final score reflects the reviewer's personal opinion rather than how good the game actually is. Well, I’ve come up with a review system that I think will be more accurate than any other and it will filter out opinionism (don’t tell me that’s not a real word, I already know) as much as possible. Here's how it works.
Before I review a game, I will select all the gaming elements that I think apply to that particular game. For example, the main game elements of an adventure game probably would be sound, graphics, presentation, story and gameplay. In racing games, there usually isn't much of a story, so that element would be removed. In a very simple game like Brain Age, the graphics element may be removed as well.
When I have determined what all of the elements in the game I'm reviewing are, I will divide 100 by the number of elements. So if there are five different game elements, I will divide 100 by five, which gives me twenty. That is the max number of marks that can be given to each element. I will try to accurately score each element on a scale of one to twenty. I will then add up all the scores, and the sum will be the game's final score.
So let’s say I'm reviewing a game, and I give the sound 7/20, graphics 14/20, presentation 17/20, story 19/20 and gameplay 17/20. To determine the final score, I will add 7 (sound), 14 (graphics), 17 (presentation), 19 (story), and 17 (gameplay). The sum of this is 74, therefore the game's final score is 74/100, or 7.4/10. Without bragging, I think this is probably the most accurate rating system out there.

There is another element I will include in my reviews, and that is casual/hardcore appeal. This does not affect the game’s final score. This just simply shows how attractive a game might be to casual or hardcore gamers. When I determine a game I rate to have a 7/3 casual/hardcore appeal, this means the game is more suited to casual gamers. When I determine a game I rate to have a 2/8 casual/hardcore appeal, this means the game is much more suited to hardcore gamers. When I determine a game I rate to have a 5/5 casual/hardcore appeal, this means the game will be equally appealing to both types of gamers.

There are two special rankings that can be awarded to certain games. One is the Instant Classic ranking. This can be awarded to DS and Wii games. These are brilliant games that people will be talking about for many years to come and will never leave the players' memory. The other special ranking is the True Classic. This can only be awarded to Virtual Console games. True Classic games are games that completely new gamers can pick up for the first time and have just as much fun with them as gamers had with them back when they were new.

Now you may be wondering about the game comparison system. (Or maybe you’re not, but that’s just too bad, because I’m going to tell you about it anyway.) It's pretty simple. Instead of trying to make a long explanation before I show the example, I'm going to make an example first this time.

(One game title here) vs. (Other game title here)
W -------------- Graphics ---------------- L
L -------------- Gameplay --------------- W
T ----------------- Story ------------------ T

As you probably guessed, W stands for win, L stands for loss and T stands for tie. After I've gone through all the categories, the game that won the most categories wins the comparison.

So, those are my rating methods. As I said before, I am not trying to carbon copy any other game site; I'm trying to make something new and unique that actually might make some people come here. I think the game scoring system I made is more accurate than most other systems, and the comparison system will work well. I look forward to actually adding some real content in the coming days. I would like to hear some people's opinions about my system, so please leave a comment.

Welcome to the site!

Hello, and welcome to the site, Nintendo In-Depth. As you may have guessed by the title, this site is in-depth on everything Nintendo; that is DS games, Wii games, accessories and the systems themselves. Let me make it clear that this is not a review site. I will be doing reviews, but this is not strictly a review site or a clone of any other site. This is completely original. I'm not trying to be a one-man IGN, I'm trying to do something unique that will actually make people come here occasionally instead of IGN for some sort of content that IGN doesn’t have. I will use a unique scoring system for my reviews (which will be explained later) as well as game comparisons (ex: Ocarina of Time vs. Twilight Princess; Super Mario Bros. 3 vs. Super Mario World), game hints and tips, occasional walkthroughs and lots of other unique features. Once I get the right equipment, I will also be doing lots of awesome video features. I will post personal thoughts about what's going on in the gaming world occasionally as well.
I will be making message boards, but believe me, these will be much more than your average message boards. I don't feel like telling you what will make them so special just yet, but expect a preview in the coming weeks. I have great things planned for it, and I’m very sure lots of people will like its uniqueness.
I will try to update this site daily. I can't promise anything, but I'll probably never go more than two days without updating. Some updates will be major and others minor, but the minor ones will be necessary to build up the eventually huge database I plan on having. Once this blog site becomes a success, I will upgrade to a more professional, organized site that may look a bit more like other gaming sites such as IGN and Gamespot.

That's it for this post. I plan on making a great site, and I hope you people out there will help me make it a success. I'm going to post another entry today explaining my unique scoring system for reviews and the game comparison system. I will try to get a Mario Kart DS review up Sunday or Monday.