Lord of the Rings: Online 10 Day Free Trial

LOTRO FloppyWhile I was downloading 10+ gigabytes  of the new Lord of the Rings: Online 10 Day Free Trial, (because LOST doesn’t air for me until tomorrow on abc.com) I wondered how many floppies that would be if this game were released in the early 90’s.

Of course, nobody sane would ever release 10+ gigabytes of data on floppies. In order to visualize the result I consulted my handy tools, google image search and the gimp.

But how many floppies is it?

Seven Thousand, Three-Hundred and Sixty Seven Floppies!
Seven Thousand, Three-Hundred and Sixty-Seven Floppies!

The Lord of the Rings Download Manager estimates that it’ll take about four hours to download the remaining 8+ Gigabytes.

If I were to install all Seven Thousand, Three-Hundred and Sixty-Seven Floppies, it would take about 491 hours, assuming only 4 minutes per floppy.

Based on the download speed of a 56k modem (which rarely worked as advertised on my phone lines), ten gigabytes would take about Seventeen Days, Eighteen Hours, and Five Minutes to download, assuming the connection is never interrupted by someone picking up the phone to call for pizza.

The number of floppies is probably unrealisticly low since my calculations don’t take into account the floppy headers, and the archive data that interprets each disk in the chain.

Can you imagine if you went into Radio Shackâ„¢ and they had one of those cardboard cutouts with a Seven Thousand, Three-Hundred and Sixty-Seven Floppy Free Trial of Lord of the Rings Online cellotaped into one bundle?! There could only be one set in the store!

F.E.A.R. 2: Scary Slider: Demo Impressions (PS3)

Dear Horror Games,

You’ve got Audio sliders for volume levels, and difficulty sliders for difficulty levels.

Why not Horror sliders for Horror levels? So if I’m about to go asleep, I can turn it from bleeding-walls and scary little girls to flowers and puppy dogs?

Other than that, the FEAR 2: Preposterous Subtitle Demo on PS3 has good shooting mixed with a mediocre PS3 port. At one point the audio in the demo cut out almost entirely (not due to Spooky/Scary sound effects as far as I can tell), so I quit the game out of frustration.

Goozex Review

funcolandMost people who want to turn their video games into other video games take them to Gamestop, despite the huge discrepancy between how much gamestop games sell for, and the trade-in value. Old timers will recall Funcoland and their even worse trade-in values.

At least Funcoland had a book you could flip through to spare yourself the embarrassment of asking how much money they could give for your copy of Anticipation.

There is another choice, though it does involve trading with humans.

Goozex offers a trading system where you ship out games to others in exchange for points, which you can purchase if you don’t want to send out any of your games. Games are offered on a sliding scale from 100 to 1000. Most new games are between nine-hundred and one-thousand points. Their system automatically adjusts the price (in points) of each title based on the supply and demand. They end up fairly balanced, so your trade that is still in demand is worth a fair bit.

Lets take Call of Duty 4: GOTY Edition (PS3) as an example, today it is worth 850 Goozex points. 100 Goozex points are worth $5 in real money. So, CoD4: GOTY  is worth about $42.50. If I wanted to trade in that game, I’d toss the game into my offers queue and wait until the system finds a match. There are apparently 90 some people in line waiting for that game to be available, so that shouldn’t take long.

Once Goozex finds a match, I can look over the profile of the person who wants it, approve it if their feedback looks solid, print out a label, and finally ship it. Obviously you lose a little in shipping, most of these folks have a stack of envelopes and quite often you’ll get a game in the mail inside an envelope that has clearly seen better days. Your faith in scotch tape will assuredly rise.

Now here is one of the problems with Goozex; once the guy receives the game, if you’re lucky they’ll give you feedback immediately that says it was in good condition and receive your 850 points. Otherwise, you could end up waiting 21 days for the system to automatically give you the points. I’ve had several folks take a week to give me feedback, which left some of my requests in the lurch while I waited for the points.

Getting a game is a little bit more straight forward, and is the only time you are forced to pay into the system. Receiving any game costs 1 trade credit, which cost $1.  So if I want to receive CoD4: GOTY for 850 points I can either buy the points (you can only buy in hundreds or thousands of points, so you’ll probably have some left over) or you can trade in games to get them. Those points, plus a trade credit net you the game once you’ve passed through the queue. Most of the people in it won’t have enough points to request the game, or will be excluded for some other reason, so it might not take that long to traverse the queue.

The exception is with new games which often have a trainwreck of folks stacked up to get the game. If you really want a new game, some folks snipe the queue by logging on early in the morning. Otherwise it is best to trade new games into the system and get back out less recent titles. Even if you were to snipe the queue, you’d have to wait for someone who wants to trade the game into the system.

One of the nice benefits to Goozex over Gamestop, is that they have PC and Mac game trading. Though newer titles come with their caveats of cd keys, online activation, and the like. I’ve tried this once with a cdkey’d game, Mass Effect. It turned out fine and I had no issues.

All of this might seem a little complicated and there are bunch of caveats like the inability to trade directly with someone you know within Goozex. Fortunately the site is organized well and streamlines you through the process of offerring or requesting games. In the past few months I’ve both sent and received a variety of games and have been pleased in general with the condition of the games received and the people I’ve sent games to.

While I wouldn’t rely entirely on Goozex, especially for newer titles, it has been useful for avoiding the loss in value that comes from dealing with the used game system at gamestop. The prices on games match their actual value to the gaming community, which is a benfit to both people requesting and offering them. So the benefits of it outweight the negatives and I’ll continue using Goozex for the forseeable future.

Little Big Impressions

Snake LBP PaintinatorLittle Big Planet has recently captured my attention by being the most inspirational & creative game of 2008.

Let me explain.

I first gave LBP a shot during the beta. During which I had fun but wasn’t sure how polished the final product would be.

The user-created content was a chore to trawl through for good levels. No fix was in sight and the developers own levels were too few to make a judgement call on what they would include in the final game.

Later on when LBP was released I read about the server issues and declined to purchase it. Who knew if the developer would correct these issues?

SOCOM: Confrontation certainly was proving to have similar problems and theirs weren’t fixed in anything like a timely manner.

Another concern I had was with the lack of interaction. Until recently, sackboys could only interact with the levels through grabbing, jumping, and running. With the recently released Metal Gear Solid pack that has been fixed through the addition of the Paintinator. So now Sackboys can shoot, giving them another path to interact with their environment.

Finally, Little Big Planet has been patched to remove most of the connection issues. Sure, I still get the occasional disconnection from the community servers, or lag. However, the bugs are mostly gone.

If you’re one of the folks who fretted about the quality of the game before purchasing it, fret no longer, get Little Big Planet, have fun.

LBP MGS Meryl