Home sweet home for a bit of oral surgery - and my Dreamcast was there waiting for me. A little scrubing and I managed to get Episode I Racer and Sonic Adventure working again. It's strange going back to Sonic Adventure, it looks dated, and while the main Sonic stages are somewhat fun, you really start to notice how frustrating navigating the directionless city portions can be. The game was built to be completed with the FAQ at the ready - not a good quality for a game.
It's not a terrible game - I remember enjoying it seven ~ eight years ago, it's simply amazing how far we've come. The biggest irony of the Dreamcast was the best title - Ikaruga - I played on my Gamecube. I enjoyed Power Stone... Grandia II was alright. Episode I Racer - the load time are ridiculous, but it has held up well, it's fun given the alternative of playing the painfully unweildly verisons of The Sims 2 my sister has in her Gamecube.
I am sad that I never had Caution: Seaman, it was a really wonky title, and I should have picked it up when I had the chance.
Sega... how far you've fallen. Going back, a few years past my love for them, I hate to say it, but the Dreamcast really wasn't so great when viewed in the context of history. At the time I had it, I was excited, I bought it dirt cheap, got it with a VMU, Sonic Adventure, and Sonic Shuffle - for a boy of thirteen ~ fourteen, it was somehow right - Sonic said good-bye to me in a meaningful way.
Ironically, in Sonic Adventure, I see the new Sonic the Hedgehog game, all of the faults are there - poor texturing, directionless city portions, poor secondary characters, awkward human / animal interaction, and a frustrating camera. Watching my little sister play was an interesting experience - she was unaware of the paths that were ingrained in my memory - and exposed for me how deceptive the level layouts were, even then.
I've played the demos of the new Sonic the Hedgehog game - and going back to this, I'm frustrated by how similar they are. It is sad that Sega-Sammy (the new devil that has replaced them) is so tainted as to be able to pollute past games.
Or maybe it's the pain of childhood memories facing harsh realities? Don't go back and play your favorite games, they aren't the same as your remember them...
This little white box is my gaming future. Somehow, Microsoft has picked up the soul that Sega once possessed - but it would be a lie to say they've made the same mistakes. There's no 32x or Sega CD here - no Saturn... and the 360 is no Dreamcast. For the first time I think, I view that as a blessing.
The Dreamcast wasn't hardcore because it died. No more apologies for Sega - they had their time and it was a beautiful thing - and that time an era is over. Seven years and I've accepted they're gone.
They were gone the moment the Playstation came into my home, and everyone else's ... I'm just sorry my little buddy had to go down with them. I like to think he died with the Dreamcast that day, on top, with at least some shard of dignity remaining in his little blue body.
28Apr 07I do hope all of you who commented with your PS3 fanboy rants in my journal (please don't do this - *hint* if you can't tell me why your system is awesome in less than five lines, you're not the right person to represent it, wait, someone smarter than you will come along, okay?) realize the Kaz had little to do with the design, development, and distribution of the PS3?
The reason the PS3 as a system has done so badly is because of Howard Stringer. He took over as CEO in 2004 and is essentially the anti-christ of Sony. He's the guy who put the rootkits in all those US CDs that Sony put out, remember that? He's also the man behind the exploding batteries, and failed utterly to help resolve the blu-ray diode manufacturing issues - hence delaying the PS3 launch a year from the 360s, and even longer for Europe.
If you want to know why Ken Kutaragi's final creation costs $600, don't ask Ken, ask Howard.
"Hi, I'm Kaz, I'm making the PS3! It's going to be super happy fun awesome time! Everyone at the different divisions has tons of suggestions! It's going to have a super computer on a chip, advanced blu-ray drive, and at least eight HDMI ports!"
"Oh man, this is a long and boring textbook. Supply and demand? Comparative advantage? Marginal utility? Elasticity of demand? What, this makes no sense! The consumer will pay whatever we change, it's the PS3!"
"Hey everyone! Oh my gosh it's the PS3! Look how super happy it makes us! You can be super happy too for $600"
"... does bull$$$$ mean super happy in English?"
"it does not."
I am temporarily in possesion of a corvid named Cornelius. He was attacked by my friend's dogs, and I'm taking care of him until the Audubon gives us a call back about what rescue center we should take him to. He's taking water from an eye dropper, but he doesn't seem interested in corn or baby cereal in the least. I'm going to try bananas, millet seed, and maybe some hamburger in the morning and see what comes of it.
It's actually a pretty smart bird - it let me swab antibiotic onto its wounds, and it decided it likes the bathroom, so I put it in a towel-lined plastic crate in the bathtub. It's tried talking to me a bit - it made it very clear when it got home that it did not like my bedroom, and decided to claim the bathroom for itself (I have no idea why).
In any case, it's breathing fine, it's not bleeding anymore, and it doesn't seem to have broken anything. It looks like he'll most likely be spending a month or two in a bird refuge growing back his feathers and he'll be fine.
My Spherex 5.1 sound system came yesterday, got it set up, started watching Serenity, and the GF and I wound up rewatching the entire movie, it makes that much of a difference. 27" isn't a huge HDTV, but it is a much larger image than the old 20" CRT showed (it was *tiny* when showing scope movies) and the surround sound made the movie feel huge. I can't go back to normal speakers. Even watching normal TV today, I was blown away by the sound improvements over the built-in speakers.Surround sound rocks, that's all there is to it. If you haven't picked up a system yet, get the Spherex system for $200 from CompUSA, and pick up some cheap $20 speaker stands from the internet for the rear surrounds, you won't regret it. You will be blown away, as you're getting a $500 system that absolutely trashes any HTiB I've ever heard, and frankly even some of the midrange systems I've seen.
I'm actually feeling pretty good - as of 10:40am today I am no longer a librarian! I'll be fine financially as long as I scrimp a little, and this gives me some time to finally focus on myself, my girlfriend, and school for a little while. It feels really weird, I'm not used to just sitting around doing *nothing* - y'know? I guess you never realize how tired of a job you are until you're not there anymore.
I think I'll be starting a new job hunt later next week. I'd like to find some summer work that pays decent money - making $6.40/hour at the library - even tax free - was pretty much crap when temp agencies can get you $10/hour, call centers start around $11/hour, and internships pay close to $14/hour. I'm going to see what I can work out.
I think I'd really enjoy working for a bank, office, or just some more legitimate business. I like the idea of putting on a shirt and tie, making real money, and coming home at the end of the day knowing that while my boss might be a prick - at least they've earned the right to be.
Next fall and spring I'm giving some consideration to just not working - having worked since sophomore year I can honestly say, it has really hurt my academics. You can't get a real job when you're in class 9am to 6pm, and you don't have time to study - I'm not majoring in something easy, so a lack of free time is a real problem. If I focus hard on academics, I can get out of college pretty quickly, and then get a real job.
My third Xbox 360 game just got ordered from Buy.com (hooray Google Checkout free $10) - I'm getting PGR3 for only $22.40 new - score. I love it.
I also ordered some speaker stands off the interweb for my surround sound system. The surround system looks like it will get here on Friday, while the stands will be here sometime between Monday and Thursday next week. I don't have an ETA for PGR3 yet, but I'm not too worried.
After reading some of the "my 360 broke" threads with the manufacture dates, I'm going to wait it out for Elite to come out. The extra money is more than worth having some peace of mind that my gaming system will last out the generation.
It also turns out that the speaker bar on my HDTV is not meant to come off, despite easy to remove screws and quick release plugs. If I remove it the front IR panel and lights remain quite exposed. I'm dissapointed, as the speaker bar is just needless bulk with the surround system coming. I opened up the speaker bar today and found the expected speaker-pairs for each side, along with what looked like a tweeter on each side. Why they bothered I can't fathom, the sound quality is subpar - I'm going to route everthing through my new system I think.
I've got my finger hovering over the button to place my order for my future Xbox 360's surround sound system. I'm pretty excited, just making sure I do the usual "read twenty reviews" thing before I order. I'm looking at the Spherex Xbox 5.1 system. Honestly, you really can't get a better system for under $300. I've seen a lot of Sony DDW-700 and other cheapy surround systems, but they aren't good for gaming - no base and indistinct surrounds.
Everyone who's had one of these has said it kicks arse. Distinct directional sound - natural sounds thanks to the omnidirectional speakers - plenty of base. That's exactly what I want in a sound system. The only downside to the thing is that the speakers *must* face upwward - not a big deal though, I'll just set them on a table behind me, it should work fine for gaming.
I'm excited - my future Xbox 360 is going to come home to 5.1 surround and a 720p HDTV - it's going to beat the pants off the S-Video and Stereo Setup days of the Sega CD.
I was reading up on George Jung... interesting guy, just amazing the influence he had - I suppose that's more Vice City though. The trailer released today is amazing - you need to see it, that's all their is to it.
