Posts Tagged ‘ trailer ’

Countdown to New Vegas

If you been hiding under a rock somewhere, you might not know that Fallout: New Vegas comes out tomorrow.

Fallout 3 exceeded all my expectations and this installment promises to be better.

See you on the wasteland!

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PC vs. Consoles: The Upgrade Wars

My first console was a Atari 2600, my second an Xbox.

Yeah, you read that right, from 2-bit to 32-bit.

So what did I use in the intervening 20+ years?

Computers.

First there was the C-64 which lasted about 8 years, then a Compag 486 that lasted all of 3 years or so, then a HP Pentium one which lasted about as long, a Pentium II which lasted about 3 and now my current machine which lasted about 3, and really only used it for a year’s worth of gaming.

Seeing a pattern here?

No.

One word.

Upgrades.

Constant, expensive and infuriating upgrades. That’s the real advantage of a console over a PC. Yes, you can spend about $2000.00 (U.S.)  for the fastest Alienware, which will be completely obsolete a day and an hour and a half after booting it up for the first time.

Why is that? It’s the nature of the beast.

Software makes for PCs know that the next piece of graphic hardware or memory expansion is just around the corner and so they program their PC exclusive software to match. That’s what  Origin started in the 90s and everybody else jumped in. But consoles don’t work based on an accelerated upgrade curve. They are projected to be on the market for about 4 years. Which means that if you buy an Xbox or PS early enough, you will be hitting it’s prime 2 years into its prime. In order to catch up in a PC you probably have to change graphic cards every six months.

Now you do the math. Factor software costs, base hardware costs, oh and OS compatibility.

And now most of the games that once were the exclusive domain of PCs are just as good if not better in consoles; RPGs, FPS, sandbox games, air/space combat sims, you name it. And the controls are better over all. Yes, I know that nothing beats sniping with a mouse and keyboard, but I can run, strafe, lob grenades and stab you with a bayonet using my Xbox dual triggers before you can pull the trigger on that rifle.

And with online services like Xbox live, consoles are now crowding the last PC frontier, the online RPG (MMORPG).  Now the biggest hits come on the console first and later for the PC. Gone are the days of weak Arcade or PC to home ports.  In fact one of the reasons MMORPGs stay in business is that they keep their system requirements as low as possible for as long as possible so as to no alienate dedicated players who don’t have the time, money or inclination to run to the Best Buy(tm) every time the company decides to launch an upgrade. Of course they do take the risk that their graphics become outdated, but that’s a risk that the folks at Blizzard (for example) are willing to take in order to keep their 11 million subscribers.

Besides, many games these days are more about pretty shade effects, object dynamics and cinematic sequences than actual long play. Might as well buy that game and stick it into your console than to tear out the guts of your machine just to play 10-15 hours of pretty graphics. Your best friend already played the game, finished it and is already downloading the next expansion while your sitting in your bedroom floor tearing bloody clumps of hair wondering why the latest piece of Plug-and-Pray(tm) shit you bought only gives you a blank screen.

I’ll give you this much, some PC games still look pretty, but as you see the trailer below, ask yourself, why is this game PC-exclusive, when you and I both know a Xbox 360 or PS3 could do it without breaking a sweat?

The (Gaming) Sequels of Fall

Fall is upon us and that means new game releases. October is D-Month for games as they want to make an early splash on the retail shores and coast inland all the way to D+24 (Xmas Eve). This is the gaming industry equivalent of the summer blockbuster season.

And like Hollywood producers, game designers can’t fight the allure of the sequel. If the first game sold 1m+ copies, why no make a second? Or a third?

Examples of upcoming sequels are Halo 3 ODST and Grant Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony.

They represent the latest installments (although technically these are notstraight sequels) of two of the most successful game franchises of the decade.

GTA defined the decade with it’s innovative (although not entirely new) sandbox game design, twisted vision of America and great soundtracks. Halo was (and still is) the Xbox’s flagship game, the game that put the Xbox (and it’s successor the 360) on the map.

No wonder the gamezines and gaming websites are abuzz with talk of Mass Effect 2, Fable 3 and the like. Sequels offer more of what the player wants, good gameplay, improved graphics and more storylines. That certainly is what pushed the success of the GTA sequels (Vice City, San Andreas and the Stories Series). Northstar stayed with what worked and tweaked what could be improved. So did the folks at Bungie with Halo.

