Why I like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the Wii U

legend of zeldaThere is no real way of saying this other than just saying it: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a cash-grab. The truth is that Nintendo realized once the Wii U came out that there wouldn’t be another Legend of Zelda game for a while, but this is what fans wanted. I’ve said before how Nintendo just kind of makes its own rules and the fans just follow, but unlike Apple, I don’t think the profit margin is high.

So with no Zelda game until 2015, which still won’t happen, Nintendo was faced with a problem it had to solve: keep Zelda fans happy. The easiest way is just to port and older Zelda game to the Wii U, and the one that wasn’t for the Wii was The Wind Waker, as it is now called Wind Waker HD.

This Zelda game was met with mixed reviews when the original version was released for the Game Cube. Some were expecting more of the Ocarina of Time, which man argue is the best Zelda game ever made. That game was for the N64, which brought Zelda into a 3D world. The Wind Waker decided to turn its hero Link into a Chibi-sized avatar, and the art style was a little too cute for some. Compare that to the darker and grittier style of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

So, does it help to have The Wind Waker come to the Wii U? Well, there could be worse choices. The issue is having the Wii U controller allows the player some interesting possibilities. Most role-playing games of the Zelda type have some kind of a map going on, and a button that you have to toggle to get to the map. With Wind Waker HD, you push a button, and the map appears on a second screen.

There is a similar situation set up with weapons. The Wind Waker is a game where the player has to constantly switch between items that Link is carrying, and the touchscreen on the Wii U controller is very good for this. In fact, it makes it not so inconvenient.

Some of the problems that I’ve run into is when I need to aim something like the boomerang, hookshot, or bow and arrow. I found that I had a super hard time aiming the bow and arrow when I got it in the game, but eventually figured it out. I suppose that makes the game more realistic. What is really cool is how you can use the Wii controller using motion control. It makes it rather interesting and increase the realism factor by at least two.

Honestly, there’s a lot of terrific stuff in this Zelda game, and even without the motion controller, it is very good. There is nothing more that I like than a video game that has fighting but a lot of puzzles as well. If you have a Wii U, and you haven’t bought this old game yet, I do recommend it.

Red Moon and Water on the Red Planet

supermoon-live-stream-click-to-watch-leadIt really was a big weekend for astronomy. Not only did that big supermoon lunar eclipse happen, but there is confirmation of water on Mars.

So what? Well, if we ever have to go there, then we don’t have to worry about bringing a big waterbottle with us. Yeah, we are nowhere near that point, at least so we don’t need to journey to Mars out of necessity.

mars-flowing-waterApparently, the proof of liquid water comes from narrow streaks in satellite images during the summer of the planet that lengthen during warm seasons and fade when it gets cold. This was discovered by Lujendra “Luju” Ojha, who is a death metal guitarist as well as a scientist.

There doesn’t really seem to be a clear source for wear the water is coming from, so it is condensing out of the thin Martian atmosphere or rising up from the salty aquifers or underground ice.

Whatever the case, I suppose it would be possible to live on Mars. Yeah, I know that won’t be in my lifetime, but shoot, I saw want to see that.

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The HyperX Cloud II Headset from Kingston

HyperX Cloud IIIt has been a year since I have reviewed the HyperX Cloud, so it stands to reason that I reviewing the HyperX Cloud II headset one year later. I have to say that I like this particular Headset for gaming and PC, and I’m trying it out now while watching the pilot for the Minority Report TV series. I’ll talk about that later.

The HyperX Cloud II has a newly designed USB sound card audio control box that amplfies audio and voice for an optimal Hi-Fi gaming experience. I will have to say that when I tried these out for the PC and the PS4, I am hearing all kinds of audio deals that I never would have heard before. In all honesty, I am a little afraid to play Slender: The Arrival again. These headphones let you know when an enemy is coming, and I believe it.

There is a controller for the HyperX Cloud II that attaches to the PC via USB, or to the controller via hook-up and you will need an adapter for the Xbox One. You can individually control the microphone and earphones via controls, and toggle off the Surround Sound 7.1 if you want. However, it is terrific, so I don’t know why you would even do that.

They certainly are quite a headset, and they are available on the Kingston site in Pink, Red, and Gun Metal for a price of $110.50. I don’t know how long it will stay that price.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: We finally got around to reviewing Inside Out

inside-out-posterSome of you might remember when I spent time reviewing Pixar films, and how I praised the studio for making original films, even though their most recent material has been mediocre and sequels. Inside Out is a step in the right direction, and I have to admit that it is difficult to watch this film without getting emotionally involved. My own feelings on this film are slightly mixed.

This is not to say that I didn’t like the film, but it has been a while since I have seen a movie try something as allegorical as this. I suppose that the only comparison that I can make is Osmosis Jones, but the Nostalgia Critic already discussed that, and that film was more about the physiological aspect of the inner workings of the body. Inside Out deals with the mental self. In the film, we see Riley, a girl who has just moved to San Francisco, but we also meet her inner voices who are represented by five Muppet-like chraacters: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger.

This film has a worldview that every human being has these emotions within them all working together at their mental keyboard. What isn’t very clear is if Riley has freewill and is choosing what emotion to focus on, or whether or not the motions are controlling her. I mean, the emotional archetypes take control of Riley’s keyboard every once in a while, and Riley seems to go along. Then there is a scene where the archetypes put an idea into Riley’s head, and it is said that she had to “take it”.

So it looks like it isn’t nature, nurture, or volition alone that controls Riley. So I guess this film goes out of its way to show that it doesn’t know what makes a person a person, and considering that we as humans don’t know that, maybe that is a good thing. Perhaps this is the point of the film, and there really isn’t any way I can talk about this without spoiling it. I’ll go ahead and leave a jump here in case you don’t want it spoiled for you.

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So What is Wrong with the New Muppets TV Show? Besides the Pilot Not Being that Funny.

MuppetsWell, it isn’t Speculative Fiction Saturday yet, and honestly, I’m not certain I can really count a Muppet film or TV show as speculative fiction. Then again, just check out what I reviewed last week. Anyway, I had a chance to check out the new Muppet TV show, simply known as The Muppets.

I suppose that this article is a response to the One Million Moms who released a statement on their website saying that the series is “perverted”. This raises a few questions: First, are there really one million moms in this organization? If so, did they think of the name first and then try and find one million moms with identical viewpoints. That would be difficult.

Second, “perverted” compared to what? I watched the show, and yes, I found that there was references to sexual contact amongst the Muppets. There is a line where Kermit says that he “cross-promoted” with his new pig girlfriend. I’m sure there is more that I missed, but the rating before the show began was TV-PG.

Personally, I think the jokes could probably get a little more edgy, and honestly, I don’t think The Muppets should be entirely for a young audience. From what I remember of The Muppet Show from the 70’s and 80’s, it was a parody of variety shows, which were popular at the time. It had a bit more of an edge to it more than say, Sesame Street.

And still, even with that edge, the Muppets never seemed to stray over it. The issue is that times have changed, and kids can understand relational difficulties, which was about the deepest subject matter touched on the new TV series. Yes, it seems made for adults, because those who watched The Muppet Show have grown up, and so have these characters.

Still, I wasn’t sold on the pilot. The issue is it uses that mockumentary format seen on such shows as The Office and Modern Family. Even The Muppets admits it is a lazy way to get characters to talk about their feelings on issues, but I’ve always felt that the Muppets often loved on going behind the scenes.

In this case, The Muppets has a new show that isn’t The Muppet Show, but really should be. Instead, it is a talk show staring Miss Piggy. It is an interesting way of getting her on a major role on the show, but it just doesn’t feel right. I just can’t imagine someone with Miss Piggy’s grumpy personna having a successful talk show. Please do not take this as too much of a comparison, but Roseanne once had a talk show to compete with Rosie O’Donnell. It didn’t last long.

There have been comparisons made with The Muppets to 30 Rock, but it bears a stronger resemblance to The Larry Sanders Show. That is, it goes behind the scenes of a talk show, with all the drama that happens.

The issue that I have is that it uses the type of comedy that I can’t stand these days, with celebrities playing themselves. The pilot episode had Elizabeth Banks and Tom Bergeron being them, and that was the joke. Then Imagine Dragons was on, because…yeah, there wasn’t a good reason.

In fact, the show felt crowded, as there was a story with Fozzie dating a human girl and meeting her parents. Then Miss Piggy had a diva tantrum because she didn’t want Elizabeth Banks on the show, and it had to do with her recent breakup with Kermit.

One of the issues that I had with this show is that I didn’t really laugh much. That’s not a good sign, and the ending joke didn’t even make sense. I mean, I’ve seen pilots that just didn’t work, but they shouldn’t be used to judge the series as a whole. As of now, The Muppets could suffer the fate of short-lived Muppets efforts like The Jim Henson show and Muppets Tonite.

Vertu New Signature Touch Smartphone

Vertu-New-Signature-Touch-2015-640x367When it comes to really gourmet stuff, the same names come up like Rolex, Rolls-Royce, Prada, and Fancy Feast. Okay, that last one was a stretch, but you get the point. This Vertu Signature Touch is something for that 1 percent that everyone talks about.

Vertu’s new Signature Touch has a Snapdragon 810 with 4 GB of RAM, as well as 64 GB of storage expandable via micro SD to 2 TB. Is there a card that can even hold that amount of data?

The Signature Touch has a 5.2 inch full HD display as well as a 21 Megapixel rear-facing camera with an aperture f/2.2 and a 2.1 Megapixel front-facing camera. The battery is a solid 3,160 mAh, and it comes with Vertu’s Dedicated Concierge service. I believe that this is a personal assistant that helps you for 18 months.

Yes, you will pay for that. The price is $9,900 all the way up to $20,000 depending on choice of materials and services. If you can afford it, then you can expect it in mid-October.

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The 360 Fly takes 360 videos on the…do I need to say it?

