May 11, 2017
Although at first it looks like yet another body swap story that are common in japanese manga/animation, but it ends up being much more than that. It’s good, very good. The art is beautiful and very detailed, and the animation is buttery smooth.
It’s one of the best japanese animations I’ve seen.
Apr 4, 2017
After the death of my 2008 Macbook Pro about two months ago, I need a replacement computer. Even though I’m certain that it’s the absolute worst time to buy a new Mac, because most have launched many months (some years) ago and are due for an update very soon, but I am unable to postpone the purchase anymore.
So, laptop or desktop? I can’t remember the last time I needed to take my computer outside the office, and because I’m not a big fan of the newer Macbook Pros, I decided it would be a desktop, either a Mac mini or an iMac (4K or 5K). The latest Mac mini are not that great - old and slow CPUs and not user-upgradable, and the 4K suffers the same upgradability problems . So eliminating all others, and choice fell on an iMac 5K.
That’s a very big box.
The criticism I’ve heard of the iMac 5K are mainly the noise/heat and the image retention problems of the 5K panel. Turns out the noise/heat problems are more pronounced on the i7 CPUs, so I chose the slower i5 CPU, low noise and heat is very important to me. The potential image retention problem was a bit more concerning, but the apparently the LCD panel lottery was good to me.
So, In the end I got an iMac 5K with a 3.2GHz i5 and a 2TB Fusion Drive . I upgraded the RAM by adding 16GB of third-party RAM to the original 8GB, for a total of 24GB . I got the Magic Trackpad too, since I already have a Magic Mouse.
Mar 13, 2017
Set in a dark and bleak future, with no hope for the few mutants that still exist. The X-Men have failed miserably and no longer exist. Logan is a shadow of his former self, and he takes care of an old, vulnerable Charles Xavier that suffers from dementia.
This movie is a departure from what we are used to get in superhero movies nowadays, a formula that is becoming boring. Because it’s Rated R, Logan is a brutal and gore movie, we get to watch Wolverine chopping limbs without restraints, as he should be.
This might be the best superhero movie yet. I loved it.
Mar 7, 2017
Aloy hunting a Sawtooth.
Every time Sony showed previews of Horizon Zero Dawn I was skeptical, It always seemed like they were promising way more than what they would be able to deliver at the end. But I was wrong, the game is every bit as fantastic as it looked in trailers. Guerrilla Games has been making First Person Shooters for years and to be honest the Killzone franchise felt a bit stale lately, maybe they needed to do something else to excel.
Horizon is an open world game set a thousand years after the end of civilisation, where the wilderness has taken over and is now populated by primitive clans and killing machines. You play as Aloy, a strong and courageous woman whose origin is just as mysterious as the world she’s lives in.
Guerrilla built a big and diverse world, there are forests, jungles, deserts, tundras, mountains, lakes and much more. You want to explore, and everything is so beautiful that I often stop to appreciate the view and take some screenshots. The level design is great and the art direction is excellent.
The game is hard and ruthless, two hits from some of the machines and Aloy is dead, so you have to be careful not to be surprised, a bit of planning while handling your foes doesn’t hurt, and keep in mind that there should be more than one way of tackling the situation. But even though it’s not an easy game, its mechanics are never too complicated (I’m looking at you, The Witcher III).
So, if I want to nitpick it, maybe facial expressions and the acting is not the best, and weather and day/night cycles are too abrupt, in 2 seconds everything changes, I’d like it to be more gradual. That’s it. The game is that good.
Horizon sets the bar so high that it might spoil future open world games, because I’ll compare every new open world game with it from now on.
Update (Jun/22): Finally finished it after about 80 hours of gameplay, could have finished it faster but exploring is so fun I spent a lot of time doing just that. This game is a masterpiece.
Mar 6, 2017
The Nintendo Switch in handheld configuration.
The Switch was released a few days ago, and I had the chance to try it out for a few minutes.
It’s a cool the concept, a home/portable hybrid console, and is beautifully designed, almost like an Apple product. It doesn’t look like a toy anymore, and maybe because of that, it doesn’t feel as sturdy, child-proof and capable of rough handling as previous Nintendo machines. The console sits nicely in the hands, but because it’s wide it feels a bit weird to have the hands that far apart, but not uncomfortable at all.
Tried it first in home configuration, with the controllers attached to the grip, and it felt pretty good. The Switch was running Zelda Breath of the Wild, and while it looks decent, it has this hazy/cloudy look that makes the colours a bit washed out. But when I switched to the handheld configuration, it looked way better than on TV . Colours were looking an order of magnitude better, and the hazy/cloudy effect less pronounced.
I love Zelda games, and I think this Zelda game might be the best Zelda game, ever.
Also, because of years of playing XBox and Playstation games, I realize that my brain completely switched the placement of A and B buttons and it’s hard to go back to the Nintendo button pattern.
So, do I want one? Yes!
Feb 14, 2017
The 944 in my favorite mountain road.
Feb 1, 2017
My faithful 2008 Macbook Pro died. It was a great computer. I need a new computer, but in the meantime here is what’s been my backup computer for the last few days - an iPad, hooked up to a crappy $10 bluetooth keyboard, an equally crappy stand and a Raspberry Pi 3.
My iPad Terminal.
The immediate work I have is mostly backend web related, I can live without a Mac for some time, so I set up the headless Raspberry Pi 3 to run the services I needed and I must say I’m very impressed with it’s performance. It’s running docker containers like a champion without complaining. I think the Raspberry Pi 3 might be the best Linux computer out there.
The Raspberry Pi 3. Impressive little thing.
For the iPad, I’m using Panic’s Coda and Prompt, and it’s fairly acceptable, even if I found some annoying bugs in both these apps, but it’ll do for now.
Jan 12, 2017
Uncharted 4. This is an in-game screenshot, it always looks this good.
I am usually skeptical when game trailers are shown by developers, but with Uncharted 4, when I saw the trailer, I knew they would pull it off, after all, they’re Naughty Dog.
The story was always good in the Uncharted series, but it always felt like it was secondary to the action. In this episode, the story grew in importance, it feels deeper and an essential part of the action, relations and interactions between the characters are at the core of the story, and because of that, you’ll feel a strong connection to them, just like in The Last of Us.
Technically, this is the game that shows what the PS4 can do, in that regard it might be the best game on this console. Graphics are fantastic. Character modelisation is top notch and facial expressions are the best I’ve seen in a videogame. Details are numerous, like the wind in Nate’s hair, or the dripping wet clothes in the rain. Everything done with great mastery.
There’s great diversity in the locations of the game. Level design is great, as ever, but this time, and even though it’s not an open world, some locations are wide, and offer some degree of freedom as how the player wants to go through them, and that’s refreshing.