Monday, November 28, 2005

Dis'sing the DS and a Holiday Weekend in Vana'diel

Even though this is the week of the new DS Mario Kart bundle release, I don't know if I will be picking one up. As much style as this version has, the unit still has many of the same problems that caused me to sell the first one I purchased. It's large, heavy, and awkward to hold if you are using the stylus. Also, the games for it still aren't that interesting. True, Mario Kart looks good and the online feature sounds cool, but where are the RPG and adventure games? Only one RPG (Luna) and a few so-so adventure games. When I sold my first DS, I was sad to lose the backlit screen for GBA games, but with the new SP I don't need it. Plus I think the SP screen is even brighter than the DS was. So, never say never, but it looks like I will let Mario Kart drive on by. I've still got a stack of GBA games to play.

In other news, this was the first holiday weekend that I truly enjoyed more in the virtual world than the real one. Our hearty trio ran all over Vana'diel to complete quests, defeat nefarious monsters, and open up new jobs to train in. We have proven that a balanced 3 person party can kick major ass and pick up more than enough points to keep leveling. A run like this makes all thoughts of trying a different MMORPG fade like morning mist. Long live the NeverwinterKnights!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Xbox 360 Day

Yup, it finally came out. I saw lines at Best Buy and Fry's this morning, and the Circuit City I went to at lunch said they had people lining up last night, but only had 16 units to sell this morning. Most are probably going up on eBay where they are selling for as much as $3,000 according to some reports. So stupid.

I am looking forward to getting the Mario Kart DS system next week. Plus, who knows what kind of craziness is going to go on over the T-Day weekend sales. In the meantime, I'm thinking of a retro-gaming period. Still have a few SNES and N64 games I haven't played, along with some Playstation ones. Kind of wish I still had a Dreamcast. ;)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Updates

More new games added to The Collection. Finally got the new Fable game. Microsoft really confused a lot of people, especially Target employees.

Going to put a white dot on Red Dead Revolver. I think I have to agree with the review that said they tried to do too much in one game. I mean, if it's a shooting adventure game, just let me run around and shoot! Before the third save point, I had to learn to shoot, use cover, special aim, and do a show down. And the transitions between modes was pretty abrubt. That and a few other problems sort of takes the fun out of the game. I'll keep it around in case I ever get a chance to wade farther in, but for now it's time to move on, pardner.

Xbox 360 comes out tomorrow (or tonight if you do the midnight thing). I can't believe people are dropping that kind of money. You could buy a PS2, Xbox, and a Gamecube for the price of the $399 package. And the games are aren't all that impressive. Oh well.

Stuff to get tomorrow. May have to get the King Kong game as it comes with a free movie ticket (that's $7.00 right there). The Aeon Flux set at Circuit City comes with a Liquid TV disc that I must have. Shop till you drop!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bad bad bad bad

Sometimes I think I shouldn't always believe reviews. Afterall, everyone's tastes are different and what one person thinks sucks rocks could be a favorite of someone else. On the other hand, some things are just universally bad. Like liver. And the game Minority Report.

This title (which will be returned to Gamestop later this week) could have been at least a playable game, but what I read in the reviews turned out to be true. They took the premise of the movie (which wasn't a bad one at that) and tried to make a game of it. They didn't get licenses for the actors and decided to make it a "fighting" game. The result is a game with decent graphics that has you punching and kicking anyone who gets in your way (guards, robots, glass) in order to open doors to continue chasing a potential killer. In a word, yuck! If you had been able to sneak and/or use weapons (even the bad guys got to use bats...or rolling pins - it was hard to tell), I think I would have kept it. We're only talking about $7 here. Good thing Gamestop has a liberal return policy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Catching up...

Haven't had as much time to scribble lately so I'm a little behind in my blogging.

First of all, I just want to put in that this blog is mainly here for me to drone on about videogames without boring the few friends I still have. And maybe to have something to look back on as the years roll by (and boy do they ever!).

Second, a quick clarification on the "white dot" system. I wanted to start it because the idea of buying things for a hobby and not using them (something I always do too much of) seems like such a waste. At least if I get an hour or so out of a game I buy, I feel like that money went for something enjoyable - other than the thrill of the purchase. Yeah, it's sad but I do actually enjoy buying stuff - well, most of the time. When I'm not feeling guilty about spending money I don't have.

Third, I guess I can put half a dot on Red Dead Revolver. I started it over the weekend and it's not bad. I haven't gotten beyond the first save point (and it was a quick one). Little tutorial, a quick battle and then the save. With Gun out, I thought I would play a different wild west shooter game until it came down in price. But I don't feel I can really put a full dot on it yet. I could easily (and probably will) replay the intro.

(Ok, no more numbering...)

Games coming out left and right this time of year, along with a whole new console in a week. Xbox 360 will have only 10 console-exclusive titles at launch, store quantities are going to be less than anticipated, and it's already looking that it will be a bust in Japan. My guess is that most systems will be bought to sell on eBay or as glamour Xmas presents.

Played a demo of Call of Duty 2 last night. These games serve two purposes for me - to remind me that war is a fucking waste of human life and that I would have lasted about 5 minutes in a real WWII firefight. My war would have gone something along the lines of hop off the truck, run up the road, and hope that I only sustained a serious enough wound to send me back home with a Purple Heart medal, but not bad enough to kill me. Oh, and hope the wound doesn't get infected either.

Well, that should do for today.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

White Dot for Project: Snowblind

I love videogames. I REALLY love videogames. And I buy videogames. LOTS of videogames. Maybe it's the way they are packaged. The older games came in cleverly designed cardboard boxes with little compartments for the cartridges. Newer games come in seductive DVD cases that stack well or can stand up like little books. For whatever the reason, I can't keep from getting more - and on a weekly basis. I figure the last system that I played all the games I got for it was either the Atari 2600 or (possibly) the Dreamcast (only because I didn't have very many games for it). I know I have some unopened SNES games and I think one or two for the N64. As for the big 3, forget it. With around 70+ for each system, it's no contest. So, in an effort to make me feel that I'm not totally wasting my money, I've started to mark games that I have played. I don't have to finish the game, but I do have to at least get a feel for the game. More than a demo and more than just watching the intro. Basically play it to the point of finding out what makes it unique and far enough into the game that I wouldn't want to lose my progress and start over. When I get to this stage, I put a white dot sticker on the spine of the game. Then when I look at my collection, I can easily see how many I've really played. Or see how many games I should play before buying more. (As if!) (The one thing it doesn't take into consideration is that some games I've played all the way through - like D&D Heroes and Cursed, for example - were sold off. And I think there were a few turkeys I got rid of after trying them and hating how they played. It does skew the count toward more unplayed then played, but I think it's still a good system. At some point I'm going to add GBA games to the "Dot System" too.)

Last night I was able to tag one more - Project: Snowblind for the PS2. I got a pleasant surprise from this one. I was expecting just a mindless FPS, but it had more story and setting than most. You play a U.N.-style peace-keeping soldier in the middle of what is becoming an Asian civil war set in 2065. Unlike most "peace-keepers" you get to kick alot of ass. After trying to hold a Chinese temple against enemy soldiers, futuristic double-rotor rocket firing heilo's, and ED209-like robots, you get seriously injuried and find yourself being "a candidate" for a new procedure - Project: Snowblind. (ED209 wasn't the only thing they stole from Robocop.) Neat touch: during the cut-scenes you can look around with the thumbstick, making it seem much less "canned". You then go out on more missions as this Halo-esque super soldier. So it borrows from a number of other games and movies - at least you get the feeling from the little touches (NPC chatter and computer cinematography, for example) that this wasn't just thrown together to make a buck. Hard to say how much more I'll play of it as the first mission out of the "garage" is kicking my ass so far. :P

P.S. The $900 B&N bundle is up to #2 on their best seller list, second only to SW:BF2.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Game Boy Joy

I've been meaning to add a few words here about how much I'd like to thank Nintendo for finally getting the Game Boy right. I've owned every version they have made (except the Micro) and up til this latest one, the gorgeous backlit SP, I really thought someone should have sued the crap out of Ninny for false advertising. The first Advance was so dark, you had to play it in full daylight to see the screen. I got rid of games because I couldn't play them - like Tomb Raider when I wasn't sure if Lara was jumping over a pit or in the shadow of a platform. You would think it would be misrepresentation to have the back of every game's box show a screen shot that was impossible to obtain with the existing hardware. The original frontlit SP was an improvement and the DS was even better - except a) it wasn't a Game Boy, and b) it was too damn heavy to use. When I heard about the Micro I was really planning on getting one because they said it was going to have a backlit screen. I wasn't thrilled that it was going to be a smaller screen, however. (I remember suggesting to a Nin-rep once that they should make a bundle for the over 40 crowd - a Game Boy with a pair of reading glasses.) Then I find out Nin is making a new SP with the same kind of backlit screen! No hype, no advertising, just a new box, new colors and the same $79 price. Not that they wanted to make a big deal about it - they were basically undercutting their own new product. It costs $20 less, has a bigger screen, and plays all old Game Boy games. So, I sold my old SP, bought the new one, and it's been portable gaming bliss ever since. WTG, Nintendo!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Got an email from B&N today advertising their Xbox bundle - full package console, 4 games, extra faceplate, and a couple of other goodies for $899! And it was #3 on their Best Seller's list! If you want next day delivery, and who wouldn't considering only the truly desperate will be preordering it, you are up to a few bucks shy of $1000. To play 4 games, 2 of which have been released on other platforms. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Xbox 360 Bits

Just a little update to keep this fresh:

21 days (ie, 3 weeks) till the big Xbox 360 release and all is not well in Gatesville. Walmart had to disconnect their demo systems because the wireless function of the consoles was messing up the PA systems in the stores. Consoles have been determined that they won't be using HD-DVD's but will be able to play HD-DVD movies. And in a blow to anyone chomping at the bit to play the only RPG for the console at launch time, Oblivion has been postponed till a post-Xmas date in 2006. Prediction: being the nature of complicated RPG's, I say it's going to slip further. (Yeah, I know, not really sticking my neck out on that one.)