I’m back to podcasting.
I give my thoughts on the reveal of the third Xbox console from Microsoft.
I’m back to podcasting.
I give my thoughts on the reveal of the third Xbox console from Microsoft.
I must admit, as a life-long gamer I never thought we’d be where we are now. Playing Super Mario Brothers on the NES was all that for sure, but games got bigger, better, and had higher functionality.
In 2001, the Xbox debuted from Microsoft going head to head with the Nintendo Gamecube and Playstation 2. While it was obvious that PS2 would win that generation on console alone, the Xbox would have another trick up its sleeve a year later that would put them ahead going into the current generation of systems.
In the summer of 2002, I was having a blast with the Xbox. NHL Hitz was the first game I had played on it. Halo was purchased at launch as well, and it changed everything. It was graphically superior to anything I’d ever seen. You could even play with up to 16 players by hooking up multiple Xboxes to a LAN. There was also great games like NFL 2k2 and Morrowind.
I had signed up to become part of a massive beta test for Microsoft’s Online Network. It was something that was going to revolutionize gaming. In July of 2002, I remember waking up for work, checking my email and being ecstatic as I was chosen to be part of the first wave of beta testers for what would be called Xbox Live. There were only 5000 chosen for the first wave of beta testers and while this number expanded over the course of 60 days, I was among the very first.
The email informed me that over the next couple weeks, I’ll receive a package with everything I needed to get my Xbox online. When I did, I remember seeing a lot of orange. The packaging to the headset, the t-shirt, the bag, and the disc cover were all orange. It was a great day. It also came with beta versions of the game Re-Volt, which was also on Dreamcast, as well as a copy of NFL Fever 2002 featuring Peyton Manning.
I was given a set of instructions an went to town, downloading information onto the Xbox. After the initial setups I was in a room of 7 other people gearing up to race in Re-Volt. Everyone was happy, excited and eager to play. You didn’t hear any name calling and angry racists like you do now. It was adults who were respectful and grateful for this amazing opportunity.
Re-Volt wasn’t the greatest game ever, far from it in fact. However, just to play something online with others simultaneously and without lag, all while being in constant vocal communication was out of this world.
Throughout the 60 day beta testing period, there were more discs sent with updates and improvements. We also got a few other things in the mail like an orange memory card. There was a lot of communication from Microsoft via surveys that we filled out to provide input on service improvement. I like to think I supplied vital information that helped mold Xbox Live into what it is today.
On November 15, 2002, the service went live for anyone with an Xbox console. Mech Assault was probably the first game I played on the service. I honestly don’t remember enjoying it that much, but I know it came early on.
Other great memories came from Xbox Live over the last 10 years. Here’s what sticks out the most for me:
- NHL 2k3: Not only was EA Sports nearly irrelevant when it came to quality hockey games at the time, 2k was really finding its stride with an epic game of simulation sports. Hockey was no disappointment. NHL 2k3 was online and amazing. As with many sports games, my website hosted a league for it. Even just playing co-op on the same console against random opponents online was a blast.
- Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow: The ultimate game of balance for 2 on 2 stealth game play. Spies versus Mercenaries is still one of my all time favorite games to play online. It required significant team work and while we frequently had an advantage by playing on XBL with 2 televisions for maximum vision, we still enjoyed this game for years.
- Halo 2: When a sequel to Halo was announced, details revealed an online component that was even more massive than its predecessor, but it would be on Xbox Live. I logged nearly 3000 games of Halo 2 according to Halo Waypoint, but less than 500 for Halo: Reach. That’s how good Halo 2 was.
Those are the games that stood out but there are countless memories from Xbox Live. I routinely play EA’s NHL series online. The arcade section has expanded tremendously, and there are apps that run music and Netflix.
It was also announced this week that the longest tenured XBL members may be receiving 10th anniversary Xbox 360 consoles as a thank you for their commitment. No one has been a part of XBL longer than I have…..fingers crossed.
Happy 10th anniversary Xbox Live. You are the superior online service, and it is not even close.
On a day when the NCAA handed down one of the most unprecedented punishments to Penn State University, I’m surprisingly not going to weigh in with my thoughts. SImply put, it is disgusting and no matter what the NCAA ruled, it wasn’t enough. Nothing could be enough.
In news that doesn’t make my blood boil, EA Sports has announced it will not extend the NCAA Football franchise’s exclusive rights when it expires in 2014. This means that anyone else would be allowed to create an NCAA football game if they acquire the license to make it.
This comes in conjunction with a long standing lawsuit from consumers over the legality of exclusive deals with Madden and the NCAA. The settlement will pay out a few bucks to those who purchased football games since 2006. It also means EA Sports cannot sign an exclusive agreement with the Arena Football League, which most people probably weren’t even aware still existed anyway.
The better news for consumers is that the possibility of multiple NCAA Football games will soon exist. It doesn’t mean EA Sports will discontinue the franchise. In fact, it is entirely possible they still don’t have competition. It opens the door for 2K Sports to get back into football however. It is widely debated that NFL 2k5 remains the greatest football game ever. In fact, it is said that NFL 2k5 (and its $20 price tag at the time) was the reason EA Sports signed the deal with the NFL.
As a longtime NCAA Football fan, this is great news to me. The game has grown terribly stale. Defense is still deplorable (and identical to the past five iterations), the AI can’t run or defend the option properly and bugs continue to plague the series at launch each year. In fact, NCAA 12 was NEVER fixed despite several patches.
NCAA 13 was released recently to a mostly negative reaction from reviewers and fan forums. Madden has made minor positive strides after a few extremely lackluster years and NCAA fans appear to be fed up with it. The most enjoyable NCAA I can remember is still on the last generation Xbox.
Knowing the option for improved and alternate NCAA Football games in a couple years is a great feeling. Now if only SOMEONE would put an NCAA Basketball game on the market.
It has been rigorously tested via beta, and has been several months in the making, but Dawnguard, the first major DLC for Skyrim makes its way to the Xbox 360 tomorrow. It’s so big that it is being compared to the Oblivion DLC, Knights of the Nine…..doubled.
The gist of the content is to make a choice of whether to join a group of vampires, or join the vampire hunters known as Dawnguard. Extra skill trees will be added, new locations can be found, combat on horses will take place, and a new “Legendary” dragon will appear.
I’m certainly not the only one who is excited about the release. However, I’m probably not the only one who will be picking up Skyrim for the first time in awhile as well.
My first play through was nearly 120 hours, and I came nowhere near finishing the game. When Dawnguard hits the Xbox Marketplace, I’ll be starting a brand new adventure from the very beginning. I did the same thing with Oblivion and Fallout 3. With nothing of major interest to me until September, this should satisfy my gaming time.
It may be several weeks before I come across anything related to this quest, but rest assured, I’ll get there.
Here’s a quick rundown of Microsoft’s press conference from today’s first full day of E3….and here is a link to the Press Conference video.
The press conference opened with a trailer for a visually stunning Halo 4. Master Chief returns to the franchise and sees a covenant ship above him. That is followed by a giant ball with an internal orange glow. It leads to showing a brand new species of enemy. They crawl fast and feature what appears to be teleportation, invisibility and new weapons. Hopefully this is MUCH less annoying than the flood from previous iterations of the game.
During the trailer, we got a look at actual game play. It featured the new species causing Master Chief to lose his weapons for a brief time. We got to see him punch the enemy with his armor covered hand.
A “Light rifle” was left by this species and the game play showcased the player using it. It ended with Master Chief using infrared vision to see over 20 enemies crawling around.
Cortana will play a major role in the story it appears as well.
Halo 4 releases on November 6, 2012.
Up next was the 6th installment to the Splinter Cell series called Blacklist. The trailer shows actual game play with Sam Fisher on the Iran/Iraq boarder. We see what appears to be queued up attacks where multiple enemies are highlighted and a slow motion cinematic shows Sam killing them in order.
The game will feature Kinect voice overs. An example used was Sam hanging off the side of a building below an enemy and the gamer saying “hey you”, essentially causing the enemy to be distracted. It also featured the player calling for an airstrike audibly.
The Ubisoft representatives said game modes will include single player, co-op, and the return of one of the best game modes in history…Spy v. Mercs.
Spy v. Mercs was last featured in Double Agent and was unfortunately poorly implemented. Back when it was in Pandora Tomorrow and Choas Theory, it was an unprecedented experience with perfectly balanced game play and 2 on 2 action.
Next up, Andrew Wilson, the head of EA Sports took the stage to talk about Madden 13 and Fifa 13. It was exclusively to discuss the additions for Kinect.
Fifa was shown first and the demonstrations involved voice commands for substitutions, formation changes, and simple commands such as through passes. The game could also hear disappointment in your voice if you were mad at the virtual referee. This could lead to potential yellow cards I suppose. It didn’t seem like anything ground breaking, but a nice touch.
For Madden, Joe Montana came out to demonstrate Kinect. We already know legends are in this game and his likeness was prominently displayed on the screen. Montana showed examples of using your voice to call an audible, hurry up offense, and individual players on the offense. You can even have them snap the ball audibly. This was executed poorly in my opinion as there was a massive delay in the “hike” call and the actual snap of the ball. By the way, this is one of my biggest gripes with Kinect. Something that takes THAT long to register isn’t an effective gaming tool.
Madden releases on August 28th.
So now we get Kinect shoved down our throats even more with a trailer featuring a player going all Ryu/Ken from Street Fighter II on the screen with a fireball. The game is for Fable: The Journey. Not only does this game probably going to be a massive disappointment like every other game in the series has been, but Kinect integration does nothing for me here either.
Basic game play was featured and we know it will get a holiday 2012 release.
This was immediately followed up with a more than brief trailer that essentially announced Gears of War: Judgement, the 4th of the series set for a late 2013 release.
Forza: Horizon followed at we got a very visually appealing look at the popular racer. Much of the game was shown transitioning from day to night. It looks fantastic though this is far from my genre. Release date is October 23.
Up next we got a 10 minute display of Xbox Kinect featuring voice commands and the new and easier way to search for content. I gotta tell you, this bored me to tears. A good portion of the search features that were executed could be done via controller at the same or even faster pace. As before, I’m not sold on Kinect, and this certainly didn’t help. This was by far the low point of the press conference.
35 new apps will be added to the market place soon, four of them were announced here. Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima (which got an awesome crowd reaction) and Univision will be added.
More sports channels are coming and NBA Game Time and NHL Game Center are leading the charge. The subscription based services are a nice addition, but it’s nothing I can’t access through my TV with a much better quality. NHL Center Ice on DirecTV is an annual purchase for me to see Blue Jackets games and this will not change my mind.
Watch ESPN is coming soon to grant Xbox Live users full access to the entire family of ESPN networks.
Finally, Xbox Music, a new way to listen to music and integrate it through other devices showed us nothing of note and certainly nothing impressive.
A trailer for Nike + Kinect Training was also featured. I’m torn on this because I think it could potentially work well, but then I remember that Kinect kind of sucks. The idea is that Kinect can tell whether you are doing the work out properly and tell you how much of a workout you’ve done. You can also go on Xbox Live and workout with friends and see your Nike + score, kind of a fitness score. This could be a fantastic fitness program, but I can’t imagine it will be implemented to the point of replacing a real workout.
Xbox SmartGlass is a feature that was demonstrated that involves turning your television into a “smart TV”. The idea is to utilize your smart phone and/or tablet with the TV. A couple demonstrations showed Game of Thrones being played on the Xbox. On the tablet was a map showing exactly where the characters on the TV show were.
Another example utilized Madden 13 having the player create his own play on a tablet and then executing that play within the game.
