Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pre-E3 rush

News is starting to roll out at a steady clip with the show so close. Some thoughts:

Wii – Everyone has some thoughts. The name is growing on me. It’s good Nintendo put this out before their press briefing to allow people to come to peace with it, so the attention can go back to what the console will actually do.

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Ridge Racer 7 PS3 – Wow. I’m so glad I skipped RR6 for 360. RR7 is how I wanted next gen RR to look and the series just fits being on a Sony machine. I’m just hoping it’s not a RRV-like debacle. Hated that one.

Phantasy Star Universe also for 360 – I really, really want to play PSU, but the chances of me sitting through another RPG on the PS2 is extremely slim. Since it’s on the 360, I might even play online.

Silent Hill PSP – I’ve been meaning to revisit the first game, so it’s nice I can enjoy a slightly upgraded version for the PSP. That’ll also give me the perfect excuse to finally play that copy of SH2 Xbox that’s been crying out to me (I played the game on PS2 already, but want to check out the extra content).

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Currently playing Brain Age for the DS. Addicting and I’m improving my brain! I started at age 35, got bumped to 46, but now maintaining a youngish 23. I also renewed my subscription to Nintendo Power. Three reasons: 1) With hot again hardware, the mag is still unbeatable for exclusives and access. 2) I like the redesign and new paper stock a lot. Well done. 3) You get a free Nintendo guide. That’s really the kicker. I love Nintendo strat guides. They're always atractively laid out and have 100% accurate information. Many are quite collectible and command great resale value too. I’m buying the guide I would have bought anyway, but get NP for free. I opted for the New Super Mario Bros. guide btw.

And yes, my pic to the right has been updated. Not exactly a HD ninja since that is a samurai sword, but close enough.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hi-Def Hoff

Early adopters who get the Sunday paper must have felt a tinge of temptation when they happened upon the Best Buy ad touting the availability of the first HD-DVD player and movies. $499 for the Toshiba player and $24.99 for movies. To ease the sting, they smartly tout the upconversion feature that will bring existing DVDs up to near HD quality. Hmm… yeah, vaguely tempting, but no thanks.

There are probably a good number of eager HDTV owners who will grab the Toshiba player right now. That is if they can find one. From what I’ve read on the interweb, each Best Buy store stocked maybe three HD-DVD players each. That’s not too good. Even so, if the Blu-Ray launch is delayed long enough, HD-DVD may even be able to grab a good-sized lead. The general feeling is that the lead will get quickly erased after the PS3 hits stores in quantity.

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I know there are a few of you out there who have HDTVs with DVI, but no HDMI port. I found a neat converter here, but there are some from other places as well if you look around. Not sure if there are any compatibility problems though.

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The advice I’ve been giving to HDTV owners is to get HD cable service for the time being if they don’t already have it. Why? Aside from enjoying great looking movies and sports, you can also view the Knight Rider show in widescreen HD. You heard me. High-Definition Hasselhoff. As a kid, this show was the height of cool. Now, um…it’s pretty darned cheesy and much lower budget than I remember. Quite a hoot and enjoyable if only for the over-the-top Hasselhoff performances. Anyone with access to the HD Universal channel can get in on the action. They also run a few movies, but mostly Universal owned shows like Law & Order, The Equalizer (Yeah!), Quantum Leap (Hell yeah!), and the new Battlestar Galactica (Crazy Delicious!).

Turns out most TV shows that were taped on film stock are natively widescreen, although the picture quality isn’t comparable to modern material. Still, plenty of shows out there are just begging to get the deluxe treatment. One of the most wanted is the original Trek.

There are tons of TV box sets that I’m know will get re-released in HD. Battlestar Galactica is my most wanted on that front. Most of the sets I have now don’t need to be re-purchased since more resolution won’t improve the Family Guy, Simpsons, or Chapelle show. None of those are widescreen anyway, so no big deal.

Monday, April 10, 2006

On replacing the magical boy

I finished The Half-Blood Prince this past weekend. Now I’m officially part of the billions who are anxiously awaiting the next and final book. You’d think after reading three books in three weeks I’d want a break, but I feel like getting into another book fairly soon. However, I have no desire to go back and read the first three books. Although not another novel, I picked up the first manga volume of Negima: Magister Negi Magi the other day. Why? Um, the main character is a young wizard in training like Harry, and er, I’m not sure why else I bought it. I had no interest in the author’s previous work (Love Hina) at all. I really like Negima though and will start to follow it.

I ended up not picking up Oblivion yet and instead continued my quest to unlock more random crap in Rumble Roses XX. Deal with it.

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One of the surprises of last week was getting contacted by none other than Trickman Terry! Old school EGM readers out there know Terry handled the codes section before the internet ruined everything. Back then, codes weren’t as easy to come by and companies weren’t as keen to give them out. I remember before I entered “the industry” EGM and Videogames magazine where the two mags that always had the newest codes. I would later learn that it was due to efforts of people like Terry and Chris Bieniek that it was so. Check out the Trickman’s site why don’t you?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

LOL Rumble Roses

I've been playing Rumble Roses XX off and on for the past few days. So far, it’s pretty much what I expected. Fairly shallow wrestling action, but nice visuals and a large amount of items to unlock. It’s actually a pretty daunting list considering how long it takes to unlock certain features and costumes. The craziest thing is that there is so much about the game that remains a mystery. It seems Konami has taken a page out of Team Ninja's "we're not going to tell you how to do things" playbook. The good part is that it's fun discussing with other players what unlocks what, etc. The bad side is there's no telling if any one method works universally.

I don’t regret picking it up, but it’s sure to get shelved for a while once I buy Oblivion. Just the other night, the 360 informed me around eight people on my Friends list were online. Every damn one of them was playing Oblivion. Then a ninth friend signed on and within 30 seconds sent me the message “LOL Rumble Roses”. Is it still peer pressure if you truly want to do what everyone else is doing?

I decided to skip the fancy Special Edition and use that extra $10 towards the official game guide. My journey should begin something this upcoming week.