Archive for the 'Video Games' Category

Pssst, wanna buy some laptop RAM?

November 20, 2007

Yep, I’m selling it on eBay.

I don’t usually hawk stuff on here,  but my usual strategy of setting no reserve isn’t working so well this time on the RAM or The Warriors.

I think Overlord is going to sell, though because it already has a few bids.  Even though those bids are sub-market, I’m sure it will be fine by Sunday.

The amazing thing is that this is the Christmas season.  If you can’t sell at Christmas, you can’t sell!

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Over 40 Gamer Episode 6 is up.

August 19, 2007

Lots of podcasting stuff this weekend. Is there a season for podcasting? On this episode of OFG, I talk about the upcoming patch to Overlord for the 360; my ongoing experiences with Resident Evil 4; the recent mod chip raid; PSP desires; the Bioshock demo; Heavenly Sword haters; The Guild; Puzzle Quest and Real Life as a game. There’s also a bit of a rant against iMacs in there.

After I did the show, I don’t think I spent enough time talking about The Guild. I’m not a huge fan of internet tv shows, but I actually subscribed to this one’s newsletter. I’m impressed by how spot on the game related humor is. I think it’s so good because the star writes the show. She’s clearly brilliant. Math genius, musician, actress and ballerina? My goodness! But then I’m always all aflutter for the polymaths. You can tell she’s worked with Joss Whedon. The humor is similar.

Owning both a PS3 and an Xbox 360

July 11, 2007

Playstation 3 40GB
Xbox 360 Elite System Console Includes 120GB Hard Drive
Say what you will, but when Sony dropped the price on the PS3, I hauled my butt down to the Best Buy and bought one. Actually, I bought the last one on the shelf. I brought it home and set it up and then I just sat there and looked at it and at the Xbox 360. I now have two pieces of consumer electronics that essentially do the same thing.

If nothing else but to justify this in my own mind, I want to talk about these units together. The style points definitely go to the PS3. It’s black sleekness is evil! The 360 looks like the toy that it is next to it. The PS3 is a computer. You can plug in a USB mouse and keyboard right into it. You can also plug in media cards. I ran the PS3 all last night because I wanted to charge the Sixaxis controller. I didn’t worry about that at all and I made sure I ran Folding at Home. I wouldn’t dare waste precious 360 burn time by keeping it on all night. A 360 is like a light bulb. You’ve only got so many hours before it burns out. My original PS2 is what, 5 years old? I have no doubt that in 5 years the PS3 is going to be going strong. I’ll probably have gone through a half dozen 360s by then.

But I sound like I’m ragging on the 360. The fact is, right now, the PS3 can’t touch the Xbox as a gaming system. There are tons of great games out for the 360 and not so much for the PS3. Everyone knows this. Moreover, the 360 has movies you can download. The PS3 has a couple of trailers and a few demos and games, but nothing like the 360. The 360’s software is superior. The PS3 isn’t bad, but applications launch in a kind of clunky way compared to the 360. The 360, while it’s running, is awesome!

But as I sit here and watch coverage of E3 it’s clear that the games for the PS3 are coming. The PS3 has so much potential, it’s almost painful to see it in its current state. From a hardware perspective, the PS3 is an impressive machine. It’s significantly quieter than the 360. When I watch HD DVD movies on the 360 with it’s separate drive, it’s noisy enough to be distracting. The PS3 is quiet enough to be a real piece of home theater equipment. In fact, the real reason that I bought it was that I wanted a Blu-Ray Player. The PS3, in my opinion, up-converts slightly better than the 360. Watching movies in 1080p is something that once you experience it, you don’t want to look at anything else and now I have the player of the standard that is poised to win the format war.

The 360 streams video from your computer quite easily. I did it once just to try it. I really don’t have much use for it beyond that. I believe you can get the PS3 to do it as well although I’m not sure as easily. For me, the media card support is more important.

So yes, in the end is it overkill to have both a 360 and a PS3? Of course! Is if fun, absolutely. I have the best game system available right now in the 360 and a terrific Blu-Ray player in the PS3. I can tell you though, that as games come out going forward, I’m going to look for them first on the PS3 and only buy the exclusives on the 360. The last thing I want to do is get half-way through a game and have to send the 360 back to Microsoft because it has given up the ghost.

“This is the nerd equivalent of being a cat lady.”

July 7, 2007

Normally I don’t blog about blogs, much less blog about comments left on blogs.  This, however, is a special exception.  Kotaku, the source of all information that is gaming, reported on a couple who have 46 World of Warcraft accounts, 47 PCs and manage 23 WoW accounts between them.  They have a side by side rig with two Lazyboy chairs and 7 monitors.

One can just imagine what their waking hours are like:  16 hours a day of non-stop WoW interrupted only by food and adult diaper changing breaks probably only done once a day to maximize efficiency.  Even hardcore geeks are amazed, leading one commenter, Nikolii to quip brilliantly:  “This is the nerd equivalent of being a cat lady.”

I want to know more.  I want to see them play.  I want to know how they can afford this kind of lifestyle.  I want to see these people!  Mainstream press should pick up on this story!

Of course the mainstream might wonder why they do this.  I know the answer to this, because it’s fun, in a really, really obsessive way.  And I can relate to it a little bit.  I have 15 computers (not all of them are up) but 8 are in use all the time.  I’m not sure that’s like having 8 cats though.  Computers don’t need litter boxes.

Over 40 Gamer Episode 3 is up.

June 20, 2007

I’m frankly a little surprised at the popularity of this show.  If that sounds like a lack of confidence, it’s really more of a lack of marketing.  I haven’t gone internet crazy with this thing at all.  Yet the show is gaining a nice little crowd.  I still intend to keep this project fairly separate from Mental Interface, but I’ll mention the shows here as they are published.

Over 40 Gamer Podcast.

June 1, 2007

I’ve debated talking about this podcast on Mental Interface.  I wanted to keep it separate, but at the same time, it’s worth mentioning here.  I’m involved in it, so I should discus it.

The concept behind Over 40 Gamer is to discuss gaming with a segment of the population that is under represented.  Compared to typical demographics, this type of person makes up a small part of the population.  Nevertheless, it’s a group that needs a voice.

If you are 1) over 40 and 2) you like gaming at all, give it a listen.  If you’re under 40 and you want to hear gaming discussed from an ENTIRELY different perspective, then give it a shot too.

Online gaming means spending more money.

May 6, 2007

Sometimes I think companies that sell games and consoles would like the consumer cost of gaming to move from its present cost to more like the cost model of a movie. One of the main reasons computer and video games are so popular is because even at $50 a game, you get more entertainment time per dollar than you do at the movies. Say Spiderman 3 costs you $10 for two and a half hours. A good video game might give you 50 hours of entertainment time or more for $50.

But the video game model is shifting. Let’s look at Xbox Live. It is a really cool service, but it’s not an inexpensive one. Most things cost points. I submit to you that if you started downloading stuff every time you sat down to play, you would end up spending more per month than if you just bought games from the game store. Plus, Xbox Live’s premium version itself costs money.

Look at World of Warcraft. You’re paying a monthly fee. Maybe it’s worth it, but the point is you’re getting closer to the movie model in terms of cost per gaming hour than if you just bought a game from a game store.

The more money consumers spend in gaming, the more profits the various companies involved make. I’m all for capitalism, but I’m also for being a smart consumer. The companies have the advantage. I want to look for bargains and I certainly don’t want to pay for bad content. A smart gamer should look carefully at new content and set a budget. It would be easy to start spending hundreds of dollars per month on games, just like we already do on cable.

Review of the Samsung LN-T5265F TFT-LCD Television.

April 30, 2007

Samsung LNT5265F 52-inch 1080p LCD HDTV

Holy freakin’ God, this television rocks! I cannot tell you. If God has a television, this is what he watches. It is bright and gorgeous. It’s completely riveting. I am probably going to die sooner than I should because I’m buying a bean bag chair and I’m going to plant myself in front of the television and watch movies and play games for the rest of my life.

It has 3 HDMI inputs and 2 component inputs. It also does s-video and cable and the rest of the lower res stuff. The money is in the HDMI, computer and component inputs. Right now, I’m using a component input for my cable box and I’m running my Xbox 360 through the PC input. It is with this setup that I’m able to get 1080p output and watch movies in 1080p on the Xbox HD DVD drive.

The brightness of this TV is amazing. It’s sitting in a room facing 4 5 ½ foot windows. The television is bright enough to watch in full daylight. Strangely enough, there is less glare than the CRT television this TV replaces. Also the viewing angles are incredible. I had originally planned on getting a Mitsubishi DLP. The viewing angle on a DLP is nothing like this. You can watch this TV from essentially the same viewing angles as you would with a conventional television.

On my set up, I use the optical audio output to send audio to an Onkyo surround sound system. Honestly, the first time I plugged in this television it brought a tear to my eye. Gaming is in a class by itself. The 360 does not disappoint. I can’t imagine going back to my PS2 after this. In fact, if there is one weakness, I did try running my PS2 on it and it looked terrible. My cable box upconverts so normal channels look ok.

I looked at every LCD Best Buy had to offer in picking this TV. The contenders were from Sharp and Sony. Still, the Samsung stood above them all and I obviously couldn’t be happier. As I’ve said before, it’s reawakened my interest in movies and games. I’m a lucky man indeed.

Gaming Weekend Part II.

April 29, 2007

I finished the remaining three games I rented on Friday.  I did take a little domestic heat for spending so much time playing games this weekend, despite it being scheduled activity.  Ah well.  I’m finished now.

Here’s my thoughts on the remaining games.

Kameo.  I am pleasantly surprised by this game.  I had seen it on display at CompUSA last year and messed around with it then, but I didn’t really focus on it.  In comparison to the other six games, it holds up well with terrific graphics and stimulating game play.  Along with Gun, I’m putting Kameo on my “buy” list.

The Battle for Middle Earth II.  This is my type of game, right?  It’s an RTS.  Having played 90% of the RTS games out there, I should be doing backflips for this one, except I’m not.  It’s not the game’s fault though.  It’s the platform’s fault.  Don’t get me wrong, I am rapidly becoming a 360 fanboy, it’s just that consoles are not the greatest platforms for RTS games.  These games need a mouse.  It’s that simple.  That being said, if I had a manual to look at the controls for this, I might enjoy it more.  I’m not giving up on this one yet.  It may make it to the buy list because the graphics are good and the units are cool looking.  I need more time with the game.  You can’t fault the LotR universe, it makes for an engrossing subplot.

Finally, Enchanted Arms kind of surprised me.  While I am an Anime fan, I’m no expert.  That being said, I know a bishonen game when I see one.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my thing.  When the first 30 minutes of the game is silly dialog, you’re going to lose me.  Apparently, if you can get past the first 45 minutes of the game, the rest of it is supposed to be good.  I can’t make it that far.  This is one of those RPGs that has the turn based combat that some people enjoy.  I think in the right environment, it’s ok, but I could care less about this story.  I think this game is supposed to be a Final Fantasy clone.  Meh, it’s not for me.

So that’s it.  I have to say that the Xbox 360 combined with my new HD TV has reinvigorated both my desire to play video games and my desire to watch movies.  It’s great stuff.  Next, I’m going to see how well it streams video off a computer.  More on that later…

Gaming Weekend Part I.

April 28, 2007

For the first time in many, many months, I’m carving out some big blocks of time to play video games.  Yesterday (Friday) I rented the following games for my Xbox 360:

Crackdown
Dead Rising
Gun
Kameo
The Battle for Middle Earth II
Enchanted Arms

I have the games until Wednesday.  My plan is to blog about them and other gaming I do this weekend.

Last night, I played Crackdown, Dead Rising and Gun.  My impression of these games comes from a different place than a lot of gamers.  First, I’m old.  Second, historically, I’ve been an RTS gamer, not a FPS gamer.  Also, the place where I rented the games didn’t give me any manuals.

So Crackdown, despite being a runaway hit, didn’t do anything for me the first time playing it.  I got into the car and drove over some people.  I couldn’t really figure out what was going on in the game.  I think I need to read some on line material on this one  before I judge it completely, but it didn’t thrill me.

Dead Rising looked great as I started playing.  The graphics are very good.  Yet, once I got into the shopping mall and the old lady opened the doors to get her dog, I was toast.  Many game reviewers billed this game as something funny like Sean of the Dead.  I didn’t really get that vibe.  Also, I can’t stand time limit games.  I’m trying to escape from reality.  My life is a time limit game.  So even though I clearly wasn’t getting the full experience out of this game, it left enough of a bad taste in my mouth to leave it be.

My thoughts on Gun are probably going to elicit some eye rolling.  I liked it the most of these three games.  Sure, there are better shooters, but the story has me hooked.  I’m going to play this one all the way through.  Look, one of my favorite games is Resident Evil 4.  It’s because of the story.  Gun has that sort of feel (although RE4 is superior).  I know, you’re saying:  “he likes Gun more than Crackdown?  What a moron!”  I’m not giving up on Crackdown yet.  I’m going to go back to it.  It’s just that I was able to jump into Gun and start playing it.  That didn’t happen with Crackdown.

This morning is family time and no gaming will be happening.  I might get some time this afternoon and tonight we’re going to a friend’s house.  They have a Wii, so I’m hoping we can play Wii Sports as I haven’t done that yet.

More tomorrow.