Another new week is upon
us. This doesn't necessarily mean too much. There isn't much in the
way of new games hitting anytime soon. At least, I should say, there
are no important or hyped new games really hitting this week.
However, one thing a new
week does mean to us is that if you own a 360, it'll probably be
another week of Microsoft failing to bring about the Live update
that was due last week. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for
Microsoft hinting/promising this update sometime last week. Also, it
wouldn't be so bad if it was just "another" update...instead it's an
update that includes many of the features we should have seen with
the original Live for the 360.
I have to wonder who
didn't think, during the 360's development, that a download queue
would be an important thing. It's probably the same people who
didn't think that seamless downloads in the background while the
gamer uses the system for much better things (gaming) was all that
important. This is probably all related, in some sick way, to the
same people who decided to offer connectivity for MCE 2005 despite
how MCE is only found by some shady OEM sources or from a brand new
computer purchase. If one was a conspiracy theory nut, this would be
absolute paradise for them (hint: it would go from Microsoft to
computer manufacturers to the less respectable sources for OEM MCE
2005...and then some).
Anyway, I am not going
to hold my breath on this update. It will come eventually. It's been
demoed to several game news sites/magazines, and it is real. The
only real question is when Microsoft will release it...and
considering Microsoft's track record of delays, it could be any day
now...even a year from now. So, it'll come when it comes, and that's
all there is to say on that subject...at least until it's released
and can be evaluated and enjoyed.
Satoru Iwata recently
had some interesting things to say
about the Wii in a Japanese news interview. It is really
refreshing, while we listen to the same stale "who's console is
bigger?" crap from Microsoft and Sony, to hear an opinion that isn't
about size or abilities. In fact, the more I hear about the Wii, the
more I can't help but feel like a kid again.
To me, feeling like a
kid means one important thing; fun games. When I was younger (think
about the NES/SNES generations), all that ever really mattered in
games were how much fun one could have with them. It wasn't about
who's visuals looked better, who's HDD was bigger, or who had the
greatest CPU/GPU. It was all about having a system, and then getting
games for it. Period.
To hear Iwata's thoughts
on the Wii, and also some of the logic behind the idea of having the
Wiimote (as most are now calling the controller) really makes me
feel like this fall will be a great time to be a geek.
While I had some doubts
for a long time about the motion sensor technology (considering how
it's failed in the past so many times), I think, until I play the
actual Wii, that the comparison to the DS's dual screens is a great
thing to relax my mind. Afterall, I was one of the more outspoken of
people about the stupidity of the dual screens...until I played the
DS. I think the same thing will be true about the Wiimote...once I
use it, I imagine most of my fears will be laid to rest.
It's also interesting to
see that Nintendo is not making a system for technophiles. I say
this as a technophile, might I add. The extra speaker in the Wiimote?
Not everyone has 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, or whatever else surround sound
systems, and this will give a small touch of such technology, but
without the price. As for the always connected online service...to
hear that it will allow downloads of DS demos without any real
hassle or need for a DS download/WiFi station is awesome.
In a nut shell, it
sounds a lot like Nintendo is doing all the right things by removing
the complications of the high end technology found in the
competition. I think it really takes the type of company that
Nintendo has become to see that gaming is not supposed to be an
elitist club...it's an open invitation party for all who want to
join in and have a little fun.
The only part of what
Iwata said that annoys me is this crap about how "Nintendo is not
working on a next-generation console." Whatever. To say the Wii is
not next generation is like how the DS has been called not next-gen
for the Gameboy line. It's all about putting lame titles and names
on something when there are already existing terminology for it. The
Wii is next-gen. The DS is the sequel to the GBA. Most of all, the
PS3 is a game system (and not a freakin' "entertainment
supercomputer"). Titles means nothing, but denial of them only means
the company/party involved is in denial about something.
If you haven't seen so
back. I won't even go into this too much, except for one
anybody in the face unless you're a hit man or a video gamer,"
If you couldn't
tell, that would be from the wonderful man who will bring about all
of our salvations via his wonderful skills in censorship (/sarcasm).
Yes, Jack Thompson.
Like I said, I
wouldn't normally try to touch this, but I have to wonder about the
flat out stereotyping and generalizing he is doing about that whole
comment. Seriously, are the hitmen of the world going to stand for
In all reality,
this is the real reason he should no be listened to by the general
populace; the flat out closed-minded attitude he has about a group
of normal and average people (gamers). Also, if a suspect for a
crime is in the teenage range, I can say without a 90% certainty
that the teen will have video games in his/her home...and since many
of the most popular and more entertaining games are rated M, they
will most likely be M rated.
shift gears, I guess what I complained a bit about yesterday may not
be worth complaining about anymore. Microsoft is now saying that the
360 update, with a shit-ton of
new features, will be out tomorrow...so in typical Microsoft
it's out today.
All of the
features in the update are sounding pretty solid, but I still have
an important question; why was this stuff not included about 8
months ago when the 360 launched? Some of the things would take time
to locate and analyze to find that they needed improving, but other
features (download manager, fast forward in trailers, etc) really
should have been out from day one.
My big question,
however, is if the download menus are smoother. I don't just mean
reorganized to be easier to find things, but better short
descriptions to know which trailer is 720 versus 480, for example. I
personally hate looking at multiple trailer listings to just find
the one I should've known already to download it. If this doesn't
make sense, then you don't have a 360, or you don't use Live.
However, in a nut shell, the descriptions of downloadable content is
usually fine until it's something with a large name, and then the
important parts (display resolution, etc) are cut off until you
manually inspect each possible downloadable item.
I guess the real
knowledge of this stuff will be determined today...however, I shall
not be posting some thoughts on it tomorrow...a day, which I might
add, will also include no post of any sort from me (I'll be a The
Street's concert and won't be home until who knows how late).
On a final note
before I wrap things up, I saw
Headbanger's Journey" this last weekend. While not all of you
may be metal fanatics, I am willing to bet you probably know at
least one metalhead in your life. If you do, you owe it to yourself
(and to your metalhead friends/family members) to see this movie. On
top of that, even if you don't know any metalheads, this is a great
inside look into a lifestyle that (much like gaming) has gotten a
lot of bad press without any real reason (not counting Norwegian
Black Metal). Most importantly, this movie has unintentional comedy
just dripping from every pore.
Well, I'm out
Despite my previous
plans, it looks like I'm posting today (as if I need to say that
when the post is right in front of your eyes). Turns out the concert
starts a little bit later than I thought.
I had a little
time to tinker around with the Live update for the 360. I didn't
have enough time to witness a fraction of the 150+ improvements, or
whatever they are saying. Of course, most improvements are things
that happen behind the screen, so you wouldn't really notice
something like better synching of audio and video after extended
pausing on DVD playback unless you're in the habit of letting your
360 play DVDs and having it paused for extended periods of time.
As for the two
most obvious and talked about upgrades (the download manager and the
reorganization of the downloadable content menus)...well, they are a
damned bit nicer than the old methods. The download manager, in
particular, is nice. However, I wish you had the option to delay a
download at the top of your active downloads list so you can quickly
download a small item (such as gamer pics, themes, blah, blah)
before downloading that 1GB demo that's slowing down the whole
process and is limiting your list of 6 downloads. However, that's
probably something Microsoft will give us in a future update, after
they ensure that the download manager is working up to par.
The menus in the
Marketplace are definitely better than before...however, I still
feel like I'm working a little too hard to find the content I want.
It's like going from DOS to Windows 3.1. It's a bit easier for most
to navigate the Win 3.1 menus, but it still is not as simply as the
methods used in Win XP. I feel like the Marketplace is still in it's
3.1 development cycle.
On further 360
Oblivion patch that has been long awaited is coming tomorrow.
Hopefully this is not an auto-update. While some of the fixes are
probably damned good (like all of the quest ending
glitches...Umbra's sword, I'm looking at you), the item dupe fix is
probably not going to go over too well. Well, for some it won't
matter, but for those who love making videos of cascading water
(melon) falls, this is not a welcome thing. I just hope the many
quest glitches will have been fixed, along with how the orc who
sells a house in Skingrad often dies during the course of everyday
events (I wish I could see him die and know who he angered)...I do
want that house.
On a third random
note, if you're a Sony hater, Microsoft fanboy, or a Nintendo
here you go. Basically, a "news" item by The Inquirer is
starting a bunch of anti-hype for the PS3. Basically, it goes on to
say that the PS3 is slow, not performing up to specifications, blah,
blah. Right about now, unless it deals with something cool with the
Wii (like where I can finally pre-order), I just want to
sleep...wake me when the new generation is here.
Last note before I
leave to see The Streets (this is going be so f#@%ing sweet!)...I've
been a bit slow on posting anything to the forums. I do check
them...well, I used to. Lately, I've been so engrossed in trying to
prune obvious soon-to-be spammers (if your email address involves
words like "casino" or "Rolexes" or "cheap" I think it's sorta
obvious...), that I have completely ignored legitimate posts. So,
I'll do better on this front now on...
I was out yesterday,
recovering. I saw The Streets performing on Wednesday, and I still
cannot believe how cool the overall experience was.
On one hand, I'm
glad to have finally been to something that's 21 and over. Most
concerts I see have too much of the "my older sibling got me into
them" "fan" base. Less Than Jake, Flogging Molly, The Aquabats, The
Mighty Mighty Bosstones...they have too much general appeal to be
21+. Well, The Streets is a different matter. It's not that his
music is not going to be popular among people under 21, but rather
the way the concert is done.
during a couple of songs, a bottle of brandy was held, ready to give
shots from a spout into the waiting mouths of those who pushed their
way up to the front. Alcohol was everywhere, and literally free
flowing from the stage.
I don't think
there's any way to properly describe the event...well, except to say
that I have never heard anything that offended my ears (not as in
content...but rather the voice itself) as Lady Sovereign (the
opening act). I just hope, in all of my concert going days, I never
have to see her open for anyone...ever again.
On a completely
different note, I found
this funny. Ken Kutaragi (of Sony fame) is now saying that the
goal of the PS3 is to become as proliferated in daily life as the
iPod. I just have one thing to say to that...price. If the price is
going to be as insanely steep as $600, then don't expect that Apple
experience. Apple is smart enough to offer iPod versions in almost
all possible price ranges, from the Shuffle to the iPod Video. The
PS3, on the other hand, is just expensive.
I also find his
comment of making the PS3 a platform "which top programmers can
realize their full potential." Bullshit. It's already being said by
developers that the hardware became a bit more complex than they
feel they can fully utilize. To simplify this, let's just say that
by the time the development community feels ready to fully utilize
the system to their "full potential", the PS3 will be in it's
decline and about to be replaced by the PS4.
I'm not saying
that good games will not come the way of the PS3...rather, I'm
saying that the full potential will simply not be found. The PS3 was
designed to be too good, if that makes sense. The complexity
required for it's high end technology makes it expensive and complex
to utilize. In other words, it's a great system for Sony to show
off, but it's not friendly to the two most important parties;
developers and gamers.
To change topics
again, I finally tracked down Suikoden V the other day. It's amazing
how a game like Suikoden III could be found in every store for the
next...how long has it been, because I still find new copies at
Gamestop? However, Suikoden IV was so fundamentally flawed (I liked
it, but it failed as a Suikoden game) that S5 is nearly impossible
to find only a couple of months after it was released. I'm just glad
for online auctions and secondhand stores.
I haven't started
playing yet, since I'm still enthralled in my 10th or so play
through of Xenogears. However, even if I take a while to play (and
review) Suikoden 5, with how rare it's become, most people will
still not had played it. For once I can be lazy in a review and not
worry about it.
Well, I'm out of
here for the weekend. For those who are anticipating it, don't
forget the World Cup is beginning. Even if you're not into
soccer/football, try giving it a shot for the next few weeks. This
is a great time to experience seeing the best of the best, and not
just a random game being rebroadcast on some European sports channel
in the dregs of digital cable.
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