Right, well it’s been a month since I posted last, and in that time I’ve thought of tons of little things to post. I haven’t realy had the time to write one of my short novels, so I’m going to just post some blurbs here this time, borrowing Dvorak’s bolding style.
I registered Trillian Pro. This was well worth it in my opinion, mostly due to the plugin architecture. It has support for Winamp playlists, weather, Jabber (another IM protocol), news feeds, and more. The one thing that I kinda don’t like is the fact that $25 only buys you a year of updates. You can still use it forever, but if Trillian Pro 3.0 comes out in 2005, I’ll have to pay up again. Still, well worth it.
I also registered The All-Seeing Eye. It’s $30 for a lifetime subscription and $10 for an “annual” subscription (actually, it looks like it’s $15 now). They say the point of the annual subsciption is that you can continue to help fund development, but I opted for the lifetime bit anyway. Years ago I registered GameSpy 3D, but in that time GS3D hasn’t been able to keep up with the demands of more popular games as a program – refreshing the 20,000 Half-Life servers takes so many hours that you eventually give up. Plus, GameSpy has pretty much abandoned the product in favor of GameSpy Arcade, leaving those of us who prefer a server browser for the FPS enthusaist to go elsewhere. We did. Of course, unlike Trillian Pro, you can use ASE indefinitely as shareware, so in this case I really was more registering for “feel good” reasons, but whatever.
It looks like Freeform Interactive has released Purge Jihad, their “sequel” to Purge. This time around, they’re self-publishing it online both due to publisher disputes and the fact that they probably couldn’t find a publisher anyway. They’ve deviated from their original plan a bit. Now, anyone who owns Purge can still get Purge Jihad as a free upgrade, so long as they can prove ownership by the end of January (see their site for details). The publisher is supposed to have pulled all copies of Purge off of shelves, but it seems that a lot of Electronics Boutique stores have decided to penny it out, meaning that they knock the price down to one cent so that they can “buy” it for a penny and then do whatever – thow it away, give it away, whatever. We did this at Babbage’s a lot and it’s cheaper than sending it back, so if you go to an EB you can probably find Purge for basically free – they’ll probably not even take your penny.
It seems they’re doing something smarter this time with Purge Jihad – essentially the game is free to download and play as Shareware, but registering the game unlocks additional classes. Registered and Shareware users can play on the same servers together, so as a result ASE shows a few dozen players playing the game at any time, much better than the 1-3 that were playing Purge. Check it out.
When I played The Legend Of Zelda on my Zelda Classic disc, I noticed the opening screen read “? 1985-2003 Nintendo”, which meant that they had done something with the game, presumably. The only thing I noticed was that the word “PAUSE” now appears on the screen in a very non-NES font when you pause the game, though the change might be so that now the saving can be handled by a GameCube, something which was unneccessary with other NES titles on the Cube (like Metroid).
Speaking of Nintendo (you knew we’d go here), they had a fantastic Christmas, selling over a million GameCubes in December alone. Nintendo now claims that they have passed the Xbox (in North America, presubably) to become #2. I’m not sure about that (numbers from a company are often skewed), but it’s true that Nintendo is taking a very small loss on each GameCube sold, so small that the profits they make on Game Boy Advance more than cover it. Compare this to Microsoft who is approaching a $2 Billion Loss before they start to turn a profit with Xbox, and you see why Nintendo will still be around for a long time. Of course, Microsoft can still always fall back on Windows and Office, but I do wonder – at what point would they decide to kill Xbox? And what does the recent departure of their games head Ed Fries have to do with all of this?
My Wife got me an RCA Lyra for my birthday. It’s cool. It has 256MB of memory and an SD slot. In addition to playing MP3 files, it plays MP3Pro and WMA.. It also has an FM tuner. I’m currently using it most in my car – I have its headphone jack tied in to the auxiliary input on my Aiwa CDC-MP3 player, so now I can listen to MP3’s not yet burned to a CD, as well as the occasional WMA file. It’s also got a pause button, which my car player obviously lacks. Plus it’s just shaped kinda cool. The manual, et al, made it appear as if you had to install MusicMatch and a plugin to send files to the player, but fortunately that’s not the case. It looks like perhaps earlier models wouldn’t play MP3’s directly – rather they had to be converted by MusicMatch to a .LYA format, and they were irretrievable from the player once on (delete only). Apparently they saw the error of their ways – when plugged in, it just becomes another logical drive to store things on. The Lyra can even recognize folders. Between this, my USB drive, my Zip drive, my CD Burner, DVD-ROM, two hard drives and Daemon tools, I may run out of drive letters soon.
And finally since I wrote the above, Nintendo announced the Nintendo DS, the code name for a new system to be unveiled at E3 in May. It’s got two vertical screens and is designed to play new portable games. Given that China gets the iQue and we get this, the reaction of this particular Nintendo psycho is: meh. We’ll see. Nintendo is good at making dumb ideas work (e-Reader) or fail entirely (Virtual Boy).