Monday, March 15, 2010

What's The Point of Blogging???

After writing a blog the past few months I have found that it is pretty useful. Keeping a blog sounded pretty gay at first, but I started to get use to it. It made me look at video games in a whole new light. I found myself looking for new video games to right about, or sitting at my computer and trying to think of some older games that I have played that would be interesting to right about.

I definitely  agree with Douglas Ruskoff when he wrote about how " the internet is not killing off conversation, but actively encouraging it." Social networking can be a useful tool to some people. some shy people could use Facebook, MySpace. or Blogger  to open up to the world around them.

In some rare cases though, it could be destructive. I remember a few years ago, a few girls that went to my local high school got into some trouble over their Xanga page. They wrote some crazy stuff about how they wanted to kill some girl they didn't like and made threats over the internet and some of the other students pretty much snitched them out to the principle. Of course, his job was to confront the situation and when he did it all blew up. One of the girls parents decided to press charges and the girls that started the threats ended up doing some community service.The internet cant be all bad though, at least for me I used a few of my blog posts to take out some aggression I had toward some games i played.

Since a blog is just a online diary, they are easy to write. Some blogs are dedicated to a single topic like video games, or they could be dedicated to a certain sports team. Thats the best thing about blogs, it doesn't matter what you write about as long as you like writing about it. In some cases some people don't care if others read their blogs, they just do it for fun.

Rushkoff, Douglas, "the internet is not killing off conversation, but actively encouraging it" 116-119

What Is Better???

Owning both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 has sparked some curiosity in the subject of which system is better. People can argue many different aspects of this topic, like which system has better games, better online play, and most of all which system has the better graphics of the two. Since I had just read an article written by Carl Nelson entitled “Ps3 vs Xbox 360:One Year Later” about some of these things it made me think of what I truly think about some of these topics.

Nelson’s article was written several years ago and a lot has changed for both systems since he posted that article. They both have improved in some areas and some areas both systems could use some work. Nelson talked about the price, performance, graphics, game selection, online support, and multimedia of both systems. In each of these sections, Nelson gave the Xbox a “higher grade” so to speak.

The first section in Nelson’s article, he wrote about was the price of each type of system. The Xbox has three different systems, the Arcade, Premium, and Elite. Nelson gives a brief description of all three systems, and how the improvements were not drastic at all. One of his comments made me wonder if he called the Elite System the “New Retard Edition” because of the minimal changes between the Premium and the Elite for more money. The only difference between the two systems is that the Elite comes with a bigger hard drive, so nothing too special. 

this is what the PS3 hard drive looks like
On the other hand, the PS3 only has only two systems compared to the Xbox’s three. Nelson wrote “you can get a PS3’s ‘lower’ model for just $50 more than the XBOX 360’s ‘middle’ model.” In retrospect the PS3 seems like a better deal based on price and memory storage because Nelson also added ”You can’t really look at it that way though, since what sets the Premium XBOX 360 apart from the Arcade is mainly the 20GB hard drive. And the ‘low end’ PS3 still doubles that”. One thing that Nelson did leave out was the fact that the PS3 is very easy to upgrade. You can simple buy any size Serial ATA HD for the PS3, which is the same type of HD a common laptop use. At the end of all the back and forth arguing of which system has the better price and memory storage Nelson said “It’s still the XBOX 360, not just because the respective models are $50 cheaper, but all versions of the XBOX 360 come bundled with some games now.”  The games that come with the systems are pretty much the “rejects” of the gaming world, but nonetheless you still get something to play right out of the box.

In the next section, Nelson briefly touched on the subject about the performance of each system. Nelson noted, “On paper, the Playstation 3’s Cell engine is more capable than XBOX 360’s triple-core Xenon CPU. However, as our developer alluded to last year, the XBOX 360 is much easier to develop for.” Nelson also said that because the PS3 is harder to develop for, most of the cell engine is not being used to its full potential. Even though Nelson never stated which system had better performance, from what I understood, the Xbox is better at performance due to the fact that the cell engine is being used more properly than the PS3. Personally, I can’t wait until a game developer decides to stop being a baby and take a few extra months to utilize the power the PS3 can produce.

The next section Nelson wrote about was about the graphics of each system. This subject always gets pretty heated whenever I talk to someone about video game graphics. Fact of the matter is, no matter what game anyone can talk about, the Xbox has better graphics. Nelson wrote “The Xenos GPU on the XBOX 360 is superior the RSX on the PS3.”  Any computer nerd will tell you that the Xenos has, more power, higher pixel processor power, higher vertex processing power, and higher memory architecture. I don’t know what all that means, but it sounds impressive when you throw that out during an argument. I’m not sure how I feel about those facts, just because I have my PS3 hooked up to my TV via HDMI cable and my Xbox hooked up with the regular component cables, so the PS3 looks better then the Xbox on my TV. To me, my PS3 seems like it has better graphics.

The next section that Nelson wrote about was the game selection. At the time the Xbox had a one-year head start on the PS3, so naturally it would have more games than the PS3. Nelson noted that the Xbox had exclusive titles like “Gears of War, PGR3, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, F.E.A.R., Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Dead Rising, Burnout Revenge, Fight Night 3, and Rainbow Six: Vegas, all of which were either titles exclusive to the 360, or weren’t made available on the PS3 until some time in 2007.” That just goes to show how hard developing for the PS3 was at first. Since that article came out, it seems that developers have gotten a little use to PS3 engine. Now the PS3 has several good exclusive titles, such as Heavy Rain, MAG, and God of War III. Even with titles like those, the PS3 still falls short with game selection.

The second to last section Nelson wrote about was the online features for both systems. I personally think that this is a no brainer. Xbox Live (without a doubt) kicks the crap out of the Playstation Network. Nelson did give the Ps3 credit for one aspect of online play; it’s free unlike Xbox Live.  Nelson wrote, “Playstation Network has the sole advantage of being free for the most part (game makers are still allowed to charge for online play if they want, such as MMO games, etc). However, to play any game at all on XBOX Live, you must subscribe at $50 per year at its cheapest.” One thing about the PS3 that kept frustrating me was some of the online features that Nelson touched on, like “One drastic disadvantage of the Playstation 3 is the fact that you cannot send messages to your friend from within a game.” It is very frustrating when your playing a game and a friend sends you a message, and some games wont let you read them until you quit the game. I think this was one of the very few points that Nelson made that I actually agreed on.

Finally Nelson wrote about the multimedia feature of both systems. This section was my favorite one out of the whole article. First and for most, Nelson liked the PS3 better because it is a Blu-Ray player. Even thought the Xbox could play HD-DVD’s when HD –DVD’s were made it didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Nelson wrote, “ The XBOX 360 with HD-DVD player will cost at least $530”.  Now-a-days Xbox Live supports HD movies, which is a lot cheaper than $530, but the movies take up a lot of memory. At the time when the PS3 launched, people were buying them just because it could play Blu-Ray movies (that’s pretty much the reason why I bought mine) and they were about $300 cheaper than a standard Blu-Ray player.

The main reason why Nelson didn’t like the Xbox is because he wrote, “it is excruciatingly LOUD”. I can say from experience that the PS3 runs like a hybrid car and the Xbox is like a diesel truck. Sure the trucks have more power, but the loud noise gets annoying especially when you’re trying to watch a movie. For anyone who loves to watch movies, the PS3 is definitely the way to go. Unlike the PS3, the Xbox doesn’t allow you to save your own movies to its hard drive, unless you get them from Netflix, or Zune from the Xbox Live Marketplace, which cost money. For many reasons the PS3 completely dominates the Xbox in terms of Multimedia features.

After reading Nelson’s article, it is clear that the Xbox is more superior compared to the PS3. Since the Xbox did “win” 4 out of 6 topics, the PS3 has a lot of things to fix if they want to out sell Xbox. From the developer issue to the online features, PS3 has a long way to go. Even thought the Xbox did get a better score than the PS3, it still is not perfect. The major issue with the Xbox is the fans in the system itself. I agree with Nelson on this matter completely. The system is ridiculously loud, not just when watching movies, but during playing games as well. Xbox released an update that allows people to install games to the hard drive to fix that problem, but what happens when gamers run out of memory space. If Xbox could fix the fans it would be the ultimate system. 

Video Games Do Help

There have been times when I have used video games as an outlet. Sometimes I play them if I am upset about something, or just in need of a break from everyday life. Sometimes it works, and other times it just adds on more stress. One example of how video games actually made my day just a bight brighter happened a couple of days ago. That day I had to go to work early in the morning, which I was not too thrilled about since day shift sucks at my work. I was so tired I felt like one of the zombies from Left 4 Dead walking around without purpose.

