Computer Games

Updated: Steam on Mac OS X

Further to my 2010(!) post Installing Steam on Mac OS with a Case-sensitive boot partition Steam is now, if anything, even more broken on Mac OS – and this is particularly odious given that a Linux Steam client is now available which operates under the same conditions, but handles itself correctly.

Valve, why do you hate Mac gamers?

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March of progress…

It’s 1993, and Super Frog is released for the Commodore Amiga.

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Installing Steam on Mac OS with a Case-sensitive boot partition

So Steam has now been released for the Mac. Whilst this is a massive step forwards for the Mac as a platform – finally giving Apple a credible position regarding gaming (after the 2007 deal with Electronic Arts, which didn’t even promise Mac native games but merely wrappers around Windows titles*, apparently went nowhere) – there are still clearly rough edges which makes Steam feel more like a late beta.

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A comparison of Nintendo DSi XL flash carts

After succumbing to unbearable pressure (e.g. my Mum mentioned in passing that she was thinking about getting one…) and buying one of the new DSi XLs, the next task was to find a solution to playing all of the games I’ve bought since getting my original DS Lite several years ago – without the hassle of carrying around, changing, and then losing hundreds of tiny cartridges.

On the DS Lite, the CycloDS Evolution was pretty much a perfect solution for me – it was fast, stable, customisable, and frequently updated with the latest fixes and upgrades. Unfortunately, it was also completely incompatible with the DSi, and so also the DSi XL.

In order to find an acceptable solution which works on the DSi (and therefore the XL also – the two machines run identical firmware, and only differ physically in form-factor) I ended up ordering one card, and then another – and so it occurred to me that a comparative review could well be useful… especially since one seems to be very popular but really doesn’t work at all well, whilst the other takes some effort to get working but is really very good once it’s sorted out!

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Microsoft Xbox LIVE…

Finally realised that to trial Xbox LIVE Gold you need to create a new account – I never got a trial because I imported my old Xbox account.

Underwhelmed by the new Gold-only features: Facebook is alright – I like the photo browser, but doesn’t appear to be integrated; Twitter is an #epicfail without a browser for following links (my phone can do this, ferchristsakes!) and likewise doesn’t seem to integrate with anything else; and the Sky player stutters even on lowest quality whilst I can watch BBC iPlayer in HD without problems.

In all, anyone who upgrades to Gold for these features (which can’t even be trailed without) will be disappointed – Microsoft should stick to selling Gold accounts for multiplayer access, rather than convincing people to upgrade for gimmicks.

(Even better, PS3 multiplayer is free!)

If I were Microsoft I’d give people an hour of Gold/multiplayer membership a day, but require a payment to upgrade to permanent 24×7 multiplayer. This would let casual gamers get a feel for multiplayer (and so probably end up selling more Gold subscriptions) without removing the impetus from hard-core players to pay for the service. Simple!

“Red Wizard needs food, badly” *

Nintendo

This Christmas, I received a single video-gaming related item: Prince or Persia, on the Xbox 360. Actually, I can’t remember the last game I bought for the Wii… it may have been Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Why this (not so) sudden apathy for the saviour of the games console? Because after a dream start to a console which has stratospherically exceeded even their own expectations (and perhaps herein lie the seeds of the problem), Nintendo have failed to capitalise on their lead at almost every juncture.

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Nintendo Star Points – expressly designed to annoy?

Time was, you bought a new Nintendo game and got a code with it, which you entered into a Nintendo website and got points in return. Never mind that anything worth buying with these points sold out immediately (the used to give away Gameboy Players for the GameCube, and certain NDS games) – people were generally happy. Or, at least, not gnashing their teeth in frustration.

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Backwards-compatibility or forwards-compatibility: choose either one

(or “Why you should never change your hardware platform”)

As reported at play, GTA IV was tested as being 100% compatible with the current model of PS3, but unfortunately not with any of the older (60Gb) versions which retained PS2 compatibility via hardware custom chips.

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Nintendo Europe: Not evil, just irredeemably stupid?

There are several things which annoy me about Nintendo right now… amongst them the shameless price-gouging for Virtual Console games, the DRM which prevents you from backing up your saved games from your console to your SD card (what was the thinking behind this one??), the hopelessly slow SD write-speed when you do actually find something that you can copy, the inability to run copied data from the SD card, the lack of any form of online mass-storage support – I could go on.

However, right now, it is Nintendo Europe who are in my cross-hairs – and I’m left wondering exactly what they think they’re playing at.

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Best video review ever

This is without a doubt the best video review of a game that I’ve ever seen 😉