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Comment Re:Oh good (Score 4, Insightful) 208

That was EA's claim, at least initially. They appear to have been lying, or at least overstating the case substantially. The only things that seem to absolutely require an active connection are resource trading (which a lot of players never do, anyway) and the cloud-based save system.

As I understand it, the game has already been cracked to work offline. The only reason it hasn't gotten more attention is because the inability to save makes it less than perfect for regular play.

Comment Re: instead of developing in house (Score 3, Interesting) 299

Isn't that what KOTOR was? Although I wouldn't mind a Rockstar reboot.

Well, Knights of the Old Republic was a RPG using a modified version of the D&D 2nd edition rule set, not an action-adventure game. And since Rockstar is known for their sandbox games, and KOTOR wasn't even slightly sandbox in style, with planets roughly the size of a high school gymnasium, I'd say the similarities between KOTOR and the GTA games are pretty much limited to the fact that they're both third-person 3D.

Also, since Rockstar doesn't generally produce RPGs, they wouldn't be my first choice to reboot the series.

Comment Re:Right... can you actually read? (Score 1) 299

For that matter, neither Epic (developers of the Unreal titles) or id Software, both of which you mention, publish their own work, either.

id dabbled in self-distribution in the days of the original Doom days (which was mail-order only), but for most of their history they relied on third-party publishers. Mainly Activision (who handled all their releases from Quake 2 through Doom 3), until they were finally acquired by ZeniMax and became a second-party studio there.

I'm not as familiar with Epic, but I don't believe they do much of their own publishing, either. I know most of the Unreal games were published by GT Interactive/Infogrames/Atari.

Comment Re:Right... can you actually read? (Score 1) 299

Just see what happened to Bioware when it stopped being a publisher and had to dance to EA's tune instead of listening to customers.

BioWare was never a publisher. The two Baldur's Gate games, Shattered Steel, and MDK were published by Interplay, Neverwinter Nights was published by Atari, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was published by LucasArts, and Jade Empire was published by Microsoft Game Studios (for the Xbox) and 2K Games (PC version).

I don't disagree with your larger point, though.

Comment Re:When they came for... (Score 2) 131

It's not digital books that are hurting Barnes and Noble (and previously killed competitor Borders). E-books are a successful sidebar, and will very likely continue to grow. But the biggest threat to brick and mortar stores like B&N are online retailers like Amazon, and not even their Kindle offerings.

That bothers me more than anything else, really. I'm fine with digital books, movies, whatever. I've spent too many hours packing and sorting my dead tree book collection, not to mention finding places to put it all, to mythologize the format itself. But the best books I've ever read, I've found as a result of browsing the aisles at places like Barnes and Noble, and, before them, local retailers. That's an experience Amazon hasn't managed to duplicate, and they're considerably better at trying to do so that 90% of their online peers.

Comment Re:Consoles did not arise because they were better (Score 1) 374

The NES was a pioneer of console DRM, actually. It was the first such machine to feature a lockout chip which prevented both unlicensed games and copier devices. And Nintendo was extremely proactive in terms of enforcement: they took a number of companies who produced bootleg cartridges, unlicensed peripherals, and their like to court.

Convenience was definitely a factor (especially since relatively few late 1980s computers were especially well-suited for the kinds of games that a dedicated console like the NES could produce, with poorer sound and graphics capabilities), but part of the reason why Nintendo proved so successful following the market shake-out that had eventually doomed earlier console manufacturers like Atari, Mattel, and Coleco was because they offered a closed ecosystem where it was feasible for a publisher to control exactly when and how their work was used. That's how Nintendo attracted the third-party developers that were instrumental in their success. Compared to the always-online, dial-home DRM schemes of today, sure, the NES was primitive, but it was a major trendsetter nonetheless.

Comment Re:New console every two years (Score 1) 374

I'm still amazed at how many games my circa 2008 PC can run at or near highest settings. There are exceptions, of course, but the fact that most modern games are written for consoles first and only then ported to PC means that there hasn't been a great deal of requirements creep since the start of the current console generation.

