Saturday, April 29, 2006

Apologies for my personal jumbling of RPG info for the 360

Too much information sometimes.

Anyway, I made reference to Square-Enix making several RPGs for the 360. SE is onboard, but I don't believe that they've confirmed any further titles. I think it would be ridiculous to keep the 360 out of the FF support.

I confused the few RPGs that are coming for the 360 that will be made by the Final Fantasy creators. Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey come to mind.

I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

[Edit 4/30/2006: Corrected spelling per comment.]

Friday, April 28, 2006

Nyko Gameface 360: Make your own faceplates

Check it out

Ever since I read about this item, I had to have it. Since my other option isn't yet available.

I've not had a chance to give my 360 a small photoshoot yet. I procured an unused window static cling advertisement for the AVP movie. It happened to be exactly the right height for the 360, and I cut it in half so an Alien was on one side and a Predator was on the other. From there, I added an AVP background for my 360 dashboard. The only thing missing was an Alien or AVP themed faceplate.

I've been hoping that the Giger 3D faceplate would happen soon (in black), but it doesn't appear to be doing so. Then I found this neat personalization tool from Nyko, which happens to cost the same amount as an OEM 360 faceplate. What a deal.

The rear piece of the faceplate is an "off-silver" color as I'll call it. Putting on the Gameface without even inserting a picture looks pretty good in its own right. They even chromed the power button, although they failed to chrome the memory doors, wireless button, and USB door (which would have been the perfect touch).

The kit comes with 15 blanks, and 5 pre-printed inserts. The pre-prints leave much to be desired, so you'd better have a quality color inkjet (or laserjet if you have access to one). You could use black and white, but in my case that would look dull and not fit the theme. I had a good color printer at work, so I moved on to the next task.

Unfortunately, the software for the kit isn't included. You must download it from The software is almost 5MB uncompressed, so it shouldn't take long unless you are misfortuned by slow dialup. After uncompressing the software, it's good to find that no installation is required; it's a self-contained executable file. A Mac version is also available.

The software itself is fairly simple and self-explanatory. There are sliders for the usual fair: scale, contrast, brightness, rotation. There are check boxes to flip the current image layer and also to add basic effects. Consider it a Paint Shop Pro Super Light Edition of sorts. Anyway, you can add a bunch of pictures which each count as their own layer which you can move around and place it over the faceplate diagram. Easy as pie, the layer limit is really high.

In my case, I had to open a picture editor and edit my pictures together so it looked a bit more natural (I could have done better, but it was late).

From there, I lined everything up, and printed. The program is even nice enough to remind you to set your printing preferences to LEGAL (8 x 14) size before you print. Insert you blank into the printer and you can get moving.

One thing to note in the instructions is you should print on a normal piece of paper first. You may want to mark the paper for your reference before printing. Take note of where the printer prints and what it prints first. Using this information, you can decide which direction to insert the faceplate blank.

I'm happy with the results, and I can't wait to put the insert on my 360. It will complete the look I've been wanting. I will probably have to still the memory card doors and wireless sync button from my old black faceplate to complete the look.

The good:

  • Any design you want

  • Decent software

  • Plenty of blanks included

The bad:

  • Base of faceplate could have had chrome doors and wireless button

  • Faceplate inserts have slits in them to fit the contours of the base

  • Software has to be downloaded

I won't do "the ugly", because that would be lame. Anyway, this item is perfect for those who just can't seem to find a fitting OEM or 3rd party static faceplate. It's even better for those who don't want to pay for a faceplate skin or to have someone custom airbrush their faceplate. It's cheap, looks pretty good, and easy to use.

Thank you, Nyko!

PS2 and camera controls

We were helping a room mate move along through his first play of Final Fantasy X. It's a good reminder that a few games do exist on the console that look really good for the most part (although in this case...frame rate problems). However, it sucks not to be able to look around some places because the camera isn't controllable.

That got me thinking. Isn't there a few other games where you couldn't control the camera, but you really should have been able to? God of War and Devil May Cry come to mind right away. I know I've played others, but nothing comes to mind at the moment.

Why is this? Games like the two I mentioned are games that SHOULD have camera controls. Hell, even Beyond Good & Evil had camera controls, although it didn't have stellar graphics or anything.

Hopefully the PS3 and Xbox 360 will provide ways to prevent fixed cameras. It some places it is appropriate, but not for a whole game.

PS3 MGS4 real-time demo

Looks good, but doesn't seem to be playable

It's good to see that there are developers that can take advantage of the new hardware. The lighting effects are actually quite impressive.

However, do be cautious before becoming riotous about this. Although real-time, it doesn't seem to be playable. The camera was obviously controllable, but there wasn't a clear demonstration of "play".

What is really apparent though, is the confirmation of what I said earlier. Pre-rendered and recorded FMVs shouldn't be necessary anymore since these consoles should be able to do a fantastic job in real-time (as long as it isn't controllable during the sequence).

I can't wait to see a comparison between PS3 Splinter Cell and XB360 Splinter Cell. Much more interesting than Metal Gear Solid in my opinion. If you are into Snake, a guy that jacks off in lockers and hides in boxes...then more power to you. I'll take Sam Fisher instead.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nintendo Revolution is no more...cry a little inside and Wii-mper

Our name is Nintendo and we want to lose our dignity.

Nintendo, W T F. How can you possibly call a console "Wii" with a straight face. It reminds me of the Playstation Poo that I hate so much. At least the console will be the best Wii I've ever had.

Imagine someone walking into a store asking if they have any Wii's in stock. God. At least PS3 and 360 sound serious. I really hope they change the name for North America.

Nintendo, I can't defend you on this one. You would have been better calling it the Nintendo ARC (Advanced Remote Control).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

PS3: the good, the bad, and the ugly?

PSM claims to have confirmed details...

Good news:

  • $399 console

  • Bluetooth

  • Flashcard readers

  • Worldwide launch

Bad news:

  • Built in hard drive - aka not upgradeable

  • Probably not 100% backwards compatibility (must meet FTC reqs.)

  • Still using Bluray (no surprise)

  • Developers don't program for multithreading well...those SPE's are likely to be wasted

Edit 05/16/06: PSM was very wrong about the price points and the non-upgradeable hard drive. The PS3 without flashcard readers, HDMI ports, or an 802.11g card is $499. It also has a 20gb hard drive. The PS3 with the 60gb hard drive and all of the above is $599. Sony says the hard drive is upgradeable in both models.

As for processors, Major Nelson posted a Japanese article of the 360 CPU vs the PS3 CPU.

Major's site and the link have some interesting comments from both sides of the fence. Personally, I'm just finding it apparent that the disparity between the Sony and Microsoft consoles is going to be thin. It will be nothing like the graphical difference between the Xbox/Gamecube to the PS2 (PS2 was the weakest link in this department). What it's really coming down to is how skilled the programmers are.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Good article on why devs hate the PS3 and Xbox 360 processors

Click here, and also check some of the comments
I've never really considered this before. Programming is difficult already, if not extremely tedious (which is why I don't do it unless necessary). But this does somewhat allude to how programming languages will need to improve. That's probably why going Object Oriented is the big thing now; it's a better design than procedural. It seems like we will need new programming languages to transition to the new era of computing hardware. However, all of the new languages I've last discussed with colleages have been for web applications. Hmmm....

Don't use wireless for console gaming

I was reflecting and remembered that one of the supposed cons of the Xbox 360 is that it doesn't have wireless built in. I replied saying that wireless isn't really a pro for a console. Wireless is extremely inferior to wired when it comes to network reliability and stability.

