Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fanboy wars infect ebay

I was briefly perusing ebay when I noticed an "eye-catching" guide on the left.

Here is an rather "praise-worthy" example of a person who doesn't know how to turn off CAPS LOCK.

Even better is this quote:


Sounds noble, right? This gentleman (or woman) also seems to already know that the HD-DVD attachment is $250, the PS3 runs at 2GFLOPS (disproven by IBM already), and that the PS3 will "edge out" the Xbox 360 (just like the Xbox edged out the PS2, right?).

He must also must have missed that part in E3 where Kutaragi's original 7-controllers claim was revoked. 7 Bluetooth devices, but only 4 of those can be controllers (not that this is a problem).

Sony is brilliant. They construct a superior set of fallacies in the beginning before they have anything tangible. Said claims are what people listen to, and those people never follow up. This person obviously wouldn't be as excited if Sony had come clean from the get-go.

This may have been forgivable if the author wouldn't have written it post-E3. Even then, although the guide was updated today, the information provided hasn't been updated.

*wags finger* Tsk, tsk.

Non-chrome controller shells coming (again)

I was not a fan of the Chrome 360 controller shells, but the above black-white-green combo is a bit more to my taste (but my stock guide button stays!).

I was also considering the Black Knight case, but realized that 90% of my 360 is already covered in a custom Aliens vs Predator "skin". I think that a set of black-on-white controllers would be fitting.

The one unfortunate thing about controller shells and replacement cases is they can't cover all the bases. Your memory card, remote, charger, batteries, HD-DVD drive, camera, steering wheel, etc. will still be white.

I'm surprised Microsoft didn't come up with controllers-with-faceplates to take advantage of this idea. Hell, they could have made face-plates for all the accessories that had a base color of white. A good sign would have been that the intial groups of controller faceplates sold out, and haven't been seen since.

PS3: 80% opaque and liquid-cooled

Kotaku reports that someone with a "Fishie" moniker brings us a picture of the PS3's apparent transparentness.

what you see is a huge fan that circulates the air trough the unit so it blows out from the vents on the side the unit also has liquid cooling pipes running trough it [sic]

I'm sure one the Sony PR-killers (aka Phil, Kaz, and Ken) mentioned liquid-cooling before because the PS3 was supposed to be "quiet" to allow for a better Blu-ray experience.

I wonder if Microsoft will shape up and put liquid cooling in a later version of their popular oven console?

Note: %80 is some arbitrary spec that stems from my uncontrollable ninja imagination.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Major Nelson brings us XNA Express

Think you've got the game programming skills? Then try XNA Express Beta.

While the Major's "maybe one day I'll be posting about the Xbox Live Arcade title that YOU have developed" comment may invigorate some motivated soul to invest a plethora of coding time, I'm doubtful of my own desire to actually do anything with this.

I'll download it anyway. It looks like GarageGames is lending their Torque X tools to help get you started as well. That's a plus.

Looks like you'll need to know C#. I unfortunately, learned worthless Java. Then again, C# shouldn't be that hard to get a hang of if I can get Visual Studio .NET.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PS3 Blue laser diodes shortage not unlike Xbox 360 GDDR3 memory shortage?

Vaguely remember the "cause" of the Xbox 360 shortages? It was probably that pesky GDDR3 memory.

It looks like Sony may end up in a similar boat except with blue-laser diodes. Apparently, blue-laser diode yields are fairly low, and the few manufacturers of the product have demand-exceeding-supply problems. I'll speculate that the upcoming 360's HD-DVD attachment and the PS3 console aren't helping this situation.

This may not be a problem for Sony as they have just halted shipping out these parts to outside customers. They are likely hoping to ensure the PS3 launch numbers are appropriate.

However, Microsoft did think they could keep up with demand, but it ended up being out of their control. Sony claims to have comparatively "more control" over their manufacturing processes, which we'll have to see if it's enough to get them to their goals. They still rely on outside parts, so there's still hiccups waiting to happen.

It seems to me that the PS3 launch is going to end up as a last-minute venture anyway (they haven't started manufacturing yet?), and shortages will be eminent. They may not be as bad as they were for the 360, but there will be shortages nonetheless.

What concerns me, is if yields are actually low, then there could be a dangerous future for PS3's. It spells potential problems in the form or warranty work. Many have already experienced the PS2's DRE fiasco, and I'm sure they wouldn't be too happy to go through it again.

If Sony was charging $40 to fix a DRE-inducing laser, I don't even want to know what it will be for an out-of-warranty PS3's blu-ray laser.

Let's hope for a quality Playstation product.

Xbox 360 - Enchanted Arms, Phantasy Star: JRPG or bust?

