Friday, September 29, 2006

Sony PS3 controller batteries should be safe

I've stifled my desire to comment on Sony's exploding-laptop-battery fiasco. Now it is affecting me personally.

At my place of employment, we use IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads for laptops (soon to be replaced with Toshiba laptops, thankfully...although they could be affected as well). I was informed today that some of our latest laptops are infected with Sony's filthy battery technology. And I've just setup a few co-workers with these potential monstrosities.

However, many consumers don't realize that this type of thing generally results in a better and safer product on the next go-around. The Sony laptop batteries two models down the line will probably be the safest damn battery you can get.

It goes without saying that they will review all of their rechargeables and ensure this never happens again. This means they'll damn well make sure that those low-amp and far-from dangerous PS3 controller batteries will be fine. (See? I forced it to be game related!)

Who was claiming that Sony made quality products?

Bad Sony products: DVD players, Car audio decks and speakers, home audio, laptops, desktops, batteries, PS2s, PSPs, DRM

Good Sony products: Televisions, digital cameras, digital video cameras, Playstation

360 threads better than the PS3???

1up brings an article quoting the Assassin's Creed developers claiming that the 360 is capable of better crowd AI than the PS3. The benefit is due to multithreading. To me, this doesn't make direct sense when thinking only of the hardware. The Cell is a multithreading capable processor, which is technically supposed to run a few more threads than the 360's processor.

I'm sure the problem lies in the development tools and the respective processor architecture. Microsoft has already done amazing things with Visual Studio and .NET, so we would expect their Xbox 360 tools to far exceed anything the competition can offer. The PS3 probably gets a combination of Sony and IBM provided tools that likely can't match the competition's.

As far as the Cell architecture is concerned, there is only one core. The SPE's all require instruction from that core, which could lead to more complexity than utitilizing a same multithreaded program on three independent cores (of the 360). The result would be more accessible threading than currently available with the PS3.

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To dumb that down even more, how about an analogy? Think Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The 360 processor is 3 Snow Whites. They can do whatever jobs they need to do on their own individually. They don't need to discuss the jobs with each other, and they can do two jobs at a time each. Together, that's a potential of 6 jobs that can be done independently.

The Cell is one Snow White and seven dwarves. For the sake of this analogy, we'll say that the dwarves are less capable than Snow White and can only do 1 job at a time. 2 jobs from Snow white and 7 jobs from the dwarves leaves a total of 9 jobs. However, independence is an issue. The dwarves need to constantly ask Snow White when to do their assigned task or when they get a new one. It's her job to keep them updated. Think of 7 dwarves incessantly asking, "Is it my turn, yet?"

In effect, the latter scenario provides more simultaneous jobs at the expense of freedom. While this could relate to what is suggested by the developers, I can only speculate.

Commodore C64 on Wii? *GASP*

My previous dream sort of materialized; it looks like C64 games are headed to the Wii. There were hundreds of great games for the C64, and it would be beyond glorious to experience them revamped. Hopefully we're not looking at direct ports.

Although unlikely, a port of Beach Head II would bring back one of the greatest player vs player games ever. Here's to dreaming!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rumble put to good use in Forza 2

Gamespot got their dirty mitts on the new Forza 2 demo, which seems to show the game is shaping up nicely. In a reminder of why certain features should be kept, they had this to say:

Thanks to an improved rumble system in the Xbox 360 controller, you feel more in tune with the asphalt than ever before--it seems as if every undulation in the road is immediately conveyed to you in your hands. More than that, you feel even the slightest shifts in weight and can immediately correct--so that your hands are always busy when turning laps in Forza 2.

Take that, disgruntled PS3-supporting rumble-naysayers! I guess Gran Turismo HD will be able to convey the same feeling with tilt? An echoing thought is unavoidable; GTHD will be taking more and giving less to players.

In any case, Forza 2 sounds to be shaping up into a better GT contender. Model damage is a plus, since Gran Turismo's lack of such always bothered me. I'll honestly say that racing simulators still don't have what it takes to woo me (unless you put in a 95 Taurus SHO). My eyes are still on other racing titles.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Splinter Cell 5 is "solely" on the Xbox 360 reports that Ubisoft is exclusifying the next better-than-Metal-Gear-Solid game to our beloved Xbox 360.

Commenters have already claimed there's less gray area here in comparison to the Assassin's Creed confusion. Here's the quote from the press release:

"Ubisoft confirmed that the next Splinter Cell title, the installment after Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent, will be exclusive to Xbox 360, a testament to the ability of the powerful next-gen game console to deliver experiences no other console can match."

Good news. The Xbox versions always played better than the Playstation versions anyway. My guess is this will be a timed exclusive, just like GTA:SA and Resident Evil 4.

Apologies to those who insist that Snake's hiding-in-boxes-and-stabbing-alligators antics are the greatest thing ever.

09/28/2006 Update: Changed the title as it was misleading

360 American Wasteland really is disappointing graphically...

I purchased Tony Hawk: American Wasteland the other day, since it was $25. Multiple forum posts, comments, and articles bashed its lack of effort graphically. I figured the graphics were bad, but I wasn't convinced it would look like a direct port to the 360 from the current generation systems.

Well, it does. And it's disturbing, even in High Definition glory. It makes me wonder if anti-Xbox-360 gamers use this game as a prime example to support their lame Xbox 1.5 comments? Dead Rising is a prime example that this mocking name is inappropriate.

Granted, this is a launch title and it was obviously a rush-job in order to get on teh new-console bandwagon with little effort. But after playing other launch titles such as PDZ, Quake 4, and even Dead or Alive 4, this TH offering is downright pathetic graphically.

Ignoring the "last gen uglies", the game is actually standard fare and still good old Tony Hawk fun. My colossus-sized fear was that the d-pad would make this game a miserable play on the 360. That fear was quickly smacked away as I found the game to be quite functional with the 360's oddball d-pad. Maybe they learned a bit about sensitivity?

The only playability problem I'm running into has nothing to do with the design of the game. I'm so accustomed to using left-thumbstick that I keep inadvertantly switching to it. While the thumbstick works, its range of motion is too much for this time of game. It comes down to a matter of self-training.

Thankfully, this alleviated my concern that Project 8 would be an annoyance to play on the 360 pad. My previous plan was to just grab the PS3 version, but since it will lack online support, I needed to look at other options. Now I'm looking forward to the next Tony Hawk entry more than ever.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Turning Sour on "Last Gen"

I'm shooting for 100% achievements in Dead Rising, and last night I went for the Indoorsman and Outdoorsman goals. I calculated that 24 hours in Dead Rising time is about 2 hours in real time. Wandering aimlessly for 4 total hours seemed like a waste of time, so I put Frank West out of harms way and decided to finally work on finishing my Xenosaga II game. Xenosaga III still lies in wait, afterall.

After trudging through the game and trying to remember how to play it, I began feeling severely unimpressed with not only this average-rated game, but the extremely-dated graphics (Ah! the characters have FLAT FACE!). To further exacerbate my waning opinion, the analog stick support was sub-par, there were no achievements, and I couldn't see which friends were online (or chat with them).

I remember how Final Fantasy X seemed like such a monumental leap over 7, 8, and 9. No PS2 game since then has really made me feel the same way. Every other equivalent experience I've had since have been on other consoles (Metroid Prime 1/2, Halo 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Resident Evil 4). Playing the PS2 just isn't fun for me anymore.

As previously mentioned, I still have a stack of last gen games to get through, but it really is doubtful that I will get to them. High Def, Xbox Live, XBLA, Achievements, and custom soundtracks have really done me in. I'm not quite ready to box up the 'cube, PS2 (all 3 of them), and original Xbox quite yet, but the countdown to their extinction has already begun in my world.

Note: The above picture is a collection of broken consoles. Like the PS2 pile?

Square-Enix hints at sharing their pie

All RPG-lovers not zombified by Sony wish that Square-Enix would share a bit of the pie with the other consoles. Nintendo saw some support with the Gamecube and DS last generation, but the lion's share went to Sony's Playstation 2 without a doubt (Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy X and X2, Dragon Quest, Grandia, Radiata Stories, and more).

Is changing that in the plans? Quote from Next Generation:

Square Enix senior VP Michihiro Sasaki told the Wall Street Journal today that his company is certainly going to support the PS3, but it isn’t going to overdo it. "We don't want the PlayStation 3 to be the overwhelming loser, so we want to support them," he said. "But we don't want them to be the overwhelming winner either, so we can't support them too much."

This is bound to garner some inquisitive looks.

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It would be great to see a non-MMO Final Fantasy for the Xbox 360 and even the Wii. As I've loudly voiced before, FFXIII is the main selling point on the PS3 for me. They can take their Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, and Blu-ray and shove it so far up their behinds that they taste Snakey-Demon-ass-rubber in High Def. But turning down a Final Fantasy is not something I'll do easily. FF 7, 8, & 10 are huge staples of my gaming history. I expect more great FF universe stories in the future.

In a semi-observative stance, I wouldn't put it beyond "Squeenix" to put more new IP's on the other consoles and stick with the exclusive unending sequels otheir favorite home-team's system. That way they can guarantee income with their Final Fantasies and Kingdom Hearts series but still expand their fresh IP's by taking risks with the other consoles. That way, the new IP's will be more prominent and won't get overshadowed by their long-running kin.

Good hint at news anyway. As a fan, I will support sharing with the other consoles via less exclusivity with Sony. I'll wear banners, silly hats, get tatoos; whatever it takes!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Late to the Zombie party....again (Dead Rising Review)


I actually expected Dead Rising to get old quickly. Really, how many zombies can you kill? That question permeated my mind before I dove in head first.

Capcom's new zombie-killing concept game really is worth it's hyped weight. Although it only took a couple of days for me to get the "good ending", I find myself still running around collecting achievements and trying to save more individuals than I was capable of in my first complete run.

Let's grit our teeth early with the bad. The controls of this game take some getting used to, and are probably more difficult than they should be. Some examples:

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  • A few of the good melee moves require clicking the left-stick and pressing a face-button. That can get frustrating when surrounded.

  • The "precision" aiming has to be done with the left thumbstick, and it feels hyper-sensitive. While this is fine in games like Resident Evil and Metroid Prime, it is aggravating here because boss fights can require quick reflexes and changing views constantly.

  • When driving, you would think that the triggers would be delegated to accelerating and breaking rather than the non-pressure-sensitive face buttons.

The AI on the survivors is extremely questionable, especially considering that zombies are "stupid and slow". Even when they are given weapons, they don't seem to chug along appropriately.

The save system is unforgiving. However, most people complain that you cannot save whenever you want. My complaint is that you can't have multiple saves. On one hand, I completely understand how one save forces more thoughtful play. On the other hand, having to start over because of a misplaced save seems like cruel punishment.

On the positive end, the mall is vast, and the player's zombie-killing-methods match it. The problems mentioned above seem to disappear when literally mowing down enemies, spinning them on an excavator, or plowing through them with a delivery truck. Surprisingly, that's not all there is to do. There's more than enough psychopaths (boss fights), survivors, food, clothing options, photography, and cases (story goals) to spend some time with. Some of the less-exciting-sounding tasks mentioned are unexpectedly more fun than they should be.

The graphics are impressive in a lot of cases. While SDTV owners may possibly miss it, Capcom did a stupendous job with the skin textures, leaving them able to keep the cutscenes scripted instead of FMV. The mall is quite detailed, indoors and out. While it may not look "realistic", this game isn't really asking for a such a praise and is better for it.

While the problems mentioned above leave this game unable to be perfect, it's definitely a must-have and a welcome addition to the exclusive Xbox 360 library.


  • Multiple quests, modes, and lots of achievements. Plenty to do!

  • Most assortment of weapons seen to date, all with different results

  • Great graphics (on an HDTV)


  • At times, frustrating controls

  • Horrible NPC AI

  • Unforgiving save system

Rent this game first and make sure you enjoy it. If you do, I would definitely recommend a buy, as this would be a great game to vent frustrations through.

Microsoft wishes their sales numbers agreed with these Famitsu and CNET Polls

WTF is about all I could muster for the eternity of 5 seconds after reading about this.

The forum poster claims that this is a Famitsu based poll running during TGS. The google-translated version reveals that it is a poll asking gamers whether they want a Wii, a PS3, both, or neither and a 360.

Later in his post, he also points us towards CNET Japan's site (translation here). While this appears to be an interview with Peter Moore, I believe attention is to be drawn to the poll on the right (pictured above).

The question of the poll says (via google-translation):

If the next generation machine you buy, which? Wii and PS3 which appear more and more on end of year. And Xbox360 where the software is even. However every one is funny so, really you buy which hard? Poll acceptance period 2006 September 18th ~ 2006 September 28th

One can only ponder if this reflects anything at all. Maybe the new JRPG IP's (Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Trusty Bell) for the 360 are wooing potential Japanese 360 gamers? Even if that were the magical case, these games would have to be released before purchase-worthy interest could follow.

I do want to note that the first poll doesn't appear to available to internet users while the second on is. Is Japan salvageable for Microsoft's vision?

The media working for and against Sony (price reduction)

Video-gaming-blog frequenters already know that the PS3 price-drop is only for Japan.

Apparently, the message is coming across differently.

My work pager gives me news updates whether I want them or not. It had a message under "Entertainment" that Sony was lowering the price (without being specific to region).

The pizza delivery man from yesterday who jokingly calls us "the video game house" even brought up that the PS3 was being lowered in price to compete. I was extremely engrossed in Dead Rising, but I was trying to tell him that the price drop is only for Japan. DemolitionNinja was paying him, I don't think he was listening.

Sony gets free advertising, and possibly some patched wounds on price in the general mindshare. Well, at least temporarily until the truth comes about.

Are we going to have a bunch of people who think the price is going down in the US? If Sony sticks to their claim, will disappointment/unpreparedness ensue for the original $499/599 price tags that Phil suggests are imminent?

I find it highly amusing that this proves how valuable internet media is. All other media information gets outdated before it's released (including word of mouth).

Friday, September 22, 2006

The storm of PS3 news is here; still thunder and no lightning?

I will be labeled as "jumping on the bandwagon" although I've disliked Sony before anyone even talked Xbox 360, PS3, or "Revolution" lingo. But I'll point it out in fruitless attempt.

Warning, the following is link vomit.

More boring keynote action from Sony's own Krazy Ken Kutaragi. Apparently it was bad enough for everyone who owns DS's and not PSPs Pictochatted it up (surely leaving Nintendo smiling on their way to their secret gold coin mine). Bad translations and lack of visual stimuli were the scapegoats per Joystiq's bloggers.

Joystiq still brought us the long, somewhat confusing, and hardly worthwhile transcript here. For those more than mildly interested in the PS3, it's worth a skim.

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In other PS3 misfortunes, Joystiq denounces the current DMC4 build, and is appalled by Coded Arms: Assault. However, both games are in their early states.

Good News? Yes. Japanese people get a cheaper PS3, (but no other territories will see the love). All PS3's will get HDMI, which is good for new television owners. And apparently, Ridge Racer 7 DOESN'T SUCK! Lastly, Phil insists that several games are 60fps @ 1080p.

On Microsoft's side, there's also good and bad news that is actually worth mentioning. The good news is that Microsoft is *gasp* taking responsibility for faulty consoles from launch (pre 2005). I'm sure this can be viewed as bad and good equally. I'll take the good side, mainly because it took Sony a lawsuit before they did anything about the infamous Disc Read Error problem.

Ignorantly, Microsoft held a 360 event during the keynote which was very unpopulated. At least there was some Japanese school girls present to make them feel better, eh?

In the end, Sony hasn't really proven a whole lot, and Microsoft is being steadfast with their product. Many seem to be waiting for the big PS3 surprise that will remove breath from expecting victims fans. If they would waste less time gabbing and more time showing us why the PS3 is the ultimate superior nuclear cell-powered device of all time via games, then maybe the majority of gamers would stop complaining.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Too many choices in games and getting lost in the fray

Well, DemolitionNinja completed Enchanted Arms last night, and I'll just mention that homophobes the world over will run like girls when they see the "happy ending".

It's a bit difficult to locate desire to play the game since I've already seen the ending. But I did miss the middle portion and the Acheivements, so I'm sure I'll get around to it. The game's definitely not a keeper like FF7 or FF8.

Dead Rising arrived yesterday, although I'm only past saving the first two individuals on the roof. It's definitely different, but I'm disappointed at their in-game instructions. They aren't very clear, and it seems to me the controls and setup are more difficult than they had to be.

It was still amusing to run amuck smacking the dead upside the head.


Anyway, I love how people complain about the supposed "lack of releases", but I still have a collection of games I still have to play. I've not even played Enchanted Arms or Dead Rising for more than a couple of hours combined, and I almost bought Lego Star Wars II yesterday.

One thing that's crept up on my with the 360, is that I'm getting used to having too many choices. I can always throw in this or that game for regular play or achievements; not to mention play hours of XBLA. It's certainly ruined most of my desire to play the older consoles.

I really have to fight off the urge to keep buying new releases before I finish the old ones. And I can't really kill off the Gamecube, PS2, or Xbox yet because there's still a bunch of games I have to play there as well. Gah!

Ninja Gaiden to kick Playstation fan butt (finally)

While the announcement of Ninja Gaiden Sigma isn't new today, the tiny magazine scans are.

It's hard to tell for sure, but this seems to be yet another extension of the original Ninja Gaiden. I guess Ninja Gaiden: Blackest was probably out of the question for the next title. Besides, I'm sure Tecmo's main goal was to finally spread the Ninja Gaiden love to the deemed-not-so-worthy-by-me PS3.

I do wonder how PS fans coming from the likes of the not-so-difficult Devil May Cry and God of War games will handle Ninja Gaiden's not-for-everyone level of difficulty. It's not that the game is impossible; it just may take more effort that some people are willing to devote. Not many can master the game.

Apparently, Rachel (pictured) is a playable character in this iteration. For me, I'll take any extras I can get. *tacks up another title to get for PS3*

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

360 = payments with no interest

At the arrival of the Japanese $170 360 HD-DVD attachment and 1080p support, it appears that ravenous PS3 fanboys are quick to point out that the PS3 is clearly a better deal because of the pricing (if HD-DVD is included). While it is fair thinking, it is a bit too focused on Sony's blasphemous realm of gaming.

We all have to admit that the premium PS3 may require some to go the route of the credit card. With credit cards come the luxury of payments but the lament of interest.

Even if the Xbox 360's price disparity with the PS3 appears to be growing thin, there's still some obvious benefits that cannot be ignored. The two main benefits being choice and smaller "payments".

Fanboy logic dictates the following:

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Xbox 360 Premium ($400) + HD-DVD add-on ($170) + Wireless ($100) = $670
PS3 Premium ($600) with Blu-ray, Wireless, 40GB more HDD space and HDMI

At first glance, the choice may seem obvious. But the average consumer isn't going to consider the Xbox 360 to cost $700. Those items aren't bundled together, so they will see the 360's $299 and $399 price tags compared to the PS3's $499 and $599 price tags. It's a sure bet that most consumers aren't ready to jump on either the HD-DVD or Blu-ray bandwagons. Choice plays a big role here, as even the educated consumer will question how much he/she will need those extra features.

Then comes the building your system via smaller monetary chunks. You can get started for $300, and add a hard drive later for $100. If you decide HD-DVD is for you, then you can add that option for around $200. If wireless is a supposed must, then it can be purchased for $100. The point being, is that a few sparse $100-300 purchases are much easier to handle than one up front $600 purchase. And there's likely to be little to no interest, leaving these "extras" as potential "impulse buys!"

This "price chunking" along with "choice" is very pro-consumer while still being good for manufacturers and retailers.

Our society is built on credit and payments. The majority of consumers are going to go for the smaller "payment" chunks. This is why 6-month pre-pay plans for things such as Auto Insurance, Cell Phone Service, and Internet Service are less popular. Not only does a lump sum payment hurt the pocketbook more, it gives the illusion of the loss of choice, whether it's a better deal or not.

