Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nintendo Wii

The other day I walked into my local Game Stop to trade in Gears of War for the Xbox. I know it's a highly rate game for the Xbox but I couldn't get into it. While waiting at the counter I saw the lady in front of me carrying away a Nintendo Wii. When I got to the counter I asked if they had any in stock and the sales person said they had a lot. I thought about it, really don't like to impulse buy but figured I could either keep it, or sell it for a higher price.

So a few minutes later, I'm walking out the store with a Nintendo Wii, used copy of Rainbox Six Las Vegas for the Xbox and a copy of Game Informer magazine. I am still not sure if I want to play it or keep it, but the games look really interesting. A few like Resident Evil Chronicals uses the remote to aim like a gun against zombies. While other titles make use of the remote to either control objects or interact. It's a interesting idea and would be a nice change from the typical game consoles.

Even if I really don't like it, I'm sure it will sell on eBay. :)

Gaming History

I'm not a serious gamer, I play consoles and PC gaming but mostly only the more popular games. Recently on a forum the question was brought up to your past games you played and enjoyed. So I wrote this list with the most popular games from my history. Enjoy.

I'm not a serious gamer, so it's been on and off for years.

Early arcade:
Space Invaders - I remember this game was one of my favorites because it was easy to play when I was younger.
Frogger - I liked this game alot, another easy game.
Pole Position - My first driving game that I remember.
Zaxxon - I remember this was the first "3D" style game. Just amazing.

Late arcade:
Vitual Fighter - Played this game so many times at Golf Land.
Mortal Kombat II - Played this game alot, my friend's brother was really good. First game I was seriously into.
Daytona USA - Great driving game but I found out you could drift. Was great fun to slide around the track.

Early Console:
Turbo on Coleco - Had the game with the wheel, lots of fun but I soon found out the game never ended, you just drove and drove and drove. I must have played that game for hours.
Donkey Kong on Coleco - One of my first games that drove me crazy. I just hated that you would get hit when on the final ladder to the princess.
Donkey Kong Jr. on Coleco - I really liked this version alot more, it was one of the best games on the Coleco.

8Bit consoles:
Super Mario on NES - My parents didn't buy me a NES but got to play this game at friend's houses. I was never good at the whole side scroller game and usually died fast.
Contra on NES - My cousin had this and we played it co-op with some help from a famous cheat code.

16bit consoles:
Street Fighter II on SNES - My mom bought me the SNES and SF2, played this alot and with friends. My favorite was Ryu.
Zombies ate my neighbors! on SNES - This was one of the earlier games that wasn't a side scroller. Really liked the cool weapons and graphics.
Sci-fi vector graphic game on SNES that I can't remember - Can't remember the name but it's a side scrolling game where you get ported to a new planet and have to get around traps like a "Prince of Persia" style play. Really fun and liked the puzzle aspect.
Mortal Kombat II on SNES - I loved this game and played it alot. Tried all of the combos I knew and loved the graphics.

64 bit consoles:
Super Mario 64 on Nintendo 64 - My first intro to 3D. A very fun game.
WCW/NWO Revenge on Nintendo 64 - This was one of my favorite multiplayer games ever. Spent so many hours with friends playing this. So many laughs and so many tears.
Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 - This was another great multiplayer game. I used to laugh at the idea of death match on one screen but found out how much fun it was.

Playstation 1:
Resident Evil 2 on Playstation 1 - Still by far a favorite on the RE series. Stayed up late playing this scaring myself.

Modern consoles:
Metal Gear games on Playstation 2 - Really liked these games and they still are fun to spin up even today.
Resident Evil Code Vernoica on Dreamcast - Great graphics and lots of fun. Liked it so much bought the PS2 version as well.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater series on Playstation 2 - My favorite action/arcade game. The skating is much better to emulate in a game than BMX.
SOCOM on Playstation 2 - I tried the Rainbow series on PC years ago, didn't like it but this mix of arcade/tactical worked great.

Modern Consoles:
Bioshock on Xbox 360 - I loved the story line and the details of the game. Very well done.

PC gaming:
Double Dragon - This was the first game I remember on the PC. I just remember the graphics were nice but the controllers at that time were bad.
Castle Wolfenstien - Ironically I was introduced to this game in the high school computer lab. Started my habit of FPS games.
Doom/Doom II - I spent many many hours of deathmatching with friends. Also did my first co-op with another friend over modems.
Unreal Tournament - Still install this game time to time. The graphics are great and it's a fun game. Who can forget such sayings as "head shot" and "killing spree!"
Half Life - I was really draw into HL. The game just felt new and different. Even death matching felt fun with satchel packs and mines.
Quake series - Wasn't too much into Quake but I did play Quake 3 alot. Still is my standard for a quick death match which runs on older pc's.
NOX - This was my first interest in action/rpg games for the PC. I played Diablo and really preferred NOX because the game felt better.
Metal of Honor - Great game with a great death match. Loved to play the beach level and storm the bunkers.
Roller Coaster Tycoon - I was never into RTS games before this one.
Half Life 2 - I followed the release info about this game and at the time had a older laptop. By next year I spent the money for a new computer because I just wanted to play this. Just an amazing game, gravgun is one of my favorite weapons.
World of Warcraft - My first MMORPG that I really liked. The graphics were nice, game felt polished and friends played it as well.
Battlefield series - I left the twitch shooters for more tactical style games. Really love BF2 especially playing with good players over voice chat.