My long awaited Enchanted Arms appears to be raking in the "average" reviews.

Disappointing. The good points range from the battle system to the graphics, while the bad points range from overdone voice acting to a non-gripping storyline. However, I am keeping in mind that this is a "From Software" game; they aren't exactly known for their RPGs.

I can still hope the game will be a good departure from the Final Fantasy and Xenosaga games I am accustomed to.

On the other hand, the upcoming Phantasy Star Universe still sounds promising per's hands on experience. From the sounds of it, this game won't be as monotonous as it's Dreamcast/Xbox/Gamecube/PS2 outing.

While I liked Phantasy Star Online initially, the game felt contrived after a while, as though it was made for multiplayer and that the single player was just tacked on. It wasn't able to keep my attention very long, and I wasn't about to buy the Gamecube broadband adapter and pay additional money to play the game.

Phantasy Star Universe sounds as though it may be either better balanced or the complete opposite of its predecessor. From teamxbox's description, I'm thinking that the multiplayer is now the "addition" as opposed to the single player. There's really not enough information.

What I do know is that I've been dying for a quality Phantasy Star title since the days of the Genesis. The Super Nintendo Final Fantasy offerings always bugged me because the characters all looked like brightly colored squashed people. Phantasy Star 2-4 didn't have that problem at all. In addition to the non-troll-looking characters, I've always dug the "futuristic" approach, which Phantasy Star is more known for than its competition. Futuristic stories are how Final Fantasy 7 and 8 finally reeled me into RPGs after the Genesis.

At this point, I will probably buy Enchanted Arms anyway. Phantasy Star will be a must. Since Final Fantasy X-2 was the last RPG I played all the way through, it's time for a change and these offerings will hopefully fill the void.

Edit 08/30/2006: A commenter corrected me. Enchanted Arms is published by Ubisoft, but developed by From Software. I knew that from before; a slip of the brain I guess. Thanks!

Frank Rose @ Wired gets Sony's situation spot-on

Frank's article personifies my feelings on Sony as a company quite well. There's several choice quotes I can take from the article that I have to post before further comment:
[The] PR fiascoes tend to be a sign that [Sony's not] thinking about the customer.

With DVD players now in 85 percent of US homes, sales fell in 2005 for the first time - so some manufacturers may need a next-gen disc player, but it's not clear consumers do.

Of course, with stand-alone Blu-ray players starting at $1,000, the PS3 is actually a bargain - if a Blu-ray player is what you really want. If not, $600 is a lot of money.

Sony has always been at its best as a personal hardware company, coming up with nifty gadgets that delight consumers. In recent decades, though, it's become oddly fixated on imposing its own standards -– Betamax for VCRs, the Mini-Disc for digital music players, the Universal Media Disc for PlayStation Portable, the Memory Stick for anything you can think of - despite the world's unwavering rejection of those standards.

Continue reading...

Sony has never displayed an aptitude for software or had great success with networking, the key feature Microsoft has built into the Xbox.

One prominent industry figure, not associated with a console maker, recalls having lunch a couple of months ago with a game-company development chief who wondered aloud if Sony was going to pull a Sega - that is, go from number one console manufacturer to out of the business.

Sony Electronics needs to embrace the networked world, obviously, but does it really need to be allied with a Hollywood film studio and a consumer-wary global music label in a global campaign against Microsoft? Probably not. It just needs to make cool products for the century we live in.

I liked Sony products a lot better when they were high-end, reliable, and did one or two things really well. The "Sony = good" association from the 90's seemed to disolve around the turn of the century. While Sony is still able to produce some great Television and Camera equipment, their other electronics have really lost their luster. Think "Disc Read Error" and roll your eyes. Think "Xplod" and cringe.

As mentioned in one of the above quotes, Sony's imposed standards are just not acceptable for consumers. Memory Sticks are a great example of this. Secure Digital memory is a much more widely used format than Sony's overpriced proprietary junk that only works in Sony products. It's frustrating to have a wonderful camera and then come to find that the memory it takes costs twice as much as the standard flash memory that you may already have (SD, CF). It makes for a very poor consumer experience.

Sony obviously needs to give up on setting standards for formats and get back to improving the experience like they used to. Their choices with the PS3 aren't going to help them in moving in a positive direction. Business is business, but the consumer is what keeps businesses alive. Don't forget about them.

Burnout 5 to be rebuilt from the ground up brings to our attention a little info about the future of reckless driving, a.k.a. the next Burnout.

The blogger probably didn't know that it is old news that the next Burnout installment would be an open world in the vein of the latest Test Drive game. If memory serves correctly, I learned about these plans from Game Informer several issues back.

