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The OTR Show Episode #28: Thank You for Listening

Click here to view the embedded video.

On this week’s episode, JG prepares for the upcoming holiday rush, Sophisticates learns about Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Zero argues with the Major about the differences with nerds, geeks and hipsters,  and the Major throws himself down a set of stairs.

You can join us live on Wednesday nights at 10:00pm for our Google Hangout-on-Air where we take your questions live on the show!

As always, you can find us here:

iTunes
Stitcher

Website: http://themszero.com

Twitter:
@MajorLinux
@Sophisticates_4
@zero0four
@jg_thetruisland

Extra-Life
Operation: Supply Drop

She’s Real “Thirsty” (World Star Hip Hop video) (NSFW!!!!!!!!!)

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Twitchin’ with the Major: A Far Cry From Home

Ladies and gentlemen! The time has finally arrived! My second most anticipated video game release of the year! Far Cry 4 is out in the wild and I’ll be picking up my copy today and will be streaming it as part of Twitchin’ with the Major tonight!

Please tune in at 7:30pm and join me as I explore and shoot up things in Kyrat!

 Watch live video from MajorLinux on www.twitch.tv

The Major’s Retrospective on the Xbox One

First thing first, if you haven’t read my Retrospective on the PS4, I recommend that you do. Some of things talked about in this retrospective will have some basis in the previous post.

As I stated before, this post was going to be about both the PS4 and Xbox One but, upon creating a list of pros/cons for both systems, it became apparent that it wouldn’t before to try and condense my feelings for both consoles into one post.  So, this post will focus primarily on the Xbox One and how it compares to its predecessor and how it stacks up to its more direct competitor (sorry WiiU). So, let’s dive in shall we?

When did you get it?

I purchased the Xbox One about six months after  its launch date of November 22nd when Microsoft had their E3 press event (June 9th, 2014).  I was watching the show during work and was impressed by one single title, Forza Horizon 2. I loved the first so much that when the sequel was announced for this year, I immediately put a plan into action to purchase the system as soon as possible. It also helped that that was the day Microsoft dropped the Kinect requirement and began selling the console without it which made it a little more reasonable for me even though I would later regret not owning it. And, yes, I do realized that I had bought a system over 3 months before the game I wanted was set to release. I just wanted to be ready!

What did you do for three months?

Great, now you sound like the Target employee who asked me a similar question when I turned down his offer to buy a game with the system!

One thing Microsoft and Xbox had going for them out of the gate was that they had so many content partners working with them that had come over from the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, they were all tied to the Xbox Live Gold service and couldn’t really be accessible outside of it. I had to use other means in order to get the content. Some were easy like using the PS3/4 to access Hulu Plus, Netflix and many others. Others, like ESPN (WatchESPN) weren’t as easy. I could use my Roku box, but that just lacked any type of reliability or I could have just went downstairs where my HD cable box was because I was not about to watch Sportscenter in SD.

So, have I told you how much of a magical date June 9th, 2014 was? Microsoft announced that any of their apps weren’t going to be hidden behind the paywall anymore. For me, this was the best thing Microsoft could have ever done for the Xbox platform. It was more than a flip-flop as it didn’t seem like a reversal, but like an unleashing of something that could possibly bury Sony and help boosts Microsoft’s stance as the all-in-one entertainment platform. This helped further make my decision as is what I use primarily for watching sports content even though Disney had just updated their Android app to allow for Chromecast support for WatchESPN which still isn’t as good as watching ESPN on the Xbox One.

So, why didn’t you buy it at launch?

As I have stated in the PS4 retrospective, there were a myriad of factors why I chose the PS4 over the Xbox One. After that decision was made, there wasn’t enough money to go around to afford a second one. There were some smaller things that I felt like I wanted addressed by Microsoft at the time which now seems very dumb. One of which was I wanted it to turn into a cable box.

The system was already as big as a VCR a family might have bought in the early ’90s. I felt that if I were going to own this system that, with its enormous size, it should replace things in my home entertainment system of things.  This was further fueled by the fact that Microsoft kept trying to place it as my all-in-one media solution for gaming, music, movies and television. They kept trying to sell people on the idea that you can watch your favorite television shows using the HDMI pass-through so I can connect my cable box to it and use the Kinect features to navigate my box through it. That all seemed a little redundant to me and vowed not to buy the system until they installed a cable tuner inside and worked a deal with cable companies to allow me to use my Xbox One as a cable box.

Another thing that could be addressed is the use of the proprietary accessory that’s needed to use 3rd party headsets. I think both systems still require wired headsets (PS4 Gold and Elite headsets require a USB dongle) but it would be nice to have some truly wireless headsets which I believe the PS3 could do via Bluetooth even if it is for voice chat. Another thing I would like to see Microsoft do is add support for USB microphones similar to what the PS4 does. It has more than enough USB ports so it would be nice if I could plug in my Blue Snowball and use it for streaming in a similar fashion as I do for the PS4.

While I give Microsoft props for being a software-first console manufacturer, it still seems like the system software could use a little work. While I love the UI for the most part, some system level tasks seem to show a little Windows bug-like behavior. One of the biggest things I have an issue with is trying to navigate system menus while in other applications.  The snap feature isn’t the greatest before or after they updated it and it seems like the two virtual machines that are running are constantly at odds with each other. I can see what they are going for. The snapping feature along with the overall UI is aligning the system to look like Windows 8. I like that. Its just that trying to emulate that on a console while running the VMs don’t work out. I mean, on my Lenovo IdeaPad 2 Pro, the Twitter app cuts out if too many things are happening and I’m running an i7 with 8GB of RAM.

Lastly, while I’m appreciative of the feature-adds with the updates, the way Microsoft applies updates is still as bad as ever (I’m not taking a stab at Xbox, but Microsoft in general). Now, I understand it isn’t Linux in the fact that I can still use my OS and reboot whenever the fuck I feel like it. I know that in order to ensure stability, I will need to reboot the system. I know this was set in place for those who don’t understand how computers work. However, if you are going to apply an update while in rest mode, don’t fully turn the system off. You should be able to reboot it back into rest mode. Another options, which Sony does, is download the update, notify the user when that it has been downloaded, then have the user choose if they would like to apply the update. That way, they won’t look like an idiot when trying to turn on the system by voice. This now becomes a bigger issue now that you can download and install games and apps while in rest mode. So good luck if an update comes out just before you purchase that game on Xbox’s website

Do you regret not buying the Kinect when you had the chance?

I don’t necessarily regret not having the Kinect. After I bought my system, set it up and played around with it for a few days, it felt a little empty without the aforementioned games and Kinect. While you could do everything with a controller, the voice commands could definitely come in handy during my more lazier moments or if I had to rush out of my office and didn’t have much time to search for and turn on a controller just to pause Netflix.  Many people would probably find the Kinect functions very gimmicky but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work nor doesn’t have its uses.

I was luckily able to get my hands on a Kinect from a friend and former coworker of mine for use with Extra-Life. After spending time with the device, I realize how helpful it has become not only with streaming (my original use for it), but for the aforementioned purposes.  The controller timeout is a lot shorter than that of the PS4 so you can never get through an episode of “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” without having to turn it on again to do something else. The best thing I like about having it is for snapping/unsnapping things such as Twitch. Once I’m finished setting up my broadcast, I can tell it to unsnap which was recently made easier to do on a controller following an update, but the UI is still a little slow for me.

Are you finished?

Yes, it is finally done. I have done what my procrastinating brain has told me was impossible. Unlike the PS4, I feel really good about what the Xbox One has become over this past year. Also, it helps to have had some of the other system to kind of shape how I feel about it.  I can definitely say that Microsoft wants do right by consumers and have genuinely made steps to right the ship. As stated before, after the departure of Don Mattrick and the promotion of Phil Spencer, Xbox has been doing very well by my eyes and I am truly impressed. They are adding features to the system on a regular basis and seem to be a little bit more active in the community than Sony and the PlayStation team.

–MajorLinux

The Major’s Retrospective on the PS4

ZOMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG PLAYSTATION4 IS  A YEAR OLD!!!! BEST SYSTEM EVAH!!!!! KEVIN BUTLER HAS MY HEART!!!!!!11!!!!1111!!!!!!!!1

There definitely could have been times during my adult life where this may have been the case. I say my adult life because, as a kid, I wasn’t able to play many video games. I’ve only had the pleasure of reading about them in magazines 3-4 times a year.  It wasn’t until I started college was I able to buy a PS2 for myself and 2009 when I finally joined modern console gaming with a PS3. Yes, back then I was a big Sony fan and Sony could do no wrong. With free multiplayer and technically better specs, the PlayStation 3 was the console of my dreams. Also, Microsoft didn’t make it and those suits could just eat a-

Whoa! Had a huge flashback there. In 2011, that all changed when I decided to give the Xbox 360 a try and decided to grow up a little.  I wanted to begin trying things fairly objectively in order to make more informed arguments and communicate what I preferred as opposed to what I thought was the best.  I would like to say that this has continued to this day.

