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Comment Maybe go the JAMMA route? (Score 1) 361

Personally I prefer to play on original hardware rather than emulation (it's a bit like the old CD vs vinyl debate!) That's not to say emulation isn't great in a lot of circumstances, but I tend to prefer the real hardware. Timing is one thing I often notice is inaccurate or erratic in emulated games, my favourite example being Samus' wall kick in Super Metroid, which I often use as a quick acid test of a SNES emulator.

I've put together a collection of various JAMMA games that are favourites of mine and use a Supergun to play them. While it's a bit of a pain swapping delicate boards (the encased boards of the CPS1 Q-sound era onwards are a godsend), it's great to be able to play the original hardware. Obviously certain early non-JAMMA games need extra wiring to work, but it can be worth the effort if you're into this sort of hobby. :)

Comment Re:The Build Quality Of Their Notebooks (Score 1) 329

Yeah I've found the decals on VAIOs rub off just by looking at them. I think within 6 weeks my last VAIO had lost all the labels for the ports on the sides, and all I'd done with the laptop was pick it up from one place and put it down in another. Several of the keys had lost parts of the letters too. The wrist guards also tend to show rub marks and wear after about 12 months too.

VAIOs look lovely on display in the Sony Centre, but give it a few months and they start to look quite ratty. For the price premium I would expect something that is designed to withstand normal usage a bit more robustly. Although I'm sure people wouldn't buy replacements as often if their old laptop still looked pristine!

Comment Re:Wow (Score 0) 224

I don't see why the chavs need this anyway. All the ones that live near me have already have PCs, mobile phones, cars, PS3s, Sky Sports subscriptions, etc all thanks to their generous benefits payouts.

I thought we were supposed to be cutting back on government spending, I'd like to know how much the dedicated helpline they're promising will cost for starters...

Comment Re:Graphics are moving in the wrong direction (Score 1) 191

I agree, Reach seems to be missing the more colourful and bright look of the previous main instalments. As well as the texture and frame rate issues you mentioned I noticed quite frequent AI bugs, with characters getting stuck and not moving, just popping out of existence and on one occasion Kat just teleported into the passenger seat of the Warthog after I left her behind. I often see the AI in Halo games used as the gold standard, but I wasn't that impressed with this one. Makes me wonder if maybe the game was a bit rushed to hit the launch date MS set for it...

Comment Re:Classic Nintendo GamePad (Score 1) 271

Are you using the classic rectangular block controller or the "dog-bone" controller of the NES2? I'd never used the dog-bone prior to last year when I bought an AV Famicom and I was absolutely blown away at how comfortable and easy to use the controller is. It's probably the third best controller Nintendo have ever made after the Super Famicom and N64 pads.

Before that the NES had never been a particular favourite of mine, even though it was responsible for my life long addiction to videogames. I was quite shocked at the difference a controller could make, and I'm regularly turning the system on for a bit of Kirby's Adventure or Duck Tales 2. I can even finish games I never had a chance of finishing as a child, like Super C and the Turtles Arcade Game. Although to be fair my Super C cart is a pirate that lets you always have the spread gun. ;)

For its time, the NES controller was the best thing I'd ever used, prior to that I'd been using great big joysticks on my C64 and Atari ST that were never very easy to use. In hindsight the concave buttons and sharp corners weren't the best ideas, but they were better than anything else on the market!

Comment Re:GPU on netbooks? (Score 4, Informative) 94

Meh. Who needs graphics on netbooks anyway. It's not like you're going to use photoshop/CAD or play games on them...

I play games on mine! :) My current netbook plays stuff like GTA Vice City and Aliens vs Predator (1999) really well.

I'm about to replace it with an Alienware M11x so I can play modern stuff like Mass Effect 2 on the go. Basically it's a portable Xbox 360 for me. It should have the horsepower for most emulators too.

Comment Re:Ok for MMOs, perhaps... (Score 3, Insightful) 190

I hate this too. I'm still upset Shenmue II ended on a massive cliffhanger with Sega clearly not intending to finish the story.

More recently Ubisoft have been doing it in a lot of their games, and in the case of the Prince of Persia reboot, they've already abandoned it for a Sands of Time sequel to cash-in on the film coming out this summer.

