Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Xbox 360 first impressions

I had to rearrange my entertainment centers, so I took a trip to Wal-mart for some speaker mounts and zip ties.

Long behold, I saw an X-Box 360 Kiosk. It was set up with an HD LCD screen above, and I was watching a fellow-shopper beating the Call of Duty 2 demo. And that comfortable controller.....SOLD!

The size was immediately surprising. No matter how many pictures you've seen, it just doesn't give you an idea. Thankfully Microsoft is leaving the behemoth known as the X-Box behind, and present us with a sleek, small, and sexy unit. It is about the size as the old PS2, but not square or clunky.

As for the game on the screen, it looked like a high-end game for a $3000 computer. Naturally, I kept in mind that the LCD made it look better on its own. I was impressed, but I will say that as far as "realism" goes, don't expect "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" graphics. Everything IS highly detailed though. This is early in the game as well...I can't imagine what is in store for the gamer in the next couple of years.

I sat there thinking, "This is more powerful than ANY of the PCs in my house. I wonder when they'll put out Windows for it so I can negate upgrading my computer?" Microsoft may not even consider putting their infamous OS on the XBox 360, but some hacker is bound to get XP on there. That would make the 360 the ultimate device (for now). Sony could tout the PS3's Linux all they want, but the public wants Windows. Honestly, I would take either, but I'm with the public for my preference.

I think Sony has their work cut out for them. I also have a feeling that anyone who is currently holding out for the PS3 may not be able to wait. The XBox 360 looks and plays amazing, and knowing that Halo 3 will be looking good on it is only more incentive.

Not to mention the system looks good, too. The current PS3 prototypes are one of the ugliest gaming devices I've ever seen. "Let's step on a hotdog, cut a piece out, paint it, put our logo on it, and we'll have our new system." Enough said.

I can almost guarantee that the parts inside the XBox 360 will be higher quality than anything Sony would use. I'm painfully reminded of my 4 problematic PS2s, blown amplifiers, difficult to maintain laptops, and barely used but wearing out DVD players...all labeled Sony. Sony, if you want my money, you need to give me a quality product. I'm done giving money to you; there are cheaper products that last longer.

Needless to say, Microsoft's XBox reputation and first-step in the race may make them more more of a competitor this time around. Hopefully Nintendo will put their quirkiness to work on the's bound to be an excellent system as well.

I know this: I'll be a happy man on my birthday, which is 2 days after the XBox 360 release date.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My DS Browser Mockup

Please excuse how horrible this looks; I'll redo it with (PAINT SHOP PRO) when I get a chance. Anyway, I just wanted to jot down quick ideas with paint (since I'm at work) on a sidways browser for the Nintendo DS. I personally think this would be the best orientation, although my layout may not be optimal. Essentially the web page is on the left and the controls on the right. The basic controls could be on top, a touchpad (for cursor movement) with scroll bars (for the web page) in the middle, and the touch keyboard on the bottom.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The game I want the most...

...would be Aliens vs Predator 3. If executed correctly, it could possibly trump Halo in my opinion. With some tweaking of the weapons and a matchmaking setup like Halo 2, I would be in FPS heaven.

Why? I have been an ALIENS fan for 2 decades now. The creature design is intriguing to me, and I just can't get enough. H.R. Giger has one of the most interesting imaginations. So I won't lie...I want to play as an ALIEN. Sure, Master Chief and Arbiter (more-so Arbiter) are solid characters, but they are only based on their agendas and have mostly the same abilities. More options is always good.

If I had a choice between the Marines in Halo and the Colonial Marines, I would take the latter. They just seem to have more firepower. The idea of a pulse rifle over a battle rifle/SMG is already making me want to play it. Out of bullets? There's a grenade launcher on the bottom.... ;)

Ironically, I had AVP and AVP2 for years. Since I'm an ALIENS collector, I actually didn't want to open them. I bit my lip and played them earlier this year. I should have done it sooner, I was disappointed in myself! I missed out when these games were at their peak popularity. So many online games that went on with out my presence...

I did try to get my room mates to play AVP2 multiplayer with me, but unfortunately only 2 of the 7 computers in my house could handle the game effectively (which shows why consoles are more popular). When we had four people it was chaos with all three races running around. It was obvious that multiplayer has grown a lot since this game came out with the jittery movements and hit detection. can temporarily destroy weapons if you don't want someone to grab them...*ahem*...SNIPER!...*cough*.

I can only hope that Microsoft and Fox get together to put AVP3 on the XBox 360. As long as it was put together as well as AVP2 was, I'm confident it would be it hit. Hopefully they stay away from Sony, and get advice from Bungie.

XBox - Ninja Gaiden Black

I finally picked up a console game and this was a good choice. If there is any question as to whether you should purchase this game since you own the original, then the answer is plainly "Yes".

Differences? For starters, anyone who was attached to having the Nintendo Ninja Gaidens available may want to keep their original. Black includes the arcade version of this Tecmo favorite, which I'm still trying to collect the rest of the Scarabs for. There are new items and a new weapon (Lunar), which make for some fresh action on this time around. The enemies are also noticeably more difficult. For example, remember those red dragon/dinosaur creatures? They now breath fire. There are also some added frames in the animation to add subtle spices to the new version.

For those who thought Ninja Gaiden was too difficult, there is the "Ninja Dog" mode. It isn't super easy, but it makes it more manageable to get through the boss fights. Ayane provides quite a bit of life powerups along the way as well. Dogs are also treated to a couple more FMVs, although I haven't seen any.

The mission modes are difficult, and will probably only be for Master Ninja Elitists.

This game is still insanely fun, especially when you hone in on your favorite fighting techniques. Give NGB a look.