Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Games Weigh Up: Looking forward too and Impressions and Criticisms

Games to look forward to, why, and impressions and criticisms/Previews

[Rather a long assed post but that's what happens with lists. Next few will be shorter :)]
I like future games for the ideas that they introduce to this culture. New games try to push new features and break new ground. That's what they should do. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's a given now that games will look good, but this is why new ideas which work are so much more important.

Here's a simple list of some games I'm looking forward too, why, and the ideas they tout and also some impressional criticisms of other games.

Looking forward too:

1) Assassins Creed
1. Free Roaming
2. Free Running style game play - analog control of speed.
3. Choose how to approach the mission.
4. Context driven left and right buttons for hands and feet.
5. Secret weapons and sword fighting - context moves for fights.
6. Involving (supposedly) story - all is not as it seems.
7. Obviously great graphics and fluid motion.
8. The producer seems to know whats she's doing.

One of those games that I think might work better with a console controller for once, but as I don't have an xbox360 or PS3 we'll have to wait see on the PC version how the controls translate.

No criticisms on this one.

2) Crysis
1. Amazing Graphics
2. Amazing detail and physics
3. Cool cyber suit with strength/speed/invisibility abilities.
4. On the spot customisable gun sniper/shotgun/machine gun etc

Apart from when first viewed, the videos for this game are becoming less exciting for me. This always happens with me, great looking videos whose excitement wanes over time. Perhaps the hype came out too soon as is often the case. Or the expectant graphic level in my mind has raised on par with current standards. I'm sure it will look amazing up close when running and the awe will be back, but until then. The other thing is it does also seem to be just an updated Far Cry - you get that impression - more beaches and trees, troops standing round in familiar patterns with similar enemy AI - hopefully it will be more than that though and I'm sure it will. I also don't have a high end PC, hopefully that will change, when it does this is one game I would get.

3) Timeshift
1. Good looking though not amazing.
2. Innovative time control gameplay in an FPS.

Rather annoyingly, time displacement grenades was an idea I came up with years ago, roughly 3yrs, I guess they just had the resources to put it in to action back then :) I've already seen some of my other ideas coming out in other games, so I'm sure they occur to people at the same time, it's a natural progression - I'd just like to be the one implementing those ideas my way into games.

I'm downloading the demo now so We'll just have to see how well they did.

4) Call of Duty 4
1. Something of a dark horse as I only heard about it relatively late, but looks amazing.
2. Good fluid motion.
3. Good combat
4. Customisable perks - abilities on the battle field.
5. Large single with multiplayer

1. From the videos: AI seemed a bit dumb in places not using cover when they should and running in the open back and forth. Didn't seem like too much of an issue though, certainly better than other games.

I've been more a fan more of Battlefield 2 and Medal of Honour:AA rather than Call of Duty in the past so we shall have to see how this compares. On it's own the gameplay looks amazing. Definitely one to get.

Impressions And Criticisms
1) Too Human VS Hellgate London
I don't get this one. Why are people supporting Hellgate over Too Human?

Too Human
is not another God of War.
1. Graphics look amazing.
2. Story looks involving.
3. Fighting looks good, may need some issues ironed out though in combos.
4. It's a character evolution game.
5. They are doing some neat trick with the camera so it focus on the in game action up close or far out for the greatest gameplay - this is something most games lack.

Camera - They've actually thought about how the players view the action. Rather than having the camera stuck stationary behind the character, only able to circle,and move in or out when objects are in the way. You wouldn't watch a film from only one camera position, so why do it in games? All games should use this intelligent camera system. Remains to be seen how well it's used, but it's the right idea.

VS Hellgate
I don't get it. While a good idea I was initially excited about. After seeing some videos of the characters moving they look terrible! They look like their walking on the spot like games of old did. The combat looks pretty rubbish as well. I also hate those on screen collectible icons.

2) Heavenly Sword

Initially very excited about, seeing the videos only gave away part of what the game was about. After seeing more videos it's now very apparent. It's obviously the new Ninja Gaiden for PS3. But can it pull it off?

1. It looks amazing.
2. Combos look great.
3. Switchable stances add to the variation.
4. Iconic flame haired main character.

1. If you take a good look at the videos, the AI looks pretty dumb all sync'd up like that. All the characters have syncd moves and breathing - looking at a group of them is like looking at a group of clones. Ninja Gaiden had the same enemy types also, but they all moved individually - each was fresh. And this doesn't have it.
2. AI speech - same as above like they're on trip wires, no intelligence about it.

Games need to create an ILLUSION of intelligence, not necessarily have it. That's why the first Half Life was so good, and later, FEAR with each room thought out and interesting realistic responses from the AI.

3) Universe at War
Looks great, nice ideas in there.

1. Large stomping robots, as an actual moving base.
2. Diversified sides, Nova look interesting with their beaming units around the battlefield and patches. The other side I'm not sure about - what happened to the Humans?

I think it’s better than most people give it credit for – I really don’t want it to be a rehashed C&C though as I didn’t like that franchise too much. The units never looked like they were really fighting, take a look at Dawn of War now to see what I mean. C&C has the same jerky moving and cornering as this as it’s made by the same people, though this seems to be slightly better.

1. While the game looks great - the blooming on weapons fire and hideously clashing colours is OTT.
2. Some unit design doesn't seem that well thought out.
3. Animation on some of the smaller units looks jerky - why?
4. They still have that sharp turning effect which looks really unrealistic.
5. We STILL don't have real melee combat - Dawn of War is the closest any ones got and it looks amazing - but we need something scripted and NOT scripted in close combat to make it look like they ARE fighting.

I’m still waiting for an RTS game to do this. I'm not sure why DOW has not had downloadable extra animations, I know some of those kill signature moves are well timed, but this should be do-able.

Still some room for some of my ideas out there then :)

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Sorry for the absence. Working for corporations where you can't say what you think kinda sucks. Back now :)

Now none of this really matters, nothing to get worked up on but:

Halo 3: it's just a game.
Bioshock: it's just a game.
P-S-3: Just a machine.

One shouldn't get so worked up over such things.

Speaking of corporations: Anyone want to work in a company were you work WITH people not FOR them.

Otherwise, who wants to work in a place where 'higher ups' are always right regardless? Where the Head can be a bully with no come back? Where it's always someone else's fault instead of taking responsibility themselves? Where only their opinion counts? Where they only think about covering their own arses, and where they always have a round of finger pointing, when in fact generally speaking people make errors and unless anything really bad happened it's just not needed. Where regardless of work, and how well it's going, things are all about politics? Not me.

Where you have to start modifying your thinking and behaviour to fit in, till you suddenly realise what you've become. A mindless robot.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

KXCD comic

I can't stop laughing at these comics, start at the beginning (though first few are just drawings). Helps if you're sarcastic and Dark. Brilliant.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sony bangs head with wall, repeatedly.

I don't know what Sony is doing now. I can't decide if they're just using adaptable tactics or if they have ANY overall strategy that they are following. I think they probably did at some point, but it rather feels like they're the old man with the map looking way lost, pointing and saying 'yes but we should be here' in confusion.

