Thursday, August 30, 2007

Real life vs gaming - hiatus again?

Tara Nielsen's funeral hit me really hard yesterday. It's been difficult to do much game-related activity ever since I found out about her passing. I tried to get into my usual groove afterwards, but failed for the most part.

After the funeral services, family lunch, and some drinks at the bar, I bought a 360 Elite. I also picked up my copy of Metroid Prime 3. I've not played MP3 yet, and I just checked out 1080p on Bioshock for a minute. I decided to stick with Halo 2 multiplayer as I wanted to avoid any story-oriented gaming that would stir up more emotions. Unfortunately, it's hard to have the gusto right I figure I'm just going to have to take a break and try to enjoy other things.

Most likely, I'll be sticking to my personal blogs for a little while until I work myself through this. Thank you for all of your support, and I promise to return soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cynical look at Bioshock has merit

"What?" you say? Bioshock is supposed to be "perfect", right? Well, we all know a 10/10 doesn't really mean perfect. And naysayers are always abound. There's plenty of naysayers from every fanboy corner of the triangle.

Knowing this, I wasn't expecting much of this review to be worth discussion. Turns out that I'm the cynic!

Points worth noting:

*Bioshock is quite linear
*Bioshock doesn't provide a penalty for dying
*Bioshock has fallible concepts at the base

Regardless of it's shortcomings, the feel of the game was pulled off well. The same type of complaints same could be said for other popular games as well (think: Gears of War). But that game was pulled off well (sans glitching in multiplayer).

Nothing's perfect; someone will always remind us. But Bioshock's downfalls hardly prevent the game from being great.

Metroid Dread not dead?

Today's release could shine the light of hope on a seemingly forgotten Metroid hopeful.

Scanning a particular panel in-game reveals the following message:

"Experiment status report update: Metroid project 'Dread' is nearing the final stages of completion."

One would hope that Retro isn't screwing with us. We need all the Metroid we can get, since not all of us a symbiotic with Mario and Link.

Gabe Newell: DirectX 10 exclusivity a mistake

Our resident Valve employee had some words about DirectX 10 being Vista-only. The Vista userbase is quite small, and doesn't seem to be rising very much. What does that mean? Developers aren't going to be so quick to adopt the new version since they can't rely on Vista sales.

Personally, I don't think Microsoft anticipated this much resistance to a new version of Windows. But they brought it on themselves if you think about it. They had us used to 1-2 year upgrades, and then there was a 5 year wait for Vista. Everyone is comfortable with XP, and Vista isn't shining through as expected.

An even bigger problem is that we are going to have to forgo more backwards compatibility in Windows if we want to truly move forward. And they might need to result to some type of emulation that doesn't intermix old and new directly. It's going to be tough...much more so than the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD war.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tara Nielsen and Final Fantasy

Misfortune has plundered our everyday grind. One of the greatest loves of my life passed away on Friday...breaking many hearts and saddening many friends.

It almost feels like a Final Fantasy story.

Like books, movies, and events, gaming can definitely stir up emotions. The stories and characters in any form of entertainment can represent our memories and the associated feelings. I wish more people were able to experience the moving stories we come across in gaming. It's one thing to read it or see it, but in a game, you participate, you are there.

I was dating Tara at the turn of the century. I'll never forget playing through Final Fantasy VIII at the time. The struggle between Squall and Rinoa reminded me the efforts it took for Tara and I to get together in the first place. Embarassingly enough, the roles were a bit reversed though; I put forth the effort and Tara was the difficult one.

Memories really struck when playing Final Fantasy X. Lulu had the same personality and look of Tara. Dark and tortured goth look? Check. Semi-bitchy attitude, but hot enough to get away with it? Check. Story-wise, Lulu had lost the man that treated her well, and ended up finding someone to make her happy. I always had hoped that Tara would find happiness. She was such a unique and misunderstood individual.

In dedication to Tara, I've decided to get my first tattoo. It will be of Lulu on the outside of my right thigh. This is where Tara got her last tattoo a few weeks ago, so I figure it would be fitting on multiple counts.

There's so many good memories to hang on to, and I'll be sure to do that. I hope that everyone takes appropriate time to communicate their feelings to friends, family, and significant others. Never put it off, because you never know when a tragedy might occur.

Tara, we all love you dearly and will miss you everyday.

Never forget those who have touched your soul:
R.I.P. Tara Nielsen 2/2/83 - 8/24/07

Friday, August 24, 2007

Valve developer thinks Cell Processor was poorly thought out

Gabe Newell of Valve (Half Life) had some words:

"I don't think they spent nearly enough time talking to developers when they were developing the PS3," he said. "It's less friendly for developers."

"It's a hardware architectural problem. I don't think they thought through the Cell architecture. The hardware is only as good as the software it enables."

He also mentions that Sony should have followed in Intel's footsteps when it comes to multicore processing. They had run many simulations with existing code before finalizing the Core 2 architecture.

While we here PS3 advocates (consumers and developers) chant "challenge is good" and "potential", one has to question if those expectations are practical. The prominent publishers/developers aren't just making one game at a they really have time to waste focusing on one console with some unproven architecture?

Most likely, the best stuff we'll see out of the PS3 will be from 1st party Sony games. With the 360, that isn't the case...most of it will be 3rd party. That has to say something.

Also worth mentioning is that Newell bashes Microsoft's lack of motivation on "Games for Windows". I'd have to agree...what the hell is MS trying to accomplish there? It seems like fluff on top of the same old, just like their current operating system.

Good Read: 5 bad precedents set by Xbox 360

Prepare to cringe! I'm supporting an anti-Microsoft-ideal article (that has merit).

Actually, the article complains about the typical stuff. All of which are justified. What bothers me the most isn't so much the warranty work, but the price of the accessories. They are ridiculous (although the Wii and PS3 have their share of this).

The Core system time frame was wrong in my opinion. The core should have come out down the road if it was ever going to. I hope both Sony and Microsoft learned that people don't care about cheaper during the six months of leveling supply. Those who want it will pay whatever it takes.

I won't agree with his complaint of Microsoft saying "HDMI isn't necessary" a long time ago. It isn't necessary for gaming. Not whatsoever. 1080i component looks 99.9% as good as 1080p HDMI. The difference is completely negligible, and I've been much happier with my 360 and it's "lowly" component display than my PS3 with it's "Full" HDMI display. The only reason HDMI is an issue is because of waste-of-time-and-resources copy protection from HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Aside from that, it's just a consumer trap.

But I'm going to get an Elite anyway. Why? The extra hard drive space would be nice for one. Also, I have a 1080p television and need to free up a component input on my TV. Why? So I can use component cables on my PS2...ya know, since the PS3 won't play Guitar Hero correctly. 480i S-Video looks like crap on an HDTV.

Otherwise? I'd be fine. But there's no rush.

Sony Defense Force Waits Forever: No PS3 Bioshock in Development

As expected, Bioshock developer reports that no PS3 Bioshock is in development. They are sticking with the current exclusivity with no plans of going to other platforms.

"I promise you, there is no secret plan about the PS3 that we're keeping from people. There's no PS3 development going on that we're hiding. There's lots of stuff that gets into game code, plans change over time and we got an exclusive deal with Microsoft ... that's not a Rosetta Stone discovery." -Ken Levine

Burnout Paradise Progress: Your car is going to get messed up

It looks like Burnout Developer is .taking vehicle damage seriously.

[The presenter] had the driver stop and walked the room through what had happened to the ride from a structural standpoint. There were individual scratches on the sides, the exhaust system was hanging on by a threat, and the crumpled hood had sacrificed the overall wellbeing of the ride and the roof was beginning to cave in from the domino damage effect.

This is great; I really look forward to destroying vehicles through 65 streets. Burnout has been my racing game of choice ever since my friend said, "Let's play this." Hopefully they are still able to maintain the events in their open-world version. I could go without Time Trials though...those made the Elite Gold achievement a pain in the ass.

PS3: Heavenly Sword not impressing?

IGN UK apparently provided a lower-than-expected score for Heavenly Sword: 7/10. This is bad news since the PS3 is desperately clamoring for a triple "A" exclusive. HS was assumed to be one of the first masterpieces.

By most standards, 7/10 is an average game. The review cites fantastic graphics but boring gameplay. This is along the lines of my feelings based on the demo.

It's the kind of problem that persistently arises during Heavenly Sword: throughout you can't shake the feeling that you're playing a tangled mess of brilliant ideas desperately failing to wrestle themselves free from some incredibly misguided implementation.

It looks like the SIXAXIS motion controls are annoyingly forced again:

...steer your projectile through the air at a target via the SIXAXIS motion sensors, it's ultimately a fairly shallow addition to gameplay and quickly becomes tedious and repetitive...

So far, I've just decided that motion control is great for the Wii, bad for the PS3.

When it comes down to it, the turd is polished; high scores for graphics and audio. But crappy gameplay still comes out of anus it seems.

Even worse, Edge gave it 6/10. It also appears they gave Fatal Inertia a 6/10 as well. The demo for that game was horrible, so...

Sorry, Sony. Blu-ray doesn't make games better. Developers do.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blu-ray and HD-DVD get owned - Another 1TB op-disc

And then we can have SUPER HD! Ya know, it's the next step above the supposed FULL HD. Or maybe it will be KING HD, like bed sizing! Behold the resolution glory that is 4320q!

Anyway, engadget informs us of yet another optical disc format. This one appears to be transparent, uses a red laser, and can currently store up 1TB of data. A blue-laser version is expected to hold 5TB of data.

Since the PS3 camp can't get enough of Blu-ray discs, just imagine how nuts they could get with this? They could start adding the most ridiculous inaudible frequency ranges of all sounds! It's not just uncompressed, it's super-expanded into 2000.4 surround sound! Or they could add specs of C4 for the ultimate copy-protection! BLAM, Pirate! They could even cram extra pixels in there for fun, with in-texture advertising! Just think, thousands of Unreal Tournament 7'd never have to play the same one twice!

Imagine the possibilities!

Microsoft loves the heat: Steering Wheel problems?

Joystiq is sick of hearing the words "overheat" and "Microsoft". Are they synonymous? Probably just as much as "PS3" and "overpriced".

The steering wheel I've been gawking at for use with Burnout apparently has overheating problems when used with the AC adapter. Battery use is just fine. Microsoft is offering a repair service.

First Windows and Service Pack Updates, and now Xbox and hardware updates. Aside from MS responsibly taking care of the issue (unlike Sony), I'm thinking Sony's PS2 DRE problems are looking less prominent in comparison.

DMC4: 360 a hair up graphically, a hair down

Before I say anything, I want to make it extremely clear that I am not a Devil May Cry fan. I played it a couple times hear and there and I was never impressed with it, especially after having played the excellence that is Ninja Gaiden. God of War destroys DMC on all counts as well. To me, DMC3 was a mockery of action game (please...never let Dante talk again...). My ex loved DMC though, so I had to endure the games.

Anyway, Gamespy offers thoughts on the differences between the PS3 and the 360 version. They feel that the graphical polish went to the 360 version, although the difference isn't enough to get fanboy-extrodinaire over. They also felt that porting the dualshock controls over to the 360 controller failed.

I'm not surprised on the controls...on the demos and what not I've played on the PS3, they always mix up the trigger and L/R buttons in my opinion. It's almost like long-time Playstation developers are confused by the SIXAXIS' slippery triggers. But according to the original controller design, a lot of it would make sense. Hopefully Capcom adjusts the controls accordingly, and makes the game competitive to other titles in the genre.

PS3's best features aren't gaming....WTF (DVR peripheral)

I don't know about you, but the PS3 just seems to be getting more pathetic.

I'm glad it is "future proof" and everything, and while it's cool that it's getting DVR functionality (with software and peripheral addtion), it still has severe problems being a game machine.

The best cited reason for the console is Blu-ray playback. Great, fantastic, but I didn't NEED a Blu-ray player to begin with. I don't care about being able to install's cute and everything, but nearly worthless. So is web browsing...I'll use my computer, thanks. All of the non-gaming things the PS3 does sound great on paper, but really don't make me feel good about purchasing what I thought was a gaming machine.

What I need are games I can't get elsewhere. So far, that just hasn't happened. If Resistance was supposed to be some super-amazing game that made me fall in love with the PS3, it failed (Bioshock and Halo 3 wipes the floor with it). Ninja Gaiden Sigma is very attractive, and it plays well. It also played well the last 2 times I played it on the original Xbox. Any other game worth mentioning is already on the Xbox 360 with better online features and smoother play. It's really difficult to care about the hoo's and ha's when it's all talk and no show time and time again with the PS3.

Even though we are still in year one of the PS3's life cycle, expectations were already higher. They had a year more to refine the system software and get solid on the games in development. It didn't really seem like the time helped, which is probably one of the biggest disappointments.

I think about my first year with the 360 and how amazing it was. Dead Rising, Burnout Revenge, Condemned, Splinter Cell: DA, Prey, Call of Duty 2, Gears of War, etc. A few of those were on the last generation of consoles, but stepping back to SD graphics showed that it was time to move on. Even this second year with Guitar Hero II, Lost Planet, the Darkness, a solid Tiger Woods, Bioshock, FEAR, and a pile of great XBLA games leaves me wondering if I'll ever have this much fun with the PS3.

2008 will be a decisive and super competitive year. Hopefully the Wii and the PS3 will balance out and alleve this frustration. My biggest wish is for my PS3 to be a gaming machine instead of that Blu-ray player I don't care about.

Xbox 360 and PS2 are the consoles to get this year

GamePro has an honest reviewof the "top" consoles out right now that's worth a skim.

They settle on the PS2 and the Xbox 360 as the consoles to get, riding on the fact that they have the best selection of games this year. I'd have to concur, because the Wii and the PS3 just have too little to perk interest for the rest of the year.

Don't count out the little guy and the monolith black taco though:

Of course, this isn't to say that the Wii and the PS3 aren't worth owning -- they certainly are. It's just that they haven't matured yet. Once the great games start flowing, we expect Microsoft will have a much tougher fight on their hands...and Sony will finally be able to stop leaning on the PS2.

Bioshock vs Halo 3: Worthless debate

I couldn't imagine what they would attempt to use for comparison when pitting these two dissimilar games against each other at gamesradar.

I'll get it out of the way: the in-game story behind Bioshock is better than Halo 3's. There really isn't any room for argument with that point. The Halo Universe is expansive outside of the games though, but saying such isn't fair to Bioshock as there's a lot of detail we may never know about in the small contained world of Rapture.

Other than that, the gameplay is on different levels. Bioshock is purely a single player experience that is meant to be over-involving of one person. Halo 3 is multiplayer at it's finest, and still has it's own type of weapon variety and game pacing. They really cannot be compared because they are both good, but the reasons are different.

The most important point I will make: Will we be playing Bioshock 6 months from now? No, without multiplayer several "campaign" playthroughs will wear thin. What about Halo 3? Definitely! The multiplayer is what makes Halo iconic, and the replay value is phenominal.

It's Official: Bioshock Rocks (Xbox 360 version review)

Remove any doubts from your brain that Bioshock is "just another FPS". Disregard the naysayers that think the demo wasn't impressive. Just shut up and dive into Rapture.

What is Bioshock? I'd call it more of a First Person Survival game. Almost everyone and everything is against you. Any abilities you acquire will come to good use to survive.

Continue reading...

The game progresses well; just when you get comfortable with your setup, you get a new upgrade or plasmid that you'll need to learn and use quickly. When you think you've got the hacking down, it gets harder.

When you are instructed to face your first Big Daddy, it's definitely a moment. After all the trailers, pictures, and sound already know you are in for a fight. And you will likely pay even more than you thought, as these enemies are relentless should you affront them. Arm yourself to the teeth and get that Adam (special currency for genetic upgrades).

The best part so far is how many options Bioshock gives a player to handle a situation. I found myself telekinetically picking up a box of shotgun shells and hurling it at an enemy's head to kill them. The irony there is quite hilarious. Whether you want to melee, use the elements, pummel with objects, poison, or a combination, the option is yours.

The game isn't perfect, but no game really is. I've seen some Big Daddies stuck in doors and some pop-in. Sometimes you can catch an object floating in midair. The water isn't really convincing when it is splashing, but otherwise it is quite beautiful. The controls work very well for the most part, although you may find yourself wasting a first-aid kit or eve-replenishment here and there. The lack of multiplayer might disappoint at first, but the single player experience "should be" involving enough.

The gameplay mostly erases any of the minor concerns above. It's been a while since I've caught myself playing a game too long. I had to force myself to go to bed last night, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any sleep. The achievements combined with said gameplay will bring me back for a few replays. I can tell I'm not going to want to be done with the game by the time it's over.

Overall, this game is a must play. Even my FPS-inept room mate was able to play the game and enjoy it. Go pick up your copy; you won't regret it.

Genetic superabilities:
-Plenty of fighting variety
-Plasmids offer a unique overall gameplay
-Environment setting and exploration done well

Might cause drowning:
-No multiplayer
-Small graphical disappointments (water splashes, leg-test failure)
-Not always perfectly clear what is going on

Resembles/Feels like:
A strategy FPS where shooting is the lamest way to play; the focus is on magic-type abilities with guns as a supplement.

Rent or Buy: Buy
Personal Appraisal: $59.99
MSRP: $59.99

Other opinions:
9.0/10.0 @ Gamespot
10/10 @ Destructoid
5/5 stars @

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Phil Harrison getting better at interviews: expects less 360 to PS3 ports

Phil Harrison had a long-winded yet solid interview with gamedaily that's worth a read.

Here's some highlights:

[on 360 to PS3 ports] We are clearly demonstrating the PS3 is capable of some amazing things [... We're convincing 3rd parties that their] games will shine on the platform. [...] They started to work on Xbox 360 before they did on PS3; they got some tools and technology and know-how established on the format before PS3. That situation will reverse fairly quickly organically, [... We'll not only be supporting our 1st party but we'll be] supporting third parties as well – all third parties.

[on 360 warranty issue] I don't think I need to add to their situation by making any comment on that. I think it's a very difficult situation for them and I'm sure they're working hard to overcome it. A hundred dollars per unit sold is a big reserve.

There's more but I'm being blocked (which is annoying as hell). Anyway, his answers are a lot more thoughtful and far from childish. It's a good read, even if you are a 360 elitist.

Developer unhappy with the Bioshock demo

Nick Renqvist (3DMark developer) over at seems to be bored by the Bioshock demo. This is surprising, seemingly how the general consensus is the game is amazing. Well, besides the idiots at who seem to think there's a problem with the framerate and that everyone should wait for the PS3 version. They must have forgotten about Madden '08. Anyone seen complaints like theirs about Bioshock? I haven't...they're just reaching.

The graphics are good, but not amazing. Some of the water splashes are quite disappointing actually, especially since they made a big deal about realistic water development. Aside from that, the game's environment and enemies are quite believable, so this all becomes pointless nitpicking.

Most likely, this guy would change his tune with the full version of the game. I fairly excited at first, but I wasn't so sure about the game beyond the demo. Once telekinesis is obtained...the game becomes AWESOME. The demo is cut an hour short of finding this amusing plasmid.

Then again, no game can appease everyone. I'm sure RE4 didn't do it for everyone either, and it was rated quite highly.

I'll do a review on Bioshock soon, and I'm guessing that it will get pretty close to MSRP value from me. I've only been able to play for a few hours, but they've been quite enjoyable thus far. I'm guessing it will have plenty of replay value, so I'll say it's "buy" instead of "rent". PC gamers should be happy with it as well, as will PS3 owners whenever the hell they get the game (unannounced at this time).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don't toss the PS2 yet: Memory card modchip, no soldering or tools req.

For those scared of the soldering hell and warranty voiding process of installing a PS2 modchip, here's a mod that is plug and play. Apparently, the creators found a memory system exploit in the rotting old system and are taking advantage of it. Sounds better than the swap trick or going through the hassle of loading files all over the plac. We shall see!

Paramount gets smartly HD-DVD excl., format war gets interesting

Even in light of the Blu-ray camp's babbling about 2:1 sales against HD-DVD, it appears that Paramount/Dreamworks have decided to join Universal in being HD-DVD exclusive.

Check out the TOP 5 reasons HD-DVD is better than Blu-ray. Note that the comments on the article have valid points as well. Not mentioned is that HD-DVD has standards set it place for hardware and software so the consumer gets consistency. Special feature support, ethernet support, encoding; all of those were standardized for HD-DVD. Blu-ray has no such standards, so hardware can be inconsistent, and video encoding can be poor (MPEG2).

A superb article resides at It is long winded, but it shows how retailers are misrepresenting HD-DVD (well..the misrepresetn most electronics). The article hits up the pros and cons of each format and has a surprising recommendation: buy HD-DVD now and Blu-ray later when the price drops.

Format wars are a damned mess. Even as a PS3 owner, I will always root for the higher quality product with standards. In this war, that's HD-DVD. Paramount has figured out, hopefully other studios follow suit.

Official PSP tv-out cables...wait...what?

I can't believe I've missed these! I *might* actually use the PSP if I can hook it up to a television! The packaging says only for the PSP-2000 series...I hope that's not the slim *starts checking*. Damn...slim PSP only.

I'm not buying another PSP, so I'll have to go for one of the other options I guess (when FF7:CC comes out).

Finally, a game I want to purchase on VC: Super Metroid

Joystiq reports new VC games this week. While Shinobi III was an awesome game, I'm fine with whipping up emulators to play it. My problem today is, that while I have many of the games still, my Genesis and Super Nintendo have long disappeared from unreturned loans many years ago.

Super Metroid is one of those games that you want to play immediately when you feel like it. Screw booting up the PC; just put me in the game now. I'll definitely be picking it up for this very reason. Even though the price is damned ridiculous. It just sucks that I have the Super Metroid cart sitting in my closet, and I still have to pay $8 for the game to be on my Wii.

Wii gets defended as "Next Gen". Why? covered a GCDC speech about how the Wii still being "Next Generation" without the graphics.

While I can agree with some of the points presented, I still feel that the Wii fails to invigorate experienced gamers. The Wii's purpose is proving to be fulfilled; new gamers are being spawned continuously by the allure of "new and simple" that the Wii provides. I'll be quick to admit that it's awesome that anyone can come over and instantly share a gaming experience, even if they aren't gamers.

But isn't the idea behind a term such as "next generation" supposed to imply forward movement with games? The problem with the current Wii library is that most games are failing to show forward movement; they are just games with forced-in "waggle controls". This might be fine for those who know nothing of gaming, but those of us who scour gaming news expect a bit more. We can only hope this changes.

I try to imagine the turning point scene in "The Darkness" on the Wii. The graphics would be limited and the facial expression would be very lacking. The lighting would be unrealistic, and many moments wouldn't have the full effect. That kind of story-telling is really best presented with characters are realistic as possible.

One thing I've noticed, is that as we get better graphics, gaming charcters are easier to get attached to. Stepping back and looking at Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris on the PS1 just doesn't have the same effect as it did ten years ago. We expect more in the graphical department whether Wii-heads think so or not.

Not to say that there weren't some great games last generation that worked through the limitations greatly. Indigo Prophecy, God of War, Ninja Gaiden, Halo 2, and Resident Evil 4 were stellar examples. But even comparing RE4 to the RE5 trailer...the new game looks to be twice as intense. Improved graphics, physics, and AI are going to bring that intensity. I have yet to feel "intense" on a Wii game.

Don't get me wrong, the Wii is great machine, and the medium itself is not a failure. But after all I've said about how much I abhor the PS3, we are starting to the play the PS3 more than the Wii. Not by a lot, but the Wii is becoming that cardgame we pull out when friends come over for drinks.

Isn't gaming supposed to be more than that?

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Blu-ray to kill HD-DVD, even though it shouldn't?

There's no question in my mind that HD DVD is a fundamentally better product. If it were up to the true videophiles to decide, it probably would be gaining a lot more traction. However, for the first time in a heated format war, the core audience is not the video enthusiast group that's deciding. -Mark Raby,

In the overall scheme of things, the principles behind HD-DVD are better than Blu-ray. Standards, quality, features, familiarity, embedded and double-sided dual-format discs, etc. Even the player pricing is much more consumer-oriented than Blu-ray.

The assumption right now is that the PS3 owners are calling the shots. Even I'm guilty of throwing money in the Blu-ray pool (although I'm unlikely to do it again anytime soon). Gaming and videophiling are completely different, but when it comes down to it, Blu-ray being parasitic to the PS3 seems to be working. Not so much for the console, but for the format alone. Consumers have shown that they don't care to mess with attachments, as necessary with the Xbox 360.

Then again, videophiles are voting for HD-DVD judging from player sales. Is it too early to make the call? I think so. The PS3 has yet to gain proper footing. It's several hit games away from success, and it will be a long road there.

Meanwhile, there's a huge collection of Blu-ray movies that don't even have an interactive menu screen comparable to DVD. -Mark Raby,

Raby offers HD-DVD advice to the marketers. He says get some exclusive games on HD-DVD. Get into DVRs. Get into multifuction TVs (ed. probably a good start). Get into the 360. HD-DVD doesn't have to die off now, but we should hope that they turn this around and take the throne.

PS3: Lair gets poor EGM review? 360: Blue Dragon = meh?

Lair Average: 5.5/10.0

That's not good news for a touted PS3 exclusive. Blue Dragon clocked in at 6.8/10.0 average though. However, the 360 isn't hurting for solid games like the PS3 is either. Most likely, Eternal Sonata and Lost Odyssey will fair better since they aren't trying so hard to be Dragon Quest.

A run down of the EGM issue is on neogaf. Here's Gamespots looks like Play feels otherwise with a 9/10.

I have a feeling the gamescores will average out as more reviews come in.

Madden 08 shoddy PS3 effort: debate continues

The gist of the article is that Madden's poor PS3 performance will invigorate negative perception toward the PS3. They are right. Because Madden is so popular, it's going to put a dent in the PS3's credibility at least until Madden 2009 (when EA figures it out).

I'm annoyed at this defense:

He added that his analyst colleagues might be better off focusing elsewhere: "The PS3 is a fantastic console, and anyone who has one knows it's awesome. The Xbox 360 is also fantastic, but has no Blu-ray playback, and has been plagued with warranty issues.

I beg to differ. Cited is Blu-ray playback, which really isn't that essential, but videophiles can't lay off of. There's no games for the PS3, the user interface is a joke, and gaming online with it is boring. Many PS3 owners are still waiting for a "Wow", which seems like it will never come.

While it is disheartening that there are some 360 hardware issues, people are quick to forget that Sony did the same damn thing. But the PS2 had the selection of games so it prevailed. This time around, the tables are turned the PS3 has no games and the 360 has the best selection. At least Microsoft is taking responsibility for the hardware issues unlike Sony. Disc Read Error...Disc Read Error...Disc Read Error....I won't forget that Sony, and neither will all those PS2s.

In my case, fun ceases as soon as the black taco is turned on for whatever reason. Still waiting on that Final Fantasy to make my opinion take half a 360 degree turn. And we need that rumbling SIXAXIS stat!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

PS3 ahead for one week's worth

14k more PS3's sold last week. The end is near! Repent!

Not really, more like...why? There's nothing to play on it except PS2 games...and Guitar Hero isn't one of them.

Other articles to the upcoming AvP game

Nothing new, but if it says ALIENS on it, I drool.

Kotaku confirms Rebellion is working on the game.

Cloaking, Red Lasers, Heat Vision, etc.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Xbox 360: The Darkness Review

Not too long ago, I praised The Darkness Demo for gripping my attention. When the game came out, I made sure to purchase it at my earliest convenience.

As the demo relayed, this is a solid game all around. While the FPS elements aren't all that new, the story and Darkness powers more than make up for them. Actually, I think that's what makes this game fun is that it gives the player options. Do you want to be boring and just shoot the bad guys? Do you want to impale them at point blank with a tentacle? Do you want to sneak up on them with the creeping dark? How about all of it? Play it how you want.

Continue reading...

The Darkness isn't perfect though. The darkling AI is highly questionable. For example, if an enemy is below, the Gunner will try to shoot directly at the enemy through the floor and miss. They won't always do what you want, either.

While the graphics are pretty good, some of the shadowing from the lighting engine doesn't work well with Jackie's face. We have seen quite a bit of the gritty shadows in these new games though, so the developer shant be singled out.

Other issues involve not being able to skip pointless mini-cutscenes and a multitude of one-liner NPC's.

These problems are far from deterent, though. Most of your time will be spent engaging foes, which is where the fun is. And the game is just long enough to not be too repetitive or boring. The story was executed quite well, and the turning event in the game will make FF7's "super sad moment" seem laughable.

Multiplayer isn't a keeper, but be sure to experience this game at least one run through. It'll be worth it.

The Light:
-Darkness powers and darklings kick ass
-Story is well presented and memorable
-In-firefight executions are simply brutal

The Darkness:
-Darkling and enemy AI needed improvement
-Firearm selection is limited
-Cutscenes between travel can get annoying

Resembles/Feels like:
Slightly like playing an ALIEN in AvP2 while having firearms. It mostly feels like a new experience.

Rent or Buy: Rent
Personal Appraisal: $39.99
MSRP: $59.99

Other opinions
7/10 @
9/10 @
"A game worth playing" from pocket change @ (PS3 version)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What games will kill your wallet this fall?

Between Metroid Prime 3, Bioshock, and Tiger Woods '08, this is going to be an expensive month. Stranglehold is another one coming up, not to mention Halo 3, Guitar Hero III, Rock Band, etc. etc.

What games are you looking out for?

Return of Motherbrain?

Joystiq seems to be a little giddy about some MP3 trailer now available. Those guys love being nostalgic.

The guessing games begin. Rebuild of Zebes? More than one Motherbrain? Merely an Easter Egg? The question and speculation game is so fun!

Without good PS3 games some try other means of fun...

Since PS3 Madden '08 sucks, there has to be some entertainment use for the PS3, right?

To solve this problem, some individuals must have figured trying to kill a PS3 would be fun. Overuse at room temperature, freezer temperature, and sauna temperature (108 hours) doesn't seem to "kill" the console itself.

If true, I'm finally impressed. Sony made quality console hardware. Too bad it isn't any fun to play.

PSP: ALIENS vs Predator screenshots!

Get an eyefull here.

Unfortunately, it looks like the main character is going to be Predator. Lame. Where the hell's my wall-crawling ALIEN? In any case, I'm buying this game the second it comes out. Because I think it will be good? No, because it has something to do with ALIENS.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Xbox 360: Bioshock Demo initial impressions

Before we get to any praise, Bioshock fails the leg-test. What the hell is the leg test? Look down when you play the demo. Your character doesn't exist. Prey does this as well, so does Doom 3. I find this an annoying over-sight, but we'll make do because thus far, this game is PRETTY.

The first thing I said, "If launch titles looked like this, everyone would have an Xbox 360 right now."

The atmosphere was done very well, if not perfectly. We've been admiring how graphics have been making things look like they are tangible albeit not-quite-real. I attribute that to lighting. Bioshock is another fine example of lighting done right.

Without revealing too much, I can say that the characters are as creepy as they've been made out to be. You'll see about any that you've seen screenshots/videos of in the demo. What they say and do is all part of the picture, along with the desire to look deeper and explore. But you'll want to hide, too.

Go download and play it for yourself.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Catchup Quickie: HDMI and consoles

ARS TECHNICA asks: "How important is HDMI for consoles?"

Before I offer my opinion, let's look at it this way. Before the Xbox 360 Elite, 66% of the next generation consoles had HDMI output. Shouldn't that answer the immediate question?

It's not that simple, but funny nontheless.

