Genetically Superior

Why PC Gaming is dying by Kevin
July 21, 2008, 12:57 am
Filed under: Technology, Written by Kevin | Tags: , ,

I used to swear that the PC was the only real gaming platform. Throughout high school I didn’t understand why I would spend money on something that only played games, my computer could do everything I wanted it to do. There really isn’t any reason PC gaming should be dying the way it is, considering theres a capable PC in almost every American home, a better install rate than any of the consoles can even come close to. The technology for PC gaming is also improving at an incredible rate, allowing for absolutely stunning graphics as seen in games like Crysis. So why are developers moving over to consoles in droves?

Piracy is definitely one of the most significant problems the developers face. I enjoyed playing video games on my PC, but I never enjoyed paying anything for anything. Piracy was pretty easy a couple years ago, but its even easier now. With the growing popularity of Bittorrent, the developers are fighting a formidable foe. As much as they try using DRM and copy protection, this mostly just frusterates the hell out of the paying consumers.  This is another story of an industry failing to adapt to a new environment. Combating piracy can be observed by looking at a few developers that are still very successful in the PC market. World of Warcraft is by far the most financially successful game of all time in my opinion. I don’t really understand why, but its hard to argue with 10 million paying subscribers still playing after almost four years. Also one can look at games from Valve having been very successful. I always thought Steam was a little annoying but it never stopped me from buying and playing its games. Steam represents a simple unobtrusive solution to the piracy problem. I don’t have any ideas on how to solve the piracy problem, but thats not my job.

I converted to Xbox 360 my senior year of high school and have since spent hundreds of dollars on additional games and accessories, more than I ever spent on PC gaming. This is mostly the result of paying for games on a regular basis. But I had very little problem dropping sixty bucks for a game that would give me twenty plus hours of entertainment. PC gaming has lost the excitement it used to have, with a few exceptions, there aren’t any exciting games on the PC that aren’t on the consoles. There aren’t any upcoming games that have produced the hype and excitement of games like Halo 3 or GTA IV (maybe with the exception of WoW expansions).

Console gaming also provides a seamless experience the PC has yet to perfect. All the games have the same box, and all of them will run flawlessly on my system without worry. While Microsoft tried this with the Games for Windows platform, standardizing box design, etc. I don’t think its worked the way they hoped it would. Games are still plagued with being very unstable at release, which is one reason I began to be turned off by PC gaming. Its hard to blame developers for this, developing for one console is relatively easily compared to developing for thousands of combinations of hardware configurations. I think this issue falls mostly on hardware manufacturers lacking standards that would make things easier for developers.

But its difficult to imagine that PC gaming has a bright future, as consoles begin to replace computers for music, movies, and the internet. With the growth of Xbox Live as a content delivery system, iTunes should be worried, especially with their new partnership with Netflix. I can’t imagine PC’s existing in the way they do now 10-15 years down the line, with powerful devices such as the iPhone and similar devices bringing the internet to people in a whole new way, and consoles bringing new forms of media delivery to the living room.

Its clear to me PC game developers have a long battle to fight, I wish them luck, but for now I’m gonna go pwn some noobs at Halo.


Thanks Al Gore, you’re super awesome. by Kevin
July 19, 2008, 7:24 pm
Filed under: Politics, Written by Kevin | Tags: , , , , ,

This may represent the first of many politically-charged posts, but this one probably won’t be as batshit crazy as future ones. I consider myself a strict environmentalist and conservationist, but I think many people have yet to recognize the reality of the challenges we face as a global community.

Al Gore announced on Thursday a goal to make the entire U.S. carbon neutral within ten years. All I have to say is: Good Luck, because he is going to need an enormous amount of it. This is one of the most lofty goals I’ve heard from a politician of his status. He relates this goal to JFK’s decision to be on the moon within a decade, but I really don’t see any similarities. While going to the moon was certainly a lofty goal, JFK increased NASA’s funding immensely and the country was behind him. This is not the case for Mr. Gore. There’s no money while our currency plunges, two wars and a global empire put us farther into debt, and an incompetent government continues to approve unbalanced budgets. There is also a significant lack in support for this cause, as many still approach global warming as a “theory.”

In order to accomplish a goal like this, we would need to replace most if not all the energy created by coal power plants in the U.S. with renewable sources. Once again, good luck Mr. Gore. The amount of solar and wind energy in this country has yet to break 10% of overall energy produced, it would need to grow 500% or more to displace the energy currently generated from coal-burning plants. Although I believe the technology to make solar cheaper than coal will arrive within 5 years, building an infrastructure to support it will take much longer. It is also insane to expect transit in the U.S. to shift enough to make us carbon-neutral. Driving is part of American culture, and although recent gas prices have led to significantly less driving, I think driving will remain a big part of most American lives. Even if we all drive hybrids (which are actually more harmful to the environment than most would expect, but thats another day) and use public transit (which is lacking in most U.S. cities) we still won’t be able to make this country’s roads carbon neutral.

I do hope that one day the United States will be carbon-neutral, have an economy based on renewable sources, everyone will eat organic food, and we won’t need a military because everyone loves each other. But these expectations will never amount to reality. Global warming is definitely one of the top issues humanity as a whole needs to address, and the United States should have an influential role; but lofty goals like this are doomed to fail.

While Al Gore has done great things for this country, including inventing the internet (lulz.), if he honestly thinks this is a realistic goal, he is sillier than we all thought.

Dimensionally Dim-witted by Tony
July 19, 2008, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Technology, Written by Tony | Tags: , , , ,

So Dreamworks wants to make us start watching all of its animated movies in 3D. And I really can’t think of a worse idea. For decades movie studios have been trying to get audiences to embrace this “new” dimension of movie reality, and it’s never caught on. It’s not because people don’t like seeing things in 3D, but rather the fact that we already do.

Think back to the last time you saw a movie in 3D. It could have been an IMAX film or the Honey I Shrunk the Audience attraction at DisneyWorld. Stuff jumped out at you, maybe convinced you giant snakes were slithering off of the screen. But remember how fuzzy the images were? How funny it felt to walk around afterward, after your eyes had adjusted to the abnormal and dizzying focus?

3D is a bit like virtual reality (which, like the flying car, is lying in the future’s never-to-be bin) in that it is a better idea in prototype than it is in production.

We’re ok seeing images on a two-dimensional screen. Dreamworks ought to be reminded that our brains are well-equipped to interpret perspective. We know that the larger an object is, the closer we are to it. If they really want to put asses in seats, maybe Dreamworks ought to focus on creating the kind of quality cinema their adversaries over at Pixar are putting out.

The notion of having to wear special glasses through the next Shrek installment (if its official title is Shrek 3D, I’ll kill a newborn) isn’t something that will convince me to line up early and see it on opening weekend. But the promise of a film with fantastical detail and an immersive story line (praise: WALL-E) is something that would.

The [K]night is Always Darkest Just Before Dawn by Tony
July 19, 2008, 1:10 am
Filed under: Movie Reviews, Written by Tony

Yeah, I did it; I went and saw the Dark Knight again. After catching the midnight premiere last night, a friend of mine asked me to go this afternoon and I, of course, obliged.

I’m pleased to announce the movie is just as good the second time around. I’ll try to avoid repeating what Kevin has already said about the Dark Knight.

But really, this movie is an instant classic. I was skeptical of the hype (my roommate has been telling me for weeks that this was going to be the best film of the summer) but I fully agree. I expected the action scenes to be too explosive—artificial in their excess like so many others in the genre.

Maybe it’s the Chicago setting, or maybe it’s just the fact that every fight scene is a plausible scenario. Batman is no Jason Bourne when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but he gets the job done—and never once lifts a gun. Sure, he has gadgets, but they’re cooler (yet somehow more realistic) than James Bond’s. But I think what’s best about his character, unlike other superheroes, is the notion that he has his limits; it’s an idea that’s wound into the plot throughout the film. He’s only as invincible as a teenager with a few 40s under his belt.

And then there’s the Joker. Call me insensitive, but I never understood what all of the hoopla about Heath Ledger was. Perhaps I’m just too distant from Hollywood for it to really hit home for me. What I do know is his performance rivals Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood) and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) in my category of favorite role as a heartless villain. What gives the Joker depth however is his rage: it’s not entirely senseless. You know he’s hiding a brutal past of abuse and psychological disorder behind his caked and cracking face paint. At times you truly feel sorry for him, before tension turns on a dime and you’re cringing in fear of his next move.

I could go on and on and on. But the most I can say is to see it for yourself. It will frighten you, delight you, and make you laugh. It’s everything a comic book movie ought to be: explosive, dark, scary, introspective, inspiring, and buoyant. It does tension better than the Saw series, gadgets and action better than 007, and totally beats Spiderman in superheroics. Just don’t forget to close your jaw the first time it drops, or it’ll stay open for the whole movie.

by Kevin
July 18, 2008, 9:04 am
Filed under: Movie Reviews, Written by Kevin

As much as I realize posts like this are going to be a dime a dozen in the next 24 hours, I can’t allow myself to not talk about this. As you probably already realize, I’m talking of course about The Dark Knight, normally I would be tempted to summarize and give a brief description, but fuck that, and don’t worry, no spoilers.

Going into this movie, my expectations were sky high, and I honestly didn’t expect them to be met; as I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to movies like this. But I can honestly say this movie blew me away, and I left the theatre feeling completely satisfied. This movie is definitely among the best movies I have ever seen, I had no idea a movie of this genre could deliver on that level, but it did.

First off, the movie itself was gorgeous, every scene was shot beautifully. I really enjoyed the lack of CGI, I think that made the movie so much more believable. Watching the action sequences from The Dark Knight in comparison to something like Wanted, and its an easy choice to make. The plot was flawless, I was nervous that it might be predictable, much like other superhero/comic book/action/whatever movies are, but it wasn’t. I thought the movie was long, but that wasn’t a negative because I absolutely loved every minute. The acting was spectacular, every role was well casted and extremely well done. I am convinced that Heath Ledger should get an Oscar nod, not just because of his untimely passing but because he really deserves it.

I’m so happy a movie like this was made, because its going to make an obscene amount of money. I hope this will show Hollywood what a movie can be if you invest the money and the right people. Hats off to everyone involved in production of this film because its absolutely incredible.

I know this is poorly written, and I don’t intend on proof reading, but its three in the morning and I’m still collecting my thoughts, so whatever.

Go see the movie.

All Systems Go by Tony
July 17, 2008, 2:10 am
Filed under: Written by Tony

And as for me (I was always taught never to start a sentence with “and” but I’m doing it anyway) I’m also relatively new to the blog scene. I’ve read many, loved few, and criticized many for their poor syntax.

But I promise you, reader, that with your loyal visits, you’ll be graced with proper English, genuine thought, and shameless discussion. We’ll bare all in the name of, well, ourselves and our merciless pursuit of fame.

Put your mouth guard in, we’re blasting off.

Numero Uno by Kevin
July 16, 2008, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, Written by Kevin

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Kevin and I will soon be a sophomore mechanical engineering student at Colorado State University. Also, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing as far as this blog goes. While I spend a significant amount of time on the internet, I’ve never really read or been interested in reading personal blogs, but whatever, this should be an excellent medium for me to bitch about things that piss me off. I’ll also be writing about anything else that catches my fancy: electronics, gaming, politics, movies, TV, etc. Oh, and as you can see I suck at writing and have no business putting my musings onto the internets.

Dammit Tony.