Thursday, November 30, 2006

School's out! Wii-trouble, and PS3 best graphics ever, or not.

Well woke up early this morning with a phone call saying USD 259 is out. I'm thinking we must have got that snow last night after all, so I look outside to see ... Nothing it's cold but that's it. Turned on the TV to find that school is indeed out, because the weather people say it will get bad today, sometime, maybe, they just aren't sure when. WTF!?

Well the Wiimote seems to be a dangerous projectile in the wrong hands. Check out Wii Have a Problem for stories and pictures of the Wiimote's path of destruction!

The PS3 was billed by Sony as the next big thing, 1080p graphics, Blu-Ray technology, and so much more. IGN has posted an article called What the Cell is going on? that contains screenshots, and videos comparing titles between the Xbox 360 & PS3. I don't think any of the screenshots look better, let alone that much different from each other, which is kinda sad since they had 3-6 months more to polish up the PS3 titles.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Birthday! Video invades the 360, it's almost black Friday and Wii envy.

Happy Birthday Xbox 360! Do you remember where you were this day last year? Were you at home playing that shiny new 360? The retail 360 turns 1 today do you still have any of the launch titles left in your collection? I still own Call of Duty 2, and Kameo from launch. Oh yeah it's my Birthday too, but I'm a little older. :)

The new Movie/TV content is officially live on the marketplace now, read today's press release. This outlines the pricing for the content as follows (with price conversions):

  • HD TV episodes 240 mpp = $3.00
  • SD TV episodes 160 mpp = $2.00
  • HD movies (new release) 480 mpp = $6.00
  • SD movies (new release) 320 mpp = $4.00
  • HD movies (classic) 360 mpp = $4.50
  • SD movies (classic) 240 mpp = $3.00
If you purchase an HD movie you can download the SD version at no additional point cost (Why you would want too, I have no idea!?) Come on MS where is the larger HD announcement?

Black Friday is only day's away are you ready? Check out all the upcoming ads at and plan your early morning adventures, looks to be a lot of PC/Laptop/HDTV specials this year. A notable item is will supposedly have 1,000 core Xbox 360 consoles available at 11:00 AM PST (1:00 PM CENTRAL) for $100.00.

I'm trying to figure out how to get enough stuff traded in to pick up a Wii on Friday. I've read numerous forum post detailing the glee of ownership, of course I've also read accounts of flying Wiimote missiles shattering laptop screens.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Here Wii go... and Princess Leia's lady lumps.

Last night/early this morning marked the launch of Nintendo's Wii console. Everyone I talked to today that got a unit seemed thrilled with their purchase, even though there were a lot of people looking for extra controllers. Check out the Joystiq story about the midnight launch at EB Games Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles and watch the video. That EB had 1,000 units up for grabs, a few more than the local stores got I'm sure...

Okay I didn't know Princess Leia could shake it like this, and why is Mr. Solo just watching?

EDIT: Since the video wasn't working here is the direct link.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

PS3 Smackdown, the King is here, and I <3 Bob.

Well incase you missed it yesterday was the big launch of the PS3 console. Numerous people waiting in line all over the U.S. to score that shiny new system, so they could rush home and put it on eBay. :) Checked pricing this morning and since there are so many units on eBay there were about 20 auctions ending at the same time. Most seemed rooted about $1000.00, but there were a couple that you could have 'snaked' for $800, and some of those included as many as four games. I don't think they are the windfall the scalpers were hoping for, I mean the Xbox 360 went for $1000 at launch and it only cost $400 these people aren't even getting back double. Check out this newscast from a Milwaukee station where some pinheaded Wal-Mart manager decided it would be a good promotion to have the 50 people in line run across the parking lot and grab 10 chairs on the other side that represented the stock of PS3's.

Went by Burger King yesterday since I'd read on the net that some of the BK's had already started selling the Xbox/360 games. Sure enough the one closest to work had all 3 games in stock and sold them all with one value meal purchase. Lunch and 3 games for $17.xx not bad, I haven't got to try them yet but will post impressions as soon as I do.

I stumbled across BOB FM the other day (100.5 FM) and really like it. I think I've listened the better part of 3 days and haven't heard the same song once. :) I knew it wasn't an original Wichita idea (nothing is) but sure enough found some BOB FM information on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The look and feel of Wii, more HD DVD, and those crazy Pinatas.

Running around yesterday I decided to stop in the local EB Games and look around. To my surprise there were quite a few customers in the store (kinda weird for a Monday afternoon) and the Nintendo rep was there also. The store has not received the Wii kiosk yet, but the rep said she had one in the car she could bring in for a little bit (Wii indeed!).

She hooked it up to one of the interactive TV's, and fired up Excite Truck on the console. She had two Wiimotes with her (which on first glance are wiieally small) and a small but adoring crowd had gathered in front of the TV. They started up a split screen race, and soon as they finished they passed the Wiimote to the next person so the next group of two could race. I got a chance too and will admit it was pretty neat. Excite Truck is kinda neat because you get points for a lot of stuff (crashing, driving through trees, big air, etc...) not just winning the race so it's possible the person that crosses the finish line first may actually lose in points.

The Wiimote is small, and at least on Excite Truck really sensitive. It didn't require much tilt to steer your truck, and a lot of the people were oversteering at first, but the longer you drove the better it felt. I'm hoping there is some sort of 'sensitivity' adjustment within the games or controller set-up. Comparing it to the PS3 demo of MotorStorm I think the PS3 controller had a more natural driving feel (even with the plastic harness) than the Wiimote, but it's probably all in the calibration settings. Although the guys on 1UP Yours have mentioned a couple times about how loose the PS3 controls felt specifically talking about Lair, maybe the gyro/sensor in the PS3 control is less sensitive than the one in the Wiimote requiring bigger movement?

Well it didn't take long at all, but UneasySilence have posted a entry on getting the 360 HD DVD hooked up, and playing an HD DVD back through Windows. There is only one piece of software so far that will playback an HD DVD (Windvd 8 apparently that is only available from Japan right now) but as more players come out this will only get bigger. I think once this gets out there will be a lot of non-360 owners buying this drive for their HTPC's.

I started playing Viva Pinata the other day, and that might have been a mistake. It's one of games that you get into and just loose track of time, both times I started playing ended up averaging 2 hours. Viva Pinata is a cross between Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and even a little Pokemon added in. I see aspects of all of those when I play, and even though the game is rated E there is a lot of grown up innuendo in there (of course this is the same company that made Conker's Bad Fur Day so we shouldn't be surprised). You start the game by creating a garden and depending on what you place or grow will affect what pinatas you attract. When you attract a pinata they will be B&W but you can select them and it will show you their resident requirements (ie. what you have to do to make them stay). It maybe feeding them a certain fruit, flower, or even another pinata, or something simpler like having a pond, or light in your garden. Once they join your garden they transform from B&W to color pinatas, then once you have attracted two of the same species you can mate them (pending their romance requirements are met) to create more pinatas, and I'm just scratching the surface so far.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I have PS3 cooties, bust a Pinata, and emerge tomorrow...

Well it seems that PS3 systems have snuck into town laying it wait to snag unsuspecting customers. Yep it seems that the local Target stores have set up PS3 interactive units within the last couple days. One of the employees at work came in tonight and told me about it, so after work I headed up the street, hoping there wouldn't be a large throng of people surrounding it (since they closed in 30 minutes I didn't think there would be).

Arriving at the store I looked toward the endcaps thinking this would be the logical location, instead it was just down the videogame aisle looking like the other two interactives there, a widescreen lcd monitor, and little black dualshock looking controller. It was running a video loop when I walked up and pressed the X button, then the display changed to a familiar sight.

Wow! It's a giant PSP. I've seen screen shots a while back of the interface, and sure enough if you've ever used a PSP this will be second nature. There was a lot of the options (settings, internet, and others) that came up Option not available, but there were sample items in the MP3, Movies, and Photo menus on the system. The main draw was the two game demos under the Games menu, ah yes tucked away were playable demos for Motorstorm, and NBA 07. I don't like basketball so guess which one I tried out?

The first thing to do is "activate" the Six Axis controller in the main menu of the game demo there are a couple options under the controller header one of which is to turn 'wireless motion on' or something to that effect. Now the problem lies in the fact that Targets interactives all have the controller mounted to a semi-rigid plastic arm that protrudes 6" from the case. Not to mention your only about a foot away from a 24" screen that your looking up at. It took the first lap of the race to get the feel for the controller (I don't think it was calibrated 100% because driving straight required a 10 degree tilt to the right) and after that was pretty smooth. The crashes were kinda cool as the truck explodes into little pieces, and you will spot individual items (shocks, springs, wheels, etc.) all exploding outward.

The graphics on Motorstorm were good, I've seen better on the 360, but they weren't bad by any means they just looked different, I can't put my finger on it. It looks like the display was set to 720p (when it goes from the 'dashboard'(!?) to the game demo the monitor clicks off and shows the video input/resolution on screen) so maybe the demos wouldn't run in 1080p or the monitor didn't handle that resolution (my guess). Overall it looks kinda neat (not $600 neat mind you), and there are a couple other titles I'm interested in trying with an unteathered controller. The Six Axis control could be really cool for some games, but hopefully all will come with an option to play either way in the settings.

Check out this story on Kotaku about the PS3 Japanese launch, scary stuff.

A couple of the guys on the latest 1Up Yours podcast were saying some pretty positive things about Viva Piñata. It came out Friday, but with such a packed week of releases I think it got overshadowed a bit. What's up with the wired ass package Microsoft? I don't care what kind of outer wrap/package/box/doohicky you put on my game as long as there is a regular DVD case somewhere in there that fits with all the rest of my DVD cases. (I'm looking at you Gears of War... Lucky I had one of the BB pre-order cases to drop my game and manual in). Back to VP, they explained it as almost a cross of Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, and Pokemon mixed together. I'm really interested to try it out and see how it plays.

Tomorrow (maybe today)... I'm so confused. Sunday is Emergence Day yes indeed the big Gears of War kick off is on the way. The official Xbox site has a post up listing out all of today's festivities. They start at 12:01am but they don't mention what time zone, I'm assuming Pacific so that will be about 27 minutes from now.

Sick sucks, and the view of HD DVD.

Woke up Thursday morning feeling like crap :( come to find out that afternoon that I had strep throat. A couple days later and about 5 doses of Amoxicillin and I'm felling pretty good.

I was able to pick up the 360 HD DVD add-on drive, and luckily since I couldn't work yesterday it gave me something to do. The initial shipments came packed with King Kong so I had something to watch, although it was an okay movie I wasn't all that thrilled when I saw it in the theater. The HD version looked really good, but some of the CGI still looks fake (another complaint from the theatrical showing). I watched that because evidently no one in podunk rents HD DVD's yet, and over half of the video rental places didn't know what I was talking about... (HD DVD?? no we only carry fullscreen and widescreen.). So I joined a two week free trial of Netflix since they have a very good selection of HD DVD rentals available. I know some people who use it, and have for quite a while (DVD, not HD DVD) for rentals and they seem to be happy with the service. The only online rental place I tried was Gamefly, and it was not by any means a 'happy experience' so I hope this works out better. Back on topic the drive itself is simple to install a USB cable runs from the 360 to the drive, and then the HD drive has two USB ports plus a mounting spot for the 360 wireless adaptor. This allows my wireless adaptor, and vision cam to plug into the HD drive leaving the two USB ports on the front free again. The drive comes with a 360 DVD to install some updates to the dash (but I've read on the net if you hook it up without running the DVD, the update will download from Xbox Live anyway) and away you go.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

360 TV (and movies!), plus Gears of War mania begins!

Well that rumor the other day turns out to be true as Microsoft spilled the beans with a press release. Starting November 22, 2006 (my birthday, and 1 year anniversary of the 360) Microsoft has teamed up with television, and movie studios to start a download service for HD TV episodes, and movies. The above link list shows such as CSI, the Real World, Friends, and Spongebob Squarepants as well as movies like Superman Returns, Matrix, and Nacho Libre. Pricing isn't set yet, but the TV shows will be yours to keep, movie rentals on the other hand will stay on your hard drive for 14 days. Once you start watching a movie you have 24 hours to complete it, watching it as much as you want within that 24 hours. Microsoft is still mum about a bigger hard drive but with HD movies weighing in at 4.5~5.0 GB each there has to be a larger one coming...

Well some lucky peeps are playing Gears of War right now, not me mind you because here in Podunk we don't get same day delivery on games (Boooo!). A lot of reviews (really good reviews) started hitting the web today Gamespot gives it 9.6, Team Xbox 9.6, and 1up awards a 10/10! It's bad enough to read through the glowing reviews, but I have to read through forum post where those lucky peeps are going on and on about GoW. I want this game now, 10 am will not come fast enough. :(

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's Wii-eally Wii-eally coming, and import your PS3.

Well the Wii is coming, November 19th (if you forgot), and the interactive demo units are starting to hit stores around the country. I've heard locally EB Games/Gamestop should be by the end of this week, hopefully this pans out because I Wii-eally want to play one. :) Anyway some of those California guys over at Joystiq stumbled upon a working interactive at their local GameStop. Lucky for us they posted a write up with pictures, and video. Excite Truck was the game loaded in the interactive, and judging from the video it looks like fun.

Missed out on you Wii pre-order? has a guide up with the major players listed, and their launch strategies. Someone dropped a bunch of numbers online yesterday claiming that they foretold the number of Wii's each Target would be getting for launch, then someone came along and built a search doohickey for it. Enter your area code in the little box and you'll get a list of Target stores and their launch numbers (looks like most of the ones in doodah are getting 24 each, with the exception of 21st & Greenwich they get 33 units.

Looks like you can pre-order the PS3 (60GB) from Play-Asia for only $999.99 (the 20GB is $899.99). This is the Japanese version of the console, but will launch on November 11th, so you could have it before the US launch depending on shipping. There was some forum post on CAG that seem to indicate PS3 software, and Blu-Ray movies are region free (letting the publisher opt if they wish to region lock it) although PS1/PS2 software would still be region locked. I can't see the movie studios going for this as the region protection was always a big deal on DVD's I think that Blu-Ray would follow that path also? Worth the gamble? Not to me although the import prices may be less than eBay inflation once the PS3 launches here, we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Attack of the King, Microsoft rentalflix?, and F.E.A.R.

Well those Burger King games that I mentioned a while back come out on November 19th (Wiiday to some of you). Remember they are 360 games that cost $3.99 each with the purchase of a value meal? Well there are a couple trailers up on YouTube so you can check them out. First up Sneak King...

Wow... kinda scary huh? For $4 and 200 achievements (like a LIVE Arcade game) I probably pick it up, the graphics remind me of the Sims. Next up is Pocketbike Racer...

This one actually doesn't look too bad gameplay wise, and isn't quite as scary.

There is a rumor flying around that Microsoft is going introduce HD movie rentals, and maybe purchases via the marketplace. Who knows? They shot down the rumor of the 100GB hard drive, and HD video storage takes up a lot of room just ask my Cox DVR's.

I picked up F.E.A.R. this week and finally got to play a little last night. It looks really nice on the 360 and plays at a solid framerate (unlike the slideshow my PC created...). Someone was talking about it today saying they had watched the pre-order DVD (given away at GameStop/EB Games) and it just looked horrible, so he returned his unopened copy of the game. Now I haven't watched that pre-order DVD so I can't attest to the quality of it, but I think the game looks better than even the demo did a month ago.
PS. Gears of War next Wednesday, I'm sooo excited!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

EA from behind, and Halo 3 cubed.

Ok I've heard the rants about microtransactions on 1UPYours podcast for the last couple episodes, and some I'm starting to believe. For those of you unaware types, microtransactions are the little things you buy from the LIVE marketplace with your Microsoft points. These range from your LIVE arcade games (DOOM, Time Pilot, etc..) to horse armor packs for Elder Scrolls IV : Oblivion, or in the case of EA cheat codes. It started with the Godfather content about a week ago, you could unlock various 'stuff' in the game for a price. Ranging from 75 points to 400 points you could get in game cash, henchmen or weapon upgrades or EA was nice and put up a discount package where you could get all of the unlockables for 800 points ($5). The problem being is all of this stuff could be unlocked by playing the game, that is why you bought it right? Well hot on the heals comes the Need for Speed : Carbon content, yes indeed 11 packs totaling 3940 points that's $49.23 for those of you wondering. That shiny new game you picked up for $59.99 is now running $109.22 not including tax. :( Now in all fairness to EA one of the packs is the collector's edition upgrade for 800 points ($10) you get all the extras from the CE version of the game which is no cheaper or more expensive than getting it at retail. I would say that no one will buy this crap so it will go away swiftly, but even I know that's not true. What is that saying about a stupid person born every minute??

On a brighter note, Halo 3 is now available for pre-order at GameStop/EB Games , coming in 3 editions (regular, collector's, and legendary) hitting your wallet for $59.99, $69.99, and $99.99 supposedly on November 7, 2007. Let's just jump to the monster legendary set, 4 disc packaged in a replica Spartan helmet that measures 8x10.5x11 you can place your pre-orders for $5,$10, and $25 depending on how far you want to go. Did the latest Famitsu magazine in Japan give us our first glimpse of the legendary set in their Halo 3 preview in this picture?

Gears of War video porn... has posted a bunch of multi-player HD videos from Gears of War. There are 13 different videos covering 4 of the multi-player maps (Fuel Depot, Roof Tops, Mansion, and mausoleum would be my guesses) from the game. Thanks to the suggestion from someone on DVDTalk I downloaded the .wmv HD files and burned them to a CD-R stuck them in the 360 and was able to play them from the MEDIA blade (Thanks! Fall update) in beautiful High-def. :) They looked phenomenal, overall the graphics are gray/sepia tone future apocalypse style which lends to the game. The first time I seen a head shot (through a scope), and the curb stomp I was yelling at the screen! This game is bloody violent make no mistakes, I can see now why all of the websites have you enter your birthday before viewing content from the game.

EDIT: As I was writing this I noticed that GameTrailers seems to have taken the multi-player trailers down since last night. :(