Author - Jerry Paxton

Blackout Monday: Boycott Gamespot and CNET

Joystiq is reporting on a cool idea started by a Gamespot user named ‘Subrosian’, who has called for a total boycott of Gamespot or it’s affiliate’s website today. This, of course, is due to the firing of Jeff Gerstmann, which has been surrounded in controversy and allegations of Gamespot being in the pocket of game companies.

Reprint of Subrosian’s posting:

Blackout Monday


Please do not go on GameSpot, GameFAQs, CNET,,, et cetera… do not go on ANY CNET site. Logout and DO NOT GO ON AT ALL from 12am EST on Monday (that’s midnight tonight) until 12am EST on Tuesday. Don’t come on the site, don’t Google the site, don’t click on a link to the site – don’t do ANYTHING that generates a page view, search engine hit, or *anything*

A lot of Gamespotter’s more prominant posters will be taking this action to show solidarity with the staff (and Jeff) who have to fear their jobs being lost if they speak their mind. So for their inability to speak on this issue *we’ll show CNET our silence*.

This issue is bigger than you, it’s bigger than me – it’s bigger than GameSpot. This is about big business being able to use *buy* public opinion. Rather than live in a world where the media is controlled entirely by those with the most money, I want to live in a world where gamers who are living for their hobby (these guys truly work because of their passion for gaming, not the paycheck) can say what they truly feel about a game.

SanDisk – Sansa TakeTV Player Review

I was very excited when I stumbled, quite by accident, on this product. Due to an internal error at SanDisk, details of the Sansa TakeTV player were inadvertently released to the world a good month before planned.

The Hype: A USB flash drive with a built in hardware media decoder. When docked with its cradle, the supplied A/V cables turn the flash drive into a digital media player you can connect to your big screen television. Illegally downloaded the latest movie? Tired of sitting 1-2 feet from your monitor to enjoy it? Well, the TakeTV player is for you! (I want to stress that this device is not a Tivo-like recorder, only a media-player.)

The Shogun is not yet on the SanDisk list of reviewers, so we had to order this product for the review (I wanted one anyway). It arrived in a sleek black box containing the USB flash drive/Player, remote control, cradle, and audio visual connectors.

Bad News: The TakeTV player only supports RCA composite (the red, yellow, and white plugs), and S-Video. There is no DVI output, so your dreams of watching unlimited-download high definition porn on your 60inch … television are dashed for now.

The TakeTV Player itself is about twice the size of a typical flash drive. It’s slightly thicker, and about twice as wide, presumably to incorporate the additional decoding hardware. The TakeTV Player plugs directly into the remote, when not in use, to form a sort of protective cocoon (See pictures below). When connected to a PC, the TakeTV Player acts exactly as a USB flash drive. Simply drag and drop media files onto it. No drivers or other software installation is needed. There were some cheesy preloaded videos on the drive. I deleted them.

Connecting the cradle to a television is as simple as finding the right inputs and pushing the plug in. Monkeys can be trained to do this, so I have faith in your ability. The cradle is powered by the included A/C adaptor. Very very straight forward. Very very easy.

Once connected, the user is greeted by an inelegant, but simple user interface which contains a listing of the files available to play. There are video setting controls to fine tune the image, and they work relatively well. Video quality easily matches or surpasses what I attain by connecting my PC directly to my television via a FX5500 with tv-out. According to Sandisk, the TakeTV Player will display video files of up to 720×576 (D1) at a bitrate of up to 7Mbps. The player supports both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and supposedly works on both PAL and NTSC televisions.

Everything is controlled by the remote which basically consists of arrow keys and a play button. The buttons are not very sensitive and, in the case of the play button, needed to be quite firmly mashed in order to register. The TakeTV Player can fast-forward and rewind to 2x, 4x, 8x, and 16x speeds, as well as go in slow motion. Most of the buttons worked wonderfully, but it was quite frustrating to be scanning, want to stop, and not be able to. I’d press the play button and it would audibly click, but not register. I had to really mash it to get it to function. The remote is powered by a small watch-type battery which should last a long time, and is easily replaced when depleted.

Overall, I was pleased with it’s performance. Colors/images were sharp, and playback was smooth.

As some concluding thoughts, however, this device has its limitations. It does not play MP3s and cannot display images, i.e., cannot be used as a slideshow player for your digital photos. I also ran into a problem playing older AVI files. Some worked, some didn’t. The ones that didn’t were all within the parameters of what should have worked. I have no explanation, and neither does SanDisk tech support. All the files played which were from about 2004 forward worked beautifully. There are no firmware updates yet, but I leave alive the hope of future format expansion. All that being said, if you want something to watch newly downloaded media on, this device is for you (presuming you do not already have a DVD player which supports DivX, and I’ve even seen DVD players with USB inputs but have yet to test one). I don’t want this review to come across as negative. The TakeTV Player did exactly what I expected it to, and well. The rating below, therefore, is based on how well the device performed as advertised, not on what it could have been.

BioShock 2 In Development Already & New X-Com Game!

Gamespot, the recently reviled gaming site, is reporting on a rumor from a ‘trusted-source’ who is claiming that BioShock 2 is in development at 2K’s latest studio in Marin County, CA. Unfortunately, if this is true, it means that 2K Boston will not be helming it this time around, although there are several BioShock alums at the new studio. Most startling, however, is that 2K Boston is rumored to be working on ‘Project X’…

From the article:
‘As for Levine and co., Surfer Girl states that she has confirmed with
one of 2K Marin’s new staffers that the mysterious Project X will be
set in the X-Com universe. ‘Project X is a new X-Com title, as
previously reported by the Internet, and this post has been confirmed
by one who left for San Francisco,’

Thats right, looks like a new X-Com is on the way! Gamers rejoice! Also, we should be happy it is being helmed by VERY talented people.

Gerstmann-Gate Updated Information

Joystiq has posted a great summary/recap of Jeff Gerstmann’s firing from Gamespot and the surrounding controversy, including recent comments made by Gerstmann to Joystiq. Apparently there are, ‘legal reasons’ why Gerstmann claims he cannot speak about the firing (Advice from his lawyer or NDA?). There are also several of Greg’s colleagues at Gamespot who have chimed in on the situation at their blog pages. I highly recommend checking it out.

Nvidia to Launch GeForce 9 Series in February?

Digitimes is reporting that sources close to the graphics card manufacturer say the company will be releasing the first DirectX 10.1 GeForce 9 video card in February, 2008. The card is codenamed D9E and will use a 65nm processor and, like the 8800gtx was, be the high-end model of the series. In June, the source says Nvidia will roll out the mid-range cards in the GeForce 9 family and sport 55nm processors.

Gamespot Editor Fired Over Negative Review!

Kotaku has broken a pretty big story in the gaming world. Apparently, according to their ‘trusted source’, Jeff Gerstmann (a long time writer for the site) was fired for giving a negative review of the game Kane & Lynch. Gamespot has often been the target of accusations that they pump up reviews based on advertising revenue from the game companies, but this is the first time something concrete has come up.

From the article:
As our tipster points out, if the rumor is true, it could point to a distressing precedent at Gamespot and parent company CNet. ‘As writers of what is supposed to be objective content, this is our worst nightmare coming to life,’ wrote the tipster. Our efforts to confirm the story with Gamespot hasn’t proved successful. Our current requests with PR, Gerstmann and other CNet contacts have either gone unanswered or yielded a ‘no comment.’

First Pictures of the New KITT

Jalopnik has posted the first images of the latest incarnation of KITT in the new Knight Rider series. This time, KITT is a Shelby GT500KR smoke wagon. It is..interesting, a beautiful car but I am not all that impressed by the placement of the red chaser lights. The care has an intake there for a reason and something stirs deep within my body that says, ‘DONT PUT IT THERE!’. But I digress, it does fit into the design and all.

Blacksite: Area 51 Developer Admits to ‘Rush Job’

GamesIndustry is reporting on an interview between Midway Games Harvey Smith and Wired. To quote Smith, ‘This project was so f*cked up’. Apparently, the devs and publisher knew the game was no where near ready to release but was rushed out under publisher pressure.

From the article:
‘Asked why he was being so honest about all this – and his belief that they ‘deserved’ a critical hammering – Smith said: ‘I believe in personal accountability.’

It is nice to see a person from the inside come out with the truth. This fate befalls too many games these days. It is truly a downward spiral of pain as the publishers want the game out to start bringing in the dough, but when the games end up too buggy and get that bad reputation, fewer people will buy them.

EVE Online: Trinity Release Date Announced

Gamespot is reporting that the latest (and possible greatest) EVE Online expansion, ‘Trinity’, will be released on December 5th. This is the expansion that completely overhauls the graphics engine and brings it to the ‘next-gen’ level. DirectX 10 users will be happy as the game will fully support the advanced features that API has to offer. In addition to the graphical upgrade, Trinity will also add an assortment of new ships, items, and missions to the player’s experience.

From EVE Fanfest 07:

Nyko Releases Perfect Shot for Wii

FileFront is reporting that Nyko has released it’s entry into the Nintendo Wii lightfun area: The Perfect Shot. It is the most realistic of all Wii zappers out there. It is probably going to garner alot of ‘boo-hiss’ reactions from anti-gun groups though, so you may want to pick one up ASAP.