360 FlyWhat you are seeing here is not a small grenade, but hopefully the TSA will figure that out before there are any Ahmed Mohamed mistakes. This is the 360Fly, and it is a single lens-camera that can capture seamless content at 360 degrees on the horizontal and 240 degrees on the vertical.

I’ve tried out other 360 cameras before such as the V.360, and I’m hoping this one will be as simple to use, once you get used to it. The 360Fly is able to pair with a free iOS and Android application that will allow a smartphone or tablet to act as the camera viewfinder and remote.

This allows for taking videos as well as shooting, editing, and sharing content. This application will also enable an immersive virtual reality experience when mobile devices are paired with the Cardboard VR goggles.

If you want to see some 360 videos for yourself, head on over here to the 360Fly site and check them out. By the way, I’m hoping to get a review unit of this later, so I can review the 360Fly just before the holidays. It is going to be available exclusively at Best Buy after October 5th, and can be pre-ordered for a price of $399.99.

Land’s End is a significantly cool VR game

Lands EndSome of you might remember a little game known as Monument Valley, and considering that it has been downloaded over 2.5 million times, it’s hardly little. The makers of the game, Ustwo, is working on a game for virtual reality known as Land’s End.

Land’s End was definitely inspired by the CD-Rom game Myst, and I’m not going to explain that reference. I’ve always loved that game and its imaginary interactive environment, and VR certainly appears to be the tool that you want to view it in.

Land’s End has that same blocky graphics style and mysterious music of Monument Valley, but instead of using a controller, players will be using their eyes. I’m not certain how that will work, but the video that you see below says that it is only for Samsung Gear VR. I guess HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR users are out of luck.

Land’s End is planned to be available for the Samsung Gear VR on October 30th, but there is not a price point for it as yet.

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Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard Review

Matias QuietPro KeyboardI was hoping that I could get around to reviewing the Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard before the whole back to school season, but that just didn’t really happen. Still, for those that want to type out a paper and not wake their college roommate, you could probably get this.

I’m going to address something that would have affected my review, but I believe that Matias is telling the truth when they say they make the world’s quietest mechanical keyboard. The issue is that it is not as quiet as the keys on my laptop.

However, if you want one of those old-fashioned mechanical keyboards, I would recommend this. I will say that I like the way this keyboard as it is more ergonomic than my other laptop keyboard. The keys are laser-etched so the symbols never wear off.

By the way, the Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard comes with three USB 2.0 ports. That is cool to have because you will lose a USB port when you use this on your computer. By the way, it really is pretty good when it comes to downloading the drivers.

Did I mention that I am typing this out using the Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard? Yes, I am! If you want to get into this, you can Matias Quiet Pro Keyboard website for about $149.99.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Apollo 13

apollo-13-movie-poster-1995-1020190529Okay, I admitting that I am totally cheating on this one. Lately, I haven’t been going out of my way to search for any intriguing speculative fiction. I mean last week I did Zathura, for crying out loud. Today, I’m going to do a film that is kind of one of my favorites. And it still works, twenty years later.

This film is probably one of the most American that I have ever seen, and it probably is definitely celebrating the human ability to overcome. The reason why I decided to review this film is because my son saw a trailer for a Matt Damon film called The Martian, and I was surprised when he said that he was interested in seeing it. Fortunately, I happened to be at the library and saw this film and realized that my kids hadn’t seen this movie and probably don’t know the history behind it.
So today, we are doing something a little different today, and reviewing a speculative film that actually happened!

Seriously, this film take place in space, has a tech malfunction, and they have to work together to solve it! Most Star Trek episodes have this premise, but it really happened!
Ron Howard really knew how to put this film together, starting at two of the biggest events in astronaut history. The first is the Apollo 1 disaster, something that I didn’t really learn about, and honestly, people don’t really want to talk about. The other is the first landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong, and it really captures how hopeful people were about space travel.

If you know anything about the history, then you know that Jim Lovell was a back-up team that was supposed to do Apollo 14, but his team was bumped up. The film shows his nervousness and excitement as he is about to land on the moon, and he is forced to replace a crew member Ken Mattingly with Jack Swaggart at the last minute. The scene where we just see Mattingly react is great. There isn’t a scene where anyone tells him, we just see his reaction. It is just plain awesome.

Then the film really goes out of its way to show the anticipation of a rocket launch. Ever since this film and Armageddon came out, I haven’t seen a good rocket take off scene in years. Even those who have never seen this film know what happens next: “Houston, we have a problem”.

It is absolutely fantastic to see Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon play astronauts who are on a mission where just one small thing goes wrong. It is enough so they have to scrap the mission, but the public wondered if the astronauts were going to make it. Even though I never lived during the time when this happened, you can feel it.

I am told that there is a scene in the film that a lot of people thought was made up, but it is true. The scene is with Marilyn Lovell when she loses her wedding ring in the shower. Apparently, that happened right before the launch, which is odd because I remember the first time I was watching this thinking: “yeah, that’s historical fiction for you”.

This is why I like this film, because you are seeing science fiction come to life! I don’t know if we will ever get into space exploration like we were back then, but I don’t know, maybe it will bring out the best in us, who knows.