Category Archives: PlayStation 3

LEGO Lord of the Rings The Video Game Announced

Back in December, when LEGO announced that they would be doing Lord of the Rings based kits, my first thought was, “And a LEGO video game as well, right?”

LEGO Kits Coming Summer 2012

Well, now I have my wish.  Traveller’s Tales, LEGO, Warner, and a series of other companies involved in the whole thing have announced LEGO Lord of the Rings The Video Game!

A LEGO Fantasy!

There is also a video… ahead of which YouTube has placed a 30 second ad.  They know what people want I suppose.

Direct link to the video here.

Now all that is missing is a date.  I did not see one anywhere.  Maybe it will be something for the Christmas wish list.

Six Months of the PlayStation 3

It is shaping up to be Sony week here.  First MMOs, now consoles.

Six month ago we purchased a PlayStation 3 for our home.

Just in case you wanted to see a box

And I haven’t said much about it since, except to note that the whole PlayStation Network got hacked just days after I bought the thing.  Talk about timing.  I didn’t even have time to enter my credit card before the whole thing was down.

I guess that was good timing in a way.

Anyway, while I have not mentioned our PlayStation 3, I also haven’t tried to return the unit or attempted to chuck it out a window in a fit of rage.  It has become integrated into our TV-centric entertainment center.

We bought the unit with three purposes in mind, to play Blu-ray discs, to stream NetFlix, and to play games.

Playing Blu-ray Discs

From what I have read and heard from friends, Blu-ray seems to be at about the point that DVDs were in around 2000, where in general any Blu-ray disc will work in any given Blu-ray player, but disc authors have discovered some features in the format that not all players respond well to.  I recall Disney DVDs causing problems with our old DVD player, something that went away with its replacement.  As they were both Bose units, clearly the hardware people eventually caught up with what the disc authors were doing.

So I expected to run into a bit of this sort of thing with the PlayStation 3.

As it turns out though, the issue has not really come up.  I suspect that the unit being on the internet and getting regular updates has fixed most of the problems that early units probably encountered.  The joy of online updates.

Anyway, as a Blu-ray player, the PlayStation 3 is fine.  We have not had any problems playing any discs.

To facilitate Blu-ray play, at Potshot’s suggestion, I also purchased the Blu-ray remote for the unit, which has all the functions on it you would find on a standard DVD/Blu-ray player remote.  It works well and, being Blue Tooth, it does not even require line-of-sight to the unit in order to function.

That last bit, while nice, has also lead to an issue now and again.

The buttons seem very sensitive and I, my daughter, and the cats have all brushed the remote from time to time only to have it interrupt the movie in progress in some way, even when the remote is tucked away behind something.  I am also a bit confused as to why the STOP button on the remote dumps you out of playback and directly to the PlayStation 3 menu system.  But then I am not sure exactly what the button should do, but that would be low on my list.

All in all, the unit makes a good, if somewhat expensive, Blu-ray player.

Streaming Netflix

This was a specific requirement of ours that has since fallen by the wayside.

The unit does indeed stream Netflix very well.  It was quick to set up.  I was streaming Netflix in under an hour after first opening the box.  Connected only by WiFi, the unit was able to stream HD video without interruption.  There was only one movie with which we had problems, and it appeared to be a problem with that movie in particular.

So, the PlayStation 3 was good at streaming, we just ran out of things we wanted to watch on Netflix streaming.  And while there are other streaming choices, I have not really been motivated to explore them as there seems to be a universal “not as good as Netflix” aura around the lot of them when it comes to technical performance.

I have looked into the PlayStation Store.  They rent and sell movies there.  A movie rental in standard definition is three dollars, and high definition is five dollars or so, which probably isn’t a bad price.  I am just not programmed to see individual rentals like that as a good deal any more.  Blame Netflix and its “all you can watch” subscription.

I can’t bring myself to use pay-per-view with DirecTV for the same reason.

I might actually be interested in television episodes, since you can get those in HD, while we’re still watching TV in SD, but those seem to go for about 3 bucks a pop as well.  I’d like to see Burn Notice in HD, but a whole season via the PlayStation Store costs about as much as it would to buy the same thing on Blu-ray.

So, overall, this was something the PlayStation 3 was good at.  It is just something for which we stopped having a use.

Playing Games

So here is where one of life’s little ironic twists shows up.

