Category: Hardware


micsontenso

It's awesome - isn't it?

Now, let’s get this clear. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are like three girls at high school who hang around together but constantly bitch about each other whenever they get a chance. So a unified effort form the three is like a dream in which Megan Fox publicly announces you as her love of life. But we can dream, right?

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo should sit down together and make a console. And they can use the name “Mic-Son-Tendo” as i suggest in my brilliant artwork. Why? Because both developers and gamers suffer from the current situation in the gaming world. Three consoles, expensive platform exclusives, sub-standard cross-platform games. As a gamer, you end up spending a lot of cash just to get the three consoles, in fact the added cost of all three can get a pretty fast pc. For the developers, developing cross-platform titles is a headache. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one console a gamer would have to buy, and the developers would have to focus on just one platform, and so resulting in better and more beautiful games? Sony should make the hardware for the console, Microsoft should take care of the development tools, the OS, networking and the online system and let Nintendo do what it does the best: make games for it.

Sony has the hardware expertise in this field. The PS3 is the most powerful console of this generation and had support for all the high-definition audio and video features right off the start – Blu Ray, 1080p video and still has enough power to render games for 3D viewing.  The 360, as we know, was a hardware disaster – choice of HD-DVD, no inbuilt WiFi, and the awesome red rings of deaths. The Wii – well, I don’t see a reason why gamers have to suffer through horrible, blocky graphics to play a game which is fun and could have looked a gazillion times better on the 360 or the PS3. Microsoft is a software company at its core and makes great software (their developer kits also look gorgeous btw). The 360 OS, Xbox LIVE and the development tools and the best in their categories. The gamers love the online features of the system like gamertags and in-game party chat. Sony is playing catch-up with Microsoft in this sector, and Nintendo has effectively stopped trying. Microsoft also knows how to make software for the hardware they don’t manufacture themselves. And Nintendo, as i said before, should make games. I would love to see a Super Smash Brothers remake for this console.

But then, this is just a sweet dream. The three giants in this case are probably big enough enemies to ever sit together and have a coffee or beer. They are probably making plans for the PS4, the Xbox 720 and the Wii HD. And we gamers will buy all of them because we don’t want to miss a Gears of War, Uncharted, or Mario game or some other great platform exclusive. The developers will have to learn three separate development tools to make a cross-platform game. Damn.

P.S. – If in case, amazingly, the three biggies make this dream console and use this “Mic-Son-Tendo” name, I want royalties on every console sold and a copy of every game released for the platform. Like I said, we can dream, right?

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I hate Nintendo. Really.

I hate Nintendo. Really.

I hate Nintendo. As a person who jabs at buttons and keyboards for a living, these are pretty strong words. But guess what, I have got reasons for it – a whole bunch of them. Let’s get started. If you look at history, Nintendo has been a critical force in shaping what gaming has become today. When Nintendo started, it used all the technological advances available at that time to create top end hardware and quite possibly a few of the most innovative games of the 20th century. They were the first to create a discrete hand-held gaming device capable of running story-length, full color games. It all went good till the GameCube. Nintendo got infected with the moneymilker virus after the GameCube expired.

With the rising popularity of gaming, two electronic giants decided to enter the field. And with them they brought a whole new realm of technological innovation. Whilst retaining its edge on pure game-making innovation, Nintendo was hopelessly behind in terms of hardware specs and data input. So as Sony and Microsoft prepared to launch their state-of-the-art high-definition gaming devices, Nintendo was left with few choices – they could have remained true to their fans and stay on the path they had been for so many years: releasing consoles to the best of their technological ability with focus on retaining a creative edge over their competitors, OR, they could leave their current market and fanbase behind, and try to create a market elsewhere in gaming. Not content with losing such a large chunk of their main market to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo opted for the second option. PS3 level hardware was always available to Nintendo, but they opted to create a cheap, lightweight console instead, with the understanding that there was a huge, untapped well of potential gamers lying just below the surface, who didn’t give a damn about pixels counts or processing speeds.