GTA IV... right click, view image, trust me on this, it's quite spectatcular. I can't think of a better choice on who I'd want to be. This game is going to be controversial - Hiliary Clinton and Jack Thompson are going to do what they can to deny our freedom to play it... but egads, it looks amazing.
As of midnight tommorow I won't have any reason not to open Gears of War - I'll be passed my 90 day holiday return, and I'll essentially be "stuck" with the game. Not that I'm complaining. Since I won't get my 360 until April 29, I can at least look at the instruction booklet and bask in the glory of this awesome game.
I might actually wait to open it though, there's something special about the first time you crack open a new game. It's like opening a booster pack of Pokemon cards when you were thirteen - just amazing feeling.
I'm excited for the Xbox 360 Elite. It took talking with some friends, some soul searching, and a fight with my girlfriend to make me realize how much I've been missing gaming. My main hobbies when I was younger were videogames, magic: the gathering, warhammer 40k, and mountain biking - but I haven't done any of those in a long time. I'm playing Halo CE on my PC for crying out loud, and I really can't stand playing GCN / PS2 graphics anymore.
I've been watching videos of Trusty Bell, Bioshock, Ace Combat 6, and Lost Odyssey and I'm pretty sold. GRAW and GeoW look amazing, there's simply no going back for me. I've been calling EBGames waiting for the preorders to open up. I'm going to say "forget it" to the $10 in Reward Zone I would get from Best Buy and simply preorder to make sure that I get an Elite. I've been wanting a 360 for a long time, I know I'm going to want Halo 3, this is the perfect time for me to jump in!
These are the games that are out right now that I'm particularly interested in:
- Gears of War
- Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
- Project Gotham Racing 3
But there are a ton of upcoming games that I'm really interested in:
- Mass Effect (June 5, 2007)
- Bioshock (August 21, 2007)
- Blue Dragon (August 2007)
- Grand Theft Auto IV (October 16, 2007)
- Lost Odyssey
- Halo 3
- Ace Combat 6
- Trusty Bell
- Halo Wars
And I'm sure there will be more titles that I'm interested in later. I'm going to pick up Castlevania and Geometry Wars on the LIVE arcade, I'm a huge Castlevania fan, so it's kind of a sin for me to have missed out on the best game in the series. I'm also not entirely sold on Trusty Bell, the FMVs look great, but the in-game play looks rather bland by comparison to Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. Well, what do you expect? The creator of Final Fantasy is going to dish it out better than anyone else can.
I'm also kind of excited to see PS3 titles showing up on the 360. Devil May Cry 4 might be fun (it's going to hurt sales of Too Human, that's for sure) but I'd really like to see Final Fantasy XIII come over. I don't want to be left with that one game that makes me go "aww... but... no, it's on the PS3". When I had a PS1 back in the day, the one game on the N64 for me was Ocarina of Time. Missing that game just made me sad, I mean, FF7 was a better experience, but there's some fleeting and tempting about what you can't have.
Anyway... the new Xbox conviently comes out *after* college is over for the semester - good thing, eh?
Well here it is:
I picked up GRAW today at Best Buy for $20. I went over to circuit City to get it, but there was really no one there. I played Geometry Wars on their 360, a PC guy came over to comment on my abilities at the game, told me about how his buddies 360s died, but he knew nothing about their sale. Every 360 game was not only cased, but locked behind a glass case. After the PC guy dissappeared on me, I went over to Best Buy, grabbed the game, took it to customer service, and within three minutes it was price matched and sold to me.
I was lucky actually, they had a few with the original box art, rather than the Platnium Hits version. I like having the nicer looking version.
In any case, I don't have a 360 yet, but I've got some pretty good deals on games so far - $60 and I've got two games, not bad at all. I might be getting a unit from Dell come April, assuming the Elite keeps getting pushed back. When they price drop there really aren't going to be sales, so it comes out about the same getting a unit for $318 from the store in a few months vs. getting one for $400 (no tax, free shipping) now that comes with a free second controller or a year of Xbox Live. I think those cards actually come with thirteen months... plus you get the one free with the system... fourteen months of LIVE for free, not bad. I might get the extra controller though... we'll see, just need to see if Elite is worth spending a lot more money for... frankly I don't think it is.
22Mar 07Level 21 - Salinger would be sad - but does my ghost ever whisper to me? Is there something beyond common sense and intuition? Nah. The PS3 is stumbling all over itself, and I'm not surprised - I saw that coming before the launch, and not much has changed.
it were really a stereotypical guy movie - and this is my copyrighted
script so no stealing it - it would have topless lesbians making out in
an outdoor shower while secret agent ninjas drove their aston martins
in a ferocious battle against chaingun-wielding dragons in the
background while electric guitars blared and the entire city behind
7Mar 07"Let's create a version of the Sims where only the rich kids can have the best items, and the end goal is to make us as much advertising money as you can".
The day I decide I'm so pathetic that I want to replace my real-life girlfriend, apartment, friends, electronics, and clothing with virtual trinkets, I'll let you know by blowing my brains out Nirvana-style.
Why not create a service that helps me get into online games quicker, rather than hoping I'll pay you to replace my life? Sony is essentially assuming we're so lowly that jacking into the Matrix is better than living our real lives. Screw you Sony, screw you Phil Harrison, I'm going home to enjoy my living, breathing fiancee instead of wasting my life with you.
Gad... I'm boycotting Sony... time to throw the PS2 in the trash before some system update makes it start drilling holes in my head, and then swipe my credit card to buy a PS3 and PSP.
I was considering getting a PS3 (see my posting history) but this does it for me - I've never had to bash the PS3 like this before but this infuriates me. I'm not jacking in Sony, I should have known you'd find a way to nickle-and-dime your free online. I'm done, I'm out, see yah - if this is the direction gaming wants to go in count me out. I'm going to go read a book and play with my flesh-and-blood girlfriend before Phil Harrison sends out a video of him "cybering" his secretary on his "Second Life" aka Home.
3Mar 07I was looking at an Asus Radeon x1950pro today when my girlfriend, looking at the price, said "that could buy a really nice dinner" - I love her to pieces, I think she really thinks of everything in terms of food.
She is somewhat right though - the upcoming games I want to play, games like Bioshock, are going to take some pretty hefty system resources. I'm trying to get a rough idea if I'm going to want to get a better graphics card simply to get that. I'd love to get more playable performance in Oblivion, and be able to have some fun with Quake 4 and Fear though.
Buying an Xbox 360 right now would just be insane, given that the revision is coming, and given that spending $400 is, well, insane.
Bioshock let's pretty sweet - I'm a big annoyed with the demo though - some of the best things were how good it looked, and that it felt like this immense world. At the same time, it's somewhat frustrating to see the whole "disconnected wandering around, unrealistic jumping around to avoid direct firefights" - it's all a relic from the Half-Life way of doing things.
My mind has been on graphics cards lately, yeah, I know I know, but the Xbox 360 was making that forward progress with unified shaders (something we're seeing in DX10 cards now) - and I'm somewhat waiting for the next step after that. R600 and the Geforce 8x00 series might be exciting, but they're the last of the big video cards.
The R600 is an absolute monster - but it was something we could see coming. Even the Radeon x1650xt came in a dual-slot cooler design, and the GeForce 86xx series are going to require a six-pin power connector! The required power supplies are reaching absolutely insane points. I think they're about to hit a wall though - quite literally. Power supplies are getting to the point where standard household currents are not going to be enough to power them.
Can you imagine having to call out an electrician to wire a special socket and run wires through your wall because your gaming PC requires that much juice? Well - the CPU market has finally seen a shift to low power consumption. I'm thankful, I'm using a Newcastle s754 Athlon 64, and the heat output at 2.2ghz (a 400mhz overclock) is pushing what air cooling can handle - I can't imagine what the "Pentium 5" would have been like, had they pushed for it.
It's looking like the GPU market will be going modular, which is a relief. I somewhat wonder what that will do for cards like the GeForce 8800gtx and the Radeon 2800xtx - essentially they're going to be the last of their kind, the end of an era - and they're not even out yet!
The end of an era... it's a good thing I think. We're in a weird place though, this whole shift to HD. I've got my 720p monitor - it's a pretty happy thing, even with the bare minimum graphics I can get in Fear on a Radeon x700pro, it's still kinda neat. Granted I run 1024x768 there, so it's "letterboxed" on the sides, but having that much screen space makes it not really matter. It's really cool that it has "widescreen" and "fullscreen" modes essentially. There's never any stretching involved - widescreen content fills the whole screen, full screen just uses the middle - but it's always pixel-perfect.
I almost wish LCD makers for PC monitors thought that way - the high end Dells do offer 1:1 pixel mapping, but others don't, which is frustrating.
1Mar 07best quote ever:
Ok beofre i get arrested i am not David D. Waddel. I am still a gaming historian just can't need to upload all my old files on my hard drive i just found that to shut up the crying fanboys."
january 13th, 2007