Amidst all of the usual software-centric sequels and somewhat tired continuations of long running series at E3 was a clear, present and somewhat surprising focus on hardware accessories, and, more specifically and perhaps most exciting, next generation motion tracking and control systems. This wasn't just an attempt to copy Nintendo's almost-there original Wii Remote technology, but rather an attempt to redefine the technology once and for all and influence videogames and the technological world at large for generations to come (think integrated touch and motion controls in your 2015 laptop).
I heard about this from Leo Laporte on one of his TWiT.TV podcasts, specifically "Leo Laporte - The Tech Guy!", May 13, 2009, edition. Apparently Windows 7 is the "best Windows ever", is terrifically stable and performs much better on the same hardware than Vista. The best part? Microsoft is giving out unlimited product keys for both the 32- and 64-bit versions until at least June of this year, and the free license won't expire until March 2010. I'm very, very tempted to give this a go on my home Gateway Tablet PC, though as a critical "production" system and considering my present time constraints, I'm not really looking forward to dealing with any potential issues. With that said, I wouldn't mind more stability than I'm getting from Vista and I certainly have trouble resisting trying new tech.
One other interesting thing that Laporte mentioned - and I may have misheard since I was doing other stuff while listening - is that this release candidate may include the embedded version of Windows XP that runs under the embedded version of Virtual PC. I have been unable to verify that as of this writing, though I could just not have seen it in Microsoft's notes. That would certainly be another big plus in my book, as I have a few software items that require XP. (At the same time, I am running low on hard drive space, so the point is probably moot anyway in my case.)
Anyone else considering this? The download and more information are on the official Microsoft Website, here.
Well, I must say, it's been very enjoyable gaming for me the past few days, despite having limited time to really get into anything at any length. I'm still chomping at the bit to sit down and play MLB '07 The Show from Sony for the PS2, which I've only had time to dabble in so far, and I only just took a few hours this morning to actually do my family's taxes, as well as there being the ever-present 800-pound gorilla ("the book") in my life and needing to finish organizing my videogame and computer collection (adding to many other things).
So, while these are not in-depth overviews, I wanted to quickly and specifically talk about LifeLine (2004, Konami, PS2), the infamous adventure game driven mostly by voice commands, and Jetpac Refuelled (2007, Rare, Xbox 360), the latest ~$5 release for Xbox Live Arcade based on a classic game.
To the average Armchair Arcader, it's a self-evident truth that classic old games like Joust, Galaga, and Frogger are just as fun to play (if not more so) as the latest "AAA Title." The popularity of retrogaming as a whole has recently surged in both the PC and console markets, and more and more people are discovering (or re-discovering) the joys of classic games. However, as any child of the 80s knows, a big part of the thrill associated with retrogaming isn't just the games, but rather the competitive atmosphere of the arcade. In these dimly lit dens of digital delinquency, a generation honed their hand-eye coordination in exhilerating coin-op competition. These deftly-wristed heroes fought for personal glory--specifically, the glory of entering their initials into the high score tables kept by the arcade machines. It's certainly no coincidence that the arcade machines one still finds alongside pool tables and dartboards in smoky taverns are classics like Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga: These games are designed to be played in social environments.
While computer flight simulation is still a popular software category today, it was certainly more pervasive in earlier eras. FlightSimBooks.com acts as a repository for related classic materials and they've updated again with the addition of the full text of three more books. Even if you're not a flight sim fan, it's fascinating stuff just for classic computing enthusiasts.
The full release:
Well, it was that time again yesterday, Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday, where Microsoft releases one new Xbox Live Arcade game each Wednesday until further notice. They missed last week, with technical difficulties with the still unreleased "Lumines Live!", but this week saw Konami's "Scramble" come out (Konami seems to be a HUGE Live supporter, don't they?).
For those unfamiliar with "Scramble", it's the 1981 arcade shooting game from Konami where you control a spaceship flying over a forced-scrolling landscape, able to shoot "bullets" and drop bombs, but needing to refuel frequently (by blowing up fuel tanks - go figure). To me, it's the lesser version of Universal's superior and contemporary "Cosmic Avenger", also from 1981, which features lusher landscapes and had a fun ColecoVision conversion that I played a ton of. In any case, I enjoy these types of games and many may be familiar with Scramble's sequel, "Super Cobra", which received conversions on countless platforms in the early to mid-80's courtesy of Parker Brothers.
I realize I'm very late to this game, but I finally got the chance to play through Bungie's famous first-person shooter, Halo, often-called "The Greatest FPS Ever Made." Since I don't have an Xbox, and not sure how I'd adapt to playing an FPS with a controller if I did, I played the Windows version on my PC. I assume everyone here is familiar with the game, so I'll skip the background and technical stuff and just discuss some aspects of the game I found intriguing. And, no, I don't consider it to be the greatest FPS (I'd give that to Half-Life 2), but I did enjoy it.
Has anyone here had any luck installing the Windows Vista Beta? I've made two attempts to upgrade my Windows XP Pro. I couldn't even get to the download for two days after release, and it took me two tries with my DVD burner to burn the darn thing (some kind of weirdo ISO may be the culprit). Then, I had to clear up 11 gigs on my C drive, which was very tough due to my partitions (only 30 gigs on the C, the rest on G). Then I had to convert from FAT32 to NSFT. Then I was asked to uninstall my AVG virus program and restart the installer...As you can see, I was pretty determined to get the beta running. But alas, it was to no avail.
I've been speculating for some time that the next logical entry into the portable gaming market would be from Apple (particularly in an editorial response to Gamasutra about six months back) and it looks like other industry analysts are starting to catch wind of the idea as well, for instance in this piece from GameDaily BIZ Newsletter, here.
Apparently, just for registering your free copy of Microsoft's Visual Studio Express at this Website enters you into an interesting drawing for a full-size Namco Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga anniversary arcade machine, t-shirt or Atari TV game. The intent seems to be to spur "arcade game" development.
According to the Website: