You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2011.

UPDATED after spending more time with the console: 3/28/11 (Updated sections are marked with a red ***)

***Fighting a broken bike, freezing rain and a dark city, at 11:30pm on Saturday the 26th, I rode myself down to my local Walmart to pick myself up Nintendo’s newest console, the 3DS. I’ve had my eye on the console for quite a while now, and after hearing of the games coming soon for the little device, I knew I had to have it. And boy, am I glad I do have it.

WHAT I LIKED:

The. 3D. Works: No, seriously. This is not a gimmick. The Nintendo 3DS shows 3D nearly on par with a giant IMAX theater (if an IMAX theater only had a 2 inch screen). The main menu alone is proof enough that the 3D really does work; browsing through the apps that come pre-installed, you can see little Miis and pictures that seem to magically float in and out of space itself without the help of a giant pair of two hundred dollar glasses. When you get in game, it takes a little bit of adjusting to find exactly what works best for you (I had problems focusing when the 3D slider was all the way up), but once you do, it’s just magical. The depth is pretty cool, however, it’s when things get up in your face when minds really start to blow. Flying a plane in Pilot Wings and having the jet stream slap you in your face is just an experience unlike any other. This is real 3D without glasses. Believe it. *** I’ve also, now, had the chance to try out Street Fighter IV 3D on the 3DS. The 3D is hands down better than anything in Pilot Wings. Even on full 3D, my eyes never hurt and it was a perfect combination of background images, foreground images and everything in between. If you have to get a game with your 3DS, GET STREET FIGHTER.

The Look: When I pulled the 3DS out of its packaging, I was expecting a LOT more console. What I got was a very sleek, layered look that wasn’t too big or too small. The lights everywhere feel somewhat cool, even if a little unnecessary, and the addition of a dedicated Wi-Fi button is very welcome. The analog nub is worlds above what the PSP has; it actually feels like a controller worthy of a console game instead of a dumbed down handheld version. Over all, the 3DS looks and feels incredibly nice. (However, when you’re using the 3D, you notice EVERY SINGLE LITTLE PIECE OF DUST on the top screen).

The Built In Games: The 3DS comes preloaded with all sorts of goodies. The augmented reality cards are just completely mind blowing, and the Street Pass feature sounds like it could be interesting if it catches on. There are some nice features like taking 3D photos and the same music software that was on the DSi. Basically, even without a game, a person could survive for a good, long while on just preloaded apps.

The Promises: Nintendo has promised a lot with the 3DS; Ocarina of Time, a new Mario game, Game Boy virtual console games and 3D Netflix are just a few of the bigger announcements. A lot of these promises are not in sight yet, but just the fact that they’re there makes me feel a lot better about owning this console now.

The Dock: Plop; my 3DS is charging. No plugging anything in or reaching for cables that have fallen behind the desk ever again.

***Street Pass: Walking through Target today to pick up a new game (actually, my mother was inside and I had to go in to use the restroom), I flipped open my 3DS after a couple of minutes to find that the little green Street Pass light was blinking. Excitedly, I opened the 3DS up to see that I had encountered another 3DS owner! Her name was Gabby, and her little Mii popped up on screen and said “Hi there!” While it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, it was pretty cool to think that as I walked through this store with the 3DS closed and in my pocket, it picked up another 3DS closed, and in someone elses pocked and communicated with it. Creepy? Maybe a little. Fun at the same time? Completely.

***The Pedometer: As dumb as this might sound, it’s interesting to see all the steps you’ve taken tallied out onto graphs that you can compare to previous days. You can see specifically when I get up in the morning and when I switch classes during the day just how far I walked (in steps). Small feature, pretty fun.

***The Friends List: While completely lacking right now, Nintendo has created the frame work for an amazing friends list feature. You can add friends just like on the 360 which are listed in a nice flowing chart. The system gives their status (whether or not they’re online and what game they’re playing) along with their favorite game. You can even access all this without leaving game (just press the home button, sending your current game into a frozen state, then you can access your entire home screen). However, right now, besides the “now playing” part, there is no interaction between friends; no messaging of any kind (besides a 16 character limit “phrase). Nintendo is sure to fix this, and when they do, it’s going to be awesome. For now though, it’s completely underwhelming.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

Ouch: After playing for about four hours on and off again, my eyes are very soar. This may be because it’s not 8am and I haven’t slept yet, but my eyes never hurt this bad, even at this late an hour. Granted, I was playing with the 3D slider more than I would have had I not just picked the console up for the first time, but still, I don’t feel like I could play a game in 3D for very long before really feeling the pain. *** After playing with the 3D effects more and more, I’ve realized that because of how big of an area Pilot Wings has, and how much strain it caused on my eyes sliding the 3D slider back and forth, my eyes were obviously going to hurt. Playing two hours of Street Fighter didn’t hurt my eyes in the slightest, and I was playing in a moving van in the dark. I suppose it still depends on the game and on the users eyes, but so far, after that first initial eye strain, it’s not been NEARLY as bad.

The Games: Oh, the games. Quite frankly, this is one of the weaker console launches I’ve ever seen in my lifetime (No, the Gizmondo doesn’t count). No game in the entire line up is a “must have” game, period. You would think Nintendo would start off the life of this brilliant console with a Mario or Zelda or something. But no; we got Nintendogs + Cats. However, like I said, Nintendo is making promises like crazy. Fingers crossed? *** Get Super Street Fighter IV.

The Battery: I got the 3DS at midnight. It’s 8am. I’ve charged it twice already. NOT. COOL. *** However, I just spend the entire day out and about with the 3DS, playing games (both 3D and non), using Street Pass and showing people the augmented reality cards. When I sat down back at my desk this evening, it was just about dead. Think about it: how often are you going to be blasting 3D and wi-fi on your 3DS when you’re outside a place where a charger is handily available? Walking around, you’ll probably have wi-fi on, but the 3D off (it’s hard to walk and use the 3D at all), which adds hours to the battery life. The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing that the battery might not be all that bad after all.

The 3DS really has impressed me. The 3D effects are just effing amazing considering every human who’s ever seen 3D has had to wear those stupid glasses. And yet, right before our eyes, we’re seeing 3D… without looking like dorks. That, to me, is enough of a justification to own this console. Any game that takes advantage of that is just icing on the cake.

Game reviews coming in the future for both Super Street Fighter IV and Pilot Wings, so stay tuned!

***This review was written with little to no sleep at 8am. I am not responsible for weird typos or incomplete thoughts.

Wow! I missed the one year mark by more than a month? Phail!

On February 8th, 2010, after some convincing by Clark Bunch, I started up this blog. My first year, I hit just about 35,000 views, which isn’t bad considering I was just writing what I wanted to write. Just today I hit 40,000 views, so I still got somewhat of an audience.

Here’s for another fun year at Reflection of a Gamers Quintessential Being! Thanks for being a part of something that I’ve really enjoyed putting together and hopefully whoever is reading this will be reading this next year as well!

 

Does anyone use Ping?

Do you even know what I’m talking about?

ug…

Last fall, Apple announced this thing called Ping (not latency), a new type of music social network. I signed up. Then, like Game Center, I completely forgot about it and have never touched it again. When I went to redeem a Starbucks free download today, however, it asked if I wanted to follow the artist on Ping.

It look a couple of seconds to realize what it was talking about.

Uh, no, thanks “Ping”, now go the way of Bing and die.

It’s the age old debate: which computer is better, a Macintosh, created by Apple, or a PC running Windows, created by Microsoft. This debate has been waged since the beginning of both of these companies. Fanboys on both sides have and still fight to the death about which computer company makes the best hardware, software and everything in between.

I’ve been a Macintosh fan since I was very little, however, I’ve never once owned a current model of any Macintosh product (current being “released within the past four years”), so obviously, I grew up on Windows 98 and 2000 instead of Mac OS 8, 9 and 10. I’ve always loved how the Macintosh operating system worked much more than Windows and I’ve always loved the look of the products that Apple releases. However, since I was never able to afford a top of the line Macintosh, I have been using Windows Xp and 7 for the past decade with very little complaints. What can I say; Windows is great!

And right there is my point. Yes, I am an Apple fan (not fanboy, mind you). I prefer Apple products (both computers and music players) over any other brand. But when someone mentions how they hate Apple or how they hate Windows, I get sick. What is the point in arguing over who is better? Who cares who is better? The Macintosh and the Windows PC are two completely different beasts. It’d be like comparing apples to oranges and saying “Wow, well, this orange tastes nothing like this apple, therefore, it must be terrible!”. Macintosh can do things that Windows can’t. Windows can do things that Macintosh can’t. There is no need to get our panties in a knot every time that someone says they like Apple over Microsoft.

Yes, Apple costs more money that 99% of the PC’s on the market, but that’s because Apple demands a certain standard for everything they do. You can hate on Apple all you want, but everyone knows that they always produce quality machines, and with quality comes the higher price. Since Microsoft created their OS to run on any PC, there is no quality control; Windows 7 can be installed on any PC. That is the difference between Apple and Microsoft. Microsoft just creates the software and says “go for it”. They don’t care if it doesn’t run well on your computer (Vista, I’m looking at you), they just send the software out there and let people build around it. Apple creates their machines specifically to run their software; you will never find an Apple product that is too underpowered to support the official software for it because Apple makes sure that you DON’T. That is the main difference between Apple and Microsoft and it also explains the price jump; it’s all about quality (NOT of software, of hardware. Apple’s operating system software have ALWAYS been cheaper than Windows operating systems).

So please, can we stop the arguing? I love Macs, but I use Windows every day. I do not bash Windows (well, service pack 1 for Windows 7 bricked my computer, so that pissed me off, but usually I enjoy Windows greatly), so why retaliate to something I haven’t done by bashing what I like? And if you absolutely must hate on Apple all the time, don’t do it around me.

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