Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Overpriced Nintendo Amiibo isn't worth buying

 Amiibo and Club Nintendo aren't worth it.  Club Nintendo didn't have good enough free Virtual Console games and the known accessories are complete junk.

We’re right in the middle of a storm. Nintendo botched it big time when it came to stocking the new Amiibo figures with any sort of sense, with such ridiculous, half-assed explanations it isn’t unreasonable to assume the supplies are scarce on purpose. The moment folks got wind of certain Amiibo figures being hard to get, the scalpers and desperate consumers declared war and dumb things are happening as a result. People are now importing Amiibo, re-selling them for several times the retail price and of course paying several times the retail price. Other people are just unhappy and/or disappointed. Add in children, a huge part of the Nintendo fanbase to the equation, and things just get sad.

When you get caught up in a craze like this, it’s easy to forget what’s important. Like, for example, if the damn things are even worth buying. Maybe you’re a fan of the whole NFC thing as a genre, and know exactly what you’re getting into. Maybe you couldn’t care less about Skylanders or Disney Infinity, but the adorable Nintendo characters are shooting daggers into your heart. Either way, buying into this stuff is a hell of an investment depending on your approach, and it’s absolutely worth discussing how you’re going to justify drop-kicking somebody’s mom to get a hold of Best Buy’s last Little Mac. Here are a few talking points.

Price is definitely a factor for anything, but the scarcity and instability of the secondhand market right now is making these things fluctuate everywhere but the unreliable retail locations. If you can find what you want at Toys R Us though, you can do pretty well. At least for the holidays, you get a slight discount when you buy two Amiibo figures. Normally, they’re $12.99 each. That’s pretty good in terms of NFC figures; Disney Infinity toys are a few dollars more. If you want to import to get the more hard to find Amiibo, you’re probably looking at around 20 bucks and shipping. The secondhand market is nutty, going as far as 50 dollars or more for the rare figures, like Marth. Do not pay more than around 20 dollars for an Amiibo. Do not pay more than around 20 dollars for an Amiibo. You will be disappointed.

Unfortunately, Amiibo seem prone to factory defects and paint issues. This makes pre-ordering thoroughly unappealing, which is awful considering how that’s going to be the only option for a lot of these things, unless they get restocked later. It’s still vague as to whether or not that’s going to happen, and to what capacity. Thanks, Nintendo! That said, when you get one without any problems, they’re pretty cool. Don’t expect the same level of artistry as the Disney Infinity figures, however. Those things are amazing. Amiibo are still nice pieces, and some of them have a lot of neat little details, like Peach. Some of the less complicated characters, such as Little Mac, are going to be a little boring if you’re not into the character or franchise. It’s also worth nothing the stands on some of these figures. Some of them are a hideous shade of yellow for no clear reason, and others just have them in visually awkward places. Mileage may vary on characters like Link and Captain Falcon.

Here’s the big one. In terms of actual, NFC video games thingy function, Amiibo are… kinda garbage. Especially compared to the competition. Right now, three games are Amiibo compatible: Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors and of course, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. In the first two, Amiibo simply unlock some in-game items, mostly cosmetic. Using the Link Amiibo in Hyrule Warriors does net you a new weapon, but the others just give you a random item. In Mario Kart 8, you get outfits for the Mii racer depending on which characters you use (not all of them are compatible). The functionality in Smash Bros. is a bit more elaborate, with the Amiibo becoming trainable A.I. which you can customize and fight with.

What’s going to make or break Amiibo is how Nintendo supports them after Smash Bros. When you look at Skylanders or Disney Infinity, you can immediately see the value. Buying a figure gives you tangible in-game content. If you pick up Hulk, you can play as Hulk. When you bust your ass to find a Little Mac, you could already play as him in Smash Bros. Unfortunately, with all the artificial scarcity going on, it’s hard to imagine a game revolving around the figures working out very well. If Amiibo continue to unlock alternate costumes and items, that doesn’t sit well with me either.
What does “Amiibo” even mean, anyway?

Ultimately, I’d be willing to argue that without the supply issues, Amiibo probably wouldn’t be the hot topic it is now. Does that mean Nintendo didn’t have enough confidence in the gimmick to hit the ground running with it? Who knows. What we do know is, they don’t actually do much, despite being neat little figures. If you’re into collecting things, by all means these are some of the best Nintendo-themed trinkets money can currently buy (for a generally affordable price, no less). Otherwise, if you want to see what NFC figure gaming is all about, those Disney Infinity figures are super nice, and do a lot more for you. You can also, like, find all of them in stores.

Bought Everdrive 64 and Superdrive emulation carts last week.

I bought the 2.5 version (firmware) of Everdrive 64. Now I can play all the Super Mario 64 mods like Starry Road on old N64s.  My N64 collection isn't large enough for Instagram.  I like to collect the entire N64 category, but am spending that money on 3DS, PS4 and Vita games.   I also got a Pro8 Superdrive for SNES.  This will emulate roms from Sdcard and save games with a Nihm battery. The SNES games are always expensive.  Earthbound Reloaded was $50.  I have 30 SNES games and 20 Sega Genesis games.
Then I have two Gamepark Cannoos and 2 JXD PSP clones.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dear Evangelical voters (whose skipped)

The Most Smart State: Massachusetts  ( Republican Mitt Romney)

% of Population With Bachelor's Degrees: 38.2%

Median Household Income (2013): $65,339 (5th)

Average SAT Score (2013): 1553

Average IQ and Ranking: 104.3 (1st)

Massachusetts is home to some of the most prestigious schools in the world including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tuffts University, Boston College and Wellesley also call the state home. The state reported a gross state product of $404 billion in 2012, while per capita personal income was third highest in the nation at $53,221. Median household income in the state was $65,339 last year. Nearly a third of working residents in the state were employed in education, health care or social assistance.

Interested in another Republican, but too early.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pandoraviruses from Mars!

If you were to guess right now what kinds of organisms have driven some scientists to believe that another branch of life exists, what would they be? Hideous, green aliens or maybe man-eating flies? Actually, the organisms in question are neither alive nor visible to the naked human eye. Recently identified giant viruses – literally just uncommonly large viruses – are the organisms responsible for this new line of thinking.
Giant viruses appear to have been hiding from us in plain sight (figuratively speaking of course). In 2003, a group of French researchers identified the first mega viruses in a cooling tower, where they had been living off of amoebas. Since then, other giant viruses have been found in swamps, contact lens fluid (!), a pond in Australia, and off the coast of Chile. The recent identification of giant viruses doesn’t mean that they have suddenly appeared on Earth in the last ten years. On the contrary, it signifies the changing notions of what it means to be a virus. Scientists have long thought that viruses are small and fairly simple. Seeing that giant viruses are neither, other scientists who may have found them before now probably assumed that they were just bacteria.Giant viruses are unique because of their immense size and vast number of genes. In comparison to other viruses, giant viruses are like lions amongst mere house cats – larger, and more complex. Since the discovery of the first few giant viruses, such as Mimivirus and Megavirus chilensis, two extremely large new ones have been identified. Known as Pandoraviruses, for their box like shape, these two particular specimens are the largest viruses ever found. How large are they? So large that they can be seen under a light microscope. Pandoraviruses are even bigger than some eukaryotic cells, the ones humans are made of, which is radical since they are after all viruses.
The number of genes Pandoraviruses have is especially noteworthy. Their genomes range from 1,900 to 2,500 genes. In comparison, the influenza virus has a mere 13 genes while humans have roughly 24,000. What’s more, only 7% of their genes have been seen before in other organisms, meaning that the other 93% is foreign. According to Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel, who are researchers on Pandoraviruses, “the lack of similarity of most of their genes with other life forms might be an indication that they originated from a totally different primitive cellular lineage.” As of now, three domains of life are recognized: Bacteria, single-celled Archaea and Eukaryotes, the domain plants, animals, and humans belong to. Pandoraviruses’ foreignness alludes to the possibility of a fourth branch of life distinct from the other three and greater biological diversity.
Hand in hand with the theory of a fourth domain is the idea that Pandoraviruses and other giant viruses descended from primitive, living cells separate from bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotic cells. If so, then ancient cells must have embarked on two different evolutionary paths: some gave rise to “modern life” while others evolved into viruses.
Giant viruses, as far as we know, are harmless to humans. They have been found lurking in amoebas inside the human body but don’t appear to cause any sickness. Only time and more research will tell if they actually can wreck havoc in the body. There is even some evidence that they are useful, not to humans but to the oceans. Pandoraviruses found in water regulate some populations of phytoplankton, which contribute significantly to the world´s supply of oxygen, by preying on them.The French scientists who discovered Pandoraviruses are hopeful that future studies on the viruses will lead to further “biomedical and biotechnical innovations“. Overall, I think that the discovery of giant viruses shows that much biological diversity on earth is still unknown to humans and worth discovering.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Hardest Sonic the Hedgehog levels I've played

1. Cannon's Core - Sonic Adventure 2
I got SA2B when I was very small, I swore I could beat it before I became ten. I think I did it... But only a month before. That is all due to this 'mega level'. Still though, it was a good way to wrap up a good story and the ending was just awesome... Also did I mention the music? No? Oh, I'll sum it up quickly then... IT'S OVER 9000!

2 Eggmanland - Sonic Unleashed
Only number 10... I've beaten all of the sonic games in a week but eggmanland took me a year. This should be number 1
Ha! Rank A! But too hard. Try to jump down onto the platform instead of swinging on the pipes across the lava.

3 Scrap Brain Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog
It's true! Everything wants to kill you in this game! Even the first level is hard! First, you get your hopes up and then you DIE! I also finished the game without the Chaos Emeralds, and what did I get? A kick in my ass.

4 The End of the World - Sonic the Hedgehog 2006
Why is this not number one it only took me a couple days to beat Cannons core but I never got to beat this stage also bad controls, hard to beat enemies, and lots and lots of glitches.

5 Casino Park - Sonic Heroes
Casino Night Zone from the Mega Drive version of Sonic 2 is much better than Casino Park. Still, I like this hard stage.
This level is like TORTURE! It takes you forever to reach the goal ring.

6 Death Egg/Doomsday Zone - Sonic and Knuckles

7 Metallic Madness - Sonic CD
I had to look up how to beat this level's second act because it was so big and confusing.

8 Labyrinth Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog
I was stuck on this level longer than any other in any game as far as I can remember.
How can this level not be at least in the top five? Its so hard and frustrating!

9 Metropolis Zone - Sonic 2
I DIED 68 TIMES ON THIS LEVEL! Wing Fortress was harder, though.

10 Lost Impact - Shadow the Hedgehog
Thought The Doom was hard? This level is 10 TIMES WORSE! The level is way more confusing and ridiculously big, and you have to kill ALL of the enemies to beat the Hero mission. I HATE THIS LEVEL.

11 Launch Base Zone - Sonic 3

12 The Cauldron - Sonic and the Black Knight
I died a lot on this level because of the lava rings when trying to jump
The stupid lava rings...

13 Dragons Lair - Sonic and the Black Knight
Like shrouded forest but more challenging missions

14 Final Chase - Sonic Adventure 2
I had trouble getting to the final boss of the dark story

15 Shrouded Forest - Sonic and the Black Knight
First mission in this level is not that hard but there are other ones I haven't done yet

16 Marble Zone - Sonic 3

17 Night Palace - Sonic and the Secret Rings
I find this level tricky but not that tricky since I did beat on my first try

18 Eternal Engine - Sonic Adventure 2
It is known for how long and boring it is

19 Carnival Night Act 2 - Sonic 3
I can't even do it!

20 Terminal Velocity - Sonic Colors
Looks pretty easy right until the enemies arrive

21Lost World - Sonic Adventure

22Crazy Gadget - Sonic Adventure 2

23Scrambled Egg Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog 2

24Final Fortress
For Team Sonic and Team Dark, the camera view is so bad that it is hard to see where you are going. When you start playing the stage, you launch through the ring and there is a rail somewhere. When you miss the rail, you're toast and it seriously takes you a ton of tries to reach the rail. There are also lasers on the rail you have to avoid as you go deeper into the stage.

25 The Doom - Shadow the Hedgehog
This level is too maze like and WAY too big and boring elevators that you have to wait for. the hero mission is when you have to chuck healing capsules on dead reasearchers but the camera has a seizure and you will probably miss a lot. The dark mission sucks more since you have to kill SIXTY gun troops! In the giant maze like area! Oh and one of the gun mechs is glitches and you have to use a checkpoint warp to actually FIND THAT GUN MECH. even the normal mission is Tedious.
This level is a never ending maze. You are never sure where to go. I was stuck on that fit a few days
A year ago I played this stage and it took me 23 MINUTES to complete it (I did dark mission)

26 Route 280 Mission 4 - Sonic Adventure 2
Beating act 1 of this kart racing level is fine, but when you go to act 4 and you have to clear without hitting any walls, be prepared

27 Lava Mountain Zone 2 - Sonic Lost World

28 Blue Marine Zone - Sonic Blast
This is the most confusing zone in the Sonic series.

29 Dusty Desert - Sonic the Hedgehog 2006

30 Camelot Castle - Sonic and the Black Knight

31 Security Hall - Sonic Adventure 2

32 Grand Metropolics / Power Plant - Sonic Heroes

33 Flame Core - Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
This level is so annoying, falling off walls and landing in lava, and a hard boss to go with it!

34 Bullet Station - Sonic Heroes
I got 3 Game Overs playing the first time with team sonic!

35 Windy Hill - Sonic Lost World

36 Wacky Workbench (Sonic CD)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Midwest Gaming Classic 2015

Its my first time here since its a long drive from St. Croix County. Pretty good conference. Met some instagram and facebook people to add.

Midwest Gaming Classic
375 S Moorland Rd, Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005