Is it time for a “good” Superman game.

I was thinking about this the other day. When will there be a good Superman game? Is it time? I remember being excited to play a Superman game back in the early 80’s. If you remember, Superman was released on Atari 2600 in 1979. If you are unfortunate enough to remember it, it was a horrible horrible game! I don’t even know what the point of the game was, nor do I really wish to know what it’s about till this very day. Perhaps it would  be a good game in Bizarro world. Even as a kid my naive innocent enthusiasm could not mask how awful this game really was. A decade later Superman hit the arcades in 1988. I actually really liked it. It was a 2 player (co-oped) game as well, the 2nd player played as Red Caped Superman. I have played the arcade game recently on emulations. I must say it hasn’t held up so well. I mean, I don’t nearly like it as much as I did when I was a kid. Too bad that “naive innocent enthusiasm” doesn’t last. In 1999 Superman arrived on the Nintendo 64 (N64). I was actually excited about this games release, but I remember reading the reviews about how bad the game was. Instead of purchasing the game I decided to rent the game at my local Blockbuster. Oh man, was I glad I rented it. The game really was as bad as the game critics had said. Only the Atari game could be worse. Superman games have really been a disappointment. It’s worth mentioning that Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe which was released in 2008 has Superman in it as well. It’s actually not too terrible of a game, but you cannot call it a Superman game. There’s been other appearances in games, and mobile gaming as well. None of those games are really worth mentioning in my book. I think it’s time for a good Superman game. Unfortunately it would have to be made by game developers who have a real passion for The Superman franchise and gaming as well. It could not be just another game developer who’s only picking up a paycheck. It reminds me a lot about The Batman franchise. There hadn’t been any great Batman games until Arkham Asylum was released. I think part of the issue was that the hardware was really not capable of producing a good Superman game in a 3D environment. Now with the advent of The PS4, XBone, and new PC hardware, I think the time is now. I really hope someone with passion makes the next Superman game. It would be a big endeavor. It couldn’t be based on the movies, because that would limit the game too much. It would require a skilled and massive team of game developers. I really doubt any software company would be willing to gamble on such a game. The gaming industry is a business after all, and Superman has shown to be a bad investment as far as games go. I do think it could be done right. It would just need someone with previous success and one hell of a sales pitch. Hopefully someone out there has the passion for such a game. It would be epic if done correctly. It’s definitely possible and I think it’s time.

New to computing? Mac or PC? (Simple explanation for novice users)

I sometimes get asked if someone should purchase a Mac or PC. I think it’s becoming less of an issue since most users would be fine using a tablet, smart phone, or other mobile-devices. Occasionally some people do need an actual (full functioning computer) desktop, or laptop. So for those who need to do more than your basic browsing, word-processing, and emailing, you are stuck with the question “Mac or PC?” The first and most important question is budget. If your budget is under seven, or eight hundred dollars you will be getting a PC. There are no macs cheaper than that, unless you buy an older-used model, which is a gamble. The main reason a PC can be cheaper is because Window PC’s have many manufactures, and you have a wider variety of models, and prices. As oppose to Mac’s which are only produced by Apple. I’d like to add, you do get what you pay for.

Barring price being a major factor, Macs are an excellent choice. They’re superior at video-editing, programming (certain) languages, and are (in my opinion) superior at everyday use. That’s because the quality of the hardware is of a much higher standard. I’d say if money is not a big factor, go with Apple. It’s better for novice users because there are less chances of messing up the software. Also Macs are less susceptible to viruses, and malware. Although that is changing due to the fact that Macs have become more popular, ergo are a bigger target for bad guys. So I basically recommend Macs for Novice users who have a bigger budget, and content-creator professionals.

Where does that leave PC’s? PC’s are still great computers. Although you are a bigger target for malware, and viruses, your conduct online is very much a factor how susceptible you are to getting any. Also, there are many programs that you may specifically need for school, or work, that are only on the PC. If you need to use specific software that is Windows only, than Windows is your operating system of choice. I must add that Mac’s can run windows on them, but you do have to purchase The Windows OS software, which can be expensive. You have to take that into account, but Mac’s make excellent (dual operating) Windows machines. Windows is also superior for gaming. As much as I want to game on my Mac, I am very limited on what I can do. There are still some great games on The Mac platform, but it’s very tiny compared to Windows. Seriously if you want to game, get a Windows PC.

Basically it comes down to what you need the computer for? I do want to add that Apple has the Mac Mini which is a full functioning computer. It starts at $599. It will do everything, even picture, and video-editing. The only thing is, that the Mac Mini does not come with a monitor or keyboard. Actually it comes with no components. You have to purchase everything else. I’d also like to add that the Mac Mini is for the Novice user, and not exactly for the professional user. I think you’d want a little bit more horse power if you are a professional video-editor or photographer. Although the Mini is a great computer, well worth the money. Also, I always recommend to not get a netbook, or a really cheap computer. Save yourself the headache. I’ve seen many people have issues with these cheap computers, and it’s just not worth it. If you do decide to get a computer for $200-$400, go into it realizing that you have a cheap computer that will be slow, won’t run a lot of software, and you’ll end up needing a replacement computer in about a year. It will either be too antiquated, or will break since it uses cheaper parts. There are more options with Chromebooks, tablets, and smart devices. To reiterate, if all you just want to do are basic things like email, simple word-processing, and browsing, than those are options you can definitely look at. I always recommend to see a computer in person before purchasing it. If possible go to a friend, family, or big brand store, and try using, and playing around with the model you’re interested in.

