So whilst getting into sessions at PAX might have been something of a bum steer this time around there was one thing that it really excelled at: getting people together to play games, any kind of games. I don’t mean this lightly either they catered to essentially every time of gamer you could think of with their massive games libraries and spaces dedicated to playing. By far the best time I had there was stumbling into the free play PC area late at night when there were a bunch of PCs free and our group of friends just playing, like the good old days of LANs. It’s also an opportunity for gamers like me, who spend the vast majority of their time on a single platform, to experiment with others and strangely enough I found myself behind the controls of a WiiU.
The game we played was Nintendo Land, a kind of lavish tech demo ala Wii Sports which did the same thing for the original Wii back in the day. Most of the games are incredibly simplistic in nature but are centered around playing together and demonstrating what’s possible with the Wii U controller. My friend who introduced us to this game insisted that we play one which was essentially a game of one person trying to run/hide from everyone else. Catch is the person who’s being chased has the Wii U controller and can see everything that the people trying to hunt them down is doing. I was a little skeptical at first but I figured that I had some time to kill while our friends finished up their game of Puerto Rico.
Then something weird happened, I started having fun.
It’s a simple premise but the game play that comes out of it is really quite fun as you team up against one person to try and chase them down. The other games in Nintendo Land are based around similar premises, like one where you’re a ghost that has to scare all the other players, and they all have that simple joy of co-operative/competitive play which makes them great for both kids and adults a like. I didn’t end up playing all of the modes since we were meandering off to the PC area but I walked away with the feeling that whilst the Wii U might not be the crazy success the Wii was there’s definitely something to it, even if that thing won’t potentially sell.
Honestly I think the problem here is one of market saturation and the value proposition that the Wii U brings to the table. The Wii was successful because it went after the largest target market: people who don’t traditionally play games. This helped spread the console to places where it never would’ve gone before, to the point where just getting one seemed to elect you to an exclusive club. This was at the cost of alienating some of the more hardcore/dedicated fan base, something I’m sure Nintendo was willing to wear for the sales it got. The problem with this is that the difference between the Wii and the Wii U isn’t big enough for those kinds of users to see the value in upgrading, indeed when I told my wife (an avid user of our Wii) about the Wii U she wondered why we’d bother getting it and, at the time, I was inclined to agree with her. After playing it I can see that there are some cool uses cases for that giant controller, ones that I’m sure current Wii owners would appreciate, but I don’t think Nintendo has done a great job of selling that so far.
Did this convince me to buy one? Not particularly as there’s no games that are drawing me to the platform and I can’t see myself getting a group of people together to play Nintendo Land very often. This could change, indeed it might almost be worth it for a HD Zelda game, but there’s little more than that novelty aspect going for it currently. I’m not exactly sure how Nintendo can overcome this, they’re in a bit of a chicken and egg situation at the moment with developers and titles, but there’s no denying that there’s something to the Wii U concept.
Just a quick post to send out seasons greetings to everyone who I won’t be able to see in person today. I trust you’re having a brilliant time wherever you are, enjoying the company of loved ones and indulging yourselves in the usual festive feasts. I know I’ll probably set for the next few days after 2 hearty family meals, I should probably skip breakfast just to make room.
So enjoy yourselves, take care and I’ll see you back here when I’ve recovered 😉
Ever since the wonderful day I had exploring Miami yesterday I had been dreading this morning, it was time for me to check out of the Viceroy and head back to Orlando. When I first arrived I was a little overwhelmed with the level of service and opulence that was presented before me but after spending just a mere 4 nights there I began to grow accustomed to it, revelling in the luxury. As they say though all good things must come to an end and so it was that I packed up my things and began getting ready to check out. I had the room until 12pm so I thought I’d make the most of it by catching up on the latest news and watching all of the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers on Hulu. This had the unfortunate consequence of alerting me to something dire to my whole reason for being here.
The shuttle launch had been delayed, again.
When I first planned the trip to include my jaunt over here to Florida I had initially budgeted a week (so that Rebecca could have time with her best friend in the world, Laura) for me to hop around and have fun in the Corvette with a couple days at the end for the shuttle launch, some slack to make sure I didn’t miss it due to weather events. The first delay was well within this schedule and whilst it was shocking at the time I could handle it by just booking another rental car to cover the trip out there and back to the airport the next day. This next delay however posed a more serious problem as I would be flying out that day at 12pm and the launch wasn’t scheduled until 3 hours later. After an hour of unmitigated panic I decided I wasn’t going to be fucked by a day and shot an email off to my travel agent hoping to get the flight moved without having to pay out the ass for it. A quick check of the flights shows I could book it on my own for about $120 and another night in a hotel wouldn’t break the budget. I should hopefully hear back from her sometime tomorrow, letting me see the shuttle launch and validating my whole reason for being here.
With that all settled I went downstairs to check out and to grab the Corvette so I could get out of there. It was a pretty uneventful drive back, but it was far more enjoyable than the one down. On the way down I was still fighting off the last little bit of my jet lag making the last hour or so of the drive quite tiresome. Today however I was very well rested and I’d finally grown accustomed to the heat and humidity making the drive that much more pleasurable. I even took a little time out to make a 0-60 video of the corvette and put the top down for the first time since I got it. I should’ve done it sooner because damn, it just looks sexy when it’s topless:
It’s a bit too much when you’re doing 75mph though so I had to put it back down after a couple miles of getting my head blown around. I reconciled to spend the last few days with the top down as much as humanly possible though, it really is quite fun (especially putting it up and down, it’s fully motorised).
