r6ZueZjnmZ7B2W9HGZxNVvrBtMg BDVR: August 2013

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nintendo 2DS

According to IGN, Nintendo is releasing a new version of the 3DS without a hinge and the 3D feature removed



I love this thing! It looks more ergonomic than the 3DS and I never use the 3D anyways because it strains my eyes and gives me headaches.
I have to wonder if they'll have a circle-pad pro for it, because if that's the finished model, then it'll need it for Snake Eater 3D and Resident Evil: Revelations. Another thing, why didn't they take this opportunity to put better analog sticks on it? To me, the joystick on the 3DS is fragile and feels like it'll break (So a Devil May Cry Trilogy collection is out of the question) According to IGN the 2DS is fully compatible with all DS and 3DS software, but unfortunately lacks the extra set of shoulder-buttons and analog stick added by the circle-pad pro. That's too bad, because this has the opportunity to be a great handheld. I hope that it's at least got a CPP coming someday. You can still take 3D video and photos, but it's not viewable in 3D on the 2DS. It only has one speaker, which is a step down, but you can still have stereo sound with a headset, which is what I used on the 3DS anyways. Thing is, everyone but me seems to think that this is a bad thing, but nobody liked the 3D when the 3DS came out. I like the form factor, and I like the design. Sleep mode is still a feature, but it's more like the PSPgo's sleep mode, in that it's a slider instead of a hinge switch. Unfortunately it doesn't have an extendable stylus, but hopefully they improved it from its DS lite and 3DS counterparts.
*EDIT*
Oops, I forgot, the 2DS is launching on October 12th alngside Poke'Mon X and Y, the overhauls of the Poke'Mon series, AND the 3DS on the same day!
Here's the IGN video if you want to see it:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Battlefield 3 first impressions.

I was actually looking forward to Battlefield 4, but this pretty much dashed my hopes. I played Battlefield 2 on the Xbox and I really liked it, and I figured BF3 would iron out the issues I had with BF2.
Sadly, although it improves the movement and aiming controls, everything else suffers. First thing, the game comes on two discs for the Xbox 360. Disc 1 is co-op and multiplayer, and disc 2 is the single-player campaign, as if story mode was an afterthought. Second, online passes. You shouldn't have to pay EA to play online, and then have to pay Microsoft to play online too!
I didn't play online though, because I don't have Xbox LIVE Gold. Third; its multiplayer REQUIRES online, you cannot play splitscreen multiplayer, and THAT is one strike against it, because FPS's going back to Goldeneye on the N64 have had that option, so there's no reason for a modern game to not have it!
Fourth; the controls have been improved since BF2, but not as much as they could have been. L2 aims, and R2 shoots, L3 is sprint and A jumps. Unfortunately, instead of assigning it to one of the face-buttons, crouch was given R3, something I haven't seen in.... Well any FPS I've played other than BF3. That'd be perfectly fine if there was a melee attack  (IE, hitting someone with your gun), but to my knowledge there isn't one, and that actually cost me the fight once.
I didn't get too far in the story, I got aggravated with it too quickly. You see, it doesn't follow any linearity, it jumps from one point in the future to the past and that's when the dialogue kicks in.
You know how in Call of Duty (To my knowledge, ALL of them) they tell you who's speaking with green text and their speech in white text? Well this is straight up closed-captions, and it doesn't serve to help you tell who's talking that easily.
There are a lot of comparisons you can make to Call of Duty, one of which being the opening (Or rather, what comes after the flash-forward). It seems partially taken from Call of Duty 4 and partially taken from Modern Warfare 2 (Former being the transportation method, latter being where you end up)
Now, given more time with the game and a chance to LP it, I might soften up on it and warm up to the game, like I did with Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, or Metal Gear Solid 2. That being said, some time to customize the controls to something I'm use to would be a good thing as well.
Something that's minorly confusing is I'm not sure if you can hold more than one weapon, during the flash-forward I had a hard time telling if I was able to hold two weapons or just one... Like I said, more time with the game would help, but considering my Xbox 360 is RRoD'd there's not much chance of that in the near future.
Now we get to the PETA controversy. I know it's trollbaiting them to mention it, but I have to say it:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals got in an uproar about how you can kill a virtual rat with your knife and toss it away by its tail, saying that it was cruel and sadistic, not even MENTIONING the hundreds of virtual people you'll have already killed by the time you get to that point. My question is this: When do we get the knife in the game? I genuinely want to know. PETA pretty much missed the point, like they did with Super Mario 3D Land and, well, anything else they get in an uproar about *Cough* Poke'Mon *cough*
Then there's the fact that in COD4 and MW2 you sometimes have to kill attack-dogs to save your own life, and they didn't say a WORD about that.
Now, I can't speak for the nature of this scene as I didn't get very far in the game, but suffice to say that they had their opportunity to say something back when CoD4 came out, and they missed it. Dogs are more mainstream than rats, and there will always be millions more rats for every one that dies, why nit-pick on that when there's games that have dogs dying? Granted, they're going to rip your throat out if you DON'T kill them....
Anyways, back on the game itself. I actually think that given a training level, like in CoD4, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark or MW2 and some more time to play with it, I might actually grow to enjoy it. The aforementioned exhibition problems with the story might fan out and become pretty cool, who knows? But what I CAN say is that I'm not buying it new, because I'm not supporting EA.
Unfortunately, I won't be uploading an LP, because I played this at the local games shop, and as such did not have my camera with me.
Hoo boy, I almost forgot to write this weeks review. As of 23:50 Sunday August 25th 2013 I have though! Yay! Anyways, in case you were wondering how long it takes to write something like this, here's a time-frame. I started at 23:06 and ended at 23:50. I forget how long these take to write sometimes, because I have to find a suitable cover, download it, upload it, then do research to confirm stuff, and then write it all down as I go along. It seems easy, but it's harder in practice than it is in theory. Anyways, I'll see you all next week!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nintendo Files Lawsuit against HackYourConsole.com

