Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thoughts On... PS4

Okay, I just finished watching the live stream of Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2013, which was basically the official reveal of the PlayStation 4. (Good bye Orbis!) They covered a lot of ground and if you're into gaming at all, I'm sure you have TONS of gaming websites that will go over every single minute detail of the stream, so I won't go into any detail. Plus, I'm not a reporter so I have no idea how to properly cover an event like this. What I will do is give you my impression of the meeting. And I can do it in a word: EXCITING!

So here are the broad strokes: They covered the machine specs of the console, debuted the final version of the PS4 Dualshock controller, talked about the overall design philosophy behind the PS4's creation, They had some game demos, some engine demos, and a couple of major announcements.

I like the new DualShock 4 controller. It looks wider, which is awesome cause I have HUGE hands. The drawback is that with the new Touchpad on the controller, I might have issues accessing features of the game by accident. I guess we'll have to see. They also integrated the PlayStation "Move" tech into the controller now, which I find.. interesting. It looks like they got rid of the "Start" and "Select" buttons, but I like the idea of the "Share" button. Which brings us to the philosophy of the PS4.

Despite the awesome technical stuff discussed and displayed at the meeting, I found myself most captivated by the philosophy of the PS4. The Lead PS4 system architect, Mark Cerny, stated that the development of the next gen console started 5 years ago, but they seemed to have tapped into a lot of really current ideas. Some stuff was expected, like game integration across all types of devices. (The DriveClub segment covered some interesting ideas on that front with the idea of racing in teams, and using apps to affect other parts of the game or create challenges for others to play.) What was most interesting for me is the idea of social integration into what Cerny called "the PlayStation ecosystem".

I like the idea of being able to easily share videos of my game play with friends (Most likely to help me out with whatever part I can't seem to beat), play games while they are downloading, and testing out games without downloading or paying for them. (That little tidbit was the only part of the whole conference that referred in any way to money. Again, interesting.) The coolest part was being to be a spectator, and watch the games my friends are playing (if they are broadcasting) and possibly jump in and help. For someone who is a hermit, I was actually impressed with the social media aspects of the PS4.

The game demos were cool. I'm loving "Watch_Dogs" more every time I see it. And, it looks like it will be available for PS3 and PS4. There's a new KillZone game coming for the PS4 which looked pretty awesome. Actually, so did the next Infamous game, Second Son. I was impressed with "The Witness" an upcoming puzzle game which reminded me a lot of Myst. But what really impressed me weren't the game demos per se, but the details in what I was seeing.

I have a background in computer programming, not game programming exactly, but I know about writing software. And as a developer myself, I know how difficult certain things are to create. I was truly amazed at the level of detail displayed in the game demos, but more in the ENGINE demos. The level of power to create such believable real time lighting effects while handling things like millions of particles flying around AND handling character movement and animation is simply astonishing.  Quantic Dream really FLOORED me with their new engine. I also LOVED Capcom's "Deep Down" demo. Again, the handling of the particulates was fantastic, but what really got me was the dragon fire. The flame was so fluid, and smooth; it was impressive.

There were several announcements, but the biggest one was the at the very end. The PS4 is coming for the holidays 2013. What they DIDN'T say is for how much. Or what the PS4 actually look like. All in all, the live stream was 2 hours of interesting stuff, and what they covered was interesting. And what they DIDN'T cover was also interesting. It looks like E3 is going to be a major battleground this year. As for this year's holidays, we'll see if I can afford to get a PS4. I might wait awhile on that.

If you saw the live stream, my dear readers, what did YOU think??

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Thoughts On... The Best Kiss Of My Life (so far)

I don't know about you, my dear readers, but at the beginning of every new year, I find myself looking back on things. Not really for nostalgia purposes, although that does come into play a little bit, but more for life assessment on the order of "this is where I am, and that's how I got here". It comes in really handy for planning goals and the like for the upcoming year. At any rate, this particular post is about one distinctly interesting trip down memory lane I took after a discussion I had at a party I attended recently, with a friend on the topic of kissing. She was semi-drunk and doing most of the talking. I was mostly just trying to keep her from falling over.

After she passed out, I found myself thinking of the relatively small amount of romantic kissing I've done, what was MY greatest kiss? It turns out that the award for single best kiss of my life (so far) goes to my first girlfriend, Amanda. No, it wasn't our first kiss. That would just be too trite. Actually, this story is about a random kiss somewhere in the first month that Amanda (or Manne, as she liked to be called back then) and I were together. No, this kiss was special for a different reason. But first some background info: As you know my dear readers, I've always regarded my mind as my most precious resource.

One of my mind's greatest talents (and flaws from a certain viewpoint) is the ability to keep track of many different thought processes simultaneously. The drawback to this talent is that, at times, I find it difficult to keep focus on a single task due to all the competing and conflicting ideas floating in my head, vying for my attention. To be honest, a good portion of the women I meet I can't interact with because they just can't hold my interest. But Amanda was different, she was smart, creative, goofy and beautiful. Looking back on it now, our relationship was MAJORLY dysfunctional, but at the time it was awesome!!

Anyways, back to the story: One of my favorite places to hang out in college was this lounge area in McCullough Hall that was just past the main hall/stage area. There were some very comfortable chairs and a huge TV there. One day, I was hanging in the lounge and Amanda happened to be walking by, saw me, and came over to talk. As all new couples do, within a few minutes we were kissing. We had kissed before and it had been awesome. Electric, even. But this time it was different.

Our lips met, and my mind shut down. There were no other thoughts, there was no alternate ideas, no random problems from schoolwork that I was still trying to solve. My mind was perfectly still and in the moment. And all of my considerable intellect was focused on her. Her taste, her scent, the warmth of her breath, her hair brushing against my face; every aspect of my mind was taken up with her. Nothing else existed. The truth of reality at that instant was that she and I were the only occupants of the universe. It was with that kiss that I knew not only that I loved her (which wasn't really anything new, I had been in love with other women before), but that she loved me in return. (THAT was the part that was new. No one had EVER loved me BACK before her).

In real time, the kiss lasted maybe a minute. Ninety seconds at the longest. Subjectively, that kiss lasted for hours. Eventually, we came up for air. She had to go somewhere and said good bye. And that was it. The single best kiss of my life so far. As of this blog post, I've only ever had two girlfriends. The interesting part is that I had a similar experience with my next girlfriend. It wasn't nearly as powerful as it was with Amanda, but strong enough that I think that's my sign.

If I kiss a girl and feel anywhere close to the way I felt during that kiss with Amanda, I am sure that we are in love.

Top 5... Hottest Asian Actresses

I was sitting at McDonalds with one of my roommates passing the time until they stopped serving breakfast. As is the norm with us, we started coming up with "top 5" lists: top five movies, top five video games moments, top five hottest actresses, etc.  When we both came up with the hottest actresses list, I noticed that there weren't very many Asian actresses on the list.

Before I could say another word, I was taken in by the Asian Equality Agency. After the AEA agents had tortured me for hours, I finally broke and agreed to rectify my slight against the Asian peoples and create a top 5 list of the hottest Asian actresses. They released me, letting me know in no uncertain terms, that my release was contingent upon creating the list and publishing it here on my blog immediately!! Since, I don't want to go to prison, here is my top 5 hottest Asian list for your viewing pleasure!

5) Lucy Liu

The first time I remember seeing this gorgeous little fireball was in Payback. Later she became famous for her role in Ally McBeal, and now she graces us with her beauty every week as Joan Watson on Elementary! Crime solving never looked so good!! 

4) Ziyi Zhang

Like everyone else, I first saw Ziyi Zhang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. At 21, she was beautiful. Now, she's heartrendingly gorgeous!!!

3) Maggie Q

I first noticed Maggie Q thanks to Die Hard 4. And I mean that sincerely, THANK YOU producers of DH4! And now that she's on Nikita, I get to watch her hotness every week!

2) Moon Bloodgood

I first saw Moon Bloodgood on this little known TV series called Daybreak and I was instantly smitten with her casual smoldering hotness!

1) Kelly Hu

Even though, she had a pretty good career in TV before this, I first saw Kelly Hu in The Scorpion King. And she was simply delicious then and is even MORE so, now. She had a guest appearance on Castle recently, and she is just as alluring as ever!

And there you are, my dear readers. (Pay attention AEA, I have complied! No prison for me!!!) My top 5 hottest Asian actresses. What do you think of my list? Sound off in the comments below!!

I just love, love, LOVE me some Kelly Hu!