Friday, February 17, 2006

Sony Admits Their Success is Because of Piracy

The truth is out.

Tetsuhiko Yasuda, managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment Asia, told reporters at the Taipei Game Show that the company is not yet ready to begin marketing its PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system.

"We want to be completely prepared when we bring PlayStation 3 to the marketplace," Yasuda said. "Our No. 1 competition is not other companies but counterfeiters. We want to work with governments to stop this."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Broke the 3:51:250 barrier on Rave City Riverfront R

Unbelievable, I just broke the 3:51:250 barrier on Rave City Riverfront R with the Himmel EO, the slowest car in the game. From rank 7 I've bumped back up to five, and I'm in striking distance of the number one spot in Ridge Racer 6 Global Time Attack. I think I already know how to beat the number one guy...his time is 3:49:911 (something like that.) I only need two more seconds!

If I make it, I'll be the first Himmel EO driver to reach the number one spot on the leaderboard....if not, well, this will be a funny post to look back on, one day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Xbox Fans and the Obssession with Realism

Recently I commented on Xboxyde on a worrying trend in the Xbox Community. Blimblim recently gave these comments for a Rumble Roses XX trailer:

"Konami released yet another Rumble Roses XX trailer. As always it moves very well until they show some actual gameplay. Someone should really tell the developers that this game should not use the moon's gravity."

And this is what I said:

It is disheartening that the only standard that some xbox fans seem to have is realism. If a game isn't realistic, it sucks. That seems to be the only motivating factor for most xbox fans to like or hate a game, and that's so unfortunate. It's a fighting game, there are bound to be some things that won't be 'like real life'. Xbox fans complain that developers aren't making innovative games for the system, when actually developers have tried to make those kinds of games for the platform, but the fans themselves don't support the more creative titles (Jet Set Radio, Panzer Dragoon Orta etc) simply because they aren't realistic enough, or they aren't based in reality. That's why developers like Sega are releasing their top titles on the Playstation instead of the xbox :( Because the fans have spoken with their purchases. Notice how Sega's recent game for the xbox, Full Auto, has a more realistic edge (though with an obviously arcadey premise and physics), and is clearly made based on the perception of what xbox fans has to have cars and guns. Because Sega knows that anything else won't sell on the platform. They're instead offering their other franchises like Sonic and Virtua Fighter on the Playstation.

All I'm saying is that the above comment just reinforces the idea in most xbox gamers' minds that "if it isn't realistic---it probably sucks". The PS2 and the PS3 enjoys a much larger library of games simply because their fans are more open to various types of titles. If xbox fans want the platform to go beyond its current 'ultra-hardcore' fanbase, it will have to offer titles other than military simulators.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Western Gamers and Eastern Gamers on RR6 Xbox Live

For the past few months that I've been playing Ridge Racer 6 online, I've noticed that there is quite a difference between playing against Western (US, UK, France) gamers and playing against Eastern gamers (Chinese, Japanese). In almost every game that I play against Westerners, the players are more aggressive, resorting to dirty tactics like hard bumps and causing you to crash into walls. At the starting grid, the first thing that happens after the announcer says GO, is that the cars start hitting each other, as if the game was Burnout: Takedown. Later on, if you try to overtake another player, western gamers do more than just hit you. They actually try to take you out of the race. They hit you furiously just to get you to crash into the wall or slow you down.

The funny thing is, Ridge Racer 6 doesn't really penalize you that much when you get hit. Unlike Project Gotham Racing 3, where getting hit can cause you to spin out and essentially be out of the race, in Ridge Racer 6, hitting won't affect you that much unless your opponent hits you in a certain way, like if he is using nitrous or if he hits you squarely on the side. Because western opponents resort to these types of dirty tactics online, I find it easy to beat them. No kidding. I've won so many races by 10 or 20 seconds whenever I play against western players. Occasionally one or two good western players come along, but it is very very rare in Ridge Racer 6.

Whenever I play against Eastern gamers like the Chinese, the Japanese, or the Koreans, the way they play Ridge Racer 6 is a lot different. At the starting grid, players tend not to hit each other...rather, they're focused more on gathering enough speed to be able to start drifting and gathering boost as quickly as possible. Racing against the Easterners feels more strategic. Some Eastern players will intentionally wait behind you until the very last moment and then charge into the lead. I've been beaten by a shocking +0.002 seconds by one Japanese player. This never happens with the Westerners. Westerners will just keep on charging into you, hoping to take you out, but in the process take themselves out of the race.

I've heard of the problems over in Project Gotham Racing 3, and I've seen the dirty tricks being employed by many of the gamers there. In Ridge Racer 6, these same players are trying the same tactics, and, unfortunately for them, those dirty tactics that they use on PGR3 don't quite work on RR6. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but, really, every game I've played that has ENGLISH as its label turns into some kind of destruction derby.

Another difference between Western gamers and Eastern gamers, is that the Westerners just can't get enough of that headset. In one game, I had a British guy ask me where I come from. I told him the truth, which probably was a mistake:

"I'm from the Philippines."

After telling him that information, during the race he ended up berating me and my was difficult to understand what he was saying, but i could tell it wasn't really good. To be honest, the guy sounded stoned. In the end, I won the race, much to his dismay. He didn't really represent the United Kingdom very well.

In another race against Westerners, one guy who constantly lost the race....he was, again, British. At the final lap, the guy turns his car around and starts driving the wrong way, laughing and heckling while he was at it. I was in first place during this match, and he almost nailed me. Luckily he missed...after that he started talking and talking and talking....when the game returned to the lobby, I kicked him out of the room and proceeded to continue racing.

