As I sidled up to the sofa for yet another hour of Sony's MLB 14: The Show for the PlayStation 4 yesterday, it dawned on me how, despite the obvious sports trappings, it really is the ultimate action Role-playing Game (RPG), setting a standard that the more typical fantasy-themed games in the genre would do well to emulate. Now, don't get me wrong, for the most part, MLB 14 is a standard sports videogame, one obviously themed to the well worn game of professional baseball. However, it does have among its cavalcade of modes, Road to the Show, which is as much of an RPG as any RPG that ever RPG'd (or something like that).
Road to the Show lets you create a baseball player from scratch. You have a pool of stats to distribute over a wide range of abilities (hitting, throwing, running, fielding, etc.), determine physical characteristics, design the player's features, determine preferred position, decide on the player's age, etc. In short, you can mould exactly the type of character you want to play, albeit only a male one (you can thank Major League Baseball for that particular restriction), right down to the name, which can even be spoken by the announcer who calls the games if you choose something common enough (my first name was there, "Bill," but not my last, so I chose a nickname of "Train," as in, "freight train - look out!," for my last name (don't judge me!)). (Read more)
Crash Bandicoot 4 - The Wrath of Cortex is a very nice platform game that is among my favorite games on the PlayStation 2. It's an early game that was also released on the Microsoft Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube consoles.
The game story is about Dr. Neo Cortex and his new superweapon trying to destroy the world with help of a set of angry masks that call Crash names in between levels. Gathering crystals shattered across the globe will silence those nasty masks (known as Elementals in the game) and render Cortex's superweapon powerless, thus saving the world.
The game levels are placed in several hubs (VR HUBS) that are managed by Crash's sister Coco. In this video I play through the 1st hub. I absolutely love the graphics and the diversity in the gameplay and the fact that it really feels like a Crash Bandicoot game we came to love and enjoy on the older original PlayStation.
Check out how I did on the first hub and see me pull some of my gaming faces. Enjoy.
Sony just introduced their streaming games service. Why buy a PS4 if you can stream those games to a ps3?
What about the pricing model?
Games aren't movies! Netflix works because of the subscription model and the low price. In the short term Sony may be able to squeeze some money out of old games if they use a sensible subscription model pricing. But it won't work for new games as they need to earn money and cover developing costs. On the long term they will run into issues. They will have to up the price.
This video shows a bit of Ridge Racer 6 running on the Xbox 360. Reiko Nagase - the series mascot - has even more loose strands of animated hair and is rendered in gorgeous detail in the full motion video opening sequence.
This game is the single outing on the Xbox platform of this series; the rest can be found on various PlayStation consoles. The goal of the game is to place 1st in a series of races. Nitro is introduced, which a lot of racers from around that era have--it temporarily boosts the performance of your car. To me, it always feels a little like cheating. The cars themselves are the familiar fictional cars that the Ridge Racer series is famous for.
There's a career mode called 'World Explorer' that allows you to 'live through' a career making choices on what races you want to race. There's new cars on offer but also mirroring and reversing of known tracks.
Ridge Racer 7 for the PlayStation 3 is a 'sequel' to this game, but basically seems to be something of a 'director's cut,' adding more vehicles and tracks. The PSP and PS Vita versions are quite similar to this game.
If you are looking for another game in the Ridge Racer series that is often overlooked, it's R:Racing Evolution on the PlayStation 2.
Ridge Racer V by Namco, a very early PlayStation 2 release. Reiko Nagase - the series mascot - got a lot of media attention as her hair seemed to exist of loose strands that were animated separately, showing the awesome power harnessed inside the PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine. Quite a cool racer I hadn't given much attention when I first got it. The release of the Dreamcast back in the day and Metropolis Street Racer may have had something to do with it. But, lately, the game has gotten a lot attention from me.
Check it out. It's a long one and I just waffle though it on various topics: Android, Nvidia Shield, Gamemid, Archos Gamepad, and some more.
First off, it's clear that there have been widespread reports of PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles that have had various technical issues, requiring a call to Sony technical support. The resolution for many of these individuals seems to be a roughly 10 day turnaround to get a replacement console. Not good. With that in mind, I can report I've had no issues with mine, so I can safely judge the PS4 on its own merits rather than frustration with a damaged unit. Hopefully the Xbox One consoles we ordered will be similarly trouble free in the coming week.