Since Kens gone I'm not sure who's running the show. They probably have an entirely different strategy (apart from making money obviously). Lets see, they've re-re-designed the PS2 to make it even lighter, and they've re-designed the PSP. That sounds like they're planning to rely on the back catalog machines for a while for cash while the PS3 takes it's time. That's good and bad, good for doing it, for us, and for saving money and injecting new life in to PSP, but possibly bad for what it means for us and the PS3 strategy.

So the "Price drop" IS really a clearance sale. It depends how you spin it, like anything with different view points, but "clearance" is probably a view based more in objectivism, I'd have to say. Lowing the price of something that's going out of stock permanently. A clearance is a clearance doesn't matter what name it goes by.

EVERYONE can't beeeleive that the $599 point will stick. I feel like Sony is simply waiting for a later announcement when the 60gig versions run out. They were quoted as saying they would evaluate the market then. Er I think it's been pretty much "evaluated" By EVERYONE, a blind Donkey could bray that, I think they know full well they'll drop the 80gig price but are delaying for impact. And if they wait they don't have to drop it twice. Still they better bundle it with something better than Motorstorm, stuff that. They need to get this console out into homes NOW, certainly this new 80gig will be their "Second launch".

Thursday, 12 July 2007

MMO idea.Dragonball Z

You know what would be a really cool idea?

A Dragonball Z MMO.

Why has no one done this?

How cool would that be? Wonder around the world as a super being character, beating the crap out of other super powerful beings. Challange others to fights with a proper fighting system involved. They could even tie the Budokai Tenkaichi series fighting style games in, although tbh I prefer the original SNES games bashing the button to make your blast beat your opponents.

The really cool thing about DBZ series is no one knows how powerful their opponent really is, they have those scanners but not all the time, the anime is full of it, super powerful evil guys, and Super Saiyans who constantly grow in strength every time they fight. They always seem to have some reserves of will or power (there is also that recharge bean they use sometimes) and largely it's all about bluffing when it comes to fighting. That would play really well into a combat game where people roam a world and challenge each other to a fight. And the DBZ world is HUGE. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Ball_Z

Playing world http://www.pojo.com/dragonball/Worldguide.shtml although the story went to other plantes as well I'm sure, as well as a kind of heaven. The story could be any of them from the series, search for the dragon balls, etc it would be cool to have the Sky dragon in there as well.

Anyway thought I'd just throw that one out there. It would be fun designing for that.

New PSP!

There you go I said as much! I really should get a predictions job, how does one get that really..

E3: Sony Announces Upgraded PSP, Limited Edition Packs
"Sony has revealed that a new model of PSP will be available this September in two separate $200 packs, promising faster loading, lighter and slimmer design, and a new display feature to stream video to a standard television."
"The new model is 33 percent lighter, 19 percent slimmer, has a more efficient battery and faster loading times, said Hirai, but, more importantly, has a new display feature.

By attaching a video-out cable and pressing a new "display" button, any PSP display can be broadcast to a standard television, allowing gamers to watch UMD or downloaded video, display photos, or play games on TV."
Wicked, that display feature is what everyone was asking for and couldn't understand why it wasn't there in the first place (I wonder how they will scale movies up, since the resolution is lower I believe on the smaller screen, perhaps films will play scaled down now instead). Go round your mates house plug your lightweight PSP into the tv and if they ever produce two controllers to plug into the PSP (maybe an adapter for PS3 controllers via usb??) you could have a great two player game anytime, everywhere. Well worth getting now then, especially as it's lighter, slimmer, and lasts longer - I've tested those things before and holding one for hours is a pain.

Would be nice if they added a right side analog stick as well but oh well.

Notice they said the loading times are faster, they still have UMD in there, which I thought they would take out (that still fits with in the 2year time line though), I guess they're not ready to do that yet and it makes sense to keep it for the old games people already have. However I really think everything will move over to memory sticks - that's the only thing people use the PSP for. I thought this before but it's also supported by the recent news on the latest firmware having an application to load/play ISO files from memory stick. It's all coming together.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Current thoughts on PS3 price drop and 360 Falcon

Well two things, the PS3 dropped $100 in the states to $500 and is starting to sell, though what the translates to in £ I don't know, as it was $600 there but £400 here, £400 would have been $800 so we were getting ripped off here anyway. Lets assume $500 will be £250 here (which would be a bargain) but I know it will be £300+ don't we all.

Second Microsoft is bringing out the new Xbox360 "Falcon" chipset which is made on a 65-nanometer production process instead of 90. I have to say that actually makes the 360 tempting and I never considered it before. Why? Well we all knew, and you may have heard Mircosoft [semi-] admitted by admission of raising the warranty to 3 years and their open letter of apology, that there is a serious hardware fault with 360s overheating. So the 65-nano is actually the solution, at the same time redesign and cut production costs. I don't think they'll ever release a solution for the original. I wouldn't be surprised if they replace broken 90nanos with 65nano "Falcons". Falcons coming this "Fall".

So without these 360 problems, a growing number of cheaper games via second hand, and online LIVE it's looking a lot better. Still doesn't have the HD-Drive included though lets remember in that price (so add $100?) Then again the Falcon WILL drop price too so maybe drop $100/£50 here, they could even incorporate the HD drive -but- Blu ray is "winning". It may even be a mistake to include an HD-Drive in the Falcon at this point. Worth thinking about.

I got a little bit worried about the PS3 a few days ago before the price drop- it will be a strong beast as I've said in predictions a while back, but it could have been killed in it's infancy. Sony brought out a second SKU, the $600 (I'm going to have to talk in $) with Motorstorm game and an 80gig hardrive, over the 60gig standard. I actually think this is a ploy to get people to buy the 60gig version. Because the new SKU doesn't seem worth it*, and people hearing of the price drop will check out the SKUs and go for the "cheaper" model, as they feel it will be a "Bargain".

*also a foot note: the new $600 80gig model does not have the PS2 emotion chip, but uses software emulation - we already have this in the UK PAL versions, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think hardware solutions run better for the customer, but I imagine it's far cheaper for Sony with Emulation which can probably run everything equally well - if only all the games were supported. With Hardware at least PS2 games would work out of the box.

The high price SKU is not really a great deal because the PS3 hardrive can be slotted out and replaced with ease for a much larger and cheaper drive - it was designed like that, and the game, well you could get it cheaper else where- and maybe you don't want that game. This is what suddenly made me realise the 20gig version was actually really good APART FROM not having HDMI support which was really stupid - or really smart depending if you're Sony and want people to fork out more money (this could also have been a ploy to get people to consider the 60gig version over the 20gig at the time). See if the 20gig version had all the ports and wifi stuff it was supposed to have people could have swapped out the 20gig and put in a 120gig drive. We wouldn't need any other SKUs.

