Chrono Trigger DS is out 
2008.12.02 09:11 - Entertainment, Music, Microcode
At least, I received a copy from Amazon yesterday evening. I assume it's out. I was mildly miffed about paying more than the usual $30 for a DS game, but it came with a soundtrack disc. Only two tracks, though, so it's obviously not complete, but I thought that was a nice bonus.
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Do it again, Isaac. 
2008.12.01 23:57 - Entertainment, Microcode
Dead Space seems to suffer a bit from DIAS gameplay. I've now seen this 3 times across the third and fourth chapters (but not before that), and two of those are back to back. So far:
  • Making it out of the centrifuge room in Chapter 3 will have you dodging the centrifuge. Get hit, and you're dead.
  • Dodging asteroids in Chapter 4: not quick enough on the uptake? Dead. Also, you're in a vacuum. Insufficient air capacity/air tanks? Dead.
  • Shooting asteroid in Chapter 4: if you miss too many before the timer runs out, you die.
And, then, you do each of those again, until you figure it out or get it right.

The asteroids actually had me resorting to GameFAQs, because I didn't pick up on the signals quickly enough.

ATTN: Game Developers
Stop it. Just. Stop. It.

I really do understand that real life offers few second chances and, yes, in those sorts of situations, screwing up = dead. I know. I drive to and from my job. If I screw up sufficiently on the road, I can and will die from the results. But I don't play games for that sort of thing (either driving, or being spread thin across the pavement, actually). I play games to be entertained. In fact, that is why I chose the Easy difficulty setting for Dead Space: to minimize the degree to which reality intrudes on my entertainment.

[Updated: Just cleaning up some badly botched formatting.]
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Burning Time 
2008.12.01 17:01 - Work-related
I had an extra 5.36 hours (~5 hours, 20-ish minutes, because our time tracking system is asinine, and time accrual increments are goofy: at 2 years, it increases from 10 hours/month to 10.67, but at 3 years, it becomes 12, and continues this pattern up to 10 years) to burn, so I've taken the Monday before Christmas off. And, just to round things off, also the Friday after New Year's.

Having already scheduled all the other time that wouldn't roll over, that means that I go home on the 19th of this month and do not return to the office until the 5th of next month. Glorious.
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Mass Effect 
2008.12.01 09:19 - Entertainment, Microcode
Apparently, element zero can cause problems with some PC configurations.

Recommendation: if Mass Effect sounds appealing, wait for the console version to find its way into the budget bin, or pop up in the greatest hits catalog. You'll get stuck paying for any downloadable content, and I gather that the decryption mini-game is more asinine, but it has got to be more stable.
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Dead Space: Zombies-but they're in space?! 
2008.12.01 09:15 - Entertainment, Microcode, Zombie Preparedness
Having put Mass Effect to bed yesterday afternoon, I broke out Dead Space last night and played that for a few hours. I'm playing through on 'Easy', because my time is more valuable than the game developer's ability to have zombies chew on me.

So far, the plot looks like it was cribbed from either Aliens or Leviathan, with a pretty healthy dose of The Thing and Doom 3. There's nothing wrong with that, but it probably means I've played too many of these games when the plots look like they were assembled by drawing previous titles out of a hat.

On the technical end, the graphics are very good, and the facial animations are about the best I've seen. Gameplay-wise, the dismemberment mechanic is unique, but it bugs me that the game then throws tiny critters at you that can only be popped. General recommendation: if you don't pick it up sooner, be sure to grab a copy from the greatest hits catalog when it rolls around.
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