Just to prove there’s life in the old dog yet I’ve just had my SNES modded. It doesn’t do anything nearly as interesting as a modded Xbox, but it makes the PAL version not be shit anymore since it can run stuff in 60Hz and play 99.9% of import games.

It might seem odd to pour more money into a dead console when there’s the Wii virtual console coming soon, but for me you can’t beat the real controller in your hand and it’s a known fact that cartridges > discs > digital downloads. Throw a DVD disc down the stairs and tell me if it still works. Throw a digital download down the stairs and…well, you can’t.

Anyway, many thanks to chaoticjelly over on NTSC-uk for doing the mods for £20 including shipping. First of all the cartridge slot has been widened to accommodate both PAL SNES/Super Famicom games and ones from the hideous US version. Note the cool blue LED:

Modded cart slot and blue power LED

Continue reading SNES Mods

Dead Rising Demo

I don’t think I’ve seen Xbox Live running as slow as it was yesterday when the Dead Rising demo was released since E3, which I’m not sure is indicative of the level of anticipation for this game or just the lack of anything else to play. Enough flogging of that (un)dead horse, though.

Dead Rising

The demo of Dead Rising doesn’t have any plot whatsoever and actually ends whenever you trigger a story cut scene, but maybe the lack of point is the point. I didn’t get to know any of the characters outside of the merest hint of a storyline at the beginning, but what I did get to do is crush a zombie with a sledgehammer in seconds of starting; pelt a zombie with ketchup; run a shopping trolley through the undead horde; throw a bowling ball down the stairs through a crowd of zombies; pelt them in the head with golf balls; thrash through them with a toy light saber (sorry, Lucasfilm: laser sword) complete with sounds; attack them with CDs Shaun of the Dead-style; oh, and shoot them with a shotgun. Can’t forget that old chestnut.

I hope there’s more depth to the game but if there’s not I might buy it anyway. I had a blast just running around like some maniac with an electric guitar as a bludgeon, and the demo only gives access to a small portion of the mall. Incidentally the game actually points out when you start it that it’s nothing to do with Dawn of the Dead which is a filthy lie. Consider it an unofficial Dead Tetralogy game that isn’t shockingly bad.

Another high point is the graphics, as even in shiny 720p the game seemed to be running at a solid 60fps. This was maintained when the screen was absolutely full of zombies and fountains of blood which, since this is a Capcom game, bodes extremely well for a certain other upcoming game which may or may not have zombies in it. I’m not referring to Okami. Character models look good if you can ignore how Frank permanently looks like he’s smelt something bad.

The big downside? A game finally comes out and I’m going to be on holiday. Gaaah!

So Long, E3

So fresh off one of the biggest and certainly most controversial E3s in recent memory we find out that it’s going to be the last. It’s certainly going to change the dynamics of the average year in this industry but now how are games journalists supposed to get an annual free holiday to California?

Honestly, they might as well not bother putting on a show now. Publishers hold their own little events all year round (EA and Ubisoft have had them in the last month, for example) so nothing will change there, and since the huge events are incredibly popular it’s tempting to speculate that this is only going to make the venerable Tokyo Game Show and neophyte Leipzig Games Convention even bigger. Tempting in that it’s easier for me to get to Germany and preferable for me to go to Japan than Los Angeles.

But now how are fanboys going to endlessly debate who “won” E3? How are we going to see Peter Moore’s tattoos and Kaz Hirai’s hyperbole in the same place? What else do kids who run fan sites have to blag their way into? Where can shitty doomed peripherals go without Kentia Hall? And now there’s one less career path for jobbing “actresses” who are willing to drape themselves over cars and guns while overweight men in shorts have their photos taken with them.

And I’m not at all bitter that I’ve never been and now never will…

Completely off-topic I know, but I’ve also written a review of New Super Mario Bros. for the DS which can be found here and on the review index. Take a look.