Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Played a bit more Zelda: Four Swords Adventures on the weekend. It’s a great game and creates interesting social dynamics.

For those that aren’t familiar, it’s a cooperative game played with (ideally) four gameboy advance handhelds connected to a gamecube. Each player can move their character from the television screen to their own gameboy screen. Also, some information only appears on the (personal) gameboy screen, and this can make for novel play mechanics.

Onto the social dynamics. At the end of each level, each player is asked (in confidence on their GBA screen) for their opinion on who was the most annoying, and who was most helpful. This affects the final ranking. So even a player that got most of the treasure and took out most of the enemies could find themselves losing.

As a result, some players who initially irritated others by doing thinks like continually shooting them with arrows (you know who you are!) started to be a bit more helpful. On the other hand, sometimes a player who put so much effort into gathering treasure was voted as annoying by others in an effort to reduce their ranking (or at least some people may have felt that way).

Oh and in case I didn’t mention this in an earlier post: Highly Recommended if you have 3 friends with gameboys.

Nintendo DS lite announced!

I was happy to see this on 4colorrebellion today:

Nintendo have formally announced a new version of the DS!

In the comments for that post Hamblasto mentioned that I was pretty close with my reasonable redesign. So I figured that I would try to see how close I actually was. I took my earlier design and made a few modification to get it closer to the Nintendo DS lite. It took around 10-15 minutes.

All-in-all pretty close. The size was just about right. The faceplate was off. The control placement was a little off. I think that the overall aesthetic was about right though.

Larger (but more compressed) image after the jump.

Update: Oops. I’m missing the power and wifi lights on the closed version of the modified reasonable redesign…

Update: I still wish that they had made something similar to the ipod style redesign.

Continue reading “Nintendo DS lite announced!”

Flying car in Perth?

I saw this story on The Register about a flying car captured in an image on Google Maps. Here’s an image from the story (and originally from Google Maps I assume):

Nothing amazing. Maybe a bit of overzealous reporting, but they could be testing something like this out in the bush… I suppose… maybe… except this is supposedly in a frequented park area in the middle of freaking suburbia!

My vote is that the image depicts a white car next to a (very) black car. Thoughts?

Dodging the blue shell in Mario Kart DS

The most afeared special item in Mario Kart DS has got to be The Blue Shell (of doom!). It homes in on the current race leader, smacks into them, and explodes. The end result being that it slows down the race leader (and anyone else caught in the explosion) by 2 seconds or so!

I’ve tried many times to dodge the blue shell in Mario Kart DS, but all of my attempts have been unsucessful. So I decided that I needed to search the web for a definitive answer! Is it possible?

I found this thread on Gamespot that claimed it was possible with a well-timed drift boost. Okay, that’s pretty cool. There’s even a video or two linked to demonstrate the required skills.

And then there is this video:

It shows how to fire a blue shell at yourself when you are leading the race, and then dodge it so that it takes out the person following you. Crazy. Crazy. Crazy stuff.

“Wallet” inspired DS redesign

I’ve had this idea stuck in my head for a while now and finally put it together over lunch. I thought that it would be cool to have something that was not just pocket sized, but also sort of shaped like something you might put in your pocket. I also wanted something that opened up like a blossoming flower (awh).

As you can see, it has the same size screen as the current DS, but when closed it’s around 30% the size, and when open it’s around 75% the size. I like the arrangement of the screens (more centered) better than the current DS, but it may be problematic for games that design their input system with the bottom screen position (relative to the buttons) in mind.

Ideally the outside case would be made of aluminium and the hinge mechanism may have to be made of a stronger metal (it would have to be fairly strong). I designed the edges to be covered with flexible rubber/plastic so that it looks alright. Then again, maybe it’s possible to create mostly in plastic; there are quite a few mobile phones with elaborate twist and flip mechanisms and I don’t think that they use much metal.

Technical issues aside, I think this one is possibly my favourite thus far!

Error propagation

In my suburb every house is issued with two “wheely” bins. One is for general garbage and is a uniform green colour. The other is for recyclables and has a yellow lid. Garbage is collected every week and recycables are collected every fortnight.

It was clearly “garbage night” last night as half the street had their green bins out on the verge when I came home at around 10:30pm. I wasn’t sure if it was a recycling week or not. Nobody had their yellow-topped bins out so it seemed fairly unlikely, but I decided that it was probably worth putting it out just in case.

In the end, it wasn’t recycling week and I just brought the bin back in (still full of paper and cans). That’s when I noticed this:

If that’s not quite clear enough, let me highlight a few things using the magic of the GIMP:

I wanted to walk down to see if this continued down the block, but I didn’t really have the time (or drive to be honest).

“Reasonable” Nintendo DS redesign

I took a little relaxation time out of my busy schedule to put this together last night. I just took components from one of my previous efforts and put together something that seems fairly reasonable. (Ah! the beauty of cut-and-paste).

Nintendo probably don’t want to change the design too much or introduce new functionality (such as an analog stick) because the platform is fairly well established. I doubt that they will drop the Gameboy Advance game slot because it may be used for add-on cartridges (such as the rumble pack).

With the success of the Gameboy Micro and competition from the (fairly large) PSP, they probably want it to be smaller, cooler looking, and somewhat customisable. A faceplate is probably a good idea so that they don’t have to keep making different colours later in the lifespan of the product. It will probably still look fairly sturdy because they don’t want it to break easily.

So here it is. The screens are the same size, but everything else is smaller.

Note: I still like the ipod style redesign better!

The Producers

Jim, Heidi, and I are going to see The Producers tomorrow. If you are not sure if you want to come along, let me remind you that it is from the creater of Spaceballs! If that doesn’t sway you, I don’t know what will!


  • Time/Date: Meet at 9:00pm (Movie starts 9:15pm), Tuesday 17th January
  • Place: Innaloo MEGAPLEX (That’s how it’s spelt!)

Feel free to come along. I believe that there will be some Daytona action as well.

Weekend bread making efforts

This is a follow-up to Mat’s previous post which served as a prelude to yesterday’s “Yakitate fest”. Tone, Mat, Minh, Jim, and Menghis came over to watch anime, play video games, and (most imporantly) bake bread.

We each setup on a different section of the kitchen bench and got to work mixing ingredients and kneeding dough. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, Mat guided us through the whole process. His bandana denotes his superiority. I’m sporting a head-band to stay hygenic.

The major outcome of the day were that fun was had by all, but here are a few other statistics.

  • Best bread: Tone & Minh
  • Heidi’s pick (after blind taste test): Mat
  • Total bread making time: over 9 hours!
  • Lessons learnt: You can’t get a yeast infection from undercooked bread.

I look forward to our future baking adventures! (More photos after the jump.) Continue reading “Weekend bread making efforts”