This about sums it up:

if I showed you an image being pushed through component and HDMI I don't know how much of a difference you would be able to pick out.

Do you want to know why I want a 360 Elite with HDMI? So I can free up a component input on my TV for the PS2. Why do I need that? So I can go progressive scan in Guitar Hero 2, which doesn't work on the PS3.

Other than that, sure, 1080p is a benefit, but from what I've seen on the PS3, it's not a significant jump from 1080i.

Catchup Quicke: 360 isn't a shooter-only console

I never understood this thinking. While the original Xbox mainly was the best home to FPS type games, the 360 is a bit more worldly. Check the graph, and you'll be surprised at what the lion's share is.

While I enjoy FPS's since AvP2, Metroid Prime, and Halo 2, I still like other games more. I'm dying for a new quality, non-cartoony RPG (Lost Odyssey), a solid action game (Ninja Gaiden 2), and a gripping destructo racer (Burnout Paradise). All of which will be on the 360.

Personally, I think the PS3 will be full of more crap titles than the 360 will be filled with shooters. The Wii sure has a lot of junk already...still waiting for a non-Wii Sports game to blow me away. The anti-360 group should stick to mocking reliability, because as far as overall games go, the 360 is the clear winner so far.

Catchup Quickie: Destroy all PS3s

While lawsuits aren't really news in this day and age, the recent one against Sony is.

Parallel Processing Corp. of CA, is saying their parallel processing patent has been violated. This means they feel the Cell idea was essentially theirs. They are actually demanding "destruction of all infringing products".

You won't see complaints from me about that one.

Catchup Quickie: Mini Blu-ray discs = good

Smaller discs would have made this format war a bit more noticeable I think. Personally, I'm tired of the standard size of DVDs and CDs. I'm ready to move on.

It looks like mini-blus are being used in some new recorders. They hold 7.5GB at the moment, but with multiple layers, that should be increased to enough to hold a 2 hour movie. Screw extras, give me more space in my entertainment center.

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Catchup Quickie: Heavenly Sword gets mocked

Itagaki seems to think that smack-talking is easily done towards the PS3's hyped anti-platformer beat-em-up game. While I think the Heavenly Sword demo wasn't anything to get excited about, I disagree about his opinion on the timed action-sequences. They are the better part of the game...while the fighting part is empty without jumping.

If the last Mortal Kombat learned anything, it's that jumping is essential to any kind of fighting game. Aerial combat is what keeps the action fantastic!

Catchup Quickie: Killzone 2 graphics are GOOD?!

If K2 is winning awards, it looks like us naysayers will have to eat our words.

Guerrila will have a big hill to climb over, because the original game was so repetitively awful. Hopefully the Hellghast will gain an actual personality this time around, and the gameplay will match the hype.

Catchup quickie: AVP for PSP?

Best news since FF7:CC - A rumoe about a new AvP game for the PSP! As the article states, AvP2 was an amazing FPS game. If AvP2 wash updated, I would say it would destroy Halo easily. It was pretty popular in the game.

It sounds like the PSP disappointingly gets a 3rd person shooter, but ALIENS is ALIENS. I'm so glad that the franchise is seeing more attention in the gaming world.

Return from the anti-matrix

I guess I forgot to post that I was going on vacation last week. Well, I did...and I disconnected from the electronic part of life. My friend Ashlie and I went to Idaho to get away from the daily grind and reduce our electronic reliance for a while. Unlike 4 years ago, my phone actually works up there now, but we were staying in a 100+ year old cabin in a low populated area. The quiet was nice.

Yet, we sure did bring Guitar Hero. LOL I will say this; for a girl who had no interest in video games other than maybe FFX, Guitar Hero sure did quickly become a favorite pastime for her. She never gets an opportunity to play it, so our 4 day vacation seemed like a good time to go for it. We even took a hack at a hacked copy. "Hot for Teacher" kicked my ass unapologetically.

I'm back looks like I've missed a lot. I'll probably have a to do a dozen "quickie catchups" like usual, but it seems like the "next gen" world is on the verge of blowing into the norm with the latest demoes. See you soon!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Accidental Blast from the past...Dreamcast?

Because some of limited staff and licensing, some of the machines we use at work are required to run Windows NT 4.0. Dangerous for sure, but I have no control over that. I had to replace a sound card, but the driver CD didn't have DirectX 6.0 that's needed. My search brought some interesting results:

Some may have been aware of the development relationship between Sega and Microsoft. I had read mention of it, but this article goes into a bit more detail.

I need to get back to work, but I figure it might be interesting for some.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Humorous: Instructions for using PSN

Clear as mud, right? Reading this made me think of the poor usability of the PS3.