However, “more of the same” is not always good. Far too many times sequels feel more like clones that instead of expanding what was already there instead play the same. Core fans of a franchise may not mind, but it certainly won’t attract new gamers. Plus a developer always runs the risk that by not concentrating on new game engines and upcoming graphic/console technology they will get stuck behind the curve. It certainly happened to the folks who made Command and Conquer (although they still spitting them out).

And if you wait too long between installments your fans will move on to different fare. So while sequels are a comfortable strategy, marketing wise, they do have their pitfalls. So expect to see more of them, especially through the magic of downloadable content. Instead of releasing an entire new game, they can release a patch/upgrade/episode online. Has worked well for the folks who made Fallout 3 (itself a spiritual successor to Fallout 1-2 which in turn was a spiritual successor to the old C-64/PC game Wasteland).

So get out your wallets, plop your plastic on the counter and get ready for another sequel.

And better way to usher this season of sequels than with a trailer for Assassins Creed 2:

Complete Rubbish

Inner dialogue sometime last weekend at around 2:55 in the morning.

——-

Complete and total rubbish, that is!

What is it you’re talking about, you nutter?

Well, my short story that’s what!

Oh, you wrote–you wrote a story, a short one, you say, and it wasn’t any good? I could have told you that, you stupid git! I read some of the rubbish you post in this blog. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I am, I am….

So what are ya going to do about it, eh? Write more crap or are ya going to crack open a dictionary for once and use it as God intended?

———

And so it went.

So where did this wave of self doubt and recrimination originated?

From a “beta” my good friend Iz did for me recently.

Did I mention it was a HUGE favor? I mean it was titanic in its scope. He dragged his eyes (mid-vacation mind you) across the garbage strewn landscape that I dared call  a story (yes I dared, silly of me I know) and after much sorting he managed to pull out the salvageable bits.

I do not have Protection from Editors.

Aw God no!

That is a good thing, I guess.

Now I need to recycle those surviving bits into a story worth reading.

I can do this.

I can overcome my dreadful grammar, horrible pacing and inject some emotions into my characters.

YES I CAN!

And I will too.

Just you see.

Or Issac will see, if he has the stomach for a second round.

Did I mention that this favor was of astronomical proportions? Super Nova pale in comparison to what he did for me.

Just so you know.

And now for a cool anime style game trailer:

Straight from the DVD: The Sky Crawlers

I picked this DVD up in my local video store. Had won multiple awards and came from the Mamoru Oshii stable of films so I gave it a try.

It was not what I was expecting. And that was not a good thing.

Coming from the man that brought Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor to the big screen. It certainly has his style but the story….

It’s not really there.

Gorgeous CGI, realistic air combat sequences (if some of the maneuvers where a bit much for the aircraft involved) and beautiful scenery, but the story….

In a nutshell the story centers around a young pilot who is a “Kildren” who is stuck in adolescence. All of the pilots of the “corporate” squadrons are stunted youths. That much is clear. Everything else, including the locations, and the relationship between the characters is left unclear.

Somehow the “Kildren” never really die, except in combat, although they appear again days later with no memory of who they where (and with a different name).

According some material I found on the net, the war is fought for “entertainment” which would explain why non of the combatants use modern weaponry, although their aircraft seem to be advance propeller driven aircraft.  Yet the reaction of the people around the pilots doesn’t seem to suggest that it is a form of entertainment as the news people take it very seriously, then again considering recent events and modern “infotaiment” is hard to tell what is deemed serious by media moguls.

To me, the real problem is that as a viewer don’t get enough information. Nothing is really explained about the Kildren who I guessed were clones of some kind, maybe. Nor do we see the real impact of this war. We see some blood, maybe a body covered in a tarp, but that is it. A sharper contrast between the attitudes of the people not directly involved with the “war” and the realities of the war itself might have helped.

Add an alternate Earth of sorts (it looks like the English countryside but the few maps point to it being in mainland Europe as do the snippets of news) where the characters speak Japanese on the ground (and read Japanese language newspapers), English in the air and sometimes English with the locals and you end up scratching your head from beginning to end.

The one thing I will say is that the English title is accurate. It crawled from one barely noticeable plot point to the next.

This movie was not for me or for anyone else expecting furious air combat and a gripping story.

This is an animated art house film.

It certainly has the awards to prove it.

First Post: An Introduction and a Movie

Hello folks.

Yeah, I have ANOTHER blog.

Expect a large dose of all things games,gaming, and sci-fi.

I have a bunch of shorts ready for your perusal which I will post this Friday (a continuation of Flash Fiction Fridays).

But right now enjoy this “trailer” I put together for an upcoming RPG campaign our group is gearing up to play: