Turn your Android phone into a steering wheel

I was looking on Amazon over the weekend for PC steering wheels when I remembered that my phone could do the job! Install JD SimWheel from the Play Store, grab the device driver and server from here for your PC and you’re 90% of the way there.

It might take a few minutes tinkering with the settings in-game but Euro Truck Simulator 2 works fine with it. I still can’t reverse properly but now I can take corners smoothly and two of the buttons on-screen are already configured for left and right indicators!


Here’s a howto video and demonstration using the game GRID created by user MyHD2AndOthers on Youtube.

Next on my todo list is using a WiiMote as a steering wheel as I already have the steering wheel adaptor for it and it should be more comfortable than holding a phone!

Wii Call of Duty Black Ops

Black Ops on the Wii looks interesting. Graphics are not as good as the PS3 or Xbox 360, but that’s to be expected. It still plays at quite a blistering pace. The wandering gun sight might make viewers sick however. It tends to jump around quite a bit!

Modern Warfare (Reflex) on the Wii

I was shocked and amazed when I saw the boxes of Call of Duty Modern Warfare in the Wii section of Gamestop the other day so I went searching for reviews. Metacritic gave it it a reasonable 77, while the following two Youtube reviews rate it very highly. Graphics look awful, and aren’t a patch on the Xbox 360 or PS3 version but the Wii remote makes aiming easier and more precise.

I loved Call of Duty WAW on the Wii, I’m tempted to dust down the machine for this too…

Just added it to my Amazon Wishlist.

Wireless Nunchuck Adapter Review

My latest gaming purchase last week was MadWorld for the Nintendo Wii Console. It’s a horribly violent and bloody beat-em-up and saw-em-up and gauge-em-up and .. you get the idea.
Everyone’s raving about it but after playing it for an hour or two I feared I’d snap my Nunchuck and Wiimote cable because one of the actions in the game calls for the player to err, snap the controls apart and something indescribable happens on screen. Someone loses their head, and they’re not angry! It certainly deserves the 18 cert,

Gameware Wireless Nunchuck Adapter Last weekend I popped into Game for a look around and spotted the Gameware Wireless Nunchuck Adapter for a reasonable €12.99. Not bad. I also bought a Wiimote charger but I’ll blog about that at a later stage. Can’t have too much excitement in one post now can we?

The box contained simple instructions, the adapter itself, and a small square transmitter/receiver you place on the end of the Wiimote (requiring a good tug to remove again!) It doesn’t include the Nunchuck. The adapter takes 2 AAA batteries. The Nunchuck fits snugly into the top, plugs in at the bottom, and the the cable is wound up at the back neatly. Press the little transmit button to connect it to the Wiimote and a little red light flashes on both.

Gameware Wireless Nunchucck Adapter

The first game I tried with it was Call of Duty, World at War (Get it! It’s a great game!) For the most part it’s fine and it’s neat not having the cable knocking against you as you play. If I can fault the adapter, I found that sometimes when pulling back on the Nunchuck joystick, the Nunchuck slid back slightly. It’s a snug fit, but could have done with some restraining plastic to hold things in place better.
Also, it you have overly large or small hands it might cause problems too but that’s a minor niggle.

MadWorld was more fun with the Wireless Adapter fitted to the Nunchuck. No worries about breaking cables any more! I still can’t recommend buying the game though. It got repetitive quickly, I spent my time bashing buttons desperately and wondering how I killed the end-of-level bosses.

MadWorld gets a thumbs down from me, but the Wireless Nunchuck Adapter from Game gets a thumbs up! 🙂

Metal Slug Anthology

Metal SlugThe Metal Slug series of games is over 10 years old now but I only came across them for the first time last year through MAME, the arcade emulator. The games are run and gun shoot em ups with great hand drawn graphics, and frenetic gameplay. You can read about the first game on Wikipedia.

Metal Slug is a series of run and gun video games first released on Neo-Geo arcade machines and game consoles created by SNK. It was also ported to other consoles, such as the Sega Saturn, the PlayStation, the Neo-Geo Pocket Color and more recently, the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS. There is also an anthology of the first 7 games in the main series (including Metal Slug X) available for the Wii, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 2.

They’re great fun to play, and with an Xbox 360 controller hooked up to my computer the experience in SDLMame was as close to perfect as it could be. When I saw Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii in Gamestop and for only 25 Euro last weekend I had to buy it! All those games in one package, on one CD? How could I resist? Unfortunately I should have checked the reviews first. Metacritic gave it 73%, but the first user review points out the huge flaw that makes all the games totally unplayable.
Metal Slug

Once you’re in a game, the default control has grenades set to motion control. If you’ve ever played a metal slug, you’d know that these games are hard, and require split second reactions. There isn’t time to shake the controller up and down. Fortunately there’s 1 control setup that uses the gamecube controller. But with just 3 buttons, it’s baffling why they couldn’t have used 3 buttons on the wiimote.

There are a number of different control configurations, but all are just as hopelessly bad as each other and I don’t have a Gamecube controller. A shame really because they’re arcade perfect conversions. As they should be. Credits for the game include M68k emulation so I presume the exact same code is running on the Wii. Why oh why did they screw it up with a crap control system?

If you really must play Metal Slug, the first game in the series was also released on the Wii virtual console and supports the classic controller. There’s also SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 but besides Metal Slug it doesn’t seem to be a good value compilation.

Even though the control system is all messed up in the Wii version of Metal Slug Anthology, I’m glad I could support SNK in some small way. Back to SDLMame for me though.

Update! This morning I played Metal Slug on the Wii using a knock off Gamecube controller and it rocks. Sure, you still have the lengthy loading times at the start but otherwise the controllers are fine. Here’s the controller screen and a shot of my “Gameexpert” Gamecube controller. Bought that in Zavvi at a knock down price!

metal-slug-wii-controls

gamecube-controller

How to watch DVDs on your Wii

Speculation on fan blogs about an upgrade to play DVDs on the Wii Console has been persistent for as long as I’ve been reading them, but it seems doubtful Nintendo will ever add this ability.

What are we to do? If you can’t get official support for something that the hardware can probably do, why not code it yourself? The Wii is a closed platform, but that hasn’t stopped enterprising developers taking a peek under the covers. That’s exactly what Erant did with his libdl and DVDX installer!

He created a dvd access library for the Wii Console, added the Mplayer media player and hey presto! DVD playback on the Wii. Mplayer also plays practically any video format under the sun so it’s even better than a DVD player.

Our DVD player is stuck in a cupboard under the television where the baby can’t get it (and requires untying of handles for an adult to get to) while the Wii is on a shelf in easy reach. I think this may be the project that gets me to try out Wii Homebrew using the new Twilight hack.

Once you’ve done that, you can enjoy the splendor of mplayer. That what started out as a simple proof of concept has rapidly turned into a full-featured media player, under the nourishing hands of dhewg. The main aim of the mplayer project was to get DVDVideo going, but it also supports reading video files off the SD card. (Experimental).

Nintendo Wii fanboy has a simple guide to getting everything running, from installing the Homebrew channel to running Mplayer. Nice.

Mplayer playing DVD on Wii Console

Sweet Galaxy bites Super Mario Galaxy

I love to play Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. The cartoon graphics, unusual planet based locations and gameplay make it really fun to play. It’s also relatively easy but I’m really stumped by Sweet Galaxy. Unlike every other galaxy in the game it’s a merciless obstacle course where Mario has to jump over gaping holes that move. Mistakes are cruelly punished and it is the most frustrating level I’ve played on any platform in a long time.

I even left the Wii switched on all day yesterday because I made it halfway through, but the final third of the level defeated me each time. Grrr.

Anyway, if like me you’re ready to give up on Super Mario Galaxy because of this level, here’s proof that it can be completed. I’ll try it again, once my left hand thumb recovers from twisting the nunchuk around.

(via)

In related gaming news. Boom Blox was fun for a while, but boy does it get boring quickly. Worse thing is, I paid the 20 Euro surcharge Irish shops charge for supporting local business. I could have bought it on play.com for 41 Euro, but Gamestop and Xtravision were both charging 59 Euro. Damn my need for instant gratification!

Back to Mario Kart Wii methinks.

You're looking so silly Wii Fit!

Judging by the reaction on Twitter, Wii Fit hasn’t been a big hit with my friends there. When Mario Kart Wii came out there was much excitement. I happily twittered when I bought my copy, others replied asking what the game was like, or that they were going to buy it the next day “for their family”. Lots of fans there.

So, you’ve bought Wii Fit. Have you filmed yourself and put it on Youtube yet? Are you brave enough to? 🙂

Of course, Wii Fit has sold over a million units. There must be a Wii Fit user reading this. Is it really fun? Will it last?

The demoscene comes to the Wii

Woohoo! Someone in the demoscene has cottoned on to the homebrew efforts on the Wii. ExistenzE is probably the first demo to appear on Nintendo’s Wii Console.

ExistenzE

It’s all thanks to the Twilight Hack which allows developers to run their own unofficial software on the Wii. Basically, the game “Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” has a bug in it and developers took advantage of that to load other software without Nintendo’s blessings. So far a lot of the software released has been technical or not very interesting to your average gamer, but Quake has been ported to the Wii, as has SDLMame (updated download) and other emulators.

I was excited at the prospect of playing Mame games on my Wii until I realised how much it relies on the host CPU. The Wii’s brain isn’t that fast a performer. I wonder how it would handle emulating an arcade machine and throwing sprites and stuff around the screen. Anyone tried SDLMame on it? (Apparently it uses Linux as a host OS to run SDLMame. That’s cool!)