Gaming

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A shiny new PS3

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

In the wake of the crushing demise of the HD-DVD format I’ve been ‘forced’ to get myself a Blu-ray player to keep myself comfortably on the cutting edge of media technologies. I decided to opt for a PS3 as it’s the only upgradeable Blu-ray player so far, and plays games to boot.

My first impressions are mostly positive. The PS3 obviously has a bit more horsepower under the hood than the Xbox 360 and sports a cleaner and more modern UI to boot. Unfortunately Sony seems to have made a few odd user experience choices, but overall I’m highly impressed. I have yet to toy with the PSP Remote Play functionality but I plan to dive deep into that in the coming weeks to see just what my new toy is capable of.

As far as games go I’ll likely still do the majority of my gaming on the Xbox 360 platform, but the Sony Store has a few interesting downloadable games – most notably is PixelJunk Monsters. Monsters is based on Element Tower Defense (which I’ve been addicted to before) but sports high def graphics, open gameplay levels, and even more addictive-like-crack gameplay. I lost a good 3 hours to it this afternoon and will likely spend much of the next few weeks trying to master each of its 20 levels – not too shabby for an under $10 purchase (console not included obviously).

Early December snow

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Seattle really has been having unusual weather of late. Rain isn’t terribly unusual for this time of year in Seattle, but snow (and snow that sticks too boot) is rather odd. I spent much of the weekend hiding from the rain and snow, continuing to wrap myself up in Mythbusters and Mass Effect.

Thanksgiving came and went

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

And yet again I’ve managed not to write anything for more than a week. It’s not for lack of time – I ended up with four and a half days off over Thanksgiving, I just didn’t seem to have the passion to write. That being said it was a great holiday and it really helped my mental health to spend a few days vegetating on the couch with Skype.

To keep me company on the couch I had a few new video games. Mass Effect, Assassins Creed, and Super Mario Galaxy have all come out in the last couple of weeks and are quite excellent games. It’s nice to see that video games are really coming into their own and becoming a viable mainstream form of alternative entertainment to plain old television.

Of those three games Mass Effect is by far my favorite so far. It’s Biowares latest saga and feels very much like KOTOR – one of my all time favorite games. It’s highly immersing and addictive and far too easy to spend 4 straight days playing. I’ve written up a proper review of the game which should post to Gear Live shortly.

Time to get back to the salt mines. Take care o’ readers of mine.

Update: The Mass Effect review on Gear Live just posted – check it out!

What a week

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

POTD 02/9/07 - The horror

Things have been pretty crazy of late and I’m stressed out as a result. Work has been and explosion of activity and my personal life has been busier than I would like. It’s all added up to me being stressed out. After last week I decided I needed a plan to get things back under control at work, as well as a plan for getting better control of my other commitments.

My boss has been somewhat unhappy with the performance of the team. I’ve decided the only way to make things better is to reapply myself to my job and focus on keeping my eye not only on the project’s current status, but also looking ahead a release or two making sure we don’t paint ourselves into a corner or repeat old mistakes.

I’m making a few modifications to my typical productivity style and adopting some of the more extreme GTD behaviors to try and better segment my time and plan better. I’m also going to get more into my backpack for tracking little tasks.

Luckily I have a few things to keep me distracted. Earlier in the week I purchased all 5 seasons of Mythbusters on iTunes and am slowly perusing it on my AppleTV. It’s funny that these days a single click can cost $100 and take 2 days of bandwidth on my fast connection to deliver 58Gb of content. 48 hours might seem like an excessive download time, but for perspective bear in mind that my Mythbusters collection spans over 80 hours of content so leveled out to be nearly a twice-realtime media acquisition.

Super Mario Galaxies came out this week for the Wii. It’s a load of brainless fun and in typical Nintendo fashion it’s quite rewarding for the player. The spherical level concept is fresh and new – a blast to run around the puzzling little worlds finding the start that rockets you to the next one.

Life’s little pleasures: Leopard, IMAP, and Puzzle Quest

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

The past 24 hours has brought a number of great things into my life. Yesterday night I went to the Bell Square Apple Store for the Leopard launch with Mike and picked myself up a copy of the shiny new version of OS X.

The launch event itself was an interesting experience. Apple really does know how to work a crowd, and the energy and passion it’s employees (retail and engineering alike) bring to work with them makes for a really positive experience for Apple’s customers.

Leopard itself is a neat little upgrade. The upgrade itself actually works really well – I didn’t lose any of my documents, settings, or preferences. Aside from Quicksilver being stuck in my dock (not the menubar where it really belongs) everything works flawlessly on Lanshark – Photoshop even stayed fully activated. Leopard is nothing revolutionary, but it really does add a lot of polish to OS X and makes for a worthwhile upgrade.

For the first time ever I actually kind of like the Finder. Quicklook (the ability to preview just about any document without the overhead of opening it’s parent application) is handy and makes confirmation that you have the document you are looking for brain dead simple. Spotlight is vastly improved featuring much faster searches, operators, and network search abilities.

Aside from the Leopard launch I was also thrilled to find out my Gmail account finally got IMAP enabled. The IMAP implementation is well done, and it makes Gmail’s iPhone experience as slick as their browser experience. Being able to have Mail.app cache my gmail account is handy as well for having my webmail searchable via the OS just like the rest of my personal knowledge store.

The final great thing to enter my life yesterday was Puzzle Quest for the DS. Puzzle Quest is a fun little RPG/Puzzler game that a couple of friends had suggested and it’s quite fun. It offers quick-in, quick-out gameplay – a fun addition to my go bag.

Say hello to my little Lanshark

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Apple-Macbook-Pro-Santa-Rosa

I am pleased to announce that I am typing this post up from my shiny new workstation. I’ve decided to pretty much go all mobile again so it was time to trade my Marbles the Macbook in for it’s daddy, a nicely equiped 15″ Macbook Pro. I’ve dubbed my new aluminum friend Lanshark – a name inspired by my beloved pit bull Skype (the one and only real land shark.

When Apple announced their Up-to-Date Program that offers recent purchasers of Apple hardware the Leopard update for $10 – normally priced at $129, or included with any new Mac. I worked a little financial magic, confirmed the sale of Marbles for a reasonable price and dropped down to the Apple Store to pick it up.

A few first thoughts on Lanshark:

And now back to your regularly scheduled Portal playing action.

Halo 3 gamer fuel: the definitive review

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Gamer Fuel

In the interest of expanding my life experiences and getting “my game on” I decided to try the much hyped Gamer fuel, Mountain Dew’s new Halo 3 themed “Dew with an invigorating blast of citrus cherry flavor” featuring 170 calories of sugar and 73mg of caffeine.

Initial impressions:
Upon opening the can I was struck by a fizzing fruity bouquet, with hints of pine. The smell reminds me of a mix between kool-aid and pine-sol. I poured a slight bit into a glass to inspect the rich red-orange colors. While in the white cup it looks suspiciously like very thin orange-ish fake blood from a great number of movies I watched as a child.

The first sip:
Pine-sol and kool-aid suspicions confirmed. The flavor is very artificial and tastes just like it smelled: lime and cherry kool-aid packets mixed with a pine-needle whisk. My mouth instantly got dry and gummy – the sheer amount of sugar in a sip is likely more than I usually consume in a day. Never being one to shy away from the challenge I take a big gulp.

The big sip was a mistake – my teeth started hurting, and shortly after swallowing my stomach followed suit. Now 10 minutes and 1/4th of a can later I feel like laying down and taking a nap. My mouth feels and tastes like a gummy bear crawled in, died, and is now decomposing slowly in the back of my throat. What have you done to me Gamer Fuel?

The verdict:
What freakish executive at Pepsi approved this hyper-sweet monstrosity? Why is it selling? Should I buy stock in companies producing medical equipment for diabetics?

Xbox 360 Chatpad

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Xbox 360 Chatpad

My Xbox 630 Chatpad arrived today in the mail – nifty little device. Barely feels like it will fit on the controller, but with a little force it pops on and feels very much a part of the controller. The key travel is nice, but they are spaced more widely than i usually like. Its lighter than I thought it would be, but does change the balance and feel of the controller quite a bit.

It makes both using the 360 implementation of Windows Live Messenger and the Xbox Live messaging service much easier to use. I wonder how long it will take before shooters and RPG’s start taking advantage of the extra buttons to make weapon switching and action selection easier – I suspect the day of the 360 MMO is drawing near now that both text and voice communication are so easy with the Xbox 360.

Xbox 360 Chatpad” by sparktography

Bioshock dream

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Sparky in a dream

I’ve actually had quite a nice Labor Day weekend so far. This photo is unfocused, just like me – Today I thought I would use my day off for some photography but felt uninspired and unfocused. I didn’t really get any shots I loved, but somehow this one called out to me for some posting love. The processing I gave it was highly inspired by my latest fling: Bioshock.

On Saturday morning Brien and I went to Northgate to buy copies of Bioshock and I ended up spending most of the weekend playing it. Bioshock a very amazing game – I normally hate/suck at first person shooter games, but Bioshock does a great job of minimizing the twitch factor, and making combat much more strategy oriented. The game features a terrifying dystopian 60′s feel and genuinely manages to feel scary at times – best enjoyed in the dark with the 5.1 sound cranked.

Much like my favorite game Oblivion, Bioshock lets you play your way – creeping in the shadows or all out combat, it’s your choice. I love the Plasmids (magic in most games, bio-engineered superpowers in Bioshock), and find that they add a rich element to the game. Surprisingly for being a shooter I use almost no guns – my plasmids and the wrench you get in the opening scene carried me through much of the game.

Sparky in a dream” by sparktography

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