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My first month with an iPad

I haven't written on my blog in so long but felt compelled to do so, especially having my iPad(3rd generation) for nearly a month. I will admit I purchased the original iPad in 2011 right before the announcement of the iPad 2. It sure was an awesome concept to me, and for several weeks I adored the device. Than I got bored with it about a month later and ended up selling the device. Now I can't exactly tell you why I felt so compelled to buy the new iPad, it was just something I wanted more so than when Apple announced the iPad 2. But here are my insights on the product and what I think of what Apple thinks of this so called post-PC device.

When I went to the store March 16 I honestly was just browsing around. I had no intention of buying the new iPad, but the store associate said we had iPad's stocked for launch. I debated and said to myself no just go along, as I did. I ended up leaving the store going home and taking a nap. When I woke up, I felt like I had to have it. I made up my mind and made my way to the store to pick it up.

Now I can honestly tell you what really sold me was the retina display-- it sure is a sharp looking screen. After bringing it home, I toyed with it for hours. I downloaded some apps, and games to play on the device and as the weeks progressed I found myself using my iPad more so than any other of my gadgets.

It was convient to just pick it up, lift the cover and it was ready to go. I ended up buying a bluetooth keyboard because while the on-screen keyboard is just fine, I felt like if I wanted to bang on some e-mails, or posts on forums it would be ideal to have a keyboard. It has been a charm having a keyboard thats for sure-- I use it sparingly only when I need to type up an email but it works great for me. Best thing about it, it is all lightweight compared to my MacBook Pro.

I was surprised to see some of the quality of titles such as Modern Combat 3, and Real Racing 2. I never really thought of the iPad as a legitimate device to play games, but for the most part it has been a pleasant experience. Not having a dedicated controller hurts but I do see potential for some great games on this thing. Of course I wouldn't ****fy it as a gaming it device it is fun to play a game like Geometry Wars when you are bored waiting at the airport.

There are some great features but I was surprised on how well the device ran. It is smooth, and the aid of the quad-core graphics definitely helps, along with the retina display. Some games, and apps taking advantage of the new power behind the iPad looks crisp and clear. As a movie device it's not slacking either if you can get over watching on a 9.7 inch display. For me personally I never seen it a problem but have ran across people who did mind.

As everything with the iPad it is a truly elegant, and powerful device. I plan on keeping it, because for one I approached it differently this time. When I first picked up an iPad I had crazy expectations for it-- but that quickly faded. I didn't feel like it was a "magical" or "revolutionary" device as Apple claims. All in all it really is an iPhone on steroids-- but appreciating the 9.7 inch display is something that takes awhile. Once you try out the apps that are built for the screen, and what it can do it is extremely impressive.

Now I don't think this is the device that will be for everybody. It is a device though for open-minded people who want to experience something new. If you have these expectations of the iPad as being the future of the PC industry you will be disappointed. It isn't powerful like traditional desktops, and laptops. It doesn't have a physical keyboard, it can multi-task like traditional personal computers. It's by far different than that.

If you are looking for a device that can consume media such as movie, music, web browsing, e-mails, and all that other stuff on the go, you honestly can't get any better than an iPad. If you are looking at the iPad as the future PC device envading the work space, and so forth you'd be hard pressed to convince a PC guy like me. For one as for now nothing will be more productive as the PC. But if you look at the iPad it is the future PERSONAL computing device. Our society is changing, and we are all demanding something lightweight and portable. If you have that mindset feel free to dig in, the iPad will meet your needs.

The Dark Knight Review

A little late aint it? Well I haven't had all the time lately, as with my MGS4 thoughts. I ended up going to see it opening night, and once again Sunday. Let's say that I expected the movie to be real good-- but I didn't expect it to be as great as it was. The Dark Knight from top to bottom is just an incredible cinematic experience you can't go wrong with-- and you'd be a fool not to see it. Rest assured after the success of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight topples Batman Begins in every conceivable way, from the charasmatic characters, a more darker theme, a better written script, twists and surprises-- and the darkness the movie brings along with it. It may sound funny to say this-- but it's ultimately downright my favorite movie I have ever seen. The action, the emotion, the acting, and the solid production values make this quite like no other superhero movie you've ever seen.

I've always looked as the Spider-Man franchise to be the pinnacle of the superhero franchises, but after seeing both Batman movies, it's clearly obvious that Batman takes the mantle. Batman has always been my favorite superhero because he didnt really have any superpowers, and like all of us-- a troubled being. I was a huge fan of Tim Burton's Batman, and as a kid I was always fascinated with his characters. I am extremely thrilled to say that Batman is back and justified in every way. The Dark Knight makes it even more obvious.

