Software is for pussies.

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Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Picked up my Vita today. No games, as usual - I think the only thing I'm waiting for at the moment is Gravity Daze which is supposed to come out in February. I guess that's still better than the nine months I had to wait for something to play on the 3DS. Uncharted is out now (supposedly it's the best selling launch game so far) - I kind of want to try that, but I'll hold out for the US version.

Just based on the activity surrounding the Vita shelf at Geo, there's more interest in it than the 3DS had at launch. I hadn't even reserved a 3DS and I was able to walk in mid afternoon and buy one off the shelf, which I was browsing alone. Today I kept bumping elbows with drooling teenage boys, by far and away the PSP's largest demographic. I was the only one buying, of course, but at least it seemed to captivate them.

I almost dropped 3000 yen on Ridge Racer, which I assume is mostly the same as the 23 before it (those things must be very cheap to make). Finally thought better of it, but I did get all the other trimmings: memory card, travel pouch (with strap and cleaning cloth), cradle (which I will never use), screen protector, and some bizarre leathery-looking thing that appears to be a cradle/pouch hybrid except it doesn't quite work as either one. It's just called a "case" and it is delightfully befuddling. The only thing out of stock was the first-party earphone. Oh well, maybe next week. Anyway, all my booty was slipped into a Vita-branded paper bag which I guess they're only handing out at launch and will probably end up being worth more than the rest of the stuff combined.



The unit is bigger than the PSP, but it's more comfortable to hold. The screen is nice and large and, unlike the PSP at launch, there's not a single dead pixel to be seen. For the first time in handheld history, there are actually control sticks - a massive improvement over the original PSP nub, the act of maneuvering which was not wholly dissimlar to pushing a sandpaper block through mud. On the downside, the action buttons are too small and close together. The memory card is microscopic, I was afraid of accidentally inhaling it as I struggled to slip it into the port. I got the 3G model, so it also includes a sim card... what the fuck is a sim card? For that matter, what the fuck is 3G? I actually have no idea, I only got it because it was more expensive which I assume means it's better in some way.

Powering on for the first time - and this is my biggest beef, in fact it is positively infuriating - you're asked to link the system to a PSN account, and unlike the PSP and PS3, you can't change it once it's been linked. To use a different account, you apparently have to restore the factory settings, which erases all of your data. What the shit is the point of this? My only hope is that it can be fixed in a future firmware upgrade assuming Sony comes to its senses (this does not seem likely).


The 3DS firmware had a few things to dick around with even in the 9 month absence of noteworthy software, but the only playable anything in the Vita menu is the "Welcome Park", which is basically just a tutorial in the form of a few (oddly compelling) minigames. (Except the sliding puzzle game, I frickin' hate those.) There's this thing called "Near" that I guess works something like the 3DS's Surechigai, but whenever I try to use it, it tells me it can't find data for my location. I'm not too sure what that means exactly. There are a few demos on PSN - I tried Little Deviants and an AR tank game from Konami. The tank game is kind of cool, you control like a little RC tank on whatever happens to be in front of the Vita's camera. Doesn't seem to be much at all to Little Deviants - it's a nice tech demo, but it should've been included free with the firmware.


So anyway, seriously... what is 3G?

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Crisis »

3G is just a generic name for a variety of current-generation mobile internet services. The G stands for generation. The idea is that you have wireless internet access away from WiFi. It's the technology that allowed smartphones (specifically the iPhone, the first phone with a really good internet browser) to take off.

If you live in a developed country, chances are reasonably high that you'll have 3G coverage. Your odds are certain if you live in a city. 3G tech can theoretically reach download speeds of a little under 15 Mb/s (for reference, download speed for my mid-range UK broadband connection is 25 Mb/s). In practice I've never got more than about 5 Mb/s out of my phone in Cardiff.

4G technology exists, and has in fact existed for a while (although it kinda depends on your definiton of 4th-generation). The main things holding it back are poor coverage (carriers haven't made large investments in the network infrastructure yet) and battery consumption (4G technology eats through battery life; 3G does too, but it's less extreme).There are phones that exist which get regular download speeds of up to 60 Mb/s, although that may be because the 4G networks are usually empty and under very little strain.

---

3G internet is provided by telephone carriers. If you want to use your Vita's 3G capabilities, you'll presumably need to pay a carrier for the privilege, as if it were a smartphone. (This is how 3G iPad/other tablets work as well.) That might be why your Vita is telling you that it can't find data. That's also what your SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card is for. Every phone has one, it uses them to confirm that you're under a contract and to bill you for phone use. They can also be used to store other information, like contacts.

Since you already have a SIM card, you're probably already locked into a carrier and just need to activate the card. It shouldn't be too hard, there are probably instructions you got with the machine. Carriers are notorious for ripping customers off with their data plans, and they might try to get you into a multi-year contract. Sometimes this can be a good deal, but I would advise caution. You probably won't be eating up data on your Vita as online gaming doesn't consume much data, so unless you plan on downloading a lot of media (and doing it away from WiFi) you should probably get the cheapest option available. Assuming they give you any options to begin with.

Sorry that I can't offer any more specific help.

---

Fun phone fact: apparently teenagers send 3,417 text messages a month, on average. That's about 7 per waking hour. Last month, I sent 24.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Popcorn »

So why do you insist on buying game hardware on launch at full price with no games, exactly?

When I got to Tokyo I was startled at the amount of PSPs I saw in use, particularly on trains. Has anyone played Monster Hunter? Is it as good as the Japanese think it is?

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Yami CJMErl »

I'm waiting until Persona 4: the Golden is released in the US to get a Vita. It's the only game I really WANT for it right now.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

So why do you insist on buying game hardware on launch at full price with no games, exactly?
If you manage to figure that out, please let me know! Probably for the same reason that I have two dozen pieces of game hardware over a decade old that I will never use sitting in my closet. They're like, y'know... my Precious.


One of my students a while back loaned me Monster Hunter. I can see where the appeal is... it's like Phantasy Star Online with nothing but boss fights, which were always the best part of the game. Plus, kids can play it together at school or wherever their hangouts are, so it's really like a social thing. Now why they keep playing a game that essentially hasn't changed at all in the seven years since it originally came out is something I haven't figured out, but I also can't figure out why they'd want to play basketball after school for three hours a day 7 days a week. Something about repetition really appeals to Japanese teenagers.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Radrappy »

I sank about 30 or 40 hours into Tri for wii and managed to have a pretty good time. Compared to PSO though, I feel the franchise is missing a key element that limits my enjoyment. I think that element is chance, or randomness. In PSO the drops varied drastically from person to person, giving each player a unique experience. In monster hunter it just feels like you're going through the motions, having an identical experience as the next guy, climbing your way up the monster ladder until you reach the top, or get freaking tired of it. I do like the little things in the game that make it all feel more like a sport. The stamina, weapon sharpness, and resource farming are all good fun.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Segaholic2 »

From some early impressions, I thought Uncharted was language adaptive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKQ3AnXZVT4

If that's true, why exactly are you waiting for the American version?

It also baffles me that for being such an early adopter of new technology, you seem to be absolutely clueless about some of the technology contained within. 3G is the wireless phone network that most cell phones use to transfer data, and you have to pay a subscription fee to access it. So basically you can have online access on your Vita if you're not within range of a wifi network.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Popcorn »

I think it's been established by this point that Gibbon is not a wholly rational operator.

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Post by Green Gibbon! »

I do not expect feeble minds to comprehend the insight I possess.
If that's true, why exactly are you waiting for the American version?
The packaging counts, too!

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Cuckooguy »

I wonder if GG! buys the European versions of Ubisoft titles and plays them in French.

Then again, some Ubisoft titles are made in Canada too! Are there Canadian versions of these titles or are they identical to the US version?

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

I've always wondered that. I've been under the impression that the US and Canada are both lumped into the "North America" region by most publishers.


Incidentally, is there actually a place I can get European games from? With an American credit card?

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Blount »

I've always assumed there were no restrictions about that sort of thing. I know I've bought my share of American games with an European credit card, so I don't see how the opposite would be any different (correct me if I'm wrong). If so, you could just try Amazon.

They were showing off the Vita near my place this weekend. I tried it out today, but Uncharted was just about the only interesting thing on exposition. It doesn't feel any different from the rest of the series, except now you have the added ability of climbing stuff with the touch screen and using the gyro to aim your weapons. Both things are optional, but they work well if you don't mind having your screen smudged with fingerprints and aiming the console like a camera while looking silly. There was one or two instances where you did have to use the touch screen to progress, and while these weren't exactly obnoxious, they did interrupt the flow a bit and felt tacked on. Everything else was as seen on the PS3.

The handheld itself is as Gibbon described. The graphics are great too, with everything running nice and smoothly, despite the high polygon count. As usual, however, most of the launch games suck. Come to think of it, I'm still waiting for the PSP to get some good exclusives!

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Really? I can't use my American credit cards on Amazon Japan...

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

http://www.jp.playstation.com/psvita/peripheral/

It looks like there's at least 5 different types of carrying cases, including one made of real leather in case you want to wrap your Vita in dead cow.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Locit »

Man, those all look awful.

Which one did you buy?

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Post by Green Gibbon! »

There's an aesthetic standard for carrying cases?

