Friday, July 08, 2005

kirby on the DS

i have never been a gamer. i wasn’t allowed a nintendo when i was younger, and even though i had a gameboy in its original, hulky, grey, “classic” form, i never had a PS2, or an xbox or anything, not even in college. ryry’s got a gamecube which i play occasionally, but it’s always been his.

so, really, i wasn’t prepared for addiction. but alas, someone, with tricksy methods (“here, borrow mine for as long as you want”) and dishonest lures (“c’mon, i’ll give you a $20 subsidy! think of all the fun times we’ll have together!”) convinced me to buy my own nintendo DS.

and now there is no stopping the madness.

the DS itself came with a free game (Super Mario 64 DS, which is freaking *hard* by the way) and then i was also given a free Feel the Magic, which i like to think toes the line btwn offensive objectification of women and evidence that the japanese have deeply rooted sexuality issues (who am i kidding, there is no line! and the game is a blast!).

but the real kicker happens to be a pink roundling called kirby.

it’s wes’s fault again, his obsession with penny arcade means that i drop in on the site once in a while. i do enjoy the comics, though i don’t get all of them cause they’re too nerdy-gamer funny for me (occasionally it does speak directly to me –i nearly freaked out at a serenity strip). there was one game review, though, that i loved, the writing was funny and the review part is always quite reliable:

I did refer to the nintendo ds as a "useless novelty factory" at one point, which I will admit was impolite, but so many of the games that come out either don't make good use of the device or posit some novel idea and then don't follow through. Kirby's Canvas Curse has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in this regard. It is beautiful to look at and plays with a sensibility that feels classic from the outset. Imagine that gaming history had followed a very different course - with pen interfaces de rigueur when the immovable tenets of platform gaming had been conceived - and you will be very near the thing.

The adorable kirby can be tapped to dash through enemies, stealing their abilities, and once they are stolen in this way kirby can be tapped to utilize it - but primarily you interact with our elastic hero by drawing beautiful rainbow bridges for it to roll and bounce on. Whatever direction you draw the bridge gives it momentum, like unto a conveyor belt, and curlicue shapes can even be drawn to ream foes. Shields can also be created from the same whimsical material. The entire game is played with the pen, there's no additional button presses that require "monkey paw" style hand positions to manage the stylus and whatever other gameplay fantasies the designer attempted to inflict. So the levels just fly by as you react to situations in intuitive ways, with a level of interaction that truly requires the machine. I love it. I am a grown man who draws rainbows.


even before i got the DS, that last line already made me a buyer. it’s hilarious! couple it with the accompanying strip:



and how could i help it? so, i shucked out $35 and bought the damn thing. and i have not been able to stop playing. i go back over previous courses, over and over, trying to get the damn coin, doing the time trials, doing the use-the-least-amount-of-ink trials, trying to unlock the secret levels, WASTING MY YOUNG LIFE AWAY!

the thing is, the game is perfect for non-gamers like me cause it’s so freaking intuitive. super mario on the DS requires all this horrible multicoordination. one hand, move yoshi in the right direction; same hand, make him move and continue moving. other hand—make him speed up! make him suck up the bad guys! make him turn them into eggs! make him shoot them! other direction! look out! it’s a bomb! two screens to look at: bad guys and obstacles and general movement on one screen, but the bottom screen has the map that's really hard to read, the direction that yoshi is facing, and the goal. I CAN’T HANDLE IT ALL! i physically can’t do it while defending yoshi from bad guys and not falling off ledges. it’s too hard.

but kirby’s levels are more linear, they may be intricate, but they only occasionally require orienting yourself at the map. and moving him is a cinch with the stylus. plus, he’s so freaking cute cause he has NO ARMS OR LEGS. (i have a *slew* of jokes on this topic. ah, another time, little pedro.)

anyway, damn wes and damn penny arcade and damn the DS. i love it all.

1 comment:

Brock said...

I am so happy :-D