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Samba de Amigo – Wii Mar 07
Samba de Amigo - Wii

Samba de Amigo - Wii

Having only recently got my hands on a copy of Sega’s Samba de Amigo for the Wii, I finally got round to playing it the other day and can’t believe what a gem this game really is.

All of the music is Latino of sorts, such as: Mas Que Nada, Papa Loves Mambo, Oyo Como Va, La Bamba and Bamboleo. Included as well are a few Latin versions of the non-Latino songs such as: Tubthumping and Take on Me. All in all there are 44 songs included on the disc, although some need to be unlocked by playing through the game. There is also currently a further 9 downloadable songs. For the Full Song list of both included and downloadable content, please see the Samba de Amigo Wikipedia page.

The general gist of the game is to use the Wii remote and nun-chuck like a pair of Maracas. As you’ll be able to see in the picture there are 6 circles that you must point your “Maracas” towards and then shake when the blue dot reaches the centre of the circle. Added to this is an occasional pose where you point towards the indicated circles. These two actions form the “Original” method for playing Samba de Amigo. There is also a “Hustle” mode that includes both control methods of Original as well a sort of dancing where you move either one or both of your “Maracas” back and forth between the indicated circles.

Game play can be anything from sedate to frantic, with many different game modes to select from, including Career Mode, Training, Single Player and Multiplayer. Within Single and Multiplayer, there are more game modes to select from:

  • Quick Play – Play a game in either Original or Hustle with any of the songs available from your Song List.
  • Classic – Choose either Original or Hustle and play two songs in a row. Perform well enough and you’ll play a bonus song.
  • Love Love – Perform together with a friend or the computer to demonstrate your ability to work as a team.
  • Battle – A Competitive game against a friend or the computer.
  • Survival – Clear as many songs as possible, missing no more than an allowed number beats. Please note that this is only available in Single Player.
  • Mini-Games – There are 7 Mini-Games to choose from.

It is also worth noting that it is possible to play with remotes only, which has the advantage of no wires, but it does mean you’ll need 4 Wii remotes to play a two player game.

On the subject of controllers, this is where Samba de Amigo is allegedly let down. While I don’t always agree with the reviews and the final scores given by Nintendo Official Magazine, I do generally take notice of what they have to say, especially in relation to any control issues that they make note of. As indicated in the review it’s the harder stages of the game where the control method may become prohibitive in completing each song, however I think where this game works is as a party game and lets face it, must of us aren’t lucky enough to be surrounded by hardcore gamers whereby the harder levels will become problematic.

Of course in the single player mode, the controller issue may become a major letdown and when I get that far I will update this review accordingly. But for anyone who likes rhythm games, Latino vibes and party games, this is one seriously fun game where the thing you most have to worry about, is knocking out the person sitting next to you when you lose yourself to the rhythm…


Nintendo Official Magazine review of Samba de Amigo
Wikipedia’s Samba de Amigo page including game history and full track listing.

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Happy Holidays Dec 26


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

For the last few years Christmas time has generally brought about a mixed bag of feelings for me – on one hand, the big kid in me loves the idea of Christmas and both the giving and receiving of presents, but on the other hand it pains me knowing that there’s a little boy out there who should be able to have Christmas with his Daddy and share in the love of his whole family.

So despite the situation with Henry not having changed as yet and the heartache that another Christmas without my Son brings about, I was surprised by the strength of general Christmas cheer in me this year. I think partly it’s been brought on by having Christmas with my parents for the 1st time in four years but mostly I think it’s been down to the festive spirit I shared with Chrisy while on our recent trip to Florida.

From the dancing lights and Christmas songs of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Osborne Family Spectacular of Lights and the beauty of Cinderella’s Castle at The Magic Kingdom to the whole stadium singing along to Christmas songs at Sea World’s Shamu Christmas Miracles there’s a festive magic that you can feel in every theme park, shopping mall and in the way the houses and businesses are decorated.

To some of my compatriots I realise that it may be all too polished and could feel over the top, but maybe that feeling is more to do with the understated way that most British people approach life rather than the average American’s positive attitude.

Of course all the magic of Mickey Mouse, Shamu and their theme park friends would have meant nothing without the company of a great friend and so not only do I wish Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to my wonderful Henry, family, friends and my readers but also a very special Christmas to you Chrisy…

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A mixed week in Geneva… Nov 23

Geneva by Night

It’s fair to say that certain places in the world really can feel different depending on the weather…

Having just come back from my 4th business trip this year to the delightful Swiss-French speaking city of Geneva, I can safely say that like London, when it is overcast and/or rainy the city really feels miserably different compared to a sunny and clear day.

This was my 2nd time staying overnight and this time I chose the Best Western Century as it’s close to the office I was working in and affordable. To be honest, my personal definition of affordable would have been somewhat less, but Geneva isn’t really a cheap city – I’d say it’s as expensive as London, if not more so. While basic the accommodation was acceptable and certainly a step in the right direction compared to the room I’d previously stayed in at l’Hotel Churchill, which despite it’s 4-star listing, the room was clearly falling apart…

While my daily working conditions were far from easy and pleasant, my evening were certainly worthwile and included relaxed dinners with colleagues at various restaurants around Geneva. Think my favourite must have been the Cafe-Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville as we had traditional Swiss fondue… Loving chese as much as I do and enjoying the shared approach to the dish just added to the experience…

Most styles of food are covered for with Swiss, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French and Brazilian being just but a few of the tastes catered for.

Geneva is akin to London in many ways but much smaller, certainly less crowded and with mountains in the background… Similar to London the architectural styles vary with age across the city but a trip up the hill to the Old Town is well worth the walk and will remind you of the history of this magnificant European city.

Lastly no trip to Geneva would be worth it without taking in the view of the Lake and the Jet d’eau. Please be aware that the Jet d’eau is dependant on the wind, time of day and time of year and personally I think looks much better on a bright sunny day as the Lake will be a deep clear looking blue…

So, do I recommend a trip to this city near the Swiss Alps: Oui and Bon Voyage should you decide to enjoy that which is Geneva.

Note : As stated above, Geneva is in the French part of Switzerland and despite there being four official languages and the general predominance of German in the country as a whole, you may find German is not spoken as much as you might expect…

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Wii Fit Nov 16
Wii Fit

Wii Fit

Having dragged my heals in doing anything with my recently purchased Wii Fit other that just looking at the rather large box it comes in, I finally opened and setup my Mii Fit program this morning and can happily say I can now see what all the fuss is about…

After opting for the reasonably fit female trainer (well let’s face it I’d rather be watching her backside on the screen than the male trainer’s no doubt tight buns), I initially ran through the Body Test only to be advised that I was Obese and despite having carefully crafted my Mii to look suitably like myself, my Mii is now looking fatter than Father Christmas after he ate all the pies…

Hmmm… I thought at first but then I kind of knew this was likely, as Wii Fit uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is all very good and all but it doesn’t cope well with people who actually have a high muscle density (for those that don’t know – muscle is more dense than the fat stuff and therefore weighs more), so despite knowing I’m currently lugging around more of 12 pack than a 6 pack, the term Obese still doesn’t look good… Anyway I set my goal to bring my status down to Overweight and that means losing just over a stone in a month…

Achievable? Probably not, but with Yoga, Muscle Workouts, Aerobics Exercise and fun Balance Games at my disposal I’ll certainly give it a try…

So I started with the initially available Yoga exercises and found that while I’ve apparently got good posture, my balance leaves a little to be desired and needs to be worked on… Never having done Yoga before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect… I must admit I did enjoy the centring and slow breathing as I always find that good for dealing with life in general…

A quick couple of goes of the Football balance game was fun and showed me I needed to improve the speed of shifting my balance… I then did a couple of the Muscle Workouts, including the Push-ups and Side Planks and found myself actually breaking a sweat over the 6 reps, despite normally being able to comfortably achieve 20 reps of Push-ups when exercising by myself…

At the end of each exercise, Fit Cash is assigned to your Piggy Bank corresponding to how long each exercise lasted and when your cash balance reaches certain points it unlocks Balance Games or Exercises for you. Along with the Balance Games themselves, this is where part of the gaming experience comes in to play, because in the traditional sense of a game – this isn’t one…

Now I’m the first to admit that I can play Wii Sports Bowling and Tennis sitting down just simply flicking my wrists and have Pro status on both… Therefore when I watch some of my friends who have to stand up and perform the actions to both games I do find it amusing in a sweet sort of way… However, with Wii Fit, there is no getting round having to perform the exercises standing up, lying down or whatever position you are expected to be in…

In summary, would I recommend Wii Fit – wholeheartedly yes… Anyone wanting an entry point into exercise; anyone wanting another party game and anyone wanting a peripheral that is being supported by several other games including the recently released Wii Music and Shaun White Snowboarding should jog down to their local store and pick up a copy.

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