There are several problems with wireless. The faster the speed of the wireless, the smaller the range gets. Even then, the available speeds are still slower than standard CAT5e cable can do. If you use encryption (which you should) then your throughput speed gets reduced, even on 64bit encryption. Interference is also a problem as well, whether it is tangible or not.

This got me to thinking about lag with online games. I bet some of it is caused by wireless connections since they can be so poor. Although there are dozens of reasons your connection may have problems, if wireless gets popular for consoles (no thanks to Sony or Nintendo...give the REV AN ETH PORT!), then the problem may become more apparent when playing against wireless users.

For smaller games (DS, PSP) or internet browsing, wireless is fine. But you wouldn't want to do large data transfer on it regularly. With these next-gen games, there is a lot of information to pass when playing a multiplayer game. Wireless just isn't the right venue yet.

Another problem is that built-in network cards (wireless ones for the sake of this post) are generally not upgradeable. Say technology can make 1000Mbps somehow a reality for wireless. If your card is built in, you can't upgrade. You have to leave it in and get an external one anyway!

Okay, so the first thing I will hear is "not everyone has their x console by their computer". Before I go on, that means that you might be using your computer as the router via Internet Connection Sharing. That's another inefficient way to go about home networking (yes, even on Linux). Buy a router designed for the purpose. It works a hell of a lot better. Then, wire your house. If you have an apartment, then just don't drill any holes. Cat5 cable isn't that expensive (Cat6 on the other hand...). Most of the time, an ethernet jack is already built into your computer!

People ask me to network their houses all the time. I always tell them to avoid wireless if possible. If they want wireless, then get a wireless router, but hardwire the devices that don't move all the time. I will admit that I query on the exact environment before I come to that conclusion (if they don't game, and just do email and browsing...then wireless is fine). But for the most part, I just cannot support wireless for everything. Desktops and consoles being at the top of the NO-WIRELESS list.

Speaking of PS3 backwards compatbility...100% promise may be too lofty

PS3 backwards compatibility looking promsing...but...

"Sony has already pledged that all PS2 games which adhered to the company's TRC (technical requirements checklist) will be playable on the PS3"

This is where the problem comes in. What games adhere to Sony's TRC? So any games that don't become negated? This statement can be very revealing, and it hints at 100% BC being false. If all games were TRC-adhering, then this comment wouldn't need to exist....

I just found it interesting because of the BC comments I covered earlier. So if the PS3 isn't 100% BC, how does that change your opinion? It'd be hard to knock Microsoft for it if Sony doesn't even do it. I think as long as both companies have the most popular titles running out the door, that they will be fine. They have 6 months to at least get that done, so we'll see how they do.

More importantly, I think that it is a good thing they are going with software emulation. That actually dismisses a negative comment I made about Sony including the old hardware on your new hardware (PS2 has PS1 chips on it). It's silly to keep putting outdated chips on new hardware (we wouldn't want the "Emotion Engine" next to the "Cell", right?).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Terrible pictures of my "rigs"

Apologies for the crappy pictures. I was in a hurry, and it's not my camera.

Left side:
  • 27" Flat CRT (SDTV)

  • Xbox

  • Game and accessory storage

  • 51" Projection HDTV

  • Laptop for emulation, AVP2, and Counterstrike (on the TV)

  • Xbox 360

  • Old PS2 (to be replaced with a slim when I can get the hard drive soldered in)

  • Gamecube

  • 500w RCA Surround Sound

  • Samsung DVD player with custom firmware (Divx, HDCP disabled)

  • Abandoned VCR (it works, and it elevates the laptop)

  • Pelican 5-way switch box

  • Pelican HD 4 way switch box (not shown)

  • Big display clock to remind us when to go to bed

This is not my house, so I'm not likely to buy better furniture. It's somewhat ghetto, but the equipment is nice.

Kotaku commentor hits my point well...

Too many features...

Now beforehand, the article is about the 360 not costing enough. Before you say that is a "stupid" idea, just remember that there's a reason the ebay prices were out of control this Christmas. And read the original article before complaining to me about how "it should have cost more" is blasphemy. It's a matter of economics. If you don't understand the basic precept of that, then you have no right to knock the original article.

Anyway, "macdeth"'s second paragraph hit my previous point quickly:
The bottom line (for me) is that if they're building this machine that will require them to eat a chunk of the cost just to give their customers a barely acceptable pricepoint, they're probably adding too many features to it. If they knew their audience well, they would know that we would rather be spending our dimes to buy games (you know, being that these are gaming consoles and all), rather than extra features that we may or may not use. They would also realize that for many of us, a reasonable budget is a necessary factor.

I had gone into detail about the features that I thought were ridiculous for the PS3, but this guy wrote essentially a summary of what I wanted to say.

And in my futile attempt to avert silly comments about, "people need to stop working at McDonalds and make more money blah blah blah blah blah," I will say that just because you have money, doesn't mean you should be careless with it. Buying everything just because you can afford it is a fools leads to problems down the road. A saver is a more "well off" than a spender.

Thank you, macdeth!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Response to PS3 Fanboy #3

I think the fanboy label is a bit more fair. I do refer to myself as previously being one (I guess I could be a MicroNinty-fanboy now?). I get frustrated when I get comments that essentially ignore what I said. It doesn't help that I'm usually on a break at work when I write some of these things.

Although I think this comment is a tangent from the original point (Sony providing unnecessary features in the PS3), some fair questions where asked. Here we go:

From a level-headed PS3 fanboy:

I find it funny you call everyone that disagrees with you an idiot, or a "regurgitator". Maybe you haven't really covered all the points you think you have (or you have, but incorrectly). Why do you recommend people not using "artefact" if it is valid? Just because you don't like it? And you call yourself level-headed?

Disagreeing isn't the problem I have. The 3 hints I listed in a previous post should cover my problems with the attempted "arguments". I say regurgitation because I've read and watched interviews with Sony reps. They say something, and the fanboys keep spitting it out over and over again (Bluray, 1080p, 1000Mbps, etc).

A reoccuring side thought: When do those reps ever talk about gaming nowadays? Kutaragi seems more interested in convincing people that the PS3 is a mini nuclear power plant.

Another problem is that many of the Sony-fanboy comments I get make it way too obvious that the person doesn't actually own an Xbox and PS2. It's hard for me to believe someone could own both and still praise the PS2 left and right. Before I owned both, I sounded like you guys. The Xbox isn't that great...the controller isn't that much better. Then a friend left his at my house for a month. Being able to play the Xbox regularly, having a blast with the Gamecube, and dealing with broken PS2s all the time, dropped a train on my Sony fanboyisms.

As for "artifact":

"British writers usually spell it as 'artefact', while American usually prefer 'artifact'." He was arguing with an American, so what I meant was, I wouldn't recomend using that version (consider the audience, remember?). Besides, it sounds like "artifact" has been commonplace for over 80 years. Just because it is valid, doesn't mean it's the best choice for the situation.

Anyway, here's a thought provoking comment for you:

On innovation, we all know that Nintendo is king. There's little need to mention their deeds.

You're right. I have no qualms with this statement.

Sony innovated on making the industry well respected, mature, more widespread, use high storage media, backwards compatibility on consoles, cuadruple triggers, dual analogues, dual force feedback (on this one I'm not sure since they were sued, but they did were the first to use this kind of device inside a controller, improving upon Ninty's idea), and movie playback on consoles.

I wouldn't give them credit for some of the controller. They aren't responsible for the technologies in them. However, we can give them credit for having the BEST D-PADS EVER. Dual Analogs was a good idea (for whoever came up with it), but the placement of them on the dualshock isn't going to last; it's no good for a lot of the new games coming out (uncomfortable!).

As far as movie playback, how did that benefit gaming? That was just an added perk. It didn't innovate anything for gaming at all. Personally, I found it as a bonus, but it didn't influence my decision to buy. After using it, I was disappointed to find that the DVD playback was very subpar. The controls were no good (even with a remote), and the decoding was occasionally sketchy. I already had a "portable" Sony DVD player anyway.

Now, the only thing I've seen Microsoft innovate on (and not their subsidiaries like Bungie, Rare, Lionhead, among others), is a Hard Drive (which is not even a standard on 360), and LIVE, which costs, and isn't as revolutionary, at least at first sight, but assuming it is... what's next on innovation from Microsoft? What else could they do? Do you really see them improving upon gameplay or amount of content or a better controller? Hell, I don't expect Xbox 720 to be much different, except supporting 1080p, maybe Blu-ray or HD-DVD, an incrementally better LIVE service and an incrementally sleeker design. What else do you think on the innovation front? Do you disagree with what I said above? If yes, why?

As far as the Xbox is concerned, Microsoft should be praised for actually making all of the features work and be useful. Sega failed at getting people online. Sony only partially offered it. Sony tried a hard drive, but quickly dropped support for it.

With the Xbox, you got a system that could play custom tracks, easily get online (and a good chunk of games had some type of online feature), played games in HD, and utitilized a hard drive not only for media storage, but for caching in order to decrease the painful loading times associated with the PS2 (Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex.....I swear that game takes 5 minutes to get moving after you press start). And finally, it maximized the idea of multiplayer. Between the 4 controller ports, system link, and XBL...there were all kinds of options of getting together with people and playing a game.

If the consumer would have allowed it, the Xbox could have been a Next Generation console to the PS2, Gamecube, and Dreamcast. It was over twice as powerful as the PS2, already supported HD, and it had a solid online service. The games that look "great" for PS2 now are pushing it's limits. The equivalents of those games on Xbox aren't pushing its limits. There was a lot of room for the Xbox to grow, but the PS2 was in the way.

Live deserves more credit than it gets from Sony fanboys. Getting such a solid network that could support large multiplayer games with voice was a great feat. They got a lot of gamers online because of it as well. Sony on the otherhand, has not accomplished that. They say they have a lot of "online users with the PS2", but they are most likely counting people that signed up and maybe tried it a handful of times or less (like me). It's like when they only report PSPs shipped, but not PSPs sold. Anyway, after Live, the free Sony online wasn't worth the time of day.

As far as the 360 goes, there is PLENTY of innovation there. The blade interface is near perfect. Compare it to the PS2's interface, where a lot of owners don't even know there are important options on the opening screen (by pressing triangle). The Gamecube's interface was kind of cool, but not very useful. The original Xbox's interface was good, but not great.

Anyone I've let try out my 360 has figured out the interface quickly (without my help). As a programmer, I know how important this is. If the user can't get to what they want quickly and easily, then it doesn't matter what your program is capable of.

The Achievements and Gamerscore are also new. Coupled with the gamercard and leaderboards, it created an instant community of gamers who could find similar interests with each other. Even just the achievements alone increased replay value of games by a large amount. And this can be done with the free Silver account even (although a few achievements involve playing with others).

Replay value is actually the strongest point for the Xbox and 360 in my opinion. Sure, the PS2 has a million games for it, but a lot of those aren't good enough for more than a rental period. There are some great games in there, but even those lack replay value. With the Xbox and/or Xbox 360 coupled with Live, you can get the most out of a game. I've gotten more hours out of several Xbox games than the few dozen of PS2 games I've purchased over the years. That says a lot.

As for 1080p, we'll need to wait until the next generation for both consoles to get native support. Sure, the PS3 supports it, but it can't be reliably done natively in conjunction with the next-gen graphics. All developers are going to optimize for 720p for both systems, and just let the unit upscale. It's just more realistic. Besides, the difference between 720p and 1080i/p isn't as big as most people think.

As far as the hard drive, see a couple posts back when I talk about the Sega Genesis add-ons and storage options for the PS3 and Revolution.

I think that covers your questions.

Being less abrasive

I didn't get a chance to do it yet, but I'll be changing some of my choice words. Instead of calling these guys idiots, I think I'll call them, "Anonymously confused," or something along those lines.

For all I know, they might not really be idiots.

I still find it interesting that they argue with me when I've said time and time again, I'll have PS3. I've already sadly admitted that I was a Sony fanboy before. That doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. I'm not getting it for anything it's supposed to do; just for games I can't get elsewhere. When that happens anyway.

Anyway, "Anonymously confused #3," I'll respond when I have more time. I'm going home.

Consoles and storage

The last post got me on a tangent that I can expand upon here.

As far as storage for games media, it seems that Nintendo has the right idea. Supposedly, we can use any storage device we want with the Revolution (that plugs into USB). Security and piracy issues are raised by this, but then again Nintendo isn't as anal as Sony is on the latter issue (think PSP + firmware updates).

A good question for Sony then: Will the hard drive be proprietary? Do we have to buy a Sony drive? I want to say that anyone who thinks that we won't be required to use Sony HDD's is a fool. Proprietary is Sony's middle AND last name. However, they are supporting the use of flashcards. We can't say for sure quite yet, but we can assume that is for game saves. What else can we store on there?

Lots of questions, few answers.

Console add-on peripherals...remember Sega?

I was thinking about the assumption that Sega proved that console add-ons don't work. Along with that assumption comes the notion that "it has to be built in, or people won't touch it." This notion does hold some truth, but there are other factors I think get ignored. I'll share my situation:

I had a Genesis, SegaCD, and 32x. I got into the add-ons because I loved the Genesis, wanted to play more games, and wanted to see what the add-ons could do. Unfortunately, the add-ons proved disappointing. More specfically, the 32X was extremely disappointing, and the SegaCD was okay.

The benefits of the 32x weren't really that great. The graphics were improved, but not to the extent to justify the cost of the upgrade. Not to mention that there wasn't a very big selection of games for the 32x (carts or CDs). It left me feeling a bit cheated, because I had searched forever for a good deal on the upgrade.

As for the SegaCD, my feelings were a bit more positive. Full motion video was a nice change on a console....although it was extremely pixelated (*cough* Sewer Shark *cough*). The noticeable difference made me feel like it was a worthwhile purchase, but it wasn't the most exciting thing ever. I did end up with several great games that I played them often though.

One problem I could forsee even back then was for those who didn't have the add-ons. They were quite expensive, leaving them unavailable to many Genesis fans. That also left them unable to play many of the great games that came out for peripherals. But even if you had one peripheral you still may not be able to play a game without the other (like the 32xCD version of Night Trap). I'm sure that left for some confusion with many consumers. Some games were even produced in two different versions (per add-on), but they were supposed to be for the same console. I would hope we wouldn't see a repeat of this mistake.

In the end, I think the main problems were segregating your consumer and providing disappointing results. Sega didn't necessarily prove that all add-ons don't work; they proved that expensive "power" upgrades don't work. The idea of upgrading a console's power has merit, but it just cannot be done like it can with a PC (yet).

As long as an add-on doesn't make some games inaccessible to consumers that don't upgrade, yet it makes a worthwhile difference to those who do upgrade, the add-on could probably see some success. Features are one thing, but the ability to play games is another. As long as the standard console can play any game released for the system, it should be fine.

As far as Microsoft is concerned, the HD-DVD drive probably won't be an issue (it's just for movies). It's not required to play games, so it doesn't interfere with the game library, but it provides a feature that some people will want. So it cannot be lumped in with the SegaCD/32X type of add-on. That's not a fair comparison.

However, the Hard Drive is more likely to be an issue. As it seems, some games will require the hard drive. That leaves those who go the memory card route out of luck until they buy a hard drive if a game they want requires it.

Stepping back though, a hard drive is really a different type of upgrade. The benefit is obvious to about anyone: more storage space. Even the non-technical people know that a 20GB ipod holds more than a 1GB ipod. The question is, are any Xbox 360 consumers going to insist that they don't need a hard drive? Is there justification to say that a memory card is a permanent solution? It's hard to say, especially since in due time there will be lower priced options for this in the future.

Speculating is all we can do at this point. We really just need to see how well Bluray is perceived. If both formats fail, then the tables really turn on Sony. They would have to keep providing a Bluray player in their PS3s in order to allow the early adopters access to their early game purchases. Either that, or be the sole provider of Bluray discs and charge more for them. I guess we'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sony Fanboy #2 responds to my response.

Dude, your response is so long that I won't even bother, because I happen to disagree on a lot of things with you, and I do have my explanations, but it's too much time and energy. So I'll listen to your advice and just go away. I'll save you time, and I'll save myself time. Evidently I haven't read all your site and I won't.

It's kind of painful to see you wasting time and energy on me (but that should go also to myself).

Anyway, I didn't read all of your response, but I happened to glance at something. I was gonna tell you "give me credit... I don't speak english as a first language", but just so you know:


7 entries found for artefact.
ar·te·fact ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ärt-fkt)

Variant of artifact.

Arguing with you is irksome.

Knowing people's curiosity gets the best of them, I'll respond to this anyway. It wouldn't be surprising since he took the time and energy to post what he did.

Thank you for bringing up the variant of "artifact". I did not know that. For the future, I wouldn't recommend spelling it that way though (edit: the other spelling isn't really standard anymore; personally, it wouldn't surprise me if he/she looked it up, found out it was right on a technicality, and decided to "cute" about it).

Hint # 1: Consider your audience. Not once did you consider your audience when you "argued" (not that I consider regurgitating everything Sony taught you as arguing). Great. The Sony-fanboys all over the world are saying, "F@#% yeah! That's what Sony said!" when they read your response.

Hint # 2: If English isn't your first language, then you probably shouldn't be arguing with someone who's first language is English. I know some sign-language, but I'm sure as hell not going to try to argue in ASL.

Hint # 3: Don't attempt to argue points that are already covered. If you didn't at least search the blog for previous posts on the subject, that is YOUR bad.

Live and learn.

Comments: For any future commentors, I will admit when you make a solid point, or if I was wrong (maybe the PS3 will blow my mind). For example, one commentor brought up latency when I was talking about networking. That was useful info that I didn't consider.

It helps to be more careful with your words as well. If you come in swinging, then you'll get the same in return. If you try to be reasonable, then you shall get that in return as well.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

E3...drink to the lies!

E3 Drinking game

Get buzzed with Microsoft and Nintendo...then totally obliterated with Sony!

Favorites "drink whens...":

For Microsoft:
The planted actors cheer.

They drag out someone from Square Enix, who then proceeds to announce a PS2 game that's being "enhanced" for Xbox 360.

For Nintendo:
Reggie pulls a portable system from his breast pocket (we're betting on it being a DS Lite).

Myamoto hits the stage (take two more sips if he comes out with props and/or is dressed like a videogame character).

For Sony:
Said charts show how much more powerful the PS3 is to any electronics device on the planet and possibly the universe.

Kaz/Kutaragi make some asinine claim about how the PS3 is going to be like/transport us to [insert impossible claim here].

Sony shows a PS3 demo (take two sips for every demo that doesn't look real time).

Anything about the PS3's price is revealed (finish your cup/bottle if it's $500 or more).

The PS3's controller is shown (take ten sips if it's still the boomerang).

Sony actually has a sound online strategy. Hell, drink if Sony actually has an online strategy.

I think everyone knows that Sony is full of BS. But we have to support them for those damned exclusives.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Anonymous Sony Fanboy comment #2

What HUGE rant, considering you say he is an "idiot". If so, why take him seriously? Oh I get it... I guess you want to feel good about yourself.

Because it's more fun to pick apart responses (especially the typical fare . It's my blog, and I'll rant if I want to (LOL).

You are hypocritical. You first say PS2 was feature disappointing (I'm sure that's true, that's why they lost 5 billion dollars on that console alone and sold the same amount of consoles as Nintendo did), then you say we don't need the features on PS3.

My bad, I wasn't more specific. The features the PS2 SHOULD have had (or had but had little support) were disappointing. You know, a useful hard drive, support for online gaming beyond a handful of games, Linux that worked, a working laser by at least console version four....I'll stop there.

With the PS3, do we need Tivo-functionality, a blog server, a Bluray player, and lackluster media streaming (connection speed at your home still won't matter....we are talking about a PSP with horrible wireless reception going through the internet). They haven't even proved themselves in the areas that matter yet!

Microsoft lost money on the does this prove your point? They still made a great console. The most of us PS2 boneheads didn't give them the chance that they deserved. They provided everything that Sony promised but didn't deliver with the PS2 hardware-wise. Anyway, they aren't crippled because of the loss, otherwise they wouldn't have continued on with the Xbox 360.

For your info, if you had read my earlier posts you would know I'm an ex-Sony fanboy. I got sick of the system, and bought the other two. Best move I could have made for the last generation. I've gotten more game-time out of Halo 2 than all of the Final Fantasies and Xenosagas combined (which is about 1000 hours of RPGs). I've also played Ninja Gaiden for about 4 times as many hours as I spent on God of War. The Xbox versions of games like Splinter Cell, Burnout, Need for Speed, etc render the PS2 versions obsolete (both versions exist in this house of each of these games). System link and XBL make all the difference. At least my XBL money spent is used. The $30 for my PS2 network adapter was a waste.

Obviously your opinion on almost everything PS3 is biased. At least admit that. You seem to be an Xbox lover, which is fine, but it's ridiculously obvious how partial you are. You make the false (and almost ridiculous) assumption that *every* PS2 lover (a game/RPG lover) is a PSP (gadget/multimedia) lover. Now, why would someone that loved the PS2 for the amount of games, also love the PSP? It would be more rational to love the DS. I know you'll respond with "But the 360 has many games!", but the truth is, it only has the typical FPS, an FPRPG, an FPHorror, all FP. A few sports games too. What the fuck else? Upcoming hits: GoW is another shooter. Halo 3 is another shooter.

Your thoughts are even more random than mine in this part of your whiney response. Anyway, I'm saying that from my perspective, the PS2 is good for RPGS (because the backgrounds can be static). It sucks for everything else. I guess I didn't make that clear. If a game is available on Xbox that's also available on PS2...there's really no contest in most cases.

Do I need to be more impartial? I love the Nintendo Gamecube and DS, the Xbox, and the XBox 360. I hate the PS2, but I have an old one and a couple of slims. The PS2s are the worst system I own. Sony has yet to prove to me that the Playstation brand is still worth the time of day.

All console games are typical (except for some DS games). Just because they are on the PS2 doesn't make them any more original. Devil May Cry and God of War are action platformers, Gran Turismo is a boring racing simulator (and so is Forza), and Metal Gear Solid is a silly stealth action game. I don't see what you're getting at.

Nobody needs your assessment on Next-gen discs, as you are not a specialist on it (where are your credentials?). Next-gen resolutions need not artefacts on screen, and Next-gen discs need support from hollywood. If you don't want to pay 30 dollars for a "10 dollar movie" (maybe you meant 20, as almost no new movie costs 10 dollars). As simple as waiting for the format to become cheap. Also, Microsoft neglected the possibility to add content to a game just in case. They could have either chosen HD-DVD, or better yet, a BIG HARD DRIVE. None of them is there. On Sony's machine, you'll have both, each for some particular use, so game experiences will be enhanced. Cut-scenes, cut-scenes, cut-scenes. A good game is a mix of everything, not "either or". You don't simply discard cut-scenes because there are many gamers that like it. If you don't, don't worry. You won't see them much on 360 anyway.

