a very graphic blog.
24Feb 12Over the weekend something happened to my PC. I wasn't actually there to witness the cause but my screen was showing a strange psychedelic array of windows blue and red when I got back from my business trip. After removing my video card I saw that all the 'stacks' (I have no idea what they actually do) were blown out. Could this have been caused by the ultra-buggy Fallout: New Vegas I was 'trying' to play five minutes at a time? Nevertheless I am using this as an excuse to finally upgrade my PC to something that will actually play the games I've purchased off Steam. So far the parts I've ordered are:
1. LIAN LI Black Aluminum ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
2. Intel LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
3. Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) Quad-Core
4. EVGA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5
5. CORSAIR 16GB DDR3 SDRAM
6. ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink
7. SONY Black Blu-ray Burner SATA
8. Thermaltake Black Widow 850W
9. Crucial 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
10. Microsoft Windows 7
I'm excited to see how the SSD will run windows and games. Hopefully I will forget what a loading screen is. And yes, I purchased an HTPC case. Eventually I will be connecting this system to a larger LCD than my 22" widescreen.
Note: If you order an SSD for a PC you may need a 2.5" converter. I had no idea these drives were so small. I combined all the parts except now I'm waiting on the SSD mounting kit. Otherwise, the machine is running great on my older HDs.
31Aug 11I picked up Borderlands GOTY edition which includes ALL of the downloadable content for $7 USD off Steam the other day. How do brick and mortars even survive in this economy when Steam is practically giving away AAA games? Is anyone else in love with these Steam specials? It seems like there's a great deal on blockbuster games every week - I did the same with Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY a month ago. A game has to be super-duper good for me to even consider buying it new. Ten years ago I would have told myself that I'm buying it new because I wanted something physical to hold, but with a Steam account I can still (hopefully) play the game again in ten years if I wish. What are your reasons for buying physical games anymore? Does anyone else hope that one day consoles will go completely to a DLC format like this?
11Jul 11Bill S. 978 has recently been introduced before the United States Senate. The legislation, if passed, would impose stricter copyright laws and penalties when it comes to streaming, playing, or reproducing copyrighted material. While we believe in the rights of copyright holders, this legislation's broad language would make criminals out of millions of Americans.
People could face prison for up to 5 years if they:
1) Make or offer 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works; and
2) If the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, could exceed $2,500; or
3) the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000
In plain terms this means that if you stream your game play to show your friends and it's viewed by 1 or more friends ten times or less, you could go to jail for up to five years. Yeah, really.
Everyone is at risk. The vagueness regarding value leaves it to copyright holders to determine the possible costs to them. If they want to prosecute through that loophole, they can. A child playing piano of their favorite performer on YouTube, a video of a child dancing to their favorite songs and video game players showing off walk-throughs, speed trials and live streaming their games are all examples of items that'd be prosecutable under this legislation.
There are already strong laws on the books for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property. We don't need this draconian measure that'd make criminals out of millions Americans who just want to share their enjoyment of their favorite entertainment.
Follow this link to send a letter to your representatives.
29Mar 11Video game music composer Akira Yamaoka is auctioning off the acoustic guitar (with signature) that he used to compose the music from the Silent Hill series of video games to help people affected by disasters like the recent earthquake in Japan, as well as countless crises at home and around the world. A simply awesome piece of Silent Hill history.
11Mar 11Awesome-est game news EVER.
Telltale has plans to take us back to the kingdom of Daventry, confirming its King's Quest reboot is currently underway. "We have agreed to a multi-title, multiplatform deal to reboot the King's Quest franchise," Telltale SVP of marketing, Steve Allison, announced during a press event last night. "Much like we did with Tales of Monkey Island, we're rebooting King's Quest with all new episodic games and multiple series." He provided no details beyond that, but promised more would be revealed at E3 this June.
King's Quest is one of the most influential and highly-lauded adventure series of all time, spanning eight canonical games (and a trivia game) throughout the '80s and '90s. The series is the brainchild of Roberta Williams, co-founder and former co-owner of Sierra Entertainment. Currently, the rights to the franchise are owned by Activision.
Thank you Joystiq.
Next suggestion: Hero's Quest (or Quest for Glory if you really, really must).
25Feb 11Next month, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will debut the Art of Video Games, an exhibit chronicling what the museum calls the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium. Be sure to vote for the games that you think are visually spectacular or boast innovative design, not just for your favorites.
Visit The Art of Video Games web site and sign in to vote.
Stumbled upon this today:
"Ni no Kuni, is a fan's dream, a collaboration between three popular studios, one of which is the venerated Studio Ghibli. Famous for its award winning animated films, Studio Ghibli has never been involved in a video game, until now. The next partner celebrates its 10th anniversary as a video game developer. Level 5, the creators of such major titles as Professor Layton, and the White Knight Chronicles, is dedicated to making something special with Ni no Kuni. With music from the talented Hisaishi Joe, this collaboration is yet another exciting and enchanting Studio Ghibli story of magical worlds and fantastic characters. But for the first time, delivered in a fun and intriguing video game, transporting the gamer into the mystical world of Ni no Kuni, which translates as "the Another World"."
Let's all hope for a translated version!
20Nov 10I'm going to start by saying that Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is a good game. I'll probably even give it a high 8/low 9. Up to a point, I was enjoying it and was even "lost" in the game. As a developer, you want to suspend the belief in your players so that they can relax and absorb the amount of labor that was put into making such a triple-A title. Which is why it surprises me that Ubisoft decided to slip in a few political jabs at conservatives just when they had me going. Now I know that the first few titles in the series had a bit of disdain for Henry Ford, which I thought was silly, but it seems like Brotherhood wants to take it one step further and chastise any form of capitalism. Funny for a team of creators who survive off selling a game.
it only took a little political opinion to seep into the moment that I lost a bit of the 'magic' that was Assassin's Creed. And the point was totally irrevelant ... a crack about the US health care plan that was slipped into a description of an old Roman building. Was it necessary? Not really, but it got me thinking as to what the team at Ubisoft was trying to tell me. Maybe this will tie more into the story later down the road, but it seems more to me like they're trying to use the game as a venue for personal politics. And this is coming from a game that believes corporations (which are really just groups of people anyways) shouldn't have any influence in politics. It all just seems a little fishy to me and I guess I'm not the only one.
It's too bad that this had to happen but I don't think that it's the end of politics in games. I just always thought this would always be the place where all people, no matter their affliation, could get together and just have fun. I guess that I'm just being naive Maybe this is because game companies, themselves, are merging into large corporations that can influence young adults ... I'll let you decide on that one. Just remember that when people start pointing fingers, they're often trying to deflect attention from themselves.
9Nov 10Modern first-person-shooter players, you are weak.
I don't care how long you've played, how many medals you have, how many unlocks you've earned on your weapons, or how many noobs you've fragged ... the truth is that we're all combat spoon-fed. Winning today's FPS is just a matter of time and dumb luck. Now don't get me wrong, I have been weakened too. I've forgotten how difficult a shooter can really be. Sure, we can crank CoD up to Hard but with a checkpoint every five minutes is it really that much more of a challenge?
Trust me, after playing Medal of Honor: Frontlines on hard for a weekend, I have found what challenge really is. I forgot how madenningly frustrating it is to play a level for over an hour, carefully tip-toeing my way through the blocky streets of pre-next-gen rendered Germany (or Paris or Holland), only to be clipped by some sniper on a roof ten miles away and return to the beginning of the level. Yes folks, not at the last logical checkpoint ... like the meeting of an informant after 45-minutes of play, but at the beginning of the level. This, my fellow gun-jockeys, is a test of personal spirit ... of stone determination to put an end to a true enemy once and for all (with a deep sense of earned satisfaction if you must). In fact, I now blame the Germans of 1944 for my angry delirium as I recall the exact location of every enemy soldier in "The Golden Lion" because I have to play it for the fifth time. Come to think of it, when was the last time you remembered the name of any CoD level?
After frantically tracing and retracing steps, MoH: Frontlines seethingly burns itself into memory ... and the strangest part of all in this? Frontlines was merely a freebie. The actual Medal of Honor I was supposed to be playing was beaten in a matter of hours. I've even forgotten who the hell I was supposed to be angry with on that one.
.... totally random here, but I just noticed that I almost always blog on the 8th, 9th, or 10th of the month. I wonder why that is.
11Oct 10Yes, you're reading correctly, I am now following Rock Band 3. The guy who only plays games that are either violent or demented is looking at buying one of those button-pressing, follow-the-bouncing-ball, rhythm games. What's next you might be asking, Pop Cap games? (Oops - that's for my iPhone, I swear!) Now before you start caffeinatedly swearing into your headset at me, check this out. Here's the Fender Squier Guitar controller for the new Rock Band 3.
Now look very, very closely...
This is the coolest thing in the world to me. I've been wanting to learn guitar without having to pay someone for lessons ... and finally a video game is going to teach me something worthwhile!
"As unfair as it is, what initially gave us hesitation about Mad Catz and Squier's Stratocaster Pro guitar controller was that, well, it's Fender's second-tier brand. Despite these prejudices from our youth, Harmonix pretty much sold us on it with one pretty badass trick: the ability to simultaneously play Rock Band 3 on Pro Expert and rock the same tune through an amplifier." engadget
12Sep 10Now this is how you do a pre-order. Publishers please take notice. I have no use for a plastic helmet or even a pair of night-vision goggles (okay, maybe that still is pretty cool) but I could definitely use a complete second game for free.
- The Limited Edition grants early access to the Battlefield 3 beta
- MP7 - Exclusively in the Limited Edition, is a weapon utilized by Tier 1 Operators in the field. With its light weight, high rate of fire as well as its ability to penetrate body armor, the MP7 handles like a pistol yet allows targets to be engaged like a rifle
- TOZ194 and 870MCS Shotguns - Get instant access to these two devastating shotguns for close quarters combat
- Exclusive Special Ops Skin - Change your look on the battlefield to prepare for any engagement that comes your way
- Medal of Honor: Frontline
I guess this is also an HD version of Frontline ... totally worth putting $5 down on IMO. What a recession buster! Meanwhile, another Electronic Arts office is still having sexy parties.
Sorry folks, I believe this is PS3 only (Frontlines, not the sexy parties).
- The Limited Edition grants early access to the Battlefield 3 beta
24Aug 10I was reading an article about Arnold's continued attack on video games as the source of all evil in the world and it linked me to the following petition:
Gamers: Now is the time to stand up and be counted!
Do with it what you must. Fill it out, pass it on, forget about it ... whatever. I'm not one to force a political viewpoint on anyone, but I just felt like it was something worth sharing.
4May 10Don't think a shooter can be art? Let's take Call of Duty: MW2 for example. The game is pure simulation finesse. Everything down to the most mundane detail (weapons, uniforms, environmental locales) is carefully examined and recreated for the player. Call of Duty achieves a level of interaction that draws the player into a real world simulation of war. Just as a musician recreates classical music with precision, game designers strive for precise reality.
Don't we consider classical music performances as art? Unquestionably! And, as in music, creativity can be found in both the canonical creation and liberal interpretation of interactive media.
Now, watch the new video for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The designers are improvising on what we already know. They're taking simulation to the next level, just as jazz did with music in the early 1900s. Future Soldier is the soul to Call of Duty's classical, dogmatic constructs.
What we are witnessing time and time again is the cycle of the creative process that can be tracked simultaneously to the advancement of system hardware. We give artists new tools and, in time, they will learn to freestyle.
1May 10I bought my 60gb PS3 used from Gamestop years ago and it's still going strong.... the only minor issue is the loud fan which I can hear even with the system off (this might be my next project). Recently I was having problems with storage space. I was starting to delete save files just to download new demos. It appears some companies structure their save files to use the most amount of disk space (Far Cry 2 was the most abusive - 200 save files at about 2megs each) while others simply store it as a single file. I commend those companies who keep things simple for the players.
Hesitantly I went about the process of upgrading the physical hard drive in the system. I was pleased to find the process relatively easy and there are numerous sites out there, including Gamespot, that outline the process quite well. There were only minor problems that I ran into, namely the backup procedure and removal of the old drive.
When you're using the backup utility in the PS3, you will need an external (most likely USB) drive to transfer your old saves. Trophies won't be backed-up as these are updated through your online account. You'll have to log-in and have the system update after the new drive is installed. I have a 500gb Seagate portable drive that I use for work which I formatted for this step. The PS3 won't accept anything formatted in any other way than FAT32. Because of the large drive size, Windows may not be able to format the drive in FAT32 format (FAT32 is used for drives smaller than 32gb). You can easily find third party software that formats in FAT32 and partitions the drive accordingly. I used a suggested HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool which was free and fast. It had no problem formatting and partitiioning my 500gb USB drive in FAT32.
The second problem I had was with the screws of the standard drive. You will want to naturally use jeweler sized screwdrivers so as to not strip the tiny screws, but getting a grip on these is difficult given the tightness of the screws - I can imagine the Sony strong-arm robot that had to assemble these systems. I've seen pictures of jeweler screwdrivers with a large handle, which will help, but a tiny headed standard screwdriver served the purpose well... just be careful not to strip any of these screws (I could imagine the nightmare that would cause). I doubt you will have to reinsert the screws as tightly as the Sony robot did.
Other than these two tiny issues I had with the process, Sony makes it rather easy to do this upgrade with their backup utility. The PS3 will even prepare the new drive after installation with a quick format. Only the backup process takes a good amount of time to do (a full drive took about 2 hours to backup and 2 more hours to reload). For my "new" PS3, I picked the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB 5400 RPM 2.5" SATA drive from Newegg for $75 and couldn't be happier with the amount of space I now have available. I was able to go back and re-download all the games I had to continuously swap out before on the 60gb.
30Mar 10This year's lineup is scheduled to be announced next week, likely to include the following headliners, according to numerous industry sources: Lady Gaga, Green Day, the Strokes, Arcade Fire, Soundgarden and Phoenix. The Strokes' Julian Casablancas confirmed his band's appearance at the festival in an interview with Tribune several weeks ago. The Lollapalooza lineup also is expected to include Yeasayer, the xx, Dirty Projectors, Cut Copy, Hot Chip and about 100 more performers.
3-Day advance tickets went on sale today. Last year I wished I had bought these versus two individual day tickets.... Anyways, Soundgarden is going to rock.
25Oct 09During the mid-90's, first person shooters were the primary form of entertainment for tormented and sheltered teenagers. This boon pushed the PC industry quickly through several phases of graphical and processing hardware. Early on, a small sect of nerdy bands roamed this unexplored land seemingly ruled by the company id Software. These bands often promoted themselves solely through imitation and borne from that bequeathed a slew of gun-happy games.
Although this genre has far from vanished, the FPS is now often considered mindless and even 'casual' to the ever-expanding base of video game players. The abundancy of genres that now make up the video game market abase the FPS to a minority. Many developers even try to hide the fact that their game is, at its core, an FPS in hopes of reaching a larger audience. However, because of the apparent ease of FPS creation and the pace at which a player can pick up and play them, I doubt we will ever see full demise of the first person shooter.
Recently, I downloaded a demo of Cellfactor: Psychokinetic Wars and although the game was rather plain, I thought the concept had value. For a few dollars, a gamer could download a complete FPS, cause some mayhem, and not end up feeling like they invested a wad of cash for a few hours of fun. Sometimes I think that developers tack on a single-player campaign to an FPS just to fulfiill some kind of contractual requirement. Properly marketed and maintained (keeping the scenery fresh of course), I personally believe that a developer could create simple FPS games and sell them at a fair prices entirely through console stores. PopCap Games has made a killing selling only casual games online. Although the rest of us gamers are getting older and our casual time is getting shorter, we all don't like spending our time playing with balls and jewels.
Just an idea .
By the way, I just preordered Painkiller: Resurrection off of Steam. For $26 it came with Painkiller: Black Edition and Painkiller Overdose. Pretty good deal I think.
7Oct 09Venezuela to outlaw violent video games, toys
"Venezuela would be one of few countries to impose an all-out ban on the "manufacture, importation, distribution, sales and use of violent video games and bellicose toys." The proposed law would give Venezuela's consumer protection agency the discretion to define what products should be prohibited and impose fines as high as $128,000.
Similar concerns have prompted many countries, including Brazil, Germany and China, to prohibit the sale of specific video games. Most, including the United States, have opted for ratings systems to warn parents and users of violent or sexual content."
Video games: political and parental scapegoat. Proper guidance begins at the foundations. Increased piracy, as witnessed in China, will be a natural reaction to this ban.