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ynfive Blog

The clock is ticking down to another Q4 this year: 2008.

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It feels only a couple months ago to me that I wrote a blog on the games to be released in the later part of the year 2007. At that time I felt overwhelmed and under budget to possibly get the most out of the gaming experience that year has had to offer. Now coming to 2008, even though my budget has some more padding, it is countered by an even greater slew of games. Maybe I could afford them all this time, but another major asset: time, may be in short supply to experience the goodness of what is still yet to come out.

I first should look at some of 2008 that had already passed in comparison to 2007. GTAIV had been delayed, and this worked out very well aside from the wait. This freed up room to get some Assasins Creed, Call of Duty 4, and The Orange box in late 2007. The first half of a year usually is barren in blockbuster titles, and GTAIV coming out in late spring filled this void quite nicely, and it also has a few compadres to the spring slot that helped out this first half of a year to be something more than replaying all the games you bought or missed last winter.

GTAIV's company was also filled by a the greatest spurt the PSP had seen ever in awesome titles, plus also Konami's mantlepiece Metal Gear Soid 4's release in mid June filled in nicely the gaming hours after GTAIV was getting a little too played by myself. The rest of this summer has been quite friendly on the downloadable side with Geometry Wars 2, Braid (I haven't played it but on what I hear don't want to leave it out), and Bionic Commando Rearmed. Another honorable mention is Warhawk's constant updates with vehicles, maps, and gameplay elements.

2008 seems the first year in where developers are starting to understand that gamers would like games to come out year round instead of waiting until November or December and having to make a choice between one game or the next. However it is still yet only a start. The end of this year is still crammed with games. I have noticed that they are getting released a little earlier this time around.

My first next big game is Dead Space. This is one game that I have been merely relying on multiple web sites and reviewers to hype it to me. Watching videos and seeing screenshots doesn't explain it well to me, but throughout multiple previews I have read on this I am very well intrigued. This seems a trend maybe first realized by Bioshock, that you really have to actually play it to appreciate it. What is said of this game seems the way I ever wished Doom III should have been.

Now speaking of "just not getting it" is LittleBig Planet. I don't know how many videos and previews I have seen of this game... I have just figured there is no way I will get the game till I actually get it. This game is one of my strongest curiosities. It will really matter to me how wacky and creative I could get with this game, hopefully short of taking an expensive 3D modeling program and importing like people do with Unreal or Half-Life mods. I'm not a fan of spending hours of coding in C++ and so I figure LittleBig Planet might be the game, or game creation tool for me.

My number one waited for game this year is Fallout 3. Fallout has an established universe with a wealth of variety and story. The fact that the same company that made one of the last greatest RPGs is making the next Fallout makes me all glossy-eyed like I was a teenage girl getting back stage passes to a boy band. There is no way Bethesda can mess this up. I might expect 30 hours less gameplay than the 150 I got out of Oblivion, but by that point who really cares. I think I know what I'll be doing for an entire month after this game comes out, and that is of course playing Fallout 3.

Then there's Resistance 2. I loved the first one, and am looking forward to the second one. Unfortunately I may still be enamored from Fallout 3 that I may wait a week after its release to get this game. Still I am deadly curious on what this game has to offer. It seems to be offering a lot, and if they pull it off this may be the Halo killer. Stuff like that feels big talk, but is not making me too cynical on the game to pass it by. Nowing how well done the first Resistance was in both campaign and multiplayer, I think it can be pulled of. Warhawk has been awesome, but R2 may be that next great exclusive MP for Sony that Halo had been for the XBOX. Fingers crossed but there is a lot of faith.

My final entry for 2008's most waited game is Wipeout HD. Once this was supposed to be a small game to come out a year ago. Since then it has be updated and so much stuff added on that it is nearly a full new Wipeout. This has been MY racing series since the PS1, and Studio Liverpool keeps true to this series soul. A game that was supposed to come out a month ago is still TBA because of epilepsy health testing (roumored) and the addition of even yet more features.

On last thing is that I'll be getting the PS3 version of Bioshock at some point. I'll play everything else first. There are plenty other games that I have ommited, but at least I know what I'll be playing next Feb-May.

My experience with Sony's DL video service

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This is something I hope to pass on to those who are curious but not willing to experiment with Sony's new video service.

I had the extra couple bucks and the first thing I ordered was Stargate's Ark of Truth, then after that instance I ordered the PSN only series X'amd, or "Zamned" from some of the screenshots (which I prefer because its just easier to type).

Ther are definate polar pros and cons to Sony's new service. My blog right now is to state those types of things to help anyone make a choice on if this new service is right for you.

I will start out with a con, just because it is the first thing anyone considering this service will notice. The price on everything is outrageous. Really for downoading a single episode of a TV series is only two bucks. Almost all espisodes of Family Guy are there {except Blue Harvest), but consider two bucks for downloading all Family Guy eps will cost you over $200 when getting them from the PSN store. XBL just announced Netflix integrating into its online service and that's just $20 a month for whatever you want.

I first purchased Stargate SG1's Ark of Truth HD version. I was first definately impressed with the fact that once purchased, that while you download it you can watch it right away. It was a 720p HD, but still impressive to streaming performance of todays PCs that I could start watching it without ANY interruption or breaks for some buffer to load. But DO NOT back out of your PSN stream, or you will have wait for the rest of the video to download before you can even start it over again.

Ok it is fair that I'll give a lot of cons and no pros. This service is absolutely pro if money is no object. You DO get the instant HD DL video treatment , and already at day one they have a good line up. Most of everything else is actually just SD but those are no different in price if you'd go to Blockbuster to rent it. Contentwise they opened up the store with ACTUAL VALID content.

One thing that I found unfortunate in Sony's video service is that most anything HD was also considered only a "rental". I'll have to check up on this for details, but its only a two week rental and there is some 24 Hr thing that I haven't experienced yet to now how it limits your purchase. SG:AoT was a whole 6 bucks and any limited viewing on that seems frusterating. Tomorrow I'd like to drag my PS3 to a friends house to watch it and I don't know if Sony will even allow it.

Next I purchased X'amd (Zamned), the PSN exclusive from the same people tha made Full Metal Alchemist. Still at first I appreciate the instant HD purchase and watch, but it is ONLY a rental. HD was 4 bucks, and I think 3 in SD. Sure the series is interesting, but the first ep didn't make me feel it was really worth the 4 bucks to have for only a couple weeks. Now if I think I wait six months and can go to Best Buy and purchase the whole series for maybe 40 to 60 bucks even I feel ripped off.

The Definate Con of Sonys DLVC is that is is ONLY in stereo, at least in the two examples I gave, plus also the HD was compressed 720p MPEGS...NO 1080p and No 5.1 Dolby or DTS. This is sad to me because Blu-Ray is 7.1 non-compressed audio AND non-compressed 1080p.

Sony's Video service was a long time coming and a much needed addition to the more than capable PS3 hardware. The marketing strategy sucks though, especially compared to Netflix bedfellowing XBL. The PS3 handles and shows of its video service much much better than the 360 does, but I am turned off to spending hundreds of bucks to get a lucid copy of a video when I'd rather spend just a little less to get a hardcopy sitting on my shelf.

The Generation Gap Has Come Full Circle

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Bear with me:

Having dinner with my immediate family is a once every couple months affair. I'm in the middle of two brothers that both are married and already both have a daughter. Last week I called my parents up saying I have a turkey in my freezer an have some time off work, so my mom got a hold of the rest of the family and arranged a dinner at my parents house at the end of the week.

Ok, now boring preset aside:

I had been playing FFVII:CC for the whole week till then and was about 3/4 through it. Really this was perfect timing as I tend to need to occupy myself. My neice of my older brother, almost five, has always taken an interest to my PSP when I bring it to family events. When Me and My Katamari came out she stayed fixated on that PSP screen asking me to describe every little object I was rolling up and why.

"I'ts Japanese", I'd say, "I dont know what it is".

Now I had Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core in my hands and my neice came up again to watch what her uncle is doing with the little video game machine. She came up right before the climax of the Neibelheim scene where Sephiroth does this drastic thing and Cloud is doing something and Zack has to something *sorry I'm trying to avoid spoilers but if you played it or the first FFVII you know*. The first poignant thing she said is, "sorry... I don't play any of those 'killing' games". I quickly retorted, "That is good that you recognize that already."

When I was her age I was playing Atari 2600 games where like Pac-man, Pole Position, or this one game where you flew a plene into barns, and all those games represented some sort of "death" would take place as a part of your actions. Later on when we got an Apple II-e I was playing Montezuma's Revenge, and the first Mario Bros. where bopping enemies to make them go away was a part of gaming life. When the NES came out eliminating enemies through some force of aggresive weapon action was commonplace, like Contra for example. For me at that time the whole idea of the fact I was actually having to kill someone to acheive my goal never hit home as how my neice stated her recognition of what takes place in a video game.

She started talking of a game my brother lets her play that sounds alot like Spyro the Dragon (she can't read the title screen yet to know), in which she had to kill a farmer to protect herself (I never played the game so I don't really know). There was a part which she said she had to kill the farmer to save the dragon, and she showed an actual remorse for doing so, but also showed a sense of necessity to protect the character she was playing.

This is a profound revelation to me on the state of current day gaming on how it effects those still young. It also made me wonder why I never concluded to that same type of impact to life or death choices in the old-school games I have played.

My neice made me proud for her age on actually grasping the FFVII plot, although I had to simplify:

*spoiler: do not read if you have'nt played*

Neice: "why are they fighting?"

Me: "See the guy with the white hair? He's trying to take over the world and the guy with the black hair is me, and the guy with the white hair is trying to stop me from stopping him because he just found out somthing that has made him crazy and he's trying to stop me from stopping him."

This was the hard question:

"so they have to fight?"

"yes, because he is trying to take over the world and wants to keep me from stopping him"

And when it came to saving Cloud:

"Why do you have to fight them?", meaning the monsters in the cave and house.

"I have to save my friend, he is hurt and i can't bring him through these cave unless I get rid of all the monsters first."

"Why is he hurt?"

"These Scientists did experiments on him that made him hurt."

My neice seemed to be ok with killing monsters, but it was hard to explaining why I was killing people once I got to the Shin-Ra troops in the town since they were actual people. I actually had to explain to a four year old the politics of Shin-Ra and what they were doing with their experiments and why there were anti-Shin-Ra groups. I think I did an ok job doing it. She seemed to actually understand somehow why all the drama on the little PSP screen was necessary with all the "killing". The best statement she made though after that is in understanding that it was all just fantasy. Both in her world and in my world of trying to explain an "older person's game" it seemed to make everything ok that she recognized the game as a fantasy story.

Yellowdoggin' it.

