December 2006 Archives



December 6, 2006

YouTube goes too far, removes videos I actually watch

It's nothing new that YouTube is and has been giving the axe to countless videos in the past few months, but it never affected me until now. I try and watch one of the newly uploaded episodes of Mystery Science Thater 3000, YouTube being the only place I can ever find them - and poof, it's been removed by the site. I try another and it's been removed by the user. Argh. I would have hoped this particular show would have been an exception, since it's known for putting the phrase "Keep circulating the tapes!" in its closing credits.

(Side note - Fans of the show might be interested in Mike Nelson's current project, RiffTrax)

(Side side note - Ken scolds me sometimes by miscategorizing my posts, but since there is no "rant" category and YouTube is now owned by Google...)

December 8, 2006

Newsflash: Canada has a space program?

I heard on the CBC this morning how Canada is going to get in on that sweet, sweet moonbase action. (Reuters happens to mention all the other countries that are also interested in staking their claim.) It reminded me of the fact that Canada actually HAS a space agency, whose one notable claim to fame so far has been the Canadarm.

Continue reading "Newsflash: Canada has a space program?" »

NPD Numbers: 197,000 PS3 Units at Launch

Sony only moved 197,000 units at launch of the PS3. In contrast, Microsoft sold 326,000 units in November 2005, when that console launched.

December 9, 2006

Blogcritics Milestones

You may have noticed, but BC Magazine just went through a major site redesign. We just launched a new section, too, called Tastes.

In even bigger news, BC Gaming is one year old now! Our gaming channel was launched at the end of November, 2005. I am still finding Gaming articles tucked away in the archives of Culture too!

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BCRadio Podcast - PS3 Edition

Today I recorded a segment for next week's BCRadio Podcast. I talk about the PS3 and the exclusive games. Be sure and check it out when it goes live (usually Monday or Tuesday).

GameSpot's PS3/360 Comparison

1UP ran one of these earlier, and now GameSpot has its own feature. Be sure and check it out.

I am working on a feature/review of all the cross-platform PS3 launch titles, this should be online by Monday.

In short, the PS3 games are "lighter" and "foggier" when directly compared to the same game on Xbox 360. The worst case offender right now is in Tony Hawk's Project 8, the 360 version has gorgeous HDR, and the PS3 version has rather harsh, nasty, HDR.

December 11, 2006

Updated Game Room

Last week, I decided to clean one shelf. One shelf. It turned into an entire project when I realized how I could use the space. It ended up with two rooms redone partially, systems moved, and games swapped. I gained extra room for at least a few hundred games when it was said and done. As such, new pics were bound to happen. I also added better descriptions (click on each pic for more info) and titles to make it easier to piece together.

December 12, 2006

Pelican System Selector Pro

If I were to review this, it would get 5/5 easily. Matt has been telling me for years to get one, and I finally found one - a steal of a price on eBay.

The Pelican System Selector Pro (NOT System Selector 2.0) is an amazing piece of hardware at the MSRP price of $100. Sadly, it is not sold, anywhere, anymore.

It has eight inputs (one on the front) and one output.

8 Component
8 Composite
8 S-Video
3 Optical Audio
3 Ethernet

It even comes with a Component cable, and a Composite/S-Video cable. That is a heck of a deal for $100, except I payed $59.80.

With a PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Xbox, Wii, GameCube and DVD/VHS all hooked up in the back, that leaves room for the S-Video lead for my GP2X on the front.

I am glad I don't collect game consoles like Matt does, or I would need another one of these things already.

The best part is, I now have all my consoles and DVD player hooked up using Component. Why Pelican stopped selling these is beyond me.

Yellow Dog Linux 5 for PS3

I tell ya, being Gaming Editor sure comes in handy a lot. I called up Terra Soft the other day asking for their PR department, and ended up talking to the CEO.

Unless you want to wait until January to download the ISO of Yellow Dog Linux 5 for PS3 (and exclusively for PS3 right now, they haven't even compiled it for Mac yet) you need to sign up for an Enhanced account on ydl.net. That costs $70, for an OS under GPL (Basic Enhanced cost $40 if you already have a basic ydl.net account).

Some may have issues with paying for a free OS, but you do get six months of support with the purchase, and that is really what you are paying for.

I have used YDL 4 before, on my PowerBook, so it will be nice to see this new version.

In short, I will be writing a feature on YDL 5 on PS3 for Blogcritics. I just was given my Enhanced account today, and downloaded the ISO.

