Category Archives: video games

Shameless Plug: Blog de Purée

Figured I would give my good friend Paul at work a little link juice – although based upon comparing his Technorati rating to mine it might actually hurt him (he’s way more popular, but I’m still single and can take advantage of all the blog groupies so it’s a trade off).

Anyways, his site is called Blog de Purée and, like mine, topic hops a bit. He does have a lot of unique insight into the tech and web 2.0 world. Not only because he works with me and can harness my vast volume of knowledge (laugh track goes here) but because he has worked for several other web companies.

Some good deep reads:

  1. Online rating systems can be manipulated by crowd-hacking
  2. Can an online brand support gated or average content?
  3. Helium member writes about being a member and earning money on the website
  4. WordPress as a content management system for niche communities
  5. Social networking is no fish story on Angler’s Web site

Paul is a funny guy who I enjoy working with immensely both for his good attitude and irreverent sense of humor – which comes across in some of his writing. Definitely check out his blog.

Random Tidbit: So posting a link to my friend’s site isn’t random enough? Ok, how about a wiki composed of video game wikis? Pretty cool stuff.

Retro Gaming

So I’ve been on a sort of 3 month hiatus this summer – don’t judge me. Between work, life, riding my motorcycle, my niece and various other distractions I was just not able to concentrate on providing any quality content or new templates. I figured nothing was better than doing something halfway.

I did have a thought the other day, as I try to get back into the swing of things, about video games. I read several gaming magazines and of course most of the discussion lately has been about the next generation systems and the slow dying of the last generation systems. An idea spawned in my head that I’m sure someone must have thought of before but if not I figured I’d take credit.

A big push lately has been for retro gaming – bringing back SNES, Sega Genesis, etc games to XBox Live and the Playstation equivalent as well as smaller new games that come out in these formats rather than as a full retail release – Geometry Wars comes to mind. My thought was that many people can’t afford the next generation systems – especially considering to take full advantage of them you must also have an HD television – but they do have the last generation. I’m thinking specifically the Playstation 2 and XBox – both robust, powerful systems.

Would it not make sense then for a newer and/or smaller developer to put out titles for these systems? It would seem that the cost of development and publishing would be much lower. Even better would be if that after the parent companies considered the life cycle of the system to be over that they would open this avenue by providing free or low cost development and publishing kits.

They would lose some money because as I envision it they would not be taking in a royalty with these games. However, they would be supporting an audience that probably wouldn’t affect their sales any. My theory is those that can afford the next generation would and wouldn’t buy these games.  Those that can’t afford the next generation wouldn’t and, therefore, would not be giving them any money anyways.

This would also enable people to create their own video games, thus going back to the roots of garage development – a few friends trying to make an original, cool intellectual property.

I’m pretty sure Sony and Microsoft would never go for it, but it seemed like a cool idea to me. It’s very disappointing that I can no longer get any new titles for my XBox. Even when a new graphics/processor chip or new operating system comes out my computer still is able to play many (though of course not all) of the new games coming out. You would hope that consoles would work similar – I seem to remember hearing about people having kits to make SNES games. I suppose that in our profit driven world that’s simply too much to ask for.

Random Tidbit: Don’t know why I never visited this site before, but since I hadn’t thought of it until now, maybe you feel the same.

Future Site – 3rd Set in Time Spiral Block

I have been meaning for awhile to expand my thoughts to one of my other favorite hobbies besides web design – Magic the Gathering.  I have been collecting and playing since 1997 and up until recently I could say with confidence that the Uzra’s Block was by far my favorite.  I might have to change that with the new Time Spiral block.  I have been very impressed with the cards they brought back and even more so with the last set, Planar Chaos, and the cards they shifted – red Giant Growths, black Wrath of Gods, etc.  They just started previewing Future Sight, the last set in the block and it looks to be just as awesome.

While Time Spiral was about bringing back old cards and Planar Chaos about shifting those cards in new and interesting ways this new site looks towards the future of Magic.  The Future Is Now previews a very interesting new card Fleshwrither with the new ability transfigure.  They also let out that it will be the only card in the set with that ability.  It has some pretty interesting possibilities – the most obvious being you could sacrifice him as a blocker, pay the cost, then switch out for another more powerful card.  Since they don’t swap the new creature will be unharmed.

The author also talks about nostalgia and I have felt a lot of that during this set.  I have also had several cool new deck ideas that have come to mind especially with the planar chaos cards.  The ability to use effects in other colors that didn’t previously exist (at least in abundance) – like white direct damage – opens up new possibilities.  It also allows you to expand on new ideas by doubling the amount of cards you can have that do essentially the same thing.  One example?  Essence and Soul Warden.  Instead of the normal 4 of that creature, you can have 8.  They also have a red version of Prodigal Sorcerer who’s name escapes me right now – imagine having 8 of those in a deck.  Possibly 12 if you include the merfolk that does the same thing.  Pretty powerful especially combined with a card like Intruder Alarm.

I plan to have more thoughts on deck ideas, new cards and maybe even a few lists of my own decks soon.

Random Tidbit:  This is from awhile back and may have been too preemptive for it’s own good but I found an article entitled “It’s Official: PS3 is a dud for Sony.”  I have not seen the PS3 in action but nothing I’ve heard has impressed me.  Most of the games that would attract me to them are no longer exclusive.  I definitely think that I will be jumping ship again this generation to XBox 360 and maybe Wii later on.  I don’t think I would invest in a PS3 even if the price dropped considerably.  I think Sony has finally gone one step too far and alienated the consumer.  At least in my case they have.

So you wanna live forever (or Opera is the best browser no one’s heard of)

So scientists, at least I’m assuming he’s a scientist – which could be dangerous, are not reporting that someday we may be able to use nanotechnology to gain immortality. Basically we could use tiny nanobots to do what our body naturally does, except better. It would enable us to avoid “transcription errors” in our DNA – which brings to mind the glitches you get on your computer when you leave mozilla running too long – thereby keeping us young forever as well as fighting most common diseases. It’s a pretty neat idea and I’m in as long as Microsoft and Sony aren’t. Last thing I need is some legacy code or DRM messing with my motor skills and I start spastically slapping myself.

As for Opera, I found a recent article that talks about how designers can edit their pages in real time and see the results using Opera 9.0. I haven’t had a lot of time to use Opera, but from what I have I’m fairly impressed. It has all the good features of Mozilla – including some additional ones built in that are extensions in Mozilla – as well as neat features like zooming and the ability to render the page you’re viewing as a text browser would – great for improving the accessibility of the site you’re designing and/or improving the SEO. The best part is of the 3 major browsers, it’s the fastest I’ve seen. Unfortunately there’s 2 problems. One is probably user error – some of the pages I’ve designed come out a little funky. I believe this to be because Opera renders the box model correctly but also reads some of the IE hacks I use – or vice versa. I did upgrade to 9 and most of this went away, so that’s a good sign. Two is the bigger problem. Only about 2% of the web users out there use it. That’s on average, and if your site or blog is about the web, especially cutting edge web technology, it’s likely much higher. But it’s still disappointing. With IE7 not looking like it’s going to fix many of the major bugs – and no real explanation why not – I almost wish they would just use all that money they’re raking in, buy Opera and plug it into Vista. But that will never happen.

Another interesting stat on that is that 5% of users still use IE5. Which leads me to believe they either can’t afford to upgrade their computer or they live in a cave. I’m hoping for a day that all users will have a CSS2 (or 3) compliant browser and designing will be a lot easier. But, not too easy, sometimes I feel I’m one good copy of Dreamweaver from being obsolete.

Random Tidbit: An interesting story about the PS3 being make or break for Sony. I had a blog recently about my thoughts on this matter. The more I hear about PS3 the more I think I’m not going to buy one. I think I’ve become an Xbox man. Which is very, very depressing when you think about it. I think I’ll just lie and say I own only the Wii…

Questioning Sony

I saw an article talking about how the PSP lost to the (supposedly) inferior DS.  It predicts the same for the Wii and the PS3.  It reminded me of an article I recently read in Game Informer talking about the fact that the PS3 could be a potential disaster.  The main reason is that system is designed to take advantage of HDTV’s.  The problem?  Not many households have them.  And though it’ll be a format that will be accepted soon, that could be several years down the road.  Leaving the PS3 with a smaller advantage over it’s competitors – and a much larger price tag.

I think Nintendo stands a good chance to move up in the big 3 of video games – to at least 2 and possible back on top.  They are inexpensive, they have a much different gaming experience to offer and they’re offering a back library of games that many of us grew up with – NES, SNES, Genesis, etc.  Not to mention the games they’ll be releasing for the systems – from what I’ve seen of Red Steel I’m excited about the possibility of FPS on the system.  Enough so that I’m actually considering buying it shortly after release.

An old axiom in programming is “simplicity favors regularity” and Nintendo seems to have caught onto this.  Sony meanwhile seems to have lost some perspective.  And again, they’re pushing proprietary hardware onto us – something that hasn’t worked for them in the past and after the fact that their anti-piracy efforts recently have angered many people for various reasons.

I think the biggest problem they face is the announcement that GTA – their trump card the last few years – will be released on Xbox 360 at the same time.  Now, I hate Microsoft.  And I swore I would never buy an Xbox.  But after playing it over my cousin’s house I decided to break down and buy a used one.  And, against my better wishes, it’s my favorite of the current generation of systems.  It’s by far the superior console – so much so that any new games I buy, I but for Xbox if they have it – and I don’t even have Xbox live.  And their controller is more comfortable and better for more games then the PS2’s.

I’ve heard rumors that in order to get market share and try and make the most of their head start, Microsoft will be dropping the price on the Xbox 360 when the PS3 and Wii come out this holiday season.  I’ve even heard as low as $300 possibly.  That means for those of us that have held off buying them, we could potentially pick up the Xbox 360($300) and the Wii($250) for less then the PS3($600 for the real model).

2 next generation systems for the price of one.  Pretty sweet deal.  Let’s hope it happens.