Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Nintendo 64

Last night, I bought a Nintendo-64, a second controller, Diddy Kong Racing, and the South Park game. It’s a present for Marie, sort of like when Homer got Marge a bowling ball. No, really, she used to have one, and I thought it would be fun. I already told her about it, so I’m not outing myself by posting this. Of course, I set all of the stuff up last night, and stayed up way too late playing it.

First impressions: I’ve spent almost zero time with the Playstation or N64, so I was going into this as a complete novice. First, I like the way the console looks – it reminds me of a piece of Sun hardware, or maybe an SGI. It’s also very simple, with few switches, buttons, or jacks. I’m fortunate in that my video/audio setup at home is very generous in facilitating the video/audio setups. People with older TVs would probably have much more trouble dealing with the composite video out and stereo audio out. The controllers are a bit weird, and I still get screwed up on how to hold them and use the 90,000 assorted buttons. They are pretty comfortable after a while, though.

I first started with the South Park game. I expected more realism than other 8 and 16 bit games, but this totally blew me away. It has the whole introduction to the show, and the graphics look almost exactly like the TV show. Although you can tell the shapes are computer generated, it is not blocky or pixelated at all – it is very smooth and shadowed correctly, and looks truly amazing for something on a TV. The sound is even better – it’s stereo, and I ran it through my receiver, which added even more to the effect.

The South Park game is fun – you play one of the four kids, and then you meet up with the other 3 and do various things in the town, trying to finish each level. I haven’t played games that much, and I usually play very specific ones, so I was getting my ass kicked over and over. It is funny to hear Cartman die – all of the characters talk, and even swear (it is beeped out, mostly). But I wanted to see the whole game. So, I got on dejanews, did a search, and found a page of cheat codes. The codenames are funny, and let you enable different characters and other stuff. I think ASSMAN gives you invulterability. If you have the game and are trying to find the codes, email me and I will send them to you. I found a code that turned on everything, and started kicking ass. There’s one weapon which is a terrance and phillip doll, which is like a grenade of flatulence. You can throw a whole bunch of them and leave a path of deadly landmines which produce giant mushroom clouds of green gas. I also had a lot of fun with the cow launcher, and the chicken sniper weapon. At the start of each round, there is a little cartoon that tells you your mission, usually with Chef talking to the kids. It’s very cool – I need to get in there and start going through all of the levels.

I played Diddy Kong Racing a few times, although I spent so much time on South Park that I couldn’t do much more than run a few races. It’s very cool, the graphics look like a Disney cartoon and the sounds are very cute. If I had a kid, I would get them a N-64 just because so many of the games are like this. I couldn’t figure out the controls, but I will mess with it a bit more. Marie likes the game a lot, so we will play it more when she gets here.

Writing, of course, is at a dead stop. Maybe tonight I’ll get a few lines done, but now I need to clean the house and shop for Marie’s visit. I think my sleep schedule is about up to date now, so that’s cool. I also go to the dentist in a couple of hours, and find out how much heavy construction they’ll be doing over the next few months.

I found an odd page on the technology of Star Wars at http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~saxton/starwars/