It was also announced under the Xbox SmartGlass section that Internet Explorer is coming to the console. Yes, apparently there are people who still use that browser. The example shown was using your cell phone as the mouse to surf the internet with a feel that is ridiculously better than what Wii or PS3 allow.
If you’ve paid attention, you know that Tomb Raider is getting a complete makeover for the upcoming game. Lara Croft looks completely different and the game will be much more advanced. Today we got some pretty sick looking game play footage.
Lara’s cross bow and shotgun were shown off as well as the ability to hit surrounding object to cause damage. For example, sending fire arrows into gasoline, or shooting a building support to crash into a stack of barrels. This looks like a huge step forward for the Tomb Raider series. It was also announced that the first set of DLC will come out on Xbox first.
Three quick trailers were up back to back…Ascend: New Gods….looks like it went out of it’s way to showcase blood. 2013 release.
LocoCycle...No clue. It shows a bike and a voice over talking about a girl doing a mile in 20 seconds. 2013 release.
Matter for Kinect. Looks like Marble Madness….2013 release.
Capcom then presented Resident Evil 6. Unfortunately, there was nothing visually impressive here. It felt like a generic zombie killer type game. The only thing I came away intrigued with is the on screen button timing. An example is shooting past a hostage where a quick meter came on the screen and you had to time the trigger pull to hit the gunman.
Wreckateer, an XBLA game for Kinect. Looks like a 3rd person rip off of Angry Birds. Using a catapult or giant sling shot, you try to take out castles. Available this summer. I cringed at the way it ripped off Angry Birds.
South Park: The Stick of Truth…”Featuring YOU”. March 5th 2013.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone come out explain the game. The game LOOKS like South Park. I mean it looks like you are playing the cartoon. They explain the map of South Park, and how you are attempting to become the 5th boy in the group. I have high hopes for this game.
Dance Central 3…oh boy. Where to begin? This genre of game is something I truly hate. I don’t know why, I just hate it. Usher came out to demonstrate moves in the game. Instead we got a 3 minute concert filled with dancing. It wasn’t until the end when they actually showed the game on the big screen and Usher doing the same moves. Except they weren’t even close to being in sync most of the time. It really was a failure of a segment, but I suppose if you’re a fan of Usher it was pretty cool to see him.
Finally, the presser ended with another big game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The trailer showed some single player game play which took place in down town Los Angeles in 2025. You are transporting the female President of the United States through the war zone that is L.A. We see some sniping action on a destroyed freeway and some fire fights in a detailed shopping mall right next to Staples Center. We also got a brief look at flying an aircraft over the city.
This game releases on November 13 of this year with Xbox getting first rights at DLC.
Overall, this was a mediocre press conference, namely because of the heavy focus on the gimmicky Kinect. I think Kinect is massively overrated and developers are putting too much time and money into incorporating games for it.
+ Halo 4. No bigger exclusive for Xbox and while I’m skeptical of Microsoft taking control of the franchise from Bungie, this trailer blew everything else out of the water. The game play is solid and features a ton of subtle new game features.
+ Splinter Cell Multiplayer returns. Spies versus Mercenaries is one of the all time great multiplayer modes in gaming and with this being confirmed, I have high hopes this will be implemented properly for the 2nd game on Xbox with this mode. Do it right Ubisoft.
+ Tomb Raider. It’s not the same Lara Croft, but this game has me excited. I see a lot of Uncharted in this game.
- Anything with Kinect. I have yet to see anything come close to changing my mind about Kinect…and yes, I’ve used Kinect before on multiple occasions.
- Dance Central 3. What the hell happened here? This was a terrible segment that may not have been executed properly.
Missing in action:
- Bioshock Infinite, where was this? I was expecting a full blown trailer with new game play footage and a huge new announcement.
I’ll have my thoughts on other conferences throughout the week.
So, what did you think of what Xbox brought to the table?
The annual releasing of sports games has been going on for over 20 years now. It can be argued that no game really benefits from this type of release. Just look at Madden and NCAA Football as prime examples of games who have been negatively impacted by annual releases. The money is made by game publishers for annual releases and that is the bottom line. Unfortunately for EA’s NHL series, this is also the case.
As I’ve mentioned before, NHL is a game I get every year without hesitation because I know I’ll play it more than any other. The series has been high quality since NHL 07′s complete overhaul on Xbox 360. They’ve even made significant strides since then.
NHL 12 introduced goaltenders who can be hit, net battles, and um…goalie fighting. A pretty substandard year as far as new gameplay features are concerned.
So as we are now halfway through the game’s life cycle and I really question how good NHL 12 actually is. I’ll start with the meat of the game, online team play.
I’m more and more convinced that the guys at EA Vancouver have either never seen a hockey game, or are dead set on making it impossible for the defense to be effective. I should preface this by saying I play this game to simulate a real hockey game. I want to cycle the puck, make smart hockey plays and simply play it the right way. I have 800 games played and I have a vast knowledge of the sport.
First off, the glitches. My goodness these have become bad. I’ll start with the worst offender…the goaltender simply doesn’t hold the post on the short side. It’s incredibly frustrating to see this exploited on a regular basis. Despite playing optimal defense and keeping the shooter to the outside, they manage to score a ridiculously high percentage of the time.
How about the pull back wrister that has more or less been in the game for 4 years now? How is this still in the game??? First off, no one pulls the puck back like that in real life. Secondly, why does the goaltender wave and miss and this shot so often? I get the fact that being in the slot should create greater shooting percentages but going 4 for 4 isn’t right.
Many will say “play better defense.” Yeah? I think my defense is just fine. I rarely go for a hit, I play positional and yet the stupidest shots still go in. I shouldn’t have to get to a certain spot on the ice and prevent an easy shot from being taken. I want to play hockey, not “stop the cheater.”
Defense is so non-existant in this game as well. The game is so offensively slanted it is insulting. Poke checking, even with a stat category of 99 is incredibly difficult. Stick lifting, which was admittedly overpowering in NHL 11, is simply useless in this game. Even positional defense doesn’t work because highly rated skaters can just do figure-eights all day long and wait to make their move, all while staying on their skates and never losing an edge.
The offense was helped out even more by the fact that passes are no longer bobbled like they were in NHL 11. In fact, last year’s passing was the best the series ever saw. If you powered up a pass for too long, the recipient would likely have issues corralling it depending on their hand-eye stat. This year, you can charge a pass as long as you want and they will receive it with no problem. Simply put, this was a terrible decision.
Speaking of creating your online player…Remember the first couple weeks of the release? The game played great and at a realistic speed. This is because most of the XP wasn’t earned yet. Now it is an end to end circus with players who have perfect balance and puck control. One of the best things they can do is significantly reduce the amount of XP earned. You shouldn’t be able to max 6 or 7 categories in your stats. This is a major offender when it comes to game play.
There are so many things that bug me in this game but I thought I’d mention the significant ones. However, I’d be doing a disservice if I failed to mention the A.I. in online team play. Is it really hard to make them actually play defense when they are assigned that spot? They are rarely in position, and they get beat so badly at the blue line. On offense, they shoot the puck every time they touch the puck and make no effort to do anything else. It really is atrocious that we’ve gotten to this point.
After seeing this, you’re probably wondering why I play such a shoddy product. The truth is that the game can be fun. When you aren’t playing against a team of exploiters and cheaters, it really is an enjoyable game.
Now I’ve given up on playing the other portions of the game. For some reason they dedicate so much time to adding legend mode and the money grabbing Hockey Ultimate Team. Franchise mode is pretty decent with the right sliders but after 29 games, I couldn’t advance the schedule due to a freeze.
If this series would not be forced to meet a September release deadline, perhaps they could fix these issues that have been plaguing the series for years now. I can’t for the life of me believe these games are being tested. If EA really believe this is how hockey is when it comes to the glitches I’ve mentioned above, we have some bigger problems. Of course a lack of competition in the video hockey market is an obvious factor.
Excuse me for my absence from JK Gaming and Sports this week. Wife is out of town, I’m shuttling kids to school and my Little League team began practicing this week.
- In the minimal free time I’ve had recently, I sat down to try out the Tiger Woods ’13 demo. In short, I mostly enjoyed it. The difficulty has been improved tremendously and it feels like you actually earn every shot you succeed at, something that wasn’t true of any previous iteration.
- I’ll no longer be PS3-less next week.
- I can’t possibly be the only one who didn’t know that MLB played regular season games in Tokyo right? I’m super thrilled for all the great opening games next week, but it seems like no one told me that Seattle and Oakland were playing a pair. Then again, it is Seattle and Oakland….so….
- The NHL playoffs are less than 2 weeks away and I cannot wait to break down all of the match ups, stay tuned.
- The NFL made minor rule changes but the most significant is that regular season overtimes will now use the 2 year old playoff overtime rule. No longer can you kick a field goal on the first possession of OT and win. Now if we can just eliminate ties in the NFL. It’s funny that the NHL, a league that was notorious for having ties, eliminated them but the NFL still has them on occasion.
- Finally, it is Final Four weekend. Enough said.
The headline, while not misleading, may have you thinking of a number of ways that Sony fails. That list is definitely a long one, especially when it comes to the Playstation 3 console. I have no problem declaring the Xbox 360 to be the superior console on the market today, and honestly don’t even think it is close. Both have their problems, but I’ve added another to Sony’s side this week.
Somewhere between 3 and 4 years ago, I purchased a used PS3 on Ebay for extremely cheap. I did so with the sole intention of purchasing the only good baseball game available, MLB: The Show (to this day that still remains true about baseball games). The Show is exclusive to the PS3. I still have no regrets about it because The Show is easily the best sports sim on any console that I’ve played. Also, having the Blu-Ray inside was a great bonus as well.
Last year around this time, a few weeks after MLB 11 came out, there was a major problem with my PS3. The yellow light of deathoccurred. This is the equivalent to Xbox 360′s semi-more frequent red light that occurred on the first version console.
With a brand new game stuck inside the console, I called Sony to request service. Having no warranty off a console that I purchased on Ebay, I expected to pay for it. $129.00 was the bill. More than half what I paid for the system…awesome. They paid for the shipping but it took over a week for me to even receive the box. After sending it out, it was another week before their warehouse received it.
This was frustrating to say the least. 2 weeks after the problem and Sony hadn’t touched the console yet. After another full week of having it in their possession, I got an email with a tracking number. Finally, they are shipping me my PS3. It took another week and it finally arrived. When it came, I immediately discovered they shipped me a different console. It was the same model, but definitely a different console.
One month of waiting seems like forever when my favorite sports game is out and am unable to play it. I’ve sent my 360 to Microsoft on more than one occasion and had a 10-14 day turn around….more on this below.
Fast forward to this week and my frustrations return. Upon turning the PS3 on, I get a blank screen with my television telling me there is no signal. I tried 3 different HDMI cords, 2 A/V cords, 2 tv’s, and nothing worked. I tried every fix available on the internet without so much as a blip on the screen.
I called Sony and got a hold of someone who sounded like she was incapable of having a conversation without her screen telling her exactly what to say. We went through all the troubleshooting options, each of which I already did, and discovered that I needed to send it to Sony for repair. The cost? $129.00.
Does this price ever go down? We are on the verge of the next generation of console and gaming companies are still charging about half price of a new console for repair.
I asked her to confirm the date in which I last sent in my PS3 for repair, and she told me a date I already knew. Indeed it was LESS THAN 1 YEAR AGO.
You’ll have to forgive me as I believe that is an insufficient amount of time to be forced to pay “full price” for another repair. I’m told that the 90 day warranty from the repair is all they give. 90 days is nothing. I wonder how many PS3 owners have ever used this 90 day repair warranty. I’m guessing a handful at most.
I told the representative that this was absurd. 4 times over the next 2-3 minutes she told me “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do”. I feel bad for customer service reps when people yell at them in anger because it isn’t really their fault. However, I have a much better understanding as to why customers get mad….the reps aren’t apologetic at all. They are reading their scripts and show zero human emotion at all. That, to me, is offensive and as a customer, makes me feel unimportant.
After asking for a reference number for the call, so I could call back later to get right back into it, I thought it over for a bit. I decided I’m not going to pay $129 for a system that worked for 11.5 months (minus the 2+ weeks of shipping and the 3 months of sitting dormant after I got rid of The Show). Surely I could talk to someone and try and get this outrageous asking price down to the $50-70 range.
I talked to a
robot gentleman and gave him the reference number and explained everything I had told the previous rep. He told me all the same stuff and I then asked if there was anything at all he could do for me. Of course he said no and that the $129 is set in stone, no exceptions.
I asked to speak to someone else who might have more authority to help. I did this all while staying as polite as possible without pissing anyone off…even though they had done a terrible job of returning the favor. This clearly wasn’t part of his script because in a completely nervous voice he asked “Uh….who would you like to talk to?”
I bet the janitor could do a better job of helping, how about sending him my way.
I said just give me a supervisor or manager. After a few minutes of Sony advertising, I was directed to a man who actually sounded like he gave a damn for a brief second. After I told him my problem, he stood firm in telling me it would be $129 and went through the whole 90 day crap.
I asked him if he thought it was absurd that if an essentially new console stopped working 91 days after I had paid $129 to have it fixed, that I’d have to pay the same amount again. He went on some spiel about how if his PS3 was in this situation that even he would have to pay full price to have it fixed. Well, good for you buddy. Way to make yourself sound real important in front of the customer. I also didn’t ask about you and your console.
I thanked him for his time, but ended my saying I won’t be giving them any money to fix this thing twice in a single year.
I was stunned at the sheer unapologetic answers and unwillingness to help that Sony was. It is really that much to ask that a system work for 1 calendar year? Technically, it could break 4 times in a year and you’d have to pay for a repair every single time. That is outrageous.
Even Microsoft sent me a brand new generation Xbox 360 after I had three separate issues with my system. Those were all with no charge too.
I quickly found many reputable 3rd party companies that specialize in fixing gaming systems. One stuck out with overwhelmingly positive reviews and I went with them after a few hours of research. As I type, my system is en route to RSOL PC. I’ll discuss my thoughts on their service in the near future, but so far, it’s been a good experience.
I thought I might as well start at the point where my gaming experience originated with the Atari video game system. As a child of somewhere between 4 and 6, the Atari was my first gaming system. Sure it is primitive, but at the time it was something different and unique.
I must confess that the system I had was not the original Atari 2600, which featured the wooden casing, 2600 junior which was a very cheap 3rd edition of the system. It was released in 1985.
This was gaming simplicity at its finest. The controller was a simple joystick that had a single button to accompany it. Games were mostly blips on the screen that had minimal objectives, though some games do stand out…and I’ll share those later. I should also note that due to my young age, or small hands or for whatever reason that seems odd now, I held the controller upside-down. The reason for this was for closer placement of the button. The button was in the top left corner and for some reason, I thought it felt better to have the button in the bottom right so I could use my left hand with the joystick. Apparently, I knew what I was doing since nearly every controller design now has the d-pad or stick on the left.
My style of holding the joystick also meant I had to play every single game with an inverted X and Y axis. I don’t know how I managed to do it, and I certainly could never train myself to do it now, but in retrospect that was quite a feat.
128 colors and graphics that made the NES look like something from the year 2025, the Atari 2600 wasn’t flashy. It did the job however, and that was more than enough.
Pitfall was probably the best known game for the system. It was the 2nd highest selling game for the system behind the extremely disappointing game Pac-Man. Pitfall was also a unique side scrolling adventure game.
Essentially you had 20 minutes to cross ponds of alligators, jump scorpions, and maneuver around other obstacles without dying. You are supposed to find 32 treasures and achieve the highest score possible. I remember playing this game more than any other.
Another classic favorite of mine was the puzzle game Q-Bert. I remember getting tens of levels deep and spending countless hours trying to figure out how to complete levels that continued the climb in difficulty.
With all the great games this system produced, I’d be doing a disservice by not admitting that I owned what many consider the worst game ever made….E.T. Not only the worst game, but almost single-handedly destroying the Atari company and the future of video games altogether.
I never really knew what I was doing. I remember running around with E.T. and constantly having play halted because I fell in a giant pit. Getting out of these things were massive chores. Then when I did get out, 5 seconds later I got to do it all over again. What fun!
There’s so many great memories with this system and a large number of games that I had a ton of fun with. Playing Combat with 2 players, getting to an impossible level in Moon Patrol, and controlling Snoopy in The Red Baron were great times.
It’s certainly not the best time I’ve had in video gaming, but it was my first time. Sure the games are almost all terrible now and have little to no replay value compared to games even a few years later, but at 5 years of age, there was nothing like it.
As I fall more and more into routine with this game, it has become extremely familiar to it’s predecessors. I’m also loving it more and more.
I’ll start with ball physics that are making things happen that I didn’t see in previous iterations. Balls in the dirt bounce much more unpredictably when the catcher attempts to block them. No longer are we forced to endure the ball going completely to the backstop or bounce right in front of the catcher. I’ve seen the ball go to several different spots from in front of the catcher, to the side, straight up, and half way back. It’s a great variety with runners on base as it makes you decide whether to advance or not…a decision that was obvious last season.
Off the bat, the ball continues to amaze me as well. The back spin on the ball is incredible when it hits the ground. It’s also good on come-backers to the pitcher. I had the bases loaded with 1 out and hit a one hopper back to the mound. It hit the pitcher and bounced to his left where the first baseman picked it up and tossed it to the plate for the force out. Very cool if you ask me.
I’ve continued to play Diamond Dynasty and am disliking it more and more. It’s an overwhelming mess when it comes to the setup. There seems to be no organization to the mode. It is such a hassle to put players into your lineup, move them to and from reserves, and manage your Major Leaguers. It’s also ridiculous that your starting pitchers lose a game played when they aren’t starting, thus making rotations meaningless.
I tried an online DD game for the first time and it was horrid. While the lag honestly wasn’t bad at all, there is a massive delay in the timing when it comes to swinging. This is completely unacceptable. Anything shy of offline timing isn’t good enough. How can you play baseball like this? If you aren’t swinging before you know where the pitch is, you’ll be late and miss. This leads to the pitcher throwing nothing but pitches way out of the zone because they know you’ll have to swing if you want to make contact. By the 3rd inning, it’s simply a random guessing game with no skill involved. The Show’s weakest spot has always been online play and this year appears to be no different. What a shame.
I think it’s great that the classic stadium pack continues to be unlocked for those who paid for it in previous games. I bought it in MLB 10 and they were unlocked last year and this year as well. Why can’t other companies follow suit….I’m looking at you EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA.
I jumped into a play now game (I won’t start a franchise until Operationsports.com’s full minors rosters are released in a few weeks). I played Oakland at Chicago Cubs with me controlling the Cubbies. I used analog pitching, analog + zone hitting, and everything on All-Star. I also lowered a few sliders one click, mostly everything that has to do with speed.
I got destroyed 5-0 but I left a lot of runners on base. I was also trying out a few things that I wouldn’t have done in a franchise game. Unlike a lot of gamers, I want the game to be as difficult as possible and present the biggest challenge without feeling like I was cheated. Winning 120 franchise games means the difficulty is not hard enough.
As before, you can save the game highlight reel to your PS3 dashboard and upload to youtube. Check it out:
I still have yet to play a co-op game, but the remainder of time before I start my franchise will be dedicated to finding the perfect sliders and trying to endure Road to the Show games. I’ll also try to improve my Challenge of the Week status.
So far so good when it comes to MLB 12. This game continues to get better and better and is showing why it is the premiere baseball game every single year.