5.30.2006

Pendulumeca

Here's a strange and rather addictive game. Point and click to swing the little mech around. See how far you can go!

You will need Flash 7 or higher.

dot.Hack Update

I found a great article on dot.Hack GU at Edge Online. The article is an interview with a developer on why they chose to recreate the MMORG experience rather than develop one online and the massiveness (ie the large amount of content) we'll see in the next three episodes of the series.

5.28.2006

RFID

Wired has a great article on RFID and hacking it. As a library tech, the section about library theft and tracking is the one that most concerns me, especially this line:

Private citizens and the government could likewise place cookies on library books to monitor who's checking them out.

For all you Big Brother fans, the part about the government really isn't something you should worry about. Libraries are big on privacy and it would really take nothing less than the FBI with a warrant to get someone's records. Besides, library staff are good at spotting something unusual. We deal with the weird ones every day.

No, the one you have to worry about is the private citizen part.

If you are not a library user, you don't have an accurate idea about how libraries are used. Library patrons are competitive, jockeying for new or severely needed books. In a university library, the problem intensifies with holds on books needed for classes and projects. The problem lies in there being a small number of books versus a large community of borrowers that need them.

And this is where it all gets scary:
  • Patron #1 checks out a book out. The book is encoded with RFID.
  • The book is recalled from Patron #1.
  • Patron #1 puts a cookie on the RFID code and returns the book.
  • Patron #2 checks out the book.
  • Patron #1 uses the cookie on the radio signal to track down Patron #2.
From there, you can use your imagination to suggest everything from harrassment and theft to assault.

And if you think I'm kidding, you should spend some time working in a library. Furious patrons will harrass, abuse, and threaten to get the books they need or want. Many libraries staff security guards for this reason.

Few libraries use RFID at present, mostly because it costs more money than most libraries, which run off donated funds, can manage. For a library the size I work for to equip just the books in the primary complex would cost 5 million dollars: a dollar per RFID tag. Of course, that's the low end, easy to manipulate tag.

At current, my library uses 'tattle tape' which is a strip of magnetic tape sealed into the binding of the book for security. You'd litertally have to destroy the book in order to find the tape and get it out to steal the book. It makes theft difficult, especially since the general populace isn't library savvy. And really, what RFID in libraries is about: security and prevention of theft.

In five to ten years, it might actually be secure and prevent theft, but right now, it is cost ineffective and anyone can get an RFID tracker put on their PDA to manipulate the data on a book and cause damage.

Though you'll be hard pressed to find a library that thinks of safety in terms of how library technology can harm, we're lucky enough that RFID is too pricey for most libraries. That, in and of itself, will put off a form of stalking that's slowly been developing in libraries for a few more years.

Nick out.

5.24.2006

Ball Toucher

Despite the *ahem* nature of its name, Ball Toucher actually a great time waster. You can choose to either touch the balls or avoid them. Catch the glowing yellow ones for 'Matrix Mode.'

You will need flash for this game.

5.23.2006

Bubble Bobble: The Revival!

Here's an old classic with a new twist!

Arrows are left, right, and jump. Space bar to shoot bubbles. You will need Flash 8.

Raise your hand if you have the original.
Now keep your hand up if you have the original for the PSX.

Yeah.

I knew you did.

Castlevania Hoaxes

The bane of all Castlevania whores like me is the hoaxes. Castlevania probably sees more hoaxes than any other game. Here's the solving of the latest hoax curtesy of D'Moon at Inverted Castlevania.

5.21.2006

I Sense a Disturbance in the Force...

My results:
You are Padme






















Padme
75%
Qui-Gon Jinn
72%
Princess Leia
70%
R2-D2
67%
Obi-Wan Kenobi
67%
Han Solo
63%
Yoda
57%
Chewbacca
57%
Luke Skywalker
56%
An Ewok
56%
You try to be a good person,
but your boyfriend doesn't.
At least you look great.


(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)

Hmm... These results don't bode well for my husband...

Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Quiz

5.18.2006

Cue the Death March

See? This is what I'm talking about. Welcome to the race for the lead leamming! Who will nose dive first? EA? The Wii? The Xbox? Or will Sony stick it out to the end and kill themselves with the PS3?

My money is on Sony.



P.S. - I'm still having dreams of playing Life Force again.

5.16.2006

Hamstringing Yourself

Let's say I want to be innovative and create a whole new video game console. What should I do?

Well, first I'm going to build the second most expensive console to date (NeoGeo was the most expensive) using technology that we won't even need until we hit the 8th generation of gaming.

Then, I'm going expect developers to make shiney games for my new console using a convoluted kit that most of them don't even have yet.

And then, after fans gripe about the pricing, I'm going to offer two price levels, both still too expensive.

Then, I will prepare to launch with no game support.

Sound familiar? If it doesn't, you haven't been around long enough to watch Nintendo attempt a long, painful suicide.

It seems the days of Nintendo making an ass out of itself in the gaming world maybe over. Sony seems more than willing to take the lead and jump head first into shallow water. ABI Research reports that asking gamers to pay $500 for a console when most of them don't even have HDTV will give PS2 owners a reason to shop elsewhere. Sony is currently under the delusion that people will find the PS3 worth the large price tag. Of course, I don't think it has occured to Sony that I can buy a Wii and an XBox 360 for the price of one of their consoles.

At E3, Sony didn't present their new console as much as justify its existance. The PS3 would be great if Sony dumped the Blu-Ray and dropped the price. If they try to give us technology we don't want before we need it, they're going to do their own impression of the Atari's Jaguar, which was a 64-bit console when everyone else was 16-bit. (I know I'm leaving out the Sega-CD fiasco and the 3DO bullcrap. Though, to be fair, if Atari had actually advertised the Jaguar, they would have swamped Nintendo and Sega.)

Even though I think the name is stupid, the Wii appears to be taking off. Older gamers and new comers who want fun games with content rather than shininess will find a home on the Wii. Don't believe me? Then you haven't played Katamari Damacy. Or noticed that the Gameboy holds the title of highest grossing console: and it's only 32 bit! The Wii is tackling what serious gamers have wanted for years: games that defy the traditional genres. The Wii is also taking gaming back to the family, updating the original concept of the NES/Famicon. And, I'd like to reiterate, I'm still walking around, salivating at the fact that I may one day soon play Life Force again.

On the note of hamstringing yourself, EA seems to be competing with Sony for the lead lemming on the road to the cliff. They hit the end of innovation in sports games years ago. Now all they have is the constant need to keep their games shiny, which isn't doing so well since you can only listen to John Madden say the same thing over and over again so many times. Of course, if you actually listen to him narrate a game, you get the same effect anyway. I might as well turn off the console and turn on ESPN. The commentary is guaranteed not to be stale after a few rounds with Trey Wingo.

So back to the consoles.

Between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, Nintendo finally got the hint. Gamer's don't want horse power, they want games. I don't care if the PS3 can connect to the internet, wash my car, and do my taxes. I just want to play games. And good games. They don't have to be shiney. They just have to be good. Shadow of the Colossus anyone?

Wii Vs. PS3: Controllers

Here's a fascinating article that compares the controllers of the Wii and the PS3. Check it out.

5.12.2006

Origins Prep

The household is currently prepping for the Origins Game Expo. We all have our events set.

Mine include Cosmic Cows, Haunting House, Descent, and Ninja Burger. Because ninjas must be involved somewhere. Even if only the Shinobi variety.

For those of you who read my fics (or just happen to read my sorry excuse for a blog) and happen to be going to Origins, I'm trying to come up with a time that I'll be down in the eatery to hang out.

I am doing the costume contest at booth #(can't remember). I will be dressing as an Umbral Reaver from Iron Kingdoms RPG. Iron Kingdoms rocks!

5.11.2006

E3 from Puter Screen

Oh! How I lament not being at E3! Maybe one day I'll get off my sorry library drone butt and pimp myself out to a big gaming company so they'll send me as a rep. And maybe pigs will fly.

Here's what interests me at E3:

.Hack G.U.
The screenshots for this looked sweet, so I was salivating for the E3 trailers. The graphics are a step up from the original, which is no surprise. The cinema screen of Skeith fighting Tarvos is sweet. The surprise is the graphics of the of the cinema screens seemlessly resemble the original games. The lead is Haseo and he's trying to hunt down a PK (Player Killer) named Tri-Edge. The E3 trailer seems to take the game a step darker than before with Kite appearing as a freaked out virus. The game will feature 'live' chat with the secondary characters and the vast worlds of the original.

Alone in the Dark
Atari is updating Alone in the Dark with a new edition to the series for Xbox 360, PS3, and the PC. Alone in the Dark 5 looks seriously creepy. The trailer claims that all fottage is from real-time game play. If that's true, the game is going to shoot the series up to the level of Silent Hill: The Room.

Assassin's Creed
UbiSoft's new franchise from their award winning Montreal Studio. The first game is set during the Third Crusade. UbiSoft promises to push the limits of gaming with this new series. The trailer looks sweet, but is obviously a cinema screen rather than actual game play. No scheduled release yet. The platform will be PS3 and, though it hasn't been mentioned at E3, Xbox 360.

Before Crisis
It hasn't premiered yet at the expo, but it is a highly anticipated title, having already been released in Japan for mobile phones. Here's crossing our fingers!