Anyway, I have the PS4 console, the camera, a second controller, and three retail games on disc: Knack, Killzone Shadow Fall, and Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag (the latter two games got various pre-order add-on bonuses, and in fact Killzone itself was free from Amazon with the purchase of the other two games). I was able to supplement that with two free games thanks to my PlayStation Plus subscription, as well as a third game with a $10 credit in the PS4 box. I have some of that credit left still and will likely get one more games from the digital store: Sound Shapes. Anyway, the three digital games I have now are: Contrast, Flower, and Resogun. There was also a free offer for Warframe, which I believe is a freemium game where pay for additional in-game items. As a Plus member I got a bundle of in-game items to get me started.
I integrated my smartphone, a Galaxy Note II, with the PlayStation app, as well as my PlayStation Vita with the PS4 Link app. There were no issues with either pairing--just enter the numbers that appear on the PS4's screen and you're linked. The smartphone app gives you access to various account settings and the digital store and allows you to connect to the PS4 for control purposes, but there's nothing particularly intriguing about it. It's functional, but I probably won't use it much except to prepurchase items.
The Vita integration on the other hand is incredible. Taking the Vita's previous integration with the PS3 to a new level, the Vita can now display anything that the PS4 displays on its screen and also play any of the games the PS4 plays. My PS4 is hooked into my network via a powerline network adapter, and my Vita of course connects to the same network over WiFi. While I haven't tried it from every room in the house yet, there was little lag or delay in streaming the one game I tested with the setup so far, Knack. It felt nearly as good as playing it on the TV. This is a VERY promising feature.
Anyway, back to the console. It was easy to set up the PS4 and login to my existing PSN account. I was also able to integrate Facebook and use my Facebook picture as my account picture. Speaking of Facebook, the PS4 automatically records the last 15 minutes of whatever you're doing, which can be uploaded to the social network (live streaming to other services is also an option) either in screenshot or video form. The videos can also be edited and cropped. Simply hit the "Share" button on the controller and you're in business. Again, a very nice feature.
Here are some links to videos I posted on Facebook (I trimmed the latter videos on the PS4 itself):
The MSX computer standard has turned 30! Incredible how time just whizzes past. Popular throughout Europe, Russia, Asia and South America. And one should not forget the following in New Zealand and Australia. A lot of users are still actively using the machines.
In celebration of the 30th birthday of the MSX I acquired a new Japanese MSX2 system. It has an issue with the sound sadly - the sound comes out very very low. It's still there but at a very low volume. Probably is a capacitor problem. I will eventually try to fix that.
The Ren-Sha function turns out to be an auto-firing system.
And here's a link to my MSX video playlist if you want to check out more videos on MSX
A cool little 3rd person perspective Tube shooter developed by Tetragon and published by Virgin in 1996-1997 on the original Playstation. The only platform it came out on.
Before the year is out, we'll have the choice of the latest console systems from the three big manufacturers, with three very different value propositions. I'll briefly break each of the three down, one-by-one, then I'd like to continue the discussion in the comments.
First up, there's the Wii U, relying mostly on the same type of technology found in the current generation's Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, with its primary hook being its tablet controller that allows for touchscreen interactions and off-TV play, priced between $300 - $350. There's a good chance, despite Nintendo's insistence that they won't or can't, that this will drop in price just before the launch of Microsoft's and Sony's new consoles. I base this on the jockeying Nintendo already seems to be doing, for instance with eliminating the $300 BASIC version of their system in favor of the DELUXE (and no doubt different future bundles). The negatives for the Wii U are that, for various reasons, third party support has already dried up, and there's no evidence that their tablet controller hook has resonated (or will) with the public. There's always a chance for things to change, but right now, I don't see how Nintendo recovers a dominant console position, particularly since there's really nothing that reeks of "next gen" in their forthcoming software line-up. Certainly with their first party software they'll continue to appeal to the Nintendo faithful, and that should be enough to help the platform stick it out for the next few years. Beyond that, it's impossible to speculate, particularly since we don't know how Microsoft and Sony will ultimately fare (it could just be the new norm, in light of smartphone, tablet, and PC competition to have a tough time with traditional consoles and gaming handhelds).
Though some were no doubt disappointed in Sony's PS4 announcement for every reason from general ennui with the whole videogame thing to a passionate allegiance to a competing platform, I fail to see how any real videogame enthusiast can come away anything but impressed at the promise of it all. The keyword of course is "promise," since everything sounds great on paper, but we don't really know how much will be executed how soon (and how well), nor did we have an actual appearance by the apparently camera-shy console itself. You can find many summaries of what Sony did unveil online, including a good one by PlayStation Universe, but I'll try to cover some of the high level highlights.