So now we have the two Nintendo consoles: The DS and the Wii. Both behind their competition in hardware specs, but performing surprisingly well as far as sales go. This is not due to innovation, contrary to what every marketing campaign for the two would have you believe. This is down to selling out. Instead of directly competing against Sony and Microsoft, they decided on another route. Casual gaming became the primary focus on the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo focused on games like Wii Fit and Brain Training. After all, casual gamers are more in number than hardcore gamers anyway. Combined with the cheaper price than the consoles from Sony and Microsoft, it’s a no-brainer that the sales of Nintendo hardware is good. Which is good for Nintendo – they’re a business, after all, not a service, and businesses are out to make money. But guess what – Wii may be the best-selling console, but it is also the least played console of the three. The DS and the Wii have been subject to a tidal wave of brain-training games, fitness games, cooking games, and games of other categories utterly unrelated to gaming. The purpose of which is not to please the current fans, but to bring in new ones, who wouldn’t care for genuine gaming. The old titles are still there. Super Mario, Zelda etc. But that’s all they are: Old titles. Not an ounce of innovation in the games themselves, just a slightly new way to play them. Sure, there was the odd game like Mario Galaxy or Punch Out to perk us up, remind us that there were still those inside Nintendo devoted to making games for the “hardcore gamer”, but they were an exception, not a rule.

It was sad. Then sadness became frustration. Frustration became anger. New games for me, not my little sister or my grandmother, goddammit! And now Nintendo have lost interest of third-party developers. Heck, even their dev-kits look like dumb old boxes. The situation – Nintendo doesn’t have any third-party games which can be called console sellers. Sony and Microsoft are not dependent on their own studios for console sales. The Wii is the worst system of this console generation. Not because it’s got ‘lower specs’ or it’s ‘for casuals’, but simply because most of the games are bad. They’re mini-game collections or ‘let’s waggle the Wiimote a lot’ games. Truth is, I am not a fan of motion based gaming. First, it makes you look stupid. Second, I just prefer bumming on the couch with a traditional controller. Something that the Xbox 360 and the PS3 still offer.

Another major factor that makes me hate Nintendo systems is the lack of online gameplay. As a guy who spends a minimum of three hours daily on online gameplay, it’s just too big of a thing to ignore for me. Hey, does Mr. Miyamoto even know how satisfying it feels to dominate another player in a game of Team Fortress 2? I doubt if people at Nintendo even play online multiplayers. Single player games are fun, but multiplayer games are just a lot more fun. And it adds to the replay value as well. Multiplayer is always fun and things like leaderboards and trophies/achievements just add to the gameplay value. I just don’t get why Nintendo just doesn’t gets it?

An innovation is not simply bringing an already existing product (touch-screens, motion sensitive controllers) into the mainstream for the sake of feigning originality. And it isn’t about playing old things in new ways. It’s about creativity: Sheer ingenuity to create something previously unheard of. And Nintendo obviously aren’t in that business anymore. And I just hate them now.

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Christmas is here. The new year is coming. Here is my wish list. If I don’t get all of this within 30 days, the world will come to an end. Save the world! Get me these stuff:

  • Barnes & Noble Nook
  • Nexus One (yet to come, you can just give me the cash for it)
  • A planet to my name, preferably far from this solar system.
  • Dell Adamo XPS, its blooooody thin!
  • BuckyBalls, who wouldn’t like a pile of magnetic metal balls?
  • This gold coated PS3 from here.
  • A pet T-Rex
  • A year long supply of rasmalai and daal khichdi
  • God of War 3: Ultimate edition: i need a second copy
  • Velocity Micro Gamer’s Edge DualX desktop: this machine rapes benchmarks.
  • 10 licenses of Unreal 3 Engine
  • A publisher for my book: The Zombie’s guide to get a girl
  • A white PSP Go
  • Razer Mamba
  • A set of shurikens and a shiny long katana
  • Anything good you can think of

The future is in your hands, errr.. wallet. Save your future. Your kids will thank you for it.

