Friday, April 22, 2005

E3, CSI, and other acronyms on my mind


I was watching the pilot episode of CSI the other night on DVD when this bit of dialogue caught my ear:

NICK STOKES: Dude, you got NFL2K for Dreamcast?

GREG SANDERS: Bought it the day it came out. Those graphics are killer, aren't they?

I’m guessing it was some paid product placement since Nick and Warrick are seen playing the actual game in a later episode. In any case, it reminded me of that magical Dreamcast launch. “Those graphics are killer, aren't they?” I felt exactly the same way. I had never seen a football game look so real before. The only other time a football game really blew me away was Madden for the 3DO, but the gameplay was so lacking it detracted from the visual dazzle. That wasn’t the case with NFL 2K. Sure it had problems, but man was it fun.

I’m really hoping the unveiling tomorrow (the commercial during the NFL Draft) and at E3 of the next gen Madden has a similar effect on me. News has been leaking fairly regularly now of games that are going to be showcased and it’s all very exciting. My one prediction is that we’ll see a dizzying amount of titles announced for the PSP. So far, the list of upcoming titles has been conspicuously small. A look at the recently leaked Nintendo DS release schedule (I can’t seem to find the link at the moment) shows an insane amount of titles are indeed coming, so you can just imagine what the PSP sheet will look like. Unfortunately, the list will surely be dominated by plenty of PS2-light ports.

From Splinter to Jade
I lost interest in playing Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow on the PC since it doesn’t work with a game pad. It’s just too awkward to play with a mouse and keyboard. I guess I’ll eventually have to track down a cheap Xbox copy or just rent it. That left me free to get serious with Jade Empire. Played for about two hours and so far so good. Nice story, looks great, and the combat is interesting. It’s finely editing though. Damn fine editing. I haven’t fully wrapped my head around the combat, but it’s still very early. The only thing that bothers me is the way you open item boxes—the game teleports you directly in front of the crate or vase you were trying to open regardless of where you were standing before. It’s odd that such an ugly glitch made it in. It really takes you out of the game and makes it harder to search for goods and get back to your mission at hand.

Daggers, Kaneshiro, and Ziyi Zhang!
I also finally watched House of Flying Daggers and loved it. I liked Hero better though. I thought Daggers would get me more excited about getting back to Jade Empire, but it made me want to go back and finish Onimusha 3. I wasn’t really familiar with Takeshi Kaneshiro’s background other than seeing him in a Japanese TV series and his role in the Onimusha series, so I was shocked to hear him speaking fluent Mandarin. You can read more about him here. I also thought this was Ziyi Zhang’s most complete role since Crouching Tiger. Her commentary with director Yimou Zhang is very interesting and recommended for fans of the movie.

Back to the scene of the crime
Getting back to CSI, I mentioned earlier I’ve been inhaling reruns of the original CSI as quickly as Spike and other rerun channels can churn them out. Unfortunately, they aren’t very thorough in the order of these replays so I’m missing large chunks in the various seasons. There’s a very long story I will spare you from and simply boil the details down to the essentials in the order they happened:

- Rented first 2 discs of season 1
- Decided to just buy the box sets
- Found out they are re-releasing season 1 so it will be presented in widescreen (season 2 – 4 already are) and adding tons of bonus features
- After weighing costs found it was cheaper to buy the season 1 – 4 super brick and sell off the included full frame season 1 and buy the re-release widescreen when it comes out

- My lovely wife (who will no longer be referred to as "the wife") surprises me by picking up the tab on the set.

So now I’m just waiting for the set to arrive. Maybe I can crunch and finish Jade Empire before then. Probably not. Posted by Hello

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