Tag Archives: nintendo

Ninja Gaiden 3 comes to Nintendo Wii U

I had enormous fun with Ninja Gaiden on Xbox, especially the first version which was repeatedly refined until, as Ninja Gaiden Black, it came near to gaming perfection. Never mind the plot: the action was intense, challenging and deep.

Ninja Gaiden 2 was more gory but less satisfying, though it was another big game with gorgeous environments – I particularly liked the watery city which was reminiscent of Venice – and more important, tough fighting that rewarded skill rather than button-bashing.

Ninja Gaiden 3 on the other hand was a disappointment, removing most of what was enjoyable about the game. The combat system was simplified and it became just another button bash.

Now the game is among those promised for the Nintendo Wii U. Is it possible that the new version, called Razor’s Edge, fixes the problems?


The description does seem to recognise what went wrong:

NINJA GAIDEN 3 has been reworked to bring to Wii U the truly intense, high-speed challenge and action NINJA GAIDEN fans demand. With more weapon and Ninpo types, a new character progression system, a redesigned battle system and the return of dismemberment, NINJA GAIDEN 3: Razor’s Edge improves upon the original NINJA GAIDEN 3 in every way and offers Wii U exclusive features and functionalities.

Improving on the original Ninja Gaiden 3, you might remark, will not be difficult. Even so, fans now have some reason to hope for another decent edition of Ninja Gaiden.

Nintendo bringing dual screen to the Wii with smart controller

Nintendo has announced the Wii U, set for release sometime in 2012. If the unique feature of the original Wii was the motion controller, this new one is characterised by a smart controller that is in effect a mini-console in its own right, complete with 6.2″, 16:9 touch screen, accelerometer and gyroscope. In fact, it sounds a lot like a tablet with game controller buttons.



As for the console, it is not so different from before except that it now includes an IBM Power-based multi-core processor and from what was seen at E3, a substantial advance in graphical power. The original Wii Remote controllers are still supported, as are accessories like the Wii Balance Board.


The console has internal flash memory, but you can attach an external USB hard drive. The disc drive reads a new proprietary high-density format as well as existing Wii titles, with which it is backward-compatible.

Why two screens? Well, it opens up many new possibilities for game play as well as non-gaming uses. At E3 it was shown being used for video chat.


Nintendo spoke of the Wii U having a “strong bond between games, the TV and the internet,” and the new controller could be used for social interaction while the main screen is showing TV or internet content.

Having a second screen also means you have use one for navigation and the other for content, which makes a lot of sense.

I admire Nintendo’s ability to innovate. Now that the other consoles have picked up the idea of motion controllers, Nintendo is branching in a different direction, and this looks like a good upgrade for the Wii.

At the same time, the similarity of the new controller to an Apple iPad or RIM PlayBook or Android tablet gives me pause for thought.

First, it is going to be expensive relative to the original Wii.

Second, what are the possibilities for gaming if Apple put together the iPad and the Mac, or if Microsoft broke with its past and actually integrated Windows 8 on a tablet with the Xbox 360?


Fixing a Nintendo DS Lite

Our Nintendo DS Lite developed a fault in the top screen. It would work occasionally, but then started going green and blotchy.

I checked the price on eBay – £12.00 for a new screen and a set of screwdrivers sounded worth a go.


Nintendo decided to use special tri-wing screws for the DS Lite. I am not sure why gadget manufacturers use special screws because it does not take long for the DIY community to get hold of suitable tools, but I guess it deters the most casual tinkerers. This is why three screwdrivers were included in my package. There were also several plastic tools for prising open the case though I did not use these.

I found numerous guides on YouTube and elsewhere, though they rarely tell you everything you need to know

The operation was harder than I thought it would be. I can take apart a DS Lite in seconds now, having done it a few times, but the first time took a while as I learned where to prise it apart and which bits are likely to ping out and get lost – the left and right bumper buttons, for example, have tiny springs that are likely to come loose.

Why was it difficult? Well, to get at the top screen you have to disassemble most of the DS Lite, including the bottom part. There is a cable running from the screen to the motherboard that has to be pushed through the hinge, which is tricky. There are also two cables (antenna and microphone connectors) that have to be threaded under a metal assembly on the motherboard, and which tend to get stuck when out of sight. You can see these in the photo above – they are the black and white cables towards the bottom.

Another fiddly task is that the speaker wires are soldered to the aforementioned cable that connects the top screen. This means you have to detach them from the old screen and solder them to tiny pads on the new cable.

I also had difficulty reassembling the top part of the case. It seems to go out of alignment easily, and in fact it is still not quite perfect.

The outcome? Good news and bad news. The top screen works fine. However, when I reassembled the bottom case the plastic power switch must have been slightly out of alignment, because it broke the small protrusion on the internal switch. This means the DS Lite can now only be operated with a pin. This is a common problem, but unfortunately I did not find one of the guides which mentions the issue until it was too late.

Well, I have ordered a new power switch for a further £1.00 including postage. However, apparently replacing the power switch is another tricky job because it is surface mounted. We’ll see.

Postscript: I am happy to report a successful power switch replacement. I am not sure if it is attached quite as strongly as before; but for now it is working fine.

Solar charge your mobile: sounds good, but how practical is it?

Charge your mobile for free while out and about, and also do your bit to save energy: the new Freeloader Classic from Solar Technology International has obvious appeal. But how practical is it?


The Freeloader has two solar panels, and measures 123 x 62 x 17mm when folded. After 8 hours in the sun, it can deliver power to an Apple iPhone for 18 hours, a Nintendo DS for 2.5 hours, and an Apple iPad for 2 hours. Take care that it does not walk while your back is turned.


It comes with all sorts of tips, and can also be charged via USB in 3 hours in the event that the sun is not shining. For example, if you are in the UK.


While I like the idea of solar charging a mobile device, it is another gadget to pack, and could end up as more of a burden than an asset. Instead of just charging your mobile, you have to think about charging your Freeloader and then charging your mobile. 8 hours in the sun is far from instant.

Still, if you are planning a long hike in a remote part of the world, this could be just what you need.

Update: I have now been sent a Freeloader for review. The good news: the unit looks great. The bad news: initial tests are disappointing. It arrived 75% charged … I left it on a windowsill for several days and by the end it had lost all its charge! I am not giving up though and will report in due course.

Freeloader Classic costs £39.99 including VAT.