Category: Hardware


As you might have noticed from some of my comments before, I might have a bit of an issue when it comes to buying things that I really have no need to be buying.  If the steam sales aren’t enough proof, I got some news for you today.  I got a new Nintendo Wii U last night so that I could play the new Super Smash Bros.

Let us go back to the beginning for a second on how this came to happen.  I was watching a stream one day of the new Smash and realized that it looked pretty cool.  I was somewhat sad that I didn’t have a Wii U to be able to play the game, but wasn’t interested enough to be bothered going and picking one up.  I had also heard they were much more expensive then the last few Nintendo systems.  Then we come to last night when I get home from work and realize that I have a giant wad of cash in my pocket.  Having cash on hand is probably the worst thing that can happen since it just sits there mocking you daring you to spend it on something you will never need.  Then I was at Wal-Mart with my roommate buying some food and we walked past the electronics section.  He stops in since he just bought a DS2 the day before to check them out.  At this point the money was practically screaming at me to spend it on something and really the only thing on my mind that day was Smash.  So we try to get a Wii-U at that point to appease the money gods.

Of course Wal-Mart doesn’t have it, which normally would be a good thing since that means I didn’t spend the money.  I think the money had somehow absorbed into my body at this point because the only thing we could think of was how the decision was already made to get a Wii-U.  So we drive down to GameStop just to buy this stupid console and spend this useless paper that was somehow still in my pocket.

The cash might have been gone, but the inner gamer in me took over at this point.  As I was sitting around today trying to finish up a bunch of stuff I had to do at work, I was thinking how dumb it was looking that my Wii had exactly one ipad shaped controller and one game.  What kind of self respecting gamer would I be if I let that stand.  A quick trip to Amazon fixed that issue with some additional controllers and useless games that will probably never get played arriving tomorrow…just in time for when my family comes down for Thanksgiving.

Hopefully the system will look much less lonely once those things arrive, and who knows maybe I’ll break the trend and actually play a fighting games more then once this time.  I mean it has to happen eventually, right?  I wonder if this is what women go through when they start looking at clothes.

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Well, I can no longer say that I’ve never had a hard drive fail on my before.  It’s kind of a shame really since this was still drive wasn’t even a year old, and I’ve trashed many hard drives for much longer then that and never had a problem, but I guess that’s technology for you.  The good news is that I still had the hard drive from my old computer laying around, and it wasn’t dead.  The bad news is that I lost a lot of cool stuff because I’m a lazy dumbass who doesn’t backup shit nearly as much as one should, and it took me most of the weekend to get the hard drive and clean it up from all the dumb shit I had on it before.

If you haven’t made the connection yet, that is the long way of saying I didn’t have a working computer this weekend to do anything I wanted.  I’ve probably said it because how much I live on a computer now, but I died a little inside when I tried to turn my computer one one morning and it didn’t boot up.  Similarly to when the power goes out, I kind of curled up into a ball for a few hours and tried to adjust to life without a computer for a few days.  I wasn’t sure if I would make it but with the help of some close friends to get me through these tough times, I can safely say that all is well again and I can hopefully find some time to play games.

On the plus side with this hard drive is I recovered all my old programming ports I was doing to help a friend learn some C# and SlimDX.  I also remembered that I had Osu! on this computer.  On the bad side, I lost the cool prototype for a project I was working on to be used with ArcheAge.  I also remembered that I am really bad as Osu!.

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Amazon finally made the announcement for the worst kept is Amazon releasing a phone secret ever.  With their announcement they also answered the very important question, how many camera does a phone need to be cool?  If you’re like me and thought 1, then you obviously are not hip and need to learn the way of the selfie.  If you thought 2 then you must be enjoying your outdated phones and be looking to upgrade.  As Amazon showed today, to be cool you must have 6 cameras on your phone to be cool.  Hopefully on the Fire Phone 2 all 6 cameras will be able to take pictures so that you can save so much time by taking 5 selfies at once while also taking a picture of the weird guy standing in front of you.

Yes it has the 3D technology that everyone was talking about before the announcement.  It seemed ok, but I still think overall it’s more of a gimmick then a selling point.  The coolest thing announced with the phone has to be Firefly.  I like that it can call numbers for you from posters you scan, or other cool text parsing in images.  Thats all well and good, but the best use for it will be finding items in the Amazon store after taking a picture of them.  Now you don’t even need a third party app to go into Best Buy to window shop before making your final purchase on Amazon.  Retail stores I’m sure must not be very excited about that prospect.

While reading about the phone, I was super excited.  I’m probably as big of a Amazon homer as you can get.  Been a prime member for years, have the credit card, buy everything on Amazon, and own 2 Kindles.  I was super excited when reading the live updates during the announcement.  I was even throwing my money at my monitor trying to get the site to take my money for the phone, but then they had to go and ruin everything.  I don’t like AT&T.  I’ve had a lot of bad experiences in the past with them on both their customer support and service coverage.  When Amazon announced that it was going to be an AT&T exclusive, I immediately lost all interest in owning the phone.  Hopefully with the Fire Phone 2 that will for sure be released next year, Amazon will come to their senses and release it on Verizon.

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Image By: SteelSeries

Image By: SteelSeries


Apparently the only thing separating the pro gamers from all the normal folk is their eye movement.  Thanks to SteelSeries; that will soon be a thing of the past.  Even for people who aren’t interested in turning pro, it will still provide valuable data on what part of the scoreboards you spend most of your time looking at.  Are you one of the guys that admires the people at the top or do you prefer to laugh at all the peons lounging around on the bottom of the lists.

See where you spend most of your time looking.   Image By: SteelSeries

See where you spend most of your time looking.
Image By: SteelSeries

Really though, this could be an interesting piece of tech and I hope I’ll get my hands on it someday. It is pretty important when playing games at higher levels to know your surroundings, see the whole field, and not just fixate on a small section.  Having something like this could be helpful to see how well you are doing that.  Or maybe it’ll be the proof you need to really tell yourself that you do need to look at the damn minimap more.

Even if some people don’t think it provides a lot of benefit, having more data available to people who want to take that extra little time to analyze it can never hurt.  When playing games at the highest levels, it’s the smallest things that can make the difference between a good play and a game costing mistake.


Beyond the competitive games:

Imagine using your eyes to direct the cone. Image By: Stretegy Wiki

Imagine using your eyes to direct the cone.
Image By: Stretegy Wiki

Outside of the analytical aspects that this new gadget can provide to select gamers, this could also provide some very interesting changes to the way we play video games.  Just think the next time you’re playing War Thunder, Watch Dogs or really any game that involves locking onto targets; instead of having to push a button to target them instead you just have to look at them. It’s more natural that what you are looking at is what gets targeted, and also frees you up from having to press that button and can instead focus on other parts of the game.

For anyone who has played Madden before, I’m sure they remember the quarterback passing cone that they tried out for a few years.  It didn’t work out to well then, but think of what they could do if they were able to integrate the eye tracking into that feature.  You could now actually look off defenders just like the pros do.  Imagine looking at one side of the field, seeing the defenders starting to cheat and shift over, and then snapping back to the other side to hit the wide open receiver for a big play.


It’s bigger than games:

Really this technology goes beyond gaming.  One of the common ways for people with disabilities to communicate who can’t communicate through normal means is through eye tracking.  This could lead to advances in the technology they are already using.  Police forces could use something similar in training to help make sure officers are paying attention to the important things in different training scenarios.  I’m sure advertisers would love to be able to pull down some data from a poster/billboard and see what got a persons attention and what people spend most of their time looking at.  Magicians, the masters of misdirection themselves, might even be able to find a use for the technology.  I’m sure they would love to be able to more easily see how well their distractions work, or what people are actually paying attention to when they are performing their tricks.

Whenever new technology like this comes out, it’s always fun to think of the different ways it could be used.  Really though, I’m just hoping that I get a chance to try it someday.

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