Tuesday, 9 April 2013

PS4 or Xbox 720

PS4 or Xbox 720, there's a question! Of course the ideal situation would be to buy both! We can't all do that though, especially at launch, costs and what not!
So again which one do you get?
Well we know the specs are very close indeed, with PS4 reportedly taking the lead with GDDR5 ram and some more powerful graphics hardware, the devs love it. Xbox 720 has only DDR3, which is cheaper but much slower. Aside from that hardware wise they're nearly identical, although the no one yet knows the physical form the machines will take, except high ranking execs.
Onto the software next then, Sony seems to want to make it more about games and the social element of that area, of course Blu-Ray will be included along with other media capabilities.
Microsoft seems to be focusing more on apps and media, continuing the trend they've started on xbox 360. Personally a stronger focus on games appeals more to me as I feel we have enough devices with "apps" as it is. Be it Tablets, Phones, Smart TVs, computers or existing consoles, I don't think apps will be as important as Microsoft thinks. Recent studies show that PS3 is in fact the biggest market for things like Netflix, not xbox 360 and most people use their xbox for games well over and above media.
A possible plus for Microsoft is the rumoured subscription model they'll be taking up, $500 dollars or $300 with a subscription, worthwhile if you already use xbox live and plan on continuing to do so.
I think Sonys showing of the share button and facilities will be a stroke of genius, as Youtube is now huge and only growing, filling it with your games will be very compelling indeed.
Then there's the games, Sony have showed a constant push for new IPs, while Microsoft only appear to support whatever makes the most possible money. Hence the only real recent first part y releases being Halo, Forza or Gears.

So for me, PS4 is the way forward, but what about you? Comment and have your say :-)

Friday, 8 June 2012

PSvita vs 3DS

PSvita vs 3DS

As with any comparison between 2 gaming machines there are many factors at play. For many people the key component is graphics. Followed by gameplay, sound and then the rest. I'll start with graphics and then run down everything else afterwards.

So who is the victor in the graphics battle, well the PSvita beats the 3DS hands down when it comes to graphics in its purest form. The screen is higher resolution and therefore had a higher pixel density meaning a cleaner image. Textures are handled better and frame rates tend to be better indeed. Games such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss truly push the Vita and a generation ahead of what's possible on 3DS. This is all due to the 4 core ARM CPU and GPU combined with 512mb ram and 128mb vram, this sounds boring but is key to what's on offer here.
Nintendos machine has a single core CPU and GPU and only 128mb ram and 4mb vram, a lot less than Vita and it must run 3D as well. This of course results in more limited game environments and graphics. The 3D abilities of the 3DS are however something of a boon and act a key selling point over Sonys far more powerful but so far less successful Vita system.
To truly appreciate the graphics difference and the effect of 3D you need to play the systems yourself. For my money the Vita pips it at present due to not everyone being able to use 3D without getting nausea, everyone can appreciate Sonys system in good health!

Winner = Vita

Next we move onto sound, both systems simply operate stereo sound and offer much the same quality, so there's really nothing in it here.

Winner = Draw

Gameplay is another point where both consoles have distinct advantages. The Vita has 2 analogue sticks as standard, a must for most modern games, although 3DS does have a crude add on for this. Vita has a capacitive touch screen (no stylus needed) and a capacitive rear touch panel, as well as the shoulder buttons and face buttons, it finishes by including motion control to good effect.
Nintendo has a resistive touch screen requiring a stylus or pressure to operate, includes 2 screens, shoulder buttons and the usual face buttons. A big failing is the single analogue stick which limits input and requires an add on for extra accuracy.

Winner = Draw - the second screen could make more a difference to some people than a rear touch pad and the analogue stick issue can be rectified with an addon.

Games is one area where Nintendo currently has Sony beaten right down, nintendo has sold 17m of their systems compared to 2m for Vita. Developers have jumped right in with 3DS although Vita should catch up eventually. Right now the big names such as mario kart and pilot wings are all on board for Nintendo as well as massive third party support, Sony has its big names but needs more third party support at present.

As for other features both machines have average Internet explorers and media playback abilities, with Vitas being so far a little more accomplished. Vita has Facebook and Twitter apps, which are nice and easy to use, as well as Flickr and Sonys own music unlimited app. The 3DS doesn't have these but they can be accessed through the browser if desired. Nintendo has many fun apps such as streetpass and spot pass, allowing users consoles to connect when they pass and share things like Mii data and download content from WiFi. Nintendo are starting to introduce downloadable 3D videos and movies and are also creating an Ebook reader for release later. One major bonus for 3DS users are the 3D camera abilities of the system, meaning 3D pics and movies can be shot and watched on the system, something it's likely the Vita will never do. At present Sonys media offerings for music and movies are far ahead of what Nintendo offer, including an unlimited consumption subscription service.

Winner = Draw

So in closing its very hard to choose one console over another, I'll say this, if you want better graphics and a more traditional games system including better controls, go for the Vita. If you want the system with more games and a more "fun" aura' including 3D, go for the 3DS.
Or get both!

Don't forget to check my blog out @ http://past-present-future-games-tech.blogspot.co.uk/ as well.

Past-Review- SNES


So now for a review of a product long past, that I'm sure holds a place in a lot of people's hearts. Nintendos Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES. It was the successor to the widely popular but ageing Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. The NES was an 8 bit system, but the SNES doubled this to 16 bit in order to keep pace with Sega and their Mega Drive which had been on the market for 2 years already. The "bit" count was very important in those days as a measure of system power, following the PS2 launch it ceased to be used as an expression of ability.

Ok as usual let's start with a look at the systems specs. The CPU operated at a mere 3.58 MHz, which today seems minuscule, but at the time was more than enough to handle the latest 2d games. In those days all the work was more or less done through the CPU, in stark contrast to today where a GPU handles graphics separately. The system had 128kb ram and 64kb vram and a further 64kb for the Sony supplied sound card.
Cartridges were order of the day here as CDs were not yet widely commercial and would've proved highly expensive to use at the time. Cartridges were also more pirate proof and easier to region lock by changing their casing design. Extra hardware could also be included on the cartridge for games like star fox which gave better graphics, saving was also done directly to the cartridge.
Finally on the hardware front it was also possible to buy a Modem addon that attached to the bottom of the console, as with most addons, this wasn't successful.

So that's the specs covered now let's look at the console and controller design. The console had 2 initial designs one for Japan and Europe and a separate one for the US. Of the 2 the Japanese is by far the more aesthetically pleasing with its rounded edges, rather than the US square look.
The controller carried on from the NES, adding 2 more face buttons and itself taking on a more rounded look. It was quite ergonomic a for it's time and rivalled the Mega Drive controller nicely.

In terms of games there were over 700 released in the consoles life time, obviously varying in quality. RPGs ruled the roost here and the overall scene was dominated by the at the time Japanese juggernaut games industry. There were also plenty of British and American developers and lots of now defunct developers as costs of each generation have risen.
Notable titles are Super Mario world which was included with the console and subsequent Mario games which proved engaging and successful. Final Fantasy was a major mainstay on the SNES with 6 of its titles featuring there, this franchise never moved to Megadrive. Throw in F-zero, Super Metroid and Donkey Kong and you've got a great list of games to be boot!

Overall then then the SNES was a raging success and took the crown from Sega, something that Sega would never regain.
Nintendo would only start to lose their dominance once Sony entered the arena, with it's higher marketing ability and greater finances. More on that another time though.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this and I welcome any comments.

How has technology changed mankind? Part One

How has technology changed mankind? Part One

So a pretty big question, how has technology changed man kind? Where to start? Man kind has been around now for about 200,000 years, originating in Africa. The word technology comes from the Greek word, technologia and provides us at least some starting point for a look at how technology has changed humanity, for good and bad. We as humans are the only species on earth known to use technology, both out of necessity and for pleasure. Early humans soon realised that fire would keep them warm and let them cook, wheels would help moving things and tools would help build things. Humans discovered these things fairly early on, especially fire and have used them ever since. Our use of technology has enabled us to shape our surroundings and make them more amiable to our needs. As Humans we have specifically planted crops again and again that will produce the highest yield, in effect genetically modifying them from an early time.

As previously mentioned early man discovered fire, largely by accident and then went on to discover things like the wheel, these 2 discoveries could be considered most important overall. Fire and the wheel are 2 things that would continue to needed throughout history and today, most of the world owns a car or other wheeled vehicle and almost every house will utilise fire in some way. Even if a world ending event was to take place, any survivors would need fire and eventually would need wheels again. Fire has meant we can cook, heat our homes and people, fight wars and many things besides, the wheel has enabled us to traverse great lengths with ease and meet other civilisations. Fire has meant mankind no longer has to rely on the weather to provide warmth, he can create his own, when resources diminish the wheel means we can move on. These 2 items are therefore it's fair to say very important and paramount to mankinds continued survival and dominion over earth.
Of course it can't end there, there has been so much more technology since these 2 discoveries or inventions, whatever your view point is. Over a the next few posts I'll look at what other technologies have come and changed mankind, examples will include things like electricity, oil, gas, nuclear, flight, seafaring, telegrams, the phone and the Internet, to name but a few.

Technology, as a religion?

Technology, as a religion?

So there's been religion for pretty much forever right, cavemen worshiping fire, pagans, Egyptians with their burial rights and mummification, Muslims, Christians, hindus, now even Scientology.
What I'm saying is that religion has been around as long as man kind and there has always been a lot of them, all with different ideas of god and heaven and reincarnation.
My big question is, is there room for a religion based around the idea of technology and the use of it to cause evolution in mankind, the idea that technology and what it can do for us could be a religion. Other religions can be said to be based not in fact, but in fiction with widely outlandish stories and historical inaccuracies, people are expected to believe in what they are told from scripts that have altered across time to suit the rulers of that era.
The "worship" of technology would in these circumstances seem to be a noble idea, people coming together to share ideas about technology and look to the future of what be possible. A grouping where societies Luddite ideas cannot penetrate, where fear of technology is not acceptable and where innovation is possible. Unlike other religions where historically the idea has been to crush the common man under a fear of god and take their money to guarantee passage to heaven, a religion based technology would only seek to enlighten and enhance.
Human augmentation would be a major factor, governments are weak and other religious groups would oppose it but augmentation would evolve humanity. Every aspect of human life could be enhanced by augmentation, the technology for it is growing fast and it will soon be commercially viable. Stronger arms and legs, enhanced thinking, faster reactions and increased lifespan are all possible. Imagine a world where you sustain an injury and the part is then simply replaced, no long recovery periods, no medication, no staying on a ward while you heal.
The question now is of course how much interest is there out there for this kind of thing, I know some interested people but of course religion cannot be founded with just a few people. If this is the kind of thing that would interest you please let me know in the comments section and we can grow this.

email cdk86@live.co.uk if your interested in forming something.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Touch My Katamari Review

Touch My Katamari Review

So another Katamari game, there's a been a fair number now, spanning multiple games consoles, now including the PSvita. So how does this latest game stack up?

Lets start with the graphics, very good! The graphics are leaps ahead of what's been offered so far in the IPad and IPhone versions of this franchise, they're not far off the PS3 version. The same quirky graphic style is present and the frame rate is very solid. The only downside over the home console versions is the scale of the environments you get to roll up, this game is notably smaller in this regard. It is of course designed less for 20min sessions and more for 5 min runs so it doesn't really detriment the game.

The sound is great and offers the usual great mix of effects and wonderful Jap Pop music we all love from this series. There are a lot of remixed tracks, but some new ones have been thrown in there.

Gameplay is pretty much standard, although leagues ahead of the other portable editions as the PSvita has 2 analogue sticks as well as the touch screen and touch pad. The rear touch pad is put to good use for making your Katamari wide or thin, which is totally new to the series and a nice edition.

Overall this isn't ground breaking or even that new, but if you love Katamari and want something new play on your PSvita beside the big name games it's defo worth a shot.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

PSvita Review

PSvita Review!

The new PSvita! This is Sony’s latest handheld and the most powerful portable games system on the market, beating everything available right now.
So let’s look at a breakdown of the key components that make a console.
Specs – The PSvita comes equipped with a quad core ARM CPU, so it’s powerful but requires no cooling. It’s impressive graphics are powered by a quad core ARM GPU. The ram is 512mb with 128mb of VRAM for the graphics. This means it has more total Ram than the ps3 or 360! ARM processors are known for their low energy to performance needs and are growing in popularity, they are designed in Cambridge in England, then individual manufacturers build them as required. It is very good Sony are using these processors as they are easy yo design for and show that Sony are aiming to make the Vita the easiest system to code for, unlike PS3.

Controls – every conceivable input method is catered for here starting with the usual physical controls. This system has two analogue sticks so it closely resembles the experiences possible on home consoles. To complete the lineup you have the famous playstation buttons and layout, augmented with a front and rear capacitive touch screen, motion controls and AR (alternate reality). These are utilised in one way or another in most of the games on PSvita and feel very natural in use. The rear touch pad is even used in the Vita Facebook app to scroll around and open pictures. These technologies are well implemented and give the Vita an edge in combining two opposing control methods.

Games – Sony’s PSvita system has launched with 40 games of varying quality, although none of which stand out as bad. The biggest selling title by far is Uncharted: golden abyss which took 65% of all uk attached sales. Other games of worthy note are wipeout 2048 for its amazing graphics and interoperability with wipeout HD on PS3, Little Deviants for its brilliant use of AR and touch my katamari as its just a great game. All of these games cost much more than a comparable IOS game but offer so much more in quality of controls and graphics. It really is you get what you pay for here. At least for now people seem willing to pay the prices and the games are worth it. It is worth mentioning the games come in small packages that actually quite cute and even smaller than Blu-ray boxes!

Price – There are two versions of Sony’s PSvita, one has only Wifi and the other has Wifi and 3G. The latter model will of course require data contracts from vodafone in the UK, the prices for this are more reasonable than AT & T in the US. Vodafone even did a pretty decent preorder package with Wipeout 2048 as a free download.The two consoles cost around £220 and £270 respectively, but memory cards are required for game saving and the best deal seems to be the 8gb for £25. It would’ve been nice for Sony to include this but just factor it in when buying your machine. The games cost between £20 – £40 and pricing seems to depend largely on quality, this is something fairly new and doesn’t really happen with home consoles.What you get – in the pack you’ll find you PSvita console, a charger USB lead with plug adaptor, headphones and instruction manuals. AR cards are also included as are required by some games.

Comparisons – Well the 3DS has some things the PSvita doesn’t get and the big one is 3D, it really depends on what you want from your games. It is obvious Nintendo have sacrificed spec in other areas in order to make 3D affordable, it’s overall construction, controls (only one analogue stick) and processing power are someway behind PSvita. That said of course the 3D effect is implemented well and can be turned off if needed, games such as metal gear 3D make great use of it. The second screen is also great for displaying maps and the like but is resistive not capacitive, meaning a stylus is required, unlike PSvita or IPad.The other major competitor will of course be Apple and it’s IPod / iPhone / IPad. Having the same OS across all three devices means games can be downloaded on one and used on all. These systems however carry a hefty price tag and cannot at present match PSvita for specs. The IPad however has a massive screen and much better battery life and is at present more versatile. Design wise it’s a matter of choice as to which you prefer.Final conclusions – The PSvita is THE system to have if you really love your games, but for the more casual among us Apple’s products will appeal more as the games are cheaper and the devices are smaller, except iPad! . Nintendo is the only manufacturer to bring 3D so it is worth considering if this is important to you. Only time will tell who comes off best and I for one look forward to the developments in the future.
CDK Games & Tech