Vita Sunday Brunch

Lots of random stuff, most centered around Gamescom 2012 news and announcements, so let’s get started straight away …

PSOne Compatibility in Sight
Finally! The long awaited feature to play PSOne games on our Vita is almost launched. No idea what took so long, but hopefully Sony pulls this off without a hitch.

Why play 15+ year old games on the Vita? Why not – there are a ton of classics just waiting to be found and enjoyed. As part of the launch, it would be nice if Sony features some sort of PSN PSOne sale to coincide with the firmware update, and certainly throwing in a couple of classics as part of the PS+ update would be appreciated.

Vita Gets PS+
Speaking of PS+, the Vita finally gets some love.

We will also deliver PlayStation Plus, which is currently available for PS3 users, to PS Vita users this year. By purchasing a membership to PlayStation Plus, PS Vita users will be able to enjoy various services which will become available exclusively for members.

I really expected Sony to push PS+ as part of E3, but they waited until Gamescon to final admit they have a wonderful system that needs some TLC. Depending on how they position PS+ for the Vita (hopefully not just the “services” part), Sony should have a compelling offering on their hands. Even if Sony only provides occasional PSOne, PSP, and minis (OK, I don’t really care about the Minis), PS+ on the Vita should be well received.

If nothing else, precious memory card space could be freed up by transferring occasionally played game saves to the Cloud Game Save service.

I love the stylistic look of Tearaway; fantastic looking game.

Hopefully this one progresses nicely, and the Vita’s features do not get in the way of the fun or come across as mere gimmicks.

Gravity Rush DLC Articles
I’m not very far into Gravity Rush, but at some point I intend to pick up the Maid Pack and Special Forces Pack DLC. One of these days. At any rate, I thought the reviewer did a good job of providing some decent commentary on the merits of the DLC.

COD: Black Ops Declassified
I’m not a fan of military shooters so I don’t intend to pick up COD: Black Ops Declassified. According to EDGE, it looks to be a train-wreck, while the official’ish Sony Blog makes it sound spectacular. Unless the release is delayed, I see this one falling flat and living COD fans disappointed; not the system seller Sony needs to push the Vita.

Ragnarok Odyssey Gets Delayed
Technically it’s not a delay if a release date was never set for August 21, which was the case at the time of my original pre-order. Amazon now estimated an October 19 arrival date, which may or may not be “official” but certainly this could be too close to the November 20 P4G release.

Ragnarok Odyssey has been on my radar for a while; starved JRPG fans get sort of desperate that way.

Speaking Of JRPGs
Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees [There is no way that title doesn’t get changed in the localization process; assuming the game makes it to NA.] continues to look impressive, but P4G is the real prize and now you can get a preorder bonus. I don’t really care for the skin, but I’m sure some Persona nuts will get all teary eyed over for this one.

Vita Should Go Digital Only?
I don’t think so, but this article from Game Insider makes a case for revamping the Vita to include physical memory, digital only gaming (even though the PSP Go was a miserable failure), and removing 3G support. I disagree with these points, but physical memory is an issue. The article is well written and worth a read.

Cross Buy
Sony looks to be pushing Cross Buy with games like Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault.

Not only will the game feature cross-play and cross-save, but it’s also part of a super-cool promotional offer where anyone who purchases Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault for PS3 via PlayStation Network will be able to download the PS Vita version of the game from PSN at no additional cost and vice versa.

No complaints from this gamer. This approach can only help the Vita. It should be interesting to see if any Third Party partners offer something similar; doubtful, but worth watching.

Happy Sunday!


I’m Turning Japanese …

I finally decided to get off my duff and setup a Japanese PSN account. Mostly because I was curious, partly because I wanted to download some specific demos, PSOne Classics, avatars and themes that are not available in the US, and finally just because I wanted to give it a go.

It was actually pretty straight forward, with my biggest questions being if I could re-use my current US PSN registered email account, and how the heck to navigate the Japanese store.

Now my biggest issue is that I need to spend $50 or so to buy a Japanese 3,000 YEN PSN card that is only worth about $35 (after the exchange rate). I did manage to pull down a couple of JP PSN themes that are unavailable in the US, so I guess that was worth the trivial effort involved to setup the Japanese PSN account.


How Much For Two Hours?

So Journey will get critical acclaim and all the typical accolades that come with a fantastic independent title. Two hours? According to PlayStation Lifestyle, the majority of gamers will complete Journey in a single sitting.

Some will be disappointed by how quickly the game ends, but the two hours that mark your journey is the most incredible and unique you can possibly have on your PS3. Flower is often used as an example of how games are art, but Flower is a mere sketch compared to the oil painting that is Journey. With perfect music, gorgeous visuals and powerful single and multiplayer experiences, Journey is the PlayStation Network’s must own magnum opus.

I think I’m still excited about Journey, but with so many other games to be played, Journey will have to have a killer Trophy list or a serious PS+ discount. Based on other outlets saying two hours of gameplay, I doubt that Journey will be a Day One purchase if the price is over $9.99.


Vita Update of the Day: Vita-PS3 Cross Play.

Vita update time again; don’t hate me for my enthusiasm to actually (God forbid) write daily updates. Been a while.

Multiple sources, including Sony (yet another shock) are reporting on Sony’s promise to deliver Vita-PS3 Cross Play. According to PlayStation LifeStyle

When you buy Hustle Kings and/or Top Darts for PS Vita, you will get the PS3 versions for free. If you already own these games on PS3, you’ll be able to download the PS Vita version for free.

If this really means that I really get Hustle Kings for the Vita for free, thanks to a previous PS3 purchase, color me happy. Should find out more on the 22nd with mainstream release of the Vita.

I hope some sort of deal, discount, or voucher is announced for MLB 12: The Show, but somehow I bet it is excluded since the articles only mention a handful of games, none of which sound like a great baseball experience.


Vita Countdown (Four More Sleeps)

February 15 is tumbling towards us quickly, along with the start of soccer practice for my nine year-old son (and yours truly co-coaching), Valentine’s Day, the newest Twisted Metal, and of course the Vita.

How are these all connected you may ask? Let’s take these in quick succession.

Soccer practice will be Monday and Wednesday, meaning that I will not be sitting on my ass playing the Vita Wednesday night. That’s OK, said ass needs a workout.

Valentine’s Day will also see the release of Twisted Metal. Play it too much, and no needful for me. With the Vita arriving just a day later, I figured I better hook my wife up with something nice – can you say jewelry from Blue Nile? Some nice garnet earrings and matching pendent; Blue Nile is truly a best friend, always helping me out of those tough spots like new a Vita and a host of games showing up as bookends to V-Day.

Which does in fact bring us to the Vita. While the anticipation is building, one of my burning desires is that the Vita turns into a quality RPG producing machine, along the lines of the PSP, which was really underrated in this respect. Hopefully the next Atelier receives a U.S. localization effort.

It was confirmed earlier this week that long suffering U.S. Vita fans will not receive a UMD Passport offer, allowing PSP owners with large UMD libraries to quickly port their content to digital media for a modest price.

While the lack of a U.S. UMD Passport program is disappointing, I can accept that the Vita will not offer a means of being directly backwards compatible with PSP UMDs. I find it very disappointing that as of right now, the Vita is not compatible with PSOne titles.

I’m not sure why Sony would not at least attempt to flip a few bucks on a limited UMD Passport offering, which would obviously be restricted to the PSP titles available via the PSN store. There are so many ways that Sony could play this, and capitalize on PSP owners converting (upgrading) to the Vita, and their desire to have some of their favorite UMDs still accessible on the Vita.

My approach will be fairly simple. I’ll keep a few of my favorite PSP titles, flip a few more on eBay, and the rest will go to one of my PSP owning boys.

I’m sure there are all sorts of licensing issues to overcome, but if Sony could in Japan, there is reason to think that Sony could have managed some limited UMD Passport effort in the U.S. It is really too bad because this sort of short sightedness could cost Sony some much needed sales.

The Trophy whore in me loves that I can now (on Feb 15th at any rate) rack up trophies on the go. I can’t imagine spending much time with Little Deviants, except to get some trophy boosting, but since it is a throw in with my early release bundle thingy, boost I will.

Whew! That’s enough for early Saturday morning. Time for another cup of coffee; truly the nectar of the gods. Happy Saturday!


The Long Delayed Road To Nowhere

It’s been a while since my last update, which is kind of similar to my free time for gaming. While often limited, my random gaming sessions have been all over the place. The theme of this post has to be ‘backlog’ – as in I could not purchase a game for the next couple of years and still have something new to experience.

