Archives For Gaming

Both Engadget and Gizmodo are live-blogging Microsoft’s opening E3 keynote… In addition to a massive Xbox 360 Dashboard UI overhaul (which I alluded to in May), Netflix-on-Xbox video streaming has been confirmed for fall. Sweet! Here’s to hoping Netflix can load up on current Hollywood hits prior to launch. Guess my Netflix Roku box is headed to ebay once we’ve completed the Battle Royale.

TV for the ADD Generation

Mari Silbey —  June 30, 2008

Being a glutton for punishment, I recorded a few of the demos and screenshots shown during Paul Kagan’s “Getting Personal” conference last week in conjunction with the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. (I’ve gotten in trouble for posting “confidential” video demos shown at conferences before.) This one comes from Ensequence, showing off some interactive TV apps used in a trial with DirecTV and Dish during the Video Game Awards. In case watching TV by itself is not enough, Ensequence demonstrates some of the promise (or distraction) of interactive television: immediate access to relevant information, the ability to collect points for rewards from sponsors, and, my favorite, access to old arcade games on a split screen. Check out the 45-second mark in the video above.

A few things have changed since the first scramble for interactive television circa the late 1990s. Cable systems have gone digital, tru2way/OCAP is a reality, and the cable and consumer electronics industries are at least attempting to play nice with each other. iTV may still be a few years out, but the pieces are falling into place.

As beautiful and cutting-edge as Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) is, after making it past the laughing Octopus stage in the second act, I abandoned the game, at least for now. This surprises even me. I have been waiting for years to play this game, but the lack of a decent checkpoint system and endless cut scenes turned me off.

Poorly Implemented Checkpoints

You cannot save MGS4 when you want and it’s checkpoints are few and far between. Adult gamers do not have endless hours, nor the desire, to replay extremely long portions of even a great game over and over.

Solid Snake being Sneaky in MGS 4When I play stealth games I want to be stealthy and play it right. This means taking my time, exploring every nook and cranny. Being sneaky. But when I sneak around for 30 minutes, successfully execute difficult maneuvers and then die, I do not want to play through the whole 30 minutes again. No game should ever force a gamer to replay more than 5 or so minutes. Period.

Yes, I could have cheated and run through sections with abandon, gunned down everyone until killed, thereby learning where all the baddies are and what their tricks are, to avoid them on the next play through. But I refuse to do that. That’s gaming the game and not playing the game. It takes all the fun out of it.

Stealth games, by definition, are designed to be played thoughtfully and slowly. The player should have a realistic chance of beating a level if they play that way. But, when they die, as they will, they shouldn’t be forced to replay the last thirty minutes or an hour to get back to where they were.

Read the rest of this entry at The Daleisphere »

Dish Team Summit Tweets

Dave Zatz —  May 18, 2008


Here’s the round-up of my Dish Team Summit Nashville trip tweets (with pics) over the last few days (minor edits for accuracy) in chronological order:

  • Forgot to print Southwest boarding pass last night, now stuck in mid-B group. Should be good enough for an aisle, but open seating is weak. (5/14)
  • Downloading Deadliest Catch via TiVoToGo for flight. Hope it finishes transferring before I need to leave. (5/14)
  • Firing up Deadliest Catch (TTG) and off to Nashville. (5/14)
  • Building booth @ Dish Team Summit, Nashville (5/15)
  • Popcorn Hour media tank @ the breakfast table. (5/15)
  • Hootie, Blowfish, and crappy iPhone camera @ Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. (5/15)
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort Internet is horrible. Both hardwired and WiFi feel like dialup. Sprint EVDO card struggling too. JoikuSpot next? (5/16)
  • TR40 renamed DTVpal and shrank 50% – (5/16)
  • Not only do I write, I can even speak – (5/16)
  • D-link’s MoCA networking and media gear – (5/16)
  • Western Digital now offering USB Dish My DVR Expander (in addition to TiVo eSATA drives) – (5/16)
  • Dish Network STB TV2 output getting UHF->IR converter. (Slingbox!) – (5/17)
  • host Charlie Ergen Q&A – (5/17)
  • Too tired for The @CableShow, so most definitely leaving Nashville for home tomorrow. Expect pics & news on EngadgetHD and from @msilbey (5/17)
  • Weak. Nashville Airport Security sponsored by – (5/18)
  • Wiis in stock at airport. ONLY as a $500 bundle. I’m calling Miyamoto to complain. – (5/18)

Done With GTA IV

Dave Zatz —  May 10, 2008

Dale still seems to be enjoying Grand Theft Auto IV, but I’ve had enough. Though sales have been HUGE, my copy of GTA IV is on the way back to Gamefly. The somewhat repetitive missions to advance the plot aren’t doing it for my short attention span. I also miss the more precise avatar combat control of Call of Duty 4 (or even Halo) and the driving control of Burnout Paradise over GTA IV. As I’ve done with previous editions of GTA, I dropped the story mode, acquired a small arsenal, found well-defended locations, and took out law enforcement. But that’s only fun for so long. Other nits: Text is too small and the environments are often too dark – even with the in-game brightness cranked.

Sony’s announced their PS3 PlayTV accessory will be available this September for 99 Euros (~$150 USD). PlayTV consists of dual DVB-T tuners, enabling both PS3 DVR functionality and placeshifting to the PSP. Last100 raises some pertinent questions: Can television be recorded during gameplay? Can PS3 hard drive capacity be increased? (40-80GB won’t hold much HD content…) Sony hasn’t revealed plans for an ATSC (or other) model in the US market… Unlike the UK Freeview phenomenon, I’m not sure how much demand we have here for a purely OTA-based DVR.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 4, 2008

A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our other blogs: