Tuesday, November 24, 2009

XL? I'm in

Perhaps the reason I've barely played with my DSi is because it needed a bigger screen? Certainly the screen of the iPhone puts the DS to shame. I look at my DS library and there are plenty of great games that are begging to be played. Hmm...I'll have to see what the mood is when the DS XL comes out next year, but it looks like a winner in terms of my needs. The final US price will have something to do with my desire as well. Importing at this point is not an option.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New blog coming maybe

So what do you do if you have two blogs you update once every few weeks? Start a new one! Well, not sure if I'll really follow through, but the photography bug has bitten me pretty hard recently and a lot of my free time has diverted from gaming to shooting photos. Will definitely plug it here if it happens.

As for gaming, the iPhone has been getting most of the attention. Secret of Monkey Island is so damn cool. I've only dabbled before so most of it is all new to me. The new art is gorgeous and the trademark humor holds up completely. It's really a steal for $7.99.

Speaking of steals, Doom Resurrection was on sale over the weekend for $2.99. I've been waiting for a discount on the Resident Evil 4 iphone shooter so Doom fit what I was looking for. The graphics are surprisingly great and shooting action feels good. It's on rails so no direct control where you go. Good fun.

The one game I've been dying to get back to is Fallout 3. I haven't downloaded the last two DLC and probably won't until I complete Broken Steal. Thanks to the level cap increase, I've also been exploring more of the standard game and there's a ton I haven't seen. It's amazing how many little stories they packed across the map.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Super deal alert

I meant to post this earlier, but if you send in $50 worth of trade-in games to Amazon and its postmarked by tomorrow, you get 50% off a game or accessory. I did it and got a crazy discount on RockBand Beatles. So a $250 bundle is now $125.

If you have joined the ECA ($20 membership), you can also get an additional 10% which will bring the Beatles bundle down to $99!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let's talk about cameras

I've always loved cameras and photography, but never really took things "to the next level". By that I mean really studied up on techniques or invested in expensive equipment. I was lucky that my first camera was a Canon EOS 650, a big and sturdy SLR that took amazing pictures. The only downside was that it was rather large for a young dude to heft around all the time. It was constructed very well and lasted me years. When I finally got into digital, it was all about the coolest, smallest thing available.

Now that I'm taking tons of photos and videos of my son, image quality has taken greater importance. At the same time I wanted my cake and eat it too by having a camera that can take great HD video. My current camera does a great job at both, but it's a super zoom so it's almost the size of a large DSLR. I'm kind of in the same situation where I don't feel like lugging the thing around all the time.

Enter the Olympus Pen EP1 which was officially announced yesterday and comes out in July. You can read everything you need to know about it here and here. The big news is that it is a fairly compact camera, but with a SLR sensor for maximum picture quality. Much greater than I have now. It takes the HD video I need (720p at 30 fps) and it looks DAMN sexy.

Of course the camera is a bit on the pricey side, but it's not outrageous for what it is. You do have to buy a flash for it since there is none built in.

It also comes in white, but I definitely want the silver one with the cool brown casing and strap. I just recently went through a cycle of selling off my older camera for the one I have so it's very early to think of upgrading already. Still, it's going to be hard to resist come July.

Currently I'm halfway through my second book on photography and looking to read through at least two more soon. Already that extra bit of knowledge is paying off with some much better and interesting photos. The one downside is that knowing a lot more really exposes the limitations of my current camera and the exciting possibilities of using something like the EP1.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Go or no go

The last thing I need is another digital device that plays games since there isn’t time to play what I already have. Still it’s fun to weigh the pros and cons. Keep in mind that I owned a launch PSP, sold it a year later and haven’t missed it at all.

Me like list
- The white PSP Go is cool looking and it supposed to be available at launch
- Tekken 6 and Soul Calibur this fall. Both look very good
- Lunar for PSP looks really damn good. The original is one of my top 3 favorite RPGs of all time
- 16GB built in and expandable with memory stick micro, I greatly prefer having a game library available inside the system
- Always wanted to play God of War Chains of Olympus

No so much list
- The overall design is kinda blah
- The screen is not OLED like the Zune HD
- As good as Lunar looks, will never have time to finish a RPG
- Digital only game prices are still too high. No package product and ability to resell means prices need to be lower

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back in action

Only took about 2 1/2 weeks to get my 360 back after it red ringed. It seems to be working good so far. I was really angry at the time, but now it's fairly mellow. Maybe because I started playing Outrun and the Pitt.

Thanks to a discount coupon, I also took the plunge on pre-ordering the Beatles package. Not sure I'll keep it on order, but could always cancel if I change my mind. I think it will hinge greatly on how the drum kit looks. The bass and guitars shown so far look great although the latter are grossly overpriced. Actually, it's all over priced.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RE5 save file fail? Time to move on

My save file for RE5 on the 360 somehow corrupted while I was doing a speed run to get the rocket launcher. It's sad, but I did finish what I needed to get done for work before the save fail.

The bright side is that it made me get to some Fire Emblem action on the new DSi. Up to this point I've mainly just messed with the camera. The audio is a tad punchier than the Lite and I definitely notice the extra screen real estate. Was it worth the upgrade? Probably not, but I'm pretty happy with it anyway.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The sneaky DS backlog

I’ve been whittling down the games backlog to a fairly manageable point…or so I thought. A handful of 360, PS3, and Wii titles with only the PS2 packing a somewhat larger library (retro/fighting game collections that are evergreen). Very nice work I thought to myself.

With the launch of the DSi, I took a gander at the games I had for the DS. I already knew the collection would be fairly large since the portable nature made it the go to entertainment device when traveling or doing anything away from the house. There wasn’t a problem with that line of thought until late last year when iPhone games started getting good. Now it just seems clunky to lug the DS to doctors appointments or wherever.

With that in mind, I need to start making some hard choices. What makes it even tougher is the huge amount of great DS games that came out the last few months and are coming still. I picked up Fire Emblem, but haven’t purchased buzzed about titles like Henry Hattsworth, Rhythm Heaven, Valyrie Profile, GTA Chinatown, etc. Then there are the quirky games like Tokyo Beat Down, Steal Princess, uh, I guess most of the games Atlus is releasing.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Two tips for PS3 owners

I recently upgraded my PS3 hard drive to a 320GB model and wanted to pass on an invaluable recommendation. In some PS3s, the tiny screws are extremely hard to remove without stripping them. I was super careful using screwdrivers that fit perfect and even cooled down the hard drive casing so no parts were expanded from heat.

I was able to remove one without problems, but all the others were super stubborn and started lightly stripping. That’s when I went to the local hardware shop looking for the perfect pliers that can help. Some forum posts suggested needle nose pliers (which I already had), but they didn’t work for me. What did work and work very easily were “groove-joint pliers”. The way they can grip the screws from the sides in an even manner was perfect. The screws loosened immediately. I put a pen next to the pliers so you can get a sense of scale.

My second tip is for folks who recently picked up Street Fighter IV. I got both the 360 and PS3 versions, but I might end up playing the PS3 version the longest because of these Sega Saturn USB controllers. They were released several years ago in Japan and are still available on eBay. I first read about them on Street Fighter forums claiming how they work perfectly on PS3s. There is some doubt whether these are bootlegs, but the consensus seems to be that the build quality is still top notch either way. This pad is also amazing for the Sonic Genesis collection.

I also tracked down the fairly decent Madcatz Fightpad for the 360, but the Saturn controller blows it away. The only drawback to the Saturn pad is that the USB cord is not very long so you’ll need to pick up an extension cord. It would be so sweet if there was a Saturn controller made to be compatible with the 360 without serious wire modding.

Unfortunately the Saturn USB pads also don’t work on PS2 games played on backward compatible PS3s, so I’ll have to keep on the look out for the limited Saturn pads they released for the PS2. Saw one on auction the other day for well over $200. That’s bananas and probably means I’ll never get one.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Feb 2009 pre-orders

Wow who decided to release so many games in feb? Here's what I pre-ordered so far:

Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3)
I was very tempted to go with the 360 version for the achievements, but it will be so much easier to play these games with the PS3 controller.

Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad (360)
Embarrassing, but yes this is considered a must play in my book. Super wacky, over-the-top zombie slashing action is instant win.

Killzone 2 (PS3)
I’m in the camp of players who loved the original despite its flaws. I thought it was just too ambitious for the PS2. All the early reviews of Killzone 2 verify that it is no longer hampered by the hardware and flat out rocks. I’m psyched.

On the verge of pre-ordering:

Street Fighter IV (360)
There’s no question I’ll pick this up, it’s just a matter of when.

Fire Emblem (DS)
I love the Fire Emblem series and it’s such a perfect fit for the DS. I haven’t finished Sacred Stones, so might wait till I do before grabbing this.

Retro Game Challenge (DS)
I love the concept of playing retro-style arcade games competitively. It’s getting purchased unless it receives horrible reviews.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Podcast debut!

My good buddies Miguel, Gabe, and Sterling invited me to be a special guest on today's GameSpy Debriefings podcast and it's already available for download! You can find it here.

I had a complete blast chiming in on some current topics and telling some old timey game industry stories circa 1994-1995. If they have me on again, I won't say "like" so darn much.

Thanks guys for having me on! The iTunes link is up!