Posts Tagged ‘Console’

Ok, so I’ve seen the the reveals. Each company has opened their argument  about why I should buy their console this fall. Considering the fact that I’ve been loyal to Microsoft for the last decade this should be an easy choice right? Well…not exactly. There’s also that part where before I was playing games on Xbox and the 360 I was playing games on PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Now I’m in a dilemma. Current loyalty vs what I enjoyed in the past. Halo vs Killzone. Forza Motorsport vs Gran Turismo. Owning both consoles will become a monster headache for me. I must choose one, but which one. I’m so confused.

Frankly I feel that a lot of you are in the same boat as me. Mulling over specs, controllers, games, apps, and other options while constantly trying to avoid all the ridiculously stupid fanboys and trolls that hang around the message boards of every website. You all know the trolls. The ones who always have an opinion, but mostly based in fanboyism as well as insulting everyone’s mother at the same time. PS4 fanboys call Xbox the “Darkside” and tell people to come back to the light. Xbox One fanboys…well you don’t hear that much other than loyalty. And what about Wii U? Wait! Does anyone actually own one? Honestly, I think that the Wii U has been rejected by Dikembe Mutombo while saying “Not in my house!” This is a two console battle, and only one juggernaut will be standing horizontally at the end. Let the console war commence!

So let’s begin. Here are my opinions on each company’s next-gen reveal.

Ok, so Microsoft revealed the console. Nice. Sadly, the first part of this reveal showed me that if I want to watch The Price is Right then the Xbox One is definitely the way to go. Oh and it also plays live sports including the NFL! Seriously, I’d rather go to a bar and have a few beers with my friends while watching sports instead of skyping them and letting them know that I’m beating them on a fantasy league. A Halo television show! If it’s anything like Forward Unto Dawn then count me in. Then after a half an hour of bullshit Microsoft finally addressed the target demographic (which includes me) that were actually watching the reveal, however most gamers were probably either bored or tuned out completely by the time they showed a game. Too bad they were all trailers. EA Sports…don’t care. Forza Motorsport 5…awesome! What is Quantum Break? Finally, there was Call of Duty where I’ll get to form a personal relationship with a virtual pet that’s probably going to get shot to shit. No thanks. I have a real dog.

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Name is consistent, but no console. Well at least they showed the controller which looks pretty cool. They talked about the PS4 specs, but still no console. Their showing games! Killzone: Shadow Fall looks sick! Infamous: Second Son sure looks interesting. Driveclub! Now this title is right up my alley and should be a lot of fun. Watch Dogs has been on my radar since it’s reveal last year at E3 and it was a must buy back then. Still is now. Knack is a pass for me since it’s not my type of game. Did Sony find a way to make the PlayStation Vita relevant? Blue balls and old man faces! Sadly, the motion control stuff was boring. More trailers. Bungie talked about Destiny. Blizzard announced Diablo 3. Why? After two hours of gaming bliss I was still waiting to see the console, but the PS4 was a no show. I guess I’ll have to wait until E3. At least the games were cool.

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So, with E3 now a week away the anticipation is killing me inside. Both companies showed their cards yet left me wanting more. Unfortunately Microsoft is still in damage control mode dealing with always online, used game fees, and the so called Kinect spy which I think really creeps me out. Sony, on the other hand, hasn’t said a word. Smart on them. After the reveals I was leaning towards Sony due to the fact that they seemed to have learned from their mistakes of the PS3 as well as catering their console towards me. Since then I’ve let my anger towards Microsoft subside and moved back to the middle of undecided. Both Microsoft and Sony will have their big E3 press conferences on June 10 and I’ll be watching both very carefully. I expect to see more games, features, a price point, and a release date. Then on June 11 my “decision” will be made. No big ESPN special. Just a decision.

So will it be the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or retire from gaming? I don’t know, but at least one thing is clear. With no backwards compatibility I’ll still have my Xbox 360. It does exactly what I want it to do. Play games and watch Netflix. That’s all I need. Why can’t these companies understand that?

Until next time. Xbox, Go Home.

So I’m sitting around playing Dead Space 2 last night and something hit me. No it wasn’t a thought, but a severe numbness in my right hand. For the past couple of years I’ve played it off as nothing, but recently it returned once again. It’s become quite a hindrance as of late happening a couple of times a week. Usually I would just press the pause button and shake it off and then continue playing a few minutes later, but I begin to think about if there is something wrong with me. Maybe it was time that I found out.

I know that I’m completely healthy, and that I have no lagging injuries. So I decided to go online and look it up. My first thought was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I hear about it quite a bit lately, but I figured that this can’t be what I’m experiencing. As I started reading about it on Wikipedia I realized that it does mention “numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial half of the ring finger.” This is exactly what I was going through. Could I be in the early stages of CTS? Could it possibly be arthritis? I hope not. To me arthritis is something that old people go through. I’m not that old. I’m 38 for Pete’s sake! I’m not even close to experiencing my mid life crisis yet.

While this numbness in my hands has been an issue there is something else that concerns me. My interest. Lately, I’ve seen a sharp decline in my interest when playing a game. That’s not normal for me. Some nights when I hop online I just stare at the screen. Part of this has to do with either I have no idea what I want to play, or all of a sudden I’m just not interested. With that in mind I wondered whether there was a Cialis or Viagra type of pill for gamers who have a lack of gaming interest, or is the solution simply a six pack of Mountain Dew and a large bag of Doritos. Sadly, the junk food and beverage solution will only lead to obesity, and that’s clearly not in the cards for me.

So here I sit writing this article, and begin to contemplate whether it’s time to put the controller down for good. I’ve been gaming since I was a little kid growing up during the ’80s. The days of the going to the local video arcade, or just playing at home on the Atari 2600 where my imagination really took over especially when objects on screen looked like various geometric shapes. Those were the days when I was playing games that included Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig-Dug, Robotron 2084, Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Defender, and countless others. I was in love with the technology even though these edgy visuals of yesteryear are very low tech compared to today’s high definition standards.

Thirty years of gaming sure is a long time. Sometimes it still feels like only yesterday when my parents brought home that Atari 2600. Plenty of consoles have come and gone after that humble beginning. The NES, Master System, Genesis, Saturn, Playstation, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Xbox, and currently the Xbox 360. Consoles that featured a plethora of games that still trigger plenty of happy memories. Getting the high score, warp zones, epic boss battles, saving the princess, saving the world, racing to the finish line, blast processing, cheat codes, flawless victories, fatalities, tales of souls and swords, warriors needing food badly, beating up prostitutes with baseball bats after they filled my needs and raised my health, that laughing dog, a plumber, a hedgehog, a Solid Snake, a Master Chief, achievement unlocked. All these moments and more were fun and exciting, but all good moments at some point and time must come to an end. Is that end coming soon?

With a new Xbox console set to arrive later this year I started to think if I still have one more console generation left in me. Back in 2005, I said that the Xbox 360 would probably be my last console. Eight years later I’ve revisited that statement I made. As I begin to approach the unavoidable age of 40 in 2014 I think to myself whether I still want to be playing new video games. Do I still have it left in me to take on new adventures? What about starting to play a new franchise or two? Can I still compete online? What about the numbness in my hands? Maybe I make that final decision and make 2013 the end of the road. Maybe I just play the games I have until my Xbox 360 says no more and shuts down forever. One thing is for certain. I don’t see myself playing games at 50. I just won’t be able to keep up with those young whipper snappers in Call of Duty: Whatever.

For now I’m going to enjoy what this year in gaming offers while hoping that the numbness in my hands don’t ruin it. By E3 this June, I’ll know if my gaming road continues for one last run, or ends in retirement.

Pros:
Podracing and Rancor Rampage are actually fun to play
The banter between C-3PO and R2-D2

Cons:
Game doesn’t really make you feel like a Jedi
Galactic Dance Off

Not so long ago in the living room of my home…

I placed in my Xbox 360 a copy of the at one time highly anticipated Kinect Star Wars. For a while I had the memory of that moment at E3 2010 when the Kinect was revealed and they showed Kinect Star Wars on the big screen. Sure we all marked out at the mere thought of wielding a lightsaber and using the force as we make our way through enemy forces only to come face to face with Darth Vader himself for what we thought would be a battle of epic proportions. At the time I was sold. Now after countless delays it’s finally here. Sure I said that this game was an abomination, but the fan in me wanted to give it a chance. Next time I’ll listen to my inner Admiral Akbar when he said “It’s a trap!”

Kinect Star Wars is mainly a collection of mini-games spanning the Star Wars universe. There’s also a main campaign where you take on the role of a young Padawan. Cleverly narrated featuring C-3PO and R2-D2, the story has you going through the Jedi archives where you’ll come across some memorable moments from the Star Wars saga. You’ll begin by going through some rigorous training from the Jedi Master himself…a terrible sounding Yoda. Then it’s on to a mashup montage of scenes which will have you using your lightsaber to moments including the destruction of the second Death Star. The campaign as a whole is more of a roller coaster affair as you’ll go from the fun moments to trudging your way through the dull and boring hoping that the next mission will ignite that fun factor in you.

Now as a fan of Star Wars I found the banter between the two droids a welcome addition. This will definitely bring smiles to fans faces who remember the classic films of the “original” trilogy. The rest of the game is more of a mixed bag. Let me just state that not all of these mini-games are bad. Some are actually quite fun, but the package as a whole is rather disappointing. The missions that I enjoyed include the space missions are basically shooters on rails with the Kinect movements reminding me of Child of Eden. The podracing is a blast to play and the Kinect features are spot on. Rancor Rampage allows you to destroy everything in your path leading to some fun times whether your playing the game or watching on the couch with a few friends.

Of course not everything is right in the Kinect Star Wars universe. The lightsaber duels, which in my opinion was this  game’s biggest selling point is not that good. There’s some noticeable lag between your movements and the Kinect sensor leading to plenty of failures especially when dodging laser blasts to the duels with enemy characters including Darth Vader. At no point during this did I truly feel like I was an all powerful Jedi. If this was the feeling that you want then might I suggest playing a game called Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Now let’s get to the Galactic Dance Off which in my opinion is an embarrassment to the entire Star Wars brand. If you thought Jar Jar Binks, the Ewoks and Greedo shooting first was bad then wait until you see this. The songs used in this game mode are spinoffs of popular hit tracks, but reworded (like George Lucas changing his films) to fit the Star Wars theme. Most of the songs come off as terrible. Then there was the horrific moment of seeing Han Solo dancing on he screen. After seeing that I quickly exited this mode and vowed to never go back ever again. Just plain sad.

Kinect Star Wars is clearly not a game for everyone. This is definitely a game aimed towards children and families alike. For the hardcore fans like myself it’s a travesty.  It’s a sure bet that the Kinect bashers are laughing their asses off on this one. At least the limited edition console featuring C-3PO and R2-D2 looks amazing and is definitely a collector’s item. Now all I can do is look to the stars and wonder if there will ever be redemption for the Star Wars brand. Maybe one day there will be Star Wars Battlefront 3.