Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Where have you been all my life, Dual Shock 2?

I finished Ocarina of Time on Monday. After all that work I decided to give up on finding the last four Pieces of Heart and the last six Gold Skulltulas. Wikipedia tells me that I also missed out on the biggest quiver that can hold 50 arrows, but that particular minigame was just dastardly and I have no particular wish to do it again.

So what to do with my unused time? Well, I got started on some work... like, actual work. Today I got back on track with my research reading, too. Before I resorted to that, though, I decided to try my hand at the original Legend of Zelda (yes I own the game, so having the ROM is legal, fascist). Those of you who remember my original retro-gaming period of second year will recall that my drive to be good at Metroid was entirely fuelled by the fact that I have owned the game since I was 7 or so and yet sucked it very, very hard at Metroid. I am still very proud to say that twelve years after getting it, about eleven of which were spent honing my dexterity with musical instruments, I beat Metroid.

(Oh my God, Samus is a girl!)

So it goes with Zelda. I've owned Zelda probably even longer than Metroid, yet even four years ago after my Metroid kick I decided to try Zelda and could barely survive past the first three screens. I had better things to be doing, so I forgot about it. But now it's time to conquer that mountain too. I fired up FCEultra, set it up to work with my trusty Gravis Eliminator Aftershock, named my character "Dickolas", and we were off to the races.

In an up-left diagonal direction.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that for all of its charms, the Gravis Eliminator Aftershock suffers from a really, really shitty D-pad. It's very difficult to just press up -- no, you'll usually get up-left or up-right. But not up. I had previously just lived with it, as I was conscious of the fact that I paid $50 for it and at the time it was clearly the best gamepad on the market (or at least of the ones that I tried). So, I beat Super Metroid despite aiming diagonally up-right most of the time, and I suffered -- suffered -- through Tony Hawk 3. Later I discovered that people make console controller-to-USB adaptors. B'oh.

Today, figuring that the warranty must be long-past by now anyway, I opened it up to see if I could hack it or make a new D-pad for it. Instead, I came away very impressed at the internal construction and saddened because there's no way in hell I could possibly make a new D-pad for it. To add injury to insult, I broke a wire so only one of the rumble motors works now. Do any of you have a soldering iron? Do any of you know how to solder?

Look at this thing. The D-pad is not a cross. It's a... fucking... I don't know what it is. It's a regular D-pad, in a funhouse mirror. What were the folks at Gravis thinking? D-pads should always be Euclidean.

Fuck this! I said. I decided to right my previous wrong and pony up for a Dual Shock 2 and USB adaptor. I almost bought a nice $10 adaptor (Mac-compatible! w00t) and $17 Dual Shock 2 online but shipping was $10, so I thought I'd go Chinatown and/or Japantown to look for a cheapo adaptor. But then I realized:

  • it costs $6 to get to Chinatown, another $2 to get to Japantown;

  • I might find a $5 adaptor in Chinatown, but I also might only find a $15 adaptor, and regardless, it probably won't support rumble or the Mac, and it came from Chinatown and as such possibly contains lead in its construction;

  • Japantown has a website and none of their stores sell gaming equipment;

  • Dual Shock 2's start at $19 used at EB, as opposed to $17 new on that website; and

  • there's no tax if I buy it online.

So, I did.

I really can't wait to get my Dual Shock 2. Now maybe I can WALK IN A STRAIGHT DAMN LINE through Hyrule. I could even execute a fastplant in THPS3 again! Hell, I could even finally play THPS4 on my Mac without constantly spinning in circles!

I think I'll name it Excalibur.

Current Music: XTC - Neon Shuffle


Jowen said...

I clearly remember your original retro-gaming period of second year. Do you know how I can remember this? Because you were playing on my computer, in my room, while I was studying for exams. Jerk.

The Fed Ex of Funk said...

I still get confused when you refer to your undergrad years in ordinals.

Dickolas Wang said...

It's that kind of thinking that keeps the Imperial system alive in the US.

GOC said...

dude.. Excalibur is the name of my non-existent dog

Dickolas Wang said...

I know. I still maintain that the name Excalibur should be only given to inanimate objects. Mind, these objects can be magical, but not alive.