Thursday, December 30, 2010

Playing Games Online

Note:This is actually an old draft from 2007 that I never published. The links are still active, but my home online officially is

One of the reasons why I love my Xbox and Xbox 360 is the ease of getting online to play Xbox-Live enabled games. One of the reasons why I hate my Xbox and Xbox 360 is the ease of getting online to play Xbox-Live enabled games.

While online gaming isn't new to those who have played games on a networked PC, Microsoft's consoles brought online gaming to the masses. Now anyone with a broadband connection and $50 can get online and play games in their living room instead of hunched over a monitor. This great success is tempered by a pretty huge liability.

There are a lot of people online who take great pleasure in ruining your online experience. Using the Cloak of Anonymity the internet provides, people are free to put their manners on hold. For example, while I don't have a problem with friendly trash talking, I have no desire to hear in colorful detail how you just beat me. Racists feel especially empowered, I ran into one during the Halo 3 Beta with a gamertag "I don't like Asians". Then there are players who take advantage of glitches in games to inflate their stats. Smackdown VS Raw 2007 is an excellent example of this. Several moves in the game are 99% unblockable so that if you're matched up against someone with a character with any of these moves, they will spam you with the one move until you are unable to continue.

My personal favorite though, underage kids who get online and just act ignorant. Xbox Live is for those 13 and over. A while back when I played a lot of Project Gotham 2 online, one kid was being very very rude. Some of the other racers told him to cut it out and the kid started yelling. Then the kid's mother gets on and tries to tell us to stop picking on him. Every one of us basically told her that 1) she should pay attention to her son because he was acting a fool and 2) Xbox Live is not for kids and he shouldn't be here.

Now that I am done griping, let me get to the good part.

There are forums online where you could meet up with people who want to play games the right way. The forums that I am familiar with cater to older gamers, but if you go to you will find links to forums that may fit you.

If you're a more mature gamer try these sites:
  • Grown-Up Gamers - The first site I found. It's a small group, but very friendly and tight-knit.
  • Geezer Gamers - The site design is very very good and the group has the occasional meet and greet where you can put the face to the gamertag
  • 2old2play - I just joined this site because I read about it on It has tons of features, the only drawback, if you want to call it that, is that users should be 25 or older.
These sites provide a wide range of features for all gamers:
  • Gamertag Database - You can register your gamertag here and search for other gamers
  • Xbox Users Group - Very similar to the Gamertag Database but with a slew of additional features

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

World of Warcraft with Microsoft Kinect

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who is he and what is he to you?

There is an excellent interview on BitMOB about the HipHopGamer conducted by Dennis Scimeca. I have seen him in person at the PAX East Gamers Gone Wild party last year and wondered to myself who is this guy? I went to his website and learned a little and then saw an interview he did with financial analyst Michael Pacther over the summer for GameTrailers. You couldn't pick two more different people to put together for an interview, but it was interesting and fun. What they both have in common is a genuine passion for games.

What has me troubled are some of the comments that follow the BitMOB piece. I am not saying that people should universally have love for HipHopGamer and what he's trying to do. But the tone of some of the comments are disturbing. Just because he is passionate about gaming doesn't mean he is a paid shill. To the best of my knowledge, he has never lied to someone about a product. If people have a problem with deception in game scores, there are plenty of other targets these commenters can take aim at. In terms of being a distraction at industry events; I have never been to an E3 but I can safely assume that one man and his entourage can't be the biggest distractions at those events.

What also bothers me is the sense of elitism is the replies. Calling someone a blight or an ass-clown is strong stuff. You may not like how he networks with industry people, but that's between him and those people. You may not like his methods but he is as passionate as the next gamer. You may not think he is informing gamers, I disagree. He is informing gamers, just not gamers like you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jack is Back: You Don't Know Jack in 2011 for the PS3

This makes me really happy! It will be so much better sitting around the living room playing this instead of being hunched over a computer. Hopefully it will be Playstation Network Compatible? Sweet!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Top 10 Celebrities You Wouldn't Believe Had Their Own Video Games | SPIKE

The Top 10 Celebrities You Wouldn't Believe Had Their Own Video Games | SPIKE

This is an interesting list but Spielberg doesn't count since he helped develop games and didn't appear in them. The New Kids on the Block, yes those guys, had a game that wasn't even released. The Aerosmith Revolution X shooter should have been listed. And Gallagher the Video Game? Really?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

PlayStation Phone 'Zeus Z1' - Too little too late?

PlayStation Phone 'Zeus Z1' caught on video again, this time you can actually see it (update) -- Engadget

Engadget has video of a playstation phone prototype. Yay, I guess. Is the market asking for this? Between iPhones and DSes I don't see a compelling reason to pick up a PSP. If this were the PSP2, that would be a different story.

The only thing that would make this interesting is if carriers would give away phones to get people to sign up for service. Sony probably won't give up that hardware money though. I am pretty sure that you can't get an iPhone for free with a plan, but this latest version of the PSP is no iPhone.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Case against Xbox modder dropped - News at GameSpot

Case against Xbox modder dropped - News at GameSpot

Judging from the opening of this trial I can't say I am surprised the case was dropped. I think this would be a different story if there was proof of pirating software as in other case in addition to doing the modification.

OnLive begins all you can eat, $10 subscription

OnLive begins all you can eat, $10 subscription

This is something I could get behind, especially if they get more PC exclusives like Civilization V or the superior version of Dragon Age on PC also. I could even see myself demoing games that I would eventually buy on my Xbox since I wouldn't have to wait for a download.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Inexpensive HDMI cables are a right, not a privilege

Inexpensive HDMI cables are a right, not a privilege

For the best picture quality on your HDTV you will need a HDMI cable. You may see these cables in stores this holiday season for as much as $99. Don't be taken in! I made the mistake of spending $20 for a cable because I was impatient. A friend told me about a site called that has six foot cables for $3. I took advantage of a sale and bought three cables for $7.99 and free shipping.

Raph’s Website » How UO rares were born

Raph’s Website » How UO rares were born

Excellent post about rare items in Ultima Online written by game designer Raph Koster. These items were not designed they were discovered.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Required Reading - Gamer and Geek Blogs

Girl Gone Geek -  Ms Chic Geek blogs about all things geek, but what I think is really cool are the art related posts. Granted the subject matter is still geek-flavored, like custom painted game consoles, but the posts go beyond the normal geek stuff. Follow her on Twitter here

Radioactive Nerd  - I discovered these guys at the Gamers Gone Wild event at PAX East in the spring and I have been pimping their podcasts since. They have recently added a video podcast called video rewind where they post a video version of the week's audio podcast. You can follow the show on Twitter here

The Major's Conquests - Major Linux is more active on Twitter, but his blog has some great stuff on it as well. Check out The Major's Conquests: Killzone 3 3D Impressions

Hip Hop Gamer - Don't let the championship belt fool you. He is one of the most down to earth and passionate gamers out there today. Check out this interview with Michael Pachter for Game Trailers. Follow his Twitter here.

Gaming with SFX Kona - Kona streams first person gaming goodness and gives out prizes to viewers of his stream. If you're lucky you can send him an invite and get in on the game he's playing. Catch him on Twitter here.

Game Like a Girl - Stephanie and Renee provide an interesting take on all things gaming providing reviews on many of the latest and greatest games.I had been following them on Twitter for a while now but what really got me was this post from their blog: Game Like a Girl: How to Become a Gamer in Ten Easy Steps:

If you know of any cool blogs, send me the links or twitter and I'll check them out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peek into my crystal ball and see the future of video games

I believe that we have reached a point where making games more pretty will no longer classify them as next-gen games. Both the 360 and PS3 are capable of building outstanding visuals in the hands of talented developers. You don't have to look much further than Uncharted 2 on the PS3 to see that as the case.

What will make the next next-gen console truly next-gen (say that ten times fast) will be fundamental hardware changes and subtle yet impressive software changes.
  • An internet connection will be required to use the consoles - I know that high speed internet isn't everywhere just yet, but companies are pushing day one downloadable content and regularly patching their titles online. Another reason why the will be required is that
  • Game saves will reside in the cloud. - By leveraging cloud storage, gamers can be confident that they won't lose saves if their hard drives or flash drives fail. Also, by eliminating user access to system memory there is a lower likelihood of modded games ruining the online experience for all. Which leads to
  • Online Communities will be supported by the consoles - What I mean by this is the hardware makes it easy for you to find and connect with people who have the same interests as you and allows those who organize communities a way to become known. Think of not just bigger friends lists but the ability to group your friends so that if you want to get a Halo Reach session going, you send a message to everyone in the group instead of everyone on your list. By encouraging people to play together, I would think the likelihood of running into griefers would diminish.
  • There will be dedicated hardware for AI and physics - Not just a chip, but boards with RAM that support that functionality. Imagine games that truly ramp up and get better at playing as you do. Games that recognize and react to your play style. Games with NPCs that understand the same rules as players do and can act on them spontaneously in the proper context.
  • Increased motion control functionality and decreased emphasis on 3D graphics. - 3D will be a novelty because it costs so much to take advantage of the technology. Systems like Kinect and the Move will allow for more novel ways of interacting with the console with a much lower cost to consumers.
My crystal ball is fuzzy on whether or not we will be downloading full titles directly to our machines, but I will say that there will be more downloadable games that rival the quality of the triple A titles and will command $30 or 2400 microsoft points to download.

The future of video games is a pretty picture, but it's no longer about making pretty pictures.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Little. Orange. Different. - On Live Microconsole

I own a PS3 and an Xbox 360. I also own a Gamecube, PS2, PS One, an Original Xbox, 2 Dreamcasts and a 3D0 (I miss Demolition Man). I need another console like I need a hole in the head. But I am going to scrape up some pennies for this one.

I haven't played any games OnLive yet, but I have been taking advantage of the spectator mode. I am the ultimate couch potato because I find myself sitting and watching someone else play Arkham Asylum or Borderlands and enjoying it. If they would get Civilization V to run on it I'd buy in a heartbeat.

It's free to sign up and download the client to spectate and try out demos. There aren't a wide variety of games available, but you can try them out and rent if you're not sold on buying the game. There is also the fact that there is no box. if your internet connection goes down you can't get at your games. Personally, if there is a game OnLive that you like you can't go wrong renting it there instead of waiting for GameFly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why I am still playing NBA 2k10 and why you should pick up NBA 2k11

I got the special edition of NBA 2k10 for Christmas last year, but I didn't jump into it until the beginning of the NBA finals. What I really enjoy about the game is the My Player mode. You can customize a player and take him through a NBA career. I had already invested in the NBA 2k10 Draft Combine so my player was all set. As a rookie the game is maddening. You have to work really hard to earn points to build up your player. But once your player starts improving, it gets addicting. You want to hit all the milestones. This game made me want to play real basketball again!

You should pick up the latest edition of the game not because it is the only NBA title on game consoles this year thanks to the incredible crash and burn of EA's NBA Elite 11 but because of the great gameplay in My Player Mode and the new Jordan moments mode where you can be like Mike(tm). As for me, I am going to stick with NBA 2k10 until my player completes all the milestones. Then in the spring, I'll move on to 2k11.

But you shouldn't wait! Pick it up at Amazon: NBA 2k11 by 2k Sports

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

iJustine is at it again, fun and games with COD RC-XD surveillance vehicle.

I didn't know she was a gamer!
She is definitely having fun with the RC-XD though.
Get your own on Amazon, Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition

The most wonderful time of the year. NOT

As the economy struggles to recover, companies everywhere are laying off people and/or shutting down divisions. Gamasutra is reporting that Activision is shuttering Guitar Hero and Band Hero developer Budcat in addition to putting Bizarre Creations, whose current titles Blur and 007:Bloodstone were published by Activision, up for sale. Lucasarts is also trimming its staff as well. It seems like companies are trying to salvage their year-end books by making these cuts but at the same time putting employees out of work at the beginning of the holiday season.

Hopefully the people who work for these developers will be taken care of in the short term and land on their feet in a new company or a new venture soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's a new blog, same as the old blog

I have changed the name of the blog to reflect my interests. Instead of trying to be clever, I am going to be me. At times you will be reading the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind. Other times you will be reading something thoughtful and thought provoking.

This is my soapbox. There many other soapboxes but none like mine. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PAX East, young man

I am not going to the big event, kids are still keeping my wife and I busy. I am planning on attending one of the meet and greets at a local pub. SFX-360 and 2old2play are hosting Gamers Gone Wild. 21 and over with some special guests and contests. See you there?