Coding for the Lowest Common Denominator

Back in the 80’s (the 1980’s not the 1880’s) a trend began where technology was diffused not based on what was best, but by who had the biggest market share.

To my memory it first started with the VCR formats. On the one side you had Betamax (from Sony) and on the other VHS (from JVC). Both were developed by massive Japanese companies, but technically Betamax was the superior format. We had a Betamax VCR and my older brothers enlightened my young mind to not only piracy, but also The Evil Dead. It was a shockingly awful copy, but none the less it did have an impact on how I viewed the world, and particularly trees, for quite a while later.

You all remember Betamax right? Okay, let me rephrase that: all of you who are over 30 remember Betamax right? The rest of you are probably going Beta…who? Well here’s Jimmy Wales’ link for some background. In a nutshell what happened was that Sony were so confident that they had the superior product they were sure it would sell itself. JVC on the other hand embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign.

The result: prior to the DVD generation pretty much everyone had a VHS VCR and Betamax was mostly forgotten.

My second eye opener for better format/technology being trumped by better market share was with my first computer – the Amstrad CPC464 (and I know that good buddy Hypermole had one too). At the time the competition was the Commodore64 and the ZXSpectrum, however, the Amstrad and Commodore were both superior to the ZXSpectrum in graphics and general capability (a bit like PS3 and Xbox compared to the Wii today), but the ZXSpectrum had a much larger market share and as such many game developers coded for the Speccy and then ported them to the other formats.

So for many games played on full colour machines were made to suffer the four colour blocky graphics of the ZXSpectrum. Even then, in my young mind, I felt that I was being short changed. I had this machine with all these capabilities yet I was being denied the opportunity to fully experience them because games were being coded for a lesser machine. I could never understand why they weren’t coded for the better hardware and then ‘dumbed down’ for the other formats rather than starting with the ‘dumbed down’ version and….. leaving it at that!

Then we had HD-DVD versus BluRay. Thankfully, this time around the better tech won the day!

Now we’re in 2010 and it’s the same shit…. different decade. But this time it’s a more closely matched thing. I’m not getting in to a format war here. I have both Xbox360 and PS3 (and a Wii) and the PS3 is technically the most capable machine. Yet we’re still seeing the ‘start dumb and hope no-one notices’ approach to product releases.

Black Ops…. I was talking to one of the guys I game with and he said that it was clearly coded for the Xbox and ported to PS3, the Xbox experience being much better as well. And it seems that he’s not the only person to have noticed this as there is now a petition doing the rounds relating to the sub-standard service that the PS3 community is receiving from Black Ops and Treyarch compared to Xbox360 users:

I don’t have Black Ops, and after seeing this news I think I’ll be definitely be giving it a miss. I didn’t mind so much back in the 80’s when people for the most part didn’t know what they were doing, but I don’t accept this now. It’ll be interesting to see what the excuses are this time….. if Treyarch responds at all.

Peas and loaves.

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David Nicol is Articles Editor for, YouTube gaming commentator and blogger based in the UK.

Got BMW? (Blur PS3)

Activision, Sony, and probably other people too…. oh yeah: BMW are offering a BMW if you play the Blur Demo.

If you’ve read my last post you’ll see that I’m in to the Blur Demo anyway, but I’m not sure if I’ve got to re-download it and start from scratch again. Not that that’s a problem as it only takes a couple of hours to max out your stats.

Pic and linky below (click pic to go to the competition info):

Peas and loaves

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Pay to Play Call of Duty? GTFO!

If you’ve got nine minutes and eight seconds to spare, watch this video:

If you haven’t the time, allow me to run down the important bits.

– some Head Douche at Infinity Ward Activision thinks that Call of Duty fans are just itching to get hold of a paid subscriber based Call of Duty title……. Oookay, I’m not sure which fans he’s spoken to. But it’s usually not a good idea to believe the people in the boardroom who are paid to nod in agreement at everything you say: “Right guys, what do you think of this… what about if we charged a monthly subscription for Call of Duty?”
“Wow boss, that’s the best idea I’ve ever heard!”

I know most of you regular readers here are also Call of Duty players of various longevity, so how about you tell me how good an idea it is:

– Microsoft Post-Natal (Knect) and Sony Move are a feeble attempt at snaffling some of Nintendo’s glory and basically suck to everyone but the most casual of gamers.

– Playstation+ is a pointless waste of money. Although the idea that it’ll die is probably incorrect. It’s more likely the first step to charging for the service completely in the same way as XBL. I reckon once they hit about 30% uptake the subscriber only switch will be announced.

I must start wearing my tinfoil hat more often. It’s as if Thingy-ma-bob in the video has been looking directly inside my head. Damn you alpha waves *shakes fist in general direction of the intertubes*.

Peas and loaves

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Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

Player Info

Gaming BAFTAs

Paul Hearne posted on his blog about the gaming BAFTAs and how Modern Warfare 2, although nominated for nine awards, won none.

Now I know that being nominated, or being a groundbreaking commercial success doesn’t guarantee a win…..but missing out on every category? Surely that’s more bifter than BAFTA? Not a sausage for Hans Zimmerman? A travesty!

So who won what?

From: The winners and nominations for the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards on Friday 19 March.

Action: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Artistic Achievement: Flower

Best Game: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Family & Social: Wii Sports Resort

Gameplay: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Handheld: LittleBigPlanet (PSP)

Multiplayer: Left 4 Dead 2

Original Score: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Sports: FIFA 10

Story: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Strategy: Empire: Total War

Use of Audio: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Use of Online: FIFA 10

Ones To Watch Award: Shrunk!

GAME Award of 2009 (voted for by the public): Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Seems like the BAFTA people only had Uncharted 2 to play…..but anyway. Some of these winners, I really don’t agree with.

Action…..Original score…..Use of Audio….for three. But the one I have the biggest issue with is Artistic Achievement. I’ve not played Flower, nor am I familiar with the title so I looked it up on YouTube:

It’s pretty. The grass effect is nice and all that. But what was it up against? Assassin’s Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Streetfighter IV, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I don’t know what the criteria is for “artistic achievement” is but out of all those games one stands out more than the others to me. That title is……Assassin’s Creed II.

I always thought that the core purpose of art was to provoke an emotional response (or outrage if you’re a “modern artist”) which is why I’m surprised that Flower claimed the title for Artistic Achievement. Batman, Modern Warfare 2, and Uncharted 2 all do a very good job of setting the scene and immersing you (the initial Asylum scenes in Batman as pretty disturbing…) but Assassins Creed II pretty much replicates Medieval Italy down to the last pebble. I’ve been to many of the places featured in the game and actually walked in the virtual footsteps of the main character. The only thing that’s missing from the game are the smells (especially on the Venice levels – mmmmm stink!).

In a nutshell, I’m disappointed with the BAFTA choices. Not because Modern Warfare 2 failed to win anything, but because the choices don’t seem to add up.

Does anyone know how the BAFTA peeps make their choices? I’d be interested to know how they arrived at their decisions.

Peas and loaves

Find me on PSN – EvadLive

Fat PS3 Health Warning

I noticed earlier on today that a number of people were posting on YouTube that they could not get on to PSN. I don’t tend to play during the day but tried this evening and sure enough – network error.

It turns out that this is only affecting the older fat PS3s of which mine is one, the curvy beauty that it is. However, what is alarming is this:
Playstation 3 owners should ‘stop gaming’


Sony has told owners of older models of its PlayStation 3 console to stop using the machine because of a problem with the PlayStation Network.

Funny…they haven’t told me! All I get is a network error message when I try to sign in……better check to find out about this REALLY IMPORTANT issue. Oh….there’s nothing there either- you’d think that something that can potentially harm your PS3 would be on the front page. Perhaps I should remove my tinfoil hat as Sony must be using mind bullets to get the message across….hmmm, nothing is important enough to remove my tinfoil hat, I’ll just not bother with the PS3 until my usual gaming time late late later tonight.

Oh, found it: – awesome!

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE