Archives for November 2005

Green with Envy

There, I said it. I’m envious of those lucky enough to already be playing on the Xbox 360. I stated earlier that I wasn’t interested in getting an Xbox 360 at launch. I had convinced myself the launch lineup was weak, I didn’t want to wait out in the cold, I didn’t want to be nickel-and-dimed to death with the Live Marketplace, I didn’t feel like paying for old arcade games and I most certainly didn’t want to drop sixty bones a pop for games. I thought my arguments were pretty convincing. Why do I feel an empty space in my gaming soul, then? Why do I want one when there are cases of crashes, power bricks overheating, unscrupulous bundling, disc scratching, shiny graphics with shallow game play improvements?

I didn’t get a console on launch day for a number of reasons. The main one being I didn’t preorder and I didn’t want to hassle with limited supplies. I won’t go into the perceived supply shortages. Intentional or not, it looks like MS had the foresight to hold on to some extra units for replacements. And according to the mucky-mucks, there will be more arriving weekly (there’s hope for us afterall!). Nevertheless, some people had interesting experiences getting one and unfortunately others had their pre-orders cancelled. Bummer. Will has his. Lucky! Gaming Steve has some nice Best Buy launch pictures. So no launch console for me, but as I said, there’s hope! JCPenny offers this sweet deal (ht: Team Xbox). If paying four hundred dollars for a couple extra pieces of plastic and silicon doesn’t appeal to you, there is this interesting way of getting one. One could always get a Core System. Noob! This guy (ht: Pixel Dujour) speaks for a lot of gamers – I’ve got the cash but a lot of good that does me. So there’s that. A lot of people want them and not everyone is getting them.

A stroll around the gamingsphere has a lot of people gushing about the 360. Nick at G-Pinions might as well be a salesman for Microsoft. The guy’s pitch would have sold me one. Bill at Dubious Quality live-blogged his hour long sessions with most of the release titles, finishing up with his rankings. Just go to his site, scroll to the bottom and start scrolling up. Color me jealous. Apex had a lot to say (again, just start scrolling), including some things for the naysayers. There are more out there (I’ll try to add them as I find them) but it just makes me sad to read about people’s early Christmas. Let me know if you how your first week has been (so I can hate you without ever meeting you)

All the hype and excitement abound but I still haven’t completely put my finger on the true source of my yearning. I could say it’s jealousy but that’s not exactly it. I think it’s Xbox Live. Everything I’ve read about it sounds fantastic (re-read Nick’s piece). Live leader boards, game demos, classic arcade games. (I do find it ironic that the game most people gush about is not Pefect Dark Zero or King Kong, it’s Geometry Wars.) Gamer cards look awesome. Heck, I even set one up for myself even though I don’t have anything to show off. (But beware of the FBI! Right.) Anyway, I look forward to all the fragging and bragging that will go on with the new pissing contest cards. The new Xbox Live really seems to be a giant step in the right direction (even if everyone isn’t down with it). So maybe it’s more than just Live. More than just the allure of a new shiny gadget.

I want to be part of the hive. I want high scores and co-op Smash TV. I want to play on a new TV with high-definition resolution and I want to have wireless controllers and I want wireless headsets. I want I want I want. That’s just it. It’s part of my core as a gamer. I don’t want to miss out.

I want one, plain and simple.

Ugggh

Hello, America. I want to be your next President. Why should you vote for me? Look at all the things I’ve done for the children. Won’t you please think of the children?

Back in the saddle

Well, it’s back to the old grind for the buttonMasher. I’m about 5000+ posts behind with my bloglines subscriptions (why do I do that to myself?) and I still haven’t unpacked my suitcase and I’ve got to go to work tomorrow.

A lot of stuff has happened over the past week, including the Xbox 360 launch (and subsequent problems and successes), so I’ll be slowly catching up with all the goings-on in the gaming world. But I do want to remind everyone about the next Carnival of Gamers over at The Game Chair. This is the big end-of-the-year, Christmas, Xbox 360, whatever-you-want Carnival. Should be great!

I haven’t had a chance to play Mario Kart DS online for over a week so I’m looking forward to throwing down some Mario Kart soon and Animal Crossing drops soon so I’m really looking forward to some more DS gaming.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend. Feels good to be back.

Oh, and the ending of Prison Break? BIG disappointment.

Blogging will be light…

With family in town and the Thanksgiving weekend almost upon us, blogging here will be spotty at best until next week. I’m interested in seeing the reaction to the Xbox 360 launch around the gamingsphere, there won’t be much more going on here. No launch 360 for me.

I’ll be playing copious amounts of NCAA 2006 (my bro-in-law’s favorite game) and some other stuff on the side. I will hopefully be playing MKDS in the every once and a while but even that will be hard to do. I did play my first “friends” game against n0wak (the-inbetween.com). We both won two races and all four races were close. Hopefully I’ll see some of you other guys on soon!

Buckeye Blogging, Week #12 (9-2)

“Drive, drive on down the field, Men of the Scarlet and Gray!”

That’s exactly what Troy Smith and the Buckeyes did twice in the space of 6 minutes to overcome a 21-12 deficit. While Michigan played pretty good football for the first 54 minutes they didn’t step up when it mattered most. The Buckeyes defense was put in a number of sticky situations but held strong. That D is STOUT. It looked for a while like the Buckeyes were going to give another game away (see: Penn State) but Troy Smith rallied the troops. He’s easily the Buckeyes offensive MVP. And Mr. Clutch? He looks like this:

That’s clutch. Gonzales plays in the shadows of Ginn and Holmes all season but he comes through when he’s called on. He scored the first touchdown against Michigan last year and he broke their back again this year. Smith + Gonzales = Wolverine Killers.

It was a shame to see Bobby Carpenter go down in the first quarter to injury. He has been such a huge part of the D. Schlegel played his best game of the year and the Buckeyes shut down the over-rated Hart once again. What a game. Say hello to the 2005 Big Ten Champs.

So now we play the waiting game. I fully believe OSU will be going to a BCS game. I’d love to play Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, as most people are predicting. Bring ’em on and watch ’em fall. I can’t wait.

More Mario Kart

Yeah, so Mario Kart DS? It’s fun.

I think there’s a single player game but I wouldn’t know it. I also think there are unlockables to get better racers in the single player game but I’m too busy playing online to unlock them. One of these days I’ll get around to that.

There was a message on Nintendo’s forum about not sharing friend codes. I thought that was odd. I’m assuming it’s just for the Official Nintendo Forums (probably for some legal reason that defies logic), but the how do you “make” new “friends” if you can’t share your code? Anyway, like I said, I think it only affects the Nintendo.com forums, so feel free to post your friend codes here. Thanks to everyone who already has, I’ve added you and am constantly looking for a friends match! I haven’t seen anyone in my list online yet. Hopefully it’ll happen one of these days.

There is some good stuff on the forums, though. The most helpful for me was this one. Getting that super-start is crucial.

I’m also using this site to make a new logo. I’m thinking Block-O from OSU. I know, real original. I’ll post whatever I use later. Hope to see you out there!

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Mario Kart, in bed.

Remember how you thought it was funny to read your fortune from a fortune cookie and then add “in bed” at the end? “Share your happiness with others today … in bed!”

Yeah, that was funny. Anyway, I can’t tell you how fricking cool it is to play Mario Kart DS, online … in bed.

I’m an insomniac to begin with, so I’ve always played a little Game Boy Advance in bed before I turned in for the night. Now I usually play a little DS before I turn in. Before Mario Kart it was Metroid Prime Pinball. Pinball was perfect for a quick game before lights out. Now I’m playing Mario Kart, online, while I’m lying in bed. It is awesome.

In bed.

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Next Generation, here we come!

Alright, maybe not we. I don’t consider myself an early adopter. I did buy a SNES and N64 at launch but that wasn’t with my money. I didn’t, however, get a Gamecube or DS when they launched. I kept an eye on them and eventually indulged myself with the purchase. That said, I am a sucker for shiny new gadgets. As it stands right now, the Xbox 360 is the shiniest gadget out there. But I feel no compulsion to purchase one. Reasons why abound, but right now I’m just not ready to dive into the Next Generation.

The biggest reason is my current home theater situation. It’s been said in a couple places (most notably here (lame-o registration required)) that to get the full Xbox 360 effect, you’ll need an HD-capable TV. I predict a lot of disappointed kids christmas morning when they hook up up their new 360 to their non-HDTV and Call of Duty 2, which was glorious to behold at the Xbox 360 kiosk (HDTV), looks like total trash. Sure, there will be a lot of people who will upgrade their TV to an HDTV to enjoy the graphical goodness of the 360, but right now I’m not ready to invest that kind of money. I certainly want to watch TV in High Definiton. I want to watch Monday Night Football and 24 in HD. I want to watch the Discovery channel in HD. I’m not ready to make that plunge just yet. So why buy a console that I can’t even enjoy to the fullest? Especially when I have a stack of games I haven’t finished yet?

The second reason are the games. Forget for a second about backwards compatibility. How many Xbox games will actually be played on the 360? Halo 2? Sure. Anything else? Probably not. So let’s consider the 360 launch titles. I’ve had my chances to give the 360 a test drive a couple of times. The games look fabulous. Those Samsung monitors make Call of Duty look disgustingly good, I suggest to inform yourself about the top 10 gaming monitors right now so you get to have the best one. I just can’t get excited about the launch lineup. Kameo doesn’t do it for me. Neither does Perfect Dark. Project Gotham Racing looks slick but that’s about it. From the looks of it, EA’s offerings look to be craptacular. Let’s not even mention the sixty dollar price tag.

I’m also getting a little tired of all the games Microsoft may (or may not) be playing. Toying with the supply to create artificial shortages doesn’t seem like the best strategy to me. Their 360 TV commercials are meaningless and lame. All the hype they’ll be pumping through MTV and Spike TV irritate me. Maybe I’m just bitter.

Xbox Live looks like it will continue to lead the way online, but the whole micro-transactions thing doesn’t excite me. Everyone is getting excited about downloading games like Joust and Smash TV from Live Arcade. Woo! If I’m not mistaken, I can already get those (at a comparable price) to play on my current Xbox. Midway Arcade Treasures, anyone? Paint me unimpressed. (I’ll take all that back if I can play Smash TV or Off-Road multiplayer on Live. That would probably make my head explode)

But what difference does it make what I say? In the end, the Xbox 360 will sell out world-wide. Scammers will be selling empty 360 boxes on eBay for thousands of dollars. Men, young and old, will weep when EB Games doesn’t honor their pre-order. People will brawl and little children will be trampled underfoot at Wal-Mart, all for that Shiny (Green!) Gadget. What a great hobby this is!

Will I ever get a 360? Yes. If Santa comes through, I’m not kicking it out for eating crackers, if you know what I mean. Just don’t look for me waiting outside Best Buy for a 360 next Tuesday. I’ll be too busy playing Mario Kart online.

In my hands

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Impressions after The Office.

Update:

Well, as Will and Thomas have pointed out – Nintendo’s servers appear to be getting slammed. This is both good (a lot of people trying to play) and bad (they weren’t prepared for the onslaught). Come on, Nintendo! People have been clamoring for an Online Nintendo Experience for years! Anyway, I’m going to keep playing the single player game for now and I’ll try getting back online later. Wi Fi setup was pretty simple and I’m itching to get on! For those who make it on, my friend code is:

4 3 8 1 4 6
1 4 7 8 7 7

This might explain it:
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Update 2: Woohoo! I finally got into a game with other racers, racing was smooth as silk and a blast! Nevermind it took me FOREVER to finally get into a game. All that’s water under bridge. The four races were pretty competitive. I fell WAY behind in race #2 on the Rainbow Track but actually recovered to finish second. In the end, I tied another racer named Charlie (I think that was his name) for first. I wanted to continue but it’s late and my low-battery light started flashing. I will be on in the future! Let me know what kind of experiences you guys had.

See you in Wi-Fi land!

In the inbox

To paraphrase a popular song, I really don’t care much about the entire state of Michigan.