So, I went to Best Buy’s Gaming Invasion ’07 yesterday last week (so much for prompt posting), and it was filled with fun and with disappointment.

The highlight for me was finally getting my hands on some Wii games I had not yet been able to play, and so naturally, that is where most of my time was spent. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was cool, I like what I played a little better than the previous two games. Still takes a little getting used to, though, especially since it seems that if I’m not directly doing anything with the remote, I tend to relax that arm, and here that can pose a slight problem as it’ll turn you in ways you probably didn’t mean to go. Not as bad as it sounds.

Still, I was having some trouble finding my way around, but that was probably because I was in a slight hurry and wasn’t checking maps often. I did get to fight a boss, though.

Mario Party 8 was cool, though I wish there was some sort of online component, since I doubt I could find anyone around here who’d want to play. The minigames were neat, my only issue was with this one game where you had to glide through these holes and around obstacles to reach the finish, and the glider/plane just didn’t seem that responsive to the Wii remote; it wasn’t moving 1:1. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to, and that’s part of the challenge? I don’t know for sure. Controlling the cars to pop balloons wasn’t much better. I did have fun with the other minigames, including the lasso-tossing and soda-shakeup. Some I won, some I lost, but it was fun all the same.

Mario Strikers: Charged was cool. I only ever got to play the first one on a Best Buy demo, and that’s been awhile, so I had to basically not only relearn the game, but learn the new setup as well. Fortunately, I remembered that shaking the remote is what tackles, and that worked pretty well for me.

I had to take over from a guy who was playing as Waluigi against Luigi. Screw what anyone else says, Waluigi rocks. The country-like entrance music, the crotch-chop, the “you want the ball? Here!” taunt as he smashes some player in the head with it… he definitely has boatloads of personality, and makes a fitting companion for Wario. The two really must team up outside of these sports games. Someone once suggested a Mario & Luigi-style RPG. That could work.

I started with Luigi holding a lead over me, but I was able to relearn things quickly enough to turn the score around and pull out a win. If I knew some people online with this game, I definitely wouldn’t mind a match.

Other games on display included Wii Sports, Super Paper Mario, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and what I think was Roller Coaster Tycoon.

In a “special” Wii kiosk, as well as out of the back of a Wii Smart car, they had Big Brain Academy running, which was the game of the Wii “tournaments,” which were really just high-score contests. Of course, in some ways, this seemed like the quickest and most fair game to use, since it’s pretty basic point-and-click stuff. Unfortunately, it seems that my brain’s Lose Weight Exercise wasn’t quite up to snuff.

The DS Lite units, eight I believe, all had Brain Age 2 loaded up. Not much for variety, but I imagine that all eight were being used for the DS tournament, at which I also didn’t do so hot at. Wow, I suck.

Well, not completely. One of the most amusing moments for me was when someone wound up using one of the Metroid Prime 3 Wii units to load up the Virtual Console version of Super Mario Bros. Interesting enough, the game seemed to display in widescreen, but not distorting the graphics. Normally, the fields at the top that read “Mario” and “Time” are where the ends of the screen are, but here, it went a bit further than that. It was a bit funky.

Some stuff looked a little different, too, perhaps due to the nature of the TVs. Mario flickering when hit was the one that stuck out to me. The pixelated nature of the graphics seemed more defined as well. It reminded me a lot of that old merchandise where they’d use pixel-styled art, but for some reason it always came out looking different than it would on TV. It’s just like that.

Whoever had been playing the game last, though, left it on a two-player game with Luigi up to bat, and the Nintendo rep seemed at a loss as to what to do to correct the problem; he could only make it pause with his controller. Luckily, I was able to help correct the problem, instructing him to use the actual “reset” option instead of just using the Wii Home button. So then the guy who wanted to play got to play.

He, like pretty much everyone that got their hands on it, gunned for World 8 without hesitation, but despite some decent skills, no one got any further than 8-2. Well, no one that is, except me (or maybe someone who eventually came along later). I had a bit of a rusty start, but it came back to me and I actually got to Bowser in 8-4, but wasn’t able to beat him; I accidently lost my Fire Flower in some stupid fashion earlier in 8-4, and had some clumsy moments. I guess I’m just more used to New Super Mario Bros. as of late. Pit me against someone in that, I’ll pwn some bitches.

Getting there early, I was able to have my pick of Nintendo to play, but for most of the other stuff, I wasn’t quite so lucky. By the time I had left, they were all pretty much packed, though I did get to have a little time on Ratchet & Clank Future on the PS3, on a nice big screen with a nice, comfy couch. Unlike the guy before me, who was able to complete the demo, I was kindly kicked off so someone else could go. But the game was a lot of fun from what I played, classic R&C for sure. Got to try out some new weapons as well, but sadly, I didn’t get to the part where you’re in freefall and use the Sixaxis to control your descent. But the game did look very nice.

Sony also had some Dance Dance Revolution mats set up, and a sort of curtained-off “theater” with a number of cushioned seats before a nice television display meant to show off BluRay. I would have sat down and watched, but the movie didn’t look like anything I was interested in.

There was a display with some PSPs around it, which I didn’t investigate too closely, but seemed to be focused less on advertising it as a game platform and more as a multimedia device.

XBox 360 had some Guitar Hero action going on, as well as several THQ kiosks, including a few for WWE Raw vs. Smackdown, which looked quite good as well.

I passed on the opportunity to play Halo 3 before the launch, as I think they were using their lineup of systems to have a little team battle action, and I certainly wouldn’t want to help anyone loseWeight Exercise. The statue of Master Chief which has been rather prominent around these parts since Halo 2 was released was in attendence, and some artists were painting a big Halo mural. Plus, they had a display case featuring the Spartan-green 360 and Halo premium helmet and package. And I forgot to take a picture, which I now regret. Above the display was a TV playing the “Making of” video for the Halo 3 ad campaign as well.

I did snag a postcard for Halo 3, one side showing the controls, the other featuring a red Spartan and an ad for 33 Days of Halo 3. My favorite part was that the Spartan had a Canadian maple leaf branded on his armor. I guess that makes this guy Mountie Chief. Or better yet, Maple Chief.

After the early Nintendo tournaments, they had an additional raffle for a DS Lite, and tossed out some Wii hats into the gathered crowd. And as usual, whenever something like this happens, I wind up with zilch. I didn’t fare any better in the earlier raffle, either, and wound up without a DS, Wii, or XBox 360. Not that I need or want any of them (well, a Lite upgrade would be nice, as my DS has become rather lovingly worn), but I really would have liked to have been able to give whatever I got to some people I know (depending on what it was I’d get would determine who got it). Sadly, it was not to be. I’d have tried again, but the whole event was pretty adamant about people only having one shot at any given contest, and winning only one prize. I might’ve stuck around for the hat, but it would’ve been staying for a chance to MAYBE get a hat, at best. Didn’t seem like a very valuable use of two and a half hours to me.

I did take some pics, but I’m not going to kill myself trying to integrate them into WordPress. But if you like, you can check them out here.

–LBD “Nytetrayn”