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|Thursday, December 7th, 2006|
|Good News Everyone: Firefly Lives (in a way)
First off, I would like to give my condolences to the family of C-Net writer James Kim. I was relieved when I heard that his wife and two kids were found alive and well, I had expectations that he would be found alive. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, as he was found already dead from exposure. He fought the elements for a long time in an attempt to save his family.
James, you will be missed.
Anyways, on to the good news.
Wired has reported that Joss Whedon's short lived, but still great, work Firefly will be turned into an MMO (story: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72263-0.html?tw=rss.index
I have been playing though a few MMO's lately (currently playing D&D Online) and I am hopeful that the developers not only capture the world that Whedon built, but also make a great game out of it.
In truth, Firefly doesn't seem like the best world for a MMO. Much of the story isn't based on action, but on plot and character. Although action certainly is plentiful, being it has the feel of the wild west, capturing the best parts of the series may be a challenge, especially if they delve too much into sci-fi.
|Sunday, December 3rd, 2006|
|Analyst says EA's brand is tarnished; Gamers say "no duh"
A recent story puts out that EA has tarnished its image with crappy games (story: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6162530.html
This has been apparent by most hardcore gamers for a while, especially in their Battlefield games (see how a patch broke the latest, albeit already buggy, Battlefield game).
Its not hard to point out the problem: EA would rather release a game than make sure a quality game goes out. The release now-patch later policy just sucks, often destroying an otherwise good game.
Another problem is the microtransations. EA is laying on the microtransactions heavily (see Battle for Middle Earth 2 on X-Box 360) and seems to be going full bore with it.
EA seems to be trying to win us back (here: http://www.joystiq.com/2006/12/01/ea-trying-to-win-back-our-hearts/
), but I doubt the PR attempt will work unless they actually do something substantiative. We need to see better quality from the largest publisher out there.
|Saturday, November 18th, 2006|
|World's Worst in Videogames: O'Reilly Factor Edition
Bill O'Reilly is best known for his very conservative rants, often taking falsehoods, misinterpretations (either accidental or purposeful) and complete lack of perspective to prop up his political opinions.
As per GamePolitics (here: http://gamepolitics.com/2006/11/18/bill-oreilly-slams-playstation-3-launch-gamers-ipods-tech-not-in-that-order/#comments
), O'Reilly turns his ire toward videogames, and technology in general.
One thing caught my attention, and just because he has a podcast of his own (again, quote is via GamePolitics):
"I don’t own an iPod. I would never wear an iPod… If this is your primary focus in life - the machines… it’s going to have a staggeringly negative effect, all of this, for America… did you ever talk to these computer geeks? I mean, can you carry on a conversation with them? …I really fear for the United States because, believe me, the jihadists? They’re not playing the video games. They’re killing real people over there."
Ironically, if he listened to KFI in LA, where Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge broadcast a show, then he would know Leo Laport, a self-professed geek who is talking to the masses. He also podcasts that show via his TWIT network (www.twit.tv).
Here is another example of him making a sweeping generalization about a group of people without even speaking or listening to one of them. If he had, he would have seen that we aren't that introverted, but often talk to other people in a large variety of situations, often in person (see PAX, or the dozens of anime conventions) but also via online.
He also equates video games with drugs and alcohol. I can't deny that some people get addicted to the likes of WoW, but the same thing happens to nearly every hobby out there. There are a set of people called workaholics, people who work at the sacrifice to their personal lives. So should we ban work?
Early in his rant, there was this paragraph (again, via GamePolitics):
"Basically what you have is a large portion of the population, mostly younger people under the age of 45, who don’t deal with reality - ever. So they don’t know what day it is; they don’t know temperature it is; they don’t know what their neighbor looks like. They don’t know anything… because they are constantly diverted by a machine. Now what this does is it takes a person away from reality because they’ve created their own reality…"
He's accusing video games of being an escape from reality, something that books, movies, music, poetry and so forth all have in common.
This is another case of where someone doesn't investigate, or at least talk to a gamer (and there's plenty of them) to get an idea of what the culture is like. O'Reilly would rather believe the fiction that is often put out, and doesn't even lift an inch to find any evidence to the contrary. Even with the more reasonable Blois Olson, from the National Institute on Media & the Family, as a guest, he just refuses to change his perception at all.