Paradise City, with an infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads, is where the action will take place, and every intersection of the city said to be a potential crash junction.

The good news to me is that they plan on building the game from the ground up:

"Burnout 5 is a complete reinvention of the series, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360" -Alex Ward, Director of Game Design, Criterion Games

Hopefully this means they will build the game complete anew, making for a fresh experience. Although I didn't care for the Test Drive demo on XBL, I do want to see a Burnout twist on the idea. Drive once, crash anywhere.

Sounds like a blast to me, I can't wait.

BC update brings us Counterstrike (finally)

Most of the major sites are reporting that we are getting a Xbox 360 BC update..

There's still no "Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks" but we do finally get to play Counterstrike. I bet a lot of people are burned out on that one, although it is a nice break from Halo 2.

Half Life 2 (Updated), Lego Star Wars II, and the Suffering are also worth a mention.

Other than the aforementioned MK:SM, some games I would like to see in the future are: the Suffering: The Ties that Bind, Legend of Dragoon: Orta, Prince of Persia 2/3, Psychonauts, and Indigo Prophecy.

If you want a printout, visit Major Nelson to get the full BC list in PDF form for your "shopping for old treasures" adventures.

Update: Did anybody notice that Lego Star Wars II isn't even out yet, but it is on the BC list? Did Microsoft work with them to ensure BC? Too bad they didn't do this with some other games.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Good XBLA Joystick Solution

I've come up with a minor hack to improve the Hori DOA4 joystick making it near perfect for XBLA games.

Unfortunately, I don't have a camera at the moment to take a good picture, but I'll do my best to explain.

The problem with the Hori DOA4 joystick is that it works in a "square" configuration instead of the expected "octagon" or "circle" configuration. The square configuration makes for plenty of unintended directional frustrations in games like Pacman or Street Fighter 2.

The problem with Hori's design is that the bottom of the joystick is round in a square template. There is a plastic cover on the bottom of the Hori joystick that has the square "template" that needs to be removed. In it's place, some washers are needed as spacers on the 4 screws. This gives the stick a bit more freedom, although it doesn't fix the "square" problem.

I've concluded that the bottom of the Hori stick needs a square bottom in order to change it to a "circle" configuration, just like the MK2 joysticks below...

I pulled off the round plastic "spring retainer" on the bottom of the Hori stick, and found a square nut to put in it's place. The square nut has to be big enough to almost touch the joystick switches. This makes for a more circular feel when moving the joystick because the square nut can not go as far into the corners as the round "spring retainer" can.

Wow, this is really hard to explain without pictures. I'll see what I can do. I know it will help more people than myself. I'm loving a more accurate Pacman and Street Fighter II experience.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Maybe the PS3 Boomerang Controller wasn't a bad design

Remember this conceptual abomination? I'm guilty of hating its look, but my opinion was based on the principal that it functioned exactly the same as today's Dual Shock 2 controller.

This came about when I was trying to adapt a better joystick to my Hori DOA4 Arcade Stick. I had pulled a stick from a generic Pelican stick, and noticed that there was a rumble motor inside. This initiated a "rumble = good" conversation with Jaret, my trouble-maker room mate. It turned to a conversation about motion-control. For the record, Jaret is almost a Sony fanboy; he likes his Playstations.

Jaret was in disdain of the PS3's motion sensing abilities. Back in the day, he had purchased a motion sensing controller for the PC. It was for use with some motorcycle game. He claims it was just too uncomfortable, and he hated it.

"I just can't imagine having to turn left and right with this," he said while 'steering' a PS2 controller in the air.

I mentioned that the new controller would probably be lighter and more comfortable since it would be without rumble motors inside.

Epiphany. Suddenly, this animated gif made sense.

" holding a steering wheel..."

Back then, we didn't know that Sony had intentions of putting motion sensing in the PS3 controller. So the open mockery made sense. But longer grips would be a definite plus if "waving around" the controller was the plan. And if it "felt like holding a steering wheel", then motion-controlled driving games would be a good home for the boomerang design.

We also didn't know that rumble was going to be removed. This would make for a light, easy to hang on to, and easy to move around controller. In the end, I now think it would have been a better candidate than the Dual Shock 2 design will be. The Dualshock seems that it would be stubby and awkward for motion control.

Maybe Sony shouldn't have lied about sticking with the boomerang controller?

Personally, I still want rumble. And I want the left analog stick and d-pad transposed since the d-pad's usage is getting reduced in newer games.

Opinions are welcome in the comments.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

*winces in fear of getting shot* Super Smash Bros Killer?

The blogger formerly known as Sense points us to a couple of character photos from Gastronaut's upcoming XBLA title: Small Arms.

