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LazrGuidedPanda's blog

4:21 PM on 10.11.2011

Integration: Power to the Product

I can't help but find myself drawn in and fascinated by Microsoft and other technology companies' constant crusade to make the already simple..well simpler. I absolutely love the integration of video game consoles with other types of media and entertainment. The integration of humanities entertainment and media wants and needs is a great step into a more positive overall entertainment experience. Integration takes away from the amount of devices we need to purchase for all of our technology wants. I do not want to have consoles, a DVD player, a Blu-Ray player, a cable box, a modem, sling-box, and the mass amount of cabling required for all of this sitting on top of and around my TV stand. I just could not handle that and honestly I don't think my TV stand or electrical outlets could either. The integration of these devices into as few as possible is just an overall win.

As a a could I not love the integration of gaming systems and other forms of entertainment media? As Microsoft and Sony in particular are companies in a competitive field, the need to come up with the next biggest and best thing is very important to stay ahead of the game. With companies such as these working around the clock to make my gaming and entertainment experiences as simple as possible how could I not be 100 percent behind it? As someone who mostly just plays games and watches minimal TV, a smaller option of channels such as through XBOX Lives upcoming deal with TV providers is perfect. I would rather spend a few extra dollars a month for this service than have to go through the overpriced Comcast or Verizon for my TV services.

The obvious reason behind why this is a topic of discussion is Microsoft's recent deal to bring nearly 40 worldwide live TV stations to the Xbox Live community. This brings these TV stations to a platform that already hosts such companies as Netflix and Hulu. Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft said earlier this week,

“Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360* and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.”

I also do not think that having the computer system suggest what shows I should watch based on previous rankings or programs viewed qualifies as personal relations. I do not see how being able to change the channel with Bing voice search will qualify this as a social encounter. I have also never quite realized the effort involved with watching TV and other types of entertainment. I guess when my fingers get all beat up shot-gunning some noobs in Gears 3 I won't have to reach over to get the remote control and make that brutal switch from input 1 to input 2 to pop the cable on? But I just don't care. I am absolutely thrilled by Microsoft's acquisition of these live TV stations and will be on board immediately once everything is settled and released. Why? Because yet again it is a new stepping stone in the technology world that make my life a tiny tiny tiny bit easier.   read

4:35 PM on 10.06.2011

Just Finished Catherine - Very Impressed!

Catherine was the first game in quite a while that I took out of the wrapping at about 10pm, seemed to blink my eyes, and then looked back at the clock to see that it was 5am. I was completely enthralled with this game, and if not for having to work 3 hours from this end point I would have surely finished it in one sitting.

Catherine takes you through 8 days and nights of the main character Vincent's unraveling existence. He is a 32 year old IT professional who seems to generally spend every night drinking at a local bar with a group of his buddies (and complaining about/bummed out by his long time girlfriend Katherine). Vincent's dull and dreary existence is thrown into chaos with his meeting of the young and beautiful Catherine. After waking up next to this dreamy girl the game begins to rotate between Vincent's hellish nightmares involving his personal life, and his time awake which he typically spends at the bar.

The nightmare game-play in Catherine moves quickly, and unlike many brainless games requires on the ball decisions and reactions. The wrong split second decision in Catherine will more than likely leave you in pieces, splattered at the bottom of the dream, or mangled by some aberation chasing you. Catherine is by no means a simple puzzle game, as i was challenged from start to finish.

The time you spend outside of the nightmare stages were very well done. The interactions between Vincent and other characters are meaningful and very interesting. Reading closely into situations in the bar or at the restaurant will allow you to start putting characters together between the two stages, and will influence in making your choice between Katherine and Catherine.

Overall, Catherine was just a well-designed, polished, and total positive gaming experience. The only thing that I really didn’t care for in Catherine was the odd and seemingly unnecessary turn that the game took as it neared completion.   read

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