The hotel I had chosen for my last few days here in Orlando was the Crown Plaza Universal. The name makes it sound a lot better than it actually is but I guess it’s more oriented to families who are staying here to go to Disney World rather than the strapping male technophile like the Viceroy was. Case in point I had to pay for my Internet connection here where every other hotel I’ve stayed in has provided it free of charge. This place is considerably cheaper than the rest of them though and they still have a gym.
After I got settled in and had a quick work out my mind shifted towards finding some dinner. Firing up Yelp brought up quite a few good locations all within a long walk/short drive away with the best of them unfortunately being lunch only places. I finally settled on the Hanamizuki Japanese restaurant which had quite a few good reviews. After driving over there and waiting about 10 minutes to be seated (they weren’t that busy, but seemed to miss me and the 10 customers standing behind me somehow) I was seated down at the sushi bar and given their extremely large menu. The food was pretty good, definitely worth the price and I’d actually rate it above Zuma. Reason being the people here were actual Japanese nationals, not the wasians at Zuma who spoke (admittedly good) rapid fire Japanese at you. I didn’t think twice when the chef offered me some sashimi in Japanese, thanking him with a quick “arigatoo” to which he responded “doo itashimashite”, which means you’re welcome.
Returning to my car I was reminded of the day I had yesterday and how much good had came from just exploring. The tempreature was still quite nice even at this late hour so I decided to jump in, get the top down and go for a cruise. I set off in one random direction and found myself on the main strip of this part of Orlando with lights and all sorts of things lining the street. It was beautiful in its own way, a tribute to the American way of life. The moment was wholly captured by the instant when I pressed the accelerator just that little harder than I had done before and the corvette let out a note of which I had never heard before. It was beautiful, like a caged lion being released from its bonds into the wild. The second I came to from that moment of pure automobile ecstasy I laughed in a way I haven’t done in years. That pure feeling of joy that comes from doing something so utterly ridiculous that bypasses every other part of your brain and just tickles the pleasure centres. The grin wouldn’t leave my face for almost an hour afterwards.
With that came thoughts of what to do tomorrow. I’m thinking a cruise down to the beach with the top down will be perfect, with the corvette getting a good boot on the way there and back. I think I’ve finally hit that part of the trip where I finally drop all those barriers that I put up to protect myself when I’m in an unknown situation and with that I’m ready to just relax and let the trip happen all on its own.
Damn it feels good 😀
As I’ve confessed to previously I’m a notorious Sony fanboy. Whilst this was done initially out of a boy love that grew from the hours that I spent playing on my trusty old Playstation it soon took a turn in another direction. What I’ve come to notice from many companies is that they will release their initial product and then revise as it matures. Typically this means nothing but good things for the consumer, but more recently it’s taken a much darker turn.
I guess the first piece of kit that I bought as an early adopter would have to have been the Playstation 2. I remember eagerly waking up at an extraordinary hour to rush out to grab one as soon as the stores had opened. I wasn’t the first one there by a long shot and the price had even dropped from the ludicrous height of $750 to $720. After convincing my parents that I could afford to pay them back I picked my shiny new PS2 and a single game whilst parting with my debit card until it was all paid back. I had justified the purchase to myself because of the backwards compatibility, but the possibility of turning it into a fully fledged computer as well sealed the deal. Whilst I never got the kit (since it cost more than the console itself even after it had been released for over 3 years) I did work with people who had got them, and by all accounts it was a great platform to learn game development on.
My early adoption of Sony’s products paid dividends more recently when I purchased my PSP and PS3. The PSP came riddled with security holes that allowed me to run all sorts of homebrew applications on it (video streaming over WiFi being my favourite) and the PS3 came with backwards compatibility and card readers. It’s up for debated whether or not the premium I paid for these products, about $100 on the PSP and $400 on the PS3, are worth it but since I was going to make the plunge anyway they’re just value-adds for me, which is always nice.
This is not to say that my habit of early adoption for new tech hasn’t been without its pitfalls. A few years ago I was in the market for a new phone and it just so happened that Motorola had released their new slim RAZR phone. Since I had worked in retail for 6 years selling mobile phones I knew Motorola was pretty good at making your basic phones and with it being so slim it was an instant sell for me. The writing was on the wall when the first one I received didn’t recognise my sim card, and had to be replaced that day. The second handset did its job admirably but it was plagued with meta-problems like the sync software only ever working once and certain features, like the predictive text, going awry shortly after.
I remember one of my university lecturers showing me an image similar to this:
Image used under the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2
Although this one has been trimmed to fit a traditional bell curve it still demonstrates the idea that around 16% of people are what you could call early adopters. What really got to me was the demographics that came with these percentages with the youngsters like myself filling the Early Adopters and Early Majority categories but rarely in the Innovators. It would seem that the big risk takers are in fact established firms and make their business from being on the cutting edge.
The pace of innovation that the IT industry continues to set is probably what keeps me in this industry. Anyone who knows me will tell you that if I’m not challenged for long enough I’ll start to shift my gaze elsewhere, something that has left me with an interest trail of jobs on my resume. Realistically IT is the only industry I could get away with doing something like this since the standards are always shifting, heavens help me if I tried this in accounting.
Not that I have anything against accountants…… 🙂
Just to see how this goes, I’ve created a horrible mess of web 2.0 applications so that several different websites will update themselves when I post on this blog.
I believe this is what those crazy web kids call “mash ups” these days, when really its just programs talking to each other. Or maybe I’m getting cynical in my old (HA!) age 🙂
Expect a few more of these kinds of posts if I find I’ve broken something.
Appears that I’ve made it work. All it took was an hour and few non G rated words yelled at my server to get it working 😉