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Malik (2/22/10)

The great thing about a bad idea is that no matter how you try to sell it, a truly bad idea will not sell. For example, the PSP is not too bad of a system. It would be better with Sony supporting homebrew apps, but that will not happen. When I got my PSP, it was a bad system since it lacked games (those came not long after I sold my PSP), Sony kept battling homebrew, and the first release PSP was fragile (especially the square button and the analogue stick). However, the portable soon picked up in marketability and became a decent system. I don't think I'd go back to the thing, but I cannot blame people who have one for saying they enjoy it.

However, the PSP Go was just a bad idea. I mean digital distribution is great, but not as a sole means of software access. When a vast amount of PSP UMD games have yet to go to digital means, and when a person cannot "upgrade" from a PSP to a PSP Go due to their old games being useless, it means there's a bad idea in the works. Now Sony is offering a download code for Assassin's Creed 2 or Little Big Planet if you buy a PSP Go. Sorry, but a bad idea is always a bad idea, no matter how hard you try to sell it.

I think this is one of those times when a manufacturer needs to just abandon the new for the old. The PSP Go is the "New Coke" of their lineup. The old PSP had some problems selling since it lacked games for too long of it's early life, but it started to pick up and not look like a bad how Coke Classic looked a bit old and had some trouble since they just lost touch with consumers. However, a new format (PSP Go or New Coke) is rarely the answer when the new one just offers a worse product for the same price. It's time for Sony to just dump the PSP Go...and maybe rebrand the PSP to something like "PSP Classic" to fully finish off and acknowledge their failure.

At least as long as Sony keeps pumping out ideas for new or altered technology, I can be entertained. Sometimes it's the laugh I get from something like the PSP Go, but sometimes it's the geeky thrill of something like a universal game controller. When I have no idea how this could work in the end, I would love to see if Sony could market this thing...or even if their can produce such a thing.

I would especially love to see how they could overcome the three major problems inherent with such a controller idea.

On one hand, how do you make this work with old consoles that don't use blue-tooth connections? Would you just make different style adapters to fit, for example, an NES controller port? Would you actually be encouraging emulation by making only modern (wireless/blue-tooth) consoles and PCs work with the thing?

Secondly...the lawsuits! I mean with how many companies keep suing everyone else for controller related patents, how do you make something to emulate Nintendo or Microsoft designed and owned controllers without either being sued or facing a royalty payment to a rival company? It just seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Lastly, you have to wonder how well a touch screen work as a full controller? I mean a basic single touch style, or a dual-touch like the iPhone wouldn't be bad for some functions. However, to have a full controller with no tactile sensations, while you look away from the device (to watch the game you're playing) would be nothing short of awkward. Can you imagine using a modern controller (think PS3 or 360 controller) with no tactile response? With that many buttons, it would just be a pain to keep track of where your fingers are.

I like this type of idea, just to keep my mind asking questions. However, I think I'm more entertained in the prospect of this thing actually being created and marketed...and the enevitable fallout that would come from it. Still, it's not like even 25% of all patents see the light of day in a applied manner.


Malik (2/24/10)

Yesterday was a good day. I finished The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom (hopefully I never have to type that out again). I also started a new puzzle based obsession.

When I finished Winterbottom, a thought occurred to me; why? I mean the game got better and better the more I played, but I can't help but feel that there was another whole chapter that was skipped. There may have been room for two more chapters, even. I say this since each chapter consists of one primary rule change (like in Braid) played out over 10 or 11 stages. This typically, but not always, lets one ease into the new concept of the chapter, but it will end the section with a single stage to really test all of your skills to their maximum.

Chapter four, for example, introduces red clones. The clones are time loops made by your actions when you record time and they continue to play out to what you did when they were recorded. The red ones, however, will hurt you if they touch you. Meanwhile, chapter four introduces time portals, which limit the location from where you can start a recording. It seems like the chapter could have been split into ten full stages for each of these changes instead of one chapter that only seems to go halfway into each new idea.

The same can be said for chapter five, which starts off tying all of the previous chapter related rules into a single area. However, near the end, you find free acting clones. These clones will always try to go to you and will always try to hit you, or other clones, with their canes (which send you flying). You only control if one is made and when it jumps (they only jump when you do, adding a small touch of control to these clones). It is a great new mechanic, and it only lasts for a few stages. I really wanted more. The free moving clone puzzles are, without a doubt, my favorite stages of Winterbottom. Considering the game is quite short (still worth the price, however), another chapter fleshing out any of the doubled up ideas would have been great.

Anyway, I tried to do some of the challenge puzzles, but it was not my cup of tea. They are all based on finishing a stage within a short goal time or with a small limit on the number of clones. It can be fun for perfectionists, but I'm fine with playing each of these stages once and moving on without the perfectionism getting in the way of my fun.

So, while browsing the Live Marketplace, I came across the demo for Gyromancer (the Square Enix take on the puzzle RPG genre). I gave it a shot, despite recent unhappiness with most things Square. After playing a great trial/demo (it's great because it's a long trial...meaning you really do get a chance to try out the game), I had to buy the game. I mean where Puzzle Quest failed in delivering a sequel, Gyromancer comes through.

After playing for about three hours, I am completely hooked on Gyromancer. I think my only complaint so far is that the game is making me like Square Enix again. After harboring this resentment for so long, it just feels wrong to let my anger go.

On a final quick note; Lost last night really made me appreciate how well written the dialogue can be when the show is on its A game. I mean the Hugo lines were amazing and required a few re-watching of scenes to pick up on what I missed while laughing. If the last season keeps up this strongly, I think it'll be safe to say that Lost will go out with people wanting more...just like all good shows should do when they end.


Malik (2/26/10)

With all the Nintendo news this week, I am not too excited. I think I've passed by the Nintendo thing for a while since I just can't seem to get enough value from anything Nintendo. The one exception is the DS, but not really the Nintendo made games for the DS. I haven't used my Wii since playing Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Before that, I hadn't used my Wii for a year and a half. It's the most unused console I have. I mean I even used my Genesis, Lynx, Virtual Boy, and 3DO more in that time span.

The new DSi XL doesn't impress me enough to drop money on a system I already own. It's one thing if I didn't have a DS (the larger size of the XL sounds better for my adult sized hands), but I refuse to buy any console multiple times unless the remake has something important enough to justify the price. For example, my PS2 broke, so I ended up with a slim PS2. My GBA sucked due to lighting, so I was happy to have received a GBA SP from a friend. The DSi and DSi XL just don't do enough to pay almost $200 for a new version. Plus, if I had a DSi I'd be annoyed since DS-Ware titles cannot be transferred, so all DS-Ware titles must be bought again on a new XL.

The only thing that excites me is that Picross 3D is coming in May. I'm a Picross addict, and this will keep me happy through the end of the spring. However, another Mario Galaxy is not enough since I didn't get nearly enough time out of the original. As for Metroid Other M...I've yet to even slightly be happy with a 3D Metroid game (and I have bought all three Prime games...swearing to never waste my money on another non-2D Metroid after each new 3D Metroid).

I just wish Nintendo would offer some real details on the next Zelda game, since that's their only current property that will hit the Wii that doesn't leave me thinking about how I'd rather have the money than the game.

Lastly for today, I'm glad to have Gyromancer, since I don't have to feel left out or bored when I find the next crop of Rock Band DLC to be worthless. Yes, some people would enjoy The Silversun Pickups or Disturbed. However, I find them to be about the opposite (and on opposite ends of the music spectrum from each other) of my tastes in music. Either too whiney or too forced of a hard sound.

So, I'll be sticking with my Gyromancer addiction and enjoying every dollar I spent on that download, as well as the great priced DLC for it.


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