Posts Tagged 'gaming'

Gadget: Razer gaming mice

Still sporting a regular 2 button mouse? Tell me, what’s it like to live in the dark ages? Let me introduce you to the latest in gaming mice: the Razer Naga Maelstrom and Molten. These special edition models are just too pretty for playing solitaire. 17 buttons of macro goodness to help save those precious seconds to avoid that imminent head shot. Nobody likes to be the victim of teabagging, right? 5600 dpi to amazing precision, ultra slick gliding movements, and glowing design. $80 gets you into the game from noob to pwner. Razer

Starcraft Scandal

Do you know there are people still playing Starcraft? I’m not talking about the lucky bastards who got a beta key and are playing Starcraft II, I’m talking about the original. It’s huge in South Korea and it even spawned a pro league. Yes, it’s got fans, sponsors, television coverage, I guess you could call it a sport … if you’re Korean. With any sport comes gambling and a scandal threatens to rock the “sport” to its very core.

It’s reported that various gambling sites influenced high stake matches and many of the top players were involved in throwing matches. The league includes several players who have won at BlizzCon. sAviOr! Say it ain’t so! Well I sure hope it was worth it because INC BAN!

In other news South Korea is also trying to curb it’s online gaming habit by imposing a curfew. The ban is aimed at younger players susceptible to addiction problems which could lead to bigger problems later on in life. *cough, LOSERS! Anyhoo midnight curfew for the young ones while the adults stay up all night drinking redbull farming minerals.

XBox 360 still > PS3 > Wii?

Despite having blu ray PS3 sales numbers still lag behind the XBox 360, but why? If the red ring of death isn’t enough to dissuade you from buying an Xbox then there must be something significantly better. Hardware issues aside gamers crave games. Not just any games, good games, excellent games. Blood, gore, violence, and action. With an astounding 60% failure rate it doesn’t seem to be stopping consumers.

The recent Modern Warfare 2 launch brought to light another issue. Illegally modded consoles. Apparently enterprising modders have most likely upgraded their stock hard drives and installed / downloaded games illegally leading to 1 million xbox live accounts getting banned. So beware of that used Xbox 360 on eBay for an incredibly low price.

XBox keeps on churning out the console exclusive hits and Sony sales will continue to lag behind. Don’t even get me started on that short lived trendy Wii (btw your 15 minutes are up). Now if only Microsoft could make their hardware more reliable …

Do You Still Have LAN Parties?

It may seem passe or even Internet 1.0 but are LAN parties out of date? When is the last time you attended or even hosted a LAN party? Remember back in the day epic Quake death matches? Warcraft II battles on the college network? Or even good old Starcraft (damn those zerg!). The recent news that Blizzard does not plan on supporting LAN play for the upcoming Starcraft 2 release has hardcore fans up in arms. Perhaps old school multiplayer strategy games have caught up to with the times. Free LAN play is not a money maker (as Blizzard has discovered) the real money is in monthly subscription models like the World of Warcraft. Citing reasons such as piracy and touting the upgraded Battlenet infrastructure players will be forced online if they want multiplayer contests.

Officially LAN parties (for Starcraft 2) will be over but I’m sure some hacker will find a work around. So I guess in the meantime (while we wait for the actual release) we’ll just have to rant about the lack of LAN support and shake our fists angrily. I’m sure the thousands of net-cafe’s are furiously working on a solution as we speak.

Review: Plantronics 370 Gaming Headset

plantronics01Product specs: 40mm speaker size, 20Hz – 20kHz response frequency, 100Hz – 8kHz microphone frequency response, 9.5′ cable, 3.5″ gold plated plugs.

Other stuff: in-line volume control and mute for mic, “open ear”, “full ranged stereo”
Price: $20 CDN

topFirst thoughts: these are really nice looking and feeling headset. Plastic packaging is huge and is real waste, plus I hate getting my hands cut/scratched up with the sharp edges.

bandIt has a wired frame that goes over your head and then a second cushion foam band which sits on your head. The foam band is spring loaded to adjust to your head to ensure that the earpiece sits comfortably on your ears. This might become an issue if you have big hair or have a small head. For me the fit was fine.

I found that the earpieces to completely surround my ears giving me the feeling like I was right in the game. Almost like my ears were soundproofed from my surroundings. The size of the earpieces might be an issue for some. The bottom of the earpieces sat right on the side of my jawline. It might cause a real comfort issue for some. I got used to it and it did not interfere with in game chatting. After a 3 hour gaming session my ears were not sweaty, which can happen with some earphones that completely cover your ears.earphone

leftThe microphone swivels down smoothly and firmly stays in place. I found the distance between my mouth and the microphone just right. Not too close, not too far. I didn’t get a chance to hear myself to judge the mic audio quality but others said that it was “ok” and I sounded “fine”.

Also the cable is really long so it’s nice for gamers who do not have a speaker/headset switch adapter and plug directly into their sound card. The in-line volume and mute controls are pretty much mandatory if you plan on using it for gaming. I have the volume turned down pretty low but I get the impression that the headset is capable of producing booming sound. The volume/mute piece has a little clip on the back for easy placement on your shirt. I would have preferred a “clothes pin” style clip.volume

muteWhat I like: earphone/build quality, controls, mic location, price.
What I didn’t like: funky spring loaded headband, the clip, weight.


When buying these keep in mind that they are a good size and may not be the best fit for gamers with small heads or big hair. The earpieces may end up sitting on your jaw line depending on your features. If possible, try them on before buying. This is a very good headset and is recommended. Absolute bargain at $20.

Review: Gigabyte GM-M6880 gaming mouse

giga01a1If you’re as click happy as I am you’ve probably gone through a few mice. Going through a cheap $10 mouse within a couple of months convinced me to go with a relatively expensive one. For the longest time I was a Microsoft mouse user. I liked the large white intellimouse, it was comfortable for people with big hands. Then I went through a few in a short period and swore them off. Switched to Logitech. I’ve gone through a few over the last 3 years and recently on the weekend I spotted a replacement which seemed promising.

side01Enter the Gigabyte GM-M6880 laser gaming mouse. “100 grams of weight perfect for gamers”. Among other things on the cover: DPI on-the-fly adjustable (800/1600), Vista certified, USB, ergonomic, did I mention it has a frickin ‘laser’? Some of the things not mentioned: 5 buttons, rubber side grips, grooves on the left and right buttons for your fingers, cable is 4.5 feet long, and a $30 price tag. I had no idea GigaByte made mice/mouses (what the heck is the proper term?!) so I decided to give it a shot. At first glance it looks very similar to the Logitech MX-400. Let’s hope if performs just as well.

side02If you’re a gamer you know that in stressful situations your hands get a little sweaty. The rubber grips on the side help keep you in control. The scroll wheel is textured to again getting a good grip is less of a problem. My old mouse had a slick smooth scroll wheel which sometimes was hard to get a grip on. The DPI switch comes in handy when you tend to get a little lazier in long games and mouse sensitivity adjustments are required. It let’s you toggle between 800 and 1600 settings. It’s a good sized mouse so that when I palm the mouse I don’t feel like my fingers drag against the mouse pad. I have no idea how people use those tiny notebook sized mice.

logi02I only have a few issues to nitpick. The length of the cable is a problem. I like long cables because I tend to place my pc relatively far from my monitor and mouse surface. So length of cable comes into play all the time and I just plain don’t like wireless devices. I used a 1.5 USB cable extension to solve the problem. My old Logitech MX-400 was a comfortable 6 feet in length with was enough for my uses. The weight takes a bit of getting used to. I don’t know if it’s really a 100 grams but it does feel a bit heavier than my old mouse. Once you get comfortable with a certain mouse sensitivity, change is never a welcome thing.

giga02The 4th and 5th buttons are up by the knuckle of my thumb. It’s kind of awkward to reach back with my thumb to click the buttons. Thankfully I don’t need to click them that often. Pricing is minor issue. To me, the brand names in keyboard and mice is Microsoft and Logitech, which I’m content to pay more for given their reputation. Without a reputation for building a quality mouse, I felt that GigaByte should have priced this a little less. I could have bought my old Logitech mouse for the same price.

What I liked: the the DPI button to switch sensitivity is a nice feature, the rubber grips on the sides, the scroll wheel has ‘tire – like’ indentations, size, no software required, familiar Logitech feel.

What I didn’t like: the short cable, weight, location of 4th and 5th buttons, price.

giga01Overall it’s a good mouse. It’s definitely a more than adequate replacement for my Logitech mouse. A very familiar feeling quality and some nice features to boot. If your mouse has recently broken and you’re looking for a replacement brand named other than “Microsoft” or “Logitech” you should give it a try. Now if I could just find a bigger mouse pad to match it.

My avatar made me do it

Online gaming has millions of characters (and the people controlling them) interacting virtually. Some co-operatively and others, not so co-operatively, more like coercively. A Dutch court has imposed real life penalties to a couple of youths who robbed another of his virtual possessions. Have we crossed a boundary between virtual actions and real world consequences?

The case has set a precedent by dishing out punishment for online activity. This raises many questions about avatars, characters, online accounts and virtual crimes. If my character does your character wrong can I be punished in real life? I guess if you can prove that my virtual actions caused you real life suffering then I could be in a bit of trouble. Also why should I be punished for the actions of my character, why not just punish my character? Also does a real life organization need to police characters in game? Isn’t that for the game developer to decide? One thing is clear, online games are changing the was we recognize virtual possessions. No longer can we commit crimes online and hide behind the Internet.

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