Nintendo Files Lawsuit against HackYourConsole.com
Online Business Targeted in Global Piracy Fight
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- In the ongoing global fight against video game piracy, Nintendo of America Inc., has filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida against the owner of HackYourConsole.com. The site blatantly promotes and sells unauthorized Nintendo games along with devices and services that circumvent the security in the Nintendo DS system and the Wii console.
The operator of HackYourConsole.com has developed a global business focused on selling unauthorized copies of Nintendo games and game-copying devices (such as the R4 device) used to circumvent the technological protection measures contained in the Nintendo DS family of hand-held systems. The website operator, for a fee, also provides services to hack and modify the Wii console and allow the play of illegal software.
HackYourConsole.com also claims to be an authorized distributor for the yet-to–be-released 3DS Gateway cards. The Gateway device is promoted as operating similar to the R4 game copier for the Nintendo DS, which facilitates the play of illegally downloaded games. Game copying devices, such as the R4, severely undermine the sales of video games created by thousands of developers.
“Piracy on the Nintendo DS system has a huge impact on games sales,” said Jools Watsham, co-founder and director of Renegade Kid. “It can affect everyone involved, including the many honest players out there. If independent studios, like ours, are unable to recoup the money they invest into game development, through the sales of their games, we will unfortunately see fewer independent games developed in the future.”
Illegal copying of video game software is an international problem that continues to stifle the growth of the creative development community. Companies such as Nintendo, various law enforcement authorities and trade organizations such as the Entertainment Software Association, continue to take aggressive steps to prevent the proliferation of these devices on a global scale.

Now, I can't say how true any of this actually is, as I've never heard of HackYourConsole.com. I actually read a similar statement by someone from Renegade Kid, saying that they would leave the 3DS if piracy got bad, blaming it on the poor sales of Dementium 2. Now, I've played Dementium 2: The Ward, and I can safely say that I know why it didn't sell. Renegade Kid did a good job on Mutant Mudds, but the controls for Dementium 2 are god-awful. There's a reason why FPS's use two analog sticks. Personally, I didn't like Dementium 2, and I see that as a reason why it didn't sell well (Or rather, it sold half as much), rather than rampant piracy, but that's just my take on things. Maybe people just bought it used off someone who played it before, because it wasn't worth full retail, or maybe there were other reasons. Bottom line, I'm pretty sure that Dementium 2 sold half as good as its prequel because it wasn't as good, not because people pirated it (Which probably would have happened anyways)
Now, I'm not entirely certain, but doesn't the R4 have more uses than just piracy? Doesn't Nintendo use similar things to develop games for their consoles? I don't know, but I do know that the R4 can also be used as a media player (Which is something Nintendo should have thought of when making the DS). If you don't want the hackers to hack your console, just cram it full of user-friendly features that everyone wants. Sure, they'll still go after it, they always do, but there'll be less motivation for people to hack it if it's already got everything you can ask for in it. The bottom line is that no matter how secure and strong your locks are, there's always someone with a bigger hammer, or better picks. Nothing is going to stop people from tearing a device open, both physically and metaphorically. Someone will always find a way around a wall in their path. What you need to do is make people not even notice a wall is there, by creating something so good that the wall doesn't even exist.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Les Misérables

Les Misérables is a movie that I never want to see again, and that's not the insult that it sounds like.
I was originally going to review Battlefield 3 this week, but this movie demands attention.
I'll be honest, I only got this movie because of the cast. Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, and Anne Hathaway were really the only reasons I watched it. And I have to say, it's the best movie of 2012. That's a major feat, considering the kind of stuff that came out that year. With The Grey, The Avengers, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, MIB3, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, Alex Cross, Skyfall, Wreck-It Ralph, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey out that same year, that is one hell of an accomplishment. The music is powerful, the movie is compelling, and the entire thing wound up making me cry. That too, is saying something. I didn't cry for Forrest Gump, I didn't cry when The Tenth Doctor died, I almost teared up at the Doctor Who second series finale, the last thing that actually made me cry was the Doctor Who 2011 Christmas special, The Doctor, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This movie had so much of an impact on me that I never want to see it again, for fear of tainting the memory of it, and fear of getting extremely depressed. Everyone in the movie could sing extremely well, and even though I don't usually like musicals, I like this. It's worth a 10.2* rating. Go out to your local library, check this movie out, and get yourself a couple boxes of tissues, because you'll need them. I'm sorry that the review is so short, but words fail me this week, the movie has to be experienced, not summarized. I'll see you next week with Battlefield 3.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Worlds of Power: Metal Gear, a book based on the best selling NES game by Ultragames

Ultragames was a subsidiary of Konami designed to get around Nintendo's NES era policy of only allowing developers to release five games a year on their console, Ultragames was Konami's way of localizing games more efficiently than, say, Squaresoft.
The very first thing I noticed about this book is the synopsis on the back, they refer to Solid Snake as Justin Halley.
The Halley I don't have a problem with, since they never revealed his last name in any of the games to my knowledge, but in Metal Gear Solid, his name is David. I don't know if this was a translation error, and his name was always David in Japan, or if they just made up a name for the American version of the game, or if Scholastic made the name up to be able to address him as something other than Solid Snake, but it doesn't match up with series canon no matter how you look at it. Immediately after opening the book I found that the inconsistencies with established canon don't end there. They namedrop FOXHOUND at the beginning of the book as the unit of which "The Snake Men" are a part of. I haven't played the NES game, but according to Wikipedia, this was one of Scholastic's many changes to game plots in their Worlds of Power series.
Another thing I need to address might seem minor, but they edited Snake's gun out of the picture on the cover of the novel. Another small thing, the book never calls him "Justin" or "Snake" it's always "Justin Halley" or "Solid Snake". It just sounds awkward. The plot is this: FOXHOUND has sent fifteen Snake Men in to take out a weapon called "Metal Gear" in a place called Outer Heaven. Sounds like the first game, right? Well, it's not. It's based on the NES game, not the MSX game, as the cover (And title of this article) should display. Metal Gear is a computer, and not a nuclear equipped walking battle-tank, Outer Heaven is a fortress inside a country, rather than the country itself, and the guy Snake is going up against is named Vermon Cataffy. Yes, you read that right, and no, I'm not making this up. Outer Heaven is a base somewhere inside Libya, and Metal Gear is some version of Skynet in this book. Anyways, because sending the fifteen in to take it out wasn't enough, Colonel South (Not Campbell, South) sends Solid Snake in, the best of the best, a one man army. Sure, seems reasonable considering the typical plot of Metal Gear games, but there exist thirty Snake Men in the novel, and a flimsy excuse for not sending the other fifteen in is given. On that note, they coulda sent all thirty in and the problem would have practically taken care of itself!
Okay, on a less cynical note, the plot of any book based on an NES game would pretty much have to be made up from scratch, because there weren't a whole lot of story-based games in a library of about, I guess 800 to a thousand depending on how many you count (Although, considering this IS Metal Gear, the series which pioneered cinematic games on top of action-stealth, you'd think they'd have more to go on)
There's one scene in the book where Snake, having rubbed his Sneaking Suit (They don't refer to it as such in the book, but I'm gonna call it that) in panther musk, then he happens upon a pack of guard-dogs. What does he do? Climb up a tree? Kill them with his equipment? Act like he's not there and stay out of their line of sight, like in the games? No, he acts like a panther to scare them off. Now, I'm no Zoologist, but I'm not sure that would work in real life, and given that situation in real life, I'd climb up a tree. Now, this IS Metal Gear, and realism is not what we're here for, we're here for the gigantic robots and over-the -top fight-scenes. Unfortunately, the fight-scenes aren't described with a whole lot of detail, and, like I said, Metal gear is a computer, and there's no fight-scene between Snake and Metal Gear. A lot of the dialogue happens at the beginning of the book, and at the end. During the rest of the book it's mostly describing what Snake is doing, and when Snake finds a radio the dialogue sounds like it was copy/pasted directly from the NES game, and the translation from game to book (In addition to translation issues from Japanese to English) are very apparent. I've only ever played the MSX version on the MGS HD Collection, and never the NES version. As a result, I can't tell whether or not if they actually did just copy the codec sequences verbatim, but it still feels out of place in the book. Snake even notices that the codec sequences are strange. In addition to that, when you rescue some of the Snake Men, I'd say that those dialogue sequences were ripped from the game as well. In the beginning of the game, Snake is warned against taking the advice of some of the Snake Men, because some of them mighta turned traitor. This never comes to a head for some reason, but had it, it would have made for a good plot-twist or two. Now, with a unit called "The Snake Men" you'd think that everyone in it would have names like "Solid Snake" "Liquid Snake" "Acid Snake" "Portable Snake" "Liberty Snake" "Snake Eater" "Twin Snake" "Metal Snake" "Solidus Snake" "Silent Snake" and stuff like that, right? Well they also copied all the names from the game too. One of the Snake Men is called "Grey Fox. And he's not named "Frank Jaeger", his name is Frank... Something else that I can't remember, but it's not Jaeger, like it's established as in Metal Gear Solid. Not changing his codename to something else was also a bad idea, because it's out of step with a unit name like "Snake Men".
At one point in time Snake comes across matches and cigarettes. That's perfectly fine, considering that he's always had them in the games, but he passes them up, thinking that they might be poisoned. Why would they be poisoned? I guess they were just sending a message about the dangers of smoking, but there's almost no reason for them to be poisoned (Okay, they captured all the Snake men, but there's no reason for CaTaffy to give your men poisoned cigarettes in preparation for an incursion by ONE GUY.) If he was preparing for an entire ARMY to attack (which would be logical), he wouldn't be expecting ONE GUY to take a random guards coffin nails.
Now, after listing all of this, I actually still like the book. There's a bunch of stuff that's out of place, but being the Metal Gear fan I am, I can sorta forgive an early novelization of an NES game for stuff that didn't get confirmed until 1998 (Unless it WAS confirmed before the novel, in which case there's no excuse).
I give it an 8.9* rating, because despite its flaws, I actually liked reading it. From start to finish I actually liked it. I'll see you guys next week with my Battlefield 3 first impressions.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My camera

