Thoughts on iPad Gaming

By Mike on 5:43 pm

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It's here! The iPad is finally out. Well in the United States anyway. Everyone else will have to wait a little while longer.

It's not wrong to call the iPad a giant iPod Touch. After all, it does pretty much the same thing. The iPhone and iTouch are rapidly becoming viable competitors in the portable gaming market. Mostly due to the greater variety of low cost titles and instant gratification of the App Store. So what about the iPad? Should gamers be interested in it?

From a technical standpoint, it could shape up to be the most powerful mobile gaming platform of this generation. It's beefy 1ghz Apple A4 processor and 512mb DDR far exceeds the specs of the DSi and PSP. However, it still retains the GPU used in the iPhone 3GS, limiting graphics capabilities.

Several reviewers have already taken a look at its gaming abilities. Kotaku praised it's responsive controls and support from major developers. There's a lot of high praise for the device out there. To get a more down to Earth idea of how games will work out on it, we have to look at it's smaller cousins.

So far, the iPhone has attracted mainly cheap, short, low cost titles. The platform also has an obscene amount of shovelware. Developer support while there has always been weak at best. EA has been churning out some decent titles here and there. However, most are fairly limited. The iPhone's version of Rock Band for example is nowhere near the quality of the PSP version. At $6.99 you can't really complain. The games really haven't improved much over the years. The iPhone attracts simplistic, casual titles. The kinds of games for people who don't play games.

We can expect the same from the iPad. Games are expected to cost more but I wouldn't expect them to be better either. Don't expect complex, in depth games arriving on the platform anytime soon. The high cost of the platform itself is also a deterrent. I wouldn't recommend spending $500 on something you'll only play games on.

That doesn't mean the iPad is doomed. It has a lot of potential as a gaming device, should developers take advantage of it. The platform would be ideal for point-and-click style PC games such as real-time strategy, SRPG, city building simulation, and adventure titles. Genres that have seen a revival of sorts on other systems. iPad developers just have to realize what it is. It's not an arcade system or a console. Its gaming style is closer to PC than it is to an Xbox.

I expect interesting things to come, but gamers should take a wait and see approach.

FAQ of the Week: 32-bit or 64-bit Windows

By Mike on 2:12 pm

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Do you think Windows has too many versions? Well, aside from the four boxed you see, you now have two more choices for each. Do you go 32-bit or 64-bit?

Computers are rapidly moving to 64-bit processors. The main advantage is they allow you to install more memory. A 32-bit system is limited to 3.5gb of memory. 64-bit versions of Windows 7 allow you to install up to 128gb. More RAM means better multi-tasking and makes certain programs faster.

While most programs are still 32-bit, there is no reason not to go 64. The cost is the same. Programs that are specifically coded for 64-bit also run a little faster (about 10%) compared to their 32-bit counterparts.

If you have a processor made after 2006, chances are it is 64-bit. This includes all Intel Core 2 and AMD Athlon64 processors and later. You can tell what CPU you have by looking in the BIOS or right clicking on "My Computer" and selecting "properties".

OnLive GoesLive June 17 for PC and Mac

By Mike on 3:12 pm

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Is this the end of dedicated PC gaming rigs? Maybe not but OnLive is still trying to offer cloud based online gaming. The system will launch on June 17th, 2010 for Mac and PC at a cost of $15 per month. For that price, gamers will be able to access the service and download its free content such as demos.

However, games will cost extra. Each purchase or rental will carry an extra charge.

OnLive is promising the ability to play games at full 1080p at 60 frames per second using their own networked gaming systems. They're promising that people will be able to play the latest PC games on any system connected to the internet. All the tough rendering work is done back at OnLive HQ while your computer does nothing but handle the internet connection.

As a special offer, OnLive is waving the subscription fee for three months for the first 25,000 subscribers.

Source: Joystiq

FAQ of the Week: Should I repair my PS3?

By Mike on 2:44 pm

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The PS3 has a fairly decent reliability record. About a 10% failure rate.

We're starting to get at the point where older systems are starting to fail. The main cause, like the 360, is overheating. The laser in the Blu-ray also frequently fails. When this happens, you'll get the dreaded "Yellow Light of Death". Your PS3 will refuse to turn on and flash a yellow LED on the front.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony only offers a limited warranty on the PS3. Just one year limited warranty against hardware faults. After that, you must pay $170 plus shipping and taxes to get the system fixed. Should you?

That depends on what model you have. If you own a 60gb or 20gb model, it pays to get these repaired. These are the Cadillac models due to their PS2 backwards compatibility. They still sell on eBay for close to retail. Therefore, it makes sense to pay for the repair.

If it's an 40gb or newer model, then it makes little sense to repair it. A new system is $299. You will probably end up paying over $200 for the repair with taxes and shipping factored in. The new Slims run cooler and have bigger hard drives built in.

80gb models could go either way, depending on how badly you need the PS2 compatibility. Using a cheap PS2 would be better than the 80gb's limited compatibility.

Now, should you fix it yourself? There are plenty of tricks available online. I'd advise against this unless you really know what you're doing. If you break the system's seal, Sony will refuse to accept the system for future repairs regardless of it being in warranty or not.

Courier is what the iPad should have been

By Mike on 1:39 pm

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Pen & paper could be extinct in a few years if Microsoft gets their way. The company is teasing us with the latest screen shots and tech demo videos of its Courier tablet. The device is being marketed as a digital journal. It looks a bit like a giant Nintendo DS. It has two screens and uses a stylus for input. Videos show it through the eyes of a designer using it to plan out new looks and jot notes down.

Engadget says that it will measure about 5''x7'' when closed and weighs about one pound. The device will also be able to work as an eBook reader. A cloud computing function, which stores data online, will also be available for it. Aside from the usual stuff, there are claims that it will have a camera and support media playback. Rumours say it will be released sometime in the second half of 2010.

Check out Endgadet's concept videos of the Courier in action

Fallout: New Vegas screenshots come out of the vault

By Mike on 1:23 pm

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Better bring a lot of caps for the raddest slots in town. Joystiq has released a some early screenshots for Fallout: New Vegas. The latest in the hit series of post-apocalyptic games.

The game appears to run on the exact same Gamebryo engine that ran Fallout 3 and Oblivion. It shows some of the western themed landscape as well as a new companion system. In New Vegas, you'll be able to give orders to your comrades through a "Companion Commands" wheel.

Some new weapons have appeared including what appears to be an M16 assault rifle and a golf club.

Image courtesy of Joystiq

Gameplay was said to be turn based but it appears to use the same VATS system as Fallout 3. The game is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment (makers of Knights of the Old Republic II) and is being published by Bethesda. Team members from Obsidian previously worked on Fallout 2.

The game has a projected release date of Fall 2010 and will be available on the 360, PS3, and PC.

Check out all the screen shots on Joystiq.