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Malik (1/12/09)

Ok, I lied. I will still talk a little NFL, even after saying I would not be doing much any more. Why? Because it was one hell of a bad week for 1st seeded teams. The Titans and the Giants both fell in their first playoff games of the post season. I didn't catch the Titans (stupid Saturday just feels unnatural to watch NFL on a Saturday). However, the Giants played in one of the most boring and tiresome games I've seen for quite some time. It couldn't be much less interesting unless it was the Cards playing in this lame of a game.

Speaking of which, how the hell did the Cards advance? That just boggles the mind. The Cardinals are going to the NFC championship game against the Eagles. Let me say that again; the Cards versus the Eagles for the NFC title!? What the hell is the NFL going to?

Anyway, it would be a nice twist of fate for the Steelers to face the Cards in the Superbowl. It would be like a second take on Superbowl XL. I would even cheer for the Cards, who would be the Seahawks division rival. I mean anyone is better in these eyes than the Steelers...especially with memories of XL still lingering.

Ok, to change topics, and to mention another improbable thing, I am a hypocrite. I have betrayed my beliefs this weekend. I made a move that astounds my brain and makes me feel like such a traitor to my beliefs. However, I feel damned good about it...for now.

I bought a PS3. There, I said it. My name is Malik and I own a damned PS3. Why would I get one? That can be answered by saying I also bought Valkyria Chronicles and LittleBigPlanet. Those games change everything.

I am happy with my move? Yes...but there is a "but". I forgot about it until my other PS3 owning friend, Tangwich, brought it up. The PS3 still has no upscale options built in, despite losing backwards compatibility (wouldn't that qualify as a good swap?). This means with most games being made for 720p, my 1080i big screen is feeling a little underwhelming. Still, LBP is damned fun, and I hope a patch comes along soon for us non-720p people. I couldn't even comment on my other games (VC and Uncharted), since LBP has stolen all of my time recently.

Anyway, time to get back to feeling good and bad about my decision. So many conflicting emotions.


Malik (1/13/09)

With getting a PS3, I had one obvious hurdle I had left to jump before I could really say I'm fully set up. I needed more controllers. I don't mean the ridiculous "the PS3 can use 7 controllers" stuff. I mean you need four controllers if you ever want any real multiplayer. Games don't usually go to 7 players, and those that do are usually not going to be good titles. So, I had to grab a few extra controllers.

Considering that, despite being the superior controller, the Dualshock 3 is $60. That's a lot of money for a single controller. I have one from my PS3, so that would be my own controller. Screw the other players. So, first I simply got one extra controller...a Mad Catz one. It wasn't too bad, beyond how all third party wireless controllers are USB-dongle using things, instead of blue tooth. Oh well. That was one down. I only got this type since it was the only extra controller that wasn't first party in the store when I got my PS3.

For my other two, I was able to hit another store and find Logitech controllers in stock. From my PC gaming I know damned well that Logitech usually equals quality. Sometimes they are even better than first party products. I mean they are who I would normally turn to if I wanted something third party for input in a game. That was my mistake.

Luckily, it's not like I'd ever use these controllers. I have my Dualshock 3 to keep me happy. So, I will not notice the lack of sixaxis motion mechanics with the Logitech. Neither would I have to worry too much about no power switch (I'll just leave batteries out since I don't trust these things to be turning themselves off). I also wouldn't notice the extra button (to swap d-pad and the left analogue stick) getting in my way or the PS button being moved to a weird location. I wouldn't even notice the lack of lights to display which controller number these things are assigned to or the stiff L2 and R2 buttons that seems to be less than comfortable versus even the Mad Catz controller.

The one thing I will notice is that, with the lack of features and some weird ergonomics, that I paid more for a Logitech controller than for the Mad Catz controller. Maybe the Logitech one will last longer since Mad Catz is not known, to me at least, to be a reliable company. Then again, to put it simple, I was ripped off by Logitech. Mad Catz makes a damned nice PS3 wireless controller that includes sixaxis features, lights (to display which slot the controller is assigned to), a good button layout with nice feeling d-pad and L2/R2 buttons, and an actual shut off switch to conserve batteries. Yes, Mad Catz makes a far superior PS3 controller than Logitech...and as I say that, I know the apocalypse is coming since Mad Catz being anything but the worst is a sign of the end of days coming upon us.


Malik (1/14/09)

So I am just going to probably talk about the PS3 for a bit like it's a new system. Yes, it's been out for a couple years, but it's new to me and therefore I am looking at it like a new system.

I have found one problem with the system that I find particularly annoying. I've started downloading demos like a man possessed. I have some games I still haven't played (like Valkyria Chronicles and Uncharted), but the demos call to me when I'm not helping my sackboy in LittleBigPlanet.

The first annoyance for me is in downloading. I like downloading in the background, just like I can do on my 360. However, since only one download will be active at a time, I have found an annoyance. That would be how you cannot just bump something up in the queue. I can pause every item then manually start the download I want to be next, but this is more labor intensive than simply bumping something up in priority on the 360. This get even worse if I have a large number of downloads and the one I want to download last is just happening to sit on the top of the list, unless I want to do some downloading hand holding. I would have imagined a priority feature to come along by now.

The other problem I keep hitting is that many of these demos for casual games (or whatever the PS3 term is for non-disk, non-PSX, and non-PSP titles) are old now. I am still interested, but anything that's new will ask for you to update an install that cannot be in the background. That's bad enough, but this "update" is actually a whole new install file that can clock in at nearly 1 GB. So, I sit. Then when it's done, and I'm wondering why I had to download this new file when I just downloaded the original file only 2 hours earlier (did it update in the last two hours? Really?), I can finally install, again. When it's done, I load the demo and get a copyright protection error.

Yes, the full game got an update and this overwrites the demo's version and replaces the game with the full version...but without me being authorized to use it. If I chose to ignore an update request, I am also logging out of PSN. While most demos are ones I only want to try offline, it still is worded in a way which makes me feel like nothing in the demo will work without this update. There has to be a better solution for this. If a company wants to sell it's game, they should ensure no issues with the demo. I am not one to buy a game without researching it, and this basically stops all of my interest in potentially buying a game.

Anyway, my PS3 time is not all bad...however, since I'm so addicted to LBP, the bad is all I can say without just rambling about LBP for the next year. Damn, LBP is too good of a game. LBP has to be the first exclusive game I've played since Final Fantasy VII that I have to call a true killer-app. This is a console selling game and that just doesn't happen much anymore in this time of higher priced consoles (especially in a poor economy).

It may be a little late, since 2008 ended a good 14 days ago, but I will go back on what I said about "GotY". I said no game can really be called "Game of the Year". It's all subjective and varies by individual tastes. I was wrong...while it may not be for everyone, I have to say LBP is a title that actually deserves being called "GotY" for 2008.


Malik (1/16/09)

I did break away from LBP for one day to play Valkyria Chronicles. It was a lot of fun. So much fun that I went back to LBP the next day, as opposed to the same day. I really do want to quit my LBP addiction, but I just cannot...even with a game that is as good as VC.

VC, despite not pulling permanently from LBP, is a damned good game. It reminds me of the Sega days that have long passed us by. I mean it was great characters, a riveting story, and a solid tactical engine with some twists. This reminds me a lot of why Shining Force 1 and 2 stole many summers away from me as a kid.

The one main difference that really makes VC stand out to me is the real time turn based engine. That is, it's turn based as you make decisions, but the action turns real time when you move a single unit...but not. You are moving in real time, and the enemies will return fire and attack you if you approach their line of sight. However, only a single unit moves in an action phase (with multiple units able to move before the computer's turn).

The other part of VC that really makes me happy is how the game can be based around war with somewhat modern units (guns, grenades, and tanks), but Sega can still make it have the general feel and atmosphere of a fantasy game. As a person who shys away from modern (let's call it WWI to present) combat games, I am astounded by how much I want to keep playing this game thats setting feels like it's part of the general catalogue of WWII games.

Anyway, I will have to keep playing more than the four hours I've sunk into it. However, for the time being I need to keep playing LBP. My current goal is to finish each level without losing a life ("ace" a level) and to obtain all items possible with a single player. The multiplayer items will have to wait. The ace part will also have to wait for some levels (in particular, any boss stages). My next goal is to ace The Bunker, which has to be the single most frustrating level of LBP. It's also one of those rarer levels in which multiple players can be a hindrance rather than a helpful thing.

To get away from my new obsession, I'll stop my PS3 talk by saying this...I'm amazed with the PS3. I think it helps that VC and LBP came along recently. However, between those two games and the abilities (youtube on a big screen TV and video streaming from a PC that works far more reliably than on the 360) of the console, I have put more time into the PS3 than any other system in the week that I got the thing. I've barely even touched my 360 since last Friday.

The only thing that brings me back to the 360 is Rock Band. Which will be getting some awesome songs next Tuesday. Well, some awesome ones (like a Steve Miller Band three pack with great songs in it for $5.50 for the pack or $2 each)...and some less than awesome (Godsmack). Rob Zombie is a nice addition, especially for bass, but the song could have been a bit better (still not bad).

Anyway, with the singles (five total), for $2 each, and the Steve Miller Band pack, the variety is nice with a few genres. I can't say I'm disappointed when Harmonix is hitting such a wide variety of genres in recent weeks.


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