"Kit.....Kit Cloudkicker.." - Kit, Plunder and Lightning "Plane for Keeps".
July 4th,1998 is usually the day where America celebrates the birth of a country. However; for me it was officially the birth of a new website. The birth of a TaleSpin website......However; this was no ordinary TaleSpin website by any means. (Although no TaleSpin website is 'ordinary'.) This is the very first website which pays homage and respect to Disney's #1 character. He is the cutest, most in-depth young man ever designed by Disney: Kit Cloudkicker. Yes; Disney's answer to drama and excitement from a character who didn't get much respect from Disney. I chose Kit Cloudkicker because I simply loved him as a character and also because there was no website that in fact focused on him. I always figured that there were as many people who loved Kit as there were many people who loved Don Karnage.
Another year has passed, the Unofficial Kit Cloudkicker Homepage has turned eight years old. Somehow; I have managed to keep this website going in the face of job prospects, lack of web space on Geocities and my mental health problems. In fact, there has been lots of new articles and content added to my website this year. Here is the update on my life status at this point in time: To start with the bad news; my job prospects have dried up. In the case of Suncel, it was due to the fact that they didn't have any work for me in my skill set. So in October, I worked for a company named Branded which was a dried food packaging company and that project actually allowed me to work five days a week fulltime. While the job tired me out and that acutely limited work on my website; it looked like a solid job and I was being paid. For a while; I thought that I found a stable job and I would be set for life. However; in January of 2006, the work contracts completely dried up and I was let go (along with 80% of the staff). Now; I've been told that they are securing contracts and once they are secured, they would be happy to hire me again. I'm still waiting...The wait has caused some depression soon after and I haven't been updating the website as quickly as I should be since I promised that all my rants would be completed by the end of 2005 and it took at least four more months before they were done. That is not a pretty sight. The second problem has to do with the Unofficial Kit Cloudkicker Homepage: For the first time in years, I have had to address the lack of space left to add content. For those who are asking why I haven't upgraded this website to pay service is that I don't have the money to afford such a service. I have enough problems paying rent, medication and transportation costs as it is. I only had about 600K of web space left on Geocities. Well; thanks to the fact that Lycos owns both my guestbooks and the Angelfire brand, I have signed up for web service from Lycos. I now have 20 Megabytes of web space to work with. However; I had to move all my rants to Angelfire to free up space for my fanfics on Geocities. So; I have about three megabytes left on Geocities and about 17.5 Megabytes left on Angelfire. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself...As I mentioned before; all of my rants are now completed as I did the remaining 18 episodes of TaleSpin. All the rants will now be part of my new website which opens today: Gregory's Rant Shack of Thoughts. Basically; I will be reviewing Television shows and DVD sets that I currently have. Most of the DVD's are WWE discs that I bought over the last two years. I also have volume one of Rescue Rangers and Ducktales disc sets as well. As for the edtiorials; I have wrote the following: Hitting Close to Home: Relevence In TaleSpin, For Kids Dot TV, BRATZ! Spoiled Again!, and The Crossroads of 4Kids TV. So I did 22 articles this year; six fewer than last year. I also completed the MXC Cartoon World Cup Series by finishing seven more scripts. Since my interest in MXC in waning (I'm actually watching Video on Trial on MuchMusic which is a funny show of independent celebrities mocking music videos. Pandora would enjoy this.); I've decided to end this series. It would have been nice to do the 32 team tournment for all the company productions; but it is way too cumbersome to do since I was forced to tone down the show in order to make it so the shows were not degraded and therefore making the jokes strech way too thin to be good. As for other fanfics; a tradition continues as Rebecca's Diary has not been touched once again. Then again; I didn't touch a lot of my AeroStar fanfics this year due to the fact that I stated that I would be finishing off the rants and MXC Scripts first. However; I can say that Unforeseen Impact is done in story script. I've started part two in story script for Plunder Project J4306. I have touched The Waltz of The Wind, The Rebirth of the Jungle Aces, Klangs of a Feather and I have started Sword of Miracles. Otherwise; no good copies were touched upon. I also did some updates to Who Done It? page, The TaleSpin Translation pages and even added a few Kit Cloudkicker fanpics. However; the best news did not come from this website; it came from Disney as TaleSpin will be on DVD (27 episodes on 3 discs including Plunder & Lightning) box set starting August 29th,2006. While details are still small at this time (no extras, French dub, stereo sound and sneak peak section confirmed); it is wonderful that Iger has at the very least allowed TaleSpin to be on DVD despite the baggage that the show contains. (Prima estate dispute, 9/11 etc.) On a more direct note: The official box for TaleSpin became the first screen grab for the Kit Cloudkicker Screen Grabs page in over five years. I might still have one rant (or three) left for this series after all. If you are a TaleSpin fan; this was a great year...