If money is not an issue, purchase the medium tier, or more powerful Macs, and install Windows on it. You’ll have the best of both worlds! Although many gamers would disagree, and state that the better video cards are on actual PC computers, and not on Macs. Which is true, but that’s only a factor for really high-end gaming. Just in case anybody is wondering,  a video card (aka graphics card) process the display. The video in some software, and especially games may look better, or worse depending on how powerful the video card is. It’s actually more technical than that, but that’s the simplest way I can word it. In other words, the video card is very important in gaming, and video-editing. That should not be an issue for your average Joe. Anyhow, good luck, and I hope I helped someone out there that is not too familiar with computing. Welcome to the wonderful world of Computers.

As always, your tech, and gaming buddy: Zenmart

Role reversals of Xbox One and PS4

When the previous generation consoles were first released many people asked me which one was best. If I didn’t know them well, I’d ask them several questions. How much are you willing to spend? Do you strictly want to game? What kind of games do you like? Do you have a blu-ray player? I mostly recommended the PS3 to casual, or new gamers, or people with larger families. This was because it had blu-ray functionality, a wider variety of co-opt (in person) games, and more family friendly games. The Blu-ray and backwards compatibility also drove up the cost of the PS3. On the other hand Microsoft’s Xbox 360 had several tier options. You could purchase the base model, or models with more capabilities, or with all the bells-and-whistles for higher prices. One reason I think the 360 did so much better in initial sells was because you could purchase a cheaper version, that’s especially important during a recession. The 360 was a better gaming console in the sense that it had more adult themed “hardcore games” and better online (paid) support. Some games even looked better on the 360, even though The PS3 actually had extra chipsets that gave The PS3 a few extra capabilities that The Xbox 360 did not have. Unfortunate for Sony, the cookie cutter programming done by third-party developers was not conducive to the PS3 unconventional proprietary architecture, and the result was better looking third party games for The 360. As time passed for the previous gen consoles you would eventually see an evening out of better looking games because programmers got more proficient with The PS3 dev-kits interface. I’d also like to point out that many times these graphical differences were minor. You’d be hard pressed to see the difference between the games, although there are examples of more noticeable differences in a few games. In summarization, The PS3 was the better all around entertainment console, while the 360 was the more gaming-centric console.

Now at the launch of Xbox One and PS4, in my opinion the roles seem to have been reversed. I’d like to point out that we’re still very early in the life-span of the current gen consoles, and things can and often do change. Since my only point of view is of the present, I will explain my views on how I see things at the genesis of the current gaming consoles. Both PS4 and Xbox One have Blu-ray capabilities which give neither console an upper hand this time around. The Xbox One bundles more hardware and features in a single box. Gone are the days of base models with lesser and (more important) cheaper tier pricing. Also The Xbox One is not simply a gaming machine, but an entertainment hub for all your media needs. The Xbox One does a lot, and it does it well. It has voice activation, motion sensing, multiple-video-streaming-sources, music & audio streaming, stats keeping, sports updates, TV guides, DVR functions, and much much more. Although The PS4 does have some of those features, this time around it seems the PS4 is far more a game-centered console. Also, Sony could later add more features and hardware that would allow The PS4 to do more by selling new adapters and up-dating software, basically un-consolidating all the features, and more important pricing. Xbox does it all with just one box, which is why they went with the name “Xbox One.” Sony also purposely decided to make their hardware and programing for the PS4 more user-friendly for third party developers and programmers. They proactively went out and asked what programmers wanted with the next gen consoles. It’s even speculated that one of the reason Sony’s Ken Kutaragi “The Father of Playstation” was fired was due to his unconventional proprietary console design. Needles to say the PS4 appears to be the more user-friendly console for developers this time around. For example, in order to keep the frame rates up for COD Ghost, the Xbox One version had to lower it’s native resolution to 720p which it than up-converts to 1080p, while the PS4 runs natively at 1080p. This would imply that whatever software Activision is using to program COD Ghost is more compatible with the PS4 console design and interface.  This is just a total flip from the previous generation.

As I stated before the PS3 had more media/entertainment possibilities, and was a better choice for casual gamers, and larger families. While The Xbox 360 had better pricing with cheaper tier consoles, was far more game-centric, and was more user-friendly for developers. I find it interesting that both Microsoft and Sony have taken what appears to be opposite approaches this time around. As I said earlier, it’s still very early in this generation to see if what I’m saying is true, but it sure does look that way at the onset. Things do change and both companies have proven to be excellent video game producers. Also there are other factors I haven’t considered that will move any given console into any possible direction. For example, how will the market be affected by console game exclusives, and by the fact that some gamers are very loyal to Sony and Microsoft? Some gamers won’t care for the other console. Also, how did the DRM debacle affect Microsoft? All these questions are to be taken into account. My goal was not a comparison of the consoles, but more of a retrospective on the roles Sony and Microsoft play in the gaming world.  Anyhow, I’m actually very excited to see what lies ahead, and what new developments are made in this wonderful industry. It’s all just very interesting and amusing.

Your gaming friend: Zenmart