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

Ah, yeah, baby! The Castlevania whore in me is happy! I've already posted on the game. It's part of the line-up, but hasn't premiered yet, so no news.

Children of Mana
Proving, like Castlevania, that fans don't always want pretty graphics, but solid game play, Children of Mana is 32bit and proud. A new title for the DS, E3 has a trailer depicting gameplay, but not much else. Children of Mana is Square's attempt to resurrect the World of Mana franchise that started with the much loved Secret of Mana.

Crisis Core
Final Fantasy VII's fourth entry, this time for the PSP. It appears the Zax Donovan will be the lead.

Dawn of Mana
Again with the World of Mana resurrection. This one is for the PSP.

Dead Rising
Capcom's arcade style zombie shooting gallery with a healthy dose of graphic, and I do mean graphic, violence. This one is for XBox and looks very cathartic for the overly stressed. No other information on this title.

Dirge of Cerberus
Set after Advent Children, Vincent finds himself with a new mess to clean up. Check out the link for more information than my sorry list can give you.

Enchanted Arms
All hail UbiSoft! I saw a preview for this game when I went to pick up Dawn of Sorrow. Me, the castlevania whore, nearly forgot why I was at EB games. I stood, slack jawed, watching the trailer. *sigh* I'm going to have to buy an Xbox.

Final Fantasy XIII

This game alone has convinced me that I the PS3 will be in my hands on release day. It's times like this when I'm glad that all Christmas presents are made months before the shopping season that companies see fit to release these games and new consoles in. FF13 will have a whole lot less button pushing. Instead, battle action is preprogrammed, allowing game flow to be seamless with random encounters.

Harvest Moon
No word on this yet, but I'm hoping it will be worth it since it's a DS title and the DS needs more good games.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess & Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Two Zeldas in one year? My heart! It grows weak! Well, with the release of the backward compactible Wii and the DS lite, you want to have some show stoppers to launch them with and Zelda is answering the call.

Wii (the jokes are writing themselves!)
I'm still not sold on the Wii. (Hell, I'm still not sold on the DS and I bought one.) But backward compatability and the ability to play any previous Nintendo title (not to mention the super cheap price) will put one in my house. My husband's worried because I've been in a daze chanting 'Life Force... Life Force...' for days.

This is all I've got for now. Maybe I'll rant on the PS3 having two 'price levels' tomorrow.

5.04.2006

Enchanted Arms

Way back when I picke dup my copy of Dawn of Sorrow, I saw an ad on EB Games TV for a game called Golem Arm. The ad was entirely in japanese, but looked so mesmerizingly cool I almost forgot I was supposed to pick up my beloved Castlevania release.

Golem Arm is coming to the US under the name Enchanted Arms, thanks to UbiSoft (the people who brought us Rayman) and the Xbox 360. Scheduled release is this summer.

Damn. I'm going to have to buy an Xbox now.

More at IGN.
And more at Team Xbox.

5.02.2006

Nintendo Has Gone Off the Deep End

It's official! Nintendo's newest console, codenamed Revolution, is going to be called Wii.

As in We.

You know, as in 'We are so not going to buy it.'

I lost my faith in Nintendo years ago (the child Link and the refusal to make decent games for the plethora of consoles being a big part of that), and this just drove the last nail in the coffin.

According to Nintendo, the new name stems from the new gaming experience they want to engender. Namely, a communal one. Apparently, Nintendo thinks that gamers go it solo too much. You'd think the popularity of sports games, DDR, multiplayer adventures, MMORPG's, and competitive gaming conventions would have convinced them that video games are a community event. Then again, people who aren't gamers don't get it either, so I shouldn't be surprised. Nintendo is so far removed from its customer base its atrocious and the new name of the Revolution just proves it (just in case the new controller didn't).

The website reports that they also named the console Wii because of the controller. That's right. The controller. The one that, with the attachment, looks like a set of nunchucks. You can, in a sense of community, beat your friends senseless with it. It'll be great! I can see the headlines now: Youth Enraged By New Console Beats Friend To Death With Nunchuck Controller.

It'd be beautiful. *sniff*

But you know what? I think I know what's going on. I think Nintendo is trying to kill itself. I honestly think they are trying to put themselves under. The only reason I have to not think that is the console is backward compatible to the GameCube, and you can download any previous Nintendo game onto the system from the web.

Think about it:
Every Zelda
Every Mario
Classics like Bubble Bobble and Tetris
Maybe even...
Life Force

God, I love Life Force. I'd give a whole lot to be able to play it again.

Anyway, E3 is where the Wii goes down. Or maybe up depending on when Nintendo plans to launch and if they actually launch with games to play. We all know how bad Nintendo is about that. So I'll end with that. Penny Arcade said it best anyway.