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Home of the Future


I am seriously surprised no one has been discussing this television program. I have been watching Home of the Future for the past five weeks, and this is a techie/gamer/gadget-guru’s wet dream come to life.

The basic premise of Home of the Future: they have taken an average family (three generations living under one roof), completely gutted their home turning it into an ultra-modern smart home, with damned near all the latest gadgets and technology one can imagine, then shove the family back in the home, and film their experiences.
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Concerning KARA


It’s been a while since I have actually made a blog post, but in all honesty, I have decided not to blog for blogging’s sake, but to do so whenever something comes up that I truly feel I need to say something. I know this goes completely against the proven formula of what makes a successful blog, successful (three regularly scheduled, new posts a week; creating a poll with every post, like you really give a shit about what the reader thinks, et al.), but I feel in the long term, honesty in my blog is going to be my differentiating factor. And honestly, there is no point in blogging unless I have something I really want to say . . . which brings me to the following post.
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Decline of Killer App #3


If you look at the success of Western society the past two centuries, over most of the rest of the world, one of the key components, the building blocks of that success, is property rights of the individual protected by law. I believe the phrase in Americanish goes something like, “possession is 9/10ths of the law.” You have an entire Amendment in the US Constitution almost entirely dedicated to the subject, so on and so forth. You can see the importance of those rights in a recent TED Talk given by historian, Niall Ferguson (see embedded video), as he candidly discusses the decline of Western civilization and the ending of the Great Divergence.
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The Same Boat


Nintendo released their fiscal 2011 financials today, and looking over the sells charts for the 3DS, it became readily apparent the effect last summer’s price drop has had in turning the misfortunes of that system around from the dismal start last spring. The effect is so pronounced even, that 3DS is gaining traction faster than the DS, or the Wii in all three major sells markets: North America, Europe and Japan.

Looking at that charts in fact, not only can you see exactly when the 3DS price change occurred, but how far 3DS adoption has climbed, both in reference to the DS and the Wii, has got me thinking that Sony may seriously want to reconsider the price point of the PlayStation Vita before it launches next month, or they may be looking at a repeat of the 3DS’ initial dismal performance, prior to last summer’s price drop.
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Pulling Rabbits from Hats


Well it would appear that CES once again, has become the dumping ground for the major game console makers to announce the previous year/quarter’s hardware sells numbers to the public. These are worldwide numbers for units sold during Q4 2011, and a huge shocker came out of this weeks announcements. Heavy competitors Sony and Microsoft were the first to announce their numbers. Microsoft last night at the CES 2012 keynote event, and Sony today in a press release from the show floor. Starting with the PlayStation 3, which has been slowly gaining on the Xbox 360 for the past five years and was poised to catch up the the market leader last year, Sony announced an Earth shattering 3.9 million units sold globally for the crucial quarter ending the calender year, 2011. However, the news of Sony’s sales numbers were already overshadowed by the previous night’s announcement from Microsoft, who managed to pull out a soul crushing (if you are a Sony fan, soul uplifting, if you reside in the Microsoft court) 10 million units globally, in the final three months of 2011. That is a face slapping 2.6 to 1 sales ratio against the Sony branded game console, which put Microsoft firmly back in the lead, no longer a neck and neck race, between the two consoles.

The question on everyone’s mind today has probably got to be, “how did they pull it off?” And sure enough as I read over the story at Joystiq, that seemed to be the question on everyone’s minds. And surprisingly, considering that it is a multi-console discussion on the very sensative topic of hardware sells numbers, it has got to be one of the most civilized (ie flamebait-free, troll-free, cynicism-free) discussions I have seen online on the subject matter, in almost a decade. There is some really well thought out insight into how Microsoft managed to pull this particular rabbit out of their hat. Anyway, I thought I’d add my $0.02 to the discussion. So here goes . . .
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Ask, and Ye Shall Receive.


It’s hard to believe, that just a mere 24 hours ago, I was whining like a little bitch waxing nostalgic about the about the good ole days, and how modern game industry has an apparent lack of respect for source material for classic PC franchises. This generation has seen many more than a few high profile reboots of classic gaming IPs, Culled from the back libraries of PC gaming, these (in most cases) venerated game franchises, have burst their way unto modern day game consoles, with a fresh coat of paint, for an entirely new audience to enjoy. Sadly in almost every case, gone is the charm that made the originals classics, gone is any sense of the cerebral depth which gave these classics their uniqueness, and endowed the players back in the day with a real sense of accomplishment upon completing those masterpieces. Gone is mostly any semblance of what made these classics, classic in the first place. Replaced by mindless running and gunning, as one by one, classic game play and world building were replaced shallow first-person shooter game play mechanics, which has become the de facto, go to game style of the Call of Duty generation. It seemed that the only games publishers gave a damn about producing any longer, involved guns, and shooting, no strategy, very little depth, and little to no visual representation of even the players onscreen avatar.

Well, that was literally, yesterday . . . Read the rest of this page »

Rebooted?


The subject of recent classic PC franchise reboots, has been something I have been avoiding for some time now. When I discovered these cherished moments are being dumbed downed into shooters, to appeal to a larger, less cerebral audience, than the audience who initially made these classics, there are mixed feelings that come with that. On the one hand, a popular IP from the days of my youth, will now be appreciated (to some degree), by an entirely new audience. On the other hand . . . well, the games have been dumbed downed, and very likely devoid of most of what made them special in the first place, just to reach this new audience. In my mind, it’s like having sex while wearing a concrete condom – the upside is that you are having sex . . . if you can call taking almost everything that makes sex pleasurable in the first place, having it stripped away, and replaced with a blunt-force object, “having sex.” Read the rest of this page »

The Risk Adverse Medium


Joystiq’s Jason Lomberg wrote a nice editorial piece concerning video gaming’s shallowness, entitled, I’m Tired of Saving the World. In the piece he goes on about how in creating only the most surface of stories, and always avoiding the more interpersonal type of stories that directly connect with the human condition, gaming as a whole has sold itself short as a medium. In the piece he gives several examples of where gaming has gone wrong, and several more examples of some promising work done in recent years, that while their merits may be debatable depending on who you are, tend to attempt to push games into becoming a more versatile medium; and hopefully, into the true potential inherently in the medium.

Anyone who has known me for more than a few years, across almost any forum I have frequented, knows this issue, and it really is an issue with the medium, is one of those I have written about passionately over the past decade. It used to seem that I was alone in my feelings toward how far the true potential of the medium could stretch, but lately it seems that slowly, more, and more people (at least in the gaming press), are beginning to wake up to this potential. If you have not already read Jason Lomberg’s editorial (linked above), then do so, it is a really good read. And pretty much every thing that follows in the rest of this post, serves kind of as an addendum to what he wrote. I have a future post planned to expound far more into the subject matter than this post is today. I’ve been writing about this for ten years, so you can bet I have more than a few observations, and things to share on the issue. Read the rest of this page »

PlayStation Vita – North America Launch Lineup


Today, Sony just released the full lineup of PlayStation Vita launch titles. There are 35 titles on the list ranging in price from $9.99, all the way up to $49.99. Twenty-five of these titles are set to release on the PSV’s launch day, February 22, 2012. In celebration of what is easily turning out to be the single best portable game launch in history, I thought that I would recompile the full launch list, along with a boatload of videos. For the videos, I’ll be paying particular focus on games exclusive to the Vita – you know, the games which cannot be found on any other console or PC, in most cases, not even on the PS3. After all, when looking to buy new game hardware, it’s the exclusive content that really defines the experience, and is usually what most gamers want to see anyway.

So sit back, marvel at the huge list of games, enjoy all the videos that I have compiled, and start saving those pennies. February 22 will be here in less than two months, and between the surprisingly very affordable price of the Vita itself, and the shameful extortionist expensive proprietary memory cards, I easily see over $500 worth of stuff here I want to buy on day one, myself. Read the rest of this page »

There and Back Again – An Unexpected Journey




Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
The pines were roaring on the heights,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread,
The trees like torches blazed with light.

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