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11:51 AM on 04.17.2008

Dickish post about RE5 and racism - I'm smarter than you-edition

[Due to popular demand, this post has now been proofread and corrected. Enjoy the revised version, as it was intended to be read.]

As a backlash to the backlash that was/is the Resident Evil 5 debacle a couple of days ago with N'Gai Croal leading the way, I reacted to what a lot of people were seeing/reading in his comments made about the trailer.

Time and time again, people were coming with comments like "well in RE4 you shoot Spaniards, and that's OK?" This is not the point, and Croal, among others tried to emphasize that over and over again, and still get the same fucking response!

I had some issues with Croal's statement early on, because his thoughts didn't correspond at all to my thoughts about the trailer. Then I started looking, and noticed what he meant. It was just that, to me this wasn't what the trailer showed. I saw a depraved village in Africa/Haiti where the people where impoverished and trying to cope with reality. And thats not happy-go-fun-time. For anyone.

I've talked to South Africans myself who come from parts that are plagued by alcoholism, pedophilia and extreme poverty. A few years back, I saw a South African play about these issues with my class, and had a discussion about it with the actors afterward. We each had to do research and write a paper about a specific part we found interesting. So I've studied this, read about it and written about it before. Not trying to sound like an ass, but I'm an educated consumer when it comes to this matter.

What Croal was suggesting is that the imagery holds a history, a weight that just simply can't be lifted, and therefor you have to be careful when you're dealing with these issues. I don't agree, but I understand what he's saying. The problem is, dick-warning, not all people are educated consumers like myself in this matter.

A lot of people didn't understand. Jim didn't. Even though his arguments were well informed and intellectual, he seemed to have missed the entire point. Like so many others.   read

11:58 AM on 03.29.2008

PC and the Enthusiast press: Being Shawn Elliot on 1UpYours is like being Geoff Keighly on Fox News

I've said it before that one of the biggest problems with PC gaming is the enthusiast press. And listening to the latest 1UpYours made me want to bitchslap everyone sitting in that room, telling me people do not want desktop pc's, do not want to change their video cards because it's too hard, "have you ever tried putting one in?! it's awful!", do not want big budget games on their machine because they'd rather play browser based games.

The biggest problem here, is the actual defenders of the platform. In this particular case, you've got Shane and John being console people slamming the difficulties of owning a PC, while Shawn and Garnett are the two who use the platform frequently to play games on. Hearing Garnett complaining about the "PC-gaming is dead" mantra, calling it bullshit, only to make a retort saying PC gaming is changing into browser based Quake's and Desktop Tower Defense', made me really concerned about the state of mind of the gaming press.

I could imagine Shawn sitting there trying not to argue but to impose a discussion about it, as his brain's starting to hurt from the stupidity he was witnessing from his own colleagues. He was Goeff Keighly on Fox News trying to bring some sense to the subject matter. Keighly did a better job, because he actually made a solid defense.

When we change the attitude, when we change the tech developers and software developers to help making the PC a more stable platform, that's when we stop having this discussion. That's when we start talking about art instead of products. That's when I stop taking a gaming podcast too seriously.

/end rant   read

5:25 PM on 03.23.2008

Philosotoid: A journey into a personal Crysis (and the philosophy behind controlling player choice)

[Ed. Note: Overdue blog is overdue. I'm a periodic person who enjoys his life in small chunks at a time. Sometimes that involves blogging about gaming and its surrounding culture, and sometimes it doesn't. A lot has happened since the last time I even visited Destructoid nor blogged here. My education is bugging me and intriguing me at the same time as my first game is coming along in Action Script 2.0 (lol?) (I'm never making another game in my life, I swear). I've sold my PSP and my 360 to upgrade my computer, and this is the story that followed those events.]

Don't take the title too literally. It's a pun, but as we all know, behind every pun lies a bit of truth. Crysis is a game that relies heavily on graphical flare to make it the "emerging experience" it so desperately tries to be. And it is. With the settings set to "High" it blows every other game out of the water, graphically that is. And that works to fool me for about an hour before I realize what the game actually is. With the settings set to "Medium", it's hard to see what the fuzz is all about. This, among other things, made me want to upgrade my computer. So I did. Into this:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 4Ghz OC:ed
GPU: 8800 GTS 512Mb
RAM: OCZ 2x 2Gb DDR2 @ 800Mhz

Can I play Crysis on High setting now? No, I can't. I get around 20 FPS in the ordinary jungle levels in 1280x1024. I just don't want to think about what it'll drop to in the ice level and later parts of the game. So, now my PSU is making a weird peeping noise all the time, although it's more than adequate to handle the new set up. I'm blaming the mobo. And I'm actually considering going SLI in the future if Far Cry 2 is as choppy as Crysis.

All this forced my compulsive self to spend more time in the settings menu than in the actual game tweaking it to "perfect performance". Double that with all the constant re-installments of the game and OS, and imagine how many times I've played through the first four levels of the game. Quite a few. And the fact that keeps coming back to me is that this game has managed to do two things incredibly well: fuck up every computer out there with its poorly optimization and graphical wonders, but also giving the player enough freedom in a controlled environment to actually make him personalize his own story and progression throughout the game.

This is the balance that so many games strive toward and fails miserably at it. This is also the balance that all games should strive toward to truly separate games as an art form. It is the essential nature of interactivity that lets a person mold his own way through a number of set pieces of story elements that makes me want to play games.

What Crysis' multiple playthrough's taught me was that I never did the same thing twice. I was dropped in an open world that certainly had its limitations, but I was free to do whatever I wanted within the confines of those limitations. I was free to think of new tactics to kill Koreans who thought I was a "dog-man" for some reason. Three takes on the same event:

The first time I would lure as many NPC's i could into a shack, then jump on top of it and smash its roof down upon them, jumping out in surprise of the remaining squad and take them out with my assault rifle.

The second I would steal a truck, drive it all the way into their center base, take cover behind it enough for the enemies to gather around only to set my nano-suite to maximum speed, run the hell away and blow the truck to pieces.

The third time I would use my cloaking ability and silencer to quietly take out the NPC's one by one, constantly staying in the shadows.

I was constantly surprised at the different approaches the game afford me, and that ultimately made me mold my own "Nomad". Bioshock did exactly this and tacked on a rather shallow morality system and mild RPG elements on top of its free corridor combat scenarios (a contradicting statement that only testifies to the game's strength). Instead of trying to be other genres, instead of trying to be like other mediums, this is what games should be about.

Games need to offer the player options to mold his avatar into a projecting self-image of a fantasy self. Be that in terms of stats and feats, or in terms of open world combat and multiple solutions to problem solving, games will always have something other mediums don't: choice.

When open worlds fail they fail hard and fast. I couldn't stand Assassins Creed and never finished it. Crackdown gave its fare share of fun for about two hours of trying to be an alternative take on GTA (which I don't like, either). It is certainly personally preference, but I can't help but feel that there is a fundamental design issue that allows certain games to create this balance of control and freedom at the same time.

Basically, if one aspect is completely out of balance, the games falls like a shit house. Give the player too much freedom but nothing to do and it falls. Give the player no freedom without even tricking him into believing he is in control and it falls. Give the player a certain aspect of freedom to trick him into thinking he is making his own destiny, only to pull the plug and laugh at him, and you'll have Bioshock.

We are all tools. Every game designer should study the work of Edward Bernays and the following PR culture, because that is essentially what games are dealing with: mind-control.

A man chooses, a gamer obeys...   read

10:19 AM on 02.23.2008

Industroid/Rant-toid - What bothers me about the common consensus of the PC

I should have a formed opinion on GDC (that it's a mini E3 at this point and that they could just scratch the C out of that acronym and add a S for Showcase) and write about what this year will be all about based on these last weeks exciting news. That sparkle never ignited a flame in me. Instead I'm starting to feel overwhelmed with game news and debates to the left of me and canons to the right of me. This year started off with two great AAA titles (DMC4 and Burnout Paradise) and following last years crescendo of games I've finally found time to sink my teeth in Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 4, Unreal Tournament 3, Halo 3, Mass Effect, Project Gotham Racing 4 and many others that I want to play more of.

