Friday, November 15, 2013

Launch Day!

Well, assuming Amazon and UPS don't screw up, today's the day we start some next-gen goodness.

I already have Battlefield 4 and Killzone: Shadow Fall sitting among my other games ready to get loaded onto the machine.   Now...If it would only show up.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Descent 2nd Edition

Some buddies and myself recently finished original Hero Quest boxed set and the 14 (....14?) quests.  Even though we have access to two expansion packs, it was suggested that we try a new game.

My friend Jon visited and came across a relatively new game, called "Descent: Journeys In the Dark" which is in it's 2nd edition.

Click to read my impressions.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Xbox One Feature I'm Most Envious Of

Xbone Controller
The Xbox One has some cool features (and had some cooler ones prior to their now infamous 180 on DRM and connectivity requirements).  However, I'm firmly seated in Sony's loyal fan base and am feverishly awaiting my pre-ordered PS4 to arrive in November.

That's not to say however, that there aren't some features or functionality that I wish were on my black box of choice.  The localized rumble triggers in the XBox One controller seem very cool (though I've heard that the rumble tech in the PS4 controller, while not trigger focused, has been improved to the point of being able to simulate weight transfer...we'll see if that's true or marketing dream weaving).  I also like the precise engineered look of the thumb sticks.

But really, what stands out to me isn't a feature, but a design choice.  It's the buttons.  I can't look away from those beautiful jewels of X, Y, B, and A.  3D letters forever suspended in space...colors that make them appear to actually be glowing against the deep black space void them.  They're gorgeous.

Yeah, I know the 360 had similar translucent buttons.  But whereas those looked "toyish" these babies just scream class.

Well done, MS.  Well done indeed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Last of Us: Release Impressions (Single Player)

Naughty Dog The Last of Us

Hey everybody, there isn't just one AAA game this year revolving around a gun-for-hire and a job that ends up being a girl in need of some saving.  Naughty Dog, the developers behind the Uncharted series on PS3 have bravely chosen to release a post-PS4-announced, new IP that proves that they can still squeeze some magic out of current-gen hardware.

In doing so, they've set upon the gaming community a title that is a clear evolution of the adventure game genre and one of the highest rated games not just of this year, but of this console generation.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Microsoft Reverses DRM and Always Online Policies for Xbox One

I don't really want to keep writing post after post about the Xbox One, but the story keeps unfolding.  I had to at least mention the DRM policy reversal.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Microsoft Could Have Taken a Page from Another Major Competitor for Xbox One Positioning

Xbox One reveal, Xbox One release
The console wars are not over.  Sony's "win" at 2013's E3 cannot be, at this point, directly associated with units shipped, sold, in-use, etc...  But one can argue that an interesting stage has been set for the two "hardcore" gaming consoles that will be going head to head in the coming months and years.  That narrative seems to be painting the underdog, Sony, as the early fan favorite, essentially erasing their transgressions from the $600 PS3 late launch, and turning the tables on last-gen titan, the Xbox

I'm pretty firmly a Sony guy, I'll admit that.  But that's not to say I'm not interested in the Xbox, the games I never really get to play, and some of it's services.  I kept a close tab on their two recent press conferences, the world-wide reveal, and the E3 press conference.

A lot of criticism hasn't been solely on the lightning rod features such as a more complicated software licensing model for purchased games or the online requirement (which by the way, they're right, and isn't a big also has HDMI as your only output and I don't see people complaining about a HDTV requirement), but much of the criticism has been on messaging.

It's no secret that MS has been looking into how the Xbox can be a central entertainment hub for the living room and when looking back to the initial reveal of the Xbox One a few weeks ago in May, I was thinking that maybe they could have taken a page or two from Steve Jobs' playbook.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Microsoft Introduces the Xbox One

new xbox
Microsoft introduced the world to it's next generation Xbox One yesterday.  It's a pretty slick device that is set to transform your TV to a slick, fast, and intuitive Smart TV, with multi-tasking, and the ability to play next gen games.

They're taking some flack about not highlighting the gaming aspects during their press conference, but as I'm writing this, I have to admit that it's an interesting proposition.  It really does seem to be a revolutionary way to marry various media in the living room, and doing so ahead of the oft-rumored Apple iTV.

With the Xbox One, you can switch between live television, movies, the internet, and games as effortlessly as you do on your portable devices.

That being said, much of what they showed off; checking fantasy sports stats during a game, or taking a quick Skype call, or browsing the web to look up a fact about the show you're watching, the user is already doing with their mobile device.  The "Second Screen" evolution of how we watch TV is already upon us, and trying to reel those screens back onto the television makes a major assumption...that everyone watching wants to see those fantasy stats and web page too.

TV's are the centerpiece to a media room.  A shared centerpiece.  Whereas mobile devices are highly personal devices where we can humor our own unique distractions during a loading screen (which seem to be disappearing anyways) or a commercial break, pasting it up on the shared screen may be an unwelcome annoyance to everyone else in the room.  Sure when you're gaming alone, it will be nice to check the score of the playoff series going on in the back ground, but I'm not sure that would work so well for regular TV consumption with your family and friends.

Microsoft did mention that they have 16 exclusive games set for the Xbox One's first year, of which 8 will be new IP, so there's some great promise there, but it looks like we'll have to wait for E3 to see if those are games that will drive sales for the new console.

Xbox One is set to release later this year.