A very interesting article (for computer geeks like me anyway) came up at slashdot today. It basically took an in depth look at the abilities of the upcoming PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles (the Revolution was not included due to the complete lack of information availible). Via a host of developers, the following discovery (and a complete "Duh!" for most gamer geeks) was made concerning the systems.

The processing power of the PS3 and Xbox 360 is about the same between the two, and only two to three times as good as the last generation.

To be fair, that's still a big improvement. To be more fair, the potential for doing better than a mere three times is also there, but will take until later in the generation to be a reality. To summarize the article a bit, the processors could have been much better than they are, if it were not for a score of bottlenecks mucking things up. It's mostly a matter of dealing with that score of bottlenecks and design flaws that hinder effective usage of the complex processors. By the time the PS4 and Xbox 720 are being hyped, we'll see some truly beautiful games.

The real point of my mentioning this was that previously, I was concerned by Nintendo's statement that the Revolution would be two to five times as powerful as the GameCube. Now, I'm not concerned at all. It seems entirely possible and even likely that Nintendo's Revolution will actually have better graphics capabilities than its competitors. Given that Nintendo is emphasizing ease of development and developers' complaints about the difficulty in programming for the multiprocessors of the PS4 and Xbox 360, it might do very well.

There are a lot of ifs, buts and other speculations running around still, and even as things become clearer and even unto the very moment the last of the next generation consoles is released (and even after) the leader of the next generation will not be certain. While I'll admit I'm putting my money on Nintendo, the winner I want to see emerge victorious is none other than the gamer.

I think I can safely predict a one hundred percent market share for gamers.


How to know when your computer is probably obsolete.

1. When a computer that is several years old (and not even top of the line when bought) runs faster than your current computer.

2. When you can buy a replacement computer for one-third the cost that is thirty times as fast.

3. When people, upon entering your apartment and seeing you computer, gawk in astonishment and say, "You have one of those???"

This is not to say that by being obsolete, the computer is useless. My old iMac is still very useful as a computer. In fact, I intend on using it as a test machine for making sure games I code work decently on low end machines (we're talking pretty low here). The idea being if it can run on my iMac, the number of people unable to properly play my game is probably very few.

However, for many purposes the old fishbowl iMac has shown its age. While it is perfectly capable of browsing the web, connecting to networked computers, and even playing games, it grows steadily slower as programs grow more processor hungry. I can play StarCraft on it no problem, but try WarCraft III and frames per second is no longer a viable unit of measure. I can surf the web, but start throwing flash pages at me and large sections of web to render and I'm doing the equivalent of driving thirty on the information super highway (still going places, just slowly).

Interesting though is the fact that my old blue is just as capable of word processing as any recent machine. I say interesting because that is the original purpose of the desktop pc, to replace the typewriter. Games, internet browsing, multimedia and whatnot all came later.

As such, I probably could make due with just my iMac for a few years yet. However, I'm working on building myself a new computer. I like tweaking things, and this is a good opportunity to satisfy my tweak urges. While performance is something I'm focused on, the real emphasis is on cheap. I'm hoping to do this for approximately three hundred dollars, but actually expect costs to run more akin to four hundred and fifty. Thanks to my father, I already have many vital components (it'll be fun fitting the Dell CD-ROM and floppy drive into a non-proprietary case) and most especially a monitor. Additionally, I recently won a pair of eighty gigabyte hard drives of ebay for some sweet RAID action. I may eventually get another pair, but for now two is enough.

I could rant about the specifications for my machine for a while, but I'll spare you all.


What Happened to Reasonable Discourse?

I don't know if it's because people are just stupid or what, but I'm increasingly dismayed at the lack of any reasonable discourse on anything. Whenever I see any major issue discussed, or even minor ones, it all turns into a shouting fest where one can hardly think.

Recently, there's been some outlast against a new video game that'll be coming out in the near future. The game is unarguably violent, which factors into the M rating the game recieved from the ESRB. The focus of criticism on this game is that it allows you to kill cops.

Now, this is a honest point of criticism there. The police are our law enforcement, and there should be some concern about how we portray and treat them. However, what could have been an honest critique turns into another idiotic slugfest.

Instead of engaging the subject, Nancy Grace's CNN show manipulates the issue to shock and outrage. The people meant to defend video games were regular panelists who didn't have any vested interest in them, and provided the shoddiest defense yet seen> Jack Thompson provided the typical reactionary and alarmist perspective, without levying any coherent arguments against video games.

There's lots of commentary on the subject, but the best direct commentary comes from Penny-Arcade. The point is, no one involved in this "debate" is making any sense, critically evaluating the problem, or pausing to actually think for a second.

I'm not going to say that there aren't arguments against video games, especially those like Grand Theft Auto. I will say straight out I would be ashamed of myself were I to let any children remotely related to me play such a game until they were most certainly of age (eighteen is the suggested minimum age for M rated games). What bothers me is that fingers are being pointed at the video game companies claiming that they market these games to kids. Even if that is the case, I've never been to a video game store that didn't ask for an ID when I wanted to buy an M rated game (when I still looked like I was around age eighteen). This begs the question, "Where are the parents?"

The answer? It doesn't suprise me that a recent study showed a definitive lack of involvement on the part of parents when it comes to what their children play. However, it seems like that would be news to the people like Nancy Grace. I don't mind fingers being pointed. There's obviously an issue here, but I'l very much like to see a reasonble amount of finger pointing towards all of the points of failure here. Video games companies are just one cog in the wheel of the breakdown of the system that is allowing nine year old children to gun down cops in video games.

I really dislike the kinds of "debates" that go on these days about any number of topics, but it is especially infuriating to me when the topic is the very line of work I intend on pursuing. Honestly I'm certain I will make games that will not be something suitable for all ages. I'm concerned about how I'm going to defend myself against the unintelligent rabble who will be attacking and defending me.

Jon Stewart probably puts it best throughout his attempted discussion on crossfire. I was really blown away at how he continually talk slowly, and clearly and made clear his points while those he was supposed to be "discussing" with talked with extreme rapidity and continually tried to interrupt Jon. If you look at just one link in your entire time view my blog, look at that one.

In any case, I'm prone to despair that anyone, media, forum, or just the people, will ever bother to get beyond knee-jerk reactions and flamboyant displays of emotion and concern.


Late to the Game

My recent return to the game of Counter Strike was not as smooth an experience as I anticipated. Anyone who knows me is probably aware of my gaming talent that allows me such pleasures as playing a game (such as Halo 2) once a week and still do better than almost everyone including many who play the game religiously. However, even raw talent isn't enough to make for the following.

When Halo 2 came out, no one knew how to play it. Certainly, we'd all played the original Halo, but Halo 2 had been tweaked and changed and there was a lot to learn. It was a level playing field, for the first five minutes. Quick learners such as myself were speedy in gaining skill with dual wielding, sword lunging and many other aspects of gameplay while most were still struggling with navigating the new levels. I was quickly banned from playing any match with the only weaponry being swords because I consitantly was seventeen kills ahead of the person in second in matches that were only to twenty-five.

Time passed and eventually the lack of owning my own Xbox and copy of Halo 2 began to show. People who were more fortunate than I began to play the game online for hours and hours, and the more skilled of these people were now of greater skill than I, though I still would win often.

The semester ended, and though I was given an opportunity to borrow a friend's Xbox and copy for Halo 2 for the summer (as well as his Xbox Live subscription), I declined it for the sake of my brother (who still has schoolwork to do). This, along with the loss of my Time Splitters 2 savefile, left a large hole for any deserving FPS game to enter.

That's where Counter Strike came in.

Back in freshmen year, Counter Strike was the game of the floor. We played Counter Strike all the time (although I'd sometimes get left out due to my not having my own computer to play on). After struggling at first with having to be careful not to just continuously fire my weapon, I eventually became quite good. I certainly wasn't the best, but I wasn't bad at all. I'd usually have more kills than deaths, though not always.

Fast forward to my return home, and it's been two years since I last played Counter Strike. Upon foraying into the online realm and matching myself up with people on a newbie server to remember what I'd certainly forgotten, I found out something that shocked me quite a bit.

I sucked.

This wasn't just a matter of unfamiliarity. It took me two rounds to remember everything pertaining to movement, weapon purchasing, level layouts etc. What I encountered upon actually fighting was that I was less a highly trained marine fighting terrorism and more some drunk nut the army had given a water pistol to act a a target for malevolent terrorists. Something I never thought would happen to the likes of me happened.

I got kicked off of a newbie server, for sucking.

While in retrospect, the number of true newbies on that server was probably two, me and another guy, it was a sobering experience. In playing on other servers, I found that quite often I'll only have half as many kills as deaths, and only rarely break even in that regard.

What I'd discovered here was something I'll refer to as the gaming equivalent of "hitting the wall". The use of this term from marathons is not the same, there it refers to the point where your body simply can't go on at all. Here I'm referring to the intense feeling of futility when playing with not just a few, but hoards of people who are far more skilled than you are.

It literally feels like a wall. You're on one side (the suck side) and most everyone else is on the other side (the rocking side). You might dent the wall a little, but the wall remains and you're stuck on your side while everyone else is having a party.

After some careful thought, I realized something important. Sucking is a very relative measure in most cases. A friend back at college played Super Smash Bros. Melee a lot, continually practicing her skill while waiting for my roommate to get his act together and be ready for some quality time with her. Despite being far better than a great many people I know, she continually referenced how she "sucked". Despite my constant reassurances to her that she most certainly didn't suck, I could never convince her otherwise. Looking back on conversations with her, I realized that she "sucked" because John and I, who had played the game far too much the previous year and even before that, were better than here by quite a bit. It didn't matter that just about anybody else we played could have had the tar beat out of them by her, her principle opponents were John and I.

In a similar way, I sucked. It wasn't that I had lost heaps of my skill in the long years (though I certianly lost some), it was that while I was off doing other things the rest of the Counter Strike playing world had continued to hone their skills. I'm about as good as I ever was, but in my absence the game went on without me.

I then remembered that such a thing had happened to me before. I had bought WarCraft III the day it came out, and had begun playing right off the bat. Both my brother and I did well when we played. Despite having less time to play, I was still up there with my online friends in terms of ranking, although there were many who were certainly my supirior.

Then, the disconnect hack came out, and after going from 27-3 to 31-21 because of it, I left the game in disgust for a month. When I returned, I "hit the wall". The disconnect hack had been fixed after about a week (which I knew), but most people had returned to the game then. I had needed time to rest from my bad experience, but in doing so I let the game move on without me. In my attempts to play the game again, I found simply that everyone had more than surpassed me, and that my skills were now woefully inadaquate compared to the average Joe.

I then remembered an identical situation happened with StarCraft as well.

The problem here is that anyone returning to a game, or coming to a game fresh hits this wall. They encounter a realm of gamers who have mastered aspects of the game that aren't even comprehendable yet. The result is extremely frustrating and forbidding. While WarCraft III attempts to match you up with those of equal skill, Counter Strike came long before that. It is not impossible to catch up, but it requires a level of patience and perseverence that the casual gamer quite simply doesn't have.

There are only two places to go in such a situation. Find a bunch of friends who haven't played the game at all or much and play with them, or try your hand against a world of people who probably can't comprehend how you don't know how to navigate the levels.

It's been a lesson in patience for me to play Counter Strike at such a disadvantage. I've actually taken a break from playing against people and have done some practice against AI controlled players so that I can return having learned how to aim better. At the same time, the experience has made me interested in trying to play WarCraft III competitively again.

In any case, this wall is something I'll have to take into account when I make my own games. The only game I can think of where this wall is avoided almost entirely is Gunbound, which has special servers for Newbies which prevent skilled players from joining. While eventually players who still haven't quite got the knack for everything may be ousted from the servers too soon, they at least had some time to acclimate before facing off against some of the uber-skilled out there,

I'll keep playing Counter Strike. I've always said I like it when I play a game where it's a challenge to win. :D



I was recently looking for the latest episodes of "Der Dragon Warrior" when I noticed the website that hosts it didn't have it's usual face. Instead of the friendly screens leading either to the amusing flash animations or the odd forums, there was a set of pages that were excerpts from the forums. At first, I skipped through it all hoping to find that at the end I'd find those quirky flash animations I liked. Finding no such thing, I figured the answer with whatever it was I skipped.

While I eventually found the flash animations, watching them left me with a sour feeling in my stomach. Here's why.

The previously skipped forum thread detailed, in usual confusion normal to forums, a series of events which shed no good light on the makers of "Der Dragon Warrior". There was a different website that hosted some music in mp3 format from various Super Mario games which these forumers dubbed illegal. While the legality of the mp3s is not known to me, what the forumers did was far from the mature actions one takes when one perceives something is not right.

Instead of doing the right thing, namely alerting parties who could legally do something about it if it were necessary such as Nintendo, they hot-linked the mp3s to various thread pages in their forum. The upshot of this was a large increase in bandwidth and cost for the person running the site of unknown legality.

I don't know if the person who ran the targeted site was previously a member of the forum before this all happened, or if he joined later to protest what was happening. In any case, he was met with a level of hostility and ridicule on a scale akin to the ill treatment of POWs. As far as I can tell he tried to be reasonable, but nobody ever met him halfway in that regard. There were continual citings of "one email to Nintendo" and the potential of said email to bring his site down, which seemed ridiculous to me. If that were the case, why bother with the immaturity? The only reasons I could think of for not doing the obvious were supiriority complexes and sadism.

Judging from the fact that navigating to the website hosting the immature bunch immediately lead the thread in question, I'd say that these (obscenities) are probably proud of what they did. They probably think it's the greatest laugh in the world. It irks me a lot that such people can prance around, cyber space or no, and treat anyone that way. It irks me because they think well of themselves for what they did. They probably think they've done the world a service, and praise themselves for it. They probably consider themselves just. But I can see neither justice nor good done in what happened. Those who seek to do good should not seek reward, or boast of their deeds. What they did is designed to do both of those things. Their reward is the badgering of their victim, and their flaunting of the events their boasting. Were they truly interested in the betterment of mankind, they would have simply told the relevant authorities of what they thought might be an illegal activity.

Because of this, I can no longer enjoy the handiwork of these people. The flash animations where I once saw humor have been irreparably tarnished. I will watch it no more.



I really wish I had a direct feed into whatever game planning sessions Nintendo has. Recently I've had several opportunities to comment on changes I hope occur in upcoming and certain sequels, think of unique new game concepts, and generally think about various game balances that have had my brain going strong. The results have been exceptionally good, at least from my viewpoint.

I'm not necessarily claiming everything I recently thought of, or think of in general, is an S class million dollar idea. However, I generally believe that barring the occaisional complete idiotic notion my ideas are excellent in nature. At the very least, any idea is better than none at all, because it at least gives something to discuss. Such discussion might simply lead the idea to be thrown away, but sometimes seeming simple or silly ideas can morph into incredible fun for players who are dumbstruck trying to figure out how anyone came up with an idea so wholly fun.

In any case, if I get some cubicle job out of college which requires nothing of my creative juices, I am going have to forsake actually playing video games (for the most part) in order to sit down and code my own. Hopefully once the house is painted I'll have more time for that now, so that I don't end up in a crazy cubicle job in the first place.

Of course, then I'll probably worry about my idea being killed by well-meaning co-workers. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent was such a game. I'm sure whoever thought of the concept was proud of it, but the corporate machine slaughtered the game wholly and fully. Not only did it completely fail to be innovative, but it failed to be any different from a regular Bond game. Instead of James Bond working for Mi6 fighting Dr. No and evil, you were some random dude working for Goldfinger fighting Dr. No and whatever he was doing. I wanted to take on Mi6 darnit, and I wasn't willing to play through endless boring levels to see if a plot that didn't have much hope would lead me to a point where I could do so.

That was a tangent.


I was looking at Nintendo's official forums, thinking I might scrounge up something interestig during this long period of lull in any useful information about the upcoming console generation. There I once again came face to face with the hardest reality of the internet.

It is populated by functional illiterates.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, I don't think I've ever seen forums so devoid of original thought, sentence structure, and typographical integrity. I'd thought I'd seen some bad cases of AIM conversation class forum posters, but the Nintendo forums are loaded with them. For all of their shortcomings, the various Blizzard fan forums I used to participate in at least had semi-articulate posters. Even if they couldn't type to save their lives, they seemed to be able to string together thoughts.

Now, in the middle of this chaos Nintendo splits all forum and site members into three categories, Members, NSiders and Sages. Members are the lower tier of things, having basic access to some forums but not all. NSiders are those with enough knowledge to know not only what a serial number is, but how to find the one on their Nintendo console (GameCube, DS, or Gameboy). Telling Nintendo you've given them money opens up more forums. The basic qualifying intelligence check helps weed out the weak from the genome, but not quite enough to make the NSider only forums much better than lunch in elementary school.

Last of all are the Sages. These are the handpicked elite of the Nintendo forums. They aren't moderators, but they have access to Sage only forums where they can discuss stuff and post reviews of games without fear of illiterate answers. From what I can tell, to become a Sage you must A) Post a lot, B) Post with a decent literacy level, C) Prove you can string together coherent thoughts and D) Keep a cool head in the face of throngs of largely immature morons.

There appear to be a few benefits (apparently some better reviews get into Nintendo Power Magazine) to being a Sage, but honestly I don't give myself much chance of becoming one. I'm far too busy doing important stuff as well as playing video games to post obsessively anymore. Even if I managed to become one, I'd probably lose interest and post once a year to point out to Nintendo the exact flaws of a particular game I played. I don't think Nintendo is interest in people like that.


A Moment of Weakness

For those of you who know me, the idea that I'd fall into any kind of marketing scheme may seem rather ridiculous. Be assured I didn't really fall in, so much as do one of those stupid things you see generals do in WWII movies where they say, "I know this is a trap, but because I know it is a trap we shall be ready!". In many senses I was ready, but I still got suckered into something that's a little bit of a hassle.

The story follows.

I got an e-mail that hit a bullseye in something I have an interest in, Ebay. The email offered a $500 gift certificate to Ebay, free. I wasn't stupid enough to think it was actually free, and I was sure there'd be some craziness they'd fling at me to try to nail me down on buying something. However, I clicked on the linking with the plan that if it asked of me more than I was willing I'd just kill it there.

To get the gift certificate, I was first required to answer a long stream of yes or no questions (such as "Are you Christian and Single?"), answering yes to which would reveal an advertisement (such as a Christian Singles Network) related to the question. I breezed through this part rather quickly, avoiding advertisements with ease.

However, the next part was really stupid. You were forced to sign up for one of many random things in order to "complete the final step" towards getting the gift certificate. It only asked for one, so I looked to see if there was really anything worth thinking about. There was only one thing worth mentioning, and that was the Columbia House offer of 5 DVDs for ¢59 each. I checked it out.

In retrospect, I probably should have checked to see if the page even kept track of whether you signed up with any of these services it offered. Unfortunately, it was not until after I had selected six dvds (an extra one which counted towards the total of ten you're supposed to buy within a year, leaving only four left), and completed the signup that I realised that the next page required me to sign up for to others, and the page after that required another six.

I stopped there.

It was too late to turn back from the Columbia House offer, to my dismay. I had researched the company a bit to make sure I wouldn't be scammed, and the only article of concern I would was that way back before 9/11 some data had been compromised including credit card numbers.

Now I've recieved the six DVDs, and what would otherwise be a very great service for buying more DVDs if it weren't for the problem that I need to be concerned with fulfilling the pledge I made to buy another four (each of which must qualify under the terms of agreement) within a year.

It sounds simple at first. Each DVD you pay $19.95 or more for counts as one unit towards however many you pledged to buy. In fact, they're kind enough to set it up so that DVDs worth $39.95 or more are actually worth two units, and so on. Unfortunately, this is all under the ugly banner of "unless otherwise excluded". Which basically means they can randomly say that any specific DVD which would otherwise qualify, doesn't.

What makes it even more difficult are their special sales. The catalog I have cites two prices for each DVD. One is the regular, cheap price they offer. The second is the special sale price (in red), approximately %50 off. After buying one qualifying DVD at full price, all DVDs with a red price will now only cost that red price.

This makes things difficult because all the DVDs at sale price are below $19.95, and hence won't count towards your commitment. What makes things irritating is that all the DVDs that wouldn't be less than $19.95 if they were 50% off don't have a special sale price because they are alread 25%-30% off "with no prior purchase required".

Also, on a lot of the nice collections of stuff (Marx Bros., Cary Grant, Errol Flynn and anything actually worth more than $39.95) there's an asterix that notes that these don't initiate the half off sale thingy as well as something else which leads me to believe they don't count at all towards clearing my commitment.

It's not really a headache, more like an annoying bug flying around my head.

In any case, I'm not concerned so much that I'll fail to find four worthwhile DVDs and be able to finish my commitment and be in the clear. I'm more hurt in the sense that my ego when it comes to marketing immunity took a dire hit, and I'm reeling.

The selection of DVDs is actually quite good (no anime in the catalog unforunately, maybe there might be something online), and the deals are easy to figure out. It's just the crap about having to fulfil this commitment that's annoying.

Anyway, I'll just sit here nursing my bruised ego for a while.


RPT: Purpose

I think I'm going to start using the designation RPT for posts that involve a lot of Random Philosophical Thought. There's been a lot of that recently, probably due to some soul searching as well as from reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Anyway, a question and answer pair came to my mind as I was finishing a chapter of the aforementioned book. In my mind this took place with the question being written on a chalk board by an obviously intelligent faculty, while the answer coming from a tired, brain dead student.

Q: What is the purpose in climbing a mountain?
A: To get to the top.

I was immediately struck with a thought. That answer is not an answer that fits that question. To get to the top of a mountain is a common result of climbing, but it is hardly the purpose.

That question of purpose is not one with a specific answer. A mountain may be climbed to enjoy the act of climbing, or to enjoy the woods of the mountain, or to enjoy the views form the top or any of these. Even if one argues the purpose and result could be the same, I would argue that many instances where the purpose seems to simply be "to get to the top" are more than that. It's more likely to be "to get to the top so that" something else can happen. Something like bragging to friends, or to view the surrounding landscape. Anyone who was climbing Mt. Washington to simply reach the top without any additional reasons would be better off driving.

What occurs to me is that there is increasing confusion because of a lack of distinction between purpose and result. Result is commonly emphasized before purpose, which leads to misconceptions as to why a result is desirable. While this isn't always too confusing, such as when a store manager tells an employee, "The store should be clean." It shouldn't be too hard to figure out this is a matter of efficiency and presentation. Unfortunately, I recall that what I probably should have written in that past sentence is pretty bunk, because quite often I've noticed that because the manager doesn't explicitly state the purpose of having the store clean the employee (even myself) may have misconceptions that lead to compromises which leaves a result that isn't the one the manager wished for.

On the other hand, stating only a purpose can skew the desired result as well. If we're only given the purpose of a footrace, that is (arguably) to compete people against each other in a comparison of athletic ability, what result will we get? Without stating that the desired result is to place first, rather than to find out how you compare to other athletes, the purpose can get defeated by athletes comparing themselves in ways different from trying to cross the finish line first.

This shows an important relationship between purpose and result. Without the purpose, the result can but may not be achieved, and without the result, the purpose might be skewed as well.

In fact, many of the problems in projects for school or business might be the fact that often only the desired result or overall purpose are given. Most of the group projects I despised greatly were despicable because they focused on the desired result, an 'A', and not on the purpose. The ones that were the most enjoyable were ones wherein the question was asked, "How can we achieve the purpose of this assignment while still getting an 'A'?" I would approximate that half of all the assignments I've done simply went for the grade or result disregarding purpose, and the other half actually took care of both.

The reason why I tend to cite the focus on result as a common problem is probably because of the current educational school system's inner workings. Because of the "can" and "might" relationships between result and purpose, one can completely forget the result and think only of the purpose and still get a result worth an 'A', or simply forget the purpose and find methods of achieving a result that gets an 'A' that might circumvent the purpose entirely. What I feel often happens in the educational system is that purpose gets put on the sideline because it can take less time or be more convenient to forget purpose and simply go for result. Indeed, the way the school system is setup is so that result is measured, but not the achievement of purpose.

The sad part of it all is that when purpose and result are both achieved in the school system, understanding grows. In many cases this does not happen because the students toss away purpose for the sake of getting it done, or even professors and teachers toss it away giving near purposeless assignments for reasons unfathomable to someone like me who hasn't been a professor. All I know in such cases is that any purpose behind the assignment is not stated, and the assignment becomes "busy work".

Different things happened depending on the situation where purpose and result meet. A quality product might be made, a sense of peace from the woods on the mountain might come, etc. But when purpose or result get lost, it all falls apart.

And now, my RPT ends, because I can't think of anywhere else to go with this that wouldn't be repetitious and I need to go to bed. Hopefully, it was either enlightening, or completely confusing and beyond understanding. Why I'd wish that, I don't know.

As an entirely random addendum completely unrelated to the rest of this, there was some quote I'd thought of earlier to add to the blog's random quote text, but I've forgotten it. Kind of silly of me.


Thoughts of mine.

I posted some thoughts of mine at a shared blog to get some feedback and to get it all out there. It's all theological and philosophical and unintelligible etc. Feel free to comment on it here if you feel like an outsider there.

Concerning the other blog, it's a sort of blog for discussion between people from different Christian backgrounds. People who can post there usually have some link to Jason S. Kong. I knew him as SC Q Jayce, and I will probably always be more apt to call him that than Jason.

Anwyay, I'll cut the mindless chatter.


Lost: StarCraft

I've just opened my StarCraft CD case to see if the cd was just Macintosh or if ti was a hybrid, and...

...there was no CD.

If any of you friends of mine out there happened to have any idea what may have happened to the CD, I'd be most grateful. I'm specifically thinking of my roommates who lived with me last semester.

I'm really at a loss as to what could have happened. :/

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised...

...in HD.

I'm not sure what entirely to think of Nintendo's move to not support HDTV. Amid the mudslinging Sony and Microsoft are doing back and forth about the awesome HD graphics they'll be able to do, it looks like Nintendo is making a bad move. But really, that's just if you buy into the "HD Era".

There were all sorts of statistics being thrown around and it was all very stupid. People cited that currently 10% of people in America own an HD TV. Honestly, that's not a whole lot of people compared to the 90% who don't. We don't even have a guarantee that the whole of the 10% will want to play video games. Still, it is cited that 25% of all TVs sold in the US are HD TVs. That's great, but that means for every one HD TV sold there are another three non-HD TVs being taken off the shelf too. How much 25% affects the % of people who own a HD TV depends on the population and number of TVs sold. If a bajillion TVs are being sold, then HD TV would permeate homes by next tuesday. But if sales are in the tens of thousands, it could take a while.

Just another example of why everyone should think about their statistics and maybe take a course in it.

In any case, I'm not going to vilify Microsoft or Sony for supporting HD. I'll even argue that doing that is exactly what they both should do. Especially now that they've announced their doing it, and have laid down so much hype about it (turning back would be fatal). However, Nintendo's path is also exactly what it should do.

The thing to consider is that just because Nintendo doesn't support HD doesn't mean that the Revolution's graphics will be horrible. In fact, the Revolution's graphics will very likely be just as good as the PS3's and the Xbox 360's, on any regular television. It's only when playing on an HD TV that there'll be a benefit to Sony and Microsoft's forcing all titles being made for their consoles to be in 720p or 1080i HD resolutions.

By the time the Revolution's time has come and still another generation of consoles is coming, HD TV will prevalent enough to be worthwhile to support. Until then Nintendo will move along without it, and have a console that is cheaper, cheaper to develop for, and more profitable.

It'll be cheaper because hardware that doesn't support HD is cheaper. It'll be cheaper to develop for because delopers won't have to worry about the extra work required to make the games stand up to HD, or at least in cross-platform games making sure the HD mode graphics work properly. And it'll be more profitable because of the previous two reasons.

However, the Revolution will still be criticized for the lack of HD support. But really, the GameCube was criticized for not supporting online play. If you think about it, Xbox Live only has just over a million players, which is hardly a significant portion of the gaming populace, or even just the populace. In fact, you can look at Nintendo's waiting out this past generation as a clever way to get the opther companies to pioneer a technology for them. In any case, I'd have criticism the GameCube more for its lack of LAN playability, because that's what I see happening more than any online elements.

In any case, both LAN play and online will be prevalent with Nintendo's new console, and while that doesn't seem that impressive now that it's all been done by Microsoft and the Xbox, it isn't something to be ignored. Nintendo will likely take what was pioneered and make it better.

When the Revolution 2 comes out when the Revolution is old, it will do things with HD TV that will make Microsoft and Sony bang their heads against walls.

In the mean time, you should probably buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 if you have an HD TV. But otherwise the Revolution is perfectly fine.


Settling in

It's funny how completely alien a place can feel when you first move there. In the beginning, it's an empty, barren wasteland with nothing but an old carpet, some tiling and your boxes to break up the monotomy of blandness. Somehow, over the course of two semesters, you realize as you begin to pack up that what was a bland place metamorphizied into home.

Computers are similar. After my hard drive fried on my iMac, and after I installed the new one, beneath the exterior I knew so well lay a foreign land that was completely not my computer. There was nothing to seperate this iMac's innards from any other. Yet, in a similar way to settling into a new place of residence, you suddenly realize when you frantically start backing up all your important files because of a few corrupted files that make you fear your hard drive is dying how much your computer it has become.

Now I sit here with a PC, one my Dad is letting me have so long as he can use it himself for a while. Once again, the thing doesn't feel the slightest bit like my computer. Obviously, one problem here is that it is a PC, and I've never had one before. Another problem is the obvious lack of any games beyond 3D Pinball and Solitaire. Still another problem is all the unmodified, generic stuff like system sounds and backgrounds. Heck, even the background I just threw up on the desktop to get rid of the default doesn't feel a thing like me.

But, I'm not trying to rush things too much. I know that by the time the summer's done and I'm flying over to Japan that this computer I'm typing on now will have such a definitive "me" flavor that I'll hardly be able to remember a time when it was bland.

I'll be too busy playing games to be that deep.



Something we all should read. Especially those of us calling ourselves Christian.

Honestly, if we all had that kind of attitude (even minus the prophetic power), there'd be far fewer problems relating to most of the major issues today. We might still disagree, but it would at least be more civil if not drawing more people to Christ.


After some hours of struggling with CSS, some hours of fun graphical editing, and some hours of waiting for Blogger to respond to some questions I had...

...the new template was completed!

Now this is no longer just another blog with the same premade template everyone else has. Now it's just another blog with it's own unique template! The reaction to which I am most interested in.

Please comment, email or whatever to tell me what you think. I'm open to all opinions.

There have been other changes along with the template change. I've been dissatisfied with the Haloscan comments a friend suggested I use. I'm reverting back to the default comments, which unfortunately means a lot of comments will no longer be with us. However, I like the blog much better this way.

Additionally, the once static quote at the bottom of the page is now selected randomly from a set of quotes. Unfortunately there are only four currently, but I'll be ramping up that number as time goes on.

Hopefully I'll keep tooling around with the blog setup, but it'll only be minor stuff for a while. I've got other things to code and a lot of Japanese to learn.


Franklin: A Salt and Battery

Hai guys. This is Franklin. It's been a while since I've said anything.

I could go into a long soliquoy on why I said nothing to you fair people. Indeed, I could speak volumes of carefully constructed formal speech to convey my voicelessness. Unfortunately, my time share on this computer doesn't give me enough hours to brighten your day with profound and beautiful script.

You see, not too long ago I was having my daily stroll when I saw a house being painted. The house had been a pretty shade of white, but now was being decorated with a wondrous mosaic of strange symbols and oddly shaped characters. My understanding is that these are "calsigns" or "gang signs" and that this particular type of mural is called "graffiti".

As I approached the artistic group, the neighborhood police came to inspect the work for themselves. For reasons I guess only eccentric artsy types understand the budding muralists left with great haste, leaving me as the only person availible to help the police understand the deeper meanings of the semi-abstract art before me. They were so happy to have me availible that they took pictures, asked the residents of the house some questions about the painters, and then took me to the police station.

Actually, before they took me to the police station the police gave me a nice shiny pair of handcuffs along with a demonstration of how they could be used to restrain me. Before they put me in the back seat for our trip, they informed me of something I never knew. I had the right to remain silent!

This thought had never occured to me any time previously. I had long looked over this right because of a far better known right relating to the lack of monetary charge we have for speaking. Excited at the prospect of this new right, I decided to try it out right away.

Obviously the police were as excited as I was, because upon arriving at the police station I had all sorts of carefully constructed opportunities to not speak. All manner of questions and queries were given to me, not a single one of which I answered. They brought in lawyers, detectives, maybe an FBI or two (I think they were just faking it for me), and eventually a whole judge and jury! They even went to all the trouble to helping me sign up for some more community service! I'd been meaning to get around to that.

Anyway, it wasn't until recently that I decided I'd given the right of silence its due (I had a lot of years of talking to make up for) and I let myself speak.

So, remember this. Your local police are extremely friendly and exceptionally fond of good art. I have never seen such a dogged chase after eccentric artists since Salvador Dali left us all. They even helped all of them find community service opportunities too!

I know that I'm sleeping better tonight than I ever have, knowing that my country is policed by such men!


Epiphanies: I wish I'd realized that months ago...

I've recently been reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a very deep, philosophical book my dad had started reading to me but did not finish before I started college.

I came to the realization that were I not in a science such as computer science, or physics, or math... I'd be a philosopher. Probably one of the most annoying because of my typical processes for defining my philosophy and how I think about things.

Typically I can do a lot of thinking by myself, and since most of my thinking is primarily for myself there isn't much issue. However, it is often nice to have a sounding board, an echo, or another thinker to help or accompany the process. This is where problems arise.

It wasn't until now that I realized exactly where a disconnect was occuring between me and most of my friends when it comes to discussions of the philosophical nature. This isn't aloof philosophy dealing only with life, death and the nature of meaning but pure philosophy, thought that covers everything. How the typical assumption of what philosophy is factors into the disconnect is unknown, but is an obvious presense.

In any case, I've long noticed a disconnect between me and close friends whenever I throw out my musing thoughts. I have a lot of weird thoughts that weird out my friends in particular, but I'm taking more about musings than strange statements such as "flaming pants not suitable for wearing". That is either a conclusion, nonsense, common sense or all of the above. I'm talking about statements that begin a train of thought, statements like "it seems kind of silly that all grocery stores offer these super savings bonus cards".

I discovered that what I'm trying to accomplish with such a statement is not the proving of a hypothesis, in this case that super saving cards being offered by all major grocery stores is silly, but the traversing of a train of thought that may or may not lead to anything useful. I'm not interested in whether or not it actually is silly for major grocery stores such as Weis and Giant and Stop&Shop to all offer super savings cards, I'm interested in continuing a train of thought as to why it may or may not be silly.

That's where the disconnect happens. I'm working in a purely theoretical sense on how it seems silly that all these grocery stores offer bonus cards because the idea for having a bonus card seems to be a way of trying to get a person to shop at your store over someone else's, but when all the grocery stores have them, and just about everybody has the bonus cards attached to their car key chain, it seems defeating of the purpose. The person I'm talking to is not aware of what I'm trying to accomplish, and to top it off is likely to have already have an empirical answer to why grocery stores still have bonus savings cards, despite the fact that the question, "Why do grocery stores still have bonus savings cards?" wasn't even asked.

As I become amused with the idea that, even were we to remove all the bonus cards one store would inevitably introduce one again resulting in all other stores doing likewise and bringing us back to square one, the poor unfortunate who was given the initial thought and most of these later ones is probably at this point attempting to disprove the notion that there is any incentive for grocery stores to do away with bonus cards, and is doubly likely to get frustrated when I mention the point at the beginning of this paragraph and still seem intent on discussing things. In the mean time, I'm getting confused and (if the debate is getting heated enough) frustrated (because I don't entirely understand what there is to be angry about, I'm working in a purely theoretical sense on a rather trivial subject the conclusion of which will neither be life changing nor reshape the industry of grocery shopping) as well. I begin to feel attacked for simply trying to think, and think beyond the bounds of assumption.

By the time I realize that genuine anger on the part of my fellow is emerging, and genuine confusion on my part, my thought train has been derailed by my continuous attempts to pull my friend onto it. Even if I try and bring them in by specifying things such as "hypothetically", at this point all I get is "but that's not how it works" or "life isn't that way". I've become set on trying to complete my thought train, which isn't going anywhere and in some cases if moving steadily backward, and my friend is now completely set on pulling me into reality. Regardless of whether either of us has true knowledge of how the system works (and since I don't have any friends who have ever mentioned working in marketing, grocery stores, or the manufacture of bonus cards I doubt any of us have special knowledge that sets us above each other. I certainly don't), to me the thought is what counts, and to them it's what they regard to be the truth.

If either of us noticed earlier what the other was trying to accomplish, we could have slipped into the other's mode and never had an argument in the first place. The disconnect is I assume that my friend is going to come at my thought in the same way I am, purely as speculative and will do as I do in going everywhere the mind pleases with it, while my friend assumes I'm attempting to empirically define bonus savings cards as a useless waste of plastic. Even if my friend realizes I'm working in theoretical terms, they aren't about to realize that I'm not interested in empirically proving anything (at least not unless a very interesting and sound conclusion is reached). On the other side of the coin, even if I realize they are bringing an empirical approach to what is supposed to be philosophical, I misjudge their intent as well thinking they are misunderstanding my points and not my motives.

In the end, I've realized this a good three months after the last argument I had with a close friend transpired. You can probably guess what it was about. Not exactly an entirely helpful conclusion well after I've done a bang up job of convincing people I haven't the least bit of a fundamental understanding of reality.

What I was looking for didn't require anything of my friends but the understanding of my motives, which is understandably hard to understand. It's not like I know their motives for everything they do. I note this because it is intrinsically important, and because it removes the presupposition that in order to have engaged me in my task of traveling down a train of thought like "is one really the loneliest number" you need be as analytical and mathematically inclined as I am.

While my thoughts concerning the loneliness of one came out very mathematical, had I worked this out with a friend's aid as opposed to flying solo the result might have had a far different flavor. I know empirically that there is at least one person who hardly has a mathematically cell in his body who has engaged with me on all sorts of thoughts, deep and rather silly, in exactly the way I look for. I run on reason, logic and the stringing together of well ordered sense, while he works largely on intuition and more uncertain realms. Yet, he more than anyone else is able to work in worlds consisting of, "Were it as you say, this would be the case" to which I responsd, "with that the case, we can say this is true" and so on.

Sadly, between an obsession with Dr. Who and the necessary amount of attention one must set aside for a girlfriend, our time spent musing over all things big and small has either been non-existant or related to the latest shenanigans of the resident lunatics of the right and left, and all realms inbetween. As fun as exploring the theoretical hellholes the truly nutty portions of our populace produce, and the alternatives, is it would be nice on occaision to simply think on statements like "the random attribution of privacy to specific sectors of body and skin seems rather impractical and ludicrous" on a whim.

In conclusion, I'd like apologize to the various college peoples who have had heated arguments with me because of the disconnect I mentioned, and anyone else for that matter. Hopefully, the one guy who is able to think as I do without the polluting factor of having to think about being purely theoretical and I will be able to do some major catch up work on all of our philosophizing we've failed to do since freshman year. I know we did some sophomore year, but not enough. Just like sleep, eh?

Speaking of which...



Today I did the usual mundanee task of checking my email. Hardly exciting in any way. Along with the usual slew of nothing important, and some junk was an e-mail from Epinions.com. I've written a few Epinions of games I've played the ever living snot out of. The e-mail was a little fishy. Being recieved May 17th, 2005, it told me if I didn't log in before December 23rd, 2003, my account would be frozen and within a few month expired. I've recieved a good number of fraudulant e-mails for Ebay and Paypal recently, but having never recieved one from Epinions I thought maybe they might simply have screwed up. So in the interest in maintaining my reviews (which I've actually seen with others on stores selling the games) I went to the site itself (got to be careful of those e-mail links).

There wasn't any fanfare, I simply logged in and I was logged in. Nothing about expirations or anything.

Time goes on. I scrape more paint off the house, unclog a few toilets, eat some really great lasagna mom made, and fix some computer issues before once again, checking my email. To my suprise I recieved another e-mail from Epinions.com. What I thought as a confirmation e-mail of my logging in turned out to be another request for my logging in, lest my account freeze and expire. This time the date was May 23rd, 2004.

Again, I logged in and nothing really that spectacular happened.

I honestly didn't think that there could be any scammer out there dumb enough to, twice no less, put a date that has long since passed on an e-mail trying to get someone to log in somewhere. To asuade my doubts, I clicked the link that, hopefully, went to Epinions.com. The site I arrived at was Epinions.com. There couldn't be much doubt as to its authenticity, seeing as how it was complete with my review of Timesplitters 2 sitting nicely at the top of a list of them upon my querying.

Somehow, I have no idea how, in the long years I haven't written a darn thing for Epinions they completely forgot they were supposed to tell me about my impending doom. Sometime recently, some worker must have discovered this and said something to the effect of, "Holy crap!" followed by, "Maybe if I e-mail him these things a bunch he won't notice the dates."

That might have been the case, except I wasn't even a member until February 2004. Whatever would I be doing needing to log in sometime around December 2004 if I hadn't even made an account? Could Epinions have had foreknowledge of my coming? Scary.

Is one really the Loneliest Number?

Some time ago I was listening to a famous song of some sort. That song that sort of rambles on and on about how lonely the number one is. And I thought about it in my usual way, namely, far too seriously.

It came to me that when you tally instead of using an alphanumeric system, one is indeed quite lonely. It's merely a | all by itself. There aren't any other tally marks to keep it company. Once you get to two || or three ||| the loneliness really breaks down. No one is really lonely at all at four |||| and at five |||| everyone is bound together quite nicely.

So it seems that one is indeed the loneliest number.

However, I noticed something odd once I reached the number six |||| | . While the sixth tally mark can not be said to be truly alone, it is certainly lonelier than five. The sixth mark is not a part of the group, and sits on the sidelines. Still, one remains the loneliest number. While lonely, six has the company of other marks to prevent it from going insane from isolation.

One is the loneliest number.

My mind was not at rest yet. I moved on through to ten |||| |||| to eleven |||| |||| | . It struck me that perhaps, eleven was lonelier than six. While there were more marks to possibly keep the eleventh mark company, there were now two groups of marks that excluded an outcast. Anyone can tell you, having two groups of people shun you is worse than having only one. But, while eleven was certainly lonelier than six, it couldn't be said to be lonelier than one, who doesn't even have contact with other marks to keep it's mind from madness.

Lonelier than thou one is.

I wasn't done yet. If eleven was lonelier than six because eleven was excluded by more groups than six, is the same true for sixteen and eleven? Sixteen |||| |||| |||| | certainly has more groups, and I would say that it certainly must be lonelier than eleven. Despite the deep loneliness that must accompany being so unfortunate as to have to have three groups shun you, one still trumps that.

What a lone ranger that one.

However, if sixteen is lonelier than eleven, then we can also say that twenty-one is lonelier than sixteen, and twenty-six is lonelier than twenty-one and so on and so forth. This gives us an equation: For any number that fits the equation 1 + 5n there is a number 1 + 5(n + 1) which is lonelier (where n is equal to the number of groups the outcast mark is shunned by, but not equal to zero).

But one is still lonelier, right?

We'll see. If we take the limit of the equation 1 + 5n as n goes to infinite, we have a number shunned by an inconceivable number of groups. A number with an extremely profound case of loneliness, which is irrefutably lonelier than any other number fitting the equation 1 + 5n.

One is still the loneliest number.

You could argue that because the theoretical number of the limit of 1 + 5n (as n goes to infinite) is still in the midst of other marks that it could never be as lonely as one is. However, I would argue the point that it seems to be unfathomably more lonely to be surrounded by close knit groups of friends and people and yet be so completely excluded from every last one. To be completely surrounded by something you desperately want, and yet completely unable to acquire is far more sanity destroying than simply being alone. Any school outcast will attest to that.

So the limit of 1 + 5n (as n goes to infinite) is actually the loneliest number.

Unfortunately a song with such lyrics would not likely do very well, and it is additionally impossible to prove empirically that one is the loneliest number or the limit of 1 + 5n as n goes to infinite is the loneliest number. It's impossible because we don't have just one person in the world to monitor for insanity, we have four billion, but four billion is also a far cry short of an infinite number and it's be both difficult and cruel to arrange for the complete shunning of someone with that many people anyway.

So which is it? One or the limit of 1 + 5n as n goes to infinite?

I don't know, take your pick. Obviously someone decided it was worthwhile enough to make their choice into a song. However, despite my preference I don't think I'll write a song about the limit of 1 + 5n as n goes to infinite.


Where the problem stems from...

...here are my thoughts.

This is all concerning stem cell research, but my thoughts quickly branched out into everything else.

Having a few handicapped friends back at college, I am not ignorant of the miracles stem cell research could perform. It would indeed be awesome if we could allow many to stand and walk again. At the same time, I can't condone the destruction of embryos for the sake of the research.

This relates to my stance on abortion. I draw the line at conception, because once conception starts a human being is beginning to be formed for certain. If nothing is done, one will come about. Before conception there is the possibility of a human being, but if nothing is done, no human being forms. I draw the line at conception because anywhere afterward is ambiguous and impossible to decide upon.

Because of my stance, the human embryos used in stem cell research demand my protection. They are on their way to childhood, and destroying them is detroying human life.

You can argue that the stem cell research will be able to cure many problems. But a lot of those problems aren't fatal ones. There may be exceptions, but it looks to me to be the killing of one or many lives for no other reason than to improve someone else's.

This relates greatly to my own struggles concerning God, goodness, and choice. The argument goes that for authentic love, that love must be chosen and not forced. To accomplish this in us, God created us with a choice. We could choose to follow him, or not to. The issue starts when the problem comes up that there are a great many people in this world who will not ever hear the word of God. How do they choose when there is no choice? The system only works if everyone has at least one chance to say yes or no to God. Otherwise God is not good, because he is creating people destined to hell without a choice in the matter. I will not talk about how I'm resolving that here, as it isn't necessary.

The same problem of choice affects stem cell research. The embryos are having a choice made for them. They aren't volunteering to die for others, they are being forced to before they can make such a choice. It's just short of creating people, slaves if you will, for the sake of raising them to be slaughtered for organ donations. There are people who need organ transplants to live, and each of these slaves could probably save at least five lives. But I can't sit well with the idea because these slaves who are otherwise people don't get a choice in the matter.

In the same way I can't condone an abortion unless the mother will certainly (and I mean 100% no doubt about it certainty) die without it and possibly the baby, I can't condone the killing of embryos unless there is a direct connection between each specific embryo and someone else's death. Stem cell research is only a maybe. It is a possibility that stem cell research can find cures, not a certainty. Even were it so, there isn't a direct connection between a batch of embryos and Joe Shmoe, because Joe Shmoe would have died of his illness or remained paralyzed whether or not the batch of embryos had ever existed.

In the end, I disagree with selfishly choosing for someone death in order to satisfy what isn't a necessity for life. Whether that is an abortion to save a career, or a cure for those like my friends.



I've been doing a lot of stuff here concerning video games, consoles and whatnot. I'm just apologizing because it isn't going to stop anytime soon.

That said...

I'm really, really confused by Capcom's decisions in terms of consoles. As taken from Gamespot, some statistics and projections.

FY 2004 Sales Results (4/1/2004 - 3/31/2005)
PlayStation 2 - 40 titles, 7.3 million copies
GameCube - five titles, 2 million copies
Xbox - seven titles, 250,000 copies
Game Boy Advance - seven titles, 3.4 million copies
PC & Misc. - 11 titles, 400,000 copies

FY 2005 Sales Estimates (4/01/2005 - 3/31/2006)
PlayStation 2 - 55 titles, 10.7 million copies
GameCube - four titles, 350,000 copies
Xbox - eight titles, 750,000 copies
Game Boy Advance - four titles, 1.25 million copies
PC & Misc. - zero titles, zero copies

Obviously, Capcom favors Sony's PS2 (and if you read the article, the PSP as well). Given just this paltry and undetailed data (exactly which titles sell how many copies would be nice), one wonders why Capcom bothers with Sony at all.

Looking at the actual sales for the past year, with just five titles Capcom sold a whopping two million copies on the GameCube. The PlayStation 2's titles sold 7.3 million copies, but to do so required forty titles. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to do the following math.

Sales per Title:
GameCube: 400,000
PlayStation 2: 180,000
GameBoy Advance: 485,000

I just can't help but wonder what Capcom is thinking. Nintendo's platforms appear to be better at selling their games. It may just be that Capcom is keeping thirty or so crap titles off the GameCube. However, it simply astonishes me that when Nintendo has somewhere on the order of seventy million fewer GameCubes in homes compared to PlayStation 2s, they managed to sell twice as many copies per title.

Again, all the details are missing from the data, but it seems that some questioning is in order.


The Revolution vs Xbox Live Arcade

Just a forenote, this only applies to NES, SNES and N64. Gamecube games and Revolution titles are not downloadable at all, and cost money to buy. Just a preclarification to make sure you don't get confused.

Posted on SlashDot was a report that Nintendo's first party games for the NES, SNES and N64 would be downloadable for free. While the claim does not seem to be 100% verifiable, analysis of the source shows that at the very least, a good number of games will be free and anything else will be rather cheap.

It is important to note that anything not made by Nintendo, such as MegaMan, Castlevania, World Cup, or other such offerings are not within Nintendo's control. They are leaving it up to those companies whether to charge and how much.

In any case, it has been brought up that the Xbox 360 will have a similar service dubbed Xbox Live Arcade. This service will allow you download classic arcade games (not Nintendo games), at a price.

The cheapest game you'll find there is a whopping $9.99 (or for those of us who see through such marketing, $10). While that is the norm, you'll also see others going for $15 or even $20. Seeing as how Nintendo is, in the utter worst case scenario, only thinking about making some of their games free and making those that aren't rather cheap (mind you this is the worst case), Microsoft's service seems like a ripoff. In Nintendo's best case scenario, everything's free. I don't really see how Microsoft could compete with that by selling games at those ridiculous prices.

It is my opinion that it is in Nintendo's best interest to, at the very least, make all but perhaps the absolutely, positively most special game (and yes that is singular) downloadable for free. The reason? A lot of people, including casual gamers, have emulators or already own these games. When you charge for something a lot of people already have for free (or in some cases are even emulating on an Xbox), you don't make many friends.

While third parties can decide for themselves (or perhaps ask Nintendo for money to make their games availible for free), Nintendo has enough of their own games to make it work. I honestly don't know what Microsoft is trying to pull with Xbox Live Arcade, but it's obviously something involving turning my wallet into a void.


Mental Note #1: Mousetraps

Note to self: Do not step on mousetraps. Especially the one by the kitchen sink, and not multiple times with the same left big toe. That is a really bad thing. Don't do that.

End note to self.


John Dies at the End

If you want to read some really freaky and awesome science fiction, read this.

Be forewarned, you need to be prepared for two assaults. One in the form of some crude humor and language, and the other in the form of some really mind bending science fiction. My mind hasn't had a good thrashing like this since Donnie Darko. So if you liked Donnie Darko, you'll love this.