December 2007 Archives

December 4, 2007

BlogTalkRadio Tonight 12/4/07, 9 PM EST

Tonight at 9:30 EST is our first live radio show on BlogTalkRadio! Brian is hosting it, the other talking heads will be me, Mike Prince, and Skye Boyda. We are calling it BC Multiplayer Chat. I will have the show notes up on BC sometime today.

You can get to the show's page by clicking that BTR icon in the right column (link). If you miss the live show, it is also archived in a handy podcast feed.

December 6, 2007

What does Microsoft have against Bowling Green?

Dear Microsoft,

I find this odd. When I try and update the Location field in my XBL profile, it will not accept "Bowling Green, OH" or "Bowling Green" or "BowlingGreen" or even "B0w1ing Gr33n" or "B0w£1n9 9r33n" but it will take "Bowling" or "Green". I have seen many others list their city and state.

"Your location contains a word or phrases that isn't allowed. Please try again."

So, can you please explain to me why I cannot put in Bowling Green, OH



UPDATE: I got a response from our MS rep:

You should be aware that recent changes to the Patriot Act have made living in Bowling Green a federal offense, therefore we are unable to process any requests that contain that phrase.

Umm…yeah, so that’s really odd. I have a friend that works in the Xbox LIVE ops center that I’ll check with to see why you’re getting flagged. I’ll give you a holler when I hear back from him.

December 7, 2007

PC PlayStation Store Rocks, Mostly

Beats came out today. It is a music/rythem game for the PSP. I have a a small complaint.

1) You cannot purchase this and download it on the PS3 PlayStation store, though you can purchase and transfer PSOne games to a PSP from the PS3. You are forced to use the PC PlayStation store.

2) Once you purchase Beats, you only really download a 4k file from the web site. You must install a "PLAYSTATION®Network Downloader" to actually transfer the game to your PSP. This software does not work on a Mac.

3) Nowhere that I can find on the web site does it tell you that you can actually download it onto your PS3 once you have purchased it on the PC Store (the two stores share the same account). If I can download it on my PS3 once I purchased it on the PC Store, why not also offer it on the PS3 PlayStation Store.

4) Just for the hell of it, why not have a PSP PlayStation Store? You know, because these are PSP games we are downloading.

Before I even get to the question of "Why isn't this client application available for the Mac?" I have other, more important questions, such as:

What is the need of an inbetween application to transfer a game from a PC to my PSP? When I download a PSOne game on my PS3, I plug in a USB cable, and transfer it right to my PSP, with no extra step needed.

I already know the answer to the Mac question. Sony doesn't make any PSP related software for the Mac, why would they make this application work on the Mac? I mean, no one uses Macs anymore, right?

The PC PlayStation Store gets most everything right. It uses the same account and digital wallet you may have already setup on your PS3. Your download list is also linked between PS3 and PC PlayStation stores.

So I guess the moral of this story is: If you do not own a PC, you had better own a PS3 to transfer your PSP games bought from the PlayStation Store to your PSP.

Is it too much to ask to have a user friendly way of getting the games we want to play?

December 9, 2007

Game Informer on Time Crisis 4

Now, I usually do not question what others write in their reviews. I know I am far from the best person to review games, products, etc. But when I look at the broad range of reviews, and then I start reading them, I can tell who has most likely never stepped foot into an arcade, or has no interest or knowledge of arcade games, or just choses to ignore the history of the genre.

I am all for bucking the trend of beeing a sheep and giving the game the same score as everyone else -- if it makes sense -- but I expect there to be substance to back up claims. I also fully understand that writers do not agree, even remotely, on game merits. Believe me, you would not want to hear some of the arguments myself, Matt, and Njiska have had over Xbox Live over games such as Shadow of the Collosus or Dead or Alive 4, to name just a couple. But this Game Informer review is just an odd one out. Some excerpts:

I wish I had good news for you, but judging from this game’s merits, the rail shooting gun genre should be shot and put in the ground.

Okay, now tell me why you think that...

Once the game starts, players will be astounded to realize that no-reticle is the standard default approach to gameplay. In fact, only some of the levels even offer you the option to turn it back on.

Please tell me, what is the point of a light gun shooter with an on-screen reticle?

The strangely designed cover system has you popping up and down like a hyperactive rabbit, so you never really get a full view of the action.