Comment What a pointless article (Score 3, Insightful) 136

The article talks about rating online games based on their demographics and moderation systems, but I believe even that is pointless. Just look at Nintendo, I lost count of the number of hairy dicks people had drawn on the front of their karts in Mario Kart DS, and that game has no text or voice chat and no webcam features. No matter how many people you ban for inappropriate behaviour, there will always be someone new on the game ready to mis-behave.

The ESRB can't rate online interactions and they're right not to try to do so. The only thing they should be doing is educating parents about the risks of playing games online and recommending that parents monitor who their kids are talking to in those games.

Comment Microsoft don't allow it (Score 1) 389

It's the same reason why Final Fantasy XIV is "exclusive" to PS3 initially, because Sony allow you game alongside players from other platforms, which in this case is the PC version. Microsoft policy is not to allow this, although there have been exceptions like Final Fantasy XI and Shadowrun.

Besides, do you really want 13 year old Xbox and PS3 owners with headsets in the same game together? It would instantly set a world record for the most times the word "gay" was said in a single minute.

Comment Re:I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPho (Score 1) 57

You're right that I shouldn't be too impressed with something as basic as Wolf3D running properly on an iPhone, but have you seen some of the other attempts at 3D games on the iPhone? ;) Some of them have really appalling frame rates and unresponsive controls.

Case in point, according to Carmack when Electronic Arts first ported Wolf3D to the iPhone they were just using the CPU for everything. It wasn't until Carmack took it on that the GPU was utilised. If you're interested Carmack talks about the development process here.

I probably played your Quake ports back in the day, as I used to enjoy putting all the games I could find on my Pocket PC. I remember enjoying Quake on there a lot, although the d-pads on the PDAs I owned were always a bit fiddly! IIRC there was a Casio Pocket PC with a d-pad that would only accept one direction press at a time! This port of Quake 1 on the DS works very well given the hardware it's on, with the stylus/touchscreen being used for aiming and the d-pad being used for movement.

Comment Re:I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPho (Score 1) 57

Secret doors work like normal doors, so accidentally triggering them does happen every so often even without looking for them. That said, I have fond(?!) memories of walking against all the walls hammering my space bar looking for secrets, so I think automatic triggering might just be an improvement.

So far ammo hasn't been too bad, I don't know if that was tweaked or not but it wouldn't surprise me if it was. Generally, I find myself short on ammo at the start of a new chapter where you get stripped of all your weapons but your ammo reserves soon build up again.

Comment I'm more excited about Doom Classic on the iPhone (Score 4, Insightful) 57

I bought Wolf3D for the iPhone on a whim, expecting it to be your typical iPhone game with stuttering gameplay and sluggish controls, but it really surprised me in how well it played.

I think it's easy to just think of Carmack as a genius programmer but he also really knows how to tune a game to be fun too, from reading Carmack's blog about developing iPhone Wolf3D it's clear he put a lot of thought and effort into streamlining the gameplay. He removed the high score from the game as it was fairly superfluous. He also dropped having a finite number of lives in the game so you can restart a level whenever you want. He rightly noticed that too many controls are a pain so he made door trigger automatic (like Quake). Best of all he added an auto-map to help make sense of the maze-like levels (using the old maze solving algorithm of hugging the left wall works well for most levels ;) ).

On top of all that he also wrote a game that maintains a steady frame rate and has very responsive and comfortable controls (which is very unusual in iPhone games). So, with all that in mind, I'm really champing at the bit to get his port of Doom Classic, but it still hasn't been released. I can only assume they're waiting for Doom Resurrection sales to drop off before releasing another Doom game to avoid cannibalising sales. Doom Resurrection is OK, but the tilt controls aren't that great and being on-rails it's missing the fun of being able to explore a level yourself at your own pace.

Apparently Duke Nukem is on the way as well. I hope they do as good a job of porting that as Carmack did with Wolf3D. Now if LucasArts could be persuaded to port Dark Forces and Jedi Knight.... ;)

Comment Re:Logitech MX Revolution (Score 1) 569

I couldn't agree more, the MX Revolution is fantastic for coding. Its best feature in my book is the SmartShift tech which makes scrolling through code such a breeze! It's a real shame that Logitech have abandoned SmartShift on all their newer mice, requiring the user to manually shift between modes rather than letting the mouse shift itself when it detects heavy scrolling. Still I'm sure I'll be able to pick up Revolutions on eBay for a few years to come...

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