GamingJAB
A jab at gaming – with love

Aug
26

By Josh

So I was lucky enough to attend the Meet-Up in DC sponsored by Playstation. I was able to try out the Move and also got to speak to Dr. Richard Marks, inventor of the Move tech.

First off, the tech itself is amazing. Very accurate and responsive. The rumble is nice and is felt more at the base of the unit then near the buttons. The game I was most impressed with was Echochrome 2. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Echochrome 1, but Echochrome 2 really clicked for me.

Also impressive was the augmented reality demos. Limited to sets of mini games at the moment, it adds something that hasn’t really been done before (i.e. putting yourself in the game and having an animated object in place of the Move controller). The tracking also seemed to work well in the low light setting we were playing in.

I asked Dr. Marks a couple of questions and I’ll paraphrasing what he told me.

Q: Can the Playstation Eye work in both the zoomed-in mode and wide-angle?

A: Yes, but it’s best when using the wide-angle, otherwise you’ll have to stand far away for it to accurately gauge your motion.

Q: When judging motion in the Z-axis (motion towards the camera), or any motion, is the software written to judge the change in sphere shape first, or the acceleration from the Move accelerometer first, or is there a certain percentage/priority?

A: The Eye judges the sphere first, unless it cannot be seen. If it cannot be seen, it then judges the data from the accelerometers.

Q: When compared to Microsoft’s Kinect, is there any hardware limitation to the Playstation Eye’s voice recognition?

A: Due to Kinect’s greater spacing in microphones, it is more able to reduce background noise, but as for voice recognition, no. Voice recognition is all software based.

Overall, I thought the tech was very solid. Now I’m just waiting for the game that will push me over the edge.

Bonus photo of one of the judges from “The Tester.” I think he’s VP of SCEA marketing, but don’t quote me.

Aug
25

-by Brian

Ever wanted to experience the thrill of horseback riding at full speed through a lush and detailed 3D environment?  Have you ever wanted to achieve the solemn satisfaction that only comes after brutally slaying an evil horde of monsters with your ferocious real-time button mashing skillz?

Well, this game offers none of that, but what it does offer is a fun browser based sim style game that users of previous Might and Magic games might have some familiarity with.

This game requires no download or installation, it runs completely from your browser.  Actions you set in motion in the game typically take hours before reaching completion, which enables more casual users the option of checking the game only a few times throughout the day to micromanage the events going on.  And probably the best feature of all; clicking the link below and trying it out for yourself gives me a nice bonus of Gold for referring you.

http://mm-hk.com/referral/92c6bb6cf58684d7e1aee5da6db482935e0c1a26

Seriously though, this is a pretty fun game which I think a lot of people with similar tastes as me would also enjoy.  Give it a spin, poke around a bit, and reply here with any thoughts or questions you might have.  I’m on the Zombie Assembly server, for those that wish to find me.  FOR GLORY!!!

Aug
04

Open letter to the Joystiq Podcast –

After listening to your podcast episode #147, I thought it was important to comment on my interpretation of the current Limbo price point and what role pricing plays in the purchase or scoring/rating of a game.

While your argument is sound that price should not play a role in the scoring/rating of the game, it ultimately plays a role in a player’s perceived “intrinsic” value.

The gaming community as a whole needs to develop qualitative distinctions between the “entertainment” value of playing a game vs. the “intrinsic” value of owning or purchasing a game. Whereas the entertainment value is often easy to understand from a reader’s perspective (which is made easier by wonderfully written reviews at www.joystiq.com), I often find the intrinsic value harder to interpret.

The new downloadable space created by XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, & iTunes has reshaped gamers’ intrinsic value of games (mostly because when we are done playing, we can no longer share, sell, or trade them). Thus, when we play Plants vs. Zombies ($3)* on our iPhones for > 8 hrs. and play Limbo ($15) on XBLA for 4 hrs., we can’t help but feel that Limbo might be over-priced and detract from its overall value.

Ultimately, your job is the review the entertainment value of game, but the intrinsic value also needs to be addressed in a review (and often is) so that gamers and readers can best gauge the overall value of a game.

Love the show,

Josh

PS. Not everyone makes Chris Grant $$$, so spending $10 vs. $15 does make a difference. Happy Birthday Chris, if you’re ever in DC I would love to buy you a beer.

* Plants vs. Zombies for the iPhone was originally $20, but was quickly reduced to $3.

Jul
15

– By Josh

Recently, I’ve been getting back into mobile gaming. While I will have a couple of reviews of iPhone/iPod/iPad games that I will post soon, I’ve been trying to put some more time into the PSP.

I’ve never played a Silent Hill game before, so I went into Silent Hill: Shattered Memories with no idea of its history beside there might be some creepy nurses. Overall I found this game to be a fun, tense, adventure game that left me understanding why people enjoy the series Silent Hill.

First, let me say that this is purely an adventure game that is about solving puzzles, finding mysterious objects/images, and overall trying to figure out what’s going on. For the sake of enjoying this game, I will not link the Wikipedia page and suggest that you minimize your exposure to finding out the major plot twist that happens at the end. Let’s just say, you play a guy named Harry, crash your car with your daughter in it, wake up from the crash to realized that you can’t find her – Oh, and all you have is a flashlight and a cell phone (that obviously must use AT&T, because your single is wacky).

What I like:

Slick presentation – The game plays from the aspect of watching a DVD or VHS. This is consistent throughout the game and actually works into how the game is played. Audio interference, portrayed through your cell phone, and graphical “glitches” play as clues in the game.

Audio – Voice work is convincing and playing with headphones is really engrossing, leading to tense situations.

Story – The game actually has a story that makes sense and resolves. From the beginning you’ll often feel confused about what you should be doing, but the linear setup makes it easy to not get lost. Characters are believable and enjoyable to watch develop.

Some Choice – There are parts in the game that choice is required. They added to the overarching story in a satisfying way.

What is questionable:

Control – This game was obviously designed for the Wii first and then ported to the PSP. Not huge disservices to the game, but some of the controls are wonky. While running away at times I had to properly time when I would throwdown a bookcase as there is no indication of whether you’ll throw it in front of you (thus blocking your path momentarily) or throw it behind you (thus increasing space between you and the person chasing you).

Gameplay options – This game is not about combat, it’s about running. While I enjoy running, I think the devs could have added more game types to action sequences besides flairs, bookcases, and running.

Choice? – While this game uses choice satisfyingly, I’m not sure how choice had an ultimate effect in the end. Besides different clothing or different colored objects, I didn’t really notice much.

OVERALL – I would recommend playing this game, especially if you want to know what “Silent Hill” is about. I found it very thrilling at times, but ultimately it was the story and solving the mystery of Silent Hill that kept me playing. While the cost/benefit of some iPhone games is so high, it’s hard for me to recommend buying at the current price point (~$30, amazon). But, if you can find it for around $15-$20 you should definitely give it a go.

I played the downloaded version from the PSN on a PSP-3000

Currently I’m playing: Persona 3 Portable, Tilt to Live, Plants vs. Zombies, & Angry Birds.

Jul
06

– by Brian

Word on the street (net) is that Best Buy is currently offering bundles of a PS3 controller with either the God of War collection or Little Big Planet for a retail price of $59.99.  Considering that a new controller is typically $54.99 on it’s own, paying an extra $5 to get a $30.00 throw in game(s) seems like a great deal.

Hurry, while supplies last!

Thanks to Kolop for sharing the news.

May
11

Bond, James Bond– by Brian

Are you sitting down?  I’m not being rhetorical, I need to know.  Our site is not insured and I’m about to say something shocking.  Quantum of Solace is not only a game licensed off of a movie…  it’s also a good game.  Big breath now, are you still with me?  You okay? Good.  Let’s continue.

Maybe it’s because I had the bar set so low for a licensed game, or maybe it’s because I was ready for a new FPS after the 40+ hours of grinding I’ve done in Final Fantasy XIII, but for some reason this game clicked.  Quantum of Solace is a FPS with some TPS cover elements added, set to the story-lines of both Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale.

Upon release, I passed over this game as I’m sure a lot of people did; mostly because it’s a licensed game and GOOD licensed games are harder to find than that Black Lotus card you’ve just mortgaged the house to buy.   Thankfully this game was reduced to the “can’t pass this up” price of $15 at a local Target and was promptly picked up by a good friend of mine.

The graphics are somewhat dated, I’d say falling somewhere around PS2.75 or maybe X-Box 350-ish level.  However, the levels are varied and expansive.  I was impressed with all the locations and environments they put into the game.  Each level is a different setting and locale, and when that is placed on top of solid shooting gameplay and good cover mechanics, you have the recipe for a fun time.

This game didn’t win any awards, and it’s not going to blow your mind, but if you can find a copy for $15 or less (and I’m sure you can) and are perhaps looking for a placeholder until the next big FPS; then with a clear conscience I can recommend you check this game out for yourself.

4Couples- It has Daniel Craig in it, that’s got to score some points with the ladies.  The game is single player only locally, with online gameplay as well.

4Kids–  The display of violence is fairly tame, bad guys fall down when you shoot them but I don’t recall any copious amounts of blood spraying out.  I’d say the T for Teens labeling is appropriate, and depending on maturity level of the child I don’t think most would be too severely corrupted by playing this game.

May
06

Haven’t updated in a while so I figured I would add a link for a chance to win a free trip to E3. A 30-second video clip… I’ll give it a shot.

http://us.playstation.com/psn/events/e3videocontest.html

-Josh

Apr
21

-By Brian

Over the many years of life I’ve gotten to enjoy as myself, I’ve come to learn a few things about me I thought I’d share.  I love giant robots, I love video games, and I love anime.  In short, I think I should have been born Japanese.

Yakuza 3 is an Action-Adventure game about a “retired” Yakuza gang member with a heart of gold.  Before my recent trip to Japan, I knew that I wanted to buy this game.  After returning from my trip to Japan, I knew I HAD to buy this game.  Once I had the game in hand, I was blown away by the level of detail Sega put into making this look and feel like Japan.  In short, it firmly sets my feet onto memory lane and my trip to Japan.

This game isn’t for everyone.  It is not Grand Theft Auto: Tokyo as so many people have proclaimed.  What it is is a beautifully detailed game with a charm and style that I simply haven’t seen in other titles for a long time.  I can’t wait to sink my teeth further into this great game.

Slightly related, below please enjoy a few snapshots of my recent vacation to Japan.  As always, please feel free to comment as well.

Club Sega

Club Sega found in Yakuza 3 or on Chuo Dori street in Akihabara in Tokyo

Twilight in Yokohama

Intense Arcade Action!!!

One of the many friends my wife and I made while there.

Apr
16

By Josh

All three of us will be playing some Battlefield: Bad Company 2 this evening around 8-9PM EDT. Hopefully Brian will get the full experience of mulitplayer.

We are all still waiting for your pictures from Japan as well!

Apr
08

By Josh

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is better than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Brian, now you have to get it.