As part of the 1.30 firmware upgrade on the PS3, there is now a wonderful Backup Utility. This means no re-entering friends lists, and all that other fun stuff.

I plan on installing YDL tomorrow. This is Linux, so I foresee a bumpy ride.

Lost Planet Art Director Interview

Part 1, 2, and 3, with screen shots and concept art. Also watch the "Theater Trailer" from GameTrailers.com (Trailer 5).

December 14, 2006

Switching Video Signals on PS3

I am setting up my Pelican System Selector Pro (pictures soon!) and have a tip.

If you previously had your PS3 hooked up via HDMI and hook it up via Component, you must do a system reset, or the system will not output a signal!

Of course this means whenever you switch from the AV Multi Out to the HDMI or back again, you must do the hardware reset.

What is a hardware reset on a PS3? Hold Power for five seconds or so, you get a beep.

It defaults to 480i though - and let me tell you, that looks great on my Samsung LCD!

Glad I didn't need to call tech. support on that one. It worked on a hunch.

Setting Up System Selector Pro

Ahhh... now it is time to set this beast up! This was a major headache, let me tell you. Why? Because this was so much easier with two people.

STEP 1: Hook up all seven devices via component, three with optical.
STEP 2: Fish all the component leads to the back of stand.
STEP 3: Make sure it all works! Then, tidy up as best you can.

Sure, it doesn't look great, but I can't do anything with all those wires in the back. See the images after the break. I can now switch between all seven devices, and have another on the front if need be. You will notice my 5.1 headphones sitting there next to my TV. Those are now plugged into the switch box now, so I can listen to 5.1 on my PS3, 360, and DVD.

Why didn't they include optical on the Wii?

Continue reading "Setting Up System Selector Pro" »

December 16, 2006

Wii Freeloader On The Way

I just read on Kotaku that Datel is working on a Wii Freeloader. This is great, but I feel has one serious flaw.

Something tells me with the new firmware upgrade model of these next-gen systems, that discs like a Wii Freeloader will not work for more than a month or so.

I could see Nintendo issuing a mandatory firmware upgrade that would lock out a Wii Freeloader. Considering Nintendo's past with the NES/SNES/N64, this product from Datel looks like it is dead in the water.

That really sucks. I see buying a Japanese Wii in the future to play Japanese games such as Bleach Wii.

December 17, 2006

Twilight Princess on the Wii

For the first two or three hours this game did not impress. The graphics were GameCube caliber, the story was the same Zelda story we have had for at least four iterations of the game.

Then all of a sudden you get knocked upside the head, and taken to this dark world, you turn into a wolf, and the game finally starts moving past a snails pace.

Then, it is five hours later and you are still playing the game. The controls feel great, although I am sure they would feel just fine mapped all to buttons on a Cube controller.

I need to play through the GameCube version of the game, but I am pretty sure the graphics could be done on it - although I am sure this is the most beautiful game on that system, taking every last ounce of processing power it has to render the world.

Oddly enough, since you transform into a wolf, and the game uses considerable amounts of bloom lighting, it is hard not to make comparisons to Okami. The are style isn't as out there as that game, but it is stylized for sure.

I am seeing graphical effects that I have not seen on the GameCube before, so they have made some effort to making this once GameCube-only title more in line with what other Wii titles offer. But it simply does not hold up to games like Excite Truck.

Why do all Zelda games start out this slow? It really is quite irritating. And when I say slow, I mean you are doing menial tasks for two to three hours until the game starts hitting on all cylinders.

Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam Impressions

I finally tried out Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, and I gotta say - I am quite impressed.

The Wii Remote is very responsive, as it is in Excite Truck, and the controls are not convoluted as all hell (See Tony Hawk 3 through 8).

This is just a really fun game. It is just a shame I can't praise Neversoft for their hard work, this wonderfully addicting launch title was developed by Toys for Bob.

All the courses are short, with tons to do in them. I have not had this much fun playing a Tony Hawk game since the Dreamcast.

This game really reminds me of the first SSX than a Tony Hawk game, but this is a good thing.

December 19, 2006

Each Wii Game has its own Friend Code

If Pokemon Battle Revolution is any sign of what is to come, every online Wii game will have a 12 digit friend code, just like Wi-Fi games on the DS. Both 4 Color Rebellion and IGN have info on Pokemon Battle Revolution.

So, the Wii has 16 digits, and then the games have 12 digits each? That is worse than the DS.

