[Update 1] Hacking the Kojima Flash animation

To see the timer as it exists, check out the Kojima Productions website.

http://www.konami.jp/kojima_pro/next/frame.swf?lmt01=20090518100000&lmt02=20090519100000&lmt03=99999999999999&lmt04=99999999999999&lmt05=99999999999999
The above link cuts the counter from 80 hours down to about seven hours. Unfortunately, more tweaking beyond that always results in a black screen. Each section of the address that begins with “&lmt0” separates each timer, you can modify each one in hopes it unlocks something special. I will keep working it at, hopefully using some of the things that the ShogunGamer folks have discovered.

Some people think it’s too early for another Metal Gear Solid, but I wouldn’t expect the developers to let such a great game engine go to waste so soon – they should be able to crank out a few games before doing any major overhauls on this glorious piece of code. Still, the final timer seems to be set to expire on the same day as Microsoft’s E3 presentation. Could it be the Metal Gear Solid franchise coming to Xbox 360? Either way, anyone who doubts that this is for Metal Gear Solid should just take a look at the image above… the website’s metatags are clearly marked up with “MGS” and “Metal Gear Solid” – and with the “5” flashing in the lightning of the flash animation, it seems clear cut what this counter is going to show us next. At least, it seems more obvious than the last timer Kojima Productions did!

note: minutes before publishing this article, I was able to get the timer down to about 10 minutes – I will watch to see if it fades straight to black or if it leads to another image/animation. I will update the article with my results.

UPDATE 1: So far, nothing:

It has just sat there for a couple of minutes. Please comment and let us know if you make any progress, I do believe modifying the URL with the information gained from ShogunGamer’s website might show progress!

Capcom: still making games for all platforms!

This picture comes to us by way of 1up… and it shows just how out of hand console fanboys can get sometimes. It also shows what appears to be a proposed number of titles developed for 2010-2013. The last few days I’ve been reading articles on how the PS3 is Capccom’s new platform of choice. Some articles suggested they were swayed by the incentives package recently proposed by Sony, offering PSN developers a bigger cut of the sales. Another article suggested that the PS3 had a large line up of exclusives, and the Xbox 360 would be getting some table scraps. Countless websites were making it sound like Capcom was abandoning the Xbox 360 and intended to become a Playstation-centric developer. A lot of focus has been placed on the numbers: 12 to 13. Everyone wants to know what the ONE PS3 exclusive title will be. How soon we forget.

Articles like that, which will popup continually throughout the day, suggest that the other 12 games will be the same on both platforms. First of all, both of these platforms will be getting a plethora of attention from Capcom, so I don’t think anyone needs to worry about what game to play in the next few years. Some websites suggest that also includes titles from this year. If that’s true, consider this: Xbox 360 seems to have lost Dead Rising 2 exclusivity, and according to all accounts Dead Rising 2 will be multiplatform, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. However, the Xbox 360 should be getting Lost Planet 2, which, at this time, is still considered an exclusive. PS3 and PC versions are likely in the works, but if it remains an exclusive, that is one less game they have in common. Which would mean two exclusive titles for the PS3 *gasp*! I know, it’s enough to make mountains crack… but why don’t we all just breathe in for a second and relax.

Got that? Relaxed? Less tense? Good… now, why don’t we brainstorm how 8 “new” titles could possibly run on the Nintendo Wii? What’s next for them? Dead Rising 2: Chopping Spree?

Little Big Disappointment


When the exact phrase I used as the title of this article nets a whopping 749 results on Google, it’s easy to see that there must have been a misstep somewhere. Little Big Fail actually brings back over 1,200 results.

The game is a genius concept and was one of the most anticipated titles of all of 2008. The Playstation 3 exclusive was being looked forward to by all of the critics as a family friendly game, a new approach to video games, and a nod to creative players everywhere. Instead the game became all about a controversial recall and Super Mario Bros. level remakes.

