Monday, January 16, 2017

Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017: Not-so-live Impressions

♫ It's beginning to look a lot like Switchmas
Rumours everywhere you go ♫

Believable ones too.

♫ But people, don't be dismayed
My predictions will still be made
And here we go... ♫


1. A launch line-up filled with up ports and remasters.
2. Pretty thin western third-party support:  If Skyrim and NBA 2K17 were both deemed trailer worthy, I'm fairly confident there isn't much else to show.
3. €300-350 for the main Switch bundle in Europe
4. Wave Race: Screw it, why not. :D
5. Animal Crossing: Probably not at at launch, but in sizzle reel form at least. I know I keep predicting this; eventually I have to to right! :D
6. Mario not at launch, but in the holidays: With Zelda at launch or a few months after, and the excitement of a new system driving early sales, they don't really need Mario right now. They can afford to take more time to polish it up, and I think they will.

And here we go... ♫

  • 00:00:00 - Pew! Pew! Lasers!
  • 00:00:12 - Huh? If they're burning off a minute here with a countdown clock, they might have even less to show off than I predicted. :D

  • 00:00:52 - Wow, it's been a while since Nintendo held a press event like this. I think the last one was the one where they spent an interminable length of time demoing that single mini game in Nintendo Land. Wasn't that how they closed that one out too? Yikes! Let's hope for a bit more oomph this time around.
  • 00:01:04 - I think I just got my wish. The lasers have just gone OFF. THE. CHAIN!!!
  • 00:01:19 - And the crowd go wild.
  • 00:01:48 - Oh, it's Kimishima, with an English translator over the stream. This is all new and strange.
  • 00:02:16 - In case you're still struggling with the basics. :D
  • 00:03:15 - Okay. Date and price time. Surprised to hear they're going to be talking about online features here though. Because, you know, Nintendo.
  • 00:03:22 - March 3rd. That's freaking soon. I was expecting mid to late March. The 17th seemed to be the scuttlebutt back at the end of last year.
  • 00:03:38 - Oh boy, the price. Here we go.

  • 00:04:02 - Oof! That's abut $50 more that a lot of people were predicting. That works out at about €280 right now, add on VAT and, yeah, that's about €350, depending on how, uh, generous our local retailers are feeling. :D Wouldn't be too surprised to see it going for €400 or so in the likes of GameStop.
  • 00:04-17 - Online services now. "I'm pleased to announce the return of friend codes. Now double the length, and for extra security, made up of exclusively of indecipherable characters from NES password screens."
  • 00:04:32 - So, the good news: there will be online multiplayer, and with some of the features people have been asking for it seems. The bad news: it sounds like you'll need to use a phone to access friend lists, send invites, chat and basically, do anything. Oh dear. This is bad. DeNaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
  • 00:04:48 - And they're going to be charging for this? Just wonderful. Not that I play online much, but this service doesn't sound appealing or well thought out in the slightest.
  • 00:05:25 - But hey, at least there'll be no region locking on the Switch. That's pretty cool. Switch Taiko no Tatsujin, here I come!
  • 00:06:20 - A bit of a run-down on how past systems have influenced the Switch now. Oh yeah, now this is the kind of nonsense you just don't get outside of a proper E3-style press conference. Fingers crossed for some sales charts!
  • 00:06:41 - Am I crazy, or did they tell everyone at the time that you weren't actually supposed to carry around the Gamecube by the handle?
  • 00:07:22 - Ahh! It just wouldn't be Nintendo event without embarrassing pictures of models playing games. These look like a bunch of classics from the Wii and DS days. No game cop though? Come on.
  • 00:07:42 - Another Switch trailer.
  • 00:07:57 - "You connect it to the TV to play games" They're really leaving nothing to chance this time, are they? :D Not after the Wii U.
  • 00:08:10 - Oh right! I guess Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R) are the official names of these things (that no one will ever use).
  • 00:08:48 - It would be nice to see some games, but it looks like were getting another breakdown of the different ways you can use the Switch. Joy! (Con) (TM). Well, I guess we are seeing Mario Kart here, which almost certainly has to be in the launch line-up, given how much exposure it's gotten, between this and the reveal trailer.
  • 00:09:34 - I'm very much against handing a joy con to a friend or family member and sharing the joy right then and there actually; thank you very much.
  • 00:09:43 - A two and a half to six and a half hour battery life. I was going to joke about that verging in on Game Gear territory (which it is), but that's also about the same as the 3DS, apparentley. I guess it'll do, not that I'll ever be taking this out of the dock. Well, unless I need to for Mario Maker. Hopefully this thing has a touch screen.
  • 00:10:02 - It does. Mario Maker is saved! (Now watch them announce that the Switch version doesn't allow uploads either. :D)
  • 00:10:19 - Eight player local multiplayer is pretty impressive, but I'm kind of doubtful that there will never be that many Switches in the same place outside of a retail outlet.
  • 00:10:47 - These Switch puns are out of control! Well, I say puns; it's just been the same one over and over again.
  • 00:11:23 - Oh good. More detail on the joy cons. Just what I was hoping for. I think at this point the only unknown about them is whether they have motion controls or not.
  • 00:12:18 - The home button has a house on it!? Is everyone getting this? There's going to be quiz afterwards. NFC confirmed though, so there's still a chance of me getting that Tetra amiibo. :)
  • 00:12:33 - A capture button. Well, for screenshots at least. Any chance of Twitch streaming though? I'd imagine not.
  • 00:12:39 - In the future it'll be able to capture video as well, huh? I don't know, that sounds like a classically dodgy Nintendo promise. I'm still waiting for that DVD-playing attachment for the Wii.
  • 00:12:56 - So, motion controls confirmed then. Look forward to that Skyward Sword remaster in about two years.
  • 00:13:15 - SL and SR; geez, Nintendo, as if one set of weirdly-named shoulder buttons wasn't enough. :D
  • 00:14:00 - What's even happening right now?
  • 00:14:07 - Boy, I'm glad they had a couch on stage just for that. :D
  • 00:14:43 - Oh, you thought they were done with the joy con? Think again. Colours! Wrist straps! Endless excitement!
  • 00:15:05 - The wrist strap is a separate thing that slides onto the joy con with slightly bigger shoulder buttons. Just why? (Edit: Okay, those bigger shoulder buttons do seem a decent improvement if you're determined to use one of these things as a controller. I don't know why anyone would want to though. Look at the placement of the analogue stick compared to the face buttons!)
  • 00:15:20 - And the wrist straps also cone in different colours. Of course! Not since the Microsoft E3 2016 conference have we been so spoiled for custom controller options. :D
  • 00:15:28 - Boom! The right joy con has an IR sensor too. Perfect for re-releasing all those Wii games on the eShop. :) Hopefully they'll do a bit of upscaling this time though.
  • 00:15:33 - Oh, it's an IR camera. It can tell the difference between rock, paper and scissors? Alex Kidd sequel here we come! :D I suppose it should still be able to replicate the Wii's IR pointer though, with the right sensor bar.
  • 00:16:25 - HD rumble! Hopefully it'll be able to do more than simulate the feeling of holding a glass with ice cubes though. Otherwise it won't be much use outside bringing unparalleled new levels of realism to Tapper.
  • 00:17:00 - Games! Finally.
  • 00:17:23 - "A game everyone can play together: Mad Dog McCree Returns!"
  • 00:17:58 - Wait, this can't be Wild Gunman sequel? Can it?
  • 00:19:00 - Introducing: the two coolest guys in existence. Hold on, is this "game" basically press the button faster than the other person?
  • 00:19:25 - Well, that was embarrassing. 1-2-Switch seems to be the name here. Looks like a mini game collection, and from that trailer, it looks like it's firmly aimed at the old Wii audience. Well, good luck with that, Nintendo.
  • 00:20:43 - So it seems like this is a take on something like Johann Sebastian Joust where you're using the controllers, but not the screen to play. I get the feeling this'll generate plenty commentary from a handful of game journalists on how "genius" a move this is for Nintendo over the next few days/weeks. In the end, I expect it won't amount to much more than a short-lived novelty within the social circles of the games press though. I'm afraid that Wii audience is gone and I don't think there's anything Nintendo can do to win back that type of player at this point.
  • 00:21:32 - Looks like this won't be bundled with the Switch either. Not a great move if they want this to catch on.
  • 00:22:43 - Another game now. Some kind of boxing thing?
  • 00:23:34 - Yep. Boxing with extendy arms. Looks just a tad influenced by the look of Splatoon.
  • 00:23:41 - Wow, I'll bet a lot of people weren't expecting to be hit with an onslaught of motion-controlled games coming into this thing. :D This look like it might be fun, if not a bit wonky to control, like a lot of Wii games were. But no one's going to buy this. VR enthusiasts aside, I don't think there could be less of an appetite for motion-controlled games right now. I don't know what Nintendo are thinking leading off with this stuff.
  • 00:24:20 - Arms. Certainly to the point.
  • 00:25:30 - It controls exactly as you might imagine. Without a traditional control alternative though, I think this is pretty much dead on arrival.
  • 00:25:37 - At least the jump is mapped to a button. I'm looking at you, de Blob!
  • 00:25:43 - "Because Arms uses physical controls, anyone can pick up and play". (But they won't, Nintendo. They won't.)
  • 00:26:44 - This fight would be so much better with some Halo stream commentators over it. Don't you think? :D
  • 00:27:57 - And the first port of the night: Splatoon. (For those keeping track: nope, still haven't played it, yet I've started on Shenmue 2 recently. I have no idea either.)
  • 00:29:35 - Oh, Splatoon 2 - not a port then. Have to say it doesn't look like a radical reinvention of the first game though.
  • 00:31:12 - Traditional controls! At least someone knows what's up.
  • 00:32:12 - Coming out in Summer. Just 1-2-3-Switch for launch so far then, right? I'm starting to get the feeling that the launch line-up might be a a bit lacking here.
  • 00:33:14 - Okay, this totally just looks like Splatoon again. :D
    • 00:33:25 - MARIO!!! Yes!!!
    • 00:33:29 - Wow, this looks cool. That's New York, or New Donk City as a sign on the left suggests. Wait. "Dixie Street"? "Diddy's Mart"? Come on, Nintendo, you can't cross the streams of Mario and Donkey Kong Country like that. It will be bad.

