Random PS3 and PSP links.

Before I get to the links, Amazon has not shipped my Pangya: Fantasy Golf yet, so I am not sure when I can start posting some impressions. Not getting a game out on time is a definite knock against Amazon. Prime shipping is all well and good, but please ship the game on or before release day already.

PlayStation Network vs. Live
Leave it to a PlayStation centric site to make a case for Sony’s network pulling ahead of Microsoft’s offering.

But now it’s time to reevaluate the situation and I have to say, based on the available software alone, the PSN has Live beat. I like to check both on a relatively frequent basis just to see if I can nab something cool for a great price. Well, the PSN library already has gems like flOw, Flower, Wipeout HD, echochrome, and others, and while I know you can find original Xbox classics on Live, the lineup really can’t compare to the PS1 classic selection on the PSN.

The article also compares some third party download content, and of course first party offerings. I think it really comes down to the games you like; personal choice … all that jazz.

PSPgo digitial game prices?
This Australian based site is concerned about the price of PSPgo games.

While trying to defend the UMD and insisting on it’s continued use he [Michael Ephraim] states that the digital PSP Go’s games will be based on the same price structure as the PSP 3000.

I have written about PSP content prices several lately; they are really too high. While this site is looking at AU dollars, I hope to see more than AUD $15 “discount” for digital vs. UMD games.

PS3 2.80 Firmware
There are lots of articles circulating about the newest PS3 firmware, but I like this one from joystiq best.

It’s deja vu time. Another firmware update which seemingly does nothing. Firmware 2.80 has, according to PlayStation Network’s Eric Lempel, a single feature. “The playback quality of some PLAYSTATION 3 format software has been improved.”

LMAO, but everyone has to post about the latest, greatest firmware update … including me.

Tekken 6 LE Bundle lands an ass kicking?
If I preorder this, my wife is going to kill me …

The premium bundle includes the Tekken 6 game, limited edition wireless fight stick crafted by Hori and collectible Art book.

Just say no to $150 bundles, but damn does this one look inviting.


Digital Distribution Comes Calling

Over the weekend, the SixAxis posted an interesting article titled Digital Distribution: Is It The Future?. Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo, and others are already making a ton of coin off of download purchases, but Sony is taking it to a whole new level with the PSPgo.

Whilst the progression of digital downloads seems positive there’s no doubt in my mind that this won’t signify the death of high street retail. Cutting out the shops with the PSP Go is a risky move but one that is eased by the continuation of the standard PSP 3000. Committing to a download only service on a full console will amplify that risk tenfold. Regardless of the benefits, all the major players in the industry need the Games and the Argos’ for those street level sales and the ever important route to market.

For years I have purchased games, and turned around and sold the games on eBay after I was decided I was finished, decided a game was rubbish, or maybe the game sat on a shelf too long collecting dust. Digital downloads eliminate any chance for some sort of recovery, even an insignificant $5 for a really old and under played game. I suppose this is the reason why digital media is so important to the big publishers.

I do not see how consoles can go all digital. As the article points out, a whole industry would collapse. I can see micro transactions becoming increasing popular. You buy the base game, and then pay to download extras. That is sort of the best of both worlds for retail stores and the major publishers. Maybe annual subscriptions for certain games, but I do not see this as a well received option for console gamers.

I would not be that opposed to digital downloads if the prices were decent; say $9.99 for a game. Right now, PSP downloads are off the chart in terms of price, so it will be interesting to watch PSPgo sales numbers, and which PlayStation Network Store games prove to be the most popular.


Monday Gaming Stuff.

These days I get gaming in very small doses. The same goes for looking at videogame centric sites. Hell, I cannot remember the last time I even logged onto a videogame forum. Right now, that is just not my cup of tea. I have such little time to play games; I cannot be bothered to read about them, much less write about my gaming experiences.

What has changed over the last 18-24 months? Well, lots. For starters, I just realized that E3 was last week (maybe the week before last … not that I care). I also let my Official PlayStation Magazine subscription expire. I am not up to date on the latest Qore downloads. I have not preordered the twin football releases of NCAA Football 2010 and Madden 2010.

Things are different, but you will notice that I am actually writing about gaming. What gives? I still enjoy the hobby; I just do not find that much spare time – probably has something to do with work and having three boys. Usually real life events get my gaming jones churning. Last weekend, Le Mans got me into some video game racing. I even ordered a new game. Hmmm …

Over the weekend I started looking for a new racing game. I was really curious if a new F1 game was going to be published, but the best I can tell is that the PS3 version by Codemasters is either unconfirmed or cancelled. Oh, that was when I came across Ferrari Challenge. One thing led to another, and I started reading news about this that and the other, which was when I realized that I missed E3!

There was a time and place when that would never have happed. I even attended E3 years ago when it had a two year run in Atlanta. I realize that E3 is no longer as important as it once was, but it was a sort of reality check that I was so far removed from gaming that I did not give a shit that E3 had come and gone. Strange times …

One of the E3 related spin off bits that I read about this morning was the pricy new PSPgo. My PSP does nothing except collect dust, so a new PSP seems in order. I keep debating if I should sell mine and convert over to a Nintendo DSi, but I cannot convince myself to but bait and take a loss. At any rate, at first glance this newest revision of the PSP seems ill conceived. The system price point is too high, the game downloads are too expensive, and the downloaded selections are rather limited. This commentary from Sports Legends points out all these problems and more:

But the truth is that I would consider paying that much if, and only if, I knew my long term investment would pay off in lots of cool digital-only toys. If the PlayStation store was ready to go with lots of cool applications for the PSP, a system that screams for just such products, I wouldn’t even mind paying a little more for the really premium content. But, from Sony, nothing. It’s like putting a Porsche body on a Chrysler LeBaron and selling trying to sell it for $200,000.

