Thursday, 22 November 2007

YATTA!!

Last night was more or less a good night for me. I watched an AWESOME episode of Heroes last night, I downloaded the soundtrack to Ace Combat 6 (totally awesome x2!), and England are out of the running for Euro 2008 (Totally awesome x10! ^_^).



It may sound quite un-patriotic to commend England's departure, but I just don't care. I've never been that much into football, and the one thing I hate more than watching English football, is listening to English football fans blab on about how good they think England are.



Which they're not. Just accept the truth and get on with your lives.

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There's nothing I like more than a good time-traveling story, and last night's episode of Heroes on BBC 2 was one of the best I've seen! I can't POSSIBLY reveal the plot, because it's just THAT awesome. Hell why am I having to say that? You should already know just how awesome Heroes is! After all, it's got Masi Oka in it, damn it! I would even be so bold to wager that it's even better than LOST! *prepares anti-flame shield*

You just can't beat a show about regular people with super-powers. Go and watch it, NAO!!>_<

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I've always been a fan of the Ace Combat series since the first game on the Playstation One. It gave me the chance to do what previously only PC gamers had the luxury of doing, flying real-life fighter planes. I became familiar with such famous jets as the F14 Tomcat, the F15 Strike Eagle, the Mig 29 and SU 27, Eurofighter, and the F22 Raptor. I came to know these guys as well as I know such real-life cars as the Nissan GT-R, the Mitsubishi Lancer or the Subaru Impreza.

The games themselves grew from strength to strength, giving higher degrees of advanced and awesome Dogfighting (aerial) combat. With it's easy controls and high paced action, I was totally hooked! One other thing that stood out for me was the music. Although it can be initially written off as nothing more than "Top Gun Music", the evolution of the soundtracks for this series has been as dynamic as any of Namco's other IPs, like Ridge Racer or Tekken.

The soundtrack for Ace Combat 6 is a good example. It combines more dramatic orchestral themes with funkier electronic beats, and even combines the two to produce a truly fresh and original feel. If only I could find more commercial stuff like this!

In the mean time, I'm gonna keep listening to these cool tunes, that never fail to get me all fired up for action!

Friday, 9 November 2007

The Last Straw! >_<

If you've been following my exploits up to this point (and I sincerely hope you have!), you will know that I hate my job. With. A. Passion.

This morning was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I've found out that I have to start coming in 30 minutes earlier than usual AND I have to attend a crappy meeting at the start of the day.

I had to commute with poxy schoolkids that make too much noise, and show an utter disregard for others around them. To make matters worse, when I finally got to work to attend this so-called "Meeting", it only lasted about 3 minutes, and was about stuff that has nothing to do with me!

I've put up with a lot of stuff in my time, but it seem that little by little, my tolerance towards the stuff they keep doing to me has gotten shorter and shorter. Right now, I'm about at the end of my tether. I've been poked and prodded, pushed and shoved, analysed and scrutinised until my face has gone blue (not literally, of course).

I have almost no privacy to work on my own projects (which officially, I'm not supposed to do, but when you have as much free time as I have, you have to do something!), and I'm constantly bothered by idiot work colleagues about stupid problems that don't matter, and I don't care about. Sounds pretty bitter, don't it?

I have applied to a few job vacancies in the past, but so far I haven't even received a letter or job interview in return, which as a result has put me off applying for more jobs for some time. I fear though that I may have to just bite the bullet and keep trying if I want to get any progress.

The scary thing is, right now, I'm in a very good position. I've got money coming in (what little there is), and I can buy all the things I like without a second thought. The problem is, I don't think it's going to stay that way forever. I won't go into too much detail, but prices are going up, and I'm finding myself having to contribute more and more of my salary just to keep a roof over my head. The dream is slowly starting to fade.

On the whole, I maybe contented with what I have at the moment, but I'm not happy. The only way I'm gonna be able to make myself any happier is to make that big step and jump ship. Unfortunately, if anything goes wrong, I'd end up even more unhappy than I am now.

It's a big sacrifice to make. It took me a long time to even get the job that I have now. I'm not sure I could go through the stress and uncertainty that comes with trying to get a new job again.

Playstation 3 Roytec Backlash!

I've decided to vent my frustrations about the Sony Playstation 3 right here, although in hindsight a lot of time has passed since it's release, meaning that my anger at Sony has abated somewhat. But not completely.



First things first: Blu-ray. What da hell were they thinking?! Sony has blown about as much money as to completely cure Third-World Hunger on a new disk format that, at the time was released before the general public was ready for it, in a format war that if they had lost, would've been the biggest technological disaster in history! (Well, maybe I'm exagerating, but I can't be far wrong)

Never have I seen a format pushed so aggressively into the market, and the thing is, the reason that Sony did so (and HAD to do so) is because they were trying to win on two fronts:

A. The Gaming Industry
B. The Movie Industry

Two quite similar fields that, in theory, could be negociated in a similar manner. HOWEVER, it would be naive to think that a strategy that would work for one would also work for the other! I must admit, it was kind of clever to use the Playstation 3 to help solidify the Blu-ray format into as many homes as possible, but I also feel that in doing so they diluted the gaming strength of the PS3 against it's opponents, Microsoft's Xbox 360, and Nintendo's Wii.


Sony thought they could muscle the competition into submission with a superior system running a superior disk format, which to me seems like a very american business tactic (yeah, I went there! Sue me!). But as history has repeatedly proven, things don't always go as we expect them to. The Xbox 360 had gained a lead by being the first out of the gate, the general public refused to swallow the $599 pricetag, and one thing that no-one had predicted (me included) had thrown a spanner in the gears, Nintendo's Wii (and I STILL can't believe they went with that name! I'll write more about the Wii at a later date!).



Granted, 2008 is looking like a better year for the PS3, but it seems that Sony are playing catchup. Granted, their strategy was more of a long game where as their opponents wained, Sony's machine would keep on going, but it's difficult to ignore the fact that the initial success of the Playstation 3 wasn't what they had hoped.



My second issue with the PS3: No killer Applications (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_app).



It's pretty much a given that most launch titles for a new console are weak, and do not showcase the full potential of the machine it's playing on. It always takes time for a gaming developer to get to grips with a new consoles capabilities. What I don't understand is, why the hell did Sony not put more effort into getting half decent games out on it's console as soon as possible?



When the PS3 was coming out, I heard a rumour that someone at Sony said that they didn't need good games in order to sell lots of Playstation 3's. Regardless of whether they were joking or not, and regardless of the PS3's other abilities like watching movies and downloading content off the internet, the one thing a console will always need IS GAMES. And GOOD GAMES at that.



The funny thing is, so far the games that have been claimed as being Killer Apps (such as Heavenly Sword and Assassin's Creed) unfortunately haven't lived up to their hype. To make matters worse, some multi-platform game releases have proven to be inferior on PS3 compared to their Xbox 360 brothers, because the developers find it easier to optimise a game for the 360, then upscale to the PS3 afterwards. The number of games that are being made especially for the PS3 is at the moment is a lot less than there was for the PS2.



The real Killer Apps are around the corner. Metal Gear Solid 4 will be coming out this year (fingers crossed), and Final Fantasy 13 is scheduled for a (yet to be confirmed) 2009 release, but I all feels a little "You're a little late! See you again!" to me. PS3 already lost exclusive rights to Devil May Cry 4, and it seems the reasons for owning a PS3 are shrinking and shrinking by the minute. Only time will tell whether these losses and setbacks will affect the Playstation 3 in the future.



Another issue which has come up recently that I have an issue with is the removal of the Playstation 2 backwards compatibility.



I currently own a Playstation 2. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I love my PS2, and I was willing to do whatever it took to keep it going for as long as possible. However, one point has crept into the back of my mind: one day my PS2 will fail, and there will be nothing I can do about it. Originally, the anouncement that the PS3 would be compatible with both PS2 and PS1 games was a godsend to me, because it meant that when my PS2 does fail, I'd have something to fall back on. Unfortunatley, this may no longer be the case and neatly brings me to my next point.



Different versions. At last count, there are more than 10 different versions of the Playstation 3 released across the planet. The specs and capabilities of each varies from region to region, and some countries fare better than others in terms of what you get in the package. The PS2 backwards compatibility feature has suffered to most changes to it, firstly being emulated through hardware, then being emulated through software, and then finally removed from the latest 40GB version (in order to keep the price down).



I can totally understand why they did it, but it smacks of hypocracy. Sony made such a fuss about how Back Compat was a key point to the Playstation 3's infastructure, only to just change their minds later as if they'd totally forgotten what they'd just said. It also further confuses what should've been an easy question:



Which Playstation 3 version should I buy? Do you know? If you do, send me a reply with the most advantageous version for the UK (Back Compat is a must).



I pretty much knew that I would be getting a Playstation 3 at some point, because it was gonna be just like the PS2 in terms of success. Now I'm not so sure, and the more that I think about it, the more I think I'm gonna come off the worse for staying loyal to Sony. Being a fanboy is great when you are right, but not as fun when you are wrong. Especially when you, and everyone around you knows it.



Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Whatever it takes to save the one you love! (Update)

It took a little longer than I thougt it would, but I've finally got my PS2 back!

I must admit, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was slightly worried about what might happen. The shop clerk kept saying things like "we make no guarantee that this service will fix the problem" and "even if it is fixed, there is no guarantee how long it will last" etc.

This kind of talk is enough to un-nerve even the most fearless individual, and I was already imagining all the likely things taht could go wrong, such as:

- The engineer makes a mistake and fries the machine, turning it into a useless pile of scrap
- The engineer finds a servere problem that means that it can't be fixed or costs even more to fix
- It's dropped during transit.
- An error is made, and the machine is given to the wrong person
- None of my disks work with it anymore

The least bad thing that could've happened, that I would have been okay with was that the service made absolutely no difference to the performance whatsoever.

Much to my embarassment, my PS2 has come back even better than it left! Where as before, it had trouble loading up some games, now it loads up FIRST TIME, EVERY TIME! My DVDs, my cheat disks, even my PSone games start up first time, with no loading errors. I forsee a long and enjoyable gaming future!

The icing on the cake is that "Rogue Galaxy" runs perfectly as well! Yatta!! My gamble has paid off quite handsomely!

I predict my PS2 will keep going for at least a couple more years, where as before, I would've predicted only another 6 months at best. I think I've already mentioned this before, but I would definately recommend anyone to service their fav games console once in a while (especially if you're an Xbox360 owner!).

The love of my life is back where she belongs, ready to tide me over for the Christmas period! Although, I have to admit I have been eyeing up the sexy new Slim and Lite Sony Playstation Portable (PSP). Damn, she looks fine! I wouldn't mind tapping that ass!

>_>

<_<

What? Can't a guy's eyes wander a little?