Thursday, December 28, 2006

Getting OCD on PS2-dirtied hands; Xenosaga rules...

I may have reunited with my "lost love", but it saw the other cheek as I had already broken down and dove head first into Xenosaga II.

Incessant self-reminders finally convinced me to complete Xenosaga II since I was in the last area of the game. The goal was to complete it and move on to Xenosaga III which has been sitting around for a couple months now.

It was easy to see why I stopped playing Xenosaga II. Unlike it's forebearer, it housed an over-complicated battle system. To add insult to injury, there's no monetary exchange or even shops for that matter. Even though I had painfully worked all the way to the end of the game, I just lost interest a long time ago. But after completing the game, I deem the experience worth it. In an RPG, sometimes a good story can supersede bad gameplay.

Xenosaga III combines the good things about it's prequels and it leaves for solid gameplay within the realm of familiar RPG mechanics. Gold (or "G"), shops, weapons, armors; the works is there. I was sad to see the button-sequence initiated attacks fade into the night, but they should become easily missed.

I'm on the fence about the new cutscene format. Subtitles are fine, but the addition of the facial expression image in the subtitle bar is a little annoying. It detracts from the feel of the game provided by Episodes I & II. After the usual barrage of scenes though, I think I've adjusted. At least they can be sped up and the entire scene can be skipped if so desired.

One huge praise is the added Database. This provides an overview of Episodes I & II, all the characters, events, history, and concepts. Realistcally, this game couldn't thrive without this information, since it is supposed to make up for the dropped three episodes from the six that were originally planned.

All in all, Episode III has returned me to Xenosaga fandom. I look forward to completing the game (and secretly hoping the Xenosaga universe can see more games).

360 arrives

It looks like my 360 was held up by weather and UPS Christmas overload. I did receive it yesterday, and it's obviously a refurbished unit originally built in June 2006. It works just fine.

One thing that gave a chuckle: controller synchronization and Xbox Live instructions were enclosed. It seems like a waste of paper, but I guess it could be a good thing for those who forget how to push the two synchronizing buttons.

In any case, I'm glad to have a 360 of my own again. Demo's 360 will make the trek to the "360 hospital" next.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Microsoft extends all 360 warranties to 1 year? (...please be true) confirmed

Supposedly, someone at has some "insider info" suggesting that tomorrow will be "everybody gets a 1 year 360 warranty day".

I hope it's true, because Microsoft honestly owes it to those supporting them in their transition to the top of the gaming food-chain (for now).

Maybe Cixel's bitching helped convince them? Nah.

12/22/2006 Update: Press Release confirms.

Xbox 360 d-pad fix

I've been too exhausted and busy the last couple of days to post the news-to-comment-on I have building up. I sliced open the side of my wrist on a rack-mounted UPS at work on Monday. The annoyance of having my first non-dental stitches and a wrapped-wrist left sleeping a difficult task the first night. That lead to quickly passing out when I arrived home the next day.

Today is fairing better though, so I'll share my fix-of-the-day.

I was looking at this how-to on using black dye on 360 controllers. Since I didn't have the materials to work on that project, I decided to disassemble one of my wired controllers to see if I could fix the sloppy stock d-pad instead.

After some discussion with my room mate, we decided the d-pad's main problem was the design makes it feel like an analog stick instead of a digital pad. We also found the d-pad to have too much play to be accurate. The best way to fix "too much play" is to stiffen it up.

Using a small circle of double-sided mounting tape underneath the pivot point of the d-pad works nicely. I chose not to peel off the non-stick backing on the top of the circle, so you may want to do the same.

This stiffens the d-pad up considerably, which may be slightly awkward at first. However, doing special moves in Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were no longer a hassle with this modification. Contra code? First try at full speed.

Apologies for such low-res pictures. Jessica's camera isn't here at the moment, so I was stuck with my cell phone camera. I'll make a how-to with better photos if necessary, but the above pictures should be self-explanatory. Also, I guess I should insert a lame, "I'm not responsible for any ill-effects resulting from this modification," line as well.

Hope this helps! I know this prevents me from needing the XFPS360 for a decent (PS2) d-pad.

P.S.: By the way, If you need controller disassembly instructions, try this guide.

12/22/2006 Update: I wore through the initial tape after several hours of gaming. This may require an upgrade to a rubber/gel foot (that goes on the bottom of electronics and furniture), probably the former.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Burger King Xbox/360 games; are they worth it?

By now, most gamers should know that Burger King is offering 3 different Xbox 360 games: Sneak King, Big Bumpin', and Pocketbike Racer. Although they don't advertise it very well, these games come with both 360 and original Xbox versions on them.

I've purchased the latter two, and I have no qualms about buying the 3rd the next time I go to Burger King.

As advertised, each game is $3.99 with the purchase of a value meal. They are supposed to be strict and offer only one game per meal; I'm sure it just depends on your persuasion tactics. If you care that much.

Big Bumpin' is a bumper car game. There's not much to say about it, other than the bumper car hockey game is the best part. Then again, some of the king-of-the-hill maps involve maps and traps. The game isn't bad, but it seems that it would be best considered a party game, similar to something you'd find in Fuzion Frenzy. If you enjoy that type of game, you'll probably like this one.

Pocketbike Racer is my favorite of the two. It eerily deserves the title of "Ghetto Super Mario Kart". PBR would really be a decent mini-racer if it had seen some tweaking. Although there is no major bugs that make the game unplayable, there are some annoying ones such as sticking to walls and questionable physics. When it comes to online mode, the bugs seem to increase ten fold. Several matches froze on me; my guess is the host disconnected. Still, I found myself running through the game to get the achievements and enjoying it.

I continually had to back up on my initial reaction to the bugs, and realize that PBR is a $4. At that price, it's worth every penny. I've paid more for games that had less bugs but were also less entertaining. For example, this game beats the snot out of Smurf Racer, which I bought for girlfriend back in the day on PSOne. In any case, if you want a Mario Kartish game for the 360, PBR is the only nominee, but deserves its place for now.

Now that I think of it, these would make some fairly good XBLA games. I wonder if they'll move them in that direction after the promotion is over? I mean, everyone needs to lose their "advergaming" virginity someday.

Xbox 360 on it's way home

I figured Microsoft wouldn't take long. They received my 360 on Friday and shipped one back on Saturday. 2-5 (business) days is the estimate.

I decided not to bother with an extended warranty. One thing that has been bother me is that the PS3 AND the Wii both have 1 year warranties. That is a sad show from Microsoft. They really should join the club. I'll take a one year warranty over worthless 1080p support any day of the week.

Friday, December 15, 2006

BC update nets us Psychonauts and Indigo Prophecy

Yay, another BC update...but I'm still out in the cold with a couple of games.

Here is the list of games I have. Compare that to the currently backwards compatible games.

The Suffering: The Ties that Bind, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Legend of Dragoon: Orta, and the Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones still don't work. That's roughly 35% of my original Xbox games. Granted, I rarely play those games, but MK and the Suffering 2 support would make me BC happy.

I need to update my games-to-get section. I don't think Metal Gear will be any better on the Xbox (and it's not BC either).

One thing this new update does for me, is it leaves me with the desire to try an upscaled Indigo Prophecy. If you've not played that game, I recommend you spend the $15 on a used copy and get to it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Assault Heroes Impressions (and thoughts on game size)

Squeaky came home early last night, so I stepped aside and let her have the 360 (on Halo 2) for the rest of the night. We actually had to call Microsoft (again) in order to transfer her account to the 360. Unfortunately, someone had stolen her credit card so we didn't know the info to do the migration ourselves. This conversation was much more pleasant than Cixel's experience with hardware support.

This morning, I couldn't resist the temptation of the unplayed Assault Heroes demo, and went for it. I didn't regret it.

The demo allows you to run through the first level of the game, bursting around leveling any enemy in your bath. The game is set up like Commando with an emphasis on vehicles. Surprisingly, the better graphics and better controller seem to revive this classic genre. There's something about mowing tanks down with a flame thrower that's just...satisfying.

I bought the game, but had to leave for work. Team Xbox gives the game praise at a 8.5 average score.

If XBLA keeps supplying these new games instead of constant rehashes of tired franchises, I think those with functioning Xbox 360's are in for a delightful future.

Side Note: Compression is really showing wonders. My personal abilities can't fathom cramming games like RoboBlitz, Small Arms (originally 1GB), and Assault Heroes in 50MB. For non-arcade games, some are saying 25GB of game could now be squeezed into 9GB. While the obvious stab may be, "Blu-ray isn't necessary," the real point is that this type of compression will help propel digital distribution in the future. One reason I love XBLA is because games download very quickly, and that's because of the 50MB size cap.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More backwards compatibility sacrifices good looks

Jaggie-central right there. Why the hell doesn't Sony upscale the games like they do with the 360? The all-powerful machine shouldn't have a problem making PS2 games look better than on the original machine.

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to say Microsoft made the better choice (quality in exchange for quantity). PS3 owners are better off keeping their PS2's. That is ridiculous in my opinion, so hopefully the stink in the forums will wake Sony up a bit.

Between this and the confession about their stupid viral site, it looks like positive PR has escaped Sony entirely.

Gears of War review; am I late to the party again?

To those who don't know, Gears of War is likely going to be the first game to visually quench the Next Generation thirst. Even those poverty-stricken gamers that have yet to procure a HDTV will still be impressed with the graphics in the lowly 480i/p. The level of detail is impressive, and honestly puts most PC games to shame.

This is where Nintendo fanboys will interject and incessantly repeat like a broken record, "It's not about graphics, it's about gameplay!"

Not to break any devout Nintendo fan hearts, but GoW's gameplay comes through as well. While Gears doesn't necessarily shine at bring new elements genre, it does succeed at being a "greatest hits" collection of the good stuff. Whether you want to venture through the campaign or just frag opponents on Xbox Live, Gears can satiate the need with a minimal learning curve for those who've played FPS games.

Experienced fraggers will notice they cannot play this game like a standard fare FPS. In order to add some strategy to this shooter, Epic was sure to make the old "run and gun" Halo techniques fall flat on their face. Without cover, your character becomes mince-meat within seconds. Thankfully, the cover system allows for ballistic retaliation around corners and over walls. Blind-firing is even an option, and is more useful than it may seem, especially in multiplayer.

Continue reading...

The controls are somewhat impressive as well. The developers managed to successfully cram all of the cover mechanics into the "A" button. There are instances where you may take cover when you didn't want to, but some practice near eliminates that problem. FPS-regulars will have a short head-spin while they adjust to the reload button being a bumper instead of the "X" button.

Once accustomed to the controls, GoW's is best to be taken head on with a friend. While the Gears' AI is better than a lot of games of this ilk, it's still not as competent as a human you can talk to. Even though you can issue squad commands to your AI partners, the feature is essentially useless. It is too easy to get involved in your own killing sprees to be concerned about your artificial team mates.

Although Gears is a good game, its campaign is painfully short. Just when I gained confidence in my abilities in the ended semi-dramatically. It seems like they went at lengths to avoid repetitive battles, but they could have safely thrown a few more in there. There's only one corpser fight, which actually disappointed me. The kill-you-almost-instantly-bats-that-hate-light were a cool idea (unapologetically stolen from Pitch Black), but the level they appear in could have been 5-10 minutes longer.

Then again, I seem to remember CliffyB mention he missed games that you could complete in one sitting. I believe he referenced old-school Nintendo games such as Mario Bros, Contra, or Metroid. This is definitely one of those beat-in-a-day games; after quickly learning the ins and outs of the levels the game will only take a few hours to beat. This could be viewed as good or bad, depending on whether you like to rush through a game or take your time. The short-enough-to-beat-in-one-sitting idea has merit, but the sweet spot for length doesn't feel like it was found. I think there should have been at least 8 acts instead of the paltry 6.

The story has a good foundation, but the game never seems to take advantage of it's possibilities. In the later levels, events start occurring with no clear explanation, which is rather annoying. One minute, your escaping the protagonist's mansion, the next your jumping on some train for some unknown reason. Thankfully, the shoot-outs are entertaining enough to make up for the storytelling's pitfalls.

Obviously, this leaves the replay value up to multiplayer. While taking on XBL fraggers via chainsaw is probably more amusing than it should be with this game, the lack of in-depth match customization and PC-style matchmaking leaves for at least some disappointment. Those into ranked games may be disappointed that they can't party up directly with friends before facing the competition. However, once set up, matches go fairly smooth except for the occasional team-can't-hear-each-other bug and some questionable hit detection. There is still plenty of hours of time that can be absorbed in Gears, so don't get me wrong. The point is it could have been better, especially for a game touted as "this years Halo."

Does the game live up to the over-hype? It's a matter of point of view, but GoW is still no Halo replacement in my final opinion. With the "needs improvement" matchmaking and spotty hit-detection, I feel that GoW reign on Xbox Live could be short lived unless Epic releases some patches to fix the various issues.

However, the campaign is worth experiencing at least twice, and the final boss on insane will give you a run for your money. Even if occassionally frustrating, the multiplayer manages to still swallow attention, leaving for plenty of "just one more game..." delusional self-promises. While not perfect, Gears of War is still a must-buy game for the Xbox 360 this year.

  • The graphics are unrivaled in the console market, and beat out many PC games

  • Campaign levels aren't repetitive at all (unlike Halo 1)

  • The chainsaw gun is way more fun than it should be

  • Campaign is disturbingly short

  • Hit detection is spotty, and more aggravating than the standard fare

  • Multiplayer lacks the matchmaking and customization of Halo 2

Note: Some may wonder why its taken this long for me to post a review on this game. I actually received my review copy just a few days ago. Thanks goes to to m80 for providing it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ebay seller has a $60 fix (+shipping) for your dead 360?

Amidst Demo's broken 360 fiasco, he decided to take a look on ebay at it's on-going collection of "broken 360"'s and "360 red lights". A couple of sellers are offering to repair the 3-red-lights problem for about $80 (shipped). That one is in Utah (where we are) and the other is in Georgia.
Shipping isn't even necessary for locals to northern Utah or London, Ohio:

You don't have to ship your Xbox, you can just drop by and it will be done in less than 1 hour. I'm located in Spanish Fork, Utah. If you are located in or near London, OHIO you can also stop by and we can take care of you as well. If you need to ship your Xbox email me and we will work out a discount.

Much better than $140 and dealing with Microsoft, eh? If the console is deemed unrepairable, they will refund the amount minus any shipping charges. For those who have given up on pressing into Microsoft's anti-customer service for resolve, this seems to be a viable option.

What really disturbs me, is apparently a non-Microsoft technician knows how to repair this problem, but I've never seen instructions about it on the internet. Stop being stingy and share with us. I realize there is profit to be made by not releasing the repair information, but at the same time, not everyone will be willing to attempt the repair.

Anyone got the sleuthing powers to find out the "repair trick"? I'm not talking about banging on the console, plugging into a UPS, or whatever other layman temp-fixes have been shared to date. I'm talking about the actual hardware that needs to be replaced/repaired. If you find anything, let me know, and/or the major blog sites so we can share this valuable information.

What I've found:

For those who are brave, 360 disassembly instructions can be found here. Not recommended if you still have a warranty because this will instantly void it. Actually, I bet taking your 360 to a non-certified technician (i.e. like the ebay sellers above) will void your warranty as well. Then again, $140 buys you another whole 90 days of warranty with Microsoft! What a deal! /sarcasm

In our world, Cixel is moving on to Microsoft's corporate offer for now, so we'll see how that goes. If Microsoft ends up pulling a Sony, Demo is just going to take his 360 to the aforementioned local repair shop.

If you want to join the "pissed" crowd, assemble at and see if you can make a difference.

If it makes anyone feel any better, here's the PS3 with it's own blinking red light problem.

12/22/2006 Update: Microsoft has extended all 360 warranties to one year, so make sure you take advantage of the stock warranty before seeking 3rd party assistance.

Dead 360 update

Well, CixelsidNinja (see a pattern yet? LOL) aka "Jaret was a racecar driver", thankfully works in shipping and is able to UPS Ground my 360 to to Microsoft for a mere $7.

I'll be calling for some other reasons as well. I need to see about purchasing extended warranty coverage for my Xbox and we need to update XBL billing information for Squeaky (original credit card stolen).

Cixel will be joining in the fun since he is also the handler of Demo's Xbox 360. He plans on calling them again to see if they're willing to pull the stick out of their ass in the name of Customer Service.

It's concerning, especially now that they don't even honor 90-Day warranties. It's ill-advised to sit back non-chalantly, Microsoft. Class Action lawsuits are looming. Aside from that, do you really want to pull a Sony?

Note: The above 360 isn't mine. I forgot to take a picture before I stripped it down and sent it off with Cixel.

Monday, December 11, 2006

FFXIII trailer. This is why you want a PS3.

PS3, you'd best lower your price so I can afford to play this. If my Xbox 360's keep breaking, I'm definitely not going to be able to.

Nintendo wins; Sony and Microsoft go home...

Team Xbox reminds us that according to NPD data, Nintendo's DS and Wii sales destroy the other two's sales combined.

According to the latest video game sales date from the NPD Group, Nintendo outsold all its competitors during the month of November with the company selling 55% of all video game systems.

*golf clap* for Nintendo. 3.9 million consoles/portables for the month of November. Now that is impressive.

Then again, we must not forget that Nintendo also has MORE consoles/portables available for sale than the competition: Gamecube, Wii, GBA SP, GBA Micro, DS, and DS Lite.

ALIENS + SEGA = a hole in my chest

Sega and 20th Century Fox have joined at the hip in preparation to bring ALIENS to the lastest consoles.

Yes, I'm jumping for joy on the inside. If they bring AVP3, and it doesn't suck (not sure if I can entrust SEGA with the greatest franchise ever), then Halo can kiss itself goodbye in my book. The problem is, AVP2 was the good game, and it was made by Monolith. We've seen what "lith" has done with F.E.A.R. and Condemned, so if Sega doesn't employ their talents I will be very concerned. Sega did publish Condemned, so there is hope.

According to the press release, there will be an FPS and a RPG. That's funny; I actually designed an ALIENS RPG back in the Commodore 64 days. I had mapped sprites and everything, and was going to make it play like Dragon Warrior. I'm sure the upcoming one will be much better, however ;).

I can't wait; isn't your chest bursting joy?

Friday, December 08, 2006

My console covered; my friends, which is 7 months newer, isn't

My console says it was manufactured on 11/10/2005, a mere 2 weeks before the North American launch. Fortunately, Jeremy at Microsoft's support center lifted my spirits by informing me that my console is still covered for another week or so. We set up the the return, and I'll be shipping it off on Monday. Apparently, I pay for shipping and the turnaround is 12 business days. While that might be unacceptable for some, I was too busy being delighted that I wasn't going to be $140 shorter (and I was talking to a good rep).

The other console was manufactured in April, but it was purchased on July 13th new. The less friendly rep my friend had to deal with bluntly said his newer console was out of warranty. Four phone calls later, after being hung up on three times, and total wasted time of about three hours, none of the employees would work with him.

