Date archives for December, 2006

December 24th, 2006
Blog Entry

Merry Christmas!

After a very successful year’s blogging here, it’s time to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I’ll try to remember to post a quick retrospective before the year’s out, but until then here’s a few highlights off the top of my head:

  • Getting a job I adore;
  • All the time I spent with my family, particularly my beautiful nephew and niece;
  • The success of the site, of course;
  • Writing my first complete soundtrack for Tanner;
  • Nintendo Wii – great fun!

There’s more but they’re the best ones that spring to mind right now. I hope you enjoy yourself until you pop by again.


December 19th, 2006
Blog Entry

Wii Play Impressions

Wii Play is the second-highest selling Wii game in Europe, and I think I’m right in saying it’s almost entirely due to the bundled Wii Remote. Why pay £32.99 for a controller from unscrupulous retailers when for £34.99 you get the remote and a game? Does that mean the game is only worth two quid, though? Let’s take a look.

Although my time with Wii Play has only been very brief so far, I’ve played each of the nine minigames enough to be able to tell which are decent and which aren’t. My favourite so far by a country mile is cow-racing game “Charge“.

Spinning the controller onto its side, you tilt it forward to accelerate, steer it left and right and lift it to jump. It’s an incredibly simple system that actually feels remarkably comfortable and satisfying, and although the main crux of this game simply involves bashing into scarecrows and avoiding hurdles, you can still see the huge potential for the control system. In fact, it’s so good that I’m now convinced Sonic and the Secret Rings, which uses a very similar if not identical control system, will be a very good game. I hope so, anyway.

Next up in my Wii Play top tips is Billiards. Although it lacks any form of tournament or ladder play options, the mechanics are pleasing enough to convince you to have another go. You use the Remote to point at the part of the ball you want to hit – top for top spin etc. – then hold B to cue, pull back the Remote, push forward and make contact with the ball to send it spinning away, hopefully knocking another ball into a pocket. It’s a simple but effective system that eschews the traditional console snooker setup of power bars and timing, instead going for actual physical movement, and although it’s not wholly authentic – you can’t screw off to one side during cueing, for example – it is enough to leave you inspired by how well a full recreation of snooker or pool would play.

Shooting Range is an homage to probably the most famous light gun game ever, Duck Hunt on the NES. Various kinds of targets appear – bullseyes, clay pigeons and even ducks – and you shoot as many as possible, or compete against another player to get them first. It gets pretty fast but, to be honest, there doesn’t seem much fun to be had here; although the obvious comparisons to Flash games have been made, you’re effectively just clicking on targets, so it feels a little less than engaging.

The next game – Tanks – is a great idea unfortunately wasted. Using the D-pad or nunchuk to drive a tank around a battlefield, you have to destroy the enemy’s tanks with mines or shells. It works fine, but the main problem is that, in two player mode, you have to co-operate – you’re not supposed to blow each other up. This sort of game is perfect for multiplayer competition, yet there’s no support for it at all. When Playing Tanks made me want to play the similar yet infinitely superior DeathTank on the Saturn, and if a game makes you want to play something similar that’s ten years old it’s not doing its job properly. With some proper multiplayer support, extra weapons and varied terrain, this would be an absolute cracker of a game. As it is, as with many of the Wii Sports and Wii Play games, it’s a missed opportunity.

Two of the games – Pose Mii and Find Mii – are so simple as to make them more or less pointless, to be honest. Pose Mii teaches you how to twist and tilt the Remote to rotate characters, but there are a hundred other ways players could have learnt that mechanic. Why not go for a “steady hands” type game? This mechanic has so many uses – imagine twisting the Remote to crack a safe, waiting for the click from the controller’s mini-speaker – that it’s a real shame they chose to place this game in.

Find Mii is practically “Where’s Wally?” (or “Where’s Waldo?”), with you trying to spot a particular character in a group of others. The levels vary from having to spot a character who’s fast asleep to matching twins or triplets, but there’s precious little fun here, sadly. In essence it’s similar to the Super Mario DS minigame “Wanted”, but for some reason it never feels as frantic a search, and so much of the enjoyment is drained from it.

Fishing is pretty good, and in two-player mode when one of you gets a bite the other player can steal it from you, if their reactions are quicker. I’m not sure how I feel about this part of the gameplay – on the one hand it keeps things fair by not favouring one player’s rod with all the fish, but on the other hand it seems wrong for reasons I can’t quite place.

The two remaining games – Laser Hockey and Table Tennis – are both largely based on Pong. Table Tennis just requires you to move the bat from side-to-side, but in Laser Hockey you can rotate the bat as well as move it around the table. It’s a limited idea that has instant playability, but you’ve seen it all before a thousand times.

You’ve probably got a complete picture of Wii Play by now. The games are instant but limited, and many of them lack a sense of fun or play, instead simply being uninspired ideas to teach you a controller movement. Only Charge feels like a completely thought-through game, and although you could ask for more courses and so on the game stands well on its own, which is more than can be said for most of the other games here.

Despite the overall negative tone of this review, it’s still worth buying Wii Play for the Remote, and Charge should give you at least a fiver’s worth of entertainment. Unfortunately the game on its own is largely worthless; everyone at Nintendo must be chortling on this fact as they see the game riding high in the sales charts.

I’m listening to Keep on Running, from Music of My Mind by Stevie Wonder

December 13th, 2006
Blog Entry

Red Steel Impressions

As long-time readers will be aware, I’m a fan of the hugely talented developers Ubisoft who, with great games like XIII and Beyond Good and Evil, were probably my favourite software house of the last generation, even above Sega and Nintendo. Now, with Wii all over us, how does their first major original IP since BG&E stack up?

Hold my hand(le)

Using your Wii Remote as both your gun and sword, the game takes you through all the controls in its first level. Far from being the safe start many would expect, it’s actually quite a dangerous level for the novice; I’ve seen many deaths due to the on-screen tips obscuring the level, and the pointer waving everywhere.

Having played my fair share of first-person shooters, I found the controls pretty intuitive to start with, and they definitely got me more excited in the game. Swinging your nunchuk to pump the shotgun or knock over a table for cover brings an extra element of involvement to the game, but the mixture of presentation styles did alienate me a little. Combining in-game animation and voice overs with some freeze-frame montage/collage shots is an odd choice, and doesn’t work anywhere near as well as in Ubisoft’s previous and similar FPS title, XIII, which was adapted from a comic in the first place. The art style in-game doesn’t transfer well to a comic style, and although the voiceover is consistent throughout – unlike BG&E – the whole visual presentation is a bit of a mish-mash. Whether this was a conscious decision designed to mimic the mixture of Eastern and Western styles – a consistent theme throughout the game – is open for debate, but personally it doesn’t work.

On that topic, actually, the menu screens are absolutely abominable. You use the cursor to drag icons over a display panel, which is hardly intuitive, especially when the icons are gaudy neon with Japanese subtitles. I can read them anyway, but it still seems counter-intuitive. Again, whether this is intentionally to draw the gamer into a bewildering culture is up for debate, but at this stage of the game, is it really a good idea anyway?

Take aim…

Once you get into the game, the controls are much more intuitive than the ones that got you there. Once locked onto any enemy with A, you push the remote forward to zoom in, which seems pretty gimmicky, even by current Wii standards. One worry I had about the Wii, and shooting games in particular, was that the sights and reticules would be very twitchy, fidgeting all over the screen, but in fact they’re very docile things, sticking in one place even if you’ve a shaky hand.

The sword fighting doesn’t offer quite the same level of precision, although I doubt I’d notice if it did. That’s not to say it’s boring – it’s very exciting, the music lifting up and drawing you to the edge of your seat to weave around your opponent and slash at their exposed areas. At the battle’s end you can show mercy or deliver a final blood-letting blow, and those who know me will be absolutely baffled, I’m sure, to know that I choose the merciful option every time. I can’t explain it.

Is it any good?

I’ll hold my hands up at this point and say that, yes, Red Steel has come in for quite a lot of criticism already. To be fair, with the exception of Nintendo’s Wii Sports and Wii Play it’s the only launch game created just for Wii, so of course there are going to be problems. The graphics aren’t stunning, the art direction is a bit of a mish-mash and there are some sizeable obstacles to be overcome early on for new players.

