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Tycho / on Wed, Jan 8 2003 at 7:27 am

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Minus The Pope And A Rabbi

I thought that I had uploaded the comic, but I also thought I was a ninja for a time, which culminated in a grievous leg injury.  The strip is up now, for reals this time.

And yes, I am aware that the lighting solution on the new Gameboy Advance SP is technically a frontlight, not unlike Triton Labs’ Afterburner product.  I am very curious to see how Nintendo’s solution compares to the unofficial add-in.  Very curious indeed.   

Dropping here on March 23rd, this new Gameboy will arrive just shy of two years after its predecessor.  I want to be angry about that, but I can’t, because it’s platinum.  Have you seen it?  I just want to snatch it up in my talons and try to incorporate it into my nest somehow.  I guess I’d be angrier if it made deeper changes to the system, necessitating an upgrade for all portable gamers - but the fact is that no upgrade is really required, especially if you’ve gone to the trouble if installing a lighting system or tacked on one of those FloodLights.  I would call myself very interested in it, because I like to adopt things, and when I adopt them I like to adopt them early.  The rechargeable battery pack is something we should have seen a long time ago.  If I get my hands on it, though, and it doesn’t measure up?  I don’t feel like Nintendo has me between a rock and a hard place.  In fact, I feel like they’re the ones that are kind of tense.  Cell phones and cell manufacturers are trying to eat their lunch with simple, portable games that ride on devices people already carry around with them.       

I appear to have gotten onto some new PR list at Microsoft, because Freelancer and Impossible Creatures showed up a few days ago completely uninvited but not necessarily unwelcome.  Let’s talk about them in reverse alphabetical order.

Impossible Creatures does absolutely nothing for me.  I did not enjoy typing that sentence, because I have massive loyalty to Relic and I honestly love the central concept.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it, this is the one where you mix the animals up and I really like that part - I just don’t like the game that is built up around it very much.  The demo they released would never install right on my system, so maybe this is all old news to other people.  As is my way, I will play it for a period of an hour and a half uninterrupted before I uninstall it.  If my feeling on the matter changes - and this forced period often does reveal value - then I will let you know. 

Freelancer is actually kind of weird.

You may recall that we saw the game a few years ago, two or three, Jesus, I don’t remember, at an E3 showing.  Things were a bit different then, and it would be underestimating my reaction to say that I thought it was vile.  What had always been discussed as a sort of unofficial sequel to the Privateer franchise had become this Space Flight 101 mockery.  A space game without a flight yoke seemed to me like no space game at all.  I know many people have been playing them for years with mice, and had success, but that doesn’t make a lick of difference to me.  You would literally click on a guy, your ship would follow him automatically, and then you would click on him until he had died.  Freelancer has been in the wings for a while, and I’d long assumed that it had been shelved or something - but I think the main issue is that developer Digital Anvil went through a period of very rough water.  What I’m playing here is apparently some kind of press beta, so maybe there are still some changes to be made - but the game that is on the CD, as it stands, right now, is actually pretty cool.  There’s no flightstick option that I can see, but the Auto-Following stuff is gone, which goes a long way toward giving the game back to the player.  What didn’t come across at that showing we saw at the E3 is that the game is actually a sort of RPG.  I know, I know.  But it’s true.  You gain levels, levels give you access to finer technology, you take missions and gain experience.  With the controls being what they are, the playing of it actually feels like a Space Adventure instead of a Sim, which I was too angry/righteous/fancy to see before.  The cut scenes are ofttimes strange and stilted, and I don’t particularly look forward to them.  On the other hand, the combat, missions, exploration, and variety could easily be designated as a Superfun site.  Oh yeah, and it also has full multiplayer in a dynamic galaxy, just like they always hoped.  I can’t find anybody online to test it out with, though. 

The water has been off in my apartment the last couple days.  You have no idea how thirsty this makes a person!

(CW)TB out.

you’re lucky to even know me

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