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August 22, 2007

Embiggen Yourself! (Beautiful Katamari Demo)


What was nice about this Xbox Live demo, in comparison to the demos for previous games in the series, was that you were able to pick up larger objects much more quickly. So while in the past, you might top out at a fluffy quadroped, this time around, by the time the timer expires, you're picking up adult humans and other items of that scale.

So yeah, this is really a horrible place to stop writing, but I'm pretty much done here.

Basically, it's the first Katamari game for the Xbox family of products**, so if you weren't a PlayStation kind of guy or gal for the last few years, your patience has finally paid off.

** Can you tell I just watched Top Chef***? Speaking of which, how the hell did Trey get sent home? I thought he could make it to the finals.

*** You know, like how host Padma Lakshmi**** always refers to the Glad family of products?

**** Is there a more annoying reality TV show host on TV? No really, I'm asking. She's worse than Season 1 host Katie Joel, which is saying something. Can someone please tell her that the word "food" (as in Food & Wine Magazine) does not have an umlaut?

Ratatouille Demo

Before they went to bed earlier tonight, my kids and I played the Ratatouille demo that I downloaded from Xbox Live yesterday.

How was it?

Meh. Not bad. Not great. Your garden variety licensed platformer. What's funny is that my kids were having fun pointing out every time we ran into an invisible wall. If they were in college, it would have made a fun drinking game. They've also gotten good at pointing out other noticeable bugs like clipping.

But back to the invisible walls. To be fair, you could run around the demo level a good little bit, but there were plenty of times where we simply couldn't go where it seemed we should be able to. A lot of games use invisible walls, and that's usually not a big deal, but at least when you do it, how about not making it seem like a place you're supposed to go?

For example, the way the cheeses were arranged in the market, it seemed like we were expected to do the platforming thing to get to a higher level, but even though there seemed to be spaces in the cheese wheels specifically for climbing, we couldn't get where we wanted to go. Maybe that's a function of this being a demo build, but given that so many licensed kids' games do stuff like this as a matter of course, I'm not giving them the benefit if the doubt. Sorry.

Ratatouille is a perfect example of a mediocre licensed game that my kids would actually enjoy playing... until the novelty wears off in short order.

So in order to avoid whining when we don't buy the full version after playing the demo, or if I sell or trade a used copy of a game like this, I frame the issue as one of choice.

You can either keep a game that you like...

  • Ratatouille (OK)
  • Curious George (pretty good)
  • Cars (pretty good)
  • The Incredibles (sucky)
  • Over the Hedge (sucky)
  • etc.
...or you can keep a game that you love...

...and wouldn't you know it, they seem to make the right choice every single time. I'm so proud.

August 08, 2007

Ah Crap...

...I missed Ian Bogost on The Colbert Report last night.

Stupid Barry Bonds.