As an Ubisoft fan I recognise quite a few elements from their very impressive FPS XIII, such as the action icons and some level and weapon designs. I wouldn’t say it lived up to XIII or Beyond Good and Evil yet, but as the first third-party IP developed and released exclusively on Wii it’s an interesting start.

It’s not an absolute must-have, and the confirmed sequel will improve on its flaws I’m sure, but it happily sits alongside Zelda in my fledgling collection.

I’m listening to Let’s Get It On [*], from Let’s Get It On [Bonus Tracks] by Marvin Gaye

December 12th, 2006
Blog Entry

Wii Impressions

I should really have posted these on Friday or over the weekend, but I was working all the time, which sadly involved telling lots of people they wouldn’t be able to get a Wii for Christmas. Not everyone took it well – “merry f***ing Christmas!” still rings in my ears! – but I had a valid pre-order and I deserve a Wii as much as anyone else.

Obviously there’s a lot to get through, so today I’ll focus on what you get in the box: one Wii console and Wii Sports. For the rest of the week I’ll go into Wii Play, Red Steel, Wii titbits and Internet shenanigans and, of course, Zelda: Twilight Princess.

So, what do I think of it?

I’ll start with the machine itself. It’s beautiful, a gleaming white and blue design that’s extremely sleek and compact. The remote has a lovely weight to it, and even though some of the buttons are a little fiddly at first, I doubt you’ll need to bash them in many games, not at first anyway.

The presentation of all the software, channels and so forth is in keeping with the exterior design: very simple and refined. In terms of audio-visual styling it reminds me of the Dreamcast’s browser, which was similarly cut-back on buttons and the like. It looks very nice, and the channels system works well, even though there are only four channels at the moment. The others are:

  • Forecast Channel – check the weather anywhere in the world. Out December 20th.
  • Internet Channel – a free web-browser designed just for Wii. Coming December 23rd.
  • News Channel – spin the globe to read RSS news. Out on January 27th next year.

Leave a message

One thing that Nintendo are keen on is that the Wii should be the centrepiece of the family home, but rather than go for a media centre-type route as Microsoft and Sony have done, they’ve decided to add functionality designed to bring them together, rather than give them each something to enjoy individually. Key to this family hub system is the Wii Messageboard.

Essentially a virtual pinboard, this lets you leave messages for other Wii users in y our house, but as it’s integral to the system it’s possible for games to access them automatically. Wii Sports posts your top scores and fitness age (more on that later), and in future Animal Crossing will use it as a replacement for its in-game board.

There’s more, though. By registering a friend’s Wii number – a sixteen-digit code identifying their machine – you can send them messages, Mii characters and even digital photos from your SD cards. Similarly, add any regular email address and you and the owner can exchange emails, creating a family addressbook and message centre. The downside of course is that it’s one messageboard for everybody, but then in an age when we all have multiple email addresses anyway it’s not really such a problem!

I was initially confused about how to send SMS messages to a mobile phone, but it actually turns out that you send emails to phones, not texts. I was quite disappointed, I must say, but I can understand why Wiis sending free texts wouldn’t be the best business sense for Nintendo. The Wii site offers little explanation, sticking to the SMS story, but perhaps that’ll be available in a future update, as at the moment it just lets you register an email address.
Let the games begin!

Okay, let’s actually delve into one of the games. The obvious starting point is Wii Sports, since it comes with the Wii. Though little more than five tech demos, it’s still immensely playable and addictive.

All Sports

I should say at this point that the learning curve on the games is brilliant. The first time you play you get a few practice shots/punches as it takes you through the controls onscreen, then you’re matched against an opponent of a low skill level. As you progress through the game you gain skill points, so your opponents increase in skill. I hit Pro status in Baseball today, but I’m still struggling against splitters. Please post tips for dealing with splitters!

Instead of choosing an established sportsman or a cheap lookalike, you use the Mii characters you create in the Mii Channel as your character, and it logs your skill level. Playing Baseball with an all-star team of Miis from your friends is great – so far Ed has let me down with his fielding, but Sid is a great player. They also turn up in the background of your Bowling game, and I think along the sidelines in Tennis. It’s a simple thing, but it’s very cool to play alongside your mates. Anyway, into the games themselves!


My favourite! This is a doubles game where you control the racquet, not the player, who moves automatically. You simply swing the controller at the right time to return the ball; like Pong, but without the movement. Dead easy.

EXCEPT the real clever bit lies in the choice of shots. You can hit lob shots by twisting your wrist over, or slice beautifully satisfying backhand shots with a twisting/cutting action. Seeing them clip the top of the net and win the point is genuinely exciting.

So far the net game seems a little underdeveloped, as it seems to focus on baseline hitters, but I’ve found a tip that works is to hit the ball early and twist your racquet to “cut” the ball across court, rather than balloon it in the air. It takes practice, but when it works your opponent will find it very difficult to reply.

Another tip would be to be aware of low-hanging light fittings when serving…


My next favourite, although also the most responsible for tennis elbow – it’s hard not to pop your elbow out of its joint when going for the big home runs!

The actual game is very simple. Swing the bat at the right time to connect with the pitch and knock it as far as possible for a home run. The fielding is automatic, and they run, dive and jump about to try to nab you out. Essentially you have to hit it past the bases and onto the main field to get anywhere, as otherwise they’re far too quick.

Of course, everyone wants to hit a home run, and when you do it’s a great feeling – the rumble and “THWACK!” from the controller is fantastic, and you watch the ball sail into the stand and receive fireworks. One observant touch is that if the ball lands in the crowd it disappears, but if it hits the stairs it bounces off them and rolls down!

Pitching has more options, with curve, fast, screwballs and splitters all available, as well as different targets. How fast you swing your arm alters the pace of the ball – so far about 150kmh seems as fast as I can go without some form of mechanical assistance! Also, if anyone has any hints for dealing with splitters, I’d be most grateful!


I haven’t played much Golf yet, because although I can see it being quite an addictive little game it takes a little too long to get a round in. That said, the controls are great – simply get into stance, hold A and swing to adjust your power. Hit it too hard and it’ll screw off to one side, but just right and you should see it trickle into the cup!

It’s actually very similar to Golf on the NES, with its simple map, pared-down club selection and putting style. It would be nice to see a few simple tournaments or other options, but the same can be said of all these games; they’re not intended as time-stealers but fun introductions. I can’t help but wish for more though! I would put smart money on Wii Sports 2 being announced before too long though, especially as apparently they wanted to cram more sports into this one but didn’t have time. I’m not sure which universally-appealing sports would work well, though – basketball, fishing, ice hockey? Either way, an update – even a patch – with a few extra options would go down great!


There isn’t a great deal to say about Bowling, to be honest. You move left or right, alter the angle of throw, swing your arm and the ball goes sailing down the lane. It’s possible to add spin, but I haven’t really figured out how yet, although I have managed to chuck the ball into a neighbour’s lane! With a few friends it’s great fun as you’d expect, but not really recommended for solo fliers.


I’ve saved this for last as I’m not 100% sure about it, to tell the truth. On the one hand, dodging and punching is fantastic exercise and a lot of fun, but it lacks the feeling of control that makes the others so satisfying. Jabs work fine, but trying to pull off bodyshots or uppercuts is inaccurate, leaving you feeling that swinging your arms wildly is your best chance of success. When you do land a good punch the action slows down, and when you get rocked by one the screen wobbles and looks a bit weird, which is cool.

Train for Fitness!

Not only does Wii Sports contain these five versions of the real sports, it also offers fifteen minigames based on them to help you improve your game in all manner of ways. These are structured in such a way to start off with the basics and move onto accuracy and strategy, and they work great.

Tennis builds from simply returning the ball into the opponent’s court to hitting it through a moving orange bar, and the final challenge is to knock the ball against circular targets above the net. The learning curve on each is pitched just about right, and this is where the “I’ll do better next time addiction really kicks in. The satisfaction when I received my first gold medal was awesome!

