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  • EA Watch: BF2 vs. GF4

    Posted on June 28th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I had to comment on this.

    Battlefield 2 versus Geforce 4! Winner: EA’s Battlefield 2. Loser: You!

    You may be thinking to yourself, “Wait a second. I don’t own a Geforce 4 video card. I can run it just fine.” This will still affect you and here’s why.

    Judging by Valve’s hardware survey, EA just alienated roughly 20% of PC Gamers with Battlefield 2.

    One of two things will happen, as a result.

    Either EA will stop acting like the evil empire they are, and stop pulling this crap with future releases, or they will continue to exercise their right to require all nVidia Geforce 4 owners to upgrade. (It should be noted that slower cards like ATi’s Radeon 8500 can run BF2 just fine.)

    If EA decides to continue this practice, one of two things will happen.

    Either the PC game industry will pick up because more people are spending more money on hardware for their new software, or sales in the PC game industry will plummet as consumers choose NOT to spend money on the hardware, and thus decide NOT to buy the latest software.

    If the PC game industry busts (as more and more indicators [pdf] are showing), YOU ALL LOSE. Whether you have a Geforce 4, Geforce 7800, or ATi Explodeon 1 Billion, you will have fewer choices and less innovation as small-time, independent developers flock to consoles because it’s cheaper to develop for, and big-time developers flock to consoles because they can sell x% more copies developing for a platform that stays more or less static.

    Way to go, EA. Now everyone loses… again.

  • 100,000 UMD movies sold… also, people are stupid

    Posted on June 22nd, 2005 Finster 2 comments

    I can’t believe this.

    Okay, everyone gather around. We need to have a talk.

    There’s a certain time in everyone’s life when things begin to change. You may start to wonder what your real place in life is. You may be scared and confused by this large, brilliant display that the PSP has. All those DVD movies that you love… sitting there on your shelf… refusing to be played on your new PSP.

    When you see instructions on how to convert DVD’s to something the PSP can play, feelings of anger and fear may overcome you as you consider that it might take more than an MTV commercial break to read the directions.

    You find various software that will convert video to play on your PSP. Some free. Some not free. Don’t worry, this kind of confusion is normal at this stage in your life.

    When you get a little older, you’ll realize some things. You’ll realize it’s stupid to buy a copy of Time Bandits on UMD when you have the DVD version sitting right there on your shelf. Just waiting to be converted and copied to your Sony Memory Stick. You may also understand that the going retail price for UMD movies is sometimes MORE expensive than the equivalent DVD version.

    But for now, just remember that you won’t always be stupid.

  • Kutaragi Watch: Cell “defects” are just redundancy

    Posted on June 21st, 2005 Finster 7 comments

    Kutaragi Watch

    Gamespot interviewed Ken Kutaragi about Cell chips and other details about the PS3.

    Kutaragi stated earlier that although the Cell microprocessor comes with eight synergistic processor elements (SPEs) for multicore processing, the chip only uses seven of them. Kutaragi explained that ignoring one SPE as a redundancy will improve the chip’s production yield and allow costs to drop dramatically. In other words, Sony can ship a Cell chip with one defective SPE (out of its eight) as a working product, since the chip only uses seven SPEs to begin with.

    So, basically, we’re now purposely building defects into the design of the PS3 processor. No wonder Jobs dumped IBM.

    And, let’s be clear about something right now. This is NOT redundancy. When speaking of RAID, which means Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks, we are talking about data integrity, fault tolerance, and performance. The whole POINT of redundancy in RAID is to have an increase in these three things. If not all, then at least one of them.

    Kutaragi’s “creative redefinition” of redundancy means building a RAID array of 8 disks with 7 working disks and 1 disk you already know is bad. That’s not redundancy. That’s a manufacturing defect that you’ve found a workaround for.

    Frankly, if the only way that Sony is going to keep up with PS3 manufacturing is to integrate manufacturing defects into the chip design, then I think I’ll steer clear of this console for a while until the defects get corrected (like I’ve done with every other Sony console. The later versions of the PS2 are great. Too bad the first 5 or 6 sucked.)

    This is the ultimate aesthetic. The number of SPEs we equip to the Cell and how many we will actually use are two different things. I wanted to adopt the idea of ‘redundancy’ to the development of semiconductors.

    Only Kutaragi would equate manufacturing and design defects with aesthetics.

    Remember, if you would like to submit any blathering Kutaragi quotes, then drop a line to

  • BF2 Server Crackdown

    Posted on June 20th, 2005 Finster No comments

    There was a mild controversy about EA blacklisting Battlefield 2 demo servers that had unlocked weapons and exploited the games python scripts to allow someone to get all the weapons in the demo, etc. Initially, I didn’t give this much thought. Seemed pretty clear cut to me. The demo is essentially shareware. It’s time-limited, and only has some of the weapons. I don’t have a problem with this.

    Well, not surprisingly, EA is going to continue the practice with full version servers. Okay, so now the game has unlimited game play. Well, apparently, with the full version there is support for add-on python scripts. And… apparently one could exploit these python scripts to unleash some demonic power or accomplish world domination. So, if EA finds that your server has modified python scripts, or too many weapons unlocked, your server gets blacklisted for a week.

    The initial reaction to this seems to be along these lines:


    I’m going to feel dirty after doing this, but here goes… EA is in the right. They’re trying to have persistent stat tracking, similar to what has been seen in Halo 2 for Xbox Live. You have a unique username in BF2 multiplayer that will have stats attached to it. This has been a huge hit in Halo 2, and it only makes sense to have something similar for PC. Note that many games have already done this, America’s Army and Unreal Tournament come to mind immediately. The difference being that the developers of America’s Army didn’t leave a huge gaping security vulnerability called PYTHON SCRIPT SUPPORT.

    So, even when EA is in the right, they’re still wrong. If they wanted locked down stats, they should’ve kept the game in QA a bit longer before replacing (yet another) buggy Battlefield game. Now, that being said, it is EA’s right to control their stats program anyway they like, and complaining about it is similar to complaining about Bungie banning cheaters in Halo 2.

    So, deal.

  • Kutaragi Watch: Xbox 360 fails at life

    Posted on June 14th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    I’ve decided to start a new feature. I call it:


    Kutaragi Watch

    Kutaragi is like the Steve Ballmer of Sony. Therefore, this should be a lot of fun for me. You may or may not have fun watching, but I don’t really care.

    I saw this on, and Kutaragi explains why the Xbox 360 will fail.

    The current Xbox will become antiquated once the new machine comes out this November. When that happens, the Xbox will be killing itself. The only way to avoid that is to support 100 percent compatibility from its [Xbox 360’s] launch date, but Microsoft won’t be able to commit to that. It’s technically difficult.

    Well, of course it’s difficult, halfwit. And I’ll expect to see 100% backwards compatibility when the PS3 comes out. Because the PS2 had it, so why not the PS3? Oh wait… That’s right! The PS2 didn’t have 100% backwards compatibility.

    Kutaragi also gives away the secret to the PS3’s 100% backwards compatibility.

    It will be done through a combination of hardware and software. We can do it with software alone, but it’s important to make it as close to perfect as possible.

    Uh… well… gee… that clears things right up. No WONDER the PS3 is so perfect, it uses a combination of hardware AND software. Ingenious.

    That’s today’s Kutaragi watch, if you would like to submit something you saw to Kutaragi Watch just send email to

  • Jobs rejects Cell Processor

    Posted on June 13th, 2005 Finster 2 comments

    So, according to the NYT (who never make anything up, by the way) Steve Jobs had a meeting with Kutaragi from Sony, in which the Cell processor was flatly rejected as a replacement for the PowerPC chips.

    Kutaragi tried to interest Jobs in adopting the Cell microprocessor, which is being developed by IBM for use in the coming PlayStation 3, in exchange for access to certain Sony technologies. Jobs rejected the idea, telling Kutaragi that he was disappointed with the Cell design, which he believed would be even less effective than the Power PC.

    Okay, all two people reading this blog probably already know this news, but the point of this post is to predict what’s going to happen now.

    I predict that there’s going to be a lot of talk about how this must mean that the Cell processor is crap and Sony sucks, and blah blah blah. Behold the awesome power that can be unleashed by the unexpected cross over of Steve Jobs cultists with non-Sony fanboys. Scary, huh.

    Jobs does seem to have a knack for knowing when a product will succeed or fail. I admit I was skeptical about the iPod and whether it was going to be as ubiquitous as Jobs was claiming. Well, he was right. I see the damn things everywhere now. I even have one. (I got it for free, BTW.)

    There’s also anecdotal evidence that he appeared at a meeting with Jeff Bezos (of Amazon) and they were shown the infamous It. (Not Pennywise the Clown, but the Segway scooter thing.) Jobs first reaction was, “It sucks.” And sure enough, the Segway certainly has not changed the world. I think I saw one the other day though.

    Anyway, If Jobs says the Cell sucks…. Putting aside everything you see in the “Pirates of Silicon Valley” miniseries, the guy knows his designs, and when it comes down to brass tacks, he’s practical.

    On the other hand, I’m surprised he’s been using PowerPC chips as long as he has. I believe that if it wasn’t for his built-in religious zealot-like hatred of Wintel, he would’ve made the switch much earlier.

    Here’s the most important thing to remember: If Jobs’ rejection of the Cell chip was made out of hatred for IBM, then this news means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

  • Nintendo: I don’t understand them, but I like them.

    Posted on June 10th, 2005 Finster No comments

    Alex at had some interesting things to say about E3 and marketing tripe.

    Contrast [Sony and Microsoft’s E3 crap] to the enrapturing Zelda-in-play footage, or any time you’ve ever seen footage of a game being played, unedited. That’s what a game looks like. I wouldn’t care about the Killzone and Gears trailers even if they weren’t fake (which they were). They weren’t video games being demonstrated, they were movie trailers. This was evident just by watching them—no admissions by the companies that it was rendered or whatever were needed. Everyone complained that Nintendo punted on revealing the Revolution but…so did Sony and Microsoft.

    The only thing Nintendo punted on was a bunch of marketing hoo-ha, as one commenter put it. And I’m glad for it. They didn’t give a bunch of charts with wildly impossible claims of performance (I’m looking at YOU, Sony.) Nor did they try and demo their games on alpha-version dev kits (I’m looking at YOU, Microsoft.)

    Honestly, I don’t understand the mentality of Nintendo or any of those guys over there. There’s some kind of strange Zen soul-searching going on, but dang it, they aren’t pandering, they aren’t funding idiotic MTV specials. I kind of feel like I need to buy their consoles just because they haven’t ever talked down to me. They’re unabashedly and unapologetically GAME DESIGNERS and want people to have FUN with their games. I wish I felt the same way about Sony or Microsoft…

  • Two of my favorite things: Meat and Video Games

    Posted on June 10th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    Imagine yourself kicking back on a summer day sometime in 2006. You got your honey with you, the weather is nice. You decide to grill up a few burgers and brats. Mmmmm… wouldn’t this be the best grill ever?

    “PS3Grill truly is the grill to be placed in the center of living rooms in homes around the world.”

  • Carnival of Gamers II: Return to Carnival of Gamers

    Posted on June 9th, 2005 Finster No comments

    The second installment of Carnival of Gamers is up.

    Kudos to Mile Zero for the original style of his post, which hearkens back to a simpler time… Oh, if only I had an amber monitor.

  • The State of PC Gaming

    Posted on June 7th, 2005 Finster 4 comments

    Many people are saying that PC Gaming is slowly dying. Others say it will be around for much longer and become stronger than it is now. I say that it’s WAY to early to tell.

    Here’s why.
    Read the rest of this entry »