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On a normal saturday night, I had an abnormal idea. Spending a day without internet access. At first the thought horrified me, but it sounded kinda fun. So I sent a SMS to deactivate the data connection on my phone and turned off my wireless router. Theoretically, I am now cut off from the internet.

8:16 am: Just got up and was shocked to see only two sms on my phone’s notification bar. No emails, no IMs, no new wave conversations. Going back to sleep.

10:34 am: NewsRob (my google reader client) doesn’t have any new feeds. Missing the luxury of reading news feeds while brushing my teeth.

10:39 am: Switched on my desktop. There are a couple of programs screaming about internet access already.

10:43 am: Started UT3 and realized my biggest loss here: no online play. Will play against the AI.
Update: The AI is dumb. Except at godlike. The bots go hunting for you like you have a million dollar bounty over your head.

11:25 am: My girlfriend called me. She was wondering if I was invisible on gTalk. I told her my story. She thinks I am trying to avoid her. Nuts. Why are girls so weird?

12:20 pm: I’m hungry! Tried a voice search for a local pizza joint. No results. Turns out Android uses the internet for almost everything. This is kinda bad.

1:03 pm: Facebook and Twitter still send sms updates to my phone. Looks like one can never be totally off the internet.

1:36 pm: Had awesome lunch with a serving of ice-cream to finish it off. Want to tweet about it. Or maybe a status update on Facebook. Oh I miss the internet so much!

1:58 pm: Playing Tekken Dark Resurrection on the PSP. Missing online play again.

2:45 pm: Wikipedia! It is such an indispensible tool. I miss the convenience of anytime access to Wikipedia. Reminder to self: donate to Wikipedia when i go online again.

4:10 pm: Movie time: Again, i miss the convenience of checking movie ratings and booking tickets thru my phone. And my girl is boring me to death. Wish I could escape to Mars. Do they have internet there?

8:20 pm: My iPod is also complaining about no internet access. So is my girl. She wants to check some stupid site.

9:26 pm: Just noticed that no internet means really good battery life for my phone. Almost 80% juice left. Otherwise it would have been screaming for charge by now.

10:10 pm: Will turn on the internet in about an hour. Why am i feeling so excited?

11:23 pm: Turned back the data connection on my phone and switched the router on. Feels so good!

11:28 pm: Information overload! Shitload of emails, IMs and other stuff. Over 200 news feeds. Phew.

12:02 am: Confession: It felt like the longest day of my life. I am sort of over dependent on the internet. Going to sleep now. Will post this later.

This is Tuesday. I forgot to post it. Shitloads of work. Posting now.

Posted from my iPod

It will be a sad day for me when the primary control scheme for all the consoles turn out to be motion controls. Why? I could write a book full of reasons.

  • Games using motion controls can’t be played for long time: they will destroy your arms and eat your soul!
  • Motion controls are just not precise enough: imagine trying to pull off a headshot using a wiimote.
  • You look stupid: that weird look on your face while playing a game is already bad enough.
  • Long combos? Pulling off a hadouken while jumping? Way too complex for a motion controlled setup.
  • Motion conrolled games are gay.
  • Traditional setups are just too good: what would you prefer – pushing a button to jump or jumping for real?
  • You can never be fast enough: see that ultra cool chun-li’s high-n-low kick combo? Try doing that in real life.
  • You won’t be able to boast about it: because motion controlled games are so simlpe, even your grandma will laugh at you as you get owned by her in some stupid game.
  • Games will be simple: because you can’t use complex input mechanisms, the developer will be forced to design a gameplay that is simple.
  • Will it be portable? I seriously hope it doesn’t turns out this way: imagine stupid looking people kicking and knocking people on the road!
  • Destruction it invites: you will probably destroy everything near the console and the tv and hurt people passing by while you play virtual boxing or tennis.
  • Motion conrolled games are gay.

For me, the only part of motion i want while i am playing a game is the rumbling of my controller. That’s it. No more stupid hand waves or anything. I can rejoice as i sit on my bed and tap out awesome combos in God of War or dominate people in TF2. And while Microsoft’s project natal and Sony’s wand thingy will make games accessible for more people, it will also dumb down the games in the process. Want to make the game better? There are always other options. More innovation. Stereoscopic 3D, better sound and graphics, better gameplay, more content and more gameplay, and most important: more FUN.

