Author - Jerry Paxton

SanDisk to Unveil Video Service / TakeTV

MSNBC reports that SanDisk, one of the more successful manufacturers of USB flash drives, announced Monday a new service and product to further bridge the gap between the PC and television.

The Service – FanFare is a video service offering premium television shows for $1.99 per download. The site is in beta right now and the catalogue is small, but if the product (see below) is successful, count on it expanding rapidly.

The Product – TakeTV Video Player is a combination of gadgets including a USB harddrive, remote control, and television adaptor. Simply load any content (currently supports multiple formats including mpeg, DivX, and xVid), onto the USB harddrive, plug it in to the cradle, connect the cradle to the television (s-video, composite, & analog) and watch your content on the big screen. For those who do not have a Home Theatre PC, this is a very exciting product. The editors of GamingShogun are attempting to obtain a demo and hope to post a review shortly.

TakeTV is currently available in a $99.99 4gb model, and a $149.99 8GB model.

[edit – TakeTV is scheduled to be relased 11/06/2007]

Activision Announces Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Weekend and Demo

Activision has announced a Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock weekend and game demo release beginning Friday, November 2nd.

From the press release:
‘…fans 13 years old or older will be able to participate in a number of exciting activities online including a 72-hour Play & Win Sweepstakes where every hour winning axe shredders who register and play are awarded with special prize packages, such as a limited edition guitar faceplate signed by Slash, as they battle in a multiplayer showdown against the developers of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, as well as an exclusive Xbox LIVE leaderboard tournament to crown the top Guitar Hero player.’

Toshiba/Microsoft Prepping HD-DVD Drive Equipped 360s?

GameSpot is reporting on a rumor first heard from Australian tech site that Toshiba has partnered with Microsoft to begin production of HD-DVD drive-equipped Xbox 360s to combat the PS3’s built-in Blu-Ray drive.

From the article:
‘Now, if Smarthouse is to be believed, Toshiba is making another
move to increase the adoption of HD-DVD. ‘Insiders at Toshiba, owner of
the HD-DVD patents, claim that Microsoft is working on a brand new Xbox
that will incorporate not only a new HD-DVD drive but a larger hard
drive and new entertainment software that is a spin-off from its
struggling media center offering,’ the site claims. After
quoting a Toshiba executive saying ‘an Xbox with a built in HD-DVD
drive is critical,’ Smarthouse goes on to say the new 360 will also
have built-in Wi-Fi and true 1080p output–capabilities both versions
of the PS3 already have. Microsoft is also considering building in a
dual HDTV tuner, Tivo-esque program guide, and a new type of universal
MP3 player docking port.’

Online Poker Site Hacked by Employee

MSNBC reports that an employee of hacked the system to allow him to see other players’ hole cards. The employee purportedly went on a major winning streak earning somewhere between $400,000 and $700,000 in very short order.

Apparently he was too chicken to spend the money, and when he got caught, he said he was simply trying to prove a point; that it could be done. The parent compeny to is promising a full refund to anyone affected by this scheme.

Lost Planet Going to PS3 in Early ’08

GameSpot is reporting that Capcom has recently announced one Xbox-exclusive shooter Lost Planet will be arriving on PS3 shelves early 2008.

From the article:
‘Capcom stated that the PS3 version of Lost Planet will feature all the content from the 360 version, plus all subsequent downloadable content from Xbox Live, along with extras included in the PC version. These include additional characters, including Frank West from Dead Rising and Mega Man.

The PS3 version will also allow gamers to battle in cooperative or versus battles with up to 16 players. These include elimination mode, where it’s every man for himself, team elimination, where whichever team is wiped out first loses, and fugitive, where one player tries to achieve a series of goals within a time limit without getting killed by the other players. ‘

Boeing Demonstrates Hummer-mounted Laser Weapon

The Register is reporting that Boeing has succefully demonstrated it’s HUMVEE Laser Avenger system, which, according to the article ‘is a gyrostabilised automatic turret from Boeing’s
existing Avenger air-defence system. Avenger normally packs Stinger
missiles and/or a .50-cal heavy machine gun, but this year Boeing has
fitted it out with a 1 kilowatt solid state laser’.

It could be useful in destroying unexploded ordinance or IEDs from a distance, however real combat applications would need a higher powered system.

Perhaps this is just a stepping stone in Boeing’s long-term plans?

Soldier of Fortune: Payback Banned in Australia

Joystiq reports that Solider of Fortune: Payback has been denied classification by Australia’s Office of Film & Literature Classification. Essentially, this bans the game from the market there. According to The Melbourne Herald-Sun, ‘(The decision was based on) the different ways a player could maim and injure (other characters).’

World in Conflict Review

World in Conflict takes place in an alternate history where instead of the Cold War ending, it went hot and erupted into a third world war. At the beginning of the game, we are treated to a vert entertaining cutscene setting up what ends up being the Soviet invasion of Seattle. Cutscenes are done both in-game and pre-rendered, both befitting the game’s mood. The story is very engaging, due in large part to the voice acting which is very good and only sometimes unbelievable. Alec Baldwin lends his voice as the narrator who also happens to be your character. Unfortunately, in trying to tell a hodgepodge of personal soldier’s stories, the story sometimes loses focus and presents us with characters we don’t care about as much as those present throughout most of the game.

Graphically, the game is stunning with a very realistic depiction of explosions, projecticles, and military units. The environments feel large and have been put together with great detail. Your APCs roll under a freeway in Seattle teaming with refuges attempting to flee the city in the wake of the invasion; Missiles streak across the sky, contrails flaring; And smoldering ruins will litter the battlefield after you are through (war is messy after all). With DirectX 10 enhancements to boot, the game is absolutely incredible but be warned, you need some serious hardware to run this game the way it was meant to be played.

The sound design in the game is excellent, with sound details relaying to your pov as they should. From above the battlefield you are treated with most of the macro noises present but as you zoom down to a soldier’s eye level you hear whizzing of bullets, clanking of ejected casings, and tank treads flexing. The score is good and epic in tone, but nothing overtly worthy of note.

Gameplay is smooth and highly dependent on your style of command. Using formations similar to Ground Control II, you can be precise and angle unit lines towards the enemy or throw them to a position in a cluster pattern. You can micro-manage your forces or let them act on their own rules of engagement once you point them to their destination. Instead of harvesting resources, you are given a certain number of points with which to call in reinforcements. These can be anything from infantry to helicopters and will land at a drop zone of your choosing. Support points are used to call in air support and artillery barrages. These points will recharge slowly and are also given as rewards for accomplishing objectives.

Go get this right away and push the Soviets out of our homeland!

From YouTube:

System Reqs (Click to Embiggen):

Best Buy Ends Sale of Analog Televisions

MSNBC reports (rather late) that Bestbuy corporate has instructed its stores to stop selling analog televisions effective October 1.

If you’re thinking about rushing to the store to pick up a big screen on clearance, you’re also out of luck because all remaining stock has been pulled from the shelves.

Most network television companies are already broadcasting digital signals along with their analog counterpart. On February 18, 2009, television companies will cease broadcasting the analog signal.

Tears of Joy or Grief?

MSN reports (via the AP) that George Lucas is moving forward with his plan for a live action television series based on the Star Wars universe.  

George has confirmed that it will not involve any of the ‘main characters’ focusing more on the development and lives of the minor players.  

On a personal note, I hope the writers take a cue from the masses and base their stories on some of the expanded universe books out there.  I’d love to see the X-wing series of books integrated into the show, for example.