Matt's Wii: Initial Thoughts

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Matt Barton
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We purchased a Wii yesterday and tried it out last night. The only extras we bought were an extra controller/nunchuck ($50, holy cow!) and Mario Kart Wii. Then we hooked it up to my old TV via the included composite cables. I managed to get it connected to my wireless router with no fuss, though I've yet to invest in the "Wii points" necessary to buy the games. The selection is a lot more limited than I thought it'd be, though. Apparently there are no casual adventure type games there at all except for World of Goo and Strongbad (I expected to see some hidden object type games that would make great use of the controllers). Looks like the big draw is the old NES/SNES/Genesis/N64 games, which seem to run about $10 each in real money. Pass. I did see a few multiplayer games that looked interesting, but not sure I want to blow $10 just to see. I'm kinda pissed that we didn't get any free or complimentary points or anything with the purchase. That's pretty shitty marketing in my opinion.

On the plus side, my wife and I had a blast with Mario Kart Wii and Wii Sports. The kart game has a nice feature where you can race with real players from all over the world. We raced for at least a few hours, though Elizabeth couldn't seem to get the hang of the controls. I tried the wheel, but, honestly, it's much easier to control with the standard controller and nunchuck. The wheel seems to more of a gimmick or perhaps a kid's toy. But the game itself is excellent--an obvious improvement over the older Kart games (at least IMO).

Wii Sports is also tons of fun. The only one I couldn't get into was boxing. For some reason, I just couldn't get the controls to work properly. My punches kept missing, and I couldn't seem to block no matter what. Everything else went smoothly. My favorite sports so far are tennis, bowling, and golf. I'm really tempted to try to get the Mario tennis game; if it's better than the Wii Sports tennis, I'm sure we'd have a great time with it. I'm also curious what a good fishing game would be like on this setup. Seems like the controller would be great for that.

I'm wondering a lot about having more friends over, though. We only have the 2 controllers, and there's no way I can spend another $100 just to get four full sets. I'm wondering how it would work if you wanted to have 4 players. Does that necessitate extra controllers, or can you swap? I guess it depends on the game, but I'd love to hear from people who have dealt with 3 or more players on the Wii.

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Mark Vergeer
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A video response

I don't think it is wrong to carry a debt, but I do think one has to be really thoughtful about what you want to go into debt for.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Bill Loguidice
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I disagree about the

I disagree about the carrying debt thing. My wife and I are carrying not insignificant debt and it does cause us a good deal of stress. I think we'd be much, much happier without it. With that said, sometimes our ambitions do get the best of us. For instance, we just replaced our entire front door/entryway, when the reality is, we could have probably waited another year or two. So that's another $6000+ to our debt load. This, right after we were forced to replace our garage doors. That to me was a key difference. One was a replacement that we had to do, the other was a replacement that we did need to do eventually, but not NOW. Both are on 0% credit plans for one year and six months respectively (plus we get like $1500 in energy credits from the government on our taxes), but we really didn't need to do both, you know? That concerns me as I truly wish to be more responsible. In the grand scheme of things, with both my wife and me working at good paying jobs and getting some freelance money from the books and movie, we really shouldn't have ANY debt. We have lots to show for it (nice house, cars, etc.), but it's a dangerous game we really don't have to be playing (if one of us lost our jobs, we'd be screwed). Sometimes it's better to do without and actually wait to SAVE to buy something than satisfying that need NOW. I'm sure we'd (especially me), would appreciate it more. For instance, I could really use a new laptop now, but with our present situation, I will have to wait AT LEAST another year or two. So now it IS starting to effect me, and it's frustrating, but it's my own foolish doing. I know I can and should do better.

I also really need to curb my videogame and computer collecting. I mostly stick to small ticket items these days, like software items that cost a few bucks here and there, but it DOES add up, and is ultimately unnecessary because I'm massively backlogged. I could not buy another thing for several years, and still not get through it all, especially with all of the freelance work taking my time. It's a slippery slope. In fact, what I really need to do is start selling my duplicates, which would help bring in additional money, and clear some of my space issues, in a storage area where there should be zero space issues if I were more responsible. I definitely consider it my greatest failing as a person, and certainly something I need to improve upon like I've improved upon other aspects of myself over the years.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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:-(
Matt Barton wrote:

...Still, at some point it's probably better just to go ahead and get some stuff on credit; the stress/anxiety over the debt is probably better than the even greater resentment/anger over not having an item or two. For instance, sure, we could move out of this apartment and into a slum where the rent was much lower. Sure, we'd have more cash on hand, but the added anxiety and resentment over the awful living conditions would be a far greater problem than the burden of debt....

I am not sure I actually can follow the logic behind these sentences. A hobby is something extra, one should never go into debt for something like a hobby. Going into debt for a basic life-necessity like a roof above your head is something different all together. But even when you go for a mortgage to finance the purchase of a house you need to be careful not to go in over your head.
Elise and I are in the process of buying a house and we will have a mortgage on it but it will not be the top mortgage the bank is dangling in front of us. We opted to go for half of that which would make it easy for us to pay off the mortgage ending up with very doable monthly payments comparable with a regular rent. In 25 years time the house is totally paid and we're mortgage free.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Mark Vergeer
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Manually delete corrupted save games!
Matt Barton wrote:

Well, this doesn't make a damn bit of sense. Halo 2 saves fine, Jade Empire saves fine, but two different copies of KOTOR freeze every time I try to save. Guess it's a no-go.

There must be some weird problem with this particular Xbox. Discouraging, to say the least.

Must be a corrupted save game. Manually delete those.
Turn on the xbox without a disc in it. You'll be able to access the memory / save game part of the hard drive. Delete the KOTOR save game that is on the hard drive.
You'll probably be able to save the game from now on. Actually some of these specifically malformed savegames are actually what makes it possible to soft-hack an Original Xbox.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Catatonic
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A friend of mine used to buy

A friend of mine used to buy lots of video games, DVD's, "collectible" statues, etc. Eventually his whole basement filled up with junk, you can't even sit down. There is a TV, DVD player, sound system, etc. that is down there but you can't use it anymore. Not sure what my point is... maybe that if you know someone who is like that, try talking about it... I don't really know what can be done to help. (It's a kind of OCD and may require medication or counselling or something)

Rowdy Rob
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Rowdy Rob's philosophical rant....
Matt Barton wrote:

Well, I don't think I'm going that crazy, but I do no need to quit spending money. The truth is, we just can't afford all this stuff, and it is financially irresponsible. Still, at some point it's probably better just to go ahead and get some stuff on credit; the stress/anxiety over the debt is probably better than the even greater resentment/anger over not having an item or two.

Matt, I've been reading over the last few weeks of your recent "console" buying and wondered what's going on.... you were the computer gamer last year! I was especially puzzled to read that you bought a Wii, which is the last platform I thought you would purchase, since it's lack of "deep" games seems unsuitable for your general tastes of gaming.

Matt, it's not really appropriate to "psychoanalyze" you on a public forum, so I'll just say a few things from my perspective. I believe if you're spending money you (in general) don't have have on what amounts to toys and trinkets, that's financially irresponsible. Well, that's basically common sense (unless you happen to be a politician). If you have the basics covered (food, shelter, washing machine, vehicle, TV, computer, vehicle, etc.), then most of the rest is gravy. Your cup runneth over, at that point. And you're living better than probably 90 percent of the world population.

Matt Barton wrote:

I've often heard the phrase "living beyond one's means." But is it really a fair criticism? It's seems preferable to "live beyond one's means" than to "wallow in despair," so to speak.

I don't necessarily think it's an either/or situation, and much depends on just what your means are. You can still live within your means (if you make an average American salary) and still have lots of gaming fun, or find other creative and/or rewarding pastimes and experiences to keep you from wallowing in despair. And I have several friends who are, shall we say, quite well off, and they're miserable. One friend recently broke his foot, and was whining that his family won't assist him in getting the phone, and he's whining that his in-ground swimming pool is leaking water... "my luck is sooo bad," he says, as he sips his beer while sitting on his patio overlooking his lush, well-landscaped back yard. You may not have his means, but you don't want to have that attitude. And seeing it in other people makes me think about some of the things I may be whining about.

If you have a creative mind (and you do, Matt!), you can find ways to enjoy life, and you can do more amazing things with less resources than other people can do who have more resources! Heck, I'm having more fun gaming recently than I've had in a LOONG time, and I'm doing it playing a FREEWARE version of "Ur-Quan Masters!"

Struggles and suffering suck, but they can make you stronger.

Matt Barton wrote:

I just remember what happened to my grandmother. {................} In short, she spent most of her life in a trailer and had precious little time to enjoy the fruits of all that labor. She would have been much better off financing the home, then she could have enjoyed those years to their fullest.

But, if they bought the house earlier, something may have come up financially and crushed them. You never know. It's happening to a lot of people now. It happened to one of my best friends this year. He lost his previous home, so he had to move into a smaller (but still very nice) house. He and his wife were heavy in debt. I (and his other friends) helped him move, and it took more than a MONTH to move their stuff. His wife had THOUSANDS of "trinkets," a lot of it CRAZY useless stuff, and he couldn't fit it all in their new house. They now have probably hundreds of boxes in their garage that will take years to sort through (and in one of those boxes is MY Dreamcast system and all the games.... I'll never see it again). There's much more to this story, but I'm getting carried away. He now has a 30 year mortgage on his new house, and he'll be 90 YEARS OLD when he finally pays it off!

Better to suffer now and save up, and have the good life when you're older.

It's nice to have a good selection of gaming systems, but you don't need it. You've done extremely well so far without all the gaming systems, so it's not about adding to your credibility. As I said before, you are a creative mind, and you've done more with less. :-) That's your "super-power."

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Matt Barton
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Well, I don't think I'm

Well, I don't think I'm going that crazy, but I do no need to quit spending money. The truth is, we just can't afford all this stuff, and it is financially irresponsible. Still, at some point it's probably better just to go ahead and get some stuff on credit; the stress/anxiety over the debt is probably better than the even greater resentment/anger over not having an item or two. For instance, sure, we could move out of this apartment and into a slum where the rent was much lower. Sure, we'd have more cash on hand, but the added anxiety and resentment over the awful living conditions would be a far greater problem than the burden of debt.

I've often heard the phrase "living beyond one's means." But is it really a fair criticism? It's seems preferable to "live beyond one's means" than to "wallow in despair," so to speak. Trying to maintain a standard of zero debt and a large sum of money in the savings account just isn't feasible for many people. I don't think the answer is to deny yourself ever amenity, but rather to try to make the most strategic purchases possible. For instance, it's better to spend $50 on a new game that you will play for many days rather than $50 on a steak and lobster dinner that will be gone as soon as you eat it. Likewise, it's better to spend $1500 on a TV that you will watch everyday rather than go on a trip or vacation with that money.

I just remember what happened to my grandmother. She wanted to live in a nice house very badly, but my grandfather refused to take on the debt--he would only get a house if they actually had the cash in hand. So, she scrimped and saved for many, many years, living all that time in a small trailer. When she finally had saved enough, they bought a wonderful home. However, she died shortly after. In short, she spent most of her life in a trailer and had precious little time to enjoy the fruits of all that labor. She would have been much better off financing the home, then she could have enjoyed those years to their fullest.

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
I wish him well. Maybe

I wish him well. Maybe hitting rock bottom is what he needed.

Mark Vergeer
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Gaming addiction

Matt wrote: "I did something stupid--just ordered mario galaxy and star wars lego saga. 50 bucks! Somebody get me a straightjacket."

A gaming hobby can get too much in the way.... don't get too much swept away in it. Balance it out!

Here's a video LukeMorse1 has posted just the other day:

and here's what I have to say about it:

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Matt Barton
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Well, I guess I got burnt on

Well, I guess I got burnt on this deal. $35 and about an hour on the road both ways. I guess I can't complain that much, but sure feel stupid when I could have just spent $50 and got one guaranteed to work from Gamestop.

I'm debating what to do with this one. Just keep it? Try to sell it? Maybe try to use it as a trade-in on something?

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