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Ok, so I upgraded my bulky old monitor to a shiny new super sexy LCD, but I end up missing quite a few things. You see, now that I have upgraded my CRTs, I don’t know what to do with all the extra space. The main problem I have is now that there is too much open airspace either in front of or behind my new monitors. When I used my 17” CRT monitor, I knew I needed to have a reasonable amount of space on the desk to accommodate the devices. But the majority of computer desks were designed keeping in mind the right face-to-monitor distance ratios so that where exactly at the right distance to view them comfortably.

But now these fancy new LCD monitors don’t take up any space. I sometimes find that the monitor is too far away, because it closer to the back of the desk. And if I push the monitor back, what am I going to do with all the empty space in front of the monitor? I can’t really put anything there because it’s going to block the view. And if I move the monitor closer, I have all the empty space behind the monitor – space that has no real value for shelves or anything else.

What have I gained?

Sure, LCD monitors are sexy to look at, but where am I going to put my cap? At least with CRT monitor, you could keep your unreal tournament figures on the top. But there is no space on the top of a LCD monitor, they are so bloody thin! Now my desktop is a vast sea of unproductive open space, and unless I cut my desk into half, I’m stuck with this awkward setup.

Seriously, what were the engineers thinking when they designed the LCD monitors? Obviously not the end user. And what am I going to do when I will get myself a 48” LCD TV? Yes, I would be able to mount it on the wall, but where the hell will I place my beloved game posters?

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Okay, so you know about all the outstanding keyboards – right from the Razer Tarantula to the ridiculously expensive Optimus Maximus. But this keyboard will surely knock your senses off. I can guarantee that won’t come across a keyboard like this ever. This Das keyboard (I stumbled across the page) claims to be a “keyboard that clicks”. It’s specialty: it’s BLANK. Yes, you read it right, it’s blank: no labels on the buttons – you don’t have anything to look at the keyboard. The reason they quote for this “Like on a piano, since there are no keys to look at when typing, your brain will quickly adapt and memorize the key positions”. And they claim that within a few short weeks users increase their typing accuracy and find themselves typing up to 100% faster.

The Das Keyboard

It’s priced at $79.95. So if you are a keyboard warrior, go ahead and buy this keyboard. And if the prices seems a bit (or more) steep to you, I have a trick for you. All you need is your trusty old keyboard, a pair of scissors, and sticky tape. Next step: cut pieces of tape as per the size of buttons on your keyboard and cover the buttons. Boom! You own personal hand created Das keyboard (or whatever you want to call it) is ready. Cheers!

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Nvidia is going to launch a new graphics card – the 9800xt. And as usual Nvidia will proudly show off its “phenomenal pixel processing power” that enables “cinema quality realism” in your games. While this is true in its eternity, wait just four months and Nvidia will launch another graphics card that will offer “never seen before realism. And since all the new games launched after that would be built to the standard of the newest card, you will be left with two options: either upgrade if you want to play the new games or just stick with your current games. And the worst part: if a new DirectX standard comes, your graphics card is “aged”. And then comes a time when to play a new game you have to upgrade your configuration. And unless you have inherited a lot of cash from your ancestors, you are out if luck.

This brings me to happy part of the gaming society: the people who are proud owners of gaming consoles. You buy a console, pop in a disc, and you are ready to smash your foes. It can’t get any easier. And you don’t have to worry about upgrades (and drivers and viruses). Even your 4 year old brother (if you have one) can operate a console. Gamers couldn’t ask for more.

So, if you are an insanely rich gamer, go and upgrade your pc every four months or so. If not (just like me!), then you have the option to sell one of your kidneys. Or you can just buy (or beg or steal) a console and make your way to gaming nirvana.

P.S. – If you want to see a gamer happy, please donate. I am planning to buy a PS3 (:->) but I don’t have enough greenery in my wallet. (:-<)

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