Tag Archives | Sony

The Sony PS Vita

A few days ago, I came across one of those flyers from Sharaf DG lying around at home (promos starting February 23rd). I have no idea where it came from, probably in some newspaper. Anyways, I turned the pages, looking at what they had on offer: laptops, phones, tablets, TVs, an ultrabook, few printers etc… Then I turned to the video games page and something caught my eye…

psvitafront 300x141 The Sony PS Vitapsvitaback 300x145 The Sony PS Vita

They were selling the Sony PS (PlayStation) Vita, the latest handheld gaming device out at the moment (specs here)! Given the date they set for the offers, they started selling the Vita just a day after its launch in Europe. Sharaf DG currently have 4 options available:

  1. BD119.900 – The WiFi version of the PS Vita with nothing extra.
  2. BD138 - The WiFi version of the PS Vita with a 4GB memory card plus a game.
  3. BD156.900 – The 3G/WiFi version of the PS Vita with nothing extra.
  4. BD180 – The 3G/WiFi version of the PS Vita with an 8GB memory card plus a game.

They also have some extended warranty programs if you think you might break your Vita on its 2nd year :-P! They may seem cheaper online, but given these are the first batches of Vitas, you don't want to send your faulty console back to Amazon if it is DOA.

I decided to treat myself, I have been wanting to get a super Android tablet, but they are still not selling it here (the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime). The PS Vita was the opportunity cost at that moment. I opted for option 4. Note that you do not get to choose the game! You get the Vita's box, a game on it and the memory card packaging, all shrink wrapped in plastic. The game that you get is Little Deviants, an AR (Augmented Reality) game with arcade-ish gameplay. Little Deviants interacts through the world around you (AR), the front touch screen AND the back touch pad which gives you a feel of the Vita's full gaming capabilities.

vitaunpacked 300x225 The Sony PS Vita

After unpacking the beast (4 cores CPU + 4 cores GPU!!!), I noticed that it seems like the ones they are selling are not just European versions but EU destined for selling in the Middle East since one of the quick start guides is in Arabic. They also include a bunch of weird looking cards that are used to play AR games you can download for free from the PSN (now Sony Entertainment Network: SEN). I followed the quick start guide and within minutes had a Vita that was online both through 3G and WiFi. However, I had to update the firmware before being able to access my PSN account (for some reason I had to log in as a trial PSN user in order to get the update). Most of the interactions you will end up doing will be through the touch screen interface.

littledeviants 236x300 The Sony PS Vita

Once the Vita was up and running, I decided to get a few demos downloading. The AR games that you can download for free are OK to start with although I can see them getting boring and even tedious to play over time (remember the cards? You have to keep them in range of the camera constantly). Little Deviants looks childish to play if you are used to shooting, slashing and killing in your games, but hey it was included. The best demo I have tried at the moment is Unit 13 (launching in March). I did enjoy remote controlling my PS3 and even managed to stream a movie from my PC to the PS3 onwards to the Vita :-P!

Inevitably, I ended up buying a $50 (which costs more than $50…) PSN card online in order to buy Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Seems like no one is selling the games yet in Bahrain (the guy at Sharaf told me they are coming in a month, that's what they said about the Transformer Prime a few months ago…), but if you have a credit card it will be much cheaper and easier to download them than carry a bunch of memory sticks (unless you are low on memory).

Is the PS Vita worth it? Right now, not really given the limited range of games currently in the Bahraini market (and God knows what price they will charge!!!!). But it is worth it if you enjoy its other features (as a portable media player for example) and prefer getting the games from PSN directly.


Console or PC? I Prefer Console

This post will be less of a comparison but more of a personal opinion thing.

Today, if you are a gamer, you basically have two choices on your gaming platform. It's either a console, or a computer (most likely Windows). They both have pros and cons:

  • The PC can push graphics further and have more processing power than a console.
  • You can easily upgrade a PC's individual components instead of buying a newer generation console.
  • Downloadable games are more common on the PC platform compared to consoles (this trend is changing though).
  • A PC does much more than just play games, watch videos or operate as a media player.
  • MMOs are more common on PC, partially due to better hardware and the next point.
  • PC games are much easier to develop than consoles (Xbox an exception). You need thousands in proprietary hardware and software to develop a console game, that is if you get approved by the makers.
  • You don't need to worry about regional issues on a PC. You can play the European, American, Japanese or Klingon version of the game and it should work.

To many, a PC gaming rig is the way to go. To me however, it's the other way round. I prefer consoles. I've played console games from the ancient Sega and Nintendos that dominated the world, to the PlayStations and Xboxes and Wiis. I've also had my fair share of PC based games from flight sims, FPS, MMOs and more. Reasons I prefer consoles:

  • The hardware is standard. If the game isn't working you either have a faulty console or the game itself is broken. It's not the graphics card, hard disk, RAM, operating system, other applications hogging and all the millions of possibilities.
  • The game's requirements is standard (see above). You don't need to read the minimum requirements hoping the game works at its lowest settings, or upgrade your hardware to match the recommended requirements for the perfect game play.
  • Over the long run, consoles may be cheaper. After buying the console, you just need to buy games. No need to upgrade your hardware as games evolve.
  • If you are constantly going for the latest console, you will change your console on average every 6 years. Your old console will also probably last a couple of years longer, since developers don't suddenly stop making games.
  • Don't forget the console exclusives! Some games are released only on consoles (it can also be vice versa though).
  • Consoles can now push graphics good enough compared to a PC. Sure it might not be lifelike, but it's way better than previous generations of consoles.
  • A console is much more comfortable! Couch, chair, stretcher or even standing, thanks to the small controller (vs. keyboard and mouse)

There's my opinion on the whole console vs. PC debate. For now I will stick with my PS3 since my PC hardware is already outdated!


Skyrim: A Game Worth Every Penny!

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim cover 238x300 Skyrim: A Game Worth Every Penny!

I'm not a hardcore gamer, neither am I too casual. I'm more of an in-between gamer, If I get the chance I would spend hours upon hours playing something, or spend some time doing other stuff and game. My platform of choice: the PS3 (The Sony PlayStation 3 for serious non-gamers :-P), after all "it only does everything" (credits to Sony).

When it comes to game genres, I really have no preference. However, I do prefer games that are visually appealing and most importantly is playable for a significantly long time. If you take these two criterions into consideration, there aren't that many games that fit. For example, the GOW series is amazing, just go in and slash everything, however it is possible to finish over a single session. I also do have interests in simulation games, whether it is cars (GT5 for example) or fighter planes (Ace Combat and HAWX) since they can get pretty dynamic.

The last game I bought (at a bad time, week before finals!) was The Elders Scroll 5: Skyrim, simple known as Skyrim, by Bethesda. It is an open world game, basically you just roam around doing quests and interact with NPCs (non-player characters). Typical RPG you may think. But no, they went to great lengths to make a game that in some cases can be quite unpredictable, thanks to the Radiant AI system. Through dialog you can change the outcome of missions, receive a different reward and so on.

The main story, without spoilers is about dragons. The player is a special person, with special powers (search for "fus ro dah" videos). The story is quite short, but you have quite A LOT quests not related to the main story line. You end up playing a game that might as well have no end if you truly want to play it thoroughly! I actually read somewhere that mentioned the devs clocked 300 hours of game play and just stopped because they didn't feel like counting more. Not surprised.

If you want to find out more… BUY THE GAME!



PS: For PS3 users suffering from lag, freeze etc… Disabling all auto-saves, deleting those auto-saves and saving manually instead worked. I froze only a couple of times since making these changes (rather than every 10 or so travel/loads).


PSN: Pictures Say a Thousand Words

One week of PSN down:

memes playstationnetwork y u no work 300x225 PSN: Pictures Say a Thousand WordsSo PSN got hacked, but according to Sony it was just maintenance. Potentially a lot of people got their information stolen (maybe even credit cards), but it took Sony almost a week to find out.

Bottom line: GET PSN ONLINE PLEASE! Every minute PSN is down a gamer loses their life to sunburn…