I, myself, try not to buy in to the hype that surrounds games like this. If still have not seen the 2000 movie “Gladiator” because everyone said it was the best film I would ever see… I don’t like being letdown, nothing is ever as good as the hype. So I waited a while, passed up a few deals in the Sunday paper, and added LittleBigPlanet to my Goozex queue. After a little more waiting, the game finally arrived. The anticipation was over. I slapped the disc in… and waited. Evidently, I had been missing out on some 200+ megabytes worth of updates. So, once all of that was out of the way, I grabbed my controller and ran through a few tutorials, listened to the charming introduction and narrative that would follow me around. I completed tasks of varying difficulties, and unlocked the ability to play online (a feature I had yet to even look for, and hadn’t realized you had to play to unlock… quite a nuisance to other players, I’m sure).

With a scoreboard that makes little to no sense and trophies that requires true dedication to the inhabitants of this LittleBigUniverse, I found myself not caring about that aspect of the game. Which leaves… traversing through some sort of afterthought storyline, or playing levels designed by amatures. Neither of which sounded appealing. And then I stopped. I have stopped playing. I added the game back in to my Goozex trade queue, and within hours have seen a request pop up. I will probably even be shipping the game out this weekend.

A moment of silence to reflect. The base of the game is brilliant, lighting schemes, physics engine, the nearly limitless power to create… if you have the patience to work your analog stick and build everything in your world brick by brick. I did almost no level designing because my creativity doesn’t inspire me – other people’s does. I’m a writer, not an architect. As a kid, I got frustrated by Lego sets and G.I. Joe toys that had “some assembly required.” I built a desk upside down, once. I am not mechanically inclined. I wanted to see what the developers of the game could do – but evidently, beyond building a cool new engine with some fantastic texturing… not much. It’s like writing the world’s best novel with no main character, or the best painting ever of a bowl of fruit. It’s wonderful to look at, but not for long. There is nothing there to hold my interest, to keep me coming back.

I am by no means the first person to think of this game as a let down, but for being one of the saviors of the Playstation 3, I force myself to think that these really are dark times for Sony. Well, there’s always Resistance 2 and Killzone 2. The Killzone 2 demo didn’t make me think it was anything ground breaking, but I will give the full game a better shot at some point. Resistance 2 is waiting for me at home (since before LBP arrived), and I should be diving in soon. Both of those games excite me more, not just because they are action and First Person Shooter titles – but because they have engaging storylines.

It was a game that I was so anxious to play, and the fastest turnaround I have ever had for a game. I feel almost bad letting it go so soon, but I am comforted knowing that if I ever need my LittleBigFix, I can get a similar experience just by visiting the LittleBigPlanet website.

PS3 Firmware 3.0 poll showing Home's Failure…


While the Playstation 3 does what they can to enhance your experience with the 2.60 Firmware update, by adding a new photo gallery application, DivX 3.11 support, and a few other minor enhancements, a recent poll was released discussing features users wanted to see in the 3.0 firmware.

Compiled from over 4,200 responses to a poll on ps3blog.eu.com, the Firmware 3.0 Roadmap shows what people might say is a level of dissatisfaction among PS3 owners.

Their number one requested video game feature is backwards compatibility. Remember, hardware BC has been removed from newer Playstation 3 models, and is not planned for several current and future models. Now, a whopping 31% of voters want 100% backwards to be implimented via software – which will impossible. 1% of them want improved game launching from within Playstation Home. Maybe they aren’t requesting the feature because they are already anticipating it. But some (myself included) may see this as sort of a negative response to Playstation Home in general.

IBM Master Inventor compares 360 and PS3…


Above: Cell processor block diagram… if it makes sense to you, you should apply at IBM.

Today, I just wanted to share with you this: I seemed to have overlooked a quite fantastic article where IBM’s David Shippy compares PS3 and 360 processors. Shippy was co-creator of the Cell, and with the Xeon being the IBM/Intel pride’n’joy for several years, based on Shippy’s own PowerPC architecture, I’m sure he knows a thing or two about it. Shippy has been given the highly distinguished honor of being an IBM “Master Inventor.” In short: he knows his stuff.

In the end, he says the two consoles about balance out, because of the extreme differences in design. It sounds as though he’s willing to give the Playstation 3 a bit of an edge in the hardware department, but also sounds unsure if anyone will ever fully harness the power of the PS3, stating that “the real hardcore coders would argue that, once you do understand it and can program to it, you absolutely get the most out of the hardware, and really write some fairly low-level code that’s really high performance.” Still, he doesn’t go so far as to proclaim a winner (read his uneasy responses on page 3 🙂 ).

This whole discussion between PS3 and 360 owners has taken on such a life of it’s own that Shippy has recently co-authored a new book, entitled “The Race for a New Game Machine.” The article is an astonishing read, they even talk about some of the personal struggles you have when designing hardware for competing companies. Being IBM must not be easy, when everyone is coming to you demanding “the best you’ve got.”

See also: IBM’s “Introduction to the cell multiprocessor” – also co-authored by Shippy.

Review: PS3: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars


I have been waiting for far too long to write this up. I was putting it off in hopes that I would be able to provide video or screenshots, etc… but alas, my schedule has not permitted me to do anything too exciting or fancy. You will have to rely o nthe already established Battle-Cars image gallery.

I have been following Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars for a long time now. But what of it after it released?

You will be glad to know that I got my hands on the game, and am finally able to give you a little more details.

First, if you have a PS3, and have not downloaded the demo of the game: do so! The tutorials and demo levels make the game extremely easy to learn, and give a better demonstration than any preview, review, or summary is ever going to do!

I like to know what I’m doing, before going online and getting destroyed by every player under the sun, so I took the detour of going through the tutorial levels first. They teach you almost everything you need to know about driving the vehicle, dodging oncoming traffic, jumping, using the ramps and walls to your advantage, and going supersonic. The one thing you don’t get a big lesson in: ball handling. You learn a few blocking techniques, but after playing online, you’ll notice a few players out there are just as good in this game as Beckham with a soccer ball.

Still, once you get the basics down, you want to hurry out online and see just how good you really are. You’ll learn right off the bat that supersonic is only one of the many keys to success. Going fast will get you destroyed, or foolishly send a ball in to your own goal, than most other techniques in the game. Pay attention to the tips the game gives before each session: they know what they’re talking about. Jumping before hitting the ball is an excellent way of keeping the ball on target, and getting into the goal, instead of right above the goal! You may also recall our interview with Dave, in which he advised players not to be affraid to jump for the ball – so true! Nothing surprises players on the ground, waiting for the ball to fall, like shooting up and taking it like an NBA toss up!

But what about the game itself? What can I say, it’s pure fun. During the interview, Dave had suggested that the game was intended to have multiple play types, but they kept coming back to this one. It’s easy to see why. It’s fast paced, it’s fun, and oh yeah – it’s addictive. Graphically, the game might not be the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen, but it plays like liquid. Everything is smooth and fast paced, even after a goal is scored the action doesn’t stop with a ball sitting in a goal!

The sound did receive some attention, but much like the graphics, sometimes feels like an after thought. The music is good and the sound effects fit right in, helping to reinforce the feeling that you’re slamming your vehicle into a large metallic orb.

As an added bonus, the game offers great potential for building teams and leagues, as well. People could develop special moves, and tandem techniques, with enough time together. I look forward to playing this game on a regular basis. Earning trophies should also help a few people who might not be itnerested in the off-line game mode delve a little deeper! The multiplayer makes it easy to find and join friends from your friends list, as well.

For a $15 price tag, there is really no reason not to pick this game up. Wipeout HD is priced at $20, and it might look awesome, but I can guarantee you won’t have half as much fun playing it. I found myself laughing, and analyzing my own mistakes – “how could I have blocked that shot“, or “why did I miss that!?

All in all, I’d give the game an 8.4. Not the most outstanding work from the artist’s perspectives (visual or audio), but the game is fiercly addicting and all ’round fun. It nails the casual gamer market, in that I can play a few rounds and put it down – come back to it later, play a few rounds… I’m not forced to sit infront of my TV for 13 hour sessions of “I just can’t turn away” like Metal Gear Solid 4 or Dead Space. The fact that others are finding it fun can easily be seen at MetaCritic, where users are averaging the game at a whopping 9.5!

