Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Warcraft III - Back to a classic

Azure Tower Defense rocks!  That Warcraft 3 mode is tons of fun with four players.  We played about 6 time over the past weekend and on the last try made it to level 39!  I will have to check to see if there are any other maps similar to that one.

I think that finishing it (level 40) will be very tough.  39 was insane!

My Love/Hate Relationship with Call of Duty 4

There is no denying that Call of Duty 4 is a great game.  Why then does it frustrate me to the point of yelling out loud?  CoD4 get soo much right, nice maps, quick pacing, good incentive to level up, fair selection of weapon variety, etc.  Where then, does it falter?
1) Too many time are you shooting someone over and over, only to have them turn around for the one shot kill.  It sure seems like certain people are faster than others...  connection speed?  I have a decent connection and have not noticed this as much in other games like Halo 3 or Gears of War.
2) Team balancing.  Is there any?
3) Live-Morons.  You know the type, out to annoy and ruin other people enjoyment with the game.  This is not specific to this game though.  I know you can "flag" players so you shouldn't get them in the future, but often it is easier to switch parties rather than track down which player it is and then go through the flagging process. 
4) The dreaded "Host Ended Game" message....
5) $10 for 4 new maps???
Ah well, maybe they will get it right in CoD5....   :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

World of Goo

On a whim, we picked up the Wii Ware downloadable game World Of Goo.  What a great find!  I have played it more than several of the "store bought" games in shrink wrap.  For 1-4 players, WoG is a puzzle game at its heart with cute graphics and an odd story thrown in for good measure.  I hope Nintendo will release some expansion levels for this one.

One irksome thing with Nintendo that this game brought to light is the inability for my Wii to get completely out to the Internet.  Apparently I can get Web stuff and Machine updates but it is no go on game play for Mario Kart and some of the Network features of WoG.  I just recently changed my firewall from IPCop to Smoothwall to solve similar problems with XBox Live!  Nintendo apparently wants me to reduce my protection even more, sigh.  So if anyone has had any luck getting their Wii *fully* connected to the Internet using a free hardware based firewall (pfSense, maybe?) please let me know...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

PSP RPG Strategy

A quick comparison of a few strategy RPG games for the PSP.

Jeanne d'Arc:
Clean and simple with crisp beautiful graphics. Low learning curve.
Available as a download.

Disgaea Afternoon of Darkness:
Humorous, medium difficulty with good depth of play. Decent graphics.
Medium learning curve.

Final Fantasy Tactics War of the Lion:
Mediocre graphics. Huge depth of gameplay. Daunting to learn.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PSP vs DS revisited

If Sony can keep putting more content on their store, they will even out
their 'portability' comparison to the DS. I love being able to carry a
handful of games with me, right on the memory stick inside the PSP.
Allowing me to put the games on up to 5 units makes it attractive to even
replace good games I own on UMD. Now I just need a few 16gb memory sticks!

Friday, July 25, 2008


What a great game! Disgaea for the PSP is a great deal of portable
fun. It is basically a turn based strategy RPG in the tradition of
Final Fantasy Tactics and Jeanne D'Arc. It combines humor, good game
play and interesting item management into a game that is hard to put
down. Now if I can just talk one of my friends into getting it, then
I can try the multi-player. :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

PSP vs DS Durability Revisited

Ok, I got to thinking the other day about portable game system
durability. My PSP and DS have been dropped approximately 5 or 6
times each. PSP Repairs TWO (screen replacement, power switch
replacement) DS Repairs ZERO. Just another thing to think about when
getting a game system for a younger child. I am pretty cautious with
my electronics, the PSP was in the supplied neoprene case when I
dropped it, breaking the screen. (It hit on the exposed edge and not
from more than 1-2 feet) On the other hand I have a friend with young
kids who got DS Lites about 5 months ago. One of them has a cracked
hinge and does not snap into place anymore, but the DS still
functions. Both of my PSP mishaps rendered the system unusable...
Overall the closed case system is more durable in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


So much for getting in the habit of writing more frequently. :) Still playing Call Of Duty 4 on the 360, finally made it to Commander. Such a good game even with the minor irritants. I hope the next patch makes it easier to get into public games with friends! My 360 seems to be a bit grumpy as of late, I suspect a failing DVD drive.....


Friday, February 08, 2008

Thoughts on the "perfect" mobile companion

I wish I had a boatload of cash, then I could create my own perfect
PDA instead of waiting for Palm to do it. We were so close, we almost
had Nirvana but they went by the wayside. I am referring of course to
the Tapwave Zodiac which still has a fond place in my heart. It just
did so many things *right* and unfortunately lacked a few things I
wanted. For example:

1. It was the perfect ebook reader, I could comfortably hold the unit
in my hand, turning the pages with my thumb which rested right on the
left shoulder button. Nothing else comes close in my opinion, not
even the Kindle.

2. It had the Palm interface, with none of the NVFS crap that we now
have to put up with. So what if memory is erased when losing all
power, you had two sd cards to backup to! The wheel interface blended
in perfectly with Palm's Zen.

3. It had a separate processor for graphics, nice sounding speakers
with good audio, speedy processor and two sd slots.

4. When I wanted to play games, the form factor was actually more
comfortable than my PS or DS.

5. I had the Zodiac 2 with 128 megs internal memory, just the right
amount for usability.

The reasons I had for moving to the TX?

1. Extremely poor choice of HotSync connectors, syncing had become a
chore trying to get the connection to stick. Fix: Make it a mini-usb!

2. No built-in WiFi! This seems picky but it really expands the
usefulness of the device. Fix: Add Wifi (exactly like the Palm TX)
with the Enterprise stuff standard.

3. Flaky Digitizer. Ok, so the TX suffers from this too, who knew?
Fix: Give me a GLASS digitizer that works accurately with Graffiti!

One feature that the PSP did get right over the TX/Zod is the
*removable* battery, hey what a novel idea! If the Zod would have had
a removable battery, I might have kept it, just for reading.

If I ever get rich, who knows, maybe you will get a chance to buy your
very own Zodiac 3...

* CPU: Motorola i.MX1 ARM9 processor (200 MHz)
* Memory: 128 MB. 10 MB Dedicated to the System Dynamic RAM
* Graphic Accelerator: ATI Imageon W4200 2D graphics accelerator
(with 8 MB dedicated SDRAM)
* Display: 3.8 inch transflective 480 x 320 (half VGA), 16-bit
color backlit display (65,536 colors)
* Sound: Yamaha sound and stereo speakers, 3.5 mm earphone plug
* External Connectors: 2 expansion slots (both are MMC / SD
capable, one is also SDIO capable)
Mini-USB Connector, 3.5 mm headphone jack, mic
* Wireless: Infrared, Bluetooth, WifFi Enterprise
* Battery: Removable Lithium Rechargable
* Size & Weight: 5.6" x 3.1" x 0.55" (142x79x14 mm), 6.3 ounces (180 g)
* Colors: Charcoal Gray
* Casing: Synthetic rubber, anodized aluminum, plastic
* Palm OS 5.4T
* Built-In Applications - WiFi, Spoke Launcher, Background Music
Player, MP3 Alarm, BT Stereo Support,
Docs2Go, Datebk 6, Contacts, Resco Suite, CardReader, CardText,
eReader Pro, GoogleMaps, HotSync,
ListPro, IM, NotePad, MemoPad, PalmPDF, PalmPrint, UnitConverter
Pro, SnapperMail, TCPMP, NetFront

Hey, it's my dream, remember? :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PSP vs DS Part 2 - Games

When it comes to games the two platforms are very different and will
probably appeal to different audiences.

