Since the last entry, I….
*Raced a few races in "Mario Kart Wii." And. I. Enjoyed. It. This was a shocker. I thought I was immune to "Mario Kart"'s charms. I never had the SNES version. I played the 64 edition a lot (but almost only in single-player). I dabbled with the GCN and DS games and thought my life's quota of "Kart" was complete before this Wii one came out.
But I discovered last night that the surprisingly smooth online service for "Mario Kart Wii" might make me a fan yet. Matchmaking with non-Friend competitors in Australia, Japan, and Germany (all for the same race) happened in the blink of an eye. A pre-race globe showing each competitor's Mii standing atop their region offered a welcome sense of identity to otherwise anonymous and voiceless opponents. The races themselves went off with nary a hitch. I even came in third once, despite having no "Kart" skills. (I'm already down to 4760 skill points, after starting at 5000).
The "Kart" users seem evenly split about the Wii Wheel. I raced six or seven races last night, and about half of the competitors in any race were using the packed-in wheel shell. I didn't notice any advantage among Wheel users or non-users yet, but I'll keep watching.
Another positive: the ghost system works great, briskly downloading ghost after ghost to my Wii for me to compete against, all generated by Europeans who have had the game already.
I also really like the idea of Wii games that download channels to the system. You wind up with a stripped-down version of the game, basically a stat-checking app that feels similar to things like a Bungie.net or a Facebook application. It's a great way to keep a gamer thinking about a game even when they have another disc in the drive.
*Claimed a few more stars in "Super Mario Galaxy." I'm now at 87. I have to say, King Kaliente is a pushover. And, what do you know, the game still is able to surprise me, even though I thought everything had been spoiled. Red stars. Who knew?
*Played a little more "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII" and am still wondering if anyone out there knows what determines the level of Limit Break attacks. Why do I do Octoslash Level 1 sometimes and Octoslash Level 4 other times?
Next: They wouldn't send me "GTA IV" to play on a Thursday night, would they? Probably not. I think Thursday night is a "Galaxy" night.