Monday, January 31, 2011

DC Universe Fastest Selling SOE Product?

According to John Smedley, president of SOE, it is. The game was released on January 11th and last week it had the number 1 sales from Steam, #1 on Amazon digital downloads, and apparently they can't keep the game on the shelves at retail locations. Unsure if the retail is with the PC or the PS3 version, but good for them, none-the-less. SOE has been having a rough patch with MMO's so it's nice to see their sales get a boost. Though I'm amused that 20% of their PS3 user base left the game to watch American Idol on January 27th. People still watch that show, huh?

Now this is still within the first "free" month of game play. We'll see how many end up sticking around when they have to start shelling out some money to continue playing.

DC Universe Online takes the concept of Champions Online and City of Heroes, but you get to interact with notorious super heroes and villains. You can choose to be good or bad and have a mentor (Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, etc) to guide you along your path. I'd pick the Joker just to hear Mark Hamill's voice. Or maybe Robin since it's Wil Wheaton. Not Superman. Adam Baldwin is not in the realm of Superman.

Anyway, we'll see what happens after a month has passed. If I can procure a copy, I'll have to try it out and post up a review.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

NGP This. NGP That

It's like the past 4 months of info no longer matter now that Sony announced their PSP2, lovingly titled NGP (Next Generation Portable).

To sum it all up, it's bigger then a PSP, it's lighter then a PSP, if has the battery life of a Nintendo 3DS, it doesn't have a UMD drive, and there is no price point or release date set, yet. If you'd like to learn more, here are a slew of articles:

Hypebeast Lowdown on NGP.
Endgadget-Codename NGP.
Release Date Please.
7 Things To Know About The NGP.
Kotaku Hoopla of NGP info.

David Jaffe really loves the NGP. (NSFW)

Not like we didn't already know about this stuff months ago. >.>

Thursday, January 27, 2011

APB: Reloaded?

Opening my email this morning, I was surprised to see a message from a company called GamersFirst. Best known for their free to play array of games. Well it looks like EA pawned the APB license off to them as they have just announced a beta for APB: Reloaded and it's officially looking for members to recruit.

Surprised? I know I am. Anyone with a registered APB account is eligible for beta testing, and should receive an email soon. I didn't think they were being serious when they announced back in December that they were going to re-tool and re-release the game, but looks like I was wrong. I think this wins on fastest turn-around time for an MMO. In 6 months it has gone from released to dead to sold to beta testing for re-release. Someone needs to call Guiness World Records.

No set release date on when the re-release will occur. Currently they are accepting beta apps on their website, which seems to be just supply an email and sit on your hands. But! for anyone interested in the revival, it's a good time to get a jump on it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

EA Investors Unsure About Old Republic

An analyst from Janco Partners, a broker dealer that works on research with telecommunication companies, believes that EA investors are unsure about putting the funds into Old Republic. Mike Hickey believes that

"[M]any investors are betting against SWTOR achieving market success, provided the company's and industry's track record at releasing successful new MMOs."

Which, if you think about EA's success, or lack of, with MMO's, it kind of makes sense. Look at Warhammer Online and All Points Bulletin. Though I'm unsure of how EA acquired Warhammer or if they started out with the license, but APB was picked up by EA during it's development. Much in the same way EA got on board after Old Republic began work. APB barely lasted 2 months before the servers were shut down. Warhammer Online isn't doing bad for where it's at. It's settled into a good niché for itself in the MMO spectrum. But this is EA. They want World of Warcraft numbers right out the gate, which Warhammer Online didn't give them.

So now comes the question, are EA's expectations too high for their products? WoW didn't get it's fan-base overnight, even though it feels like it did. They had to build it up, and it's a product that has grown in subscriptions over the years. Was it immediately popular? Yes. But those 7 million subscribers didn't happen overnight. They were generated over time. But with EA's unsecured record on MMO's, they want to put money on a product that they know will give them millions of subscribers right out the gate.

And then you have to look at the current market. A number of MMO's have been moving to the free-to-play model, with advanced subscriptions for those interested in premium items. Which has worked for some. Look at Lord of the Rings Online. Their sales boosted once they moved to free-to-play. Champions Online is taking that same route and already there's a buzz about an increase in new user accounts. But for EA, that wouldn't be a good sale. It'd cut into their profit margin for monthly online fees. Why? Star Wars is still owned by LucasArts. They gotta pay the royalties to the big G. So the pot is getting split 3 ways. Bioware, LucasArts, and EA. Not as much money is going to be received in return. So for EA, they need to see some proof before they start to throw more money at Bioware.

It's going to be a long, bumpy road ahead.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Angry Birds Storms The World

I guess you could call it the Farmville of cell phone games. Taking the Crash the Castle (also available at a cell phone near you) concept and giving us a bunch of cranky birds who want their eggs back. Not only is it consistently in the top 10 of most downloaded games, celebrities enjoy the simplicity of birds being smacked into walls.

So what's next? Well there's the stuffed animals, the board game, and the upcoming tv series. So of course we have to have a working catapult, right?

Anyone else think commercialism in this world has gone a little too far? We'd idolizing birds being flung by a slingshot into walls. Do I think the game is silly fun? You bet. It was free when I downloaded it and it's a great time waster if you're sitting around, waiting, with nothing to do. Is it worth all this media glamorization? Not really. Stuffed animals, ok that I can see. But do we really need to have board games and tv shows and even a movie about a video game of this caliber? Angry Birds fever will eventually wear, and what will happen to all of this crap we have lying around our homes? More things to throw into the landfill. Let's take a step back and just appreciate this as the game that it is and not encourage more useless junk to clutter up our world.

Unintentional rant. Sorry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

PSP2. Still Not Official.

Though at the rate of the "leaks" we probably know a lot more about the system then we should.

Sony is expected to announce the system later this week (need subscription to read the article). But their lack of delays in comparison to the huge amounts of photos/specs of the system on the internet makes me wonder if Sony actually gives a damn about this product. It's out there. We know what it looks like. We know what it does. So why are you taking so long to comment on it?

According to new reports, the PSP2 will have the ability to connect to the NTT DoCoMo network in Japan, a 3G network. While it may not apply to Western customers, the knowledge that it has 3G capabilities is appealing for the system. It'll give us more free reign to use it stateside. 3G means the potential to download movies, music, and such over a phone network rather then Wi-Fi hot spots, like the current PSP.

The PSP2 is expected to have an OLED screen. The benefits? Lower costs, lightweight, flexible, wider range of viewing angles, brightness, and better power efficiency. Sony was one of the first few to grab onto this technology, so it's no surprise they would implement it into the PSP2.

The Japanese website is also stating the that OLED will also be a touch screen. Not 100% confirmed as the system was expected to have a retractable touch-pad, but interesting none-the-less. We'll have to see what Sony FINALLY has to say at their press conference on the 27th.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bigger Planet = More Fun?

If it hasn’t been obvious over the past few months, I have been dying to get my hands on Little Big Planet 2. It was released this week, which is why my posts have been…lackluster. But in their steed, I have a robust review of LBP2. So yeah. It evens out. XD



When Media Molecule set out to make Little Big Planet, they wanted it to be the game of all games and never expected to make a sequel. And of course what happens to any developer when they say that? They make a sequel and a PSP game. Little Big Planet 2 is chock full of all the things you wished were in the first game without making you feel like the first was a waste of your time.

Positives:

Loads of new, shiny things. From Sackbots, to grappling hooks, to bounce pads, and everything in between. Little Big Planet 2 is a plethora of all things LBP. MM listened to the people and gave us so many new tools that there are 52 video tutorials. >.> And they only cover a fraction of what’s possible. The tools allow you to make virtually any game of your dreams. RPG, shooter, action, adventure, even the basic platformer. If you have the stamina, you can make whatever you wish, and MM was more then happy to give us all of the tools we needed.

LBP1 transforms into LBP2. MM kept their promise and allowed all of us who have LBP1 accounts to transfer them to LBP2, including all of our inventory items, levels, and our space pods. All of the items can be used openly in LBP2 as well as all of the creator levels. There is a slight downside, that’s more of a glitch. Some of the older levels have gadgets that have been removed from LBP2 for different ones, and not all of the levels were properly converted over. So some of your favorite of LBP1 levels probably won’t play the same. But at least everything was transferred over. >.>

Graphics got bumped up. I know what you’re thinking, ‘how?” Images, colors, and the 3D space are much more vivid and distinct. Graphics that would look great on an HD or standard television. If you compare the two games side by side, you’ll be able to see the differences off the bat.

Better control over your controls. While not perfect and still sometimes annoying, the control scheme has improved. In particular, jumping, my biggest gripe with the first game. Jumping doesn’t feel as strenuous of an activity now. When you jump, you actually hit the platform you were aiming for. But even little things such as aiming to shoot or flying have become more responsive to your button mashes.

Music/sound editor. Which I’m sure will get MM in trouble soon and they’ll have to remove it/patch it from the game, but for now, it’s a wonderful tool. Now I don’t have to hear the same song in 5 thousand creator levels. The new tools allow you to take any piece of music, or record your own, and twist them into something new. Even reverse the track, if you are so inclined.

Story mode has more emphasis on multi-player. MM really wants you to play with others this time around, and that’s ok. Many of the levels are more multi-player friendly, without being too challenging if you decide to play by yourself. Wandering through, I found many levels required 3 or 4 players in order to get the hidden items.


Negatives:

Shorter story mode. While I enjoyed the story more this time as it had a more cohesive beginning, middle, and end, it was rather short. My first run through, I managed to collect 80% of the items/stickers and completed the story in about half a day. It feels like there is more of an emphasis on going out and creating your own work and less on the story.

Multiple connection issues. Now this may just be that because it’s the first week of release, servers are running slow, but even on the smaller, un-crowded creator levels, I found myself being disconnected a lot. Pretty sure it’s not my end. Fios over here. 

Pins and more pins. As a means of an in-game achievement system, LBP2 offers you pins for hitting certain milestones in the game. I do like that you can keep track of your PS3 trophies from this method, but the pins seem rather pointless. You can attach a set of 3 to your profile to show off, but really, they serve no purpose other then self satisfaction. As much as I enjoy achievements and trophies, I’m not going to spend my time focusing on pins. I’d rather work on my moon levels.

Edit: Forgot to mention one other annoyance I have with the game. Grappling Hook. It sucks. Hardcore. It's as though they took the jumping mechanics from the first game and squished it into this grappling hook, which you need to use for quite a number of the story levels. Difficult to maneuver. Difficult to master. And where are all of the stickers and objects at? The areas with the hook.

Worth a buy? Definitely. If you have any creative inclination in your system, you’ll find enjoyment in this game. If you’ve never played Little Big Planet, 2 will start you off in the right place. It’s great for LBP alumni and newbies alike. Now, I'm off to make my DKC level.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Childhood Obesity and Microsoft Helping the Hacker

Can't talk.

Playing Little Big Planet 2.

But here are 2 quick stories that amused me. The first is a new study regarding childhood obesity. In particular, the overused claim that video games promoted obesity in children is not the main source of fat. While the study does state that video games can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, it's not the main factor for causing obesity. The research shows both positives and negatives to playing video games. Higher internet usage generally leads to higher school grades, and playing more video games can translate into visuospatial skills. But it's also dependent upon the child and the parents as excessive game playing can lead to lower grades and self-esteem issues.

The other story is Microsoft is offering hacker Hotz a free phone. Hotz is one of the guys that broke into the PS3. Hotz wrote on his twitter page that he was wanting to get a Windows 7 Phone, and a dev at Microsoft answered his call...if he's willing to make some apps and tinker around with it. That's not really sending the appropriate message to the kids. Hack into stuff, break the law, get freebes in return?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SE Conference of Pretty Images

Yesterday, SquareEnix held a press conference (pushed back from earlier this month) to show off the new stuff that "should" be released this year. I'm not holding my breath because, let's face it. It's SquareEnix.

So other then showing yet ANOTHER trailer for FFXIII Versus with SOME gameplay...finally, a few images and a trailer of FFXIII-2 appeared. Just to be clear, Versus is another title in the 13 saga. 13-2 would be the sequel to 13. Versus is like the FF12/Ivalice Alliance to FF Tactics. But here is a bit of 13-2:




I'm not liking how they butched up Lightning. But I'm ok with a sequel. Even if there are people going to yell at me. I'd like to have more of a backstory with 13. Felt like it was missing more explanation on what the hell was going on.


And here is 13 Versus:



Still looking pretty. Still would love to see a demo somewhere out there because good god, they've been working on this since 2003.

Let's see. We'll also have another PSP FF game. FF Agito, which is now FF Type O. Not sure what the connection is or where, but whatever. And Kingdom Hearts 3D. Assuming that would be for the 3DS. So there you go. Lots of shiny objects from SE. Still no demos. Still pretty pictures. Still little, to no, gameplay. But apparently everything is coming out this year. Yeah. I laughed at that notion also.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Art and Video Games

Yoji Shinkawa should be known to fans of Metal Gear Solid. He is the creative genius of all of the art. On Saturday he held a live demo of his work at the Konami Style store in Tokyo. An exhibit dedicated to him will be running until the end of the month, and you can view a few more pieces at iceblockfilms. This is one of those "haha I told you so" moments. I'd like for Roger Ebert to argue that this isn't art:



Friday, January 14, 2011

Nerd Princess Is Pushing It.

In their daily dose of Cultural Smash, Kotaku staff writer Brian Ashcraft dubbed Olivia Munn as a Nerd Princess. Now I do think that Ms. Munn does have some comical talent. She's been pushing at the side-kick buttons over at G4TV since 2006 on Attack of the Show and has managed to get herself into bit parts here and there, such as Iron Man 2. She's shown that she does have some nerd credit, though she admits that gaming isn't her strength. I give her props on breaking into the entertainment world in the way that she did. Now she's on The Daily Show as a correspondent and has her own sitcom. Yeah I know. I don't know when the own show thing happened either.

Here is my tick with the article. Ashcraft was making out Munn to be the end all, be all of nerd women and we're expected to look up to her. Again, I'm not wanting to take away her talent, but I don't look up to Olivia Munn. There's nothing about her that I feel I can easily relate to. A lot of her "nerd" credentials didn't start until after she began working on G4. It wasn't something that came naturally to her. She had to work at it. And that's fine. She seems genuinely interested in learning the nerd ways and does have a good chunk of knowledge in certain areas. But by no means is she a nerd princess. She doesn't know everything about everything in the nerd universe.

And to insinuate that all of us should look up to her because of her career isn't really propelling women forward. Olivia is a pretty woman. So we're expected to be just like her in order to make anything of ourselves, eh? The whole article feels contrived. It just didn't sit with me to call her a nerd princess when she doesn't fit that mold. She's a model, actress, and a comedian who likes nerdy things. That would be a more accurate interpretation of Olivia. But just because she's a nerd who happens to be gorgeous doesn't mean that all women who are nerds are required to look up to her.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Champions Online Going Free To Play On January 25th

In an effort to boost sales and audience appeal, Champions Online will be going to the free to play model visa-vie Lord of the Rings Online. For those wondering, CO is basically City of Heroes with more costume options.  Seeing the success free to play has brought LotR, applying it to other franchises isn't sounding like such a bad idea. There are many web browser games such as Evony and AdventureQuest, even non-browsers such as MapleStory that make oodles of cash and are free to play. How? The premium packs!

While CO will be free to play later this month, they will still offer a monthly Gold subscription and Adventure Packs. The Adventure Packs are little premiums in the game that you'd have to pay for to gain access to. This could be anything from costume designs to extra missions. The bulk of the game will still be free, it's just all of those little extra goodies that you really want you have to pay for. But hey! If it works for CO, we might see this trend grow for other MMO's needing a boost such as Star Trek or Aion.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So About Those PS3 Hackers


Of course they were going to get hit by Sony. Just surprised it took Sony this long to deal with it. Sony is slapping the hackings with legal action. One of the hackers spoke with the BBC and is claiming digital rights.


"I would expect a company that prides itself on intellectual property to be well versed in the provisions of the law, so I am disappointed in Sony’s current action," says George Hotz, one of the hackers.

Good luck defending that in a court of law against Sony.

Sony has requested a restraining order that bans Mr Hotz and 100 others from future hacking of any other software, as well as distribution of the content that has hacked the PS3 system. Of course the website that had the PS3 code has since been taken down and claiming that they never really had it. Too late to backpedal now guys, but good try. Sony is currently in the works of releasing a patch to override the hack.

In an unrelated, though silly coincidence,  Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations 2 demo will be released in Japan on January 14th at Nintendo Zone Hotspots. Demo's will be available at download kiosks as early as tomorrow. Time to start tapping away at that Logic button to help solve this case! >.>

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arizona Gunman Tied to Gaming

Here we go again. We can't go a week without someone in the news media attempting to link video games to a violent act.

AZCentral.com has reported that the shooter whom attempted to kill an Arizona Congresswoman was a "big video gamer," according to former classmates. Oh, and he was an avid reader of Mein Kampf, constantly disruptive in class proclaiming the professors were brainwashing him, and had erratic behavioral patterns. But let's just focus on the fact that he played video games, because that's the reason why he went on a rampage. >.>

I could go on and on for pages about how annoyed I am that people are so quick to stereotype the gaming community. We're either one extreme of being fat, lazy, unmotivated white guys or complete psychopaths that want to kill everyone. When the reality is that the vast majority of us are normal and fit neither stereotype. We hold down steady jobs. We go outside and hang out with other "normal" people. We have families, wives, husbands, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. We pay our taxes on time. Most, if not all, of the gaming community is pretty normal. But the media likes extremes. That's how they hook viewers. Which leads into my second act of paranoia, the media wants to make video games look bad because games are taking people away from newspapers and news shows. Oh the endless amount of discussions to be had!

To note, the police have yet to identify and/or release a motive from the shooter. It's just one news outlet's spin on the events. /sigh It'd be nice to live in a society where stereotypes were removed. But then we wouldn't be human, now would we?

Monday, January 10, 2011

More 3DS stuff to keep Nintendo safe from suing!

After Nintendo's recent warning about the 3D on their new system isn't such a good idea for those under the age of six, they are wanting to cover their asses.


"We are being proactive about informing our customer, even though it may not necessarily be positive for our sales," Nintendo pres Satoru Iwata said in The Wall Street Journal.

Nintendo recommends an hour break after an hour of play in 2D mode. Now they are adding in if you play in 3D, you should give yourself only 30 minutes of play before taking a break. "If your physical condition worsens or you become ill, please stop playing at once," Nintendo stated in an official release.

Why is this an issue? Well to view 3D in a movie, tv show, or a game, it requires you to strain your eyes in a way that is "unnatural" for lack of a better word. Because we haven't spent every day of our lives viewing 3D, by watching it, it causes your eyes to do more work to view the image. And your eyes can only take so much before incurring permanent damage. Watching 3D once every few months for an hour or two won't affect you. But watching it consistently on a daily basis, it will change your eyesight. So Nintendo wants to make sure it's covering all of their bases. Which is why I support the fact that you can turn off the 3D on the system. Thank you Nintendo. As a person who has issues with sight in general, I can't watch 3D for more then 10 minutes without getting a headache.

The 3DS will also contain parental controls, similar to the Wii, a pamphlet about 3D and warnings. The usual stuff. Iwata stressed that he doesn't see the 3DS as unsafe. Rather that parents tend to use video games as a babysitting tool (ain't that the truth) and wants to ensure that parents are aware of the risks to prolonged exposure to 3D if they aren't careful. So it's safe and yet unsafe all rolled into one. XD

On the other end of the spectrum, Famitsu has released pictures of some accessories that come with the 3DS. Most notably, a really tiny power cord. >.> So apparently my idea of staying to a wall isn't going to work out unless you don't mind sitting on the floor, crouched over, to play your game. The system will be packaged with the power cord, an SD card, instruction booklets, 6 augmented reality cards (I'm not sure what these are either), and a stylus. It also comes with an optional stand that can be purchased separately.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Nintendo World Weekend Showcase

In lieu of CES, Nintendo has their own weekend press conference at the beginning of each year to show off new technology and game lineups for the year. So of course everything was going to be geared towards the 3DS.

What have we learned? Well the 3DS battery charge time is about 3 hours. Gameplay can be anywhere from 3-5 hours depending upon the light setting, if you're using the 3D setting, and if you're playing a 3DS game or an older game. While the charge time is fine, to get only 3 hours of gameplay out of it is kind of a kick in the pants. :/ May as well keep the system connected to the wall if you want to play 3D.

Those attending were able to try out the new Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil Revelations, and Kid Icarus: Uprising. A very wide array of titles for a new Nintendo system. Quite a lot of developers are backing up the 3DS. We'll have to see what happens on release. Most retailers are taking pre-orders now. I'd be curious to find out how the T to M games fair over the E and Mario games people are use to on the DS.

Enjoy more Donkey Kong awesomeness from Nintendo's closing:

Friday, January 07, 2011

Microsoft Opens Up To It's Failures to Kotaku

While they were boasting about their Kinect and how awesome 2010 was for them, of course they are going to keep their lips shut about the bad stuff that happened during their stage show. That didn't stop Kotaku from talking to them about the things that were canned in 2010.

Most notably, 1 vs 100 was given the boot in the middle of the year. This is one area of Xbox Live I was hoping they would continue with. And according to Microsoft's representatives, they haven't given up on this area of community gaming. They just dumped 1 vs 100. Which is still odd. While player participation had slipped, it was quite a small amount. My biggest complaint with 1 vs 100 is that the "random selection" was only really based on the top 101 people playing the game. And how do you get to be in the top 101? Not by answering the questions correctly, but answering the millisecond from the moment that the first answer appears. The selection system to be the One or in The Mob made for repetitive winners and didn't open it up to the majority of players. Even those of us who did answer everything correctly. But that didn't deserve the show being booted. At least Microsoft is looking into reinstating the program and others in the future. Sucks that I have 2 achievements for that game that I'll never be able to complete...

The Game Room. I was optimistic about this idea. A giant arcade room with classic games. But then the updates slowed down, grinding to a halt. Micros' representative didn't say much other then they were still invested in the game room. They have to be if they're bringing it to their Windows phones. But they need to step it up on Xbox Live or that too will meet an end soon.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Financial Times US Reports Audiences Not Swallowing 3D

I was eating lunch and starting flipping through the paper when the tag-line "3D Gone Sour" caught my attention. I proceeded to read the article (sadly you need to be registered online in order to read anything...how lame) and found it amusing. The US film industry for attendance fell roughly 10% in 2010. Ticket sales fell around 3%. While the final dollars isn't bad, people are taking into account how much 3D has affected sales.

With 3D movies, it gives Hollywood and your local theater and opportunity to charge a higher price. Because you go for the "experience" and wearing those silly glasses that you may, or may not, return. And to help pay for the studio's shiny new 3D camera. Higher ticket prices and the onslaught of 3D have been keeping people at home, in a market where audience attendance has been slipping for the past decade. Some if it doing with higher ticket prices. The big winners of the year were Inception, no 3D available, and Toy Story 3, the 2D version. Everything else slipped or were flops in 3D.

Personally, I've always enjoyed going to the movies. But lately, the experiences haven't been the same. Theater's aren't staying updated. Every corner is filled with the old, moldy, burnt popcorn smell. Staff members stopped caring, including managers. When I go to a theater, I want to enjoy myself. Instead, the last 3 times I've had to leave during movies to talk to staff and managers or talk to parents bringing their crying newborns into R rated films to get them to calm down or leave. I really love to spend $12.50 for a ticket to do that. I no longer buy the overly-buttery popcorn that I use to love. The cheapest and smallest option is $5.50. $5.50 for a small little bag of popcorn? Highway robbery my friends. I have heard of some places that have removed water machines in the hallways to force people to spend money at the concession stand. >.> That's not the movie experience. Why spend $40 bucks for one person at a run-downed theater, with sloppy staff members, screaming children, and parents arguing for a movie? Thank you netflix for saving me.

While Hollywood is expecting 2011 to be a breakout year for 3D, many analysts are suggesting otherwise and expect more people to watch movies via the internet or their gaming console.

In another article, same paper, China's movie industry saw a 40% spike in sales in December 2010. Currently China has 5,000 screens across the country, about 1/8th of what the U.S. has. But it is currently expanding 3 screens a day and it's estimated by the end of 2011, all screens will be converted to digital format with roughly 100,000 screens in the country. That's a lot of eyes. Something the US is having a hard time with while needing to make necessary upgrades.

CES. The Lowdown on Sony and Microsoft

Here is the abridged version. If you’re interested in the full review, here’s Sony and here’s Microsoft.

Sony:

New 3D 8 mm handicam for retail.
More 3D tv’s for families.
Seth Rogan promoting Green Hornet (like he’s doing everywhere. Not even the Mythbusters were safe).
3D Vaio is coming.
Discovery Channel will be going full blown 3D.
Personal 3D displays and visors (think 3DO but more fancier).
New Bravia models with…guess what! 3D.
More Sony Erricson Smartphones that can…play 3D.
Showing the same trailer of Uncharted 3 at the Spike celebrity party.
The program Music Unlimited will be made available to all Sony devices, including the PSP and PS3.
Apparently the show ends with Elvis and Cirque du Solei. I’m just as confused as you all are.
 
Bottom Line: A butt-ton of 3D. Nothing mentioned about a new PSP or a PSP phone that has been rumored.

Microsoft:

Spent the first 20 minutes talking about how awesome last year was for them.
Fable Coin Golf for the Windows 7 Phone.
Lots of talk about the Windows 7 phone and it’s power, but nothing about the current sales figures.
 
Bottom Line: Microsoft wasted a whole press conference promoting items that were already out and didn’t show us anything new.

So there you have it.What a wonderful waste of 2 hours.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

13 Days Until LBP2!

Because everyone else is talking about the PS3 being hacked (and I posted it before them...go fig), there really isn't a lot of news to spew today. Hopefully the Consumer Electronics Show will have some goodies after Sony and Microsoft's press conferences today.

But in more important news...Little Big Planet 2 is out in 13 days. Dah! So here are random videos from the beta:


Portal:




ATB Tutorial for your RPGs:




Pixel Game:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dissida 012. More Boobs...Doesn't Change The Raiting.

If there's anything that is consistent about Final Fantasy is that it will always be rated T for Fantasy Violence. No blood or anything crazy. But apparently casting a water spell on a giant turtle is considered too violent for the kids.

But in it's endless amusement the ESRB has issued the T rating for Dissidia 012 with an addition. Suggestive Themes. Here's the full synopsis:

This is an action game in which players compete in one-on-one battles with characters from the Final Fantasy universe. Players engage in hand-to-hand combat in 3D arenas and use axes, swords, boomerangs, and magic spells (e.g., energy balls, summoned creatures) to drain opponents' life meters. Battles are highlighted by cries of pain, colorful explosions, and slow-motion sequences that zoom in on defeated characters. A handful of female characters wear revealing outfits that expose large amounts of cleavage; some of these characters' breasts also jiggle during combat. Some in-game text in also contains suggestive material (e.g., "Here's a better idea: 'Zoom camera into Tifa's cleavage!'"). Various portrait galleries depict partially nude female characters; the general shapes of their bodies are displayed instead of actual detail (i.e., no nipples or genitalia). The words "a*s," "damn," and "hell" appear in the dialogue.

The difference between 012 and the original Dissida is that there are more women wearing less clothing. >.> And jiggly boobs. Sounds like a DOA game. So apparently Cloud of Darkness does not qualify as revealing with one breast hanging out because she's technically not a woman. The other 2 were pretty well covered. But with Tifa, Yuna, and Lightning now entering the game, and are properly covered, it calls for suggestive themes? Ok ESRB. Whatever you want to do. I just find it amusing that the one character that is the most revealing doesn't get slapped with suggestive theme. That's all.

Monday, January 03, 2011

It Took This Long To Hack The PS3?

At least on a public stage. Last week a group of hackers claimed to have found the root key to the PS3 and were in the process of creating software for it to publish online. This week GeoHot, known for breaking open the iPhone, went ahead and published the info to the entire interwebs. So if you want Linux on your PS3, you can do that now!

Personally, I'm against hacking so I'm not going to directly link you to his website. But if you have half a brain you should have no trouble finding it. lol

If this really is the root key that they are claiming, once you mess with it, it'll be pretty tricky to fix. In particular, it may not recognize certain pieces of software or firmware updates. So while you can throw in a new OS, your system will be sent back to the stone-age with updates. And if you're like me and paranoid about warranties and such, if you break it and have hacked your system, Sony won't touch it. Most repair centers probably won't touch it, based on past experiences working at a call center. I'm not advocating it, but if you decide to do so, use at your own risk. Sony won't help you if you screw up. Kotaku is asking Sony for a comment regarding the hack, but I'm sure the response will be along the lines of "Sony does not comply with hackers and will do everything in our power to take down the website. We strongly encourage PS3 owners to stay away from hacking their system." I.E. you break it, you're screwed.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

10 Years of PopCap

I haven't realized how long PopCap has been around, but this weekend commemorates 10 years of PopCap Games. The creators of Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants vs Zombies. The company has always kept itself small enough to maintain an enjoyable working environment without growing too big for it's ego. But with 10 years passing by, the company is looking towards expanding. It plans to launch 2 new Facebook games in 2011 and expand upon their partnerships in Japan and China. Plants vs. Zombies is apparently a big deal in China. If you're interested, I'd recommend the Forbes article posted above. It's a good read.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Legacy of Tron

Note: My review is probably going to be a bit more skewed then usual. The theater conditions were less then stellar. It’s been a week and I still haven’t heard back about the complaint I wrote to the theater or the corporate office. Clearly customer service is a number one priority for them! >.> Anyway, I was more inclined to like this movie probably to try and drown out the noise and stupidity that surrounded me.

The sequel for anyone in the 30-35 age group has arrived. Tron: Legacy picks up just about where the last story left off, and keeps the fun simple with fancy, neon graphics. Disney was smart to keep this property. Cash Cow is rolling in. Though it got booted from the top spot this past week (By Little Fockers…seriously you people make me sick), it’s raking in money to push for another movie. I’ve stated yesterday that this was a movie worth seeing before the end of the year. So here’s why.

Positives:

It makes you feel like a grown up kid again. Like it did for DKC Returns for me. I remember seeing the original Tron when I was so young, and watching Legacy brought a myriad of good memories. This isn’t an elevated Tron nor one that is super fancy in the story, but it’ll allow you to enjoy the ride.

Pretty. For a grim, Blade Runner-esque locale, the imagery in this movie is crazy good. It’ll be a little weird at first for anyone who remembers the first Tron. We’re use to seeing white outfits with the lights and less conformity in the background. Legacy makes an elevated step in the right direction on how the Grid should look after 20+ years. The other weird, and yet kind of cool feature, is the facial imaging for Jeff Bridges character. At the beginning, the movie picks up not too long after Jeff’s character get’s out of the Grid. And while Mr. Bridges’ is a handsome man, he has aged since then. Leave it to Disney to take 20 years off of his face and have a near, identical match, to his original 1982 Tron image. It’s a creepy/cool kind of thing to watch.

Simplistic story = steady pace. As much crap as I have been reading on the internet that critics were disappointed in how the story went (and yet they still like Avatar?), they seem to have forgotten how simple the original Tron story was. What made the original Tron stand out was merging computer graphics with a unique perspective. And the best way to make that work was to keep the story simple. Not James Cameron “I’m going to rip off Fern Gulley” simple, but simple in the sense that you can enjoy the movie without having to crack your head open. Combined with great actors, you get a movie that you can remember. That’s what Tron: Legacy is wanting to replicate, and I think they did that quite well. It does provide more depth to the Grid then what we previously experienced as well as a new level to Kevin Flynn’s story. It doesn’t over complicate things. And for a movie under 2 hours, it kept a good, steady pace.

Characters on the Grid given a new lease on life. I.E. personality. It was nice to see that they didn’t make the programs into robots, as they were trying to do with the first Tron. I’d imagine that if you took all of the programs on my computer and threw them into a pit to interact, they would all have distinguishable attributes that make them unique. Though they may have had robotic motions, they felt human. It was a good blend.

Negatives:

South Park Tron. At least they did the cool pixel effect.
Odd exposition in cliché Hollywood format. I’m going to try and not give away key scenes for those who haven’t seen it, but there are moments where the Flynn’s are trying to stay hidden from the bad guys and apparently that’s the perfect time to catch up on the past! Let’s not do it when we’re off the Grid. Nope. We’ll do it in the 5 minutes we have before we get spotted. >.> I realize that this is a simple story, but the old clichés are getting a little silly these days.

Ending pulled a Blade Runner. Original theatrical release of Blade Runner. And if anyone knows or has heard of the theater Blade Runner before Ridley Scott got the rights back and made the director’s cut, you know how bad that is. I get it in the sense that they wanted to leave it open and allow for another Tron movie to occur (and yes that is in the works). At the same time, what a wonderful slap in the face to the audience. I was hoping for something awesome, but really I got a bland piece of film.

One special effect with disappointment. Do you remember how Kevin Flynn was transported into the Grid the first time? Well the same machine is there. But his son doesn’t get the cool, pixelated effect when going to the Grid. Instead it’s a really bland, passive, warp drive mode. So lame. Seriously I don’t know what the effects director was thinking. They needed to have that original pixelation. It would have really tied in the old with the new.

Overall, this is one of those sequels that really encapsulates the original movie while bringing fresh ideas to the table. It’s a good waste of 2 hours that will make anyone of my age group happy.