Digital Division Gives Me The Vaporwares

Well, yesterday for a bit, I was visiting this hot place seen below and not in a good mood over what I saw was a digital injustice (yaaaaaa!):

(thanks, Cartridge Magazine!)

Today, I’m still in that mindset as far as digital-only content goes, but ha and ha bloody ha, when I screw up, I go for it 110%, plus tax. PLUS TAX I SAY!!!

So, last night a friend comes over to return some Blu-Rays he’d borrowed and asks if I’d updated my PS3’s firmware so I could retrieve my game that was “lost”, which just about made me drop the cup of coffee I’d prepared a few seconds before. Fortunately, he reached out and tipped the cup upwards and pressed the RESET button on my forehead before things went blank.

via GIPHY

Okay, kids – here’s what happened that afternoon (cue dream sequence harp tune):

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The Digital-Only Future? It Blows, Folks

So, color me somewhat annoyed. Yeah, yeah, I knew when one buys a digital product, be it a song, game, book or other file type, there’s the chance (well, actuality) that that data will expire and yes, *never* be available ever again unless there’s some sort of preservation being taken care of in the form of say, a physical backup or other legally obtainable copy. Anyway, yes, I still own a PS3 and use it on occasion – here’s what happened today when I went to dink around a bit with a game that’s not all that old:

Yep, that’s right. A game I’d downloaded had been “disappeared” from my PS3’s HDD with nothing left but that nice-looking startup screen. *Poof!*

As I was picking up my jaw from off the floor, my brain cycled in one of my favorite bits of dialog from a favorite film (that’s thankfully, still available on a dang disc):

Garry: The generator’s gone.

MacReady: Any way we can we fix it?

Garry: It’s “GONE”, MacReady.

Sure, I read the fine print on that license agreement, but to have a game in one’s library just VANISH is… kind of shocking and stupid at the end of the day. Was Master Reboot a GOOD game? I kind of have no idea other than the about 25 minutes I played sometime last year when it popped up as a free game on PSN and, not having tried it it, I downloaded it so (get this) I could play it any time I wanted to and find out. Yeah, that was a mistake on my part, I guess. My game historian/preservation side is appalled by this, but it isn’t a new thing. Ask anyone who played the superbly scary P.T. or the stupidly fun Scott Pilgrim vs. The World or any of the many other games that have disappeared from digital stores online.

(Thanks, Wales Interactive!)

Well, at least the PC version is still available (but digitally, grrrrrr!), although I prefer playing on my console(s) of choice.

Yes, I completely grasp that licenses expire after a period of time and all that rot, but a game, song, piece of art or other data important to some people shouldn’t at ALL go dinosaur extinct and become a mere memory after such a brief period. Feh. I’d close this with an “oh well” or something similarly aloof, but I think I’m going to hit myself in the head with a rubber hammer and take a nap until the next disappointing episode of Game of Thrones comes on later this evening. Oh, that show has been and will also be on many discs going into the future, you can bet on that… for now.

-GW

Ematic Switch Controllers: Solid Alternatives For Budget-Minded Gamers

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Surprise, surprise – these two budget controllers are pretty awesome.

 

Generally, when it comes to peripherals, I’m mostly a first-party OEM guy, particularly when it comes to controllers. That said, once in a while I’ll stumble across a third-party item that not only does what it needs to do well, it does it well enough to recommend without hesitation. I’d initially planned a review of the otherwise decent officially licensed Horipad Wired Controller ($19.99) and was just about done writing when I got an email from an Ematic PR rep asking if I was interested in taking their Wired N-Switch ($19.99) and Wireless N-Switch ($27.99) Switch controllers for a test drive. Of course, I said I’d love to and shortly afterwards, both arrived and were indeed, taken for a few spins and assorted tests over the past two weeks.

switch horipadI’ll say first and foremost, that licensed Switch Horipad is an excellent official controller that’s lightweight, simple to set up out of the box and a really well-manufactured unit that works fine with every game I tested it with* with no real weaknesses outside the lack of vibration, NFC, and motion control functions that give certain Switch games that extra kick. Yes, that low price point means you get not a hint of feedback which is disappointing unless you really don’t care and just want a solid, inexpensive and very reliable controller for yourself or the kids.

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For some reason, the Horipad looks as if it’s got a slight frown, while Ematic’s has a “Hey, check me out – I’m cool!” smile thing working for it.

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Capcom Home Arcade: Someone’s Dream Collection, With Caveats


(thanks, Official Capcom UK!)

Hmmm. I kind of have no idea how to feel about this other than agree that yes indeed, those gorgeous Sanwa sticks and buttons and what is looking like rather sturdy construction will insure that the Capcom Home Arcade will indeed find a niche in the homes of collectors and Capcom and/or arcade enthusiasts who’ve always wanted such a product. On the other hand, that price point more or less assures that this one will be out of reach for those gamers who may want this set of classics sans the fancy design as a far less expensive physical console disc or game card or as a basic digital download.

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Oh, it’s an exercise in ego, but it’s kinda cool to look at, that’s for damn sure.

Granted, perfect arcade ports (or hopefully flawless ports) do exist for folks running emulators on all sorts of devices, so the lure of an arcade setup going for less than an arcade machine is going to be a big draw. But I can’t see Capcom committing to this as the sole way to play these games as while it’s probably going to sell out as a collectible (and yep, make a load of cash for eBay sellers who snap up as many as they can charge up on a few credit cards so they can resell them at a massive markup), it’s just not a very good idea to make these titles exclusive to this device. Yeah, some folks say *any* publicity is good publicity, but I disagree when much of that noise is of the negative variety that may eventually hurt any traction this item needs to be a success outside the collectible marketplace.

As usual, we shall see what happens as that October release date approaches, but if some of the brutally salty responses to that UK trailer are any indication, I’m betting that we get some sort of compromise where anyone who wants to play this collection gets to on their console of choice. Well, hopefully that’s one outcome that should please the gaming masses to some extent. Yeah, I’d want one if I could afford it and yep, we also got some of those licensed Marvel titles to make an appearance in the near future (he said, remembering how hilariously fun The Punisher was back in the day).

-GW

Review: Western Digital 2TB Gaming Drive

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Okay, I paid good money for some fanfare music, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Eh, just read the article and have your wallet handy.

One of the more easily solved gamer issues is also something that still seems to stymie some gamers who should already know that a mere 1 terabyte of dedicated storage (which is actually less than 1TB thanks to mandatory system clutter) is far too small once one starts purchasing more content. Demos, DLC, system themes, video footage, screenshots and more all require precious space and yes, that 1TB is very rapidly filled (usually sooner than one thinks). Sure, you can delete content left and right when a new game drops, but this becomes problematic for a few reasons.

Western Digital’s Gaming Drive (available in 2TB ($79.99) and 4TB ($119.99) versions) is a solid, solidly built, supremely easy to use affordable solution to this problem and yes, makes for an excellent purchase for yourself and/or any PS4 gamer on your list.

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Review: MyCharge PowerGame (Nintendo Switch)

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Yep. it does exactly what it needs to do and does a really excellent job in the process.

 

As a recent Switch owner, a few things bug me about the system, one of them being the battery life is somewhat anemic if one tends to play for extended periods of time in undocked mode. I had been poking around looking for affordable solutions and based on some review scanning, there were a few interesting candidates but almost all had some flaws from dangling wires to not enough power for my tastes. Granted, my Switch has generally stayed docked or has only traveled to a few rooms inside the apartment. However, some recent invites from friends to pop by with my Switch to either see it in action or just to play with fellow Switch owners had my eye peeled for something that I could also show off as a solid charger that wouldn’t break the bank and be worthy of a hearty recommend. Well, “Say hello to my little friend (BOOM!)”

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Out of the box and ready for some mating.

 

The MyCharge PowerGame ($49.99) is an absolute must for Switch owners who want a decent price point, portability and most of all, a battery pack that’s packing plenty of power where it counts. Simple to set up and sporting its own kickstand, it’s an accessory that has pretty much no caveats.The 7000mAh battery inside that PowerGame comes holding a charge, so once attached (which took all of ten seconds, but parents will want to show younger kids or attach the battery for them), you’re ready to play. That said, I plugged the included USB-C charger cable unto the nearest USB out (your Switch dock will work nicely) just to top it up for some heavy testing. I really liked the kickstand on the unit because it’s placed in a better spot than the one on the Switch. The only minor (very minor) issue is if you need to add, remove or swap out the micro SD card, you’ll need to remove the PowerGame or do that card change thing before it’s attached.

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The C64 Mini: Some More Retro For Your Early Gamer Gifting (Or Yourself)

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Remember kids, when you retro-trip, wear proper headgear. Falling too hard can be a hazard to your gaming skills. Or something like that.

 

Remember that C64 Mini post from a few months back? Well, the system is now available and it’s got a fair enough price point ($79.99 US) to recommend if your tastes roll towards the old school and you don’t mind a few quirks from the old days of gaming.  There are a bunch of these mini-consoles out already or coming out this year and next thanks to Nintendo’s success with its shrunk-down NES and SNES systems, so we’ll see how well each does among gamers, collectors and anyone just looking for a simple to get into gift for that special someone.

 

 

Yeah, yeah, the emulation only crowd is chuckling away at these to some extent as they cut themselves a nice slice of Raspberry Pi. But if people who just want a fuss-free gift or just aren’t tech savvy enough to grab some sort of emulation device and swipe ROMs off the internet with relish, I say let them spend their money as they please especially if it makes them happy.

EDIT: Ah, I see one issue I’d read about elsewhere has been addressed. This is a good thimg:

 

 

-GW

 

 

The C64 Mini: That Retro System (The Kids Perhaps Don’t Have A Clue About) Is Back

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(Thanks, The C64!)

 

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you are ogling these images and video in this post with a raised eyebrow, but hear me out.  Sure, ethical issues aside, you can emulate away or go fiddle with a Raspberry Pi or some other device to run Commodore 64 games these days. But for those folks who aren’t tech savvy or just want a simpler means of playing those classics, the C64 Mini (set for a North American launch on October 9) will be right up their alley provided the price point is perfect and the console plays well enough for anyone interested to snap it up.

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Now you can play a bunch of C64 classics and have your kids looking truly perplexed because they only recall Nintendo as “inventing video games” as I overheard recently. Yeesh.

Anyway, for an off the shelf console, the C64 Mini is pretty loaded, I’d say (but you’ll have to read below the jump to find out what’s in the box):

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Mild Update, Painterly and PC Version

(deftly swiped from threestooges.com)

Argh. Well, let’s see now. The painter who was supposed to arrive early this morning didn’t pop up until this afternoon and proceeded to only paint three out of four walls. In the bathroom. Which is the size of a bathroom. While I was processing that nonsense, the refurnished laptop I’d ordered showed up and yes, that’s what this post is being typed on. I actually SHOULD be downtown at a media event checking out some cool tech, but I actually need to blaze through some work that’s due tomorrow that I want to get done before the day is over. I have to completely rewrite one article thanks to the crappier PC I was using temporarily restarted and wiped the work I’d done. Well, at least I can finally get to my Steam and gog.com accounts thanks to this nice laptop being able to play just about anything I toss at it. Alrighty then. Off to put on a pot of coffee and get back to work.

-GW

Switching Things Up a Bit…

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In case you didn’t realize, Amazon does do Sunday delivery.  I got an email yesterday morning saying my Switch has shipped and in less than 24 hours, I hear the doorbell ring and almost ran into a door running to see who it was so early in the morning. Yep, it arrived and BONUS, so did the wired PS4 controller I ordered (in a separate package), which was SUPER important because the right stick on my Dual Shock 4 had finally given up the ghost as of much earlier this morning. Why a wired controller, some of you may ask? Well, you may need to wait for a review for that story, but it’s a good one (and so far, the new controller works like a charm after the firmware update).

Meanwhile, in new Switch owner world news, I haven’t set up the console yet for three reasons.

1. I have some articles to complete for a few people and I know they’ll never get done if I crack that box open.

2. I need to find somewhere to put the new baby and plug it in, so I guess that means the modded original Xbox gets stuck somewhere out of sight temporarily)

3. I could set up the console and create a profile (I gather my current one for the Wii U won’t do?), let it update and get it over with, but that will loop back to number 1 and that’s something that I don’t want to happen.

Well, let me shut up and get back to work here. I’m thrilled on one hand, but anxious on the other. Hell, I’m anxious about a lot of things (like quite a lot of folks these days), but I kind of like the more happy anxiety over the more crummy stuff that pollutes the online and real world atmosphere these days.

-GW