There's more games which I did not list but these are the ones that really stand out. I am not a big gamer and very few games I actually finish before I just get annoyed or bored of the game play. Out of the games listed here I have to say that Half Life, Metal Gear, World of Warcraft are the stand outs. I played the most on World of Warcraft but recently I'm looking towards single player RPG games.

Leaving video for photo

Recently after having my video camera for a few months I sold it on eBay. It's not that I didn't like the camera or didn't want it, but rather I was happy with video over photography. I tried out video before, years ago in college with a basic intro to video editing class. I went out and bought a decent video camera, which I still have, and tried my hand at recording.

What I found out was that video recording is very different from photography. In video the main feature is that you can record moving objects. To get moving objects you need either people or something that is moving. Now if you go out by yourself, as I liked to go out when photographing, it's hard to find something to video. I did make a few bike videos but without friends to record I ended up using the video camera to record city life, such as streets late at night. What I found is that it's not as fun as photography where you capture the moment of a scene, but you capture the entire scene. This is good and bad, but harder and more time required than photography.

I started to remember this was a reason why I never ventured on video and enjoyed photography much more.

Hoping that after Christmas I can upgrade my digital camera which is a few years old to a new model. My only complaint of my photography gear.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Updates and a few

It's been a while since updating my blog. I just update it with random information, nothing important.

Console gaming with the Xbox 360

Recently I bought a Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console. I waited until there was some more used games and the prices came down a bit before buying one. I was not sure what to expect from the Xbox 360. Most of my gaming is done on the PC with playing mmorpg's like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars, then some first person shooters like Half Life 2. My last console that I bought was the Sony Playstation 2, and that was almost 6 years ago.

When I first received the Xbox 360 I plugged the system into my monitor and saw that the graphics were really sharp just like in the stores. I purchased a VGA adapter that hooks up to my computer monitor and looks great. First I set up Xbox Live, the gaming portal for the Xbox that allows on-line playing and access to game downloads and media. It's a pay subscription but it's not too much. The interface to use Xbox Live is really simple and easy.

From here I downloaded a few demo games, and they downloaded and installed without any problems. Impressive to actually download a demo and play it so fast, nice change from the PC. After this I stopped by the store and bought Bioshock for the Xbox 360, a game that I bought for the PC but ran very slow on my current PC hardware. It almost unplayable even at a low resolution setting.

Not sure what to expect, I started up Bioshock and was surprised. The game played just fine at 1080p or 1920x1200 without any slowdown or stuttering. All of the nice effects were there, including the very nicely done water graphics. Even the controls felt great going from the keyboard. Honestly I can say it was a nice change to play a game without having the issues of a PC where my hardware is not fast enough.

After playing Bioshock I was impressed by the Xbox 360 and the overall quality of the game. From here I played a few other games such as Halo 3 and others, they felt nice and playing in a higher resolution makes the game play more interesting.

So after playing with the Xbox 360 for a bit what do I think about it?

Honestly I think it's a different experience from the PC and not something to take over it's place. After years of having to guess if my computer could play a game, I can now have a console where I'm pretty sure any game designed for it will play good. This combined with the factor that I don't need to upgrade the hardware of the Xbox 360 is a nice plus over the PC. The Xbox Live feature is helpful, the Xbox 360 plays HD movies and you can watch trailers, download game demos, even full games from Xbox Live Arcade. This feature makes more use of the Xbox 360 and turns it into a entertainment device rather than a gaming console.

Another feature I like about the Xbox 360 is something common with consoles is the more simple playing. With the PC I felt like it was sometimes a task to get a game running, where on the console it's simply insert the game and play. Also you can connect your Xbox 360 to a Windows computer running XP or Media Center to play movies or music across your network.

Of course, there are downsides to the Xbox 360 as well.

The on-line playing is not free but is connected to Xbox Live, a paid subscription. It's not a big deal but again, with the Sony Playstation 3 using free on-line play, this is a added cost. The Xbox 360 hardware has faced many problems from the hardware failing to scratching game discs, only the three red lights, a critical failure will be covered by Microsoft for now. Microsoft will also cover the scratched discs but only their games and only change you a small amount for the replacement.

I recently bought the Halo 3 limited edition, and both of the discs were scratched. They played fine but since the replacement offer was free, sent them in just to be sure. It's not a huge problem but things like these make the overall system look bad against the Sony Playstation 3. Another important point is the factor that you are stuck on the same hardware for years and without any upgrades on the Xbox 360. This is a problem especially as the hardware nears end of life, which should be 2011 or earlier. It's something to consider with any technology item but with a gaming console, it's a big investment of games that will also be outdated.

Overall, if you want to just play games and have the simplest access, I would recommend the Xbox 360, especially if you want to game in front of a big television on the couch. If you want a more personal experience, being able to install game modifications and upgrade your hardware as needed, go with the PC.

Again, it's a personal choice, neither is better or worse, and I enjoy both playforms. Just for my self, I usually like shooters and mmorpgs on the PC, driving games and rpg's on the console.

Banksy stencil graffiti

This weekend I found a book of graffiti art by Banksy of London. His graffiti art is really more stencils than free hand painting but very interesting to view. Most of it is done using large stencils and placing them in spots to interact with the surroundings. Such as mice playing ball with a sign above stating "No ball playing". his stencils are sometimes crude but they get the message across and his style is unmistakable.

While it's hard to choose just one, this is possibly my favorite Banksy painting.