Of the other dozen games, my favourites are:

  • Power Throws – a bowling game, where each set of pins gains a row at the back, until you have over 90 pins in a bunch! Getting a strike doubles the score for that lane, but knocking over that many pins is tough! Another very addictive minigame.
  • Hitting Home Runs – baseball of course, this challenges you to hit ten home runs, and then tots up the total distance you whacked. As your final score comes up, it’s honestly very hard not to click “try again”

The others are all mostly very good too, with the first two golf ones lacking a little in the way of fun. Dodging the balls in boxing is great fun!

Apart from using these games to train for the actual sports, the game pilfers from the success of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, using three of them to calculate Speed, Stamina and Balance, resulting in a “Fitness Age” between 20 and 80 or 90. One good thing about this is the way the game posts your results to the Wii Messageboard, resulting in “I see you shaved forty years off your age today!”-type conversations. It’s a good attempt at single-player lastability, but again is best as a shared experience.

Overall thoughts

Wii is clearly a machine that aspires to be great, but risks being dismissed as a novelty. Nobody I know who has played one has come away thinking ill of it; most of my friends here aren’t particularly into games, but seeing them get up and box or swing a racquet has brought so much enjoyment that I really think Nintendo has got it right with this one.

Wii Sports is a great introduction to the controller – much better than Wii Play, if truth be told – but with a little extra provision for long-term play it would be even better. Posting high scores and results to the Wii Messageboard is a great idea, but a proper in-game leaderboard, a few trophies and belts to be won and the like would just kick it up another notch. However, it’s impossible to aim too much criticism at such a charming, enjoyable and free collection of games.

I’ll be doing more big updates this week, focusing on Wii Play, Red Steel, Twilight Princess and more details on the console itself. Thanks for reading, and come back soon!

PS At 2,056 words, this is easily my longest entry ever!

December 4th, 2006
Blog Entry

More success!

The site is going from strength to strength!

Internet overlords Alexa keep a track of traffic and readership of websites, ranking domains against each other in some form of popularity contest. Big dogs Yahoo!, MySpace, Google and YouTube tend to come out on top, whereas normal websites tend to leave a puddle in the corner, lolling around the high millions.

I used to be one of those weedy guys, happy with never getting attention and not getting my nose broken. Nowadays, though, I like to get in there and mix it up a little. I’ve put my personality on the line – I’m not afraid any more. The big corporate bullies might snarl at me, but I stand proud, for I have improved my Alexa rank by half a million places.

Yes, we’re not talking an incremental increase here; I have gone from weak to sleek in a week. Granted I’m still at around 750,000, but I’ve broken into the top million websites in the entire world. and are both in the top 500,000, with Sodaware pushing the top 250,000. This is awesome stuff!

My readership seems a little inconsistent, but it serves as a rough outline of who likes this place enough to subscribe. I’m grateful for every read, click and subscription – thank you!

If this is your first time, check out some of my Best Bits in the menu on the left, or scan the Archives for something eye-catching. New or old, Internet stranger or real-life chum, thanks for coming!

Oh yes, and make sure to stop by again before Friday for something I hope will be very exciting indeed

November 28th, 2006
Blog Entry

I fell off my bike and killed myself

About six months ago this postcard sailed through our letterbox.

I didn’t have any friends on holiday, any that were interested in basking sharks or would send me a postcard “just because”. I even smudged the writing on “Marley” to see if it was printed spam, but it’s actually someone’s real handwriting. A real person wrote and sent this.

I was quite confused, but things got even stranger when I read what was on the back. You can click the image for a larger version.
From what I can tell, it was sent from Scotland – I think the postmark says Glasgow – and it’s addressed to a Master Helme. Obviously that isn’t me, and neither is it my girlfriend or our housemate at the time. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, none of the previous tenants went by the name Master Helme either. I presume whoever wrote this postcard knew him from a long time ago.

The handwriting is obviously a child’s, but here, as accurately as I can make it, is what it says:

To Marley

I no you don’t layk theis but we haf bigin been to balamory and we hard to go on to a balamory trip and to Marley from Alfie and Franco

The first section

“I know you don’t like this” is absolutely fascinating. Why didn’t Marley like it that they were in Balamory? Why did they have to go on that trip?