The interesting thing is that the first "agent" wouldn't give him the mailing address to send the console to; he said he needed to get a credit card in order to pay for the shipping. Why couldn't my friend ship via his own method?

I'm extremely disappointed that they won't help him out. Our consoles died the same night. Both seemed negatively afflicted by the "1080p fix update". Coincidence? It seems to be a stretch.

All I know is that it was hilarious every time he asked them "why does a 7 month newer console have less warranty than one that's over 12 months old?" Although the internet savvy may spout the answer immediately, none of the reps could adequately answer the question. Pathetic if you ask me.

Even better was his threats to purchase a PS3 and throw his Xbox 360 in the road (in jest of course). Maybe on the next call, I'll record audio samples. ;)

Today, Microsoft is proving themselves to be more like Sony. One would hope they would learn Nintendo's fantastic Customer Service oriented support.

HD-DVD poised to win

Due to recent events, it's hard for me to have any gusto towards the 360's recent victory over the PS3 at the Apollo and in New York Times' comparison.

So rather, I'll direct my attention toward the format war. It looks as though consumers may be seeing the PS3's forced Blu-ray inclusion as a bad thing. This conclusion is based off a survey around the 'net that shows nearly a %50 more positive outlook towards HD-DVD from consumers. "Consumers are clearly not warming up to Blu-ray," says Joystiq.

Digital Trends indirectly backs this up by having an article where an author switches sides in the war. It's an excellent read because the author originally backed Blu-ray, but now suggests that Sony's marred handling of the product has etched Blu-ray's unfamiliar logo in a tombstone.

The problems with Blu-Ray have created extreme cost and execution problems for Sony and now their premier division (instead of being the profit center for Sony) is predicting they will take a $1.5B loss next year largely resulting from this decision. To put this in perspective, just think what would happen if Apple’s iPod group, instead of generating massive profit, suddenly dropped into massive loss. Now you can see why the Sony PlayStation division just changed out their top executives

Even more interesting is how these articles and statements come out now. At the time of this writing, HD-DVD is the winner at stats with 1 tie and the rest victories. In 4/7 stats are clear victories, where the remaining 3 are close.

I'm still not convinced that there is a clear winner. But I'm glad to see that more DRM-inflicted and Sony-backed format losing (Blu-ray uses BD+ for addition copy protection). What this format war is really doing is preventing people like me from buying movies at all. It's hard to buy DVD, knowing it's probably going to be replaced, but it's hard to pick a side in an unfinished war that most people haven't noticed is going on.

Consumers used to buy products and get something in return...why does it feel like we're servicing business more than they are servicing us?

Class-action for the Fall update killing 360's

According to the "investigative reporting" from GameSpot, I may end up partaking in the recent class-action lawsuit against Microsoft (if eligible, which doesn't sound likely).

Interesting how the original Fall update seemed to be what spurred the problems behind the lawsuit. The following update after the update-to-fix-the-update is what messed up our consoles.

My Xbox 360 fanboy days may cease

For my reference and possibly your interest, I sent this support request a few minutes ago:

Support Ticket: 1025267939

Ever since the last update about a week ago, both our 360's have been acting strangly. They would freeze randomly in no specific spot and would need to be reset often. About half of the time when trying to access the Guide, the system would hang for 30 seconds or more before allowing us to do anything.

On the night of Dec 6th, both of our consoles froze. After a reboot, both are giving the 3 red lights. We've followed all repair instructions online and on the phone via automated service. I was not able to get help from a Microsoft Agent because "systems were being upgraded" (call back later). None of the procedures have alleviated the situation.

Note: One 360 is on a battery-backed UPS, the other is not. Both sit on tables (not inside entertainment centers) with plenty of airflow and away from heat sources, so neither is subjected to adverse conditions. The power supplies are not kept on the carpet and also get plenty of airflow.