This post was going to be about both the PS4 and Xbox One but, upon creating a list of pros/cons for both systems, it became apparent that it wouldn’t before to try and condense my feelings for both consoles into one post.  So, this post will focus primarily on the PS4, how it compares to its predecessor and how it stacks up to its more direct competitor (sorry WiiU). So, let’s dive in shall we?

When did you get it?

Let’s start of on how I acquired my PS4. I think its fair to disclose when I acquired both systems as I think it does color my views on the system. The PlayStation 4 was bought on launch day (November 15, 2013) while the Xbox One was purchased over six months later a few hours after Microsoft had their E3 press event (June 9th, 2014).

So, why did you buy your PS4 launch?

Well, let’s start with the most obvious factor why, the price. The PlayStation 4 was launching for $399 while the Xbox One was launching a week later at $499. So, not only did price factor in, but the release date did as well. Personally, I felt that there were more games I wanted to play on the PS4 than I wanted to play on the Xbox One. Killzone: Shadow Fall looked good. Ryse didn’t .Knack looked interesting. Didn’t feel like dealing with zombies in Dead Rising. Now, I’ll give you the fact that Xbox was launching with Forza 5 and Killer Instinct, but it wasn’t enough to sway my inner fanboy and closet conspiracy theorist in me thinking the Kinect might steal my soul or at least try to take naughty pictures of me.

Then, there were the specs. The strange thing is, both systems have the nearly identical hardware in them. CPU, RAM, graphics capability. The one thing that set them apart was initially the type of RAM they used. Sony used DDR5 while Microsoft chose DDR3. Somehow, this made a difference somewhere (I don’t know and even I bought that nonsense). Another thing that kinda took away from the Xbox One was its reliance on the Kinect and how it took away some of the Xbox One’s power in order to make it function properly. This was remedied back in June.

The last thing that sold me on the PS4 at launch was the ability to use the PlayStation Vita as a second screen or screen mirroring via RemotePlay. Later on, I found out that this feature also helps to create a second controller for your PS4. This helped me out a lot as I only have the one controller and sometimes had a friend over to play.

Do you regret buying it so early?

I don’t regret the decision that I made to purchase the system. However, there are some things that I’m not to happy about since its announcement and launch. First thing first, Sony still has the mentality of a great hardware manufacturer. This tends to leave the UI something to be desired.  I’ll give them credit for fixing some of the issues going from PS3 to PS4 and fixing issues with some of the PS4 UI in subsequent updates, but it still seems a little “weird” for me.

Now, while I may thing I’m the most awesome badass on the planet (I’m not and I don’t actually feel this way), Sony has taken it to the extreme and I feel like they are following Microsoft’s Xbox 360 playbook from their launch. Yes, they came in with the big guns win Microsoft was dropping the ball left and right and retook their place as the #1 selling system of this generation to date, but even Sony believed they could do no wrong when they appeared to be taking missteps with botched first party game releases and system updates.  I applaud Microsoft for at least acknowledging some of its issues granted it took them to get rid of somebody in order to do it.

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Another thing that I’ m not entirely pleased with is still the inability to resume the game I was playing after waking my PS4 from sleep mode. Now, as I have stated before, I have only owned an Xbox One for just over 5 months while I’ve had the PS4 since day one so I don’t know when the Xbox One received the feature, but at least they have it.  I’ve only been able to have NBA 2k14 replicate the feature for me, but, even then, I have to boot the game cold in order to load the save to put me back in the middle of the basketball game I was already playing.

The last thing I don’t really like about the system that they haven’t seemed to fix is the fact that it isn’t able to be used as a DLNA client.  Yes, they did just get MP3 from USB drive support. Yes, Microsoft just recently allowed their system to be used in such a way. However, why couldn’t either system include it from the beginning. Now, just like  I tell others, we don’t know what kind of constraints engineers and developers had to get these systems up and running for their launches. However, I would have waited an extra few months to at least get some kind of feature-parity with their predecessors.

How you feelin’ now?

Well, since you asked, I’m kind of feeling indifferent about the system.  With all the changes being made to the system and Sony’s attitude toward the lack of features, system-breaking updates and server-related issues, its a hard pill to swallow.  It seems as if Sony doesn’t care as long as they are in first place and are just being fast and loose with what they are releasing.

On the plus side, though, there have been things about the system that I have come to love since I’ve owned it.  The biggest thing for me is the fact that I don’t need any proprietary accessories for party chat on the system nor for recording audio during Twitch streaming.  I can just plug in any headset and go or pop in a USB microphone like my Blue Snowball, set up my PlayStation Camera and begin streaming away without the need to have something in or covering my ears. Speaking of Twitch, that has become a very valuable service as I begin starting to cover more games with my very unique perspective.

Another thing that has come to the system that still needs some work, however, is PlayStation Now and SharePlay.  I think its nice to be able to stream games either from PlayStation (PSNow) or from a friend (SharePlay) to play.  The only way I feel it would get better is if they work out a better pricing structure for PSNow titles and make it more of a requirement for developers and publishers to include SharePlay into their titles.

You, sir, have said a mouthful…

Indeed I have and I’m not finished yet. But to wrap up on the PlayStation side of things, the system is a great system to own.  We can all admit that Sony did come out strong during E3 2013 and during the launch, but they have fallen off greatly with a lot of people, myself included, with the missteps they have taken while being on top.  I don’t think that Sony should be happy with the lead if they want to “win” this thing. I don’t think consumers should also have to take it as well for them (the consumer) to win.  In all, you have to be comfortable with the purchases you make in the end. And, after a year, it looks as if Sony may be dealing with the shit end of the stick because they got cocky their first year out.  I honestly hope that the rest of the PS4’s lifecycle works out for them…

 

–MajorLinux

 

P.S.: Stay tuned for the Xbox side of things tomorrow!!!!!

SitRep for November 16th

FAR CRY 4 IS COMING!!!!!!

However, there are other things to discuss as well…

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Recap:

  1. Happy birthday, PS4
  2. Halo: MCC Issues
  3. AC: Unity Issues
  4. Sony Black Friday bundles announced

Upcoming

  1. Far Cry 4 (Tuesday Stream)
  2. GTA V for new consoles
  3. OTR Show

The MSZ Show Episode #27: Liturgical Twerkin’

Click here to view the embedded video.

On this week’s episode, JG went to see John Wick, Sophisticates kicks out of a helicopter, Zero helps the group list the worst things the Internet has to offer about sacrilege,  and the Major thinks of new praise dance techniques.

You can join us live on Wednesday nights at 10:00pm for our Google Hangout-on-Air where we take your questions live on the show!

As always, you can find us here:

iTunes
Stitcher

Website: http://themszero.com

Twitter:
@MajorLinux
@Sophisticates_4
@zero0four
@jg_thetruisland

Extra-Life
Operation: Supply Drop

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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The SitRep for November 9th

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On this week’s SitRep, I go into the following:

Recap
I. PS4 update 2.01 release
II. Xbox One sale underway
III. CoD: AW blocking SharePlay
IV. SharePlay is still awesome
Upcoming
I. AC: Unity
II. Master Chief Collection
III. Madden Stream
IV. No other streams

There may be some games be played other than Madden this week, so stay tuned to the Twitch stream!

Also, keep an eye out and subscribe to my YouTube channel for any archive footage and The MSZ Show

–MajorLinux

The MSZ Show Episode #26

Click here to view the embedded video.

On this week’s episode, JG takes everyone to vote, Sophisticates adds more letters to the end of her name, Zero buys a gas can and fills it with chocolate milk so that the Major can enjoy it in his Olivia Pope wine glass.

You can join us live on Wednesday nights at 10:00pm for our Google Hangout-on-Air where we take your questions live on the show!

As always, you can find us here:

iTunes
Stitcher

Website: http://themszero.com

Twitter:
@MajorLinux
@Sophisticates_4
@zero0four
@jg_thetruisland

Extra-Life

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There will be Sunset Overdrive…Only Call of Duty…

Sorry for the last minute change of plans, but tonight’s stream will be of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Hopefully, I’ll be testing out the PS4 SharePlay feature with Indifference from GameEnthus! Stay tuned here!

–MajorLinux

Riding off into the Sunset Overdrive

Okay! I get it! Enough with the Horizon and Sunset jokes. I can’t help it! These things kinda write themselves…

So, Sunset Overdrive, how did we get to this point? I wasn’t really supposed to like you!

Honestly, that’s how I feel after sitting down for a week with the game. A game that takes place in what seems like some sort of apocalyptic nightmare brought on by some money hungry corporation. A game that is exclusive to the Xbox One and was developed by a company that was, for a time, only developing Sony titles. Based on all those factors, I actually see myself as someone upset that I was betrayed by Insomniac Games and fearful to play it due to what appeared to be zombies or other disgusting mutant-y things all over the place.

Could I ever be far from that!

I ended up picking up the game initially because I wanted to win a white Xbox One and could have cared less about the game. It wasn’t until I arrived at the midnight launch event at the Microsoft Store did I realize I didn’t have to pre-order it in order to win. All I had to do was just be there.

However, while I was there, I figured I’d try the game. I sat down in front of one of the demo systems set up for the game and got my 15 minute play-through on. That 15 minutes was very transforming as I was enjoying what was happening on screen. Its very fast-paced and colorful and hilarious. After playing, I made sure I finished paying on the game and counted down to midnight. I knew this week was going to be an awesome week for me!

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Welcome to the Awesome-pocalypse!!!!

I still can’t believe I actually typed that, but that’s really how the game feels! Essentially, the game puts my fears to rest as to what the game is about. Its not a zombie apocalypse. Plain and simple. One, the story establishes that the events you are experiencing are only limited to the city you are trapped in and you are not fighting zombies. You are however fighting a QA nightmare as people are turning into mutants after a rushed release of a product. One of the NPCs who used to work for the company repeatedly reminds you that this was all an accident and that its an isolated event and is quick to correct you every time your character says otherwise.

Speaking of character, there isn’t much in the way of what I would call customization, but that’s a good thing for me as I don’t like sitting in menus trying to create someone who looks like me. I was, however, able to create someone who maybe somewhat resembles some type of hero version of me. Its rather funny to look at and totally makes sense in this world which is just as over-stylized as I made myself look. And this game plays with that a lot.

Its very good to have a game that is just so ridiculous that it has no other option but to poke fun at itself for being too ridiculous. I love how the game does poke at specific tropes in video games and other mediums. A couple of examples is pointing out characters talking to each other through a phone that neither is actually holding or has been physically manifested in some way and using the game’s UI to defeat enemies. Sunset Overdrive has been keeping me laughing so much my wife thinks I might have just actually snapped.

The weapons in the game are just fantastic! I haven’t quite unlocked or bought them all as of this writing, but the ones I do have access to are purely amazing. I do find myself use some more than others.After playing some online, I found out that some are supposed to be used in certain ways and weren’t meant to be multi-use. For example, using the shotgun that sets things on fire on a huge enemy is good after the first shot only if you switch over to the handgun immediately after.

Going back to the multiplayer, that mode is just plain nuts! It gets crazy when you have one person causing all the mayhem, but when you add seven others who are shooting in every direction (and not knowing what they are doing), no words can describe how crazy it gets and how fun it becomes. I was having so much fun during the session that it was pointed out that the game, despite all of the gunfire and explosions and fireworks and enemies and players on screen, the framerate barely dropped. I had a couple of instances, but it seemed to only happen when it was loading things from the server and may have also had something to do with the fact I was streaming while playing online at the same time.

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Looks like you rocked your face off…

Not really! You guys should have known this was coming. There are a lot of good things about the game, but with good their does come some bad. The only thing that I don’t really like about the game is the way traversal is handled while in combat.  Seeing as that most of the things you do during missions is confined to a certain area, trying to adhere to the “floor is lava” routine becomes a little difficult for me.  This isn’t a fault of the game by any means. I’ve seen how people can get it to work in their favor in countless videos. However, for me, it gets a little confusing as I’m having to worry about enemy positions, ammo management and “Wait! Where in the world am I going?! The fight’s over there!” Also, with enemies that shoot projectiles, it becomes real hard to avoid in tight spaces.

But, wait! There’s more! I totally forgot about the tower defense missions you have to play every-so-often when you unlock/discover new parts to the city. Essentially, upon discovering a new base, you will unlock new traps to use to defend the base during these missions and are forced to use them to defend the base.  It would be nice if I could skip thsese missions, but they appear to be a part of the story. Luckily, the mode is very forgiving and I find it easier to just to carelessly shoot what you can, make it to the second wave, lose the second wave, restart then win! Probably not within the plan to be an ace at the game, but I don’t care! I’m having too much fun!

Looks like you reinvented yourself…

Well, that’s what the story suggests your character does after having a dead end job before all this went down. It has been a nice change of pace for me as this is a game I would not have normally bought and probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for my increasing curiosity and Microsoft having demos of the game available at the midnight launch. Despite the small things I don’t like about the game, they are constantly forgotten by how much fun I’m having while playing. I do look forward to wrapping it up soon, but as it is November, there are plenty of other games that I would at least get a taste of before that.

I honestly think that if you just want to have “dumb fun” while playing a video game and just laugh at what society and video games in general have become lately, you should totally pick up this game!

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