Pixel du Jour

An ongoing expriment in entertainment.
Games. Movies. Music. TV. Fun.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bitten by the Bug

It seems that this time of the year is my MMO time of the year. Around this time last year I was playing PlanetSide (thanks to Sony Online's free download of the client and one month of access). December has (almost) rolled around again and I'm back online in an MMO. This time it's World of WarCraft. I find it hard to believe I'm actually going to be paying monthly for this experience. Thankfully, it's a good one. It's certainly the best-looking MMO I've ever played. The mechanics are all there, and I am indeed making by character as cool as I possibly can (which somehow is fun). I'm still not thrilled with the lack of skill inherent in all MMORPGs (which is one of the reasons I liked PlanetSide).

I'm playing a human Warlock named Arrostia (Greek for disease) on the Mal'Ganis server. I'm doing fairly well I guess, considering again that these games don't really require any skill and are more about character building and the community aspect. Speaking of that, the community aspect is pretty nice. The few people I've interacted with have been very nice. The skills are pretty cool too. I've taken herbalism and alchemy, which compliment each other and my character nicely.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The full effect

I'm home for the holidays, and along with that comes access to the family's massive 52" widescreen HDTV, complete with an awesome surround-sound setup. I only brought the GameCube home with me. I've been saving Metroid Prime 2 for this vacation. This is the first time I've gotten the fullest effect from my GameCube, and it's very impressive. Prime 2 is sharp as hell. The surround sound effects are pretty decent also (needs more rear channel effects). I'm spoiled now. The cinematic effect of a game is only heightened when it's filled out on a widescreen and blasting out of 5.1 speakers.

Speaking of Samus' latest adventure, it's good. It's very good. The environments feel much more organic. Even if the game rips off A Link to the Past's whole light/dark world mechanic, it's still great. The whole game feels like a better, more intense version of its predecessor. I'm going to tell you to play it now, so here we go. Play Metroid Prime 2.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Nintenoods

Today marks the launch of Nintendo’s so called “third pillar” of hardware, the Nintendo DS (or Nintendoods as the good old Gaming-Age forums calls it). The system is pretty fancy, sporting two screens, a touch screen, a microphone, and wireless multiplayer link-up.

I picked up Mario 64 DS along with my system and I’m enjoying it nicely. The single player is good fun, but the multiplayer and minigames are the reason I picked up this title. I will be playing through lots of single player though, to unlock the full collection of minigames.

The trip to EB to retrieve the system was enjoyable, mostly in the fact that I got to hear a father explain to his daughter that he is going to check in on the games every night to make sure they are not lost (smart guy) and that she must take care, or in his words “T.K.” of them and make sure they are in their cases. Also, the EB manager in the back room called me on my cell phone to inform me I could come pick up my DS while I was in the store picking it up. He came out from the back room and we laughed about it.

My roommate picked up his system along with Feel the Magic, another excellent title. I’m expecting review copies of both that title and The Urbz DS. Guess which one I’m looking forward to playing.

On the down side of the DS, Nintendo’s not doing the best job marketing the system. The same father in the above story told his child it was her "new gameboy." I guess they don’t really need to market very well right now because the first shipment is pretty much completely sold out already. While the campaign is stylish, it’s not quite direct enough. They should be focusing more on games than hardware. Thankfully they are emphasizing the wireless features of the DS, which are quickly becoming my favorite of the system’s many abilities. I also think they’ll be the feature used most to their fullest ability.

The only question left with DS: Where’s my Wario Ware?

Personal Message to Bill Trinen: Translate Faster!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Impressive, most impressive



That was the scene outside by local EB Games about 45 minutes before Halo 2 launched. Be sure to add about another 150 to 200 people to the left of the picture, to get a better feeling for how crazy it was.

I always knew Tallahassee was a Halo town. It's got to be the number one game played on campus, most likely due to the dorm networks. I've got friends who would get together with their pals to play practically every week, and this is years after the game released. Still, I was slightly surprised at the massive amount of people lined up outside EB games. The line was so long it stretched about five storefronts past EB, all the way down to "Club Publix."

I was in line until practically 2am to get my copy, which is kind of crazy. I probably should have showed up earlier than 11:00pm. The wait wasn't horrible though, and the company was nice. My friends Dan and Jose joined me, and we chatted with the other people in line.

The game was pretty much worth the wait. The "changes" made to the single player experience are a plus in my book, though I know many will be disappointed with them. On the multiplayer end, Xbox Live brings this series to a whole new level. It's easily the finest execution of the service ever, even topping the excellent setup that Midtown Madness 3 used. On top of this, the stat tracking is so in depth that it is down right absurd.

It's hard to live up to the hype around a game like Halo 2. Actually, it's impossible. Halo 2 does manage to get very close to it though, which is the best we can ask for and the best we can get.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Electoral Overload

NASDAQ MarketSite Studio to Become CNN Epicenter for Election Day Coverage

Today's a pretty amazing day. I'm not talking about the fact that we here in the states are electing a (hopefully new) president. What's amazing is the insane amount of coverage going on in our media. It's not unlikely, but this year is even more insane than it was in 2000. Just take a look at this:



CNN has taken over the NASDAQ exchange, and they're using it for election coverage. The NASDAQ has 96 high resolution screens, normally used for displaying all sorts of stock information, which tonight are being used to display every possible statistic about the election. They can break it down and put one state on each screen and show each state's breakdown. They're merging screens together to show larger breakdowns of the whole country, and the senate races. It's a pretty amazing site to see. Wolf Blitzer is at the helm, and appears like an effigy of media saturation in front of this digital bulliten board of the future.

I'll be keeping my eyes on CNN and ohter networks all night watching this all go down. While I am interested in the turnout of the election, I'm actually much more dazzled by the bombardment of coverage assaulting my eyes and ears. It's like some sort of millitary opperation, executed with exact precision and timing.