Archives For Gaming

As beautiful and cutting-edge as Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) is, after making it past the laughing Octopus stage in the second act, I abandoned the game, at least for now. This surprises even me. I have been waiting for years to play this game, but the lack of a decent checkpoint system and endless cut scenes turned me off.

Poorly Implemented Checkpoints

You cannot save MGS4 when you want and it’s checkpoints are few and far between. Adult gamers do not have endless hours, nor the desire, to replay extremely long portions of even a great game over and over.

Solid Snake being Sneaky in MGS 4When I play stealth games I want to be stealthy and play it right. This means taking my time, exploring every nook and cranny. Being sneaky. But when I sneak around for 30 minutes, successfully execute difficult maneuvers and then die, I do not want to play through the whole 30 minutes again. No game should ever force a gamer to replay more than 5 or so minutes. Period.

Yes, I could have cheated and run through sections with abandon, gunned down everyone until killed, thereby learning where all the baddies are and what their tricks are, to avoid them on the next play through. But I refuse to do that. That’s gaming the game and not playing the game. It takes all the fun out of it.

Stealth games, by definition, are designed to be played thoughtfully and slowly. The player should have a realistic chance of beating a level if they play that way. But, when they die, as they will, they shouldn’t be forced to replay the last thirty minutes or an hour to get back to where they were.

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Dish Team Summit Tweets

Dave Zatz —  May 18, 2008 — 9 Comments

Here’s the round-up of my Dish Team Summit Nashville trip tweets (with pics) over the last few days (minor edits for accuracy) in chronological order:

  • Forgot to print Southwest boarding pass last night, now stuck in mid-B group. Should be good enough for an aisle, but open seating is weak. (5/14)
  • Downloading Deadliest Catch via TiVoToGo for flight. Hope it finishes transferring before I need to leave. (5/14)
  • Firing up Deadliest Catch (TTG) and off to Nashville. (5/14)
  • Building booth @ Dish Team Summit, Nashville http://snipurl.com/28yn6 (5/15)
  • Popcorn Hour media tank @ the breakfast table. http://snipurl.com/28z8p (5/15)
  • Hootie, Blowfish, and crappy iPhone camera @ Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. http://snipurl.com/292qp (5/15)
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort Internet is horrible. Both hardwired and WiFi feel like dialup. Sprint EVDO card struggling too. JoikuSpot next? (5/16)
  • TR40 renamed DTVpal and shrank 50% – http://twitpic.com/14i3 (5/16)
  • Not only do I write, I can even speak – http://twitpic.com/14kd (5/16)
  • D-link’s MoCA networking and media gear – http://twitpic.com/14o2 (5/16)
  • Western Digital now offering USB Dish My DVR Expander (in addition to TiVo eSATA drives) – http://twitpic.com/14qj (5/16)
  • Dish Network STB TV2 output getting UHF->IR converter. (Slingbox!) – http://twitpic.com/15xc (5/17)
  • SatelliteGuys.us host Charlie Ergen Q&A – http://twitpic.com/16jn (5/17)
  • Too tired for The @CableShow, so most definitely leaving Nashville for home tomorrow. Expect pics & news on EngadgetHD and from @msilbey (5/17)
  • Weak. Nashville Airport Security sponsored by Zappos.com – http://twitpic.com/175k (5/18)
  • Wiis in stock at airport. ONLY as a $500 bundle. I’m calling Miyamoto to complain. – http://twitpic.com/176d (5/18)

Done With GTA IV

Dave Zatz —  May 10, 2008 — 16 Comments

Dale still seems to be enjoying Grand Theft Auto IV, but I’ve had enough. Though sales have been HUGE, my copy of GTA IV is on the way back to Gamefly. The somewhat repetitive missions to advance the plot aren’t doing it for my short attention span. I also miss the more precise avatar combat control of Call of Duty 4 (or even Halo) and the driving control of Burnout Paradise over GTA IV. As I’ve done with previous editions of GTA, I dropped the story mode, acquired a small arsenal, found well-defended locations, and took out law enforcement. But that’s only fun for so long. Other nits: Text is too small and the environments are often too dark – even with the in-game brightness cranked.

Sony’s announced their PS3 PlayTV accessory will be available this September for 99 Euros (~$150 USD). PlayTV consists of dual DVB-T tuners, enabling both PS3 DVR functionality and placeshifting to the PSP. Last100 raises some pertinent questions: Can television be recorded during gameplay? Can PS3 hard drive capacity be increased? (40-80GB won’t hold much HD content…) Sony hasn’t revealed plans for an ATSC (or other) model in the US market… Unlike the UK Freeview phenomenon, I’m not sure how much demand we have here for a purely OTA-based DVR.

A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our other blogs:

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 26, 2008 — 2 Comments

A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our other blogs:

I was doing some Usenet Google Groups research and got sidetracked looking up my online contributions over the years. While it’s difficult to uncover all my fingerprints on long-gone, closed systems and/or when using aliases like Quasar and Narcolepsy (it was amusing at the time), I dug up a few nostalgia-inducing posts under my state-sanctioned handle. Thanks for humoring me as I stroll down memory lane.

Here’s me selling my Macintosh LC Performa 575 in 1995. Which was actually my first CD-playing device. Boy, did I use it to play music. And Myst. Though the Performa was my first Mac, it wasn’t my first Apple… I spent decent amount of time over the years getting into trouble with my Apple IIc and 2400 baud modem. The statute of limitations has probably passed, but I’m not tempting fate other than to say VMS buffer overflows into root accounts were trivial over dialup… (But I don’t miss the days of line noise.) Prior to the IIc, I spent quality time at school playing Hard Hat Mack, Load Runner, etc on other Apple II variants. Although my computer gaming really began with Lunar Lander on the Radio Shack TRS-80, which may or may not have coincided with my Atari 2600 ownership.

Here’s me selling my roommate’s Japanese Nintendo 64 import in 1996. I seem to recall we were unloading it because the in-game text was… in Japanese! Which kinda put a damper on understanding the Super Mario 64 storyline. Though I have to say, Matt was a great roommate. He provided a large Mitsubishi tube TV and made sure we had every gaming console – that Nintendo 64 (Japanese, then American), 3DO, Playstation, and Sega Saturn.

Speaking of Sega, here I am trying to get the soft modem working under BSD Linux on the Dreamcast in 2001. Sadly, it was a no-go and I was unwilling to invest in the broadband adapter. This system was definitely ahead of it’s time – Heck, they offered a web browser and collaborative, online play (via that modem or broadband adapter) before anyone understood the significance or fun factor. Not only did I have a Dreamcast at home, our office gameroom (pre-Internet-bubble implosion) housed one. And beanbags, too.