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Damn You Dell!

2007WFP: It is Like Star Wars Ep. I All Over Again

As I noted in my last journal post I was looking to pickup a wide screen LCD monitor for my new PC. Well that plan has been semi derailed. As I noted the much loved Dell 2005WFP was recently replaced by the updated model the 2007WFP. Wondering if Dell might cheap out or just screw up the new model I chose to wait to read some reviews, and yeah it seems Dell blew it. Reports on the AnandTech, Widescreengamingforum.com, and even Dells own forums report a few problems, most notably some ugly banding issues. Grrr. How it is that CNET didn’t notice this problem is beyond me. Thank goodness I didn’t place my order.

19" of Trash

In related news the 19” Dell LCD monitor that I ordered for the lady of the house arrived. It was the 1907FP that was/is on sale for the insane price of ~$250. My impression is that this monitor is not so much “on sale” as it barely worth ~$250 . The response time is great, I could find no ghosting. The stand is keen as you can adjust height and tilt with one hand easily, and you’ll need to…

The big problem is that the viewing angle is T-R-A-S-H. Strap on one of those old orthodontic headgear things and attach this monitor to it if you want a clear picture. Don’t dare slouch in your chair, and try to avoid any sort of upper body movement as if you do the picture will change dramatically.

Another issue is the brightness. I wouldn’t make much of a big deal about it but the fact that you can not adjust contrast when using the DVI cable brings about a big problem. The default brightness is insanely bright. So with that being the only control available you end up turning the brightness way down. Disappointing, but not the end of the world . . . until you realize that even with the brightness cranked all the way down anything that is pure white on the screen will hurt your eyes. Somehow the pure white is super bright and seemingly independent of the brightness controls. With no other options you’re left to either go blind or close your eyes and enjoy the tan. To CNET’s credit they did mention the lack of contrast control and the viewing angle, but I don’t think they made enough of a point of it.

I received the 19” on Monday, I hope I can return it.

In the meantime I’m looking at Viewsonic VX2025wm as a wide screen option.

House PC - Crysis

A New PC

It is that time again. It is time for me to buy a new PC. The framework for my current PC was laid over four years ago and at this point individual component upgrades just won’t do it anymore. Toss in the fact that the fiancé is moving in and she’ll need a PC of her own and that means I’m buying a whole new PC.

On top of a faster system I was really excited about dumping the CRT and getting an LCD display, right up until I started researching. Uneven brightness, slow response times, color matching problems? What is this the dark ages of CRTs? On top of that I’ll be damned if the review sites didn’t often disagree on even how to evaluate an LCD. Fortunately the Dell 2005WFP seemed to be the universally praised monitor and so I went shopping for it to find . . . it had just been replaced by a new model the 2007WFP.

Now this could be great as the new monitor could be better than the last, but right now there are few reviews of that monitor, and only one from a site that I know and consider reputable. So I’m waiting a few days before ordering hoping to see some more reviews.


I’m not one to drool much over screenshots. In fact I’m fairly pessimistic about them. Even when I think a screen shot looks great I often wonder if it can perform in motion as well. Call it grumpy gamer’s syndrome but I’ve seen plenty of great screenshots of games that turn out to be garbage.

Dispite my pessimism the game Crysis managed to get a big W - O - W out of me this week. I’m not sure how well their DoF system will work, and I don’t know if I buy into the idea that every face in the game will be as detailed as some of the models, but even if they aren’t the lighting and effects look awesome. As if answering my usual question about motion they put out a trailer that (at least for me) was jaw dropping. If you have a free minute I suggest you check it out.

Is Portable Gaming the Future?

I was talking with some friends about video games recently. They probably qualify as the often-referenced casual gamers. They don’t keep up with the gaming news much, they buy a handful games a year and most only own one console and do a little PC gaming from time to time.

The interesting thing was that when talking to them they were pretty pessimistic about the state of console gaming. The price of next generation consoles, games, and various uncertainties was a large source of their pessimism. Only one was certain when they were going to buy into the next generation consoles. The one place they were enthusiastic was portable gaming. Be it Sony PSP or Nintendo DS they all were excited about their portable gaming systems.

This got me wondering if we won’t see a significance increase in portable gaming in the next few years, possibly even more growth (by percentage) than console gaming. Could the future of gaming be in the portable realm?

The power of portable systems has taken a big jump forward with the DS and PSP, and in light of next generation console prices the relatively high priced PSP can look like a reasonable value. Toss in the fact that the games are much cheaper than we’ve seen from next generation tittles and things can seem even more appealing.

Then there is what I think the key, some of the games on these two systems are great games. The systems are powerful providing good 3D graphics that looks even better on the small screens. They provide a substantial amount of game play and variety. Sometimes providing nearly much game playtime as a console game, for a substantially reduced price.

