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  • Nintendo Revolution’s Hardware: Slightly better than a cheese sandwich

    Posted on March 30th, 2006 Finster No comments

    IGN (of all places) released some “confirmation” of the Revolution’s hardware specs.

    Insiders stress that Revolution runs on an extension of the Gekko and Flipper architectures that powered GameCube, which is why studios who worked on GCN will have no problem making the transition to the new machine, they say. IBM’s “Broadway” CPU is clocked at 729MHz, according to updated Nintendo documentation. By comparison, GameCube’s Gekko CPU ran at 485MHz. The original Xbox’s CPU was clocked at 733MHz. Meanwhile, Xbox 360 runs three symmetrical cores at 3.2GHz.

    Revolution’s ATI-provided “Hollywood” GPU clocks in at 243MHz. By comparison, GameCube’s GPU ran at 162MHz, while the GPU on the original Xbox was clocked at 233MHz. Sources we spoke with suggest that it is unlikely the GPU will feature any added shader features, as has been speculated.

    The overall system memory numbers we reported last December have not greatly fluctuated, but new clarifications have surfaced. Revolution will operate using 24MBs of “main” 1T-SRAM. It will additionally boast 64MBs of “external” 1T-SRAM. That brings the total number of system RAM up to 88MBs, not including the 3MB texture buffer on the GPU. By comparison, GameCube featured 40MBs of RAM not counting the GPU’s on-board 3MBs. The original Xbox included 64MBs total RAM. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 operate on 512MBs of RAM.

    It is not known if the 14MBs of extra D-RAM we reported on last December are in the current Revolution specifications.

    I can already hear it. The backlash that is already declaring Nintendo dead in the water. Whatever. You know what this news says to me? This news + cheap games = an affordable next-gen console.

    In my book, Nintendo keeps making all the right moves. The DS has shown that they are MORE than capable of gathering innovative, fun titles under the Nintendo aegis. No less significant, that it has happened on a platform that some criticized for being TOO innovative!

    But let’s examine this issue from another angle: Did the Gamecube sell fewer consoles than Microsoft or Sony because the HARDWARE wasn’t up to snuff?

    Think about it.

    No, YOU think about it!

  • Reaganomics in Galactic Civilizations II

    Posted on March 29th, 2006 Finster 1 comment

    I’ve played a pretty good amount of GalCiv2 at this point, and I am confident I have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t. In trying to maximize the long-term growth and power of my galactic empires, I’ve noticed a key strategy:

    Keeping taxes LOW over the long term does more to increase my income from taxes over any given number of years than raising taxes. This occurs because GalCiv2’s economic model is fundamentally different from many strategy games of this kind.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • NES emulation on Xbox 360

    Posted on March 27th, 2006 Finster No comments

    I love the modding community. Somehow, they’ve figured out how to “stream” a playable NES emulator via a Windows Media Center PC.

    This is definitely something I’ve been waiting for on the next-gen consoles. I mean, come on! Bionic Commando in 480p!

    Seriously, though, I guess there has always been the raging debate about emulation. I feel like those that are violently against it ignore that many games are lost to the travails of time. True, it undermines the ability of license holders to release successful “old-school” compilations.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I can understand the point of view of both sides of the emulation argument. I have to wonder, though, if Square’s release of Final Fantasy V in the states (compiled with FF IV as a PS1 release) would’ve been viable without the built-in support created by the success of FFV in the ROM community.

  • Impression of Oblivion — Mini-review

    Posted on March 26th, 2006 Finster 2 comments

    [UPDATE: As far as the stability issues, go, I started going over all of my hardware, and it seems that all of the crashes coincide with voltage drops on the 12V rail of my power supply. So, there you go. New power suppy is on its way, and hopefully, that will solve all of these crash problems I’ve been seeing.]

    My wife picked up Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for me as kind of a late birthday present. (THANKS HONEY! YOU ARE THE BESTEST!)

    I played it for quite a while as my wife watched. I then took a break to watch the bonus DVD and read the background book that came with the Collector’s Edition, while my wife spent a good bulk of that time creating a character and trying to get through the tutorial in one piece.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Useful Tweaks for Oblivion on Nvidia hardware

    Posted on March 23rd, 2006 Finster No comments

    Someone pointed me to this thread on the official Oblivion forums.

    As opposed to MOST tweaks, people are showing REAL framerate increases from adjusting these settings.

  • First, Standard HDD’s…

    Posted on March 23rd, 2006 Finster No comments

    Now, this?!?!

    During his keynote at GDC, titled “PlayStation 3: Beyond the Box”, SCE President Phil Harrison talked about the advantages of using Blu-ray Disc and pointed out that a dual layer Blu-Ray disc (50GB) has enough capacity to store all localized versions of a game. But this comment never led to suggest what was would be announced next.

    Following its keynote, Harrison revealed in a Q&A session with our PS3 channel that the PlayStation 3 will be region free for gaming. Due to the restrictions imposed by the AACS LA, movie playback will still be region locked like current DVDs but that won’t apply to PS3 titles.

    This announcement came as a total surprise and definitely something you won’t expect from Sony.


    There seems to be SOMEONE deep inside the bowels of Sony (or at least in their marketing dept.) that actually HAS A STINKING CLUE.

    So, let’s get this straight: The PS3 is going to have a standard 60GB hard drive (possibly loaded with linux if we dare trust Ken Kutaragi) and will be region-free with respect to gaming.

    Is it me, or is Sony releasing pre-modded versions of their next console?

  • So, I stopped by…

    Posted on March 21st, 2006 Finster No comments

    There are a bunch of games I’d rather play right now than World of Warcraft. Oblivion is on its way. Dragon Quest VIII is here… although my wife’s marathon runs of Stargate SG-1 have taken over the TV as of late, which I’m fine with. I dunno, I just don’t want WoW taking up time from other games I want to play and other books I want to read.

    So, I hopped over to to cancel my subscription. Hrm, must be patch day, because the site won’t come up at all. Oh please, may I download the patch so that my interface can be completely ruined again? Oh boy! And maybe this time they’ll through in some extra bugs like they did the LAST time there was a major patch.

    I guess I’m tired of putting up with crap from a game that I pump money into every month. And now the website is down? Why would I have faith in a company’s ability to run a game server, when they can’t even bother to keep their web server robust enough to handle patch day traffic. It’s not like anyone can actually download the patch from the website. I mean, come ON!

    There there, sugar. You know it’s been a great ride, WoW, but I feel like we’re just going in different directions. Look, I know you’ve been trying to change, baby. But, the priest class has never really been my thang. Hey now, I’ll be back. For sure. I just need a few months away. I need some space.

    So long, WoW, and thanks for all the fish that didn’t raise my fishing skill!

  • Microsoft Handheld news: Delicious or Cheap Advertising?

    Posted on March 20th, 2006 Finster No comments

    This guy named Dean Takahashi, who is releasing some book or something, has announced that Microsoft will be building a handheld Gameboy\PSP\iPod conglomera-tron that will play games, music, and video.

    Rumors about this have been going around for quite a while, now, but this is the first time that there has been a “real” source. Of course, I use the term “real” loosely, here.

    It would seem that Dean Takahashi’s book about the Xbox 360 will be coming out in a few months. And I’m sure having his name attached to the first real evidence of a Microsoft handheld will serve him and his projected book sales well. I guess his book is about the Xbox 360 and that in his book, said console may or may not have its cloaking device deactivated. Perhaps the Romulans have become unruly.

    I was going to post a link to his book, but I have decided not to. I don’t look favorably upon marketing stunts (with the exception of I Love Bees) and Dean Takahashi can take his shenanigans somewhere else, no matter how true they may be. On the other hand, this could be an attempt by someone who has been inside the gleaming walls of Microsoft’s inner sanctum and come back with juicy insights into the so-called “Future Of Gaming”.

    Okay fine, here’s Dean Takahashi’s book titled, The Xbox 360 Uncloaked: The Real Story Behind Microsoft’s Next-Generation Video Game Console. Can we maybe go with a shorter title, Dean?

    I wonder if Dean Takahashi signed an NDA? Heh, I can’t imagine that he did, as that would be really stupid to sign an NDA and then start spouting off like this.

    Oh, and supposedly J “Puffy” Allard will be heading up MS’s handheld team. Heh. Can’t wait to see how he dresses for the premiere.

  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion rumored to be “released” today

    Posted on March 20th, 2006 Finster No comments

    Yeah. Oblivion is supposedly “out”. Now begins the endless calling of video game stores, only to have them tell me that it isn’t out yet.

    “But today is the release date!”
    “We’ll have it tomorrow!”
    “But the company said it’s released today!”
    “It’s not in stores, yet!”
    “But but but…”



    Posted on March 19th, 2006 Finster No comments

    Kutaragi Watch

    Okay. Let’s clear the air a little bit.

    I’ve been known to bag on Sony from time to time. Okay, I do it all the time. But when Microsoft refuses to offer as standard what is (in my opinion) THE necessary console accessory, and then I see word that Sony will be offering HDD’s as standard. Will they be pre-loaded with Linux, as Kutaragi stated in the past? If so…