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Tag: Wii

Travel Epilogue

by on Jun.21, 2010, under career, family, money, video games

11 cents.  That’s how much cash was left in my pocket after two weeks on the road.  I honestly only used cash for minimal incidental expenses that required it (e.g., train & bus fares, items from convenience stores and news stands) and I only started with a little over $100.  I just find it funny how closely my funds matched my needs.

Anyway, I’m glad to be gradually returning to normalcy.  Though while Saturday with the family went smoothly, Sunday my children did their best to remind me of what I didn’t miss while I was gone.  Grasshopper seems to be going through that phase in life where he is realizing that he is not in charge and is fighting that reality tooth and nail.  And Cricket seems to be giving us a preview of her teenage drama queen years to come.  All upon the backdrop of dinner with the in-laws – their older cousin got fed up with the behavior and I’m sure the parents of their younger cousin were not thrilled with the image of their possible future.  It seems my wife and I have some work to do with them.

On a good note, there were some positive aspects of Father’s Day this year.  My family made me French toast in bed, got me a nice geeky card, and got me Super Mario Galaxy 2 (which the kids proceeded to watch me play for hours).  The game is a good continuation of the series in that it keeps some continuity with the previous installment.  But it is also an improvement – the level layout is much more sensible and enjoyable.  In the first you had this huge “ship” with various rooms to navigate to find the levels of play.  In the new version you steer the ship (which is smaller and simpler) to the various worlds which are all laid out on an easy to navigate map (more similar to games like Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros. 3).  And they brought back Yoshi which adds a fun new variation on the game play (plus the kids love to watch me make him eat things).

Anyway, now that my travels are done, I must return to reality and be a productive member of society.  I look forward to getting back into more interactive tasks than just sitting still and listening all day.  I look forward to getting to go home every day and enjoying some time with my family (maybe a bit less of it like this weekend panned out).  And I look forward to getting refunded all of my travel expenses so that I have more than a dime and a penny to line my pockets.

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My Daughter, the Rock Star

by on Nov.09, 2009, under family, music, parenthood, video games

The funny thing with kids – no matter how complete your life may have felt before, once you have kids you can’t imagine life any other way.  Cricket and I have some interesting ways that we bond.  We play video games together, we read stories together (currently we are going back and forth between Nancy Drew and Harry Potter books), and we watch the cartoons together (some of them are quite fun even for adults).  Recently the kids and I had some free time together in the evening and opted to go to some nearby shops.  After doing a round at the pet store and passing in and out of a bike shop and a mattress store (who doesn’t like to bounce on beds?), we walked into a game shop to check out what Wii games were out and coming soon.

After browsing the selection and playing a round of each of the games they have on their demo systems, my son and I turn to see his sister having put a Rock Band guitar strap over her head getting ready to play it (mind you, she has never actually played any such games – she is only 5).  She gets her hands in position and shouts to the audience of the store “I’m bringin’ the THUNDER!”

Being her 3-year-old little brother, Grasshopper had to follow suit by getting his own guitar and repeating the phrase as best he could remember it.  In hindsight, I’m glad we had gone to the stores in the order that we did, because that was a better finale to the evening than the typical ‘don’t touch that’-fest that any trip the the pet store always becomes.  This event easily washed all of that away.

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Virtual Road to Riches

by on Aug.18, 2009, under comics, family, video games

So one of my bonding activities that I developed as of late with my daughter is video gaming – specifically playing with the Wii (btw, thanks again Mom).  Initially it was all about Mario Party 8 since that was one of the first games we had with it.  But I, frankly, can only handle so much of that game (especially since the taunt feature has been unlocked).  So for my birthday, I got a couple of new games (thanks, Jesse) – Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars.  And loving the genre, my daughter wants to play it with me every day if she can – she will wake me up early on work days to play before I leave and will barter bedtime stories in exchange for another level in the evening before bed.  I try to keep the game-play time within reason, but she is legitimately getting better at playing and as such learning some good eye-hand coordination skills.  So if it is time that the TV would likely be on anyway, I’ll gladly play for a bit rather than vegging out to some show.

Anyway, she and I have managed to work through all 30 levels in Story mode and managed to get a good amount of the minikits and red bricks in Free-play mode (I think we are around 90% complete right now).  Once we get through all of it, we may move on to Lego Star Wars.  But we have discovered some interesting quirks in the game.  For one, we found that there are 5 different extras you can unlock that are score multipliers (scorex2, x4, x6, x8, x10) and it seems you can enable all 5 at the same time thus getting a score multiplier of x3840.  As a result, it has been cake to reach Super-Hero/Super-Villain mode in any levels we hadn’t before.  But also it has led to another discovery – it seems the game has a maximum allowable score of 4 billion studs (the currency of choice within the Lego realms).  So any studs accrued beyond this amount are simply lost in the ether (possibly garnished for Gotham City urban renewal programs?).  Granted, it is a ludicrously high number (though ludicrously easy to reach with all the sore multipliers on) and those studs will never get spent even if I never use the multipliers again.  But it is funny that a cap exists (probably a programmatic limitation).

So my daughter and I now moonlight as Lego billionaires.  It is a complex and lavish lifestyle, but we try not to let it go to our heads.  We try to keep our priorities straight – after all, we still do have a city to save.

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Blurbsday: A-Wii We Go

by on Jun.25, 2009, under family, video games

We have been Wii-ed. I bought a Wii system (complete with several accessories and games including the Fit) from a friend and spent part of my evening setting it up and the rest playing around with it with my daughter. After creating Miis for each of us, she and I tried our hand at bowling, golf, and Super Mario Party (the last of which ended up eating up a couple hours of time). She is only 5, so she can’t read the screens and has trouble getting the motions right, but she is learning and having a blast. Funny that before this system hit the market, I was one of the many who assumed they wouldn’t stand a chance against the competition (since the Wii is pretty much just a jazzed up GameCube with motion control). In hindsight, it was kind of a brilliant strategy on their part.

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