Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Enjoying my new TV

My parents gift-wrapped me an Insignia 25” LCD TV and I can use that for gaming. The TV can do picture within picture like a virtual thing, has a monitor output, S-video inputs, and is a really thin TV. I got it hooked up by myself, and was playing Dead or Alive 2 on it on Christmas. Star Wars – A New Hope looks a little pixilated, it’s not the TVs fault, it’s the quality of the MPEG2 compression, and I am anxiously waiting for Blu-ray (the next generation) to come out.

Specs of Insignia 25" Widescreen HD-Ready Flat-Panel LCD TV Speculations:

Screen size - 25”

Aspect Ratio 16.9

Display Type LCD

Digitally Compatible Yes, HDTV ready

Pixels 1280x760 (1.15 Gigapixels)

Contrast Ratio 600:1

Brightness 450 cd/m²

All supported Picture in Picture, S-Video input, composite video input, RGB input, 5 Watt speakers, 2 speakers, V-Chip

My old TV was decent in 1996. The older Sanyo was an analog only 19” TV that served countless usage on N64 and Dreamcast or watching movies. I almost passionately attached too it, but I’ll have two TVs when I move out in a couple years. Perhaps, I can use one in my bedroom, and the other in the living room?

My parents gave me a DVD player too which is able to play NTSC & PAL DVDs, MPEG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, MP3 CDR or DVDRs. Other stuff my parents gave me for Christmas was a 50 pack of CDRs, 50 pack of DVDRs, Spiderman 2, Star Wars Trilogy, Lady Killers, Bourne Supremacy, Dead or Alive Ultimate for Xbox, and a Samsung cellular phone. My parents also bought a professional scanner for themselves which does excellent picture or document scans. It’s possible to scan b/w text with crystal clear results. The software allows the picture to be compressed in PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP or storage, or MS PowerPoint formats.

The Samsung SCH-a650 has AOL Instant Messenger, E-mail with pictures, caller ID, color LCD. It’s a basic cell phone I know. The SCH-a650 can broadcast digital signals, lasts 24 hours on standby, 1.5 hours of talk time, and can fully charge in 3 hours time. I don’t know what I shall use it for?

I had nothing better to do so I drove to Toyriffic in Hudson, WI to buy some games yesterday including Crimson Skies which was on my list. It’s like a 1930s film. Return to Castle Wolfenstine, a World War II first person shooter originally developed at ID Software, and I got Star Wars - Star Fighter for only – get this – $5.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas once again. I said this once before exactly 1 year ago too. I am hoping I’m getting some sort of fancy flat-screen TV for consoles. I don’t know yet – that’s what’s so exciting about today. Here is the entry that was never published due to Modblog’s server change. I didn’t have the patience and made a new blog at my Blogspot site. That site is basically a replica of this site. I was worried that Modblog wouldn’t be online so I went to plan B. Now, that Modblog is back online, there is no need to update it.

I found out that the only Windows NT clone is 100% functional! Yes, you can copy Windows NT 4.0 CDs, but this is different – this is an operating system able to read Windows applications and games without Windows running it. Some people call “ReactOS” a Windows clone because it does or will do everything that Windows 98 does, though completely programmed under the GNU Project. This eliminates any possible stolen Windows code. The programmers shown they already got Quake 2 to be playable on React 0.2.8 proven by screen shots off ReactOS official page. This is not an emulator – it is either a partition-based or LiveCD-based OS for your computer. ReactOS has a great DOS emulator from what I read off the net. GPU also constructed an open source emulator compatible with MS-DOS software. There are other 3rd party DOS emulators - the most popular is DOSemu for Linux. Another was FreeDOS which is programmed by a University of Wisconsin, River Falls graduate, Jim Hall and works on Windows and Linux. The name doesn’t sound familiar, but I’ve worked at the UofW as a part-time tech intern through high school. I had to explain how to convert Quicktime to MPEG2 and burn it to a “NTSC compatible DVD” in a “do-it-yourself” booklet complete with pictures.

On the official page, ReactOS was the successor of the failed FREEWin95. Something happened to FreeWin95, and it could not see its first release. Two years later, ReactOS was released publicly. Nothing ran right, and it was basically a dysfunctional build for the curious I believe and testing stages of the program. ReactOS got some of its source code from OS2, Sun’s JAVA, and open source DOS emulators - all legal.

I suspect since it’s a Windows clone – you can install Direct X 9.0a onto the system directory, and it’ll run PC games. Direct X is the Microsoft software accelerator for and all PC games out are compatible with it. It’s 3 times better than OpenGL. While OpenGL runs decent on Windows, I have had a hard time running games on OpenGL through Linux.

A Windows Explorer clone called GNU Midnight Commander is used in it. Midnight Commander looks exactly like Windows 2000’s Explorer and functions similar I am guessing. Since I use Windows as part as daily life – it is safe to say I know how it functions.

ReactOS has first got used on the Xbox. With ReactOS on Xbox, gamers can probably surf the Internet now, use the world processor or play some older PC games. I read the NewsForge review on ReactOS, and the author said while it came with minimal software, IBM-DOS/MS-DOS is fully emulated in ReactOS, and all the commands work as well as Window’s Command Prompt from what I’ve read. I thought this was an interesting point he made. A Windows clone wouldn’t be complete without a terminal and that’s the truth.

Anyways, I have yet to download it – the best chance I’ll have of downloading the huge file is at school when next semester starts on January 14th. I’m going to try either the hard drive version or the Live CD version. The partition version will load faster and I could try to run older games on it. The Live CD is good because it can run itself on any computer without changing the existing file system on the hard drive. Just think about it for a minute…..in the near future, Microsoft’s main competition could be an OS compatible with it’s own software. If you can’t beat them – join them and the metaphor certainly applies to operating systems.

On December 22nd, I came up with different concept for my page, “Ian’s Quintessential Blog 3.0.0” The new template went online later that day. The site is fully redesigned for better or for worst. As soon as I get all the monthly entries on each page – that annoying mini window will disappear. I have the gallery, design, and all the blog entries working although it’s frustrated to see that some browsers don’t know how to word-wrap! It took me four hours yesterday and two hours today to complete the first fully functional template. Sorry, the waterfall background with Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII is the best I can come up with. Ian's Quintessential Blog 3.0

Yesterday, I wanted to buy some more games to play. I got a deal on Metroid Fusion and bought Prince of Persia - Warrior Within new (a darker sequel to Prince of Persia Sands of Time). So I was playing Metroid Fusion from 1AM to 5AM this morning. It was more fun than I thought. It improves on Super Metroid game play. I know because I played the ROM. On the Gameboy Player, it gives Metroid a better look than Super Metroid. With the screen stretching on TV, I thought it would look awful, but surprisingly it’s similar to any 2D shooter on Playstation. After I write this entry – I’ll go back to completing it. The other game I’m playing is Phantasy Star IV on Gens with a controller. Gens smoothed the graphics out a lot so any game emulates better on a computer screen. Phantasy Star IV is getting interesting, and I am planning to play it to the end. The game takes place 1000s year after an advanced culture was completely destroyed by war. All left behind was a “Mother-Brain” life support system on the planet. The advantage of playing this game on an emulator is the quick-saves. In the action-time battle sequences, I can save the game when it’s my turn to attack the enemy in the battle and prevent any deaths. It basically keeps my party immortal and saves a lot of time. Currently the planet’s progress is creeping around 1450 - 1500 AD. Lately, the life support system has been acting up since it’s 1000s of years old, therefore, the primary plot is to rescue an android from a madman to shut down all the dysfunctional life support systems before they completely destroy the planet by producing harmful genetically engineered life forms. The graphics are worst than most SNES role playing games, but above average in terms of Genesis RPGs. Strangely, this story line is similar to Final Fantasy X….

New games to add to my list:

Phantasy Star II

Phantasy Star III

Prince of Persia - The Warrior Within

Metroid Fusion

This is Ian Signing off.

Monday, December 13, 2004

PS2 NTSC Collection


Correction: I have 59 PS2 games instead of 58. I am missing Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. However, it is photographed in my last PS2 picture

This is pic high resolution enough? If not click on this link...

Really High Resolution Version - for the high bandwidth bloggers! JPEG size - 220K

Very high resolution Xbox collection



Collection List

Playstation 2

1.) Star Ocean 3 - Till the End of Time (Director's Cut Version) (RPG)
2a.) Mega Man (Mega Man Anniversary Collection) (A)
2b.) Mega Man 2 (MMAC) (A)
2c.) Mega Man 3 (MMAC) (A)
2d.) Mega Man 4 (MMAC) (A)
2e.) Mega Man 5 (MMAC) (A)
2f.) Mega Man 6 (MMAC) (A)
2g.) Mega Man 7 (MMAC) (A)
2i.) Mega Man 8. (MMAC) (A)
2j.) Mega Man Battle (MMAC) (A)
2k.) Mega Man Battle 2 (MMAC) (A)
3.) Jak and Dexter (APL, A)
4.) Castlevania - Lament of Innocence (S, A)
5.) Jak 2 (APL, A)
6.) Rachet and Clank (APL, A)
7.) Rachet and Clank 2 - Going Commando (APL, A)
8.) Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (RA)
9.) Final Fantasy 10 (RPG)
10.) Final FAntasy 10-2 (RPG)
11.) Rayman 3 - Hoodlum Havoc (PL)
12.) Tekken 4 (F)
13.) SSX 3 (SP)(RA)
14.) Breath of Fire 5 - Dragon Quarter (RPG)
15.) Xenosaga Episode 1 (RPG)
16.) Soul Caliber 2 (F)
17.) ESPN Football 2K5 (SP)
18.) Grand Theft Auto 3 (RA)
19.) Grand Theft Auto Vice City (RA)
20.) Summoner 2 (RPG)
21a.) Virua Fighter 4 Evolution (F)
21b.) Virua Fighter (F)
22.) Ridge Racer V (RA)
23.) Devil May Cry (S, A)
24.) Toyko Extreme Racer Zero (RA)
25.) Toyko Extreme Racer 3 (RA)
26.) Twisted Metal Black (RA)(S)
27.) Suikoden III (RPG)
28.) Ace Combat 04 (MJS)
29.) Winning Eleven Soccer 6 (SP)
30.) Winning Eleven Soccer 7 (SP)
31.) Madden Football 2002 (SP)
32.) Disgaea Hour of Darkness (RPG)
33.) Kingdom Hearts (RPG)
34.) Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty (S, A)
35.) Ico (PUZ)
36.) MidNight Club (RA)
37.) MidNight Club 2 (RA)
38.) Thunderstrike (S, A )
39.) Onimusha 2 Samurai's Destiny (AF, A)
40.) Onimusha 3 - Demon Siege (AF, A)
41.) Soul Reaver 2 (AF)
42.) Dark Cloud (RPG)
43.) Dark Cloud 2 (RPG)
44.) Grandia Xtreme (RPG)
45.) Arc the Lad 4 - Twlight of the Spirits (RPG)
46.) La Pucelle - Tactics (RPG)
47.) Phantom Brave (RPG)
48.) Wipeout Fusion (RA)
49.) Shadow Hearts 2 - Covenant (RPG)
50.) Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus (APL, A)
51.) Gradius V (S. A )
52.) Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (RA) (S)
53.) Guilty Gear X (F)
54.) Fatal Frame 2 Crimison Butterfly (Director's Cut version) (SH, A)
55.) Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater (S, A)
56.) Guilty Gear Isuka (also Guilty Gear X3) (F)
57.) Jak 3 (APL)
58.) Ratchet and Clank Up your Arsenal (APL)
59a.) Growlancer II (Growlancer Generations) (RPG)
59b.) Growlancer III (Growlancer Generations) (RPG)