Comment Re:Nobody has an HTPC (Score 1) 374

The wired Xbox 360 gamepad can be hooked up directly to most any modern PC. Most console-to-Windows ports even support this right out of the box. The PlayStation 3 pad is only marginally more difficult to set up. Even the Wii remote can be made to work with a Bluetooth connection and only a minimal bit of jiggery-pokery. If the directional pads are subpar, it's a problem that afflicts consoles in exactly the same way.

Comment Re:I haven't watched the video but... (Score 1) 499

I wouldn't bet my life on it, but I'm pretty sure I upgraded directly from Windows XP (x86) to Windows 7 (x64) on my desktop workstation. Also, given how Microsoft basically treated Windows 7 as a "do-over" given the poor uptake rates of Vista, I'd be surprised if they limited upgrade potential like that.

Comment Re:I'm sticking with VGA (Score 1) 356

My first HDTV had that option. By default (and oddly) it would overscan but not rescale, which lead to a frankly worthless black box around the whole screen. It was easily turned off in the menu, though.

My current TV does not. It does the whole rescaling/overscanning thing, and it makes using a DVI/HDMI hookup for my computer worthless. Luckily, it has a VGA port, even though it doesn't maintain the aspect ratio when scaling non-16:9 resolutions (another downgrade from the earlier set).

I miss my old TV so much, dammit....

Comment Re:Just bought a PS2 this year (Score 1) 422

It's possible, with some caveats. On the original model PS2, at least (I don't know about the newer revisions) it breaks PS1 compatibility. The games will run, but the display is scrambled. And the component cables are (or were, at least) expensive and difficult to come by.

Still, it is a marked improvement in picture quality, especially on HDTVs.

Comment Destroy "someone's" piece of software? (Score 5, Informative) 136

The EFF has withdrawn their recommendation because the developers of Haystack have basically asked people to stop using it pending their security review.

There's nothing dirty or questionable going on here. CRC has been criticized for certain things, they've taken those criticisms to heart and are attempting to deal with the problems, and in the meantime are warning people that their tool shouldn't be used until those problems are resolved. The EFF's actions reflect this, and nothing else.

Comment Re:nothing's shocking (Score 4, Insightful) 546

They did look at it critically. Research 2000 was fired by Daily Kos before anyone noted any impropriety in the figures, simply because the numbers weren't matching up with reality. Shortly after this happened, Grebner, Weissman, and Weissman approached Markos with evidence of deliberate impropriety.

Does Daily Kos have a responsibility to not promote questionable information as truth? Of course, and they've apologized for the situation. But keep in mind that this information is only coming to light because someone with sufficient statistical background took the time to pore over the data. That sort of expertise is hard to come by, which is the reason why smaller media/news outlets contract out to firms like Research 2000 in the first place!

It's only relatively recently that there's been much interest in the science of polling. Before the emergence of aggregation sites like FiveThirtyEight or, it was extremely rare that you'd ever see this kind of statistical analysis of polling data. The traditional method of testing a pollster's reliability was simple trial and error over a period of several elections. Really, that's *still* the primary method. If anything, Research 2000 only got scrutinized in this case because of the issues with their accuracy that led to them being dropped in the first place.

For me, it's not really a partisan issue, despite the highly politicized nature of Daily Kos. It has more to do with the size of the media outlet. I would expect a major news organization with dozens or hundreds of employees, like Fox News or MSNBC, to be able to detect problems like these very quickly. A relatively small blog with maybe a dozen part-time employees like Daily Kos, or Red State, or whatever, I'm more willing to give a pass. At least at first: I'd expect Markos to learn his lesson from this and be more proactive in ensuring that it doesn't happen again.

Comment Re:He has a point (Score 1) 426

"Kleenex" I'll grant you, but I've never heard "Hoover" used as a verb in an American context. It's always just been "vacuum." The only people I've ever heard use it as such have been British.

Although, come to think of it, I haven't actually seen a Hoover-brand vacuum cleaner in ages. But I've yet to hear anyone talk about "Kenmoring" or "Dysoning" their carpet, either.

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