Asking for credentials is a bit silly coming from somone who thinks cut-scenes still have to be pre-rendered and take up gigabytes and gigabytes of space.

Anyway, Hollywood isn't interested in HD-DVD or Bluray because of HD...they only care for their ridiculous DRM that only prevents the "good consumer" from acceptable practices. Personal backup copies are legal, but selling and redistributing unauthorized copies are not, but DRM doesn't stop that from happening. DRM goes after the consumer, not the pirates (they will find ways to copy anything).

As for artifacts, most people don't even notice them. Only video elitists that know what to look for do.

Back on track: you are reading MY blog, and taking it personal. That's obviously a fault on your part.

Most Sony-cultists still poorly attempt to retort with unintentionally amusing rants. Understand that I don't make money blogging; I say what I want and how I feel about things in the industry. If you are going to say something captivating, then do it. I actually want this to happen...but I usually get stupid whiney comments like this one...

On Bluray: it's probably safe to assume you haven't programmed in Java before; I have. So you don't understand one of the most important reasons why I am so against Bluray (besides the fact that a 50GB red laser disc can be made...EVD). Java sucks, and that's what they use for it. If you like links, read some of these:

Bluray problems

Bluray and HD-DVD is a futile battle

Bluray not up to snuff (some info no longer accurate)...XML vs Java...I'll take XML

HP says, "No iHD? F U!"

"The problem is that the jump from progressive scan DVD (480p) to Blu-ray and HD-DVD at 720p or 1080p just isn't that great, even on a 46" display."

Only marginally better picture than DVD

The important parts to notice is when they say HD-DVD and Bluray are both only marginally better than what we have now. They mean marginally better than a progressive scan or upscaling DVD player. A slightly sharper image? Come on...they'll have to do better than that for movies. If we end up with one format or the other but just using the DVD layer in the hybrid discs...

Okay, sometimes a new DVD is $15-20. I never buy them at that price because I can always find them for $10-12 in a month or so after its release. And while I'm at it, I should let everyone know that I hate movies for the most part. That's why I play video games.

Alright, the last half of that poorly assembled paragraph is definitely "special".

Stop acting like the 360 hard drive isn't upgradeable. 60GB isn't that much either, so don't get your panties in a bind. If we are supposed to be able to record video (in HD) regularly, then we'd want more than 60GB. Video eats up space.

Edit 06/16/06: Sony has since announced that the base PS3 costs $499 and only has a 20GB drive. No argument required.

Cut-scenes? Um, why not just use real-time now? They can do that you know with either the PS3 or the 360. Then the space won't be necessary for cut-scenes. Also, you are dreaming if you think publishers and developers are going to support the resources it would take to produce games of 20GB+. Their returns are not high enough to justify that kind of spending.

Backwards compatibility is very important on any console since the PS2. As a PS1 and PS2 game owner, I find it important to be able to play all the resident evil versions, all the final fantasy versions, and all the metal gear solids. At LEAST. And any other game, just in case. Not just "the best sellers". Where the hell are the backwards compatible quality fighters on 360? And by that, I don't mean DOA, I mean Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, as examples.

Stop pretending like you play those games all the time. Yes, I'm playing FF8 right now, but that's 5 years after the fact. I could live without playing it, or I could play it on my old system.

Your arguments are again not considering the audience. I think Metal Gear Solid is too silly compared to Splinter Cell. I've not mentioned it, but I didn't like ANY of the Resident Evils EXCEPT for RE4 (on the Gamecube...the PS2 version is ugly). I like Final Fantasy 8. 7 is okay, but I probably won't ever play it again. 9 is the worst Final Fantasy to come on disc in my opinion.

Um...Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are going to be on XBLA WITH ONLINE PLAY...bad examples. With online play, and being direct ports of the arcade versions, it kind of negates the importance of having the shoddy PSX versions, now doesn't it? I would say Xmen vs Street Fighter is important, but you can't switch to the secondary character (I'm still mad about that...). I'd rather play it through MAME (with online support), thanks.

MK for XBLA with online support...
SF2 for XBLA with online support...

I figured getting 3 different magazines and reading a dozen blogs and news sites regularly was good enough to be "informed". Should I assume that you must get 12 different gaming mags and read the ENTIRE internet every day then? There's no way I could be informed compared to that!

If you owned an Xbox 360, you would know they are still working on backwards compatility. Emulation is good, so I don't have to have old hardware inside my new hardware to run games I won't play (talking about the PS2 again if you didn't notice).

(Edit: The PS3 will use software emulation as well, so 100% BC isn't likely IMHO).

1GBPS bandwidth is already being offered in Japan and Sweden for the equivalent of 60 bucks a month.

Why is everyone on this trip? This doesn't matter. We're talking about a 10Mbps 802.11b connection from a PSP. Reliable bandwidth is a problem with wireless as well. Your connection at home isn't the bottleneck. Your PSP is. This is a problem with not having the right hardware for media streaming to begin with.


$500 PS3 At Launch (Anything higher is suicide)

WiFi enabled $0
Backwards Compatible $0
Unified Service for gaming $0
Blu-ray playability $0
Better Japanese Support $0
60 GB HDD $0

Sorry about the $500 assumption. It just makes the most sense to me. Kutaragi says it will be expensive, so I'm positive it will be more than the Xbox 360, but hopefully semi-reasonable.

WiFi is essentially for the PSP's connection. Most of you guys have never tried to online game with a computer or console over a WiFi connection (because you use PS2s). It sucks. Even at 802.11g. I'm glad the 360 doesn't come with it, because it's near worthless. Wire your damn houses with Cat 5e/6. It's worth it. I'll post a pic of my network setup if it makes you feel better. Even if I wanted wireless, at least the 360's would be upgradeable (802.11n will be here someday)!

Bluray is worthless to me. You apparently welcome the scamtastic format (HD-DVD is scamtastic, too). Why are you quoting it to ME as a pro? Consider your audience.

Japanese support? Don't assume the PS2's hold on that market will continue. But *gasp* you are making assumptions, too. Guilty. Caught you. Don't EVER underestimate Microsoft. As far as Nintendo, they may just get consumer confidence back. They've got mine.

You know why the "unified service for gaming" is $0? It's the same damn thing as PS2's online service except it has a friend's list. Didn't I say this already? It's the same crap as before! If you want to put up with it for free, knock yourself out. I'll pay the "wallet-breaking" $8 a month for a good service. I don't think my girlfriend would be happy without it...she's on Live everyday.

I would hope they would provide a bigger hard drive at launch. Aren't they expected to? And for those who actually need it, there will be bigger 360 drives in the future. So should all the 360 fanboys talk shit when Premiums come out with a bigger hard drive than the PS3 does at the time? Come on. We'll have been playing Next Gen games for an entire year while you weirdos are holding out. And my 20GB HDD still won't be filled up by then.

When I complain about "we have to pay for" with the PS3, I'm mostly talking about the required features. The games will cost more because they are on Bluray discs. Plus they have to recoup costs from the resources it took to create these features. They'll find a way to get it out of us. Anyway, if they cut the worthless features out, the PS3 could be cheaper all-around.

$300 X360 At PS3 Launch

20GB... Oops.. I meant 13GB HDD
10% Backwards Compatibility (therefore, there's a loss, who knows how many Xbox 1 games you have... there are few good ones anyway)
HD-DVD add on $200
WiFi add-on $100
Bigger hard drives ...
Unified Gaming Service $60

I don't want WiFi or HD-DVD. YOU DO. So how is that more expensive for me? I use 2GB right now of my 360's hard drive. I'm not complaining. Streaming music works quite well, so I don't even have to copy files over. Maybe you like having multiple copies of your music?

7GB of the hard drive is for that backwards compability thing you think is so important. See, the PS3 won't need to reserve HDD space because the PS2's hard drive was required by a whole whopping 1 GAME (FFXI, which you might as well play on the PC or 360 anyway).

So which is more expensive, smartass? Sure, if you just want gaming, 360 might be cheaper. But many homes don't have their console next to a PC, so a WiFi adapter will cost you 100 for 360. Online Gaming? 60 bucks extra (just for one year). I don't care how much "better" it is than PS3, as long as it is comparable I'm through. And that's still counting out BC for 360, and the possibility of ending up needing a bigger hard drive because games that might need to fit on a single disc could end up needing some extra content...

You obviously don't online game if you are saying that. PS2 online sucks, and they are going to stick with that format and add a few expected features that don't improve performance. Good luck with that.

Just to refresh your memory, BC for PS2 was huge, and just as people "don't want to spend 500 on a console", people also "don't want to waste 500 dollars worth of last gen games due to lack of BC". Also, for people to fall into the "HD realm of 360", it would have been very appealing to include HD movie playability out of the box (for a mass produced format), not just HD gaming.

It's not a waste. Keep the old system (how is that wasting money?), why is this such a hard notion? Besides, Microsoft is still working on BC. Why do you keep going on about BC? Do you even have a 360...or an Xbox for that matter? My point is, I play PS1 games about never. Actually, I can't stand to play PS2 games that much either because I find them extremely inferior and the controller is annoying.

Now, saying "PS3 *will* be disappointing like PS2" is just being plain biased and preconceiving, since PS2 didn't disappoint anyway. It had all the exclusives anyone could have wanted. That's why it sold so much, game over.

The PS2 WAS a disappointment. Read some of the other posts. Many of the gaming sites were disappointed with the PS2 because failed to perform to the hype. All of the promised features never happened, or support was dropped. I'm not going to type these out again. The PS2 sold because the PS1 did so well, and they have the exclusives. Not because the PS2 hardware was any good...because it's not. It's horrible. Read previous posts to see why.

Edit: I better provide some links...

Unofficial 2/5 Stars

Unofficial 3/5 Stars

Dreamcast has the games (at the time)

I don't have any more time. There's more, and even some official disappointments with the jaggies and graphics. Google terms: ps2 playstation hype dreamcast disappointment failure

By the way, the only JRPG maker for 360 seems to be Mistwalker, and who knows how good they'll be. 3 titles only won't make a difference. I'm sure "FromSoftware" is sick of the underachieving sales of Enchant Arm, and are not eager to make another RPG exclusive to 360. Who knows, it might get ported to PS3. The only announced titles made by Squenix for 360 are a 4 year old game and an(other) FPS. You don't start in Japan without an original game from them. LOL

"Informed", yeah right. You crack me up, buddy.

Sadly, it's obvious you don't know what you are talking about either. Sounds to me like you are just defending Sony's bullshit. I won't. Nintendo and Microsoft haven't failed to meet my expectations with the Gamecube, DS, XBox, and 360 so far. And they talk to us about gaming, not the elitist business crap the Sony reps run their mouths about when it comes to the Playstation.

You say that I assume PS gamers only like RPGs...and here you come with the RPG crap again. Make up your mind! Anyway, the 360 will get its share. The 360 is much better poised in the market than the Xbox was. Stop trying to discount MS because they aren't going to fall over as easily as Sega did.

Anyway, stop bitching if you don't like my blog. If you don't like it, stop reading it, and wasting time complaining. If you want to bitch, you better have something provocative to say. I'm still waiting for something thought-provoking from a Sony fanboy. So far, it's mostly regurgitation of Sony's fallacies and innuendos.

You crack me up.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Final Fantasy weekend...PS2 modchip?

I finally broke down and started my FF8 game back up. Although I've beaten it before and nearly maxed out all of my characters...that gamesave was deleted along with a bunch of others (stupid third party 8x memory card). Besides, I really liked the story and wanted to run through it again, since they are probably going to remake 7 but not 8 (which I find superior to its predecessor).

In the midst of that, one of my room mates metioned he hasn't seen nore played Final Fantasy 7. That just won't do. So I loaded it up for him, and he's been playing it for a few days now. He just passed Aeris' death and is on disc 2. Watching has made me want to play again. But I'd rather play a remake. I tried loading up the PC version, but I think my hardware is too "new" for it.

Back to old babblings, my friend completed the IDE wiring on one of my slim PS2's. I've not had a chance to go pick it up yet though. I really hope it works so I can move on with my custom slim. If HDAdvance recognizes the hard drive, then I can proceed to purchasing a DMS4 modchip (required for slim hard drive use). Then I can buy a slim skin, install my custom enclosure, and have the slim PS2 I've always wanted. It will be sweet...if it works. This is my last attempt, because I don't want to waste any more money on the project. I just don't play the PS2 enough to justify dumping money into it. I'd rather buy another Xbox and mod it up for media and emulation purposes (and not to be one of those bastards that mods in Halo cheaters should go to hell).

I'm considering breaking down and buying an ipod...strictly for Xbox 360 use. I really don't want to load my music on the 360 hard drive. But I also want to get my music off my PC's hard drive to recover some space. I actually use a 10GB external hard drive right now, but apparently the 360 won't do playlists off a USB hard drive. That's somewhat dumb as it will support playlists from an ipod or PSP. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Anonymous Sony Fanboy attempts to "bring on the pain"

One of the stupidest comments I've ever read. PS3 not enough for what you pay? Let's see: Unified service with free multiplayer gaming, bigger hard drive, wireless out of the box, blu-ray playability, and backwards compatible with the best library of games ever. Just for $500? It's a steal.

On the other hand, for $400 you are not getting anything of the above, as the hard drive is 13 GB too little, No High Def movies, no Backwards compatibility, no wireless internet, no bluetooth, and, now that I have 1Gbps internet (in Sweden we have that, sorry if you don't yet), I can only use it at its top speed with PS3, not 360.

Have fun with your JRPG lacking console, asshole.

Apparently, he/she didn't read anything I said. I'll reiterate, and respond to your cliche responses about the PS3.

My point is that Sony is putting too many unnecessary features that we have to pay for in the end, whereas Microsoft and Nintendo aren't doing that. All those features sound cool, but are pretty useless to the general public. We want a game machine, not an identity-crisis having media-whatever-server-what-movie-something-lifestyle-hub. I'm happy for you if you're glad to pay for all that unnecessary extra crap that you won't use in the end. It won't pull off any of those features well. If you want a TiVo, you'll still have to buy a Tivo. If you want a media server, you'll still need to buy that, too. You would be better of not buying consoles at all and just buying a Media Center PC if you want any of that functionality. Besides, if you paid attention to what Sony promised with the PS2 and didn't give us, you would know that at least half of these rumored features are never going to happen.

Multiplayer with the PS2 is currently free. But it sucks. It is a waste of time, and compared to the overall library, support is slim. The only difference between the new online "service" and the old is a friends list and chatting. That's it. They still expect the developers/publishers to use their own servers. That won't hold a candle to the reliability of Xbox Live.

Read my comments about Bluray, and other articles about Bluray and HD-DVD. They are a waste of money and time formats. If we can get 50GB discs with red-laser that uses a $150 player (EVD), why spend hundreds for blue-laser technology that merely does the same thing? Oh, I guess paying $30 for movies that are $10 on DVD (that could be upscaled) sounds like a good idea to you. Did you waste a whole bunch of money on UMDs too, since the PSP had no games?

I'm glad you're excited about the backwards compatibility. Um, how many PSX games do you play on a regular basis? One or two? So those should be discounted. From my articles so far, you should be able to tell that the PS2 versions of about any game don't compare to their Xbox counterparts in my opinion. So a PS2 back catalog doesn't do much for me.

Most of the Xbox games I still play are supported by backwards compatibility. Counterstrike isn't, but I can live without that.

13GB is plenty for what is available now. The only time space is an issue is with Final Fantasy XI (which is worthless anyway). Besides, it is easy to upgrade the hard drive later, just like the PS3. I use a USB drive or my PC for music. Since I already had those, it didn't cost me extra.

My "internet" is comparable to a T1 line. Apparently, you missed the part about how a 802.11b connection via access point that goes through dozens of other servers that eventually gets to your home isn't won't be able to stream media reliably. It doesn't matter what your internet connection is at your house. You don't connect directly from your PSP to your PS3. You go through the "internet". If you don't believe me, then spend too much money on Sony products and find out for yourself.

I will agree that Bluetooth would have been nice. But Microsoft could easy support any USB Bluetooth dongle if they wanted to. It's nice, but not necessary as there won't be much demand for it. Same with the flash card readers. Those are about the only features that are good about the PS3, other than the Cell processor. The Bluray is a con in my opinion if you didn't notice yet.

1Gbps speed is nice, but bandwidth is more important for online gaming. You can have a fast connection and not enough bandwidth. As long as there is enough bandwidth from your broadband provider, then the 1Gbps built in ethernet card doesn't really benefit the end user all that much. It's more and more obvious that tech specs and numbers dominate your mind instead of real-world usefulness.

As far as Japanese RPGs for the 360 go, you don't pay attention. Otherwise you'd know that Square-Enix is working on 360 RPG exclusives. There's a couple others in the works from other developers as well.

The Xbox 360 at $400 provides everything I want and does it reliably. If you want a media hub, you need a Media Center PC. I don't, so I don't have to buy one. The PS3 isn't going to be anywhere near as useful as a Media Center PC, so Sony shouldn't have wasted their time.

Know more about the 360 before you start bashing it on my blog. I read news and blogs about all of the consoles, so you better too before you say something stupid like "Have fun with your JRPG lacking console, asshole." You're the asshole posting whiney uninformed cliche comments on my blog.

Besides, don't worry. I'll have a PS3 so I can feel cheated again just like everyone else that gets one. We can all reminisce as a community on how Sony caught us in their lies again just like they did with the PS2. And we can talk about it over Xbox Live since our PS3's will be RMA'd for "Disc Read Errors".

My comments on PC Gaming...

Crysis sticks with PC

My comment:

Sure, PCs are great and everything, but as far as gaming goes they limit their audience. With all the different hardware configurations and Operating Systems, it's impossible to set standards with PC gaming.

That's where consoles come in. Each generation of console has a consistent hardware setup sans peripherals. This means that a game made for a console plays on all of those consoles. PC games don't work that way. A game may work on one person's computer, but not another's. That's annoying.

And I don't care how "powerful" a PC gamer claims his/her machine is. It's still WASTING resources on it's full-blown operating system, where consoles don't have that problem.

PC gaming also doesn't make for better programming on existing hardware. We've seen what developers can push out of the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox. You don't see PCs with similar specs to those consoles pushing graphics efficiently like that.

Whatever. I'll just turn on and play with my consoles. I don't want to wait for Windows or waste time installing/uninstalling software. I'll save that for non-gaming use.

Why am I not-so-fond of PCs? I am a PC Technician. There are way too many PCs that I have to work with in a day. When I get home, a PC is the LAST thing I want to be messing with. So I turn to consoles. Not to mention that a PC doesn't really let you lounge in the couch while playing. I'm tired; let me lounge!

Currently, I have 3 PCs, two desktops and a laptop. No, I don't have anything fancy; the desktops are homegrown mostly from throw-away parts from companies that I've worked for. The laptop was broken and my friend wanted to get rid of it. I bought it and fixed it.

PC in my room

Athlon 2000+
2 removeable IDE hard drive bays (1 x 80GB, 1 x 120GB for backup)
NVidia 128MB dual-head video card
2 x 17" LCD monitors

PC in the living room

Athlon 1333
40GB IDE Hard drive
1 x AGP video card, 1 x ATI PCI video card
2 x 17" CRT monitors

Laptop for gaming (emulation)

Pentium 4 2.5Ghz
40GB IDE hard drive
ATI onboard video card
15" LCD

All of these computers work fine, although a couple years "outdated". Each does what I want, so I have no need to upgrade. Sure, I'd like a dual core Pentium, or an Athlon 64...but I don't rally need them. To me, having dual monitors is more important than having the "latest and greatest" PC setup. Faster PCs are nice, but at this point, they don't help me get my work done any faster.

For the record, even though all the processors in these three computers are quite a bit different, they all do basic functions at about the same speed. Nowadays, the number of Gigahertz doesn't seem to be as important as multithreading capability. Even that's only important if you multitask your email and browsing with media functions (burning a DVD for example).

If you game with your PC, then you have to constantly upgrade to keep up. From my point of view, you actually save money by going with a console. Good video cards range from $150-600+. When a PC part costs as much as a system, it should be obvious where the savings come from. You save time with consoles as well, since you don't have to worry about installing/uninstalling software for the most part, and you don't have to wait for lengthy boot times since there's not a full-blown operating system installed. It's also VERY easy for a PC to get spyware that negatively affects the performance of a PC...we don't see that problem on consoles either.

Reason's such as these leave me wondering why PC gaming continues. Yes, a mouse is easier for FPS and RTS games. Yes, the graphics cards are upgradeable and PC game devs can utilize that (but not all do). But the pros just don't seem to outweight the cons in my opinion. I've never understood the hardcore PC-gaming crowd.

I guess I'm just happier playing Xbox 360 on a 51" HD screen instead of a 17" LCD?

Monday, April 10, 2006

PSM Bites the hand that feeds?

Issue 110, May 2006, pgs. 24-28
My headline is a bit misleading, but they are actually covering "Playstation Blunders". I'll cover what I find important.

I didn't know this, but apparently the first version of the PSX had an overheating problem (if not ventilated properly). Sony re-arranged the internals and claimed it was a "cost saving hardware redesign". Cute.

Massive PS2 shortages? Sounds like the Xbox 360. 1/3 of the promised PS2s were shipped. Good job Sony. Although I think they won't meet the promised shipping numbers with the PS3, I'll give them credit this time and say they can do better then 1/3 this time.

"The PS2 Hard Disk Disaster." I wouldn't call it a disaster, I would just call it a waste of time and money. The PS2 HDD was needed for one game, and was barely supported by a handful of others. HDD capability wasn't even natively provided by the new slimline PS2. Sadly enough, a gamer only gets a good use out of the hard drive if they buy a non-supported program to rip game discs to their hard drive. This reduces loading times. There are uses if your PS2 is modded, but we won't go there. Good job on wasting our time Sony.


Issue 110, May 2006, pgs. 10-11

This article is an interesting, but disturbing read. Interesting because the features sound nice, but disturbing because it further reinforces that the PS3 will be less of a standard gaming device like the PSP. Too many unnecessary features.

Playstation World

"Sony...plans to make the system a hub for your gaming life." What the hell does that mean? "Lifestyle servers?" Come on. They are suggesting that the PS3 will be on all the time so it can provide your buddies with a blog or bulletin board hosted on the console. Then the user can record video journals or game performances and then share them.


Before we go WTF, streaming video, audio, photos, and game saves to the PSP from the PS3 could be useful. Setting up TiVo-like settings remotely with the PSP would be interesting, too. I support that. But they also claim that the PS3 can stream these things to the PSP which is anywhere in the world. That would require more bandwidth and reliability than can be offered via 802.11b on the PSP. Going through the internet could make video either unwatchable or at an extremely low resolution. Audio quality would suck. Photos don't really "stream" so those would be okay.

All of this sounds great albeit overkill. But the only people that will use all of these features will be tech-heads such as myself. The common consumer will find little interest or little confidence in their ability to make use of all these dollar-consuming features (we pay for it in the PS3's price, whether we want the features or not). Some of us will never buy a what good will all those features do us?

So now we'll need a $500 PS3 and a $200 PSP. Sony is making this really expensive. Bluray discs aren't going to help PS3 game prices either. Maybe they think all of us will drown in their supposed technical wonder. But for games, the PS3 isn't sounding like a good value for the money. Too much fluff and not enough stuff.

The Revolution will provide a lot of current and classic gaming for $200-$250. The $300-400 Xbox 360 centers around gaming and an excellent gaming network, not a multitude of hub-bub features.

With all the features the PS3 is supposed to have, it's difficult to believe they could sell it for under $500. People say a higher price would be suicide, but Sony can't afford losses like Microsoft. To those who are paying attention to the whole picture, it seems like Sony may be taking the wrong risks with this console.

What seems to becoming more clear, is that although all the console makers are competing, they are all taking different paths (which is good). Nintendo is trying to focus on revitalizing the industry by providing new ways to game, while still providing a catalog of their gaming history. Microsoft is providing an excellent network for gamers worldwide to play together with games old and new. Sony is pushing their new technologies and combining features, but seem to be leaving gaming as an afterthought.

This is going to be an interesting year.

Changing the ways I do my quick reviews...

Apparently, one of the editors has gone forth to remove all fractions from their 1-10 scoring system. I agree with the notion somewhat, but I think the number system has too many weaknesses. Below is my comment to his article:

There's too many variations of the scoring system. Although it seems that a game can be looked up quickly so a potential buyer can make a decision, it doesn't convey what is really important: pros and cons.

I'd rather a bulleted list summary of the good and the bad. This would quickly identify weaknesses and strengths of games. Naturally, some guideliness would need to be followed, such as no more than 5 pros or cons, be specific, etc.

This also shows a gamer if they can get past the cons easily. For example, if the "music sucks" on a 360 game, then that con could be dismissed by a gamer since we can use our own music.

As for reader comments/arguments, a pro/con is much less vague than a number score. This could provide for somewhat more interesting responses.

I'm going to start doing it in my reviews.

I may go back and edit my previous entries to reflect my strict pro/con system. It may take me a few tries to get it to my liking, but it's a sound idea.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Beyond Good and Evil

Well, I bought this game on clearance from Media Play. They were going out of business, so it was cheap (but unfortunately the PS2 version).

I didn't realize it, but this game is about 3 years old already. BUT THAT'S OKAY! I was delightedly "hooked" from when I started the game (without instructions, and without understanding the prelude).

To summarize, BGE (for short) is a mixture of multiple genres. It has hints of Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia, Starfox, and probably more I'm forgetting. There is fighting, stealth, racing, water/air vehicle assaults, and puzzles. Yet the main focus in the game seems to be photography, although it is done in a non-intrusive way. It doesn't seem like a photography game, and I bet if the cover art was different (shows the main character holding a camera), this game would have seen a lot more business.

As far as difficulty, the game isn't extremely hard, but it is difficult enough to keep the player...playing. Just when you think the game is easy, it gets a little bit harder (especially towards the end). If for some unlikely reason you need a break from the current missions, there are even a few "sidequests" that are only partially necessary. They involve collecting pearls and catalogging pictures of all species on the planet (which rewards the player with funds or vehicle upgrades.

The controls in the game are setup quite well. It does take a bit to get used to them, but the instruction manual really isn't needed as most of them can be figured out within the first hour of play. If reminders are needed on controls, they are presented in a timely fashion. My only problem was the horrible PS2 analog sticks make precision aiming a bit difficult. Unfortunately, the Media Play I visited did not have a GC or Xbox version available. I made ado.

The final boss is interesting too, as it is a long fight and *spoiler?* I had to actually play with my controller upside down to get through it. You'll see what I mean when you get there.

As far as complaints, I don't have many. The graphics aren't the best, but suit the game well. Everything is crisp although a few areas seem a bit dark. Other than that, the spaceship changes the control scheme on you, but you don't have to deal with it for long.

BGE must be the most balanced multigenre game I've ever played. It is somewhat hard to get bored of it because of the variety. Finding yourself lost or not knowing what to do in the game is a rare occurrence. I recommend about any gamer type pick this one, especially since it's under $20 nowadays. Hopefully we can see more games like this one in the future because Ubisoft did an outstanding job with the variety.

[edit: 04/10/2006]


  • Much gameplay variety: racing, action, puzzles, stealth, air combat

  • Easy controls, many motions are automatic

  • Different gameplay types never feel out of place

  • Steadily paced difficulty

  • Graphically outdated, but not an eyesore

  • Even if "reverse stick" controls are chosen, the spaceship still switches to inverted controls (although this is only used toward the end of the game)

  • The storyline isn't well defined in the game

Wait, Forget, Buy, or Rent?

The game is beatable in a rental period, but the game doesn't cost much now. However, there isn't a lot of replay value.

Verdict: RENT

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gaming does require more out of the body and brain than television...

I've had the flu for the last 3 days, leaving me unable to think or do much. Since work would have been impossible, and I didn't want to infect my co-workers, I stayed home and did what I normally never do: watch television.

Since I was zombified by whatever was on, I was able to ignore the illness taking a toll on my body. It was great for a couple of hours, but television wore thin after a while. So I decided to try gaming.

I couldn't do it. Halo 2 was possible, but I was very slow and my reaction time sucked. I gave up there and tried to play some Xenosaga II since I figured it was less intense. That hurt my brain (literally); there's definitely some unanticipated thinking with RPGS. To a healthy body, it's no big deal, but for a stuffy aching head it's a different ordeal completely. I even tried some simple XBLA games, but just couldn't do it. I had to go back to watching television.

Naturally, I start pondering how this relates to a healthy body. While television took absolutely no effort for me to watch, gaming required a lot more out of me. Far from scientific, but a point is to made: gaming is probably better for your mind than television is. I even remember reading somewhere that it burns more calories (nothing like a workout though, unless you are playing DDR).

I'm a little disappointed, as I could have accomplished a lot in those games during my time off. But on the other hand, I'm glad I decided to avoid television and movies as much as possible about a decade ago.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

One more thing on Shadow of the Colossus

I made it clear that this game should have been on Xbox. Well...I didn't realize it was made by Sony (SCEA). But that makes it all the more disappointing. Sony's own developers can't even clean up the graphics? Put that "Emotion Engine" to work! Not all of us have non-flat composite-only CRT televisions to hide the jaggies you know. Oh well. The game was fun, but the PS2 controller still made it painful.

Blog slightly updated

Someone wants to email me apparently. "Contact me" is on the sidebar above "Previous Posts".

Sony has no reason to "really" compete with Xbox Live?

PS3 online not much more than PS2 online?

This is a good article brought to my attention via joystiq. I've been thinking along these lines ever since Sony claimed to be a contender to Xbox Live. Since I've yet to see Sony do anything useful online (including their website), I have my doubts. I'm also bitter that my PS2 Network adapter was a wasted purchase since next to none of the games I had were supported. Those that were supported sure were not fun to play online.

XBL has been the best quality online service for a console yet. Followed by DSWifi (in respect to being for a portable).

I'm going to stay skeptical until Sony proves themselves in this department.