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MasterMarcus Blog

2nd Gig://prise 16://PDoSFAtIw:// 9://Tim Schafer://Fandango&Psychonauts

Entry 94: Polished Designs of Sci-Fi Art to Interact With - part 9: Grim Fandango & Psychonauts.

Tim Schafer was critically acclaimed by his burtonesque art in Grim Fandango, which indeed strikes with an artistic achievement rarely seen in video games. It's unclear to me if he was the precursor of the cartoony sub genre instead of Tim Burton or vice versa; in the end the richly hued panels render the characters of both artists very lifelike, fun to watch, personalized enough to be quite distinct and user friendly at the same time. As many other buried treasures I unearth, GF - just as the excellent Psychonauts - were pretty much overlooked. One wonder if the price to pay for innovating adamantly the frontiers of cartooning and platforming in video games just doesn't fit the social stereotypes most players are enticed to in this decade of violent gaming.

Even more in Psychonauts, Schafer and his team elaborated great sketches of disneyish rendering perfectly matching the platforming gameplay for a joyful experience also eye candy. And beyond. Would you have been excited to see, at first glance, a ballet of square heads? I was reluctant at first; once enraptured in a theatrical set of comic stages so well displayed in a friendly manner, I quickly changed my mind. The colors are vivid as expected, but never over saturated: a great deal of team work between the artists and the programmers went on for our guilty pleasure. For I guy like me usually attracted by FPSs, I must admit they really surprised me with Psychonauts. I'm still guessing what kind of marketing should they push in order to stimulate a better adoption - or comeback? - of a sub genre the mass of gamers unfortunately overlook for being kiddie. Sadly, that's why we may not see spiritual successors of such risky projects in the foreseeable future.

The dismissive react of some parts of the gaming community shouldn't discourage the outlying artists wanting to glide in a dangerous tunneling of clichés, but they need publishers willing to take the risk - and push an efficient marketing. The Simpsons works; Disney works; why not games from Schafer ? Aren't they so different than what the people like so much? Bring back those square heads in a new set of theatrics, and, maybe, coupled with some gameplay elements from Ratchet & Clank, we may have a light at the end of the tunnel for the sub genre. In the meantime, I'm going back to see Corpse Bride in HD - again.......

2nd Gig://prise 15://Unborn Photonique

Entry 93: The Foetus Gamer en devenir

Inside a fluffy cave of ravenous secretions of palpable recklessness

An agitated being unconsciously move his hands with extreme dexterity

An aggravated lack of practice begins the urge of a rabid scheme swiftly

Outside a virtual world awaits the arrival of another slave of addictiveness

He seemingly needs an overdose of serotonine

He rather not want to think otherwise unless the cave bearer says so

She may authorize an additional channel upon a rush of adrenaline

She might sweep across too long before allowing a go

If the little creature refuse to become a skilled doctor

If no divine intervention occurs - then he will become an avid gamer.

2nd Gig://prise 14://DirectX10 Impressions://Part 1

Entry 92:Vista- first impressions,and the Great PC Schism

Windows Vista isn't such a pain to install after all, and run rather smooth on high end machines.Two Gb of RAM are obligatory since the OS alone takes 24-25 % of your memory at idle mode. The trick at your disposal makes the deal a bit on the elitist side though: a high end video card, preferably Direct X 10 capable if you want to become an geek PC gamer, and also a compatible motherboard ( most recent are, if you apply thoroughly the chipset drivers + BIOS ). I admit, Vista may be problematic on mid range rigs so stick with XP if you're not upgrading. Once the driver quests completed, the new platform manage to operate all the basic tasks flawlessly.

The next step ( after some defrag ) was to install the four 3DMarks, finally to unravel another surprise upon the 2006 edition: The initial DirectX 10 pack DIDN'T include ALL the DX9.0c features........which must also be installed in order to run 3DMark06 itself and, most likely, to run smoothly the actual DX9 games. So when prompted to, do not hesitate to install the 9.0c options not yet scanned ( you're still keeping DX 10 ); I didn't the first time so I had to reinstall the 06 iteration. Thereafter, all the benchs ran quickly for pleasant, yet expected results. I want to also point the fact that enthusiast zealots running the benchmark sites tend to overly emphasize for power munger supplies generating 45+ Amps whilst an average power cord will never let pass more than 15 in comparison.....Well, for a single 8800 Ultra, a 550W with two 12V rails will do the job without a hitch whatever the amperage, whereas for a SLI solution ( Crossfire for ATI owners ) just follow the wattage requirements ( 750+ ). I don't specifically recommend a special cooling system outside the required fans IF you're targeting a longer case ( server).

All in all, my first impressions before installing the first game stand against the unfortunate users, many of them having most likely tasted the Vista experience without being prepared. The Internet navigational experience, as well the related tools, slowly unfold new twists that are only beginning to enthrall me at a point of no return to previous operating systems.

 ].DirectX 10, here I come.......

The Great Schism

Slowly but surely, we're now entering a new era of PC gaming quite promising and, as you have undoubtedly guessed, very elitist upon the DirectX 10 taking by storm the enthusiast community.The techno geek nichéd conundrum only let the average joe to stick with an antiquated machine and/or the console kingdom for, let's admit, the same amount of fun factor. Who doesn't know a friend, or a college teen, both a casual or an addict gamer, still living for CounterStrike? You know, the Golden Age that was the late 90s.....Well be prepared for the most exciting new age of PC gaming since that era: Q4 2007. In the very next months, several big titles will definitely make their stand against all the whiners having predicted the death of the PC over the years. The titles speak for themselves: BioShock; Crysis; World in Conflict; HL2 Ep 2 + Orange Pak; Unreal Tournament III; Gears of War PC just to name the ones striking me at first ( all of them DirectX 9 compatible of course ). Fanboyism has no place anymore in an expanding industry allowing enough roomspace for multiple thriving platforms. Before long, all the quick technological advances still widen the larger gap between the, let's say, wealthy geeks versus the old(er) school gaming. In fact, it's not a war; perhaps just a middle cl4ss of gamers unfortunately disappearing, exacerbating the emergence of two distinct group of gamers finding their own fun factor - one with the latest high end gadgets whilst the other continue to engulf the mass, content with the antiquated. Just like the working cl4sses in the real world.

The electronic miniaturization tirelessly unwaver this bigger rift separating the gaming cl4sses, and the DirectX 10 realm shall enrage some frustrated tenfold, I mean the ones who should unfortunately turn their back to the PC gaming for the rest of their lives. I said fanboyism has no place anymore. Well, not in my mind, but I will correct myself as to admit the emergence of legions of frustrated ones, growing tenfold too. Now, my only hope is that they find their own little piece of addictive fun, some nirvana of escapism to offset such an unwelcome pickering against the PC gaming. Because though it may only be at a nichéd level, the DirectX 10 era is paving the way to a second PC golden age which is how GS editor Jason Ocampo also depicted it in his own words. We're thrilled, and again the problem will not only be the money to afford all of them games. Time is of the essence. In the end, even the lucky ones will have to choose.....and the choices will be painful to the heart of the dedicated PC gamer who shall discard the most desirable jewels coming. Some console fanboys may close their unflinching eyes to the phenomenon unfolding the future of the PC gaming and beyond; the rift coming may concurrently erase all the war trenches we don't need in a multi platform industry.

To be continued...

