Happy New Year!

Another year come and gone. Hopefully everybody is out having a good time or recovering from a good time. I just finished up for the night and am planning to get some reading done before bed, but thought a quick blog post summarizing the year was in order.

  • This year marks my second year living in the Bay Area and working at VMware, and my first year really heading up some larger projects. I began the year by working on what would in time be known as VMware Server, and spent the first half of the year head down at my desk working on each release. Following that, I’ve been working on specifications, feature implementations, and even Tango-style icons for VMware Workstation 6.0, which I will continue with for some time.
  • Jamie and I have now been dating for just over two years.
  • For the first time, I was invited to FooCamp, hosted by Tim O’Reilly. Awesome event that I really hope to be invited back to next year.
  • I learned to boogie board with a couple of friends in Santa Cruz. Later in the summer, Jamie and I took a nice vacation in Santa Cruz and spent most of it at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
  • I had my second trip to Boston this year for the GNOME Summit. I went with Jamie to Salem and explored the touristy little town. Fun place, and I’d definitely like to spend more time there in the next couple of years.
  • I went with some friends to Castro St. in San Francisco for the first time for the big Halloween costume party that they have every year. We found out the following day that there was a shooting not too far from us, which was unnerving.
  • I got a Nintendo DS and a Wii, and have spent far too much money on both. I’m going to just start signing over my paychecks to Nintendo.

I’m sure I’m missing a few things. 🙂

Now, New Years Eve doubles as my mom’s birthday, which I imagine was not fun when growing up. I think the only day worse for a birthday is Christmas. It was certainly fun tonight, though. The night was spent with my mom, stepdad, brothers, sister, and Jamie. We watched Cars and played Scrabble, Bomberman Touch! for the DS (fun game!), and Cranium. We ended up spending most of the evening on Cranium, which has to be my favorite family game. We kept laughing so hard that we got ourselves sick.

Jamie brought over a bottle of champagne for us to drink. It was a late Christmas present, intended for New Years. We’re not heavy drinkers, so we only finished half the bottle, but it was very nummy. Along with that, we had a variety of snacks, including cheeses, beef sausages, vegetables, sodas, and pizza. This was, I think, my first New Years with my sister Jenna, as she had always been visiting cousins on New Years. She was pretty good most of the night, considering she had to stay up until midnight 🙂

January 1, 2007. With any luck, this year will be more exciting and eventful than last year. There are changes I hope to make, projects to abandon, projects to take up, and places to go. I think I’ll get some sleep so that I can get a head start on that.

Happy New Year!

A Wii Surprise for Mii

Like every other self-respecting Nintendo lover out there, I tried to get a Wii on opening day, with of course no success. I was heading back home to visit family on opening day, and had researched roughly how many Wiis each store in town had in stock, but there were more people than Wiis at each store. I called up Circuit City later that day and asked when they expected another shipment in. They said they didn’t know, but after talking to the guy for a couple minutes I was told that if I came in, I could place a special order and would be notified when my Wii arrived.

I went to Circuit City and talked to the guy who handles the special orders. He seemed a bit upset that someone had told me that they were accepting special orders and was quick to tell me that they weren’t officially doing that and that my special order might be canceled at any given time. However, after a little bit of pushing, he took my credit card info and put me on the list. He said I would get a call if and when a Wii arrived that they could give me, but told me that I would likely be called and told that the special order was canceled, at which point they would refund my money.

That was Sunday the 19th. On Wednesday the 22nd, I was woken up with a call from Circuit City letting me know that they randomly received one Wii, and that it was being held for me. I was told I could pick it up at any time. Well, I wasted no time on this one. An hour later, I was setting up my brand new Wii.

The Wii is a very impressive system. The controls work far better than I had expected. I have Wii Sports and Excite Truck, with plans to pick up Elebits, Zelda, and Mario Galaxy when possible. Wii Sports is a great multiplayer game, but I must recommend stretching before play. Excite Truck is also loads of fun, though its multiplayer support could stand improvement. It’s limited to a two-player versus mode, so if you want any more players, you’re out of luck. Still, fun game, and I highly recommend it.

I invited my friends Jen, Amanda, and Dell, and my girlfriend Jamie over to play with my Wii (don’t bother with the jokes, we’ve already made them). I had them create Miis, which they loved, and we all played some Wii Sports. They had a blast and talked about how much fun the system was. Now, they’re all gamer girls to some degree, but I’m looking forward to inviting some of my non-gamer girl friends over to see what they think of the system. If Nintendo is right, they’ll hopefully be drawn to it. We shall see 🙂

Now, part of the reason I wanted a Wii so bad was to play classic games using the Wii’s Virtual Console. I added $40 in Wii points and picked up Legend of Zelda, Solomon’s Key, Bomberman 93, and Solomon’s Key. The emulation works very well. I spent most of today playing (and beating) Legend of Zelda. What’s cool is that most of the console games can be suspended and resumed later on, so if you suddenly get the urge to play something else, you simply press the Home button, play another game, and then come back to the emulated game whenever you want to.

What excites me the most isn’t the Wii itself, but what’s coming next. I can’t help but wonder what the next generation of consoles will be a few years from now, what they’ll be capable of, and how they will change gaming.

The one downside to the Wii is that when you’re sick, it’s hard to play some games (Wii Sports mainly). I’ve been dealing with a head cold for a few days, and it’s difficult to play some Wii games when you don’t feel like moving. Fortunately, there’s always the classic games.

If you know me and you have a Wii, contact me and we can exchange Wii console numbers.

Birthday Bash and Mario Bros

This past week was crunch time at work. People working all hours of the day and night, barely seeing their homes. And I had a lot to do, like everyone else. So what did I do? I went home to visit friends and family.

There’s a good reason, though. It was my girlfriend’s birthday, which I wouldn’t have missed for anything. I organized a little surprise party with our friends at a nice sushi restaurant. I decided to spoil her, and bought her a Black Nintendo DS Lite, Brain Age, Sonic Rush, Super Princess Peach (which she loves), and Mario Kart DS.

I did actually manage to get everything I needed done for work, though. The trick is to learn how not to sleep. I’d get up every morning, work, spend time with friends, family, and Jamie.. Go home, work, go to bed around 4, repeat. It was worth it, though.

I didn’t get to visit with my sister Jenna as much as I would have liked, but we still had fun and did our usual donut and AM/PM run. Jamie and Jenna and I did spend some time feeding the ducks, though, which was a lot of fun. It was one of those days you thoroughly enjoy. All the stress of life went away. It was just us and the ducks. Ah, new memories.

While back home, I purchased a DVD box set of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Clearly the best purchase I’ve ever made. My sister, who is now six years old and a Super Smash Bros. nut, saw the DVD box and begged me to let her watch it. We watched a view episodes, with her glued to the TV, and my mom asked her if she liked it. She said, “No, I don’t like it… I LOVE IT!!”

How’s that for an endorsement? And I got to enjoy old cartoons I watched at her age with her. She’ll be coming to visit in a couple of weeks and we’ll be watching some more. Now I need to introduce her to The Legend of Zelda, Captain N: The Game Master (which really needs to be on DVD), and Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. I can pretend to be a kid again through her eyes 🙂

A Nintendo DS Lite! And it’s all mine!

I was talked into buying a Nintendo DS a while back, and was about to shell out the money when I found out that the DS Lite was in development. So I waited… and waited… and then preordered… and waited some more… And now I have it! It’s quite cool, actually. I bought New Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, and Princess Peach (for my girlfriend). I think I’m going to buy Brain Age and Tetris DS in a couple of days.

So I’m looking for two things now: Friend codes and game suggestions. If you have one of the above games and wish to share your friend code, or you have any games you highly recommend I buy, please either post a comment or e-mail me.

Augmented Reality

An article appeared on Digg.com yesterday talking about a possible leak about the Nintendo Revolution/Wii. It referred to a video that was linked to in the comments. This video gave a demonstration of Augmented Reality, and while this technology is only rumored to be in the Revolution, it’s still fascinating to watch.

Augmented Reality basically allows for real-time merging of a live video stream and 3D graphics in such a way that the 3D objects can in a sense react to changes in the real world. Virtual tanks running around a real table and bumping into things, for instance, or holding a weapon in your hand and walking around with it. Now if only they had a good way of projecting this out into the real world without bulky, expensive equipment.

It will be very interesting to see if any of these rumors about Augmented Reality integration in the Revolution are true. E3 is coming up, so we’ll finally know what Nintendo is actually up to. Hopefully it will live up to expectations.

Nintendo: Wii are not amused

So Nintendo today announced the Revolution’s new name: Wii. Yes, Wii. The reaction so far as been about as negative as you’d expect, with all kinds of bad puns made. A number of the bad puns were made by Nintendo, as demonstrated on the site I just linked to.

I must wonder what they’re thinking. It’s like the whole “Touching is good” thing they did with the DS. And then there were games like Touch Kirby’s Magic Paintbrush. Someone over at Nintendo either really doesn’t understand the potential puns and such in English, or is rolling around laughing now.

Bad, Nintendo. Bad.