Category Archives: gaming

Halo too

Ever since my iMac bricked I’ve been jonesing to go online and play. We have a new PC now (Yah, with Vista. It came installed. I didn’t have much choice. And it was half the price of replacing the iMac–which has been such a great experience except, you know, the logic board frying twice in three years). So I downloaded the demo.

Weird.

First reaction: what’s with all that blood? By the time you take the beach (the demo gives you “The Silent Cartographer”) you’ve pretty much spray-painted quite a number of patches of sand red and blue or purple. Not quite the game I would be encouraging the kiddies to play (I didn’t know about the flood until it was too late).

It is possible that the iMac version had these features but gave me a less processor-intensive version. The PC gives me lights that the Mac version normally missed, so maybe the blood is another level of detail (the powerpc iMac had a single core processor and 256k ram; I’m no using AMD dual-core with a gig of ram but it still has problems which I assume is the fault of Vista bloatware).

Blood is not the only difference. The colors are more… deep? Garish? It works sometimes. The warthog looks a lot more jeep-like close up, gritty or something. But the red and blue armor of multi-player looks like it produced by crayons and a lot of force.

I’ll get used to it.

I’ve linked the PC version of Halo 2, but I can’t really recommend it. They now “offer” a month of free internet play. Isn’t that generous? A whole month for what, if you buy Halo 1 is perpetually free.

On the other hand, I played about ten minutes of Halo 2 recently on the Xbox. Thumbsticks are of the devil! I hate them. I want to aim with my whole arm.

Still, if I buy Halo 2 for the boys new Xbox, I have a lot more certainty regarding play quality (isn’t that weird?). So I’ll probably go with it now that internet play is no longer free.

FWIW, here’s my earlier game review.

Hollywood officially out of ideas

I just heard on my G4 gaming news podcast that “they” (?) are making a movie based on the arcade game–can you believe this?–Joust.  Better.  It will be set in a future Las Vegas that hovers up in the sky.

I doubt I’m ever going to see that movie, but I would have purchased tickets to witness it first being proposed.  And bought popcorn.

Webb, Halo, Wii, Wolfe, books, and the Thor Power Tool Co.

Webb went into a funny rant today about Halo 3 and “remember when they used to make enough product instead of hype and hype and hype and then, ‘Sorry, we can only release twelve.  Fight amongst yourselves.’”

This struck me a little more seriously than it should have because I asked about the Wii at BestBuy the other day and was told that they never have them in stock.  Every once in a while they get twelve or so (same number, but that’s how I remember it) and they immediately sell out and then they simply have a display that advertises something they don’t have.

That makes no sense.  Shortages should motivate a company to raise the price, if they can’t increase production cost effectively (and, the way mass production works, it should be possible that great demand would eventually lower the cost because it is cheaper per unit).

So what gives?

Well here’s one possibility.  I have no idea if it is the reason or something like it is or not.  Someone with better resources will have to figure it out.  The bottom line is that if companies are taxed for holding items in warehouses then they have an economic incentive to not release more than they are confident they can sell.

Gene Wolfe in a self-interview in his book Castle of Days, p. 287:

Q: What do power tools have to do with writing?

A.: A lot as it turns out.  The Thor Power Tool Co. used to keep a warehouse full of parts for their old tools.  That way, if someone who owned one of their old tools needed a new part, they could supply it.

Q.: That sounds good.

A. Thor thought so too.  The reason they were able to do it–pay for the warehouse and so on–was that they depreciated the old partson their tax return each year.  In other words, they said each year that the old parts were worth less than they had been the year before, since they would eventually become completely obselete and would have to be scrapped.

Q.: That sounds reasonable.

A.: The IRS didn’t think so.  They said that if Thor wanted to write them off, they had to scrap all of them right away.  Thor fought the case in court and lost.  The IRS then applied the decision to every other kind of business, including book publishing.

A.: Publishers don’t warehouse old parts.

Q.: No, but they warehouse old books, and they had been writing them off in the same way, becaue they would have to be pulped when they stopped selling.  Now they have to pulp them or remainder them, right away.

Like I said, this probably is not a perfect fit.  But something has to be going on.  How can Nintendo afford for a consumer to walk into a store and find a product is unavailable?  Aren’t they worried that consumer might decide to opt for another product?

It doesn’t make sense unless there is some economic incentive not to have too many in stock.

John Woo is getting more than a movie

I’v had a slight fascination combined with repulsion for John Woo’s movies. I like the action for awhile but eventually get quite bored (I’m not joking or exaggerating; I had to fast-forward through parts of hard-boiled and face-off). But I keep thinking his pacing will improve and a World Magazine article from the nineties got me into his camp because he credited a Christian group with his survival as a child.

All that is to say, I’m more than a little intrigued about his new movie, and especially his associated new MMORPG.

Now I know what to get Jeff Meyers for Christmas

How cool!

“It used to bother me that he played that game so much” said Elizabeth Grimes of her 13 year-old son Danny. “He would sometimes wake up on a Saturday and play all day long without stopping. He never read his Bible either. But now I’m much more at ease. With those Bible verses always flashing up there I can be assured that he’s getting a good dose of the Good Book. I ask him every day now ‘Danny, have you played your Halo today?’ and if I don’t think he’s played enough I make him go in there and sit down and play some more.”