Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New DS by the end of the year?

Reports surface that a new ds will be available in Japan by the end of the year. It will come with new features like camera function, music playback and improved wireless functions.

Pretty quick of them to have out a new DS when DS lite came out not so long ago. [Update] Or so I thought. Apparently it's just speculation and rumor, because Nintendo has denied the reports.

[And if there is a new one coming up within the next year or so,]Of course one doesn't need it to have it the day it gets released. The new functions don't seem that attractive to me. I don't really care for cameras or wireless functions, although mp3 functions will be nice. If the ds has a camera, I probably won't be able to take it work anymore (security blahblahblah).

Just like PSP slim, the loading times of the games don't bother me that much, so I don't find the need to get the slim yet. And there are rumors of a new PSP in the making as well. Of course, I would like to have it if I have too much money (or if it's a prize in a lucky draw).

I will find irresistible if it came with an in-build FM tuner. I'm wish for one on the next psp.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Last King of Africa DS

Trailer for another upcoming adventure game:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spore Videos

Above - Just a video clip on tribe life.

Fun stuff. I've advanced my creatures from Tribe to Civilization stage. I have to say that I don't quite like the Civ stage, and I probably won't like the Space age. I really just want to play with the creatures.


I guess you reap what you sow.

Spore's latest patch is out. But as it seems, the patch requires a patch before it will work properly. Sigh. Do we see now why I gave up on computer games?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spore getting sued over SecuROM

If the case gets through, good riddance to EA.

Now, two weeks after the illegal response to Spore began, EA faces a new, legal challenge to its DRM policy. This week, a class action suit was filed in the North District of California Court by the law firm KamberEdelson on behalf of one Melissa Thomas and all other Spore purchasers. According to the filing, which was made available by Courthousenews.com, the suit contends that EA violated the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law by not informing consumers installing Spore will also install SecurROM.

"Although consumers are told the game uses access control and copy protection technology, consumers are not told that this technology is actually an entirely separate, stand-alone program which will download, install, and operate on their computer," read the complaint. "Once installed, it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio. Even if the consumer uninstalls Spore, and entirely deletes it from their computer, SecurROM remains a fixture on their computer unless and until the consumer completely wipes their hard drive through reformatting or replacement of the drive."

The suit accuses EA of "intentionally" hiding the fact Spore uses SecurROM, which it alleges is "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel) and [is] surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation of the computer, and preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations." The suit also claims the SecurROM takes over a portion of the PC's processing resources "to transmit information back to EA."

Full article at Gamespot.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some Spore pics

Cell stage captures:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

EA's response to DRM on Spore

Taken from Kotaku

Two weeks ago EA launched SPORE – one of the most innovative games in the history of our industry. We’re extremely pleased with the reception SPORE has received from critics and consumers but we’re disappointed by the misunderstanding surrounding the use of DRM software and the limitation on the number of machines that are authorized to play a single a copy of the game.

We felt that limiting the number of machine authorizations to three wouldn’t be a problem.

· We assumed that consumers understand piracy is a huge problem – and that if games that take 1-4 years to develop are effectively stolen the day they launch, developers and publishers will simply stop investing in PC games.
· We have found that 75 percent of our consumers install and play any particular game on only one machine and less than 1 percent every try to play on more than three different machines.
· We assured consumers that if special circumstances warranted more than three machines, they could contact our customer service team and request additional authorizations.

But we’ve received complaints from a lot of customers who we recognize and respect. And while it’s easy to discount the noise from those who only want to post or transfer thousands of copies of the game on the Internet, I believe we need to adapt our policy to accommodate our legitimate consumers.

Going forward, we will amend the DRM policy on Spore to:

· Expand the number of eligible machines from three to five.
· Continue to offer channels to request additional activations where warranted.
· Expedite our development of a system that will allow consumers to de-authorize machines and move authorizations to new machines. When this system goes online, it will effectively give players direct control to manage their authorizations between an unlimited number of machines.

We’re willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers. But we’re hoping that everyone understands that DRM policy is essential to the economic structure we use to fund our games and as well as to the rights of people who create them. Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles.

From what I've heard, despite the DRM on Spore, the game was available illegally a little before launch. If that was the case, DRM is not effective and therefore, an unnecessary annoyance to legit gamers.


I did see this game in the stores here. But like the review at Eurogamer says, the game is only available in Japanese. They get all the cool stuff.

(Image taken from Eurogamer)

Afrika reviewed at Eurogamer.

It's a simulation of sorts. What do you do? You get to play a wild life photographer. The game is about taking assignments involving stalking animals with a camera to get the best shots.

And it would seem that Sony has no plans of making an English language version.

My first Spore creature

Something called a Talmintha. (Yeah I know it's awful looking. :P)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spore Galactic Edition

Galactic edition package includes:

1. The game DVD
2. Making of Spore DVD
3. 90+ page manual
4. Spore Art Book
5. Poster

Love the whole package.

This post is also a test on my new iMac. Blogspot doesn't really like Safari, so it looks like I'll be using Firefox for most of my browsing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Silent Hill: Origins (PSP)

This game is proof that horror games on a small screen can be scary too. Last night after playing this game, I had a nightmare of sorts with creepy shadowy creatures that stumbled about in dirty abandoned rooms. Freaky.

The graphics are excellent, rather dark but adjustable so that you can play it well enough in a lit room. Of course, if you want to get the best scares, play this game in the dark with headphones on. The musical score is just great with its metallic sounds, low growling sounds and mad-whispering type effects.

I don't think there's any other title of this sort (horror-survival) for the PSP. I wish they would make more of type of games. Fatal Frame might make a good portable horror.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Culdcept DS

Japanese trailer for Culdcept DS. Culdcept is a boardgame/card game hybrid with a fantasy setting. Hopefully, there will be an English version released eventually.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I got Spore

I bought the galactic edition which includes a Making-of DVD, the Spore art book and a free Spore T-shirt.

Of course now, I have to wait for my iMac to arrive before I can play it.

I just put in an order for an iMac 24-inch this evening. I'm such an apple newbie that I checked out the various components like I was trying to buy a PC. I'm surprised at how easy (to the point I feel a little uneasy) it is to just order for one.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Who is the Gamer’s Candidate?

There's this article on Edge about US presidential candidates' views on the subject of videogames.

It's not much. And that's expected since there are many and much more pressing issues in US than the subject of videogame regulation.


I really expected Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness to at least be as good as Rune Factory, and zones better than Harvest Moon DS:Cute.

It's not and I'm disappointed. Why:

1. The controls are atrocious.

It's very nice to want to make full use of the NDS' touchscreen functionality but to make this an exclusively touchscreen-control game is just a bad idea when doing stuff in this game would be so much easier using the d-pad and buttons. That's an opinion. Still, one would think they would have given players an option between touchscreen and d-pad controls.

So now, you use the stylus to move around and point to stuff to pick up or select things, while the d-pad and buttons are use-tool/item buttons.

You can get used to it enough to play competently of course. But it doesn't change my opinion that it is unintuitive, imprecise and often a real pain.

2. You still can't walk over crops.

I'm really shocked. Rune Factory fixed this, so that you can grow perfect 3-by-3 plots instead of the 8-plot. (For those of you who have never played, it's because the basic water can/could only water one square in front of your character.)

So I still have to plant the crops like this in this new Harvest Moon:


instead of like this:


It's unbelievable.

3. Why can't I build the farm anyway I want now?

In Harvest Moon DS (the original and the later "Cute" version), you can choose where to place your chicken coop, your cow/sheep barn etc. Now you can't. They've designated the area at the far top of your farmland for those. Ugh.

The graphics and art are really bland compared to Rune Factory. It's sad. (I don't care that it's 3-D or 3D-ish now, it's plain and boring.) Even RF aside, the first Harvest Moon DS looks better than this one imo.

What's good about it.

1. I like the idea of populating an island and increasing its visitors via my farm's success. It's satisfying to see your island come from being deserted to one with more people, occupied houses and improved appearance.

2. You don't have to water the plants every day now. Each crop type have different water and sunshine needs. Too much watering can cause some crops to wilt, the same as not having watered the crops enough. So say if it rains heavily the previous day, you don't have to water the next day. This is more realistic and interesting.

Last note, this game has made me appreciate Rune Factory's art and control scheme.