Archive for the 'Xbox 360' Category

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.

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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…