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Tag: storage space

Now the 360’s Fridge is Full

(Has it really been five months since the last blog post? Holy crap. Time flies when you’re having fun.)

One of the reasons I wanted to pick up an Xbox 360 was, believe it or not, how great of a service Xbox Live seemed to be. In addition to the integrated friends list and all that standard goodness, the titles available on the platform seemed like a blast. From old arcade classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, to new takes on old games like Uno, to entirely new experiences like Geometry Wars… well, I wanted in.

Microsoft always painted themselves into a corner by having to support the “Arcade” unit of the system which did not come with a hard drive, eventually resorting to packing in some amount of on-board storage to support their own initiatives. It seemed strange to split your consumer base in this day and age, something Sega learned the hard way with the Sega CD and 32X a decade earlier.

A few years have passed since then. We have been updated to a whole new “experience” with a new interface. The restrictions on how big a downloadable game must be have been lifted, and then lifted again... and lifted what seems like several more times since then. Current games like Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light now kick around in the 2 GB range. 50 MB seems hilariously quaint by comparison.

What about me, though? I am a gamer. I knew which system model to get back then — I got the standard model with the 20 GB hard drive, of course! I had all sorts of downloadable games I wanted to check out, and the upcoming Guitar Hero III and especially Rock Band were going to need all sorts of space for DLC!

Flash-forward again to 2010. I have 4 MB of space left on my Xbox 360 hard drive.

I have removed as much as humanly possible while still keeping the necessities. No music videos initially installed to the drive. No extra game demos. It is an epic struggle every few weeks when a new Rock Band Network (or even just standard, weekly DLC) song comes out and I need to juggle some space around. Sure, a USB stick is an option for a couple small items… but with the entire original Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band installed to the hard drive, and now not having enough room for Lego Rock Band (never mind installing Rock Band 2 for when 3 comes out next month)… those dongles just are not going to cut it.

At the time, 20 GB seemed like plenty of space for a game console that was still primarily disc-based. We all saw the purely-digital-delivery revolution coming down the line, but not enough of us anticipated just how much it would come this same generation.

Needless to say, I am in the market for a new Xbox 360 hard drive. 60 GB (the amount Microsoft eventually began including as “standard”) seems like enough for me… for now, anyway. That should cover the Rock Band installs I need to do, along with plenty of room for demos and XBLA games (looking at you Lara Croft and Limbo). The question is… is it really enough? If I could not anticipate 20 GB not being enough, having all the experience that I now possess, is it incredibly short-sighted to think that 60 GB will carry me to the end? A used 60 GB hard drive runs about $35-40; a used 120 GB runs about $45-50. Should I just spend the extra couple bucks on double the more-than-double the space? Buying “new” is out of the question almost on principle alone, as Microsoft is well-known for entirely gouging with their accessory pricing.

That all being said, let us not forget about our ol’ pal the PS3, either — with all of the mandatory installs, that 40 GB hard drive is typically hovering in the range of only having one or two free gigs. At least that one can be easily replaced

Nintendo’s 2008-2009 Updates

Well, we’ve got a new Nintendo DS on the way (along with a few other things).

There has already been a bunch of discussion about the whole thingie-ma-bob, despite the press event only happening within the last 24 hours (as of this writing, Nintendo has yet to hold their US press event). However, there are a couple very specific things that I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention.

The first item of interest is the removal of Slot 2 (the GameBoy Advance slot) on the DSi. As you no doubt heard from episode two of our podcast, the issue of backwards compatibility is of both major interest and apathy among us (depending on the system, games, etc.). A huge point we brought up was that Activision’s Guitar Hero: On Tour, as well as the upcoming On Tour Decades on November 18th, rely(ies) on Slot 2 to house and interact with the guitar frets attachment. Needless to say, these games will (theoretically) be completely unusable with the DSi.  I suppose it’s a good thing for Activision that they already got their Guitar Hero: On Tour & DS bundle out the door earlier this year, because that thing is looking more and more irrelevant as information comes out of Nintendo today.

This is yet another example supporting my personal belief that Nintendo has been one step behind where they should be with regards to… well, everything… since the Gamecube. I know, blasphemy, especially considering all the profit they are raking in. Hold on.

Microsoft realized and made it clear back with the original Xbox that digital distribution was going to be huge for conoles (even if you missed all of the other signs out there), but Nintendo really had no foresight for this. The Wii’s internal space was limited to microscopic levels (more on this in a bit), and the DS had Slot 2 to play actual GBA games.

Of course, you have to consider Nintendo’s approach during the DS’s launch. To them, it was their “third pillar” (main console / GameBoy line / the new DS). For the time, it was a brilliant move; if the DS failed, well, that wasn’t meant to be a replacement for the GameBoy line (right… with it having the GBA slot, and all), so no big loss! Luckily for them, the DS has become a global phenomenon. That Slot 2 is where it gets tricky, though. Would the (original) DS have taken off without it? Keep in mind that nearly every late GBA game was coming with little pamphlets showing you how you would be able to play them on a DS in a whole new light, so to speak.

My point is that if Nintendo really wanted to crank up the digital distribution and sell us GB/GBC/GBA games directly for our new DS, they should have cut Slot 2 out of the DS Lite. The DS was already popular, but the DS Lite is what really… how do I put this… oh, just insert an “it prints money” joke here. Now we have that device in what appears to be every-other-person’s hands no matter where you look, and the GBA slot is right there with them. I’m pulling some Wikipedia-research on you right now, but the numbers look like ~80 million GBAs, and ~77 DSes (so far). That means that there’s already a huge crossover with DS owners that probably have a nice little GBA game library kicking around somewhere. I’ve mentioned this on the show plenty of times: why would I re-pay for a game on a new format when I have the original cartridge sitting right over there?

Of course, there are plenty of reasons (as seen by my constant purchases of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda games) with convenience and portability being the main ones. Nintendo is really going to have to prove to these millions upon millions of potential customers exactly why they need to re-pay for Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (on top of already paying for the original SNES version on Virtual Console, on top of still having the cartridge sitting in their Super Nintendo). Price is going to be a key factor, and one that I do not feel they have been particularly persuasive with. We know the DSi digital distribution pricing scheme will be between about $2 and $10, but there is no further clarification on what will be sold and for what price level.

How does Pokémon play into this, by the way? A huge deal with Diamond & Pearl was the fact that you could put all of your Generation III games (FireRed / LeafGreen / Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald) into Slot 2 and do all sorts of neat things (transfer the critters via Pal Park, mostly). How about future games? How are we going to be expected to transfer from Generation IV to Generation V? Will we need two DS systems?

That also brings to mind what I call Nintendo’s “tethering” to the DS. If you play certain games (and especially if you go online with those games), you will notice that the games tell you that your system and game are being considered a single entity now, and will need to be used together exclusively. For the most part, this presents no problems other than ending up with a new friend code if you decide to upgrade from a DS to a DS Lite, for example. For games like Pokémon, though, it gets a little more difficult. I actually do not know the full extent of it, so perhaps you all can help me. What are the ramifications for taking a Generation IV game to a new system? If I start playing it on a DS Lite instead of my old DS, will My Pokémon Ranch recognize that it is still the same game? Will I be locked out of transferring back my little guys? It may not be the same system + game combo, but gosh darn it, it is still the same cartridge!

Finishing off my backwards compatibility ranting and raving is the whole idea of the “Wii de Asobu” (Play On/For Wii) series. Just like Capcom did with Resident Evil 4, but actually applying a brand to it, Nintendo is going to re-releasing a bunch of Gamecube games with enhanced Wii-specific controls. You don’t get to play a new Pikmin game, but you sure get to play the old one… with Wii controls! In all honesty, this actually sounds like it could be pretty interesting. Metroid Prime fans are probably salivating at the thought of re-playing the first two games with the Prime controls. Imagine going back and playing Wind Waker with the Wii’s Twilight Princess controls; while they may not have been as necessary or appropriate as the Metroid Prime control evolution, going back to non-Wiimote+Nunchuck for Zelda can be a little off-putting. This is pretty ingenious on Nintendo’s part, in that they (once again) get to charge you (once again) for playing the exact same game (once again) only slightly differently.

You will notice I am ignoring all the things like the internal cameras, further embellishing on the SD card slot, downloadable web browser, music playing, etc. These are all the expected next-steps for Nintendo, and I honestly just do not have a lot to say about any of them.

The last thing I did want to address is Nintendo’s admission that there is insignificant storage space available on the Wii, and that they will be utilizing the SD card slot to solve this problem in Spring 2009. I have spoken before about my experiences with having to clear out the fridge, so I will not bother going into it in-depth again. It would not surprise me if it was Nintendo’s arrogance that got them into this situation, though. They honestly believed that there would not be any storage problem, and they honestly believed that moving things to and from (rather than executing directly off of) an SD card was sufficient. That would be perfectly fine… if they weren’t also selling us Nintendo 64 games, Turbo-CD games, and WiiWare games. Especially with the latter, it was probably quite shocking for them to realize that the less-than-512 MB really isn’t enough to actively use the system for what they’re now intending it to be used for. The SD card slot is really the most simple solution, and I am thoroughly glad (and relieved) to see them utilize what is actually right there inside the system, rather than pushing more useless white plastic our way.

So what about you all? What are your thoughts on everything? It was certainly a lot to wake up to this morning, that’s for sure.

Cleaning out the fridge, I’m a geek and an otaku, blah blah blah…

So today, Ys I & II came out on the Virtual Console. I’ve always wanted to check out this series, and never bothered to do so (either through emulation, or actually picking up a damn TG-16 / PC Engine). I said to myself, “Self, when you get home from work, download that shiz!

If only it were that easy.

When I downloaded Sonic the Hedgehog and Star Parodier recently, I ran my “blocks” down to the wire. I couldn’t even download most NES games. How in the bloody Hell was I going to download a TG-16 CD game?!

Time to clean out the fridge.

It was a very painful process. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m of the mindset that I absolutely should be able to have access to each and every single damn Virtual Console and WiiWare game that I’ve downloaded at any given time and immediately when I want it. Am I spoiled? Sure. I have no problem admitting that. Is it too much to ask? I don’t think so. Not these days, anyway.

Yes, this is basically just me acting like a broken record. You’ve already read this elsewhere. You’ve already heard this elsewhere. I don’t care. This is my blog, dammit! I get a chance to complain, too!

I’ve actually had plenty of instances where I was about to spend money on Virtual Console games… but I didn’t. Why didn’t I spend the money? Why didn’t I give free money to Nintendo for games that I actually already own in cartridge form sitting right over there? Sitting in the damn original system right above the Wii on the next shelf up (I’m looking at you, Waverace 64)?

I didn’t have the blocks available.

If I’m going to spend money on digital versions of games that I already own working versions of, my stipulation is that I have access to it right away. None of this re-downloading nonsense. None of this transferring to-and-from an SD card nonsense.

I’m not sure why I actually buckled down, caved in, and said “I’ll be a good boy, Reggie!” this evening. Maybe it was the prospect of playing a game that I didn’t already own and had been interested in for years. Maybe it was because I didn’t really mind moving over games like Bonk’s Adventure and Toe Jam and Earl (sorry folks, they’re just not that good). I also had to move over some games that I really didn’t want to move over, though, like Super Castlevania IV.

So now I’m back to having ~20 blocks left. No chance in Hell of being able to get Samurai Showdown II any time soon. And yes, I’m aware that Samurai Showdown Anthology will be coming out state-side at some point this year. It doesn’t change the fact that I have total gaming ADD and would love to be able to just point on over to the best one in the series and play a few quick rounds without getting my lazy ass off the couch.

When a man can’t even spend his Virtual Space Money, all he can do is blog.

Wow! Thanks for the overwhelmingly positive response to the first episode of our podcast, everyone! That really makes me look even more forward to recording and releasing the second episode. Until then, look forward to some regular blog postings (kinda like this one), and maybe even a couple other special things here and there.

Speaking of podcasts, our addition to the iTunes Store was certainly quick. It should be searchable in the iTunes Store within a day or so, but until then, you can access us directly where you can do the one-click subscription. We have all sorts of subscription information over on our “Podcasts” page. Remember that you don’t need to have an iPod (or any portable music device) to check out our show. You can download the episodes and listen in anything like WinAmp or even Windows Media Player; they’re just straight-up MP3 files!

So today I finally became one of the fabeled “geeks and otaku”. That’s right, I ran out of storage space on my Wii. Thanks to some birthday VIrtual Space Money from a certain Mr. Deluxe, I decided to go on a mini-spending-spree in the Wii Shop Channel. Much to my dismay, I could not so much as download an SNES game without making room. The “Mario Kart Channel” was the first to go, followed by the “Internet Channel” (seriously, is anyone using either of those?). I wanted to delete the “Photo Channel”, but I have a sneaking suspision that I have to download the updated version from the store before I can see it for deletion in the memory management. Once space was made, in came some Devil’s Crush, Metroid, and Super Metroid… the middle-which of said games being the only one I’ve ever owned and/or played. I know, I’m terrible. Never played Super Metroid. I’ll get right on that. Eventually.

How many of you are running into this problem, though? Or is it not even a problem for you? I really want to check out Lost Winds, as well… but that’s not happening any time soon unless Nintendo has some sort of announcement around the corner. We’re all on pins-and-needles since Activision formally announced full downoadable content for the Wii version of Guitar Hero: World Tour, supposedly making use of the SD Card slot. For goodness sake, can I please toss some of these useless channels over there so I can spend my money with you? Seriously. I have Wii points to spend. They’re sitting right there. I’ll even spend more to add more points if you just let me keep everything I download all in once place. That’s the whole beauty and convenience of it.

I know, that’s a pretty broken-record tirade, so I’ll leave you with the following:

Mike Consoles - July 2008

Yep, the PlayStation 3 has joined the family. Had to get a component-input-switcher to have everything play nice and be hooked up at once. Big special thanks to an awesome buddy out in California. You rock, man. Was doing some Remote Play with DragonBall: Final Bout, and reminded myself how terrible it is :P.

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