It was a tossup between Call of Duty 4, Prince of Persia, and reviewing the World's of Power Metal Gear novel, but I figured I'd try something different this week, a technology review.
I use a Sanyo camera to record all of my videos, pick any of my Youtube videos and you've got an example of the quality. It only records in 4x8 480p, but it fills up a 2GB SD card in about 40 minutes, which is why my earlier videos were recorded in 20/40 minute increments. You can hook up a TV out cable, but the one that came with it only supports mono audio, and you can't connect USB drives to it for larger capacities. You also can't connect it to a PC and use said PC's hard-drive as storage, because it automatically shuts it's interface off and acts like a USB drive. It has an auto-off function that cannot be turned off, just shortened or lengthened (5 minutes or 2 minutes) sure, it saves energy, but if I need to go do something for five minutes and thirty-seconds, the camera shuts off. This wouldn't be a big issue if it didn't have a delay between pressing record and it actually recording after you turn it on with SDHC cards, like the 16GB one I use on a regular basis, and the delay gets longer the more footage is on the card. I've gotten in the habit of offloading all the data I've shot at the end of the day, rather than offloading it when I've filled the card up. Also, at seemingly random times it will stop recording to save the clip and then I have to restart it and it works perfectly fine. So far I've only had issues with the 16GB SDHC card I mentioned before, and not the standard 2GB and 1GBs I was using prior to that. It's not a camera I would recommend to anyone, but it gets the job done. The AVI files it records in get messed up when uploaded directly to YouTube, for some reason the color is split between R, G and B, which is why I have to convert them to WMVs with Windows Movie Maker. I don't know if it's YouTube's problem or the camera's, but it's an annoyance. It also won't record more than one hour, twenty minutes, 28 seconds in one go, which isn't usually a bad thing, but when I'm trying to record a long video, it's a bit of a pain to have to edit the pieces together.
Anyways, it doesn't just record video, it also does stills. The stills come out to a few kilobytes, and the zoom is pretty good. It's an old camera that does the job I need it to, but the age makes it a little hard to work with sometimes. The LCD on the back is dying on and off, with pixels randomly stuck on different colors at different times. The batteries that came with it got sucked down fast, even when it was new, which is why I keep it plugged in at all times. The downside to that is the batteries are never charged when I need them for outside work (although my 3DS is fine for that). I could always do with a better camera, but the new ones are so expensive that I'm sticking with this one until it dies, or my TV dies and I have to get a widescreen.
All in all, it's a fine camera, the stuff that annoys me might have been fixed with software updates or whatever, but I don't know. I'll get back to games and other stuff I can look up on Wikipedia next week.