Dead Space is one of those rare games that might literally have you shit your pants. Released in 2008, the first Dead Spacewas a true survival-horror game. Weapons and ammo were sparse while the alien infestation was in abundance. But they just didn’t come straight at you and attack. Oh no. They jumped out at you when you weren’t expecting. They bumped and clanged in the crawl spaces. When they did opt for a full frontal attack, they did so with such fierce determination and numbers that all you could do is pray that you have enough ammo in your plasma cutter. This emotional trauma comes through in a series of three different graphic novels and an art book from Titan Publishing. I don’t recommend reading these books in a dark room while home alone.
The debate rages on why some great games receive re-releases on PSN/XBL and others do not. Some members of the Goozex community have put together a list of games that are in dire need of PSN/XBL releases and GoozerNation has narrowed this list, which includes Shenmue, Sunset Riders, Resident Evil Outbreak, a handful of PSX/PS2 fighting games, and a long list of Megaman games.
Whether the rumors are true or not, the latest buzz about the next generation of consoles has definitely ruffled the collective feathers of the internet. "How dare they suggest that we cannot play used games!!!!" "A constantly on internet connection just to play solo? BLASPHEMY!"
Regardless of the rumors being true or not, I'm genuinely curious as to the what if. Primarily, because a good deal of the loud people on forums are saying, "If next gen bans the use of used games, I'm quitting!" It really got me thinking: if these nightmares became reality, and I was truly that passionate about my belief, could I stop? Am I truly addicted to video games?
Genius, maker of PC products and accessories, recently sent me a pair of their latest speakers – the SP-U115 Colorful USB Powered Stereo Speakers. At first glance, these aren’t exactly the type of accessories you think of in high end gaming. But then again, there’s more to life than gaming.
My SP-U115 speakers arrived in a small 5”x6” box (these aren’t exactly large speakers). Opening the box I was greeted to 2 very cute bubble-wrapped speakers and 1 quickstart user manual. The first thing I noticed while holding these little noisemakers is that their appearance is rather pleasing, or as I put it earlier – cute.
Another thing I noticed is their construction. I’ve used a fair bit of cheap speakers in my time and one common theme I’ve noticed over time is cheap construction. The SP-U115 look fairly sturdy and don’t rattle when I shake them (not that you would want to be doing that anyway, but you get the point).
With everything unboxed, it’s time to run some tests.
TEST 1: DESKTOP PC – QUIET ROOM
Sitting at a computer it only makes sense that my first trial of the Genius SP-U115 speakers come out of my office. Hooking these puppies up is a snap. I simply swap out the green audio cable on my PC and plug in the USB plug for power. Now to load up Steam!
First up, I load up P.A.M. Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, a racing game with lots of explosions and crashing. This game relies heavily on bass in its sound mix and the SP-U115 just don’t do it justice. The bass sounds muddy and flat. Mids and highs sound fine however.
Next, I load up Torchlight II, a game with more ambient music and atmosphere. This game seems to have more within the mids and so sound output is better balanced through the SP-U115. Not bad.
Now, on to some music. I put on the latest from The Killers – Battle Born – and crank it up! Overall, sound is pretty decent even at higher volumes. The highs are a little flat and the bass isn’t as prominent so everything seems to get squeezed into the middle. It’s not as annoying as I expected it to be (and definitely better than my old beat box from the 80’s). Turning the volume down to a more reasonable level, the sound quality became much better.
TEST 2: GARAGE PLAYER – ECHO ROOM
Next, I moved the speakers over to the garage where I have my Zune (yes, I said, “my ZUNE”) hooked up to a pair of no name cheap speakers. The SP-U115 speakers require a USB power source to operate. If you don’t have one available you can buy a USB to Power adapter plug for less than $10.
I play a few choice selections from Van Halen, U2, and AC/DC. Because the garage is more echo-y the highs are emphasized much more. Every clash of the cymbals sound louder than they should be. Bass is largely non-existent in the garage as well. Mids and vocals sound fine. I suppose a bass/treble control on the side would have remedied some of this. Alas, you only get volume control.
With a low price tag, Genius’ SP-U115 speakers do more then hold their own against similarly priced speakers. As an audiophillie, they won’t hold a candle to my Creative GigaWorks T20 (which are now beginning to show their age), but that’s ok. If you’re looking for a cheap and fast (yet decent) audio solution, or merely want monitor speakers, you can’t go wrong with the SP-U115. Their compact size and design lets you place them anywhere without cluttering your desktop, and they’re definitely NOT an eyesore. Pick up a set from Amazon today!
Total RMS output: 1.5 watts
Total peak power: 3 watts
Power supplied by USB port from desktop/notebook
Selected 50x50 mm speakers for clear sound
Glossy front panel
Works great with any computer system using a standard 3.5mm audio plug
Compatible with Win7, Vista, XP, Mac 10.0 or above
One of the things I love most about the gaming industry is the creativity of marketing campaigns. Blizzard is known for getting the community involved when it comes to marketing their games. Diablo III had a website where people can create and upload images to unlock special content for use in game. Their Diablo III reveal had several stages of images that would change every day that slowly revealed the Diablo III logo. For Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, they really went beyond what they have done before and created Project Blackstone.
It took me about 40 hours of my life to finish the main story in Far Cry 3, collect the majority of loot and complete (almost) all of the side missions -- including the path of the hunter, trials of the rakyat, liberating outposts, climbing radio towers, delivering medical supplies, and so on. That’s 40 hours of my life that were very well spent. You see, the landscape and playability of Far Cry 3 is so awesomely good, I enjoyed just running around. Even collecting flowers was worthwhile considering that crafting really does help in combat, completing missions and exploring the islands. Add in the hang gliding, swimming underwater and even parachuting -- for those times you want to leap off a mountain. With all of that, you’d think the game has everything covered. But there is one thing that Far Cry 3 is missing.
Amazon has always been a great place for gamers to shop. Their prices blow away the competition. The winter months are slow for new games, which leads to fantastic deals on older releases for console and PC games. GoozerNation has a list of games currently on sale that are worth picking up through Amazon.
Regular followers of GoozerNation will remember a recent article with Mike Hanson, the one-man creator of Psychotic Psoftware and Power Up, a new indie game hopefully making it's way to Xbox Live. What started for Mike as a simple educational hobby has turned into his own personal labor of love. He's spent the last year plugging away at Power Up, learning and sharing as he goes via his Twitter account and blog postings.