April 2009

Just got a PS3. First Impressions.

I recently got a PS3 and having been a XBOX 360 user for the past two years I thought I would give my first impressions. Note that I am not a "fanboy" or a "hater" just pragmatic. Up until now I haven't really had extra money to spend on one.

Okay first the good:

1. It is Quiet. I cannot believe how silent it is. The XBOX 360 sounds like a plane landing so I was expecting *some* noise but there isn't any.

2. It is an excellent DVD player. So good I unhooked my dedicated one. It has a really good upscaling feature.
3. I really like the hardware design. It has a slot loading disc drive and touch buttons so there are no moving parts on the outside. It doesn't have a huge power brick like the XBOX 360. It uses a standard, easily replaceable hard drive.

Now the bad:

1. Sealed rechargeable controllers

2. Didn't come with high definition cables (component or HDMI)

Games:

Looks good. Not better or worse than the XBOX 360.


Conclusion:

I like it!

Safari 4.0 how I hate thee

I uninstalled the Safari 4.0 beta today because I just couldn't stand two things:

1. Beach balls all the time!

2. Copy and paste just stop working all the time!

I didn't find it faster than 3.x at all. The copy and paste stops working and you have to restart the browser.

Gametap 4.0 – Worst upgrade ever

This is the second time I have said good-bye to gametap on this blog. Gametap has decided to ditch the fat, rich, desktop client with a web one and in the process went from a service that I loved to one I can't stand anymore. I spent the better part of this morning trying to play a game and finally had to use google to end up in a obscure gametap forum to find the the solution; after that I was done.

Why would any company take a working, well received, product and shit all over it? I am not entirely sure. My guess is they didn't want to pay developers anymore. The site is now also covered in ads - even if you have a gold subscription! They are also now competing with
Direct2Drive and the other johnny-come-lately game download services.

Good-bye Gametap - it was a good run while it lasted.

Phase IV on DVD…finally!

One of my all time favorite "hard scifi" movies is 1974's Phase IV available on Amazon. What I mean by "hard scifi" is it only takes a little bit of suspension of disbelief to really think it could happen. Think Andromeda Strain or Colossus: The Forbin Project.

The movie starts out with a simple explanation that some astrological event happens and scientists wonder what will happen to the planet. Something small does happen instead of something big. Ants. Ants become more intelligent. They begin to behave differently. Two scientists are tasked with studying the problem using computers and crypto analysis.


The movie is filled with beautiful macro photography of ants working against the humans. Stuff like infiltrating the AC so the computers can only work at night. Bringing bits of poison to the queen so the next generation of ants is immune. And finally communicating using geometry!

Left 4 Dead…my new favorite game!

So I have had Left 4 Dead for my XBOX 360 since it came out but I really didn't get into it. I decided to get it on Steam and have been playing it a lot more. I really didn't realize how much I missed the keyboard + mouse combination for first person shooters. I was actually pretty good at the game. I got a nice headset and started playing online. All the folks I have played with so far have been great! (which was the exact opposite online)

The whole Steam setup is really nice. I like all the integrated tools - makes it almost like XBOX Live. Newer games, like Left 4 Dead, also have achievements.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

I just picked up the new Riddick game today:

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

First off the short version: I like it!


Now the long version: Its too similar to their previous game
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay which was one of my favorite games on the original Xbox. In fact I was really upset it wouldn't run under the Xbox emulation on the Xbox 360. Imagine my surprise when my local Game Crazy rep. told me that it was also included with Dark Athena!

Seeing them both, side-by-side, really shows how similar they are. They both are stealth shooters with bouts of face paced FPS goodness. Dark Athena takes place right after the events of Butcher Bay so if you haven't played the original it would be best if you did.


My one complaint is you can't play both at the same time as they both use the same "last checkpoint" slot so if you want to switch between them you will have to start at the last Chapter start even if your in the middle of it.


So anyhoo the games are basically the same in function and look and feel. Dark Athena does have some new weapons but other than that they are identical. Even the story is similar: "Fight the man, do side missions, escape" Dark Athena does have a multiplayer element but I haven't played it yet.


That is okay though! The game is awesome and I don't mind it one bit. For those of you looking for something different - look elsewhere.


For me the fact that Butcher Bay is included was worth the price even if I never played Dark Athena.