The Weekend Gamer

Game Reviews from real gamers, with real lives who are tired of reading bias reviews in major publications.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Three Hundred and Sixty Degree Perspective.

So we're here today to talk about the new Xbox 360, or rather, I am. And your just here to read, and then make rude or useless comments about my stupid derision.

First we will go on and get past the unit's specs, most of which seem to be somewhat impressive. If you don't have the wit to understand them, don't bother to ask me about them, I will probably just laugh at you.

Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU

  • Three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each
  • Two hardware threads per core; six hardware threads total
  • VMX-128 vector unit per core; three total
  • 128 VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
  • 1 MB L2 cache


CPU Game Math Performance

  • 9.6 billion dot product operations per second


Custom ATI Graphics Processor

  • 10 MB of embedded DRAM
  • 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically scheduled shader pipelines
  • Unified shader architecture


Polygon Performance

  • 500 million triangles per second


Pixel Fill Rate

  • 16 gigasamples per second fill rate using 4x MSAA


Shader Performance

  • 48 billion shader operations per second


Memory

  • 512 MB of 700 MHz GDDR3 RAM
  • Unified memory architecture


Memory Bandwidth

  • 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
  • 256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
  • 21.6 GB/s front-side bus


Overall System Floating-Point Performance

  • 1 teraflop


Storage

  • Detachable and upgradeable 20GB hard drive
  • 12x dual-layer DVD-ROM
  • Memory Unit support starting at 64 MB


I/O

  • Support for up to four wireless game controllers
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • Two memory unit slots


Optimized for On line

  • Instant, out-of-the-box access to Xbox Live features with broadband service, including Xbox Live
    Marketplace for downloadable content, gamer profile for digital
    identity, and voice chat to talk to friends while playing games,
    watching movies, or listening to music
  • Built-in Ethernet port
  • Wi-Fi ready: 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g
  • Video camera ready


Digital Media Support

  • Support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD
  • Ability to stream media from portable music devices, digital cameras and Windows XP-based PCs
  • Ability to rip music to the Xbox 360 hard drive
  • Custom playlists in every game
  • Built-in Media Center Extender for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • Interactive, full-screen 3-D visualizers


High-Definition Game Support

  • All games supported at 16:9, 720p, or 1080i, with anti-aliasing
  • Standard-definition and high-definition video output supported


Audio

  • Multi-channel surround sound output
  • Supports 48KHz 16-bit audio
  • 320 independent decompression channels
  • 32-bit audio processing
  • Over 256 audio channels


Physical Specs

  • Height: 83 mm
  • Width: 309 mm
  • Depth: 258 mm
  • Weight: 7.7 lbs.


System Orientation

  • Stands vertically or horizontally


Customizable Face Plates

  • Interchangeable to personalize the console


Great, now that all of that nonsense is out of the way, we'll move on to what I think about it, as if you care...