1.) Halo Combat Evolved (FPS)
2.) Silent Hill 2 (SH, A)
3.) Colin McRae Rally 04 (RA)
4.) Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (A, PL)
5.) Genma Onimusha (F, A)
6.) Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind Game of the Year Edition (RPG)
7.) Crimsin Sea (RPG)
8.) Moto GP (RA)
9.) Rallisport Challenge (RA)
10.) Rallisport Challenge 2 (RA)
11.) Dead or Alive 3 (F)
12.) Project Gotham (RA)
13.) Project Gotham 2 (RA)
14.) Jet Set Radio / Sega GT 2002 Combo DVD (RA)
15.) Shunmue 2 (RPG)
16.) Nascar Thunder 2003(RA)
17.) Balder's Gate Deadly Alliance (RPG)
18.) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (SP)
19.) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (SP)
20.) Unreal Champtionship (FPS)
21.) Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball (SP)
22.) Panzer Dragoon Orta (S, A)
23.) Fable (RPG)
24.) Ninja Gaiden (A, F)
25.) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater - Underground (SP)
26.) Halo 2 (FPS, A)
27.) Guilty Gear X2 Reloaded (F)
28.) Splinter Cell (S, A)

Tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas Vacation. In Human Relations I have gotten a 95% on my success journal – my highest grade in the whole class. Tomorrow is my conversation with the school which will determine where I’ll be next year in terms of classes. Pretty basic I think. Anyways, it will be interesting what the teachers will say about me. I am in fact a registered student of the school and shall be there very day even if this means I will have to do Cisco over again. The problem is there will be new students in the next semester thus I will not be able to befriend any body I met in this class. For example, I was invited to a PC LAN party at school this Thursday, where all the Cisco class will get together and play Halo (PC version) or UT2004, or Diablo 2 and have a good time. Well these good times will not last. Problem is I do not know these students well, and while I haven’t got mad at them for knowing more than I do in networking, they do know I am not very talented when it comes to networking. I am one of those people who aren’t in love with old games. With the exception of Halo 2 for Xbox, the LAN party may be playing old games, which is not my preference. My point is I hope I have a good time fragging everyone hopefully without too much profanity.

My newest game is Growlancer Generations for PS2. It is a RPG from Japan and the anime on the over is a dead giveaway that unless you're into Anime in general - most people will not buy this particular game. If you look past the anime aspect, you get a well made RPG made by Game Arts who also makes Grandia. Growlancer is one of those games that keeps the oldschool look of games - and only uses 3D for effect. I haven't opened it yet.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Had Daytona USA emulation working on my Pentium 4

Final Fantasy fanatics are silly on the forums of the Unofficial Final Fantasy Site! I mean talking about those silly above average Final Fantasy fan-made art in the signature boxes. I can make one like those, but it’d be too silly to do so! It has everything to do with that silly Square-soft art direction! So I went to this site to read about the old Final Fantasies, and I go in the message board and like many other fan sites of this particular franchise – you’ll be loading 200K worth of fan-made graphics. All I need is the correct font, desktop wallpaper, and use of the magic wand in Paint Shop Pro 9.

My profession is going down the toilet. Yes, you have heard right – school is an utter disaster. I may switch to programming in January. Programming has those fields where all that matters is the code. If your program is buggy than the source code is always the problem, but always the solution to the problem. I also over-heard programmers are more likely to have an interesting in videogames or PC games in general than network specialists. The programming class was the one that set up the Xbox LAN party at the school I go too. The most popular computer language is Visual Basic, which is basically a Win32 graphical user interface that let’s me, the programmer, click on the object in question and insert source code. C++ is 10 years old, and C source code is over 25 yrs old so most people prefer Perl code because it’s newer and less complicated. Programming today is very similar to a webpage developed in Macromedia Dreamweaver or Namo Webeditor by making the program as big as I like by resizing the default perimeters of it, and placing the buttons and text boxes where I like them before I insert code. I believe there is a VB compiler, and an open source alternative compiler called GTK 2x which runs on Glib runtime libraries. These programs compiled in GTK require you to download the Glib executable onto your computer. A great example is the Windows version of The GIMP 2.0.5. I wonder if ‘G’ stands for Gnome? Perhaps the developers of Gnome made this free runtime library for Windows? It’s funny too realize that anyone can make open source VB source code, and it’s legal! Visual Basic is made by Microsoft so this should mean that source code created by it is closed source which is not the case. It must be one of those Microsoft loop-holes.

Screenshots of the SSF emulating Daytona USA on my PC

I tried out the latest version of SSF - SSF 0.07 RC11, and this version improved – it now runs Daytona USA on my Dell Dimension XPS Pentium 4 machine partially emulated. In its day, Saturn was a complex console to develop for, and now somebody in Japan successfully emulated it on PC. This isn’t new news at all – I own about this emulator for 6 months. In fact, I have a post on my last attempt to emulate Daytona USA! Unfortunately, my other Saturn games give me errors messages when I try to boot them. There is an available link on the side of this site to test on your computer. Maybe future releases will emulate sound. Some reasons why Saturn isn’t emulated as well as Playstation is the fact that nobody likes it. Still, it’s pretty amazing when this Japanese programmer had zero source code to start with and he’s emulating it for FREE! That means in his spare time he has been able to software emulate the most complex console ever made up until 1998. Yes, Saturn is harder than the Nintendo 64 to develop software for. Daytona isn’t playable, but it proves that some day it might be. There are a lot of textures missing in the game though. One day when I feel I have too – I’ll resurface all my Saturn games and make them brand spanking new. It’s about $3.50 per disc. It’s steep for a resurfacing job, but it’s worth it if the CD doesn’t work. They all do so it’s not a top priority of mine.

Yesterday, I bought two more PS2 games, Jak 3 and Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal. I was reading the reviews at IGN.com and the reviewers where ecstatic about both games. They gave both games 9.6 of 10 as high as Metal Gear Solid 2 or even Final Fantasy X. Obviously, no body gives a game 9.6 for a game unless it’s the top 2% on the system. So since the score was unbelievably high – being smart, I looked around at other reviews including Game Rankings (a site that takes all final scores of 10 different well known gaming sites, adds them together, and divides by 2). The winner of this was Ratchet and Clank 3 and ahead by a full 6 points! Yes, that’s right – Jak 3, instead of having very high score of 9.6….now has an averaged score of 9.0. So I was going to buy 1 game, but since I liked Jak 2, I bought both of them for $85. The graphics are one of the high points of both games since both use the same graphics engine and are some of the best graphics PS2 can muster. The only ones ranked above Jak 3 and Ratchet and Clank in texture work are the Grand Theft Autos and the Metal Gear Solids. Jak 3 and R&C3 have succeeded in better texturing than Jak 2 or R&C2 Going Commando. In the end, I personally thought that this was enough reason to buy each game at 40 dollars. Some people may disagree with me, but I heavily rely on well-known cyber-review sites before I buy. I never rent games. Not to mention Jak 3 is the final installment in the Jak series and Ratchet and Clank 3 is the final installment in the Ratchet and Clank series. Naughty Dog Software and Insomniac Software plan to develop future action platform games on the Playstation 3 that are just as good as the their current offerings.

Remember it was Naughty Dog who brought Playstation its first mascot in 1996 – Crash Bandicoot, and sold millions of copies here in the USA. This was until 2000 when Naughty Dog had to give it up to Traveler’s Tales, a UK developer which also developed Sonic 3D Blast for the Genesis, Saturn, and PC! Sonic 3D Blast was not very good at all. Where do you think that put the well-known mascot? Two words…. Multi-platform. Yes, the dreaded two words that will make any developer want to sue Sony Computer Entertainment America! But anyways, Naughty Dog platformers are the best platformers out for the console unlike its ex-mascot’s newest installments. I read that Crash Twinsanity is a bit above average for a videogame and also the first Crash Bandicoot videogame to rotate 360º, but stands no where near the quality of Jak and Dexter which you’ve guessed it – already rotates 360º and are on their 3rd game of the Jak franchise. I am pretty sure this is true having myself played the first two installments. I played the first game to the end.

[Jak 3 Update] I open the game and put the DVD into my PS2 and it starts with a 5 minute long intro that connects Jak 2 with Jak 3. The game looks like a damn Gamecube title which does this game a whole not of justice. When I start out I am thrown into a wasteland (I didn’t complete Jak 2 so I don’t know how it came too this). I was left out too die in the desert when I was rescued by some drifters (also having pointy ears like Jak) when I wake up in the new city. I have to go through this tutorial part where it teaches all the basic moves that jak does (Dexter doesn’t play a commanding role in this game). Dexter was transformed into a muskrat when he fell into a pool of dark ego. The control is very tight – what you would expect from Jak 2. In fact, Naughty Dog most likely imported the gameplay code from the first Jak and Dexter into Jak 3. I am in the part where I completed the first mini-game of the game. The first mini-game of Jak 3 is a timing game which requires the player too hit the four dual shock controller buttons at the precise moment when the Xs, squares, triangles and circles pass over 4 little squares. The whole point of it is to destroy 100 of them moving shapes without allowing them to pass the squares. It took me three times to get it right.

One day I dream I’ll be a great videogame reviewer! One with the skills and have many supporters. You know how it is – buy games, play games, review games, buy more games, play more games, review more games. Does this sound interesting to you? I used to be a big-time videogame reviewer, now I am an ex-videogame reviewer. It gives me a perfect sense of what’s good and what’s bad in terms of videogames. A good game is when you don’t die too much and the game’s controls are easy to control. A bad is simply way too easy or way too hard. It’s way too hard because most of the time – the game is poorly funded and the developers didn’t tweak the control enough and the graphics are horrible because it runs on a middle-ware graphics engine like that popular Render-ware or the designers who made the game spent 6 months with limited knowledge about the hardware so the graphics within the game stunk. Did you know that Gamespot has an award system that awards “The Worst game of the Year!” for every platform? Gamespot had one which is so bad it got all 1.0s and that accomplishment goes to “Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing” for PC.

Other horrible games for console and PC research by Gamerankings.com

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Image Compression

Hi. I am back and this blog topic I’ve been working on for some time. You don’t know how many blog that I’ve come across with bad graphic compression. For one it’s none of my business what they do, but it is my business if I come to their site or not! See, if the compression is better – I might be happier with their site. Now, the easiest way too do this is Jasc’s professional suite off it’s trial page JASC, and try JPEG and PNG. I ruled out GIF because PNG is more compressed than GIF anyways. There is no reason too use GIF anymore. Screenshots can be tricky if it has few colors defiantly use PNG to compress them. If the graphic uses a lot of colors than I always use JPEG.

Done in Irfanview 3.95

PNG compressed in Irfanview (20K)

PNG compressed in Paint Shop Pro 9 giving example of it's JPEG dialog box (13K)

JPEG compressed in Irfanview (27K)

PNG compressed in Paint Shop Pro 9 giving example of it's PNG dialog box (13K)

1.) Keep the files at a low resolution. By low I mean nothing bigger than 600x600. I can not force you to go that small – but it’s considered too be web safe under that amount. For pictures I advise nobody to go above 400x600 or 600x400. There is really no need for it. My cousin David doesn’t understand the difference between GIF and JPEG and his graphics can get up between 800KB to 2 MB for a stupid graphic! So you see why it’s important to know a little bit about compression…..

2.) Find a program that lets you reduce the Lossyness (quality) of your graphic. This is needed. The program I use is Irfanview because it has a fair JPEG codec with it. It’s not bad, but it’s probably not the best ever made either. Anyways, that’s what I use, and I wish there were more people who use it like me but don’t for whatever reason.

3.) A compress all my JPEG graphics at 50% in Irfanview, (YCbCr 4x2 1x1 1x1 at 25% - 30%) with Paint Shop Pro 8.0 or 9.0. All my graphics are under 600x600!

4.) PNG compression is much trickier than JPEG because depending on the person – it’s whether you want a lot of color or only 10 – 60 colors. For desktop screenshots I do about 30 colors. This graphic I did with PSP 9.0. It can be smaller depending on the resolution and also the number of colors. For monochrome I always do 3 or 4 colors. Monochrome does not look good with only 2 colors used! I found that out. The text is not readable when the color is set too 2.

Heated discussion on Gameboy Advance 2 (the head of the site thinks Nintendo will not release another Gameboy)
Admin Here's been a lot of talk about whether the Nintendo DS is the true heir to the Game Boy Advance, or whether Nintendo might bring out a completely new Game Boy within the next couple of years.

What's your view? Let us know by voting and posting some reasons in this thread.

My personal position is that Nintendo would be crazy to release yet another handheld when they've only just launched the DS. It would be especially crazy as the DS has sold quite well and it would be silly to risk everything just because they wanted another console with the words "game boy" written on it.

RenegadeViking What's so crazy about it?

Just have a "Super Gameboy Advance" with two screens and make it 256-bit. Just because Dual Screen is called Dual Screen because it's two screens doesn't mean jack if the next Gameboy will have two screens or not. Maybe "Super Gameboy Advance will use Nintendo DS flash media and also have the Gameboy Advance slot like the DS for GBA games.

My point is maybe "Super Gameboy Advance" and DS Advance/ DS II are the exact same handheld.....

Admin how about we make jokes and call the Dual Screen "Gameboy DS" from now on. It'll make people a lot less confused.

Admin It'll confuse people! They'll think the DS is on the way out when it's only just been launched.

Renegade Viking Admin - aren't you are over reacting just a tad - Nintendo DS just came out 2 weeks ago here. I believe that Nintendo will support Nintendo DS for a good 4 years. That's 2004 - 2008. I bet you that the next handheld from Nintendo will play DS games. I don't think we need anything smaller than the DS flash media cartridges (they are easy enough to loose). If anything - Nintendo will probably release a successor to DS, not GBA. It's interesting that Nintendo will soon retire a popular brandname they've used since 1989. Who knows? Maybe we'll have a Gameboy Advance 2

I am pretty sure Nintendo's new handheld will skip 32 MB of video memory and go straight to 128 MB of video memory and 256 MB of EDRAM or maybe it'll have 128 MB of EDRAM and 64 MB (like Gamecube) of video memory just to reduce the price - this is a handheld, not a console. Either way - it's "over kill" for an handheld. So I suspect Nintendo is going to hook their Gameboy Advance 2 up to the TV and it'll look a lot like Gamecube games.

Admin“ Admin - aren't you are over reacting just a tad - Nintendo DS just came out 2 weeks ago here.”

Well, that was the reason why I thought it was crazy talk to suggest they're about to bring out another Game Boy Nothing serious...

“I believe that Nintendo will support Nintendo DS for a good 4 years. That's 2004 - 2008. I bet you that the next handheld from Nintendo will play DS games. I don't think we need anything smaller than the DS flash media cartridges (they are easy enough to loose). If anything - Nintendo will probably release a successor to DS, not GBA.”

That's what I think, and a new handheld in 4 years time is fine.