In the end, if price is an only concern, consumers are going to go with the option that best suits them. In this console war, price appears to a big issue thus far.

*The above picture does not imply any sort of actual offer in existence and is intended only to iterate the point of this article

Games, games, games!

Today is a good news day, at least for Xbox 360 owners. Mainly because the games are coming, and they are looking good.

According to Gamespot, Tiger Woods '07 doesn't seem to be more of the same, and it will have a decent amount of courses. At least a dozen courses were seen, leaving double of its predecessor's lacking Next-Gen debut. A stressed point is the increased difficulty. And naturally, we'll see some better efforts on the graphical front.

As apprehensive as I am toward Guitar Hero (I prefer to play "for real"), IGN reports that Activision should be releasing the next version on all platforms. This is good news for those unembarrased by madly pressing rainbow-colored buttons on a Fischer-Price-My-First-Guitar-looking controller. All console supporters should "rock out" equally, no?

And on the RPG front, xboxyde brings us a throng of screenshots and a gameplay video of the highly-anticipated "Lost Odyssey" by Mistwalker. Being from the creators of Final Fantasy, it's already looking to far exceed the JRPG debut of the big wedge of cheese Enchanted Arms.

Goodbye, Summer Drought. Hello, Holiday Madness!

Microsoft flips Sony "the bird" by adding 1080p support

Naturally, we'd expect joystiq and kotaku to be all over this enlightening information.

I'm glad Microsoft is able to continously obliterate Sony's already faltered credibilty. High Def movies? Check. True HD gaming? Check. Solid Online support? Check. Oh wait, Sony doesn't have that last one yet.

Now the tear-welling-in-eyes Sony fanboys have one less thing to fall back on. However, Blu-ray-for-games, built in-wireless networking, Bluetooth, bigger out-of-box hard drive, and a handful of strong exclusives are nothing easily shunned (well, wireless is).

Also worth noting on the flip-side of the coin is that Microsoft can still produce 360's with built-in wireless, Bluetooth, and bigger hard drives without negatively affecting early adopters (should demand necessitate such). They also seem to be doing quite well in the exclusive department, with its recent successes of Saints Row and Dead Rising. And more are coming.

One can only wonder who will be doing what when the dust settles.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Game Informer "reluctant" about the Wii

Billy Berghammer from Game Informer reminisces on old N64 and Gamecube times in relation to Nintendo's new Frankenstein, the Wii. The tale is likely to be familiar for some.

I've mentioned before on how I skipped the SNES and N64 eras. Missing a little in the latter and a lot in the former along the way. Admittedly, I was anti-Nintendo for a while in favor of the seemingly more mature Sega Genesis and Playstation respectively. But I can say that the friends of mine who insisted on sticking with Nintendo during the N64 days seemed to have limited gaming in their lives.

Billy even mentions that he had to get a Playstation because he wanted to play new games, and the N64 just wasn't getting them. Nintendo had claimed they were bring this and that only for their promises to end up delayed. This carried over into the Gamecube era as well.

Rightly nervous, Billy is slightly skeptical of this "Nintendo rebirth" granted by the Wii. All seems well at the moment, but Nintendo could flail unexpectedly in their moment of glory.

Let's hope not; we need a solid Nintendo console amongst the alpha brutes from Microsoft and Sony.

Wii FTW?

News as of late seems a bit regurgitated, or barely worth mentioning.

No other choice but to talk Wii!

Analysts are back at it again, suggesting that the Wii will don the boxing gloves and no go unseen like its predecessor. Nintendo has proven their strategy with the DS which undoubtly will have an effect of reeling in 3rd party publishers which they've not had solid support from since the SNES days.

Even Japan's own Famitsu is guessing that the Wii will dethrone the old PS2. The reasoning revolves around the pick-up-and-play allure of the device. Potential gamers will see how fun and easy the Wii is, so of course they are more likely to get sucked in. The underlying tone here is that the 360 and PS3 come off as complicated, and don't look like they could be for anyone.

On a personal level, this somewhat factors in to my set decision on buying a Wii. I have a feeling it will be refreshing, just like the DS was. Especially as of late, when my mood has me sticking with casual games instead of delving into my recent RPG purchases (KOTOR, Enchanted Arms, Xenosaga III). If anything, the Wii will complete my rig in that I expect it to provide me with less-involving titles (sans Metroid 3).

Is Nintendo ready for a comeback? I guess we'll see.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blu-ray still weighing Sony down; Major Nelson doesn't want to lose "good" competition

Some Movie studios are switching camps and/or playing double agent with Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

The president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment has come out in favor of Microsoft’s backed HD-DVD format rather than Sony’s Blu-ray. That puts Universal, Warner, Paramount, HBO, New Line Cinemas and the Weinstein Company all in the HD-DVD camp.

I'm not surprised. Sony is not only bungling when it comes to the PS3, but to Blu-ray as well. Between pricing and outdated MPEG2 encoding, it's clear that the Blu-ray strategy is completely unfocused and totally awry. It will be hard to convince consumers that the PS3 is a good purchase because it is a cheap-but-still-expensive Blu-ray player if interest in the format completely wanes.

As opposed to the idiots lost and confused souls at Sony, Major Nelson makes an outstanding comment on Blu-ray:

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Take off your Microsoft hat. As a gamer, what do you think of PS3?

Major Nelson: I’ve got a PS1 and a PS2, but as a gamer with PS3 I feel like roadkill. Sony seems so intent on pushing Blu-Ray forward that it’s going full steam ahead and not holding back on the torpedos. We’ll see what happens when they ship. I’m sure they’ll have a few good titles, but I don’t know if that will make me spend 7 or 8 hundred dollars. For that money I can get an Xbox 360 and a Wii! I hope Sony isn’t marginalising itself out of the market because it’s done some amazing things for the industry and we need a good competitor. Microsoft is at its best when it has a good competitor.

What a surprisingly fresh and honest comment. Kaz, Ken, and Phil really should go to the same reality training that Major Nelson Larry Hryb went to. Maybe they could learn to tell the truth and say something worthwhile to more than the rabid fanboy dog-pack of the other console camps.

Add 360 controller support to any PC game, old or new

Ever since I got those 4 wired controllers, I've been wanting to play a nice bout of Aliens vs Predator 2 sans mouse and keyboard.

Could my favorite PC FPS game of all time be enjoyed in the slumped comfort of the pocket-change-eating couch via console gaming controller?

The initial disappointing answer is no. The game is not new enough to have dual analog support, leaving for some extremely janky controls with an adapted PS2 controller. I had to use the d-pad for movement, and the right analog for camera. The PS2's analog sticks were horrendous, and the sensitivity adjustments did little to help. I had given up for a few months.

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On Saturday, I was hard set on playing AVP2 with a 360 controller and my 51" HDTV. A few minutes of surfing revealed a solution: Pinnacle Game Profiler. PGP allows you to map any controller functions to the keyboard or mouse. It allows mapping of the analog stick(s) to the mouse, and it works surprisingly well. This also means that the 360 controller can be used to navigate Windows!

From there, there is an abundance of fine tuning options. These include sensitivity, macros, profiles-per-game, auto-launching, and more. Although a worthwhile tuned set up may take some serious planning, the interface is mostly user-friendly and easy to understand after some tinkering and/or trial and error.

One thing I hate about using keyboard controls is that a player ends up having to hold at least two keys to walk. PGP allows for extra keyboard assignments to a specific range of the analog sticks. For instance, I set %75 of the motion to hold the SHIFT key, so my character would walk instead of constantly running when trying to creep around.

This software solved all of my AVP2 woes and costs $20. If I use it enough in the next 30 days (free trial period), I will definitely purchase it.

Tony Hawk + PS3 = Tony Hawk - Online play = 360 + Tony Hawk - good d-pad

My heart is a little broken.

The wonder that is Tony Hawk, the best skating series that ever was, is coming to the PS3 naked. Neversoft, due to Sony's bumbling in the online realm, will not be providing any sort of online play for the PS3 version of Tony Hawk Project 8.

But I've already become akin to online Tony Hawk with the DS. I HAVE to have it. Is Sony's online "free" or will the PS3 be "free" of online? Thankfully, this will probably only affect several early games, but it is extremely annoying.

Obviously, I love the 360, and it's respective version WILL have online play. But the 360 d-pad is loathsome when it has to be used for the main control in a game (which is rare for today's games). For this reason alone, the Tony Hawk titles would be among the very few games I would prefer to play on the PS3. Even though the 360 version of American Wasteland was mocked for its lack of visual upgrades, the only reason I'm not interested in it is because the 360 d-pad sucks (I'm definitely not alone in this thinking).

The last Tony Hawk I purchased was the original Underground for the Gamecube. Guess what I did after a few minutes of play? I whipped out the Gamecube to PS2 controller adapter and enjoyed the game.

I guess I could always buy a 3rd party 360 controller with a better d-pad...

Friday, September 15, 2006

I don't make gaming plans for the weekend...

...because they never happen.

Lately, I've just been playing what I'm in the mood for. RPGs, although a personal favorite of mine, have been (temporarily) about as appealing as watching a leaky faucet drip. Ironically, I still have to play through Xenosaga II, Xenosaga III, and Enchanted Arms. They are the "new" games for me (sans Xenosaga II).

I'm still on an Achievements trip. Completing Full Auto was a long and arduous journey with little reward. I still have to get all "Full Auto" medals and hope that covers all the "Semi Auto" medals as well.

Achievements that bother me involve online multiplayer. It's not that I don't enjoy playing online, but there are some games I don't want to play hundreds of games of. Some of Perfect Dark Zero's online achievements would just be more tedious than challenging (such as get 1000 of such and such kills).

Back to my main topic, I'm enjoying getting Achievements across multiple games more than any single game right now. It leaves me with plenty of variety, and if I get burned out I can easily switch to a different game.

Admittedly, it is strange not to have focus on a particular game for once. Console transitional periods are always great times because so many games are available, and the not-so-new "current gen" systems have many good games on the cheap end. This leaves me with a pile of unplayed/to-be-played/need-to-finish games. While this sounds good, new games keep coming out and throwing me off track.

I did just purchase Dead Rising (via ebay), so maybe that will refocus my gaming attention.

So what am I playing this weekend they ask?

A little bit of everything. Kotaku has the right idea.

A "useful" 360 cooler

Pinpoint Consumer electronics brings us a 360 cooler that is actually useful.

The 360-styled rear attachment no only provides some extra external fans, but it also adapts that proprietary video port into S-Video, Component, and VGA. An optical audio out is also included. This means you just pick your cable and plug it in; no dealing with multiple proprietary video cables. As another bonus, the unit also contains a 4-port USB hub.

Excellent idea! The only problem I have is that I already have 360 Monster Cables. At this point, I would need to buy regular Monster Component cables to equal my current setup. But being able to easily plug in a monitor or S-Video cable is definitely appealing. And the extra USB ports definitely wouldn't hurt.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Plenty of Wii news, and why I don't usually post about it

All the sites are blogging like mad at Nintendo's possibly worthy feet.

Although I continually praise Nintendo and Microsoft well above Sony, some readers might wonder why I rarely say anything about the Wii. Am I pondering what you're pondering? Probably not.

The truth is, I don't feel the need to say anything about the Wii. I know I'll love it, just like I loved the Gamecube and DS (I wasn't a GBA fan though). Undoubtedly, it will complete my gaming rig with a non-competitive and different style of game play when I'm so inclined to enjoy such.

Continue reading...

An Xbox 360 already graces my home (well, DemolitionNinja has one, too), so of course my interest is high in it. As for the PS3, I've gone at lengths at times to show my distaste for Sony. But the games bring me to play their consoles, so I get "slightly conflicted" inside when required to practice futility use a Sony product. The "dark side", Sony is.

Anyway, the Wii looks fantastic to me. I was expecting more of a $199 price-tag instead of a $250 one. It's likely to be worth the price of entry. It's a miracle that a console, after a few generations without, is finally coming WITH a game again. Sure, the Premium 360 came with Hexic, but that hardly shows off the system. I don't even like sports, but Wii sports appears entertaining to me.

The $5-10 pricepoint for retro games seems to be modeled after XBLA's pricing (sans the ridiculously priced Bankshot Billards 2). That's okay with me to a point. Without "achievements", I have no motivation to play these games on the Wii. Emulators I've had for years can take care of that, even on my PS2.

It's an intelligent move by Nintendo to use the standard SD flash memory instead of other over-priced alternatives (Memory Stick Pro Duo, I'm giving you the evil eye). Microsoft and Sony could learn a thing or two from that.

Metroid prime isn't coming out until next year, which makes me cry on the inside. I love that game, and it is the "prime" reason for my Wii purchase (apologies for the pun, I couldn't help it). No launch titles grab my attention, except I do raise a slight eyebrow towards Warioware and Zelda. The potentially paltry selection will probably leave me waiting until later to purchase a Wii console.

I wonder if retro Nintendo games will use Nintendo Medals or something to mimic achievements. Sony wwill have Entitlements and Microsoft has Achievements. Assuming the related stats were provided via webservice, I wonder if anyone will create something to COMBINE all the gamescore/achievements together into one supreme gamercard. Ridiculous dream, right?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Xbox 360 with built-in HD-DVD and DVD/HD-DVD hybrid discs revisited

Eek! There's several Xbox 360 pieces of news I want to cover, but I'll put two together as they are related.

Digi-times is reporting/rumoring that yet again, Microsoft is planning on making a 360 model with a built in HD-DVD drive (NOT FOR GAMES). This rumor has resurfaced at least a half a dozen times, and it gets debunked every time. Microsoft is still denying it of course.

However, Toshiba has re-announced their hybrid discs. They say the new discs are a triple layer hybrid that can have a single HD-DVD layer with a dual layer DVD embedded (8.5GB). The opposite is also possible, also allowing for a 30GB dual layer of HD-DVD with a single layer of DVD.

These new hybrids are a definite upgrade from the older versions. The first version of hybrid discs were double-sided, with DVD on one side and HD-DVD on the other side. The next generation had a single layer of HD-DVD and DVD on the same side. Obviously, this latest version will be the way to go.

What does this mean? These hybrid discs can be played in regular DVD drives, and have a HD-DVD version included, or extra HD content for those who have a HD-DVD player. This has the potential to make the transition to HD-DVD much easier to handle. For Xbox 360 gaming, a game could use the DVD dual layer and then have extra content (non-gameplay) on the HD-DVD layer.

Continue reading...

For those who have to make a Blu-ray comment, JVC has previously made similar hybrid discs, but those discs appear to have been dropped. Sony will have little interest in supporting DVD as they still have to pay royalties to Toshiba if they use the format. Not to mention the manufacturing process for hybrid HD-DVDs makes more sense than hybrid Blu-ray discs. HD-DVD and DVD manufacturing are similar where as the Blu-ray manufacturing process is significantly different.

There are already a few hybrid HD-DVD movies on the market (the double sided type). It seems that Toshiba will be making the most effort to make for a simple transition at this point.

The news on the new hybrid makes the built-in "HD-DVD drive" rumor a bit more plausible. Many gamers have already shown disdain for "early-adopters getting screwed" if a HD-DVD 360 was to come out next year. However, as long as the HD-DVD drive isn't used for games, everything will be fine. Microsoft has made it very clear that the HD-DVD drive is NOT to be used for games.

Vain attempts to defend Sony the PS3 against the forums gives us a review of common PS3 complaints and a few opinions on each. Although the review is supposed to cover both sides of the issues, it seems to me that the opinions are just the result of the staff having an uncomfortable boner for Sony.

Here's how they claim it works:

Point-Counter-Counterpoint works like this: we've scanned some forums and picked out 10 of the most common arguments people have made against the PS3. The anti-PS3 arguments will appear in bold, and below them will be an observation by some of our writing staff or other gaming experts.

Yeah. Let's get started on "The PS3 costs too much!".

Aaron D: if you don't want to run Cat-5 cable all over your house to connect your 360 to the internet you'll need the $100 wireless adapter

What an ignorant comment. I have to say this a million times, but wireless is not a reliable way to play online games. The less reliable your connection is the more frustration you will have with your gaming. 802.11g only runs at 54Mbps (in optimal conditions) and that connection will vary. Use wired at 100-1000Mbps (depending on your router and provider). If you are bone-headed (or lazy) about wireless, then why the hell wouldn't you just wait until 802.11n is an option?

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Ryan: So I ask, when considering the proposed longevity of the PS3 hardware, why is the price-tag such a problem?

Ryan must be alluding to Sony's "10 year console duration" claim. I'm sorry, but the PS2 was boring after about 2 years, and I started in the middle of it's lifespan. I'm doubting consumers will want the same old product for 10 years unless they are in less fortunate areas. PCs are only gaming-good for a year or two, so 5 years for a console is plenty.

On the $499 model:

Shiva: A gamer who picks up the $499 "core" version isn't a gamer. I'll rephrase: he isn't a gamer in Sony's target audience, otherwise he would pick up the "full" version.

That is a mighty bold claim. Not all gamers need the extra gunk in the $599 model, with exception of maybe the 40GB of space. You've already read my opinion on wireless, the multi-card reader will probably go unused, and HDMI really isn't necessary unless you plan on falling for the Blu-ray/HD-DVD security-token scams.

This is where Aaron D makes a good point:

Aaron D: I'm pretty shocked that all those memory card formats are still accepted (SD, Compact Flash, et al). They've barely said what those are even for; is it just for watching slideshows of your digital photos? Can you save your game status on them?

Then the "there are few HDTV owners" subject comes up. I've not much to say there; I think consumers have very little reason to go with HDTV at the moment (low support, and it makes their DVDs look bad). I'll leave this one alone.

"rumbleless" is the next topic:

Shiva: I'd rather have a game respond to my direct actions than a controller that spends most of its "vibrating" responding to cutscene explosions anyway.

Shiva is obviously one of those gamers that "takes rumble for granted" as Evan suggests. No one ever thinks about games like Shadow of the Colossus or racing games. When that Colossus steps on the screen, you FEEL its large presence thanks to the rumble. In several racing games, if you get hit of the right side of the car, the right motor vibrates. It's called feed back. If we have to give the game more input (motion control) but get less output (no rumble), how is that more immersive? SEE the screen, HEAR the audio, and FEEL the nothingness of no-rumble. As for smelling and tasting games, I'll pass.

If that doesn't convince you, think of Resistance: Fall of Man. In FPS games up to now, the controller vibrates when you get shot. This is a good alert to danger when you are busy paying attention to 30 things on the screen at once. Resistance will offer you no such convenience. Hello bullet sandwich.

The last topic I'm going complain about (LOL) is their comments on Blu-ray:

Shiva: I've spotted several Blu-ray format new movie (DVD) releases in the past few months, but I haven't heard a peep from the HD-DVD camp.

Shiva has obviously never visited Or seen any of the other articles about how HD-DVD out-sells Blu-ray consistently.

At this point, I'm beginning to think that the PS3 is going to make people associate Blu-ray with games more than movies. The acronym DVD was essentially obvious: Digital Video Disc (or Digital Versatile Disc). The name "Blu-ray" means nothing to the average consumer, while HD-DVD obviously means High Def DVD. Consumers know DVD, so they'll probably want to stick with it. All Toshiba has to do is market their player as a DVD player that supports HD-DVD, and they'll be golden.

The staff also talk about the PS3's difficulty to program for. Shiva again shows that he/she doesn't know what the hell he/she's talking about it. At least Aaron D and Ryan show a little knowledge. Aaron D probably hit the nail on the head by saying that the PS3 won't get good ports because code can't transfer over. The few developers that make exclusives will probably have a better time.

The rest of the points covered aren't really worth going into detail to me. They cover the low number of consoles Sony will have at launch. It's a launch of a new console with new this really isn't a surprise. Later on, they talk about a low number of launch titles...but there won't be that many units, so it won't be an issue either. Lastly, they talk about Sony's lack of advertising, which is fine by me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Xfire and Sony in Cahoots to double-team Xbox Live

Per, I've come to find that Sony is working with Xfire in order to get features comparable to those of Xbox Live.

According to the article, Xfire can provide the PS3 with friends, tracking, voicechat, server browsing, and profile stats (like gamercards). Those are the features that help make Xbox Live great, so it's no surprise that Sony has to outsource to even attempt to contend with Microsoft's supreme online offering. Hopefully this will make gaming online with a Sony product much less abysmal than it was with the PS2.

What ISN'T mentioned is that there are still a couple of problems.

Sony still isn't hosting any gaming servers; they are leaving that up to developers/publishers. While this leaves the experience "open", this will likely result in unregulated and messy experiences like this gamer is suggesting. In less words, this means modding/hacking/cheating is likely to be more of an issue.

Central Registration may not happen. What is stop different publishers from requiring registration for their services? This problem was inherent in the no-central server setup. This also means that multiple user-names might still be required.

I'm not saying that the experience can't be enjoyable, but it's far from smooth sailing from here. Sony is already putting themselves in a potentially bad spot by relying on another company instead of going in-house. Hopefully it goes smoothly, as they can't afford much more for hiccups in today's market.

The PS3's supposed Halo-killer

Ah, I found something interesting finally.

I've been off and on about the PS3's first FPS game entitled, "Resistance: Fall of Man." Initially, I was gung-ho about the idea of blowing up aliens that vaguely resembled real ALIENS. After some disappointing (albeit lo-res) game footage, I had the feeling that Resistance was going to be Call of Duty 2 with aliens.'s preview of the game involves much praise (which will undoubtedly aid in some ridiculous hype). The game's developer, Insomniac, touts the game as being huge, and using over 20GB of space. With 40 person multiplayer, a ridiculous amount of levels, and the claim that the single player is just as good as the multiplayer, a "halo-killer" moniker was unavoidable. From the sound's of the preview though, Resistance could be an actual contender as opposed to Killzone's joke of an attempt at taking a stab at Bungie's prized franchise.

Continue reading...

Rather than competing with Halo, a game of this ilk could possible help it. You can be that the Bungie staff will see if there's any good ideas they can take from their competitor. Halo-fans have already speculated on huge 100-Spartan/elite battles, and I'm sure Bungie will definitely see how well this 40 player gaming works out. I'm already liking that the Chimera and Human models actually have notable pros and cons (Elites and Spartans play way too similar).

Oodles of potential, but will it matter? Devout Playstation fans scream and whine that FPS's need to stay the hell away from their console (they also claim that the Xbox 360 has no other genres). At the end of the year, only the hardest of "core" will be lucky enough to get a handle on their very own PS3 unit. With so few PS3's emerging this November, it's hard to imagine that we'll see high sales of PS3 games.

The console war may not be in full effect until the later half of next year, but it looks like the PS3 will at least have a few titles to box with. We'll see how much of an "uphill battle" Sony is really in.

Not much going on, my top 5 FPS'?

Wow, there has just not been much news lately that I've deemed worthy to say anything about.

Sony's up to their usual shennanigans, Microsoft is taking advantage of Sony's vacancy on the market, and Nintendo is essentially mute until their next scheduled annoucement.

As for games, I feel like I'm missing out of the Dead Rising train. DemolitionNinja STILL hasn't bought the game, but he failed to complete Enchanted Arms and returned it. My friends list seems to consist of Battlefield and Saints Row players (I didn't like either game).

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Besides that, I was thinking this morning of my top 5 FPS games. This list will change as I experience other games, but as it stands:

  1. Aliens vs Predator 2

  2. Halo 2

  3. Metroid Prime 2

  4. Metroid Prime

  5. Counterstrike

Quake 4, PDZ, COD2, and Prey were all great games on their own merits. But the 5 games listed above are always entertaining to me. I can play them whenever and enjoy it. If Metroid Prime 3 ever gets online multiplayer, then its predecessors spots will definitely be threatened. Unfortunately, the DS's own MP Hunters is just too uncomfortable for me to thoroughly enjoy.

I'm looking forward to FEAR, Resistance: FOM, and Timeshift. I'm doubting that any FPS games coming out in the next few months will dethrone my above preferences though.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Last weekend was a "new" old experience

I had figured that last weekend would be a good time to catch up on several games. Unfortunately, my entire Saturday was consumed by a seemingly unending car show. By the time I returned home, I was too exhausted to play anything serious.

I recouped some on Sunday, getting a few Quake 4 and Full Auto Achievements. It's very difficult to decide which game I want to proceed with since there are so many "TO DO's".

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What I really gained from Sunday was a reaffirmation of how essential a HDTV is to the Xbox 360 experience. My original experiences with Quake 4, PDZ, COD2, and Full Auto were on a 27" SDTV. While the graphics looked good, they weren't striking.

Today, I'm going through a 51" rear-projection HDTV at 1080i.

As I was cruising through "Lieutenant" difficultly on Quake 4, I couldn't help but admire the extended graphical detail and crispness offered by 1080i over 480p. From individual hair stubbles, to the environment, to the enemies, the game seemed much more alive and impressive than it did on the first run through in December of 2005. Nine months have passed, and the game just doesn't seem as I remember it. In fact, it seems better.

I had similar experiences with PDZ, Full Auto, and Condemned. These games really look great in High Definition. Despite my fighting it mentally, HD gaming really is the way to go. We'll see if I have a change of heart for movies as well.

Besides a visual improvement, I am noting that Achievements have really changed my experience. At first, these little goals meant very little to me because I was the only person I knew who owned a Xbox 360. Once my XBL friends finally had their chance to upgrade, my opinion on Gamerscore changed drastically. Suddenly, I had people to compare my scores and achievements to. Gamescore became part of our discussion while playing. Friendly mockery ensues on a regular basis.

achievements alone are invigorating to replay value. I find myself being able to hold off on further game purchases because there's still so much I can do with the games I have. Sure, I'll still have my game-buying sprees on occasion, but they are now less frequent.

Xbox 360 Laptop owns your monkey ass

Modder Ben Heck received a "request" (aka a challenge) to create an unfathable Xbox 360 laptop that weights in at 17 lbs. That's a bit heavy, but that's not the point. It looks great, is water cooled, and is definitely better than anything I could ever come up with.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Solid voice acting in games = better experience? Of course!

Kotaku's Eliza Gauger brings attention to an article on the importance of quality acting in games.

The article reflects on how the process has grown. About a decade ago, minor facial animation was just beginning to improve our experience. It was much needed, as the lack of expression often affected dialogue as well, forcing more telling than showing.

I remember when recorded voice began to become commonplace for games. The inexperience of the voice actors was extremely noticeable in the beginning. These amateurs often sounded like they were forcing their lines, over-doing it, or not even paying attention.

Today, gamers expect a fuller experience, much like an interactive movie. I know I do, no thanks to games like Final Fantasy, Xenosaga, and Indigo Prophecy. Thanks to evolving technology, we can get video game characters that are animated directly off wire-frames built on actual human movement. With more accurate facial expression seems being added to that, some immersive games are bound to be on the horizon. Bioware's Mass Effect (Xbox 360) is likely to set an example.

Console wars or not, today is a great time to be a gamer. Our experience is evolving.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sony is at it again; the girlfriend that won't go away

4 million PS3's by the end of the year? Not happening. Try half of that. So everyone gets the shaft, although Europe gets the brunt of it by being pushed aside until '07.

Some devout fanboys have even thrown in the towel. Analysts and fanboys are already attacking this news like rabid dogs.

Joystiq blogger Robert Summa asks us if we are ready to break up with Sony.

Here's some choice answers to the question:

Me break-up with Sony? Impossible. Why? Because I never was in a relationship with them. Sure, I had the 1-year fling with PS2. I didn't love the PS2, I was just using it for my own pleasures. I didn't care whether the PS2 thought I loved it or not. Now the PS2 is sitting behind my couch with a stack of its games, waiting to be sold back to Gamestop so I can use the credit to buy more Wii games than before.

I'm about to renew my vows with Nintendo. Wii will have a honeymoon that will last for years. -AlloyNES

Continue reading...

I lost interest in the console when Krazy Ken started spewing such wonderments as "The PS3 can connect up to seven wireless controllers!" and "The PS3 can push over 120 fps!" and "The PS3 will exist in the FOURTH DEMENSION!! O_O" Such blatent lies from the head honchos at Sony. At least Microsoft and Nintendo have the courage to step foreward at tell us that, yes, their consoles will in fact have limitations. -Raynre

"If games look great on the Playstation 3, people will buy it."

Games looked great on the Xbox and Gamecube. Better than the PS2 in several cases. It didn't change anything.

I don't need to break up with Sony. I ousted that low-quality-product-producing-money-pit long ago. Much before the PS3 and it's associated fiascos; try DRE's, rootkits, and failing proprietary formats (*cough* minidisc! *cough*). With short-lived amps, failing DVD players, and slow proprietary PCs to boot.

Sure, their Playstation daughter is fun to hang out with from time to time, but that's as far as our relationship will ever go at this point: We're just friends. -SuicideNinja

Interesting to say the least. So the PS3 will be about a year and a half later than the Xbox 360 in Europe. It seems to me that by the time the PS3 even gains its footing that the Xbox 720 will be the next spectacle wowing gamer eyes.

Exclusives are starting to get foggy as well, which is about all the PS3 has going for it. Any time you may be ready to stop "hanging out" with Playstation, it will come crying to you with a new Devil May Cry, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, or Final Fantasy. Since you've had good times in the past, you're willing to look past the stalkeresque nature of the Sony-labeled box. It wants you no matter what; do you have the strength to turn away completely?

I don't. I still need that PS FF fix. Unless of course I can get that fix on another console.

Note: Apologies for the crap-job I did on the pic with mspaint. It was all I had at the moment.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Xbox 360 gets an HDMI a price... reports that ebgames has a Xbox 360 HDMI cable listing at the ridiculous price of $99.

The PS3 fanboys are bound to have a feast on that tidbit, even though the PS3 doesn't come with an HDMI cable either. Then again, $99 is on par with some of these outlandish Circuit City prices.

Why the mentioned all-digital cable demands Monster Cable pricing is way beyond my comprehension. Even the link reference above mentions that Kaz Hirai says he can't discern a major HDMI performance difference.

Well, for those elitist videophiles, I guess your estranged dream has come true.

Edit 09/06/2006: ebgames has thus removed the aforementioned listing.

Games you have to buy more than once?

I decided to do the unthinkable and game very little over the three day weekend. Instead, I started on Saturday with a beef-entrenched barbeque. Sunday was a lake day, and we took everyone out on our boat and did some jetskiing. On Monday, I enjoyed a nice round of 9 holes at one of the local golf courses (which reminded me I need to get back into Tiger Woods '06).

However, while waiting for people to arrive, I did do some catch-up on some XBLA titles, and surpassed the 5000 gamerscore mark. Sure, others may scoff at such a score, but I've had to earn quite a few of those (all golds in Burnout!). No sports-game-gamerscore-cheating here.

Anyway, I'm ran through a few levels of Quake 4 last night. It's a great game. My friend and I have a media motto: "If you have to buy it more than once, then it has to be good."

I've had to rebuy Metroid 2, Metroid Fusion, Super Metroid, Final Fantasy 8, Halo 2, Xenogears, and Phantasy Star 4. Anyone have games they had to buy multiple times?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Commodore is back?

Although the original Commodore is no longer in existence, the rights to the name were sold to another company. Yet, they are "back on the scene".

However, seeing the Commodore logo brought back some serious memories. According to, a public media tower is being released under the commodore name. It is essentially a kiosk that allows for ringtone, music, and game downloads in "high-traffic" areas.

Games? I'd love to see some old C64 classics visually upgraded and returned to the fray. There were many good one's that would be great for portables now.

I'm assuming the game downloads would be for regular cell phones (and not be C64 games), but what's to stop them from providing some DS or PSP love?

Enchanted Arms - the first hour

As I've been promsing myself, I picked up Enchanted Arms (and Xenosaga III) the other day, and "experienced" the former for the short bit I had time for. Unfortunately, I do not have many positive things to say about this game.

If you remember the "conversation scenes" of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, then you'll get an idea of how dialogue is handled in Enchanted Arms. Your location will be in the background, but the characters speaking are enlarged and put in the foreground. When an emotion changes, the character's pose changes.

I'm not really a fan. While this styling may be appropriate for the DS or even the PSP, I find it unacceptable for a console. Final Fantasy X trained us to enjoy changing camera angles of the characters in-game as opposed to some comic-book-like showing.

The dialogue, to my dismay, is drier than the Sahara Desert. I have gained no affinity for any the characters yet, although I'm curious as to what the professor has planned. Atsuma, who I believe is the main character, is annoyingly perky but bland at the same time. His buddies, although different, aren't much better. The level of cheese is phenomenal.

I also bet that homophobes that purchase this game will freak out when Makoto talks or fights. While some games have alluded to a possible gay character, Makoto makes no apologies and it's abundantly clear that he is in love with Toya (Atsuma's best friend).

The "grid" battle layout is a new thing for me. Each turn allows you to move your character on the grid, select an attack, and execute all the commands for your party. The setup reminds me of chess because attacks only affect a certain area on the enemy's half of the grid. During your turn, you have to reposition your characters to ensure their attacks will hit.

A little outside my first few battles, I had to stop and get to my other tasks for the day.

The graphics are good so far, but I'm hoping the story will pick up once I get a chance to play more.