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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ZAGG 75% OFF sale

I've been fairly quiet recently, but I had to post about this:

ZAGG (makers of the Invisible Shield screen protectors) is having a pretty good sale. Among their other products, it seems they have the Invisible Shield for 75% off for certain devices, like the DSi & PSPgo. There are others on the list, check this link for the deets.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II

I bought Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (GC) a long time ago, but I kept holding out for a GameCube controller that has rumble (my Wavebird doesn't)... but it's kinda dumb to not use the Wavebird just because it doesn't have rumble, so I've been playing it the last couple of days on my Wii....

Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II is one amazing looking game, especially for a GameCube game... between this & Resident Evil 4, they must be two of the best looking games for the system.

But...... Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II is one of the best looking games-- that is broken beyond hope. The look & feel of the game is so faithful to the Star Wars movies that it's an amazing achievement. Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of playability.

Let me put it plainly: space is really dark. TIE Fighters are really dark. So it's nearly impossible to see the enemies. You have a targeting computer that can highlight them as long as you constantly hold down the button. But the game *severely punishes you* for using the targeting computer at all. (game developer) Factor 5 is probably thinking, "Hey, Luke Skywalker never needed no targeting computer! And he managed to shoot down everything!" You know what? He managed to shoot down everything because it was IN THE F'N SCRIPT YOU DINGBATS! You can't just cripple gameplay to make it look "authentic". A game has to be playable, you know. And then there are obscure mission goals compounded by not being able to make anything out, so it's a lot of guesswork.

The production values of this game are so good that it's a crying shame that it's so ridiculously unfun. Factor 5 is infamous for their botching of the game Lair, while I haven't played that one I can imagine why they were so panned. Lair looks good but apparently plays like crap. I guess Factor 5 should just disappear & not come back. But there's so much talent there with the production values that something should be done with at least some portion of the company talent pool.

Factor 5 made a major mistake that a lot of companies make: it completely eludes them that a game needs to be playable by people who AREN'T part of its developer team, that a game needs to be playable by people who HAVEN'T played the game 8 hours a day for months during its coding & construction.

There are only about 10 missions, so maybe they're trying to extend the gameplay by making it super hard so as not to let players breeze through it too quick.

Such a beautiful looking game. What a waste.


Monday, August 2, 2010

iPad/Macbook Pro

I finally got a hands-on with the iPad at London Drugs about a week ago.... and I have to say, on first inspection it is one impressive piece of kit. I was amazed by how small it is, and light. It also doesn't seem to get too hot-- though I'd wonder whether that's the case during prolonged real use. There is a real smoothness to the interface, it is just like an iPhone in that regard.

So I've been crushing a bit on the iPad.... but lately I've really taken a shine to the Macbook Pro. Yes it's overpriced but the overall package is elegant. Metal body, illuminated keyboard, not too much screen bezel and a huge trackpad...

I still really like my Toshiba NB-205 netbook, but like anything, there are little issues about it. The body looks fairly nice and at least it isn't too much of a fingerprint magnet... but there's still a bit of a cheapness in the materials-- it's got a plastic body, the keyboard area flexes a bit. I've been noticing a bit of a clicking noise when I hit the PgDn (page down) button. The trackpad buttons are nice & big but they click very loudly, a lot of times I tap the pad so as not to make so much noise, but tapping the trackpad isn't as responsive as a physical button.

But my biggest problem isn't hardware, it's the OS. I'm getting pretty tired of the Windows OS being so vulnerable to malware. It would be nice to not have that worry all the time... I'd still run a firewall & anti-virus on a Macbook, but there is just much more peace of mind knowing it's not quite as big a target as Windows.

Man, a Macbook Pro would be nice... but my NB-205 isn't quite a year old yet. There's no GOOD reason to get another computer at this point. But I'm pretty sure that my next computer will be a Macbook. I'm really leaning that way at this point.