I actually doubt the Game Boy brand will ever surface as a mainstream product again because Game = childish and Boy = childish so Game Boy = very very childish, which is exactly the image Nintendo is fighting at the moment.

“It's interesting that Nintendo will soon retire a popular brandname they've used since 1989. Who knows? Maybe we'll have a Gameboy Advance 2”

If it does come back, and it is one of the most popular and famous brands ever in the games world, it might be in the form of a product aimed specifically at kids the way the original Game Boys were. That's 100% speculation by me though. It could also just be a DS in a "special Game Boy edition", like there was a GBA that was a "special NES / Famicom edition".

“Either way - it's "over kill" for an handheld.”

Now that they've gone 3D, I think there's going to be a lot of overdeveloped games with special effects you can barely appreciate on the portable format. Gameplay has to be more flexible on a portable because you sometimes only get short bursts of time to play it in.

“So I suspect Nintendo is going to hook their Gameboy Advance 2 up to the TV and it'll look a lot like Gamecube games.”

Sony makes TVs, what do you think the betting is that they'll do one that you can link PSPs to wirelessly?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Getting Satellite TV in my home office Friday!

Today, I found out that my early Christmas present will be an extra DirecTV receiver in my room and I am happy. Even though I plan to move out in 2 years, it gives me a lot of ideas about recording – I can record the video at 680x480 MPEG1 in real time onto my hard drive and compress the video I want in DivX for storage on my hard drive. It would require a TV tuner card – but having digital TV on my computer would be really great. My dad’s getting a two new receivers and one is for my room. We already have all the regular channels plus HBO, Cinimax, Showtime, or The Movie Channel. I’m getting satellite channels in my room, and it’s in ultra-high resolution so it’s a big deal too me. It’s better than streaming video! I am so excited. I get to record all Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes in medium resolution. Problem is it has to be MPEG1 or AVI because my computer can’t encode video in MPEG2 or DIVx in real time. I can watch Modern Marvels on the History Channel, or Fox New Channel. I could end up recording 4 hours of video per day in AVI, and compressing them too smaller files at night when I am sleeping. This is going kick some serious butt!

I found some interesting pictures of next generation renders for consoles. One shows the best image of a Madden football game I’ve ever seen. This could be one that is using the Xenon power.

Anyways, at school - I had no class today. Joyce was gone so I was wondering it had anything with the fact that we’re on the last chapter in the book and the test is due at the during Christmas Vacation. Cisco is damn difficult. Subnetting gives me the willies.

I found out what Jon Bon Jovi sounds like. I heard of him at school on Tuesday so I downloaded MP3 versions of his songs. Wow! He’s pretty good. I downloaded his song “It’s my Life” off Kazaa, and it’s worth the download! His music is epic. I have 5 of them now. Before this I just know that his Winamp skin was really cool. It’s like a big speaker moving with the sound waves. It’s one of the top skins at Winamp.com. I read his BIO on MTV.com, and it says he dropped out of school to play in bands until he got a job as a janitor for his cousin’s recording studio, and became popular in the 80s. Now, he is known through out the world and only does singles.

I am probably going to have to study for two tests tomorrow since Joyce wasn’t in today. I was going to fail the class like a man. The truth is I am not doing very well.

I installed Suse 9.0 on my custom PC just for the heck of it. I have Linux, but I don’t use it as often as Bill’s OS. It’s a fair OS and has less security holes than WinXP. I like that Bubble Trouble game on their. GIMP is nice too, but I leave the graphic effects to Paint Shop Pro 9. I have played around with the paint brush tool, and I sometimes use it for drawing with my mouse. That’s pretty fun. I use the Windows version of The Gimp 2.0.4 – one of the latest versions. It’s a great program understanding that it is free!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Randy Came Over!!!

Yesterday and today I posted a couple posts in Ian's Smashing Good Software Blog. I also updated my videogame post to version 1.18 SP1. Added those games I bought in the past 2 weeks. Yes, I added a few games too it including Splinter Cell and I have no idea why I missed that one. My friend Randy came over with his girlfriend. I wanted to show him my MP3 collection than Halo 2. He refused the play “Cooperation Mode” in single player so we played slayer. I think he got me twice, but I killed him a lot more. We didn’t play soccer this time around. I showed him Guilty Gear X2 Reloaded and Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball. He thought that the Japanese chicks in Guilty Gear X were too dumb. It’s kind of like an animated cartoon, and one character had a big thing with teeth come out of her butt – yeah, just too prove to you how strange this game is. Then he thought that Dead of Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball was all graphics. In his opinion, the graphics were really good, but the game played average. The first thing too do is hit the A button a lot than I hit the A button again to serve the ball only pressing the Y button to spike the ball. I kept winning. Afterwards, I played Metal Gear Solid 3, and I do play as Naked Snake (same guy who plays Solid Snake) at the beginning of the game. One time I fell of the ledge, the other time I was shooting an alligator and drowned in the quick sand. I spent most of my time looking for the damn backpack of Snakes so I went to the ledge to backtrack which is why I fell off! At the beginning, the game has live video of the code war and Cuban Missile Crisis. Then I opened Tony Hawk Pro Skater Underground. It played good I kept beating Randy in tricks and, no – I wasn’t very good at getting them. The best way was staying around the ramps and pressing the X button a lot of times, and landing properly. I landed most of the time. I wasn’t trying too pull off huge stunts all the time. Getting to 100,000 points took 25 minutes. I think Tony Hawk Pro Skater Underground had improved graphics over Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4. The game looked great for an Xbox game.

Today, I was looking at the message boards (mostly on a site I call Catharton Electrica) because that’s what I like to do on Sundays plus drinking Mountain Dew. I found out that PS3’s “Cell” chip might be over 4 GHz. It’ll do multi-threading….what is that? We do not have any processors on the market over 3.4 GHz right now. Certainly PS3 will do the job that will last Sony for 5 or 6 years.PS2 certainly isn’t going away very fast, and people still buy them regularly. It is interesting that people still buy technically outdated hardware which explains people do not care if they have extremely high resolution graphics like what high-end PCs can do. Games are the most important aspect of buying a console. I am sure if you type in “Playstation 3” into this blog’s search bar that you’ll get some entries on it.

Later - around 2PM - I went too Toyriffic to try to resurface Guilty Gear X because by PS2 wouldn’t take it. I was waiting for the disc to be resurfaced for 20 minutes there. There was only one guy operating the whole store, and there was a line of people wanting to pay for their games. What’s with Dungeon and Dragon cards these days? I am not into that sort of thing. Is it somehow cool? Well, anyway, the store operator said that I shall get a refund if the disc still didn’t work due to a laser burning the disc all the way through. I got home to play it, and the disc didn’t want to play. Sacrilege! How can it come too this? So I felt bad so I played Guilty Gear X3: Isuka when I got home. Isuka plays a lot like X2: Reloaded on Xbox. You can’t really tell a difference in graphics. The PS2 controller has more buttons than the Xbox controller S therefore the set up gives you more options. I’ll keep this short in saying this is really weird. An IGN reviewer said there was crazy cheese rock in this game. I know what Cheese rock sounds like. I look at Gamestop.com to see if there are any copies at the store, and I would have to travel 42 miles just to get a new used copy in West St. Paul, Minnesota. I thought well I could get lost in West St. Paul. It’s funny though, that Game Stop in the city has 4 copies of this particular game, but the other Game Stops have none!

I found some great updates audio codec I use:

LAME 3.97 beta 4

We all know that MP3 has taken over the web and is by far the most popular Audio codec..... Damn iPods! It's not the best loosyness audio codec too use in terms of quality, but the more recent LAMEs have taken commercial quality audio to new levels. A 128 kbps MP3 encoded in LAME 3.96 or LAME 3.97 sounds as good as a newer WMA codec and OGG codec. LAME doesn't sound that great at low bit rates (16, 24, 32 kbps) . I leave that up too OGG and WMA. Still it's one of the best MP3 codec.

For use with CDEX
CDEX 3.51 Front End
Other LAME libraries (RAREWARE.ORG)

OGG Vorbis 1.1

Personally, I am using this codec for my personal audio files. It's not half bad and it is as compressed as any MP3. Yes, that's 990KB per Minute at 128 kbps. Only 460KB at 64kbps. It's a great codec, don't get me wrong. It's fastest with CDex. Surprisingly a voice conversation sounds as good at 32kbps as at 128 kbps. I shall not find any difference. That's progress for yeah. No worries about this codec being illegal - it's free and legal. Too bad hardware based MP3 players do not support OGG. If you had a audio test between this and LAME, Vorbis would win only by a small margin. With the soundcards in PCs today - you can hardly tell the difference anymore because the digital enhancement is so good.

For use with CDEX
CDEX 3.51 Front End
Other OGG Vorbis libraries (RAREWARE.ORG)

Hear my files at Ian's Videogame audio reviews

MPEG 4 AAC Audio

I've tested this codec and MPEG 4 files actually end with ACC instead of MP4 like I thought. It's compression is better than MP3 by a small margin. Your probably getting 100KB better with every minute of 128 kbps compressed audio. It is better. Okay how does it sound? It sounds okay - same as MP3. AAC audio isn't updated by Psytel any longer so MP3 surpassed ACC in quality a bit. Yes, the compression is better....only a little bit though.

Psytel AAC encoder 2.15 and Fast AAC encoder
CDEX 3.51 Front End
Other MPEG 4 AAC libraries (RAREWARE.ORG)


Muse pack is another LOSSYNESS (perfect sound) codec. This one is open source. In short a 140 kbps audio file compressed in MPC is as compressed as a 128 kbps MP3.
Winamp and Quintessential Player support both. This is an open source answer to MPEG 4 ACC audio. I don't suppose it's an issue with broadband users. Another thing is the file must be a WAV to for this too work, but that's okay since CDEX can make wav files for you.

MPC plugin for Winamp, QCD Add to Winamp plugin directory
jDownload CDEX Front End

New Gaming Monster specs I want:

• Windows XP PRO
• Asus A8V Deluxe Via Socket 939 ATX Motherboard and AMD Athlon 64 3400+ Processor
• Plaster Plextor PX-712 / 12x4x16x DVD+RW / 8x4x16x DVD-RW / 48x24x48x CD-RW /
• Ultra 512MB PC3200 DDR 400MHz Memory
• Trendware 56k (V.92) Internal PC
• Hitachi / 160GB / 7200 / 2MB / ATA-100 / EIDE Hard Drive
• I Data/Fax/voice Modem
• Connect3D Radeon 9200se / 128MB DDR / AGP / VGA / TV Out / Video Card
• Diablo ATX Mid-Tower Case with 450Watt Power Supply, Front Neon Lights, Front USB and Audio Ports

Final Price 950 Dollars with rebates

Low cost Gaming Machine version 2:

• Plaster Plextor PX-712 / 12x4x16x DVD+RW / 8x4x16x DVD-RW / 48x24x48x CD-RW /
• Ultra 512MB PC3200 DDR 400MHz Memory
• Trendware 56k (V.92) Internal PC
• Asus K8V Deluxe Socket 754 ATX Motherboard and AMD Athlon 64 2800+ Processor
• Chaintech GeForce FX 5200 / 256MB DDR / AGP 8X / VGA / DVI / TV Out / Video Card
• Hitachi / 120GB / 7200 / 2MB / ATA-100 / EIDE Hard Drive

Final Price 650 dollars with rebates (if it goes any cheaper the hardware will be really cheap)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Snake Eater Owned!!! | Tried Pitch Black 7/10

The long awaited Metal Gear Solid 3 - Snake Eater is out at last. Earlier today I walked into the River Falls ShopKo, and was looking for this game and I could not find it at first. I thoually searched for Metal Gear Solid 3. I found Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal, and Jak 3, but no MGS3. I almost bought R&C Up Your Arsenal until I realized that ShopKo had it. I swear to God that somebody placed it there when I left the isle. So I drove 4 miles to Toyriffic which just opened because it was 11AM. I like to go there and see what games I HAVEN’T THOUGHT OF BUYING. I saw a Magnavox Odyssey at this store. I have seen pictures via surfing gaming sites, but not a real one up close, this is my first time. It was in fair condition, and I have an idea why no body bought it. It’s really old, there probably isn’t any selection of games along with it, and the graphics are monochrome. Gamecube’s dropped down to $69.99 US, and as always the store has no PS2s available used. I hear the units keep breaking, and the DVD ROM drive is the first to fail. Mine has never failed on me.

The story is about the Cuban Missile Crisis! It starts when on October 08, 1962 a U2 Spy Plane unravels a MRBM missile silo in Cuba. A few days later there are US Spys in that location of Cuba and tell President Kennedy that is an advanced operation there. The US goes DEFCOM 1, and the President announces a speech to the world saying that any attack from Cuba is an attack of the Western Hemisphere, therefore, an attack from the Soviet Union. We immediately create a blockade surrounding Cuba. The U.N. tells the Premier Khrushchev too keep his ships out of Cuba, and supports the blockade of ships. On October 26, 1962, Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin knocks some sense into the US Defense department, and turns to ABC to have a live interview saying that war is going to break out between us and them. He acknowledges that if the US won’t invade Cuba and declare Peace again, the Soviets will retreat. This must be where Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater starts. Cuban Missile Crisis – Complicated. This makes no sense because the document said there was no commando force in Cuba during the “Cuban Missile Crisis” only undercover CIA agents. Why does this game’s storyline exist? The main character isn’t Solid Snake, but instead his fellow regiment commando, Big Boss. This is the 2nd most anticipated PS2 game of 2004. The first was San Andreas. The 3rd was Ratchet and Clank - Up Your Arsenal. Metal Gear Solid 3 is not as good as MGS 2 Sons of Liberty, but who cares - it's Metal Gear Solid, and that alone is enough too decide if it's worth it or not.

I guess I am cool now that I have the new Metal Gear Solid....because anything Metal Gear is cool. Did you know that Metal Gear was the name of the NES game published by Ultra Games in 1987? It starred Solid Snake.... Ultra Games came out with Metal Gear 2 in 1990. I have the ROM, and its game play is really out of date. Imagine a time when there was a D-pad and 2 buttons! That's not the point. The point is there was a Solid Snake 10 years prior to 1998 when Metal Gear Solid came out on PlayStation. It must be as old as Contra – because Contra is started on NES the same year I think. See, I only started playing games when I was 13, and that was 1997. I haven't played or owned a NES or SNES since I was invited over to David's house prior to 2003 when I bought a NES for myself. Still - I find nothing wrong playing the ROM version of Metal Gear.

New Games I am going to add to my VG list:

• MGS 3 Snake Eater
• Super Mario 64 DS
• Golden Sun

I tried out the new Mountain Dew called Mountain Dew Pitch Black. On a taste test I give it a 7/10 for good, but not as good as Mountain Dew Classic. It tastes like a grape jolly rancher! It tastes a bit mellower than Mountain Dew Classic. When you first taste it your taste buds get confused because it’s a new taste, but if you drank 2 or 3 cans, your mouth gets use to the new taste, and I am starting to like it (that’s the strange part). Pepsi get’s rich off me! I spend roughly 384 dollars on soda per year. It comes down to white ratios leading to one twelve pack, and one six 24 ounce bottle pack every week. I don’t like Mountain Dew Code Red, but I do like Mountain Dew Limewire a lot better. Surprisingly, Coca-Cola’s main competitor not Pepsi directly, but Pepsi owned Mountain Dew. My advise is too pick up a bottle of Pitch Black for a buck, and try it out before the Limited Edition is not at covenant stores any longer!!!

Here’s how I would rate it from best to least:

1. Mountain Dew Classic (Lime, Citrus) - 10/10
2. Coca-Cola Classic – 9.6/10
3. Mountain Dew Limewire (Orange Soda) - 9.0/10
4. A&W Rootbeer – 8.0/10
5. Mountain Dew Pitch Black (Grape Soda) – 7/10
6. Mountain Dew Code Red - 5/10

This is Ian Signing out!