Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Wii's Have It

So I took the plunge and bought a Nintendo Wii and based on the positive reaction from both my wife (not a computer gamer) and my six year old daughter it seems to have been the right choice.

Wii Sports is great fun, though if you're as totally out of shape as I am beware those seldom used muscles! I had Wii shoulder for a little while after playing baseball. And who says that you don't use more energy with the Wii than other consoles? Whoever they are they haven't tried Wii boxing - which for a couch potato like me was pretty exhausting!

Having played Sports for a little while my daughter was keen to get some other games. My wife picked up a copy of Carnival: Funfair Games on spec. Both she and my daughter like it but I can't say that I've been impressed. It is a collection of 25 funfair games which seem to feature all the limited interest and frustration of real funfair games for me! It doesn't have Mii support and the character creation tools supplied are extremely limited. Whilst it is a cheaper option than some of the more mainstream games I wouldn't recommend it.

With this experience of spec purchases (never a good idea in my book) I took it upon myself to do a little research. I spotted a number of games which got consistently high ratings from the review sites but I was keen to get one which was another family orientated game (even with the Parental Controls I'm not sure I'd want a copy of Resident Evil 4 around yet!) and settled on Super Mario Galaxy.

Super Mario Galaxy is an excellent 3D platform style game in the Wii style. This time Mario gets to run around some pretty strange "worlds" populated by all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures. The levels build difficulty steadily and the controls are easily enough mastered for my daughter to pick them up very quickly. Obviously we've only got a little way through it so far but on the basis of what I've seen so far this one is recommended!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

To Wii or not to Wii...

...that is the question! As I think I mentioned in an earlier post my Windows PC isn't well and I think it's likely to pop its clogs pretty soon. Since I've now got the second Mac Mini for my desktop work and have transferred my media etc. across to it, the PC has been relegated to a platform for my daughter to play a couple of cheap games we got for her (I almost never have time for the only game I've got - Medieval Total War). So if the PC goes South the big loser will be my daughter. Since the Mini isn't really a games machine I thought it might be worth "investing" in a console.

Now I know that both the PS3 and XBox 360 have more processing power and in the case of the X-Box more games but I'm looking at this from a cost per use perspective. I think the PS3 graphics are impressive but the game selection isn't up to much as yet (certainly not for family or kids games) and whilst the XBox also has some pretty impressive titles I think the Wii is simply likely to get more use. It would be very nice to actually use one of the HDMI ports on my telly (the Mini media centre uses the DVI input) but I wouldn't get to play any non-child friendly games until after the little one goes to bed and then I'll be competing with my wife's fix of video vallium (The Street and 'enders) - so the chances of actually getting any real gaming time in is pretty slim.

So ... the play's the thing!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Bento - Databases Made Easy!

I downloaded the trial version of Bento, the database for OS X Leopard, a couple of weeks ago to see if it was going to be a useful addition to the iWork suite.

I can report back that it's one of the friendliest database tools I have used. It may not have the features of its big brother Filemaker or other Pro tools but for everyday use it's so easy! The user interface is very Mac and integrates nicely with Leopard. It provides themes and templates but creating your own structure is just child's play.

I liked it so much I went off and bought the license key before the 30 day trial was up. If you've got Leopard I'd recommend you give it a look.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

iPod and iPlayer

The Beeb has been, perhaps not surprisingly, a little Windows focussed with their iPlayer (their method of allowing you to watch some of the previous week's output via the web) but not only is it now capable of streaming over the web (downloads only being for Windows at the moment) but they've now launched an interface for the iPod Touch and iPhone with the programmes transcoded for Quicktime. It's only in Beta and many of the programmes aren't yet available but it's a great start and more power to them!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Kudos to Freecom

You may recall from a previous post that my Freecom 400GB drive decided it was USB1.1 rather than USB2.0 - so it was returned to Freecom. Today I received a replacement brand new drive and, not only that, it is 500GB. All credit to Freecom!