As a final word, you will notice I did not get into the excellent features of the game – such as uploading your videos to Youtube. The simple fact is I have not played around with that much at all, and while I think it is exciting and shows great potential for the Playstation 3, I just don’t think that it should have any bearing on the overall score of the game itself, which is why I didn’t goo out of my way to look at those for the review.

Life with Playstation: a bigger disappointment than I envisioned

For those not paying attention to real websites, but somehow stumbling on mine: Life with Playstation has officially launched. I need to watch the video that I just embedded here, but from all of my accounts, it’s not that great. PS3 Fanboys are complaining that it’s being compared too much to the Wii Weather Channel and News Channel. That’s not fair. It doesn’t have near the locality that the Wii’s Weather Channel has, and the news reading feature is impossible – even on a 42″ TV, everything I tried to read was far too small, and there is no “Zoom” feature like there is with their web browser.

I like what Sony is trying to do, here – just a little something extra for the PS3 owners. This sort of feature (at least weather) has been something I’ve been hoping for in the 360 for a long time. It’s a nice bonus. But I don’t care what the weather is like in Washington, DC, or New York City – I live closer to Philadelphia – but that’s not even an option! Let’s also not forget that this isn’t an RSS driven mini-browser, it’s just basically a web browser going through Google News. Thus, if a link takes you to a random third party website, and you get the “not enough memory” error that the PS3’s browser is famous for, too bad, chum. You don’t get to read that story. It’s a start, but here’s hoping for the next version, soon.

If you want to give it a try, it’s free and simple. From the Playstation Blog: “Life with PlayStation is now available for download by selecting the Folding@home icon under “Network” on the XMB.”

VideoGamer.com uses decveptive headline to nab hits! Halo on the PS3?


See that tiny picture of that big idiot? That’s James Orry. He writes for VideoGamer.com. He wrote an article about the upcoming multiplatform game “Sky Gods.” The article is headlined: “HALO insertion game confirmed for PS3, 360, and PC.” While HALO is a term used for parachute deployment, and the like, using the word “Halo” in the video game industry causes specific expectations. Using “Halo” and “PS3” in the same headline? Simple hit-grabbing.

The game looks good enough without James’ lame attempt to steal headlines. Leave marketing to the professionals.

The award goes to Sony for most creative Spin!


I had a late day at work, then relaxed with a HD-DVD viewing experience on my beloved Xbox 360. But as I powered on my Playstation 3 tonight, I was greeted with a message – it wanted me to perform a system update. It seems that Firmware 2.41 has been released today.

I expected to fix those nasty problems we heard about, late last week. Well, rest easy, now that SCEA is back from the holiday (what was SCEJ doing?). Well, before installing it, I wanted a little more assurance that it was ready to go, so I loaded up the official Playstation blog. In the most carefully spun story of the week, Sony wrote:

“As many of you know, we released PS3 firmware update v2.40 last week, but had to take it offline temporarily because, for a limited number of users, the XMB wouldn’t display after the update was installed.

And they aren’t just talking about the new “in-game” XMB (Cross Media Bar) – they mean the main menu of the console. 😉 No games, no BluRay movies, no nothing. Creative wording, trying to downplay the seriousness of the problems – but at least a fix finally arrived. As I was writing this, I was downloading and installing the update, myself. I’m at the main menu (which finally has a time and date!) – and it appears that not a single one of my friends has found any trphies, yet. Looks like we all have to get started!

Additional note, anyone looking for me on the Playstation network shouldn’t have a hard time finding me, I go by NuAngel on there, as well.

PS3 Firmware 2.40 requires a reformat? Sometimes…


We have been hearing about the strange problems with the PS3’s 2.4 update – available, working, exciting, trophy giving… then pulled from the PlayStation Network?

Little has been said about the problems, but users are starting to report their experiences. Kotaku reports that the fix requires a hard drive format. Isn’t that fun? Reinstalling all your games, losing your downloaded content and saved games… yikes! Sony is still remaining tight lipped, and hasn’t posted an update in almost 24 hours.

Here’s hoping for some good news for the holiday weekend in the USA – I think many people were looking forward to a long weekend of trophy hunting!