Sorted the mail, did the laundry, walked the dog… checked to see if the latest update for the PS3 was done. A little exaggerated I admit, but that’s the feeling I have at times when forced to download anything from the PS3 network. It amazes me the length of time it takes to download a few MB and then the addition time you wait for it to actually install. The one thing that escapes me is the PS3 is the best Netflix client I have and it streams full HD without a hiccup. Anything that can do that shouldn’t have the download speed issues that we see during the update process. The only explanation I can come up with is that Sony has some seriously slow servers. The 360 on the other hand flies through updates with no issues. Don’t get me wrong… I like my PS3, but Sony needs to do some serious work on their network to improve this issue before long.
Well… for all the hype and excitement surrounding the 3DS it appears that backward compatibility was not something that the big N put a lot of thought into. I have included a link at the bottom of the post with all the details but to sum it up the screen will either be very small or fuzzy. Take your pick on that one. I understand that with the leap forward in resolution it is difficult to maintain a perfect picture but I had hoped Nintendo would have found a better workaround. In all the past the iterations from the original Game Boy to the DSi XL they have managed to maintain an almost perfect picture integrity when allowing backward compatible play. In many cases the picture was better on the newer system than the old one. The kicker here is that in order to play your DS games on a decent screen you will be forced to keep and at times carry two systems. The DS and 3DS are not small devices so this can be pretty impractical. Another negative aspect is that Nintendo has announced that the battery life for the 3DS may be as short as 3 hours per charge. This is very surprising considering I don’t even know what the average charge for the DS Lite is since I rarely ever have to charge the thing. In light of these recent updates along with the delay of all the core titles to June and August I’m starting to questions if I will hold my pre-order. I will more than likely still pick it up just to experience 3D without glasses but at this point in time I’m considering waiting for the 3DS Lite.
I can think of no other game that has pulled me into the experience as much as Mass Effect 2. From the opening cinematic to the closing minutes it never let me go, never got boring and had me asking for more. The improvements from the original were astounding. I loved the original and considered it one of the best stories I had ever played next to the first Knights of the Old Republic. After playing the fist I had my doubts that they could adequately follow it up but only hours into the second I knew they had done so and so much more. Bioware has never ceased to amaze me with their storytelling. Though the mechanics may not always be there the stories that they weave together are an amazing tapestry of grey instead of the standard black and white upping the ante by making you live with every decision you make. Mass Effect 2 is hands down a must play for any gamer. To miss this experience is to miss out on a piece of gaming history. I would however strongly suggest that you play the first before starting the second. A story is never complete without its beginning and you won’t want to come back to it after you’ve had a taste of the masterpiece that is Mass Effect 2.
I was a late arrival to the MMO world be it from the fear of possible addiction or the dislike I have for playing games with people I don’t know. I started WOW for the first time in 2007 and liked the game very much. When I started I was playing with a few friends but then branched off and played it much like a single player game. I actually played my now main from level one to sixty grouping only twice. Though the game is designed to be played in groups I found it very satisfying playing from a “Loaner” aspect. Though at times it took a great deal of strategy I found that I could complete most quests on my own. This brings me to the Old Republic. Being a Bioware fan this is now my most anticipated game. If Bioware can deliver on the promises that have been made for TOR this project could re-define gaming as we know it. What especially excites me is that the game is being designed from the ground up to be played as a single player experience if you choose to do so. It is great to be in a digital world with the living I just don’t necessarily want to have to interact with them if I choose not to do so. I think this aspect will pull in a much wider audience such as Action RPG, Bioware and KOTOR fans, If I’ve seen anything that had the potential to compete with WOW this is it. I’m still debating on giving Cataclysm a go, but I do plan to drop everything the minute TOR hits my hands. I’m planning to roll an Alliance jedi and Empire bounty hunter and I honestly can’t wait.
What is it about the shiny tin case, the art books, exclusive DLC items and other trinkets that clutter up our desk and shelves that make us shell out that extra $10 to $100 plus to pick up the collector’s edition of the latest game? I will be the first to admit that I’m enticed by them and even have a few of them on my own shelf. I have a Master Chief helmet, Dragon Age cloth map and Mass Effect 2 art book to name a few items from may latest collector’s editions purchases.
What caused me to sit back and evaluate the wisdom in it all is when I picked up the collector’s edition of Starcraft 2. In the past I’ve only purchased the collector’s edition when it was a franchise I loved to play and I was going to start the game on release date. In this case I picked it up just because it was “cool”. I’ve never finished on RTS in my life and as for the original Starcraft I never got past the 6th or 7th mission of the Terran campaign. I think more than anything collector’s editions awaken the geek collector in most of us who play games and developers know that. As we progress I think they are going to become more prevalent and outlandish as development studios attempt to soak every last dollar they can out of us. Night vision goggles or remote controlled camera car anyone? How about a nice dagger or boomerang to go on that shelf? I will most likely buy the collector’s edition of the next Mass Effect, Dragon Age and The Old Republic, but I think I will have to say no to Starcraft 2 and the rest of them. Let me know what your opinion on the matter is. All I can say is having a Thor pet in WOW would have been cool.
During my junior year in high school my class took a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. While walking through the halls one painting caught my eye. It was a very large white canvas with a big black dot in the middle. What made it even better was the name of the painting which you most likely guessed based on the title was “Black Dot on a White Canvas”. Standing there I honestly couldn’t believe that this was hanging in a museum of art. Looking at this thing all I could think was that a ten year old with a stencil could have created this painting and these guys were calling it fine art.
I had never thought about video games as art till Roger Ebert made his infamous statement that “Video games can never be art.”. I honestly don’t know how this statement can be taken seriously when you look at some of the garbage that people consider to be art. Art is so subjective that trying to classify what is and isn’t art is a pretty futile exercise. As we have always heard “Art is in the eye of the beholder”, so how can one medium be labeled as art while another is so easily dismissed. Mass Effect 2 stands as one of the best experiences I have ever had playing a game and was better than any movie I watched or book I read this year. In my opinion video games stand shoulder to shoulder with books and movies and their popularity is growing everyday. As it stands now the video game industry is bigger than Roger Ebert’s movie industry. Overall I feel that as video games become more popular their acceptance by main stream sources will grow as well. At the rate things are moving I doubt it will be long before video games are accepted as a true art medium.
Since the recent re-emergence of 3D in the movie industry I have been very leery of how this would affect our beloved game industry. With the success of Avatar we knew it was only a matter of time before 3D in gaming would become the new marketing battle cry. I honestly would rather not have it if the experience mimicked the movies as Sony is looking to do. The tint in the glasses darkens the screen and I have thought that overall image seems blurry as compared to a non 3D film. Don’t ge me wrong, Avatar was an amazing visual experience and Monster vs. Aliens is by far my favorite 3D movie but I just don’t feel that experience lends itself well to gaming. Wearing glasses for 2-3 hours for a movie is one thing. Wearing them for a 50+ hour play through of Mass Effect 2 is another. I have said that if they could do 3D without the glasses then I would be interested.
With that being said Nintendo’s showing at E3 has me very excited for a 3D experience. When I frist heard about the 3DS I was afraid it would be just a gimmick, but based on all the review I have read Nintendo has pulled off 3D without the glasses! I think this innovation will once again place Nintendo nicely at the top of the handheld industry keeping the iPhone at close second. I’ve honestly never seen the PSP as a true competitor in this market but that’s for another post. I’m now looking froward to the 3DS release and will be first in line to place my pre-order. The inital first party game library looks absolutely amazing and with the 3rd party lineup that Nintendo showed off it looks like the 3DS will have very bright future.