I've never experienced that type of lame behavior when I'm playing with Koreans, Chinese and Japanese players. And I have to say this...the Japanese players offer the greatest challenge ever. I'd say they're the best in the world. And it's fun to play against them because they race clean, unlike the Westerners. Also, I've had one really pleasant experience with a Japanese gamer. Previous to my 199th race, there was this one Japanese player who gave me quite a challenge. We were exchanging wins back and forth, and on my 199th race, this guy opted not to race against me and went spectator mode. At the end of the race, at the very moment I crossed the finish line, the Japanese player sends me a message which says "o-me-de-to! 2 0 0 Wins!" which essentially means CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 200 WINS! I was surprised by that...the Japanese player was nice enough to let me take the victory and even greeted me for it. I thanked him and added him to my friends list, which he did as well. His name is fumomega, one of the Japanese Elite Ridge Racer 6 Players! (Thanks for being a great sport!). This goes to show that, despite the fact that these Japanese players are the hardest-of-the-hardcore when it comes to RR6, they are still quite friendly and accomodating to everyone, and play for the love of the game.

On the other hand, Western gamers don't seem to be good sports. If you constantly kick their ass online, they will get back at you through the feedback system. I've had a perfect 100% feedback rating for a long time, and that was because there were next to NO western players on RR6, for a short while. Once more western gamers came into RR6, I noticed that my feedback rating started to go down. It always went down after I played with American or British players. Apparently, they hate losing in a game as *simple* as Ridge Racer 6.

Every time I log into Ridge Racer 6, the first thing I look for when racing online, are games hosted by Eastern gamers. If you want to have the best experience when playing RR6 on live, play with the players from the Far East. You won't regret it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Playstation 3: The Living Room’s Swiss Army Knife

Only a few more months until Sony unleashes the PS3 to the gaming populace. While they have not officially announced anything, its pretty safe to assume that Sony HAS to release soon in order to keep up with the XBOX 360 and the pending Nintendo Revolution.

Back at E3 2005, Sony has shown nothing but tech demos and CGI movies of their upcoming PS3 games. Actual gameplay shots and footages have been rare despite the fact that nearly a year has passed since the announcement of the console. But what bothers me, as a gamer, was what Sony has been trying to push for the last year with regard to the PS3. And they haven’t pushed gaming that much at all. Instead we get a hefty news about Blu-Ray, the Cell Processor and other what not.

I’m not going to go into detail about Blu-Ray or the Cell but the only thing I can say about it is that they’re both relatively new hardware. Blu-Ray is meant to be the next-generation movie disk format. While the Cell is a chip built to be able to do several functions related to multi-media. To top it all off, Sony has entrusted their graphics chip to Nvidia who gave them the top of the line model of 2005. Sony has also boasted of having a hard disk to be attached to the PS3 that runs on Linux and capable of serving common desktop applications.

All those things sound great…but where are the games Sony? Those additional bundled in features of the PS3, whether I will use them or not, will serve to add costs to the console…costs that Sony can no longer subsidize and will have to pass on to the gamers. On top of that, there has been no clear roadmap as to how those devices will actually further gaming in particular.

Right now all I see is an overemphasis on the other features of the PS3…features that may or may not even take off. It’s quite obvious that Sony is putting a lot of its eggs in its most profitable product, the Playstation but only time will tell if it pays off. As for me, the features are not enough to sell the pricey PS3. I’m not about to let go of my current DVD collection and convert them all to Blu-Ray. I have no intention of making my PS3 run word applications because in the end, I buy a console in order to play games and nothing else. Extras are appreciated but the focus should always be about the games and the gaming experience.

This is not the first time Sony has embarked on this kind of marketing. Technically they did the same thing with the PS2 by selling it off as a cheap DVD player and many people felt secure in their purchase of having a multi-purpose machine powered by the silly catch phrase ‘Emotion Engine’. But it makes me wonder just how many people actually used the Playstation’s DVD player feature a lot more.

To be honest, I am quite disappointed with Sony. I’ve been with them since their glory PS1 days where what was advertised was not the fact that the PS1 can be used to play your music CDs or play a VCD…but the fact that the PS1 had great set of diverse games that any gamer can choose from. And from the success of the PS1, Sony rebounded with the PS2 but shifting focus into making an all-in-one entertainment gateway. While its competitors, such as the XBOX 360, is not shying away from the entertainment hub challenge, their focus has been about the games and gamer experience much more than its other features.

In an effort to save Sony, the Playstation 3 has transformed from a simple gaming machine to a monster entertainment center deemed to take over the living room. The PS3 is no longer just about gaming, its about everything Sony has at the moment. The hopes and dreams of every single consumer electronics division now lies with the success of the PS3. No doubt that they are gambling such a big thing in the console war, whether or not it pays off in the long run remains to be seen.

Right now Sony wants everyone to think that the PS3 will be everything and anything you need for your multimedia experience. But somehow a part of me thinks that if I believe that, I'll be in a world of disappointment.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

ARGH! I've lost my number 4 ranking!


Boy, that was short lived.

Time to get it back...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm now 4TH PLACE! Global Time Attack, Class 4, Rave City Riverfront R!

A few days ago I was able to accomplish what I previously thought impossible:

TIME: 3:53:415

Bisontes, EAT MY DUST! LOL

I should have posted this here when I got that achievement, so I could determine how long it would take before someone would beat my record. But right now, I'm happy that I've set a hell of a record time using what many consider as the SLOWEST CAR in Ridge Racer 6!

Personally, the fact that I've accomplished THAT with the slowest car is the proof of the DEPTH that Namco has put into the gameplay of that racing game!