What I am starting to feel however is a contempt for the common consensus that is being perpetuated throughout the gaming community about PC gaming. I have taken it upon myself to start supporting my favorite platform more than I have in past, not just from buying games but to actively preach about it to friends and E-tards (thanks Jack) on the internet. I am not alone and I feel obligated to thank everyone here at Destructoid who also have taken it upon themselves to start setting the record straight for what PC gaming actually means for the consumer.

However, this is both a case of preaching to the choir and arguments falling on deaf ears, as this community hardly stretches outside the realm of hardcore gamers, who either have already picked a side and chosen to stay with it. That term I just said, "picked a side" sounds awful, by the way. When did this become a war? Is co-modification actually a good future after all?

What bothers me about the current state of mind in the gaming community regarding PC gaming is that it also involves that strongest proponents of the platform. Listening to my favorite podcast this week, 97.5 The Brodeo a.k.a. GFW Radio, and watching the latest 1UP Show, and hearing all the talk about PC gaming from GDC, I found that it all came down to smaller indie-games as the future and savior of the platform. That bothers me.

There is a lot of talk about the PC these days and we are seeing a lot more attention to it, now that the next-generation consoles are the current-generation consoles, and thats a good thing. What bothers me is that the talk always involve indie games and casual games. The fact that UT3 and Crysis were two commercial disasters on the platform is the indication that the platform is dead and that those AAA titles with amazing graphics fit better on a console, are arguments that bothers me.

Microsoft's keynote at GDC mentioned nothing about PC gaming. Absolutely NOTHING (hey, say it again)! That, in conjunction with the enthusiast press, is turning the PC into an casual gaming platform that "you and your whole family can just pick up Peggle on and try and beat each other's scores, yeah!" That bothers me. A lot. (I must pay homage to Sins of a Solar Empire to break loose the chains and pushing PC gaming even in this day and age, strategy games will play a huge role for the future of the platform)

So, to sum up what bothers me, if you haven't noticed, is the direction the mindset of PC gaming is headed. Not just from developers and consumers, but from the actual enthusiasts themselves. They play into this notion and are desperate to save their platform, just as much as I am, that they forget what the system is capable of and what platform RPG's, FPS's and racing games first emerged on.

Take a look at the history of videogame consoles. In what direction is their technology heading in? They are essentially turning into PC's. That's why we are seeing this paradigm shift in consensus of what a platform is capable of and on what platform a certain genre of game belongs on. To me, casual games and arcade games are preferred on a console, whereas graphically impressive and intelligent game experiences are best played on a PC. I can tweak the settings to my liking, I can chose to play with a controller or mouse and keyboard, I can hook up my PC to a 50" plasma or LCD TV if I want and I can alt-tab out to check my mail and stocks just before a boss battle if I want (not to mention the ridiculous amount of porn available to me from the get-go).

I do acknowledge the hassles of owning a PC and having it as a gaming machine. If you wanna be on top, it's gonna cost you. But if you wanna be able to squeeze out the amount of graphical power like the 360 or PS3, expect to land at a lower price point compared to buying either one of those consoles. You buy peace of mind with a console (for the most part). You know it'll work and what the game will look like on your screen. No driver hassles and no crashes. But if you want to play games in higher resolutions and more optimizing capabilities, the PC has more to offer (if you didn't know, not one current-gen console game runs in 1080p).

All anyone can do is buy games for the platform they enjoy to play on the most. But know your options and educate yourself. The internet is a good place for education, but it is also the best place for indoctrination. Get out there, make an informed decision and support the platform you want to play your games on. Don't contribute to diminishing other platforms and turning them into something they're not. That goes for meaningless bloggers, for the enthusiast press and for the developers, publishers and manufactures.

And please, stop flaming other peoples choice of gaming experience.

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing...   read

6:17 PM on 02.05.2008

Industroid: Microsoft and PC gaming (I don't know jack - edition)

[Editor's note: I am a kid. I don't know jack-**** about "the industry", yet I tend to talk about it a lot because I believe I can see something there. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe my thoughts won't count for **** anyway. Take this and all future Industroid-pieces with a big Atlantic ocean of salt.]

Microsoft hasn't really been nurturing the PC gaming market with the Games For Windows initiative. The Vista and DX10 supports have mostly been a bug, not a feature, and a lot of people are tired of the "constant upgrades" to play games on their PC's. So Microsoft took the key out of the ignition, threw it out of the window and said "bye, have fun, casual games whatever". My concerns are premature, perhaps. But lets recap for a moment what has happened in the last couple of months.

Their CES press conference was a joke. Nothing to announce in terms of games, and the IPTV announcements made me pretty uncomfortable. The things they showed and key words they used all pointed toward one thing: Microsoft wants to take over your house. Connectivity. Whenever. Wherever. Digital Distribution. Not today.

It all sounds very good, but part from the IPTV distribution partners that were announced, nothing was really said about their future goals for either PC or the 360. So, just to throw it in there, Microsoft will probably ride on the success the 360 had last year in 2008, only to have it replaced by the end of 2009 or 2010. From what we've seen, this is going to be the Sony year.

Games For Windows with Vista and DX10 failed in 2007. Not many people had the will or the money to make the next generation leap when they could get a console that did all that, and in some cases did it better. When consoles today are becoming more like PC's, the advantages start to blur themselves out. Big screen HD TV's that make the experience as good, if not better, as on the PC in your living room has become the new norm for hardcore gamers. When Call of Duty 4 for the 360 outsells the PC version by ridiculous numbers, that shows you where most people want their gaming experience.

But this year, in 2008, we will see fairly high-end PC's dropping in price and the 360 starting to struggle to keep up with PC's on the technical side. Look at Mass Effect. The 360 can barely handle that game. Maybe it's a developing issue, and you actually can make it work good on the system, but I doubt it. The PC port will show this and the 360 is gonna get yet another kick in the butt, on the technical side that is.

My hope for Microsoft is laying on GDC. I hope they really announce something there that will make me confident that they actually care this year about anything game related. Unfortunately, I don't think that will happen. I think we won't get a respons to Valve's Steam Works for quite some time. I don't think we will hear anything new from Microsoft regarding games in the first half of 2008.

But where does that leave Microsoft? Are they giving the keys to Valve? Are they sitting in their dungeon crunching numbers and coming up with the greatest solution ever to make PC gaming on Windows the best gaming experience you can have? Are they working on getting a Game For Microsoft-system that will materialize the connectivity we've been promised across every digital platform in our house? Maybe... The key has been thrown for this generation. Their emphasis has been and will always primarily be on the 360. Thank Gods that the world of PC's is a fracking world of ever thriving Swedish geeks (this is a huge cultural issue, USA vs. Europe, more on that in later installments), always ready to upgrade their rigs and supporting the modding scene.

PC gaming is not dead and will never die. There will always be nerds that play WoW, Dota, Starcraft and prefer their FPS' with a mouse and keyboard. And so, PC games will always be made. PC ports will always be made, and Crysis will be played years from now when people get a new rig to see if they got their money's worth of CPU's and GPU's.

Digital distribution will hit the PC market first of all, and it already has. All the copies of Crysis, Call of Duty 4 and The Orange Box that were bought digitally hasn't been accounted for. I bought The Orange Box via Steam and couldn't be happier with it. Steam is where it's at. That is the future platform for digital distribution and gaming on your PC. It's just that good. So, maybe Steam Works is a big FU to Microsoft (of course it is) and maybe Gabe Newell & Co has taken it upon themselves to "save" PC gaming. To bring it back to the respect it so desperately deserves and craves in the state that it's in right now.

Nvidia recently acquired Agiea. This is exciting because it is just what the PC market needs. Integration of technologies and a homogeneous platform. The Nvidia press released reads that the industry is heading in a heterogeneous direction with technologies, but what that really says is that "we need to start bringing it all together", thus making it a homogeneous platform. And we know who likes that idea.

As PC gaming seems to come back to Valve when I talk about this, I found this blog post quite interesting. Maybe that's where Valve is heading? Maybe they actually are saving PC gaming and taking it under its wings, and maybe Steam Works will be the first step for developers to look towards Valve instead of Microsoft for the right distribution model for the their PC game?

What I'm trying to say... is that... PC... game... nah forget it. After all, this is just random ramblings of a kid who doesn't know Jack.   read

7:13 PM on 02.02.2008

Techtoid: I'm NOT upgrading my PC!

After a retarded impulse I got to suddenly upgrade my PC a few days ago(I frequently get those retarded impulses, not just PC related), I've decided to hold that thought for a couple months.

Reason: I don't want to upgrade my entire core (CPU, GPU, RAM & motherboard) because I'm quite happy with it for the time being. Then I started googling hardware specs in my solitude and thought, the 8800 series came out some time ago, what about GeForce 9? Sure enough, planned to be released this month and hopefully up 'til summer, the GeForce 9 series will bring havoc on Crysis. I'm aiming for the 9800 series, of course, hoping it will come out before summer.

I've decided to maybe go with just the GPU first and see how it goes, then if games start to crap out like hell I'll do a core renewal.

That gives me time to evaluate my position and maybe make a more sane investment, like in funds or some shit... At least I got my PSP sold, money in theist bank!

I've played a couple of levels in Crysis, and it's incredibly fun and immersive, but the story and dialog and the whole execution of it is terrible. Just terrible. It's all about graphics and that over powered feeling of killing Korean's that got me excited, and ultimately made me long for a PC upgrade.

My hopes are to be able to play Far Cry2, Fallout 3, Borderlands, Project Offset, Mirror's Edge etc. (see my list) on my new computer with respectable settings. I hope I'm doing the right thing. Will this G9800 series last me at least until 2010? '09? Please, what more do you want me sell? My soul? Sorry, but I ain't got none...   read

8:17 PM on 01.31.2008

Techtoid: I'm upgrading my PC!

I've made my decision to upgrade my now two year old PC that I feel is starting to lagg behind... well it started last year but now I just gotta have some smooth gameplay on my fav of platforms.

Now, you will probably question some things I've decided to do to make this happen, and you might even question why I'm upgrading. I'm doing two things to bring in more cash:

1. Selling my PSP
2. Selling a few years old Dell LCD 20.1" monitor

I'm done with the PSP. I've had it for like three months and I'm done. I don't need to fill in that gap I have between home and school with games I've grown so fracking tired of. It wasn't as fun as I'd hoped. So thats going out. The monitor is a no-brainer because last summer I got a 27" Dell to rule both my PC and 360. Works wonderful and looks sexy enough to be arrested. Not ushering out that one for a couple of years.

Maybe I don't have quite enough cash to make this economically passable (I need my buffer zone), but if these two sales goes through as I plan, I'll live another three months at least.

I should introduce my current rig. An over-clocked beast of the last generation:

ABIT KN8-SLI,nForce4 SLI, Socket-939
AMD Opteron 165, 1.8GHz (over clocked to 2.21GHz)
Corsair Value S. PC3200 DDR-DIMM 2048MB (two 1024mb stick, one was corrupted and
never returned for completely no logical reason)
Sapphire Radeon X1900XT 512MB GDDR3 (over clocked to a X1900XTX)
Hiper ATX 480W, 14dB

So, yeah. It's still do-able. And that's why I'm feeling so hesitant about the whole thing. Because it does everything else I want perfectly, except gaming. But even that is a borderline case. I run COD4, UT3, TF2 decently at 1280x800 (I dare you to take advantage of my monitor's 1920x1200. I dare you!) and I can actually max out Bioshock (for about an hour before things start crashing down). Thats the beauty of PC gaming and its poorly optimized drivers and games who don't see eye-to-eye (Gears of War, Crysis) or seem to dance around like bff's (UT3, Bioshock). Sometimes stuff works and sometimes they don't. And lately things have just not been working out as good as I want it to work out.

I give you my upgrade campaign trail of 2008:

Corsair TWIN2X 6400 DDR2, 2048MB CL5 Kit w/two matched CM2X1024A-6400 Dimm's
Intel Coreô 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz, Socket LGA775, 6MB, 1333Mhz
XFX nForce 680i LT SLI, Socket-775, GbLAN, DDR2, SATAII, ATX, 2xPCI-Ex16
XFX GeForce 8800GT 600M 512MB GDDR3, PCI-Express 2.0, 2xDVI/HDTV/HDCP,600Mhz

The plan is to keep the motherboard and GPU in the family by having XFX as my weapon of choice. The MB is SLI because I want to cram another 8800GT in there to get more performance than a GTX (allegedly), and by having it all in the family I'll reduce driver complications and have the machine as reliant as possible. The RAM is fast and cheap, and I'm buying two of those packs to get 4gb (Crytek approved?). The CPU is really interesting because of the 45nm chipset that is supposed to reduce power supply by 10% and generally perform a bit faster than the 65nm. Also something about SSE4, which is good. Powerful, fast, cheap and easy to over clock (4GHz is nothing to sneeze at).

I got the rest I need, it's just the core that's being replaced. Hopefully I will get enough cash to buy this thing by the time the new Intel processor start hitting retail around late February. And hopefully by then I will have come to my senses and invested the money in my life or something.   read

9:47 AM on 01.24.2008

DMC4 got me excited again! (not a pretentious fuck-tard post edition)

Allright, I love writing shit. That's right. Shit. I love going on and on about philosophies of games and yadayada and talking about the bigger picture. A lot of people here do it better than me , and I sometimes forget the games I'm actually playing. I can't enjoy them quite as much as when I first got my hands on them, because I'm constantly in the need of that next fix of gaming bliss. So this post will just be a rant about how I loved the Devil May Cry 4 demo on the 360.

It's been a kinda drought lately (mostly spending my time in tf2, cod4 and halo3, some old vampire rpg, and Puzzle Quest on my way to school), so I've been in a state of boredom. Sure, tf2 is just plain awesome, Halo3 is great and fun in multiplayer (can't stand the campaign, but thats another story) and Cod4 is intense and dignity stripping (e.g. making you feel like you're barking up the wrong tree if you were planning on a professional cod4 mp career), but I don't devote every hour a day to a certain game because I just don't have the attention span. I need that new game!

And here it is! The Devil May Cry 4 demo got me giddy for a new game again. I've played about half of dmc3 on a borrowed ps2 a while back, and that game pulled me in for some awesomeness that was made for my shallow mind. I love the attitude (the over-the-top style that just makes fun of itself and having a great time doing so), I loved the music, the graphics and the combo-frantic gameplay. That was dmc3. This is dmc4. And given the graphics whore I am, it is the dmc made entirely for me. Or so it feels, 'cause I hope that feeling can last longer than the 15 or so minutes you have in the demo.

The controls on the 360 is pretty much the same as on the ps3 (the face buttons are the same, R1 is right bumper etc.) but it does feel a bit awkward. It feels very awkward in fact. Having played dmc on a dualshock, you'll have the same awkward feeling, I'm sure. But it works. If I could hook up a dualshock usb controller to my 360 (or any other device for that matter) I would.

Devil May Cry 4 got me giddy and excited again, like I felt a few months ago with the big game avalanche that was late 2007. Sure, you can make a lot of arguments against the game, I have some concerns that I might talk about when I've played the final game. But for that 15 minutes (give or take) Nero certainly did hit a slam dunk.   read

8:37 AM on 01.20.2008

Let's stop technology and enjoy the games - come forth the arguments for a "1 console future"

The 1 console future. The paper that will declare just exactly what a "console" has to include to be manufactured and sold legally. It will be owned by some industry led organization and presumably have its HQ in the US. Have I got it right so far? No? Enlighten me.

One of the main arguments put forth is that the technical advancements made in the industry are going to halt at some point, provided that the production costs will get too high and development cycles reach ridiculous amount of years. That argument to me sounds pretty ridiculous in it self. Imagine if that mindset had such a huge impact in the 90's? Everybody just went "No, I'm gonna settle with this amount of pixels, that many polygons, and this many hours of gameplay. Screw technological advancements, THIS is what games are gonna be like from now on." Am I being a douche, or does this argument sound absurd to anyone else but me?

Garnett Lee was the man who got me pretty upset about it, during a 1Up Yours podcast not too long ago. "5.1 surround sound, high-definition graphics, online play" was his bullet points he laid out that technology has come to a halt, or should see a halt in the near future. Because hey, consoles now have "high-definition". Welcome to the PC, eons ago.

Yep, I'm gonna settle with the startlingly realistic human faces of Mass Effect, the OMFG glow on every object in UT3 and GoW, the real-world environments the Source engine brings me, the .jpeg-like surprised and chocked looking Philippine faces and the over-all ridiculously "gorgeous" graphics of Crysis. This is it for me. I don't need any more advancements in technology to transcend my mind into another world of joy, awe and wonder. /sarcasm

I don't know, costs and development cycles have all but decreased and that leads many to believe this has got to stop at some point. Maybe it will, or maybe it will get more efficient (has history taught us anything at all?), but we're a long way from seeing that 1 console future.   read

6:21 AM on 01.07.2008

CES: Microsoft's presentation of fuck-all (i-have-to-regain-some-trust edition)

Staying up to 4.30 in the morning for watching a press conference I knew would be very insignificant, was a bad move. Now I need some sleep. And Bill's only shock treatment for me last night was a video about his last day in office that made me want to kill myself. He apparently knows some celebrities. Including Slash. Who?

What the announcements for Microsoft's gaming division told me was that nothing "new" was happening in the 360 camp. The IPTV partnerships will use Xbox Live as the communications platform, and that platform can be transferred between devices, from the original Xbox to the 360, further on to future Xbox's. Connectivity was the rant, and connectivity they delivered. If reality was anything like a Microsoft press conference, things would be kind of nice. Unfortunately, reality is something missing from the Microsoft point of view on society.

What the press conference told me was that they are going to ride this year out with software for the 360, before the next Xbox is announced. This press conference told me that they don't have anything new and revolutionary to bring to the 360 camp, and that they are already looking forward towards future generations of gaming, bringing Xbox Live with all its IPTV services with them.

What I said yesterday brought me down to the standards of suckage here on dtoid, though I promised not to tard out. Maybe I broke that promise, and maybe I've become too pretentious to recall what made me not to fail in the beginning. Whatever the case might be, I stick by my douchebaggery methods of deeming the 360 to the ground partly because of HD DVD (i don't know anything really and maybe therein lies the problem, i just don't know when to stfu), and I will have to make a lot of changes to bring you guys' trust back... Because this site is just too awesome to not contribute to, and I sure wanna be a part of it in many years to come.

If Batman Begins taught me one thing, it's an answer to a question. "What do we do when we fall, Bruce? We learn how to pick ourselves up again." And thats just what I intend to do.

/wrist   read

10:51 AM on 01.06.2008

The Blu-Ray reign and death of the Xbox 360

Like Gerstmann-gate, this is a time to blog and we bloggers love it, as we get to be pretentious again and satisfy our egos by writing about the same thing over and over again. I am no different, and this issue is no different. This is the beginning of the end of the HD-format war, with Warner being bought by the Blu-ray lobby group for allegedly $500million, leaving Paramount, Universal and Toshiba in a difficult position. Or is it really that difficult for them? Havenít they already made up their minds and the end to format war was already over months ago? Things like this donít come to the publicís attention nowadays any faster than it did before the internet.

Is HD DVD dead? Yes. It will not be many years before Blu-ray will be the only alternative on the market, and I think by 2009, even by the end of í08, Blu-ray = El Rey. During the course of this year, Blu-ray sales of both players and discs have increased while HD-DVD took a step back, which is a direct result of the rising sales of PS3 as well as better marketing for Blu-ray. I hate to say it, but Michael Bay was right, and like Mr. Bay says, whatever Wal-Mart pushes, wins . Marketing and money is everything. The media industry is one dirty business, and will always be won by the ever raging rein of the almighty currency . The problem for any HD distribution format is the already established mainstream appeal of the DVD. It will take a few years, about 3-4, before we see the sales of HD format discs to surpass the sales of DVD discs.

The death of HD DVD will also mean the death of the Xbox 360. By the end of this year PS3 will have marginalized the gap between 360 and PS3 sales, and developers have adapted to the delicate, intelligent and pain-in-the-ass-hardware that is the Cell processor and the 256mb of RAM (lol?). The 360 is already obsolete and will be even more so by 2009, and by then the next Xbox will have been announced and planned for a 2009 holiday release. Thatís right I said it.

Did Microsoft know this was going to happen? Was this a factor in the decision not to include a hd-dvd player in the 360? I am a suspicious man with conspiracy thoughts coming out my ass, so Iíll bet that there was an uncertainty in the Microsoft camp regarding the HD format war. Not including a HD playback device, and painting themselves in a corner with the arcade/core SKUís point to yes, they were aware and uncertain. So, will Microsoft announce the 360 Ultimate with a built-in HD DVD player? Not bloody likely. There is no need for another 360. There is a need for another Xbox, with IP-TV, 320gb hard drive, built-in Blu-ray player, motion-sensing controls and a hell of a lot graphical power to surpass the PS3. The problem is with the built-in Blu-ray player. Will it actually be there? Blu-ray has become so familiarized with the PS3 that it's gonna be very hard for Microsoft to incorporate it into one of their products. But it seems like Microsoft doesnít have a choice, because an all-digital-distribution-future is a long away ahead.   read

1:50 PM on 12.18.2007

Halo3 "Game of the Year", according to Time - "Most overrated" according to AP and myself

I just have to get some Halo 3-hate off my chest. I can't stand the music, I can't stand the story, and most of all I can't stand the constant shoving in my face that this game is the best thing since "peanut!butter!jelly!". Seeing Halo 3 receive this award made me feel a bit better, but this quickly wrecked that feeling. They're not even using the actually cover art! "...using an arsenal of long- and short-range weapons, plus grenades and hand-to-hand moves" is one of my favorites. As far as I know, every goddamn FPS I've played has a somewhat similar formula, I would say. If I was to say something about my game of the year, I'd prolly go for an argument thats a little bit more substantiated.

I hate Halo 3, but I think it's a good game. Let me explain:

First, the good

Now, I have played 5 chapters of the singleplayer campaign and done some matches online, so I haven't spent half my life playing this game, but a fair amount to at least give it my honest opinion about it. Its good. Halo 3 is a good game. How does it rate? Between 7 and 8. The amount of polish is unbelievable. An incredibly solid game that runs smooth, has almost no glitches, and frankly has some very smart combat situations that are not too complex nor too shallow or unsubstantial. The way that the AI behaves differently so that you have to implement new strategies further up the difficulty ladder is quite impressive. The multiplayer mode is perhaps the deepest I've seen, and the matchmaking system actually works. Forge is cool, noting more. Save films are also cool and a step forward for online interactivity.

Now, the bad

Halo is a boring game. Both singeplayer and multiplayer are incredibly boring. This is, of course, very subjective, but I'm used to games that grab me by the balls and doesn't let go. Halo just feels like something that's there, "and hey look, you can just play that game if you want. It's there. Pick it up. Play. Lay it down. Come back when you feel like it. Doesn't matter, really. You know, whatever." That's the feeling I get playing Halo. Most of that is because it's so slow. I feel like I'm high playing it. And not in a good way high.

The story is completely uninspired. I get better story out of Quake or Rainbow Six than this. The way everything is presented to you is just so American. The whole game just smells like stars and stripes, and thats something that most games don't. Even the most American ones. I feel like I'm the quarterback for my high-school football team when playing Halo. It just, has this very banal and "fabricated" epic feel thats so transparent. Its plastic. The game is plastic. Just because you put a munk choir on your pretentious melody doesn't make it "epic". This isn't Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. You want epic? Look deeper than the main theme.

And the worst thing about Halo 3, is the marketing. The way they shoved this incredibly mediocre experience down my throat like it was Jesus' cock (yes I said it) disgusted me to the degree that I will never be able to experience Halo 3 with an empty canvas. It will always be tainted with my hate for the franchise and with the utterly disgusting fabricated plasticness (my word, I made it up).


I'm playing Silent Hill Origins on PSP, and I'm liking it so far. Never played a Silent Hill game before, but I can see why it has got the following its got. Looking forward to Silent Hill 5.
PS(out)   read

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