The Quick Death of My Second PlayStation 3

ps3_4My refurbished 60GB PlayStation 3 died on February 2nd with a yellow light of death, just as my first one did in May 2009. I had seen a small number of identical graphical problems leading up to this unit's death -- not many and not as frequent or drastic as my original unit did, but I hadn't been playing my PS3 as extensively or for as long a period as I was a couple of years ago due to real-life distractions and other gaming opportunities. This lends credence to my suspicions that the first few generation of non-Slim PS3's suffer from a tendency to collapse under design and/or manufacturing flaws under heavy use. Looking back on that article I can see that new PS3 lasted through just two years of heavy use.

What kind of graphical glitches? In Saints Row 3 I had seen occasional instances of the very brief white texture flashes as I had seen on Unreal Tournament III back in the day. The Kingdoms of Amalur demo showed some very serious problems, perhaps because I played it for so long in one sitting. I saw ground textures becoming pools of smeared pixels and I also saw the distinctive problem of geometry spikes on character or enemy models once or twice. These spikes told me something was definitely wrong, and I mentioned as much to my wife to prepare her for the eventual end of life of the system.

Star Trek Online Early Impressions

startrekonline_logoThree very positive things about the free to play Star Trek Online MMO jumped out at me. One, I didn't have to choose a server to play on, implying that the game will handle bringing players together automatically if and when I get the chance to play online with others. Two, the integration of the Star Trek fiction and window dressing are very good. As a fan of next-gen shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and even Voyager, I am seeing, hearing, and reading a lot of familiar and fun things in this game. The sounds, the text, the environments, even the attitude of the medical hologram all seem to be well done. Lastly, characters are surprisingly customizable, despite only having three career options at the start of the game.

ModNation Racers: Road Trip To Drive Asynchronous Gaming Forward

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The upcoming launch of PlayStation Vita will be accompanied by a third game in the ModNation Racers franchise, and this one is planning to capitalize on many of the handheld's features to bring a strong set of asynchronous gameplay features as well as community unlocks. The developer, in a post on the PlayStation Blog, addressed concerns that the game won't have a WiFi infrastructure mode for competitive play by citing a desire to innovate instead of simply replicating features from their PS3 and PSP offerings before it.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Impressions

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As a big fan of Deus Ex, I'd been eager to try out Deux Ex: Human Revolution and got my chance thanks to a one-day rental coupon from the local video store chain. I spent a few hours with it and stopped playing during the first mission post-augmentation. So far I've found it to be a high-quality title with a strong identity and style.

The Problems With Multiplayer Minecraft

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Something happens when you play a game with a child, as I've done playing Minecraft together with my 9-year-old daughter. You lose years of gaming experiences, dexterity with controls, and expectations that a game will have limitations you just need to learn to work around. You also gain a greater appreciation for innovations that are fun. Lastly you also get a stark, cold-slap-in-the-face reminder of things that just aren't good enough and need to be fixed. Multiplayer Minecraft has two such problems.

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