    • 00:33:34 - I guess this is the hub world of the new Mario game then. This is awesome.
    • 00:33:48 - Not sure how I feel about realistic humans and Mario existing in the same world though - it's a bit Sonic '06 - but platforming in a huge open city like this? Sign me the fuck up!
    • 00:33:59 - That's the Sambo de Amigo-ish like town again. Looks great.
    • 00:34:19 - Looks like vegetable throwing is back. And damn, some of these levels look big.
    • 00:34:27 - Not a great shot, but I imagine this is the vehicle that'll take you from the open world to each level.
    • 00:34:32 - Mario and real humans. Nope, nope, nope. Mario better not be kissing any princess not named Peach by the end of this. Or hedgehogs.

    • 00:34:45 - Damn. Bowser looks straight off the cover of a 90's hip hop album here.
    • 00:34:56 - Hat-throwing seems to be a big feature this time around.
    • 00:35:35 - Super Mario Odysee. Well, I guess there isn't much bigger you can go than Galaxy. (I'm sure they''re saving Universe for the inevitable Mario MMO)
    • 00:35:41 - Well, that's unnerving. :D
    • 00:36:28 - So Mario is visiting the real world in this game. They are taking cues from Sonic! This is a worrying development.

    Sunday, December 25, 2016

    Tumblr Doodles 24/12/16

    The first of two freshly-posted festive doodles from my Tumblr. Happy holidays, everyone!

    For more doodley nonsense, check out

    Friday, December 23, 2016

    Cooking: JiliK's Pork, Onion and Apple Stuffing

    With Christmas now an inevitability, I'll shortly be whipping up another batch of the stuffing I've been perfecting over the last few years, ever since I overthrew the stodgy bread and onion stuffing that had been a mainstay at our family's Christmas dinner since the 90's. This is a much more flavoursome, meaty and moist stuffing, one that tastes great cooked separate from the turkey, which is a huge bonus because goodness knows, there's no way I'm getting elbow deep into that thing. :D

    Here's what you'll need:
    • 5 large onions
    • 5 bramley apples
    • 5 large sticks of celery
    • 700g pork sausage meat
    • 550g breadcrumbs approx.
    • A handful each of fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage OR 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs
    • 5 tablespoons butter
    • salt
    • freshly ground black pepper

    Sorry about the quality of some of these photos. These are all basically spy pics snuggled out of the kitchen while nobody was looking. With it being Christmas, there are inevitably family members hovering around any time I'm making this - ones whose very minds would shattered by the concept someone hunching over food, carefully taking pictures to post on the internet. :D

    1. So, first up, dice your onions and celery, making sure to top and tail everything and to peel the skin, and  any tough outer layers off the onions. You don't have to dice these super finely. Not where this recipe is headed anyway.

    2. Next, take a generous chunk of butter and melt it in your pan. I'm using pure, salted butter here (the kind you get in 1lb/454g blocks, at least in in Ireland), probably about 2 tablespoons (hey, I never said this would be healthy :D). Any type of butter (or oil) should do the job okay though, but you'll probably need to add some more salt later.

    3. Add your diced onions and celery to the pan and soften them over a low to medium heat, stirring regularly. You don't want them to get burned, or even browned if you can avoid it, just soft.

    4. Once your veggies are soft, take them out of the pan and set them aside for the moment

    5. Next, peel and dice up the apples. Add another 2 tablespoons of butter or so to the pan and let it melt.; then add the apples. Again, cook them over a low to medium heat until they're soft, stirring regularly.

     Pre-chopped. I'm using my own herbs from the garden here. The sage (bottom) I've actually had in the freezer since the summer. Come December, sage leaves are hard to come by but I find this is an okay workaround.

    6. If you're using fresh herbs, before you take the apples out, chop up your herbs finely, stripping the rosemary and thyme from their stems before you start. Then add them to the pan with the apples and let them cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

    7. Take your apples out of the pan and set them aside for the moment. Now, add another well, let's say tablespoon of butter this time (the sausage meat will be fatty already so you won't need as much), let that melt and add the sausage meat to the pan.

    Tee he!

    8. Cook the sausage meat through over a low to medium heat once again, stirring more regularly this time because it'll burn faster than either than the apples or veg.

    9. When the sausage meat is cooked, take it out of the pan and set it aside too. It's time to bring everything together...