Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I finally broke down and bought my daughter a Wii, which I will, of course, also use.  I must admit I was hesitant to purchase it, as the name threw me off, and I couldn't see how the control use could be fun.

I was wrong on the latter, though the former still bugs me.  Not only do the Wii remotes work well, they are also fairly intuitive, though the only two games I have used them on so far are Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, both of which my daughter kicks my ass on regularly.

Using the remote to make Miis (something my daughter is very into) or surfing through Wii channels or the web, also gets no complaints from me, though I wish typing were easier.  (You can buy a keyboard for that.)  I'll soon be streaming Netflix films through it, too, which from everything I've heard also goes smoothly.

We've logged in a lot of hours already, and I suspect plenty more are to come.  In all, it was an expensive investment, and I'm not sure the available Wii games are up to par (though I am curious as to what can be downloaded), but the sheer entertainment of what little we have played so far makes it money well spent.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Robot Tank, Mofos!

I have been playing Robot Tank like mad on my PSP.  Originally released on the Atari 2600, this Activision game actually kind of kicks ass.

Activision was my favorite video game company back in the day.  I don't remember if I had this game back in the 1980s, but I'm glad I have it now courtesy of Activision Hits Remixed.  As far as those old video games go, this one is kind of advanced.

First, you have to ignore that your journey to Santa Clara, California takes you through rain, fog and snow all in the course of a few days.  It just isn't likely, but it does show that Activision was dedicated to throwing in different environments in which to destroy tanks.  Fog cut visibility.  Rain and snow affected your movement.

Another interesting and rare feature was damage.  In early video games, a hit destroyed you.  That can happen here, too, but an indirect hit can affect your visuals (screen goes black at random), your cannon (it only works sometimes), radar (essential in the dark and in fog and if your visuals go out), or treads (which lets you move only at a snail's pace).  It leads to some fairly intense action ... for an old video game.

I could see this game being remade today with updated graphics and the like, but quite honestly, this one still presents a challenge as you traverse the elements and go from day to night.  For an Atari 2600 game it is fairly advanced.  By today's standards it is something to do while waiting in line somewhere.  That said, I'm having a hard time putting down, as I'm trying to reach the goal of 60 tanks destroyed.  I've made it to 58.  I will hit 60 and probably unlock a patch or something (Activision used to award them as prizes).  Then I'll move onto the other games in the package and probably go through some nostalgia.  I doubt many will hold up as well as this one, though.