If the 20gig version with HDMI had been around and sold for an initial $500 from the start it would have flown. Now if Heavenly Sword or Killzone 2 (the game that was originally shown off before PS3 was even made) had been bundled that would have been it. As it is I think those two games will be the system selling games for PS3 THIS time round. £250 60gig PS3 bundled with Heavenly sword would be a dream.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Human Computation Projects

This is interesting stuff. From Wired. So I wrote some thoughts on it.

First we started linking all those idle processors around the world to do distributed network calculation projects, mostly analysing data, like SETI or decoding complex molecules. The PS3 is doing a similar thing with the Cell chip, why only have PCs do it when there are so many consoles around the world? [And at the same time buy a Blu Ray player instead of a standalone. Since so may consoles have DVD drives I'm surprised standalone DVD players still sell.]

Now we are starting to use all those idle Human moments to do something equally important. It's all about efficiency which I like. There are some tasks which only Humans can do and computers can't and it's about harvesting that ability in a useful manor. The challenge is doing it in a way that's fun, because otherwise people won't pick it up and "do it", and the way to get people to do it is to make it a game and "play it".

Which is what this guy Luis von Ahn has and is trying to do. He invented Captchas which are everywhere now, the pictures with scrabbled letters you type to verify you are a Human and not a bot on website. * The problem is motivating people to do something, the traditional way is paying money, or this way of making it fun, I found it interesting that the people who are combating Captchas are hiring 3rd world people to crack them or paying with porn. Perhaps this is all proof that Human nature is selfish.

[*Frankly I'm not sure why anyone would need to be at Uni to come up with these ideas, but it must be useful having the backing of a PHD advisor Professor. If anything I could say it was his programming skills which enabled this. In the electronic age, programmers are the new world builders, the new gods. There must be thousands of people coming up with bright ideas outside of Uni, I could do this, and if you want to talk about efficiency you should talk about harvesting these people, forming groups of individuals who specialise in certain skills, and then putting these groups together to make it happen.]

So out of all of these, the way of making something fun would seem to be the best option to me. Bring some fun into the world. Really it's addictive and repetitive behaviour, which the user (interesting phrase- who's using who here?) or player finds, well.. addictive. I find it interesting that he lied for his first game, the image matching game Matchin, he called it The ESP game. The game itself might be fun and addictive but it proves that perception is equally important for providing that hook, if he hadn't called it that but "Image matching game" I imagine a lot less people would have been interested and maybe it wouldn't have taken off. That's marketing for you. I could put this on an equal par with psychology experiments or studies where the experimenters lie too, but I'm not sure how ethical that really is anyway. It's interesting because I wonder how many other business got started by a lie somewhere along the line.

"Well, if it isn't like that, it won't be fun, and no one will play it," he replies.

This is the problem faced by all of von Ahn's human computation projects. People will contribute their brainpower, but only if they're given an enjoyable, time-killing experience in exchange. Play is the unexpected glue that lashes human brains together into a global overmind. So to build a good human-computation project, you can't merely be a scientist; you also need to be a videogame designer.

This, as it turns out, is a significant hurdle, because few academics are trained in game design. Von Ahn tries to find students who have done it themselves: Law worked for Ubisoft, and others have programmed their own indie Flash games. "Game design is a funny thing," von Ahn admits. "There are people out there who are really good at it, but it's not clear that they can teach it. It's a very intuitive process. It's an art."

This is why I'm interested in this subject even more. God, imagine how much we could have got done it we had harvested Ever"crack" players killing rats for fun. These standalone games necessitate being very simple, draw them in on a simple task which keeps them hooked for hours, but imagine if we could meld it with complex games? I'll come to that in a bit. For now the opportunities come in crobaring in useful human computational tasks to daily activities. Stuff we are going to do anyway. reCaptcha uses a word that when recognised goes to correcting a database entry. I think all this efficiency and using our wasteful cycles is good but there is room for abuse, things should be kept fun, but some horrific psychosocial experiments could be conducted on the race like this and I wouldn't like to see this used for anything sinister. We already have a nation watching Big Brother, even if Human behaviour is one of the most interesting things to watch, it kinda proves they'll sit a round and watch anything.

//Here's one the Sci-fi-ists might not have considered, if we prove that computers can't reach real AI without a human component, and we grow or plug in a human brain component and connected it to machines - matter of time really - once that is done perhaps that computer will force it on another, the computers will be using us not as batteries but as their "learning" component. Scary thoughts.//

You see I grew up with Douglas Adams books, and while this did kinda make me see the world in an absurdest way it already made me think along the lines of people as computer components/program in a giant computer. Life, the Universe and Everything, anyone? So my thinking already is well suited to this. You never know it may actually be true...seems like it more and more everyday.

You look at the Human race and their behaviour, their nature, group behaviour and you really can see them as some type of program. However much you want to infer into that, that part is true. You just have to step back a bit and look at the bigger picture.
"Basically, I want to make all of humanity more efficient by exploiting the human cycles that get wasted," he tells me over lunch at a diner near his lab in Pittsburgh. "As humanity goes online, it's becoming an extremely advanced, large-scale processing unit."
So what types of things could Humans teach that computers can't do? Path finding, Perception, teaching computers to Lie, Humour?

The first way would be analysing human choices in game rather than actual real world computational problems, but then what is learned could be used for real world applications.

Some of the simpler games could be puzzle solving by humans. If you think of that Draw to Play game, it's kinda unique, would a computer be able to work that out? You use the mouse to draw your own platforms while controlling a little man around some obstacles. If you run out of "ink" to draw platforms you have to restart. It's quite a challenge. What if it could analyse the patterns Humans had drawn and then work out how to complete a freshly drawn puzzle challenge, that kind of thinking could then be applied to something else.

FPS- What if the in-game player choices of millions and millions of games being played of Counter Strike, or Doom, or Quake or UT were analysed to make a better military robot? It's combat in a 3d environment by millions of people around the world constantly.

RTS - same thing.

RPGs? Path finding and player choices about what is valuable in their inventory.

Or the second way, rather than analysing player choices in game, these actual computational applications could be put in-game. They talk about advertising in-game now, an idea I hate, but if as part of the game play they could cro bar in a challenge from the real world, it would get solved as part of the in-game puzzle. Interesting thoughts to ponder.

Massively Multiplayer Online Games offer the most diverse player choices imaginable and would also be able to put in actual computational challenges. I'm not sure how players would feel being treated like Guinea pigs, as long as it didn't interfer with the flow and fun, but you could always offer them level up experience or gold etc. The idea of gaming is that the game should remain focused on gaming - ALWAYS.

-hmm interesting thought - how about making a MMOG that' completely honest about being for Human computational projects and ram it full of them, then the players drawn to that would play mini games in the Massive online world solving real world computation problems while "leveling up". Patent pending that thanks.

Unfortunately the only applications that spring to mind for the first method in-game analysis of choices, seem to be militaristic, game of def con anyone? There just aren't enough games out there about feeding the worlds population. And Humans seem to be inheritably destructive in their play...because that is fun.

The thought occurs - that that is because it's fun to survive. Which is a game the Human race has been playing for a very long time. We play as a means to test our abilities in a safe environment, and learn - which is the essence of play, for the time when we are in a dangerous environment. We could teach computers how to survive.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Some Confusing Type Of Hell...

Coincidentally Joystiq was also talking about Flash yesterday, but in the process they also linked to this article.

"The above is not a screenshot. It's a portal into insanity. Seriously, we're not even sure that you want to click it, lest you lose your already tenuous grip on reality; for that is the price of Game, Game, Game and Again Game, the weirdest thing that's ever happened to us."

I "played" it.
Either it's designed by someone insane, on acid, or a philosophy student. Or all three. It's really unusual and breaks loads of game design "conventions" or blocks to innovation you could say [of course we have reasons for conventions, but then as the "artist" seems to say, design is not art, and we both can't draw worth a damn ;)] , I never would have thought of a game like this before but now it's given me a few ideas. Maybe those stick game designs and pencil drawn levels I did when age 8 really can have a life their own :~)

Check the comments they're quite conflicted or as one of the commenter's says: "
18. That was stupid. It looks like someone spent some time in a philosophy class after they just had too much of acid." :) I don't think it's stupid.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Flash Games Update: Newgrounds

Then of course there's http://www.newgrounds.com. I actually bought Alien Homid for Xbox last year with out knowing anything about Newgrounds or the Flash game before it. I thought the Xbox game had an interesting style so obviously the rest of the stuff based on it is interesting to. I played Newgrounds Rumble a few days ago which is probably what prompted this whole post about great graphics in flash games, then I find it comes from the same source :~) I just had a go at Dad 'n Me, and they're worried about the game Bully?? :) still it's good so play it. This is Newgrounds history, I signed up on the site now so we'll see where it goes from there.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Webgames - Flash -The New Innovator?

It started innocently enough with a couple of Flash puzzle games, the first couple in the previous post, used to exercise the mind and improve skills (Games as Learning). I thought they were good, simple addictive games that exercised mental skills, they have the kind of basic graphics I'd always expected from web games, except crazy cube looks a little better, but they are nothing on what is out there now for Flash games as I discovered. Note I've seen impressive Flash movies before but never the graphical standard that some of these games have.

Now it has grown into a full-blown addiction for the last couple of days progressing through shooters to beat em ups and really novel Flash games, it's really surprising how far web games have come, they could even compete with traditional programmed games, and this may be a quicker and easier way of expressing new game ideas than traditional programming, not saying Flash is easy.

The "basic" graphical standard is good. I'm going to need to use new expressions for standards. V.basic graphics, ones which look a bit rough, would be a game like "Yellow Out", but a game can still be "basic" and have a good graphical style. In fact the definition of a webgame might be "basic and fun". They are fun addictive games though some are graphically amazing for Flash games. More to the point though it's the innovation that even the basic flash games allow which is more important.

So I thought I'd list some sites and individual games with one line explanations.

I'll start where I started which is, Portal sites:

It has most basic flash games and some fun ones. This site also has a Highscore table where you can store all the highscores from all the games you played after you log in.

Obviously. This is probably the best one. It has the best Flash games and movies as a top 50 list so may be the better place to go for the higher graphical ones.

is another.

This one has more paying games and more for download ratherthan web play but check the Bod series of games, it could have been a Wii game.

A company website but they also have one of the better multiplayer stick man games: Check Stick Arena. It may be stick men but it's not a basic graphics style.

Finally this individual has done some of the best games:
They're all good.

Try Mindless
Fixed point 1st person Shooter those furry things aren't so cute..

Electricman 2
Brilliant Stick man fighting game set in an arena, with Matrix moves.

Missile Game 3d
There have been games like this for a while but usually they involve flying a ship down a tunnel with you focusing on the ship, this time you are the missile flying face first through. It's much more immerse with a very simple but effective clean cut graphical style. Try your reflexes.

Individual games: Innovation

Draw to Play
Very innovative puzzle game with a stickman - I've never seen mouse control and key control of a character used like this before.

Stick Mess
Cartoon style movie like game - using Quick Timer Events for play - could be longer but still interesting.

Mouse Avoider
Very simple mouse controlled game. Flash games suit using the actual mouse pointer as the playing object.

A bit like snakes with a ball and gravity planets. Could be a little less harsh on chucking back to the main menu on death.

3D Missile
Reactions Game. It's mentioned above but deserves to be here too. Make sure to check out the others by the same guy.

Squares 2
Reactions Game. Perfect for clubbers. Brilliant game, very clean graphic style and the Music fits perfectly, it even slows down the sound in slowmo moments. This could be said to be like snakes with it's theme of greed, eventually killing you. Another mouse pointer one except move your ever growing square around collecting Black and avoiding Red. Black circles give benefits. It gets real fast.

Flash Ball
War of the balls really - bounce the opponent ball into the side walls to harm them.

Crazy Chess
I'm not usually a fan of Alt chess games, but this will make you learn to think of Knight moves very fast. It moves in real time using only the Knight.

Seen before but with twist:
Bass Invaders
Another music one. If you like Space Invaders and club music together then this is for you. Puts a twist on the usual space invaders by having an invading force circling your planet, but they only move to the sound of the beat :)

Gravity game, there are tons of these but this ones done nicer in my view.

Fly chopstick
I'm going to put this here too, because even though this is very simple mechanic it's one of the better done ones in graphics and style. And it's damn hard.

The Last Stand
One of the better Zombie shooters with a bit of tactics inbetween.

Pong with a twist, you can use force with the mouse to smack the ball harder.

For people who REALLY LOVE turrets.

These are the more innovative games above, there are tons of other standard webgames which follow a basic game mechanic and have no depth, I could probably list them all here - like hold the mouse button to boost while scrolling sideways, perhaps they just don't appeal to me but I've not included this in those above as they are the same types of games we've seen before, but some put a innovative fresh face or theme on them which can work as well e.g

Seen before, but nice theme:
This one makes you care a little bit about the tadpole (in this case it would be nice if the tadpole spawned into something else and the game became different).

Is another example - a take turn, set angle and power shoot game, it has a nice style though and I've never seen one shooting birds. It would be better if it could be played multiplayer across the net, though there's not much depth. Orbit could be here as well, even if it is above, a simple gravity shooting the ball around planets.

Then there are those old classics, fully fledged games, which have been re imaged, everyone knows Space Invaders, Pong and Defenders. Some are straight re imaged clones like below. Others are clones with a twist like some above.

Cosmic Defender

A defender clone obviously but it bought me back to Amiga days.

More on that later.

Update: Then of course there's http://www.newgrounds.com. I actually bought Alien Homid for Xbox with out knowing anything about Newgrounds or the Flash game before it. I thought the Xbox game had an interesting style so obviously the rest of the stuff based on it is interesting to. I played Newgrounds Rumble a few days ago which is probably what prompted this whole post about great graphics in flash games, then I find it comes from the same source :~) I just had a go at Dad 'n Me, and they're worried about the game Bully?? :) still it's good so play it.
This is Newgrounds history, I signed up on the site now so we'll see where it goes from there.

Webgames: Test Your Brain

Try these basic Mental Flash games:

First the Basic Graphical Puzzle games:
Yellow out
I believe this teaches organisational skills and thinking about space. It could even be used for interior design skills being able to clear spaces to fit other objects. You have to move objects of different sizes back and forth, so that you can get the playing object out of the arena. It just so happens they're using cars and a car park to demonstrate the idea. I'd be interested to know if there's anyone who can't pass Level 50.

Crazy cube
This is really good. Think Rubik's cube but with only 3 sides and virtual. You only have to deal with 3 sides which makes it easier, a full six would have been too hard I feel. This one teaches path finding believe it or not, trying to find a route between two squares with out breaking the routes of the others. It gets progressively harder, Lv17 was a real bit*h. It's interesting because it teaches a few rules, think achems razor, except the simplest route is not always the shortest. I won't say more because it will give away the learning. Try it.

Pong Violence - Pong Not Just A Game

I've been trying to fit this in as an embedded item but can't find it anywhere as such so I'll just have to link to it. Pong not just a Game Flash Movie.

From http://www.flashportal.com/ A pretty good source of Flash movies and Games, which is what I'll be talking about next.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

"Wii Bubble", Four Types of Gamers, "Second Coming of The Wii"

I came across this on Wired about the supposed "Wii Bubble" and it being a fad, and the four types of gamers.

I didn't agree with the title/idea of four types of gamers, it seems to me there are many different types of gamers after all, but broken down like they are here makes sense. Broken down on the type of person who buys hardware and their spending power; Hardcore, Casual, Expanded Audience and Kids.

I never considered the Wii a fad, but when I think of gamers I think of those like my self from the hardcore to the casual - traditional gamers. However he is right, there is a new "expanded" audience now that the Wii has come along. It was targeted at them from the beginning. Your father, mother, grandma, your 5 year old baby brother and sister (who will grow up playing Wii first). "Gaming" has never considered these factors before, by publishers at least. I would/have put these 5yr olds in the Expanded Audience because they become the 10 yr old "Kids" audience.

-An example of the Kid category- I was in Game recent looking round and this little kid was looking for the spiderman 3 game and asked me, I pointed to the big rack of xbox, PS2 games. I think he was looking at xbox360, I felt sorry for the mum. Spiderman 3 is a novelty tie in game to a movie and apparently one that's not much good (it's not much good on Wii either apparently). For the parents the Wii will be a much better buy for their kid who wants a movie tie-in game which is basically a novelty, as it and the game will be less expensive, hopefully the control system will develop, and these kids will grow up with motion control in mind and a different way of thinking about games.

The question is really is the Wii a fad for these other categories? I don't think it really maters. Why? Because those kids playing Wii now will grow up looking for the same (over the next 5 years), the parents and grandparents of now may bore of Wii (though not for a couple of years) but as the price of Wii 1 drops more even more people will by it. I'd buy a Wii for £75, even if I didn't really want it.

Over those same 5 years the PS3 network and Xbox hardware will grow for the hardcore/old causal. Which is another factor, we are all getting older. Our parents didn't grow up with gaming, but our kids will grow up with parents who did. It's a different world. And it changes faster than you think, I've found through my travels that really stereotypes become invalid ever 5yrs or so.

Those 5-10 year olds will grow up with Wii 1 and eventually move into Casual or Hardcore land being use to motion sensing controls, they'll be looking for a similar next gen machine at that time.

At this time Hardcore has not adopted Wii to the same extent as the other categories (as a percentage, not of numbers as the other categories dwarf Hardcore), and this is also why there will be a second Wii.

The first Wii is for the other 3 MASSES of people, and the "Second Coming of The Wii" will be for the "Hardcore" people who want better graphics. That's why the Wii 1 looks like having a lower demographic compared to Xbox or PS3 in some charts I've seen for 2010, but those charts didn't take into account Wii2.

Still I realise they're concerned with the current Extended Audience, so will they still be interested? Depends on the games I think. Wii Sports seems to be the game this category is buying the machine for, in which case it may as well be Myst, or Solitaire, Snakes or Tetris. Maybe they're bring out another game for the parents which will keep their interest. Otherwise the key is hooking our current Gamers on Wii 1 now, so I'm looking for the more serious games, the ones I wanted to see on the Wii when it was first announced, perhaps I'll have to wait to Wii 2.

We as gamers are also getting older and will become the gaming parents and audience, there won't be an Extended Audience as of that point, just a very very large casual gamer market. May be we will want what ever comes after the second Wii since we are use to PS3 and Xbox360 style graphics from our 20-30s, we'll want something as good. Since in growing older perhaps we won't fit that Hardcore demographic anymore, we won't be buying that ultra hardcore new gen machine. But maybe we'll have time for casual and PC gaming. But then there is all those Microsoft camera games which will come in, and electronic Surface table top games by then. Gaming is very much in our mind set now. Gaming is going to be a huge industry. Imagine when you're 80 and sitting around all day, well I know what I'm going to be doing. Fragging you.

It must be odd being a Last gen-parent and learning gaming for the first time.

However as gamer-parents I think it's still valuable we remember something our parents knew, and that's to switch off the console (or TV for them) and get outside ;)

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Wii 2, PS3 king - "told you so"

Seems I'm not the only one predicting PS3 to come out on top and a Second Wii to arrive. Well I did say.

Wii 2

"Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes a higher spec, HD-enabled "Wii 2" could be on the shelves "in a couple of years".


"It also points out that Sony could drop a "bombshell" by the end of the year with a combined price drop and the launch of the Home virtual networking and online game service."

Give me that analyst job I say :)

- In fact if you need analysis come to James Knight.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Then check out....

Click for more info

I'd prefer Super SF2 turbo on SNES hardware with SNES controller tbh, that's what I learnt on, I kicked 15 straight matches last games expo, probably not as good on these version with these controllers though.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Bizzare - Pacman for the true pill-munching generation


Todays News: PSP Redesign, Bill goes to Wii, GFW should wish it was a Shadow

I Swear I didn't see this about PSP redesign when I wrote the last article.

However I did know about the Gates wants camera games articles before, here's some more.

And here's some more about Games for Windows, intergrating Xbox360 and Windows and how crap it is. This isn't surprising, they have really messed up so far with Vista gaming.

I am still really hopeful about Shadowrun, it looks great and ideas are amazing, shame about lack of maps and (not lack) of bugs. But like I've said before in the PC and Console Perspective piece near the summary, games aren't really out till the first patch. Which sucks.

Editorial: Predictions Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo

You can quote me. I wouldn't say what I say if I didn't believe it on some level. Some of these are already known, some are possibilities I think likely and some are more dead cert in my eyes. I stick by what I say but prove me wrong if you like and discuss.


*PS3 will be around for the next 7 years. [2007-2014]

*There will be hardware revisions along the way to make it cheaper. [2 or 3 in that time].

*Blu Ray will dominate. There will be a black market in second hand games. [this year/next year].

*Your PS3 will connect to your PC, the PSP (now or later) will connect to the PS3 or wifi hotspots being able to access your home content on PS3 and PC. [this year or next].

*There will be a second lighter PSP with out a USD drive, the games will be digitally downloaded from the net or PS3. [2 years time].

*Possibly before that games will be stored and sold on high-density memory cards for PSP. [1-2 years]. Although a revision of PSP tech seems likely.

*Cell chip network processing power will be huge [over 3-4 years time it will grow exponentially], and interconnect with PCs.

*We will move away from game media formats to digital distribution. [Between now and 2014].

This will happen in steps:

[Possibly 1#] PS3 will come with a rewriter Blu Ray - 50gig games will be downloaded to the hard drive and immediately burnt by the user onto Blu Ray. It will be a digitally distributed network a 'bit like' BitTorrent. The further huge expansion of broadband width and cell chip interconnectivity will make this possible.

[Alternative 2#] Via cell chip and connectivity we will simply log in to a Sony central server and play the game from there without downloading any games, or minimal files at least. The core of the game would be downloaded (or bought on Blu Ray) and extras fed when needed.

[Alternative 3#] Possibly if the same game is being played simultaneous on different PS3s and the players are in different parts of the game, the Cell will simply call the already cached data from what ever part of the game the other player is at when the current player reaches that part of the game. With enough players online at the same time, every part of the game would be cached ready to load at any point. This would be the most efficient [3-4 years time]and what Sony would also aim for in the next PS. This would also tie in with 2#, with a core download of the game, then if there are not enough players at one time Sony server would provide.

I will write the reason why Blu Ray will win over HD-DVD in another post. But lets just say Sony put all their eggs in one basket and Microsoft can change external drives if it wants and is more interested in digital downloads anyway.

*I've only given PS3 7 years because although the Cell is advanced, the common rule of processing power doubling every 18months comes in. So in 3 years time we'll have something 4 times as powerful as the now PS3. Who knows we may get a Cell2, but broadband, distributed networks, and a different way of distributing and processing games as they are played will affect this too.

Summary: We do not live in the age of 3DO anymore. We live in an age where PS2 dominated for 10 years, and Xbox raised the processing power expectations for the last 5 years. Today’s kids expect a totally different gaming experience than say if you were a kid born in 1980. Yes Sony fucked up on the launch, but please READ about the Cell chip, it's the first thing I did, it's built from the ground up on interconnectivity, distributed processing power, and security. It shows they are really looking at the future, which is maybe why they don't or didn't care so much about now. PS3s not even passed it's first year, so there is not much good comparing the Xbox 360 game types with current PS3 game types. Give it a year.

*Microsoft will bring out a Blu Ray add on drive for the Xbox 360 [mid next year]

-This is because while 50gig Blu Ray discs probably will be full of crap for the first couple of years EVENTAULLY it will be necessary. Also market forces conspire.

*Microsoft will also have it's own digital distributed network. It already has a year or mores head start. Already we are seeing the integration of Xbox360 and Windows, although total crap at the moment, it will grow. Makes sense what with Microsoft making Xbox360 AND the biggest PC platform on the planet Windows.

[The only thing Microsoft lacks is a hand held to access that Xbox/Windows network from anywhere..]

*However I doubt they will really do it with Xbox360. They will build the service with Xbox360, then switch to newer hardware [Xbox Home system anybody?] so processors are more integrated around the world. This is similar to how the first Xbox got everyone use to the idea of Microsoft being a console manufacturer, before the Xbox360 proper was delivered. It was bit like battering down the door first and then waltzing in second.

*Microsoft will bring out an Xbox360 successor sooner than thought [5-6years]. This [above] is also perhaps why Microsoft killed Xbox 1 so shockingly. Where as PS2 is still around and strong for 10 years, it makes sense for Sony to keep it that way while people adopt the higher cost PS3, eventually people will just lose interest in buying the PS2 and it will phase itself out. Where as the price point of the Xbox360 is much closer to the original Xbox when it arrived so MS had to kill the original. This prompts me to believe they may do the same in another 4 years time, especially when Sony's distributed network comes in force, and why one year in they're already doing a hardware revision with the Xbox360Elite 120gig drive and HDMI support. Though they may drag it out a bit longer to 5-6 years. Xbox360 is very much the current top games system and service combined but it is a very NOW kind of tech and I wasn't that impressed with it over the Xbox1 especially if you already have a modded Xbox, this is perhaps the reason why I don't like it as much, because it doesn't look to the future but to now, this is not to say it's not a good machine and having great gaming experiences, but I know another will come along.

*I seriously doubt they'll integrate a HD-DVD drive for reasons above of Blu Ray coming through on top, but I'll laugh a lot if they integrate a Blu Ray one. I can't see that happening though for pride reasons.

*Eventually what with Microsoft having a digital game distribution service and Sony having one, and processors all over the world connected and sharing information and power, and no one using media types, it's possible that either a) Sony games may play against Microsoft ones or b) the entire planet will blow up. I'm still hoping for third option on that one.

Summary: I think that's pretty much already enough of a summary on Microsoft.
Foreword: I found myself writing an article before I could get to predictions for Nintendo.

Wii, ah the Wii. What happened? I was routing for you all the way, innovation v graphics, new game types and methods of play, revolution of games - what happened? Or maybe it just hasn't happened yet. Like the DS it took time for people and developers to get use to it perhaps we just haven't seen what it can do yet.

Yes I'm well aware it's outselling both Xbox360 and PS3, but it' not what it should be at the moment. This lays firmly at the developers feet as far as I'm concerned, it has to be as they make the games after all. COME ON USE YOUR HEADS.

Okay look, I've not played the Wii yet, I've seen it and I've seen it being played, I've had the controller in my hands. But I 've not played it. And why is that.

Yes I'm immensely sure it's very fun to play, and it's great with friends, and good for parties. And it appeals to a very large audience of people who weren't gamers before. No wonder it's selling well. Selling loads doesn't make something critically great in my eyes though.

There's a couple of reasons:

1) Graphics - yes I know they said they would only be as powerful as two Gamecubes, and I was all for that innovation over graphics argument, but come on. There's two choices here, Either a) Match the graphics of games on Xbox and PS3 or b) If it doesn't match Xbox360 and PS3 games why bother bringing the same games to the system? Don't do it, invent something COMPLETLY different. By showing up the Wii for compassion GRAPHICALLY with advanced processors you're doing it no favours.

MOST people will HAVE an XBOX360 or PS3 at some point and still buy a Wii for really out their concepts. I would. Most people would. I don't really need Call of Duty on the Wii if I've got it for PS3 - although to be honest I don't need it for PS3 if I have it on PC.

However maybe I'm wrong, maybe having the same game on three different systems some how gives you that ‘innovative gaming experience' that you lack on one of them.

[1a) oh another thing, it was prominantly admitted that the graphics are not as powerful as the current gen competition, but it was still two Gamecubes - what's that the power of xbox1?- yet what's up with the graphics? The developers appear to be getting sloppy, thinking they can get away with less work and developer time on graphics because 'it's not as powerful as Xbox360 and PS3'. Bull.]

2) Innovative games and uses for the controller. Okay, not exactly the 'tacked on controls' argument. It's the 'movement translated into standard code the same as pressing a button' argument. Maybe even if having the control works well enough in side to side, back and forth, and shaking assigned to moves in game etc it's still not...there. It's not one on one motion.

The system was HYPED as though it would be "doing these REAL actions in real life is the same as controlling actions in the game". A new Era Dawned etc etc

It’s not though is it.

I think I know what it is, the reason I'm annoyed so much is because I had all these ideas for games for the Wii before it came out and I was expecting hardcore games with advanced motion sensing SKILL games. Like it mattered EXACTLY where you stroked the controller down, or blocked with the numchuck, or exactly how you moved the vertical wii controller in a 3d space to control a craft.

So on to predictions:

* There will be a second Wii. Maybe in 3-4 years time. It was admitted the Wii was cut down on graphics. To keep the system cheap. However there may have been another reason. This cut on graphics probably drove expense down, and would allow the developers to experiment more with games types for the controller. So although I've been harsh above I think it's just we haven't discovered what we can do with it yet. It's a bit like Nintendo gave a ball to the developers to play with and their pushing it back and forth like a baby, but in a couple of years they'll go and play a game of football with it.

*I said there may be a second Wii (of course there will but I meant sooner than expected), because by the time developers learn how to make these games we want over the next 2-3 years, then they may as well ramp the graphics up at the end. WE ALREADY do graphics very well. So it wouldn't be hard to add it at the end in a second system now would it. The Wii is the developers’ toy they just started playing.

* Nintendo may need a controller category system on the packaging for each Wii game. This advanced motion game play I'm talking about is different from what we currently have. It should be intuitive what action to perform with the controllers in your hand, on screen prompts are all well and good but that's for the old style Wii games. We may also need a category system to show if this game is a get and throw your arms around widely type game requiring energy or a very subtle controlled method of delivery sitting down or standing up.

*Coach potatoes don't want to wave their arms about but button pressing is out. This control category system [above] would solve the whole argument most are going on about; coach potatoes not wanting to get up and wave their arms around with the current Wii generation of games or how holding our arm out straight for 20mins is going to kill your arm. Frankly if I sit down on my arse all day it's going to hurt my arse just as much as my arms. It may be possible to mix the two types, an energetic action sequence followed by a sit down and guide the avatar precisely period.

Summary: Nintendo is going in the right direction, Microsoft is also developing these camera controlled games for the future so I believe we will see more "Full Body" movement and controlled games. You may need to clear your garage out to do it but I think it will happen. And I have my own ideas for gaming beyond the current crop of consoles, Gaming is going to diversify and I believe there's room for all of us, but that's a subject of another post :)

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

One of your favourite games in 100 500 words.

Note it didn't say the favourite but "one of". So I'm going to pick an oldie but a goldie: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault on PC.

I would have to pick this because I was in and lead a clan for the game back in 2002. So I've spent enough hours on it ;) Built on the Quake 3 engine, Medal of Honor played a very different game. It was so successful that it spawned the entire range of WW2 theme shooters we have now such as Call of Duty and Brotherhood of Arms. If you had come from another shooter or Quake 3 you would find the player character would move painfully slowly as you ran for cover or from an exploding grenade. But indeed it wasn't overtly slower at all, only in comparison, in it's own right it was quite fast movement and the game play gun battles were furious but the slower paced character would ramp up the tension as you jump through a window to avoid a grenade, fought in a gun battle or ran from cover to cover avoiding a sniper. Everything was tense. Especially in objective type matches with no respawn. Deathmatch was intense and frantic to match. Also the sound was excellent with background cannons firing, explosions, and gun fire mixing with the live action, each surface really could be distinguished when walked on and this made for some incredible stealth action if you so wanted, I much preferred out witting my opponent and sneaking up on them than simply relying on pure aim skills, although I was very good at that also ;D The graphics may look dated by today’s standards but they still hold up, and there's something about the weight of the character, the bobbing from side to side and the over all game play which just makes the experience so much more real and involving. I mentioned sound before, but there was also speech, any player could use set commands shouted out in game to fellow team mates to command them or warn. It was often possible to hear the enemy to shouting in German. The maps were incredibly detailed and made for excellent play, I only wish there were more like them. There were map packs, skins, mods (try realism) and user content available, though the maps couldn't be said to capture the original artistry. There were also a couple of expansion packs to AA, which I played for a while, but they just didn't seem to capture the same feel of the original for me, I think it had something to do with unbalancing of the weapons of both sides and also changing the game speed. It didn't feel the same. No game since has really captured that feeling of running along jumping as high as possible and lobbing a grenade down the map, or avoiding the iron cross of that eagle eyed sniper scopeing the lanes quite so much as Allied Assault has.

Editorial: First a little about me, Perspective on Consoles and PC

I'm not a fanboy of any console, never was and never will be as far I can tell, I'm much more a PC gamer type person. This allows me to be more objective when looking at consoles and games. I LIKE consoles, especially for their ease of use and loading times to play during quick breaks, as well as the quick people-in-the-same-room gameplay, but for the longest time I never owned a console BUT I did and have played every console.

This is predominately because of my major gripe with consoles are:

1. PRICE, and it seems one which is not changing even now. Remember how much a SNES cart was when new? £50. How much is an Xbox360 or PS3 game? New, they're all around £50. Some games which have been around a while are £40, nice to see a lower price, BUT second gripe:

2. MARKED UP PC PORTS, -a more common recent phenomena come to think of it- with the advent of Xbox360 - Some games which are direct ports of PC games are MARKED UP £10 to £40 over the exact same PC counterparts, sometimes more, this is INSANE. You're not getting any more value from these games. What's worse is some(all?) of these games play better (control method and graphically) on PC anyway, most FPS and RTS for instance.

3. Cost of the hardware. Yeah okay upgrading your PC is going to cost, but at least you can play some of the newer games on older hardware with lower settings (360 games on Xbox1 anyone?), essentially getting the game play experience. Plus for consoles you 'pay through the nose' for all additional controllers and add ons AND as mentioned above the games are going to be £20 more expensive than on PC. PC prices in my experience fall quicker than consoles any day. With the addition of mods for games you are almost getting twice the value for your game, it's like buying two games for the price of one.

4. Outdated Console Games unable to cross DIFFERENT platform makers. Which is another thing, I don't have to worry about console games crossing over to the next gen of consoles, my entire collection of PC games isn't going to be outdated and unusable on new hardware for PC. Considering the upgrade cost vs buying a new console. Yeah great, backwards compatibility on the same console maker - when it works - but that keeps me tied to one Manufacture, good for them, and the basis for all fanboidom - you have to become a fan of one to justify to your self the extreme expense you just laid out, but why the hell does it matter - Shouldn't the GAMES matter most not what it's played on. Yes you could say I'm being locked to PC hardware, maybe even Windows, but I know most games which come out for all other consoles will appear on PC and if not the PC kinda does what ever it was better anyway, it IS the cutting tech. However this argument is the entire justification for modding and I'll come to that.

5. Paying for Online Content. The PC has always had extra online content and it doesn't cost anything. Of course I'm not grumbling about consoles having online content, no that's a good thing, but you just know you're paying extra for it and you're going to get less freebies in the long run than a PC mod community can produce. Second to that PC have always (well since the internet :) had multiplayer - of course that is going to be the rage with the current consoles now.

If this sounds like I'm console bashing I don't mean it too :) I like consoles I think they're great, but then so is the price point "GREAT", and it's kinda impossible to separate the price structure of consoles from the hardware. If one machine uses more advanced or expensive components it's going to be more expensive there's no way around it.

Predominately my perspective comes from not having much money, a games console would seem a good investment even at £300 if it weren't for the games costing £50 each time. Which brings me to when I actually DID get a console, I got an Xbox a couple of years ago for £100 with 5 games second hand but brand new, I also got it modded, games were £10-20 new, and then with the advent of Xbox360 all Xbox1 games dropped to £5. Bargain indeed.

A word on modding, it has allowed me to play all manner of old consoles games and increased the value tenfold as well as other applications WE ALL KNOW this is why consoles are successful longer term. PS2 would never have sold so much if it hadn't been moddable and with that a lot of interest is generated in the product and buying it world wide - it's like free advertising. Despite what Sony say, and they know it. It's probably why the PS3 is now running on Lynx. And how many 'EXTRA' PSPs would they have sold really if it hadn't been hackable? An interesting thing about the PSP is that the security is becoming tighter, with so many firmware updates, but that is predominately because of the now future plan of PS3 and adding more features to the PSP, but also to shape HOW the PSP is modded. They need to allow more things on it in features before they let the hackers take it further. Having hackers and the public work on your product is like having a free dev team.

So having spoken about cost I'll switch to PCs. Cost is also a reason why I don't play Massively Multiplayer Online Role playing Games (MMORG) - even though I don't play single player roleplaying games, I'm sure I would love WoW and City of Heroes to try out, there's just something down in my gut which doesn't like paying monthly subscriptions fees. Perhaps it's just because I don't have the disposable income to throw away on it, also the reason why I have not signed up to Xbox live ever - although I will admit it's quite cheap and tempting now - if anyone's still playing Xbox 1 that is... Or maybe I just like the outside more than spending a gajjillion hours leveling up in roleplaying though I suppose everyone plays their preferred type of games and I'm sure I spend just as long on those than RPGs anyway. The thing is my preferred type of games are free to play online already.

To summarise I've never played a MMORG, I've never signed up for Xbox live (though I've seen it running), and guess what? I didn't start watching LOST until over a year into the show *shock*. Before it sounds like I'm left behind the times, I'll say that I don't follow trends, CURRENT trends that is. Not all of them anyway. It's perfectly feasible to sit back, observe from a distance and then pick the time you want to pick something up. It also gives you the advantage to look ahead past all the current furore and see where the Next distant thing is coming from. Besides there's just TOO much stuff out there to watch and play it all, another reason is why pay a premium for something which is not at least established with out bugs? A game hasn't really come out until the first patch, I'm not joking. Although for things like shows it's nice to be caught up in the passion of a new episode, it's also nice to catch up to the current episode with a lot of back ground. So I am both caught up in the furor of some things and distanced and reserved about others. [Potentially that means I'll get excited about things out of sync with everyone else - but that's old thinking - it's not really everyone else is it, because everyONE else gets in to everyTHING else at different times and there's always a new generation discovering something for the first time. There's also an old generation discovering things for the first time.]

If you're only looking at the current-next thing, being constantly focused on the present really, you'll never see the slightly distanced one.

A lot of current arguments are quite pointless - except for sometimes those arguments do shape things in the public mind which is the only reason companies fight the other side in PR and hype. If you hadn't argued about it probably the product or thing would have survived or failed on it's own merits alone.

However the differences between Consoles and PCs might not be so pronounced in future. There will I think always be some form of desktop computing (for a long time anyway) and gaming to go with it, but the nature of consoles is changing. And further on from that, the nature of gameing is changing too. I'll explain why in another post.

Microsoft and Sony are dragging everybody else along with their vision, WE will say what is a success but despite all your arguments and protest, they have the cash and Will to change public perception (Nintendo is riding a different kind of future), wasn't it you after all who laughed 5 years ago at the idea of Microsoft making a console?

Exitmundi - It's the end of the world as we know it (sing along)


Not strictly about technology, but it is about the future, the end of the world to be precise. Very educational and quite funny in places. If anything it should teach you not to worry, as there are so many ways things could go tits up there's no point.

I also like this one from there, a nice little break down of reality and the self.

Sweet Dreams.


YouTube Comments

This particular video is Street Fighter Ken and Ryu versus Dragon Ball Z Vegeta and Son Goku, a must for anybody who grew up with Streetfighter on SNES (although these SF characters are from Alpha I believe) or read the DragonBall Z comics. This appears to be one of the better versions.

If you don't know about Mugen check it out. It's a game engine which can literally have nearly any character you can think of in it. Check it out on Google and YouTube, there are hundreds of videos. The Mugen engine is similar of many 2D fighting systems and games from 1999, so plays similar to streetfighter or king of fighters, or any number of neo geo fighting games. It can be downloaded and then users can add their own characters and backgrounds, making whole new characters may be a little complex but there are many character packs out there just search for them, it's great what you can find.

Here's another example Homer Vs Peter Griffin

More from same
JudgeSpear is a good source for characters and videos.

Games Consoles vs Relationships (ahem)

There comes a time in every relationship where basically, the guy spends more time with his games console than his girl.

Here's why:

1. They're more entertaining, you can play a different game every night and the ones you play repeatedly have more entertainment value.

2. You can turn them on and off at the push of a button.

3. If they crash or break down, at least they're quite about it.

4. They open up to you pretty easily to.

5. You only have to give them electricity and games to keep them running.

6. Over time, games become cheaper.

7. The only thing a games console is going to give you is sore thumbs.

8. If you ever get tired of your games console, there's always a new one 2-3 years down the line.

9. You can pull the plug on your games console.

10. If your game console breaks, at least there's something you can do about it. Or get a replacement.

11. Games consoles get 'enhancements', new 'attachments', and mods all the time.

12. Lastly when an old console passes on you think of it in fond memories...and you can still have a good time with it now and then if you like.

The Start

"We wait and want for it to come so much, and yet it goes soon after; in the blizzard of potential, the future comes looking all the same, but like snowflakes each is a potential form, and without the potential there would be no snow. Future Snow" - James Knight

"The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet."
- William Gibson.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it"
- Alan Kay