Archive for June 14, 2006

Review –> Metroid Prime Hunters

The thing that lets me know that Metroid Prime Hunter is a Nintendo game is that like all great Nintendo games it has a defective jump button. Ya know how in Mario Bros you would fall off a cliff when you knew you pressed the jump button? The same thing happens in Hunters which requires you to double tap the screen to jump. You can change this, but I’ve found it to be the most intuitive way to play the game. You consistenly find yourself just barely not making that jump etc, yet at the same time you still have a remarkable sense of control. Anyway, one thing that interests me about Metroid is, is it such a good FPS becuase it was a platforming game before? Would someone just making an FPS think up the eleborate platforming and the rolling sections? Metroid might be better for the translation. It’s ascendance into First Person has made it more distinctive than 9 out of the 10 games that come out per week n the U.S. Parts of Hunters delve deep into platforming dynamics while other parts just focus on run and gun fps side steeping shoot outs. I have no idea what the story to this game is (it seems to revolve around people trying to stop Samus from getting somewhere) becuase I’m playing it in Japanese (yeah they have the american import here, but I was buying a bunch of Naruto games for some kids so I thought I’d stick with the japanese version which has a cooler box anyway).  The levels aren’t terribly different than the ones in Prime, but switching between the planets to return and frag new stuff and open new levels doesn’t get old, mostly becuase once you’ve been there you can usually breeze through the level or just warp 1/2 way into it. Occasionally you run into a recurring battle that gets rather annoying (there’s these robots that disrupt your vision that get annoying after awhile), but your weapons seem to get more powerful each time so the battles become little more than just dodge and purge. What’s surprising though is the level of involvement in each level. Today I found a whole new sector which involves rolling into a ball, working through a platform sector, warping to various timed battles, jumping over the remains of a spaceship, warping to other battles, and to make everything even more annoying, sometimes you warp backwards sometimes you warp forwards. But any game addictive enough that I found myself sweating it back to the ship as the battery light flashed red on my DS is worth playing. I might add that a DS lite might be better for this game. Holding the stylus and using the shoulder button at once can get a bit combersome. Also the screen size is an issue for me, I wish I could expand it or Samus’ visor could magnify the guns’ cursor so I could make better distance shots, but all in all a rather good game.

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June 14, 2006 at 5:19 pm

Speculation: Taiwan Chinese conflict

In the Pentagon's paper on Taiwan, they noted that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would seriously hurt China's economy. But this doesn't quite make sense. Because Taiwan, like Hong Kong, has spent millions pouring money into the Chinese economy (Taiwan is famous for managing production of electronics in China) this only means that China has everything to gain by invading. The higher the revenues of Faxconn* Taiwanese companies and other manufacturing services the more China has to gain by making these businsses part of their domestic economy right now Faxconn's profits are enjoyed by Taiwanese owners and their foreign contractors. Plus, this idea that the Taiwanese aid to China somehow endears Chinese to Taiwan seems a little lop-sided. After all from the perspective of the Chinese worker in the plant, isn't Taiwan just cashing in on their cheap labor for greater profits at home? When I was in China many of the people I met had a high regard for their jobs (one amway worker was ecstatic about his "American" company and intensly proud), so it is possible that the Chinese working for Taiwanese companies do feel a higher level of sympathy for their democratic brothers, but the idea that the wealth of their economic ties deters China's military motives, which is a common arguement used in Taiwan, seems false. After all if the communists were to nationalize Taiwan's companies after an invasion, it would not just fit with the party line while bolstering GDP even further, it would also put them in control again.

On another note, dealings with China are always tricky. The flow of wealth has not just assisted the government, but has also assisted formerly jailed dissidents who were pushing for democratic reforms.

* that should be Foxconn and it's a Hong Kong company owned by a Taiwanese company. 

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June 14, 2006 at 3:35 pm

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June 14, 2006 at 3:18 pm


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