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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

E3 2010 big winner - Nintendo 3DS

Pretty much what I expected, the 3DS looks to deliver the goods, and maybe a few surprises... though also a few too many predicted features that don't look like they're happening.

Basically, it is a DS with 3-D capabilities. But the added analogue nub-- I think they call it "slide control"-- as well as the extra-wide top 3-D screen... give it that bit of added cool that I was looking for. Basically, those features make it look like a PSP was mushed into the DS design a bit.

Honestly, the analogue nub was the feature I was most excited about. I actually like having a joystick control for games, and with that on the 3DS, I'm hoping we'll see a lot more "3D" games (not the visual effect 3-D, but you know, the perspective of looking over the character's back or even first person as opposed to top-down view or side-scrolling)

Keeping with that desire for more 3D action games on the DS, I would actually be very cool with the idea of a future Star Wars Battlefront game being on the 3DS, and keeping the traditional 3D perspective unlike the isometric top-down view in the DS version of Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. Hopefully we'll stop seeing developers "dumb down" games for the DS if the 3DS can pump out PSP-level processing.

One of the 3DS surprises for me was the 2 cameras on the front. So it can take pictures in 3-D, which is kinda cool... I like it more than the regular camera of the DSi because it's now unique.

I'm also getting pretty excited about the 3DS's announced games list:


* DJ Hero 3D

AQ Interactive

* Cubic ninja


* Shin Megami Tensei
* Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
* Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor


* Resident Evil Revelations
* Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (name not final)


* EA FIFA Soccer
* Madden NFL
* The Sims 3


* Asphalt DS


* Music Game

Hudson Soft

* Bomberman franchise
* Deca Sports franchise
* Kororinpa franchise


* Baseball franchise
* Contra franchise
* Frogger franchise
* Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D "The Naked Sample"
* Pro Evolution Soccer franchise / Winning Eleven franchise


* Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle (name not final)

Majesco Entertainment

* BloodRayne: The Shroud
* A Boy and His Blob
* Face Racers: Photo Finish
* Lion's Pride: Adventures on the Serengeti
* Martha Stewart
* WonderWorld Amusement Park


* Bokujyoumonogatari (Harvest Moon) 3D (name not final)


* Dragon Ball franchise (name not final)
* Gundam franchise (name not final)
* PAC-MANTM & GALAGATM (name not final)
* Ridge Racer (name not final)
* Super Robot franchise (name not final)


* Animal Crossing Kid Icarus: Uprising
* Mario Kart
* nintendogs + cats
* Paper Mario
* PilotWings Resort
* Star Fox 64 3D
* Steel Diver


* Crash-City GP
* VS-robo


* Sonic (name not final)
* Super Monkey Ball (name not final)

Square Enix

* CODENAME: Chocobo Racing
* 3D Dragon Quest franchise
* Final Fantasy franchise
* Kingdom Hearts franchise

Take-Two Interactive

* Carnival Games franchise

Tecmo Koei

* Dead or Alive 3D (name not final)
* Dynasty Warriors (name not final)
* Ninja Gaiden (name not final)
* Samurai Warriors 3D (name not final)


* Lovely Lisa 3D
* Naruto Shippuden Action


* de Blob 2
* Kung Fu Panda
* Kaboom of Doom
* Marvel Super Hero Squad
* Infinity Gauntlet
* The Penguins of Madagascar
* Puss N Boots
* Saints Row: Drive-By


* Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy
* Battle of Giants: Dinosaur Strike
* Driver Renegade Hollywood 61 (name not final)
* Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
* Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

Warner Bros

* Batman franchise
* LEGO franchise

There are quite a few more "hardcore" games on the list, which really surprises me. Right now I'm psyched for a new Ridge Racer, Resident Evil(!), Kororinpa, BloodRayne, Saints Row...

Like I said with the PSP post, with the action titles & long-standing franchises like Metal Gear Solid, it looks like they're going after the remaining PSP-fanbase, saying, "that ship is going down, just come on over to the DS already... we're going to give you some hardcore gaming that the dead PSP won't supply anymore because all the devs have fled it (and come over to us)..." this kind of thinking really surprises me because "hardcore" games haven't done as well as hoped on the DS... people often cite poor sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars as a prime example. I hope that third-party devs & Nintendo are going to give it more tries.

But there are a few disappointments with this initial announcement of the 3DS. Like WHEN and HOW MUCH???? But also, yes it has an analogue nub... but only ONE. *Gulp*... did no one learn anything from the PSP?????? It might be argued that the Wii only has one analogue stick, but given the problems with controlling 3D games on that system, it's not a benefit. Maybe developers will run into the same frustrations that the PSP gave them when trying to create 3D action games.... not having a 2nd analogue nub to control look. though I still contend that using the face buttons for look/camera control is adequate, even if it's not as good as having a 2nd analogue nub. But it's just as adequate for the PSP which a lot of people/devs seem to disagree with...

Also, even though Nintendo hinted at movie playback by saying we can watch 3-D movies on it (another big surprise to me because Nintendo firmly believes in categorizing their systems as "toys" instead of media players like the PSP. Yes, the DSi has a bit of music/picture capabilities, but it's so limited and they really tried to turn those features into "games") so even though there's the promise of video playback on the 3DS, I'm highly doubtful that it will be as good as the PSP, that we'd even be able to load movies onto the 3DS ourselves. I'm betting movie functionality will be limited to downloading purchased vids from the Nintendo network or whatever. That would suck & I wouldn't bother, I'm not interested in DRMed video that I have to pay for.

And... it looks like rumble is not on the system. That was another of the many rumours swirling about, and I knew it was a long shot.

The bottom line is that even though there are a few nice additions, it still seems like a DS, with 3-D added onto it... rather than a fully new system. I'd like to see the top screen a bit bigger too.

Still, Nintendo has hit... not quite a home run yet, but it's sailing long & high right now. I'm excited for the 3DS & I'm pretty sure I've already decided to buy it.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

E3 2010 big loser - PSP

Man... I can't believe what callous neglect everyone is showing the PSP this E3.

The only announcement seems to be:

"that 70 PSP games will be released "between now and December."

That's it. No details on WHAT most of the games will be (besides Patapon 3).... or anything. 70 games *should* sound awesome. But here's where I think that it goes south in a big way:

  • How many of those 70 games are PSP Minis? How many of them are not only PSP Minis, but PORTS of iPhone games or whatnot?

  • How many of those games are movie tie-ins that are put on every console anyway?

  • How many of those games are Japan-exclusive?

What if like 50 of the 70 games are PSP Minis or movie tie-ins? That would be a SUCKY 70 games list, wouldn't it?

Sure, we know that God of War: Ghosts of Sparta is in development, and there may be a few other high profile PSP games as well. But the bulk of that 70? PSP minis, or movie tie-ins... or Japanese exclusives that we'll never see here....

Where's the LIST of those "70 PSP games"? The 3DS has a list of upcoming games at least. Don't just announce "there's 70 PSP games coming kthanxbai".

And not getting any announcement of a PSP2..... that just feels like a REALLY BAD sign. You know the end of the movie Se7en where Morgan Freeman's character is all set to retire, but he can't? That's where I feel like that's where the PSP is right now. A dead horse. But I'm not saying that it's not still a good platform-- I use my PSPgo every day (mostly to watch taped TV shows)-- and there's still some joy in the system playing the best PSP games of the past. Just not anything new.

By not announcing a PSP2, Sony is basically saying that they have no idea how to counter Nintendo's handheld strategy. They have no answer to the 3DS. And looking at some of the upcoming games announced for the 3DS, with titles like Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, and Saint's Row it looks like it's going after the PSP audience, like it's saying, "you few PSPers left out there, we hear you and are ready to absorb you into our fold. We know how abandoned you are, so here are a few morsels of games to bring you over from that dead system to our living one."

I have no idea what a PSP 2 should be like... what should it have that would set it apart from an iPhone or DS? Yes, 2 analogue nubs, great graphics, touchscreen, well-rounded media capabilities. But what would position it to succeed more than the PSP? I don't know.

And it looks like Sony has no idea either.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

E3 2010 coming soon

I've been looking forward to the news to come out of this year's E3 for months.... obviously for me, the big bit of news I'm most looking forward to is more info about Nintendo's 3DS.

At this point, nobody knows how it will work, really. But it's scary how LITTLE gaming websites actually know about 3-D in general. Even scarier when tech sites like Engadget also show little/no knowledge of the tech.

I'm certainly no expert, but I have seen the no-glasses-3-D in action, at the Shanghai airport last year. I've also seen the glasses-required-Samsung 3-D-TV on display at Future Shop. People keep comparing all 3-D to the movie Avatar... but if you've actually seen a few sources of 3-D on a smaller scale, you'd realize how idiotic such comparisons are.

Here's how I think the 3-D will look like with the 3DS: imagine the screen being a box, about 1 inch deep. Now imagine the objects in the box-- let's say Mario in a Super Mario Bros. game-- look like paper cutouts, placed at different depths within that 1 inch box. Nothing comes OUT of the screen, just like actors don't leap out of the stage onto your lap while performing a play.

I suspect the 3DS will just make it look like the screen has a bit of depth behind it. It won't be revolutionary, but maybe that will be kind of cool depending on if the developers have enough imagination to make use of it.

I have to admit I can't remember exactly what the images on the "no glasses" 3-D TVs at the Shanghai airport looked like, whether they popped out of the screen or what (I think they did, a bit) but I do distinctly remember that the glasses-required Samsung 3-D TV only had a "inside a box" effect when playing Monsters vs. Aliens.

The other big news *might* be the announcement of PSP2. But it's so iffy that Sony will drop the announcement at E3, it's hard to have my hopes up. I'd like to see it, I think it's PAST time they released a truly next generation version of the PSP, with **TWO ANALOGUE NUBS ALREADY**.....ahem. Sorry, but come on. We all know it should have them. That's the single biggest mistake Sony made with the PSP, and considering all the mistakes they have made, that's saying a lot.

Because of those 2 news items, this E3 is my most anticipated in years. I sure hope they don't disappoint.


Monday, June 7, 2010

lots of malware going around lately

So I spent most of last week trying to clean my PC from some nasty malware infections. I'm not sure where exactly it came from, but I think it was Megaupload-- I suspect that they sold banner ad space to someone using it to distribute malware. So right now I'd highly advise DO NOT go to Megaupload.

Man, do I ever hate malware. I try to keep everything updated, I always have Windows Update set to automatic, I even try to pay attention to the 2nd Tuesday of every month-- that's the usual schedule for Microsoft updates. I use Firefox. I have an anti-virus & firewall.

But banner ads delivering spyware still manage to get by... it's pretty damn aggravating. I was very stressed out most of last week.

I think I'm ok now, but I am very wary of being online.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Firefox 3.6 sucks

Ever since I updated to the latest version of Firefox (3.6.3) when I double-click on it, most of the time it doesn't even open. I see the hard drive moving so it's loading it, but then it doesn't actually open until I open another program or window.

Maybe it's because I'm using Windows XP, and/or that my hard drive needs defragmenting (it's really full)... but it does take a long time for it to open on my netbook using Windows 7 as well. I'm pretty sure it's longer than previous versions.

Why does Firefox have to be so sucky now??? Why can't it be good like it used to be???