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Demos and Betas

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Catherine, too niche?

After all the coverage I've seen it receive over the past couple of months I'd wager to say yes, easily. I only see one outcome to developer ATLUS's decision in bringing this title stateside and it's not looking good. Personally though, it's refreshing to see a game like Catherine make it to the states. Along with title's like Ignition Entertainment's El Shaddai -Ascension of the Metatron I'm ecstatic to see such risk taken by the publishers.

Catharine's gameplay consists of somewhat simple puzzle sequences that must be solved quickly and efficiently. The plot and gameplay are extremely distant of anything the typical Call of Duty player is used to. With so many shooters on the horizon I've been drained of any desire to play most of them. I'm eagerly anticipating July 26th. Unfortunately, I only have time for one of these two titles thanks to the music bug hitting me hard lately. To be honest I don't have time for either but I'll be making time for Catherine simply for the reason of being ensconced in an environment and gameplay that doesn't involve shooting someone else in the face. I don't have the slightest shred of interest in Activision's cash cow this year. Modern Warfare 3 can suck it. The Catherine demo had me cussing up a storm due to the accuracy, or lack there of, in the controls. They do feel tight and responsive, there's just something that never feels quite right about 2D controls while you're in a 3d environment.

While Catherine will definitely be first on my list, I think most others will gravitate towards El Shiddai.

UPDATE: Ignition has delayed El Shiddai to an August 16 release date. I'm quite ok with that actually.

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Impressions: OnLive

According to OnLive, I was one of the lucky few to be selected in my area for the Founding Members Program which provides me with a free 1 year membership to the service, or as I like to call it, access to a closed beta. Essentially, that's what it is, and I'm all for it.

While companies like Spawn Labs and StreamMyGame are doing something similar, that is remote access to your content, OnLive is pushing for something considerably more useful and less of a hassle to set up.

Spawn Labs and StreamMyGame both provide access to content you already own which is definitely a plus however the execution of how to go about setting it all up is a bit of a hassle. The nice thing about OnLive is it bypasses that entirely by only requiring a quick download and install of their application. You don’t have to leave your console on when you leave the house with whatever game you plan to play preloaded into the disc drive or leave your gaming PC on while you rack up the electric bill.

OnLive simplifies all that by simply starting up the application choosing a game and your off. It took me no longer that 10-15 minutes from the minute I got the invite email to the time I was in playing games in OnLive. It really was and is a breeze to use. Games start up almost immediately and jumping from one to another is equally as seamless.

Let me clear some things up. I currently have an internet connection speed of 25mbps downstream and 2.5 upstream which is way above OnLive requirements and I still experience some very, very slight lag. Nothing that makes games unplayable by any means but it is definitely noticeable. If you were playing any multiplayer games that require precise movements such as FPS games or fighting games I could see gameplay being hindered somewhat however I can’t say that with a firm conviction since games like that aren’t available on the service yet. OnLive also currently does not support WiFi connections so the “portability” of it is severely limited. That along with the bandwidth requirements really limit is it’s use on a broader scale and at the moment I honestly don’t see them loosening up in that area. It’s the heart of the service.

My biggest gripe currently is the list of games currently on offer. The following statement is entirely subjective, however for me, the whole purpose of OnLive is to provide the end-user with games that would normally require an expensive gaming rig to play. Crysis anyone? The games currently available are nothing you can’t play if you don’t have an Xbox 360, PS3 or low end PC running Steam. Seriously, World of Goo? Great game without a doubt but not one I’d personally chose to showcase the service.

The user interface is not much different from what Xbox 360 does with it’s current blade system. Heck, OnLive even recommends the use of Xbox 360 gamepads specifically. The guide button brings up the OnLive dashboard as one would expect on the 360 proper during gameplay. Oh and the gamepad works flawlessly on Mac as well. FTW!!!

Pricing on games is also another big issue in that it’ll vary greatly from one game to another. Some games you can rent while others you can only buy, however you’re not actually buying the game you’re purchasing a PlayPass which provides you with unlimited access to the game for the life of your subscription. Some may take issue with that since the cost is on top of your membership which isn’t really clear how much it will be once it opens up to the general public. While some games are a full $59.99 for a PlayPass some are $19.99. I can’t justify a PlayPass for what I’d pay for a fully tangible disc I can hold in my hand. $20 seems more appropriate. If they can standardize the pricing structure across all games I think the service would greatly benefit from it but as it stands it weighs in as more of a con than a pro.

I’ll post up a video showing off the service later today. Feel free to ask any questions if I didn’t cover something you’d like to know. I’m all ears.

Also posted at Bitmob.com

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Impressions: Crackdown 2 Demo (Xbox 360)

 

 

It happened with Crackdown and now it returned with Crackdown 2.  My desire to to play Crackdown was close to nothing until I got my first hands-on with the demo and being the completionist I am, I was immediately addicted to finding every single orb.  Crackdown 2's recent demo has proved to be a return to form as I immediately found myself back at the mercy of those little green time consumers.  Crackdown 2 has soared it's way back up my Day One list.  Crackdown 2 has soared it’s way back up my Day One list even without any beta invite attached to it.

Let's keep it simple.  

What's new

Well for starters, there's now an Agility Orb ping that assists in finding all the scattered Agility and Hidden Orbs around Pacific City.  It's a feature I found tremendously helpful in inFAMOUS that I found myself asking why Crackdown didn't have this crucial ability implemented.  It appears someone over at Ruffian Games played inFAMOUS and figured the same.  While the patch that Real TIme Worlds released did help with it's wider radius and amplified sound wave, I was left with 2 Orbs hidden somewhere in the city that have forced me to bow out of that struggle with my head held high.

Not only will you spend most of your time scaling tall buildings for Agility Orbs and scouring every nook and cranny of Pacific City for Hidden Orbs, Ruffian Games found it necessary to add even more items to find.  Audio Logs will give you the backstory as to why Pacific City is in it’s current state, Agency Beacons, once activated, aid in eradicating the freaks and Tactical Locations provide weapon and vehicle drops.

While I’m still not sold on the addition of zombified Freaks, they do provide an easy way to acquire tons of XP.  

What’s the same

The same broken melee combat system still leads to some frustrating deaths so if you’re thinking of Ramboing it up think again.  Jumping head first into a pile of enemies will quickly bring up the Regenerate screen.

The targeting system was never Crackdown’s strongest suit either and it fails here as well.  While you can definitely free aim it, you’ll have better luck dating a fat chick.  The AI seems to have a better revamped version of the lock-on mechanic as every bullet that leaves their weapon seems to land without fail.  Who’s the Agent here?  

Wonky control system aside, I'm glad they decided to leave jump mapped to R3,  I’m in this for the Agility Orbs and hella rad over the top achievements.  As you’d expect the unbelievably ridiculous achievements are back once again and it seems Ruffian Games has had co-op heavily on the mind.  “Co-op Keepy Up” which requires an agent to pass a vehicle back and forth between each other 3 times using the UV shotgun without touching the ground is what Crackdown is all about.  With achievements like that and “Victory Roll”, kill and enemy with a mounted turret while airborne AND upside down, it’s easy to allow the combat off the hook but only slightly.  I can’t even begin to comprehend how I’d go about attempting that one.  Looks like it might be one of those accidental achievements I’ll obtain after mucking something up.   Any achievements you earn in the demo carry over to the full game which is a nice touch.

I’m in the process of testing out Co-op as I write this up and I’ll update it with those impressions once I’m done.  Anyone else had the chance to give it go?

Also posted at Bitmob.com

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Battlefield Bad Company 2 Beta now up and running....sort of

Wasn't expecting my beta key for another week but it seems IGN is sending them out early.  They also now have a way to get your own here.  The closed beta is currently exclusive to PS3 owners, with PC opening up sometime in December and going public (PC, Xbox 360 and PS3) in January.  The game is expected to hit March 2nd.  Last night, immediately after I got my code and downloaded the beta EA was still setting up servers so I jumped into some Modern Warfare 2 and four hours later, exhausted, I only loaded up to see if it was up yet.  We're golden.  I'll definitely be hitting it up later tonight.  There's only one map included with 4 different game types, but knowing how much of a blast I had with Battlefield 1943 and it's 3 maps I'm ecstatic. 

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IMPRESSIONS: Left 4 Dead 2 Demo (Steam,PC)

Valve surprised many at this years E3 with the announcement of Left 4 Dead 2.  No one expected it.  Only a year after the release of the original Left 4 Dead, the sequel was not only announced but expected to hit this November.  NeoGAF had a meltdown and boycotts ensued.  The hardcore Left 4 Dead community felt betrayed by the company they once loved.  So much passion for a game I found to be, mediocre at best.

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VM Ware Fusion 3.0 is Windows 7 ready, Gaming not so much

I should be a bit easier on VM Ware since the main reason games are acting up under Fusion 3.0 can be attributed to my graphics card. My MacBook Pro is running the usual Nvidia 9400M graphics chip with 256MB of ram that now comes stock on all of Apple's MacBook line. Select 15 inch MacBook Pros carry a combo of the 9400M and 9600M GT GPU with only the high end 15 inch and the 17 inch sporting a sweet 512MB of RAM. In the gaming community we call that a great way to tighten up the graphics. While in Boot Camp, games run well if not great thanks to having full access to 256MB of RAM, which I consider to be the sweet spot for video cards in terms of budget and quality, IF, the FSB is at least 1066mhz. To the layman picking up a video card and seeing 1GB of ram on the box may lead to some creamage in the pants but, learn to pay attention to the speed at which the RAM runs and the creamage will be well deserved.  400Mhz will only lead to massive choke points and a Call of Slideshow.

Back to the subject at hand. Virtualization has been neck and neck between Parallels and VM Ware for features like gaming, and really that's all I care about. The only reason I use Boot Camp is to play my PC games. It's kind of a hassle to always have to jump back and forth between Windows and Mac OS. All of my productivity comes from the Mac side via my blogging apps, image editing tools and recording software, so if I read about a patch that's just been released, I have to finish what I'm doing, restart and boot into Windows, download the patch (and wait while it does), apply it and try it, then restart back into Mac OS and do the write up.  I think you see where running a virtual machine can come into play. I can stay within Mac OS while doing all of that. However, at least on my current MacBook Pro anyway, games don't run so well under VM Ware or Parallels. I've tried both and while I currently run Windows XP through Parallels for the simpler things, I decided I'd try Fusion 3.0 to test out Windows 7 and it's gaming features if only to see how much power I was able to squeeze out of it.

VM Ware touts Fusion 3.0 as the first VM software to fully take advantage of Windows 7's eye candy features like, Aero, Flip3D, and ofcourse Open GL 2.1. It really tries to sell itself to gamers by claiming to now run games at full speed. As of this writing and once again, on my MacBook Pro running 256MB of Video RAM, games don't seem to be running so hot. While Left 4 Dead was certainly playable it wasn't necessarily enjoyable. The framerate was a little choppy and I consistently had to change up my video settings in-game. It kept trying to run at 4x Anti Aliasing with a resolution of 1280x960. Native resolution is 1280x800 so go figure. In Unity, the games would always start up on the far left of the screen and glitch out every so often. In full screen I stared at this awesome screen at the most inopportune moments resulting in a complete reboot of the app. I finally got it running somewhat decently under single window mode at a resolution of 800x600. Not the best way to experience games but it worked.

All in all, Windows 7 runs great under Fusion 3.0, and through boot camp games run much better on Windows 7 than XP and the abortion that is Vista. I simply don't see a point in running Windows 7 through virtulization when XP serves it purpose in that department. Funny how even Windows 7 offers XP virtualiztion for those programs that simply wish to stick to their guns and run only on XP. Time will tell I guess. If you have a Mac with a heftier video card that packs 512MB I strongly suggest you give Fusion 3.0 a try. While CodeWeavers does an admirable job with CrossOver Games at specifically targeting gaming, it too fails in many respects, with the most obvious being the game selection. It's picky about what games it will run. While I plan on upgrading to a newer MacBook Pro, if not iMac, I can't say for certian a 17 inch MacBook Pro is in my future. If only I worked for EGM I could justify the upgrade. As of now it's a high price to pay for more "wasted" time. Fuck you responsibility.

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Bayonetta Demo PS3/360 Comparison

I really need to start doing these things the minute I think of them. Right as I was about to do a comparison between the Bayonetta Demo on both Xbox 360 and PS3, Gametrailers beats me to it. Well better them than 8Bitfix right?

