Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gamestop Losing Money on 360 Replacement Plans?

One would think that one of the console manufacturers would get it right. Sony gets shafted by devs and shafts consumers with pricing. Microsoft can't keep their consoles running. Nintendo's Wii feels more like a flash in the pan nowadays, lacking much for interesting titles.

If only we could combine the best of all three worlds.

Anyway, let's point out Microsoft's bad today. Gamestop will no longer be offering replacement plans on Xbox 360s. Rocket scientists everywhere are saying, "Duh!" It's sad to say, but the console with the best collection of this-gen games isn't winning any reliability rewards. Hell, I'm still waiting for my shipping box for my DOA 120GB HDD.

Hardware Reliability + Good Customer Service + A lot of Quality Games + Reasonable pricing = Happy customers. I know. It's a scary equation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So...who's still in denial about the PS3?

Another article has come to fruition about the hassles of developing for the PS3. This time it is from an ex Harmonix dev. The inevitable "But Guitar Hero's graphics suck, so why listen to this guy?" Whether going for a graphical wonder game or a solid multidemographic game, these guys still code. If coding was easy, everyone would be an XNA addict.

Anyway, it sounds like more porting hassles and all-around "waste of time" as we've heard from higher-profile devs.

If Sony has to beg 3rd party developers to stay on board, then they are not doing well at all. I just see this as a cascading problem as the result of an over-ambitious Ken Kutaragi. Too much Tech, to much expense, and too little time. The world doesn't cater to these things like it used to; it moves too fast.

Don't count Sony out yet, but I have little faith that the PS3 will make the dramatic impact that Sony had hoped.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rock Band Guitars not backwards compatible?

IGN reports that the RB Strats don't work with GH.

Honestly...I don't really care all that much. I hate Stratocasters, especially fisher-price versions of them. But hey, it's Rock Band! It's a different game really. We are quite lucky that the Explorer guitars will be forwards-compatible.

I'm sure the people that wanted Guitar Hero already have it, so I'm doubting this will be a big deal. Was anyone out there holding out so they could avoid having to purchase a GH guitar?

(btw, nice image-find the 'stiq)

Will Wright says Wii is "the only next gen console"

Will Wright says his 360 gathers dust and it, like the PS3 are just "better" versions of the last, nothing new. The Wii is a "Major Jump" to him he says, just because it hits up a new demographic. While there is truth to the "demographic" part, I can't really agree with anything else he says. He is a PC-player though, so do we value anything he says anyway?

Personally, I thought the hoo-rah for the Wii was on the way out. What is coming out for it that's really that exciting? I mean, I'll buy Wii Fit...but other than that...I'm not really looking forward to anything else on it. I never enjoyed Smash Brothers, and while Mario Galaxy looks interesting, I'm certainly not anticipating it.

Is there life after Wii Sports? It's hard for me to say. We just haven't had any inkling to play the Wii around here at all. I've yet to even play my beloved Metroid Prime 3. Halo 3's release pretty much killed that idea for now. And the now-back-catalog and upcoming catalog for the 360 isn't leaving much room to care about one or two potentially interesting exclusives for the PS3 and Wii.

I'd say my gaming-status makes me biased, but my non-gamer friends and family aren't particularly attached to the Wii either. They enjoy Wii Sports and Guitar Hero, but I'm sure they would enjoy Scene It! as well. I think having the "right" demographicked games are more important than the control scheme or media features.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

GH3 lost that rockin' feeling?

I played the Guitar Hero 3 demo last night, and I was a little disappointed. It didn't feel right; some of the new graphics and animations seem to have lost their oomph. Don't get me wrong, more advantage was taken of the HD capabilities of the 360.

I think the problem is that it is completely obvious that Harmonix didn't make this game. It feels disconnected compared to its predecessors. Between the lackluster few-framed lightning animation indicating star-power to the seems-like-a-high-school-kid-designed it "You Rock!" animation...I'm a bit disenchanted.

It's not enough to prevent my purchase of the game, because the new track list is pretty hot. It'll be worth it just for that, but it leaves me longing more for Rock Band.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Burnout without Aftertouch

Sure, I'm a little late on talking about this, but it's definitely notable.

Burnout Paradise will not have aftertouch. The reason is valid; adding slomo to an online game usually isn't the best of ideas. It mangles the pacing.

But was almost like sniping another car in your deathly state. The feature will be missed.

English MGS4 to be more difficult?

My 2nd least fanboy site reports that MGS4 in English will have new FPS controls and be harder than it's Japanese counterpart.

That seems strange yet unsurprising at the same instant. Do Japanese gamers really like to be spoonfed? I guess that's what localization is for, eh?

Yet another XFPS mouse/keyboard/PS2 adapter

Maxconsole spotlights the XCM XFPS 360 Sniper Edition. From black to white to green, this little handy adapter seems to be fairly popular to justify continued development.

I still have my original XFPS, although I admit that I only use it for the PS2 adapter with XBLA games. Why? The 360 d-pad sucks. A lot. The mouse and keyboard feature is cute and all, but the keyboard part is awful. If only SplitFish's FragFX was available for the 360...

On a side note, I tried the EdgeFX with my XFPS. The double conversion seems to cause some aggravating hiccups to an otherwise perfect control scheme.

Anyway, the new promises of better sensitivity and accuracy will have m-and-k enthusiasts with a large watchful eye.

I told you wireless sucks in general.

Anyone caring about their privacy, said Mr Weinmann, should not use WEP to stop others using their wi-fi hotspot.

Problem: most home users that buy a router have no idea how to set it up.

I'm often left shaking my head in dismay when I'm on a laptop and Windows XP gleefully shows me all the available wireless networks. Finding SSIDs such as "Linksys" or "Netgear" with no security enabled is way more common than it should be. This is similar to leaving your front door open and letting any passerby into your house.

Problem: even those who setup WEP "security" on their wireless routers are still highly vulnerable to unwanted burglars.

BBC news has an article bring WEP's easily exploitable weakness to light. Most wireless hardware does not yet support the newer WPA security method, which is much safer than WEP. Check out the article for more.

Problem: Encrypting wireless requires extra processing which can negatively affect your connection, meaning unreliable online games.

In order to attempt to protect yourself, some sacrifice must be made when it comes to wireless. Time has to be wasted encrypting and decrypting traffic. In the long run, is the "convenience" of wireless really worth it?

The more I am forced to use wireless connections for work, the less I like them. Reliabilty cannot be substituted with convenience without consequence. Remember that.

Is anyone's Halo 3 FFA achievements legit?

I'm starting to wonder about the last 5 achievements remaining in my Halo 3 list. I've heard so many people request that the others just "let them" leech achievements on willing-to-not-reciprocate players. many people out there with that ninja sword on their respective backs actually EARNED those achievements? There's really no way to tell, but isn't it a bit lame to falsely achieve an achievement? I guess there will always be the "lazies" as I call them. I better not complain too much, I'm sure I've done a couple of them indirectly. The preference is to earn the achievements the "correct" way most of the time though.

I'm not too worried about the Killing Frenzy, but the sword kills and overkill may be a bit difficult to achieve naturally. Unfortunately, all the good candidate playlists get vetoed. I don't see why FFA can't go back to 8 players instead of 5. Even 6 would help and make for better games.

The concerted effort awaits; we'll see how long it takes to get through the last strides of achievements.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jericho review coming

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a network connection at the hotel until about 2 hours ago. It worked Monday night, but hasn't since...and I couldn't be blogging at work.

The good news is that you can expect a Jericho review soon. My review copy is on the way, and I look forward to experiencing it beyond the XBL demo.

Here is a video about the game to tide you over until then.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Out for the week, which means I can catch up!

I'm headed to North Carolina for work this week. This also means I will have several post-work hours of freedom, so I can weed through recent news and get caught up.

I'd love to announce this is post 777, but that was the last one. I wanted it to be my Halo 3 review. I know it probably isn't needed, but people still ask me "How is it?" all the time. That means "do it anyway" to me.

Unfortunately, I've officially had to chalk Microsoft down a few notches. After waiting a month for my Elite Data Transfer Kit, I found out that my 120GB HDD is bad. I haven't even used it yet! Customer service was great this time around, but I felt they should have offered me expedited shipping on the exchange. It's only been about 45 days since the original purchase.

This leaves Microsoft just above Sony in my book. The only thing keeping them even is that they have solid gaming services and the better games. I do have to wonder how well the PS3 would fair if I actually used it. It seems like a quality product hardware-wise. The software is a joke thus far though. Nintendo needs some software, too.

I better go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What is your Wii story?

All is daisies and roses according to Nintendo. Everyone has a "Wii Story". I know I have one.

"The Wii was captivating for about two months. We'd never been around anything like Wii Sports. We tired quickly, and found that the Wii doesn't have much else going for it. We continued to buy games such as Sonic and Tiger Woods, but were highly disappointed by questionable controls and related frustrations. No game since Wii Sports has had an impact (unfortunately, that includes MP3), and the console has been left to gather dust in place of it's competitor's products."

I really liked the Wii when it came out...but all of the games I've played on it since have been huge disappointments and extremely frustrating because of inaccurate controls. Metroid Prime seems fun, but it cannot eclipse Bioshock or Halo 3 anytime soon. MP3 was really the only game I was originally interested in, so I'm a bit sad my Wii rig goes unused.

My parents would love to have it though; that I guarantee.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sony gets rumble but doesn't upgrade....?

I was disappointed when I found that Sony was resorting to exactly what they said they didn't need: "Last Generation Rumble". I thought they were going to hit up Immersion's newer technologies, but alas...not such is so.

At least we get rumble finally. Idiots, we told them so.

More sadness: "Mostly" wireless guitars on PS3 (360 too?)

It looks like Guitar Hero 3 gets pseudo wireless controllers. They are totally donglified...okay, I apologize for constructing such an abomination of a word. Anyway, they will still be wireless, but one has to wonder why a dongle was required for a console that has Bluetooth built in? *confused*.

I wonder if the 360 controllers will need those as well?

Sony reminds us why they suck...(goodbye BC)

Before even pointing you to the article, I want to make note as to how Sony continues to defile all the worthless arguments that were pointed in my direction of their support.

100% BC was a huge ordeal, as Sony zealots would opine at how much the Xbox 360 sucked because it didn't have 100% BC. Well, the PS3 didn't either. Guitar Hero? Forget it...unless you want to buy an adapter and forgo hammer-ons and pull-offs and the tilt function. Splinter Cell, were rumble is required to play the game (pick locks)? No, not until they recently rescinded their harsh comments about rumble being "last gen technology" that they didn't need.

So now they have a 40GB PS3 that doesn't have BC at all. Hmmm. They step back on their words yet again. Remember when Phil said that BC was a core function? Well, now it's not a priority.

This reminds me of the time when people insisted to me that the PS3 wasn't going to launch over $400. They were wrong on that. Wrong on 100% BC. Wrong on saying the 360 wouldn't get JRPGs. And last but not least, wrong on the graphics portion (to date, hopefully for Sony this changes somewhere in the next couple of years).

Sony got cocky, just like Nintendo did with the N64. All it does is leave their competitors products more appealing. Thankfully for us, Nintendo made a comeback. Microsoft is doing well, but they better work on their hardware issues. At least they are backing up their product, unlike Sony did with the DRE PS2 failures.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Painful RSS feeds, Halo 3 skull/terminal/legendary tips

Well, I can peruse my RSS feeds, but I can't mark them to be read later. I've not had time to find a new way to organize how I'll go about reading and writing about the news I'd like to cover!

Anyway, while waiting for various software and updates to install on my refreshed PC, I had plugged my 360 into my right-monitor's auxiliary input. I decided to go for Halo 3 on Legendary. It took a few nights, but I finally completed it last night. Talk about patience! There was more than one instance where I had to use a Ghost from afar to take down Wraiths and Brutes in order to have a chance.

I did somewhat cheat on the doorway to the cartographer on the last level. I was tired of plowing through the flood only to get randomly blown up or assassinated from behind when jumping away from an assailant. I decided to hide underneath the ramps that go up to the entryway (that G. Spark locks you out of) and let Arbiter kill most of the flood. I did get attacked a couple of times, but it was much more manageable, especially at 2 AM with bloodshot eyes.

I've accessed all the terminals and obtained all the skulls (gold and silver) as well. If anyone wants help finding or getting these, hit me up on XBL. We can just grab them in online co-op.

Two things on those: You have to start from the beginning of the level for both terminals and the skulls. You do NOT have to play the game all the way through nor get them in order.

When accessing the terminals, you have to wait until the text errors out and a new log is accessed. This has to be done on all 7 terminals. Cycle through all of the don't have to read them if you don't want. I didn't find them particularly interesting.

Once you find the skull or terminal and grab/access it, you can save and quit. Note that not all skulls give achievements or indicate anything special. Just pick it up, hold it for a second, and throw it away.

Hope that helps someone!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Frustrated: So much news, so little time

Now I'm just aggravated. I'm looking at my RSS feeds in IE and it just doesn't have the functions I need to organize them into posts. Some may notice that some articles I cover multiple related news articles to get it all in.

It looks like gaming news is getting interesting seemed to be too much Halo 3 for a while. Then again, we can't blame them...high sales are driving the 360 right now.

My computer is back up and running, however I'm having trouble VPN'ing to it because it's not recognizing my Network Adapter as a potential doorway (just sees the parallel port and my unused modem).

I'll get there.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm not dead and I haven't forgot about this place

Hello, all.

A myriad of things are keeping me from updating this site right now. Google Reader isn't coming through at work again, which was my main source of info. I've switched to use IE but I forget about it so there will be an adjustment period.

Work is still rather busy...I've had this open for 2 hours and am just getting back to it.

At home, I'm not even finding much time to play Halo 3. If you see my username online, it's probably my room mates. I was able to get through Heroic the other night, mainly because one of our players was too scared of Legendary (it's not as bad as Halo 2, I promise). I'm trying to play through Legendary solo while I fix my computer.

I did get to see the Jericho demo. That game is hot...I like the female character with the samurai sword. They've changed up the FPS formula quite a bit with the character roles and the premise behind controlling them. It's kind of like the Geist-idea, subtracting posessing rats and trash cans. Check it out, you'll see what I mean.

For some reason, my PC freaked out the other day and lost drivers for my add-on cards and Windows decided it was no longer a valid copy? Yeah. Anyway, after struggling with getting it to consistently boot, I found that my PCI cards were not fully inserted. That must have happened when I was swapping power supplies to test an old one (I rarely open my case). Windows was screwed in anycase, and my sysprep image was failing because of the RAID setup. It's been a mess, and I've been too busy to sit down and get it done. There's just so many damn updates and software packages I have to install.

My new setup uses RAID0 with two 80GB SATA drives (160GB total). There's a 40GB partition for Windows and Program Files, and I decided to go with an 80GB as a temporary staging area. I can use this to temporarily install programs or to run ISO's with Daemon tools so I don't need to fumble for CDs all the time. I also have a 120GB drive for Data, and a 150GB drive for backup storage (both on removable IDE trays). This is probably way over complicated for how little I use my computer, but I rarely lose data or have problems, so why not?

Anyway, getting that back in order hasn't been the best...especially when I can only spend an hour at a time since it's happened. I even hooked up my 360 to my secondary monitor's secondary port (that sounded funny). It helped pass the installation time.

Lunch is over...I'll try to get back into the swing of things soon. I keep saying that, but it'll happen!