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Gatcho Blog

My Scribblenauts review ...

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has now been published on my blogetery site: http://ohmyguru.blogetery.com/2009/09/14/review-scribblenauts-ds/

I'll be posting the same article here as well, once gamespot enables us to do so.

Thanks!

Busy transferring my reviews in my blog site

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Hi!

Not really sure if anyone would care (lol) but I'm currently busy transferring my stuff in my newly created blog site: http://ohmyguru.blogetery.com/

There are only currently two reviews there, but I'm hoping to transfer the remaining 40 that I have here to the said website. I know audience is going to be lacking there but it gives me a little bit more flexibility with my reviews.

I also have hardware and PC troubleshooting stuff on my other website that I'm planning on transferring there, but it will take time for me to merge all of my stuff into a single site.

For those who are interested, please give it a visit and leave a comment. And please go easy on it, it's just 2 days old lol!

Thanks!

My Top 3 Best DS Games Per Genre

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Here's the list of my top 3 fave games per genre. I might have forgotten some of the games that I liked before and used a different game to take their place. But even so, I feel that my list is pretty spot-on when it comes to the best games on a specific category. That is of course based on my personal taste.

Games listed here will be constantly updated. Just check the date stamp down at the bottom to check the last time this entry has been modified.

Adventure:

  1. Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  2. The Secret Files: Tunguska
  3. Time Hollow


Action / Adventure:

  1. Grand Theft Auto - China Town Wars
  2. Star Wars - The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance
  3. Tomb Raider: Underworld


Action / FPS:

  1. Call of Duty: World at War
  2. Moon
  3. Brothers in Arms


Edutainment:

  1. Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What To Eat?
  2. Brain Age 2
  3. n/a


Fighting:

  1. Bleach: Dark Souls
  2. Ultimate Mortal Kombat
  3. n/a


Platformer:

  1. New Super Mario Bros.
  2. Contra 4
  3. Sonic Rush Adventure


Puzzle / Party Games:

  1. Mario Party
  2. Peggle: Dual Shot
  3. Soul Bubbles


Racing:

  1. Mario Kart
  2. Need for Speed: Pro Street
  3. Speed Racer: The Videogame


Rhythm:

  1. Rhythm Heaven
  2. Elite Beat Agents
  3. Guitar Hero: Decades


Role-Playing:

  1. Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon
  2. Pokemon: Diamond/Pearl
  3. n/a


Shooters:

  1. Big-Bang Mini
  2. Space Invaders Extreme
  3. Nanostray 2


Sports:

  1. Fifa 09
  2. Mario Hoops: 3-on-3
  3. Shaun White: Snowboarding


Strategy:

  1. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
  2. Drone Tactics
  3. Ninjatown


Virtual Life / Simulation:

  1. Nintendogs
  2. Viva Piñata
  3. Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2


**Updated 3/29/2009

Recommended DS Games for the month of November

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My top game for November: Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

Runner-up: Tomb Raider: Underworld

Games worth checking out (in no particular order): Robocalypse, Shaun White Snowboarding, WWE SVR 09, Exit, Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ, Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors, Metal Slug 7

Disappointing Game/s: Need for Speed: Undercover and Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party

Worst Game Reviewed for November: Planet Rescue: Animal Emergency

**only based on games that I was able to play and review

DS games review

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I have been visiting Gamespot for years now but it was only a few months ago that I decided to become a member and registered. If there's anything that I noticed with Gamespot's DS section is that they do not have a lot of reviews available, and sometimes even if they do, the game has already been released for quite some time. Not that its a bad thing since there are a ton of other websites out there that release early reviews even if the game isn't released yet, but the quality isn't as good as what Gamespot usually has to offer.

Now, because I just recently resigned months ago from my previous employer due to problems that I could no longer bear (and I'm covered by a non-compete bond for a full quarter), I decided to purchase a bunch of games that will keep me busy for a few months. And since I have nothing but spare time right now, I decided to review most of the games that I have ... including my friends, nephew, and gf's collection. However, I'm only going to post reviews for games that hasn't been reviewed by Gamespot or gamers yet. I'll still probably post a review even if one is already available if the game in my opinion doesn't deserve such score. And those are for games that was released around the 2nd quarter of this year, onwards. That of course isn't written in stone and I might still write reviews regardless if its release date etc etc.

I have created less than 20 reviews for the past few days (talk about being bored huh?) and already seen reviews that was created to directly contradict my opinion. I guess maturity and respect sometimes become a problem when you really like/hate a game. I've seen people giving a game a perfect score of 10 or a flat 1 just because they want to drag the overall average up/down.

My opinion is always going to be just good as anyone else's though ... so as unbiased as I consider my reviews are ... read 'em with caution since that's just my take on the game.

Why is the Nintendo DS Lite better than the PSP?

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I know ... I know! This has been discussed to death before and topics like this one is just a contest of which system has the most number of closed-headed fanboys who can bash the other user by calling them names. But the purpose of this blog is for me to be able to list down ALL the things that FOR ME makes the Nintendo DS better than the PSP, so everytime someone ask me the same old question, I can just give them a link instead of me typing a ton of stuff and end up being called things by a PSP fanboy.

And for those who think that reading this entire blog will be a waste of time and would rather watch a video from a trusted website. Check CNET's Prizefight website and look for the "Sony PSP Slim vs. Nintendo DS Lite" video. They will pretty much summarize around half of what I have written here for you.

dsl

MY PERSONAL OPINION:

  • INNOVATION: One of the main reasons why I picked the DS over the PSP is because of the kind of experience that I can only get from using the said console. Unlike the usual buttons that has been used for (what I believe) more than 15yrs now, the DS added the option to use a stylus for its touchscreen. Not only that, the addition of the microphone enables gamers to use their voice or even blow air to it with games like Zelda, Nintendogs, and Rayman to name a few. The dual-screen also enabled the game developers to give out certain in-game information separated from the game screen. This may sound like a gimmick at first, but it's really something that you need to experience to really appreciate. Having all those things forces game makers to become more CREATIVE with their games. As a result, it gives DS users an experience that is different from playing on a home console and/or PSP. Its like comparing 2 arcade racing units, one has the usual joystick and buttons, while the other has a seat complete with pedals and a stick shift. Which one do you think will be more immersive?
  • The LOOKS: For me, the DS Lite looks better than the PSP in an elegant kind of way. It looks like a small portable computer or an organizer. And when you open it up, only then will it look like a gaming device (at least to those who are not familiar with the unit) unlike the PSP that looks like a gaming device even at first glance.
  • SIZE and WEIGHT: For me, size and weight matters when talking about a handheld device. I'm not saying that the PSP is big and bulky but the DS is just more "portable" in my opinion. It can fit inside your jeans pocket a lot easier than a PSP.
  • BATTERY LIFE: The DS Lite can run up to 7-9hrs straight with a fully charged battery when using level 1 brightness setting. A lot better than PSP's 4hrs+. And being a "portable" device, not having to look for a power outlet, not to mention to bring along with you its charger is another advantage for the DS.
  • LOADING TIME: May not sound as a big deal at first. But DS' loading time is much much better compared to the PSP's. Here, most games can load at around 2-3secs max. Less loading time means less time wasted and more gaming time w/c is very important if you're always on the go.
  • PRICE: Self explanatory. It's cheaper than the PSP.

 

DS is for kids? Let's get some FACTS straight:

A lot of people consider the DS as a console made specifically for kids. And they immediately dismiss the possibility of it having mature friendly games due to its cute looking characters. So in short (for them): PSP is for hardcore mature gamers. DS is for kids. Well, not really. If we're going to check out ESRB's (Entertainment Software Rating Board) description of their ratings, they rate a game depending on the amount of violence, sex, blood, etc. And NOT how cute looking the characters are. But for most gamers, the sight of a cute looking character means that its a game made for kids.

There are only 39 Mature and 1 Adult rated games in ESRB's PSP list. Majority of the PSP games are on the Everyone (10+) and Teen (13+) category. Which makes me wonder why some PSP gamers feel so darn manly and mature when they bash DS gamers, when the PSP is actually a pre-teen/teen friendly console? It's safe to say that if we're going to take those 40 Mature/Adult games, they wouldn't even cover 1% among the thousands of PSP games out there. So do you still think that MAJORITY of PSP games are made for adults? (..Please!) Yes, the DS has a lot more teen friendly games but its no longer a surprise given how BIG the DS' library is compared to the PSP. It's already a given.

 

I've heard a lot of people saying that regardless of how much DS games dominated the sales chart it wouldn't automatically mean that they are better compared to PSP games. Not because they sold a lot of copies mean that they're better. And I AGREE with that. So I'm no longer going to post the information on how the DS dominated the games sales chart. But rather how they dominated the 2007 Game of the Year Awards for the portable console category and game reviews. So, here's my opinion based on facts:

First off the Game of the Year Awards that was dominated by Zelda - Phantom Hourglass:

goty

Gamespy: for 2007

Gamespot: for 2007

Metacritics: for 2007

E3: for 2006 and 2007 (Yes, 2 YEARS IN A ROW)

IGN: for 2007

Spike: for 2007

Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences: for 2007

Interactive Achievement Awards: for 2007

 

Zelda is a game considered by most gamers as a game made for kids, pretty much like Mario ... right? But are those game reviewers/award givers above run by a bunch of 10year old kids? I don't think so! Ok fine, maybe a single game dominating the 2007 awards is not enough proof. So let's proceed with what the majority thinks of the other DS games.

Let me use two websites (Metacritic and Gamerankings) that summarizes the results of reviews on multiple websites like Gamespot, IGN, Gamespy, G4TV, etc to name a few. The said websites is not your typical review sites that gives out a rating based on a single editor, its averages the scores from multiple sites ... often times not less than 10 all the way up to 50+ reviews.

Let's take Metacritic first and pick the cream of the crop (as of Nov 12, 2008 ):

  • PSP games that received a rating of 90% and up - 1 (God of War)
  • DS games that received a rating of 90% and up - 3 (Mario Kart, Zelda PHG, Advanced Wars Dual-Strike)

 

What about Gamerankings results?:

  • PSP games that received a rating of 90% and up - 2 (God of War, Lumines)
  • DS games that received a rating of 90% and up - 3 (Mario Kart, Zelda PHG, Advanced Wars Dual-Strike)

 

Same thing right? As for games that received ratings above 80%:

Metacritic:

PSP: 49

DS: 56

 

Gamerankings:

PSP: 45

DS: 48

 

This proves that typical comment from PSP fanboys that the DS releases a lot of games but none of them are any good is a complete fallacy. And if sales, game of the year awards, and reviews are not good enough proof that the DS not only have a bigger but BETTER games library, then I don't know what will.

 

3rd Party Support / Games Library:

The PSP had excellent 3rd party games support ... well at least until 2008 arrived. According to "Edge-Online", there's only a total of 78 3rd party softwares released for the PSP this year, which is approx half of what the PSP had to offer last 2006. And Sony's John Koller had this to say regarding the drought this holiday season of 2008:

"I think going into next year we're going to see significant growth. We're counseling retail to be ready for it. We have a number of very strong franchise games on the docket that will be launching next year".

Is it just me, or is it not a sign of confidence when someone starts his statement with the words "I THINK". Regardless of what he said, there's no denying that the availability of games for the PSP is on a constant decline and if it continues next year, then what Edge-Online concluded might actually become a reality: "the PSP may just be crowded out of a competitive marketplace, an appealing piece of hardware people buy and never use."

Last July, IGN wasn't able to recommend any "Game of the Month" for the PSP since there isn't much that they can recommend due to the limited amount of titles available on the said date:

And last E3, PSP was only able to show a single title ... not something PSP owners can get excited about eh? And this is what IGN gave for E3's best PSP awards:

where are the games

 

The extreme lack of titles for the PSP is not a joke. And we're not talking about fewer by 50 or even 100 titles here. We're talking about a MAJOR drought here.

PSP decline

On the other hand Nintendo already has a list of games that will be released for October up to next year. Based on IGN's release date listings, there's a total of 79 games lined-up to be released from Oct to Dec. That is approx 1 game released PER DAY! So if there's any downside to Nintendo's games, its the impossibility of playing all their games due to the extreme number of games that they release every single month.

Oh, have I already mentioned that the DS even have "non-games"? Or have I aleady mentioned enough proof to bury PSP's library down in the water? DS have programs like Brain Age, Yoga Lessons, Weight Loss Coach, Cooking Guide, Translators, etc. 

 

Unit Sales:

Now what about the fact the the DS is outselling the PSP by 45+ million units? Yeah I know it doesn't mean that the DS is better just because of that and I've been given movie (etc) analogies before ... but a gaming console is different in my opinion. Unlike movies that only last a few days in the cinemas, gaming console is being sold to the masses for 5 or more years. If a unit sold a ton during the first weeks only due to hype, fad, etc ... the sales rating will eventually die down after a few months or years. But did the same thing happen with the DS? Nope! Sales is still going strong (as of Nov 12, 2008 ):

And given how many other features the PSP have over the DS like: direct mp3 and movie support, skype, higher quality graphics etc., only makes me wonder why it is still not selling as good as the DS when it doesn't have any of those "extra" features. The answer? Nintendo is focused on creating quality games, and lots of it. The heart and soul of a gaming console in my opinion is the list of its games. Regardless of how you try and lure people into buying your device by adding "extra" features, unless there are games to back it up, then people are not gonna buy it. On top of that the PSP doesn't offer any new experience for those who already own a PS console. So it's actually in competition with its bigger brother, unlike the DS and the Wii.

Innovation / Better Revisions:

It's a known fact that both Nintendo and Sony releases a couple of revisions on their current handheld before releasing an entirely new console. However, Nintendo is not only ahead when it comes to adding innovations on their units upon their first release (like the touchscreen and mic), but also gives out better updates with their revisions when compared to the PSP. Take the DS Lite for example, when it was released March of 2006 in Japan, it already featured a brighter screen that is only now being applied on the PSP 3000 more than 2 years after the DS Lite was released! I guess they were too busy developing Skype eh? And is that (yet another non-gaming realated) feature really necessary?

DSL and PSP screens

So PSP fanboys are probably gonna say, who cares?! PSP 3000 is already going to be released this month of October, so we're even! Well, not really because Nintendo already announced the DSi which will feature a SD slot, 2 cameras, slimmer profile, etc. Now, not only is the DS the first in a portable console to feature a touchscreen but also a camera. I wouldn't be surprised however if PSP 2 will copy the touchscreen and camera features of the DS since they already added a built-in mic with the PSP 3000 like in the DS (sigh!). Sony has to realize that graphics quality is nothing new, same goes with mp3 and video support. The PSP is a gaming device and turning it to a "Jack of all trades - King of Nothing" is not a good thing.

NDSi

Now if the unique experience from the touchscreen, mic, and cam (with the DSi) is not enough, there's Guitar Hero DS. A game that comes bundled with a fret controller that turns your DS into a virtual guitar.

guitar

And of course that's not the first and last accessory for the NDS, we're talking about Nintendo here remember? Here are a bunch of other peripherals that is compatible with the non-DSi:

Here's Tony Hawk Motion sensor pack:

motion

 

My Weight Loss Coach pedometer:

pedometer

 

Arkanoid and Space Invaders Paddle Controller:

paddle controller

 

Mag Kid Slider:

slider

 

Rumble Pack:

rumble pack

 

Card and Wave Scanner:

card scanner

wave scanner

 

Faceningscan for Face Training:

face recognition

Now, how many peripherals does the PSP have? Ermmm, it wouldn't take long for anyone to count that. If you haven't tried playing the DS, you guys are obviously missing a whole lot ;) And you're thinking maybe the PSP has a couple of games related accessories as well, right? Sadly ... no.

So if the DS is outselling the PSP unit and games wise, beating the PSP with Awards, beating the PSP with higher game reviews, better revisions, better innovation, bigger games library, better accessories, what does the PSP have over the DS? Well better fighting, racing, and sports games. More/better multimedia features and a bigger screen. Plus a sack full of other people who will tell you how manly you are for using the said device. 

 

Conclusion:

Innovation is the key for the gaming industry to keep gamers interested in playing. I for one do not want to get stuck with the usual d-pad and buttons for the next 10yrs. We need something different. And the DS (and the Wii) have 'em. And the DS is no fad nor gimmick, it's the real deal. If Sony will be able to become as creative as Nintendo, then the future of handheld console gaming is looking pretty good. But as always before purchasing any console, do a little bit of research. Nothing in this lengthy blog of mine will mean a thing if all your fave games can only be played with a PSP right? And if you prioritize graphics over gameplay, then the PSP is definitely the game console for you.

And now that you've finished reading my blog, are you still wondering why there are more than 85 million DS users around the globe? Or are you still thinking that all of those people just made a mistake of buying a unit that is of no good? You be the judge!