OCMS News November 2006

RTS Games: In Praise of Slowness
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Slowing down or speeding up things 10% doesn’t make one iota of difference when trying to coordinate 8 fighters, 3 musketeers, 2 knights and 2 dwarf mortar teams to fight optimally in Warcraft III. By the time the fighters are whooping Grunts and the knights are positioned to overrun the Shaman, the mortar teams — who were supposed to take out those damn watchtowers — have already been slain by 3 axe-throwers that popped out of nowhere.

Antec’s Fusion HTPC Case Fuses Computers with Home Theater
Monday, November 27, 2006
Home Theater PCs are becoming more popular these days, and they all try to tone down that they’re a PC, trying to blend in with other Home Theater equipment. Antec’s Fustion case is one of Antec’s latest offerings for the home theater enthusiast. Antec designed this case to reduce noise and heat buildup using an innovative chamber structure, and even included a VFD display to complement your home theater software.

Playstation 3 Hustle: A Fool and his Money…
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Not surprisingly, the combination of extremely limited supplies of Playstation 3s and eBay proved to be quite that volatile mix. How else would you explain gems like the guy who sold an empty, promotional PS3 box for a whopping $1,100? Moreover, there were 22 bids, and the winner even jumped the gun to leave positive feedback (auction #260054534684).

Another take on the matter was auction #160053311905, where some enterprising fella registered the email address “sonyps3authority@gmail.com” and put it up on the block for $199. Just the email address, nothing else. There were six bids with the winner raking home the prize for a bargain $265. But hey, at least shipping was free.

Waiting in Line for a Nintendo Wii
Monday, November 20, 2006
November 19, 2006 marked the day of the Nintendo Wii launch, a nd many Seattle–area stores held midnight launch parties to pacify the many Nintendo fans. Many Toys ‘R’ Us and Gamestop stores opened their doors before midnight, but would not allow anyone to purchase a console until 12:01am on Sunday. Gamestop only opened their doors to those who pre-ordered and were able to show their sales slips.

The story was the same with Fred Meyer (a semi-national grocery and department store), who did not take pre-orders. Several people started forming a first-come-first-served line early Saturday, and the line grew to over one-hundred as the witching hour approached. Management confirmed that there were 90 consoles available, and those in line quickly counted to see which spot they had. As I took interviews down the line, I noticed that several 8 to 9-year-old boys had dragged their parents out for the midnight party, so there was not a 1-to-1 ratio of people vs. consoles… there was still hope for those in the back of the line.

More Tales from the PS3 line trenches
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I went to Best Buy Thursday night with one very clear goal: To talk to and photograph the brave souls who had been waiting for 36 hours. I had no illusions about getting a PlayStation 3 for myself. Weeks earlier I had camped out all night to pre-order one at GameStop and that was good enough for me. Just to be safe, I let people know that when I approached, lest they identify me as a threat to their place in line and attack. I knew that would not be pretty.

Final Fantasy III For Nintendo DS Review
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The real Final Fantasy III was never released here in the United States. Its re-release onto the Nintendo DS is weird, yet somehow fitting. Final Fantasy III is a blast from the past, show casing everything we love (and hate) about classic RPG’s.

Final Fantasy III seems to take place between FF VIII and FF XI in terms of graphics and gameplay. Although very exploratory like FF VII, the graphics are less blocky and the environments are smoother. FF III also is credited with introducing the job system, which anyone who has played FF X-2 will immediately grasp and understand. Final Fantasy III is a great title for the DS, and features as many adventures and quirky characters as any other Final Fantasy game in the series.

Waiting in Line for a Playstation 3
Friday, November 17, 2006
Some of the campers were rudely awakened at 2:00am when the store’s automatic sprinkler system came on. The sidewalk is not wide enough to accommodate a large 2-person tent, so part of their tents overlap the grass… complete with hidden sprinkler heads.

One youth, named Taylor (he didn’t want to use his last name because he was playing hookey from school), had been waiting in line since Tuesday. He was one of the first in line, and had made friends with many of the others. He had started an “unofficial” list of people’s names and their place in line, as fears mounted that others visiting would somehow cut in line.

Some people even brought their entire families. Kiera and Chris (and their 4-year old daughter Madison) had been living out of their compact car since Tuesday. The toddler had the entire back seat to herself, while her parents woke up periodically to turn the car’s heat on. They were living in a tent, but was destroyed by harsh weather. Madison loved all the attention, and didn’t want to leave. Many of the other line-jockies took turns playing with her, and let her play with their Nintendo DSes and shared food with her.The family that stays together, plays together, apparently.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Playstation 3
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The PS3 was released on November 11, 2006 in Japan. It will be released on November 17, 2006 in the United States and Canada, and in March, 2007 in Europe and Australasia. It will ship in two initial configurations. Sony officially unveiled the PS3 to the public on May 16, 2005 during an E3 conference. A functional version of the console was not at E3 2005 or the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although at both events, demonstrations were held on devkits (e.g. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) and comparable PC hardware, and video footage based on the predicted PS3 specifications was produced (e.g. Mobile Suit Gundam). It was not until E3 2006 that games were shown on actual PlayStation 3 systems. In preparation for launch, Sony demonstrated 27 playable PS3 titles during the Tokyo Game Show in September 2006 on final hardware.

The Wait is Over! Final Fantasy 12 Review
Monday, November 13, 2006
Final Fantasy fans, we wait no longer. The years of anticipation are now behind us as we hold in our hands the next wonderful, remarkable, exciting (etc, etc) installation in the Final Fantasy series. Does Final Fantasy XII quench our rabid RPG thirst?

I admit, I view the Final Fantasy series through rose-colored glasses. So what if Tidus is a whiny punk? Who cares if listening to Cloud for an hour makes one want to take Zoloft? It’s a frickin’ FINAL FANTASY GAME! Get over it whatever Final Fantasy issues you’re dealing with and just plug in the game. Final Fantasy XII is worth it.

Vizo’s Propellar Dual Fan Cooler Blows Twice as Hard!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Propeller Dual-Fan card is such a simple idea, I can’t believe this is the first time I have seen something like this (ie. not a black dinky thing). The idea is that you simply insert the fan into an empty PCI slot in your computer/motherboard, placing it where you believe you need extra cooling. The dual fans then blow air directly onto the area directly beside the card in the hopes that added overclocking and heat reduction will occur. The fan gets it’s power from a standard 12v plug (4 pin) that daisy chains any one of the other powered items in your case.

Silverstone LC16M – The Ultimate HTPC case?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I have been into home theater computers for a long, long time. In its infancy, HTPCs offered more functionality than was available to the average consumer (like upscaled DVD video, progressive scan displays, archived video library, etc), but at a severe usability cost. The unit was still primarily controlled using a standard keyboard and mouse, which let me tell you totally kills the almighty SAF (spousal acceptance factor).

The holy grail of a Home Theater PC is to make it as appliance-like as possible, and that includes having an enclosure that seamlessly meshes with other home theater equipment, and can be used without a remote control. One of the few companies up to this challenge is Silverstone, who has years of experience designing cases for the Home Theater enthusiast. Their LC16M case appears to be a serious candidate for the Holy Grail of HTPC enclosures, so let’s take a serious look

How Does a Heat Pipe Work? Heatpipes Explained
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Heat pipes are extensively used in many modern computer systems, where increased power requirements and subsequent increases in heat emission have resulted in greater demands on cooling systems. Heat pipes are typically used to move heat away from components such as CPUs and GPUs to heat sinks where thermal energy may be dissipated into the environment.

More Screenshots added to the Gallery
Monday, November 06, 2006
We’ve added more game screenshots to our gallery! Some of the shots include the New Super Mario Bros (DS), Final Fantasy 12, Guitar Hero 2, Ship Simulator, Dead Rising, Oblibion, Need for Speed, BioShock, Bully, Tomb Raider Legend, and many more PC, PS2, and Xbox 360 Screenshots that didn’t make the cut in our reviews…

Ship Simulator 2006 Review
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Ship Simulator requires a fascination and obsession with ships in able to thoroughly enjoy the game. You can control ships, walk through ships, create your own missions with ships, use many ships at once, crash your ships, be a big ship or a small ship, impress other people with the size of your ship, use a tiny ship to pull big ships… okay have you gotten the point yet? The game involves ships and other things involving only ships! Do you fit the fan mold? If so, then you will be wildly impressed with Ship Simulator. If not, you will be wishing you had invested your hard earned cash elsewhere. I see Ship Simulator for what it is: a game about ships. Ship Simulator certainly fulfills the expectations about what a sim should be like, but unfortunately it lacks in several other categories.

Become a Rockstar… AGAIN! Guitar Hero 2 Preview
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The release of the much anticipated Guitar Hero 2 is growing nearer…. are you ready for it? November 7th people, less than a week away! I had the chance to play GH2 at my local gaming store, and I got a sneek peek of the changes that await players once the game is released. Let me tell you boys and girls; it’s gonna be gooooooodddd…..

OCMS Needs Gaming Journalists!
Friday, November 03, 2006
OCmodshop is growing by leaps and bounds, and that means we need more staff! We are currently in need of Gaming Journalists to help cover all the new products coming out this Holiday Season, and that includes the Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, LAN parties, and other gaming-related stuff!

In addition to console game journalists, we also need staff to write articles about gaming culture. We also need a Cheat Monkey to scour the Internet for Cheat Codes, and write Tips & Tricks articles. We need articles for all MMORPGs (World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, Guildwars, etc.) of all types (how-tos, editorials, tips & tricks, game exploits, etc).

Go fill out the application right now!

Socket 775 Needs Love, Too! Zalman ZM-CS1 Clip Support
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Zalman’s ZM-CS1 is a kit that allows the excellent CNPS coolers to be mounted on socket 775 motherboards. The kit includes an aluminum mounting ring (anodized blue), and all the screws and nipples (get your mind out of the gutter) to securely mount the ring. The ring is also designed to accommodate the socket’s lever when you upgrade or do maintenance on your PC.

Hide the Cows! Vizo’s “UFO” 4-port USB Hub
Vizo :: Wednesday, November 01, 2006
If you are like me, you probably have a gazillion things to plug into your computer. Cameras (both digital and camcorder), a PSP (Playstation portable), card reader, Nintendo DS charger (yes, they make those) and whatever other gimmicky thing that comes down the pipe that I get cause I’m addicted to gizmos. It’s a disease, I understand that, but it’s one that my wife has accepted and I have chosen not to fight. So, in order to keep everything plugged in and at the ready, I am reviewing the “UFO” Usb hub by VIZO.