Thursday, June 28, 2007

Macross: Do You Remember Love (Piano)

This is a piano version from the anime movie: Macross 84 Do You Remember Love and is heard during the main final battle and sung by the character Lynn Minmay (Mari Iijima).
This is a piano arrangement an old friend of mine did a LONG time ago that I decided to re-learn. Sorry I can't release the sheet music to this since It's not really mine to release.
I make about 4-5 mistakes and I play it a bit fast. It's a really long song. I also removed a repeat at the very end and just faded out earlier.

I hope you enjoy it especially for all you old school anime fans out there.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Crush (PSP)

- A truly unique puzzle game unlike anything you have played before but with some familiar roots in Paper Mario and Psychonauts. It's a very nice mix of puzzle and platform.
- I'm on level 14/40. There is a lot of game play here.
- The ability to "crush" levels from 3d -> 2D from any angle really forces you to think in new directions.
- There's actually a nice story.
- The graphics, sound, story, and general presentation all give a nice cohesive appealing theme.
- The difficulty ramp up has been pretty good so far. There are check points within the level and there isn't much penalty for dying. Overall, most of the frustration is kept to a minimum.

Those who have been screaming for something original can stop now because this is it: addictive, fun, and engaging

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Geometry Wars (PC)

Captured using fraps which is why it looks a bit jerky. It actually plays at a smooth 60fps when not recording:

- Purchased over steam for only $2.50 (for a limited time)
- This is the most buggy PC game I have ever experienced. It plays pretty close to the 360 version when you can actually get it to work.
- Takes about 5-10 tries before you can even launch the game.
- Sound is all scratchy for some reason (audigy 2zs under winxp pro sp2)
- Supports many resolutions including widescreen but changing it will often cause the game to hang and then almost impossible to launch again.
- Trying to enable AA causes the game to hang.
- Entering initials with the keyboard causes the 360 Wireless controller to be dropped. Going back into the controller options menu, picking 360, and then backing all the way out to the main menu will regain 360 controller support for a while.
- Leaderboard is saved but only locally. No internet leaderboard support.
- Hard to say if they fixed the snake bug. From my limited play time it doesn't seem like it (so basically it's just like the 360 version).

It seems like I'm not the only one:

Great game on the 360, horrible buggy not even really playable mess on the PC. If they fix the bugs it would be worth the $2.50.

UPDATE: 6/28/07
- So after the update it seems the sound is fixed, the game launches most of the time, you can change resolutions now, but toggling AA still causes the game to hang for me. I also tried it on a laptop that has an ATI Radeon 9600 pro turbo (m10) and it ran fine.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Project Sylpheed (XBOX 360)

- Tried the demo. Think wing commander + freespace + anime + last starfighter.
- I've played the previous slypeed games and those were rail shooters. This one isn't. It plays more closely to freespace.
- The graphics are very nice with LOTS of missile/engine trails all over the place. It's very colorful but sometimes it's hard to find stuff during the chaotic large scale battles.
- Framerate dips once in a while when things get really busy but overall not too bad.
- Controls were fine with the ability to invert the axis (unlike the crappy camera in FF 12). There's actually some depth. Maybe not quite x-wing level but maybe a bit more than wing commander.
- looks like it's going to have an anime style story (at least from the intro movie)
- The missile lockon system is just like after burner/panzer dragoon. You hold down the fire button, lock up multiple targets, then release to watch a swarm of missiles launch. It looks like a scene straight from Macross '84. Also, the first level special ability launches all your weapons just like death blossom. Come to think of it your ship looks kind of like a Gunstar. They even work in bullet time err slow-mo for the level 3 ability. There's a nice mechanic of these abilities using up your shield (along with afterburners) which does recharge overtime if you don't get hit.
- It seems like there will be nice progression of acquiring new weapons.
- There hasn't been a space shooter in a LONG time, and this one is pretty darn good. This is going to be a budget title at $40. I'll definitely be picking this up when it comes out next month.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nintendo DS Lite cracked hinge

- Well it finally happened. After almost a year the left hinge has cracked.
I'll use this post to track how well the customer service/repair process goes.
- I'm not sure how it happened because I take very good care of my DS Lite. I guess it just fractured over time due to cyclical stress fatigue.
- First I head over to their customer service site.
- Next using their warranty lookup page I check my serial number and YES I'm still under warranty coverage.
- Then, you fill out a quick short form, and that was it. No complicated procedures, no additional need of proof like the receipt, just basically the serial # and the month/year you purchased it in.
- I didn't even have to pick up the phone!
- They are sending me a coffin as I write this. So I guess they pay shipping both ways. Nice!

UPDATE 7/24/07:
- I did get it back on 7/10/07. It's all good. It took a while but the whole process was very hassle free.

Prince of Persia (XBOX 360)

Check out the original on Apple II. Man the prince has come a long way

- 800pts on xbox live arcade
- It's the classic original Prince of Persia game play that you know and love with a complete 3d graphics engine overhaul with some of the aesthetics borrowed from Sands of Time.
- After the first few levels I can say the are pretty darn accurate to the original level layouts (well as much as I can remember them). The 3D graphics are beautiful yet the game play is still strictly 2D just like the original.
- Some of the blood and gore has been removed (especially some of the more gruesome deaths from traps).
- You've got the same one hour to save the girl.
- They made things quite a bit easier like icons on pressure plates and a butterfly to point you in the right direction. It also saves after every level, and has a few checkpoints during the level.
- The Prince is a bit more acrobatic now too with a few new animations like back flips and jumping off of walls. Overall this was more visual than having any major impact on the platform aspects of gameplay.
- Controls very well with the analog pad. They are spot on and precise.
- Combat remains largely the same with the same parry/counter rhythm. They added some sands of time like slow mow to give it a more dramatic flare and some cool dodge animations but overall it's pretty similar to the original.
- Some nice 3D in engine cut scenes have been added.
- full HD widescreen support.

This is absolutely how you take a classic and modernize it. It keeps all the core gameplay and level design of the original, gives it a shiny new coat of paint with a few minor gameplay/control tweeks, make it a bit more accessible to a wider audience, and you've got another classic in the making.

Highly recommended. Well worth the $10.

Now bring me Karateka!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Metal Gear Solid 2 (Piano)

This is from the sheet music made by Nightshade1. I'm not nearly as good as he is. I make a few mistakes, and I'm a bit slower too. Played on a slightly out of tune Kawai GM-2 Baby Grand. I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, June 08, 2007 - Web Based IM Client (wiki)

This is by far the best instant messaging web client. Works great behind corporate firewalls and proxy servers.

It solves one of the biggest problems with web based IM. It notifies you that you have a message no matter what state your browser is in. For example firefox, if the browser is minimized the title flashes in the task bar (hmmm only if the meebo tab is active though, darn) and rotates through the name of the person who sent the message and part of the message itself. It's very eye catching. This also happens on the tab if that tab doesn't have focus.

In the buddy list at the top right corner is a pop out button. It does a pretty good job of creating another browser window but making it look like a traditional windows IM client application. You can also pop out the chat windows too!

If you try and close the tab it pops up a warning message box so it's hard to accidentally close the tab. Man, they thought of everything. Very well designed site! It really does a fantastic job of mimicking a traditional windows application.

You don't even have to signup for a meebo account but I did. Makes signing into all your IM accounts easy.

You can also embed chat rooms and widgets that allow the ability to send messages.

here is a review:,1697,2142652,00.asp

The only thing I wish it would do is maybe make the firefox flash in the taskbar when it is minimized on receiving a message or maybe create some tiny tray notification application.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


- Silly name, great product.
- I've had one of these for a couple of years now and can't imagine using a laptop on my lap for any significant amount of time without one.
- It's very comfortable, really does a great job of shielding you away from the heat, and fits nicely in my laptop backpack.
- I have a Dell Inspiron 8600 15.4" and it fits fine on the regular lapinator.
- I also own similar products: lapbottom, coolpad, and laptopdesk. Lapinator is by far the best one.

Highly Recommended.

XBOX 360 120GB Hard Drive

- I picked one up from with a 10% off coupon bringing my final price to $157 shipped.
- I don't do any market place video downloads (I prefer Netflix). I mostly like downloading a lot of demos and free videos. I like to keep several on hand so I was always running out of space.
- Transferring data from the old 20gb to the new 120gb was a snap. You just hook the new 120gb hd to the included funky 360 sata connector -> usb adapter, and plug it into the BACK usb port on the 360. Drop in the disc and let it do it's thing. It took about 1.5 hrs to transfer a nearly full 20gb hd.
- After the transfer is done it will WIPE all data from your old 20gb HD (basically it looks like a format to me).
- Swap the drives and you are good. There were a few demos and Microsoft related videos already on the 120gb hd.

So I'm listening to the latest Game Theory. I like when Gary question's the MS guy on the hard drive price. The answer he gives is less than satisfactory. The point he makes about oem notebook sata HD's not comparable to the "premium" hard drives microsoft buys (including a usb cable and some software what like synctoy which is free???) is PURE BS!!!
There you got a 5400 rpm sata 120gb for $75 shipped. Now the MS guy is saying they value add $105 b/c the hard drive is better spec'd, has a $2 usb cable, and some software which is similar to what they give away free in windows?

Here is the exact same model hard drive I got in my 120gb upgrade for only $93 shipped:
Now, if you take the exact same model # from the 120gb 360 upgrade hard drive, and see that it's $93 shipped from newegg. You know microsoft is getting it for less. So above the profits newegg already makes at the $93 price point Microsoft makes an addition $87 in profit minus the cost of the enclosure, transfer cable, and transfer cd. Lets say I'm really generous and say all that stuff is worth $20 (I'm sure Microsoft costs are a lot less than that). That still leaves them with $67 additional profit on top of whatever discount they get on the whole sale pricing I'm sure they get on the actual hard drive.

Everybody knows hard drives are practically a commodity item these days. Think about it. Say it with me. These are NOTEBOOK hard drives. You know the type built to be moved around, used in harsher environments, built with better specs to begin with. On the 360 it sits there on a shelf. MS is telling me they need a higher grade premium notebook hard drive to be used in a friendly environment? How STUPID does this MS GUY think we are??!!??? Sony lets you use off the shelf hard drives in their ps3. They don't seem to have a problem with this.
Pure utter grade A BS!!!

This is pure rape by MS and nothing more.

I swapped my 60gb ps3 hd with a 160gb (about $114 now) one and it was EASY. Their back up/transfer software worked perfectly (all my saves and downloaded games and demos) which btw was free and built right into the XMB.

- Oh I know you can hack your own hard drive buy buying a specific model and write this so called security sector which is signed. I wouldn't do it though. It sounds very risky. First, you need your own unique 120gb security sector and to get that well you need to buy the official 120gb. I bet Microsoft can detect you using your own hard drive and who says they won't ban your console in the next dashboard update. Overall it's just too much risk IMO.

- Do the following at your OWN RISK!
- You can use the transfer cable to backup your 20gb hd before you transfer it to the 120gb. I do it just for peace of mind in case something goes horribly wrong.
- What is nice about the included transfer cable is it works just fine in windows xp. It's basically a sata (with ms funky connector) to usb 2.0 bridge cable. Just make sure you plug it into a usb port that comes directly off the motherboard. Front case ports are hit and miss depending on how well the wires are shielded that go from the motherboard to the front of the case. I have a few 2.5" hd enclosures and some will work from the front usb ports and others won't. To be safe just use a usb port directly on the motherboard. The 360 hd is usb powered too while using the transfer cable.
- The drives show up as standard usb mass storage device.
Here is the original 20gb (cost around $30 street for the same exact hard drive model):

And the 120gb:

- Since the hd is formated in fatx you need xplorer360. For some reason the latest official version wouldn't see the 120gb properly but this modified version worked great.
- You can backup the entire hard drive to your pc in a single image file (or backup specific partitions, #3 being the critical one).

Overall I'm enjoying the additional space but man the asking price is way too high. I think a price of $100-120 would be a more reasonable profit margin for Microsoft.