 As soon as I got to work everything started to go down hill. I got a really bad headache, which made me grumpy, in turn made everyone else in a grumpy mood toward me. I remember I thought to myself "damn I need to go home and kill some people on Call of Duty to get rid of this aggression"   Sitting in a bush waiting for lower level players to walk by me always makes me feel better, because as soon as they do I jump out and knife them in the back, then go right back to my hiding spot. It seems a little disturbing but its Call of Duty where sometimes you have to embrace your dark side if you want to win. Since I knew that wasn’t an option I had to just suck it up.

Half way through my shift I remembered that I had a three o’ clock class. I almost had a breakdown right then and there, but I quickly pulled myself together, drank some water and immediately started to strategize how I was going to make my class. Since I was supposed to be off work at two-thirty I tried to talk to my Supervisor about going home early, but she wasn’t having it. That was just another thing that pissed me off, so I just gave up and took off twenty minuets early. My management usually doesn’t pay attention to me anyway so they probably didn’t notice that I left, but looking back on it that probably wasn’t the best decision because I could actually get in trouble by the Director of Food Service for the Hospital if my Supervisor decided to rat me out, still it needed to be done.

As soon as I left work, traffic decided to just hate me. I don’t know if there was an accident or something else but I was moving like fifteen miles an hour. I started to day -dream about how if I was in Grand Theft Auto I could fix this problem real quick. I would just get out of my car and find the car that was holding up traffic, punch the window out and just beat the crap out of them. Next I would take their car instead of walking back to my car. Since I had to come back to reality, I had to sit and wait. I was going so slow I’m pretty sure I saw a ten-year-old girl on a bike pass me. After a few minuets of road rage, I finally started to drive at a normal pace. Imagine that, a school bus decided to pull out in front of me, which is the one thing in the world that pisses me off more than anything else. School buses always drive too slow and they make way too many stops when I have to be somewhere, it never fails.

When I finally made it home, I rushed to my room and threw on the first shirt I saw and a pair of jeans. When I came out my dog started whining. I knew if I just took off she would probably take a crap in my house then my dad would go nuts on me for not letting her out. I thought to myself “Awesome I already had everything else screw me over, what’s another?” After about ten minuets of waiting for my stupid dog to walk around in a circle just to find the perfect spot to squat, I headed off to class.

Amazingly I didn’t encounter too many problems on the way to class, but when I got on campus I knew my class was in the Reese building but I drew a blank on what room it was in. I yelled “SON OF A…” out of pure frustration, and the old lady at the front desk just looked and me shaking her head. Sometimes I wish I were in Saints Row 2 because every time you push the Y button (at least I think it’s the Y button) your character yells out some random cuss words, and no one pays attention. Since I wasn’t in Stilwater, which is the city where Saints Row is set in, I was compelled to apologized to her for cursing, and while I walked passed her I said, “it’s just been one of those days.”

I took a few deep breaths, and I had an epiphany, and realized that I had my schedule in my book bag. I felt ridiculous for flipping out like that for no reason, but sometimes you just have to let it out. I found my class with a couple minuets to spare, but that wasn’t really a good thing. The only seat left was in the front by the creepiest dude I have ever seen. He kind of looked like Mario from the Super Mario Bros games, but he smelled like piss. I couldn’t really say too much about smelling awful since I didn’t get a shower after work myself, but in any case it was still pretty bad.

As I was sitting in class I started to daydream once again. I was so bored in class that I thought of the Russian terrorist group, (in the second or third level from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 ) breaking in the back door of the room with their huge guns, and taking hostages. Everyone started freaking out except me of course because it’s my daydream. One of the terrorists walked up to me and pointed his gun in my face and spoke something in Russian, I said F you and snatched the gun right out of his hand then started blowing all his little buddies away.  

what i pictured when i thought of speeding home

When I finally decided to pay attention class was about over.  That little event made me want to rush home as if I were driving a Nissan GT-R from Need For Speed, weaving in and out of traffic just to get home and finish off my horrible day with a little R&R on Call of Duty with some of my buddies, and I did just that. When I got home I went straight to my fridge, grabbed a drink and headed off to my room. The only thing that went right the entire day, was the fact that I had put my rechargeable battery into its charger. As soon as I as I saw the green light by my battery (meaning that it was fully charged) I felt as if all was right with the world again and I could finally relax.

After putting my battery in my controller I made sure I had my Modern Warfare 2 disc in my Xbox. For the first time that day I had a good feeling about what I was getting ready to do. I was right because my first game I played, I used all of my built up frustration and just totally annihilated the other team single handedly. My finally score was 28-5 (meaning I had 28 kills and 5 deaths). I think the person who was in second place on my team had only 9 kills. After all of the crap I went through that day I knew if I could just make it home my Xbox wouldn’t let me down, and I was right.


One of the most anticipated games of the year is the next installment of the Halo series, Halo: Reach. This game takes place as a prequel to the first Halo game that was released in November of 01. Instead of playing as the Master Chief, (like in Halo 1,2, and 3) you take the role of the sixth character on a Spartan III squad called Noble team. They are the badass group that the military sends on suicide missions and somehow finds their way home every time.

Not a lot of information has been released yet about the main campaign, but a few multiplayer videos, and trailers have been uploaded to youtube and various video game websites. After watching some of those videos, I could tell that the graphics were definitely amped up.

Of course, Bungie has made a few changes to the multiplayer and not just new maps, but actual changes. The first thing that I noticed about the multiplayer beta video i saw, was the fact that you can now have jet packs. Sounds kinda weird to have jet packs in a game like Halo, but the video i saw on youtube was kinda cool. Hopefully, like the Banshees, you can lock on to the jet packs with a rocket launcher or the new grenade launcher, to quickly destroy your flying opponent or you could just put on a jet pack yourself and fly after your opponent with a pistol, like in the video i have a link to.

Since most of the articles i have read about the new features didn't reveal too much about multiplayer, I had to go on pure observation of the videos on the official Halo website, youtube, and Xbox Live. After watching a gameplay video of the beta a few times, I noticed that a Spartan busted out a barrel roll. I immediately thought "its about damn time you can dodge." If your like me, im sure you get pissed when someone gets in a ghost and just trys to run over people the entire game. Now instead of trying to jump over them, you can now just roll out of the way.

One of the best features that I took note about, was the fact that you can now assassinate your opponent. Unlink in all of the other Halo games, when you hit the melee button while being directly behind someone your character goes into a animated assassination. In the older games your character would either hit the player with his gun or just straight up take a swing at the player, it just depended on what type of gun you were holding at the time.

Personally, I'm still on the fence about getting this game, just because I was a little disappointed with ODST.  I do have all of the other Halo games, so I will probably keep the tradition and get it anyway. The graphics look incredible, and I would like to see how the multiplayer works out with all of the "upgrading" Bungie made.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This is a pretty unique game. At first i was hesitant to try it out, but i was bored one day and just went for it. The main thing that kept me from getting it when it first came out was the graphics. They are not like most games these days, they are kind of look like a comic book come to life. Everything has some sort of shading technique or outlining to it and since I wasn't use to it at first it started to grow on me.

The gameplay is actually pretty good, which surprised me. For some reason i think that if i don't like the graphics the gameplay will be complete garbage.

At the beginning you get the choice of four different characters, (sort of like how you can choose classes and different species to play as in games like Oblivion and Fallout 3) which are a hunter, soldier, a berserker, and a Siren. Each character has unique powers and weapons only available for them. Sure its cool, but i can never choose which character i like most since all of them have certain abilities that i like. for instance the hunter can use snipers and has a crazy pet named bloodwig that runs around and kills people who attack you. the berserker is really strong with melee weapons and since most of the enemies run up on you that skill would come in handy. the soldier is really good with assault rifles and can throw down a turret if too many enemies attack him, finally the Siren, she is pretty much like a witch. she has an ability called Phasewalk. When she uses that she can run around in like fast motion and everyone else stands still. So naturally i had to think about who i wanted to use, and who i would have fun using the most.

I think the best feature of all though, is the multiplayer. You can have up to four of your buddies playing your campaign at a time. Since most of my friends already had the game they were much higher levels then i am, which brings me to my next point. If you have a friend with a higher level then you, he can join your game and pretty much dominate. The games difficulty works on how high your level is. at the time i was about a level 7 when one of my friends joined me game and he pretty much did half of my missions for me. every time he shot someone they would explode because his weapons were so strong. If you have friends that will help you out, like i do, they can drop expensive weapons for you to sell or keep until you can use them. In a way i guess its kind of cheating since you don't have to earn money if you have some friends willing to help you, but oh well some times you have to cheat to win.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ultimate Team

FIFA 10  just recently released an update for a new game mode called Ultimate Team. For any guy who use to collect sports cards as a kid or still does, this is like a dream come true. It's essentially the same soccer game before the update, but now instead of spending money on players you spend tokens on six types of cards, bronze, bronze premium, silver, silver premium, gold and gold premium. The different colors represent the overall stat of the player, so a player with a rating of 75 and higher would be in a gold pack. The difference between the regular and premium packs are that the premiums come with three rare cards and twelve normal, while the regular only comes with twelve normal and one rare card. The cool thing about that is you don't always get players, you can also get, new jerseys, stadium perks like home field advantage, and healing cards that help you players recover faster.

At first you start of with a all bronze team which the highest rated player is like a 50. It would be easier to have most of those people from the same nation of club because the chemistry would be pretty good and that would make winning games a lot easier, but mostly all of the players are from all over the world. After winning a few tournaments you should have enough tokens to buy a silver pack, or you could use gamer points from the Xbox Live Marketplace and buy a gold premium pack for 120 points. Thats what  did since I had a few points left over from a previous download.

this is how you set your formation and where you want your players to be

I found the best strategy I found was making sure that your teams chemistry is fairly high. Even if you don't have good players, as a team they will still play good. Since I already had had a few players from three different countries I used that as a template for my team. I run a 4-4-2 squad so that means I have four Spaniards four my defense plus my goalie, two Italians and two Americans for my midfield, one Italian and one American for my forward positions. So all of the people from the same nation or if you use a formation that most of your players like to play with your team will have a strong chemistry, which makes any team pretty much unstoppable. I currently sit 18-0 with four tournament trophies.
You can either play tournaments online against other ultimate team users or you can play offline against the computer (which is what i do because I don't want to mess up my perfect record against some online.)
This is an example of how to search for players you want to trade tokens or other cards for, it can get pretty detailed

The biggest feature about this mode is that you can actually trade cards with other people online. Its cool because you can take any card that you have a duplicate of or that you just don't want and sell it for tokens. There are two ways you can trade, first you can just straight up sell the card or you can offer another card plus some tokens. The second strategy might come in handy with some of the more expensive players. I checked some players a few days ago and I found the Wayne Rooney, (a English forward) was selling for 200,000 tokens. When I saw that I thought the guy was crazy since you only get a few hundred tokens for each game you win, but if you win tournaments then you get a little over a thousand. Even though you still find some outrageous offers like that its still a awesome mode to play when you get bored with the original modes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Project Natal

Natal Sensor

I just recently found out about Microsoft's new product, Natal. The first time i saw anything about this was on one of the episodes of the tv show Smallville. I was really intrigued since one of the characters said it was on the xbox and i wanted to see if it was a real game. after a little bit of research I found that it was first announced at a video game expo called E3 in June of 2009. I must have been living under a rock in June because I didnt hear anything about it, and  if you havent, here it is.

Project Natal takes the technology of Nintendos Wii and pretty much puts it on crack. It is serious one of the coolest things i have ever seen for a video game. It is a sensor, camara, headset all in one. the best part of it is that it makes some of the xbox games no longer require a controller, now your body is the controller. So no more people getting mad playing games and saying "AH this controller is retarded, thats not the button i pushed" now is something goes wrong the persons body is retarded.

right now i think that they have 14 games that will be ready to go at the time of its release but most of them are not known to the public yet. the 3 main games that have been demoed are Ricochet, Burn Out Paradise, and Milo and kate. In Ricochet you have to hit balls at a wall to break the bricks, and is you hit the bonus bricks extra balls will come flying at you. this is the game that will make any person look goofy. which brings up the point if you are not a very out going person you prolly wont have fun playing this with a bunch of friends. the next game is Burn out.  this is a old racing game but it still would be fun with Natal. all you have to do is hold your hands out in front of you and place you right foot forward for gas. seems simple right, well in the jimmy fallon video the game looks like the turning would be very sensitive. for people who like racing games that might be what they have been waiting for. The last demo at E3 was Milo and kate. i wont talk too much about it because it was in my first video i had a link for. the feature i do what to talk a little bit about is the fact the Milo actually recognized the girl when she said hi. the technology with video games is absolutely crazy. the fact that at the end of the video Milo says "hey tomorrow is your mothers birthday" just blows my mind. sooner or later video games will be like the movie Gamer
Steven Spielberg at E3 2009 Promoting Project Natal
if any gamers have doubts about this new technology dont. the biggest thing about Project Natal is that Steven Spielberg helped to produce it, and he would not just put his name on the line for anything. with the exception of some of his earlier movies, most of his work is pretty impressive.