Monthly Archives: April 2008

Myst (DS)

When I first heard that Myst was being ported to the DS, I was thrilled. A truly amazing experience was being brought to a handheld I love so I could finally finish it, playing whenever I had a free chance anywhere. I was very disappointed. Myst is more awesome than I remember, but Midway did a horrendous job with the port.
First, let me talk a little bit about Myst without concern for the port. Myst is a first-person point and click adventure. While most point and click adventures provide puzzles with clear goals in mind, Myst’s puzzles are usually quite vague and confusing. Across the island are various puzzles, and it is not clear what you are supposed to do with each puzzle or why. It is like walking into a room filled with technology with which you are not familiar. The only way to understand it is to begin to use it.
On the island of Myst, you solve puzzles gaining you access to linking books. These books transport you to other ages (basically Myst sized islands). I would not want to go into more detail because I would not want to spoil any of the game.
The audio consists mainly of ambient noises and fit in with the game very well. The graphics are dated now of course, but looked great at the time of original release. Myst was one of the first games to come on a CD-ROM, and many people bought CD-ROM drives just to play Myst. The game looks very realistic using beautiful pre-rendered graphics.
Now to my dismay, I must talk about the port.
The graphics are a direct port, without raising the resolution at all. The text is incredibly hard to read. To compensate, there’s a magnifying glass that when clicked, will magnify the middle of the screen and put it on the top screen. However, the resolution stays the same. At first the text is too small. Now it’s just pixelated and blurry. There’s a feature allowing you to jot down notes, but I have not used it. You can take screenshots to look at later, but they do not seem to work right. I flipped to the middle of a book, took a screenshot, and went on my way to a puzzle. When I looked at the screenshot, it was of the first page of the book, not the page I tried to capture.
There are also many graphical bugs. First, some images do not line up. For instance, if there’s a switch to pull, the screen actually consists of the background image and the image of a switch. When you select the switch, the image of the switch should change to the image of a flipped switch. However, it displays slightly off-center from where it should, resulting in a screen tearing-like image. On top of that, sometimes the switches will appear to be in a different state than they really are. One type of switch can either be red or green. In one case, the red worked fine, but the green displayed it at one quarter its proper size. Some areas of the game have the screen flash incorrect colors or distort when changing screen.
At one point, someone I was playing with saved and later reloaded. She was at a puzzle, but could not figure out what to do. When she tried to leave the puzzle, she could not. At first she thought that she could not leave until she finished the puzzle. However, I went there on my game and was able to walk away again. She was fully stuck and had to restart her save file. Horrible.
Puzzles also sometimes reset when reloading. Imaging working hard on a puzzle, saving the game, and turning your DS off. Later you come back and find that you have to do everything again. I realize some games do this, but other puzzles in Myst do save. Some of the puzzles simply do not save.
Myst is a wonderfully beautiful game. If you truly want to experience it, play on the PC. It is a little troublesome to get it to work on Windows XP or newer, but it can be done. It would work best on a Windows 95 PC. However, if you do not want to be bothered by that and really, really want a handheld version, then you might want to try this DS port. Keep in mind how many problems you will face. That said, I am playing it on the DS because I prefer being able to play in various locations. However, I have played the original and know how great it is. Please, if you play Midway’s horrible DS port of Myst, keep in mind that the game was much better in its original form.

Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

Mario Kart Wii is an excellent addition to the Mario Kart series. The core game is the same as always, but Nintendo has now added bikes, online play, more racers per game, team battle modes, and the Wii wheel. I don’t think I really have a favorite Mario Kart game because I like them all. This game seems to have a worse battle mode and so far iffy online play. However, the local racing is superb, and I look forward to spending many hours playing Mario Kart Wii!
The first thing new about this game is the Wii Wheel. It felt very odd at first but very quickly got more comfortable. When you go off jumps, you can shake the wheel to perform tricks for boosts. If the Wii Wheel isn’t your thing, you can use many other (any other) control scheme, however, the game keeps track of how often you use the Wii Wheel and displays it next to your name online when you’re using it.
Online play worked very well when I first got it home. As I waited for the previous match to end, I was allowed to watch. Then we played, and I noticed no lag. I only raced. I haven’t yet tried online battle mode. The next day when I tried, I couldn’t connect. I played online with my brother though. First, we traded Wii friend codes because Mario Kart Wii has a feature that uses the Wii system friend codes to trade Mario Kart Wii friend codes. However, even after we added each other, it wouldn’t confirm so we traded Mario Kart Wii friend codes. I entered his lobby, got kicked out, entered again, got kicked out, made my own lobby, and then he joined. I don’t think that was a connection issue; I think he was confused and closing it. We played a game and it worked very well. The next game disconnected in the middle, and then I couldn’t connect. At that point I gave up and quit. I’m hoping this was a fluke, but I’m not gonna keep my hopes up.
The bikes are more sensitive than the karts, but I think they’re better than the Karts because you can dodge things faster. The levels are cool and gorgeous. I’ve been very happy with them. My favorite stage so far is Coconut Mall. In it there are escalators going up and down. If you’re driving up you have to make sure to pick the correct escalator or you’ll be slowed down. Battle mode is now two teams of six (I think, but it might be eight). In balloon battle, after you lose all your balloons, you’re able to respawn. You can not be killed permanently. The other battle mode is coin runner. Coins are scattered throughout the stage, and the team with the most coins wins. You can knock coins out of enemies by striking them with items. While the battle mode used to be my favorite, it seems much more chaotic in Mario Kart Wii. I don’t like it as much.
There are four “licenses,” which function as save files. They physically show what medals you’ve received on which courses, and also keep track of all your other information. Besides being able to earn a bronze, silver, or gold cup, you also get a letter rank. Once you receive all stars, you get a star next to your name online. When you receive all two stars, you get two stars, and when you receive all triple stars, you get three starts. If you use the Wii Wheel enough, there will also be a golden Wii Wheel icon next to your name when you play online.
I’m gonna go play now.


Dear Penncro,
Thanks so much for calling me all the time! I know I’m hard to get a hold of because I screen my calls, and you don’t really leave messages. Luckily when I googled your phone number, 866-779-9279, I found this site, It’s a great site; users can contribute information about annoying 800 numbers that call them all the time. That’s how I found out who you are. I’m very happy you call me all the time just like you call many other people all the time. It’s strange though that you are supposedly a collection agency working for Bank of America yet you’re calling me and I don’t owe you money. That seems to happen to a lot of people according to that website though. Other people also mentioned that you seem to call the wrong people. How idiotic would that be? I don’t understand that. You’re my buddy Penncro, and you wouldn’t do that. Plus, people say you call early in the morning, late at night, and sometimes multiple times per day! Technically that’s true. I know because you do it to me. And after all we’ve been through, this silent friendship finally found a voice! You left me voice mail! But you called me Nick Willus. Why would you do that Penncro? I’m not Nick Willus. We’re you joking? It made me think of “Willage,” which has to do with a funny anecdote by David Sedaris. Is that what you meant? You’re so funny Penncro. Alas, this friendship has to come to an end. You seem to bully me yet you don’t know who I actually am. You work for someone that I don’t owe money to as a collection agency! Idiotic! On top of that, you harass me far too often and obscene times of day! Lucky for me I’ve added you to my contact list so I can keep track of how often you call me and can reject your calls. If only I could autoreject. Too bad.
Your old friend,
Nick Willus

Science Library Vagina

Someone found WebPageless by searching for uci “science library” vagina in Google. Sadly, I mentioned in one post that I heard the Science Library looked like a vagina, but I didn’t talk about it very much.
Well if people want me to talk about the Science Library’s vagina, then I’ll talk about the Science Library’s vagina!
The Science Library is shaped with two long sections in between you can walk. These connect to a ring shaped part of the building. To walk into the Science Library, you have to walk between the two long sections to the door in the ring shaped part. You pass under an opening in the building to get into the center of the ring shape. This makes it look like a little tunnel. This tunnel with the two sections of building are said to look like a vagina with outer lips.
In addition, the Science Library is as I described if you’re looking at it from ring road. On ring road in front of the Library is a design on the ground that looks like a representation of the Sun. It’s circular with points or arrow heads arranged around it pointing out. Leading away from this design and the Science Library is a water grate in a winding, S-like shape. These two things vaguely look like a sperm. This sperm is of course aiming right at the vagina! There you go!
I’ll find a picture for everyone’s pleasure soon!

Why I Hate Blowdryers

Whenever anyone uses a blowdryer here, all the lights in the room dim. Blowdryers get used quite often. Although everything seems fine, it makes me fearful for my computers.