The unit itself, which is rather modest, though not entirely without aesthetic appeal, is in my not-so-humble opinion, much better looking than the previous incarnation, not to mention smaller. According to Microsoft, they have noticed that the gaming community seems to be done with the large, space hogging black box shaped units of the past (it took them long enough). The unit is capable of standing upright, much like both incarnations of the PS2, as well as the new PS3. Upon further inspection you may notice that it seems to be without most of the usual ports and so on, but they are merely hidden from sight, offering a more visually pleasing appearance, not to mention protection from dust. Under that slightly obvious oval plate on the bottom of the unit are two USB ports, which are multifunction, not that Microsoft has revealed many of their functions, aside from controller ports (for the non-wireless controllers), a headset for Xbox Live, and a video camera, also for Xbox Live. On the back of the unit you will find yet another USB port. Microsoft will also be offering interchangeable faceplates (ala your trusty cellphone), but at this time does not offer avalible colours. The other openings on the front are memory card slots, which Microsoft has chosen to migrate to the unit to reduce weight as well as battery consumption on it's new controllers. The internal gizamawootzies (hardware) on this new Xbox are rather impressive. But overall, they seem to pale in comparison to the new PS3. Now, some of you will say "But hey! Xbox has that whole on line community thing going for it, and now I can chat while watching a DVD or listening to music!". Well, thats fine and dandy, except, who would want to watch a movie and chat on the same screen? And, thanks to a recent press release from Sony, it seems they will be moving in to counter the services offered by Xbox Live, with their very own version of it. The 360 also puts it's foot in the wireless door, so to speak, but once again, it falls short. I hate to keep going on and on about the PS3, for you might think I'm bias or something, but come on, no bluetooth?! One of the very few things about the 360 that grabs my attention, and hold it for more than a few seconds is the wireless controllers, more specificly, the way you charge them (should you choose to buy the rechargeable battery pack). You just plug in your handy dandy usb cable, and you can keep on playing while the unit recharges your battery. However, the controllers have pretty much nothing else I like about them... Just look at them, they are so HUGE. I can't possibly believe that I could stand holding one of them for more than an hour straight.

Now, I believe it is time I stop attacking the new 360. From what I have seen, I am not impressed, in fact I am seriously let down, I expected allot more out of Microsoft. I have taken a look at some of the games that will be coming out on or near the unit's release date, and I have to say the graphics do not appear to be stunning, rather they seem to be allot like the graphics we got out of the Nintendo Game cube. They look rather funny, and cute. I expected realism, but I got CUTE?! the most realistic, true to life game revealed in the line-up is a driving game (a favorite genre of mine), but even that looks like the artists got to realism, and then decided to "make it better". They worked with the idea of how scenery reflects off of high gloss paint, and glass. But then they pushed it to far. The damn cars look like they are mirrors.

Anyway, there is still allot more information on the new Xbox to come, I am sure. Right now Microsoft appears to be trying to generate hype, and that sort of thing has never realy worked on me. Perhaps things will look better once the hype-machine has reached it's capacity, and the real information starts to flow. But until then, I remain dissapointed, and I'm not going to hold my breath waiting, and neither should you.

Your's in love and death,
Ad714n

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Does it matter?

Hello fellow loser, or random lurker, whichever the case may be.

I am Adrian, the newest member of this rag-tag bunch of weirdos who
care far to much about animated stories and violence, and I'm willing
to share what I think about the things I like, and willing to subject
you to hearing about the things I dislike. I have read my fair share
of game reviews, but I've never made it a habit. In fact, I have never
really given a damn what game reviews have had to say about any of the
titles I have researched. Mostly, the few game/system reviews I have
read, I simply scanned through to learn interesting things about the
titles and or systems and sometimes just looked them up to Ooh and
Aah at the pretty pictures. I skip the parts where they give specs,
and I definitely ignore the parts where they give out their useless
scores. From time to time I have glanced over their personal thoughts
about the title/system, but mostly I ignored that too. For their
thoughts are not my own, and I care not for their mere existence, let
alone what they have to say about something! On that note, I will stop
going on and on about other peoples reviews, and we will discuss my
own upcoming additions to this almost-positively pointless waste of
time and effort. What I will spew forth into this endless stream of
0's and 1's will be my feelings and interpretations of various
upcoming, and recently released game titles, systems, and other
various bits of tech. If you should choose to read them, that's fine
and dandy. If you do not read them, and they are just another addition
to the afore mentioned endless stream of data, and I'm fine with that
as well. If they make you want to go out and spend your (or your
parent's) hard earned cash on these things, good for you, and good for
the designers, the artists, and production assistants, the coders, all
of their families and so on, and so on, ex cetera. If they make you
want to spit, just reading them, be careful where you do it, or you
might get some sort of fine. Either way, they will be here. Please
feel free to subject yourself further to anything I may post about. I
believe the first thing I shall talk about will be... The Xbox 360.

Until then,
Ad714n

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ps3


This is me excited.

I have always been a loyal Sony customer from my T.V to my PlayStation 2, But I have felt that consoles did not have enough power. I would always turn back to my computer in dismay and engage in pixilated violence there. Consoles would never replaced my beloved PC I believed...

That is until I saw the specs for the PS3:


CPU: Cell Processor PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz
--1 VMX vector unit per core
--512KB L2 cache
--7 x SPE @3.2GHz
--7 x 128b 128 SIMD GPRs
--7 x 256KB SRAM for SPE
--*1 of 8 SPEs reserved for redundancy
--Total floating point performance: 218 gigaflops

GPU RSX @ 550MHz
--1.8 TFLOPS floating point Performance
--Full HD (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
--Multi-way programmable parallel Floating point shader pipelines
--Sound Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc. (Cell-based processing)

MEMORY
256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz
256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz
System Bandwidth Main RAM-- 25.6GB/s
VRAM--22.4GB/s
RSX-- 20GB/s (write) + 15GB/s (read)
SB2.5GB/s (write) + 2.5GB/s (read)

SYSTEM FLOATING POINT PERFORMANCE:
2 teraflops

STORAGE
--HDD Detachable 2.5" HDD slot x 1
--I/O--USB Front x 4, Rear x 2 (USB2.0)
--Memory Stickstandard/Duo, PRO x 1
--SD standard/mini x 1
--CompactFlash(Type I, II) x 1

COMMUNICATION
--Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x 3 (input x 1 + output x 2)
--Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g
--Bluetooth--Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)
--ControllerBluetooth (up to 7)
--USB 2.0 (wired)
--Wi-Fi (PSP)
--Network (over IP)

AV OUTPUT
Screen size 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
HDMI out x 2
AV multi out x 1
Digital out (optical) x 1

DISC MEDIA
CD
PlayStation CD-ROM
PlayStation2 CD-ROM
CD-DA
CD-DA (ROM),
CD-R,
CD-RW
SACD Hybrid (CD layer),
SACD HD
DualDisc (audio side)
DualDisc (DVD side)
PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM
PlayStation 3 DVD-ROM
DVD-ROM
DVD-R
DVD-RW
DVD+R,
DVD+RW
Blu-ray Disc
PlayStation 3 BD-ROM
BD-ROM
BD

It would seem this thing can do it all.
Seriously 3.2ghz seems like overkill for a console, but with games looking better with leaps and bounds I am sure that in five years time this will be outdated and useless. Look at the PS2, it is now having a hard time competing with everyday Pc's.

I have read tons of reviews on the PS3 and the largest complaint is the controller:
I find it un natractive, as if they were intentionally trying to make it look futuristic and failed horribly. Of course I cannot fathom myself why it would make games more difficult to play. It still retains the overall shape of the old ps2 controller and the curvature would make it more comfortable to hold. I would even go as far to say it would be easier on the hands. The R buttons unfortunately seem to close together and to far from the edges making the fingers have to reach for them instead of relaxed.

Instead of waiting for them to release Designer colors, the Ps3 is being released in three versions:
I personally find the black color to be very nifty. The console itself looks very powerful as if any moment a little red light will come on and a monotone voice will sound off saying "Good morning Donovan."

All in all the Ps3 is shaping up to be a very powerful toy with a exciting look. It seems like Sony is trying to replace all your electronics into one package. Soon Sony will release a console that can cook, clean, Do your laundry and play your favorite games...

The future is looking bright

A new dawn

I was tired...


Tired of reading the major game review publications who gave bad games good scores and good games bad scores only based on who advertised the most. You could see it, I was faithful to my magazines. I would go out and buy a game only to be disappointed at it. No longer was I going to sit by and allow them to control my wallet and my time. Then came a revelation, I could help others by reviewing games and letting them know what the average Joe thought of them. So Here I am to do just that. I can only hope I live up to your expectations and provide a unique view on modern gaming.