Considering that the Nintendo generation is accustomed to dragging electronics with them wherever they go and clearly are finding themselves with less time for gaming as they start families, the pickup and play convenience of the portable systems seems like a good match.

Of course, there’s a bit catch to all this. There are currently only two companies with significant holds on the portable gaming market Nintendo, and Sony. Even with the inevitable introduction of Microsoft into the market it’s hard to really say where things will end up.

Traditionally I’d anticipate that market forces would result in someone getting the formula right and draw a fair number of gamers into the land of portable gaming and to the best system for all the reasons I list above.

Yet as we’ve seen with the Xbox 360 it seems clear that the fewer companies you’ve got involved the less likely someone will find the best way to do business and maximize the opportunities that are available. The 360’s release was a bit of a mess, Sony PS3 doesn’t seem to be in shape to be released on time, and even Sony’s PSP lineup seems to have faded a bit over time.

By no means am I predicting doom for the console world. There are new gamers being born everyday who no doubt will be playing on the big consoles. Yet I wonder if there might be a significant migration from console in to the land of portable gaming in the future.

Best Video Game Idea Evar!!!1

This is not my idea. Someone on another forum I participate on suggested this. It is by far one of the best video game ideas I’ve heard in a long time. Possibly ever.

Mario Curling DS

You could use the stylus to sweep and the microphone to yell. If that concept alone doesn’t get you excited then I declare you not a gamer.

Video Game Posters?

In this day and age when video game developers and publishers are complaining about development costs, and busy pimping out their intellectual property to the movie industry (making a lot of bad films), you’d think the folks in the video industry might be a bit creative in terms of trying to pickup some extra cash. So why on earth can’t I find something as simple as poster of some video game box art?

Granted North American box art typically is uninspired, but I think that even that stuff would sell reasonably well. As far as I know posters aren’t region coded so offering European, Japanese, and North American posters would seem to work. How much does it cost to make a poster? Surely not more than a buck or two when done in reasonable volume, and no doubt people would be willing to shell out plenty for them.

This idea occurred to me (probably for the 12th or 13th time) today as I was playing Shadow of the Colossus. It’s one of those memorable games that has some very nice box art. I think it would look cool as a poster, and even better with the ESRB rating removed.

Missed opportunities like these remind me how adolescent the video game industry still is.  I expect that one day we’ll have all sorts of tie in products similar to Japan.

Features Gamespot Should Have

Note that these aren’t suggestions for Gamespot Features, although I would like to note that the features page is so much more awesome than it was in the past (not awesome). Anyway on to my topic.

What follows are a list of features that I think would be awesome if available to the users of this site:

Site Tracking

I proposed this idea a while back and I thought it was worth mentioning again. I’d like to see various portions of the Gamespot site “trackable.” After a period of time you would be provided some notification of all the updates made to that portion of the site. That way you could track something like the Gamecube info in order to get all the Gamecube updates that occurred there, or the features section, or the hardware section, or the sports section, and so on.

It would be cool if we could set the time frame between updates (1 day, 3 days, 1 week, etc.). As far as the method of notification (e-mail, an update page, Greg calling everyone’s cell and leaving voice mails) I’m open to any number of methods although I think that I would like some separation between the game tracking updates and site tracking just to make it easier to sort thru them.

Favorite Games

I made this suggestion in the Site Enhancements forum not long ago. The concept is simple as it allows users to note what games are their favorite games just like you do with the wish list and such. Now comes the fun part.

After enough users mark games as their favorite games Gamespot could do all kinds of cool stuff with that data. They could provide info such as “Other gamers who enjoyed Game X also like Games Y,Z…” or “Other gamers who enjoyed many of the same games that you enjoyed also enjoyed… Games A,B…” or “Other gamers who enjoyed games that you are user C,D…”

It could even be taken farther noting that favorite games of each union’s user base and even all time forum user favorite games . . . .

I think it would be fun and interesting.

Developer & Publisher Tracking / Pages

There are two parts to this suggestion.

The first part would allow users to track developers and publishers just like games and receive updates just like we do now with games. It’s a simple suggestion but I think would be a great feature as there are developers who I think about from time to time and wonder “Hey I wonder what they’re doing now?” It would be cool to have a feature where we could easily track them and not have to wonder ;)

The second is to have pages on Gamespot for each publisher and developer. Just as games receive gamespace pages on Gamespot it would be keen to have publisher and developer spaces where it lists news items related to that publisher or developer, historically released games, games in development and such. It wouldn’t have to be as fancy as the gamespaces, just a listing of related content.

I think both parts of developer / publisher tracking and updates would be useful, not just to gamers here but perhaps even the folks working in the publishing or development industry when they ask “Hey what are they up to these days?”