Platinum Games, or more specifically, Hideki Kamiya's Bayonetta won't hit the states till early next year but that didn't stop me from getting my hands on the demo off of the Japanese marketplace for both PSN and Xbox Live. Japan get's to play with lovely lady locks on October 29th. Kamiya is known for creating such masterpieces as Devil May Cry and Resident Evil, as well as some public beef between him and Ninja Gaiden/Dead or Alive creator, Tomonobu Itagaki. Due to Xbox Live's Gold Memeber one week exclusivity to demo's I had to go the PSN route first. Upon installing the demo I noticed it looked a bit washed out and brought back memories of early PS3 Development woes where multiplatform games always looked like the fat kid on PS3. Thinking this is 5 years into the lifespan of PS3 comparisons should pretty much be put to rest however Ghostbusters should also have taught us differently. I should have noticed something was up when I saw Sega was doing the PS3 port while Platinum Games was using 360 as the lead SKU. I guess I know which version I'm goin with. I hate to be snobby but if it basically comes down to no multiplayer, I'd prefer acheivements over trophies anyday. I'll write up some impressions up when I have a clear mind. In the meantime check the video above for the comparison shots.

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The great pre-order hype

image993517423.jpgEver wonder why people no longer pre order video games. This should give you a hint. Ever wonder why so many "limited" editions are now called collectors edition. This should give you a good idea.

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inFAMOUS (PS3) Intro Vs Crackdown (Xbox 360) Intro: Round 2

First things first - Similarities in plot delivery and introduction

As you can see from the video above, both games use the animated comic book art style to deliver story and character development. Crackdown uses next-gen cell shading technology for it's gameplay giving both narrative and gameplay a consistent vibe. inFAMOUS on the other hand breaks from the comic book art style for it's gameplay towards the usual photorealism many next-gen games try to achieve. They both look spectacular in motion so no complaints here.

Getting to know inFAMOUS

In inFAMOUS you play as a character named Cole who discovers, upon waking up from a coma, he is blessed/cursed with super powers he mysteriously received after a delivering a package that leveled half the city. He discovers the city in shambles and overun my mulitple gangs. There in lies the magic that developer Sucker Punch is hoping to capture. Decide which path you wish to take. Save the city and become the hero or embrace the freak within and destroy anything that stands in your way. Uncharted waters? I think not. Plenty of games attempt to do this and fail miserably. Successful execution relies on how much emphasis is placed on this one gameplay element.

Getting to know Crackdown

Real Time World's Crackdown is less ambitious in this regard. Your character is a no name Agent playing the good side and undeniably down with ripping some shit into the bad. Story and character development basically comes down to finding agility orbs, the character development, and finding any and all means possible to juggle area gang leaders in the air long enough to earn acheivements, the narrative.

It's not impossible to see which game takes itself more seriously, however both of these games are proving to be very similar in how they want you to accomplish your goals. Your character is essentially a badass with unbelievable abilities waiting to be unleashed on the huge open world before them.

Up next in Round 3, What makes for a good demo? It's time for some gameplay comparisons.

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inFAMOUS (PS3) Demo vs Crackdown (Xbox 360) Demo: Round 1

Let me clear something up first. You may wonder why Prototype is not in this discussion. For starters, with no demo yet available, Prototype will be appearing on both consoles and secondly it focuses more on melee based combat where as inFAMOUS and Crackdown rely on range based attacks. Prototype will also fulfill plenty in the gore department while inFAMOUS and Crackdown please our insatiable desire to blow anything and everything sky high with little to no effort. Both inFAMOUS and Crackdown are first party exclusives which come bundled, through preorder, with first party exclusive multiplayer betas. In this series of articles I plan to start with each title's demo and end with a full on comparison of the retail release of each of these insanely fun titles. Lets start out simple shall we?

From the outside in - Similarities in packaging

I'll start with the obvious, price tag aside, the two share an uncanny resemblance with their bullet point/sticker tags. Many of us remember Crackdown pushing the Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta, some remember it the other way around, and I'm sure for Microsoft and Bungie it was a win-win situation but for developer Real Time Worlds it may have felt as more of double-edge sword made of gold. Crackdown was flying low on most gamers radars until the announcement of the Halo 3 beta pack in and it's almost impossible to gauge it's success now thanks to this little situtation.

Things on the inFAMOUS front are bit different though. Preordering inFAMOUS will land you a spot in the Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Beta and one could easily argue which of the two betas is/was most hotly anticipated. Master Chief can sell an eskimo a years worth of ice, while Drake, star of Uncharted, can only sell Tomb Raider fans, hope.

As I mentioned before, both games are first party exclusives pushing each consoles showcase first party exclusive betas. Halo 3 is undeniably selling to a confirmed and established fanbase where multiplayer is a staple of the franchise. Uncharted was entirely single player based with no multiplayer aspects whatsoever. Developer Naughty Dog is really going out on a limb hoping multiplayer fit's into the world they created with Uncharted 2 introducing multiplayer and Co-op for the first time. It's easy to see which of the two fits the true definition of beta.

The similarities don't end there folks. Up next I'll be showing how the games both intro using the same style.

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Bionic Commando Multiplayer Demo up now! On Xbox Live Marketplace that is

Remember awhile I ago on the podcast I mentioned a demo for Bionic Commando's Multiplayer would be coming to Xbox Live and soon. Well today is the day. Unfortunately CAPCOM has yet to announce anything on the PS3 front. The game hits May 19th though so the wait shouldn't be too bad. I'll be hitting this up and giving my thoughts on this weeks podcast if I don't write them out here first.

Queue it up on Xbox Live Marketplace

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Marvel Vs Capcom 2 Demo hit's PSN exclusivly this week

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With Street Fighter 4 ripping shit up on consoles since February '09. It's hard to imagine anything else that could take your attention away. However, if that distraction happens to be Marvel VS Capcom 2, the standout fighter that made the DreamCast worthy of it's asking price on eBay, then yes a standing ovation is indeed expected. The game is slated to hit this summer and although, unexpected, a demo is greatly appreciated. Word has it a demo is set to hit PSN this Thursday, April 30th. Ofcourse exclusive to PSN.

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One more Resident Evil 5 rant before the storm, at least you'll get an LOL out of this one

Don't want to take my word for it that Resident Evil 5 controls like ass chips? How about one concerned Japanese analyst who took it upon himself to bring up the demo's playability during a financial earnings forecast? If an analyst brings up a subject like this during one of these meetings where shit gets real Capcom surely should have got the message right? Apparently not.

The analyst asks "I thought Resident Evil 5 had very poor playability in the demo version, so I would like to hear Capcom’s opinion." Wait for it, Capcom's response is priceless. What is it you ask? Well, it was "We would prefer not to comment, as we haven’t received any such opinion." Did the guy just ask who ate the last fucking bagel that he purposely hid behind the coffee pot in the conference room or did I just split my pants? Yeah, that right there folks is why you are gonna be playing Resident Evil 5 like the suckers you are. It's just like having a hot ass girlfriend who just keeps fucking you over every fucking day, and you still continue to pamper her vagina with gifts even after she tells you you don't pleasure her anymore so she's getting a vibrator who's name is Steve from across the dorm. I haven't been this passionate or pissed about something since the fat guy from the T-Lounge ate a hot dog. I can understand if it was some shit ass game with shit ass controls but this is Resident Evil. Even Silent Hill got the...ah forget it. Jesus Christo.

Thanks to Kotaku for the heads up.

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Fuck you CAPCOM, I'll buy Resident Evil 5 but I won't be happy

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Resident Evil 5 looks amazing! There's no doubt about it. Resident Evil 5 plays like shit. Even after a revamp of the controls there isn't much of a change at all. You still can't move while shooting. Japanese developers need to drop those bad habits quick. Come on CAPCOM, if Kojima Productions can do it with Metal Gear Solid 4, you can surely do it with your Resident Evil series.

Back when the first gameplay footage of RE 5 was released, memories of RE 4 come flooding back although this time in full HD. I bought a Game Cube specifically for RE 4 when it first came out, as Nintendo still had exclusivity back then. I absolutely loved it. The controls were finicky but for the time it was all good and a major improvement from previous games in the series. You expect improvement, even some change from one game to another, however it's extremely disappointing when a AAA title like this jumps the gun to the Action genre, instead of Survival Horror, and has the controls of a walrus. Seriously, aiming in this game is like aiming at a bear with a pillow. Let alone you can't fucking move while shooting. Even a dinosaur can take a shit while running. I remember in the first Resident Evil you couldn't even aim really, you simply lifted your gun and shot blindly and magically your bullets landed. That worked then because the game was more about the adventure, examing objects and solving puzzles. Now it's not. It's no longer about Survival or Horror, it's about blasting some caps in a black zombies ass. Maybe that was where they started off wrong but with MGS4, Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War blasting testosterone all over the screen can you blame them. I understand most Japanese developers don't do FPS type controls because Japanese gamers tend to get motion sickness from it, but once again my boy Kojima and friends did it with MGS4 and still kept a setting for his fellow otaku.

It is only a demo yet I can't help but feel as though this game won't be scary in the least and mediocre at best. I hope I have the patience to make it through this one. Bad controls don't make for a scary game. Fuck even Silent Hill learned that lesson. It's like experiencing a nightmare where you can only run in place execpt the dream didn't cost you $60 and a broken fucking controller. Yeah. FUCK. Fuck you CAPCOM. I'll see you on March 13th.

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Halo Wars demo out now!

image1311276327.jpgJesus, time seems to fly by when something I could care less about comes my way. It took decades for Metal Gear Solid 4 to breath new life into my PS3 and Street Fighter 4 is right around the corner, limited edition FTW! Halo Wars? Meh. I'm not sure if my complete blahness for this game comes from my lack of understanding how to find any fun in real time strategy games or simply that I'm still suffering from the after effects of Halo 3's hype machine. One thing is for sure now that the demo is out I'll dwfinately get my feet wet with it a bit and see what happens. If it's anything like my experience with Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, I may as well just give up now. Visit Major Nelson's Blog to get it ready and qeued up if you aren't by your box at the moment.

I still have the Killzone 2 demo to look forward to along with the updates Criterion released for Burnout Paradise today. I'm gonna have a busy night ahead of me.


Major Nelson's Blog

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Resident Evil 5 Demo now up! Get!

boxresidentEvil5.jpgAfter going through so much trouble to reactivate my old Japanese gamertag only to access the demo from the Japanese Marketplace, the Resident Evil 5 Demo is now up on Xbox Live Marketplace for US residents. Go and get it now. The demo includes online co-op over Live or local, as well as single player with AI controlling Sheva, the new character. Not at home? Queue it up by visiting the Xbox Live Marketplace then have a loved one turn the system on for you. If you have background downloading enabled you can even have them turn it off after a minute or two. Happy faces all around.

PS3 owners you'll have to wait till next week for your zombie fix. Turn that frown upside down and get yourself an Xbox 360. Follow the trend. Tough economic crisis my ass. Circuit CIty is having 10% off sale on everything, and that's a fucking steal. If it were 5%, fuck, everything would be gone by now.

No they don't accept pesos.

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Windows 7 Beta Impressions: Day 2, well 3 actually

So they say 3rd times a charm. I would have to agree. I've been putting Windows 7 through plenty these past few days and after two failed attempts, I decided to give it one more try and now I think I can say so far so good. After giving it a go from home with a stable internet connection I was up and running and ready to dive in. Regardless of what some might think, Windows 7 is not a new operating system designed from the ground up, much like Vista was. Think about it like this, do you remember Windows ME (Millenium Edition)? Yeah I didn't think so. Windows XP? Ofcourse you do. If you weren't forced into Vista with any recent PC purchase, you may be lucky enough to still be running XP and I'm sure most of you are. I also wouldn't doubt for a second that many users out there are still, to this day, using Windows ME and quite possibly even Windows 98.

Now comes Windows 7 with so much eye candy it'll blow any previous versions of Windows out of the water, yes even Vista. Sure at first glance it looks almost identical, however this time around it manages to still function after running Aero at max settings. Aero is Microsoft's glass look they introduced with Vista. It's visually stunning and makes all the difference in the world when jumping from the GUI of Windows XP to Windows 7. The catch is you need the RAM to pull it off. Where Vista devoured and shat your memory, 7 simply feeds on it. With RAM prices dropping constantly I would strongly recommend anyone running any version of Windows to install as much RAM as possible on their system. 32-bit versions will only do 3GB max and 64-bit will do 8GB and up. The processor has nothing to do with the Aero Effect. The only thing a faster processor helps you do is process...fast. There is a 64-bit version of 7 available as well, however if you've pulled your hair out after looking for drivers or even software that took full advatange of that 64-bit bandwith then you may as well just stick with 32-bit. Unless you're tossing around a few grenades in Call of Duty 4, hell bent on getting Crysis to look photorealistic instead of playing the damn thing, or doing some pretty intensive photo or video editing, an Intel Core 2 Duo is more than enough. Windows 7 promises to fix the problems that plagued Vista in terms of 64-bit support but the proof is always in the pudding and Bill Cosby knows his shit. With the new Intel Core i7's making headway, Nvidia's new graphics chips producing all sorts of kickass. The future is looking good and so is Windows 7. You have to see the GUI in action to see what I mean so here's a quick screencast to show you what the peek feature does as all well as the shake feature.

Windows 7 automatically groups all windows of the same kind and pins them to the taskbar with only the icon for reference. The peek feature involves rolling your mouse over the icon to bring up a minimized look or peak, and as you hover over the windows of that particular task all windows behind it become panes of glass. It's quite awesome actually. Microsoft introduced some gesture based features with 7 as well, and shake is one of them. Grab a window by the title bar and shake it and all windows behind it will minimize. Do it again and they come back up. The task switcher also makes a return with alt-tab doing the basics and window-tab, with the family gathered around the PC, will surely bring about some oohs and aahs.

Now on to some serious matters. Video games. I would say recording, but I don't record music on Windows anymore. I've learned my lesson. So anyway, back to games. Vista, in a sense, was meant to bring gamers together. Marketing pitches and all, you don't have to look far to know that couldn't be any further from the truth. Games For Windows has nothing on Valve's Steam Client. As you saw in the first screenshot, my Mac, running Windows 7 through Boot Camp scored at a 4.4. I'm impressed and so should you. What does it mean? Not much really. On a scale of 1 to 5.9 though, it sounds pretty good to me. My rig sports the usual Intel Core 2 Duo, which is plenty and more than enough to run Left 4 Dead. The only issue I've come across is Mirror's Edge not playing audio during it's Esurance like cutscenes however I here that's more of an issue with Windows 7 not necessarily issue with audio drivers. Left 4 Dead ran amazingly smooth, and Fallout 3 had it's fair share of glitches though it ultimately ran fine. I'll keep goin at this beast with plenty more and I'll keep you all posted. Next up on the agenda, Orange Box.

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Windows 7 Beta, so far so not good

Last night I finally had the chance to install the Windows 7 Beta through boot camp on my MacBook (late 2008 model). It was about 1:00am when I started and about 1:30am when I finished the initial steps to get it ready for testing. I went to bed and woke up this morning eager to take it through my daily routine and came across a few issues. The first? Well, as is always the case with any Windows operating system I've ever used beta or not, was driver support. While at work I use my Sprint Mogul for internet access, which runs on Microsofts own Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition. It includes driver support much like Vista does out of the box, however since it's in beta it doesn't seem to work like it should. I kept getting disconnected using internet sharing through USB every 2 to 3 minutes, which led me to boot back into Leopard, thats the Mac's OS for those of you not geeky enough to sport an Apple bumper sticker, and attempt a run through VMware's Fusion. Thats what you see in the following screen shots.

The second is with bluetooth devices. Still running through boot camp I attempted to add my Apple Mighty Mouse as a bluetooth device along with my Sprint Mogul, for an attempt at trying the Bluetooth PAN features, and ultimately came upon some more issues. I'm glad the Apple Software Update for the trackpad worked other wise right clicks would have been impossible. At the moment I'm still messing around with the beta and I'll return with some more impressions once I get my head together. Hey it's early folks and I'm on close to 4 hours of sleep.

Here are some screen shots I took while I was running Windows 7 through Fusion.

As you can see here, I got an error installing VMware Tools, sad face, however once I restarted everything seemed to work fine, semi happy face.

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