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.
I was just reading an interview with Phil Harrison, the head of Sony's worldwide studios, and I must admit I'm very impressed with what I read. Apparently, Sony has recognized the appeal of downloadable games on next gen consoles and have decided not only to embrace the concept, but to pretty much sandblast the competition. The idea is not just to offer small "freebies" and retrogames, but actually pay out for some 40+ premium quality games that push the PS3 hard in all directions. The fact that every PS3 comes standard with a hard drive may make the difference.
One of the major selling points for Nintendo's Wii system (at least for retrogamers) is its ability to easily play games from older Nintendo systems. For awhile, it seemed like Sony's PS3 system would counter by offering gamers access to the Sega Genesis/Megadrive lineup. Worthplaying is now reporting that this may not be the case after all, and that Sony is only "considering" this option.
1978 - Mmm. Coding basic text games on our Apple II+. Plus I could make a cool string of wine goblets run up the side of the screen.
10 PRINT "Y"
20 PRINT "I"
30 GOTO 10
1980 - The folks bring home an Atari 2600. Love blooms. The games I remember most from this time are Pac Man, Space Invaders, Berzerk, Swordquest: Earthworld, and Combat. Like many people I've talked to, you always had to have one friend with an Intellivision and one with a ColecoVision so that everyone could play every system. :)
For $20, Electronic Arts plans to release the following games on one UMD disc for the PSP: B.O.B., Road Rash II, Budokan, Road Rash III, Desert Strike, Syndicate, Jungle Strike, Ultima: The Black Gate, Haunting Starring Polterguy, Virtual Pinball, Mutant League Football, Wing Commander, Road Rash, and Wing Commander: Secret Missions.
PC Magazine has a very limited preview of a pre-production version of Sony's upcoming PRS-500 E-Book Reader, here. It has a six inch screen and is about the size of a thin paperback book. What's most intriguing about the device though is that uses the much touted, but little seen to this point, "E Ink" technology. "E Ink" essentially allows for using power ONLY when changing pages, so keeping a page displayed takes no energy. This is important, as it means battery life is not an issue with even casual recharging and any page you have up on the screen stays up on the screen, not requiring the device to go into a power saving mode or turn its screen off like current devices do. This increases its reference value/usefulness tremendously, and, along with its high resolution, places such a device in more of a competitive balance with print on paper, which of course is the ideal text display "device" to this point.
I was thinking about the relentless Sony bashing of late, which has been brought upon in big part by Sony themselves. Frankly, they have certain company representatives who simply can't help but mouth off in the most inane manner with a ridiculous amount of bravado and disregard for basic common sense. To put it bluntly, no one likes the 800-pound gorilla (especially in America, we prefer to root for the perceived underdog, justified label or not) or the "dick", and Sony has been both for some time now.
Author and Screenshots: Mark J.P. Vergeer
Editing: Cecil Casey, Mathew Tschirgi and Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Cecil Casey and David Torre
There's a great deal of cool techie things on the net today, so I'll try to cover as many of them as possible. First off, check out DIY Projetor, which will lead you to a site that explains how to build a home projector for "pennies": Imagine a 120" HDTV screen in your living room. No problem! But wait--what about that HD DVD player? Ewww...icky format war. Don't buy anything until you've read Reasons that HD DVD formats have already failed. The article makes an interesting point about why incompatibility works for game consoles but not DVD formats--and leaves a big question mark in my mind about Sony's committment to Blu-Ray in the PS3.
As a lifetime technophile primarily interested in computers and videogames, another area that has always intrigued me, but been generally hands-off due to the various barriers to entry, is home robotics. There were some delightful robots and kits in the early to mid-80's to go along with the personal computer boom. However, the personal robotics boom was short lived and ultimately a much smaller niche than even the fledgling personal computer business at the time, dooming them to the domain of the truly hardcore. Today, toy and personal robots and robot kits from the likes of Tomy and Heathkit are still very much in demand. Much more recently, Lego made a strong impact in the home robotics and hobbyist field with their Mindstorms technology and Radio Shack carries an aggressive line of kit robots and accessories. Bottom line, today hobbyist robotics is stronger than ever and more practical than ever, though is still awaiting that "killer app" to truly push it into the mainstream.