With that said, let’s jump into a whirlwind tour of random gaming bliss …

The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest
I picked this one up a month ago, once the price fell below $20. I just started in the last couple of days. It is pretty much what I expected – LotR, with poorly implemented Move support (i.e. probably a Wii Remote straight port), but very family friendly.

So far I am enjoying it, but probably only because I am a huge LotR geek.

Days of Thunder: NASCAR
This morning I picked up Days of Thunder, along with Star Trek DAC, and Top Gun via a 50% off PS+ sale. While I have not played the other two games in this Paramount bundle, $7.50 looks like a steal of a deal for all three games. If nothing else, Days of Thunder is shaping up to be easily worth ~$2.50. Yes, it is arcade racing, and only loosely based on the movie with the same name, but so far my boys (along with day) are having a blast playing this one.

The game feature rubber band racing to the extreme, but that is OK, when the experience is still fun. I was shocked once I made it to the ‘Sprint’ circuit – Daytona became total hell on wheels, but in a fun way.

Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest
I cannot exactly put my finger on the reason, but I am very much looking forward to Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest, which is due a few days (November 15 to be exact) shy of Thanksgiving. What’s not to like? Family friendly, Move compatible, and based on lessons learned from Sports Champions.

PixelJunk Shooter
Let’s put this one in the looking forward to category, which will just add further to my backlog, but with a PS+ 20% off discount, who can complain?

Some people reckon PixelJunk games are a little tough, and well… yes, they are a little because I think games should be a challenge. However, what we’ve done this time is scattered loads of checkpoints so even if you do die, you’ll restart really close, and we also give you the option to downgrade your difficulty setting if you get a Game Over too. We’ve created 4 difficulty levels so everyone is catered for (I hope!).

For an old man gamer, I am giddy over frequent checkpoints and multiple difficulty levels for a shoot-em-up. Not to digress too much, but the October PS+ offering has been butt-nut crazy.

While Afrika may not be the greatest ‘game’ around, it holds a special place in my heart. First, I love the experience. It is different, and I sometimes blow my wad over games that are a little off the beaten path. Of course it is hard to call Afrika a ‘game’ … at least not a proper game. Second, Afrika was my first Platinum. Your first is always special, and all that jazz. At any rate, this article was a fond remembrance of picture grabbing animals and insects in my romp through Africa.

When I first read about the GT5 2.0 update, I started longing for the game again, and when the F1 Championship winning Sebastian Vettel Red Bull was on offer a couple of weeks ago, I (briefly) jumped back in for the first time in a while.

Getting the $1 million credits was a nice bonus. I made the Bronze in-game trophy without too much difficulty, but didn’t spend much time trying to place higher. I now have some much needed money to burn, which should help me push forward in the game without having to stop for a short term grind.

I will be picking up the upcoming DLC, but I am far from maximizing the current DLC free version (that backlog thing again).

We are confirming that the Gran Turismo 5 DLC update will be available to download on 10/25. We apologize for the delay in the content however as a gift to our eager fans we are offering free bonus content. For those who purchase the “Complete Pack” by November 7, we will throw in a unique GT Academy dynamic theme as well the Honda NSX GT500 Stealth Model. Just to be clear, both the dynamic theme and the car are free with purchase of the Complete Pack. Again we are sorry for the delay and hope that fans will enjoy all of the fantastic new content to come for GT5.

It is not like I have ants in my pants or anything, so I am happy to wait another week and pick up a couple of free throw-ins by Sony for putting up the DLC one week later than originally planned.

Ico – The No Update, Update
I haven’t started on Ico collection; same song and dance. Never enough hours in the day. I guess my appetite for gaming is bigger than the time I have to appreciate the games.


Better late than never? Daggerdale PSN

I would love to see a decent action RPG based on the current D&D rules, released for the PS3, thus I have been waiting on info on Daggerdale.

We wanted to make the game as accessible as possible, just let players play, harkening back to the ‘old school’ days of gaming. You should be able to play alone, call a buddy over and play locally or jump online and find a party of adventurers to group with. There are definitely development issues with balancing and performance having a downloadable PSN game that is fully featured, but we felt strongly about the usability of the game. Besides, isn’t that what D&D is about – freedom of play?

Kind of lame for the Daggerdale director to post to the official’ish PlayStation blog, and then abandon the blog post without answering any comments, providing insight into the PSN release date, etc.

Daggerdale for the PS3 via PSN; better late than never?


Week in Gaming (40? Not so old after all)

NCAA Football 12, what else? It is actually growing on me as I continue to fine tune some of the sliders, but the reality is that under the covers this is still the same NCAA Football that I turned my back on several years ago. Sure, there are improvements, small little niggles that any simulation fan will pick up on, but casual fans are going to wonder why they should continue to “upgrade” yearly.

I have not started farting around with Dynasty mode yet; mostly because of time commitments, and secondly because the developers have taken Dynasty mode in a forgettable direction. Is it really so hard to get this right? Just throw a couple of dedicated NCAA football fans at the helm as “consultants,” find some decent software engineers that understand progression modeling, standard deviation (from walk-ons to blue chip prospects), make it adjustable via various slider settings, and tie it all up with a pretty interface (hire a UI consultant) and we would have the killer experience that we have been longing for since we first fell in love with NCAA Football during the heydays of the 2000-2001 releases.

One can dream, right? Instead, according to Bill Abner at nohighscores, we get recruiting run amuck.

In 2013 we see…

42 quarterbacks rated 90 or higher

41 running backs rated 90 or higher

The country is filled with B+ to A+ rated teams, as progression has simply gone insane. You can make the case that the overall score for these players doesn’t matter, that it is the individual ratings that carry more weight and this argument would hold more water if EA shipped rosters that reflected this. They didn’t. This CLEARLY can’t be how it’s meant to work. EA can’t possibly mean for Ohio U (not Ohio State, but the Bobcats of Athens) to finish 12-0 in 2013 and have an 81 rated HB win the Heisman. That can’t be right.

What this does is effectively make your NCAA Dynasty a crap shoot when games are simmed as truly great programs are likely to go 6-6 because everyone is rated so closely together (unless you are truly a bottom feeder team.) A team might go 11-1 one year, still have a great team the next and lose 5 or 6 games due to randomness.

Is this harsh? Not at all if you admit to yourself that …

(A) NCAA Football is a niche title, which a simulation fan base and mass market appeal. The former demands a decent (that is really the mark at this point – decent) simulation, while that later just wants their beloved team to beat the shit out of everyone else.

(B) While my gaming habits these days are still rooted in simulation experiences, I have shifted (kicking and screaming) into the realm of a semi-casual gamer. This has an interesting impact on my gaming because I can really appreciate the full spectrum more so than at any prior point in my gaming life.

Catherine Demo
I spent a little time with the strange and curious Catherine; what will those crazy Japanese developers think of next? After watching this game for a while, I was interested to get my hands on the demo. It is really just a block pulling/pushing/manipulating puzzle type game, with an interesting story. While I like interesting (i.e. different) games, I am not so sure that I am going to keep this one on pre-order. I would actually like to see how the story plays out; could probably save $60 and just wait for the eventual youtube videos to make an appearance.

The Sly Collection: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus
Still working my way through this one; currently in the Mesa City section. I missed these games the first time around (PS2 releases) and am glad I am giving the HD versions a go. The Sly games, at least the first one, are all about classic platform gaming action; however a little on the easy side. The cartoon cell-shaded graphic style makes the game appear to be a kiddie outing, but I think adults that grew up in the Mario world should enjoy the Sly games.

Where to from here?
Any gaming time this coming week will probably be spent with NCAA 12, exploring the broken Dynasty mode, looking to see if it is really as bad as has been reported. I’ll probably also turn back to LBP some; have given it a rest the last couple of weeks in order to recharge my appreciation for this true gem.

I also need to decide if I am going to take the plunge on any of the PSN Summer Sale games. I have such a huge backlog of games that I will probably pass; have to admit that Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is tempting me.

40 is just a number … although a scary one!
Speaking of 40, while it’s really not so old, it’s darn hard to believe that my household now features a 40 year-old better half. Cheers to Tonya; 40 is really just a starting point, a silly number if you will.


Welcome Back Choices

Today is the last day to claim any “welcome back” games. When Sony’s package went live in early June, I picked up the free PS3 theme and LittleBigPlanet (LBP) for the PSP. I still have not made my other PSP selection; will probably settle on ModNation Racers as Pursuit Force and Killzone Liberation are not my typical fare for PSP gaming.

