Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Straight out of the box

Ok... ok, yeah I did it. I went out and blew way to much cash on my video game vice and I just want to throw out my two cents on the battle of the video game giants.

My Story,

A couple of months ago I decided to trade in my Xbox and PS2 toward a new Xbox 360, because they were having a great deal on trade-ins, $80 for the old Xbox, but only $45 for the PS2. So I loaded everything up and hauled it to the closest EB Games and got $250 for my two systems, controllers, and memory. Not to bad of a deal and it helped a lot with the $499.99 price tag, plus the system came with an extended warranty, a 10% discount and the Game Ghost Recon. That was a nice bonus.

Well this past weekend, my wife was away... it was me, my daughters and my friend Phil, so I was pretty much surrounded by bad influences, with no voice of reason. So I bought a $600.00 Playstation 3, an extra controller, and the game Resistance: Fall of man.

So here comes my take on the two systems and my empty wallet.
(note: both systems are hooked into our home theater and projected by an Optoma HD72 projector on a screen at 9' x 5' with 5.1 surround sound.)

Here are my scores for the two machines from (1-10) 10 being the best, for those who don't want to read my video game auto-biography below.

Xbox 360 - 9 All around solid system
  • Controller 10 perfect wireless controllers, rumble, great layout, connect easy and stay connected
  • Games 7 Too few great games for a system that has been out for almost a year
  • Network 8 Xbox live, Xbox Arcade, good content, media options, downside monthly fee, Wireless network not included
  • Graphics 10 Component connection, graphics on HD TV beautiful, could use more games that make use of the quality.
  • Sound 10 5.1 Surround is perfect
Biggest Flaws - Not fully backwards compatible with old Xbox games. Does not utilize HD-DVD or Blueray for true HD Graphics, component quality is the best possible. Needs a bigger array of quality games and the 360 system seems to become bogged down in heavy action sequences. Tiny 20GB hard drive on a machine that pushes it's network and downloadable content? It's like owning a Walmart store and making everyone put their purchases in one 5"x5"x"5 bag. Not well thought out, other than a marketing scam to sell a larger hard drive to gamers in the future.
Best Features - Rock solid controllers, Xbox Live, component cables included, mic included

PS3 "Playstation 3" - 8
Amazing system with a few big flaws

  • Controller 8 no rumble, connects easy, but randomly loses connection during game play, have not yet come across a game that utilizes the motion sensing, controller is super light, which sadly makes it feel cheap
  • Games 10 Few games, but it's to early to really complain, Games that are out are a lot of fun
  • Network 8 network lacks much content and is not the most friendly interface ever made, inputing names or numbers is horrendous on the virtual cell phone style keypad... buy a keyboard, it will be worth every penny, upside no monthly fee for online play, before being able to use the network a huge update was required that took a 1/2 hour to download, after that it ran smoothly, big bonus built in wireless network card
  • Graphics 5 A major disappointment, the system only comes with RCA cables and no component or HDMI cables.
  • Sound 10 5.1 Surround is perfect with optical cable, bought separately
  • Compatibility 9 Only a handful games seem to be having trouble, none of the ones I own, no where near the trouble the 360 has.

Biggest Flaws - Controllers lose connection, Graphics are major disappointment, the system only comes with RCA cables and no
component, it has HDMI output but no HDMI cable right out of the box.
For a system that's entire reason for being is the Blueray HD output, this is
a huge failure. When hooked up right out of the box the graphics looked
miserable next to the Xbox 360. I have no doubt when attached to the
projector with HDMI it will be amazing, but my HDMI cables will not
arrive for 4 days. I'll let you know how it looks after this addition. I'm
guessing I'll have to raise the score to a 9 in the future, deducting a
point for putting me through a week of fuzzy graphics after I just
spent nearly $800 on their system.
Best Features - Blueray, Graphics
when in HD, HDMI port, Controllers charge when plugged into USB ports
no need for AA, no lag in graphics while playing no matter the amount
of action, built in wireless, ports for standard memory cards,
peripherals hook up easy, can kill an intruder with the PS3 by throwing it at

Here's the run down:

The Xbox 360 straight out of the box is a really great system, over all. The 360 hooked up easy enough, and came with component cables included for a great looking image at high definition 720p. (note: 480 is normal tv resolution, 720 is HD, 1080 is top of the line HD, like blueray)

The 360 also offered optical hook-up for amazing surround sound, all though the optical cable itself, must be purchased separately, about $20.

Once the 360 was up and running it took a little while to get used to the dash board setup, basically it's the operating system for the 360, but after a 1/2 hour it's very easy to manage. I had to purchase a wireless network adapter for the 360 to work with my Apple Airport wireless network. Once the adapter was added it took a while to get the 360 to access the network. It would see it, but it wouldn't function with the WEP security system and after checking the net I found that a lot of mac users were having this problem, (Microsoft - go figure...). The only answer to this glitch was to turn the security off when using Xbox Live. I tried this and it worked perfect. It leaves a huge hole in your network's security and I'm sure hackers are parking outside my door as we speak, so hopefully Microsoft will address this. I let you know if I find anything out. Xbox Live is great. It's easy to use and the amount of content available for the 360 at this early date is truly impressive. The best part of all is the Xbox Live Arcade. You can purchase games like Ms. Pacman, Dig Dug, Joust, and many others and download them directly to your 360. It's great. One of the best features of Xbox Live other than the online gaming.

The first game I played on the system was Gears of War. Incredible. Just a really great game. Beautiful graphics with the component hook-ups, with fun and challenging game play, it's a must have. There are still quite a bit of load times on the 360 and I noticed in heavy action sequences that the system would become jerky and on occasion will freeze, which will send any gamer into a tantrum. I'm not sure if this is a game issue or a system issue, but it was very disappointing. Also you will want to take very good care of your discs, the 360 seems very touchy about dirt or scratches and games will shut down in the middle of play with a warning on the screen that the disc is dirty, requiring you restart your 360. Let the tantrum begin again.

The PS3 right out of the box is a let down, it doesn't come with any type of high quality connection even though that is the whole point of the machine? It only has RCA cables and they produce a horrible image.You can tell the graphics should be amazing, but it's like your playing while wearing someone Else's glasses. Just a horrible disappointment, for a machine that brags HD Blueray. Luckily it comes with a HDMI port on the back, so you just need to pick up a HDMI cable to fix this problem. I would suggest My Cable Mart on the net. Their prices are rock bottom and you can get a 6' HDMI cable for $8.16 compared to the same cable at Best Buy for $100.00. I ordered two 10 footers and with shipping it was just over $30.00.

Once you get past this blunder you'll realize that the Sony people are sadists. The virtual cell phone style keyboard for inputing your Name and information is a nightmare to deal with. Just god awful. You are supposed to be able to connect any standard usb keyboard to the PS3 with no problem. Do this!... You'll thank me. I would have tried this, but my daughters were sleeping and I wasn't gonna chance the loss of game time by accidentally waking them up while they were napping to get it from my office next to their rooms. I wish I would have chanced it.

The network is awesome with built in card for wireless networks it was a huge improvement over the need to purchase a $100 attachment for 360. The system required one huge system update for the network to work fully and have access to the store and online gaming. Took about a 1/2 hour to download.

Once you get past all the set up you realize the controllers have no rumble packs any more, which make the controllers so light they feel cheap, but you get use to it, until you hold an xbox controller again. The controllers also had the habit of losing their connection to the PS3, which left you sitting as a dead duck in the game or running wildly out of control. Very irritating, but this was before the update, so hopefully it has been corrected.

Ok so finally on to the game playing, once you get past the low quality 480 image from the RCA jacks, the game play is awesome. The PS3 never bogs down and the detail of movement and graphics is just unbelievable and is what truly saves sonys bacon, because it is the one thing that they did right. The PS3 is a beast, and I can only imaging what software manufactures will do when they get a real handle on what they got.

Over all, even with all my complaining, I love both systems a lot and really after a few cables, it really all comes down to the games... come on Halo 3 and GTA.

Well that's it, give yer eyes a rest.



Friday, January 26, 2007

NEW and IMPROVED!... Well easier to maintain, anyways.

Yes, I finally broke down and did it, I fixed my screwed up website and added some more of my illustrations to the portfolio.

The entire site has better navigation now and the opening page has become my blog, so adding all the things that I feel are important and you all, think good gravy this is lame?... will be easier.

As you may have also noticed the Gimmick blog has been slow to update since Christmas... I blame this on Kevin for being a lazy bastage and not staying on top of things... ha
Actually we were hoping to launch the new BIG Gimmick art blog, but schedules got tight and things fell by the way side, but fear not Gimmick readers we hope to move ahead soon with our next Big Gimmick.

Also for fans of Zeak Yolkum™, "yes you the one guy in the back... no not you... You. yep... Oh yer not a fan? Just bored ya say?... oh, ok..."

Well to that one fan I have out there, "Mom you know who you are", I will be putting the next addition of Yolkum up soon. I again blame Kevin for why this isn't done, even though he has nothing to do with Zeak Yolkum™ other than to point out the fact that he has my banana faced chin... That hurts Kevin.

So to wrap it up, come visit my new site www.joshuajanes.com and if you like my ramblings, subscribe to my blog while yer there.

Later every one,