Why has Nintendo ignored all the complaining about the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection? Friend codes on the DS do not work. It boils down to a very small percentage of people going online and playing.

There is no DS game that has a lobby system, and it sounds like Pokemon Battle Revolution has no lobby system either. I said this a week ago, I doubt we will see one Wii game with a true lobby system.

People will simply not play the Wii online because it is too much of a hassle to do so. My Wii has a nickname field. Could someone tell me why it has a nickname field, if it is not used for anything?

Even Sony has a better online network on the PS3, even with some games, like Resistance, requiring a separate Friends List - at least it uses names on not 12 digit codes.

Let us not forget, the Wii also has no way of exchanging codes in the operating system software, you have to do that in real life. The PS3 and 360 both have a very easy method of sending friend invites.

They are not making online gaming easy for the non-gamer demographic that they are trying to appeal to. Nintendo apparently does not care about online gaming, that much is clear to me.

GRAW Chapter 2 Price Reduced

GRAW Chapter 2 is now available on Xbox Live for only 600 Microsoft points. For all of you who haven't tried Chapter 2 out yet (or cried like a little school girl at the original price), here's a quick list of what it adds to the original GRAW:

• Continued Co-op Campaign
• Relit Adversarial Multiplayer Maps
• New Game Types
• New Camouflage Patterns
• New Character Customization Faces
• New Weapons

Half off isn't bad, and is well worth it. Though I said that back in June. Once again the early adopters get hit the hardest in the wallet. But hey, the those new co-op levels sure are fun.

December 20, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

He shoots, and the game locks up completely!

That's the scenario when your kina/sorta close to launch day Xbox 360 decides it doesn't like working anymore. Mine is gone without warning as I kept getting an odd checker board-like pattern on my screen before it quit completely. I though it was Viva Pinata, but then it died during Blitz the League and Rainbow Six. Called support, tried their troubleshooting (it locked up without the hard drive too), and it's going back.

This all of course happens the day before a new Arcade release, the new gameplay-filled Halo 3 trailer, and the day I get Viva Pinata. Surprise, surprise. Of course this couldn't happen during the summer when nothing new is coming. Ah well, thanks for your help woman whose name wasn't Jean becuase you were obviously in Win Pon Puu, China. Texas, here comes another one that one of your customers have to pay shipping on!

December 21, 2006

Download Japanese Shmups

This page has a few different shmups you should try. Windows only of course, and free. Thanks to Andy for the link.

December 23, 2006

Wii Web Browser Debuts

I'm going to avoid all the one-handed web browsing with your Wii jokes. Really. Okay, I'm not. You've never browsed the web with your Wii in your hand like this.

Seriously though, it plays YouTube videos. Someone apparently wants the small sliver of what I can almost call a "life" taken from me. Bastards. Ease of use is great, though I wish the navigation bar could go away. Text is easy to read regardless of your set up with a wonderful zoom feature. Typing is an obvious PITA.

Oh, and from the irony department, how about the ability to send messages over Xbox Live from your Wii? Yes, the PS3 can do it too, but navigation with the remote and the full keyboard are far better on the Wii. And for now this is all a freebie, or is it a WiiBii?

Twilight Princess Progress

I am just over 30 hrs. into the game and I have completed the third temple. There are nine temples in the game. You do the math.

This is a friggin' long game, but it is well worth the time.

There are six more temples and the final battle, can you guess who that might be?

Ha ha! I just though of the perfect subhead for my review:

It's the best Zelda I have played seven times already.

December 27, 2006

Godzilla 1984 on YouTube

Actually, there are a couple of Godzilla flicks up on YouTube, and yes I mean the entire movies. However, 1984 is my all time fave and I can't resist the chance to post this one as it's the Japanese version, not the bastardized US cut. Nothing against Raymond Burr, but his scenes weren't even close to fitting in when the movie hit theaters here in the states. Enough blabbering though. Start here and work your way down the sidebar in order and see the movie like it was meant to be seen.

Better yet, watch it on your Wii with the browser. Sure, I have this one on DVD three times, but I like the idea of having my Wii associated with Godzilla in more ways than one.

December 30, 2006

Wii Instant Messenger

Simple enough. It's browser based and works perfect on the Wii.

December 31, 2006

The Greatest Swiss Army Knife Ever

It has 85 items. That does say 85. Never again will you be without a mineral crystal magnifier when you need one. Talk about awkward situations...




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