How to decide the format war. No really.

Walmart is complaining about the HD format war, and all the tech blogs are complaining about it. Consumers don’t know what the hell is going on. People who bought HD-DVD and Blu-ray are pissed off because of poor studio support, price, features, press-release nonsense, and the money being thrown at studios to switch sides. If Walmart is mad, you can bet Best Buy, Circuit City, and pretty much everyone else hoping to profit from HD is just as mad.

Clearly the movie studios can’t fix this problem themselves. Short-term greed and stupidity have severely damaged the ability of the movie studios to make this format war go away. They are like little children who are fighting over which theme park they want to go to, only to have their parents decide to stay home instead. solution to the HD format war:

SFAPAFAGAll the other companies that are currently format neutral and have a lot to gain from a single high-definition format need to get together and form a group. I suggest SFAPAFAG (Stop Fucking Around and Pick a Format Already Group). I even made you a logo you can use free of charge. This should be comprised of retail (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc), rental stores (Blockbuster, Netflix, Hollywood Video), neutral computer hardware companies, neutral movie studios (I’m looking at you Warner), and anyone else who has any influence on HD formats.

Next, everyone must sign in blood – yes blood – that they will abide by the majority vote of SFAPAFAG no matter how much whining Sony does and how many millions Toshiba dumps in your garage. Any member failing to abide by the blood oath shall be forcibly removed from planet Earth (courtesy of the Russian space program). Continue reading “How to decide the format war. No really.”

Pink-ray wins the HD wars!

Pink-ray is officially backing the next-gen HD format Pink-ray. This is a revolutionary new HD format offering 1440F minimum resolution. The “F” stands for “Fun” and doesn’t let you forget it! All discs are required to include drunken cast and crew commentary, unrated versions of all films released on the format, picture-in-picture-in-picture (or pipip), integrated drinking games, shuffle chapters option, pink-view (video is played through a pink filter), fast-forward function with audio (at all speeds), action and sex only option for playing back just the explosions, car chases, gun fights, or sex scenes, and many other Pink-ray exclusive features.

Pink-ray discs can hold 900UTB (Uber Terabyte) on a single layer and as much as 1,600UTB on a dual-layer disc. Due to the amazing power of the Pink-ray laser the disc only spins at 2 RPM reducing noise and vibration as well as extending disc life. Pink-ray video is compressed using the patented Codepink codec which supports uncompressed 44.3 surround sound and resolutions higher than we can count.

Pink-ray Players are as cheap as $35 thanks to the low processing power requirements of Codepink. Players are also cheaper because the Pink-ray laser is just a CD-ROM laser with a pink piece of plastic over it. The Pink-ray manufacturers recycle old CD players to make their lasers so they’re actually removing waste from the environment!

Pink-ray is truly the makings of the next great HD media format, sure to replace VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and HD-DVD in the coming months as everyone’s primary home video format. Finally we can say the HD format war is over! Time to go shopping videophiles!


Warhawk BundleOnce touted as a Halo killer, Warhawk has arrived for Playstation 3 owners as of August 28th and is available either through the Playstaiton Store for $40 or retail locations for $60 (retail version includes extra video content and a Bluetooth headset).

Halo killer it is not. Development of the Warhawk single player portion of the game was discontinued and scrapped in favor of the development team spending their time perfecting the multiplayer. As Incognito told Sony: You can either get a mediocre single player and multiplayer game or a great multiplayer game.

With a single player story out of the way the only thing left to do is hop online and battle it out with other Warhawk owners. Sony offers many of their own servers (racks of PS3s) for online play denoted by the blue text in the server list, but you can also find a large number of games hosted by other players or create your own server. There is always a server with empty spots available, but not necessarily for the game play type you want (Capture the Flag, Death Match, Team Death Match, and Nodes). Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are the most popular, at least in the first week of Warhawk’s release. For those of you looking for a traditional Warhawk experience, you can join the dogfight-only DM and TDM servers.

Warhawk, originally intended as a flying-only game, might surprise many people with the quality of the ground battle it delivers. It has similar elements to the Battlefield series in terms of being able to jump into any vehicle (plane, jeep, tank, anti-aircraft gun) and start using it. While there may not be the huge selection of vehicles you get in the Battlefield game, you won’t notice since the action is incredibly fast. A dogfight can be going on above you completely separate from an intense ground battle giving you the sense that you are fighting in a much larger battle. That feeling is intensified with 32 player games, especially in Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, where crashing planes and exploding jeeps burst onto the scene while you battle it out with other players on foot.

Warhawk is fun, and often funny. A player may be sniped from a tower across the map, but once they respawn they’ll be jumping in a plane and lighting up that tower until the machine gun overheats and they are out of missles. I will often find myself saying “Is it over already?” when a game ends, usually oblivious to which side won. It really doesn’t matter to you who wins in Team Deathmatch because you were having too much fun lobbing grenades at the guy in the anti-aircraft gun who shot your Warhawk down a few minutes ago.

Warhawk jeep

The maps are big, with nearly end-to-end view distance. I was impressed with the variety of different landscapes, many with unbelievable heights to fight from. Some maps have land masses floating in the sky, designed for the Warhawk dogfight modes. The foliage, water, clouds, and Warhawks are all well designed. There clearly was no motion capture for the soldiers, and the tanks and jeeps leave something to be desired visually, but due to the fast paced action they are not a hindrance to the fun.

My biggest complaint with the game is the Sixaxis control. You can turn it off, but it will put you at a disadvantage since you will lose one of your analog sticks (the aiming stick, in fact). Sixaxis works and can work well… if you are out for a leisurely flight to take in the sights. Unfortunately, you are usually being targeted by guided missiles, RPGs, and anti-aircraft nearly from the moment you spawn. The problem I have is the delay. When I rock the Sixaxis to the left or right I want the plane to turn right away, but there is a slight delay that throws me off just enough to cause me to either crash into something or overcompensate and make a wrong turn, taking me off target. Using the analog stick results in instant control, but as I said this puts you at a disadvantage. I haven’t tried Sixaxis in any other games to compare to Warhawk. If this is a common issue, it makes the last-minute motion control add-on by Sony a gimmick and not a great control feature. Sixaxis control cannot be assigned to just the plane, so you have to go into the menu and turn it off if you want to use the Jeep or Tank without Sixaxis (trust me, you do).

My second problem with the game is the server list and join-game system. Warhawk will pull down the 1000+ servers and you’ll see 27/32 players on one which means there should be 5 slots available. In my experience you have about a 10% chance of getting in on that server. It takes about 30 seconds for it to tell you the server is full, then you have to reload the entire server list again. This is dumb and is the biggest reason you won’t be able to connect up and have a quick game before you go shopping, out to eat, or wait for your significant other to undress. They need to update number of players (and other server information) on the fly as you scroll through the list of servers. Update: You can press the triangle button to update the server information when you have a server selected, but it continues to say things like “22/28” and return “Server Full” messages despite this supposedly updated information.

Warhawk can be a load of fun once you connect to a server. If you can successfully use the Sixaxis controls, it will make the planes a blast to play and add so much more to the Warhawk experience. In the dogfight battles there were a number of moments where I saw a glimmer of what fun the air battles could be with more a responsive Sixaxis controls, but for me the real fun can mostly be found on the ground.

5 words or less: Sixaxis issues, fast, fun, funny.

5 out of 7