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Fri, 11 Apr 2008 20:08:00

Things I meant to post over the last week

1. The Swayze is responding well to treatment.  Go Swayze.  It’s time to not be nice to that cancer.

2. Bret and the girls wrecked the house they were staying in, and VH1 didn’t bother to buy the promised insurance.  Gee, what a surprise.  VH1 is an irresponsible organization and those whores have about as much respect for property as they do for themselves.  Oh and Bret Michaels is a douchebag.

3. Is PC gaming dead?  Hell yes it is.  I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: PC gaming is a never-ending cycle of upgrades and driver problems.  Every two or three years, the latest and greatest game will require a new graphics card.  The high end is always brutal, cost-wise.  $500 bucks.  A really good latest-gen upper midrange card goes about $200-$250.  Budget cards worth buying are $175.

On the off years when you aren’t upgrading video cards, you need to upgrade your CPU to keep up with the video card you plan to get next year.  And every so often you’ll need a new motherboard.  And fans will burn out.  Power supplies go bad.  Your entire PC will be replaced a part at a time over a three-to-five year lifespan, and while you can build a rig for a grand, if you want a good rig you’ll be spending about two grand.  Or just buy a whole new rig every three years.  For $2000.

OR...you could buy an Xbox 360 for $250-$400 (depending on the model) and be done with it.  Add in a second controller and a year of Xbox Live and you still can’t break $700.  Done and dusted.  The games rock.  If online is your thing there is no better matchmaking right now than Live.  It’s simple, easy, and like they always say about Macs, it just works.  Except for the red rings of death.  But they’re doing what they can to make good on those problems.

Maybe the PS3 is more your speed.  Do it.  It’s the best Blu-Ray player around right now, and you get to play MGS and SOCOM.  I’m not dying for a PS3, but when we get an HD TV, I may look at it just for the movie capability.  And SOCOM.  :)

4. Brokeback Mountain is a shit film, regardless of its alleged social import.  Rann nails the very exact thing that I complained about when I first saw it: These are two lying pieces of shit who destroyed their families because they were too cowardly to be who they were.  The fact that they are gay is not a reason to justify that they are lying cheaters.  They are not heroes, and the movie did nothing to frame gay people as normal in the minds of AJMG (Average Joe Movie Goer).  Plus it was plodding, boring, an hour too long and slower than dial-up internet access. It was poorly directed and poorly edited.  Fuck Brokeback Mountain.


Posted by JimK at 08:08 PM on April 11, 2008
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Comments:

#1  Posted by Noblebrown United States on 04/11 at 09:59 PM -

Is PC gaming dead? No, and it never will be.

Why? Because computer will always be multifunction devices. With your computer, whether it’s a souped-up rig or a dumpster-diver eMachine, will always be able to do far more overall than any console. Hop online, edit movies, manage photos, 3D modeling, etc, etc, etc, and play some games, too.

Now, if you’re saying that hardcore PC gaming is dead, well...you’re wrong again. Consoles are good. Consoles are fun. But consoles are not nearly as flexible and do not let you do anywhere near as much as the computer. A lot of the hardcore gamer crowd build their own rigs, tweak, overclock, and otherwise modify their machines. That’s part of the fun. Consoles are locked down and constantly discourage that kind of thing outside of a few sterile, if useful areas. In addition, some games are simply better on the computer while some are better on the console. I remember running GTA 1 on a PS1 emulator. I had to get a PS 1-style controller to play it because the keyboard was too awkward. However, I’ve never been able to get used to a controller for a FPS. A mouse is just more accurate.  In addition, any game that requires any real amount of text input or constant selection of items, abilities, etc sucks on a controller unless someone made a very damned good interface. Each has their strength, and you don’t need to spend money out the wazoo to play the latest games, nor do you have to play them at the highest detail settings. Plus, you can always resell old parts on eBay or Craigslist to recoup some of the money. Hardcore PC gaming may lose some popularity to consoles, but it’s not going to die anytime soon.

JimK#2  Posted by JimK United States on 04/11 at 10:46 PM -

I used to make ALL those arguments.  Then I got off the treadmill.  My wallet thanks me daily.

I’m *sure* there will be the one-off game on the PC that will interest me (like Crysis) but the cost is just too. damn. much.  Plus all that driver trouble makes me mental.

#3  Posted by Buzzion United States on 04/11 at 11:30 PM -

2.

From the article

Sahranavard found holes in the walls and ceilings, the doors had been removed, most of his grass and outdoor plants had died, and the interior of the home had been almost entirely repainted.

Does that mean that the carpeting belonged to this guy?

#4  Posted by Noblebrown United States on 04/11 at 11:41 PM -

To each their own. My system hasn’t given me any driver troubles yet, but I think the wife’s machine has a bad video card. I’ll RMA it as soon as I get ahold of a decent interim card. Choose components carefully and you can minimize the troubles.

And it’s not like consoles don’t have their fun issues. Just look at the goddamned XBox 360 and all the fun with that. MS was already losing money on it, but now they’re losing a fuckton more because of the extended warranty for defective units, of which there are many.

miguelito#5  Posted by miguelito United States on 04/12 at 01:50 AM -

Allow me to save time on the gaming thread and just say ditto to Jim’s reply in slot #2 above. :)

The exact same thinking is exactly why I have both a Tivo S3 in my living room, and an HD in my bedroom (when I wanted HD in there).  I periodically look at mythTV and it’s just really cool and all.. but I KNOW that it will just suck a chunk out of my life.  I won’t be able to stop myself from playing with things on it to push the envelope time and time again, and likely breaking things.  It wouldn’t be worth doing a myth setup with a honking massive server in my home office that does the recording (on multiple HD cards of course for recording multiple shows at once in HD) with lightweight front-ends.  But in the end.. I deal with computer crap all day (and then some) at work, and just got tired of dealing with the same stuff at home… so while they might not have all the bells and whistles, I’m more then satisfied with my Tivos with cablecards for now.  Oh, and an AppleTV for some stuff too. :)

For computer use, it’s all OSX and Linux for me anymore.. I’ve basically eradicated windows from most of my life (save the vm I have to rdp to at work for outlook calendaring.. bah).

I do miss a keyboard/trackball setup for some games, but have gotten quite used to the sticks for FPS games.  I suck at strategy games so I don’t play those.. nor do I play any MMORPGs right now because they just suck up way too much time and money.. with far too much repetition for me.  The last game I put a ton of time into was Puzzle Quest… on my mac (though it was a PC game wrapped in a transgaming wine layer).

BTW Jim, yeah the PS3 kicks ass as a player.  I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences with blu-ray, and I haven’t even updated my TV and receiver yet.  Still using a 2001 model Mitsu 65” RPTV (pre-DLP) that can do 1080i (not 720p though) and using component video with TOSLINK for sound.  Hoping to upgrade to a kick ass Samsung DLP (eyeing the 72” model :D) and a receiver with HDMI that can support the raw PCM audio on the blu-rays.  My PS3 is my default DVD player now too.. mostly I switched for lack of yet another component input but I actually really like the interface and quality.  I’ve only had a few games on the PS3 thus far, but they were loads of fun too.  I tend to buy for the 360 when something is there for both.. mostly so I can switch between movie and game without having to get up… yeah I’m lazy.

As far as the 360 reliability.. had 2 of 3 consoles die on me.. last was my elite that it took them a month to send back a replacement on.  All that had failed was the DVD drive (not an RRoD like the other one).  My guess is something on the mobo actually died (like sata chipset) otherwise you’d think they’d just replace an el-cheapo DVD drive.  Am a tad pissed they didn’t even bother to ever update me with an email about it, nor let me know it was shipping when they stressed how important it was to be home to sign for it.

miguelito#6  Posted by miguelito United States on 04/12 at 01:51 AM -

Oh and the defining reason I prefer console games vs PC anymore:  I can play games sitting in my comfy recliner on a huge screen with my kick ass stereo system (and huge powered subwoofer) vs having to sit in my home office where my PC is.  Granted I have a pretty damn nice surround speaker set (a Klipsch computer set) in there… but it just isn’t the same as relaxing in the living room.

#7  Posted by Drumwaster United States on 04/12 at 12:53 PM -

I have been saying the same thing about BBM ever since it came out. Aside from the “sweeping landscapes” ("Sound of Music” did it much better), there is no good reason to make this movie, with the sole exception of making a film about gay characters. It does little to erase any stereotypes, does less than nothing to show those selfsame gay characters in any kind of positive light, and (if the main characters weren’t gay) would have been roundly panned by critics everywhere.

It wasn’t even a satisfying romance.

Definite thumbs down, and you may now start with the “homophobic” insults.

#8  Posted by ErikTheRed United States on 04/12 at 02:10 PM -

I’ve been looking into a PS3 (for the BluRay, of course) and here’s one thing that kind of surprised me: games on consoles are consistently $15 to $20 more per game than PC games. Now consider the fact that game publishers justified the (in my opinion) ridiculously high cost of PC games on “T3h Piracy! T3h Piracy!” why in the name of Zeus’ sphincter do we have to pay 33% more for the “pirate-proof” games on the XBox / PS3? Just curious. It’s not like it costs them a huge pile of money to change the 15 lines of code that differentiate Madden 2006 and Madden 2007.

Now that I’ve got my commie-hippie anti-capitalist bitching and whining out of the way, are there any good games for the PS3 that can be played by two players on the same console that aren’t the “Virtua Fighter” genre? Help an out-of-touch gamer out, here.

#9  Posted by matthean United States on 04/14 at 12:04 PM -

Reasons why I still PC game.

1. Console gaming is heavily FPS based. The number of actually good, innovative, etc. FPS games that come out is maybe one per year. My friend who is a console crack head has even said he’s tired of all of the FPS games that come out and has started to skip on getting whatever the so called latest and greatest one there is.

If you want to blame the need to upgrade for PC games, blame, surprise, FPS games.

Oh, and I suck at FPS games. :p

2. MMOs haven’t really transitioned to consoles yet even though XBox Live is an awesome online tool. You want to declare PC gaming dead? Get something on the console to actually overtake WoW.

I am currently still playing an MMO for over 30 months and I see zero reason for me to move away from it. Only Champions Online would peek my interest right now for a possible MMO on a console. The eventual KotoR MMO that Bioware is working on despite it’s halfhearted claims to deny it would be one of the 800lb gorillas I would be all over.

3. The Wii is a great little party game device, but more towards a gimmick of a gaming console. Yes, it sold a TON of units. Doesn’t mean hardcore gamers are all over it.

4. The PS3 is so awesome of a gaming console at this stage that the PS2 STILL outsells it and I’ve seen PS3 commercials that only promote the Blue-Ray aspect. I don’t have a TV that really benefits from Blue-Ray, nor the desire to upgrade considering I can watch all the TV I need via online and play DVDs on my PC.

5. Just try to find a 360 hardcore gamer who can’t say “My 360 died.” My friend had two 360s die. He knows a guy who pimped out his 360 with extra fans just so he wouldn’t have yet another one die on him.

6. There is a wealth of games that I could play with my current PC, which isn’t built for games and over two years old.

Rann Aridorn#10  Posted by Rann Aridorn United States on 04/14 at 05:54 PM -

1. If you think the majority of what’s coming out for consoles is just FPSes, then you’re not paying attention to what’s coming out for consoles. Not a huge surprise since, by the sound of it, you don’t do much console gaming.

And it kind of damages your point when you admit that the thing “afflicting” consoles is also what fucks up PC gaming.

2. FFXI and Phantasy Star Online. Both MMOs, both pre-current gen. While new ones haven’t really sprung up, doesn’t mean they couldn’t.

Setting “beat WoW” as a measure of anything’s success is pretty ridiculous. That’s like saying that to be a success at basketball, you have to break all of Michael Jordan’s records (and endorsement deals).

3. Just because the Wii is an underpowered party favor doesn’t say anything about the other consoles.

4. So you don’t want what the PS3 offers. That doesn’t make it a bad console. I’m sure they could offer the Mattheanstation, but it probably wouldn’t really cover its production costs.

5. Again, you’re having to apply qualifiers. “Hardcore”. Okay, so the thing won’t stand up to being run fifteen hours of intense play a day. If you’re very “hardcore” with your PC, I’m gonna have to ask you how many parts you’ve burned out in it and had to replace.

6. Yeah, if by “wealth of games” you mean “The ten bucks or less bin at Best Buy”. Mmm-mmmm, that’s some good Mah-jong!

I mean, seriously, it sounds like your measure of success for console vs. PC is “If it has WoW and CoX, it wins”. You seem to have a pretty narrow gaming window, so declaring one side the victor over the other because it fits your personal window is kinda silly.

I personally don’t think either side will ever really “die” because there’s always going to be a certain niche that a genre of game will fit into on one side or the other better. I do think one or the other side is going to have to adapt very heavily at some point, though, and I think that side is the PC.

The PC gaming industry has used a PR spin that would do the Democrats proud where they’ve convinced a significant portion of the gaming public that the more intense a game’s system requirements, the better that game is. Everyone was gushing about, whatsit, Crysis? its system requirements like that automatically made it super-beautiful. And by all accounts it’s a very pretty game.

But it has those intense system requirements because the programmers were too fucking lazy to figure out how to get the same effect with a less intensive pulldown. They knew they didn’t HAVE to trim the fat or make it run smoother, because the PC gamers would instead rush out to upgrade their systems as fast as they could, and be grateful for it, viewing it as a hallmark of the game’s quality instead of what it was, bloat.

Now, I’m not saying that if they wanted to, they could make it look its best on five year old low-end hardware, but I’m willing to bet money that they could’ve made it look its best without using requirements that some people believed no typical gaming rig out at the time of its release could actually meet.

JimK#11  Posted by JimK United States on 04/14 at 06:55 PM -

Man, this “Console vs. PC” is the new Mac vs. PC. :)

Re: the Crysis stuff.  It’s not just the pretty.  It;s the physics.  Knowing that they would have 99% of the gamer rigs with dual cores, 2GB of ram or better and a certain ground floor of GPU, they went for broke.

In a way that’s great, because it drives the high end.  Crysis may have helped push what was the high end (financially) into the middle, making “decent” rigs far more affordable for all, and we need things like that.  A rising tide raises all boats and all that.  I don’t want to see developers stop pushing the envelope.

It would be nice if they were better programmers, though.

My declaration of the “death” of PC gaming is, of course, hyperbole.  It will never die.  Some things will always require more horsepower.  Until MS opens up the XBox to mice & keyboards natively, some things will always be easier or better on a PC.  But for everyday, for cost per hour of enjoyment, for ease of use...I’m damn glad I made the switch.

I use to preach...nay, rail...against consoles.  I was hard fucking core.  Back in the day I had a video card add-on that gave me 12 extra megs and a 3D processor just so I could get better framerate in Quake.  I was the first person I knew with 384 megs of RAM in a *home* machine that wasn’t for a job.  My bona fides are for the reals. I just cannot see how it’s worth the constant upgrade cycle anymore when for so, so SO much less, I get such a bigger bang for my buck.

BUT: If you are a WOW freak, I get why you are attached to your PC.  I have never played WOW for just that reason; I could see it taking over my life and I just do not want that.  Too many other great things to play. :)

I miss my ASDF and my twitchy mousing, for certain.  I SUCK at deathmatching now, which is why I never do it.  Console deathmatching in FPS games doesn’t work for me, but everything else does.  I think the next generation will be mouse/keyboard and/or controller, you watch.  Sony and MS want to get *all* the gamers, and that is the last great stumbling block.

#12  Posted by Buzzion United States on 04/14 at 07:20 PM -

Simple rule for me: Nintendo and PC.

I’m a Nintendo fanboy, those are the systems I have always had and likely will continue to get.  The Wii is definitely fun to play and is capable of plenty of good gaming beyond simple “novelty” and probably has done more for Microsoft and Sony in the future than will be realized.  In the 80’s Nintendo resurrected video games for the masses and now they’ve opened the market to those left out of the “hardcore gamer” market.  More people are exposed to the games and when the next gen comes may want to buy the latest systems.

For other games its why I like PC.  It allows me to go out and play games that don’t come out for my console of choice.  And it definitely does play some games a whole lot better than a PC can.  Go and try to play Jedi Knight 2 or Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on the consoles.  Then play it on the PC.  Its a completely different experience and the control on PC is lightyears beyond the control on console.  That’s what worries me on The Force Unleashed.  Its made for consoles and not even coming out for PC.

miguelito#13  Posted by miguelito United States on 04/14 at 07:21 PM -

I use to preach...nay, rail...against consoles.  I was hard fucking core.  Back in the day I had a video card add-on that gave me 12 extra megs and a 3D processor just so I could get better framerate in Quake.  I was the first person I knew with 384 megs of RAM in a *home* machine that wasn’t for a job.  My bona fides are for the reals. I just cannot see how it’s worth the constant upgrade cycle anymore when for so, so SO much less, I get such a bigger bang for my buck.

I used to be the same way.  These days, I love being able to pickup the controller… turn on the console (either one), flip inputs, and start playing.. then flip back to Tivo/movie.  Yeah, I’m lazy. :) Ironically I grew up with exposure to the Intellivision, then we had a Coleco, NES, then an SNES.. then I got into PCs and went that way for awhile.  The PS2 was what finally got me back into consoles again.  I did both for awhile, but the current-gen stuff is just good enough to make me avoid the PC anymore.

I also just got so tired of trying to keep up with video cards, CPU/mobo upgrades, OS crap, etc… I hardly ever even boot my “gaming” box anymore.  Well, that’s not true, I guess I’ve actually had it on most of the time, but booted into linux so I can do stuff at home vs having to do it across the VPN for testing at work.

Now I use the money I used to continually spend on computer bits for a really nice laptop (macbook pro) and I’m about ready to upgrade my TV and receiver.. which will give me a much better gaming AND movie/TV experience. 

BUT: If you are a WOW freak, I get why you are attached to your PC.  I have never played WOW for just that reason; I could see it taking over my life and I just do not want that.  Too many other great things to play. :)

Yeah, no desire for me to go there either.  I played Everquest for awhile back when it was pretty new and it ended up being exactly what I hate.  There was just far too much time required in doing repetitious work to try to build up experience.  The final nail in the coffin was the night that a group of us from work planned to meat to play together.  A couple of us were on the phone (pre-teamspeak days) and we spent about 45min getting to where the rest were.  When we finally got to the right zone we were about 1/2 way across when we were attacked by a big group of monsters (I forget which) which apparently hated me.  I was killed pretty fast.  My friends stayed and kept on eye on my stuff while I spent another 45min trying to get back.. which resulted in me running into a train as soon as I entered the zone again, without any chance to even try to turn around and leave.  Right then and there I quit for good.  It was just such a stupid waste of time.

I know some people enjoy the time they spend online playing those games, and the community sense they get, and more power to you/them… but I like being able to play games in spurts when I want to, vs having to plan the time to make it worthwhile.  For the planned time and camaraderie, I’ll stick to poker get-togethers and such.

I’m glad we have the choices and options though.  Competition always drives more development and gives us more in the end.

Oh, and I do agree that it’s frustrating that most console games tend to cost more (at least shortly after release) when you’d think it should be the opposite (less random hw setups, more controlled patching system, etc).  I think some of that is the licensing fees to get on the console in the first place.. which isn’t there on the PC side.

#14  Posted by matthean United States on 04/15 at 05:47 PM -

1. No, I don’t actually keep up with a gaming magazine anymore since I don’t really go into Gamestop that much right now, so in a way I am out of the so called loop. I still have three different set of friends who I talk to regularly and the games that they are playing. By in large it’s talk about FPS games. If you list the big name games that have come out, or are coming out for the PS3/360, it’s slanted towards FPS games. Yes, there are other type of games coming out, but they get far less press. See Vegas 2 TV ad as proof.

2. I meant good MMOs. :p WoW IS a freak of nature in terms of numbers. Having successful MMOs on consoles isn’t the same as sticking a fork in PC gaming. In order to do that, consoles need to dominate PC games so badly that people can’t really think of reasons to play games on a PC. Think of how much Halo 3 made. WoW even now brings in roughly a minimum of $150 mil per month in subscriptions alone.

3. I wasn’t trying to imply anything about the other consoles. The Wii is going to take some time to get a catalog of games going that will get more of the hardcore base into it. Certainly games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl is helping.

4. The PS3 is a good Blue-Ray player. You’ll find very few gamers saying it’s currently the best system for games. If you are buying a PS3 for games, you are doing so in hoping that you get your money’s worth at some point.

5. If you play 15 hours of gaming a day, seek help. My friend who went through two 360s has a full time job. Another friend had one go out very soon after he got it and he has a full time job, goes part time to school, and has a girl friend. The fact that MS went and changed the warranty because so many machines were dying on people should tell you how much of an epic fail their hardware has been.

In two plus years of me having my PC I replaced one part and it was more my own fault then anything else. I pretty much always have my PC on, and often leave my browser(Firefox) running. Firefox is well known to be something you want to close once in a while. My carpet shags bad, so over time the fan in my power supply started being noisey. I switched it out and changed some things around and it’s been fine since.

6. City of Heroes, Company of Heroes, Dawn of War series, and The Orange Box to name a few. You know, things that won awards when they came out. No, I can’t run Crysis, which does look freaking sweet on a PC, but then I’m perfectly fine with that.

When I play a game, I will play it a ton and thus I miss out on a number of games by default. The fact that I am credited on Jarulf’s Guide for Diablo, made a JavaScript version of a rookie converter for Front Page Sports: Football which I played for at least 7/8 years and will be making some guides for City of Heroes that will be bare minimum of 10 pages in Word should back this claim up. Seriously, I was thinking about Diablo recently for whatever reason when suddenly I went, “Hey, isn’t the the minimal number of damage to perma stun Diablo on the first online difficultly setting...Oh wait. I still remember that and I didn’t even look it up.”

miguelito#15  Posted by miguelito United States on 04/15 at 06:40 PM -

The Wii is going to take some time to get a catalog of games going that will get more of the hardcore base into it.

Hey, Wii Fit is coming soon.  Hah. 

4. The PS3 is a good Blue-Ray player. You’ll find very few gamers saying it’s currently the best system for games. If you are buying a PS3 for games, you are doing so in hoping that you get your money’s worth at some point.

Or.. you can’t afford more then one console, and go for the PS3 for games and because it’s a great player. :P

I, on the other hand, have all 3 current consoles (and 2 360s).. so nyah.  Only reason I have 2 360s is I bought an elite for the HDMI port and larger drive.. and I keep the old one for a mobile Rock Band setup that doesn’t require me to tear down my normal setup each time.  Good thing I had it too.. my elite ate it (drive refused to read any discs anymore) and it took them a month to decide to send a replacement vs replacing the drive.  I had my first one RROD too, so yeah, the quality on the 360s is ass.  The PS3 has been rock solid though, and I’ve left it on for days at a time.. since it’s my default movie player now, I sometimes forget to turn it off.

5. If you play 15 hours of gaming a day, seek help.

Constantly, yes.. but if you’ve never done this, then you’re just not a hardcore gamer.. sorry.  Kidding.. well, only 1/2.  I remember when I was younger and did a few damn near full-weekend sprees on games like the Wing Commander series, or Half-life.

I actually will do an almost full-weekend on a game once or twice a year, if there’s a great new game out.  Did it with Orange Box on the 360.. played through HL-2 and ep1 for the 3rd and 2nd times respectively (previously on the PC), then ep2, and Portal.  Having played on both PC and console, I thought I was going to hate it on the console, I actually found it was just as fun.


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