Starbound is great.

Did you Terraria? Good.

Did you not Terraria? Go buy it. It’s only $15. Why not? Is it because you’re an idiot? That’s my guess. Terraria is effectively 2D Minecraft + Metroid + Ghosts and Goblins (if Minecraft had a point other than making large gold penises). You get a little dude on a planet and gather some resources to make a shelter and then some tools, gather more resources to make some weapons and armor, find the dungeon and summon some bosses and kill ‘m, then find hell and find a boss there and kill ‘m, then clear the world of corruption and hallow. Yeah, I know that probably made 0 sense. Don’t care, it’s an awesome game.

Anyways, buy Starbound. Most of the people who made Terraria formed Chucklefish games and just released the beta of Starbound, which is effectively a more complex Terraria (with additional survival and crafting elements) + space. So, where Terraria was one world, Starbound seems to be hundreds of explorable planets of varying difficulties and with differing resources.

Also, I’m running a semblance of a private server and a teamspeak server for it. Reach out to me if you want access.

I am not an idiot, and I am buying Starbound right now like you told me.

eCigs-r-us


UPDATE: I fixed most of the math, added the average cost of smoking an e-cigarette, totaled some numbers, and changed some of the wording because I felt like it.


So, I smoke cigarettes. I have for a lot of years, it’s a nasty habit, and I don’t like doing it. When the e-cigarette revolution occurred, I tried early on to get onto the bandwagon with the blucigs brand, but didn’t really like it. Flash forward something like 2.5 years and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out a good e-cigarette setup that works for me. I’ll spare you the lengthy diatribe about it, but will quickly drop my current parts list:

Battery:
eGo C v2 Upgrade 900mah Pass-through

Tank:
Kangertech MT3s 3.0ml Steel Bottom Wick w/ 1.8ohm Atomizer

Juice:
MsT’s Bakery Snickerdoodle or Cappuccino

In any case, to help me see the direct result of the good choice of never smoking real cigarettes again, I’ve thrown together a quick javascript function to show how many days it’s been since my last cigarette, how many cigarettes I have not smoked, and how much money I’ve saved in doing so. It’s only mostly accurate — I smoked about a pack and a half or so a day on average, and the easiest way to make this work was just to assume one cigarette per hour throughout the day. If I really get pedantic about it, I’ll fix the math up to handle awake hours and asleep hours (at least an average period), and then do additional math to figure out exactly how many cigarettes I was smoking per hour I was awake. I’ll get there one of these days. I’m also actually going to be honest about it since it only really means anything if I don’t lie to you or myself about it. Funny how that works.

I’m pretty certain no one else cares about this, but fuck you anyways because I do — and I want it public on the webbertubes.

Why are you still here? Go away.

Sprint, Siri, and Why I Miss Windows Phone 8

So, I recently switched from AT&T (god damn do they suck) to Sprint (god damn does their coverage suck), and in doing so, upgraded from my iPhone 4 to a 5S.  One of the ‘benefits’ of this upgrade was that I now have access to Apple’s idea of a personal assistant, Siri.  As I was previously a Windows Phone 8 user (fuck you Nokia, and your shitty fucking battery life, and your shitty fucking support, and your shitty treatment of your customers — no wonder your phone business is failing, you’re a company of assholes), I had been looking forward to replacing one of the nicest Windows Phone 8 features finally in my iPhone — voice dictation for SMS.

As previously mentioned, I have a fairly lengthy commute.  I classify myself as a fairly safe driver, and as such I do not use my phone while driving unless it is just for conversation over bluetooth.  I do not text and drive under any circumstance — it’s exceedingly dangerous.  If you do it, you’re an asshole and I hope that when you inevitably crash, you only manage to hurt yourself.  Dick.  In any case, Windows Phone 8 had a really well written feature where if you received an SMS while the phone was connected to a bluetooth hands free set, it would come over the set and say “Text message from (contact name) received.  Read it or ignore?”.  I’d say “Read it”, and it would read the text message for me.  It would then ask if I wanted to reply, and if I said yes, it would take voice dictation for my reply, read what it received back to me, and ask me for confirmation to send.  The voice recognition itself was extremely good, I wasn’t ever able to throw it for a loop.  Beyond that, all of this was handled 100% by the phone.  I did not need internet access in order for it to transcribe my voice to text, I only needed cell coverage to send the SMS itself.

I received my 5S on launch day (surprisingly, no one was in line at Sprint for one of these things.  I suppose that’s because it actually requires you to have customers in order for them to queue up outside.  I digress.) and was surprised to find that Siri does not automatically ask you if you want her to read an incoming text message when you’re connected over bluetooth.  Well, no big deal, all I have to do is hold the home button to get Siri up and then tell her to “Read SMS”.  The first time I tried this, Siri chugged for about 10 seconds and then said “I’m very sorry about this, but I’m afraid I can’t take any requests right now.”  I didn’t know at the time how frequently I would hear that in the coming days.  Turns out (and this isn’t really news to anyone in the know about these things), Siri requires internet connectivity to do fucking *anything*.  There is list of about 3 things Siri can do without being connected to the internet, and they are all entirely useless.

I’ve now had the 5S for a month and then some, and I have given up on Siri entirely.  Perhaps it’s a Sprint network coverage issue, but 75% of the time I ask Siri to do anything, I just get a shitty response about how she can’t fucking do anything right now.  I could be stationary with 5 bars of LTE coverage, and Siri will still refuse to do shit for shit complaining that “Something has gone wrong” or “I’m very sorry about this …”.  What a fucking joke.  Every time someone tells me know that they think Siri is cool, I immediately think they’re a fucking moron.

The end, go away.

The Lando System

Not much to say here, just a thinking exercise (yeah, I know, most of you are too stupid to think but look just try for a minute please).

I was thinking about Star Wars Episode 5 : The Empire Strikes Back the other day, and I got to thinking about the scene in the Millennium Falcon when Han notices the Lando system and decides to set course there, ultimately leading him to Bespin and into the hands of Darth Vader.

So, let’s look at this objectively.  Han Solo and company are in a space ship, in the limitless universe.  They’re in an area that they haven’t previously charted that we know of, and they are attempting to escape from the Empire (unbeknownst to them, Boba Fett is in the Slave 1 hiding behind an asteroid, and will be following them — but I digress).  Han sees a system with the first name that is the same as someone he knows (and coincidentally, had won the Millennium Falcon from in a game of Sabaac), and decides to head there.

How legitimate is it for Han to believe that a system with the same name as the first name of one of his friends is actually run by that friend?  Is there really only one Lando in the entire Star Wars universe?  Is it common knowledge in the Star Wars universe that “Lando” was only ever used once as a name?  Did Han REALLY think that in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, the star system he just happened to be somewhat near that just happened to have the same name as an old friend, just HAPPENED to actually be owned and run by him?  Was that really what happened?

Anyways, I dunno.  I’m having a hard time articulating just how stupid it seemed to me that one person in the middle of space would head for a star system solely because it shared the same first name as someone he knew.  It’s like if I was in space in a space ship in uncharted territory and I saw the John system and expected John Carmack to own and operate it.

Idiocy.  Now, go away.

As promised …

cr0bar’s bastardizations are uploaded.  You’ll see ‘m appear as links on the left side under cr0bar’s Bastardizations.  If you haven’t seen or heard of these before, go now and read them, I’ll wait.  Additionally, it’s worth mention that I gracefully liberated the fuck out of these images from detonate.net, which is where they originated from in my understanding.  All rights, copyrights, and trademarks blah blah are owned by them/him/her/it/whatever and definitely not me, I just think they’re hilarious and that they shouldn’t be behind a login wall.  Hell, even their disclaimer says that everything other than logos are public domain, so don’t even get started with me on this shit, you overly litigious fucks.

I lied, I’m leaving, you read too slowly.

It’s CRUCIAL you read this …

Or, The Data Loss Rollercoaster

So, I bought an mSATA SSD a year or so ago to go into a laptop I purchased that (obviously) had an mSATA port in it.  The manufacturer had elected to include a microscopic mSATA drive and to use it for cache acceleration only, but I wanted to get a big enough drive to toss the entire OS on it and have the laptop boot from it.  I did some research and at the time, the most cost effective drive for me was a Crucial m4 120GB mSATA SSD, which I got for something like $120 from Amazon.  Not a bad price.

I’ll divert here to complain about the laptop I have, which is nobody’s fault but my own, but I’m going to complain anyways.  I bought a Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition for about $1,050 a little while ago — decently spec’d laptop, and surprisingly good build quality for both a Dell and their much maligned Inspiron line.  All in all, I’m pleased with the purchase — it was cheap, the device is well built, used pretty decent materials, etc.  I do have the problem where it’s got both an AMD 7730M and an Intel GPU in it, and of course only Dell’s (horrendously fucking outdated) drivers will properly support both GPUs and switching between them by application, but I digress.

Bringing it back to the main thread here, I bought an mSATA SSD to put into my laptop.  Once Amazon delivered my shiny new SSD, disassembly of the Inspiron had to occur.  I cannot express to you in words how poorly designed the internal of the Inspiron 15R is SOLELY from the perspective of someone trying to replace the mSATA drive.  I shit you not, by the time I had the mSATA drive exposed, there was not a single screw in the chassis or screen left.  It seriously was the absolute last piece of equipment in the entire laptop by the time it was free.  Every. Single. Piece. Other. Than. The. mSATA. Had. To. Be. Removed.

FUCK that was a pain in the ass.  I’m pretty good about shit like that too, and it still took me about 90 minutes to take everything apart, get the mSATA SSD put back in, then another 20-30 minutes to put it all back together again.

In short, Dell, I hate your hardware designer.

ANYWAY, so I replaced the tiny cache SSD with my 120GB Crucial M4 SSD, installed my OS, and was off and running.  Performance was spectacular as you’d expect from an SSD, all is right with the world.

Flash forward about 7-8 months — I’ve gotten a Surface Pro at this point (I’ll post about how much I fucking love that device some other time), and as such haven’t been using the laptop very much.  I go to turn it on without being plugged in and apparently it had been long enough that there was just enough battery left to turn it on, but not enough battery to do anything else.  Screen lights up, Dell logo, then battery kicks and machine cuts off.

This is where things start getting stupid.

I plug the laptop back in and turn it on and am greeted by a blue screen from Windows 8, effectively the Windows 8 equivalent of the “INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE” BSOD.  I reboot and check in bios and it tells me “mSATA:  Not Installed”.  GODDAMNIT.  Thankfully, I only had my OS on that drive and all my data was safe, but I really didn’t want to open the machine back up to get that mSATA out to send back to Crucial.  Digging around in forums, I find that the Crucial M4 series of mSATA SSDs has a SERIOUS and glaring fault — if the SSD loses power unexpectedly, it will fail to be recognized by the BIOS again until you perform a lengthy power cycle (that they recommend involve physically unplugging the mSATA drive from power/data, which in my case WAS NOT A FUCKING OPTION).  So, per their instructions, I turn on the laptop and bring it into BIOS and let it sit for 20 minutes, after which I unplug the battery, power down the laptop and unplug the power cord from it for 30 seconds while holding the power button to ensure the entire main board fully discharged.  Power the machine back on and my SSD has magically reappeared, my system boots, all is good.  Following direction from Crucial support, I update the drive to the latest firmware (which is supposed to address the power loss / faux-brick behavior) with no issues and turn the laptop back off again.

Flash forward another 3 months and my Surface Pro was in another room and I was too lazy to go get it, so I powered on my laptop and decided it was time to upgrade it to Windows 8.1 as well.  Well, (and this is on me) I made the same mistake twice — I didn’t plug it into power, turned it on, it showed the Dell logo, immediately cut off, and as expected my Crucial M4 SSD was no longer visible to the BIOS.  CURSES.  Completed the 20 minute power cycle and got the drive back, booted into Windows, went to Crucial’s website and noted there was a new firmware, highly recommended update, it directly addresses this power loss / power cycle issue.  Downloaded the Windows firmware installer and ran it.

ERROR 0 WHILE UPDATING FIRMWARE

System stops.  SSD has disappeared while the OS is running, the entire system hard locks.  Reboot, SSD is gone from BIOS, INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE BSOD.  Mother fucking god damnit.

Download Crucial’s linux .ISO and spend 15 minutes trying to turn it into a bootable USB drive before realizing that even though it’s 2013, I do still actually have a spindle of CD-Rs somewhere, spend 45s burning the stupid ISO and boot it —

No eligible SSD found.

GAH.  Fuck this stupid SSD.  I still really don’t want to take the fucking laptop apart again, so I’m willing to try anything to make it work.  I decide to give it one last power cycle to see if I can get the drive recognized in BIOS again and booting.  20 minutes later, and much to my surprise, the drive reappears.  I take the opportunity to boot off the ISO and attempt to flash the drive and am greeted with yet another error message:

SSD is already running the current version of firmware.

Let me get this straight — your poorly designed SSD (that crashes any time it loses power unexpectedly) crashed itself immediately following a firmware update (to the point that it errored out and took the entire running OS with it as it was dropped by BIOS and unresponsive), a firmware update that was designed solely to resolve the power loss / power cycle issue, and had to be power cycled in order to be brought back to working.  I’m not even going to get into the complete and utter bullshit oversight by a company who thinks that it’s OK for a drive to completely lose its mind when it loses power abruptly (I mean, has Crucial ever heard of a laptop before in their entire lives?)

So in closing, don’t buy a Crucial M4 SSD unless you want to play Six Flags over Your Data and spend time power cycling shit over and over again.  This drive will absolutely die on you, but the good news is that in most cases it dies, all it wants is a little attention to get back to booting.

Fuck you, Crucial.

Now go away.

iOS7, iTunes, Podcasts, and FUCK YOU

So, I’m an Apple user when it comes to my phone.  I’m not one of the ‘fanboys’ who rabidly and vehemently fight tooth and nail about these things (anymore?), but I am pretty damn well versed on the topic.  Unlike most people who talk about these things, I actually have used an Android phone, an iOS phone, and a Windows Phone 8 phone.  I detailed my findings pretty clearly on reddit here if you’re at all interested.  I’ve been over that topic from front to back so I’m not going to revisit much of it today, except to say that having used some Nexus devices, I’ll give Android the credit where it’s due.  Most of the problems I had with my GS3 were Samsung’s fault, not Android’s fault.  All that’s just framing for the rest of this discussion, I’m not here to talk about the pros and cons of each of the OSes, more specifically to vent about one really, really stupid change that Apple made with iOS7.

I have a fairly lengthy commute to and from work.  I drive approximately 25 miles each way through fairly heavy traffic.  As such, my morning commute can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, and my return commute at the end of the day takes anywhere from 60-150 minutes.  There aren’t many side streets that aren’t just as congested, so it’s not like much can be done to address the amount of time I spend in the car on a daily basis.  To fill in this huge gap of every day with something somewhat worthwhile, I’ve taken to listening to podcasts.  I like music, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t find it engaging enough to keep my mind off the fact that I’m stuck in a line of cars that stretches endlessly in each direction.  I need something new that I can actively engage in.  Many years ago, my brother-in-law turned me on to a podcast by Kevin Smith called SModcast.  Great podcast, I recommend it — it’s definitely got a lot of dick and fart humor in it, so be wary if those types of things offend you (… idiot), but all in all it’s a pretty well made and engaging podcast.  I listen to it and a couple of others on a daily basis.

Here’s how syncing and listening to podcasts worked for me on iOS6 and earlier:

  1. n1ckn4m3 subscribes to podcasts in iTunes.
  2. n1ckn4m3 tells iTunes to download back episodes of podcasts he wants to listen to and keep them on his computer.
  3. n1ckn4m3 tells iTunes to sync the 5 least recent unplayed podcasts to his iPhone, and to not keep fully-played podcasts on his iPhone.
  4. n1ckn4m3 syncs his iPhone with his computer to get the podcasts on his iPhone.
  5. n1ckn4m3’s iPhone gets plugged in to n1ckn4m3’s car via 30-pin Dock connector every time n1ckn4m3 gets into his car.
  6. n1ckn4m3’s car stereo outputs the podcasts and provides head unit link and steering wheel controls for the playback of the podcasts (and everything else in the music library).

Now, this wasn’t *perfect*, but it worked pretty well.  I would have preferred the ability for the iPhone to sync podcasts automatically overnight instead of manually having to sync the phone (has anyone in the entire fucking world managed to make WiFi sync work better than black magic?), but the end result was that with a minimal of management, my iPhone kept a reasonably up-to-date set of podcasts locally and gave me stuff to listen to during my drive.  Not the most elegant of syncing solutions but quite workable.

At some point, however, Apple decided (as often) that good enough was no longer good enough.  They separated out the podcast playback functionality from the Music application and gave it its very own app for you to download from the App Store.  This brought about the benefit of syncing podcast playback data through iCloud across multiple devices, and also the ability for the iPhone to natively download the latest podcasts itself without a sync to iTunes.  Pretty great update, except for one thing:

Apple decided that the standard media library control method used by the Music app was not good enough, so it replaced it — thus breaking third party connectivity to the iPhone for the podcasts app for every single 30-pin dock connecting head unit and stereo in the entire world.

