Posts Tagged With: tech & games

Why Next-Gen? Games Are Awesome Right Now

The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are nearly a decade old. Their hardware is so outdated that even the most budget-friendly gaming PC’s match its specs. In fact, if you play game on the 360 or PS3, you probably own a newer, thinner and more efficient version of the original consoles. Given the age and number of refreshes from the current generation, the Xbox One and PS4 seem way overdue. There’s just one thing – right now, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are in their absolute prime.

Breaking Records
Rockstar spent more than a year ramping up hype for Grand Theft Auto V. The success of the series, alongside other games like Red Dead Redemption, helped GTA V fly off the shelves when it launched in September. So quickly, in fact, that the game earned an unbelievable $1 billion in just three days. For some context, it took “Marvel’s The Avengers” 19 days to earn the same amount. GTA V is the most successful launch in entertainment history, not just gaming, as Forbes points out.

What makes this figure more impressive is GTA V is, for now, current-generation console only. There will be no version for the Xbox One or PS4 and a PC version is still a floating rumor. Rockstar made a clean billion dollars (and more) off two consoles getting replaced in a month.

Pushing Limits
Look at games made for current generation consoles in 2007 and compare them to a game released this year. You won’t believe they were even made for the same console. First-person shooters like Battlefield 4 use advanced physics engines letting players level entire buildings on a map or break levies to flood a town. Those were features not possible in the early days, and now it’s the standard on these old consoles.

On the other side, this could be a bit of foreshadowing, considering the upcoming consoles. It took developers years to master the hardware under the hoods of the 360 and PS3 and the first rounds of games released in 2013 and 2014 for the next-gen consoles will hardly be fully optimized. We won’t see what the next-generation is really made of until several years down the road.

Perks of Current-Gen
It’s not as if your current-generation consoles tragically shut down when the new ones launch. Microsoft and Sony will continue to support them for years and developers will still make games for both generations. Current owners get some perks for the transition between consoles. Microsoft announced it was ditching its annoying points system and now lets enthusiasts buy games with real money instead of the pointless (no pun intended) conversions. Gamers on both the 360 and One get to take advantage of this as Kotaku points out.

Free games are also going out during this process. Microsoft gave Halo 3 as a free download for Xbox Live subscribers this month, and have been handing out freebies for the past few months before that, as reported. The next-gen consoles will be awesome, no doubt, but gamers with a 360 or PS3 have years of fun to look forward to. For the current-gen, 2013 is a great year for gaming.

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Modern Video Games: Children of Fantasy Geeks and Pixels

Heads bopping back and forth for hours, gazing at a TV screen, in houses all across the country – it was amazing! The wonder of playing Pong at home for the first time seems incomprehensible compared to the video gaming that computers such as Lenovo’s new laptops are capable of today. When you realize this was your grandparents age, it’s pretty mindblowing. Even more amazing is the convergence of technologies and disciplines it took to make video games what they have become. You could get into a big argument over whether the true ancestors of current video gaming were Pong and Pac-Man, or a cult-followed tabletop collection of three role-playing guidebooks, called Dungeons and Dragons.

Separate Beginnings

Video game history starts in 1947 – about the time the Cold War began. Then, as Bloomberg reports, a pair of inventors patented a Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device. Players placed clear plastic sheets with targets printed on them over a TV picture tube, and directed beams of light to hit the targets. That fell as far away from modern video games as role playing games of the day fell from Dungeons and Dragons. Those miniature warfare games were strategy exercises employing mathematical formulas and a variety of dice to recreate historic battles.

It took 25 years for any really marketable video games to reach the market. Most people saw them in movies before they saw these limited release games in arcades. Computer Space, with a screen display appearing similar to the later Asteroids, had been produced in 1971, but still seemed futuristic two years later when says it made a cameo appearance in the film “Soylent Green.” Another early film star was Pong, which took a bow in 1974 s “The Parallax View.” Meanwhile, socially withdrawn number crunchers with rich imaginations gathered their alter egos as wizards, princesses, thieves, and warriors around tables for entire weekends. By then, these fantasy gamers had models of their characters, and often three-dimensional landscapes on which to move them around.

The mental demands of Dungeons and Dragons limited its audience. Involving multiple dice of diverse shapes with complex calculations to determine any outcomes, it challenged players who wanted faster action. Hard as the math was, the imagination could demand even more. The best players maintained their characters for the entire period of the game.

Computers faced similar challenges in computing ability. Both display capacities and their ability to calculate actions lagged behind the market’s demand for both action and interactivity. Air hockey and foosball were then still as popular as many video games in arcades.

Computers and Imagination Marry

That began to change with 1983 s fully animated Dragon’s Lair by Don Bluth of “American Tail” fame, according to Laser disc technology permitted multiple player-driven plots. It was the first truly interactive video game to reach arcades – at least, the first with a plot that the user was able to help shape. D&D fans could be a real knight facing off against a genuinely scary dragon to save a princess lovelier than any prom date they would ever get. As the 1980s advanced, computers got more powerful, and technology got more affordable, the range of video games expanded, but it took a global crisis to make the biggest difference.

With the end of the Cold War, the government opened the Internet – which it had primarily developed as a defense resource – to the private sector. The flood of investment brought in during the 1990s made it seem like connection speeds and microprocessor speeds were in a race to keep up with each other. Now, laptops are able to let gamers fight dragons, or even each other, in Massive Multiplayer Online Games. These have completely developed virtual environments, no math necessary, and high definition images instead of just pixels bouncing back and forth.

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Big Ones of 2013: Bioshock Infinite

Like every year in the world of gaming, with a new year come’s new highly anticipated Games. And the year 2013 has some heavy hitters. This year we will see a lot of amazing games coming out months apart.

Bioshock Infinite. The highly anticipated game from the 2007 Game of the year Bioshock, and from the genius minds of Irrational Games. This game time setting place in 1912, and in this game you play Booker Dewitt, a former agent of the Pinkerton Government Services, that fell into a life of gambling, & drinking. A Mysterious figure hires booker to rescue Elizabeth, a girl held captive in Colombia; in return all of Booker’s debt would be wiped clean. However little did he know that this job would take him to the Floating city in the sky Columbia, and that is just the start of his problems. Elizabeth has powers, powers that can alter the fabric of space and time. Which leads to a war in control for the floating city, with you & Elizabeth caught right in the middle. Now it becomes a race for your own survival.

The game features some familiar mechanics of previous Bioshock Games, however they have been revamped. The setting is amazing; Columbia is literally a Floating Paradise. Blimps, Buildings, and lush gardens occupy the city. Also you shall meet enemy types that may amaze you come in the form of the Heavy Hitters. These Enemy types will give you a run for your money, such as fighting the Motorized Patriots, robotic versions of our founding Fathers who will hunt you down, and use a high powered Gatling gun. The Boys of Silence are literal walking security alarms, they will alert all nearby enemies, however they can be avoided. The Handymen which are giant Monsters who use their gigantic hands, and brutish strength to hurl the scenery at you. And probably the biggest challenge you will face… The Songbird.

This 30 foot Mechanical bird like creature is Elizabeth’s guardian so to speak, and is responsible to keep her locked up, however when you free her this savage creature goes on the hunt to kill you, and reclaim Elizabeth. You will use a large variety of weapons to help aid you in your mission to rescue Elizabeth, however, in true Bioshock fashion, you will also use Plasmids. Plasmids are basically superpowers granted to you which vary in use. Such as Fire, Electricity, Telepathy, and summoning a flock of crows to attack your enemies. Not to mention getting around Columbia is even better due to the series of Skylines throughout the city. By using the Skyhook, you travel the city in an exciting fashion. This game has potential to be the biggest game of 2013, and you can get your hands on it March 26th.

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