While Richard points to that frickin' mean lookin' chicken, I'm going to say that this Snipin' Assassin Swine is damn dirty dangerous lookin'.

From commenters who have feasted eyes upon the gameplay video, some are already seeming to write the game off as a Super Smash Brothers clone. The similarity in gameplay is quite obvious, but I bet this game will be able to stand on its own.

I never liked Super Smash Brothers as it felt to me like a wimpy fighter that's main benefit was 4-player gaming. Adding ballistic weapons to the scene and some less "cute" characters will probably make for a better combination. I'm sorry, but I never felt Mario and the gang were meant to be in the fighting genre. Then again, with online multiplayer support with voice, SSBM could be a lot more entertaining.

More than likely, Small Arms will succeed for those who didn't like SSBM, but may not sit well with SSB fans.

The order I look for games

Whenever I hear of a new game, the first thing I want to know is what console it is going to be on. I love multi-platform games because they allow me to avoid buying a game for the PS2, unless the game is otherwise only available for PC.

When I want a game, the following is the order of platform I check for:

  1. Xbox 360

  2. Xbox

  3. Gamecube (to be replaced by Wii)

  4. PS2 (to be replaced by PS3)

  5. Nintendo DS

  6. PSP

  7. PC

That's right; the PC is absolutely last on my list. That surprises people, especially when I tell them I have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. Sure, with PC's you can always have the latest and greatest hardware (for about a week). To me, buying a $600 video card that is only good for mere months is a waste. I'd rather buy a Xbox 360 or PS3 that will last half a century!

I find it unfortunate that Microsoft had to drop support for the original Xbox. It had so much more potential than the PS2 or the Gamecube, but we'll never get to see what could have been. On the other hand, it really wasn't benefiting them to keep putting money towards it, so concentrating on the 360 is probably the best strategy for them.

What's nice about the 360 and PS3 is that we're going to get some PC ports. Some gamers whine about that, but I think it's great. There are several games I would have otherwise never tried to play, such as FEAR, Phantasy Star Online, Half-Life 2, and Quake 4.

Anyway, there are exceptions to my ordered list; I'm not too strict. Beyond Good and Evil was a game I really wanted to get for another console, but the PS2 version was on a close-out sale so I bought it. I only regret that slightly (the other consoles have better analog sticks).

Do any multiple-console owners want to shed light of their multi-platform-order-of-preference for games?

More bad bits for Bluray

It looks like HD-DVD has outsold Blu-ray by 33% in their respective 6-week launch windows. However, Samsung's Bluray Player's high price allowed them to capture 42% more revenue with less sales. That's great for Samsung, but not so good for Blu-ray as a whole.

This means that right now, there are more HD-DVD players in consumer hands than Blu-ray players.

But most significantly:

Overall high-def players are still playing an insignificant role of all disc player sales in the market. NPD said that HD DVD and Blu-ray players accounted for only 0.4% of all disc player sales. DVD players came in at 86.2%, DVD recorders at 13.4%.

Obviously, this will change in the future. If Microsoft releases their HD-DVD drive before the PS3 comes out, I wonder if that will give HD-DVD sales a significant boost? Or on the other end of the spectrum, will the PS3's debut help Blu-ray catch up? Or will Blu-ray gain a negative association and harm the PS3's status since the Blu-ray is required? At the same time, could Xbox 360 owners could look down on the hefty HD-DVD add-on?

I mentioned that I couldn't find a Blu-ray player at Sears. One of my room mate's works there, and he said that they don't even carry Blu-ray at that store. Of course, they don't carry current games either. Hmmm...

Still, will this HD-DVD out-performing Blu-ray trend continue? CNET's not counting chickens, but they aren't giving Blu-ray any extra points. They recently re-evaluated the Toshiba HD-DVD player and the Samsung Blu-ray player. Samsung's Blu-ray player DECREASED in score (6.6 to 5.8) and Toshiba's HD-DVD player INCREASED in score (6.6 to 6.9). Ouch.

Currently, is still reporting more success for HD-DVD on It's not looking promising for the Blu-ray camp when it comes to movies.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Xbox 360 Upcoming Accessories Preview

We've got some good looking accessories coming our way, except for maybe that HD-DVD drive. Then again, a stand alone HD-DVD player is huge, Bluray players are huge, and the PS3 is huge. I still don't see what all the HD-DVD and Bluray fuss is about.

I'm growing quite accustomed to the "white" theme of the Xbox 360, although I still wish they would provide other colors. Consistency is important, and I'll take the white/gray/green motif over the "black with ridges" design of the PS2 (which felt so...80s), the "kiddie fun" design of the Gamecube, and the BIG design of the original Xbox.

The steering wheel looks solid, and such is indicated in the commentary. Thus far, I've been unsuccessful in playing a game effectively with a wheel and pedals. Could this change that? I doubt it, but I'd love to give it a go anyway.

That wireless headset is somewhat of a godsend. I get so sick of the headset cord dangling on me. This is one that just cannot come fast enough. I do know that a Bluetooth headset exists, but the official wireless headset is half the price and better looking.

As for the camera, it seems that it will be a nice addition to any Xbox Live setup. I'm mostly interested to see how it will be used in games besides video-chatting.

Now for a good question: Where is the PC wireless adapter for the 360 controllers?

Updating my console links ------>

For those who are too hurried to explore, I wanted to point out that the "Systems" sections on the sidebar actually has links. "Systems" will take you to some less-than-perfect pictures of my gaming rigs, and each console has a link to more information.

For each console, I will be posting pictures (if Jessica ever finds her camera), listing games I have, listing accessories I have, and listing games that I want to have. When I get around to it, I'll probably do a short write-up on my opinions of each. I don't have many games left for the DS, PSP, and PSOne, so I'll get to those later.

If anyone has suggested games that aren't my "to get" lists, feel free to put them in the comments. Tell me what makes the game great as well.

Monday, August 21, 2006

HD-DVD player on a Sony TV, no Bluray player in sight

Interesting. I saw the $500 HD-DVD player playing through a Sony television in Sears yesterday. Even more interesting: they were just playing a regular DVD in it.

I looked for a Bluray unit and there wasn't one to be found.

Still, it's a little funny that the HD-DVD player was connected to it's competitor's television. I wonder if I'll see a Bluray player hooked up to a Toshiba television?

What's more important is that consumers and retailers aren't associating the manufacturer's to the products. My friend mentioned to me that only I would see the irony in competing company's products working together, because most people wouldn't know who makes what.

I really wanted to go around asking random people if they knew what Bluray was, and then ask them if they knew what HD-DVD was. If more than a couple people surveyed knew what Bluray was, I would be really surprised.

If I was right, then I don't necessarily think we'll see people buying PS3's just for the Bluray player.

Edit: Check out; the format has been updated

Thursday, August 17, 2006

August games thus far...

Misfortune is upon us. Apparently the long awaited Dirge of Cerebus is a grand disappointment rather than the expected refreshing take on the franchise. The gamplay video left the game looking promising, too.

This seems to be another instance where the in-game pre-rendered cut-scenes probably take away from the game, separating the player from the story. I've always enjoyed scripted scenes more because they help keep the player involved in the story as opposed to cutting to some beautiful but out-of-place pre-rendered video. It's even better when you have to pay attention during cut-scenes/dialogue like in Resident Evil 4 or Indigo Prophecy. I'm hoping the "Next Gen" will remove the need for extravagant non-controlled cut-scenes in games.

Maybe they should have gone more for a platformer instead of a 3rd person shooter. More Ninja Gaiden/Devil May Cry and less Resident Evil 4. I guess I'll have to actually play the game before making a final judgment. But with such poor ratings, I'm not about to drop $50; I'll wait until it's about half of that.

As for the Dead Rising Demo, it definitely has me interested in the game. The developers skillfully made it amusing even though you can't actually accomplish anything game-wise. All a demo player can do is kill/humiliate zombies and the protagonist within a specified area of the mall. Somehow, it is still amusing. DR could be considered Grand Theft Resident Evil if you will.

The main problem I have with Dead Rising are its controls. Something as simple as keeping the camera changing positions when going for precision-aiming gets really annoying. To go along with that, there are some button combinations that don't come naturally, so a non-instruction-book-reading gamer may not figure them out.

However, the available methods of madness and destruction are quite pleasing. Capcom did a superb job of providing weapons, melee, and what I'll call "hooding" (putting something in or on a zombie's head so they can't attack you). They got pretty creative, and I approve of the new take.

If you want to read a bit more, Brian Crecente at Kotaku has some interesting gripes and praises about the game.

I think Dead Rising will be a definite purchase, but I may not pick it up right away. Maybe I'm getting too money-conscious? Games without multiplayer that aren't RPGs are starting to seem like less value for the money. Then again, Tomb Raider: Legends was excellent in my opinion.

My real problem is that I'm behind on the games I do have. I'm trying to get enough out of my purchases before moving to the next game. Maybe game droughts aren't that bad. They give us time to work on the games we've slacked off on.

We'll see how I feel when Xenosaga III comes out later this month. I doubt I can resist it, especially at the low price of $40.

Is google your homepage? Then you need these gamertag gadgets

One thing about is that it isn't drenched in advertisements like,, or While this is a godsend, it does leave my favorite search engine's page quite naked.

GooMGC is here to decorate. There are a few modules available, such as a gamerscore chart, a gamercard overview (you and several of your friends), and a Marketplace points to cash converter. No Xbox Live 360 fan should be without these great modules.

Note that should change your homepage to to make use of these features. There will be some other modules there, but you can customize what you want to see. For example, I don't care about news, but "word of the day" and the "stock ticker" are modules I'm interested in.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Reggie of Nintendo a little too cocky?

USA today has an interview with NOA's own Reggie Fils-Aime.
Q: Microsoft has made the comment that people can buy an Xbox 360 and Wii for about the same price as a PlayStation 3. Would you mind terribly if that happened?

A: I'd much rather have the consumer buy a Wii, some accessories, and a ton of games, vs. buying any of my competitor's products.

I know this guy works for Nintendo and everything, and this is the very "professional" response. Really though, I thought it was cool that the Microsoft guys were honest about being Nintendo fans and that they made the comment that led to sites such as

In the end, I know I will thoroughly enjoy the Wii. However, I'm still a bit ill-confident in it's overall and in-the-long-run entertainment factor. The only thing I'm excited for at this point is Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Motion control done Nintendo's way seems like it will be a blast, but I still don't get the feeling that it will fulfill all my gaming needs.

Continue reading...

The Xbox 360 has really done me in with higher resolution graphics. Going back to play a last generation console (i.e. Gamecube, Xbox, PS2) now feels like playing a PSOne game did 2 years ago. That's probably why I felt Shadow of the Colossus' overall graphics were horrible. The game was fun to play, but the graphic downfalls did take away from the game.

My point being that Nintendo seems a bit over confident for having a comparatively weak system. I can't see the Wii being a system that I'll want to play every day, download demos, and get in long gaming sessions in with.

The motion controller will be a refreshing experience, but all non-Wii-remote gaming won't cease to exist. Sure, we have Gamecube controller support and can use the Wii Remote sideways...but at that point, wouldn't you just want to play a PS3 or an Xbox 360 instead?

The online functions sound good, but I doubt it will be much compared to Xbox live. I'm not so sure if they will have the content flow necessary to appease those of the gaming hobbies.

Don't get me wrong, the nostalgic value of the Nintendo, Hudson, and Sega back catalogs are enticing. However, I still feel that Microsoft will be able to bring a better variety of current casual games to the table. They have the money and connections to do so, and they are also making efforts to work with small time developers. Nintendo and Sony claim to be doing the same thing, but Microsoft is a software company, and I feel they are better suited to get solid development tools in the right hands.

I hope Nintendo really can grab a bunch of new casual gamers and bring them into the market. It will do them well, just like the DS did for them. They just need to remember not to get too caught up in the casual gamers market, because long-time gamers will require more attention to be entertained in the long run.

Monday, August 14, 2006

1080p vs 1080i? Waste of time battle

Check this link.

Eek...Sony blowing smoke up our rears AGAIN?

I'll tell you one thing: On a rear-projection HDTV, the difference between 720p and 1080i/p is essentially negligible in my opinion. On LCD or Plasma HDTVs, the difference is a little more noticeable, albeit not breathtaking. In other words, there's no need to waste money just to ensure 1080i/p support.

We've got a CRT HDTV, a rear-projection HDTV, and an LCD HDTV in our house. They all look good, but I think the LCD TV is a bit TOO crisp. The CRT and projection TVs seem to soften the picture a little bit to even out the picture in my opinion.

The Return of well....ME.

Don't ask me about the just picked it. Worthless information of the day:

About 18 years ago, my online/computer/programming moniker was "DragoNinja". Don't let that fool you; I wasn't some idiot hacker or anything I just liked to mess around nerdily. How times have changed. No, I'm not in my 30's yet.

It's been a week since my "official hiatus" which I officially took for the most part. I won't lie to you; I've written a couple of articles in the meantime, but I didn't post them. I'll review them and recover them from saved draft mode (and I'll post them earlier than this post).

Part of of the reason I needed a break was that I'm trying to get married, and Jessica has been on my mind a lot more in the past month than playing games. I find out more tomorrow, but I'm not sure if I'll be sharing what happens here. Wish me luck!

And Jessica, I love you!

I couldn't help it...

Joystiq points us to a Xbox 360 vs PS3 mockup size comparison. More comment riots ensued. I could only play follow the leader my opinion. Here are some excerpts of my comment:

God that PS3 is an abomination. It's such a hideous wanna-be-futuristic design that looks like a smashed hotdog airplane. I don't want the batmobile on display in my living room, I want something simple that isn't an eyesore. The PS3 makes me think of that stupid high school kid that wore distracting clothes and had an idiot's haircut just to get attention that no one wanted to give him/her.

The Japanese are hard for Sony, so I don't think the size is going to matter that much for them. Sony offers everything over there from home electronics to makeup to insurance. Lipstick must be $100, HDCP compatible, and only comes in one color because they've made the choice for you.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bluray becoming an indirect problem for the PS3?

Looks like Warner released some movies on HD-DVD and Bluray format: Training Day, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Rumor Has It. brings us the overview.

Suffice to say, HD-DVD wins out again. The Bluray camp really needs to get a handle on their inferior-looking product.

Could the Bluray logo end up hurting the PS3? If consumers end up viewing Bluray as a failed and/or inferior format, then seeing a Bluray logo on a PS3 box may make them think twice.

Should I mention that the name HD-DVD is inherently better for the consumer than Blu-ray? When a non-geek hears Blu-ray, it means nothing. HD-DVD's meaning is obvious. High Definition DVD. The consumer doesn't need to know the back story, or even which company is providing it.

Again, if Blu-ray continues to be have a lesser picture, sub-par and over-priced players, and an outdated codec, then they might as well dig their own grave.

So far, this format war doesn't seem like it is going to last very long. Even we really need a new format?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hiatus is here

Remember how I talked about taking a vacation from this blog? I did okay, but I can do better!

Everyone has to find something that floats their proverbial boat. Last weekend I floated for a weekend on a literal boat. Although I had my PSP and my DS with me, I only turned them on a couple of times and played for less than 5 minutes. At that point, I knew I needed to take a serious break from gaming. I've had a 2 year fanatical run since I graduated college and earned myself a ridiculous amount of free time.

I've missed a few important non-gaming related things along the way, and it's time to find a balance. Everyone needs balance! So while balance includes not abandoning my gaming passion, it does call for an actual break of sorts. My life may change for the better or worse in the coming week, and I want to concentrate on that.

Never forget to breathe some fresh air once in a while. It's good for you, I promise.

See you soon!

"Cheating" in SF2 single player on XBLA

This worked on the original versions, but maybe some people have forgotten.

In order to defeat the game, the only AI character you need to defeat is M. Bison. However, you'll need two 360 controllers to do so.

Have the second player select a non-Bison character. Defeat the 2nd player. This will knock that character off the list of opponents you need to defeat to beat the game. Repeat with every other character. This DOES NOT work with M. Bison, but that's okay. You need to earn something if you take the easy way out.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bluray not really moving units...HD-DVD FTW? is reporting slow hardware sales for Bluray as opposed to immediate sellout for HD-DVD.

At Value Electronics, which specializes in selling HDTVs in its Scarsdale, N.Y., store and online, initial Blu-ray player sales have been slow, president Robert Zohn said. Of the 12 Samsung players in stock, Zohn has sold only two.

On the other hand, he can’t keep HD DVD in stock. “HD DVD players are selling even better now given the poor reviews” of Blu-ray, Zohn said, adding, “We’re well-known for HD DVD.”

This goes along with an article I wrote earlier about Bluray to HD-DVD comparisons. We should keep an eye on for trend references.

I've got to quote myself from a previous article, because it is a good question:
More companies are behind Bluray, but more consumers seem to be behind HD-DVD. Which is more important?

I'm still voting for a dual failure...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

August games I've got my eyes on

Dead Rising - Xbox 360 - Release date: 08/08/2006
Every time I see a video for this game I just want to "chop 'til I drop". When it comes to weapons, I like options. I especially like melee. Dead Rising seems that it will provide all of the above. We shall see.

Enchanted Arms
- Xbox 360 - Release date: 08/29/2006
The first non-knights-in-lame-shining-armor-and-non-first-person RPG for the 360. Who wouldn't be excited? Oblivion was a game that I just couldn't enjoy, but Enchanted Arms looks to be more my style.

Xenosaga Episode III - PS2 - Release date: 08/29/2006
No, I still haven't completed Episode II. No matter; the release of the final episode will totally invigorate me. I can only pray that Square-Enix can get ahold of this license and fix it someday. It's still a great break from Final Fantasy 27,000.

FF7: Dirge of Cerebus - PS2 - Release date: 08/15/2006
This game better be cool...there's been way too much FF7 hype in the last year. When watching a room mate cruise through it, the nostalgia was insane. The videos thus far have been enticing.

Why the Xbox 360 is the best value for me at the moment!

Two words: Replay Value.

Xbox Live
Until Sony or Nintendo pony up with a somewhat comprehensive online service, Microsoft has no competition in this area. Between online multiplayer to downloading game demos and videos, it makes for an experience that you can't put down. While you can these things on a PC, the "blade" setup and controller make it fast and easy.

