Interesting read on how Google search is useless these days

For the last year (probably longer) I’ve become more and more frustrated with my Google searches. I’ll search for something that should have an obvious answer yet most of the results aren’t even related to what I’m searching for. It feels almost impossible to find an answer to anything anymore, even something as simple as “what time does X event start?”. I’ve found that I need to add ‘reddit’ to the end of my searches to even find an answer.

I was browsing Apple News the other day and came across this article in The Atlantic: “The Open Secret of Google Search” which describes my experiences with Google to a T, right down to searching Reddit for anything that requires a simple answer. If you’re as frustrated with Google as I’ve been lately I suggest giving it a read.

The new PlayStation Plus has been frustrating so far

As someone who doesn’t currently own a PlayStation console I was excited to try out the new PlayStation Plus service, specifically the Premium tier that allows streaming on PC. I had tried out PlayStation Now before and it worked reasonably well so I figured Plus Premium would be similar.

I was able to play games such as Horizon Zero Dawn without issue, and the streaming quality was pretty good. I’m playing via a 2018 MacBook Air through Boot Camp connected to a Samsung 4K tv. The stream quality was nice, you can barely tell you’re streaming a game (I’ve had similar experiences streaming via Game Pass). There are minor hiccups where the video gets pixelated, but otherwise it looks crisp and the controls are responsive. I have gigabit internet, and average around 700mbps down via ethernet. I’ve also played via WiFi (about 450 down) and haven’t noticed any dip in quality.

The problem I’ve had is that many PS3 games simply won’t launch. When you click ‘Start’ nothing happens. I’ve restarted my computer, reinstalled the app, no luck. Two games I really wanted to play were Everybody’s Golf and Tekken 2, and neither will launch. PS4 games seem to have no issue, but the majority of PS3 games I’ve tried fail to launch.

Last weekend I spent about an hour chatting with PlayStation support and they had me do everything in the book. Reinstall the app, reset my modem and router, restart my computer, try a different internet connection (I tried ethernet, WiFi, and via mobile hotspot). Eventually they finally decided to tell me “oh we know about this, sorry, it should get fixed eventually”. Not encouraging. I asked if they could extend my subscription for the time I haven’t been able to get what I’ve paid for, but their response was that since I could still use PlayStation Plus I was out of luck. Not ideal.

I’ve tried every day for the last week and I still can’t launch most PS3 games. While I’m enjoying Horizon, it’s disappointing that I can’t access the majority of the back catalog being offered. I’ve seen a handful of people on Reddit express that they’re having the same issue, with little help from PlayStation support. I really hope this gets fixed soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

I wish I liked Mario Strikers: Battle League

Mario Strikers: Battle League is an incredibly stylish game. Everything from the menus to the special shot animations are oozing with style. Having not played any previous Mario soccer game I imagined I’d be in for a hectic Mario Kart style take on soccer, so I bought the game without giving it much though. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a whole lot of fun with the game since its launch, and I’m not so sure I’ll spend a lot more time with it.

I was disappointed to find that there’s not a whole lot of single player content. You can play quick matches or enter into cup battles, but there’s no story mode, and no progression (besides unlocking a few pieces of equipment that change a character’s stats).

The gameplay itself feels solid. You’ll pass and shoot around the pitch, while avoiding enemy tackles and power ups while strategically deploying your own. You’re rewarded for well timed passes and shots allowing you to score a combos which increase your chance of scoring. If you collect a glowing orb that occasionally appears you’ll have an opportunity to execute a powerful shot that if timed correctly becomes unblockable and counts for two points.

The hyper strike shots are easy enough to pull off against the AI, but I’ve found them almost impossible to pull off online. They can be interrupted by a tackle, so you really need to be wide open to pull one off. This makes sense, otherwise it could make the game too easy if you could consistently get these shots off, and it makes it extra rewarding when you do pull one off (beyond the extra point).

That said, in general my online experience has been miserable. When playing solo I’ve been matched against teams of players who have a huge advantage over my AI controlled teammates. They’ll often constantly tackle everyone repeatedly (you can tackle players whether or not they have the ball) and there have been some matches where I feel like I’ve barely crossed mid field. In general when I’ve played online I either lose in an 8-0 embarrassment or I get the feeling I’m playing against a child who can’t quite grasp the controls and I win without breaking a sweat. There hasn’t been any middle ground, and I haven’t wanted to play online at all anymore.

Without an enjoyable online experience, I’m left with the hollow single player experience which definitely isn’t worth the $60 asking price. Maybe I’m just terrible at the game (seems likely), but I pictured myself having more fun with the game.

I might give the game another shot with some local multiplayer, but otherwise I don’t think I’ll be launching the game again.

It’s been awhile

Hi, I haven’t done this in quite a long time. I had let my domain lapse for awhile but finally renewed and figured I should write more often. We’ll see how that goes.

It’s been a busy couple of years. I’ve finished school since the last time I’ve checked in here and have been working as a tax accountant. I’ve passed two of the four CPA exams and am working to finish up by the end of the summer (probably another reason I should’ve just let the blog die).

In video gaming news, I was fortunate enough to secure an Xbox Series X shortly after launch and have enjoyed it quite a bit since then. Game Pass continues to be an amazing service that keeps getting better. Honestly, one of my favorite games I’ve played in the last two years is Microsoft Flight Simulator on the Series X. It’s such a beautiful game, and it never gets old flying around gawking at the scenery.

I’ve gotten back into collecting and listening to vinyl records which has been a lot of fun as well. It’s nice to put a record on and listen from start to finish. While I love the access that streaming music allows, I’ve often found that I tend to only listen to a few songs and have gone years without listening to some songs on albums I like. Here are just a few of my favorites from the last year:

I made it out to Pennsylvania to visit family after a year of mostly isolation. My wife and I explored Philadelphia, and I finally attended a Penn State game.

With that, I need to get to sleep. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope to pop in more often.