Friday, February 24, 2006

PS3 to repeat the scam of the PS2?

PS2 doesn't live up to hype

PS2 doesn't compare to other consoles' flagship titles

Can't recommend the PS2 yet...

Looking back over history, I recently can't help but wonder if history will repeat itself. Around the Xbox 360's launch, there was an attempted comparison with the Dreamcast, even though everyone knows Microsoft as a company is sitting much prettier than Sega was. Now, I'm failing to see a comparison between the Dreamcast vs PS2 to the 360 vs PS3. I've seen comments of gamers using "Emotion Engine" referencing jokes, but no complete articles. I'm sure one exists somewhere, but here is a brief one from me.

According to the first linked article, the PS2 was a disappointment to those who were expecting a "Revolution". I assume that means a new graphical wave of excitement that completely blows away all competition thanks to the 33% faster processor, the Emotion Engine, and four times the onboard memory. That actually didn't happen until several years later (God of War, Resident Evil 4, Gran Turismo 4), but it was much too late as we have seen better graphics from the Gamecube and the Xbox. Yet Sony's amazing marketing team has continually been able to scam the world into thinking that the PS2 has essentially been the only worthwhile console for the last 5 years. Even more interesting is that developers have said that the PS2 has been the most difficult console to develop for, yet the PS2 has the largest catalog of games.

So here comes the Xbox 360 attempting to succeed where the Dreamcast failed. Microsoft is a stronger company than Sega was, yet Sony is pulling the exact same marketing moves they did with the disappointing PS2. They are touting minor spec improvements, trashing-talking the competition, and riding on their high horse. And that horse's name is Hype-Train, which may still be running strong enough to beat the competition without being tangible.

But this is what happened with the PS2. Sony had us so utterly convinced that the Dreamcast was a waste of time compared to the PS2 because the PS2 would be so much more graphically intense. And it wasn't. How can this not perpetuate the idea that Sony is simply running the same scam with its next gen console? Can we fall vicitim to their unreliable claims for yet, another console generation? Although the competition is closer (launch-wise) and stronger than before, will their scam-tactics continue their hold over the gaming world?

Now shift focus to a new medium to fuel the chaos: the internet. More gamers and consumers are surfing through the waves of the internet now than back in the launch days of the PS2 and Dreamcast. Now gamers can get instant opinions (professional and non), technical information, and screenshots without leaving their homes. In relation to the issue at hand, the battle seems somewhat even between the PS3 and 360 fanboys, although the PS3 has the edge because no one has seen/played an actual unit allowing for exuberant speculation (thus feeding Hype-Train). Has this "new" leverage (the internet) just expanded the power of Sony's ill-hype-will?

Never forget that you have a decision whether or not to believe claims. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I'm not telling anyone to not go for a PS3, but be sure to experience the console upfront before Sony "pwns" you again for another several years because you believe everything they claim.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fanboys are insane...

Old, but the comments are ridiculous:
Ditto PS2 vs Xbox Side By Side

PS2 complaint letter to Sony

This person should be glad he/she didn't buy a PS2

Biased links for me to put here, I know. But most of what I come across is a plethora uneducated ranting in CAPS. It seems to be that the general agreement (whether admitted or not) is that the Xbox has better graphics but a huge controller (although that was rectified) and the PS2 has more games. I found a slew of complaints that Xbox games were too difficult, therefore it sucks. Other than games, I haven't seen any reason why someone actually thinks the PS2 is a better machine besides number of games and a smaller controller.

Logic doesn't exist on the internet, decidedly. If you own the system, it's better I guess. Since I own all three, what does that mean about my opinion? Should I be saying all three are equal? Just kidding.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Games that made a console purchase worth it

I made a comment at Engadget today that made me think, "What games have been great enough to leave me satisfied with a console purchase?"

So, here's a list, in order I received the consoles:

Nintendo Entertainment System

  • Super Mario Brothers Trilogy

  • Metroid

  • Ninja Gaiden Trilogy

  • TMNT2

  • Mike Tyson's Punchout

Sega Genesis

  • Mortal Kombat

  • Sonic the Hedgehog Series

  • Ecco the Dolphin Series


  • Street Fighter 2: CE

  • Streets of Rage Trilogy

Super Nintendo

  • Mortal Kombat 2

  • Super Metroid

  • Street Fighter 2: CE

  • Samurai Showdown

  • Super Mario Kart

Nintendo Gameboy

  • Metroid II: Return of Samus

  • Tetris

  • Dr Mario

Sony Playstation

  • Mortal Kombat Trilogy

  • Intelligent Qube

  • Xmen vs Street Fighter

  • Final Fantasy 7 & 8

  • Einhander

  • Twisted Metal 2

  • Xenogears

  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2

  • Gran Turismo 2

Sony Playstation 2

  • Final Fantasy X and X-2

  • Xenosaga: Episode I

  • God of War

Nintendo Gameboy Advance

  • Metroid Fusion

  • Metroid Zero Mission

Nintendo Gamecube

  • Metroid Prime Series

  • Mario Kart: Double Dash

  • Resident Evil 4

Microsoft Xbox

  • Halo 2

  • Ninja Gaiden

  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Nintendo DS

  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

  • Mario Kart DS

Microsoft Xbox 360

  • Call of Duty 2

  • Tiger Woods PGA 06

  • Zuma

Can you tell I like Metroid? I haven't been disappointed by one yet, except maybe Metroid Prime Pinball. I like it, but pinball is only entertaing for so long.

Anyway, I'm sure the list should be longer, but this is all I can come up with at the moment.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Breaking down, and buying a HDTV

Ever since my room mate bought an 27 inch LCD HDTV, I've been a little jealous. Not because of the HD, but moreso because it was widescreen and it doubled as a computer monitor. Funny thing is, that I use two 17 inch monitors for my computer, so the latter factor shouldn't matter. But I figured that it would be great when I get my gaming computer setup (for emulation). I've had to use S-Video up to now, which is decent, but SVGA obviously looks better.

After getting my tax return, I started shopping. My room mate's LCD was a refurbished unit off ebay for about $650 shipped. So I ventured forth to find a similarly priced deal. Although semi-successful, I found that the response times for the new LCD TVs in that range wasn't that hot (15-25ms). Still, I was on the verge of purchasing an AOC or Syntax from Amazon or TechOnWeb.

Then another room mate came home after a morning of hunting. He told me that Walmart has a widescreen projection televeion for $800. However, it wasn't until later that he told me it was by the checkout counters, which means it was a display model for sale. That one was gone by the time I got there. But there were still two options available: an RCA 52" HDTV for $988 or a Magnovox 51" HDTV for $897.

I've always had good experience with RCA, so I wanted to go that route. The problem was that the nearest store with one was 100 miles away. The extra $100 didn't help either. The RCA also had glass/plexi in front of the screen so it seemed to invite glare more than the Magnavox. But that glass also made the image look a little bit nicer.

Here are links to the televisions I was looking into:

RCA 52in Widescreen Projection HDTV

Magnavox 51in Widescreen Projection HDTV, 51MP6100D

Note that the Magnavox says it is out of stock, but for my local store it was in stock, and the RCA was out of stock.

I wanted to get this done last weekend, and the Magnavox was more in my budget, so I bought it instread. Walmart had a 90 day same-as-cash deal on their credit card, so I applied as I was about $350 short. The application process was easy (even though the clerk had never done one before), and I will have it paid off in two weeks.

The television is great, and having wheels on the bottom made moving it around fairly easy. However, I do have a couple of problems with the television. First of all, the colors were not aligned. Thankfully, it has some manual adjustments to fix the problem and even allows you to save your settings. The manual multipoint adjustment can be tedious, but the saving means you shouldn't have to do it more than once. The second problem is that there are no analog stereo outputs. I'm stuck with SPDIF...proprietary Sony/Philips is at it again. Luckily, I have multiple inputs on my cheap surround sound system, so regular television will be the only non-surround sound use. The stock speakers are okay, but can't contend with a good system. The TV also has no DVI or HDMI inputS, although I have no use for those at the moment. I'll live.

Gaming on a 51" widescreen is definitely an improvement. The specs don't call for 720p support, but it displays it anyway. 1080i will do it for now, although the framerate on some of the games I have at the moment is noticeable. I don't suspect this will be a problem in the future.

I don't regret the purchase, and I'm actually very happy with it. The fact that big screen televisions are now available for under $1000 puts them in my price range. This opens up the big screen HDTV market to consumers, so we'll see how they fair in the future.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"l33t" speak ruining English literacy?

I'm personally growing tired of the persistence of forced misspellings of our language due to combination of laziness, gaming, and the internet.

Cell phone texting gets bad enough, but when it translates over to online interaction, it simply gets worse. Will children of the future not know how to spell correctly? Will more teachers have to mark down "n00b" as an incorrect antonym for pro?

What kids and adults are not realizing is purposely destroying the English language in relation to gaming can only result in problems in the future. Video games are a scapegoat for many things; don't fuel the fire.

If you "l33t" speak, do yourself and others a favor by spelling correctly. Incorrect punctuation (or lack thereof) is bad enough, but at least make what you say readable. You go to school for a reason; pretending you are doing anyone a favor with rebelling against literacy is a mistake on your part.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fun DS Homebrew

Head over to to get the homebrew below. You will need a flashcart and a passme device. I recommend a Supercard and a Superpass2. The Supercard comes in SD and CF versions. You will also need to append a loader to .nds file to get it to run; the easy way is to use a little program called dslazy. Patch the .nds files with the ndsheader.bin in that program.

Want to play a Lumines clone on your DS? Grab this game! For being homebrew, I'm actually pretty impressed with this. The core content is there, but it doesn't have the graphical "umph" that the PSP version has, nor the same soundtrack. However, it is very playable. The only hope I have is that blocks that are waiting to be cleared by the timeline should have a graphical facelift.

The latest version of this program allows you to control your PC through a wireless connection. You will need an Access Point or Wireless router to use this program. Note that encryption is not yet supported, so you will have live without WEP. Anyway, you run a server program on your PC, search for your AP and enter in the gateway, subnet, and DNS information on the DS side. Once you connect, an overview of your desktop will show on the touch screen (only the primary on dual monitor setups), and the top screen will show a zoomed in section of your desktop. You can slowly move the zoomed portion around using the ABXY buttons. Left and Right on the d-pad serve as the mouse buttons. Note that you cannot see the mouse cursor on the DS, but it will be wherever you touch with the stylus on the touch screen. Press "select" to pull out a touch screen keyboard for typing. More detailed instructions should be available in the forums.

It is a little cumbersome, but it seems to run better than a rival program called PointyRemote. PointyRemote does allow you to select the zoom area with the stylus though. It is possible to browse the internet via your computer, but it isn't yet worth the effort. Hopefully we'll see some positive developments from either program.

This essentially allows you to use the DS as a remote keyboard with intentions of being a wireless controller. It has the same wireless requirements as Win2DS. Great for an emulator controller.

I'm glad to see that apps like this are available now that sgstair has release his homebrew DSWiFi libraries. It really opens up the scene for hombrewers. With a touch screen and WiFi abilities, the DS is plenty capable of having more useful apps than its Sony rival.

If I find any more useful apps, I'll be sure to post about them here.