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Bill Loguidice's picture

Crytek: "PC 'a generation ahead' of PS3 and 360, but being held back"

Website CVG is reporting that Crytek boss Cevat Yerli has claimed that developers' focus on PS3 and 360 is holding back game quality on PC--a format he believes is already "a generation ahead" of modern day consoles. I say, "too bad, Yerli, it's good for us gamers!". I've been pining for a reasonably stable PC spec to stop the technological arms race since the days of the 486 PC, but it's never happened. Ever since more recent times when the PC has had to take a back seat in software sales to consoles, it's been the console hardware that's been dictating what kind of big budget software has appeared on PC's (outside of a few high profile exceptions from the likes of companies like Blizzard). Why do I consider such a scenario a win? Simply because we NEED periods of 5+ years or so of stability in order for software developers to catch up to the hardware and start to butt up against the limits of what is possible. If the hardware remains a moving target, then there's less chance for normal coding challenges to be minimized, which leads to more opportunities for innovation since more focus can be placed on design rather than wrestling with the technology. With budgets already in the millions of dollars and team sizes in the hundreds, access to more power is obviously not the answer to the call for better games. Despite what some would like us to believe, there is no noticeable (i.e., real world, not benchmarks) technological divide between high end PC's and the PS3 or Xbox 360 outputting 1080p. Modest platforms like the iPhone and Nintendo DS have already long since proven that it's not necessarily power that succeeds, it's clever design. With that said, no matter what side of the debate you're on, I'd think it's hard to argue with how pleasant the idea is that the hardware we have in our possession now should be able to play the latest games for at least a few more years before requiring an upgrade, right?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Bill's 2010 Holiday Buying Guide - Console Edition

Since other media outlets have had to fulfill their apparent obligation this holiday season like every holiday season to recommend what to buy and why, I thought I would join in on the fun, with the big difference with my guide being that I actually own and use all of the systems in question, so I'm not just talking out of a hypothetical butt like some others do. Allegedly. Now here's a bad cell phone photo of my three consoles as evidence (you're welcome in advance for the bikini snow angel):

Bill Loguidice's picture

A Very Brief Overview of what I've Been Playing for the Past Few Days

Since I've had a chance to actually play some games on platforms like the PC, Xbox 360, Wii, iPhone, and PS3 lately, I thought I would share some quick thoughts. After reading, why don't you share some of your own thoughts on those games or some of what you're playing?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Initial Impressions of Microsoft's Game Room

Well, I downloaded Microsoft Game Room last night on my Xbox 360, and the two game packs, which essentially featured a small selection of Atari 2600 and Intellivision console games, and Konami and Atari arcade games. I came away underwhelmed. While some of the basic concepts are sound, like being able to create your own virtual arcade rooms to decorate and "walk" around in (your avatar is shown sidling up to a machine), and being able to visit others' arcades, it's not exactly as aesthetically pleasing and as smooth of an interface as I would like. Nevertheless, I'm sure I could get used to that, but where it really breaks down for me is in the video emulation, which simply doesn't seem to work that well with my 50" 1080p HDTV at the distance I am from the screen (about 10 feet). What do I mean by this? Well, particularly with some of the arcade machines, like Lunar Lander for instance, everything is just too small to comfortably make out from a distance, and the zoom options - which are only accessible from a menu and are not real-time - don't really help, so there's naturally lots of wasted space on the left and right of the screen. Of course, some games fare better with this than others, like the Atari 2600 and Intellivision games (though I didn't feel like the latter controlled all that great or that the emulation was 100%), but I still found the experience rather uncomfortable, no matter what screen settings I chose. There are additional options for adding and removing scanlines and various other display and sound trickery and ambiance, but nothing worth really sticking with.

If you demo a game, it's a one time, timed free demo, then you have to use credits to play the game (they give you 20 to start out with), or purchase the game, of which there are two major options: purchase just for this console, or purchase for play on others devices as well (in this case, your Windows PC). In any case, I'm going to experiment more with this new service when I have time, and see if being closer to the TV (as in, off my comfy sofa) makes me any more "comfortable", as there are certainly some interesting aspects to this, including issuing challenges to your Game Room-owning Xbox 360 or Windows friends.

So, for those who tried it, what are your thoughts?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Armchair Arcade TV: Episode 3 - Satans Hollow

Armchair Arcade TV is now in high definition (720p) and available at a wide range of locations, with a wide range of subscription options, and in a wide range of formats, including YouTube, iTunes, RSS, and many more via blip.tv!

Bill Loguidice's picture

CES 2010 Breaking News: Microsoft Announces "Microsoft Game Room" for Xbox 360 and PC with tons of Classic Gaming Goodness!

Microsoft Game Room ImageMicrosoft Game Room ImageAccording to a Microsoft Press Release and confirmed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will be releasing something called the "Microsoft Game Room" some time this spring, and, within three years, will see the release of over 1000 classic videogame titles, including arcade, Atari and Mattel Intellivision games, the latter of which was confirmed by Facebook friend Keith Robinson of Blue Sky Rangers fame as one of the available launch systems (other systems TBC). Apparently this area will be avatar-based, where your Xbox avatar will roam an arcade-like setting to find and play games (a bit like Sony's Home on PS3). There's a two-tier price structure, with one being an outright purchase of the game in question, and the other being a low cost, single play option, just like putting a quarter in an arcade machine in the days of old. We'll keep you posted as more news develops, but this is great news for those of us - like the readers of Armchair Arcade - who are passionate about classic gaming. The more love the current three consoles give (and each already has given a lot) to gaming's past, the better it is for all us as gamers, particularly since it looks like this is going to be a long generation with the big three. It's unclear how this will work with the PC as of this writing, but the fact that PC gamers are being invited to the party just makes it all the better, as well as the fact that owning it on one gives you access to it on the other.

Matt Barton's picture

X-Arcade Adapter for Xbox 360

I just received an email from Xgaming about their new Xbox 360 adapter. Apparently, there's some kind of legal issues with Microsoft, so you'll actually need two adapters to make this work (including a PS2 adapter). At any rate, at least it's something for folks with X-Arcades who have been dying to connect them to their 360s! It's about $40 for both and $25 if you already have the PS2 adapter.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 25: Knights of the Old Republic

Hi, folks. This week I look at another of my favorite CRPGs, Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Books from the Armchair Arcade Staff

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