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Just a little over a couple weeks ago my struggling 1999 piecemeal PC has finally puffed its last whisp of electric blue smoke. It has had an honorable tour of duty, although the only actual original piece of hardware left on it is the SBLive! card, which was so cutting edge back then. I didn't even know what DirectSound really was at first. Anyway... thanks to a rocky budget there was no chance of biulding a new PC, especially things have changed a bit in the last 6 years and I may or may not be way out of the loop when it come to planning building a PC box. One thing I did know is that I own a PS3 and I've always known about its out of the box ability to install a unix based OS. Still a mantra of using Linux is, "If you don't know how to install unix you don't need it". I was in that boat till I heard of Terrasoft Solutions making a specifically modified port of thier YellowDog Linux bundle. So I thouht I'd give it a try. I've been missing my OnTheSpot episodes. Besides the PS3 is failsafe to a botched unix install. I could always hold down that power button an extra five seconds and restore factory defaults if anything truly goes wrong. First thing was to find a friend with a working PC and a DVD burner. Done. Sure the 3.5 GB DL took a few hours, After a reformat of my PS3 HD to allot the 10 GB "Other OS" partition and a total neglegence to save my gamesaves, having the PS3 install the YellowDog Linux was an easy two step process. First with the YDL burned disk in the tray you go to the system settings in the XMB to install "other os", then you chose to start the system in the "other os". The system resets and when it starts up again lo! there are peguins and syntax scrolling down the screen that can only be linux. YDL installs with much less effort that any MS Windows install ever has. I contribute this much to Terrasoft streamlining this particular version just for the PS3. Last time I've ever attempted to install linux on a PC ended in a confusing mess that wasted all of 16 hours that day. This took about an hour to install the data and options were simlple expected stuff such as language and username/password stuff. It was a bewildered fascination (and a few or six Wild Turkey and Cokes) to see actual PC like stuff pop up and run on my expensive game console. At this point it felt I just got a new PC for absolutely nothing, which is good because thats all the budget I have for now. However that fascination was short lived. Back to the "if you dont know how to install" mantra. Thanks to YDL one needs not to know how to install linux. Still actually using linux, even with YDL's sweet user friendly Xwindows setup, still requires some geek savvy to continue from where the install leaves off. Other than learning the unix syntax (I was a MSDOS 3.0 elite back in the day when I was 12 yrs old so unix just seems confusing... GWBasic anyone?), the fact the PS3 needs to use a PowerPC architecture (mac and "other") instead of i386 (IBM compatible PC (intel chip)) in its kernel seems to leave out some important programs like the latest version of Flash, plus also, if not my total naive inability to install other programs like the Winamp lookalike XMMS so I can play MP3s. Linux leaves a lot to experimentation and exploration. Thankfully the internet loads mostly fine and quickly thanks to YDL including my favorite browser Firefox. There are seas of information on the net for unix based programs. Some geek made something to run something at somepoint, just trying to figure out how to install it is a whole nother story i just cant figure out quite yet. Im not 12 anymore. I have lost that youthfull synergy with those zeros and ones. I'll come back to YDL for the PS3 every once in a while, but it certainly hasn't stepped up to replace my *sigh* user friendly windows box. Without an actual bootloader in the PS3 os I could end up forgetting it was ever installed till I end up wishing for that extra 10 GB.

tick tock: the holiday season is blooming

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This will be a short blog:

It is the ninth month of the year. Unoficially it is as good as fall. The start of the Craziest fall/holiday season in Gaming history is encroaching. GTA will not be making an appearance, which is good to level the playing field for a merely a slew of other awesome games. I wish I could afford a 360 because of the multiplayer mayhem and intriguing versatility Halo 3 promises, but still I'm figuring by the time Epic releases the next Unreal Tournament I may not care. Bungie did a damn good job with Halo, but as far as a real online MP shooter, Epic did it first with UT. Still I know I'll be missing out on the fringe of the Halo 3 experience. Being there for the first matches of Halo 2 was monumentary, and luckily I know I'll have friends who are more than welcome to have me gaming at their house on the H3 release.

My biggest hope with this Holiday season is the lineup for the PS3. I've invested in the system for the same reasons I invested in the XBOX of last gen. Half for the better hardware and the other half is that I much more appreciate the "underdog" approach. It takes much more than something to be popular for me to like a system. I guess I'd be a PC fan If I'd be willing to spend twice as much as I did on my PS3. As long as Sony keeps up with the PS3 as being the "futureproof" all versitile multimedia platform I will be more than happy, but its a wait and see game right now. Maybe when Home is released we'll see the needed changes happen to this more than capable for its own good piece of hardware.

Final Fantasy does it to me again.

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In light of Final Fantasy VIIs upcoming ten year anniversary, I wanted and have been trying to beat this game Finally and Fantastically for once (yes I know that was cheesy). To set up the story in this blogpost I should let known I have never ever actually finished to the end any Final Fantasy except for the very first one. Through PC emulation I have played 2-5. FF2 and FF3 weren't actually much memorable and I kinda stopped playing halfway through. I think I got into FF4 for a few hours and stopped. FF5 on the other hand I got really far, and enjoyed the gameplay and the exciting and diverse job system it introduced, but still got bored and stopped.

FF6 really has to be my most favorite. I have played through that game at least a half dozen times except up to the near end. Then I don't know what happens. For one of the first games to make me feel all tearing up halfway through, I get towards the last finale and just stop and give up. The same has happened to me with Chrono Trigger, my #1 Jap console RPG of all time, where I've played it through about eight times all the way to the last boss and just stop. Maybe I don't want to beat these games to keep some sort of legend alive? Is it just the journey that makes these games important and not the destination? The same happened with FF8, which is my last favorite Final Fantasy.

I've played FF9, got bored. I've only watched my friends play FF10, but didn't care to play it myself because "it didn't feel right". I've never played FF11, so that's the odd one out that I will never know what its about. I gave a good effort with FF12, but circumstance deleted my save file and it really wasn't worthit to start over again.

So now its nearing the 10th anniversay of FF7. Over the last two years I started playing it once every saturday for a few hours. My PSone broke, then I got my PS3 and started FF7 over again just a couple weeks ago playing everyday. I have been hooked into this game again as much as I'd expect from any current gen game. But eventually I got to the last battle. Sure my ass was wiped and I lost. Now I'm torn. I reallllly really want to beat this Final Fantasy, but it requires going to a save file 3 hours past (luckily I kept this file) and mindlessly leveling up to the point I'd feel comfortable to finish the game off with. Today I was hoping to finally do a full review on this game, but instead have to write this stupid blog to placate that.

I will beat this game though. It is a mission. Its not officially the 10 year anniversay yet. I've had 10 years to beat this game. It might take a little work and finally giving into searching online for the walkthroughs and hints (I hate game guides, would only buy them for collection value, but rarely open them), but I will finally beat another Final Fantasy, and the most epic Final Fantasy yet to exist.

I'll be broke for months (post E3 2007 impressions)

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The 2007 E3 has just ended. Although the giltz and glamour of the past E3s has disappeared, this E3 has shown this coming holiday season as one of the biggest in a while with Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Killzone 2, Heavenly Sword, Grand Theft Auto 4, Assasin's Creed, Half-Life 2 Orange, Metal Gear Solid 4, Warhawk, Wipeout HD, God of War Olympus, Unreal Tournament 3, Sony Home, plus many more that I'm eager to see. The best showing of E3 2007 is the reaffermation of why I puchased a PS3 over a 360, since it would've been one or the other. Just when I start feeling the drag of the PS3s limited support and lackluster online, a slew of games will be out by the end of this year. Plus Sony Home is on its way soon that if nothing will prove most interesting, and absolutely infinately more free than XBL. Anything I could've wanted on a 360 is also coming to the PS3 (and will always of course look slightly better). The only exceptions are Mass Effect and Halo 3. For Halo 3 I'm sure I'll be playing at my friends houses anyway.

With a budget that allows one or two game purchases a month, I will either pick and choose which games to get, or otherwise choose to be broke. I'm leaning toward broke. Luckily MGS4 is slated for Q1 so at least by then I'll have a chance to play everything else first. My broke-ass sadness will come mostly with Rock Band, as I could never afford a drum kit, guitar, and [probably the chaepest] mic, especially if I would want one for each system so I could also play with my 360 owning friends who have been also a bit giddy about Rock Band.

Damn XBL get back up!

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I've been sitting waiting for Xbox Live to get back up for the last hour and a half. This at least gave me a chance to visit the Gamespot Forums and do a fiew postings. I was never much a forum fan. I started in "forums" back in the BBS'ing days and really have grown tired of them by now. (I'll slap you if you don't know what BBS means) Even Internet chat and such has become mundane to me, but every once in a while, like tonight after hitting the Valentines day special and hitting the forums afterward, posting can still be an enjoyable experience. The nice thing I've noticed about more realistic threads on Gamespot is that there seems to be a lot less mumbojumbo. People who post on these forums for the most part actually have something to say. the most annoying post ever: a reply "He He He.. Yeah totally I was about to say that, but I really have nothing to say in the first place, but I want to be cool and post something anyway because I am a chode with no center of self opinion and think I could kick all your asses". Well that's it-my first journal entry. Really I don't know why I'm writing this right now or if an audience actually exists for these bloggy things, but whatever I'm starting it now bizzlenitch... um, yeah. Hey is it 4am pacific yet? XBL should be back up soon. Frag you all in a bit halo2 suckers.