The more I read it, the more questions come to my mind. The address is written much more clearly – is it a parent or much older sibling? Why is it only addressed to Master, not Mr Helme?

However, nothing prepared me for the last bit.

It comes after the names, so I suppose it was added as an afterthought:

I fell off my bike and killed my self

I have read and re-read that line so many times, but I’m still not sure what it says. It looks like it says “killed”, and I can’t think of anything else it could say, but of course that doesn’t make any sense at all.

It’s such a bizarre postcard to get by accident that I can’t help but wonder what Marley would have made of it. What do you think of it?

November 24th, 2006
Blog Entry

It was fourteen years ago today…

As you’ll have noticed from the cool new banner – although subscribers, you’re missing out – today is the 14th birthday of Miles “Tails” Prower.

I can hardly believe it’s fourteen years since all that fuss over Sonic Twosday, when everyone was excited about the sequel to what was then (still is, maybe) the best game ever. It did quite well, I seem to recall.

Sega, in their great wisdom, have chosen today to launch the new Sonic game on Xbox 360. I think my gesture is much nicer.

Happy birthday, Tails. Even though you’re not as cool as Sonic – who got an entire site redesign – you’re still cool enough to get an article mentioning your happy day.


The best Sonic 2 page ever

November 18th, 2006
Blog Entry

What a wonderful world

I must be the only gaming-related blog in the entire world NOT running a story about PS3. This is because, in all honesty, it means nothing to me. I like some games on my PS2, but that’s as far as it goes.

The main purpose of this post is to alert you to a bit of a tidy-up I’ve had around here. “Harvest Moon Diaries” at the top has been changed to general “Diaries” now, which includes HM:AWL and now my old Animal Crossing has a home here too. It’s out of date now, but it’s still an enchanting story of talking animals, happiness and friendship. More games should be like this.

The other reason I thought “what a wonderful world”, apart from the fact the song was used in Strictly Come Dancing tonight, was that a friend of mine in New York just had a tattoo, and was able not only to send me a photo of the outline but also talk to me via MSN whilst she was getting the tattoo. Unfortunately it’s not Sega-related, but nobody’s perfect. Still, isn’t technology wonderful?

Expect another update tomorrow!

I’m listening to The Storm, from Some Cities by Doves

Blog Entry

Animal Crossing diary

I made my first entry in my Animal Crossing diary on Sunday, May 16th, 2004. Blimey, that’s a fair old while ago..!

I’ve made quite a few entries, which I’ll be putting up one at a time. I really enjoyed writing them and I think they’re pretty cool – hopefully you’ll like them too!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Got up nice and early this morning to send the code which, I hope, will get me the NES game Soccer. If not, my villagers will probably be mightily confused by my nonsensical letters which, if I’m honest (which I am), is no surprise. I haven’t heard back yet, but there’s always tomorrow.

I took a trip to nearby Laroowoo [Hannah’s town], where Crazy Redd had his Black Market set up. He was trying to sell a Blue Table, a Water Bird and a Fine Painting. All pretty useless and not what I was looking for (I need more Modern furniture!), so that was disappointing.

I mulled over Redd’s poor stock on the trip back to Eville [my town], and when I got back I found that one of my favourite villagers, Cesar the gorilla, had followed me on the train to Laroowoo, but hadn’t come back! This is the second time he’s moved out, so I’m starting to think it’s not to be. I think I need to take fewer train journeys.


Monday, May 17, 2004

What? Tom Nook’s is closed! Of course, it’s his special sale today, and I missed it by ten minutes. Darn! I’d better take the train to Laroowoo to sell these fossils.

I haven’t got my NES Soccer game yet, so I don’t know what’s going on there. I think I’m going to go to the Post Office and bash some heads!

There’s a letter on the back, which I think might be for me! Time to write some letters and see if it’s my long-lost present.

Twirp asked me to get his watch back from Pudge, which I did in record time and received a heart shirt – he must love me!

I still haven’t managed to find the source of that annoying clicking sound. I think it might be some sort of underground insect, but if it is I can’t find it by digging. I’ll investigate further!

I just caught a large char! That one’s going straight to Blathers! On the way back from the Museum, I ran into Gulliver on the beach, who started telling me a joke and then stopped, so I’ll never know how it ends! I did get a tribal mask from him, which should go nicely… erm… into Tom Nook’s paws.

I’m just about to hop on the train to nearby Laroowoo. I hope nobody follows me this time! I’ll have to play as Hannah and try to get some of the characters to migrate back. I wonder who I’ll see on the train… it’s Rover! I wonder why Sow Joan’s always on the train with me, do you think she’s stalking me? Seeing as she can barely stay awake [obviously caffeinated turnips are in dire need] I don’t think she’s much of a threat.

Blaire got angry at me because I said dieting was boring. Well it is! Maybe she was angry because I pretended to be interested when I was talking to Yuka. Tom Nook didn’t have anything good to buy and there was no-one special in town, so I think I’m going to head back home.

I GOT IT! SOCCER IS MINE! I’m off to go play it now. Rock on!


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

No big surprises today, it was a gentle jaunt through the land of Eville. Three animals moved in – Alfonso the Mario-wannabe crocodile, Static the supercharged-squirrel and Stu, my old moo-dude friend who’s lived here before. In fact, his new place is in exactly the same spot as his old house, surrounded by flowers and everything. It’s beautiful 😀

I went to Nook’s and bought a blue clock for Ellie, who complained she never knows the time when she’s inside. I got Boots’ organiser back and received a reward of some 837 Bells. Not too shabby! After that I caught a couple of cockroaches [try saying that ten times quickly] and got some exotic fruit to sell. After scouring the beach for shells and making around 16,000 Bells in half an hour, I decided I should answer Nature’s call, and went inside to bed.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

In keeping with what Boots and others told me, I didn’t let the rain dampen my spirits, so I went around the town trying to cheer up the other villagers. I don’t know if it worked on everyone – Boots himself got all grumpy when I asked “who needs umbrellas, and he called me stupid! – but I think I brought a little sunshine into some animals’ lives. That made me feel better.

What made me feel even better was when I finally caught a snail! I’ve been on the lookout for one of those blighters for a while, and I always thought they came from rocks, but when I saw something slithering on the flowers I knew I had to get it. I took it to Blathers immediately, who rather confusingly put it in the insects section. Never mind, at least it’s in a good home now.

After delivering a watch to Kabuki in Laroowoo, I came back just after 4 o’clock, which on a rainy day means only one thing – coelacanth time! I’d previously only caught one a day, but I wanted to wait until the post was delivered at 5, so I spent a good hour trawling the seas for the living fossil. In the end I caught some seven or eight of the blighters, netting me a very handsome profit of over 130,000 Bells! After Pete delivered my mail, including a notice of departure from Pudge, I decided to call it a day, and went inside to put my feet up, my future secure.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Eville, and I left my house to be greeted by one of my best friends – the flashing mail icon! I picked up a couple of letters from the Museum, and a few from friends too, but they haven’t quite figured out what to buy me yet. They will do though, one day!

I hopped around town for a bit, just saying hello to everyone to keep them sweet, and Copper mentioned he’d seen a sports car in Acre B-4. I knew what this meant, so I ran like the wind and found my favourite neckerchief-wearing [and very nifty] giraffe, Gracie! My friend Hannah from Laroowoo had successfully claimed a citrus shirt from Gracie earlier, and I was confident of emulating the feat. Unfortunately my first try was a failure – it didn’t even sparkle! I came back later with renewed determination [and muscle strength], but still only managed to claim a weedy No. 4 shirt. Somewhat dejected, I trudged home – not even the sight of my dancing Gyroid could lift my hopes. It’s going to be a long night.


Saturday, May 22nd 2004

On arrival into Eville I checked the mail and found absolutely nothing exciting. I headed over to Twirp’s house in the next acre, but he didn’t have the time to talk to me because his niece was coming over, and wanted a ball. I quickly found one for him, but then I cackhandedly (cackfootedly?) kicked it into a pond. Somewhat embarrassed, I ran past Twirp to see Blaire.

Blaire used to be a villager in Eville at the very beginning, and it’s good that she’s moved back. She wanted her videotape from Ellie, which I swiftly got and received some petal paper in return. Not too shabby.

I saw Cleo, and she was desperate for my Ammonite! She gave me a choice of wallpaper or flooring, and I chose the wallpaper to receive a mod wall! Not my best trade, but she was begging for the ammonite, and I live to give. Running past the Wishing Well I saw Boots, who wanted me to write a letter. No problem.

Past the Well, a familiar buzzing sound reached my ears, and a mosquito appeared and started to chase me! I swung my net at it once but missed horribly, but I just managed to evade its attempt to bite me. Turning back, I took another swipe at it and this time it nestled beautifully into my net. Victory! I ran into Stella the sheep’s house and she was so keen on my mosquito, she offered me 2,610 Bells for it! Well, you don’t often get an offer like that, so I sold it to her. Definitely one of my better transactions!

Bumping into my old friend Stu, he wanted me to deliver some clothes to Boots, which I did in record time, and received a Lunar Lander for my troubles. Hannah from Laroowoo is collecting space furniture, but she already has a lander, so I sold it to Tom Nook. It was nice of Boots to give me some furniture, though!

I dug up a couple of Croakoids, a Mega and a Tall version, which I sold to Nook. There are enough Gyroids in my house to last me a lifetime, they drive me mad!

I found an old Imperial Tile in my inventory which I thought would match the wallpaper I had in the living room. It actually turned out I had Lattice Wall, so I went to Tom Nook’s to see if he had any Imperial Wall in stock. It just so happened that he did! Unfortunately I had no money on me at the time, so I had to scrounge together a few items – cherries, clothing and a painting – in order to pay for it. I finally got my mitts on it and took it home, and now my living room looks more co-ordinated, if still a bit messy. I really should get around to tidying it up one of these days!

After stopping off to see K.K., and be entertained by his Calypso, I took the train to Laroowoo. When I got there, it was absolutely tipping it down with rain! Up went my new Mod Umbrella to protect me from the downpour, and I headed out into the night.

I soon saw a snail on the flowers, which I nabbed with ease. I saw K.K. again, and this time he played K.K. Soul – two new songs in one night, wicked.

I managed to bring Pudge’s organiser back to him, as since he’d moved to Laroowoo nobody could find him! Thankfully, I’m a resourceful chap, so I hunted him down like a stinking… bear. He was so pleased to see it again, he gave me some wallpaper – Imperial Wallpaper! Hooray! I’d just sold half my worldly possessions in order to buy some, and here I was getting some for free! In a somewhat unhappy frame of mind, I boarded the train home, and went to admire my new wallpaper. Two lots of it. Beautiful.

Blog Entry


I used to write a diary about my life many years ago, but let’s be honest – I don’t have the most exciting life, and so it wasn’t the most exciting diary. I kept one for a few years, and last time I was home I looked back to see what had changed, and naturally it was quite a lot. I won’t go into that here, though.

The idea of keeping a diary for a game first occured to me when I was waiting for Sega’s genius RPG Shining Force III on the Sega Saturn. It seemed so enormous that I’d need to create some kind of guide book or journal to help me through it, so I planned different chapters: characters, weapons, magic and a diary of the game. Somewhere I have a list of all the magic resistances, special moves and items, but I never actually wrote down a diary of what I saw and when.

Anyway, the idea stuck with me: I liked the notion of creating something to accompany a game, but few games I played seemed suited to the diary format. That is, of course, until I discovered Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life.

I haven’t kept diaries for them throughout my whole playing experience, but I wrote for two consecutive (virtual) years of Harvest Moon, and dipped in and out of Animal Crossing when I got into it.

The one thing I always tried to do with my diaries was keep them authentic; although the characters obviously don’t exist, I still enjoyed writing from the perspective of the main character, and tried to keep it all consistent as though it were a real diary I had discovered. It was a lot of fun to write, and hopefully it’ll be good fun to read too!


Animal Crossing (Gamecube)

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (Gamecube).

Pro Evolution Soccer 4: Landgraff United’s Konami Cup campaign

I haven’t found another site that has a Harvest Moon diary – if you know of one, please let me know in a comment. If you have a diary for another game – any game at all – please share it with me too!

Complete Archives Older Articles »