Beyond the fact that this was a big ‘fuck you’ to anyone who had written an app or had designed hardware around this interface (appreciably, Apple is not responsible for third party products that interface with theirs), it fucked my use-case up because once the Podcasts app had been installed on the phone, you could no longer see podcasts in the media library, access them through the car’s head-unit interface, or play them back through the 30-pin dock connector on the bottom of the phone.  Great job, Apple, you pretty much annihilated my use case in one sweeping upgrade.  The saving grace was that AT LEAST I could uninstall the Podcasts app on iOS6 and return to the standard behavior I had looked for, even if it meant I didn’t get auto-downloads and auto-update and iCloud sync.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago — Apple launches the new iPhone 5C and 5S, I head to my local carrier and pick up one of the 5S models on launch day.  Of course, iOS7 has taken the podcast/media library separation to new heights.  The Podcasts app is still not installed on the phone by default, and you can still sync podcasts to your iPhone using iTunes — but they go into a magical no-man’s-land on the phone, completely inaccessible until you install the Podcasts app.  That’s right, they removed the native ability for the Music app to even see or play these things now.  By default, without the Podcasts app installed, you’re effectively saying “Hey, iTunes, put some shit I can’t use on my phone to take up space.  Make sure it’s completely unusable, I don’t want to see or hear about these files ever again, I just want them to take up space on my phone.”  This is fucking stupid.  Just fucking stupid.  But OK, that’s a ‘thing’, and I’m damn sure not going to be able to downgrade the 5S to iOS 6.x to restore proper media library functionality, and I guess I do still have my old iPhone 4 sitting happily on iOS 6.1.2 — how about I just stuff my iPhone 4 into my car, leave it there, and sync that bad boy over WiFi?

Well, that sounds great in theory, but unfortunately — good enough was yet again not good enough for Apple.  iTunes 11.1 incorporates the new cloud sync behavior for podcasts.  I first noticed this when I realized that my D: drive on my desktop somehow had about 120GB more free space than it should have without me having done anything to affect it.  I started digging and realized that iTunes had (on my behalf, without asking, of course) deleted every single one of my podcasts marked ‘played’, even though I very specifically had told it never to delete local content without asking.  It had also decided to delete something like 40-50 unplayed podcasts spread through a couple of my podcast subscriptions.  After a sync, my iPhone 5S was showing every podcast I subscribed to on my PC — even a few which had never been configured to sync with the device.  I removed a couple of the subscriptions from the phone and was surprised to see them immediately delete from my PC as well.  Now Apple has decided that every podcast on your computer should also be on your phone — you couldn’t possibly be making use of their ‘only sync checked items’ functionality, or, maybe the ‘sync 5 least recent unplayed of selected podcasts’ functionality, right?

At this point, in order to stop iTunes and Apple from completely fucking my podcast library up nearly daily, I’ve had to unsubscribe from all podcasts in iTunes, manually re-download the podcasts I wanted to keep, force configure iTunes and my iPhone 5S to never delete podcasts under any circumstance — and it still fucking does it every other goddamned day.

So, here’s how syncing and listening to podcasts works on iOS7:

  1. n1ckn4m3 subscribes to podcasts in iTunes.
  2. The Nebuchadnezzar fires its EMP, killing the sentinels and 30-pin dock connectivity.
  3. A dimensional rift is created on n1ckn4m3’s HDD which grows to encompass a random selection of individual podcast episodes and full podcast subscriptions.
  4. Steve Jobs’s ghost is fed n1ckn4m3’s podcasts for sustenance in the afterlife.

In closing, fuck you Apple, seriously.  You’re bad at this and you should fucking feel bad.  I’m sad that I couldn’t hack it with Android or Windows Phone enough to get the fuck away from you.  At least you used to pretend you were the elegant phone OS where ‘everything just worked (TM)’.  Now you’re just as bad as Android with “one guy somewhere decided this feature would be better if it worked this obtusely specific way that fit his needs and only his needs, so your fucking podcasts are deleted and your car stereo can fuck off.  P.S. eat a dick.”

Grumble.  Now go away.

The Legend of Zelda – Windwaker HD

or How I learned to stop saying I hated all 3D Zelda games…

So, let’s kick this off with a combination of both content AND malcontent.  Those who know me may have heard me rail previously about my distaste for the 3D Zelda games.  While I did beat Ocarina of Time on the N64 back when it was released, it marks the only of the 3D Zelda games I have ever beaten.  Even so, though nostalgia may color my memory in attempt to convince me that it was a good game, attempting to play through the game recently made me realize that it really isn’t that engaging of a Zelda game.  I never beat Majora’s Mask, couldn’t get too into Windwaker on GameCube, despised Twilight Princess with a flaming passion, and cannot even express in written word the level of distaste I have developed for Skyward Sword.

Let’s take these one at a time:

  • The Legend of Zelda – Majora’s Mask (N64)

I really don’t know where to start with this one.  It’s a fan favorite, has garnered good reviews, and most people that I talk with tell me they love it.  All I know is that there’s a clock in the top right hand corner counting down to something, and I can only play for like an hour before it bores me to the point that watching paint dry would be more interesting.  I suppose I can’t really say this game is terrible, more specifically that it just bored me and I couldn’t get into it.  Moving on…

  • The Legend of Zelda – Twilight Princess (GameCube/Wii)

Look, fuck this game.  Fuck this game in its stupid fucking face.  This is the absolute dumbest 3D Zelda game they ever made (not counting the two abortions on DS, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, they really are the worst Zelda has to offer unless you happen to have the Philips CDI).  Are you shitting me?  You turned Link into a werewolf?  Fuck this.  Nevermind the fact that they had to mirror the entire game to make Link right-handed, solely to support the waggle-tastic Wiimote controls.  Don’t believe me?  Read about it for yourself.  I think I got an hour into this before realizing that playing as a werewolf was FUCKING STUPID, and turned it the fuck off.

  • The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword (Wii)

I truly don’t know how so many people could have gotten this one so fucking wrong.  If you ask just about any Zelda player, they’ll go on for hours about how this is the best Zelda game in the history of mankind, about how it is a shining achievement of Zelda in our lives and nothing will ever beat it.  I have tried to play this stupid fucking game no less than 9 times.  I bought the stupid Motion Plus dongle, and that didn’t work for shit, so then I bought the Wiimote Plus — SOLELY to be able to try and play this stupid game.  Imagine my surprise when the first 90 minutes of the game is running around in a forest, pushing logs in some ridiculously arbitrary and stupid puzzle.  I’m not against puzzles in Zelda games, it’s one of the core mechanics — however, I am averse to puzzles with absolutely no tie to the game, especially ones with completely arbitrary solutions that are not logical, counter-intuitive, and in some cases seemingly random.  People also want to gush about how every single enemy in the game has a unique method to kill — e.g., you have to swing the wiimote to spin a spider and then thrust the wiimote to stab them.  Did I mention how much I fucking hate bullshit waggle controls?  Because I really, really fucking hate bullshit waggle controls.  So, fuck this stupid game and the stupid birds and its blatant attempt to try and copy Windwaker’s open world, exploration friendly style.  This game sucks and I hate it, and frankly you should to unless you have no idea what you’re talking about.

This brings me to the Pièce de résistance, as it were—

  • The Legend of Zelda – The Windwaker (GameCube/WiiU)

Now, let me first start by saying that this game isn’t perfect.  Link makes way too fucking much noise, which is one of my common complaints with most of the Zelda games made past a Link to the Past.  Just push the ‘roll’ button or ‘sword’ button a few times to see what I mean.  Link is goddamned INCAPABLE of doing a single fucking thing without an obligatory ‘hah’ ‘hyeah’ ‘huh’ ‘ho’ ‘yah’.  Just shut the fuck up, Link.  Shut your goddamned mouth for just a second.  I really don’t need to hear you shout every time I push a goddamned button.  Anyways, moving on…  I tried to play this game on GameCube, got past about two levels (forest haven/deku tree and forsaken fortress, maybe one more level, it was so long ago whatever) and pretty much put it down, never to pick it up again.  Partly this was because I was in the camp of people who initially thought the cel-shaded style was kiddie and silly (especially after Nintendo teased us with the ridiculously good looking Zelda demo at the GameCube’s launch), and partly it was because I hadn’t yet realized how epic in scope Windwaker was (though still admittedly a short game, as Zelda games go), so I moved on to another game and called it a wash.

Flash foward to a few weeks ago, when Nintendo released the HD remake of Windwaker on the Nintendo store.  I downloaded it (the HD looked really good, and even though I was ho-hum on the GameCube version, I have really been trying to find a good Zelda game to play ever since I realized Skyward Sword was the stupidest piece of shit this side of Shaq-Fu) and dug in.  It didn’t take me long to pass where I had gotten in the GameCube version, and I noticed while playing that I was really enjoying the game — the gameplay is solid, the graphics are great, the music is iconic and nostalgic, the sailing is epic, the world is huge, and the puzzles are intuitive and topical.  At the end of the first play session I was further in the game than I’d ever been before, and it wasn’t long after that I realized that Windwaker is the one 3D Zelda game that ACTUALLY gets what a Zelda game is, and executed on that concept near flawlessly.  Here’s the rundown, starting with easy and obvious and then digging deeper:

    • Graphics:  Yes, it’s true.  The cel-shaded look was very polarizing when it came out and that still remains to be true.  While I do think that it makes Link look very childish, the concept of Cel Shading makes for a much cleaner art style that contributes to immersion.  If the game was attempting to look ultra-realistic, it would be jarring when things weren’t perfect.  As it’s artistically styled, the graphics paint an overall aesthetic that is never broken throughout the entire game.  Gorgeous to look at, and very pretty in 1080p, my only qualm here is the few times that the game dips below 30fps (even on the WiiU, that’s kind of silly!)
    • Sound:  I already mentioned it, there’s not too much to say.  They did a great job with the sound design in this game (minus Link’s over-zealous shouting and noise making).  The music is great and catchy, the sound effects are weighty and topical, the orchestral combat is a very nice touch, and the context-sensitive music (day/night/location) makes for a grand sweeping score that varies into and out of focus as needed throughout the game.  Very well done with some memorable pieces.
    • Control:  The WiiU gamepad solves the item-juggling problem from the GameCube (there were more useful items at any given point in time than spots to hold useful items, so you were constantly switching to the item screen to swap them around), and I can’t stress this enough — IT  DOESN’T USE BULLSHIT WAGGLE WIIMOTE CONTROLS.  IT USES FUCKING THUMBSTICKS AND BUTTONS, LIKE A GODDAMNED ZELDA GAME SHOULD.  LET ME NOT GLOSS OVER THIS POINT AS I FIND IT TO BE VERY IMPORTANT.  Fuck the stupid Wiimote, and fuck waggle controls, fuck them in their stupid fucking IR sensors and gyroscopes, I’m so over the waggle bullshit it’s not even funny.
    • World Design:  The world in Windwaker (while not extremely large, overall) is presented in unmatched epic scope.  The water-filled world of Hyrule seems vast and expansive from the confines of your small boat as you navigate the dangerous seas and island hop.  The only complaint I would have here is the overall size of the world really isn’t that large, considering how large it actually feels.  Windwaker is one of the shortest Zelda games from a temple/level perspective and this kind of shows in the overworld.  Though explained in the story, something like 90% of the overworld is water.  This does contribute to the ‘epic’ feel of the scope in the game, as sailing from island to island really does feel like you are exploring the open seas, sailing from location to location with nothing but your sea chart to guide you.  Compare this to the bullshit from Skyward Sword where you had a bird that could only drop you onto open areas through the clouds and you can appreciate the Linear vs. Exploration focus that I feel epitomizes Zelda.
    • Side Quests / Mini Games:  Even though the world is 90% water, they cram an awful lot into that remaining 10%.  Whether it be the forest water / Deku Tree side-quests, the pictograph side-quests, treasure maps, tingle maps, etc., there is something hidden behind, under, or around everything you do in the game.  The game rewards you in many ways for exploring — be it a wallet upgrade here, the ability to carry more bombs there, a piece of heart, etc.  Rarely do you feel like time has been wasted, as even just exploring the ocean can net you hundreds of rupees.  As such, it is a very compelling world to explore — you continually get rewarded for peeking behind things and being observant.
So, what I’m saying here is this:  If you’re one of the 4 other people in the USA who bought a WiiU, and you don’t already own Windwaker HD, you’re an idiot.  That’s pretty much all there is to it.  The absolute paragon of 3D Zelda games has been digitally remastered for 1080p.  Gameplay has been tweaked for accessibility.  Complaints and qualms from the GameCube version have been addressed.  This is the shining example of what Zelda games should be, and if you don’t own it, Nintendo will probably keep making bullshit waggle-tastic Zelda pieces of shit for years to come.  Let’s not let them do that.  Positive reinforcement, it works!

Now go away.