Tuesday, November 29

The industry is in for a gaming crash

Just as I finished posting my last entry about the Xbox 360, I found a very interesting article at The Inquirer about the state of the game industry. I think it is a good read, and I mostly agree with the author. Here is a quote of the end of the article:

Nada más terminar de colgar la última entrada sobre la Xbox 360, llegué a un interesante artículo en The Inquirer sobre el estado de la industria de videojuegos. Me parece una lectura interesante, y coincido con el autor en la mayoría de los puntos. Aquí hay un fragmento del final:

So, you have the same situation that you did in the past, swathes of high priced boredom. Mediocrity with no way of picking the good from the bad. Anything that could help you has been co-opted, and you have to throw darts with $60 attached to each one.

Sadly, the gaming industry is in a self-imposed death spiral. Everyone is putting on a brave face, touting the latest v6 of a game that came out before most of it's audience was born. What was a fun hobby full of creative geniuses and their mad art has become a grey corporate parking lot. (...)

Rather than take a step back, they are addicted to marketing plans and money men. It will kill them, and in a few years, good will arise from the ashes. It happened with arcades, it happened with the first wave of consoles, and is about to happen again. It is high time someone flushed the toilet that the games industry has become, it will do us all a world of good.

Monday, November 28

Testing the Xbox 360

Today I visited the Xbox Experience in MAK Vienna. From 24th November to 4th December, allows visitors to test the new Xbox 360 for free. There is also a contest for rock bands: the 12 finalist groups will be playing during the week, with the big final scheduled for 2th December.

There were about 100 consoles, all connected to Samsung HD LCD's. I played most of the games, but could not try Perfect Dark Zero, because the 10 kids playing deathmatch would not leave their seats :P.

Some impressions about the console:

- I like the design. It's bigger than I expected.
- The gamepads are ok, nothing revolutionary but comfortable.
- The high-definition TV's really make a difference. I, for one, would not buy a next-gen console before owning one of those LCD screens.

About the games:

  • Project Gotham Racing 3: Nice graphics.
  • Kameo: Not a bad game.. cool graphics, but I didn't like the main character design at all.
  • King Kong: The atmosphere is quite good, but still I didn't find the game fun.
  • NFS Most Wanted: Good graphics, easy control. Now you can refill your nitro-gauge ala Burnout. Just one more NFS from EA.
  • Amped: I found the graphics below average.
  • Call of Duty 2: A big deception. The same scripted, predictable, gameplay of former titles like COD or MOH:AA. In my opinion, visuals are not next-gen neither. Innovation please!
  • Ninety Nine Nights: Technically impressive, and my favourite so far. It was the same demo presented in the TGS2005.

There were other sport games I didn't bother to try(soccer, basket). These are just my impressions, so just take them with a bit of salt.

Now, some pictures:

10 Xbox 360 linked together to play Perfect Dark Zero in deathmatch mode

The concert hall

Tuesday, November 22

First two months summary

It's been already two months away from Alicante. I got lots of friends here, mainly from Spain, Greece and Austria. My German is improving, although I still use English and Spanish most of the time.

I have realized that the key of the Erasmus experience is the people. The more people you meet, the more fun you will have, and the faster you will learn new languages(such as German or Italian). Staying too much at home is forbidden!

Since Vienna is located at the heart of Europe, travelling is a must. So far I've been to Bratislava and Krákow, and I will visit Salzburg in December too. In the second semester I will probably visit Prague and Budapest. If I have enough money left, I would like to attend the demo-scener party Breakpoint 2006, which takes place at Germany. I know a bunch of friends from the spanish scene will be there, and entering the 96-K game compo would be really cool as well.

There are also bad things: I miss my dog "Mega" the most, but also my family and my friends. However, I keep in touch with them with MSN and Skype. And I can't help that one of my flat-mates is an arshole neither..

Now, some random pictures of the things I miss:

Ya hace dos meses que estoy fuera de casa. Aquí he hecho muchos amigos, la mayoria españoles, griegos y austríacos. El alemán va mejorando, aunque sigo usando el inglés y el castellano la mayor parte del tiempo.

Me he dado cuenta de que la clave de la "experiencia Erasmus" es la gente. Cuanta más gente conozcas mejor, ya que aprenderás antes los idiomas(como alemán o italiano) y tendrás muchos más planes donde elegir los fines de semana ^^. ¡Permanecer en casa demasiado tiempo está prohibido!

