A New Beginning!

by on

That's right. I'm on Wordpress now! Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to update my Gamespot page as well but I though it was high time I started my own as well. Interested in Kingdoms of Amalur? You can check out my 850 word preview on the demo version that was just released. Thanks again to all those people who waste their time reading my posts and I hope there are loads more to come.

Cheers.

Steam Update

by on

Not a lot has changed since my last blog post but I thought I'd put up an updated Steam game list:

I finished Arkham Asylum a 100% and have to say, its the best thing I've played in a while. Barring The Longest Journey of course.

Sonic Generations!!!

by on

I normally don't preorder games. It's not that I have something againstit but I just usually don't. Well, that just changed. Something about Sonic the Hedgehog just weakens my resolve. I seem not to be able to resist Sonic games; good bad or ugly. Whether it's nostalgia, a love for 2D Platformers or just a love of furry things, I don't know. All I know is that when I hear the words Sonic and Hedgehog in the same sentence, all else seems irrelevant and my life has only one purpose, to play that next Sonic game.

Steam's preloading it for me as I write this and the icing on the cake has to be the fact that I get Sonic 3 and Knuckles and Sonic 3D Blast for free. I'll be ready for it when it comes out at 5AM in the morning (Pakistan Time) tomorrow. Here's to the Hedgehog and to his return to the glory days of yore.

It's Been A Long Time...

by on

WOW! Has it really been seven months since my last post? Time flies when you have a lot of great games to play. I guess the first thing do would be to bring everyone up to speed. Firstly, I'm on Steam now. My ID is TheCrippledNewt; feel free to add me. My friends list is painfully empty at the moment.

Secondly, I finally (15 slow years of integrated graphics later) have a dedicated graphics card. No frills attached or anything. Just a vanilla EVGA GTS450 and a 550W power supply to run it all. What does that mean, you ask? Well, for starters, it means I can finally move on from the realm of purely handheld gaming. It also means I can play games above the level of Day of Tentacle (For those of you who have played it, wonderful, and for those who haven't, go download it from some abandonware site right now; It'll be worth your time, I assure you). More specifically, I just bought Portal, Portal 2 (Hence the title of the post and checked out the demos for Arkham Asylum (Runs at a solid 60fps with medium PhysX and all effects up to the highest at 1280x1024) and Red Alert 3 (A passable sequel to a timeless classic), etc. Not to mention just marveling at the Unigine Heaven DX11 demo till my eyeballs drop out. Good times. I'm putting up a copy of my Steam games list just for kicks. Revel in its glory.

I also finally bought and played Elite Beat Agents. Yes, I realize that it's a 6 year old game. I got it real cheap ($10) and 60 hours of gameplay later, I'm still hooked. Some of the soundtrack choices may be questionable but their quality is undeniable. The covers are in in some cases better than the original (Yes, I'm looking at you David Bowie) and the gameplay is worryingly addictive. I've unlocked all the four modes and played the wireless component but still keep going back to it. It's quite possibly the gem of my entire DS collection (My stylus has literally worn away; I kid you not). In related, somewhat bluer news, my DS developed the dreaded cracked hinge and the right one completely snapped. Two rolls of tape later, it functions all right but I refrain from repairs or upgrades because of my impending and inevitable 3DS purchase.

I also ended up buying Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes on Steam. I was going to pick it up for the DS, but the updated graphics and sprites along with the multiplayer made me pick up the Steam version. This game deserves all the promotion it can get. So I will not restrain myself from asking everyone who reads this to buy it on PSN, XBLA, Steam, DS or any other platform you can find it on.

For the sake of brevity, here's an unorganized rant about the other games I've played in the last 7 months in no particular order. Advance Wars should die; I can't bring down those pesky satellites for the life of me. Team Fortress 2 is dreadful in the sense that it sucked up 45 hours of my life. As a rule, I'm against pointless shooters with no story but I grudgingly make exception here. Rhythm Heaven taught me I'm tone deaf. Tomb Raider: Anniversary took my childhood, gave it another sheen of awesome , and made we want to cry out in ecstasy. AaAaaaA!!! A Reckless Disregard For Gravity is quite honestly the oddest thing I've ever laid my eyes upon (I got a monkey and he's all mine… Nuff said). I have yet to beat Dr. Fetus in Super Meat Boy (I haven't even gotten to starting the Dark World yet); Tough as nails platforming is tough.

I think that's enough for one blog post. I'll try to stop procrastinating and update more regularly. Oh, and for those of you who are still here after all thatm thanks for bearing with me. Cheers.

IE9 RC Really Is Amazing!

by on

The recently released RC for IE9 is actually the first browser from Microsoft that I'm actually excited for. And yes, I did use the word "excited" while talking about Microsoft and browsers; its unprecedented. Now if Microsoft can iron out the kinks with rendering pages and a few stability issues, it'll give Firefox and Chrome a run for their money. Hardware acceleration really is top notch as highlighted by Microsoft's own Test Drive Suite. Javascript performance is a 17.5x increase over IE 8 and no, that's not a misprint. On top of that IE9 finally complies with web standards that other browsers have been complied with since 2006. And there's decent HTML5 support.

At this point, this is beginning to sound like an advertisement but rest assured, I have not been paid by Microsoft to write this (I wish I had though). All IE9 needs is the addition of add-ons and it'll be replacing Firefox on my computer. Make it happen Microsoft.

The PSP2

by on

For the sake of those who haven't heard the rumours, I'll list down the conjectured specs:

1. 1 GB of RAM

2. An "HD" screen

3. Graphics at par with 360

4. Touch panel at the back

5. Dual analog sticks

6. A screen approximately 1 inch larger than the current model.

Lets be conservative about it. HD can mean 540p or above. The screen could be anywhere from 4.8 to 5.3 inches.

Now lets put things into perspective. Acccording to iSuppli, It cost Apple $190 to make 1 unit of the iPhone. Keep in mind that Apple has the best device manufacturing model in terms of price industry-wide. The iPhone has 3.5 inch screen. It has 512 MB of RAM. It has no physical buttons.

At this point, you can probably see where, I'm going with this. By my personal estimates and iSuppli teardowns of other devices, most manufactures with a phone with the same specs as the iPhone have 30% more cost. That's $250 right there. Just to make this more believable, lets say most other manufacturers invest $220.

This new PSP has at least a 4.8 inch screen. It has 512 MB more RAM than any other mobile device out there (Apart from the Desire HD which has 786 MB). Its GPU is probably much better than any phone's to output 360-esque graphics. Extrapolate the price and you go to a beyond $320 price range just for manufacturing. Factor in profit-margin (Even Sony doesn't sell handhelds at a loss) and you have a $350 price tag for a game machine. Remember, cell phones are subsidized through contracts, handheld gaming devices aren't. And another thing, this was a conservative estimate. It could actually cost more.

This leads me to two conclusions. Either this whole PSP2 spec list is a gargantuan farce or Sony is doing the same thing it did with the PS3 launch and going for a long term strategy where the price slowly comes down and more people buy it over time. In doing so, they're also future proofing their device which could be considered a good thing.

There are two over-whelming problems with this scenario. This takes us back to the PSP launch where Sony was touting it asa portable "console". They clearly have trouble translating the success of their console market into a handheld one because they don't have a coherent strategy for portables. Sony thinks that the same strategy will apply for both the handheld and the home console market.

The handheld market is totally different beast altogether. It shuns raw technical prowess for a focus on innovation and what makes it unique. Developers are not going to develop exclusive games for a machine such as the PSP2 becausethe development costsa re too high and there is a risk of not making back the money they invested. All it'll get is console ports which a large niche of players will play but not a substantial amount so as to enable it to sell above 40-50 million units.

My point in this entire editorial is that Sony need to sit themselves down; ask the important questions such as "What are are competitors doing better than us?" and what's lacking in their overall policy. The PSP2 sounds like a droolworthy followup to the orginal but it won't be enough for Sony to win the handheld war against the 3DS.

I'm going to stop my rant now and sorry for the uncharacterestically unogranized layout of this post. I'm just not in the mood to edit.

The Nintendo DS: The Final Plunge

by on

Here goes. These are the last 11 games that I'm getting for the legendary handheld that is the Nintendo DS.

1.New Super Mario Bros.

2.Nintendogs: Dalmation & Friends

3.Call Of Duty: Black Ops

4.Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels Of The Starry Sky

5.Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

6.Ni No Kuni

7.Okamiden

8.Sonic Colors

9.Super Scribblenauts

10.Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded

11.Picross 3D.

What do you guys think?

EDIT:

THE NEW FINAL LIST

1. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

2. Picross 3D

3. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

4. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

5. Sonic Colors

6. Sonic Rush

7. Ni No Kuni

8. Okamiden

9. Kirby: Canvas Curse

10.Mario vs. Donkey Kong: MiniLand Mayhem

The Transition To Digital Distribution.

by on

It seems more and more imminent every day that the video game industry will eventually move to digital distribution. There are a multitude of reasons why this will eventually happen; the foremost being that of piracy, followed by the cost of stocking things for retail and generally making the business model more profitable for developers.

There are a few impediments at the moment however that prevent this transition from taking place. The first reason is that of storage space. Consoles these days are much more than just game systems. They are now multimedia systems that contain many forms of data. I know my digital pictures take up as much as 100 GB of data. Music can go up to 100GB as well. Blu-ray movies range from 8GB to 40GB. The cost -in terms of storage space- is gargantuan if you want to store all this on your home console. Couple this with the fact that by the next generation, an average game may be up to 15GB of data, it seems hard to fathom that a true transition to digital will ever take place. By my estimates, at least a 2TB (yes, they have those) hardrive is the minimum that is needed to facilitate this change. It'll allow you to store a decent amount of games along with other things like full movies and pictures, etc. However, 2TB hard-drives are currently only for the somewhat affluent and not economically feasible for the general public. I suspect that once SSDs reach economies of scale, we'll see a huge reduction of price, increase in capacity and also an increase in perfomance. I don't see that happening for at least another 10 years though.

The second reason that I put forward after the voluminous first one is internet speeds. To download a 15 GB games at a speed of 8 Mb/s (Megabits, not bytes), it'll take 5.5 hours. The average internet speed in America (according to speedtest.net, is 10.1 Mb/s). However, the average interent speed in developing nations like Pakistan, India, China, etc is about 1-3 Mb/s. When coupled for power outages, it makes it impossible to download games in these regions. Some may argue that these markets don't have major economical value but living in Pakistan, its easy to see the mass proliferation of gaming as a means of entertainment and people take it very seriously. Until the rest of the world (That plays video games) catches up to internet speeds of at least 8Mb/s average, digital distribution isn't a very viable standalone option.

The third reason, and arguably the least relevant, is consumer perception. Personally, I like my games in a box. Furthermore, I enjoy displaying those boxes in alphabetical order on a shelf(Yes, I know I'm somewhat deranged). Most consumers attach a sense of insecurity with digital downloads. What if the server crashes? What if the company pulls support from the platform? What if I have to hard-reset my console and all the data is gone? The sense of having a tangible object in your hand is a very comforting one and game companies have to slowly tempt consumers into the digital download space and subsequently wean them off physical media. This can be an arduous task and although services like Xbox Live and PSN have undoubtedly been the steeping stones to getting there, we still have a long way to go.

So, what do you guys thinks? Is the age of digital distribution upon us or do we still have a long way too go?

  • 18 results
  • 1
  • 2