Sunday, April 29, 2007

Review: Xbox 360 - Guitar Hero II

Those whose hands cramp at the thought of forming a chord on a 6 string guitar have been officially saved. Red Octane has finally shared the Fisher-price "My first guitar" series with a current generation console, and there's plenty to be excited about.

I'm sure I'm not alone in waiting for this release. The thought of spending that much money on a PS2 game makes me dry-heave a little inside. But that's a personal problem. Maybe that's why they keep trying to confiscate my Sony paraphernalia. Anyway, the allure of downloadable content, achievements, and competing with friends scores made the wait worth it.

Continue reading...

What is Guitar Hero, you might ask. Put simply and condescendingly, it is Dance Dance Revolution played via plastic guitar. For some reason, it's about ten times less embarrassing. Then again, I'm a musician, so holding a strummed device and dancing around like a jack-ass is nothing new for me or my friends.

Guitar Hero outshines its fore-bearer by choosing better music and being a bit more sensible and less physically tiring. It also manages to something I can define as fun. I've not had anyone play it that didn't like it yet.

Even those I've had try it that play real guitar have found enjoyment, especially in the Hard and Expert levels. Naturally, they decided to purchase the game that day (for PS2).

Is it better than the PS2 version? Overall, I'd say yes. But the SG-style controller is probably the better choice over the Explorer. The Explorer also seems to have buttons that travel a little bit more before engaging. The 360 comes through with Achievements, more songs, downloadable songs, and cleaner graphics, so it's definitely the way to go.

If you are a music fan or wish you could play guitar, buy this game. You won't regret it.

*Takes the DDR concept and makes it fun
*Difficulty levels fit any type of player
*Diverse Song selection

*The motion control in the guitar is a bit over-sensitive
*There may not be as many hit songs as people would like
*The design of the controller makes it difficult to know where the fretting hand is sitting sometimes (another button should have had a "home" marker)

Borrows "riffs" from:
Dance, Dance Revolution with a Fisher Price guitar

Rent or Buy: BUY.
Personal Appraisal: $89.99
MSRP: $89.99

Other Opinions:
9.1/10.0 @
9.3/10.0 @
9.5/10.0 @

Friday, April 27, 2007

MS Games revenue > Windows or Dev/Serv Products?

Note: this is a reflection, not current news.

In the April issue of InformationWeek, there's a pie chart that caught my eye. It's information is a bit behind (2nd Q ended Dec 31st). It's chart on MS's 2nd Quarter Revenue for FY2007.

To my surprise, Windows was at 20% ($2.5 billion), Dev Tools/Server Products were at 23% ($2.8 billion), and the Xbox/Zune/Games division was at 24% ($3 billion). In the overall scheme of things, the disparity isn't that much. I was under the impression that the other two divisions would blow the Entertainment and Devices division away. I guess not. But keep in mind this was the quarter that the Holiday season was in though.

At nearly a quarter of their revenue stream, this information would lead us to believe that MS isn't going anywhere. They'll "stay in the game", as operating costs and the like will go down over time.

If you have Power Point, you get more info here.

Q307 looks okay. I wonder what Q4 will look like?

Zoozen Transforms the 360 into a Kitchen Appliance look

Zoozen Transforms the 360 - Kotaku

I love what they did with the front. I hate what they did with the top. The blue light and finish make it feel Wii-ish.

Nintendo buys Monlith Soft, I almost have a heart attack

Monolith Soft now part of Nintendo's monolith - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Not to be confused with 'LITH, Nintendo has purchased the developer Monolith Soft. They are mostly known for providing us with the magic that is Xenosaga via Namco publishing.

Why did I almost get freaked? Because I didn't want to see quality games to the caliber of Condemned, AVP2, and FEAR get graphical downgrades to get Wii-zi-tized. But lith will stick with being multiplatform, and we might see some sweet RPG action for the Wii.

Everything is "all good".

Thoughts on Ninja Gaiden Sigma Demo

If you were looking for a re-invented Ninja Gaiden, then you won't find it here. While the dual-wielding and extra playable character are nice, they will probably fail to meet your expectations.

One easy thing to see is that the backgrounds are stellar compared to the already amazing Xbox version. However, this actually isn't as important as one might think it is, as you'll spend most of your time looking at the characters in the game. Also, looking at what is available in the game, some locations look a lot better, and others seem to only have a few minor improvements. At least the frame-rate is silky smooth.

The characters actually seem to look worse in the face on this go-around, especially Ayane. She seems almost...mannish. While playing Rachel is cool, she just doesn't move right, and seems more like a messed up robot than a human. It was somewhat uncomfortable to watch. Not to mention her weapon has sucked since the original outing.

Problems aside, it is still Ninja Gaiden. The combos are there along with the relentless enemy attacks. It's still the skill game we've come to love, and it's likely that the button-mashing Devil May Cry/God of War crowd won't be able to handle it as well as they'd like. But at least their PS-Only dreams can partially come true. Which is good, because everyone needs to play this game. I can almost guarantee a big fat BUY on this one.

PS3 Futility Chronicles: Vol. 3

And here we go again. My goal today is to download the Ninja Gaiden Sigma Demo.

Vol. 2 should essentially be repeated. Another update was available. Except this time, it was a much shorter download. The servers must not be busy at this hour.

In the store, I cannot find the NG demo. I quickly realize that all the prices are in pounds. That means I'm signed in using my Ogden, UT, U.K. account that cannot be switched to the U.S. Again, I could switch countries on the 360 just fine (I switched to Japan early on for demos). Whatever.

Now I'm trying to sign in with the U.S. account. I figured out that this *might* work if I add another user name. So far, I just get DNS errors. If I go back to the U.K. account, it works fine. But I want the damn US-only-for-the-moment demo.

I guess the next step is to try erasing the hard drive again and starting over. My Resistance game saves were erased last time anyway. My main account should be the Suicide-Ninja anyway. I'll try creating the U.K. as a secondary from there.

I'm fully prepared with 1080p and a USB to mini-B cable this time as well. LOL

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

How close to that 1080p TV to realize the benefit?

1080p charted: Viewing distance to screen size - Engadget HD

Interesting chart.

For my 51" TV, it's about 6 feet.

For my 57" TV, it's about 7.5 feet.

Only the latter supports 1080p, but for example's sake, we'll fudge.

Basically, if you sit 10 feet away (which would be about normal), 1080p isn't going to mean squat. Even on these 50"+ big screens.

From my experience, I'd say this could apply to upscaled DVD vs Blu-ray/HD-DVD as well. The further you sit away, the less difference it makes. Movie lovers might want to consider moving their couches back 3-5 feet rather than diving into the format wars.

Trading in consoles; what our local Gamestops will pony up

Elite Pre-orders Coming To Gamestop Thursday - Kotaku

My local gamestops are getting around 4 Elites each. When inquiring about trade in, I received the values below. Keep in mind this may vary at different locations.

$250 Xbox 360 Premium (toward Elite only)
$450 Playstaion 3 60GB
$ 55 Playstation 2 (slim)
$ 50 Xbox (toward Elite only)
$ 25 Gamecube
$ 45 Heavy Nintendo DS
$ 80 PSP

I didn't even bother asking about the Wii, because there's no way I'm getting rid of that (it was too damn hard to get in the first place).

I'm tempted to trade in my PS3 since I only paid $500 for it. I traded in a PS2 for $100 off, but those are worthless throw-aways to me. But Ninja Gaiden and Final Fantasy are just around the corner.


One more thing: Microsoft is apparently providing free HDD transfer kits to those who will need them. They will not come packaged with the Elites systems, just the 120GB HDDs.

Nintendo announces record year, thanks DS and Wii - Joystiq

Nintendo announces record year, thanks DS and Wii - Joystiq

Don't get too excited, Sony. Microsoft, good luck. Nintendo is still owning the charts.

* %90 increase in fiscal year revenues
* 23 million Nintendo DS's sold last year
* Almost 6 million Wii consoles in 5 months

Now they need a %100 increase in output at the Wii factories.

More eyebrows raising towards the PS3

PlayStation 3 interest rising - Joystiq

Be quiet. Quieter. Do you hear that? That voice? Is that the inkling notion creeping up to drop $600 for a PS3?

The above article gets a gold star for the following:

The only problem is that the PS2 has a genetic defect and eventually succumbs to "disc read error." Bye baby, daddy misses you.

The real question is, will it take Microsoft 12 revisions of the Xbox 360 to get the red-lights problem away? They've already won in customer service and paying for things in warranty (Sony was charging consumers $40 to fix DRE). Now can they just need to beat them in the reliability department? Hopefully the Elites have no major issues.

In any case, it looks like CNet is sucking a Sony piece of manhood this week (at least Nick was honest about reality there). Maybe that crazy camera eye has them sexually intimidated?

Ninja Gaiden, a camera with a "fro" that I'm not sure where to put, Kutaragi hits the highway, and rising interest in the console. The cheerleaders got one hell of a pyramid going for Sony this week.

Today, the PS3 will get turned on! Ninja Gaiden Demo is up!

Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Virtua Tennis demos assault US PS Store - Joystiq this is the best PS3 news in a long time.

Folks, today, my previously abandoned PS3 can stop weeping for a few minutes. I'm going to turn it on, and play it.

I can't wait! *tries to find a way out of work early*

Sony gets lucky/smart: Crazy Ken K is out of the picture

Sony's Ken Kutaragi leaving SCE chairman and CEO spots in June - Engadget

Retirement is the claim. In any case, Kens dreams are way bigger than Sony or consumer budgets. While the PS3 seemed awesome on paper, it's implementation on cost just aren't realistic for the moment. Wireless is for slow mobile devices, not for a console with a 1Gb ethernet card. The card readers didn't need to be there, and the software should have been user friendly. No excuses; they had time for development; a whole extra year.

Hopefully Sony's management shifts will clean up the Playstation brand and get them on track. While they are making money, they need to worry about providing better services and worry more about games than Blu-ray.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wii Warm Up: Is Wii Sports worn out? - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Wii Warm Up: Is Wii Sports worn out? - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Short answer: Yes.

Wii Sports just hasn't been much of a single player experience for me. It's only good when friends or family are over. I'll admit, I played until I got PRO status in everything but Boxing. After that...the game gets rather old. I do think the Bowling is timeless though; everyone loves it.

Hopefully Nintendo can give us some other sports. Wii Play was pathetic, so we can only wish for some new sports action in the future.

10 years of FFXIII?

A Decade Of Final Fantasy XIII Planned - Kotaku

More Final Fantasy is never long as it has the same effect as 7, 8, and X. I wouldn't mind seeing 7 and 8 redone, as there's plenty of reusable quality story there.

We'd better pray that XIII fixes the shortcomings of the medival lameness that was XII. From the screens so far, I have no concerns. Exciting RPG-age is abound!

(**pssst...Square...where the hell is the 360 love?***)

Wii shortages in for the long haul????

Wii shortages may continue into 2009, says time traveling analyst - Joystiq

This is ridiculous. It's a double-edged sword, really.

On one hand, some consumers may just give up on finding a Wii. On the other hand, it's okay not to find one because there really isn't any solid games coming for several months.

The Wii is a glorified why are they pulling punches on production? Supply and demand isn't a good thing to do in the upcoming summer months, Nintendo.

Halo 3 brings the true 1080p pain? - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Halo 3 brings the true 1080p pain? - Xbox 360 Fanboy

This would be just utterly perfect. And the biggest slap in the face to Sony ever.

"Apparently, Halo 3 is already running at 1080p at 60fps, though it's not final code at this point."

Judging that Halo 2 still looks amazing when upscaled, I have full confidence in Bungie to make this one of the best FPS games of all time. Oh, and it will look good, too.

Guess I better get that Elite...

If true, I'd be excited - RUMOR: PlayStation Home beta is up and running? - PS3 Fanboy

RUMOR: PlayStation Home beta is up and running? - PS3 Fanboy

It sounds like more internet forum fallacies to me.

I don't know about you, but no matter how much I dislike the PS3, I want to see this exalted HOME thing in action.

Playstation convert talks about his 360 - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Playstation convert talks about his 360 - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Sounds like me a few years ago. I did switch to Xbox first, but the 360 has me enjoying being a gamer. Getting a solid group of friends and playing together is great. Friendly competitions with gamerscore and achievements is a minor ongoing thing as well.

I absolutely love streaming content to the 360 from the living room PC as well.

I lot of what turned me off with the PS2 is when I tried to get more out of it. Between modding it, adding a hard drive, trying Linux, and playing emulators through it, all I found was a bunch of frustrating work for very little payoff. I found myself playing with the hardware more than playing actual video games. When friends kept coming to me to fix their PS2 DRE's...I really got turned off.

After Final Fantasy and Xenosaga...what was left for the PS2 for me? Not much...I still buy games for it, but I never really end up playing them.

When I get a 360 game, we're all on it and ready to go. That's the difference I think; it's a fun console whether you have a new game, are replaying old games for achievements, or mashing through the XBLA classics. It's the most bang I've ever got for my buck.

No direct Zune Phone, but oh the possibilities!

Steve Ballmer comments on potential Zune phone - Engadget

That picture made the idea a good one to me. While my T-Mobile MDA is more useful than I could imagine, the Zune form factor would be much better suited to the task. Even the buttons would be better for gaming.

Maybe we'll get some franken Xbox-Zune-Phone thing. That would be sweet.

Free Demo: God of War: Chains of Olympus

God of War: Chains of Olympus

Go login to playstation underground or sign up to get a hold of this highly sought PSP demo.

Hopefully it's more entertaining than Gangs of London.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gamespot's Impressions of Clive Barker's Jericho

Clive Barker's Jericho Impressions - Xbox 360 News at GameSpot

I wasn't really interested in this game much until I read about it. Ninjas, horror, and supernatural powers, all in first person mode? I'm game.

Tomb Raider Anniversary on the way, Kotakuites want a 360 version

Tomb Raider Anniversary Brings Lara Back In June - Kotaku

I'm with the several commenters wanting the 360 version. It's just disappointing to step back to a last generation console.

One of the basement dwellers in our household picked up Guitar Hero for the PS2 the other's amazing how the jaggies and blurry textures stuck out like a sore thumb. And that's on a game that has no emphasis on graphics!

I also played a couple of Tomb Raiders the other day, and I just couldn't muster it. The controls were out of date as were the environments, physics, and graphics. Hopefully Eidos makes the smart move and makes a current generation version of this classic.

Is the Xbox 360 becoming the next PS2?

Early on, there were many comparisons of the Dreamcast to the Xbox 360. However, knowing that Microsoft has near unlimited funds compared to Sega, even suggesting that a Dreamcast fate was due was nothing short of ridiculous.

Even still, it's too early. But for the sake of thought, let's change the comparison. Currently, the Xbox 360 seems to be more like the PS2 and the PS3 seems to be more like the original Xbox.


For the time being, the 360 has the most games. While (supposedly) less powerful than the competition, it still manages to hold its own. It even managed to be the first real competitor out the door (we won't count the Dreamcast since Sega's doom was imminent). It has a few less features, yet is still a popular console with some solid exclusives. Even hardware problems don't seem to be slowing it down (think DISC READ ERROR on the PS2). Sounds like the PS2 as I remember it.

For the moment, the PS3 has very little for games. It has more features, (possibly) better hardware for graphics, and has a few strong exclusives. The advantage the PS3 has over the original Xbox is brand name (for the respective time frames). Other than that, it sounds like the Xbox to me: "most powerful", "poor game selection", "crappy ports", etc.

Where the Wii fits in is hard to say. Last generation's consoles didn't really bring new gamers to the table per say. Well, at least not to the extent that the DS and Wii have. Sales may mimic the PS2's success at the beginning of its uprising, but the Wii still seems like it should be in a probationary stage until we some some solid titles come out for it.

While future sales numbers talk, we're not going to know the extent of this war until high caliber games start appearing, such as Final Fantasy, Halo, and Mario. As it stands, this comparison means very little for predicting the outcome, but it is definitely food for thought.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Free and Legal "Motocross Challenge" GBA ROM

Motocross Challenge loses publisher, passes savings onto you - DS Fanboy

This is cool. Here is the download page for DHG Games. You'll need a GBA emulator to play it; search for it on google.

Keep in mind that DHG retains all rights to the game. Since they lost their publisher support, they are allowing the game to go public; free of charge to play.

According to the above link, it seems to be an updated version of Excitebike! My bike is excited for sure. ;)

Thanks, DHG!

Eliting with a new box or a new HDD?

360 Elite trade-in offer further clarified - Xbox 360 Fanboy

This post is mostly for my own reference. The above link is good information about Gamestop's trade-in for an Xbox 360 Elite. It's probably the route I will take, just so I can have a black Xbox and HDMI.

Some may just want the hard drive space. For half the price of Microsoft's paltry offering, you can hack up a WD SATA drive if you wish to use your own 120GB hard drive.

If I end up changing my mind at the last minute, because all my accessories are already white and component is doing just fine in 1080i for me, then I'll probably go the latter route.

Does Microsoft need Japan to succeed? - Joystiq

Does Microsoft need Japan to succeed? - Joystiq

I'd say no. Japan is but one country in the world. While it is an important staple in the gaming universe, people forget that Microsoft has enlisted Japanese developers, which is by far more important than Japanese gamers themselves.

If all the Japanese-style gaming fienders out there can still get appeased, then whether the Japanese people bite the Xbox 360 bait will not declare overall loss or victory for Microsoft. Capcom is paving the way by unexclusifying games...if the payout is worthy, you can bet others will follow suit.

Virtually Overlooked: Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Virtually Overlooked: Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Here I am, behind yet again. Catch-up time!

Golgo 13 was a very challenging and interesting game, regardless of its popularity. I believe my first experience with it was at a friends house (you know, the first friend who had a NES?). Mr. Togo jumped ridiculous heights, seemed like he didn't wear shoes, and some of the shooting sequences were ridiculous.

No matter. After much pain and toil, I did get to the last ridiculously difficult boss (difficult to my pre-teen years...not so sure about today). The ending wasn't satisfactory, but it definitely left a sense of accomplishment. Figuring your way through one of the mazes alone was enough to break out the champagne.

Bring it on Nintendo. I won't buy it, but people need to revisit the quality forebearer of the not-quite-as-good Mafat Conspiracy.

Friday, April 20, 2007

March NPD leaves PS3 behind...

March NPD sales data shows Nintendo pwning competition (again) - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

This article shows that the "gimmicky" DS and Wii are still powerhouses in the market, although the PS2 is still selling strong. However, I still think that higher Wii supply would knock the junky PS2 down to third place.

Even better, the Xbox 360 sold 35% more than the PS3. Neither console is difficult to find, so we'll see what the future holds. While it seems that this is a victory for MS, keep in mind that the PS3 still has nothing for games. Resistance was a last-resort-hit, if you've ever played it. It's a great game for FPS newcomers (read Playstation gamers), standard fare for everyone else.

I had to take the jab. The PS3 asks for it.

Anyway, once a couple of hit games come to the system, the PS3 should get moving.

I'm going Elite.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite gets unboxed and uncased - Engadget

Unfortunately, my new television doesn't handle VGA signal that well from the Xbox 360. It doesn't stretch to the edges of the screen and the colors get washed out. The same applies to using my laptop; but then again I'm required to go VGA-to-DVI adapter to get it to work.

Due to Gamestop's upped trade in, I've decided to part with my white 360 and an extra Xbox for $300 off the Elite. That leaves me spending $180, which would be the same as just buying the hard drive. But I'd get the HDMI and the black color I've always wanted. And a new controller to boot. So why not?

It's funny still how I don't see a big difference between 1080i and 1080p. Honestly, I'm not too worried about the HDMI, but why not try it out? The only problem is that this will force me to use the PS3 or Xbox 360 for movies, since my upscaling DVD player is currently using an HDMI port. Eh, why not use the PS3. It's got to be good for something...but then I have to buy that NON-IR remote.

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Playstations get some games?

SCEA Q1 Lineup

From the partial list given, Ninja Gaiden is really the only title the sticks out since most of the remaining games are available on Xbox 360.

Admittedly, I'm a bit jealous of MK2 from the PS Store. MK3 was the beginning of the end for Mortal Kombat, and I wish that Midway would have picked the second outing for XBLA. Without XBL, I can't say I'm too interested in any of these arcade titles on the PS3.

In PS2 land, the Tomb Raider Anniversary collection gains a bit of attention from me. Now that I've played Legends enjoyably, I'd like to see if a remake of the predecessors would fair well with me on another go-around.

Anyone spot something exciting here that I don't know about/missed?

Sony looking at a new pricing budgeting strategy

Kotaku brings us this news.

Ya think, Sony? The initial high price is a problem. The majority of consumers will not buy based on "potential" or the inclusion of a bunch of features they don't understand or won't use.

If I went to a car dealer, and they told me that a Geo Metro had the potential to have 500hp and still get 30mpg, I would laugh at them. Sure, with some mechanical development and time, it might happen. While that analogy is extreme, the uneducated consumer will not see it as such.

Even though the 60GB version is the top seller, they should have stuck with the lesser sku from the get-go and brought out the "greater" version down the road. The problem is that Kutaragi stuck his foot in his mouth when he promised such a ridiculous featureset. Once they found it unrealistic, they end up just looking bad on backing out of promises and claims.

Blu-ray was a jumping-the-gun situation. Comparisons to DVD and the PS2 were everywhere, but that situation was different. I know from my experience, we were well on our way into DVD before the PS2 even arrived. Blu-ray doesn't have that luxury, and it costs 3 times as much respectively. HD demand is perceived and not actual in my opinion. Most people I know...don't really care all that much.

Obviously, Sony has the supply part they need to work on the demand. Without some top-tier games to compete with the Xbox 360's plethora of titles (Resistance isn't good enough), they just don't seem like a good buy right now. Blu-ray's extremely low percentage of sales (compared to regular DVD) isn't exactly help either.

Sony isn't doomed, but they are going to need to use their thinking caps seriously. Good move on getting Ken out of the picture though.

Update: Sony says they're not lowering the price.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Limbaugh: Don't scapegoat games for VT massacre - Joystiq

Limbaugh: Don't scapegoat games for VT massacre - Joystiq

It is always impressive when someone in the media takes an appropriate stance on ridiculous stereotypes. In this case, that label is video-games-equals-violence.

The media and it's readers/listeners/viewers are really disgusting sometimes. The media is an enabler to find quick-to-blame scapegoats for just about anything. Television causes this behavior, video games cause that behavior, certain music is work of the devil, etc. All have been ridiculous notions.

When it comes down to it, there is no single cause of negative behavior. It's a combination of things not even limited to environment. Heredity, experience, and guidance all play roles to a much bigger picture.

My guess is that this "media play" (as I'll call it) uses high-level cause and effect anti-analysis because the majority of the human race doesn't enjoy thinking (getting down to the core "low-level"). Many of us will latch onto ideas or notions without knowing the underlying supporting information. We see this a lot in the fanboy wars. I'm no saint in that department, although I will happily explain my reasoning behind what I say.

Hopefully we'll see a realistic approach to games media in the upcoming years. Music, books, movies, and television have been mostly let off the hook. After Video Games, what will the media attack next?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hypothetically...would Sony losing gamers hurt developers?

New RAR metric decides what'll happen to third-party devs sans Sony - PS3 Fanboy

An even shorter summary of the hypothetical answer is:

If Sony bleeds a lot of marketshare, then EA and Activision would benefit by going Xbox 360, THQ wouldn't care, and Take-Two would be "crippled" by the loss.

Nick does bring up a good point that RPG publishers aren't covered. They do still make a difference, but it also shouldn't be ignored that the 360 is getting some solid RPG's to call its own.

*gasp* Am I "banned" from

I was trying to recommend Burnout to the main blogger at, Nick Doerr. I was doing it through
this article.

I noticed that I wasn't getting any comment confirmations and my comments weren't posting. I'm guessing I pissed someone off with my jackass comments on how horrible the PS3 is. It's not like what I say isn't true for the most part. LOL

To be fair, I give anti-credit where due, like on Microsoft's proprietary and over-priced hard drives. Naturally, the PS3 aka "dark side" supporters won't notice when I take a crack at Microsoft or Nintendo (because it is rare I admit).

Anyway, I have all the email addresses in the world, so it's not a big deal to me. It's just funny to me how angry they get over there. I'm not someone downtalking the PS3 without playing it. I own one. It sucks. I don't want it to suck, which is why I'm looking forward to HOME and the couple of games that draw me to the system.

The PS3 has it's high points, which are good high points (user replaceable HDD, Bluetooth, etc.). But the low points are really low points (cost, annoying controller, bad menu system, etc.). Sometimes you have to play good games through crappy consoles. That's always how it has been (looks at PS2, PS3, N64, PSP, Gameboy, and SegaCD).

HD DVD Sales Soar in US - HD DVD Takes The Lead In Europe

HD DVD Sales Soar in US - HD DVD Takes The Lead In Europe

Thank God. If you've seen the quality of HD-DVD's, you'd know why this is a good thing, less storage space or not.

If you are a programmer, you'll feel a temporary sigh as a HD-DVD win would erase a Java platform from existence. Phew.

Too bad it's still way too early to tell the future of whether downloads, HD-DVD, or Blu-ray will win.

I'm betting the release of the Matrix trilogy helped with this HD-DVD recovery somewhat. Sure, it should be on Blu-ray as well, but HD-DVD is just more practical. If the movie industry wants to slow pirates, they should move to HD-DVD for retail movies and not make any burnable HD-DVD discs. Leave PC storage to Blu-ray, and home video to DVD/VCD.

Maybe that's impractical, but so is HDCP/HDMI and DRM as a whole. It'd be easier to control hardware than software IMO.

Or they could waste time and effort on AACS, BD+, and all that other DRM crap that ends up being more consumer-annoyance than piracy-avoidance.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Halo 2 maps coming...time to use some vacation? =)

I was looking for when the new Halo 2 maps were coming and found this older article on Joystiq. April 17th, which is next week. Time flies nowadays. I've had my PS3 for a while now...still don't play it. Sad.

Anyway, is anyone taking a day or two off work to get their renewed Halo-fix? I'm thinking about that I have paid vacation finally (I've been contracted for 2 years; no benefits or vacation), I could do such a thing.

You have to love Halo 2...they add content almost 3 years after the game comes out and people will still play the hell out of it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Get the XMB on the PS3 at any time, petition-style! - PS3 Fanboy

Get the XMB on the PS3 at any time, petition-style! - PS3 Fanboy

The fans speak again. Who wants to put money down that Sony will screw up when they talk about this?

I hope they do this. The little 3-choice menu currently given is just obnoxious.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Microsoft should pay attention; Sony beheads lesser PS3 model

RIP Playstation 3 20GB is officially no more

This is a win for the misguided Playstation consumer. This results in less confusion and better manufacturing. Unlike the 360s, the different PS3 models had different internal hardware, which likely slowed production somewhat. But such issues are erased from existence.

It is quite ridiculous to offer multiple models. Microsoft should pay attention to this; while I'm sure the core system has had its share of sales, it's been the lesser seller from what I've see in stores.

Sony learned, and Nintendo's got it right. Microsoft, this time you should follow suit instead of lead the pack. Drop the core model. The lack of hard drive makes it essentially worthless.

Nintendo can't produce enough Gamecubes Wiis

Perrin Kaplan says shortages will continue - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

This is annoying. At least the 360 had newer parts that were harder to get. The Wii is just modified Gamecube, so getting a hold of parts shouldn't be an issue.

According to the above article, Nintendo is producing Wii's at maximum capacity. My question is, since Nintendo is still selling during the slower part of the year, when are they going to ramp up production? We should be able to easily find a Wii at this point.

Canadian PS3's whine of their own suckitude

Whiney PS3s hitting Canadian shelves? - Engadget

Surprised? Not me. We went from DRE (disc read error) to HPW (high pitched whine). You'd think a company with Sony's experience (and extra time to build the console) wouldn't have issues like these.

Check the link for a sample of the whining sound.

I don't really understand the praise the PS3 gets for being "quiet". Aside from the fact no one ever turns it on, it's only quiet with the fans off. When its fans do come on, it's just as loud as the Xbox 360. I think it just manages to stay cooler a little longer than it's rival, fooling the average fanboy into the bitter somethings being whispered into their ears..

However, even with a lowly 500w 5.1 Digital Surround Sound system, I tend to not hear either console's bitter workaholic moans.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

John Romero: PC is about to make console its bitch - Joystiq

John Romero: PC is about to make console its bitch - Joystiq

It's another case where my comment need not be repeated!

Consoles are good because they are simple and for the most part they all use the same parts throughout their lives.

PC's vary too much, which can actually make PC development difficult. A game that works on one PC may not work on another (video cards, ram, motherboard, processor, near infinite combinations). It's too unpredictable. And a built rig doesn't have the staying power of a console. Consoles can get about 5-7 solid years compared to a PC's months to a couple of years before needing upgrades. It leaves a PC rig as a worse investment for an entertainment dollar.

A PS3, Wii, or 360 game will work on its respective console...whether it was from launch or the middle or even the end of the life cycle. PC's don't work that way.

Another problem is the PC's full-scale operating system (usually Windows). With consoles, you plug in a game and go; booting takes very little time. You don't have to worry about resident programs running in the background, antivirus software, or spyware.

PC's keep me employed, but I would never recommend that someone become a PC gamer. It's not worth it, and comes with a ridiculous amount of hassle if all you want to do is game.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I love my PS3 this much.

Ouch! PS3 finishes last in Australia? - PS3 Fanboy

Ouch! PS3 finishes last in Australia? - PS3 Fanboy

Pwned. Or something.

My comment says enough:

"I would hate to have to buy a 360 cause the PS3 turned into a confirmed flop"

As much as I hate my PS3 with the fire of a thousand suns, I think even suggesting it will be "a flop" is ridiculous. It may not have the iron grip over the competition this time around, but Sony won't be hurting in the end. They will still make money, learn from their mistakes, and make the PS4 the machine it should be.

Even though the PSP isn't that amusing of a device for the general populous (compared to the DS), there is a market for it. Sony is doing quite well sales-wise for being "the new kid" on the handheld block. Hasn't it outsold the Xbox and the Gamecube at this point?

As for Australia, don't forget about the Microsoft-sponsored "biggest water-baloon fight" held there (I have the picture on my desktop). That most likely left the 360 very memorable for the Aussies; Sony hasn't done anything to that magnitude with them for sure.

Looks like my comment won't go through. Oh well.

HD-DVD and Blu-ray get cheaper; the latter is still double the price Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player: Electronics

Now the above links to a varying priced model of HD-DVD player. At the time of this writing, it is $309.99. However, I've seen ads for local stores selling the player from $299.99 to $349.99.

Later this year, Sony is dropping the Blu-ray price bracket with their BDP-S300 model. The price will lower to $599.99 and is planned for the summer. Currently, Blu-ray players are around $1000. Naturally, us gamers will scoff at that and say, "Just buy a PS3!" However, remember that the average consumer is not a gamer, so assuming they know as much as we do about consoles is blasphemy.

Point being: $299.99 is a much more acceptable price than $599.99 for a movie player. This pricing move means one of two things: Toshiba is being competitive, or they are in trouble.

Since Toshiba just released a new model, the numbers are skewed by consoles, and neither format is selling particularly well, I think we're just seeing Toshiba putting forth a better effort. Others might think HD-DVD is already dead.

Until the Blu-ray camp gets its standards in gear and start providing quality goods, I'm not going to fall for their trap.

Spec changes to Blu-ray? (Read: Catching up to HD-DVD)

Problem loading page

I always tell people that Blu-ray's use of Java was a poor choice. Programmers can argue that Java is "free" all day long, but the runtimes are horrible and there just isn't any good development tools for it.

For a while now, many companies began moving to Java from Visual Studio (pick your language). The idea was to save money. Well, that involved a ridiculous amount of training and money spent on sub-par development tools, so the benefits perceived were never obtained. The market seems to be returning to Microsoft's world for programming, with the exception of the UNIX/LINUX hardcore command-line compiler users.

I know Java and hate it. While it isn't the worst language I've had to deal with, it was too frustrating to do anything useful with quickly. While the ideas that drive the language are good, it ends up taking twice the work to program various things than in other languages.

So what does HD-DVD use for programming? It's a XML-based language which is also used in web-page "programming". To put it shortly, it would be easier to work with than Java. Shouldn't movie authoring be easy?

Note: If you decide to get specifics on any of this, do know that JAVA and JAVASCRIPT are in no way the same thing. They aren't even close to each other.

Why do you care? You probably don't. This just relates my line of work to a feature of one of our gaming consoles. It's a stretch, but it enabled a career-involving opinion to come out. ;)

Anyway, the abilities that Blu-ray is trying to get standardized are things that HD-DVD has been setup for the whole while. I'd forgotten about these extras. Maybe I need to buy an HD-DVD drive/player so I can do side-by-sides.

If only the Blu-ray and HD-DVD camps could work together. Imagine having the space of Blu-ray but the quality and featureset of HD-DVD. *sigh*.

Conflicting business models cost us money?

Microsoft forcing fees?

Cue the Sony fanboys to come in and blabber on about how awesome the "free" PSN is, and how Sony is doing the gamer favors, etc. However, this is not an issue that deserves defense on Microsoft's part.

While I suspect there is legit concern, Mark Rein's insistence on listening to the podcast makes me think this is another instance of media exaggeration. How this was put just doesn't make much sense.

Unfortunately, I cannot check out the podcast at work. Any podcast participants have an opinion on the subject?

Xbox 360 QWERTY thumb keyboard is official - Engadget

Xbox 360 QWERTY thumb keyboard is official - Engadget

All nuclear heating semi-circle of red death jokes aside, one has to admit that Microsoft makes some pretty solid and useful hardware. As with any manufacturer, there will always be faults (*cough* floppy d-pad *cough*), but in general I like their stuffs.

The 360 controller, their mice and keyboards, the 360 wireless headset, their steering wheel design, etc. are examples of good ones. The upcoming thumb keyboard attachment for the 360 keyboard is a welcome addition to the accessory family.

Now I just have to wonder whether this add-on or the keyboard will be my preferred method of messaging mayhem. Not if I continue to use those tad bits of alliteration...

Anything but that cell-phone-style text entry that the PS3 uses, right? ;)

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Friday, April 06, 2007

PS3 Futility Chronicles Vol. 2: On the phone with Sony...

Apparently, Sony isn't going to make this easy on me. Actually, they can't help me at all.

My current problem is that Sony has me under the U.K. instead of the U.S. It is my fault for registering in Europe, but I didn't think it would be much of an issue to change the country. I was wrong.

I called up SCEA, and after a surprisingly short waiting period, B.J. greeted me. I told him the situation, and his conclusion was that I needed to "change my email address" and then create a new account. Why exactly can't I just have two accounts on there? I can have multiple usernames, but only one account. Lame.

Basically, I'm stuck with Suicide-Ninja if I want to buy anything (so my billing address is correct). But I can still sign on with SuicdeNinja to play games. It's really no skin off my back if I can't purchase anything at the Sony store...I probably wouldn't buy anything anyway.

As always, I have to point this out: I can change countries on the Xbox 360 without a problem. And without calling Microsoft.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Why Sony has a bumpy road ahead of them

After reading This article at, which questions whether the PS3 is running in a futile race, I was reminded of a point that I always mention in passing. That point would be the internet:

The internet has put impatience on full-throttle.

Consumers are more "NOW!"-oriented than ever. The one thing Sony has done right so far is made their product available. But there is much more to it than that.

It's easy to say, "Just wait!" However, as opposed to a decade ago, consumers are used to getting their little desires satiated much quicker than before. We don't even have to go to the store any more, we can do immediate bargain shopping and product comparisons at home. Dozens of reviews from real people are available in multiple places. While this has made more impulsive shoppers out of some, it has also made smarter shoppers out of others.

Word-of-mouth has also increased exponentially because of the internet. The power of the forum and review is much bigger than before; no special magazine subscription is required to get equivalent information.

I think Sony is the only company of the three that seems to have not paid proper attention to how the internet affects controversial products such as gaming consoles. If you notice, Microsoft plays well to those at home on the internet. Nintendo knows how to keep their collective mouth shut. Sony isn't close to either of those strategies; their mouth is big and they often speak before they think. When a problem arises, they do a very poor job at recovering from it. These problems may hurt them significantly this generation, but it's unlikely to "bury" them.

Sony will be okay in the end, but that doesn't mean the road will get any smoother for a while.

Free Blu-ray Casino Royal for me? Nope...they're sending it to UK

From Sony,

Thank you for registering for PLAYSTATION®Network.

PLAYSTATION Network opens the door to a new world of exciting entertainment opportunities.

Being one of the first to register you have qualified for a free Blu-ray Disc™ of Casino Royale™. We will aim to deliver your disc within 45 days.

For full terms and conditions of this offer please visit

Please note that during registration on PLAYSTATION Network, you will have been asked for a valid home address during the process so that the Blu-ray Disc can be delivered to you.

Sweet. But notice how they want me to visit ""? Yeah. So they are going to try to deliver this free movie to Ogden, Utah in the United Kingdom. I wonder if I still would have received it if they would have let me change the country to the correct one.

Countries open to the offer: Europe, Middle East and Africa, except employees and agents of SCEE and their families. The 41 countries are: UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Russia, UAE, South Africa, Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Israel, Malta, Iceland, Greece, Cyprus, India

Good luck with that, Sony!

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I give no support to Microsoft's 120GB HDD pricing defense

Microsoft defends 120GB Xbox HDD price - Joystiq

Sorry, Microsoft. As a person in IT, I don't buy your ridiculous HDD markup justification:

If you compare what we are offering with a real plug-and-play drive the closest thing would be to take a 120-gig self-powered external PC drive, and in that case we are seeing those retail at anywhere from $160 to $200 for comparable laptop-sized external hard drives.

Nobody tell this guy that you can buy a similar hard drive for half the price and then a $18 USB enclosure to make an external drive yourself. And that's after the respective manufacturer's markups.

This is a sad attempt at an excuse, and it is sickening. It reminds me of the PR excuse as to why we don't have rumble in the PS3 right now...

04/05/2007 Update: Fixed a spelling error in the title.

Resident Evil 4 on Wii official, Umbrella Chronicles an on-rails shooter - Joystiq

Resident Evil 4 on Wii official, Umbrella Chronicles an on-rails shooter - Joystiq

Hopefully the "on-rails" thing is a mistake. Why the hell would they do that to this game? What they should do is allow moving while shooting and slap on some Wii controls and extra content.

As one of the commenters said, hopefully they add all the PS2 extras in this version of the game. I refused to buy this game a second time, let alone accept the uglier PS2 version.

Hell, they might as well port it to the 360 while they're at it. Then I'd definitely buy it again.

Metroid Prime 3 not shipping before July - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Metroid Prime 3 not shipping before July - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

This game seems so far away. The Wii is fun with friends and all, but it doesn't feel like a gaming console without non-party games. Sonic should have been a temporary cure, but it's just too jumbled to be a solid game. Tiger Woods? I'll play it on the 360, least the controls work.

I can't say I'm super excited for Mario Galaxy, and I couldn't care less about Smash Bros (would a Nintendo kitten die if I said I liked Small Arms better?). The former looks interesting, but I think I got over my Mario affections long ago. Sunshine was somewhat cool, but I don't have any inkling to play through it.

If we can get a half dozen solid games out of the Wii this year, Nintendo will be sitting pretty.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

PS3 gets "pwned", while 360 gets "pwneder" in Japan

Wii Outselling PS3 Over Two To One In Japan - Kotaku

2 to 1 sales in Japan? Take that Sony. Now your homeland is turning away from you! *continues to recite other unnecessary anti-Sony blabber that doesn't address any true argumentative points* :)

Now if you total up the monetary total of the consoles, Nintendo and Sony are about even with the latter lagging behind slightly. But after launch, a console maker wants more end-users than just a high monetary total. They need to sell games to make more money, and the more end-users, the more games sold.

It looks like Europe chilled out last week on PS3 purchases. Read the article though, because Nick is right; this shouldn't be abnormal when there is stock abundance as opposed to a limited-quantity launch.

Before doing any pro-360/Wii dances, keep in mind that Japan are still snubbing the 360, which has less sales than the PS3. Why? I have no idea. The PS3 sucks.

Red Vs. Blue: 100th episode will be the last - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Red Vs. Blue: 100th episode will be the last - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Red vs Blue can't die! I love that show!

I'm sure the guys have more hilarious Halo adventures for us on the way. Don't fret!

How to calculate a TV/Monitor's Dimensions only knowing the diagonal

I figured this out at IHOP the other day due to extreme boredom:

Screen_Height = square_root(diagonal_size^2 / 4.16)

Screen_Width = Screen_Height * 1.8

This assumes that the aspect ratio is 16:9.

How calculated:

I'll try and explain this to the best of my ability. Hopefully I'm mostly acurate.

In a triangle (according to Pythagorean's Theorem), height^2 + width^2 = diagonal^2. Manufacturers usually only provide the diagonal size, such as 19", 22", 27", etc. We need one more dimension to figure out the third. The problem is that the dimensions change per diagonal size.

However, wide screen is typically in 16:9 format, meaning for every 16 units of width, there are 9 units of height. If you aren't into wide screen, you would do this calculation with a 4:3 ratio. This information indirectly gives us our second dimension to make a formula.

Here we go:

Continue reading...

Let's say we know the diagonal length of the television (we'll pick on later). So we know the following:

height^2 + width^2 = diagonal^2

Now with common sense, we know that TV screens are generally wider than tall.

Our ratios above (16:9, 4:3) are actually fractions (16/9, 4/3). We'll assume the bigger number is the width accordingly. This leaves us with whole numbers (numerator > denominator; aka: top bigger than the bottom). Respectively, we'd end up with about 16/9 = 1.8 and 4/3 = 1.3. Times this value by the smaller measurement (height) to get the bigger measurement (width). If you did the opposite of that, you'd get a huge length and a small height which would obviously be wrong. So an example would be with the low accuracy of one decimal point):

For 16:9

width = 1.8 * height

For 4:3

width = 1.3 * height

For more generalization, well just refer to the aspect ratio as "aspect_ratio" from here. that leaves us with:

width = aspect_ratio * height

This means we can get rid of the width in our original formula by substituting the above answer for width:

height^2 + (aspect_ratio * height)^2 = diagonal^2

This ends up being:

height^2 + (aspect_ratio^2 * height^2) = diagaonal^2

Since one times anything is itself, we should adjust this formula so we can add the two heights together:

(1)height^2 + (aspect_ratio^2)height^2 = diagonal^2

This equals:

(1 + aspect_ratio^2)height^2 = diagonal^2

Note: Or you could consider it factoring out the height^2.

Since we will always be given the diagonal, we need to solve for the height, so divide both sides by (1 + aspect_ratio^2):

height^2 = diagonal^2 / (1 + aspect_ratio^2)

And take the square root of both sides:

height = square_root((diagonal^2)/(1 + aspect_ratio^2))

Since we picked a 19" widescreen at 16:9 aspect ratio, let's plug in the numbers:

height = square_root((19^2)/(1 + (16/9)^2) = square_root(361/4.16) = square_root(86.78)= 9.31.

Since the width is 16/9 * height:

Width = 16.76

So a 19" widescreen will be 16.76" by 9.31".

Try it out.

Yeah...I'm a nerd...but now I can calculate the best combination of monitors for my computer. I want a widescreen in the middle and and two standards on each side of it:


The height of 4:3 monitors would have to be 11.41" to match a 19" widescreen.

9.31^2 + (1.3 * 9.31)^2 = diagonal^2

86.67 + 146.48 = diagonal^2

233.16 = diagonal^2

square_root(233.16) = diagonal

15.26 = diagonal I need.

So if I want my 19" widescreen to near match to regular screens, I have to get two 15". Keep in mind that the calculation may not end up with exact results. Some televisions and monitors aren't exactly 4:3 or 16:9.

I'm aware I probably made a million mistakes and probably didn't explain myself well. If anyone cares to add/correct, go ahead and do so via comments. I did this on the fly, and don't have time to edit it at the moment.

Sega Genesis wireless controller hack brings back that lovin' feeling - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

Sega Genesis wireless controller hack brings back that lovin' feeling - Nintendo Wii Fanboy

What about the 6-button version? If I still had my old controllers, I'd be making these retro wireless controllers in no time. Sure, I could locate some and start these awesome controller projects. As I always say, that means more effort than I'm willing to give for something I'll probably never use. If I have the parts, I'll do it, otherwise I've learned from experience that I'll just forget about it and let good ideas go to waste.

Best DIY arcade stick evar! (it's wireless) - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Best DIY arcade stick evar! (it's wireless) - Xbox 360 Fanboy

Damn...Since I have some arcade joysticks (just the sticks, nothing else), I may have to consider doing something like this. However, I would make it so that you could replace the battery rather than having to plug it via USB in to charge it.

What else would you use the charging station for? ;)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Defending the PS3 boomerang controller

This article from Joystiq reminded me of an article I wrote last year.

Surprisingly, I had defended the boomerang controller myself. The premise of my argument was that we were not aware of the intended motion control for the PS3 controllers at the time. That information changed my mind on the original design. Check out my article for more info.

Even better, I saw this controller in Circuit City the other day. It looks like Psyclone decided to take the boomerang design and make it for the PS2. Seriously, I almost bought it just to see what we missed out on by judging a book by its cover.

We already know that I hated the dualshock controller. But I rescind any mockery of the boomerang design that I wrought.

It's things like this that remind me why companies end up deciding what we want as opposed to us. We really don't know sometimes.