...For Nintendo fans; it might become an even better year. With the Nintendo DS fanbase still growing and the evidence (through Brain Age, Animal Crossing, Nintendogs etc.) that you don't need a violent videogame to sell millions of units growing as well; it was a matter of time before Nintendo released their big cannon. At E3 2006 Nintendo finally released the system formally known as Project Revolution, now known as Wii. As weird as the name looks and sounds, the reason the name was chosen was that Nintendo plans to make Wii an inclusive system. Sony and Microsoft will cater mostly to the 18-34 year old male demographic while with Nintendo's new system in the immortal words of Joey Styles: We accept anyone and everyone!! That's as simple as I can put it...and Nintendo has found five ways in order to gain that fanbase....
[1.] The Controller: While PlayStation 3 will be remembered for it's graphical power and XBox 360 will be remembered for it's on-line presence; Nintendo Wii will be remembered the most by the Wii controller. A one hand controller that reminds me of a small remote control device (which will be familiar to most people who watch television and television still has a really large fanbase). Unlike most controllers and even the PS3 controller (which has a few of the features that the Wii controller has.), the Wii controller can actually translate 3D space. In other words; you can use the controller to actually preform tasks by simulating the task rather than pressing a button or using a joystick. To shoot a gun; you would point at the target and press the button. The sensor will pick up the target to the area where you point. No more cumbersome auto-target like you see in most console titles. Add on a control stick using the port on the bottom of the controller and you can play first person shooters. Slash the controller like a sword, or thurst/stab like a spear. You can actually roll yourself into a ball like Samus by curling up and then jump to make the ball jump. Of course; you don't have to go that far. The gestures can be as small or as large as they want. You can run on the spot to make the character run the 100 metre dash. Balance the controller in the palm of your hand to balance a long stick. In a flight simulation you use the stick as a flight stick ala TaleSpin (Why isn't someone from Disney taking notes here?). You can even use two controllers as drumsticks and if Nintendo decides to add a microphone to the controller (Note: They haven't yet.), you could play a claironyet like Squidward does. You can also play a conductor conducting a band (The first thing Nintendo did in their press conference was have Mr. Miyamoto conduct a band of dolls playing music from Zelda). Tennis, Baseball, Racing and Golf can be played like in real life. There are many more uses of this controller that I would love to speak of; but it take me forever and I would like to get to the other four features of the Wii. There is a small feature on the Wii controller with is an external audio speaker which the main function is that you can actually hear the clashing of a sword, or the ball going off the baseball bat like you do in real life. I've heard that there are more possible applications; but this is the most obvious one. The real cool thing about this controller is that it is light and easy to handle; but the great thing out this controller is not what it does for the game, it's what it does for the gamer. In the past gamers sat down on their duffs and pressed buttons and twisted joysticks. Try observing a gamer from the prespective of someone who doesn't play games and you will find that it is not diffcult to see why people think video gaming rots their brains. You look like a zombie; staring into the space of a box with pictures. That's the stereotypical thought of a gamer and it's hard to shake off that stereotype despite that you can apply that to television as well, at least with radio when the music plays; there is movement. With the Wii controller; it eliminates that stereotype and now gamers look alive instead of looking like mindless zombie. If anything; this is the real reason why the Wii is going to garner that large fanbase.
