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Games and Sports

Open Wheel XBox Racing On A Budget

While perusing the Virgin Megastore on Friday, I ran across the recently released IndyCar Series 2005 for XBox by CodeMasters. I’m primarily a NASCAR fan, but I appreciate open wheel too. And the IndyCar Series is arguably the more competitive of the major open wheel series. I mean really, I love the courses and glamour of F1, but the same guy wins every week, which for me takes the fun out of it.

Anyway, what caught my eye was the $19.99 price tag. A price tag like that is usually reserved by either best sellers, or cellar dwellers. So I resisted the urge to buy until I could read some reviews. The reviews are mixed to just okay. The most frequent criticism concerned the quality and variety of the graphics. Despite that, I’ll probably add this one to my collection eventually because I love racing titles, especially those with online support.

Many wonder what’s the excitement of driving fast and turning left for hundreds of laps?  Racing is so much more than that though. The best racing titles recreate the chess game that is auto racing by giving the player control over everything from car setup to team and sponsor management. And when you can take all of that and go up against real live humans online, that’s racing Nirvana!

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Games and Sports

Is XBox Dead?

Over the past few months a number of shocking stories have come out of Microsoft that may have some bearing on the future of the XBox. Major games have been cancelled such as Mythica, most recently True Fantasy Online, and the XSN sports line up for 2004. There have also been rumors that the next XBox won’t have a hard drive or may be some PC/Console hybrid. And Microsoft has been releasing tools that will make it possible to use XBox Live in PC games.

There certainly hasn’t been any announcement about the demise of the XBox as yet. But these developments do speak of a move away from single mindedly backing the XBox as the major gaming platform from Microsoft. It almost looks like a retreat into supporting the PC as a gaming platform. If so, it would be true to form for Microsoft to promote that which moves copies of Windows and Office, their two biggest money makers and the source of their power.

PC gaming has been on the decline in terms of sales for a while now. Though there has been a growing popularity of high end gaming PCs, enough that Dell is even offering gamer oriented PCs at a premium of course. Still, I don’t see this profitable niche segment reversing the growth of console gaming. I hope I’m wrong, but it may well be that Microsoft now sees PC games as a way move more copies of Windows and perhaps pull XBox gamers back to the PC.

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Games and Sports

Weekend In Vana’diel

Friday has come at last which means another weekend that hopefully includes some time playing Final Fantasy XI.

I’d love to spend more time on the game, but there are just too many other things I want to do in my rl for that. Still, the game has been a lot of fun in the 27 hours or so I’ve played since the PS2 version came out. So perhaps I’m proof that a more casual player can have fun with an MMORPG like FF XI, or just proof that I’m nutz! 🙂

Here are some in game shots I took of my character.


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Games and Sports

Retrogaming Hardware Fetish

Out on my lunchtime walk, I stopped in at the local Virgin Megastore to see if they had anything new from Tofu Records. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any CDs of interest, but I did find something else.

It isn’t news that a lot of the old Atari 2600 and early Arcade boom era games are coming back in neat little packages. I’d heard that Pac Man, my old fav, was coming back in a joystick controller you plug into your tv. But when I actually picked it up in the store, it was like stepping into Heaven for a moment! The joystick and button are very faithful to the arcade and while I already have Namco arcade for my PS2 at home, this new packaging makes this a must buy for retro-gaming fans. I think it had Pac Man, Dig Dug, and Galaxian for about $30.

Granted, I’m not buying for now, but it sure was purty!8)