So the Worst in Videogames Award goes to political pundit Bill O'Reilly.
|Monday, November 13th, 2006|
This weekend, while doing some shopping (ok, figuring out what to get my mom for her birthday), I first went to Target, which has its entire Wii display up and running, sans playable demo. The Wii was on display, showing an infomercial about the system. I did see some people curious about it.
On sale for $.01 was a DVD with trailers for Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Tony Hawk Downhill Jam's Wii versions. The aside the E3 trailers, the content is short versions of what you would find on commercial DVD movies; some behind the scenes type stuff. If you need an extra DVD case, its worth it. Otherwise, grab it if you're buying something anyways.
Lastly, I stopped by a nearby Gamestop, which has playable Wiis out (you just need to give them your driver's license). First, Joystiq's annoyance of losing the menu cursor (story: http://www.joystiq.com/2006/11/11/dude-wheres-my-cursor-wii-annoyance-1/
) is true. Once you get the cursor oriented, it feels just like a mouse; you don't feel that you're pointing with the Wii-mote, but you are controlling the cursor with it.
The game on demo was Excite Truck. Controlling it was simple, as tilting the Wii-mote replaced the functions of an analog stick. Mostly the problem I had was that I am completely used to controlling via analog stick and not tilting the controller at all. Once that was gone, I actually enjoyed the game.
If there is anything that just doesn't work well is the built-in speaker; it is more distracting than immersive. The quality is just too low (and I'm not an audiophile, and I noticed how low quality this was) and takes my attention away from the screen.
I was already convinced that the Wii could work with the DS. With the game that was displayed, it wasn't miles away from current controls, but it certainly has some promise.
|Thursday, November 9th, 2006|
|Post-Election Wrap Up
All I wanted was the Democrats to get one house of Congress. But with them now holding a solid lead in the House and barely inching out as majority of the Senate, I think we're in a good position with a power-hungry Republican president.
The main thing I hope they do is hold Bush accountable. Congress needs to go back and get rid of the overbearing laws that don't do much for security, but utterly destroy civil liberties. The NSA Wiretap scandal needs to be properly wrapped up, if only to make sure that the president, no matter who is in office, has to follow the law. Then the signing statements, which should have no legal power to them, should be made so then they don't have any power whatsoever.
For the long run, I hope this puts a new backbone in the Republican party. They have blindly followed one person for too long. Some pundits speculate that Republicans should have been more moderate, while others more conservative. The direction they should have gone is more independent; following their own opinions and not the opinions of others.
As for Rumsfeld's resignation, I think it was long overdue. However, his replacement-nominee, Robert Gates, has me a bit worried that not much will change (see: http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2006/11/bob_gatess_hist.html
). I will wait and see if things change for the better, but won't give up any hopes on it.
|Sunday, November 5th, 2006|
|World's Worst in Videogames, or A Kind Gesture
A story that has been going around since it first appeared on Digg (look here as well: http://www.joystiq.com/2006/11/03/extensive-world-of-warcraft-play-desensitizes-humans/
), a player put up a small obituary in the World of Warcraft forums. The first response: "did he drop any good loot?"
The likely reason for this post is that the poster misinterpreted the obit. as a one for an alternate character, not a real person.
On one hand, Joystiq comments that this is terrible comment. Is it really all that appropriate to joke about somebody dying?
But then there is the argument on if this comment is not only appropriate, but a kind gesture to a WOW player. Here's what Frodo, Weekly Geek podcast host, said in the Joystiq article:
"The guy spent a ridiculous amount of time on WoW, he probably would have LOVED that response. I know I would have. If I were dead."
Looking at it that way, the post becomes a good comment. While we all don't like to speak ill of the dead (well, except of the eternally infamous, but that is another story), but we also want friends and loved ones to joke around and have the least amount of sadness when we die.
Admitingly, I wouldn't mind a comment like that should I die tomorrow. Then again, I don't plan on that happening anytime soon, so don't test that last comment.
|Tuesday, October 24th, 2006|
|World's Worst in Videogames: Sony's War on Imports Edition
Another terrible thing Sony has done, this time in the name of profits: they have officially sued importer Lik-Sang out of business (story: http://www.planetgamecube.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=12287
Lik-Sang has been one of the largest importers for hardware and software purchases. This has especially been important in Europe and Australia, who often get games and systems months, sometimes years, after the releases in the US and Japan. Sometimes, they import games that you can only get in US or Japan.
Well, Sony didn't like that Europe can get a PS3 this year. Sony, among some others, has been hounding Lik-Sang and similar importers to keep people from buying non-local versions of consoles and games.
Why? Simply for profit. Europe, Australia, heck, every non-US/Japanese market get large mark-ups in prices. Often, games from Japan can be cheaper then local versions, despite importing fees.
The main problem I have is that this is only the first step toward trying to kill all alternative markets, including the used bins.
Those who think that digital distribution will be better are kidding themselves. Looking at Steam pricing for Half Life 2 (as listed on Steam's official site), you can spend $30 (with only Half Life 2 and its Lost Coast demo; not even multiplayer), $60 for the entire Half Life 2 collection of games, or $80 for the complete Half Life Collection (all the games from both Half Life 1 and 2). On the other hand, the current retail Game of the Year Edition is $30, and it includes all the pre-Episode 1 games (minus Day of Defeat Source).
Killing competition is a bad thing for the market. It destroys not only alternatives, but any incentive for Sony to do better. That's why Sony, once again, gets the Worst in Videogames Award.
|Saturday, October 14th, 2006|
|MMO Round Up: Heroes, Guilds and WoW
I should preface this saying that before PAX, I have never played an MMO. The subscription fees just add too much for me to consider buying one. However, at PAX some people were passing out a City of Heroes trial (called the Bootleg Edition, but it was just a 15 day trial). Not too long afterwards, NCSoft put up the Guild Wars: Nightfall preview weekend, which I jumped onto. Finally, and still going, I signed up on IGN (mostly to try to get a DS Lite; failed) and got a 15 day trial of World of Warcraft. I plan on trying out some free MMOs next, including Puzzle Pirates and Annarchy Online. Also on my list will be D&D Online.
City of Heroes
Being my first experience of any MMOs, this actually was a good starting point. One major point of this game seemed to be making a more basic, easy to enter MMO. They succeeded, as the system is open enough to make fairly custom skill sets, but doesn't do anything overwhelming.
But the main point of this game is to make a silver-age comic book MMO. Between the three games, this had the most customizable character builder, at least visually. Since you don't get any armor or other set of clothing (although you can change costumes later on), you make the look of your character top-down straight off the bat.
Another good thing about this game was its group system. The developer put in a posting system, so if you want to join in a random group, you post yourself and what you prefer to do. It makes searching for teammates easier and getting into groups far better, especially if you're a quiet person.
The style of the gameplay can be described in a D&D term from the DM Guide: Kick in the Door. Simply put, 95% of the time, your job is to kick villians' butt. Few missions don't require defeating all enemies in an area. The game guides you to the locations, keeping downtime in combat to a minimum. When you get to level 14, you have the option to fly or quickly run (via The Flash) to a location, limiting amount of enemies you have to plow though to get to the cave, building, ect.
Problems: It is a kick-in-the-door style of game. If you prefer actual role-playing (via a specified server) or exploring, there just isn't much of that. The game is very combat oriented, and doesn't stray far from it.
Likely more problematic is the lack of a real PvP set up. You can go into contested zones, which both City of Heroes and City of Villians players can play on, but the low-level one I played on just didn't have very many people in it period, much less any real PvP combat.
Overall, this is a good MMO to start out on. I would recommend playing a trial first, then deciding to go full version. While it is a good MMO, I just don't think everyone would like to do more then play the trial, much less pay a subscription fee every month.
Guild Wars: Nightfall
This is the one I played the least, and not just because it was available for only three days.
The trial client was set up so then only areas that was needed were downloaded to your system. This made going to a new area a little agrevating, since it took about 10 to 15 for it to load.
Going into the game, it just felt like the designers were building a generic MMO. Sure, there were plenty of non-European influences in the environment that shook things up, but there just wasn't anything that wowed me. The world felt very generic, and missions didn't really feel profound.
What I didn't go into was the PvP mode. The game was designed to be heavy on the PvP, but I just didn't get to it. It doesn't help that my (admittingly unsupported) graphics got corrupted WHILE I was making a PvP character. The game mostly played fine, but running into corrupting drivers issues doesn't sell me a game.
If you like a PvP heavy game, this would be it for you. The lack of a subscription fee lowers the bar a bit, but I would rather play some other non-MMO game anyways.
World of Warcraft
We all know it, this game certainly has the best fanbase of any game, period. But does the game live up to the hype? Not really, but it is still a great game.
The art style is fairly similar to Warcraft 3's, but runs better then it on my computer. The character creation felt limited in how I can make my character appear, as they seem mostly reliant on in-game items for that.
The missions actually felt appropriate. There was exploration, but nothing to where I got lost or didn't know where to go. Actually, the environments were well made. From the massive cities of Stormwind to the overlayed canyons in Orggimar. If there was one thing that stands out from the rest of the pack, it was the well made environments. Exploration was an element that was just missing from the previous two games.
Combat was good, although nothing profound. Warriors felt like anything but a generic class. Druids get morphing, and other classes were just as unique from each other. Playing one was different in how I had to change strategies.
WoW is mostly commented on about its end-game content (the stuff you do when you get to level 60), something I couldn't feasably do (unlike this character: http://pc.gamespy.com/articles/624/624465p1.html
While CoH did grouping better, I can say that this game would likely be the best choice for any would-be MMO player. It doesn't require much (if anything, you just need a half-Gig of RAM), and has the best fanbase out there.
|Monday, October 9th, 2006|
|Being Gay Does Not Equal Being a Child Predator
One of the worst things to come out of the Folley-Page scandel is some conservatives saying that homosexualality is a cause of mollestation of children. They are wrong.
The problem is that they equate sexuality with the act, which is completely wrong. As I understand it, it doesn't matter if a person is homo. or heterosexual; it is about power. The act isn't about sexuality, it is about being able to manipulate and control another person.
This is a type of thing that is exactly the same as people blaming violent media for real-life violence. It isn't about finding an actual cause for the problem, it's about blaming something other then themselves for it.
But what is worst is that this isn't about predators, but a political end. Conservatives are just using this as a bullet point against same-sex marriage, and against the gay/lesbian community in general. I just hope few will fall for it.
|Wednesday, September 27th, 2006|
|Attacks on the Clinton Legacy
It first started with ABC airing the historically false "Path to 9/11." Then when Bill Clinton went onto FOX News to promote his global inititive, many right-wingers decided to label Clinton as crazed when he lashed out at the FOX pundit (see here, video linked here as well: http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2006/09/the_clinton_is_.html
Yet the misleadings has not only hit the current presidency, but now Republicans and right-wing pundits are now trying to change the history of the Clinton presidency. It is said that the victorious control history, but that should have been gone ages ago. No politician, either Democrat or Republican, should control the world of the past.
The problem extends beyond the scope of history. There was one commentator (I forget who) suggested that too many Democrats are living in the past, where they were the majority party in Congress. In my opinion, Republicans are also living in the past.
For the entire Bush presidency, minus six months where Democrats controlled the Senate, Republicans have controlled both Legislative and Executive branches of government. Any problems caused by their governing is not the responsibility of the Democrats. Yet, Republicans aren't defending their actions, but always attacking the relativly powerless Democrats, mostly in the form of straw-man arguements.
They are living in the past that they were the minority party, that they had the charge of showing problems of the governing party. Now that they are the governing party, they still point to Democrats as though they are still the problem.
Bill Clinton admitted that he had failed in the FOX News interview. Yet, few Republicans, much less Bush himself, will admit such a failure now. And rather then actually defend their own position, they attack those not in power.
If Republicans are to save any face in these mid-term elections that are comming up, they have to take their own responsibility.
Before you (and when I say you, I likely mean me, since no one seems to read this blog) see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoNpcFR7e64
|Tuesday, September 12th, 2006|
|World's Worst in Videogames: Zombies Rising Edition
Capcom has done some good these past few years. After giving up on repeat after repeat of Street Fighter and doing a magnificent rehaul of Resident Evil in the form of Resident Evil 4, they decided to come out with a great game for the X-Box 360, Dead Rising.
Dead Rising has its problems, notably the save system. But one thing which shouldn't have even made it into the final version was a problem with the text for standard-definition televisions.
Earlier, Capcom promised a patch to fix the text problem. But more recently, they said that the problem would be too much to fix, so they're leaving the game as is (story: http://planetxbox360.com/index.php/articledetails/show/421
I find it bad that console games are starting to emulate the worst part of PC games: bugs that shouldn't have been in the final package. We need to have a working game out of the box, without the need to patch. But what Capcom has done is worse, that they left a huge bug in the game, and won't patch it.
For that, Capcom gets the Worst in Videogames "award."
|Monday, September 11th, 2006|
Today, both CNN, though its online video service, and MSNBC showed the then-live coverage of 9/11, as it happened. I have been watching some of it, and it brings back plenty of memories and emotions.
I remember it was a Tuesday. It was the second day of my trip with my dad to Disneyworld. After a ride or two, we went down Space Mountain. Being in early September, Disneyworld was actually far from being crowded as it would be in August. There was actually virtually no lines for most of the rides or attractions.
After we got down Space Mountain, my dad decided to call home, where my mom would just be getting up. That was when he first heard of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. At the time, I don't think neither one of us knew the extent of the problem. I know I dismissed it as not being very serious. It was either a misunderstanding on my part, or some automatic means of denial. Unfortunatly, more likely the former.
Me and my dad continued though the Futureworld portion of the Magic Kingdom. Once we got through the last attraction, the 360 degree film featuring a time traveling story, that is when we first heard of the evacuation order for everyone to go back to their hotels. Some other people had heard the news as well, as some rumors were spreading that a plane was heading for Florida.
Once we got back to the resort, we turned on the news. It wasn't much of a choice, as any channel with a news department only had coverage of 9/11. Even the large screen in the ala-cart dining area only had the news on. We stayed in the room, partly to stay informed, partly because we couldn't do much else. We only exited the room to retrieve drinks or to eat, while I had a break to play in the (expensive) arcade.
Many remember it as a day of tragedy; one which thousands were killed and our naievite about security was shattered. It showed how cruel human beings can be. One thing that was forgotten, for the better, was how some Palestinians (I hope not many), who were in the middle of a major conflict with Isreal at the time, celebrated the 9/11 attacks. Even though they considered us our enemy for siding with Isreal, I find it sad that anyone would celebrate another's death, much less a huge tragedy like 9/11.
But then there was the best of humanity. And not only of the police and firefighters that came along, but of civilians as well. Peter Jennings spent over straight 60 hours on the air, just to bring us the news, and he was only an example of what news networks did in wake of 9/11. In Washington DC, there was no Democrat or Republican, but Americans. But just as importantly, many other people offering any kind of help they can do. Some tried to help in the digging for survivors, while others helped those who had escaped the chaos. When the call for blood came out, people around the country flooded blood donation banks. It just wasn't a day where the terrorists came out, it was a day which the heroes came out in every one of us.
|Thursday, September 7th, 2006|
|9/11 "Documentary" and Bush's "Solution"
First on the list, ABC is set to show a feature film, "The Path to 9/11." The problem with the film, it is very inaccurate in portraying Clinton's faults leading up to 9/11 (story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14718803/
. The film portrays that Bill Clinton was distracted by the Monica Lowinski scandel to deal with terrorist and had operatives close to Bin Ladin when operations were cancelled, both which aren't true. Simply, there are plenty of factual errors, appearently mostly to demonize Clinton.
Some have called to edit out the controversial parts or cancel the film airing. I believe that delaying the airing to reshoot the inaccuracies would probably be the best solution. The film has a good idea, as it would show the successes and failings of all involved, and in non-complicated and thick book form. I don't mind some fictional portrayals of events, just as long as it doesn't give people the wrong impression, as the current version does.
It also shows how a good idea can be ruined. Review copies were passed out to conservative pundits, all the while ABC is claiming that it is still being edited. It is too appearent that either the director or the producer-and I hope it isn't both-was out with a political axe to grind. He or she needs to go for any re-edits or reshoots.
Then there's Bush in his latest series of speeches. After having problems in court over military tribunals for Guantanamo detanees, backlash over secret prisons and "alternative techniques" for interrogations, Bush has decided the best solution is to make all those...legal.
Yup, the same solution that was proposed for the NSA wiretap program, rather then make a real solution that wouldn't compromise our freedoms and would be best to fight the war on terrorists, instead Bush would just rather have everything become legal.
It is my hope that Republicans reject this proposal. It would not only show that they have some backbone, but would also show people that they won't listen to Bush on everything.
|Sunday, September 3rd, 2006|
|World's Worst in Videogames: Circuit City Edition
Another retailer comes into the Worlds Worst lot, and this time it's Circuit City.
With 360's becoming less rare, more people are out to buy one. But this Circuit City that Kotaku found decided to rip people off. For about $30, Circuit City will make your X-Box 360 backwards compatable, as they claim (with an asterix) with all original X-Box games. (story: http://kotaku.com/gaming/top/sleazy-circuit-city-ripping-off-xbox-360-customers-198065.php
This, in my opinion, is worse then what Best Buy did at the 360 launch. Its one thing to have people come into the store with no 360's, where the customer doesn't pay anything. But here, Circuit City is not only making a false promise, but doing something that you would get with the non-core 360 anyway; and I see no way of making the core 360 backwards compatable. Making empty promises for pure profit is not a way to run a business.
|Thursday, August 31st, 2006|
|Bush's War on Dissent
Bush and his administration is now out to "counter" all the anti-war sentiment that is now coursing through the political atmosphere. Unfortunatly, this is done through misrepresentation of dissenter's views and through attacks on dissents.
On the former, people who believe we should get out of Iraq don't think it would appease terrorists, nor think that would be the right route anyway. Heck, most Americans believe that the war in Iraq is seperate from the war on terrorism.
From what I have heard, most opposing the war believe one of two things: Iraq has pretty much fallen into a civil war-one which we shouldn't be in, or that, using a variation of Bush's own words, Iraq can't step up until we start to step down. On the latter, these people believe that the Iraqi government is using US troops as a crutch, and can't grow until they start to work on their own.
While I am among the people who believe we shouldn't have ever gone into Iraq, or at least the way in which we did. But I do believe that since we did go in, Iraq is now our responsibility. As of yet, I am not convinced that either former or latter cases for going out is true, and we shouldn't get out until either comes true (hopefully the latter rather then the former).
But what is worse are the attacks on dissent. Rather then going out and proving the case for Americans, the admininstration has time and again went out and basicly said "trust us to know what is best." For a time after 9/11, people believed that. But as their statements have become more and more false, as the Iraq and their supposed WMD program (much less actual WMD's) has shown, people have believed the administration less and less.
Yet, my words are probably not enough. So, instead I will use someone else's words who share the same view on these attacks on dissent, and in video form.
|Back from PAX
Sorry to those who read (anyone?) this blog, I have been doing a few other things.
One of those things was the Penny Arcade Expo. I only went Saturday, but it was still a great experience.
One of the best comparisons that can be made is that PAX is Disneyland for gamers. No, it isn't nessisarily the best place on Earth. What it has is long lines for short experiences, yet it is still increadably fun.
The main downside is the lines, notably the lines for the freeplay rooms. The PC freeplay was more forgiving, since there was plenty of PC's, all loaded with assorted games, mostly FPS's. The console freeplay didn't have as many consoles, but more games, although you had to wait until the apropriate console opened up, thus making the line move slower.
One thing to keep in mind for next year's PAX is to go in a group. This is so then one person can get into a given line early (as all the panels' lines had hundreds of people lined up just a half-hour before it starts). Also, at the beginning of the day, the exhibit line parallels the preregistered's line. Have at least one person in that line, while the other people go in for swag or tournament sign-ups.
The only other bad part was the DS's. Yes, there was too many of them, at least too many in one space. The lag all the DS's created slowed Mario Kart DS and Tetris DS to a crawl, and made it near impossible to download a game. Hopefully, the larger venue for PAX '07 will disperse all the DS's a bit more.
The exhibit room was half demos, half sellers. There was some exclusive items there, like the new Penny Arcade book, but mostly stuff you could get outside PAX anyway.
On the demo's side, unfortunatly, no Wii and no Sony presence. I got to play Elite Beat Agents, Final Fantasy 3 (DS version) and Guitar Hero 2 (first time I played the game; I sucked at it). At the console freeplay, I played the fun, and crowd generating, game Dead Rising. It's not quite good enough to sell a 360 to me, but still a good incentive.
The panels were fun. Heck, just look at yesterday's Penny Arcade comic, as the heart and lampshade was not originally in it until the crowd requested it.
What made PAX work was not just the events, but the people around it. Everyone was friendly and attributed to the atmosphere. Even if you don't play very many games, you shouldn't be afraid of going to this event.
Overall, PAX was a great event, and one I'll be attending all three days next year.
|Thursday, August 17th, 2006|
|Judge Throws Out Warrantless Wiretaps
Not too long ago, a federal judge has ruled that the warrantless wiretaps are unconstitutional (story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14393611/
This is entirely expected, as not only does the Constitution prohibit the government from wiretapping without a warrant, but the law that put together the secret FISA court specifically states that warrants are needed.
One line from the above article was interesting:
"The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets."
I wonder if they know that "its lawful for secret reasons" is not a very good defense.
|Tuesday, August 15th, 2006|
|Sony Needs New Management
When I say Sony, I just don't mean the video games department, I mean the entirety of the company.
Recently, Dell announced a recall due to exploding (sometimes literally) batteries, which are made by Sony (story: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=2315126
Earlier this week, Sony announced the first Blu-ray drive for PC-that doesn't play commercial disks (story: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=6589
Then you have the many terrible comments that video game department execs. have made after E3, basicly trying to defend the $500-600 (best chronicaled on the 1Up Yours podcast: http://1upyours.1up.com/
Late last year, it was discovered that some SonyBMG-published albums had a badly-written rootkit/copy-protection, which is the worst commercial software blunder this side of Windows security.
This isn't just one department's problem, it is the entire corporation. The only thing that is saving Sony from going down the tubes (and not the one Ted Stevens described) is Spider-man 3. There has been some improvement with the new president of the video games department, but something has to change for the company as a whole. The amount of arogance and uncaring going into their products is doing more harm then good for them.
|Wednesday, August 9th, 2006|
|Lieberman’s "Hacked" Web Site
Joe Lieberman, who just lost his bid for being the Democratic representative for Congress, had his site fall off the map yesterday, the day of the election. He very publicly claimed that the site was hacked, blaiming an unknown Lamont supporter for the outage.
However, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos said on Countdown that Lieberman's Web site was on a bad server that also housed several other Web sites. Thus, the site likely couldn't handle any additional traffic that would happen anyway since it was the day of the election.
On the other hand, John C. Dvorak posted an article (here: http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=6545
) that the site simply wasn't paid for.
Both speculations go under the same problem for the site itself: they just didn't invest enough money to keep it alive.
What makes this worse is that either Lieberman doesn't understand how technology works, purposely lied to people in saying that a rogue Lamont supporter took the site down. The former is more likely, since I highly doubt that any politician would lie in a way that is easily fact-checkable (as written above). But this just doesn't well for someone who would have to vote on policies that would affect the Web as a whole. I certainly wouldn't vote for someone who doesn't understand what bandwidth is.
|Tuesday, August 8th, 2006|
|Blu-ray Vs. HD-DVD: Why Dual-Format Drives Are Necessary for Both
Everyone should know it by now, that having a HD format war is the worst thing either camp is doing right now. Heck, some have speculated that Microsoft, among others, only supports HD-DVD in an attempt to kill both, so then they become the leader in digital distribution.
Online distribution, in my opinion, can't work until computers are commonly connected, hopefully wirelessly, to televisions. I just doubt that computer screens is the prefered way to watch shows or movies. There is also the problem of DRM and/or proprietary formats, since there is no universal one for either just for watching videos online.
The main problem with the current format war is simply no one right now knows which will succeed, and thus won't put any money down until they know. Who wants to put down hundreds of dollars for a player that may or may not work in a few years? That is why no one recommends buying either a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player unless they have a burning hole in their pocket (and a HD set to go with it).
Whats worse is that there is no need for people to go to either camp right now. The only reason is to have a movie in HD. Yet, as I found on just the back covers of HD-DVD movies, only the movies themselves are being upgraded; not even the special features get the upgrade. So we have minimal upgrade in the visual quality of the movie, and no other new content or upgrades. Why go either of these formats?
The simple way for both sides to get a better chance of winning, rather then have both lose, is to have dual format players get onto the market. Rather then fight it out in the marketplace, where it is more likely that one or both will lose horribly, fight it out with the studios. I don't think people really care on if their movies are HD-DVD or Blu-ray if they know either one will work in the long run.
Having a dual-format player will do the one thing both sides need: getting their player into people's homes. As it is, most consumers will not go for a possibly dead format.