[2.] Virtual Console: While Virtual Console is not a new idea (XBox Marketplace is the basis for it along with WWE 24/7 on demand content service.); the fact that it will be used as a main selling point is what makes it important (Marketplace is merely a feature). Virtual Console allows for games from the past to be downloaded and saved on SD cards carrying at least 512 megabytes in size; for a small fee of $4-$9 per download (according to Mr. Iwata who announced this in June). Nintendo will be providing their first party lineup of Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo 64 titles. Since Wii's hardware is considered a Gamecube on steroids, Gamecube will be backwards compatiable (as long as you have Gamecube's 8-cm CAV discs to run it. Wii will run on a standard 12 cm disc; format hasn't been finalized yet.) Sega has already announced that they will be putting their first party Sega Genesis lineup and Hudsonsoft will be putting their first party Turbo-graphix 16 and PC Engine titles onto Virtual Console. In fact; Hudson has committed itself to gain the rights to video game titles that are owned by holders of compaines who went bankrupt over the years. Nintendo has also given the right to extend that libary to second/third party developers who are interested and it is not limited to those platforms mentioned. In theory; Nintendo could allow third party Playstation, Playstation 2 and Xbox titles although SD card space would be a problem at this time. Nintendo could allow Commodore 64 or convice SNK Playmore to release NEO GEO titles. Sega could expand their product to include Sega CD, 32X, Saturn and even Dreamcast title if they so wished. Nintendo is already paying lip service to allowing new titles onto Virtual Console. It doesn't have to be a retro classic title; it can be a title that is new or even exclusive to Virtual Console. The reasons why this is a big feature is that it is a win-win situation for the consumer and Nintendo. Nintendo (and companies who support VC for classic titles) wins because it's an easy way to make lots of money while at the same time strike a blow againest piracy which is a real problem in the entertainment industry. The consumer wins because they can buy a game that has been out of print for a long time and not have to worry about a copyright holder suing them; or getting arrested by the FBI. It's the perfect compromise. Plus; Virtual Console has the ability (in theory) to create hardware sales while major games for the Wii system are still under development. It allows for gamers to play titles even during the cold snap season such as early Spring and early Summer. Also; if Nintendo and third party compaines want to; they can remake the games so that it can use the Wii controller instead of the Classic Controller Attachment (which actually started the rumor that Playstation title could be made available to Virtual Console).
[3.] WiiConnect 24/7: At the E3 conference; Mr. Iwata announced a concept called WiiConnect 24 (I call it WiiConnect 24/7) which allows the system to operate at low energy (the power of a mini LED light blub from a Christmas indoor light set) all day, every day even if the system is turned off. The purpose of this is to allow the downloading of game information, game levels, game event and even weapons without having to play the game. This concept when used would make the game experience even fresher. This is a great feature to allow video games to extend their shelf life to as long as the game developer want it to extend. It's also good for the consumer since it will allow for better replay value. Think Nintendo-approved mods and you basically got the idea. This feature would be even better if Nintendo decides to let users create mods and then submit them to Nintendo for approval via Wifi. Sort of like submitting information to the US Internet Movie Database where the information is checked to see if it is true and if it's ture it is posted, if it's not it is not posted. This feature is still young at this point and there could be even more in store.
[4.] A Quiet, Heatless (in a good way), Cheap System: I don't have to say much; but only a hardcore gamer will tolerate a noisey, overheating, $600 system...and only for so long. I'm almst 29 years old; and I have to tolerate a noisey PC all the time. Plus; once the fan blows; the system will overheat and you have to have it repaired (and in the case of consoles replaced). It's something that I can handle with a PC; but not with a console. It's just not worth the hassle; particually since PS2 have been known to die within six months of buying them. Nintendo Wii is going to be quiet, virtually heatless (in that the system will not overheat at all) and it will be less than $250..It is also very small (about three DVD cases stacked together) and should fit into my room without me noticing it. It is also a very sleek white (or black) system for those who love their systems to look good. Finally; Nintendo system are built to last (like I don't need to remind you that); I still have my black Gamecube after four years of reasonable use and it still works perfectly. My PlayStation 2 can no longer play PlayStation 1 discs (the real reason I bought one) and that was from even light use of it. What's the point of buying a $600 system that will break after six months of moderate use; when I can buy a Wii for $250 (or less; final price will be announced sometime in September) that won't break even after five years of heavy use? I'm tired of people telling me to chin up when it comes to video game systems. That's the kind of attitude that actually creates the disrespect of gamers from the public at large. PC's cost $1000-$2000; I have to chin up when the system is in repair because it is expensive.
[5.] The Software: Without it; video gaming becomes useless. Besides the fact that Wii can play Gamecube discs and play titles from Virtual Console; there is the issue of the Wii commerical software. Nintendo believes that _Useful Features_ and not _Specs and Power_ will win the public over to their side. While the power of Wii is about as many as three times the power of the Gamecube console (which is still a big increase when you think about it.); it is no longer the main feature. Nintendo believes that this will reduce developmental costs and time since the video game's main budget goes to graphics. Most of the games graphics I saw at E3 were very good for a system as small as Wii is. Nintendo is depending on a balance of existing brands and new brands to win the public over. One important new brand will be the Wii Sports series. While these titles are not graphic gems or have _complex to the teeth_ depth as those simulations from Electronic Arts (and there will be deep sports simulations on Wii); they are designed for gamers who just want to pick up the controller and play without any worry about stragedy or complexitity. Instead of simulating a tennis, baseball or golf title to the world of sports; you're playing it as if it was just for a fun experience. There will still be winners or losers; but the pressure has been reduced and fun has increased since you're just there to have fun which is the number one reason why people play games in the first place. Wii Sports includes Baseball, Golf, Tennis and even Airplane. The second brand is the Wii Music brand which is used for music playing like the conductor demo I mentioned earlier. For the hardcore gamer; there are two new IP's: Project H.A.M.M.E.R. which is Unreal meets Whac-A-Mole. The one that I'm looking forward to most of all is Disaster: Day of Crisis which is a real mature title that deals with natural disasters with an intriguing storyline to keep it as fiction. It's a lot better than watching Al Gore's movie on global warming. The existing brands will consist of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3 which will be at the launch. Super Mario Galaxy will follow along with Super Smash Brothers Brawl featuring Snake from Metal Gear Solid. So much for the theory that Nintendo hates hardcore gamers as Nintendo is also adding Excite Truck (a spinoff of the Excitebike series), Fire Emblem and Duck Hunt to the menu. Pokemon Battle Revolution was recently announced in June. The third party developers are also supporting the Wii in large numbers as over 75 publishers and developers have already announced support for the system. Ubi Soft is one the biggest with their FPS/Sword Fighting title Red Steel and Rayman Raving Rabbids which might be the only title where a Attack of the Killer Rabbits storyline would work. Sega has Sonic WildFire, Super Monkey Ball and five more titles in development. SquareEnix has Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest spin-offs in mind for Wii as Dragon Quest Swords and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Namco-Bandai has nine titles in the works and Take 2 has expressed interest in development. There is always a concern that Nintendo will overshadow third party due to Nintendo's ability to create great games; but the lower development costs and time should help that problem a bit. Currently; there are over 100 titles in development and the final word on the system wouldn't be announced on September. That shows that Nintendo was much more prepared for Wii than they were for Nintendo DS which as good as it was; seems to be lacking full titles.
To end my address; I would like to say that I actually enjoyed this past year with the build of the Wii system heading up to E3. There are still lots of questions left to answer and there are still a considerable number of tricks up Nintendo's sleeve. Maybe we will get a visual distruptor; who knows?! Maybe the Virtual Console will include Commodore 64 titles? Despite that we have a lot of information on Wii already, the surprises are not over yet. Which means those fake blogs have been given a stay of execution until September and have their chance to continue to amuse me with their entertaining commentary on what they think Nintendo is up to. That's why I in many cases; respect Nintendo fanboy. They are the most entertaining and they'll do it with no incentive from Nintendo either. That's the mark of a rabbid, ECW-like fanbase...and I think Nintendo is a bigger enity than ECW is. You can never buy amusement like that. Sadly; when September ends (oh the irony!) the entertainment of falsehoods, half-truths and guessing will be over and then we will be playing the game. The good news for Nintendo is that regardless of what happens; they are officially back. The majority of gamers want to buy this system and many who haven't played games yet are going to show interest. What Nintendo needs to do is very simple: Get on those talk shows and keep Wii in the news. If that means acting like a religion (okay; I admit that this is blastophmus, but the relationship has been compared in the New York Times.) crusade, so be it. As for me; I'll be getting one for Christmas right under the tree, unless Kyle asks for it first. Unlike other systems; I'm planning to have this as a family system since I would like my parents to play games on it too. In closing: I just wish that the people who hate this concept would understand that I'm tired of blindly defending my passion as if I'm in a culture war. Nothing good ever comes out of a war...particually one that is as pointless as this one...
That's all for another year of cloudkicking......That's my opinion; I welcome yours. See you next time.