Yes, and of course Gears of War (insert any other modern game that uses a similar cover system) is completely different in that regard.

Is it just me or are you scratching your head too? Njiska posted this on Digg, I wonder if it will get any comments.

What do I think of Time Crisis 4? I am so glad you asked.

December 11, 2007

Does it have to pulse blue every flipping time?

Dear Nintendo

Does the damn Wii have to pulse blue incessantly every time you have an "important" new message, updated firmware or not? I mean, come on folks.

The PS3 doesn't go all 2001: A Space Odyssey on you when it has a firmware update, and neither does the Xbox 360.

"But Ken" you say, "just turn off WiiConnect24!" That is a great idea, but then I might miss a Wii Friend [Code] request that I might just miss anyways because the WiiConnect24 service likes to flaky like that and lose those 12-digit Friend Code requests in the ether.

Maybe you do this so people actually turn on their Wii every once in a while, to make sure it doesn't collect too much dust. Here is a hint, it does make me turn on my Wii, but I am frustrated when I turn it on. I get to the menu and turn the bleeping thing off. Do you want your customers annoyed when they go to play your console?

But on a serious note, Nintendo: stop with the ungodly annoying pulsing blue Wii lights whenever you have an "important" message to send us or a firmware update comes out. When I turn the Wii on I see the little messages icon in the lower right is pulsing - that is enough of a visual cue thankyouverymuch. While you are at it, I emplore you to give me more reasons not to sell my Wii on eBay for MAD INSANE profits before Christmas. In other words Nintendo, your little white box needs better games that appeal to your older audience. Lest it die a slow and painful death under the weight of the deluge of utter craotastic broken ports and "casual" games that are no more casual than they are fun.

Thanks, hugs and kisses,


P.S. You forgot to mention something in your little message today. You updated the animation loop that plays on the Wii Shop Channel. Way to go, nice work! It totally looks more like a shopping channel now with the little shopping bag icon. Kudos to your art department.

When will the GunCon 3 be sold seperatly?

Time Crisis 4 shipped on November 19, 2007. Does anyone want to hedge a bet that the GunCon 3 will not be sold seperatly for another six months or so? I hope I am wrong, but the official company line is no seperate GunCon 3.

I just plunked down the change to get a second GunCon 3, simply because co-op in arcade light gun games is so much fun -- and because I had some store credit.

They packaged Time Crisis 3 with two guns. Did the guy who came up with that brilliant idea get fired or something?

Seriosly: Offer a couple different SKUs. Veriety is the spice of life, after all.

Xbox Live 100 Friend Cap

Kotaku is running a quote about the friend cap in Xbox Live, of 100. It was also covered in one of Major Nelson's interviews in the LIVE is 5IVE series.

Here is my comment:

Yes it is a must fix feature, really. I belong to a number of gaming communities and have a number of friends (and yes, some "friends" too) from esch. My list is maxed and I always have to prune. Between my real life friends and my friends from different web sites, 100 is too little.

The PS3 has this same problem, though the dependency of hardcoded 100 from Xbox 1 obviously does not exist on the PSN.

For a much better explanation, download the LIVE is 5IVE Major Nelson interview. I cannot remember which member eof the team he was talking to, but one of them explained the reason why.

Sure it might not be a problem with most, but it is a problem for enough people, including several Microsoft employees, that it is a matter we are bitching about.

Some other comments that are quite relevant:

...All of you people condemning people with large friends lists obviously don't play a lot of multiplayer on Xbox Live.

I like how people are defending a 100 friend cap like it's a good thing.

XBL Silver FTW!

December 14, 2007

Blister Packaging of Doom

You know how we kid about blister packaging slicing your finger/arm/head off when trying to open consumer electronics?

Yea, well, thats not so funny right now. Why? Because in trying to open the package for a Classic Controller, the packaging actually did slice a rather substantial gash in my finger, requiring six stitches.

Okay, so I was joking about the stitches, but it did take a Band-Aid.

Luckily I am not a bleeder, or that could have spelled ultimate doom to the oh so innocent Classic Controller.

Damn blister packaging.

Shocker: PAL PS1 (Download) Games Will Not Play in U.S. PS3

So here is the deal: You can login to forign PSN stores, as you can do login to forign Xbox Live Accounts. You can purchase and download things. Sometimes snafus come up. Here is one of them.

The PAL PlayStation Store, while being a baron wasteland, has PS1 games that the U.S. store doesn't have. Games like G-Police, Kula World, Crash Team Racing, Syphon Filter 3.

While you can purchase them, download and install them, you cannot play them on a U.S. PS3. You get this warning:

You cannot play this game at the current video output setting. (80028F10)

Which, oddly enough, is an error message people are getting for different reasons, even on retail Blu-ray games! So no, that error does not mean what you think it does.

While PS3 games are not region locked, PS1, PS2 and movie discs are. So it comes as little surprise that PS1 digital games are region locked too.

There is, however, a workaround. Slap the games on your Memory Stick and enjoy the fact that the bone heads at Sony made a very wise decision to not gimp the PSP. You can play any region game on the PSP, and this remains true with digital PS1 downloads, too.

Of course the question remains: Why don't we have games such as G-Police and Syphon Filter 3 on the U.S. PlayStation Store?

One final note: once custom firmware hits for the PS3, you can be sure this limitation will not exist anymore.

Less Than 500 MB Left on PS3

A handy alert message popped up on my PS3 today. I have less than 500 MB left on my PS3. Wha? This is a 60 GB hard drive. Granted, I have a 10 GB Linux partition, but still.

It seems I am running into similar problems I had on my Xbox 360. Arcade games, PS1 games, demos, and movies are killing my drive. It does not help of course when games such as High Velocity Bowling are 514 MB (Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection Online is 603 MB, Warhawk 789 MB, Gran Turismo HD Concept 632 MB -- you get the idea).

And now is where I give the Xbox 360 a big fat F for expandability. And that F is for WTF! The 120 GB hard drive for the 360 costs $180.

For my PS3, I can get a Seagate 160 GB hard drive for about $120 and install it in minutes. I have even found cheaper prices, so YMMV.

Anyways, its nice that the PS3 has the handy alert, or I would have never known. I will need to make that upgrade soon.

December 15, 2007

Punk Pack 01 (Rock Band) is Rated EC?

I am looking at Xbox Live Marketplace content for Rock Band, and Punk Pack 01 has an EC icon on it.

Yea, punk is so for babies!

Wait a minute, it must have been a glitch in The Matrix, now when I leave and come back to the detail page for Punk Pack 01 it says T for Teen. Really strange.

Guitar Hero III gets update, PS3 finally gets Quickplay Co-op

Title Update is out. Some nice fixes, really. Why the hell is Quickplay Co-op just now hitting the PS3 version? Xbox 360 owners got a Day One Title Update with the feature.

Yet again, PS3 owners get things late. You know, like ports of 360 games one to six months after the fact, with the added bonus of bugs and frame rate issues.

December 21, 2007

Criterion Responds to Burnout Paradise Criticism

I think someone at Criterion Games got a little hot under the collar. Lovingly disguised as a Merry Christmas post, Alex Ward hits on multiple points that gamers have had with the Burnout Paradise demo.

I guess he would not like my take on the game, then. See, I was thinking of a snarky subhead for a Blogcritics review of the game: Burnout: Need For Speed Paradise Unlimited.

Thats not to say I do not like the demo (the jury is still out on that), it is just that Burnout has never been able sandbox game play. And now it is. And it is weird. So Alex, people are going to take issue with that. Deal with it.

I downloaded both the PS3 and the 360 versions of the demo (because I can) and have played them both now. Without seeing the game side by side I do not see a big difference. I do not know what makes the PS3 version look so much better, as I have seen many people say.

First PS3 Unreal Tournament III Mod Out

Unreal Tournament III on the PS3 is a watershed moment for console games. There have been level editors in console games before (Far Cry Instincts Predator, Halo 3) but user created content has been confined to the walls of the console.

Good for Epic and good for Sony to truly bring user created content to the console space. It is just a shame J Allard was all talk a couple years ago.

FilePlanet has the first bit of PS3 UT3 mod goodness, a Deathmatch map called Shrine. And its not bad at all. I was expecting the worst though.

My biggest problem, and its been a week or more since the release of the game on PS3, is that normal human beings still cannot "cook" mods for the PS3. This Shrine map came courtesy of Epic, because they have yet released the update to the Unreal Editor for PC to be able to package content for the PS3 yet.

How many mods is Epic going to cook for us until they release the software that should have been out on Day One of the PS3 release of the game? I appreciate finally being able to use the feature, but don't you think it would be a neat idea of the user could produce the user-generated content (from start to finish).

Movable Type Authorized Reseller Program

Six Apart has finally taken their wraps off their MT Reseller program. I have always been a big supporter of the MT platform. I donated to it back in the 1.x days, joined the ProNet when Six Apart launched it, and do quite a bit of MT-based development.

This past week my application was approved for the reseller program, and want to say thanks to Byrne and all that have been working on this, it is great to have such a program. Six Apart has been quite busy lately, MTOS is another recent announcement, too.

So for all my Meancode Media clients, which includes The Flying Olive, this means I can now resell Movable Type for projects that I help develop.

Becoming a MT Reseller comes with some nice perks, too. Not only is there a discount on products, there is a Reseller mailing list, a Movable Type Commercial 5-User License, and technical support.

December 22, 2007

Even More UT3 Content For PS3

Yes, it looks like a mini-flood. And I am quite happy to see it. Check out three more maps and one mutator.

The latest from Epic, from Mark Rein himself, is that they are "waiting on some paperwork from Sony that will allow us to release an editor update so mod creators can do this cook process for themselves."

With the release of these maps and mutator, and a new game type that is still being tested, it looks like Epic is taking it upon themselves to bring this user-generated content to the PS3 community, at least until they can provide the Unreal Editor update. This is not surprising either, as Epic is always user-centric in all the games they create.

I will have to install the new stuff. This is really great news.

December 23, 2007

Pirates finally coming to Blu-ray

What? Pirates is already out of Blu-ray? No not that film, silly. Digital Playground is going to release their Pirates smut film on Blu-ray Jan. 4, citing requests from PS3 owners.

This is the same Digital Playground, if you recall, that tried to tell everyone that Sony did not want porn on Blu-ray, that all Blu-ray Disc copying facilities in the United States refused to accept his business. That is obviously not the case.

However I do find it odd how porn has not been the deciding factor in stopping the BD v. HD DVD battle so decisively as it did in the Beta v. VHS days.

Christmas Card from Reverb

I get a lot of Christmas cards from publishers, most of them are digital. Reverb, who does an amazing job, recently handling Rock Band PR, sent a funny card.

"All your Merry Christmas are belong to us."

Yes, that is priceless.

For those who are scratching your heads right now, you are obviously not a gamer. But not to worry, Wikipedia is here for you.

The inside of the card has some more broken English:

"Super happy fun Christmas you make this year!!!"

"Get big presents from chubby reindeer man!!!"

December 28, 2007

DVD inserted in Planet Earth Blu-ray

Planet Earth really looks great on Blu-ray. That is, of course, when the package actually comes with four Blu-ray discs. You know, when you pay $90 for something, you expect some level of quality assurance.

The fourth disc in the set is DVD. I researched this and I am not the only one with this problem. In fact, Planet Earth is not the only set with this issue. Planet Earth has been reported to have HD DVD and DVD versions inserted into the Blu-ray packages. This has happened to the Blade Runner set too.

Now I have to go back to Best Buy in Toledo. Just what I want to do this week.

Best Games of 2007 on Geekerati Radio

You likely missed me on the wonderful Geekerati Radio on the 26th. But if you missed it, I can understand, the show runs from 10 to 11 PM with a half hour "after show."

We talked about the best games of 2007. It was great talking with Christian and the gang from Geekerati. Hopefully I will be a guest on their show again in the future.

Be sure and subscribe to their podcast feed and listen the Geekerati show from the 26th. Of course we also covered Game of the Year for 2007 on the Multiplayer Chat on the 25th.

So there is your fix of "Best of" for games in 2007. I will have the 2007 GOTY article on Blogcritics soon as well.

December 30, 2007

Xbox LIVE is Having a Seizure

Ever since Christmas, Xbox LIVE has had some problems, I attribute this to growing pains over the holiday. But this has been five strait days of up and down service, sort of there service, and just plain unable to connect service.

Major Nelson has addressed the issue, but doesn't really go into details. This is the worst I have seen the service, I sure hope the get things working smoothly soon. Good luck to the LIVE team.

Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer

You have got to see this shmup. No, go back and watch the video. GameTrailers has it too, if you don't like WMV.

The game is out for PC right now, but the press release states that it is coming for the PS3 as a PSN game. I can't wait.

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