I've been extremely careful to ensure we were treating the 360's properly due to negative experiences I've read about on various internet sites. I don't understand what could have possibly caused this problem. All fingers point to that last update.

Please help,


The other Xbox 360 is DemolitionNinja's.

I tried to phone support yesterday, but we had a bad phone connection and the agent said their systems were being upgraded so he couldn't look up my information. He suggested I call back the next day.

Not that I need to say it, but I am not amused. We'll see how this goes. It's been so long since I've had a problem with a non-Sony product.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Engadget has indirect posts about gaming today

First off, engadget indirectly backs up my "using wireless for gaming is rude" post by reporting that Christmas decorations mangle your WiFi signals. There you go, stop screwing up everyone's gaming and go wired. Jerk.

On other engadget info-waves: If you've got some Frakensteining prowess, patience, parts, and time, they have a 6 part how-to on making your very own HD projector. Obviously, this project isn't for those lacking motivation, soldering skills, or basic carpentry skills. Money would probably help as well; the initial, and probably incomplete parts list starts at $750.

How adventurous are you?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Store sightings

I actually saw this "reserved space" in Wal-mart before the Wii launched, but had forgotten about it. Wii Glove? Was the Wii glove mockup not far-fetched? Or was it just a pre-emptive strike for the sweaty-palm-saver glove? Either's a glove. I've been to Wal-mart since, but the "reserved space" hasn't been filled yet. I'm going to guess it's the latter...but the former would be so much more fun!

What is wrong with this picture? One might guess that there is five columns of HD-DVD movies, and only 4 columns of Blu-ray movies. Or maybe that the background design for both logo's is the same? No, that's not what I'm getting at.

If you noticed, the Blu-ray logo is covered up by the HD-DVD inserts. The picture showing the logo behind the insert is in a previous post. Even stranger ist hat the Blu-ray board is much larger than the HD-DVD inserts.

Who the hell are they trying to advertise for? I think even the employees are confused. One thing I do know, is that I cringe every time a sales rep attempts to explain the differences between the PS3, Wii, and the Xbox 360.

That's it for now. Next time, I'll be sure to put up my findings asap.

Eternal Darkness sequel? Sold, sign me up.

Some have the misfortune of not experiencing this non-typical Nintendo Gamecube exclusive (aka not Mario/Zelda/Metroid). As with Resident Evil 4, Mario Kart, and Metroid Prime, this is one you have to play. Well, if you have a 'cube, pick it runs for about $13 used.

I won't lie, the original has some graphics that are easily scoffed at by today's "HD standards", but the story, which is told in a set of sub-stories, makes the game worth the eye-sore effort (like Shadow of the Colossus is).

Silicon Knights said they'll definitely be revisiting this franchise. Such information has even PS3 fanboy's frothing with hope. I don't blame them.

Sony's confident in it's "superior technology", but how is it superior?

Sure, compared to the Wii, the PS3 has got some horsepower.
"confident that Blu-Ray will carry the system to victory in the next-generation console wars"

"Wii is a core gaming device. It's a more fun, intuitive sort of product to pick up, where the PS3 is a broader entertainment solution; so you can have your fun, enjoyable gaming…but then you have a whole suite of other applications...such as Blu-ray media playback, the ability to access your music, access your photos and the interoperability with the PlayStation Portable."

Saying the competition is "more fun" is essentially putting a nail in your own coffin, don't you think?

Anyway, there's plenty of ways to access music and to say the PS3 is somehow "special" because of this seems a bit idiotic. Blu-ray confidence is extremely dangerous, especially with how comfortable consumers are with DVD. What motivation consumers have to get away from it, especially if HDTV's don't grace their living rooms? Without proper upgrade motivations, Blu-ray confidence should be left as "considerably hopeful".

Continue reading...

As for PSP interoperability, what, the ability to play PS1 games from 5-10 years ago? View pictures? Use it as an oversized MP3 player? Come on.