From a PS3 standpoint, I already purchased the PSN titles Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD. I also own LBP (although the Game of the Year Edition), and inFAMOUS. While I do not technically “own” Wipeout HD, I do have it available to my library as part of the initial PS+ offering. I also took advantage of a PS+ discount last September to pick up the Fury DLC for $7.99, which also renders this option as semi-worthless.

In other words, my PS3 choices are rather limited. I decided on Wipeout HD just because I would now “own” the game; not that I am planning on letting my PS+ subscription expire anytime soon.

I also decided on inFAMOUS; was there really any other choice? inFAMOUS was packed in with my PS3 Slim that I purchased around this time last year as a replacement to my original PS3 60GB system. Would you believe that I never actually played inFAMOUS, much less opened the game? I know; I suck. Figured I would get to it at some point down the road as I work my way through my backlog of games.

By going with inFAMOUS, I figure I can at least flip my copy for a few bucks on eBay or via some sort of trade in down the road, although the value has to be pennies on the dollar due to the game being offered in the “welcome back” package.

Yesterday I attempted to add inFAMOUS as my second game, however it was not offered as an available “welcome back” choice. After a lot of pain and suffering (i.e. research), I realized that because I never deleted and never played the free trial I received last year as part of PS+, I needed to download the trail again, play it, and let it expire.

That is a hell of a lot of work to try to get some value from the “welcome back” package. It fact it was way more work than I anticipated. For some reason the game took impossibly long to download; maybe hordes of other gamers were also making last minute “welcome back” selections.

At any rate, the download completed and installed just before midnight last night. I played it for about 30 minutes before crashing for the night. When I checked the available “welcome back” options this morning, there sat inFAMOUS. So happy days; I am currently downloading the full game now.

I know I should not look a gift horse in the mouth …

[July 4th Update:] If you failed to collect your free “welcome back” games, Sony has extended the offer: “The Welcome Back offer has been extended until 9am Pacific on Tuesday, July 5th. If you haven’t had a chance to download the offerings, please do so before then.”

If you have not already done so, now is the time to do the needful.


Journey – Not the Wheel in the Sky

Journey is one of those really compelling games that I have been keeping close tabs on, and now it looks like PS+ is paying some dividends in landing a limited beta invite.

To test Journey’s innovative and unusual multiplayer functionality, we are conducting a small, invite-only beta that will run tomorrow, June 28 and will run through July 12. If you were one of the very earliest adopters of Flower, and you are a PS Plus subscriber as well, watch your XMB inbox for your invitation and entry into the beta. Additionally, we’ve been able to free up a limited number of additional spots for the beta. Please check thatgamecompany’s Facebook page, here on the PlayStation Blog, or our media partners and their sites for code give-aways.

It is not 100% clear from the article if all PS+ subscribers are getting an invite. Keeping my fingers crossed, because I am really interested in this one.

[Update June 29, 2011] I was a day one PS+ subscriber, and I didn’t receive an invite for the limited Journey beta, so it is safe to say that not all PS+ subscribers will receive an invite.


Now Playing (Closing Out June Edition)

Or maybe we should have called this one the Trophy whore edition. Yes, while putting in a few hours of “fun” time, I have actually been doing a little Trophy chasing (i.e. being a total Trophy whore).

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet
I am all in on this one, which is great fun to play with the kids. Would I ever actively play this one on my own? Not with so many other great titles out there waiting for my attention. The AI can be kind of cheap and inconsistent. Some of the challenges are really a mess, and while nothing is overly difficult, some wore my patience to the nubs. Oh yeah, and the game will often crash, not saving your hard earned progress, which at times can make for a frustrating experience due to a clunky and slow menu/interface.

With all that said, my four and nine year olds love the game. They are enjoying the game, working to unlock all the characters, and of course earning Trophies. I have had to use a couple of “cheat” guides, mostly to find a few of the “ collectible” items; in most games, including this one, Trophies around collecting stuff are a total PITA. Thus the guides, as I really don’t have enough hours in the day to find overly complicated hidden crap, including BS Trophies. The joys of going after a “family” Platinum trophy, which we picked up tonight.

Ferrari Challenge
It is not the best racing game out there, but at this point I feel like I need to keep slowly pushing forward towards the Platinum. I have written about this one enough in the past to limit this entry to a single, decent racing experience description.

3 on 3 NHL Arcade
I picked this one on sale with a PlayStation Plus (PS+) price of $3.00 (compared to the way over inflated regular price of $9.99). If you are a complete Trophy whore, you probably already have this one. It is ridiculous easy to rack up the Trophies within a few games (2-3 hours tops).

As luck would have it, 3 on 3 is a fun arcade experience for playing with my kids. I can actually see this one sticking around for regular pick up and play sessions. I’m not a huge hockey fan or anything like that, but it is kind of disappointing that the game does not include some sort of team license. As it stands, there are a few ‘real’ players, but it would be nice to give the Thrashers a little glory.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene
This continues to be one of the better shooters around. You can just trip back and completely zone out on this one. I am not sure exactly what a “zen like quality is” but Infinity Gene must be what people mean when they throw out this description.

I’ll have 100% complete if I can manage to complete the game without continuing. Of course I doubt that  will happen anytime soon; not enough skill in these old gaming bones. No regrets; well worth the purchase (I got it a while back for a tick under $5).

Little Big Planet: Game of the Year Edition
Everyone loves LBP, right? Right now I am just kind of playing the game here and there, exploring the different levels, and having a good time experiencing this one with the kids. I am trying to get my oldest kid interested in designing games or programming, so I am kind of keeping my fingers crossed that this perks up his interest.

Up Next …
As we turn towards July, and the long Independence Day weekend, I have several games lined up for my three day weekend rotation.

Dungeon Hunter (PS+ price $10.39, regular price $12.99); looks like some decent co-op gaming action. Notice the theme? I am really turning my rotation towards games I can play with the kids, without have to go 100% in the direction of Marvel Super Hero Squad type games.

Dragon’s Lair (picked it up for $4.99); really just got it for nostalgic purposes. Probably paid $1-2 too much, but it should be enjoyable, and will also give my kids a little history and perspective on the industry and what use to pass as a serious quarter muncher.

Sly Collection; re-mastered HD versions (improved with the addition of Trophies) of all three Sly Cooper classics.
Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. I am sure the boys and I will have a blast with this one.

Wizardy; I keep thinking about picking this one up. Maybe a sale will tip me over the edge, but as it stands, I think my backlog is too great to justify this one. But I am so tempted!

Good gaming!


Now Playing (The Week in Review)

Last week I spent my limited game time playing a hodgepodge assortment of games.

Ferrari Challenge
Not a great racing game, but it is fun. After watching some Le Mans Saturday and early Sunday morning, I am reminded that the PS3 would really use an updated version of Le Mans racing. At any rate, I’ll probably tool around with Ferrari Challenge some this week as well to decide if I should keep it and maybe grind a few Trophies, or if I should see if I can flip it for a few bucks on eBay for my future gaming fund.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet
Typical beat ‘em up, easy puzzles, and very lame dialogue, but what would you expect from a title targeted at kids? I play this one with my four-year old son; great way for him to learn the ins and outs of gaming. My eight-year old is also helping out with the Story mode. I think we are almost at the end; however there are a ton of other modes to complete, items to unlock, and the Trophy list is 60 or so deep, which should keep us coming back for a while.

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 2 and 3
I have two confessions to make. First, I am not really a fan of this type of game. Second, I just kind of went through the motions, and finally looked to a couple of Trophy walkthroughs to complete each game. Yes, color me a whore. The only reason I had these in the first place was because I received them with my PS+ subscription. At some point down the road I will probably attempt to knock off Episode 4 and 5.

Shatter is another ‘free’ PS+ game from last November. One of my many backlog games ‘collecting dust’ … as much dust as a digital PSN distributed title can gather. This one is a typical revamp of breakout, with a fresh coat of paint, interesting physics, and a decent techno soundtrack. Fun game, but one I would probably never buy, so it was nice to get it as part of my PS+ subscription. I pretty much already played this one out. While there are a couple of Trophies left, for the most part I doubt I will put in the time (and may not have the necessary skill) to try to get 100% complete on this one.

I have written plenty about FIFA 10 and 11; great sports games. FIFA 11 is fantastic, but it is perfect for short bursts of gaming, which is pretty much what my schedule allows right now. I can knock out a couple of games with my virtual pro and feel like I have actually accomplished something in a short gaming session. Not to mention the satisfaction of playing a well rounded sports title.


Weekend Gaming Action

First, let me start with a quick ‘Sony sucks’ statement. Earlier today I wanted to make a quick PSN store purchase. I could not; I guess legions of gamers are still attempting to pull down some ‘welcome back’ package goodness, which has overloaded the store to the point of no return.

Once I did manage to be awarded with a session in the store, I could not actually add funds to my wallet. WTF? I checked my account; credit card is still on file and all info is correct. It’s kind of a bummer not to be able to purchase something when the needful is burning a hole in my pocket. Then again, by Sony f’ing up, I guess I am saving money. Go me!

I have not played much of anything over the last 4-6 weeks, so the last couple of days has seen a variety of ‘go to’ games and a hodgepodge of random distractions. To name a notable few; Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, and FIFA 11 have managed grab my attention.

Sonic because it was included a few months ago with PS+, and it is a fun platforming trip down memory lane. I forgot how much I sucked at these types of game; humbling to be an old-ass gamer. Space Invaders because it is a great pick up and play shooter; loads of fun. FIFA 11 because it is just a damn good soccer game, and deserves a spot in the rotation of any discerning sports gamer.

I also spent some time with my four year-old and soon to be nine year old sons, playing Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet. My twelve year-old stays away; he is too ‘grown up’ for this one. Too bad, because he is missing out. Sure the humor is downright preschoolish, while the action is downright button mashing smash ‘em up action, but it is not a horrible game. Decent distraction if you can get past the deformed super heroes, and a fun way to spend time with the boys.

The weekend is not even half over, so (hopefully) more gaming action to come, but date night looms. Happy me!


Sony – Welcome Back Issues

It seems that Sony just cannot catch a break. They were doomed to criticism over the hack attacks, and rightfully so on several levels. Being hacked, poor communication, not being exactly forthcoming, and so on; one nasty little cluster that has probably cost Sony a load of creditability and serious buckets of cash.

In an attempt to make amends, Sony is offering a ‘welcome back’ package that went live early today. Of course Sony, in their ongoing series of blunders, did not anticipate volume and user demand.

UPDATE: Due to high traffic on PlayStation Store, you may encounter error messages or issues. We advise you to check back a little later and try again.

Thanks Sony. Love the errors. Even if I cannot use the ‘welcome back’ games (more on that in thirty seconds), I at least would like to be able to get into the f’ing store. Not so much; really appreciate this ‘welcome back, you cannot enter the PSN store’ at the start of my gaming weekend.

Making matters just silly, the ‘welcome back’ package just could not please everyone. Some consider the free games weak; others already own much of the content. [Raises hand] One would think it would be reasonable for Sony to check previous store purchases and offer a voucher or even a discount for some other produce. That would be too much to ask.  Does everyone really have to get their ‘welcome back’ package today?  Good grief!

If I were into things like saying ‘fail’ then this one would be rather epic.


Welcome back to the PlayStation Store?

So the PlayStation Store is back online, but strangely enough, the ‘welcome back’ package is still MIA. I understand that the package is in the works, but it seems like this would have been a slam dunk for the Store’s triumphant return. I would hazard a guess that a ton of PS3 owners expected to get some free treats once the store was fully restored.

Today’s push is fairly large, with a lot of decent content, and demos. Existing PS+ subscribers can look forward to a continued stream of “free” stuff and discounts, but give me a break on offering Lilo & Stitch.

As far as the new stuff goes, this weekend I will probably take a look at this potential nostalgic gem:

Wizardry: Labyrinth Of Lost Souls ($14.99)
The popular Wizardry franchise is reborn on the PlayStation 3 system as a downloadable online title! This classic 3D dungeon-crawler remains true to its roots, with all the deep gameplay fans have come to know and love. These beloved dungeons and monsters have all been reborn in glorious high-definition, and new stories for each of the 10 main characters, breathing new life and hitherto unseen replay value into one of the old-school RPG greats.

Then again, I have such a huge backlog of games that I am not sure I will pull the strings on anything else right now. Right … probably. At least there is a demo on offer.

I doubt Sony will do the needful, but it would be really entertaining if Sony decided to post some statistics – number of Store visits, number of downloads, and number of purchased items (I know Sony would never publish money spent). Anything to show consumer confidence (or lack thereof). I can dream. It would be entertaining.

Bring on Friday!