The Return of the High Score
With the Xbox Live leaderboards, those scores you make on your favorite games actually come to mean something. You can see where you stand in comparison to Xbox Live users all over the world. I remember trying to get in the top 100 in Zuma. It took a while, but added to the value of my purchase due to the time put in.

Xbox Live Arcade
Got a few bucks, but not enough for a full sized game? Head over to Xbox Live, and you'll find plenty of gems for $10 and under. They range from classics and even some originals are heading in. They are also great for passing time, especially when downloading demos. Even better, it's entertainment between releases.

Gamerscore and Achievements
Everybody loves some type of challenge. This is where Achievements come in. Some are easy, some are difficult, but all tally up points on your Gamerscore. The goals alone will have you playing a little more to get those Achievements. They also help you find favorite games that you and your online friends might have in common.

Do I sound like Microsoft marketing rep yet? As it stands, the Xbox 360 is the best video game console I've ever owned. It provides a great experience. Microsoft really nailed it with this Xbox iteration.

When Sony and Nintendo come around, it will be interesting to see how they compare. Nintendo has already proved to me that the DS is just a more entertaining handheld for gaming. So far, the Wii seems that it will offer a refreshing experience, so I'm looking forward to it.

Sony has some interesting tech in the PS3, and games like Final Fantasy and Resistance: Fall of Man will probably reel me in. But my expectations are extremely low since they've made choices that bug me (no rumble, same old controller form factor, forcing Bluray). Not all is doom and gloom, but Sony just hasn't been winning cool points with me for the last several years (poor quality products all around, sans TVs and cameras).

I'll do a side-by-side comparison of each when I have them all and see where I think they stand.

PS3 cannot save the world

Clint DeBoer at claims that HD-DVD and Bluray have already failed.

We have consistently heard it said that the Playstation3 will “jump start” the market by flooding it with millions of gaming systems capable of handling Blu-ray Disc software. The problem with this theory is that the PS3 is not being marketed as a home theater component and, if current installations prove the rule, most will not be situated in the average consumer’s living room. The result is that the PS3 will primarily be a *gasp* gaming system. Maybe I have a more traditional group of parents in my association of friends, but, taking into account #4 above, I do not think that Blu-ray will make any major leaps forward in market penetration as a home video format – at least not anytime soon.

So obvious, but so ignored. Good call, Clint.

I agree; the PS3 having Bluray will be great for Playstation fans if Bluray makes the cut. But it won't be a centerpiece of magic; it will just be a bonus feature that could possibly be ignored.

Yet another article wondering WTF is wrong with Bluray

Evan Powell at did a few DVD vs Bluray and HD-DVD comparisons. Again, to the Bluray camp's chagrin, HD-DVD is clearly the winner.

If the Bluray camp keeps on using the MPEG2 encodings, they are not going to do well in the future. MPEG2 is going to use up unnecessary space, thus forcing the extra space to be necessary (with a lower quality picture to boot). How much sense does that make?

Currently we have the bizarre phenomenon of the $500 Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player delivering a markedly better picture than the $1000 Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player.
The success of the HD-DVD format is clearly in the interest of the consumer. Not only does it represent a much better value today in both performance and price, but if Sony's Blu-ray is to survive at all, the influence of HD-DVD in the marketplace will drive down the prices of Blu-ray through natural market competition. Either way, the consumer wins with a healthy HD-DVD presence in the market.

One thing I like about this article is the author points out the 1080p scam. Salesman will claim that 1080p is a "higher resolution" than 1080i. This is a farce. 1080 is 1080, and progressive does not make HD any "truer". 1080p does have the benefit of not having motion artifacts, although these usually go unnoticed by the average consumer. The point is that the resolution is EXACTLY the same, just the methodology is different.

Be sure to check out the engadget article linked below. There are some good and mostly accurate comments.

[Thanks Lee from this engadget article's comments]

P.S. If one wanted to go with numbers and charts instead of articles, you could check out This site uses information from to produce these charts. At the time of this writing, it would appear that Bluray discs are slightly cheaper on average, although HD-DVD sales are consistently higher. HD-DVD has over twice the movies available compared to Bluray as well.

One has to wonder about the PS3 at this point. Will the PS3's Bluray player even matter in terms of this format war? As it stands, Bluray is just not looking like a viable option. In reality, however, when the Bluray camp straightens up and starts using VC-1 or MPEG4 the format wars will really begin.

It really pains me to see that we will probably be forced into one of these new formats. But the information I've found really points to HD-DVD being the better choice. More companies are behind Bluray, but more consumers seem to be behind HD-DVD. Which is more important?