So I got a USB cable for my PSP. What I want to know is - why did I have to? If it's got wireless, why can't I download music to it over that? I was able to download a patch for it, for Christ's sake, why not a song?
Anyhow, the USB cable, a "Pelican Performance" model, didn't actually work. Upon consulting forums I discovered others had the same problem. They solved it by getting a different cable. I decided to give the company the benefit of a doubt. They've got a nice looking website. Their motto is "Performance You Can Trust". They have an automated customer support system. This is the response I got:
"To use the USB cable, consult your owner's manual from the PSP. If you are still having trouble how to transfer data from your PC to your PSP suggestion would be to contact Sony's at there 1-800 as this is a feature built into there PSP. Confirm that you have formatted your memory card. Thank you "
That answer is about as professional as the stuff I was seeing on the forums.
My ticket is now considered "closed" by their automated problem tracking system, the place "where my request is taken care of."
I can understand selling shoddy products: hey, quick way to make a few bucks, right? But why bother with the illusion of customer support? Why not just sit back and have a good laugh at the poor schmucks who were fooled into buying their crap?
I don't know why this manifesto is more popular than any other anti videogame manifesto out there - http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/games/manifesto.html - for the most part I agree with it. But that very first one, that AI should surprise us, that's a case of "You think you want that but you don't really want that." One of the reasons we make game AI stupid is not always lack of processor power but often because a smarter AI would school our players too deeply and they'd turn to simpler games. Look at chess - we've got some great AI there, so great nobody wants to play against the computer. Stealth games would be another example: if the security in a stealth game actually was decent, playing these games would become an exercise in frustration instead of an exercise in feeling like a kick-ass ninja commando.
Perhaps, better worded, the goal would be: "Give us an AI that surprises us, gets us on the ropes, but still lets us win the day."
But first, one thing on the variance of Scrabble: talking with Mark Nau, apparently experts agree that Scrabble is much closer to chess than poker in its variance. That explains why my wife beats me 80% of the time. She'd be ranked a couple hundred points higher than me if we joined a club. So there's really no need to have a 'duplicate scrabble' - and people who wank about 'not picking' and getting 'double blanked' are just that. Wankers.
Just received a PSP as a gift. I'm looking through gamerankings for games to buy for it and none really excite me. Sorted by user reviews, the top games are race games (which I'm not particularly into), twisted metal, and Lumines. And then we start getting to the point where the ratings are only average. Which is why I haven't bought a PSP yet: generally I wait for that killer app to come along, and then buy the console and the game. It's like buying a game for $350. I bought a PS2 for Ico; I bought a Gamecube for Zelda; I bought an Xbox for Splinter Cell. Future games for the consoles are gravy. If more people practiced this behavior, the console wars might have turned out different.
And that's another thing. You shouldn't buy games based on non-game licenses unless they're good. Star Wars and The Incredibles and Spongebob games sell like hotcakes, even though they're usually mediocre. I feel sorry for the people who are suckered into buying and playing these. Look it up in gamerankings.com before you buy. Use the user voting average rather than the critic's reviews because there are fewer sample size problems and less critic bias. (I wish there was a moviepig.com for games, but until then gamerankings is a pretty awesome resource.) And, if you think you might like the game despite the negative reviews (I sure do love me that *Galleon*, for example), rent it first! Gamefly.com is absolutely brilliant, a must-have subscription for a game developer. Or player.
If more people practiced this behavior, we'd have fewer crappy licensed games and more Zeldas.
Of course, if the licensed game actually is good, like Spider-Man 2 (if I do say so myself) or Republic Commando, knock yourself out.
Just saw "Word Wars" - a documentary on Scrabble tournaments. A lot of bitching about variance, there. "I'm just not picking." "He's picking better than me." "I got double blanked." Including one scene where two guys played twenty games against each other, and the loser was convinced it was because he just wasn't "picking."
Reminded me of college: the guys I played bridge and MacRisk with would often call "bad randoms." Or, we used it as consolation: "God I suck." "No, dude, it was just bad randoms."
How variant is Scrabble, I wonder? How many games of Scrabble do you have to win to know there's a 95% chance, let's say, that you're better than the other guy?
Play chess, guys.
Or, here's an idea: duplicate Scrabble. You know, like duplicate bridge, where they play the same hands at every table, and then compare how well you did with everyone else to see how good you actually are? You'd have to change the rules: divide the tiles evenly between the players, preorder them, change the end conditions (as soon as one player runs out his queue it's over?), and work out the logistics. That's the tricky part, probably why they don't do it. With duplicate bridge you can keep your cards sorted as you play and then hand the unchanged deck to the next table. With Scrabble you'd have to sort the letters after your game and hand the stacks on.
Burnout 3: great fun. High variance, though. I didn't think I liked racing games but I liked this one. Proving high variance isn't necessarily evil.
Jedi Knight - Dark Forces 2: doing some retro gaming. Great level design, IMO. One thing they really nail is verticality. Being in high places is cool.
E3: only there for 4 hours. Spent most of that meeting people and talking. The one game I played was the Full Spectrum Warrior sequel, which looks great, although I'll buy it even if it's just an expansion pack. Found out that Public Beta (http://www.publicbeta.org) is now giving away *Difficult Questions About Videogames* for free. I'm in it - but I'd like to change my answer to "What is gameplay?" I later decided what I thought was gameplay is really game mechanics. Gameplay is broader.
The best superhero games of all time Game Informer Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine 1001 Games You Must Play Before You DieNomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game