Monday, July 31, 2006

Bass Ninja Mario's it up

I've never seen this before, and it is pretty damn cool. The guitar version is a bit more impressive and probably took the most work. has some other "Mario Moments" you may want to check out as well.

I know I'm supposed to be on a non-blogging vacation, but the above video hit a spot in my past: Bass Playing! Tapping was one of my favorite techniques since many bass players in my area did nothing more than follow the a-hole guitarist. Anyway, music was my thing several years ago, but today I've essentially moved on.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mini-hiatus coming

For starters, I must say that Tomb Raider: Legend is enjoyable to me. Finally, a TR that was produced that I like. I've gone through a few levels, and I agree with the positive reviews it has received. Therefore, instead of saying anything special, I'll just say that the game is good for a rental or purchase.

Anyway, I'm a little burned out at the moment. I guess I need some R & R, which isn't going to happen, but I'm going to attend some of my other hobbies.

I don't plan on eclipsing the site like my favorite, as I'll still end up reading about the industry on my breaks at work. If something I find is really interesting, I'll post about it. Otherwise, I'm not going to put a concerted effort forth for about a week or two. The great part is, nobody cares if I'm posting anyway, but I'll be "proper" and announce my "vacation".

Keep on gaming, "I'll be back."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Kotaku commenter has his HD-DVD/Bluray facts straight

I was flabbergasted. Kudos to caleb for knowing the current truth about the "next gen format war".

I've covered this information before, but maybe some naysayers would like to hear it from someone else?

Things I would like to add:

  • Bluray-supporters should keep in mind that Sony is pushing the continued use of MPEG2 because they hold patents on it.

  • Continued DVD backwards compatibility could be in jeopardy if the Bluray companies decide they don't want to pay Toshiba for DVD licensing anymore. This is probably the reason why the mystical Bluray-DVD hybrid disc isn't talked about anymore.

  • Bluray's uber protective layer and potential 50GB double layer disc are in development because they are needed; not necessarily because they benefited the consumer. The Bluray data layer is really close to the surface, making it an easy victim to damage. Hence the protective layer. 50GB will be needed if MPEG2 continues to be the outdated codec the Bluray companies use.

Anyway, you can read more on my recent HD-DVD and Bluray related articles if you so desire. The other articles have link references to what I added above.

Do I still want either format? Nope.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Disturbing stats for me at

This was part of the driving force for my earlier article.I've tried my hardest to be positive with the whole PS3 ordeal, but Sony has wronged me many times before and they don't seem to be improving. So my "preference" is bleedingly obvious. It reflects in my work here, and in the many comments I make in a day. Overall, I just want to play the games, and not deal with the hassles of the hardware.

I just find it hard to believe that I'm even in the top list of contributors. Sure, you'll see me on the list at as well, but I'm less than #2. I even commented several times in a row once requesting game info instead of PR-mishap babble. I didn't need any more anti-Sony ammo; they've stocked me full. Thankfully, the writers complied and we started seeing some game stuffs again.

PS3-worshippers, get off your butts and get active on your corresponding site!

Entertainment hour per dollar

Tim at argued that XBLA games are fairly priced in comparison to the entertainment time they provide.

According to his logic, the dollar per hour for a couple of XBLA deemed too expensive by some users is actually on par with a night at the movies. He even compares that to a couple of the full-fledged games showing that an XBLA game is probably a bargain.

I find that interesting because I've done similar comparisons on comparing Halo 2 coupled with the cost of XBL, and the value crushes any PS2 game I have ever purchased.

Although inaccurate, Let's say I've played 2,000 Halo 2 games that clock in at 10 minutes. I've played more games than that, but they don't all last 10 minutes, so it should even out.

That's 20,000 minutes divided by 60 equals roughly 333 hours.

Let's say I did that over a year's time. That's $60 for XBL fees and we'll say $50 for Halo 2 (I actually bought it used at $30). Divide $110 by 333 hours for an amazing $0.33 an hour. You could even include the price of the Xbox @ $130 and I'm still at $0.72 an hour.

Final Fantasy 10 on the other hand took about 50 hours and was $50. That's three times as much at a dollar an hour. God of War was $50 and I played it for about 10 hours. That's over 15 times as much at 5 dollars an hour.

Interesting how people complain about money, isn't it? I wonder how the PS3 will factor in. We kind of need to know what they are going to do to extend replay value first.

Guesstimates on XBLA sales and stats

C4Lukins at has come up with an inaccurate, yet inventive approach to finding stats that Microsoft doesn't provide about XBLA. For those with easily-tired eyes, Joystiq provided a partial summary here.

Here are the games ranked unofficially by supposed sales. Here are some things to keep in mind about this method of statistic gathering, curtesy of NinjaBee (Cloning Clyde and Outpost Kaloki developer).

I'm jealous I didn't think of it first!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Beating a dead alien predator marine horse...a lot!

Please excuse my frustration that my favorite franchise ever is being mostly ignored by the gaming world. Yeah, there was AVP: Extinction, but I really didn't want an RTS.

Where the eff is the AVP FPS LOVE????

There's been interest from many gamers. Paul Pawlicki (Assistant Producer to the ill-fated Fox Interactive) teased that there would be an AVP3.

Even resident Halo-lovers talk about the return of the classic clashing duo trio.

Petitions? Here, and here. Note that the latter is more appropriate as the choice isn't up to merely Monolith (they did AVP2, Condemned, and FEAR).

Go sign your name. It won't matter, but it's the damned thought that counts!

Good PS3 news for smaller developers

In a good move, Sony is reaching out a helping hand to smaller developers. They are seeking applications for existing software or proposals for new software that is small, original, and supports network play well. Accepted applications will get further development funded by SCE WWS.

This should make for an interesting XBLA vs PNPA war to come.

AMD goes with buying ATI

Read this article.

I mentioned this possibility few days ago, and was wondering how this would affect consoles. Apparently, I'm not alone in wondering about AMD getting in with consoles.

Although the Nvidia whores will throw trantrums, I think this will be a positive move. Intel has been integrating their own chipsets for a while, which has given them an edge. With AMD having ATI on its side, the score may slowly even up.

Intel boards are crap in my opinion, but their processors are definitely reliable. With this news, I'm thinking that AMD and ATI should be able to merge some good chipsets for some good competitive products.

Friday, July 21, 2006 goers, don't fret

A negative air generally hovers over Some commenters continuously cry foul merely because there is an abundance of negative Sony news as of late. Beyond that, commenters who feel the negative press is justified often get accosted and instantly labeled as PS3 haters. It can be a flamepit at times, albeit mostly a shallow one.

I've also seen some wonder why has a mostly positive air hovering over it in comparison. Most of the comments and articles are positive. The commenters stay on topic more. 360 owners on XBL are already in a community as well, so there is already a sense of brotherhood.

This should make the reason for the grim feel become obvious. The PS3 is not in our grubby hands yet, while the 360 is. With the PS3, we're left reading about Sony's PR nightmares, seeing limited screenshots, and hearing about expenses we'll need to endure in the future. All of that instead of actually playing the games. How could there not be frustration in that?

Fear not. There is only a short 4 months to go before the PS3 is available to at least some gamers. Those who are lucky enough to procure the probably-elusive PS3 will likely share the experience with the not-so-lucky. As games are playable and actual features are discovered, there is guaranteed to be a surge of solid news coming that can't possibly be all doom and gloom.

I know I've presented myself as a very anti-Sony individual. I have my reasons. However, gaming is still gaming whether it is provided by a company I like or not. I actually do want those genuinely excited by the PS3 to get what they desire for themselves out of the console. I'm still interested in the PS3, but I'm not happy about Bluray and how Sony is handling the console overall. No matter.

PS3 fanboys: you only have to hold out a little bit longer.

AMD merging with ATI? How would that affect consoles? reports that AMD and ATI are meeting behind the scenes to discuss a possible merger.

Everyone has an opinion of the AMD vs Intel and ATI vs nVidia debates. I find AMD processors to perform better, but Intel processors seem to be more reliable. For me, it's a home vs business issue respectively. As for the ATI/nVidia scene, I don't have a preference.

My question is, would this have an effect on our beloved consoles? ATI does do the GPUs for the 360 and the Wii (nVidia does the PS3's), yet IBM does the processors for all of the next generation consoles. Obviously, this generation will pan out without changes, but what about the future?

Could the Xbox 720, PS4, and Nintendo WiiWii sport an AMD processor? Maybe some befangled Athlon 128 Octuple core? A direct combo of ATI & AMD could allow for better hardware deals to our console makers as opposed to the current situation of mixing and matching CPUs and GPUs. Interesting possibilities!

Cheap black and clear Xbox 360 case coming

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It is only available for pre-order at the moment, but I'm sure they will come through. I've placed several orders with and had good experiences.

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Tomb Raider: Legend is headed my way

Here's the true test of Tomb Raider's return.

I've never been a fan of the game before, and I always cringed at those old pictures of Miss Lara. She looked weird and slightly disturbing like Orchid from Killer Instinct. Besides that, the early games also never felt right to me. I had a hard time even getting started with playing them (controls, style, etc.). Times are different now, as I've experienced much more in the last several years when it comes to games.

Today, I'm finding Lara's make-over is welcome. I even hit up the XBL demo because hey, it's free and I don't have to buy a magazine. This time around, I actually enjoyed the controls and the game. However, I didn't feel the need to go drop $60 just to lose my "Tomb Raider cherry" (the previous experience was more of a "1st base" thing). I decided to wait until it was about half of that price, and ebay came to the rescue today at $34.

I'll report after I've had experience with the full game. Can I be "turned"?

Dead Rising intro video

Check it our here.

The XBL trailer grabbed my attention along with those I live with. For some reason, freely attacking throngs of zombies with anything and everything you can get your hands on looks fun as hell. As pointed out by some, the game does have potential to be repetitive or "get old quickly". We'll stay optimistic.

This video is quite a good teaser, and it revitalized my interest in the game.

[per via]

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Video proof of the PS2's questionable construction

The PS2 couldn't pass a durability test even it worked out. I guarantee the reasons the PS2 didn't have a prayer in these tests:

a. It's made with cheap plastic
b. The DVD drive is %100 cheap garbage (think DISC READ ERROR)
c. The oddball internal construction

I have to give props to the Gamecube. It's smashed in half and it still powers on. Interesting how it's cheaper, more powerful, and more durable than the PS2. Hmmmm. Another place where games should have gone.

All of this just reaffirms what I've been saying. Sony makes the worst quality gaming hardware and Nintendo makes the best quality gaming hardware. Microsoft is obviously somewhere in the middle.


Broken PS2s on ebay (100+ which is low for the day)
Broken Xboxes on ebay (70+ which is about right)
Broken Gamecubes on ebay (24+ which is high for the day)

Edit: Changed title

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Throw you're money in! It's cheap!"

This picture represents how I feel about the PS3 at the moment. Throw your money in. What will you get back? Heavenly Sword and Final Fantasy so far, as long as those games aren't $75. Nothing else particularly gets me excited. I'm not too excited to get a 1080p television any time soon either; the prices are ridiculous.

I wonder how gamer's stances will change a year from now. The Xbox 360 will be on year two, while the PS3 and Wii will be completing their first. How will games progress? Will games on the Xbox 360 look better merely because developers will have had more time with the 360? Will people who were mad about the pricing announcements this year be humbled by some potentially great games that will be available for the PS3 next year?

I think the PS3 is going to get 360 ports, personally. And all of the people that are only upset with Sony because the PS3 is expensive will get over it. They'll play that one game it will take to turn them, whether it be at a friend's house or in Wal-mart. Either that or prices will go down. We may even see a rollercoaster of who-has-top-sales for a while.

Of will be a lot easier to get a feel for the future after the upcoming holiday passes.

Speculation: a practice in futility.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sony isn't the only proprietor of Bluray, everyone is looking for green... ponders why Bluray is labeled purely a Sony product, when that couldn't be further from the case.

Sony is one of 17 companies on the board of directors and the only company that gets credit for owning the Blu-ray standard.

Really? I am guilty of making the Sony-made-Bluray assumption because "proprietary" is Sony's middle name. They are pushing it more than any other company, and it will be in their possibly-no-longer flagship gaming console, the notorious PS3.

This article educated me on some of the reasons behind this format-war-fiasco. So up to now, these other businesses have totally had to pony up royalties for using DVD to Toshiba. No wonder they don't talk of hybrid Bluray-DVD discs and people question Bluray's backwards compatibility. And yet another slam: Sony has invested interests in MPEG2 which may explain why they haven't moved to a better codec on their current Bluray offerings.

Not that HD-DVD doesn't have it's own money-minded purposes. Microsoft has invested interest in iHD, which is the XML-based language for the interactive layer on HD-DVDs. Beyond that, HD-DVD also uses a Micrsoft codec. However, being in bed with Toshiba would mean no DVD royalty problems for them, and insured backwards compatbility for consumers.

Not that this should be any surprise; companies are in the business with the sole purpose of making money. However, much can be learned and speculated from here.

Edit 07/20/2006: Fixed quote link

PSP owners, it's time to move on...

Thomas Barton at (Gameworld Network) depressingly summarizes the PSP's probable future demise. The overview of the PSP's many faults are obvious, but he does introduce pricing comparisons and format competitions into the picture.

Important points:
  • Games cost more to develop leaving less return for publishers

  • No Killer App now or lined up in the future

  • Game sales are low

  • Too many watered down ports

  • UMD sales declining

  • Higher hardware costs for less gaming

  • High Load Times

  • Low Battery Life

Good, but too late?
  • PSX Emulation of 7000 games on the way (hopefully)

  • Great device for hackers/homebrewers

  • GPS and Camera on the way

Points I want to add:
  • The LCD screen is extremely cheap (ghosting, blurriness)

  • UMD movies costs more than DVD versions that have more features

  • Memory Sticks cost way more than standard SD or CF memory

  • It's difficult to keep homebrew because of forced updates

Regrettably, I am in full agreeance with Mr. Barton. The PSP has been completely outshined by the DS in their respective first years. While the ideas behind the PSP were very tantalizing, the execution has failed miserably and has possibly reached the point of no recovery.

Thomas suggests that you trade in your PSP while it's still worth money. I would have to agree if your funding is limited. The funds would be better put towards a DS, Wii, Xbox 360, or PS3. I'm not going to give up yet, because I find the PSP worth my $125 entry fee (I love ebay). But rather than allowing your dusty PSP lose any further value, you may consider just moving on. Tell it you love it, and it has been fun, but it's time for you to seek other opportunities.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Japanese get shafted on Street Fighter II for XBLA?

Engadget reports that the Japanese may not get the pleasure of Street Fighter II for XBLA. If I'm understanding correctly, they are suggesting that it will not be good enough for the Japanese user? That makes me worry a little bit...could they possibly f@$% up Street Fighter II?

Not being able to play some "pwning" individuals in Japan would be really disappointing. I guess they'd have to buy Xbox 360's before that could happen though.

Apologies for the horrible google translation. The title of the article should be, "No Street Fighter II for Japanese Xbox 360 players" per this article. Here is the original article in Japanese.

Xbox 360: Prey

No number of screenshots or explanations can convey what it is like to play Prey. As several a reviewer before me, an M.C. Escher reference is obligatory. If H.R. Giger and M.C. Escher were to combine forces and design a FPS game, then you would have nothing other than Prey.

Many of the levels leave you feeling that you're viewing a Giger piece of art through an Escher perspective. Gross biologically wasted environments house a portal-jumping nightmare. Although the game is fairly straight-forward, there is always some situation to keep you looking around and trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Prey never felt repetitive, leaving me continually plugging away at the game.

However, Prey falls short on the replay value side. All of the achievements could be obtained in a dedicated weekend, and the multiplayer can't compete with the likes of Halo 2. That isn't necessarily a negative point; these types of games make for perfect rentals.

Stuff that makes you go "F*@%, yeah!"

  • Sniping on gravity walls or making an enemy "fall up" is totally sweet

  • You've never seen these weapons before

  • Watching yourself about to go through a door that you're about to go through...

  • Tommy says what you're thinking in the game (i.e. "That was f*@%ed up!")

Stuff that makes you go "What the F*@%?"

  • Looking down shows that you do not exist

  • Never dying seems to take some of the challenge away

  • Typical non-optimized matchmaking (aka NOT HALO 2's matchmaking)

  • No CO-OP

On the positive side of the Sony Bungle Collection

Maybe the PS3 won't be so bad.

You get the feeling of the Microsoft-supporter cringing at some of the defenses he puts forth. However, he ignores the current stigma and brings some fresh pro-PS3 rebuttals to the table. It's a worthwhile read for any Xbox 360 nazi fanboy.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

PSP 2.71 Emulation Saves your Homebrew brings us the great news that v2.71 PSP firmware can now be emulated.

This means you can keep your precious v1.5 firmware without a taking one way trip to Sony's latest and not-so-greatest homebrew-restricting firmware. All those UMD games that force you to upgrade your firmware in order to play them won't know the difference. You can even use the features of v2.71, like the browser with flash support, etc.

Unfortunately, the PSP browser still sucks. I tried visiting since we now have flash support, but that was short-lived. The PSP ran out of memory, and I couldn't see the whole page anyway.

However, slapping in the Midway Arcade Classics UMD I've wanted to play finally resulted in gameplay! That was a nice change. Now I don't have to worry about buying any games made up to this point.

This is also a step in a positive direction for the homebrew scene. Firmware emulation means custom firmware can be made, and our trusty homebrewer's are bound to make an awesome featureset for the PSP.

PSP homebrew advocates have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The REAL purpose of Bluray

My Official Revelation spurred from this article:

Bluray's extra capacity is not for FMV cutscenes, multiple region coding, holding more game data, or even holding multiple movies. It's true underhanded purpose is space for excessive DRM, antipiracy measures, and rootkits!

Just think of how badly they could ruin your media and entertainment experiences with 16.5-41.5GB of extra space that's not being used by a game or movie!

Sony, those sneaky bastards and trying to blow up the ocean.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thanks to Robert Summa @ Joystiq

Robert elaborated on one of the articles I wrote a few days ago. Other than a few unavoidable unfriendly comments on the article, I think it went over well, and I felt Robert added some great points.

Thanks for your time, Joystiq and Joystiq readers!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

(Chalks up Bullet Witch as a title to add to the library)

Gameplay video here.

The video contains mostly running and gunning, but that is fine with me. The gameplay seems to be reminiscent of The Suffering: The Ties that Bind and maybe a little Resident Evil 4. I really enjoyed both of those games, so I'm left with no choice but to keep an eye on this one. The power of the Xbox 360 should help the environmental downfalls of the genre's predecessors as well.

Is it just me, or does the above picture make you think of KOS-MOS from Xenosaga?

Everyone is missing something

So what DON'T the new consoles have to offer now, and in the future?

PS3: The only new console without rumble.

Xbox 360: The only new console without motion control.

Wii: The only new console without HD support.

Those seem to be the big points. However, Sony could add rumble later, just as Microsoft could add motion control later. Nintendo cannot add HD support later though.

One would think that adding at least 720p support to the Wii would be doable. The original Xbox could it. An immediate assumption would be that the similarly powered Wii hardware could handle it, too.

Are rumble, motion control, and High Definition necessary? 2 out of 3 new consoles have each of these. Is the respective "odd man out" console to suffer in each case?
We hate waiting for answers. But it's good for our...anticipation skills, no?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Xbox 360 "First wave" titles revisited

One of the first games I purchased for the Xbox 360 was Perfect Dark Zero. I had never played the original N64 game, but the game had some hype and I wanted something to play.

After a few levels in, I was disappointed and just gave up on the game. Jo couldn't jump, there were bugs, and the game just didn't feel right to me. I let DemolitionNinja play the game through instead. When he was done, I traded it in shortly after.

I had a much better time with Quake 4, but I traded it in after completing the campaign. After downloading the demo recently, I'm regretting that I got rid of the game. I already plan on buying it again when the price goes down.

DemolitionNinja decided to download the PDZ demo because he was bored one day. He figured out the secondary and tertiary functions of all the weapons, and he was hooked. After playing the demo repeatedly, he went and bought the game. We played co-op, and I gave the game another chance.

This time I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We played through the campaign on the first two difficulty levels, and will probably try the other two. The game is no Halo, but the ability to take cover is much better than I initially gave it credit for. All of secondary weapon functions really add a lot to the game.

Yesterday, a friend was playing DOA4 so I dusted off the old Hori arcade stick and decided to join in. I hadn't played the game for months, so I did really horrible. Mark of shame? Definitely. I think I only won a single fight out of few dozen matches online.

Even though I'm not good at the game, it was great to hang out in the lobby and watch the fights before yours while talking to the other challengers. It renewed my interest in the game, and I may end up putting a concerted effort into figuring it out now.

What's interesting is that I previously had discarded the above games, yet now I'm finding that decision extremely premature. Not all is Sunny in Philadelphia for these games, but there is still a lot of fun replay value to be had. In hindsight, I'm guessing that "next gen excitement" left me running and gunning through these games a bit too quickly. I had attempted to try too many games at once to make sure I wasn't missing anything. Yet I missed everything.

Bluray sucks, now what? (One down, one to go)

Centre Daily Times says that HD-DVD clearly outshines Bluray. Commentors suggest that this relates to Sony still using MPEG2 instead of a better codec.

To me, it's more concerning that Bluray has more restrictions coming than HD-DVD. Them darn pirates just ruined the days of video plug n' play, didn't they? Thank Fox for being super-anal and claiming AACS isn't good enough.

Realistically, both formats suck. If Bluray can't make a prominent mark in the industry, its failure would only leave us waiting for HD-DVD to fail. Then the circle would be complete.

The real questions for us are: Will a Bluray failure knock a huge dent in Sony? Would they still be in good enough standing to continue to support the PS3? Would Sony swallow their pride and make an HD-DVD add-on if necessary?

Sony seems to be banking a bit too much on Bluray. For hardly having any successful formats of their own, it does seem a bit daring to attempt a history reversal once again, especially with multiple products.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Console Fanboys and Sequels: Exposed!

Did you ever notice that gamers and game journalists whine about there being a gajillion sequels, yet the reason to get the "next console" is because of a bunch of exclusive sequels? Final Fantasy 13, Metal Gear Solid 4, Gran Turismo 5, Devil May Cry 4, Halo 3, PGR3, Ghost Recon 4, Elder Scrolls 4, Super Mario Brothers 27, Metroid Prime 3, Zelda that enough examples?

The complainers are just human; we are suckers to familiarity. If you liked the previous version of a game or movie, you are bound to like a sequel, right? It's in our nature to avoid new things or "submit to change". Sequels are the answer to this fault of ours, yet they are simultaneously a downfall since they stifle new experiences.

First-party sequels are often the main argument used by warring fanboys. For fun, we'll take a look at some typical (and stereotypical) fanboy views I've gathered from my internet ventures. Not-generalizing is a practice in futility, but I'll do my best. We'll probably see some things that are ridiculous. Sequels are among the reasons some get die-hard over a console:

Continue reading...

Microsoft/Xbox fan-people

Why they support the consoles: As for the Xbox, they either waited to buy this "better" console [Xbox] or bought it after buying the PS2 and were disappointed from its lack of everything Sony promised. The Xbox had the best specs and features of the "last generation" and it had the only functional online service. The Xbox 360 is the latest and greatest that makes further use of said functional online service. And don't forget Halo 3 is coming.

Why they think the other consoles suck: They lack comprehensive online services such as Xbox Live. The PS2 and Gamecube have less features and were less powerful. They also follow the stereotype that Nintendo is for kids. The PS3 is overpriced and according to what they've seen/read, isn't any more powerful. And no other console has Halo.

Favorite Type of Gaming: Online Multiplayer

Possible Favorite Games: Halo 1 and/or 2

Secretly mad about: There not being enough RPGs.

Label: The Opinionated

Reality Check: The Xbox only outsold the Gamecube by 10-15%. Although it was the strongest system, the PS2's popularity resulted in devs spending less time on some Xbox games allowing for sub-standard results and poor PS2 ports. The premium Xbox 360 is available now, getting plenty of exclusives, and is 33% cheaper than the 'spensive PS3 that hasn't shown anything promised by Sony. That leaves a ridiculous amount of gloating room for Microsoft fan-people. However, aside from a fantastic online setup and excellent controller, Microsoft has yet to provide new control scheme which may or may not be important. Some gamers feel that the "good wave" of titles is taking too long to arrive.

Sony/Playstation fan-people

Why they support the consoles: The Playstation has the largest library, and has the most popular exclusives. It's sold 5 times the amount of the competition. The Playstation and Sony brands are familiar, so why change? And don't forget that Final Fantasy XIII is coming.

Why they think the other consoles suck: Most likely, they never tried the other consoles, or played them very briefly. The competition's library is smaller. As for the next generation, they assume the lack-of-RPG problem will continue into the 360's era. Microsoft sucks with Windows, so they can't possibly be good at gaming. As for the Gamecube and Wii, they're for kids. And you can't get the latest Final Fantasy/Metal Gear on the other consoles.

Favorite Type of Gaming: Single Player

Possible Favorite Game: Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy

Label: The Followers

Secretly mad about: Disc Read Errors, Price of the PS3

Reality Check: Even though the Playstation's library is large, it factors in PS1 games that aren't popular to date among hundreds of negligible titles. What holds the Playstation high in the ranks is it's bag full of popular exclusives and brand familiarity. Sony failed to deliver much of the promised features for the PS2, and we're already seeing the same type of thing with the PS3. The PS3 is very expensive, and seems to have become mainly a medium to push Bluray. However, fans of those exclusives have much to look forward to. If Sony can pull off a worthwhile online service, then Microsoft may twitch a little.

Nintendo fan-people

Why they support the consoles: They are totally content with Nintendo's first-party offerings. Nostalgic value is present for older gamers. No one can get enough of Mario or Zelda, right?

Why they think the other consoles suck: The other consoles don't have Nintendo's first-party titles. They aren't innovative in the next generation. The other consoles cost too much. They don't want to buy an HDTV. And they need their new Mario/Zelda/Metroid fix, which you can't get elsewhere.

Favorite Type of Gaming: Single Player or local "party" multiplayer

Possible Favorite Games: Mario, Zelda, Metroid

Label: The Loyal

Secretly mad about: The Gamecube's limited library

Reality Check: The Gamecube was the least selling console of the last generation. It also had the smallest software library. Although it was yet another console that was more powerful than the leader, it's power was mostly utilized by first-party developers instead of third-party developers. It also had the least amount of features. Nintendo's new direction of changing the way we play games is catching the attention of gamers desperate for a drastic change to revitalize the industry. They've succeeded with the DS and hope to see the same success with the Wii.


Note that the favorites were sequels, rather than newborn franchises. However, it's admittedly difficult to look aggressively forward to something you've never played and/or don't have a feeling for. Which leaves us looking to sequels.

Although the sequel favorites and other opinions listed may not apply to everyone, one can get a feel from journalists, commentors, and bloggers that what I listed seems somewhat accurate.

Hell, I'm no innocent. I love Halo 2, Metroid Prime 1/2, and Final Fantasy 7/8/10. The coming sequels are the games I cannot wait for. I guess without sequels, we really wouldn't know what to look forward to, would we? But how do we come across new games? There's no simple answer, but regardless of what we think, we likely can never be absolutely sure of what we want.

Edit 07/06/06: Fixed a couple spelling errors.

Xenosaga: Episode III

1up has the preview, although there's not much to report.

I still have yet to complete Episode II because it is so painful to play. The combat and leveling systems are just abysmal. Who the hell wants to waste a dozen turns just to create one attack that feels barely stronger than the attacks you wasted? As for leveling...nothing seems to make the characters distinct.

I almost want to just wait for Xenosaga Episodes I & II to come out for the DS and try playing the game that way. It's unfortunate that I'll be reduced to 2D cartoon graphics, but the story is what's important in this game. Maybe getting a rundown of Episode I's story wouldn't be so bad (aside from the long bonus DVD that came with Episode II).

Is it just me, or does remembering Xenogears make it extremely unfortunate that this series was not done by the masters at Square-Enix? Hopefully Monolith will redeem themselves with this early closure of the series.

Free online multiplayer = too much modding and hacking

Unfortunately, it looks like Metroid Prime: Hunters is seeing the modders and hackers a plenty. I've pointed out the potential free = hackers problem before, but haven't seen much response to it.

For those who play Halo 2 online a lot, they know about the dark times when half of the games played was screwed because of some idiot kid modders. All it took was jumping on the internet for a bit and learning how to ruin everyone's fun. Thankfully, Bungie and Microsoft made a concerted effort to cut down on these nefarious activities. The problem's severity has been tremendously reduced.

Isn't it interesting how these weak players figure their rank is what defines their soul, even if it wasn't achieved honestly?

Just imagine how quickly some dedicated programmers/hackers could egregiously get into the PS3's Linux and start negatively affecting games. Most likely, it would happen through game saves or cached files on the hard drive. All it will take is one semi-popular online game to turn PS3 online gaming into a fiasco.

Let's think of motivations from the console makers. With Xbox Live, Microsoft receives money from any user that isn't on a free trial. That's a big motivating factor for them to step in and ensure the best quality of service they can. Another motivating factor is that the people employed by Microsoft are also gamers. They are invovled in the community, and get to witness any problems first hand.

With a free online service, what is the motivation to rectify cheating? There's no direct money involved, so why spend man-hours trying to fix the problem? Even if steps were taking to stop these malicious game-ruiners, what's to stop them from easily creating multiple accounts repeatedly? No credit-card-required means they are anonymous enough to have little concern of not being able to come back.

