Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 23: MLB 2K8 Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

The Nintendo Wii is tailor-made for baseball, so I was excited to learn that, a year and a half after its launch, someone had made the first real baseball sim for it. Even if that someone was 2K Sports, a company whose understanding of baseball is roughly on par with my understanding of quantum mechanics. Admittedly, I haven't actually played a baseball game from 2K since World Series Baseball 2K1 on the Dreamcast, but that game was so abysmal that seven years might not have been enough time to fix it.

But the only copy of Major League Baseball 2K8 at my local Blockbuster had some sticky residue on the disc and wouldn't load. And that's how I ended up with Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.

If you played Diddy Kong Racing on the Nintendo 64, you might remember it as not quite Mario Kart. Or you might not remember it at all. I guess that's what happens when the primary purpose of a game is to pimp characters getting their own games soon (Banjo and Conker).

Ten years from now I'll probably have vague memories of Donkey Kong Barrel Blast similar to the vague memories I have of Diddy Kong Racing. It looks pretty, but it's not quite Mario Kart. And the novelty of the control scheme, simulating pounding on barrels strapped to the racers' waists by shaking the wiimote and nunchuk, wore off as the carpal tunnel began creeping into my wrists.

Not that the controls are important. The monkeys follow the track on their own. Once I got up to top speed, there wasn't much left to do but coast to the finish line. Sort of like the programmers did when they made this game.

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