Odd how this confidence ensues when rumors of it being the last playstation are propagated by analysts. I highly doubt that the sequel-based-naming-convention of the Playstation will fail to continue on to its fourth iteration, even if it's easier to find a PS3 than a Wii in my area. Sony probably has one more PS bout in them, or even more if the PS3 is a success.

So, back to the idea of the PS3 being "superior technology":

Sony has to "promise" DVD upscaling. It seems foolish this wasn't included out of the box, especially knowing this was a gripe about the Xbox 360 (which now does upscale over VGA). My question is, if they can't upscale 720p to are they going to pull this one off?

How about those disconnecting controllers? Again, superior, right?

What about less available memory? Or the difficulty in programming (compared to the competition)? How about their joke of an online platform?

Okay, so one model has a 60gb hdd. Microsoft could do the same at any time of their choosing. It would seem the only true and real-world usable application would be the Blu-ray discs. That's it. Processor?'s great on paper. But that doesn't mean anything if reaping the benefits costs more than the rewards (development time).

To me, touting the PS3 as an almighty entertainment package seems somewhat of a joke when it can't even pick and choose what to borrow from the competition intelligently. Not to mention they forget that $200 extra isn't a justification for a Blu-ray player...when most people have no idea what the hell Blu-ray is.

Instead acting like jackasses about their should-have-been-a-technical-wonder-but-isn't device, they should probably worry about pumping out the features and content. The side-by-side comparisons aren't doing much to show the PS3's "almighty power".

Note: The above picture was taken at a local F.Y.E. store. Out of all the movies, there was only one display section that housed HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies. Note only were there more HD-DVD titles available, but the HD-DVD advertising inserts were covering up the Blu-ray logo. I lowered the covering flap to show what was covered: the bigger Blu-ray sign.

Gather round for another spout off of Wii news

*hides in corner from the Wii of doom*

It seems to me that PS3 vs Wii is in full force. The 360 is there, but it has a lot less focus do to being "old news". Personally...I don't see how the Wii can be compared to either of the power consoles. It's there, but comparisons (other than motion sensing) seem futile at best. Videos such as this Call of Duty 3 example really show how unimpressive the Wii graphics look. Sure, gameplay is important, but is it worth taking a step backwards?

It's good to see gripes exist about Nintendo's magical new console. All the positive Wii media seems overwhelming at times, especially when fans who haven't even touched a Wii remote get all nuts. But it's hard to blem them when even novice gamers fear the Wii not and love to play it.

In any case, some are pointing out the Wii might just be the disruptive technology the consumer is looking for.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a Wii so I can agree. The useful itrackr service has failed me thus far.

PSP: Crisis Core gets a trailer, 3.01 firmware now "emulatable" ;)

Good ol' Midgar. I will admit, Advent Children's rendition of the classic city did make me miss the game and it's wacko characters. Even the opening pan of the city on the above video makes me want to play the game (a next gen version more PS1 for me).

All I know is I'm suddenly excited to have a PSP. Not only because of this new FF7 game, but because I'll be able to play it thanks to DevHook's continued development. Firmware 3.01 can now be emulated via ver v0.51.

Back to the original point, this game can't come fast enough.

Friday, December 01, 2006

SqueakyNinja may participate here in the future

I asked my fiance if she'd be interested in writing reviews of the games she plays. After some discussion, she's going to relay to me her experiences and I will write them up for her.

We recently acquired the latest Spyro installment for her enjoyment. Unfortunately, Gamestop only had the Gamecube version in. That's okay, it's better to be left with our second choice than the third choice (PS2). This was going to be the first game I would review with her.

Anyone interested in a girl's opinion? Her favorite games are Halo 2, Spyro, and Bejeweled. She rates the consoles the same way I do, except she's not so sure she will enjoy the Wii (and said she didn't want one for Christmas, but would rather have her own Xbox 360).

I'll take feedback on the issue, and see if it's worth the effort of getting her involved.