2nd Gig://prise 13:// E3 Aftermath ( and Beyond )

Entry 91: A Slow Evolution

After the extensive coverage provided by Gamespot, we have a glimpse of how E3 fared this year including some unavoidable, less than sterling reactions from select developers reported in the news wrap-up here. These representatives didn't like the new format, whining about tight, overheated rooms, fewer demos, tiny crowds, and such. I think they pretty miss the brawling spectacle of the last years. For my part, I like the new format: it is slick, simple, efficient, and even considering fewer games displayed, I definitely prefer quality over quantity so I won't complain here since a slew of them are of great polish. Great games are coming in all platforms; X360 owners should get a real feast near the upcoming Holidays - not just Halo3. We'll also have to consider an increasingly staggering RPG destined to take the shoes left by franchises such Knights of the Old Republic = Mass Effect. A fair amount of inputs is disclosed in the stage demo, showing quite an ambitious space opera. Although the gameplay footage surely don't render all the technical prowess we can expect, we can at least hear lots of character conversations including some outstanding facial animations. For the rest, Microsoft didn't make great waves during the show along a conventional presentation.

PS3 owners will have to wait a bit longer for a better 2008 vintage, when we will get a hold on Killzone 2, MGS4, FF XIII, and such. Sony is now undoubtedly continuing to put all efforts behing the Blu ray format in the HD wars it intends to win swiftly, perhaps BEFORE pushing a great number of great games the platform should have had this far. I say it again, it's a double cross strategy in which Sony may lose some in the long term, yet is gaining some lately. They presented lots of games for a 2008 release.

Nintendo is now leading this industry in the accessory compound, and with this e3, Reggie and the gang didn't deceive us by showing very cool new toys such are the Zapper, the Wheel and the Wii Fit. They're still strongly supporting handheld gaming, as well as family friendly software. Super Mario Galaxy looks very great.

PC nuts ( like me ) won't get a rest too: we're entering the DirectX 10 era with a bang ( a costly bang though, tainted with a bit of elitism ). A bandwagon is coming, probably the biggest since the 2004 cuvée: Bioshock, Crysis, Civ IV Beyond the Sword, World in Conflict, Unreal Tournament III, Gears of War PC ( one of the top 5 news ), all that before the end of Q4 2007. Permit me to link the excellent Bioshock stage demo. The guy from Irrational explains a healthy dose of moves, rpg-like powers the player can use when roaming an intriguing decorum set in a retro futuristic world full of Big Daddies and little Sisters......It could very well be , let's say, a welcome step in the right direction for future hybrid FPSs. Great work here, for fulfilling System Shock's legacy with such grandeur. Of course, let's not forget about the two behemoths aforementioned from Epic which should bring technical extravaganzas. Considering the level of polish found in their past games, an exciting gameplay should be also expected in these sci-fi tournaments of destruction, being perhaps more conventional action games yet setting the parameters of near perfection. No less. PC upgrades or a new rig REQUIRED.

Closing comment

Speaking about the show itself, I really hope the head honchos find a way to evolve even more the new formula in order to satisfy the majority of the contenders. Because we want another e3s, one each year. This is the biggest gaming show in North America, and it should thrive concurrently with the European one at Leipzig, and the Tokyo Game Show. They must cease their little pickerings, and start to act like professionals. Perhaps without any comeback whatsoever to the ancient frenziness, they could work the new format onto something more demo oriented for a reasonable public access. Some may miss booth babes; yet I think we'll adapt since this is not street racing. But there's room for innovative features to entice the studios to be there, instead of leaving before the grand finale.........

Latest review: The Darkness (PS3).

2nd Gig://prise 12://E3://Stage Demos

Entry 90: Information Over Jaw Dropping Footage

At the end of E3, I managed to view closely some ( if not most ) of the stage demos, including additional gameplay movies accompanying them. Of course I prioritized my favorite games, along some other high profile titles to enlarge a bit my horizons and I was fundamentally submerged by tons of inputs divulged by the developers interviewed. In fact, there are much more things to be learned from them than to be seen on screen. Most of the gameplay clips relies on existing montage already displayed not only during E3, but in some cases based on movie demos already made a few weeks ago as if many studios agreed together to not disclose the really best scenery of their respective games until the release dates. That will keep us on our toes, for sure. Surely, it's a little change of pace compared to last year's gimmicks but in the end I like the simplified formula. Let's take a brief look at some of the demos ( linked ):

Assassin's Creed: The two developers from Ubisoft Montreal just explained farther what they presented during the conference. A very detailed gameplay orchestra staged in Jerusalem, and tons of moves scrutinized. It's a controlled Prince of Persia, perhaps less brutal, more finesse. One of the very few e3 footage surpassing the quality of the interview itself, which should be enough for players to decide if they want to embark or not.

StarCraft II: an honest preview following the pre-e3 BIG announcement. Hardcore fans of the franchise should be pleased, but - yes a nitpick - perhaps the stream can't do justice to what we should expect. I mean, even if I try to size the footage as if it was a better HD blow out, I'm unimpressed by the graphical updates. It's all over the gameplay, three races, and well, that shouldn't realistically attract more than the existing community. We'll see. The interview was OK if a tad long.

Unreal Tournament III: Epic's Jeff Morris disclosed tons and tons of inputs ( you must be all ears without any distraction during all the interview to catch the drift here ). The game's clipwas dark, heavily contrasted, and unfortunately very few vehicles to be seen within. They definitively kept the best for the official movies. Some asian maps on foot kept the most part, and we learned that around 40 official maps will ship at release ( 100 in vanilla UT 2004 ); I guess we must keep in mind the larger ones of the new mode should compensate for that - along a better single player. Definitely an A+ title, yet shouldn't also attract much more than the existing Unreal community.

Crysis: the Crytek guy tells us that the first level of the game, abundantly clipped, could last as long as one and a half hour, showing tropical vistas and merc camps à la Far Cry. Welcome one of the five most anticipated games, and so far it looks gorgeous of course but - again - I didn't see any real innovation since Far Cry. An updated FC is a good thing though, if the mechanics are decently updated. The single player premises to be longer to finish than usual too, again à la Far Cry. The footage part of the stage demo was laggy so here again, we must wait before judging the near gold status.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: Although the picture doesn't surpass the other demos, CoD4 clips here ( mostly night combat ) are incredibly visceral by atmosphere; they instantly flash an irresistible adrenaline rush to any carnage addict outright. The developers will undoubtedly entice additional gamers, since they lap from WWII to the modern era with a seemingly intense gameplay, albeit we can sense this rehashed feeling whose construct seem to be kept without that much of innovation since the WWII iterations. We're gaming in an age of sequels, proven franchises, and evolving technology but we seem to be content with that.

I also checked Turok which looks promising, but I challenge the studio to produce a climactic combat engine rendering raptor encounters as much frightening as they were the first time we played the N64 version in 1997-98. The Half Life 2 Orange Box stage affair didn't really took me by surprise, a cool interview clipped by an unimpressive footage reminiscing vanilla HL2 - so nothing we didn't already knew. Ahhhh...the always mysterious Valve. I appreciated LittleBigPlanet, a very cool concept that should appeal to all. And still no word of Final Fantasy XIII: I'm guessing not before the Tokyo Game Show. No Spore news.

Overall this E3 presented the games we already knew about, especially to the hardcore fans having surveyed the event live. We're still titillating about the few scoops, like Nintendo's Zapper, or Sony's profile enhancements just to make us salivating even more until the big rush: near the Christmas season for X360 owners, but only 2008 for PS3 adopters.

2nd Gig://prise 11:// E3 Conferences://My Take

Entry 89: Overconfidence and fan base strategy.

Overconfidence Is Your Weakness............

Again this year - yet in an entirely different manner and environment - the three majors took the floor at the beginning of E3 and just shared only one thing: overconfidence. But how can we blame them? The head honchos of this industry act accordingly like any professional devoted to the job: they are supremely convinced to propel their respective products to unparalleled heights. This could well reveal their weakness too; but now let's just look the good: we, gamers, can only revel when seeing such a spectacle of enthusiasm on steroids. Tons of good looking games are catapulted to our eyes along a wide assortment of new hardware. Of course, the similitudes end here when scrutinizing each. Microsoft proposed something rather conventional, an almost wretched geeky montage of surefire bets concluded by the unavoidable Halo 3. Peter Moore did well nonetheless, despite showing a little megalomaniac side to conquer the planet. Nintendo was obviously hardware oriented, with a family friendly Reggie wanting to conquer all the families of this planet. The Wii Zapper & Wheel and all are very cool though. Finally - finally! - Sony revealed tons of games within not necessarily the best presentation, yet games themselves embrace the vast majority of the footage. Sony guys want them to take the planet by storm too.........That's probably why many users declare the big S as the slight winner here: GAMES. I think all three made the best possible and stuck to their mottos.

Unfortunately, the weakness inherent to all this goodness pulled over our eyes can't be ignored too. Microsoft is still battling proven franchises, yes, but mostly Halo 3. What next? They extend the x360's warranty to quell some disgruntled users about defect units, as if we clearly see NOW how precarious was the platform's launch. They speak about Windows games, and a ''new Renaissance'' of PC gaming with great shooters, yes, but still based on aged gameplay mechanics. Microsoft is still only targeting the existing fan base - like Sony, in a way. In a way because Sony has a ( little?) additional incentive: the incorporated Blu Ray drive, probably to attract some HD geeks like me. Sony's exec became overly off topic during the speech though, when babbling about the merits of a winning format over the competitor HD DVD. Both Sony and MS continue to slave use into the constant upgrading era à la Windows: new hardware packages this fall, following the 360 Elite there will be a new bundle and coincidentally, Sony follows with a 80 gb PS3.

Now Reggie talks to all the good families of this Earth in the name of Nintendo, disclosing new hardware accessories to complete our dancing gaming. Very cool; but how can Marioware succeed with the very same library of genres traditionally coveted by conquered fans? I have nothing against kiddie games, family games, puzzles, platformers, far from it. But they won't attract HD enthusiasts, nor action addicts wanting some violence and blood. Or big MMOs. In the end, Nintendo may conquer additional female gamers which is a very good thing. They might add to the market share, without any swindle to the existing fan bases all platforms taken into consideration.

To be honest, Sony may have won by a notch if you only consider the upcoming games displayed. Personally, I don't see any uppercut winner this year if each manage to deliver most of the stuff through Q1 2008. Moreover, we can even put Nintendo ahead for being the only one to really care for the future gamers having never played - that is a card Reggie played well, or at least tried even if the results shouldn't tackle the other empires. Because in the end...............

.................The Fate In Your Fan Base Is Yours.

In résumé:

Microsoft's presentation was all flash over substance, but with a strong support for both the x360 and Windows PC, fans should be pleased - and not surprised but the upcoming releases. As for the PC Renaissance thing, yes but at a geeky price: full HD and DirectX10 hardware required.

Nintendo's conference had little to offer more than the library of revamped genres we all know BUT had, again, very cool innovative accessories that will most likely influence the whole industry in the long term. Fans should be delighted ( not to mention Nin's the only one to specifically target women and older fathers ).

Sony's VIPs talked about lots of games, many violent ones targeting the existing gamers, also via an increasing interconnectivity between the PSP and PS3. Fans should be mostly pleased, some delighted.

P.S.: interesting, Epic's moves, right? With their engine's licensing, the legendary developer is now playing strong in the middle: Gears Of War will be ported to the PC after months of X360 exclusivity, this time a port looking more promising than the Halos. And now we should get UT3 on the PS3/PC BEFORE the X360.............Everyone has a part of the cake I guess.

2nd Gig://prise 10:// The Joyful Quagmire of Avid Gaming

Entry 88: To Be Addicted Or ''Only'' Interested?

To some purists, the word avid may be more ''politically correct'' to use than addicted, for the latter becomes often interpreted by them pretty much negatively as socially incorrect. We all know there has been some debate lately about the terms related to the very dangerous realm of addiction, often figuratively used to describe the state of excessiveness a gamer invests in the hobby at the expense of everything else in life - a notch above escapism. Like alcoholism. Like workaholism.

Now, where are the boundaries between driven, avid, addicted, excessive, compulsory? We may check the dictionary or any pedia; yet we gamers never really decipher them without a mismatch, then a fight. I think the use of addiction may be right when applied to a VERY compulsive state of mind - you know, just like our Gamespot guys qualify their own ''addicted emblem'' ( the one with two pills ); i.e. an ebrain almost impossible to disconnect from the Internet.....

For instance, someone driven at work or when performing any hobby off work can't be catalogued as addicted unless neglecting the huge responsibilities in life ( like flossing e.v.e.r.y. day!!!). The same way, you can't be addicted if you do multiple things every day, each at a surface. But you are, if you play World Of Warcraft during 12 consecutive hours, and forget to feed the cats...... Simple as that!? Where stand avid, a word I like very much? Probably in the midst. So even if you disagree, let's pretend for a moment avid gamers may well represent a huge margin of this community, embedded in the center of a chess plate surrounded by two smaller groups of dwellers: the casual players; and the profoundly addicted often disconnected from the reality. Many addicted may play well over 40+ hours per week; the avid....let's say about 15-35 hrs. One wonders, can the latter also reach a perfectly balanced life like the casual ?

As such, it appears the proper arts of self control ( or self management ), added to the entropic energy + the time needed to sleep, aren't mastered by not only the addict gamers but the majority of avid ones - at times of rush releases of mind bogging games. Ways to get a versatile life in general aren't quite different for the gamer than the tools (un)used by workaholics totally encompassed by their career. Addicted escapist = like the addicted workaholic ? Which brings another conundrum = is it possible to be addicted to more than one passion in life? I know a couple of avid/nigh addicted gamers beleaguering in the higher spheres of workaholism, i.e. working 70-80+ hrs per week. We all know about our very mutual friend Jack Thomson who does only one thing, of course as a law enforcer against our hobby. He's a cl4ssic professional. Conversely, the two guys I spoke about are modern yuppies, yuppie geeks as I use to call them, and they aren't legions - yet they exist and APPEAR to be constantly on crack. They only sleep 3-4 hrs per 24. One of them works at Ubisoft Montréal. His two passions are his work ( texturing ) and gaming. He even manages to see his grilfriend regularly, and has some room left for a night life. Lucky now; let's hope he avoids the traps of burn out.

In the past, one of the best ways for a video addict to escape this reality WAS, in fact, in the arcades. WAS because anyone knows their golden age's already 20+ years behind us. I do miss the 1983 hall of fame........'nuff said. Only a good party game at home can also offer some real social gaming, much more than the virtual ones on the Internet ( LAN or multiplayer). I think it WAS more possible to have a nigh addictive gaming along a social life in the past than IT IS today, as to make real friends because of the hobby too.

We musn't fear to use the word addicted when faced to the very few privileged ones having the luxury to bear more than one passion in life. In the end, take your pick. Avid remains a word both politically correct AND beautifully convenient to even describe the states of nigh addictiveness that didn't fall to an excessive disconnection. For some others, gaming addiction is a graceful sight to behold, heh? For the rest of us, well, perhaps it is time to take a little break of our own little addiction for another one called the E3 frenziness. Now get addicted!

2ng Gig://prise 9:// The Darkness Got Me

Entry 87: Unexpectedly enticed to get a PS3 game before fall.

You got me, I mean the various gamers whose blogs and comments were so positive about The Darkness, that I took a closer look convincing enough for a purchase two days ago. I was supposed to wait for DirT. My gaming time's ratio on the PS3 has just peaked to ( a bit ) more noticeable level of around 30-40 % of its overall usage next to Blu ray movies. Since a very very very long time, my PC gaming drops behind, only if temporarily since the PC nut I am shall eagerly await for the big DirectX10 monsters such are UT3, Crysis, BioShock and beyond. So The Darkness arrives just in time to fill a blank.

You can expect a review within a month. My early impressions are ALMOST identical to most of all other observers ( meaning around a great 8, which is still great, instead of a 8.5+++). So far I find the action uneven, and a bit on the easy side at the normal setting. As an HD addict, also accustomed to play a lot of high end PC games over the recent years with high levels of antialiasing & anisotropy, I do find the jagged edges irritating - as if the game's source was built at a lower res even if it supports 1080p. The imagery is richly colored and contrasted with pure blacks: a real enhancement compared to some earlier entries on the PS3 having scored great(er) ( ***cough Resistance et all cough***). It may then best be played on a smaller screen, like the ones demoed in stores, instead of a large HDTV.

That said, I'm overly enthralled by the climactic presentation that should make some Hollywoodian blockbusters pale in comparison. The intro movie is one of the best I've seen in YEARS, and I saw a lot. No art cut here, AT LAST. The numerous cutscenes fit well during a tight gameplay providing an okay fun factor, no more no less. Why? This ghoulish set up adds nothing revolutionary, nor evolutionary for that matter. The theme is overused; but the devs did craft some nice twists like the Darkness heads, tentacles and heart eating professionally animated. Even more satisfying at times, the AUDIO score absolutely delivers. Without the creepy soundings, the pros would have been less impressive. Just like an excellent HD transfer can boost an already good movie - but make no mistake, I'm glad to tackle The Darkness during the heat of the summer....

2nd Gig://prise 8:// A Time For A Change

Entry 86: ''As You Have Adequately Put, The Problem Is Choice''.

Gaming habits: long TBS campaigns, I must turn my back on you.

Life's a *itch. But that's what making it wonderful: choices we have to constantly make. For instance, I met this girl. Not the greatest of passions, still our friendship+++ works very well and though we each keep many of our individual extra-curricular activities unfettered, compromises have to be made, naturally. Where do I cut? Long TBS campaigns. Civ. GalCiv II. I may touch similar games again, particularly shorter maps or scenarios requiring much less time, faster save and reload. Overall I'm back to the roots: action games we can play 15 minutes, a half an hour and then easily save & quit. Believe me, the decision is a real heart breaker, but I gain even more on the other side of the human scale. :)

I'm here to stay.

I'm not a popular guy here, but I'm proud of what I do just for the fun of it. I didn't contribute much in 2006, but now I experience a full semi return on a regular basis. I like writing, reviewing, and lurking the best blogs. Which lead us to.....

My Writing $tyle

I know that I may overuse pedantry sometimes, without necessarily mastering an excellent syntax. Although I'm bilingual, I may be excused to have french as my mother language. This isn't enough an excuse though to become pedant when I shouldn't, or when I should try at the very least to stay readible for everyone. I'll work on that, now that I have a good professor :P. I'm working on that, again, although I don't really intend to change my OVERALL literacy essence, including the words library, but I'll try for a better phrase construction. We always learn and evolve and that's the beauty of what I sense when reading back again all my blog posts and reviews. Oh boy, some of the early ones ( both posts and game reviews ) strike so ridiculous at me, too shortsighted yet that's the beauty of evolving ( sort of ). A real chance that gamespot list them chronologically. The best is yet to come, I hope. The easiest thing to do for now is to cut some ADVERBS so easily tempting to overuse. See you around.

Latest review: F.E.A.R. Extraction Point.

2nd Gig://prise 7:// Sony Wins Some, And Is Losing Some

( Alternate Header: The PS3 Effect Part3 )- see prises 3 & 6.

It's a wonder to scrutinize how Sony fares nowadays, especially the PS3's adoption as you can guess. There are two distinct strategies involved around the console's specific marketing, standing differently next to the competion. We, gamers, and some others like me HD enthusiasts, are quite the guinea pigs of a two pronged campaign for two medium in one by the mogul corporation: the Blu Ray format and next( this...) gen games.

Some observers are even accusing the big S to deliberately postpone the release of great 1080p games to a later 2008-2009 wave for an emphasis of Blu ray movies, and I almost concur with them. Furthermore, the lack of stellar games ( read correctly, I'm not saying there aren't good games yet, but the biggies to astonish us are to be seen at a much longer term ), seems to be calculated enough at enticing them gamers to wait for said greater games and, yes, buying some HD movies in the meantime. I must admit I followed the pattern. Sony got me there but hey, the PS3 is an excellent Blu ray player. Why not ? I'm willing to give the developers the time to make third-fourth waves of PS3 games even better, albeit postponing Final Fantasy XIII and Metal gear Solid 4 to a 2008 slate can still be debated as a strategic move or not. Only a handful of professionally made but generic games are sparingly marketed and released so far in 2007 on the Blu platform, which admittedly should give European addicts the time to adjust their wallets accordingly. Here again, Sony seems to market right on spot with a resolute attitude for WANTING to deliver good games, and CLAIMING victory over the HD DVD camp at the same time. ''105 Blu Ray disc games and about 40 PlayStation Network games by March'' -- Sony claimed on US PS3 releases, as stated on the front page here on GS......hmmmmm, not convincing enough for the gaming part because even though their representatives claim a stronger early sell for the PS3 than the initial PS1 & 2 the year of their respective releases, the Nintendo Wii clearly outsells the PS3 in Japan, and X360 stellar games are outrageously dominating the US sells of console games. Of course, the PS3 can't really outmatch both regions hardware wise and software wise if its price tag remains so high and.....yes, without the slew of exceptional games abundantly found on the Wii & X360. The stakes are very high now for Sony; that's why it still lose some, at sacrificing early gaming development to the profit of the Blu ray format marketing.

On the other hand, disgruntled gamers like me purchasing HD movies are contributing to switch ( temporarily? ) the balance in favor of Blu over the competitor HD DVD by a margin of 2:1 to 3:1 when writing this. Why? Simply because there are only 100 000 HD DVD players + 155 000 X360 add-on sold by mid 2007, along only around 100 000 standalone Blu ray players within the same period in the US, all that compared to......millions of PS3 worldwide. And the PS3 remains an excellent movie player, upgraded to v1.80. Here, Sony wins the movie market, by successfully ensnaring more Hollywood studios than the HD DVD group.The scenario stands against any prediction made years ago, when the PS2 barely boosted the DVD market. Bear in mind that the Hollywood studios supporting both formats won't do so for many years at any rate; too costly in the long term although some may think both can coexist like three gaming platforms. Only one movie disc format will eventually prevail; yet though Blu Ray has an undeniable advantage, it will all depends on how long shall TOSHIBA + Universal ( HD DVD proponents ) put tons of cash to compete. Let me guess: you find this war futile, if not stupid. Yes it is; and for disc enthusiasts wanting the maximum bandwidth capability, the longer this debacle endures, better are the chances that NO physical format at all replaces the aging DVDs at a planetary level. Concurrently, Video On Demand & Internet providers could just satisfy the average joe by then. However, there's a good thing for the consumer about the actual format battle : the hardware prices are dropping significantly below the 500 $ mark, merely one+ year after the inception. Below the PS3 price tag. That's quite faster than the early Betas & VHS in the 80s, along the early DVD players from 1997 to around 2000.

Is there any point to this? No point. But for the first time in the history of electronic mediums, PS3 gamers are indeed strongly influencing the new HD movie formats incepted recently. Both the gaming and the HD movie compounds are now closely entangled for some time to come in a very strange manner unseen before. Sony has still a lot of work to do in order to push its Cheval de Troie, the Blu Ray format, to a financial success. Right now, the cash flow in the negatives to support it - just like competitor Toshiba do. Evidently, Sony has more bags to lose without great games AND a victorious HD format. Exciting times, confusing times.....

Again, this niche debacle which I'm so inclined to be victim of, could also favor an interest of old school gaming for an increasing number of average & confused gamers, and by old school gaming it could mean as close as the CounterStrike era. The famed late 90s treasures are still vastly played by our unwealthy friends from colleges on their low end PCs, just like some others will party a Genesis game on a big HDTV just for the fun of it.

Now, we will analyze what Sony announce at its E3 press conference, hopefully without any preposterous statements.