To be blunt,if I’m on a budget I go with Nintendo’s continued DS juggernaut and if I’m looking for a technology novelty or vanity piece of hardware, I get an iPhone or iPod touch with access to an absolutely obscene amount of applications.

Love that Chrysler LeBaron quote! I had a good friend in college that could barely keep his LeBaron going, but man was he proud of that car.

Print magazines such as the Official PlayStation Magazine are antiquated. Except for quality reading time on the throne, I am not sure what they offer, but it still feels odd no longer having any video game magazine subscriptions. Well, I suppose that is not quite right because I do have a digital subscription to Qore. I think that one runs out in July or August, which gives me plenty of time to catch up on the last seven months of downloads.

I think the biggest nut chaser has to be that I have not bothered to order a 2010 EA football game release. I am somewhat torn here. First, do I have the time to take on a new football game, much less two? Second, do I really want to spend $120+ tax just to see if anything changes? Finally, do I try to get a few bucks for my 20th Anniversary Madden while it is still worth $15-20? I got rid of last year’s NCAA Football in enough time to collect close to half price, but it is far too late for last year’s Madden. The real travesty is that I am not even close to getting my $90 worth out of the Head Coach/Madden experience.

Finally, there is the whole “will it even work” thing that I have going against me. My PS3 is as fickle as a teenage school girl. Some days it plays discs, and others it just ignores my advances (err … you know what I mean … the drive will not read games, movies, etc). Right now I do not think I am going to bother sending it off for costly repairs. Replacing it with a new version that does not have the proper PS2 Emotion Engine emulation hardware does not seem like a good option. Besides all that, money for a system repair or system replacement would be better spent of a tailgating grill for the upcoming Falcons season.

So where does this leave us? I am not really sure, but this is a start.


Eye Candy Retro Style

I have a huge catalog of Original PlayStation (PSX) and PlayStation 2 (PS2) games just sitting around in my entertainment center, various bookshelves, boxes and bins. I know; this sort of sucks as a waste of perfectly good (and not so good) games. I have written before that at one point in time I was pretty much addicted to videogames – buying the game, holding it, owning it, preordering it, playing it for a few minutes. Getting a new game was akin to crack.

Over the years I have broken this habit; sort of. The addiction is partly what drove me from reviewing games, and not getting new material every week also contributes to not having anything new to say, but I digress. Writing about the latest, greatest videogame releases became more of a core than a welcome distraction.

At any rate, I do a much better job of selling some games if I figure I just do not enjoy them or will never get around to completing the game. I try to time selling sports games on eBay so I can get $25-30 in preparations for the next release. At other times, I have a hard time letting go. Seeing the Gran Turismo 4 (GT4) game case, knowing that the disc is destroyed (see previous blog entry – “Life without a PS3?”), I think about tracking down a replacement copy. I know that I will never finish it; the only GT series game that I have completed 100% is the first release for the PSX. Still, to me, GT4 is the best release in the series, even if the graphics do not compare to the PlayStation 3 (PS3) eye candy in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, which finally brings me to the point of this column.

I was poking around looking for some information on older PSX games; need to make some decisions on which games to sell and which ones to keep a while longer. I came across this article about upcoming PSOne (I still like PSX) games for the PlayStation Store.

Medal of Honor
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Wipeout XL

I still have Wipeout XL (and the original Wipeout). Fun games that I never really got into, but never sold because I know they are “classics” that I will eventually came back to one of these days. I never got into the Spyro games; I am sure I purchased them, but that is a different story. I own Medal of Honor, but never got around to playing it. Several times I thought about selling it, but I always thought I should hang onto it for a while longer. I use to play the heck out of the Street Fighter Alpha series, but was never very good. I think I still own one of these games, but will have to look to see. I do still have the Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter game, which I have held onto just because. Seriously, no real reason other than the Marvel characters in the Street Fighter engine was pretty cool.

The only problem with these older games, that I may or may not get around to playing one day, is that the graphics really do suck on my HDTV. Funny; I have become a graphics whore. Every time I attempt to cull my collection, I think about which games were fun (at the time of the PSX) and which ones have gameplay that would hold up well today. This pretty much rules out sports games, but you cannot get more than fifty cents for many of the older games, unless they have some collectable value (i.e. Tecmo Super Bowl). I would actually play some of these games if I could get my PS3 and PSP to do a decent job with Remote Play. Maybe one day.

I have been having a good time with my two oldest sons playing Midway Arcade Treasures 3; mainly Rush 2049 and Hydro Thunder. Back in the day this collection averaged a metacritic score of 67.

It goes without saying that the graphics are certainly better than any of the PSX offerings, but nowhere near the level of PS3 arcade racers. In this case, it all comes down to gameplay and that all important fun factor quality. It is fun “re-discovering” some of these older titles with my boys. They could care less about the graphics (they are use to the Wii and their Nintendo DS); I think they are actually OK with enjoying a game for the pure pleasure of playing something new.

So maybe there is still some life in that old collection of mine, and along the way maybe I can educate my kids in the finer arts of PlayStation and arcade style gaming classics. If my kids learn to value fun factor and gameplay over eye candy, I win.