BioShock 2's First DLC Already On Disc
This whole thing is interesting to me. I think we're sort of watching a paradigm shift in the way publishers and consumers interact.
Just isolating at the economics of it, why does it being on the disc matter? Everyone who purchased a copy of the game knew what they were getting into. They willingly exchanged money for the game as it was. This unlock was not included in that transaction. Then, the publisher asks people to pay more money for additional content. People decide whether or not they want that content.
However, we have this notion that once we've bought a 'thing' we should have full access to it. I like this idea, personally. I think most of us here do. When they reveal that you bought the disc, and it had the content ready to go and you are locked out, that's evil.
However, if they did the same thing but shipped it without this content on the disc, that would be OK? If they COULD have put it on the disc, but they didn't - does the publisher have an obligation to release the content if it is finished? I think that gets a bit more gray.
What if they finished this the week after the disc shipped? Is that OK?
Is it that we're theoretically 'covering the cost' of the development of the game with our $60 or $50? And then the price of DLC is an incentive for them to continue expanding the game? On the other hand, they delivered a game in a state that you can choose to buy or not. What is hidden in the disc's dead space is of little concern, right?
DLC has caused some interesting ethical and financial quandries. One the one hand, it seems like game prices are going up by degrees. We're paying $60 for a game, PLUS another $5 here and $10 there. Some games, especially multiplayer titles, may cost you upwards of $100 by the time you're finished. Are we getting our money's worth? Are we getting a good deal for our gaming value? At the same time, do publishers have an obligation to tell us up front what we're getting into: ie, you will pay $60 for this game and an estimated $x/interval for DLC in order to have the 'complete' experience.
Not to mention the whole 'project $10' initiative - where there's a code in the box that you can only use once, and it locks used owners out of content that you would otherwise have to pay for as DLC...
Complicating matters is that there's not any competition in the market - if you want a COD:MW2 map, for instance, you're getting it from IW/Activision/MS Live. There's not a competitor that can sell you a similar product at a competitive price.
I think the future is going to be full of more of these practices. And, by and large, the average gamer is going to be oblivious.
Looking Back From the 1980s At Computers In Education
Ah, such fond memories of the Oregon Trail... among other things!
Fascinating to read an article about its early days.
Wikipedia has a bit of history as well, if the name MECC takes you on a walk down memory lane...
Low-Power Home Linux Server?
I'm surprised that nobody's suggested a netbook yet. I bought a refurb Asus Eee 900a for about $150 (woot has them pretty frequently, although I got mine from mwave) and then maxed out the RAM and SSD for about $50 more, taking it to 2GB RAM and 16GB SSD. It has a 9" display that I have set to turn off when I close the lid, but even with the LCD on max brightness it only draws around 12 watts.
There's a SD card reader built-in that you can install linux from, or use one of the USB ports. You could hook up an external drive or use the SD card slot for additional storage, but since all I'm doing is network services (ssh, http, tinyproxy, etc) the storage isn't much of a concern. Going wired instead of wireless would save some power as well.
Best of all, it has it's own built-in UPS :)
I evaluated taking a consumer NAS device and repurposing it, but the hardware specs you can find in a comparable price range aren't nearly as good (except for the drive, obviously). The SheevaPlug is interesting, but it is nice to have a display and keyboard integrated. It makes for easier setup and debug when something is going wrong. Plus, at the time, they were in short supply.
CNN's Game Over On The 360
I think that age does have a certain amount of effect on how excited a console launch gets you. I remember wanting a SNES really, really badly. I was a real ass to my parents that year, but they still got it for me. Since then, though, I've lost some of my passion for it.
I got a N64, but after a year or so had passed. I own a playstation 2, but I got it at a pawn shop. I also have a GC, but they became so cheap so quickly that it wasn't much of an investment.
This time around, I don't think I'm likely to buy until a year or two has passed, and even then I'll probably stick with used. It isn't like the games are going anywhere, they'll still be around by the time I pick up a console. Plus by then there will probably be some better games out.
Needless to say, I buy most of my games used, and I love GameFly. Plenty of gaming experience for my buck.
I even won tickets to Xbox Zero Hour, and I don't care! I would go if they were giving the console away, but I'm not flying from TX to CA so that I can be blessed with the chance to buy a console before launch. What BS.
I feel sad for those people who wait in line the night before. I'm going to get the same gaming experience later on, and pay half price if that. All I have to do is be paitent.