PSP Pros:
Very good graphics are possible
Analog Thumbstick
UMD holds a lot of data/video
Good Multi-player via WiFi
Quite a few highly rated games
Download-able games from the PlayStation Store direct to memory stick
Game Save to Memory Stick Pro Duo - Can be backed up to PC
Great "suspend" mode

DS Pros:
Good use of Multi-Player from one or multiple cartridges (game sharing) via WiFi
Cartridge format is durable and very portable
Loads of games out there - plenty for younger players
Fairly good load times
A fair amount of highly rated games
Touch interface is very useful and fun in some games
Great "suspend" mode
Two screens are usually used well and add to the game play
Built-in PictoChat programs is neat

PSP Cons:
Not many titles use game sharing and those that do, don't do it as
well as the DS
WiFi play could be better
So-so Load times - seems to vary per game
No second analog stick
Usually you get a little noise from the UMD during game play

DS Cons:
All saving is to Game Cartridge - usually limits the saves and does
not allow for backup
Friend Code for WiFi play is time clunky
Touch interface is used in some games just because they could, even
though it deters from the game
So-so graphics
Loads of crappy games (there are good ones out there, but a lot of junk as well)
Blowing into the mic for game play, novel the first time maybe, but
usually annoying

Quick comparison, Puzzle Quest:
Even though I own PQ on both systems, it is nowhere near as enjoyable
on the DS. The quality of graphics and the speed of play just is not
quite the same as the PSP version. This is not to say that the DS
can't have good looking games, if fact some games look very good on
the DS. Puzzle Quest is NOT one of those games! :)

Look for my next post to wrap things up. -TTFN-

Friday, January 25, 2008

Call of Duty 4

What a great game! The only problem I have is when trying to get a party of more than two people into the same game. It is loads of fun and very addictive. Captain and clawing up through the ranks...

Test pic from phone

A picture to test mobile blogging. It work ok, but Alltel has some extras in there that I need to edit out...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Puppy Linux

I made the plunge on my old Dell Inspiron 3200 notebook and it is
fully running Puppy Linux now! So far very nice things like:

2:00 minutes to boot to desktop (30 seconds is the post)
jDarkroom and Java installed for clean no-frills writing (hopefully
this will spur me on!)
OpenOffice 2.2
A working LinkSys NIC! - This took a bit of digging.
SSH & rdesktop to get in to my work PC securely
Quick and dirty backup of my docs to a CF card

I will try to post some more experiences as the come...

PSP vs. DS Part 1

A few rambling thoughts on the differences between the Sony PSP and
the Nintendo DS. I believe that they are gaming systems good for two
different purposes, both doing thing well and both with a few
problems. I have been asked which one should I get for Mr. X. My
answer is, "Well, what does MR. X want to use it for?" I have a DS
Lite (Black) and a old style (Black) PSP.


The DS is definitely more portable than the PSP, it is self enclosed
and more durable which makes it a better candidate for a younger
gamer. I have broken my PSP twice, both times it was in the Neoprene
sleeve that it is sold with. One time the power switch snapped and
the other time the screen cracked. The screen crack was just bad
luck, it fell and hit the exposed side fairly hard. The power switch
on the other hand was somewhat unlucky, but really the plastic
connection is pretty cheap. Both the PSP and the DS are easy to take
along anywhere. The DS Games are smaller and more portable than
Sony's UMDs. With the new addition of the PlayStation store, you can
buy games and store them on the memory card which is nice because you
always have a variety of games with you.

Not much of a fair fight here, the PSP is amazing in this department,
music, movies, pictures, podcasts, internet radio, Location Free TV,
the DS has none of it. The ability to play movies from a UMD or from
a Memory stick is wonderful. I can watch TV or movies anywhere I can
get a WiFi connection with the Location Free Player. It automatically
can download you favorite podcasts for later listening.

Both batteries last a long time, the PSP has the advantage of being
removable so you could swap it for a fresh one if you like. Even
using WiFi the batteries hold up very well in my experience.

I have not used the Internet browser for the DS, I did not buy it
based of lots of reviews that said it was slow and barely usable. The
PSP Browser is fair, it works in a pinch but you won't want to do any
serious browsing sessions on it. I use it with mainly mobile sites.

Both chargers are ok, the DS one is a little more portable.

I am not sure there is any reason to connect the DS to a PC because
there is no internal storage/memory card. The PSP is easily connect
via USB, then you can transfer pictures, video, music, files... very,
very easy to do. I is nice to be able to backup the game saves!!!

Next post will be Controls followed by a post on Games... -later on-