I got the one with the cloth and strap.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

Don't know if it's got anything to do with the Vita, but when I logged into my (Japanese) PSN account today, I had like 100 friend requests - all from people I've never met. How the hell did that happen? Is this some kind of glitch? Have I been mistaken for a celebrity?

Nothing like it happened in my US account... Seriously, what the hell?

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Post by Locit »

Why, it must be that fetching new carrying case you've been showing off around town!

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Post by Green Gibbon! »

So I finally figured out where all these friend requests are coming from. In the Vita PSN store, there's a thing called "Minna to Issho" - http://www.jp.playstation.com/psn/minitsu/ - with characters from Dokodemo Issho. Basically it's nothing but a social lobby where other players can randomly end up in your garden and vice-versa. Oddly there doesn't seem to be any way to decorate your garden - I assume that will come later - but it seems you can get points based on how many friends you have in your list. With friend points, you can buy different clothes for your avatar, business card, etc. You can send a friend request to anyone who appears in your garden.

Now this is a pain in the ass. I do not want to be friends with the entire goddamn PlayStation Vita userbase. It would be fine if it were restricted just to the game, but these requests are popping up in my main profile. I delete 100 and within a few days, 100 more appear. This strikes me as being very poorly thought-out. めんどくせー


Anyway, there's now a demo for Gravity Daze in the PSN store. It's short, but I liked it. You play this chick who has the ability to shift gravity and run on any surface, but apparently she has amnesia and doesn't know how she got the power. She sees this other chick doing the same stuff and starts chasing her to see if she knows what's going on. The action's simple enough - you can run and kick and shift gravity to land on the sides of buildings. When you're in gravity shift mode, you have to physically move the Vita around to target a new surface. You can also dropkick into flying enemies from the shift position.

The cutscenes play out as comic book panels. If you tilt the Vita during these scenes, you can peer into the panel to view things out of the frame, as though the picture itself is sitting behind the frame. No special reason to do that, it's just cool.


The demo's really short - just some enemies and a boss - but I liked what I played and I'm definitely looking forward to the full game.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by chriscaffee »

Blount wrote:I've always assumed there were no restrictions about that sort of thing. I know I've bought my share of American games with an European credit card, so I don't see how the opposite would be any different (correct me if I'm wrong). If so, you could just try Amazon.
Yeah you can definitely get European software from Amazon, sometimes unintentionally. Apparently my copy of KotOR 2 is the European version, and as such, cannot be patched, since LucasArts no longer hosts the patches, just the page that has links to the patches they no longer host.
Green Gibbon! wrote:Really? I can't use my American credit cards on Amazon Japan...
You can't access the US version of Amazon, or they just don't ship internationally? I guess I never had that problem since my Japanese addresses were always technically US addresses.

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by gr4yJ4Y »

Green Gibbon! wrote: Anyway, there's now a demo for Gravity Daze in the PSN store.

The demo's really short, but I liked what I played and I'm definitely looking forward to the full game.
Gravity Daze is the Vita's killer-app for me (not that I'm likely to buy a Vita for the next year or more). I look forward to hearing your impressions of the full game!

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Green Gibbon! »

I've been trying to remove my profile from Minna to Issho so I stop getting a dozen goddamn friend requests a day from people I've never met, and as much as I flip through the menus, I can't figure out how to access the memory card or save data files. There's a thing called "data management" that can be used to transfer data to a PC or PS3, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to view it straight off the Vita. Why do both new handheld machines have such a case of menu constipation? Is it that difficult to devise a menu system that doesn't require a fucking manual and a prayer to navigate?

I wanted to try doing it through the game itself, but there was a software update and now I get an error message every time I try to load the damn thing. So I'm stuck in a techno Twilight Zone. Is there no way to escape this alarmingly incessant barrage of friend requests?

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Re: Software is for pussies.

Post by Tsuyoshi-kun »

I don't suppose that putting the Vita offline stops friend requests? Is that even an option?

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Post by Isuka »

This is only tangentially related, but are there any big game retailers over at Japan? I mean GameStop-big.

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Post by Green Gibbon! »

No, at least not on a national level and not game-specific. The biggest game retailers like Book-Off and Geo carry (and generally specialize in) other merchandise. Geo (pronounced gay-o, incidentally), where I buy most of my games, actually rents movies as their main business (there is no such monkey as Netflix here).

I think it's really funny that Lafayette, Louisiana has 3 game stores and Morioka, a city three times as big, has not one. (There used to be a nice one called Theta, which I think is a chain, but it closed about a year ago.)



I picked up Gravity Daze (at Gay-o), but I haven't popped it in yet. I'll try it probably this weekend.

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