Suddenly, the whole $5 a month to play online doesn't seem like such a bad idea ($60 a year/12 months). The police don't work for free; and I'd rather have some support than none at all.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Premium 1080p PS3 Gaming? Double the 360 price even with XBL.

I've seen many gamers try to offset the price differences between the Xbox 360 and the PS3. What I want to do, is make a list of what is optimal for gaming on both platforms, and see where we end up.

This is just for optimal gaming; we don't care about movies here. If you do, then this comparison isn't for you (although the results wouldn't vary much). I'll also be using Circuit City for price references.


Total: $4000

Xbox 360

Total: $2000

Now there are a few points I should cover.

Continue reading...

I'm aware that lower prices than Circuit City's can be found. I used CC because it is an actual store a gamer could go to and purchase these items, unlike many online stores. Not everyone is comfortable ordering online yet.

As for televisions, I could have priced out plasmas. Plasmas look great, but sometimes the picture can be ridiculously crisp and there can be shadowing or ghosting. I've not seen this problem in a projection screens so I stick with them for now.

The same 1080p television for the PS3 would work with the Xbox 360, raising it's total. However, the 360 won't need 1080p support, so why not go with a bigger and cheaper HDTV (that's HDMI compatible)? Simply put, there are more HDTV options for the standard 720p/1080i support.

Note that on the reverse side of the coin, the prices level out if the PS3 isn't used with a 1080p HDTV. This ends up working out with the buyer getting a PSP instead of paying for Xbox live, assuming the buyer would play online.

The PSP may not be necessary, but neither is premium gaming. Since Sony is "committed" to making it an integral part of the PS3 experience, it really should be included for this comparison.

When it comes to games, I'm assuming that Sony will make an effort to at least keep the prices down to $60 a pop. When Hirai suggests it could be more than $60 and less than $100, I get a bit concerned but stay optimistic.

I also made a point to include a console life-cycle's worth of XBL because the "but Sony's is FREE" remark. Personally, I don't consider $5 a month a problem as long as it extends replay value and is regulated (to stunt hackers/modders).

The same surround sound system could be used in both instances, so I didn't bother to include its price here.

Naturally, prices are subject to change, and technologies are bound to either flourish or die. A lot could change in the next couple of years, but as it stands now, Sony premium gaming is quite expensive at the moment.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How the Next Gen consoles fail to be "future proof"


802.11g wireless

The highest speed this runs is 54Mbps. That's almost half of the standard Fast Ethernet (100Mbps wired). 802.11n runs at 100+Mbps is just around the corner. A USB adapter is feasible, but you're paying for this permanent installation.


It cannot be future-proof until the format is popular and established. This could potentially take longer than the PS3's life-cycle. A better description would be "future-resistant" as there are viable threats (HD-DVD, Holographic, Downloadable Content). "Future-proof" and "Gamble" aren't terms that should be used to describe the same product.

Cell Processor

Sony has been unable to prove that it is viable for gaming with it's single core processor. Microsoft says the Cell is the weaker processor of the two. Although the report was provided by Microsoft, the architecture of the processors would seem to agree for their comparisons. The real question is: What is more important, number-crunching or general purpose processing? The answer is: We'll see how developers do. Again, "future-resistant".

No HDMI port ('tard "Core" PS3)

Sony's hooplah about "True HD" at 1080p sure isn't in the vision for this one. There are a few televisions that support 1080p over component, but they do not do it well; you'd be better off with 720p. It's evident that more and more televisions are going the HDMI route as well.

Xbox 360


This isn't upgradeable as Microsoft has committed to the format for games. DVD9, although probably enough for this generation, can't be considered future-proof unless Bluray/HD-DVD meets demise before the next iteration of the console.

100Mbps Fast Ethernet

1000Mbps is up and coming, but not widely accepted. A USB adapter is feasible, but you're paying for this permanent installation unlike their wireless adapter.


No HD support

The Wii doesn't support High Definition. SDTV's are on the way out and being replaced by HDTV sets as we speak. It doesn't get more prone to outdated-ness than this.

"Broadway" CPU

This may simply not have enough processing power. Information thus far would lead one to believe that the Wii will have a 729Mhz processor. Others suggest almost 2Ghz. If it isn't multiple cores, then a multitasking future for it may be bleak.

Built-in wireless

Same problems as the Premium PS3. 802.11n is the future.