Fragg’d – an oddly graceful moment of Zen

Interesting commentary at Wired on virtual killing [and death].

— you watch as your corpse goes pinwheeling
gracefully through the air, arms and legs flailing in the grip of
rag-doll physics.

Clive Thompson recounts the ways he’s died in video games and a new paper on emotions of gamers by Niklas Ravaja. It appears we actually enjoy getting fragged. Or as Shakespeare writes in Othello:

If after every tempest come such calms,May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!

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Juice Tiger 360

Ok, so it draws a little power even when turned off. Big deal. At least it’s efficient, right? The team at DXGaming put consoles to the power test to determine how much juice they suck out of the wall and your wallet while turned off, sitting idle and playing games.

The results – You guessed it, the Xbox 360 draws the most power of any current console devouring 17.52 kWh (annual) while turned off, 145W while sitting idle, and 165W after playing 5 minutes of Burnout Revenge.

  • Cheapest to run for a year – the venerable Playstation 1 at $0.90
  • Most expensive to run for a year – Xbox 360 at $19.88

The good news is that while it’s the hungriest electron attractor in the bunch, it’s also the most efficient in terms of CPU cycles/Watt. No measurements exist for the upcoming PS3 and Wii, but DXGaming estimates they’ll book-end the 360. Until then all I can say is, “Put me on the budget plan with the power company. While you’re at it, turn the ‘fridge down a notch. That last Jolt was too warm.”

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Microsoft: I want my TWO DOLLARS….

In the never-ending saga of Xbox 360 hardware maintenance agreements, I recently received three refund checks for the one extra maintenance agreement they accidentally charged to my credit card. The backstory can be found here, but I’ll just say “wanted ONE, got TWO due to their double entry” and it’s been almost half a year since I spotted the problem.

I called the team at Xbox support to inform them:

  • I have received three checks
  • I will cash one and shred the other two
  • I still want the first contract I purchased

..and I was told:

  • Hey, you might get full coverage until 2010, we don’t really know. [shh] don’t say anything
  • That department’s kind of weird to work with (you think!?)
  • Call back in a month to find out if you still have a service contract (great, this will never end!)

I have such high hopes for Microsoft’s in this business, but occasionally you see a sign they still have work to do handling hardware. Sometimes that sign haunts you like the paperboy in Better off Dead. Wait, I think in this case I’m the paperboy and Microsoft is John Cusack. At least in this case, “I got my two dollars.”

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Wi-Fi Hotspots in Cyrodil

To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Blogosphere lies a small unregarded blog named Inks End.”

For those following my initial foray into the world of blogging, you might have wondered where I’ve been for two months. I’ve dropped the ‘vacation’ excuse already but that was April and doesn’t explain the paltry handful of posts since then.

I must now admit the truth. I’ve been hanging out in Cyrodil. Around the end of March, Bethesda Softworks released The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, arguably one of the best role playing games launched in years. The rest is history. To be exact, the rest is about 220 hours of my life (and game time) spanning four (or was it five) major quest lines, countless hack-n-slash, spell casting, sneaking and sniping, and generally ‘other world’ experiences.

I’ll leave the game reviews in the capable hands of those at GameSpot and other sites that specialize in reviewing, ranking, and ranting about games in general, but will just leave it at this – 220 hours (so far). Throughout my travels, I’ve run across many Inns and Taverns but none with reliable wi-fi access or power outlets for my laptop so my blog has suffered. I’m seeking counseling from someone I met in Bruma and have recently found a way to drop back into the ‘real world’ for extended periods of time.

So thanks for coming back and checking in.

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Console Price Drops

dollar sign In recent years the big three console makers are pretty consistent in their pricing strategies with Playstation 2 taking an early lead and launching at $299, Xbox (original) following at the same price a year later, and Nintendo GC coming in as the value player. Price drops seem to occur during the first half of the year around the time of E3.


Console Prices at Launch and Drop Points







2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
PlayStation 2 $299 $299 $199 $179 $149
Xbox n/a $299 $199 $179 $149
GameCube n/a $199 $199 $99 $99

In the last generation of consoles, the PS2 launched at a higher price point than the SEGA Dreamcast the year before but brought superiour technology to the table and got away with it. SEGA found themselves shown the door quickly and exited the business. At the time everyone was fighting the 900 lb gorilla known as Nintendo.
Since then, Microsoft followed Sony’s PS2 price with [slightly] better technology in 2001. Each price drop for either MS or Sony has been matched by the other while Nintendo stays below them both in the value category (possibly due to the GC being ONLY a game platform and not playing DVDs).

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