Saturday, July 31, 2004

Generations 1985 - 2001 Part 2

Welcome back. Yesterday, I saw my rankings sky rocketed. I was number 6 for the first few hours of July 29th. That day I posted some reading material I felt good for this blog from my personal webpage. I started to post all my reviews since I’m into games, and I use to write reviews. I didn’t write very long reviews, just short ones, while I like IGN.com’s reviews, I don’t see myself writing 3 pages of paragraphs. I took the basic concepts of writing reviews including the game’s story, the graphics, game play, the sound effects / soundtrack, and conclusion. In the reviews, when the reviewer talks about lighting and shadow use - I understand that. What I don’t understand too well is how some people review game play. Game play is more one’s opinion, and can range 10 points (based on 100 point review system) in a videogame review. I have this habit of remembering IGN.com’s review so I take content from their review, and put it on my own. This is bad. 3D games have been out long enough where games have a standard in 3D game play. All I look at is graphics and game play, I don’t care about anything else unless it’s something stupid like Rugrats, Superman or Drake of the 99 Dragons.



This article is the 2nd half of videogame machines dating from 2000 – 2004. Okay, where to start?….hmm...Playst ation 2 is known to everyone as a 128-bit machine, and therefore high resolution, right? There is a misconception that Playstation 2 is 4 times as powerful as PSone. I believe that this is a big understatement. The Playstation’s CPU was clocked at 33 MHz while the PS2’s main CPU (out of four) is clocked at 300 MHz. It’s more like 9 times more powerful. PS2 is based on RISC technology which means the CPU is powerful enough to handle everything including graphics, AI movements, FMV, anything that needs processing except for sound. The sound chip is apart of the motherboard, but this always has been true. Twelve years ago, Sega CD had a motherboard with a 16-bit sound chip. Back then it was pretty nifty stuff I guess. The complex part is where PS2 has two other co-processors that are both clocked at about 135 MHz to do some interesting techniques that one CPU can not do. It’s basically taking the data load off the main CPU so it can concentrate at giving the graphics processing unit better graphics data by using shared RAM. It really doesn’t seem that way since Gamecube can pretty much make ports of PS2 games look a lot better. The first PS2 games such as Ridge Racer V, Heroes of Might and Magic, Tekken Tag Tournament only used the main processor. The Playstation 2 also has an outdated 32-bit GPU clocked at 150 MHz. This is a little more powerful than my Nvidia TNT 2 I’ve had installed in my Compaq in 2001 (before I upgraded to a 64-bit Radeon). It looked good on TV for some state-of-the-art anti-analyzing, and several mip-mapping techniques the console had. My television is the analog kind from six years back, so polygons looks smoothed out on it. We had a flat screen television in the family room downstairs, and Playstation graphics are more vivid and high resolution on it. The stuff that Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater is showing is pretty damn amazing for Playstation 2. I have one and sometimes I wonder how graphics are produced on it. The difference of graphic quality of Ridge Racer V and Gran Turismo 4 is huge. Not to mention Madden 2004, and ESPN Football 2K5 look better than any other football title.



Games I knew that are big on it were Jak and Dexter, Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy X and XI, Gran Turismo 3, Grand Thief Auto 3 and/or Vice City, Deer Hunter, and Need for Speed Underground.



Some interesting news today on Google. Sony Computer Entertainment plans to spend 2.5 Billion dollars on a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant somewhere in Taiwan to manufacture millions of Playstation 3s, and probably Playstation 4s as well. This doesn’t include costs on how much Sony invested to IBM to create the ‘Cell’ microchip. In 1999, Nintendo invested 1 billion dollars into IBM to develop the ‘Gecko’ processor. I don’t know whether or not this including manufacturing costs which would be replenished as soon as Nintendo sold their Gamecube software. The prototype “Cell” microprocessor series is going to be produced in 2005 at the Nagasaki plant. This is done so software can be made 5 months before so Sony can show the tech demo at E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo Trade Show) 2005. This plant will also manufacture IBM servers. I’m okay with it as long as it makes Playstation 3 cheaper. It’s already going to make new Playstation 2’s cheaper as well, by redesigning a more efficient way to do games that 5 year old technology has done. A recent message board rumor confirms that Sony plans to unleash the PStwo in 2005 or 2006. PStwo is a miniature Playstation 2 model that looks a lot better than the current one, and cheaper to own as well when it’s announced. PStwo may even be as inexpensive as Gamecube right now. Sony would love to compete at the same price as Nintendo right now. There are websites such as http://PSinsider.com which will tell you the exact details when really we already know PS3 is going to look cinematic, and be very, very expensive at it’s launch date. No matter what, Playstation 3 will have the best hardware of next generation. Just think the Xbox versions of Half-life 2, and Doom 3 at a higher resolution. Need I say more? Of course, there’s this question I have about RPGs running on the most advance console hardware? It won’t be answered until the first RPG comes out for PS3. This traditionally has never been the case. Think Playstation and N64. I think it’s fun to buy all three next generation consoles, and than say you have no comment on which console is better. I’ve done this.



There is some news on the Internet about how the Playstation 2 can be instantly transformed into a Playstation 3 by adding a box like add-on to the largest expansion slot of the PS2. It’s a good idea, but the Playstation 3 has a much more advance motherboard, not to mention more RAM. The motherboard couldn’t possibly fit into the expansion slot. There is an exception though, the PSP is said to future processing power almost as powerful as the Playstation 2 while the Nintendo DS will be slightly more powerful than Nintendo 64. I don’t see how this could be possible in 2005 to make a motherboard that small? You’re talking about a console that out performs most PCs sold in 2004 in games. Making technology that small would be really expensive. I mean just look at my desktop computer…that thing is a monster of a tower, and the motherboard is about 2/3 of the total size of my tower. It’s just another unrealistic post from an imaginative gamer – some posters them noobies. He better forget about the blu-ray drive, and new sound chip. Consoles will never again have performance boosters like the questionable 4-MB expansion pack on N64 or the failed Sega CD add-on for Sega Genesis.



As for the Microsoft Xbox, we know it as the first American videogame console since Atari 7800 (100% genuine US). Except the Xbox controller is made in Malaysia, and the Xbox console is manufactured in near by Mexico. I know this because I looked on the bottom of my Xbox. We know the Japanese hate it. They despise it. Let’s face it, Japanese will always love RPGs, and RPGs aren’t on Xbox. Anyhow, machines do all the work in a high tech assembly line. Does Microsoft own their own facility or do they license it out to another company? After that they loose 100 dollars on every Xbox. I think I said this before somewhere?



The best thing about Xbox is Conker will be on it. Well, maybe not the best thing. There were gamers still out there who think Halo is the best thing on Xbox right now. It was true that Halo was pulling the weight of the whole Xbox. Want Halo? Get Xbox. Don’t want Halo? Don’t get Xbox. That analogy was true for 12 months after it was released. Unless, of course, you felt you needed to play Madden Football 2002 or Project Gotham on it. The only RPG I was okay with on Xbox was Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. The game looked a lot better on my PC than Xbox though. Still, it was the entire game. Then I saw Morrowind Game of the Year for 20 bucks. It was a steal so I bought it, and got rid of the original Morrowind game. Morrowind had a horrible draw rate on Xbox. . To be more specific, it didn’t have a look at the whole scenery from affair which the PC version had. The game occasionally froze. Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind Game of the Year freezes up less often thanks to some additional crash bug-fixes. I hear the Xbox had a problem of loading all the content off DVD so Bethesda Softworks had to cut down on draw rate. I know because I was in Elder Scrolls 3 from November to December. It still looks very good. The blocky people in the game can be overlooked. I can over look the Xbox version of Doom 3 because of the controller controls. iD Software confirmed that Doom 3 can barely work on the Xbox. That’s pretty amazing since iD Software claims it has the world’s most advanced 3D engine. I mean I don’t care it’s on Xbox, but I rather have it on PC.



Microsoft is known for their two games with Xbox package. The most famous I can think of is the limited edition Sega Jet Grind Radio / Sega GT 2002 combo DVD. This is why I think so. Sega and Microsoft did a partnership in 1997 when Dreamcast was in prototype stages. Now that Sega is an ex-console manufacture, Microsoft did them a favor by showing off Sega games on their console. . This would be normal except Sega never developed another game for another console since the Atari 2600 days. Okay, there was Bandai Wonderswan and Tiger Game.com, but those were handhelds until 2001 when Sega went multi-platform. It was probably strictly business, but I liked their 2 game package with a Sega GT 2002/Jet Grind Radio on one DVD (both sequels of Dreamcast games) made by Smilebit and WOW. All you need to know about Smilebit is that it is the only one of three developers that ports exclusive Sega games to Xbox. Formally, Smilebit was known as 2nd party developers, but now that Sega Enterprises Ltd is a 3rd party, they can’t be called that. The other is WOW Entertainment (SEGA GT 2002 and SEGA GT Online). Sega is different because their big enough to have all the Dreamcast developer studios still working for them. Atari works differently now since all the developers choose them as their publisher, and are not considered a 2nd party of Atari anymore. Atari was bought by Infrogames, and then Infrogames changed their name back to Atari, which was a smart move on their part in my opinion. Who heard of Infrogames anyways? So in a way, development studios bought out by Infrogames before 2002 are now owned by the new Atari. If that makes any sense to you guys? That’s the main reason why Sega absorbed AM2, and Sonic Team back into themselves last month. Having Sonic Team without a 2nd party status, the developer was able to be bought out by bigger software development studios.



I got information off a Playstation 3 forum stating that Nintendo announced the first ever 1 Gigabyte game cartridges for Nintendo DS. This is pretty amazing since the biggest N64 game cart is 512 MB, and Resident Evil 2 was the only game to use it. Here are some examples of N64 cart sizes.



• Super Mario 64 – 8 MB cartridge

• Pilot Wings – 8 MB cartridge

• Tetris 64 – 8 MB cartridge

• Mario Kart 64 – 16 MB cartridge

• Goldeneye 007 – 16 MB cartridge

• Banjo and Kajooie 32 MB cartridge

• Ridge Racer 64 – 64 MB cartridge

• Perfect Dark - 256 MB cartridge

• Conker’s Bad Fur Day – 386 MB cartridge

• Resident Evil 2 – 512 MB cartridge



After I said all this information, I like to let everyone know, buy what makes you happy. I know graphics aren’t everything. I’m not wasting valuable time wondering what new consoles will be like. However, I do like to look at what the console’s specs are. I spoke of the confirmed Xenon spec Internet-leakage in January. And it’s brand new content. I have enough games where I can play one game for 4 days, and move onto another game for 4 months without playing the same game twice. I’m not going to do this because it makes no sense.



Got it all figured out:



1. Firstly, Revolution since there has the be one quality launch title.

2. Secondly, Playstation 3 since it’s bound to have Gran Turismo 5, and RPGs such as Xenosaga Episode 3, Final Fantasy XIII, XIV, XV, Grandia 4, Suikoden V, Breath of Fire VI, and Star Ocean IV.

3. Then if Xenon is any good I’ll buy it. My guess is it’ll look very close to what Nintendo and Sony consoles.



For those who wonder if they should wait and save up for a new generation console with money left over for games - I going with Playstation 3 is the wisest decision. Even the Xenon should look a lot better than Xbox. But that’s what people said with Dreamcast and Playstation 2 back in 1999. I remember it so well. Dreamcast is going to be outsold by PS2. It ended up with Dreamcast having better quality games than PS2, including games like Soul Caliber, and Sonic Adventure 2 that looked better than let’s say ‘Tekken Tag Tournament’ and ‘Ridge Racer V’.



Today, I’ve been downloading roms including Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Paper Mario, and F-Zero X. CBFD is still downloading through my modem. I called my friend, Bob, earlier today, but I got no answer. I didn’t do anything this week except play Gamecube and X-box, and there is only 2 weeks until school starts again. I thought about downloading some large files off the T1 server at school since they would let me during the summer (WITC is vacant during summer but the library is open). What sucks is I can’t find my UT2004 play disc! I have to find a no-cd crack that works with the game now. I could download stuff at school, but pear to pear networks don’t download well although there was that time I successfully downloaded Doom 3 CD 1 off Overnet at school over one weekend. It was unfortunate that Doom 3 was corrupted. It’s coming out on Thursday anyhow. SWEET!



I downloaded Bittorrent today, http://bitconjurer.org/BitTorrent. I thought it would be an application like Limewire, but instead it incorporates itself into the web browser. That’s still impressive. I already know why it’s out although it basically does what Emule does. Emule allows users to put in an IP address of anyone on the server and allow the user to connect to them directly. There is no privacy on Emule though which makes users afraid of this type of Internet. I wanted a Jaguar BIOS so I could run Atari Karts on a Jaguar emulator called Project Tempest. Soon I found out that the Jaguar emulator did not need a BIOS to play most ROMS. That’s always nice to figure out.



Today, I played good old Dreamcast again. Sonic Adventure has a big issue on skipping after 20 minutes of play. My Dreamcast will be 5 years old this September, and I played it a lot for the first 3 years. Resident Evil 2, Code Veronica, and The Next Tetris have this same loading problem. I played Sega Rally Championship 2 and Dead or Alive 2 yesterday. I heard from some gaming sites that the Dreamcast version of Dead or Alive 2 looks better than the Playstation 2 version, and even has more polygons. This made me want to put in Dead or Alive 3 and play that. The Xbox controller isn’t that much different from the Dreamcast controller, and the buttons are exactly the same!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Fiber Optic Cable

Introduction:



Fiber Optic cables are by far the most advanced cable in the world. They are orange cables with 2 layers of glass inside. The inter layer called the glass core transmits data. The outer layer glass over it reflects data traveling at light speed so it’s trapped going one way. There are 2 glass fibers, one that sends the data to the source and one that receives data from the host. There are two types of fiber called modes. Single Mode Fiber Glass is more expensive, but can transfer up to 2 Gigabits per. second. Multi-mode is a lot cheaper (thing single-mode) and can transmit data at 1 Gigabyte.



Coaxial Cable and RJ-45



We will get to cost later. Right now we want to talk about coaxial cable since this is the primary networked media today. The most common is unshielded twisted pair because it’s the preferred media for Ethernet/LANS. There are 4 classes used today, CAT 4, CAT 5, CAT 5 enhanced and CAT 6. Cat 4 is common with home networks the past 5 years because it’s so cheap. A 10 foot CAT 4 cable will run 10 dollars. A hub will cost 30 dollars, and network cards may cost as little as 20 dollars. However, many people are just getting 802.11b and 802.11g wireless cards for there computers because it’s easier to operate. 802.11b wireless networks transmit at 11 Mbps and 802.11g can transmit at 100 Mbps. 802.11g networks transmit at 120 Mbps. CAT 5 network supplies are now what’s available at Best Buy and CompUSA and the Internet. CAT 3 and CAT 4 networks are now obsolete. Government centers, schools, colleges are already upgraded to CAT 5 enhanced because it covers 1 Gigabyte bandwidth and it’s less costly than CAT 6. CAT 6 is the newest Category in RJ 45 type cable, short for patch cable, its blue or grey. It travels at 1024 Mbit / per second with a 600 MHz frequency surpassing CAT 5e.



Fiber Optic Cable was created when?



Fiber Optic started appearing in 1996, but it was so expensive it was only used in big corporations and universities. Fiber can go longer distances than it did in 1996. Fiber Optic was first used in some houses to bring in sunlight from the roof. It can bend any light source at 90 degree angle. The maximum distance of patch cable is 14 meters. The maximum distance of coaxial cable is 100 meters, and the maximum distance of single mode fiber optic cable is 40,000 meters. Any longer and Fiber glass bandwidth will be affected greatly. A repeater is needed to every 75 feet or so to enhance data pulses. A data pulse is an electronic pulse of computer data, called data packets, when it traveling at light speed through the cable. Today that data pulse can travel from 1 Gigabit to 2 Gigabits at once.



CPU resistance to Fiber Optics Great Bandwidth.



CPU power and RAM will slow data down because data is excepted at the processing rate of the CPU. It’s much like encoding audio, when the cpu is compressing wav to mp3, it is transferring information from the source file to the destination file at the rate of the CPUs own capacity. There is resistance because data going though random access memory and is delayed and waiting in line in the order it is received. This is not noticeable when download is automatically temperately loaded in virtual memory, but when completed, very noticeable when moved to your destination folder.



Seven Advantages of Fiber Optic Cable



1.) It has low Attenuation and high bandwidth. Attenuation is referred to resistance, measured in Ohms, in the wire. Bandwidth is the difference between the highest frequency and lowest frequency of the wire. This is measured in Hz so Gigahertz is 1000 MHz and this means 1 Gigabit of data can transmit at the speed of light. Multimode fiber travels at 1 Gigahertz and Single Mode fiber travels at 100 Gigahertz. Single Mode is obviously faster. Remember Cat 6 patch cable bandwidth is 1 GB running at 600 MHz, the speed of sound.



2.) Low Power Lost – Needs less power to transmit data.



3.) Immunity to electrical interference including lighting and fluorescent light rods.



4.) Smaller weight compared to patch cable. Fiber is 20 pounds per 100 Feet CAT 5 untwisted pair is 50 pounds per 100 feet and coaxial thicknet cable is 200 pounds per 100 feet.



5.) No crosstalk with other fiber cables or unshielded / shielded twister pair cable.



6.) Can’t be tapped from outside line. If someone is taping the line, it must be from a computer terminal connected to a star topology connecting to a fiber wire backbone setup. Fiber is usually used from backbone to backbone cross connects or from building to building. Vampire taps are a thing of the past. No more Mission Impossible tapping.



7.) Fiber Wire can be used from 20 to 50 years before needing to be replaced. It’ll be outdated before it becomes vulnerable to corroding.



What Matter does fiber transmit ?



Fiber is more advanced because it uses protons positively charged particles instead of electrons negatively charged particles. That’s why when you a fry a motherboard because it uses electrons to transmit data. You can not fry fiber optic; only snap it in half if you’re not careful. The orange wire is more fragile than twisted pair.



By Ian March 04, 2004 6:40 PM | revised Nov 07

Generations 1985 - 2001

The article below taken off the ‘Console Wars’ section at my personal webpage. I checked it for spelling errors and some grammar mistakes with Microsoft Word. http://www.geocities.../consolewars_v4.html



NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) (1985 - 1996)



NES was the first console of Nintendo's big business as a console manufacturer. It gets very confusing who Nintendo's competitors were. Atari 2600 was still competing against Nintendo in 1985. I've heard sites that said that it was the Itellivision. It is true that some developers were waiting for Atari to declare bankruptcy. Atari was highly guarded for successfully lengthen the life of the Atari 2600 to up to 1989 (that’s 8 years). There were still games coming out for Atari 2600 in 1986. Atari was most successful in the late 70s, and early 80s, but lost money due to inflation, and the inability to produce at better product. As a result Atari became a multiplatform developer where it still exists in one form or other creating games for Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. I am not clear on the story on "The Crash of 1984." Around this time, Nintendo had Super Mario Bros. along with Duck Hunt and Track & Field, and it was sold with the console to offer some sort of value package. The package sold really well. People loved the plumber so much that he began his carrier starring in several more games, and people end up buying every game starring Mario and Luigi. In 1987, it came apparent that SEGA, formally a US Army division called Service Games, had a more powerful console called the SEGA Masters System just after they became a console manufacture. SEGA didn't have the 3rd party developer support that Nintendo had. Those years of the NES was the time that people were passion to play games over and over. Nintendo made highly regarded deals with videogame developers since the U.S. government regulated monopolies like Microsoft. Nintendo turned out lucky that it wasn't one at the turn of the decade.



Nintendo had the same success with the Gameboy, which is basically a NES shrunk down into a smaller device. The original Gameboy was in green and black. Technology was too expensive to develop a color LCD screen in 1989. So Nintendo produced a monochrome green and black screen. A monochrome LCD screen was less costly then black and white version. So Nintendo chose to create games in "Green and Black." The finished design of Gameboy was the exact replica of the NES design. The 8-bit handheld stayed in the market for 11 years without any significant drops in popularity. Gameboy sales / games had a 3:1 ratio over Nintendo 64. Everyone loved Gameboy. Nintendo became a monopoly in the handheld market for 10 years since 1989, and are said to sell more GBAs than Playstation 2s. The government had trouble classifying Nintendo has a monopoly because it wasn't in the console market. They classified Nintendo as a monopoly in 1988 when Nintendo had a contract that each videogame developer had to supply the NES with 3 titles until it could supply 1 title to another console. Still today, the former Nintendo President, Hiroshi Yamauchi, owns the Seattle Mariners, and a NBA team. Nintendo owns large stock in both teams. I can only tell you that I own five Gameboy Advance games, so I missed out on the Gameboy entirely.



Nintendo Specs



• RAM Memory: 16 Kbit (2 Kb)

• Video RAM: 16 Kbit (2 Kb)

• Game Program Memory: 128K, 32K, 16K or 8K Bytes, 1 Meg, 256K, or 64K Bits

• Game Character Memory: 128K, 32K, 16K or 8K Bytes, 1 Meg, 256K, or 64K Bits

• Scrolling: Horizontal and Vertical

• Sound: PSG sound (2 Square Waves, 1 Triangle Wave, 1 White Noise)

• Minimum Sprite Size: 8x8 Pixels

• Maximum Sprite Size: 8x16 Pixels

• Maximum Sprites: 64 sprites

• Maximum Sprites per Scanline: 8

• Minimum Cart Size: 128 Kbit

• Maximum Cart Size: 4 Mbit

• Picture Resolution: 256 x 240



Most Popular games on NES according to Gamestats.com:



1. Legend of Zelda

2. Super Mario Bros. 3

3. Zelda II The Adventure of Link

4. Super Mario Bros.

5. Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt

6. Super Mario Bros. 2

7. Final Fantasy

8. Metriod

9. Metal Gear

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

11. Mega Man 2

12. Mega Man 3

13. Dr. Mario

14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Arcade Game

15. Dragon Ball Z Gaiden

16. Dragon Ball Z II

17. Dragon Ball Z 3

18. Dragon Ball 3

19. Dragon Ball

20. Dragon Ball Z Gekitou Tenkaichi Budokai



Super Nintendo (1991 – 1996)



Super Nintendo is probably another successful attempt by Nintendo. It was released in 1991, and it’s first game was Super Mario World. It’s the only console that went from 2.7 MHz up to 21 MHz. The first chip to be capable of very low sprite based 3D is DSP. I don’t know what this stands for, but it makes the 16-bit console capable of 3D. Remarkable really since 16-bits isn’t enough to run 3D games on the PC unless it’s Doom or Wolfenstine. Games which run on the DS chip were Super Mario Kart and PilotWings. It wasn’t really much to look now a days, but this is when the first 3D games first came out. It brought the SNES from 2.98 MHz to 3.58 MHz. That’s not even the most powerful chip on SNES cartridges.



The Super FX is the most famous chip of the 16-bit generation. This made the underpowered SNES more powerful (10 MHz) than Genesis. The most famous game to use it was Star Fox because it looked better than anything else in 1993. The studio to make it was Argonaut which developed Star Fox. Vortex was another game, but I haven’t heard of it. I knew about Star Fox because of the sequel, Star Fox 64, which I own and beaten. Then the Super FX 2 came out clocking SNES at 21 MHz. Games to use it are Micro Machines, Super Mario World 2, Street Fighter Alpha 2, and Doom.



For compression, since SNES by itself had none, was a use of a decompression chip sort of like WinZip acting to decompress a compressed archive. This chip was for very large carts like Super Mario RPG and Kirby Land 3. Super Mario RPG was the last game to be released for SNES. I know that the Super Mario RPG rom was something like 42 MB and that rom file was compressed to about 6.5 MB.



It’s funny that the biggest upgrade from NES and Super NES was the ability to rotate sprites from a bird’s eye view. I remember the NES had Metal Gear, and it was the few games that used this technique. The best way to describe this is the NES’s sprits were mostly GIFs. Everything was frames much like how animated gifs are made. The SNES was powerful enough to move the main character all by itself using advance sprite engine. Just like polygons do.



The way that Super NES games were copied was from the Super Nintendo Disc system. This was basically a device that could copy SNES games on a floppy disk.



To make it simpler



10 frame animated GIF sprite 210x210 – 30K (NES)

10 frame sprite 210x210 (using the SNES hardware) – 10K



The SNES CD that was never released – yet it was under 3rd party.



Nintendo canceled the SNES CD because of the d├ębut between them and Sony. The SNES CD would mean Nintendo games on CD, which would mean CD-Quality music and no space concerns for developers. Nintendo decided not to release one at the last minute. UFO, who also did their famous N64 backup device (which I haven’t seen ever), released Super UFO, which could backup on floppy disk. UFO was superior because it could read Game Doctor or Pro Fighter files. For games that could fit on floppy disk, Bung makes a CD Drive for SNES called the Game Station. Game Station was the predecessor of the Doctor V64 which backed up N64 games.



Most Popular games on SNES according to Gamestats.com:



1. Final Fantasy II (US)

2. Super Mario RPG

3. Super Metriod

4. Legend of Zelda : Link to the Past

5. Super Mario World

6. Chrono Trigger

7. Super Mario All Stars

8. Donkey Kong Country

9. Super Mario Kart

10. Yoshi’s Island (Super Mario World 2)

11. Donkey Kong Country 2

12. Mega Man X

13. Final Fantasy II

14. Donkey Kong Country 3

15. Star Fox

16. EarthBound

17. Killer Instinct

18. F-Zero

19. Secret of Man

20. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest



Sega Genesis (1989 - 1996)



SEGA Genesis (MEGA DRIVE to the rest of the world) is not Sega’s latest console, but Sega's most successful system. I don’t know myself because I never own Genesis or any console for that matter before 1996. The debut price was better than Nintendo's SNES selling at 190 US dollars. Sega finally got to steal the market for a little while before the Super NES came out. What is interesting about it is that it had some original titles like Nintendo, but it had a mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. His debut in Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was the top selling game for the console. He was fast and everyone liked him. Sonic Team soon made three sequels (including Sonic CD), and Traveler’s Tales made an enhanced Sonic 3D Blast late in the consoles life. Sega never really gained back the market after Super NES took over in 1992. SNES games just were too good for Sega's luck. Nintendo and Sega both survived the crash of the videogame industry in the late 1980s known as “the great videogame crash of 1984”. Atari was sold off to Hasbro Interactive. And all the Atari clones of that time disappeared.



Who could forget Castlevania on the Genesis? The Castlevania series has had a repetition of being good. Same goes with Castlevania - Blood Lines (1994). Castlevania is a well known game today as it was back then. It was a horror survival title for mature audiences and had a twist that made people like it and play long hours. Sega released Shadow Dancer (1992) as a sword action game. Ever played any of these games myself. Other games that came along that people liked are : Mortal Kombat II (1992), and a enhanced version of Mega Man (1993), Ecco the Dolphin (1992) Golden Axe (1989), and Strider (1990) and Shinobi ( 1993 : before the remake on Playstation 2 )



Sega also released the Sega CD add-on in 1993 with their flagship title Sonic CD. Sega set one milestone, the first 3D game called Virua Fighter became the first 3D game ever, and it's in the Smithsonian in Washington CD. Sonic CD turned out to be pretty good with improved graphics over Sonic 2. Although some people bought the CD add on, many people ignored Sega CD for whatever reason. I learned that Genesis was more popular than SNES. It was released under the best attentions. Sony was going to make Nintendo's new CD peripheral, but it never took off. It was scrapped months before it went under mass production.



The same year Sega came out with the Sega 32x which made the Genesis 32-bit. Sega made the wrong decision in making it, and the developers didn't have enough time to develop any high profile games for it. Doom, and Virua Fighter was developed for it. That cost Sega millions of dollars that they couldn't invest into the Saturn, in my opinion.



In 1996, Sega released a 16-bit version of Sonic 3D Blast. It resembled closely to the Saturn counterpart. It didn't do as well as Sega hoped it would. But it was a pioneer as 16 bit titles go.



Sega Genesis had an unusually long life of seven years in the United States (1989-1996). It is still popular in Brazil and Australia, South Korea and a few Asian countries today.



Model Number: MK-1601 (r1), MK-1631 (r2).

CPU: Motorola 68000 at 7.61 MHz

1 MByte (8 Mbit) ROM Area

64 KByte RAM Area

Co-Processor: Z80 @ 4 MHz (Not Present in MK-1631)

Controls PSG (Programmable Sound Generator) & FM Chips

8 KBytes of dedicated Sound Ram



Graphics:

64 simultaneous colors of 512 color palette.

Pixel resolution: 320 x 224

VDP (Video Display Processor)

Dedicated video display processor

Controls playfield & sprites

64 KBytes of dedicated VRAM (Video Ram)

64 x 9-bits of CRAM (Color RAM)

3 Planes: 2 scrolling playfields, 1 sprite plane



Sound:

PSG (TI 76489 chip)

FM chip (Yamaha YM 2612)

6-channel stereo

8 KBytes RAM

Signal/Noise Ratio: 14dB



Most Popular Games according to Gamestats.com

1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

2. Sonic the Hedgehog

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 3

4. Sonic and Knuckles

5. John Madden Football ‘93

6. NCAA Football

7. Sonic Spinball

8. Mortal Kombat

9. Mortal Kombat II

10. Disney’s Aladdin

11. Streets of Rage

12. Streeets of Rage II

13. NHL ‘94

14. Sonic 3D Blast

15. Spider Man – Venom: Maximum Carnage

16. Spider Man – X-Men Arcade’s Revenge

17. Spider-Man

18. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

19. Separation Anxiety

20. Revolution X



Playstation (1994 - Present)



Sony Playstation was released in the US in December 02, 1994 costing 400 dollars. Sony was really successful a year later around Christmas of 1996. No good games came out in 1995. Although Nintendo 64 was a bit better nudged in with the competition, PSone was going to see it's console triple any console that existed in homes across America. One reason was because after 1996, Sony designed a new Playstation had been bug free unlike the original. Sega Saturn looked like an expensive alternative compared to Playstation which ultimately lead to it’s death. When no software is developed for it it’s considered ‘dead’. Playstation stayed number one because it was on shelves since 1995. Playstation has games like Spyro the Dragon (1997), Madden 2000 (1999), Final Fantasy 7 (1997), and Resident Evil II (1998) to name a few. It had a long enough life span were you could see a sequel or two for your favorite game. The list is too large after 1997 to name all decent titles for Playstation.



Originally Sony was asked to build a CD add-on for Super Nintendo. Nintendo had the right idea there. But Sony Entertainment shot Nintendo in the foot and said, "We are going to compete against you, Nintendo." They paid off all their debts they owned for manufacturing, and became everyone's favorite videogame system from 1996 - 2000.



Sony also made a developers kit version for PSX called the Yaroze. It was very expensive, but it made it possible to create your own games running an advanced platform such as the Playstation. Most computers weren't as fast. I suppose that the Playstation 2 version is called Yaroze 2. I am fantasizing a bit, but wouldn't you be able to import your Yaroze game to a Yaroze 2 to run on Playstation 2. Think of it, you can have your own underground ps2 game coping business. All you would need is a DVD burner and they've come down in price since 2000 when it first appeared commercially. .



I enjoyed games like Ridge Racer Type 4 because it was racing game. I also played Dino Crisis 2 and got somewhat far into it. I found out the red raptors are inventible! I got hurt badly from the raptors so I didn’t play anymore. I also played Final Fantasy VIII, and got to the end of the 2nd disc and somehow I wasn’t powerful enough to defeat one of the bosses near the end. I also played Chrono Cross on it. That was pretty good. Then I got into Crash Bandicoot 2 (a little late, 2004) because it was a platform game. Anyways, I listed to specs below.



Processor - 32-bit R3000A



* Processor clock speed: 33.8688 MHz

* MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second): 30

* Bus speed: 132 MB per second

* Cache:



Graphics:



* Resolution: 640x480 maximum (five interlaced and four non-interlaced modes supported)

* Colors: 24-bit (16,777,216) maximum; other modes supported are 4-bit (16), 8-bit (256) and 15-bit (32,768)

* Maximum sprite size: 256 pixels high x 256 pixels wide

* Polygon rendering: 360,000 polygons per second

* Geometry engine: Provides additional hardware rendering of polygons to include Gouraud shading, texture-mapping and lighting effects

* Memory: 1 MB RAM

* MPEG decoder



Most popular Playstation Games according to Gamestats.com



1. Final Fantasy VII

2. Final Fantasy VIII

3. Final Fantasy IX

4. Final Fantasy Anthology

5. Final Fantasy Chronicles

6. Metal Gear Solid

7. Final Fantasy Tactics

8. Final Fantasy Origins

9. Chrono Cross

10. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

11. Resident Evil 2

12. Resident Evil 3 : Nemesis

13. Suikoden II

14. Xenogears

15. Gran Turismo 2

16. Grand Theft Auto II

17. Grand Theft Auto

18. Resident Evil

19. Vagrant Story

20. Valkyrie Profile

21. Legend of Dragoon



SEGA SATURN ( 1995 - 1998 )



Released in November 1994, Sega Saturn took popularity from the Neo Geo Turbo. Sega Saturn was priced at huge 400 bucks for a combo w/ Virua Fighter (1994). But in 1994, all the good Playstation games continued development. Rage Racer from Namco, was Playstation's premiere racing game. This was an early driving simulation that had magnificent graphics for it's time. The control was also new at the time, but Rage Racer also was a high profile. Sega spent years trying to come up with a solid design for their console. Unlike Nintendo, Sega decided to go with optimal disc. Sega CD failed because the lack of good advertisement campaign, and with only one good game out, it wasn't worth it. Sega also had high profile games in store, like Panzer Dragoon (1995) Panzer Dragoon II (1996) with the following, Sega also had plans for Sonic in Sonic 3D Blast (1996), but became a lack luster because of it's bad control. It proves that 3D games are horrible with a digital pad. However, Sonic Team came out with another game called NiGHTS(1996), and released an analog controller (looks exactly like the Dreamcast controller). Nights had good graphics for it's time, it also featured a fully 3D engine. The death of Saturn was it hard in 1997 when Squaresoft released Final Fantasy 7 on Playstation. Final Fantasy went on to be a famous game which marked the beginning of 32-bit age after Konami’s Suikoden (1996) RPGs. It may surprised everyone, but Sega came out with 5 fantastic games, Radiant Silvergun (1997), Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998), Shining Force III (1999), Burning Rangers (1999), and Lunar : The Sliver Star Story (1996) in return to make up for that. Shining Force III, and Panzer Dragoon became ideal RPGs to bet when buying the console. 3rd party games like Grandia and Lunar were close behind with sales, but also were on Playstation too. So 3rd party RPGs didn't really sell well on Saturn. Sega also tried having laser gun action with games like Virua Cop (1994) and House of the Dead (1995). But it was all done, Sega announced Saturn dead later that year. In 1996, Sony updates the PSX to just ‘Playstation’ (version 1.1) which means they fixed a lot of bugs, and made the console more durable in the end. I mean there are still the originals around. The PSone is said to be more durable than all previous versions of Playstation including Playstation 2s which were released a year afterwards. Now, everyone who wants a Playstation can buy one (in 1999). Sega Saturn survives today through videogame retailers selling used versions. Playstation gets a lot more use, Saturn seems old to us now and outdated. Only Nights, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Reliant Silvergun, and Shining Force III stood the test of time on it. Dreamcast was not backwards capable with Saturn games. Saturn saw no support in Japan because Sega went completely to support Dreamcast, which was the predecessor. So sales dried up completely because of it. In a sense, Sega killed Saturn.



Main CPU 32bit RISC SH2 (28.6MHz, 25MIPS) x 2

32bit RISC SH1 (20.0MHz)

16 bit Stereo Sound, Audio DSP (32 Channel, 44.1KHz Frequency (CD Quality))

Resolution 320 x 224

16mbit Work Ram

12mbit Video Ram

4mbit Sound Ram



16.77 Million Colors, Sprite Enlargement, Reduction, Rotation, Transformation.



Double Speed CD- ROM



Dimensions

Width 260 mm

Length 230mm

Height 86mm



My personal Impressions on owning a Sega Saturn are moderate because I knew that Sega would have a good product. Sega Saturn feels empty inside and not built with as strong plastic as Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. The controller feels light in my hand. I am very use to the Playstation controller feel. So I reject some of the Saturn’s controller. Although, it is packaged away in my closet, I have played games like Sonic 3D Blast, Sega Championship Rally, Rayman, Gex, and Nights. Nights is my favorite Saturn title. I could never find a 3D controller for my Nights title, so I failed to make me play it for hours. Sega Rally is a good racing game. I like drafting all the time. It's an average game in my opinion. Not as fun as some of the RPGs on Playstation, but does have a little good playing it. It is 3D and I can understand that it can barely handle 3D racers. Playstation was supposed to be that way, until they came out with Gran Turismo, and that opened some eyes. Some never knew it was possible. So all and all I give Saturn a 6.0 out of 10.



Most popular Saturn Games (Gamestats.com)



1.) Gran Theft Auto

2.) Panzer Dragoon Saga

3.) Resident Evil

4.) Nights into Dreams

5.) Virua Fighter 2

6.) Doom

7.) Need for Speed

8.) MVP Baseball ‘96

9.) Wipeout

10.) NBA Action

11.) Johnny Bazookatone

12.) Steel Harbinger

13.) Tokimeki Memorial Forever with you

14.) Dead or Alive

15.) Saturn Bomberman Fight

16.) Tetris Plus

17.) Hardcore 4x5

18.) World Cup Golf

19.) World Series Baseball

20.) Worldwide Soccer



N64 ( 1996 - 2001)



This is my impressions of the Nintendo 64. The only console which went from low resolution to high resolution well almost. Some people thought Perfect Dark ran in high resolution. That’s because N64 had a 4 MB expansion pack released in 1998 with Star Wars Rogue Squadron. I have no idea how they made a 64 bit machine look like an early 128-bit generation game like in Perfect Dark and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. One thing that made Nintendo a recognizable console was Rare (which later moved to Microsoft Gaming Studios.) But kept the platform games favorable (especially Conker's Bad Fur Day) until Nintendo could reorganize a better plan for their next generation console. Nintendo had released Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (an exceptional game) The first game was another Mario platform surprisingly - Super Mario 64. Both are on the top 50 best videogames of all time (source: Game Informer Magazine.) Nintendo didn't get any support from any RPGs, so Final Fantasy never made it to Nintendo 64. So Nintendo missed out of Squaresoft's multimillion dollar high profile project due to Nintendo's old technology of cartridge-based games. Although most of the games used a midi version cd quality music found in most Playstation games. Nintendo did support MP3s in three N64 titles : Resident Evil 2, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark. MP3 fitted cd quality audio onto a 512 MB cartridge, their largest cartridge. If Nintendo had technology to produce a 1 Gigabyte cartridge, they may have pulled off the Final Fantasy 7 title in 1997. But the technology wasn't there to make 1 GB carts.



Games like Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, Ridge Racer, Madden Football, All Star Baseball, Turok 2, Orge Battle 64 and Rayman 2 kept the console alive along enough for people to not say, "Nintendo Sucks." Nintendo 64 was good enough, that it didn't suck though it didn't have the balls that Playstation has.



Nintendo 64 was expensive to make, but in 1996, the cartridge technology was improved enough that it would still be good to go. And this was 8 months before Intel came out with the Pentium II with 64 MB of RAM. Back them, Nintendo didn't scope out the cash and make the outrageous deal with IBM which they did in 1999. It was rather a large sum of money.



Then Nintendo released a disc drive in Japan. The most famous games for it were Mario Paint, Simcity 2000, and Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time – Master Quest. LoZ-OoTMQ was originally designed for the disc drive which was going to be brought out much sooner. The Master Quest has more dungeons and increases overall difficulty of Ocarina of Time adding more monsters in various places.



Most Popular N64 games



1. Legend of Zelda : Majora’s Mask

2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time

3. Conker’s Bad Fur Day

4. Paper Mario

5. Super Mario 64

6. Goldeneye 007

7. Perfect Dark

8. Donkey Kong 64

9. Super Smash Bros.

10. Mario Kart 64

11. Banjo Kazooie

12. Star Fox 64

13. Pokemon Statium

14. Diddy Kong Racing

15. WWF No Mercy

16. Resident Evil 2

17. Banjo Tooie

18. Pokemon Snap

19. Mario Tennis

20. Mario Party



Sega Dreamcast (1999 - 2001)



After the demise of the Saturn, could anyone say that Dreamcast sucked too? It wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible. Some people were surprised that Dreamcast was as small as it was. The controller is the almost the sized of the console. Playstation 2 was this too cool for Dreamcast. Sega continued relations with NEC to provide their processor. NEC, the 2nd largest microchip distributor in Japan. In my opinion, Dreamcast sounds better then Playstation or Nintendo 64. Sega reentered the console genre, this time a few new 1st party developers and all the other developers came back too (Activision, Capcom, Midway, Uri Soft, Namco, CBI, Crave, Infrogames) As for games went, Sega surprised everyone with Virua Fighter 3, the only fighter with 128-bit graphics at the time. The time was November 1998 when it was released. Sega released Sonic Adventure (1999), an improvement over Sonic 3D Blast (1996), on Dreamcast. It didn't sell over a million copies, but did get media attention. Sega wanted Sonic to be known as the blue blur revisited like Genesis games were known to be. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is one of the most popular Genesis games ever created. Sega had strike a very big deal with Namco to make a port of the arcade game, Soul Caliber (1999). Soul Caliber was the first Dreamcast title to sell over a million copies. The title was arcade perfect and looked better than any other launching title.



Sega was determined or desperate (what ever way you view it) to became focused in North America. The huge marketing campaign was unleashed in 1999 to show off Sega's new console with advertisements to support Sega’s flagship title, Sonic Adventure and also Soul Caliber, NFL 2K, and Power Stone. Later Sega advertised Resident Evil 2, Crazy Taxi, Jet Grid Radio, and Space Channel 5 on MTV. Resident Evil was a popular horror survival action game upgraded to Dreamcast. Space Channel 5 was a musical game dependant on pressing buttons to keep the beat just like Dance, Dance Revolution. I played neither in my life. Shenmue (2000) was in development for many years, and was the largest scale game on any console prior to it. The game was made by Sega’s internal developer AM2 who also makes Virua Fighter. It's about a man in his mid 20s trying to unlock what really happened to him long ago in this huge vast city environment with thousands of things to do. It’s the most expensive videogame ever produced.



Skies of Arcadia became Sega's new RPG from Overworks, the developer also made Shinobi for PS2 and Dreamcast. The Dreamcast version never came to the USA , but the PS2 version has. Gamers could also browse the web and search for Game Saves online. Many people were surprised that Sega brought back, and enhanced the Saturn version of Phantasy Star IV in form of Phantasy Star Online. The game had decent game play and really good graphics. In no way could it compete with today's games. There was only a few online titles, like Vanishing Point (2000), Chu Chu Rocket (1999), NFL 2K1(2001), Unreal Tournament (2001), Quake III (2001), Soldier of Fortune (2001), and Phantasy Star Online (2000, 2001) which went online. Atari came out with one quality title, Ikaruga, which is an overhead shooter, which had high resolution graphics and had tight control which had it over looked by many gamers. This game is coming out for Gamecube, and hopefully I will have the review up soon! All of the games went online for free but only lasted 6 months as a server. In 2003, those servers still alive, but no one is playing the online on Dreamcast anymore. The largest online game was Quake III which surpassed Phantasy Star Online because Quake III could be played with PC gamers too. Playstation 2 took a huge chunk for Sega's profits. In many ways, Sega underestimated the wrath of Sony's Playstation 2. By the end of 2000, Sega knew that Dreamcast wasn't going to last another year and changes had to be met for the company's survival in the industry. Sega prepared to become a third party. Sega gave Dreamcast source code to Pace which freely displayed it over the Internet. That made this whole underground department of running emulators to run on Dreamcast.



Hitachi SH4 RISC Processor (128bit 3D engine)

NEC CLX2 graphics processor

Yamaha 64 channel sound processor

Custom GD Rom technology with 1gb storage space

Networking Capability (i.e. 33.6k modem) allowing complete Net use

Four controller ports

Controller with 6 'fire' buttons, analogue and d-pad controls. Also features two expansion ports for Virtual memory unit and rumble pack.



Most Popular Videogames of Sega Dreamcast (Gamestats.com)



1.) Soul Caliber

2.) Resident Evil Code Veronica

3.) Sonic Adventure 2

4.) Sonic Adventure

5.) NFL 2K1

6.) Phantasy Star Online

7.) Shenmue

8.) Crazy Taxi

9.) Jet Grind Radio

10.) Skies of Arcadia

11.) Mario vs. Capcom 2

12.) Grand Theif Auto 2

13.) Dead or Alive

14.) Grandia II

15.) Virtua Tennis

16.) Shenmue 2

17.) NFL 2K2

18.) Resident Evil 3

19.) Biohazard : Code Veronica (Japanese version of Resident Evil CV)

20.) Resident Evil 2

21.) Crazy Taxi 2

22.) Chu Chu Rocket

23.) Power Stone

24.) Power Stone 2

25.) Quake 3 Arena



Nintendo Gamecube (2001 - Present)



Gamecube is undeniably Nintendo's biggest project since the SNES. Nintendo called it Project Dolphin for a code name. We know it as Nintendo's only 128-bit gaming machine. Nintendo focused on games not extra hardware format so it allowed the Gamecube to be fast, yet have simple design. That’s why I say it’s Nintendo’s best offering since SNES. The SNES was ugly, but wonderfully designed. Nintendo made the Gamecube have the best compression rate of any console of it's class. A 4:1 Ratio. The design is compact. Nintendo wanted to spend money so it could save money in the long run. My sources say that Gamecube has the cleanest agriculture of any home videogame system to date. Code named Nintendo Dolphin in 1999, Gamecube was leaked on the Internet when Nintendo announced a new gaming platform at E3 1999. Nintendo struck a fairly large deal with IBM to make the central processor that would process the graphics in Gamecube which had a very high compression rate - 1:4 ratio with no image quality lost. It was called the Gecko, the most advanced technology on the market. ATI designed the graphics chip which is also really small in size. One major difference from the N64 and Gamecube is that Gamecube has a disk drive. This disk drive spends 80 resolutions per minute which allows the buffer to analyze data faster than a DVD rom could.



Gamecube is a good machine. It recently came out with Red Faction 2 Nintendo has 5 average to above average first person shooters for the Gamecube, and made 5 first person shooter titles in stock. Nintendo, being the largest videogame developer, has made hit titles like Super Smash Bros Melee, sequel to the N64 fighter. Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime (prequel to Metroid for the NES) , Resident Evil, Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker (sequel to Ocarina of Time) Sega became a 3rd party developer and brought quality titles such as Super Monkey Ball (2001 Puzzle), Phantasy Star Online (2002 RPG), NFL 2K3 (2002 Sports), NCAA Football 2K3 (2002 Sports), Sega Soccer Slam (2002), Sonic Action Pack (2002 Platformer), and Skies of Arcadia Legends (2003 RPG). Nintendo and Sega have worked together to bring out the next F-Zero game.



Nintendo has come out with a modem, but there is no software to surf the web. I doubt that a 3rd party will have a web browser out before 2004. Nintendo doesn't want gamers to download saved games off the Internet. In my opinion, Nintendo is only hurting themselves. Nintendo also released a Gameboy Advance cart reader which allows you to play GBA games on your television. In May 2003, Nintendo announced Gameboy Player add-on was attached to Gamecube right out of the box still being able to keep the package at 150 dollars. Now you can stick Gameboy cartridges in the side of the console to play it on TV. They reported to also create the Wavebird, a very nice wireless controller, maybe even the best. I believe it’s even 800 MHz, and very durable unlike 3rd party controllers.



But the LSD Display for Gamecube is the best add-on you can buy. If you have the money. The LSD Display makes Gamecube portable. Plug the adapter in your car's cigarette lighter, and you have an instant gaming machine of your dreams.



Stay tuned for Part 2 explaining hardware specs and development of Playstation 2 and Xbox.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Onslaught of old vs. new | Score: Retro - 1 3D - 0

I found something really, really cool today. Cell phones have motion cameras on them and if they weren’t so well known to many Americans, another product would be heard off, not to teens and adults…but aimed to children. A WEBCAM for Gameboy Advance silly! Yes, you can hook up a camera to the Gameboy, and transfer streaming images with sound to another person using a Gameboy Advance with this particular webcam on the other end via internal modem. From what I know - the person sending the data doesn’t need an ISP. He/she needs a phone line, a GBA, and Campho Advance. There are no hidden fees attached. Take a camera on the go! So far Digital Art Corp. only sells it off their webpage listed below. I already thought of it. No PCs, no Internet, no fees! If this thing takes off because GBA is very popular amongst kids, it will have an impact of new devices that do the same thing. The only place to get the Camero Advance is on the webpage, http://www.digitalact.co.jp/. Digital Act also has a webcam product that hooks up the TV.







On Google News, I heard some of the headlines are on retro games! Forbes.com, CNN.com, MSNBC, and CNET.com each had their own version of the story. Yes, these are the same games you can download free off the Internet. However, this is the part the gaming industry doesn’t want you to know. Ya so it’s illegal? Is there any other way to play Genesis though? The fact remains you either own the game or you don’t. Since there are alternative means of playing them, most people aren’t bothered by it being illegal to possess them except for Genesis roms. Sega recently announced all Genesis roms are abandon-ware, and therefore not illegal to have on one’s hard-drive. Anyways, to get back on my original topic, I think Nintendo plays the biggest part in retro gaming. A hand full of old-school games can run on their Gameboy Advance handheld so Nintendo exercises it’s licenses to the limit. Nintendo probably has emulators designed for Gameboy Advance for all the consoles previous to it. There must be more than 15 anthologies out for it. I own one, Super Mario Advance, and I probably won’t invest money in any handheld any more. Anyhow, I found a connection to this retro gaming excitement - all retro craze articles have the word ‘Nintendo’ in them somewhere. It stands too reason, through-out the 80s, Nintendo was a monopoly in gaming industry. I won’t tell why…I think I already know why. Then from 1989 – 1996, Sega had their glory years in the 16-bit generation, publishing very fun, and popular games like Mortal Kombat, Alex the Kid, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, and Lemmings. I was interested in neither handheld. The 70s and 80s generation grew up, right? So the point I’m getting too is all these former NES and Atari 2600 gamers talk about is the glory days when games were based on sprites, not polygons and much, much simpler. (the NES and Atari 2600 controller only had 2 buttons, and the Genesis controller had six.) Back then, I was a very active kid, riding bike every week, swimming, active in boy scouts. Then I got into N64 for 2 years, and Dreamcast for another 2 before I switched back to Nintendo to support their next generation console in that I was heavily into following the hardware specs, and executive launch titles. Today, I was playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Nintendo Gamecube, and that’s retro enough.



I hear rumors, that in a couple of years, Sega is going to try to issue a Genesis controller packaged with 6 – 10 games that’ll directly hook up to any TV. Atari is already doing this with a higher tech 20 dollar joystick loaded with 10 Atari classics with power cable and RCA connection. I think Atari is breaking even on production costs on their new retro joystick. However, Nintendo is selling 1,000 fold that with Gameboy Advance sales.



Why I never was into the original Gameboy. Poor graphics and too expensive. I remember being a little interested in Sega Game Gear during gym in grade school. Game Gear was in color and looked powerful because of it. It’s erotic that a less powerful system like Gameboy out lasted a newer higher tech handheld because the name brand was Nintendo. I didn’t have access to the Internet so the only games I knew on the Game Gear were a Sonic game and Mortal Kombat. I heard the Gameboy was a popular handheld. It was the clucky green & black original. I bought a GBA in 2001 and played Mario Kart Super Circuit or Castlevania - Circle of the Moon at Renaissance Academy during lunch. After school, I bought a Gameboy Advance SP at the full asking price days before January 1st, but never got back into Gameboy at all since high school ended. Hmm, I was playing Tetris and Mario Kart on GBA in high school. Tetris is a very well known Gameboy game. I was trying to get even rows, and beat the highest score - of course. It is still very addictive videogame. I also thought about getting Pyro Pyro Advance for GBA. I love that game, Bust-a-Groove, for N64, although I never owned one.



I got money yesterday! I spent it on Onimusha 3 - Demon Siege. I liked what Onimusha 2 offered which also introduced me to the popular trilogy. I owned a PS2 after the second Onimusha was at it’s height of popularity. I knew it was popular because the History Channel used the game in one of tributes of modern Japan prospective of ancient Japan. Onimusha 3 is Gamestats.com’s 21st most popular PS2 game. Ya, I know, I really suck. I know Onimusha 2 was an alright hack ‘n slash game, not that it was hugely popular on all continents (and islands). The gaming community calls it Capcom’s answer to Tecmo’s (now very popular) Ninja Gaiden for Xbox. Ninja Gaiden was originally a blockbuster arcade game in the early 1980s. I don’t have much summer break left so I probably won’t have time to get into a new game like Ninja Gaiden. I hear it’s graphics are amongst the best on the console. Gamers who played it will say, “No duh!” Hmm, that went well. Yet there are people who haven’t heard of Ninja Gaiden? Well now those of you who haven’t heard -- have. Both Onimusha and Ninja Gaiden are ninja vs. monster games. Yeah hear? Okay...good.



I have a conversation with Addicted2Yew on messenger. I can’t tell you what she looks like, but I can tell you she likes Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64. She loves to play Goldeneye with her friends, and thinks Alex the Kid and Sonic the Hedgehog are cool. Somehow we got in discussion about baseball cards. I said that I have four, 2 inch, 3 ring binders full of them from fair to near mint condition ranging from 1986 up to 1996. And most of it is upper deck! I found out she’s okay with baseball. I was wondering if Nintendo makes Japanese baseball cards. The fact remains that they were formerly a card company. I hear Nintendo is in the Magic the Gathering business. I was never into pen and paper role playing games myself. It would be very hard playing a two player game by myself – true? Nintendo still makes a big profit off Pokemon trading cards I think. Whatever works for them is fine. I still think the cartoon sucked!



Other very interesting news I came across, Wall Street and other similar world-wide stock-exchange centers agree that the gaming industry is now a monopoly. Microsoft saw this happening long ago. And in some people’s opinion, it was all Sega’s doing when they asked Microsoft to put their Windows CE into Dreamcast. Microsoft isn’t dumb…they probably said to themselves, “Hmm, yets make this more profitable and build our own consoles and make it the most powerful one at that. Instead they have exceeded and failed at the same time. They failed to create a budget friendly console but succeeded in barely breaking even on production costs through software. One reason it’s starting to be a monopoly is take mergers make big publishers – way too big and control way too much value. Electronic Arts (US) is to Vivendi Universal (France) as Nintendo is to Sony Computer Entertainment (Japan). I didn’t mention Microsoft because they are the biggest technology-related company in the world. It would be a little unfair. Most of the gaming publisher monopolies are out of state, and other countries don’t have strict limits on how large one business can be. Exporting millions of dollars into one company in another country has to be eye opening to American businesses. There is also talk about Hollywood studios publishing videogames…oh wait…they already are (Universal and Disney Interactive) Damn. What’s the world coming too? Legalized gambling on Xbox Live? Televised Madden 2004 exhibition matches? Professional Gamer Organizations? A 24 hour cable channel on videogames? A 300% increase in game developer start-up companies in the pass 5 years? The scary thought that all these exist?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Ian's Quintessential Blog Opens Today

Hello again. I spent 12 hours searching for a new backup blog when I finally got one. I modified it heavily into a blog template which became known as Ian’s Quintessential Blog v1.0. I got the word ‘quintessential’ from Quintessential Player. I thought the word was cool. Anyways, this webpage wasn’t going to be on my Geocities site since the upload manager sent me invalid html responses. I had this problem before with them. So I joined 0catch.com today, and I got 100 MB server space free! I find only 1 thing wrong with it….the host webpage doesn’t believe in putting adds on the bottom of the webpage. The ad banners makes my webpage look out-of-line!



Here’s how the webpage is suppose to look (snapshot taken from my HD)



http://angelfire.com/blog2/renegadeviking/



• Full entry backup of Modblog

• New photos up later today or Monday

• Link to Guest book and forum

• 100% new material!

• Image loading screen (nice!)



I finally got a guest book post from Sega Slayer, owner of http://segasucks.com. I visited his page back in 2003. He’s an anti-Sega propagandist! He was very mean. He says he hates my webpage for he couldn’t figure out what it was for, and even my blog. I have no idea how me found my post about him in October 2003? Did I send him a full link?



New Playstation 3 Info



Sony, one of the Blu-Ray founders, is rumored to incorporate a BD-ROM into Playstation 3. This will transform 10s of millions of gamers into Blu-ray users. Single layer Blu-Ray discs can carry 25 Gigabytes of data. This is perhaps the most exciting part of the Playstation 3. DVDs can only carry 4.7 GB, and HD-DVDs (AKA DVD9) can carry twice that much. The first generation of BD-RWs for PCs are out already, but it won’t be practical for home use until next year. 1x BD-RWs can burn approx. 36MB per second to disc. 2x BD-RW can burn approx. 72 MB per second. The discs must cost 10 dollars each! They will probably read CDs and DVDs. Currently, some DVD burners will only yet you burn 4.5 GB of data on DVDR. Games don’t need that kind of space unless it were for going to put several PS2 games on one BD disc, then it would be practical. Blu-Ray discs could hold a higher resolution of video. A good resource for BD-ROMS are at http://blu-ray.com. Four of those 23 GB discs would be more than my external hard drive! That’s amazing! The successor of the DVD is in question right now. Both will be available next year, but only one will be a universal format for home video. Even the HD-DVD9 will be enough for a 2 hour movie, and with MPEG 4 video compression, you’ll think it’s the greatest thing that ever came to your television! I’m going with Blu-ray because it holds twice as much data. I’m sure someone will figure out that they can incorporate both blu-ray and HD-DVD into the same drive. If I don’t get an Xbox Next for Xmas next year – it’s got to be a blu-ray drive!



This morning I've read Game Informer Magazine’s August issue had one review in it talking about blu-ray discs. I know where they got their information. It was from E-week.com. I had fun reading the Japanese port of Star Ocean: Til the Ends of Time. That games finally out in Japan after 2 years of delay! I own Star Ocean II yet haven’t played it yet. For one the old game (released in 1999) is just that – it’s outdated and still looks like the SNES game, Star Ocean! Yay! Another Xenogears clone! Anyways, the game is rumored to be two DVDs! The largest game ever! It’s being shipped on August 30th. I have to get my priories straight. For one, I’m not done with Final Fantasy X-2 yet. I have yet to start other RPGs like Grandia Xtreme and Suioken III. The first PS2 I bought, Xenosaga, I got lost in 6 months ago so I stop playing it all together. It wasn’t that the game was really bad. I kept going into places where I was stuck going nowhere. I had my walk-through-doors action replay cheat on so I could access restricted areas so it would speed up this game (it was going on forever!). However, in Xenosaga, going through some doors makes the game go back to previous scenes. In short, if this happened without a recent game save, I was screwed. I like the game for what it was and not because it was perfect. It was heavily story based. I play for 5 minutes and another cut-scene activates. After 10 of them in 1 hour, I came to except a cut scene every 10 minutes, and if I didn’t get one, something wrong happened. Xenosaga is a cross between Robotech, Final Fantasy VIII, and Macross. I remember Robotech appearing on Cartoon Network. The game has no FMV, and all the games cut-scenes are in real-time. This is fine, but I rather have FMV mixed in. And, yes, I was reading Playstation 1 and 2 reader reviews off IGN.com for several hours this morning.



Here is a list of new games on my list



1. Doom 3 (PC) Genre - FPS

2. Star Ocean 3 – ‘Til the Ends of Time (PS2) Genre – Action RPG

3. Splinter Cell 2 (PC) – FPS / Stealth

4. Metriod Prime 2 Echoes (Gamecube) - FPS

5. Halo 2 – (Xbox) FPS

6. Tales of Symphonia (Gamecube) Turn Based RPG

7. Conker Live and Uncut – Action Platformer



That’s enough games for now. I probably will get Doom 3, and the rest have to be waited in line for I have to get a PDA so I can play roms! Games or Pocket PC? Pocket PC! TechTV, err…G4-TechTV’s Fresh Gear showed how excited they were about the Zire 78 Palm Based PDA. It has a 1 mega-pixel digital camera in it. I would say wow except I have a 3.3 mega-pixel Sony digital camera, and it’s starting to get a little old, 2 years this November. The image quality is questionable. It doesn’t take very good pictures in dim lighting without the flash. Sometimes the flash doesn’t go off. The D-pad’s center is hard to press down sometimes. I am missing 1 64-meg flash card. I really need to find it. I hate taking 8 pictures, and have to upload them to my PC! I’ll be 15 years until a Giga-pixel camera comes out. Anyhow, anymore then 5 Mega pixels will not look any better on the Internet, unless it’s a very high quality JPEG at 1600x1200. I have a feeling I keep using the one I have for another 5 years or until it breaks.



Enjoy

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Emulated Linux on Dell!!!!

Sorry about the 4 plus day period between this post and last post. Actually, I was very busy today. First, I played Final Fantasy X-2, and then I played a little Mega Man 7. Mega Man 7 was fun, just not as fun as Final Fantasy X-2. I talked to David for four hours (I’ll get to this later) than after. On Wednesday, I did figure out how to burn Knoppix CD to ISO, and emulate Linux on my Dell. Big applause for me.



Today, I got Linux to run on my Dell computer. It’s not the conventual way either. The problem is no emulation software to boot Linux partitions on Windows were free until I came across Corporative Linux 0.6.1. Anyways, to make this work, Windows needs to fake a cold boot of Linux. My blasted Dell has this issue of locking non-Windows OS out so when I take Linux related college classes I can not work on Linux on my Dell. This program runs under Windows, and runs Linux by booting it up naturally. Anyways, that’s how I can use Linux on my computer. On my other computers, I do it the normal way. Otherwise I work on Linux homework on my other PCs.



On Wednesday I found a free CD image, containing over 50 open source programs for Windows called GNUWIN. I know, to many bloggers, MS windows is the only option. For those of you who game through Windows, this software downloadable off several servers linking to http://gnuwin.org gives you almost every Microsoft Windows port of Linux software in the world. To burn this program to CD for free, I use Burn4Free at http://burn4free.com. All programs included with GNUWIN II are open source, not freeware. Freeware is closed source software that’s freely available. Open source and freeware is much like free Mountain Dew. If Mt. Dew tastes great, and if it were free, most people would gratefully take it and think nothing of it. I also know, from being a Windows user myself, that whatever works, commercial or not commercial, will be what most users will use. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it? This defiantly applies games. If it has good graphics, and very awesome game play physics then most people will get that game. I am like this. I have this huge videogame collection with over 300 games.



Thursday, I didn’t go anywhere special so I concentrated on cartoon sketches. I have my own drawing which doesn’t fall under any other category besides amateur. It’s better than stick-men drawings, and my sketches are even partially 3D! I drew myself holding a can of mountain dew, but it found itself in the recycle bin. O_o. I’m not going to post any pics on this blog when my I’ve just started. The reason being is I wanted to test myself if I could learn how to draw anime off the drawing tutorials. I am really not an anime person nor am I a big artist. The hardest aspect is trying the get the eyes perfect. I know if I can make one eye well, I can always mirror it using Paint. But that didn’t stop me from finding out just what it takes to draw the cartoons you see on TV. It’s a lot of erasing on MS Paint. I use Paint for everything related to drawing pictures. I downloaded tutorials to my hard drive using the SAVE AS option, and followed the instructions. I examined the pics of course. That was the easy part. I’ve been working on this from 10PM Thursday up to 7AM Friday. This pretty much kept me away from the Playstation 2 the pass 24 hours. Right now I’m trying to beat Chapter 3 in Final Fantasy X-2. I didn’t continue practicing drawing tonight, other things were much too important.



I got my tutorials from the following sites:



• Animeworld.com



I am about 44% into Final Fantasy X-2 now. In each chapter I skip the Macalania Woods. The bluish blobs that change shape and squish Yuna, Rikku and Payne stealing their entire HP. It happens all the time when I’m in this place. It makes me mad, I am trying to avoid this place whenever possible. Anyhow, I’ve made it to Kilika Island, and did that little mini game with the guards. Once in the jungle, I couldn’t get pass the bamboo stakes, and accidentally saved during the process. If I can’t get pass this then I will have to start Chapter 3 over again. Two or three hours will be lost. I have 3 game saves on my memory card. One at my current location, one at the start of chapter 3, and the third must be a new game because I was only 2 hours into it.



Now that I got the Mega Man Anniversary Collection, I might as well get the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection too. Right now I don’t really know. I am not a 2D fighter fan. I don’t like Marvel vs. Capcom for it’s insane speed for combos and stuff. Although Street Fighter is slower, this previous experience ruined my interest in 2D fighting games. SFAC comes with the Street Fighter 2 Animated *anime* Movie. Hmm, I wonder if I stick this game into a normal DVD player, it’ll show the movie? Probably not since the black label says Playstation 2 in white bold letters. When I was at Bob’s house yesterday, he had made a new friend, who thinks Mega Man is really cool. This guy wants MMAC, and he thought it was 50 dollars? I knew what the price was so I told him. Anyways, I wanted to watch someone who knew the old games so I could get some extra tips. Frankly, the game is not kind to me. MMAC was one of the top selling games this month on both Gamecube and PS2. It’s a very good thing I haven’t been around someone who hated Mega Man yet.



I had my 2nd voice-over-IP conversation today. My last one was over a year ago with my friend Bob. Today I talked to my cousin, David, through MSN Messenger 6.2. I know – people do this all the time. I don’t because it slows down my surfing speeds. We first talked about Xbox. David owns an Xbox, but he doesn’t own many games for it. He only uses it to watch movies, but he also bought surround sound speakers like mine but better, because they’re expensive. Sony makes awesome stuff! The Navy gets them from the States, and the US merchandise store on the base can carry only so many games. He apparently lives by a navy landing strip so he sees aircraft take off and land. David’s cell phone is out of service in Japan so the only way I can speak to him is MSN messenger’s voice-over-IP service. We talked about various Navy aircraft, a little about what is going to replace what and when. He bought a Star Trek movie collection with three movies which he told me all about it. We both like ST: Voyager. He’ll give me some more episodes when he comes home near the end of the year. I told him about Project 64K, and how he could connect to a gaming server to play Goldeneye 007 or Mario Kart 64 with me.



Some Interesting news from NGemu.com saying that Xbox emulation is possible at full speed on current PCs. Before I was saying that Xbox emulation would only be possible on 4 GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512 MB of SDRAM, and a 128-bit Geforce 5700. According to NGemu, some XBOX games like Turok: Evolution runs well on a Pentium 4 2.8 GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM and Nvidia Geforce 5600. The developers of both Xeon and Cxbx are working hard trying to find ways to fully emulate Halo, and Panzer Dragoon Orta. The current Xbox emulators need a BIOS, and a copied ISO image from the original Xbox DVD. I tried running Xbox version of Halo on my Dell, and I couldn’t get it to work. I will keep my eye on Cxbx emulator when it comes out. I’m excited for the first release! In case you were wondering, I want the XBOX game to be playable from the DVD-ROM drive and not ISO. Three emulators achieved this, EPSXE, SSF, and PCSX.



On the other hand, PS2 emulation sounds to be getting more practical. The latest unreleased build of PCSX2 is able to runs games in real time from the screenshots I saw. I downloaded the latest and greatest Direct X 9.0 plugin (GSPX9) for PCSX2, and tried to get MMAC to work on it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the emulator to recognize the plugin.



Then by the end of my conversation with David I told him to imagine himself in a packer jacket, a cheese head hat, with green and yellow face paint on a horse! I thought this was very funny. He said I was very tired, and needed to stop talking too him. I did listen to him.

Monday, July 19, 2004

What I want the next gen consoles to have

I agree with those of you who thought my last entry was a little off. For example I thought if we lived on Mars, we would live longer. Humans would loose a lot of muscle tissue in on Mars gravity is less then Earth. As for my other topic, I thought that worm holes would make someone travel through time, and time bubbles in space would separate itself from normal outer space since it’s clock is slower or faster. However, this theory is still fictional as you all know.



Yesterday, Randy did come over, and it’s been 1 month now. I love people who come over, and it’s been so long to have a human opponent to play games with. I tried to get him to play fighting games such as Dead or Alive 3, but he refused to play them. Instead we played Rallisport Challenge and McCollen’s Rally 04 on Xbox. I know he likes rally (WRC, FIA) because he had a few comments on the phone – he likes how the rally cars go around the corners at really fast speeds, and how the mud washes up on the car when the wheels turn up mud. And they do, in the game I will play one rally car, and if I don’t let off the gas, and brake at the precise moment – car smashes into a hill or rock or tree. I wonder if when I go off the road when I ‘slide’ on a right corner, this scenario would be real as far as the car physics go. Games have improved a lot since Playstation, and N64 generation because the game’s learning curve is harder, and also more going on in this generation. Randy beat me twice while I beat him three times. He beats me on automatic transmission. Manual is supposed to make the car faster - yet he still beats me at my game. It is my skill level, I suppose. It’s odd how an opponent can bet you first time, yet you know the game better than he does. There is no such thing as luck although it seems this way when there are no rules. Ah, this is why people are gamer, they feel that the challenge is worth taking, much like a game of poker.



Always, while I find a manual transmission would help me more in the game. I can down shift to a sharp corner and avoid rocks, hills, cliffs at the cost of speed. In the pros, drivers can go around corners faster with a manual than an automatic whereas videogames can simulate both transmissions. We also played ice rally circuits which are exactly like summer rally but in the winter. I wouldn’t know how to compare this to real life rally.



Randy and I left to see “I, Robot” at Hudson Cinema. I saw one of my high school students there, Beth. Beth is a blonde. I said hi. Anyways, “I, Robot” wasn’t that good. Perhaps a 2 1/2 star movie at the most. If you watch old movies a lot, you’ll understand. The whole movie was about Will Smith claiming that Robots were turning bad and no one believed him and the whole movie was about Will escaping the horde of robots. Ironically, there was an extra-high intelligent robot on the good side (AKA – thinking for itself.) Then Will Smith ran away from a giant robot trying to destroy him. That must have been a million dollar scene. A mech-sized robot tearing up the place, and Will barely escaped. The special effects weren’t bad at all. I think the futuristic theme was more realistic than Star Wars. The movie was set in 2035. All the futuristic cars in the film look very cool. Will Smith figures out that the red lights on the robots were coming from a control center, USR (US Robotics). Hmm, isn’t there a company called US Robotics that makes modems/NICs? I think this movie sends a message telling us that robots are bad news. Obviously.



After seeing the movie, we went to Circuit City. I wanted to see what a Tapwave Zodiac looks like. I found out it’s super thin, and has a lot of stuff on it. They are smaller than what I thought the image on the Circuit City website looks like. Actually, Circuit City is the only vender that carries them. I was also looking at DVD players that play DivX, although none of them do. The new ones read JPEG – and that format has been out for 10 years. The laptops seem really modern and have smoothed out edges.





Old laptop vs. New - see the difference in design. The Allenware has a more slick design.



Then we went to Game Stop. Nothing special over there I found. Of course, I didn’t have any money. I was interested if Game Stop had used XGRA games in stock - which they didn’t. The N64s are 10 dollars more than the Hudson’s store. N64s are really good for one thing and that is to play Legend of Zelda games. Plus, I heard gamers still like to play Goldeneye 007 occasionally. I saw Goldeneye on satellite yesterday – it must have been Pierce Brosman’s best 007 film. Randy and I headed over to Best Buy. Randy bought two Cowboy Bebop DVDs, each with 4 episodes. I reminded him that I dislike his choice, but it’s his choice none-the-less. In other words - he thinks anime is awesome. I watched anime and it’s a cartoon for one, and two, the voice-overs sound funny. Not really high in quality mostly because of bad voice-overs. Other movies that run under this category are Jackie Chan and Godzilla films in recent years. They were alright B movies. However, I do like Final Fantasy and that franchise is based on anime. I didn’t bother to ask him if I could rip them. If I want to watch Cowboy Bebop, I can watch it on Cartoon Network. I admit, it’s more real life anime than cutesy anime. I hate the ones that have bad English voice-overs – and believe me, you can tell a bad voice-over from a good one. Anime is just cartoons that have blood, not to mention adult language that attracts adults. Best Buy didn’t have those new Action Replay Max Evo Editions. I looked at the Playstation 2 and X-Box sections and didn’t see any games I wanted except for ‘Tales of Symphonia’ for Gamecube. Then I look at the PC game category, and saw Warlords: Battlecry III, a strategy game from Uri-Soft. Surprisingly, Warlords IV is the prequel to this game, Plus Warlords: Battlecry 1 and 2 and come packaged with it. Warlords Battlecry III is priced at 30 dollars where-as Warlords IV is priced at $20. I am sort of confused on why there is also a Warlords IV, and than a spin off franchise called Warlords: Battlecry?



Here’s how the franchise stacks up.



1. Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria (6th game) | Release Date: Late October 2003 | IGN Score: 85%

2. Warlords Battlecry III (seventh game???) Release Date: May 22, 2004 | IGN.Score 80%

3. Warlords III (3rd game) Release Date: August 1997 | Gamespot score: 86%

4. Warlords Battlecry II (fifth game) – Release Date: March 2002 | IGN score 85%

5. Warlords – Battlecry (forth game) Release Date: July 2000 | IGN score 84%



Damn, it’s really confusing whether to get Warlords IV or Battlecry III. Warlords IV is suppose to be the sequel to the 1997 game, Warlords III, while Warlords Battlecry franchise has been released like clockwork. I’m hearing that Battlecry III is not as good as Battlecry II because it’s missing a few elements that made the series stand out from Command & Conquer and Warcraft III. I find out I hated Warcraft. Should I wait until 2005 when another Warlords game will appear on shelves? One thing’s for sure… None of the Warlords appeal with their graphics. The graphics are 5 years out of date although the latest Warlords Battlecry III looks better then Warcraft III hands down.



Gamecube finally gets another RPG and it’s called Tales of Symphonia. This anime based RPG is much like Final Fantasy – of course a franchise that is getting more popular on each passing game. Well, anyways, the Tales series is Namco’s answer to Game Art’s Grandia series.…Grandia II introduced me to the RPG genre. Both have cell-shaded graphics and both are real-time battle and very fast based. I don’t know….after playing Xenosaga and Final Fantasy X….I’m sort of interested now. I read the IGN.com score and they gave it a 8.8 out of 10 so that’s pretty good. I trust them.



I have $160 in my savings, and I don’t have a job so any adult with common sense would not spend money on anything. I want a dual layer DVD burner….this will burn 9.4GB DVDs, which is the standard medium for movies right now. With this I can copy movies with Alcohol 120% and burn in on a dual layer DVDR without degrading the image quality. Putting the movie on regular DVD is possible with MPEG 4, of course, at the expense of CPU power and time. To prevent pirated movies to be played on the television, there is no DivX or Xvid codecs on any dvd players you can buy from electronic stores. Why are they overpriced or is the Internet prices so good, the middleman is hardly making anything, which is good for small .com businesses. On the contrary, Tigerdirect and Amazon are far from small businesses.



The other thing is the Tapwave Zodiac 128-bit handheld computer which probably will be the next gaming platform I’ll probably spend my money on. I have 75 dollars on hand plus about 160 dollars in my savings which equals to $235. The difference between the 128-bit and 32-bit versions is the RAM is vital for emulators to run GBA roms, and perhaps Nintendo DS roms for example. Another question – should I sell both my GBAs for $$$ to buy a Zodiac? I would get about half of what I paid for both of them new which would bring me to approx 100 dollars more. But what happens if GBA emulation does not work as well as I’m thinking…I would be without GBA. But I do see that the positive out ways the negative. Plus, Give or take selling a few games to make up the difference, I would have 410 dollars, enough to get a Zodiac. I can write on the Zodiac’s touch pad. I think it’s worth it because then I can run 90% of Palm based software, and still have a joystick to play games. What would be interesting is if I could hook up a game pad up to it and play N64 roms. The gaming review sites showed pics that emulation was possible and Zodiac was ideal for ‘oldskool’ emulation.





Toshiba e400



Aside from Zodiac, there is also a Pocket PC from Toshiba off Tigerdirect for 200 dollars. It has 64MB of RAM and 300 MHz CPU. This is 100 dollars less than the Zodiac, and benefits from a more powerful processor and twice the RAM. Although it doesn’t say what the graphics accelerator is? A graphics accelerator is really only for 3D based games in my opinion. GBA games must run on the boarder line between emulators that need GPU power and emulators that can rely on CPU power. And all I want to play are GBA and SNES games. Plus this Pocket PC comes with a lot of software including word processor, jpeg viewer, and mp3 player. Unlike 3 years ago, color screens won’t cost you a lot of money. If my dad will let not me get a PDA off the Internet, I’ll go with the Zodiac handheld.



As for satellite internet – it’ll depend on whether I keep up grades in school or not. It should be on my ability to pay fees at the end of each month rather than grades in school. Then again I do live in my parent’s house, so it won’t make any difference if I want it or not. I want to stream Internet TV, listen to internet radio, and surf faster. Online gaming would have legacy so it’s unlikely that my ping will be high enough to join broadband servers. I wish it weren’t so. When I move away I will have a cable based Internet at around 1 MB at least. I won’t get this kind of bandwidth for a while yet so why think about it?



These are what I expect in Next Generation consoles



Playstation 3



• To enhance graphics of PS2 and make most PS1 games high resolution

• To have 256-bit graphics accelerator

• Four controller ports

• External hard drive at launch

• An Internet Browser onboard the console on CD like Dreamcast’s was

• No less then 32MB memory cards

• 802.11B or 802.11G built in Ethernet support and n extra accessory that does wireless network to cable based networks

• One good racing game at launch

• One good First person shooter at launch

• 4 GHz plus CPU



Revolution



• Backwards capable with Gamecube Mini discs

• DVD playback





Make Revolution a lot like Panasonic Q

• Make something like the Panasonic Q….I love that concept!

• Definably more online games than Gamecube

• Graphics that are close to Microsoft’s next generation console

• Internet Browser disc

• 802.11B or 802.11G Ethernet built in console

• On board game save memory at least 8 MB worth

• Any kind of hard drive would be good

• One game that stars Mario

• Perhaps a Mario Kart game at launch

• A RPG is a must at launch

• Be able to play Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS games through it

• Have it compatible with Gamecube controller.



Xenon



• Be able to play Xbox games

• Keep the 3.5 GHz processor and 500 MHz GPU!

• Play MP3s in the games

• Come with PC software that allows you to put Mp3s/ WMA on the external hard drive, What does Microsoft care? They own PC!

• Make console rock solid

• Backwards compatible with Xbox controllers

• Make the console glow in the dark!

• Put a light in it so the outer rim glows Green or Blue depending on which color you buy. It’s simple for Microsoft to do, just have a regular light near the top and have transparent boarders so the whole console lights up. That would be much fancier than having a small light to show that it’s on.

• DVD playback

• Microsoft should make a new Halo game when it comes out!

• Be able to download game saves onto Xenon without owning a Gameshark!

• Have 802.11B with the console so it can connect to another wireless Xenon.

• Play Dreamcast games on Xenon!

• Keep the Xbox logo and just have the words Xenon instead of Xbox or whatever the real name is going to be.



Anyways, life is coming along really well. I was listening to MP3s while I play Diablo 2. I talk to David again today, his assignment is in Japan. He told me through chatting that all Japanese know a little English. Probably because UK, Ireland, Australia, USA, and Canada speak English, and there is no way around this. Who knows maybe their looking on my blog right now? It is possible. I can’t speak their language, and yet they live on that tiny island grouped together so population wise, it’s not needed. I admit a lot of good stuff comes from Japan and China. Except the anime unless it’s Final Fantasy or related RPGs than it’s okay. Hondas are alright. Randy now owns a Honda Motorcycle from early 80s. He says it runs really well for a 20 year old motorcycle. The guy he bought it from had money for a better motorcycle so he had to sell his old one. Randy got it for only 800 dollars. I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know whether to be impressed or keep my comments to myself. Motorcycles have improved in 20 years. 800 bucks is still 800 bucks. Just like cars, you drive them 100,000 miles then the owners sell them for almost half of what it costs to buy new.



Tomorrow will be a lazy day, but I think I’ll start Final Fantasy X over again from the beginning. This seems like the logical thing to do since I knew it was a great game and it still has great game play. Plus now since I have a good idea of what to do, I can blaze through all the easy portions. I don’t need to see all milk and granny aspects of the game which more then likely means I won’t see the alternate ending. I will still have to go to Gamefaqs.com and find a FAQ to guide me through the temples. I already know Sir Auron is the most powerful playable character in the game. I’ll use him the most through-out the game. It doesn’t matter – I won’t let my remaining summer break days go to waste.