Archive for February, 2006
I asked, you answered (well, one of you), and I bowed to your wishes (uh, well one of yours).
The poll question this week. What PS2 game would you most like to see a sequel for on the PS3?
Champions of Norrath
Devil May Cry
Metal Gear Solid
Shadow of the Colossus
Frequency / Amplitude / Guitar Hero
The poll is in my sidebar, and this time I’m trying something new. You can actuall add answers yourself. But please don’t add games nobody’s heard of, and don’t abuse it. I’ll have to put an end to it really quick if you do that.
First some background. The developer of Guitar Hero, Harmonix, had previously created Amplitude and before that Frequency. All three of these games are music based games where you have to strum or button your way through a song. Frequency was the first, and in my opinion (and that of my friends) better than the sequel Amplitude. While Amplitude had a much better shared multiplayer view, the songs weren’t as good and the sense of actually playing the music was much decreased in Amplitude. So when the guys come over to play games at my place, we usually plop in Frequency and not Amplitude.
Guitar Hero carries on the tradition, and I think is an improvement over Amplitude. It actually includes a guitar controller, which is a half-size plastic guitar with five coloured buttons on the neck. You “strum” a two inch long lever, and the guitar even includes a bendy bar. But you don’t have to use this peripheral if you don’t want to. Using the controller feels very much like Frequency or Amplitude, except that you sometimes have to hold down the notes over time, which wasn’t a feature in the previous games.
But the guitar peripheral makes it so much more fun, you’ll want to use it. The joystick ability really only comes in handy when you play in two-player mode against a friend and can’t afford to buy a second guitar.
But how do you actually play a song? Easy to learn, difficult to master. The coloured buttons on the neck correspond to coloured dots on the moving score of the song. The score actually approaches you, and as coloured dots approach and cross a line right in front of you, you have to have the correct coloured button held down as you strum the guitar. Then the note will change to a different one, so you have to change your fingering before your next strum. It is easier than it sounds. Check the IGN website for Guitar Hero videos.
How is it? Fun fun FUN! This is one great game with great songs, and great multiplayer action. I’ve only played it multiplayer with a controller, but getting a second guitar in there would be even more of a blast. I had my friends over to play this game and they all raved about it. If you like listening to music and have a PS2, then you owe it to yourself to at least try this game.
Problems? Yes, a few. My biggest complaint (though not that big in absolute terms – this is a great game) is that the mapping of music tracks to game tracks isn’t as fun as many of the tracks in Frequency and Amplitude were. In those game you’d really get into a groove and really enjoy how the tracks were arranged by the developers. Guitar Hero doesn’t have quite the same creativity when it came to laying down the tracks. As well, the game ramps up in difficulty way too fast. The hardest setting is clearly impossible for everyone without a genetically enhanced metabolism. (This was also a problem with Frequency and Amplitude.)
But don’t let those things distract you from what is otherwise a very fun game. And if you don’t want to splurge on the full price right away, you might want to try Frequency. It’s an older game, so it’s now in the bargain bins. It’s a true gem, and you can try out this style of gameplay for less than $10.
Ever watch a movie on TV only to have something interupt it? And you’re like “doh, what happens next?” That’s what reading this article from ars technica is like. It just whets your appetite and then leaves you hanging.
The author starts talking about the task IBM has of creating a compiler for the cell processor. And… well that’s where it ends. But he does call the compiler the octopiler, which I thought was funny, because there are 8 SPE’s in the cell processor.
So, well, no news really. But I’m a programmer, so I thought it was quite a tease that I’d share with all you technical folks out there.
PS3 Center has an interesting article about piracy on the PlayStation 3. But I’m not sure he’s on the mark about everything:
With dual-layer Blu-ray discs storing up to 50GB, the question quickly becomes how would pirates even distribute the games? While bandwidth is certainly getting cheaper, connection speed would bottleneck any piracy efforts. A relatively speedy 768kbps internet connection would face download times in excess of two weeks to obtain a single game via BitTorrent, and a Square Enix release spanning multiple discs could literally require months to download. On top of that, saturating an internet connection for days at a time would no doubt draw the ire of one’s internet service provider, making the download of Blu-ray discs a logistical nightmare for the foreseeable future.
Sure that might be true of 50GB games, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing those for quite some time. After all, the Xbox 360 only has a DVD drive, and it doesn’t seem to be suffering for the lack of disc space. I’m sure, though, that over time people will start using more and more disc space, but I’m also sure that it’ll be a long time before they get to using all 50GB.
Here’s another one:
And even once one obtains a Blu-ray title, how would they get it to the console? Back in the day, Nintendo and Sega were able to effectively neuter piracy by printing their games to proprietary cartridges. While blank cartridges (and the devices to upload pirated games to them) were certainly available, the cost was astronomical, and as a direct result, the average consumer had no idea that piracy was even an option. Sony seems to have established a similarly strong protection method by using its proprietary Blu-ray technology for the system. Burners for Blu-ray discs won’t be cheap or readily available for the early years of the PS3’s life, and one blank single-layer Blu-ray disc is expected to retail for $50 when introduced to the consumer market, with dual-layer speculated to be debuting at $80.
With companies like Dell and Apple supporting the BD format, this isn’t going to be true for long. The BD format is going to be a standard format supported on many PC’s, unlike Nintendo and Sega’s media efforts. So this argument doesn’t really hold water.