We have had a Wii for a few years, and one of my big complaints about the Wii has been the controllers.  Sure, they are innovative.  The problem is that most of the games we own could be played just as well, if not better, on a standard game controller.

And the PlayStation 3 certainly has a standard game controller.  I think it is pretty much the same as the PlayStation 2 controller, isn’t it?

Anyway, to prove this out, one of the first games I bought was LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga.  It is an excellent game.  We have it on the Wii.  It is one of my prime examples of not really taking advantage of the Wii remote.

We loaded it up.  It looks beautiful in high definition.  Animation is silky smooth.  And I find it much harder to play on the PlayStation 3 than on the Wii.

This is likely one of those “just me” things, but I haven’t had a game console with a standard controller since the Sega Genesis in 1992.  I have not developed the muscle structure to hold my hands together in front of me in the “gamer grip” on the controller, which is required with the PlayStation 3.

Instead, I have muscles built up from something like 35 years of typing and 25 years of mouse and keyboard computer usage.  And it turns out that at least the latter trains you to keep your hands somewhat apart and makes them capable of independent action, just the way the Wii remote and Nunchuck attachment do.

I’ve been ergonomically trained for the last quarter century to use a Wii controller configuration.  Who knew?

So I can play LEGO Star Wars and the like for hours on the Wii, but I start to cramp up on the PlayStation 3 in 30 minutes or less.  Life turns my assumptions on their ass yet again.

And the PlayStation 3 doesn’t solve one of the problems I was hoping it would.  In the LEGO games, they solve the screen tug-of-war created by two players going in the opposite direction by introducing a split screen mode with LEGO Indiana Jones 2.

On the Wii I found this feature distracting and disorienting to the point of making me a little nauseous at times.  I figured there must be some flicker involved, ala the Atari 2600 back in the day with too many objects on screen, along with the old tube TV causing this to be an issue with me.

And then we got LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (beautiful game in HD, and a lot better than the 4th movie frankly!) for the PlayStation 3 and… the whole split screen was just as bad.  It turns out to be just me.  Again.  Ah well.

All of which is not to say that the PlayStation 3 is a failure for gaming at our house, though the Wii still gets at least as much usage as the Sony box, and we have not invested in many games yet.

The most played game PlayStation 3 game we have has to be Little Big Planet.

This game annoys my daughter no end… when I play with her.

Left to herself, she loves the game, and I must admit it has a lot of charm.  I just suck at platform games.  I always have.  And it just so happens that my daughter’s favorite games are platformers, with LBP on the PlayStation 3 and Super Mario Bros. on the Wii getting most of her attention.  And in both, I am the main problem she has with the game.

Overall Impression

The Sony PlayStation 3 is a fine piece of hardware.  The only problems I have had have been related to Sony itself, first with the PlayStation Network down time and then their annoying EULA tricks.

The only real issue I have with the system is that I do not really use it to its fullest… or anywhere close to it.  We play LEGO games and a 3 year old classic on it and watch Blu-ray discs.

I just haven’t found the killer app for the system.

The New Games From SOE

I think we are seeing the continued evolution of Sony Online Entertainment as its PlayStation masters at Sony Computer Entertainment continue to mold SOE in their own image.

SOE has two new titles out this month that did not make the MMO news… because they are not MMOs… or even Facebook games.

We have Payday: The Heist.

Payday: The Heist

And Rochard.

Rochard - The Bad Pun

The links for each are to the reviews at Ars Technica because… that seemed to be the best source of information.

I am actually a bit surprised that Payday: The Heist is on the PC as well as the PlayStation 3.

But clearly SOE has commitments to meet for their console gaming masters.  Not that SOE hasn’t done non-MMO games before, but they have been pretty rare.  So to get two new ones in a single month seems like a clear change in focus somewhere.

Do you think this means PlayStation ports for PlanetSide 2 and EverQuest Next?  Does SOE’s new Forge Light engine, which will power these two titles, have cross platform capabilities?

Do You Feel That Sony Has “Made Good?”

I started out a while back on a long post about the Sony “Make Good” program detailing all of the various things they put out for people to apologize for their down time all to ask the basic question up there in the title.  Has Sony made good by you?

Remember that PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment down time?

But I decided to wait until Sony was fully back online, even in Japan, which took quite a while.  Then I was distracted by other things.  And then we stopped playing EQII, which took Sony off my mental radar to a certain extent.

And now here we are in August.

All of the big service impacting events happened from mid-April to mid-May.

So I thought it might be a good time to do a hindsight poll and to keep things simple while I was at it.

That is a very simple poll.

I started off with a snarky, 17 answer version of the poll, with all sorts of shades of gray, but then decided to streamline things.

Basically, Sony gave various groups some small things to say they were sorry.  Did that make a difference?

If you cannot remember what you got, I am going to say that the answer for you is probably “maybe” at best.

Likewise, if you know exactly what you got, and even liked what you got, yet you still feel uncomfortable now with Sony having your personal information, I would think you would have a difficult time justifying a “yes” answer.

On the other hand, if you liked your bennies and have gone back to life as normal with whatever SOE game you play, then I think “yes” is probably the right answer.

So what do you think?  Did Sony’s plan make you happy?

I would also like to know if anybody took advantage of the identity protection service offer that Sony made available to all of its affected customers.

My bet would be that almost nobody signed up for that and that it turned out to be an extremely cheap token for Sony to offer.

You can fill in you exact shade of gray on the subject in the comments or as an “other” selection in the poll itself.

June in Review

The Site

I passed the 2,000 post mark earlier this month.  That is more than one post a day since I started, though size and quality vary greatly among posts.  I will have to find some way to see how many total words I’ve written.

This month also saw the breaking of the daily page view record for the site yet again.  This time around somebody linked a rather old post on Reddit.  Reddit is a new experience for me, I’ve never used it and have never before been linked there.  The traffic from the link broke the old record by about 10%.  The link also made Reddit the #1 referral source, doubling a month of VirginWorlds traffic in a single day.

The post in question is at the top of the list of most viewed posts for the month.  Yeah, that one.  A prognosticating octopus, cats playing patty cake, and now that.

This is the sort of thing I couldn’t make happen if I tried.

One Year Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?  They were to the Summer of 2010 what CCP is becoming to the Summer of 2011.

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened a couple times since and is barely news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through the Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.

Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following site for linking here.

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Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  3. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  4. EVE Introduces a New Currency – Aurum
  5. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  6. Monitize Your EVE Online App or Service… For a Fee…
  7. CCP – If The Players Won’t Create Drama, The Company Is Happy To Step In…
  8. The Slow Rise & Sudden Demise of LEGO Universe
  9. Trion – Those 600,000 Missing WoW Players, They Play Rift
  10. SOE Station Access Returns to 2004… And Then Some
  11. Star Wars Galaxies to Close in December
  12. And To Cap It Off, My Sentry Drones Barely Go *PEW* *PEW* At All

Most Common Search Terms of the Month

  1. world of warcraft
  2. how to catch zorua
  3. eve aurum
  4. how to catch zoroark
  5. guild names
  6. onyxia
  7. blood elf porn
  8. turbine points
  9. ancient gaming noob
  10. dire maul location
  11. guild name generator
  12. thorin

Notable Search Terms of the Month

draenei pokeball
[Will they fit?]

فار ابيض صغير

[More white mice]

10 most pressing world issues 2011
[This post is the first item returned for that search]

castle dollhouse plan
[Are they building something, or trying to produce a new TV series?]

eve online getting your bearings
[You can see exactly where you are if you jump off that cliff labelled “learning curve”]

what is the wilheim experience
[Sorry, this is the Wilhelm Arcturus Experience]

Spam Comments of the Month

You cannot post new topics in this forum…..You cannot reply to topics in this forum…..You cannot delete your posts in this forum…..You cannot edit your posts in this forum…..You cannot create polls in this forum…..You cannot vote in polls in this forum…

[And you cannot comment on this blog post.]

Most characters give little thought to their The guild names that make news such as Thott’s Everquest guild Afterlife Thott now runs the popular World of Warcraft site that bears his name are not the ones we remember for their names. Some guild names will make you smiles and other ones are just so cool that they deserve special recognition. Perhaps the ones that are most memorable are those that make a play on a band name.

[I think they were trying to make this look like a ping-back.  Linked to somebody’s Business Review site.  And they obviously have no idea how long Potshot and I spend thinking up guild names.]

wher exactly can I download pokemon black without paying?

[No idea wher, bro.]

EverQuest

Fippy Darkpaw is headed towards the next expansion, Scars of Velious.  Haven’t been back all month, but I keep meaning to visit.

EverQuest II Extended

This remains my main game for the time being.  Gaff and I have been on a lot and our guild is moving slowly towards level 40.  Getting the whole instance group to show up though… well… as I have said, there might be a reason we seem to have a hiatus every summer.

EVE Online

How to even summarize the last month of EVE?  My own experiences are so tiny in the backdrop of total forum war.

EVE is being hammered over a combo of bad turns.  There was the licensing fee for monetizing 3rd party apps which wasn’t really a bad thing, but was communicated so poorly… it was so vague that every negative “what if..” you could think of couldn’t be discounted… that it put the community in a bad mood.

Then came Incarna and the Noble Store and the new currency, which pissed some people off.  Then there was the pricing, which pissed off another segment.  Then there was the internal newsletter that talked about the possibility of selling things like special ammo and faction status, which really set a lot of people’s hair on fire.

And if that wasn’t enough to stir the pot, the rest of Incarna failed to impress a lot of people, me included.  Sure, the agent finder is good (though years late) and I want to try out the revised-yet-again new player experience.  But the Captain’s Quarters turned out to be amusing for a very short duration and turning it off to claim back the system resources it needed (or to make you system usable it you had an ATi video card) left you with the dreaded static station door picture.

Oh, and we got upgraded turret and beam graphics.  Mostly.  Don’t get me started on sentry drones again.

I cancelled my account 4 days into Incarna.  Not in rage over anything in particular, but because it brought nothing new to the table for me and actually made a few things worse.  I was not inspired to find something new to do in the game.

This who Incarna blow-up should make for an interesting “One Year Ago” post next June.  Now to see if CCP can fix it.  The CSM Incarna summit is even now going on.

Facebook

I started playing the new Zynga game Farms & Allies or whatever it is called.  It is clearly another step in the evolution of games that Zynga has stolen created, building on FarmVille, FrontierVille, CityVille, and the work of Charles Ponzi.

You still do not actually interact with anybody else in real time, but you can attack other players and NPCs while you build your empire.  In a few more generations Zynga might actually be making “real” games, whatever that means.

If you’re playing, send me an neighbor invite soon, since my track record with Zynga is to get fed up with repetitive nature of their games in a few weeks time and leave, turning off all possible access I can with Facebook. (Because otherwise Zynga will flood you with messages.)

On the flip side, I stopped playing SOE’s Dungeon Overlord because I hit a point, not very far into things, where the only way I could figure out to continue the game was to spend money, and I frankly didn’t like it enough to do that.

I might have spent some money if I could have used Station Cash from my main SOE account, but Dungeon Overlord only accepts Facebook credits, which I am told are the Deutsche Mark of the Beast.

Other PC Games

I bought Gratuitous Space Battles on a whim.  I had a discount code and it looked interesting.  I may not have given it enough of a chance, but the space battles seem to be more tedious than gratuitous.  You set up the battle, then you watch the battle.  But I found watching the battle to be a chore… and I’m not all that sold on the fun of setting up the battle.  And yet I find practically the same mechanism in a game like Combat Mission to be quite engrossing.

PlayStation 3

The PlayStation Store came back online at last and I was finally able to download my free games as part of the Sony “make good” program.  I guess I should consider myself lucky, as I understand the PlayStation Network still isn’t fully operational in Japan.  After consulting with my daughter, we went with:

  • Super Stardust HD – An update to the game Asteroids.  Bright, shiny, loud, but not especially deep or engaging.
  • Wipeout HD + Fury – Mario Kart in futuristic hovercraft racers.  Bright, shiny, loud, and with a techno beat sound track, but Mario Kart.  Okay, there are a few race modes that Mario does not have, but we’re talking evolution, not revolution.

I wouldn’t have paid money for either game.  My daughter and I have played a bit of both, favoring Wipeout for the most part.  She likes the music.  In the end though, she downloaded the demo for Fancy Pants Adventures and probably spent more time with that than we did with the two free titles.

But the PS3 still makes a fine machine for watching movies in Blu-Ray or streaming Netflix in HD.  I think we stream more Netflix with it than all other uses combined.

Coming Up

We will see how the summer hiatus season affects the instance group and whether we will stick with EQ2.

I still have time on my EVE account, so I would like to spend an evening going through the updated Incarna new player experience.  Maybe that plus the new agent finder will make the expansion worthwhile to new players… and CCP might need some new players if they don’t get things settled down.

Then there is Star Wars Galaxies.  I grabbed the client.  I have All Station Pacsess or whatever it is called this week, so I am already subscribed.  I told myself I am going to take some time to visit the game one last time.  But honestly, I only played post-NGE and only for a short time, so I’m not actually all that invested and don’t really have any places I feel I need to visit “one more time.”

I’ll probably end up just running the tutorial and taking some screen shots of C3P-0 and Han Solo.

May in Review

The Site

A lot of focus this month on the big Sony down time, prompted by the fact that, with a new PlayStation 3 and interest in playing EverQuest and EveQuest II, Sony had pretty much yanked the carpet out from under me and my gaming plans.

The counters in the side bar server their purpose, so I’ll take them down, though here they are for posterity.

My count seems to be at variance with some other counts.  And I suppose I should have a counter for the PlayStation Store, which is still down, but which Sony hopes to have up by this coming weekend. (But they had the same hope for last weekend.)

One Year Ago

I was unemployed, which you would think would leave me a lot more time for gaming and blogging.  But the anxiety of looking for a job for the first time in 12 years… and the first time in 20 years where there wasn’t just one out there waiting for me… made for a quiet gaming and blogging month.

Yes, I did start to poke my nose back into LOTRO.  A game where I didn’t have to pay a subscription seemed about right. (I have a lifetime subscription.)  That meant getting back into the swing of the game and figuring out what had changed.

We actually got THE DATE for the release of StarCraft II.  How did that turn out for everybody?  I skipped the whole thing.  Maybe when the StarCraft II warchest version comes out with all the expansions I’ll look into it.

The Agency came to Facebook, in the form of The Agency: Covert Ops.  A Mafia Wars-like game, without the multi-level marketing aspect, it had its good and its bad.  I liked the puzzles.  The dogs with guns… and the submarine fight… not so much.  Who knew that would be all of The Agency we would ever get?

Meanwhile SOE was transcending bad taste with their EQII PWNZ marketing campaign.

There was some Pokemon fun going.  I was twinking the Pokewalker while our cats worked against me.  The cats won in the end.

We also went to see the Pokemon Video Game Championships in our area.

And the instance group was wrapping up Dire Maul and Stratholme.  Then, having hit 60, we let the Dungeon Finder guide our way into the Outland.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following site for linking here.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in May

  1. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  2. Pokemon Secret Egg Event Coming to Toys R Us
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  5. SOE – Still Not Up, Mentions “Make Good Plan”
  6. Blizzard, Trion Worlds, and Obvious Juxtapositions
  7. WoW Subscriptions Drop! Who is benefiting?
  8. PSN Up By May31? We Didn’t Say That!
  9. SOE – Still Down, But “Make Good Plan” Details Released
  10. Roll a D6
  11. Sony – What Does Taking May Off Portend?
  12. No Rapture, Preacher “Flabbergasted”

Most Common Search Terms of the Month

  1. world of warcraft
  2. how to catch zorua
  3. how to catch zoroark
  4. tagn
  5. dire maul location
  6. pokemon secret egg
  7. ancient gaming noob
  8. blood elf porn
  9. guild names
  10. soe
  11. cremello steed
  12. soe still down

Given all of the other possible search results returned, I am not quite sure how people get here searching on “world of warcraft.”

Spam Comments of the Month

I have looked at many sites and have not come across one such as yours, which tells everyone everything they need to know. I have added you to my bookmarks. Can anyone suggest other related topics that I can search for to find out more information?
[If I am telling everyone everything they need to know, what other sites could you want?]

That is a super-peachy-keen post. Thanks for really blathering on like that! Seriously, I don’t think I could have spent more effort wishing for something heavy to fall on me to erase that nonsense from my mind!
[I’m not sure if this was compliment or criticism.  But it had an ad link in it, so it was clearly spam.]

Beaches and mojitos are the excellent combination to have a relaxing travel experience
[I really don’t like mojitos, no matter what Chuck Finley says.]

Where I Spent My Gaming Time

From Raptr, which just did a revamp of their site so now I can only see the top 4 games I played over the last month.  I hate when “improvements” reduce functionality.  Anyway, the percentage breakdown of the top 4.

  1. EverQuest II Extended – 70%
  2. Lord of the Rings Online – 16%
  3. World of Tanks – 9%
  4. Mind Jolt Warzone Tower Defense (Facebook) – 5%

And, as always, Raptr does not capture data for about half the things I play.

EverQuest

The Sony down time and our launch into EQ2 Extended conspired to keep us out of EverQuest in May.  Most of my amusement from the game in May came from the forum dedicated to the progression servers, when the forums were up at all.  The forums are pretty lightly used and seem to attract those with an axe to grind.

EverQuest II Extended

Despite being down for almost two weeks, EQ2X stayed at the top of my game time chart, though I suspect the fact that EQ2 doesn’t log you out might be inflating those numbers.  If I go have dinner and do the dishes, WoW or LOTRO will flag me inactive and log me out.  But EQ2 will still be there waiting for me.

The group is… sort of getting into the game.  When we are enthusiastic about a new game, we tend to play it outside of the Saturday night group play time frame.  With EQ2X, some of us are, and some of us are not.  When one of the group still spends most of his game time in World of Warcraft, that probably isn’t a vote of confidence for EQ2.

Lord of the Rings Online

During the down time I managed to pick up some momentum in LOTRO, allowing my hunter to escape the Trollshaws at last and head into Forochel.  That also put him a couple of levels closer to Moria, which I vow to see… some day.

World of Tanks

This is still fun.  After some diversions, I ended up climbing the German tech tree.  I currently drive a fully upgraded Luchs, which is a nicely placed tank in the line up.  I tend to either be the biggest tank in a match, in which case I can hunt aggressively, or the smallest tank, which means running around scouting for our artillery, hunting for the enemy artillery, and generally getting killed with one shot.

Other PC Games

Combat Mission – Battle for Normandy showed up last week.  It looks very good.  It still takes me a bit to adjust to the controls every time I launch it, and I need to take more care with line of sight, but it is very impressive.  The Combat Mission engine has come a long way in a decade.

PlayStation 3

We got LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.  It looks very good at 1080p and fits right into TT’s LEGO game mold.  Keen has a look at the game here.

But my daughter has been more enamored with Little Big Planet.  While I have never been one for platform jumping games, I can see the why it attracts.  It looks very good, and is quite whimsical.  And the player generated levels, which we can see now that the PlayStation Network is back up, are of surprisingly good quality.  But when my daughter asks for help with a level, I have to shake my head.  She is better at “jump grab swing let go jump grab” than I have ever been.

And, eventually, the PlayStation Store will be back online and PS3 owners will be able to download 2 free games as part of the great Sony apology plan.   The list of choices is rather small though.

  • Dead Nation
  • inFAMOUS
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Super Stardust HD
  • Wipeout HD + Fury

Since we already have Little Big Planet, I am leaning towards Wipeout HD and Super Stardust HD.

Coming Up

Mostly questions.  Will the instance group stick with EverQuest II Extended?  Will Potshot and I get back to the EverQuest progression server?  And, of course, when will the PlayStation Store come back online?

SOE – Still Not Up, Mentions “Make Good Plan”

From the SOE Facebook page (and Twitter feeds)

All SOE games and sites are still offline as of May 11th and will not return today. Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we diligently work on these issues. More information on SOE’s “Make Good” plan to come!

That had better be a hell of a plan. [Plan Details Here]

Addendum; The team at EQ2 Wire has summed up where things stand and how short of real information we really are.

PlayStation Network – Hacked Before I Could Enter My Credit Card

We have had a PlayStation 3 for a little over two weeks now, and for about half of that time the PlayStation Network has been down.

Sony, along with their PlayStation branch here in the US, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), has failed miserably to keep people informed in anything like a timely or complete manner.

And even when they have attempted to be forthcoming, their statements have had the tentative, CYA tone common to corporate BS rather than anything like a frank assessment of what has happened.  This blurb is about as clear as any statement I have seen so far:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Out of an abundance of caution?  This isn’t an advisory suggesting one wear both a belt and suspenders.  This is people’s financial information.

Not to pick on the Japanese, but we’ve seen how reluctant large Japanese corporations are to tell their customers bad news.  We saw how Toyota behaved last year which was followed up by TEPCO’s closed mouth approach to the information after the Tohoku earthquake, both of which potentially put people’s lives at risk.

So I suppose it is no surprise that Sony is dragging its feet when it is just your credit card information that might have been stolen.

As noted elsewhere, It is better to be safe than Sony.

Personally though, the melt down of the PSN has had little impact on the PlayStation 3 usage at our home.

We are still able to stream Netflix through the PS3, which is the unit’s primary function in our household.

Sony tries to make you log into the PSN when you use the Netflix streaming application.  However, once it fails a couple of times, it gives up and then Netflix runs just fine.

Go Netflix!  Way to look good!

We are also able to watch Blu-Ray and DVD movies through the unit.  In the Blu-Ray version of The Sound of Music, the hills do genuinely seem alive on our TV.

Even our gaming was undisturbed.  The Easter Bunny brought us a copy of Little Big Planet, which not only ran just fine, but which updated without a hitch, all without the PSN being active.

It is enough for us to wonder what the PSN is for, aside from distributing our personal data to hackers.  And I hadn’t even had time to enter a credit card number, so it is just personal data about me that hackers have.

Granted, we do not yet play any games that require the PSN for connectivity.  I had no plans to bother with DC Universe Online and my daughter was done with Free Realms in less time than it took to download it.  But I am sure many people miss being able to connect to those games and many more.

So I suppose we are lucky.  We are largely unaffected.

But on my list of things to do, subscribing to the PlayStation Plus program now falls somewhere behind changing my birth date.

Now Playing: PlayStation 3

We decided to go with the PlayStation 3 for our Blu-Ray and HD streaming needs.  Thank you to those who had suggestions on my post on the subject.

I ordered the 160GB model from Amazon.com.

Something Like the Box We Got

Our tradition for buying console games is to collect all of our spare change in a jar, take it to the local CoinStar machine, and turn the change into an Amazon.com gift card.  We had a little over $115 in change in the jar, plus some left over from our last gift card, plus some Amazon.com credit I had received for my birthday, which just about covered the cost of the base system.

Then I ordered a second controller and the Blu-Ray remote control, which is a controller that has the form factor of a TV remote and which makes navigating and watching movies a bit easier.

Elapsed time from opening the box to streaming a Netflix HD movie: 55 minutes.

Putting things together and hooking them up was not a big deal.  I had an HDMI cable ready, since almost nothing comes with that cable.  The cable that came with the system went into the sound system.

Setup was a little annoying.  I would like a few words with the team that designed the data entry UI.  For starters, the button for “I’m done entering data and want to submit this and move on” should be a lot more obvious.  And why not give me the MAC address of the device when I am setting up the wireless connection?  I have our wireless setup to only give out an IP address to a defined list of MAC addresses, so I needed it before the unit could connect.

And getting used to the buttons on the default controller took a bit.  For some reason, in my mind, X should be negative/cancel and O should be affirmative/OK.  However, the opposite seems to be the case in the land of the PlayStation.

And I was also a bit miffed that the second controller did not come with a USB charging cable.  But I will probably want a stand-alone charger in any case, so the controllers aren’t hanging off the front of the unit.

All in all though, it looks quite beautiful on our new TV.  Even the menus look very nice.

We streamed a couple of National Geographic specials that were in HD.  The streaming over wireless did not seem to have any problems and picture quality was very good.  I have not tried any of the other services yet, though the consensus of opinions I have heard so far is that Netflix is the only company that “gets” streaming and does it well.

I upgraded our Netflix account for Blu-Ray disks.  We kicked that off with the series Rome.  We had seen it before, back when it aired on HBO, but seeing it on a big screen in 1080p adds a lot of depth to the already stunning visuals of the series.

And then there are video games.  I have had a couple of suggestion from people on what to get (Little Big Planet, The Orange Box), but the first game I bought was LEGO Star Wars – The Complete Saga.  It was inexpensive, it plays in 1080p, and I thought it would make a good comparison with the Wii, since we have spent a lot of time with the game.

It looks and plays much better than the Wii version.  It took some time to get used to the new button layout, but visually it is quite good.  One of my gripes about the Wii version was that everything looked oddly shiny.  Things are shiny on the PS3 as well, but it looks right.  There was one point, on the first mission, where I could see the reflections of the characters in the floor on which they were standing.  That sort of shine works.  I would also like to see how the online co-op play works, something that is not an option with the Wii.

I do not want to go backfill all of the LEGO games we’ve played already, though I might consider getting The Clone Wars on the PS3.  But going forward, I’ll be buying for the new system and not the Wii, starting with LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.