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12:19 PM on 03.29.2009

One Hour and Twelve Minutes

As maybe a few of you have done, you have contacted Microsoft's 4MY XBOX line. I assume many of you have had less that pleasurable experiences with the service, and I usually am a very patient guy and this has to be the worst attempt, if you can even call it that, at customer service. If any of you have purchased Braid and attempted to play it on a different console than the one that it was bought on you would know that there is a big glitch that does not allow you to play it on a console other than the one it was originally downloaded on.

After repeating my problem at least two dozen times and nearing the hour mark actually telling him to switch me to another operator, he refused and still (unsuccessfully) attempted to solve my problem. Not to get into the details of my problem, he finally "solved" my problem and then asked me to call back in case it still didn't help. I checked my phone for how long to see how long it had taken and sure enough, it took me longer to make that call than it would have taken me to beat the game.

Surely enough the fix the operator gave me did not work in the slightest and I had to end up calling back, apparently my original operator forgot to mention that I could only do one license transfer per year. That was the last straw, because Microsoft manufactures shitty hardware, I have to wait over four months to be able to transfer my license to my current Xbox 360. At that point I asked to speak to her manager and of course that was another 10 minutes of waiting. After arguing with the man for 20 more minutes of my life he came up with the solution that I fax him my receipt. I informed him I didn't have a fax machine and instead of giving me an e-mail address to send him my receipt to, he gives me a crappy fax website that only allows you to send .doc files, which is how I oh-so conveniently scan everything.

This has been by far the shittiest customer service I have received ever, especially over such a simple matter. I understand that they don't allow people to transfer their licenses over short periods of time, in time intervals of two weeks or so, but a whole year, especially with their record of terrible console manufacturing is ridiculous.

Has anybody else had really crappy customer service experience(s) with Microsoft, or is it just me?

Fuck Microsoft and their shitty license transfer system.   read

8:25 PM on 11.25.2008

Rock Band: Serious Business

I was channel surfing a few days ago and I came upon this show on MTV, the one thing that is killing this generation. I don't want to rant one MTV because it's not worth it. When I came upon this show I had to watch, for I wanted to make sure it was what I thought was and if I had to kill myself within the day. There was a Rock Band Battle of the Bands. Really? Are you kidding me? Yes, I know MTV helped with Rock Band. That does not mean they have to air a Battle of the Bands as though it was a serious matter. I play Guitar Hero and Rock Band and I'd like to say that I'm pretty decent, I've beaten Expert career on all the games for over 2 years. The thing that annoyed me most about them is that they were getting pretty shitty scores on relatively easy songs to be playing competitively.

Watching people play Rock Band makes me want to jump up in joy!

It has become redundant to call MTV shitty, but this is a new low. People, cheering for people playing plastic instruments on stage. I feel ashamed to say that I play Rock Band. They even got some stupid band training to have a better "stage presence". I enjoy playing Rock Band and it's extremely fun, however there is not much purpose for it to be spectated, much less for it to be televised. I defend Guitar Hero/Rock Band when people claim that it's a waste of time, but after watching this show I can understand how people can think that.

I apologize for ranting, but this really pissed me off.   read

7:20 PM on 11.15.2008

NXE Impressions

I recently got into the NXE Beta or whatever that Microsoft was doing, and something that disappointed me about was the limited character customization. Yes, I know it isn't the all the parts, but I think they could have put a slightly less Mii-ish look to the characters and slightly less cartoon looking. The eyes were all pretty crappy in my opinion and so were the mouths, they seemed to be pretty generic and kind of stupid that get really annoying to look at after a while. I also really hope that this is not the final clothes selection and that there will be sponsored ones like the themes and gamer pictures to download, but that's just speculation. I really wish there was color customization in clothes, it would look pretty weak only having a blue polo for example and 3 of your friends are wearing the same color.

(Only about 30 different tops in the current build.)

To get onto the more important thing, the interface. I'm quite impressed with how it works and it looks very aesthetically pleasing. It feels much more space-efficient than the blades were without making it look cluttered at all. The videos don't do it justice to how well it works and the only thing that annoyed me was that I like to use the triggers to navigate it and whenever you press the bumpers it will take you three or four selections over, unless you're on your friends blade. The current build consists of seven vertical blades and the horizontal ones vary depending on what it is. To start in order, whenever you start your 360 it goes to the spotlight blade which is pretty much all advertisements and it bothers me, I wish it would take me to the My Xbox blade which consists of the game currently in the tray, your information (Gamertag, your settings, your gamerscore, etc), you media, and then the system settings. After briefly checking around there is no way in this build that you can change that. Then there are the Inside Xbox (which is a collection of videos talking about current games and strategies if you didn't already know from the older Blades system), there is a blade for the events which is just another round of advertisements, but from Microsoft. Then,is your friends blade which for me as of right now is pretty empty since I don't have anybody on friend's list with it that I know of (II also want to point out that apparently people have some backgrounds and I'm unsure how/if you can change them), after that are the Video and Game Marketplaces which are just what the names are implying, it's just a collection of the newest releases and then somewhere to go visit the whole collection, pretty standard.

Onto the game installing, I currently have one of the 60 Gb 360s and I have quite a lot of space to spare so I could easily install a few game comfortably without the fear of running out of space. Be sure to make yourself a sandwich because it takes quite a few minutes to install a game. I really did not see any noticeable difference in Call of Duty 4 multiplayer, and I also installed Fallout 3, but I honestly didn't play it enough to notice if there was or was not a difference in the level loading. The only real difference is that the disc drive is completely quiet so if that bothers you then it's very good at that.

Now, my favorite part of this whole 'Experience', the condensed version of the blades when you press your Xbox guide button. It's a very simplified version of the blades in the older style with all the important options all built into the mini-blades, it's really well done and I really can't explain how good it is and how smooth it is in writing. I'm always a sucker for simplistic designs.

A feature I really wish I could try out is the Party mode, but as I said earlier I don't know anybody else who has it, so I couldn't really include it in my impression. Overall, this is truly a completely new experience and it is very well done regardless of some of my gripes with it. I look forward to the full version.   read

12:39 PM on 11.01.2008

LittleBigPlanet Review

LittleBigPlanet is probably the most hyped first-time game in a while (and L4D). We all know the MGS4 or GTA IV hype had the previous games to build up hrust in it's name. Now, right off the bat I want to say that one of the reasons I bought LittleBigPlanet is that I really wanted to use my PS3 more often. I bought the MGS4 bundle back on launch day and after beating the game and being disappointed of MGO I let my PS3 to become a media center and I was looking for an exclusive that would really be worth it. I dived into LittleBigPlanet not knowing what to expect really. I saw a lot of the user created levels and previews and I was honestly pretty skeptical of it, what could a cutesy game like this offer to me, a person who has over 15 days on Call of Duty 4 online?

LittleBigPlanet starts with an awesome introduction which works as credits and also for the user to get used to the controls a bit. The announcer, English comedian Stephen Fry, has a perfect voice for the game and provides an amusing commentary on the game and mostly on the tutorials.The reason I'm talking about the announcer is that he really stood out to me since he's the first and only real voice you hear in the game other than some random song's lyrics. His voice set a great standard for the rest of the game and the game did not disappoint.

After that you get a couple of tutorial levels to get you to understand the platforming and physics and such. All very well done and once you start making levels you'll stand in awe in how they make some of the simplest objects with the limited resources they offer. The platforming is solid and the difficulty of the game is sometimes surprising. At first glance the game seems easy enough, simple platforming and objectives, and that hold true for most of the game; however, further into the game they make some really creative and elaborate systems that will assure you fun and a different type of game play.

This game's major appeal is a younger audience, and you can notice by how cheesy some of the "plot" is and specially the ending. I really can't criticize the game that much on that and the plot does a decent job holding together the platforming. One gripe with the childish tone would be that some levels might be simplified a bit in consequence of it. Another problem I have with it is more with the PS3's online and its generally voice-less chat. That is fine in some games, but in a game with some co-op elements in most stages, it gets annoying having to write out complex instructions or explanations to your teammate(s). I didn't have much of a problem since some of my friends I played with I connected to talk through my computer, but that's hardly ideal since the game should have a decent means of communication. I think the lack of standardized headsets (like the 360) will be a problem that the PS3 should deal with or if not will continue to be a problem in communication.

The level creation is excellent, but in my opinion, the tutorials could have been more helpful and more practical. Oftentimes when I'm building a level I'm kind of lost in what tool to use to emulate some level's functions and I sometimes wish I could browse some of the Media Molecule levels to understand how some creations worked. Which brings me to how impressed I am by most user levels, I was seriously expecting a lot of crappy levels, but most of them are pretty good and really creative. There are some people who made music with the levels with a combination of elements and it's very impressive the complexity of music that can be done.

The real fun in this game, however, is playing the games and having fun with your friends. At one point I played with a few friends for hours on end. Even though we were doing really bad I couldn't but have a child-like grin on my face and I was genuinely happy while I was kind of frustrated, and one of the greatest features in this game is the ability to slap people, as stupid as it sounds it's endless fun. You can often knock your buddies off a platform just for fun. After that you'll probably be chasing around and slapping each other to get revenge and it is hilarious and adorable. The cuteness of the sackboys just adds to how funny the slapping is. I only wish there was an out-of-the-box way to make levels with online friends, which is not yet possible and I hope they patch soon.

This game is going to set a standard for user-created content for this generation and is a ton of fun to play. LittleBigPlanet's story was somewhat short-lived the online content completely makes up for it and the great thing is that is will probably be constantly updated for the better part of the next year which is really great considering that people will be constantly be getting better at the levels they make. If you own a PS3 and have a decent connection and a few friends to play with this is probably some of the most innocent fun you'll have in a while.   read

6:03 PM on 10.23.2008

Video of the Nintendo DSi

A new advertisement (?) by Nintendo shows the DSi in action. To be honest I'm quite impressed with the interface and amount of work that has gone in. The interface is very smooth and fluid and not too flashy. Nothing groundbreaking, but it's simple and it seems to work. Another interesting detail about the video is that the screen size has been increased a slight amount. The music playback is pretty interesting yet it seems useless. Also, the photo navigation looks really good and with a good quality and there was a small bit near the end where it seemed like you could create animations on it. The SD card spot is very well placed. Nintendo went all out and I'm so glad my current DS is slightly broken so I have a good excuse to pick this up sometime next year probably. I'm sure you're sick of reading this or skipped it to just watch the video, so enjoy.


What do you guys think?

Edit: I guess I got distracted the first time I watched the video, but the in-DSi image editing looks really sick.   read

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