Ya que Viena está situada en el corazón de Europa, dispongo de una oportunidad única para viajar. Hasta ahora he visitado Bratislava y Cracóvia, aunque pasaré unos dias en Salzburgo en diciembre también. En el segundo semestre seguramente viaje a Praga y Budapest. Si la economía lo permite, me gustaría ir a la party demo-scener Breakpoint 2006, que se celebra en Alemania. Estoy seguro de que irán varios amigos y conocidos de la Escena española, y además poder presentar algo a la 96K-compo sería un puntazo.

Tambien hay algunas cosas malas: echo de menos a mi perrita Mega sobretodo, aunque tambien a mi familia y amigos. De todas formas suelo hablar bastante mediante MSN y Skype. Tampoco puedo evitar que uno de mis compañeros de piso sea un maldito "guarro cabrówn".. pero bueno :P.

Algunas fotos de lo que echo de menos:

My dog "Mega"

"Spanish Party" at Kaiko Club, one week ago

A picture of Alicante, my home town in Spain

Our great beach

Monday, November 21

Blog de un Bakala

Me estoy descojonando leyendo el blog de bakala007.. pero sobre todo por los comentarios de la gente, indignados por lo que cuenta este supuesto "bakala". Lo encontré a través de otra entrada en el blog de EX3, otro habitual del foro de Stratos.

PD: sorry for the english readers, but this story is difficult to explain because of all of the spanish slang involved..

Tuesday, November 15

Internet Connection

I finally got connected last week. I am sure some people would like to know how the connections are here in Vienna, so here are the facts:

"Chello Classic" connection, from UPC Telekabel:
  • 3 mpbs download
  • 384 kbps upload
  • 49€ per month
  • 5 e-mail aliases and 20mb for personal web site
I share the connection with a flatmate and two neighbours upstairs through a wireless router, so that it gets cheaper. However, I expected better prices here.

La semana pasada me pusieron Internet, ¡por fin! Puede que os interese saber cómo están las conexiones por aquí en Viena, así que aquí van algunos datos:

Conexión "Chello Classic" de UPC Telekabel:
  • 3 mbps descarga
  • 384 kbps subida
  • 49€ al mes
  • 5 cuentas de correo y 20mb de espacio web personal
Comparto la conexión con mi compañero de piso y con dos vecinos mediante un router inalámbrico, con lo cual sale más barato. De todas formas, esperaba mejores precios por aquí..

Trip to Krakow

Kraków is one of the oldest and largest cities of Poland, with a population of 760,000 (1.2 million, counting adjacent communities). This historic city is situated on the Vistula (Wisła) River at the foot of Wawel Hill in the southerly region of Little Poland (Małopolska).

It has traditionally been one of the leading scientific, cultural and artistic centres of the country. It was once the national capital and is considered by many to still be the heart of Poland.

During my stay there, I could see the parade of the Polish Independence Day(11th November), which means the return to the map of sovereign European states after 123 years of foreign rule.

I visited the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp on saturday, a place where about 1.5 million people were killed by the german SS during the World War II. Really shocking..

On sunday we went to the Wieliczka salt mine, one of the world's oldest operating salt mines.

Now, some pictures..

Cracovia (en Polaco Kraków) es una de las más grandes y antiguas ciudades de Polonia, con una población aproximada de 760,000 habitantes (1.2 millones, si tenemos en cuenta las localidades adyacentes). Esta ciudad histórica está situada en el rio Vístula(Wisła) en la región sureña de la Pequeña Polonia(Małopolska).

Tradicionalmente una de las ciudades más a la vanguardia en cuanto a ciencia, cultura y arte se refiere. En tiempos pasados fué la capital de Polonia, y aun considerada por algunos como el corazón del país por algunos.

Durante mi estancia, pude ver el desfile del Dia de la Independencia polaca(11 de Noviembre), que significa la vuelta al poder de los estados Europeos soberanos tras 123 años de dominio extranjero.

El sábado visité el tristemente famoso campo de concentración de Auschwitz, lugar donde cerca de 1.5 millones de personas fueron asesinadas por las SS alemanas durante la segunda guerra mundial. Acojonante...

El domingo fuimos a la mina de sal Wieliczka, una de las minas más antiguas del mundo.

Finalmente, algunas fotos: