Let us take a moment to acknowledge that annual micro-shock of realizing the perfectly futuristic sound of the year 2008


and the dependable string of thought that follows; inevitably you note that there tain’t much too futuristicimal about the actual year 2008 we’re living in. Except for two things:

  • videogames
  • the stuff Apple makes

The twitching death throes of 2007 were a seething orgy of games for me, all crashing into each other at the end of the calendar with pretty terrible timing. I feel the player base could have used a few of these earlier, during the summer drought. That said, I’m still sort of scrambling to catch up with what’s new and interesting – so I’ll just FFWD the blog a bit and stick with what’s current.

WTF happened to Xbox Live? It’s got malaria. For over two weeks now, it’s been acting completely flaky, much to the ire of paying players. Major Nelson is in full PR deployment mode; I guess they are offering a free arcade game for the “not”-downtime (MS insists that it has not actually gone down) which is sort of nice I suppose. The interesting thing this mess has unearthed are the unusual network hooks in the Xbox dash and particularly the video player. As it turns out, you need to log into live to stream local DivX files over your private LAN. The tinfoil hat is completely appropriate in this situation as I can’t think of any good reason to necessitate Live logins for local functions. Microsoft insists that the cause is a flood of new users over xmas, which is generating such sheer quantities of awesome that it overloaded their flux capacitors. (Their spin, not mine.) I don’t get why this happens with what is essentially a peer-to-peer system, but whatever.

I note with amusement that Konami has resorted to standing on a crate and screaming into a bullhorn to get the point across: there will be no Metal Gear Solid 4 on Xbox 360. For the millionth time. Sweet Merciful Lucifer, can we please forget about this rumour now.

Rock Band has been the force majeure in my life lately. I won’t lie to you – I regularly genuflect in the drum controller’s presence. The entire experience with the supadupa bundle is outstanding: it simply fulfils all of the expectations I had for the product. In fact the only quibble I can find is that you don’t seem to be able to re-arrange the columns of note charts on the screen to suit where you are actually standing in local multiplayer: I started a band using the drum controller and now that column is on the right of the guitar, even though I tend to do the opposite instrument arrangement in meatspace. This does not hinder the game at all, it just offends my autistic-German-housefrau sense of symmetry. That’s how deep I need to dig to find something to bitch about in Rock Band. I also want to mention how gratifying it is to see the DLC songs coming fast and furious on PSN/Live. If EA/Harmonix keeps their promise and updates the base “Rock Band” platform client as opposed to releasing Rock Band 2 or Rock Band ‘09 next year, my satisfaction will be complete.The rumours about band mode are true, however; to experience the game fully you need friends playing with you in your living room. A bit of a downer for reclusive troglodye shut-in like myself. The yellow-face, it burns ours skin. You understand.

Warhawk’s resonably-priced Operation: Omega Dawn expansion has been briefly sampled, and I give it high initial marks. The new dropship is a three dimensional realization of violent, fiery retribution, and it is deeply satisfying. Warhawk’s new System-7 Extensions-manager style of displaying the O:OD symbol makes me think there’s more than a few of those in the hopper.

And probably the biggest news to happen in the new year so far – maybe not initially but in the long term, certainly – is that the heathen HD DVD disc format shall burn like the gods of Old. Warner flipped to Blu-ray exclusively, which more or less gives that consortium a lock on the optical HD format for the foreseeable future. Poor Toshiba completely spazzed out, seeing as this happened two days before their (now cancelled) planned HD DVD conference at CES, and issued a statement that can only be described as the closest thing I’ve seen to rage in a press release.

Dovetailing nicely into that nugget is this morning’s news that certain Blu-ray titles will include a PSP version on the disc. Now that is kickass. (David Lynch won’t think so. Thanks for that link Rui) I also see that the fabled GPS accessory for PSP is finally making it’s way over the pond to us from Japan, as well as some promised Skype functionality. I think you need a thin PSP to do the Skype thing though, which is a drag. I sort of like the phat PSP better.


3 responses to “MMIIX is Go”

  1. Hey, you’re back! Good.

    What do you prefer about the fat PSP?

  2. I found the old one to be a little less squeaky. The new one flexes a tiny bit. Also they moved the side where the memorystick goes which bugs me for purely selfish reasons. But I don’t mind the lightness and the tv-out is great.

  3. it sucks that Skype is only going to be delivered for the slim. Sony claims that the Phat doesn’t have enough built in memory to do it (32MB vs 64MB in the slim) and yet the hacker communtiy has already done it on the Phat. Sony should just wake the fuck up and put those guys on the payroll. They are the reason the PSP is still breathing. Thank the maker.

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