Category: Gaming

Being more of a technologically knowledgeable girl in the group, most guys in our college group were fond of me. Even though the whole group used to hang out together, I was more engaged in multiplayer split screen PS2 gaming with the guys rather than gossiping with the girls. And the two favorites at the time were “Counter Strike” and “Left 4 Dead”. So much were we engrossed in these multiplayer games in split screen mode that our parents have had many a sleepless nights.

Without belittling the Split Screen technology, it is compromisingly manageable at best. No denying the late night virtual raids were enjoyable to be a part of, the four divisions on a 32” screen used to confuse us with everyone losing track of which screen his player was in as well increased the scope of cheating in a versus mode game mainly the racing titles. Sony’s Simulview display for full-screen multiplayer gaming looked a decent step in that direction but it turned out to be damp squid with a meagre 24” screen size. And since it would have costed a lot at that time, even the richest brat in the group went against spending the moolah on it.

Fast forward 6 years, and LG has taken full advantage of the untapped avenue and developed a pretty similar technology which goes by the name of “Dual Play”. And unlike the screen restrictions in Sony’s display, the Dual Play feature is ubiquitous in all the models of 2012 LG Cinema 3D range. The tact of making Dual Play lies in putting two same-side lenses within a Glass Frame so that you view only a particular side or in other terms tricking your brain via your eyes only to perceive the view of a single side through same-sided polarized lenses. That way, you get a full screen view of your vehicle/player without interfering with the other person’s game play. Mind you, this feature is still in its progressive stage and limited to only two players but I fully expect LG to expand the horizon for up to four distinct players at the same time. The other minor drawback is a little loss to the screen resolution as basically one part of the screen is being stretched over the whole TV frame.  Although you won’t face any such resolution loss issue on LG’s 4K UD 3D TV.

And it looks like this seems to have woken up the Japanese giants to bring the Simulview in a much larger 84” 4K screen with the launch of their KD84X9005 4K TV. Much more than competition, it is good that the major players are getting serious about the next phase of multiplayer console gaming. The only major drawback of this screen size would be the cost factor which puts it out of reach of the majority of people.

And yes, as a potential consumer, you will be right to complain about the exorbitance of 4K prices which make these technologies perform with resolution losses. But from a long term perspective, companies are right to bring the bigger screen sizes now so that the downscaling is cost effective I the future. As it stands, companies like LG and Sony have the groundwork in place and as soon as 4K’s become affordable, one will be able to enjoy full screen multiplayer gaming in its HD glory!


PC Gaming vs Console Gaming

Now before I even start to write on this, this is a spoiler warning that this opinion would not get much into the technicalities of both the platforms but be an unbiased comparison of the two. Quite a few of these days I have thought about getting a gaming console for my LG LM6700 3D TV. And its been the obvious tussle between the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. Obviously I decided to read some reviews for both and that’s when I came face to face with every gamers’ dilemma: Whether to go for a Game Console or get a gaming PC assembled?

We will start with gaming PC’s first. This was the original platform for which all games were designed under the PlayStation showed up. Getting a gaming PC assembled can be a breeze if you have the knowledge of the components you will be using but can become a maze filled with many options if you are a noob. Secondly, you also need to differentiate between which component brand will suit your gaming needs. This will include the right selection of processor, motherboard, Graphics card, monitor and CPU cabinet. Delhi’s Nehru Place is a haven for everything related to PC’s and laptops and as a prospective customer, you have an abundance of options in your hardware purchase process. The most important factor while assembling a gaming PC is the Graphics Card you will use. Here is a forum link from Think Digit giving you the various options as per your budget. The most relevant factors to consider while going for a Graphics card is its GPU series, Shader clock speed, number of stream processors and its memory. One might even be able to find company overclocked cards in the high end range.

Pros: Cheaper game titles, easily upgradable and better for LAN gaming.

Cons: Expensive initial setup cost, compatibility restrictions because of Graphics Card make.

Now let’s come to a Gaming console. A gaming console is basically the next generation successor of the video games using PCB cartridges. It can be directly connected to your TV for HD gaming experience. And unlike previous years one has more choices with Sony PS3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, even though they cater to distinct gaming needs. And unlike installing games on PC’s, you just need to insert your gaming DVD’s and you are good to go. Plus if you are using your Console with a large TV screen and home theatre, you can experience these games in their full glory. Another thing which is a unique plus about a Console is a sense of calm while purchasing game titles as compatibility issues hardly ever arise.

Pros: Ease of use, compact in nature and no worrying about hardware specs and game compatibility.

Cons: No component upgrades, game titles cost almost twice as that of PC.

At the end of the day, it boils down to what you expect from your gaming system. A working class individual like me would prefer to go for a simple Gaming Console as gaming would just be a leisure activity. But any hardcore gamer would swear by PC gaming as it can easily optimized as per the changing graphics and gaming trends and provides a much more immersive gaming experience.

Gaming has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade thanks to the mushrooming of the various gaming platforms. And it is a divine belief that variety is the spice of life. And the spice in here is accounted for by popular consoles like PS3, Xbox, Wii and the good ol’ PC. From an MS-Dos “Dave” to the graphic-filled Call of Duty, the advancement has been immense to say the least.

My first tryst with gaming happened during my free days in 05’ between finishing class 12th and joining college (or the days of velapanti as we call it!) with the installation of Max Payne on my PC. I being more of a FIFA enthusiast from constant viewing at my friend’s place did not exactly endear it at first. But eventually I did start playing the noir revenge adventure of a NY cop made by Remedy Entertainment in 2001. Max Payne has not been able to come out of the traumatic killing of his wife Michelle and their little baby and vows to avenge her death by any means possible. What unfolds is a dark, morbid journey to hell and back in a tale interwoven with religion, drugs and corporate secrets. At times, you are emotionally drained by the gloomy and disturbing noir premises. The USP’s of this game was definitely its graphic novel storytelling and the Bullet Time which allowed Max to duck sideways or forward in slow motion for better shots at the thugs he was up against. The graphics are nowhere near what we are used to seeing today but the game itself holds a novelty value. Here’s a trailer for it.

Remedy did not the fans wait too long and bought the second installment of the game Max Payne 2 {A Noir Love Story} in 2003. The second game had much improved graphics and re-christened player controls, and with a show of homage with several references from the last game this game caught the fancy of gamers and critics worldwide. However, one drawback that everyone collectively found in Max Payne 2 was the relatively short story length. The film did score with its game play and art design but could never manage to scale the heights of emotional connect the first one achieved. And despite of all the good things about it, the commercial sales pointed otherwise. That is when Rockstar Games took over the mantle to replenish and revive the series with the third version.

Now don’t get me wrong as Rockstar Games are well versed with the action genre through its GTA brigade but I had this lingering sense of apprehension as I was worried that the Payne saga will lose its noir-ism and become more commercialized. But those were the PC days and by now I had become pretty well-versed with the offerings of the gaming world and expected a path-breaking improvement    with the visuals and game play. And to be honest, I have not been left disappointed on that front. In Max Payne 3, we find Max having moved from NY to Brazil and taken refuge amongst the noisy favelas. He has become a drunkard and his security gig turns into one big massacre of epic proportions as things start to go haywire. No point in me indulging too much into its storyline as I believe that might have a spoiler effect to any of you prospective gamers. The narrative is absorptive and hideously cynical to the core and the narrative even though a bit stretched at times makes for the interesting plot that unfolds. Now I am not into rating games as such, but have to say that Rockstar has done a fine job of rooting the action-fiction genre in this and make it one of the more proficient third-person shooter games of the year.

On a personal note, I have to admit that the experience of playing the previous two games on a PC and this one at my place on my LG Cinema 3D TV with my sneaky lil’ cousin (God bless the munchkin for getting his PS3 for the night out!) were worlds apart and got me thinking if it’s high time for me to invest in a game console myself!

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