Last week Blizzard launched one of the most anticipated beta tests ever. StarCraft 2 has been in various playable forms since its announcement in 2007, but this is the first time players have had access to the game outside of special events. The original StarCraft was released in 1998 and has spent the last 12 years as one of the most popular multiplayer online games. The game is played professionally in South Korea where games are broadcast on three different channels dedicated to professional gaming.
Scribblenauts is a new Nintendo DS game from 5th Cell. Yesterday was the early launch and I’ve spent quite a bit of time with the game. The overall idea of the game is that you can create anything just by typing in a word. You then use these objects to solve levels. The game’s ROM was leaked last weak and someone managed to dump a 22,802 word list. Many of these are aliases, but it still leaves 4,105 unique objects.
I was sitting down to solve a stack of last week’s sudokus (thanks mom) when I was reminded of a popular link last week about solving sudokus systematically. I never read the article because I enjoy solving sudokus and can do it without assistance. I was amused with what Mark Frauenfelder had to say about it on BoingBoing
Maybe this foolproof Sudoku solving algorithm explains why I don’t like Sudoku very much — at least compared to crossword puzzles, which can be clever, surprising, and educational. Sudoku is more like Solitaire, which bores the pants off me.
I’m of the opposite school of thought. Sudokus make sense. There is a logical progression and absolute solution to each one. You can work out the solution from pure deduction. On the other hand crossword puzzles are completely arbitrary and manufactured by the creator to stump the solver. To me this makes crosswords only slightly more legitimate than riddles. A riddle is a manufactured fact. Making up a question that you know the answer to does not make you any more intelligent than the person attempting to answer the riddle.
Comparing sudoku to solitaire isn’t one t0 one either. Solitaire is poorly designed in that you can lose the game before you even start to play if the deck is stacked against you. Seems kind of masochistic to a play a game that you can lose because of no fault of your own. (players would probably enjoy Everybody Loves Raymond) I would compare sudoku players to people who solve Rubik’s cubes even though they already know how. The fun is in motions, not the solution.
I had originally written this for a different site, but they don’t seem to be using it. I’d hate to see something I lost sleep over go to waste so I’m posting it here. This is my experience buying an Xbox 360.
Sadly, I had come to the conclusion that Microsoft would not be sending me a review unit. What had we ever done to them? I felt I needed an Xbox for work, so I had to acquire one ASAP (i.e. not February). I managed to get my hands on one early this morning and met some interesting people along the way.
Well, the Sony PSP launched last Thursday. It seems that sales are not as high as expected. There are also rumors of large numbers of dead pixels. The PSP does look like a great device though. It can play games and videos, has wifi support, and a widescreen lcd. It also allows Sony to upgrade the device remotely to add functionality (or break someone’s hack). Hacks have already been developed: Wipeout Pure has a web browser that will access a Sony site in the future. By setting up a proxy on a local computer you can serve any page you want to the PSP. This means you can’t go surfing from wifi hotspots yet, but Sony will probably add an official browser in the future. They pushed the PSP out the door hoping to sell as many as they can before they announce at E3 that the Playstation 3 will be released this fall. Another hack lets you download video files to your PSP almost automatically. Someone has also managed to use old memory sticks in the smaller Duo memory stick slot. Which leads me to why I won’t be buying one. Sony insisted on using not one, but two nearly-proprietary storage formfactors in their device. Using UMD for games doesn’t bother me too much since I would be playing PSP games in the PSP only, although the standard CD format of Playstation games probably made backwards compatibility a no-brainer when making the Playstation 2. There is a nice touch in the fact that PSP games don’t have a region code so you will be able to play Japan only games on your US PSP. Sony’s use of memory stick duo for storage is idiotic. I don’t know why Sony attempts to force brand loyalty by using flash memory that very few others support. They had an excuse; when the memory stick format was first introduced the digital camera market was still developing, but now they’ve introduced the duo instead of going with the obvious choice, SD. There is one reason I might pick up a PSP… Ape Escape!