I am also quite impressed with Heath Ledgers performance as the Joker. Looking back at Jack Nicholson's Joker, Heath went to a different level-- a complete psycopath who didn't regard anyones lifes, a lunatic, a madman, bent on destroying Gotham. Psychologically the Joker is a very interesting character. I enjoyed Christopher Nolan's approach of not explaining his origins, because it adds a certain mystery to his character. An Oscar nomination, or win for that matter would do justice because I was quite surprised at first hearing Heath casted as the Joker-- but he takes the role. When people look back and think of the Joker, they will certaintely remember Heath's epic performance.

The other stellar casts such as Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne we're well done, and gave a more darker side of him. The continues struggle in Batman was potrayed fantastic by Bale-- bent on giving into the Joker, or going the other way you could feel the trouble brooding in his mind. The fear that he may have to give in-- the temptation due to the Joker's actions is remarkably done well. The other characters such as Lt. Gordan(Gary Oldman) we're what you expected from the returing cast including Alfred(Michael Caine), Lucius Fox(Morgan Freeman). Maggie Gyllenhal also played her part fantastically well as Rachel Dawes. She brought the same attitude as Katie Holmes in Batman begins, only more outgoing and confident in herself. Aaron Eckhart also played Harvey Dent well, although shallow compared to the other actors in my honest opinion.

The music featured in the movie was as well just as fantastic being able to capture the emotion of the movie in every possible way. The musicial score(the same as Batman Begins) returns and fits in very well. The conforntation with the Joker and Batman was great and you could sense the urgency through the music the two would face off once again. The music aspect shines just as much as the cinematics.

Forget Batman Begins. The Dark Knight is the Batman movie we've been waiting for-- and if you love the franchise you surely wont be dissapointed. While Batman Begins was a fantastic movie, the Dark Knight takes it up a few notches delivering the best superhero movie to date, and a reminder that Batman has cemented itself once again as one of the top movie franchises. Go see it.

10/10

Metal Gear Solid 4 Thoughts

Well I've had the game beat since late June, but I haven't really found the time to really talk about it. First and foremost, a huge applaud for Kojima and company, because in reality-- I think MGS4 is simply one of the best games currently available, and through my eyes an instant classic that has left an impact on a growing gaming industry. In fact I think MGS4 has left a big impact not only myself-- but I think for Snake's fans. Ever since Kojima began his stellar Metal Gear Solid franchise, it's been known heavily for its storyline, and rich cinematic experience-- but subtle hints such has subjects as war, relationships with the characters, passing of our genes, and the emotional factor you have to play in, makes it one of the most intruiging franchises. In a lot of ways its made me look at things differently in some aspects of my life, and this world that we live in.

I don't think I've ever felt so overwhelmed in emotion in caring for the characters, or the subjects that are woven into the storyline as much as the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Thats why I bid my farewell to you Snake-- the same Snake that I've spent the last decade with saving the world. While I won't give the ending-- I find myself wandering, why do I care for this character? That is something that puzzles me.

The video game world without Snake, is one that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. I am sure there will be other Metal Gear based game-- but I wouldn't have it any other way. I think Snake's time passed. And MGS4 is a fitting closure to one of the gaming world's most admired characters. Farewell Snake.

Turning the Tide'

Ok well let's just say, I take my words back. The words that came out of my mouth-- that I wasn't really looking forward to Grand Theft Auto IV, or Halo 3. I never once tried to get myself excited, I just couldn't. These two heavyweights are really one of the most popular game franchises of it's time, and spending a huge amount of time and owning all of the installments of the games, makes me really wonder why I was for a time not the least bit excited for the latest installments in these critically acclaimed franchises. Perhaps the whole run and gun concept of Halo grew old, after Gears of War hit the Xbox 360, I'd probably say I hold higher standards for a shooter game, but than again you really can't compare the two since one is a third-person shooter, and the other is a first-person shooter. As for Grand Theft Auto IV, and seeing the trailer I wasn't nearly as excited as when I first played GTA III, years ago. It's hard to believe that it's been that long-- but after seeing the latest trailer, I couldn't hold it in anymore-- I want this game in the worst possible way.

In fact to be rather blunt, if it wasn't for E3 this year my level of anticipation probably wouldn't have rose to the level it has. Seeing the campaign mode trailer(or so it looked like), I was trying to devour what exactly I saw. My first impression of course was the fact that it's your typical Halo game. You take a gun, you fight the Covenant, and you do so in some extremely cool outside environments. I loved the first Halo game, and me personally I consider it to be one of the greatest games of all time. The first day the Xbox came out, I sat there at launch with my brother just to get my hands on the game. I heard how great it is-- and until you play it, you don't really realize the scope of the game entirely. It's just flat-out a fantastic game. Halo 2 on the other hand-- was a solid game, but for me personally despite it's addictive multiplayer just lost my faith in the franchise. But after seeing Halo 3, as aforementioned, I seen the typical Halo elements. I wasn't really excited to be honest. But one thing that Halo 3 from my personal translation from the trailer is trying to do is tell you the gamer a story.

I don't know how I came up with that translation to be quite honest-- but after seeing it, it looks as if Master Chief just has more than fighting for humanity, but also for personal purposes. I don't know exactly what will take place for Master Chief, but whatever it is, I'm extremely excited. And it's not too far off the radar. As for Grand Theft Auto IV, I don't know what sparked it for me, but Niko Bellic is seriously a fitting role in such a high-profile game. The elements the game will include, and it's ficticious replica city, Liberty City is looking fantastic. If I could say one reason why I absolutely have to have GTA IV-- it would have to be for the most part a technological advancement. And what I mean by that is how the developers of Rockstar is using the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3's capabilities to deliver realistic A.I. Past GTA games it didn't matter what time it was, you we're for the most part left alone, unless you tried to punch the wrong guy in the face. But in GTA IV, you'd best stay away from the games dangerous spots if you want to survive.

And perhaps the greatest thing about these two games, is we won't have to wait for too long.

Back & Forth

It's been a week of speculation as Howard Stringer is looking into cutting the price of the highly-sophisticated next-generation PlayStation-- I'm a bit back and forth on how that would improve the already deeper situation Sony has stuck itself in. I am not saying a price-drop wouldn't help-- because in fact I think if they could drop the price by at least $100, things could change a bit. But I'm also on the other end, for the simple fact that $499 is not going to cut it. While I've always been a Sony faithful, and pretty much spent my time on a PlayStation console, more than an Xbox or Nintendo console, I'm a bit steering off into another direction. I've been a bit torn on just how absymal the PS3 has been doing, but selling a million units in Europe is great news. But in Japan, it's a different story where 20,000 was once acceptable, and it seems as if fans are adjusting to it's lowest sales of only 8,000 per week in Japan.

I'm just really intrigued by the concept-- will a price drop really help the PS3 fair any better to it's counterparts? Me I'm really not optimistic one bit, now that I look back on it, and further analyzing the situation myself. While I've aforementioned before that a price drop would give it a boost, I just don't think it's really going to cut it since the Wii has mopped the floor with the PS3 ever since launch. For the simple fact that this is a "casual" industry-- not a hardcore arena. While I'd consider myself a "hardcore" gamer-- I own hundereds of games, and have a crapload of video game systems, I just believe that Nintendo is an unstoppable force. But it depends as well-- this is perhaps the most complex situation the industry has ever faced. Two systems appealing to one market, and another which is accessible to nearly everyone, is it really fair to compare the Wii to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3?

Either way, perhaps we need to cut Sony some slack-- but then again it's been nearly over half a year and no exclusive game that has justified anyones purchase of such an expensive game machinery. Even if Sony is able to drop the price a bit, I still think people are reluctant to spend so much hard-earned money on a gaming machine, which has developers cautious on developing for the system. But maybe down the road, while it may not be evident, Sony may very well have the last laugh.

Spider-Man 3

So last night I ended up taking the plunge, and went to the midnight screening-- I was expecting to go tonight but I thought what the hell, and ended up taking my girlfriend to the midnight screening. And all I have to say is Spider-Man 3 is a fantastic movie, and captures the classic Spider-Man franchise feel to it-- bringing back the major and minor characters. In fact for it being the third movie, they still had Bruce Cambell in the movie, and other minor characters from the previous movies. I thought honestly it was the best movie thus far in the franchise. I was a bit skeptical, and Sam Raimi had quite the uphill battle to live up to it, but when it all boils down to it, he delivered.

The plot was solid as well-- it seemed as if Peter Parker has finally balanced his life, and with everyone loving Spider-Man it all got to his head, while Mary Jane ran into problems. It showed the inner-struggle within Peter fantastically, and depicted it believable. The realization that Peter's life wasn't that much greater than he thought it was, turns upside down after he runs into a mysterious black substance that takes control of his actions. He became more aggressive, and after his funny new look which was a bit over the top for my taste, but fit well since the black substance took control of him. Suddenly Peter pushes aside Mary Jane, and his thirst for revenge only grows greater. Mary Jane's problems are also well-done, as you can see a woman who's dreams are dissapearing, and her love of her life separates even further, as Peter develops a romance with Gwen Stacy.

Some of the characters such as the Sandman was very interesting as well, as you see a person who's actually not all that bad-- making a struggle to keep his daughter alive. His motives is only known for himself until the end of the movie, which plays a big part in Ben Parker's death, Peter's uncle. Harry's grudge against Peter grows further but after an incident he loses his memory only to come back and the second showdown with Peter begins, doesn't go well for Harry. Harry is still a troubled character in the movie, but without a further ado I'll stop right there. Venom is also an interesting character-- Peter see's a competition between the two and when the black symboite hits Brock you see a totally different person, one who's hellbent on making Peter pay. Overall the characters are excellent in Spider-Man 3, and how Sam Raimi could fit so many great characters in a two and a half hour movie is simply astounding.

The action sequences and special effects are also top-notch, it's literally filled with more action than the previous two-- some a bit hard to follow since it's so intense, but is also satisfying. In the end Spider-Man 3 in my personal opinion lived up to every bit of hype it was given-- it's got great characters, fantastic plot that takes a few twists and turns, and has several morale elements in it, the problems that lie within Peter are only the beginning, something he thought he left behind. But in the end it shows that even the great Spider-Man is also a human after all, and just because he's got special abilities doesn't rule him out of the everyday temptations, consequences, and choices we all make in the real world. I cannot see another Spider-Man 4-- but who knows. I'd be satisfied in seeing it end right there, but if Sam Raimi can get the characters that made the franchise so great, than I'd be more than glad to see it again. But for the franchises sake, let's hope this is it.

8/10

Greatest Games of All Time: Super Mario Bros

Should you ask any gamer the game that launched their fascination with gaming-- they'd probably tell you Nintendo's timeless classic Super Mario Bros was one of them. And who could blame them? But honestly how could a mustachio plumber figure be so popular? Well my friend, it's all about the genuine quality that seemed to literally overflow from Super Mario Bros, and it's timeless gameplay that is still fondly remembered today. Who knew you could get so much enjoyment on watching an overweight plumber jump his way to the end of the level, well folks if one game can do that it has to be Nintendo's classic: Super Mario Bros. Make no mistake, Shigeru Miyamoto's vision became evident and it single-handily revived the the gaming industry and contributed significantly to the game industry's popularity. The gameplay in Super Mario Bros was easily accessible to anyone, with it's cute power-ups like the mushroom, starman, what's not to like? Super Mario Bros raised the bar for a platform game, and brought gaming to the next-level through his quirky and adorable sayings "Mama Mia!", to "It's a me, Mario!", to his somewhat odd appearance-- a mustache, pudgy figure, overalls, to his white gloves, or his emblem emblazoned with the letter "M". A noble man indeed. Nintendo's vision fueled the industries rapid rise as one of the biggest forms of entertainment. It's simple a joy to play even compared to today's standards, it's gameplay has stood the test of time. It has made the biggest impact of any game thus far-- and while it may not feature those gorgeous cinematic cutscenes from Metal Gear Solid, or the sophisticated level-up system of Final Fantasy, to Gears of War's extremely satisfying brutal affair-- one thing is clear about Super Mario Bros: simple games are just as fun to. And it sure wouldn't hurt calling it one of the greatest games of all time.

Wii Have A Problem

I purchased my Nintendo Wii the first week of January-- and to say the least I was a bit skeptic on ever getting my hand on Nintendo's hotly demanded Wii console, until at least April or May, yet as they say some people are luckier than others, because for the past four months I've been indulging myself in Wii mania. But lately, I haven't been all too impressed. Why? Well the Wiimote is a fantastic controller-- but it suffers the same problem as Sony's PlayStation 3; a lack of solid software lineup. Now maybe I am a bit too quick to judge, but in all honesty I haven't played my Wii all too much. I picked up Tiger Woods PGA 07 which was a nice change of pace, but when it all boils down to it: after all the hype died down I am not as impressed as most people. I do however am looking forward to Super Paper Mario which comes out April 9th-- a little taste of whats to come on Nintendo's unique console. I will say Nintendo still has a lot to prove-- in fact I think more too prove than Sony with it's PlayStation 3. Because both of the systems software lineup pales in comparison to the already established Xbox 360. I think Nintendo hasn't seen it's fair share of flaws in it's system which should be recognized and told about on the press-- but when it offers something both of what the competition doesn't than it's a lot easier to forgive Nintendo. I would consider myself a hardcore gamer, I own dozens of games-- but really from a gaming point of view, Nintendo really does have an uphill battle. The third-party support for a system that's selling incredible amounts of hardware is really sad-- and the hardware inside the Wii has really turned off some game developers. I think in order for Nintendo to really maximize the experience and being able to offer games for all sorts of consumers-- it's vital that they rack in a solid third-party support. It seems if these widely known developers seem to be releasing lackluster third-party games are only looking for a way to make more money on Nintendo's extremely popular console. I am still faithful Nintendo will be able to deliver, and looking down the path I can't help but get excited for Super Mario Galaxy.

Sony was right, Microsoft wrong

I've had my premium Xbox 360 since launch day, and to say the least-- if you're looking for the best game experience you owe it to yourself to buy one. I do however feel a little bit left in the cold, after hearing the announcement of Xbox 360 Elite equipped with an HDMI port, and a sleek black finish. I do however am outraged by Microsoft's decision of slapping a $179 price tag on the 120GB HDD. I guess Sony was right all along-- because the PlayStation 3 seems to be future proof to say the least, and Microsoft's misstep is a strong statement in Sony's claim. So now if you want a system that truly matches the PlayStation 3 in all categories from storage space, to high-definition movie content, and others you're going to have to spend $700+. So in a sense, if your looking for something cheap your best bet would be the Wii, because as it is if you fully want a tricked out system(Xbox 360) you'd have to spend around the same price as a premium PlayStation 3. Clever Microsoft very clever in your pricing methods, I feel ripped off. So in otherwords if you want a future-proof Xbox 360 you're in the same boat as a high-end PlayStation 3.

Trial and Error

I just finished downloading the latest PS3 download update, and for the most part I'd say I am somewhat disappointed but satisfied that Sony has addressed the issues such as multi-tasking downloads. I do however expected bigger and better things, but maybe I had my expectations set a little to high. I thought that new demos, and content would be available on the PS Store, but frankly thats not the case. Compared to my Xbox 360, it's still lagging in terms of accessibility, and the content is lagging. I am disappointed a PS Button Interface wasn't included, although no mention I thought it would be something Sony would keep silent until it released. The multitasking is great, but it would be nice to be able to check download updates, check messages on a PS Button Interface much like my Xbox 360. I am a bit disappointed that Sony didn't really go over the edge to please it's fans, overall I was expecting bigger and better things for the PlayStation 3 but it ultimately turned just as disappointing as any month since launch. MotorStorm didn't turn out as I hoped, losing the DMC4 as an exclusive, lagging sales, and no quick solution to it's current problems. Although I try not to favor game companies too much, I've put more support in Sony's efforts than Microsoft, and Nintendo. Why you ask? Because the PlayStation has been the global dominator of the past two generations-- and ultimately gave me the best gaming experiences of any of it's competitors with it's PS, and PS2. In a sense, it looks quiet grim at the moment. I do however just wonder who's fault was it? Was it Sony's arrogance in not being able to match it's current competitors and taking an easy path as if they just launched, and slapping a high price tag the cause? Or was it Sony's ambitious that seem far fetched at the moment, just came out of nowhere and bit them square in the ass? While I've had my ups and downs about Sony, is it too easy to write them off? I sometimes over complain about these issues, but when I think about it-- we're only four months into the PS3s lifecycle. But then losing exclusives is really hurting it, a fantastic lineup now looks solid at best. I do not doubt the quality of MGS4 which could be a big selling point to those looking for a justification to buying a $600 game machine, and FFXIII looks as fantastic as ever, and keeping it exclusive will no doubt help its lagging sales in Japan. Talk about PS3 price-dropping to $500 could be helpful and with a solid lineup it could help boost it past the Xbox 360 at best. While many are already counting off Sony in the next-generation race, you'd be quite surprised that what analysts always tend to predict don't always come out the way they said it will. I think people are these days just don't understand how different the console industry would be, without the current competitors. I hope Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft stick around, because when it all comes to it-- competition is what fuels the gaming industry.
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