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Malik (1/23/06)  

To all you doubters, naysayers, smack all of you who called Shaun Alexander all of you who said the Seahawks stumbled, via easy opponents, to the all of you who said Holmgren should be all of you who said that Hasselbeck is a all of you who said Delhomme and Smith would shatter the all of you who said that Alexander was a joke for his concussion last week (how do you get called a bad player when you get knocked silly? Look at the tapes and tell me, with that goofy grin, that he was fully in his right mind) all of you who say Seattle is not a football town...two mother-f@#$ing words for you; 

Super Bowl. 

That felt good. Let me say it with more of the energy appropriate for the one thing that can turn my apathetic town into a town of insane and friendly folks... 


First off, if you thought Seattle was not a football town...well, normally, no matter what is going on, Seattle is always a traffic nightmare. Even on a Sunday afternoon, Seattle is filled with what many equal sized towns would only be able to call "rush hour traffic". Do you check the fly over video during the NFC game last night? Seattle was deserted. At least the streets were. Why? Because everyone was at Seahawk's Stadium ("Qwest Field" is not a name I know because that is Alexander's house, Holmgren's house, Hasselbeck's house, Morris's house...the list goes on, but Qwest is not king in that house), at a bar (watching the game), or like myself at a friend's place watching the Seahawks castrating the Panthers. 

If you thought that Alexander was over-rated...sigh...what the hell do you call 132 yards and two touchdowns? I call it the MVP at work. Also, just like usual, he started slow, and then he dominated. It's his style. Mr. Alexander (if you doubt his skills and talked shit about him, that's how you must call him now on..."Mr. Shaun Alexander") starts slow (hence he looked iffy two Saturdays ago), but then while the other players are getting winded, Alexander is handing the Seahawks first downs like they were candy. Why is he the MVP? Why? Because he is that damned impressive, offensive, and unshakable. 

If you can't tell, I am beyond happy. I have been watching the Seahawks since around 1986 (first grade, for me). I would've watched them sooner, but I hardly knew what sports were. I was six. I can tell you, I have seen my dreams shattered each year as the Seahawks stumbled, bumbled, and just looked like an average Pioneer Square panhandler (that means drunk to you non-Seattleites). It's all good now. It was all good last week with the playoff victory drought being behind us, but now I am all good no matter what happens. In the next game, they will be one of two teams battling to be king. Win or lose (I'm careful with words...I'm not a superstitious sort, but I'm not jinxing shit), Super Bowl XL will be with the most impressive Seattle team to grace the field. 

Also, I have a question. What is the lowest QB rating ever during and after a playoff game? Did Delhomme set a record. He was running below a 2 in the second half. Below a 2! I thought he was supposed to, along with Smith (who did look damned amazing...I'm no fanboy...and his punt return made me realize that he is that good), manhandle the Seahawks. 

If you think that Holmgren would just be held to conventional plays in a big game, there is nothing like watching our QB throw to our backup QB. The pass from Hasselbeck to Seneca Wallace was not just an awesome wild-card stunt, it was so damned sweet. Who would normally see that coming in a playoff game? My friends and I can see something and it should be seen by more people; Holmgren doesn't just coach the team; he's playing a mental game of chess. Whatever he does, there will be a reason for it. It's like he's always playing about a dozen moves in advance.

Also, if you thought Seattle could not plan for pressure, then what do you call their treatment of Smith. Once Smith returned that punt, and showed us all why he is to be feared and respected, Seattle took care of that threat by never kicking the ball to his eager hands. The FG fake...brilliant. Kicking out of bounds...brilliant. If you can't take on a guy with 100% certainty, then you take the threat out of the man. Seattle did that. 

Ok...I'm about to joy-gasm...again. I've been doing it for the last 24 hours. So, I'll drop off about now. The move went well, some game news (but nothing stupid and lame, like this, in today's post about champions) may turn up here tomorrow...if I post...vacation and all is a nice thing. So, to wrap this up, one last's those magical 5 words that brings a tear to my eye... 

Seahawks in the SUPER BOWL!!!!! 


Malik (1/23/06)  

My friend, who, like yours truly, is enjoying this hometown excitement, had a nice perspective on things.  With how the Seahawks are being dissed in the media, he composed a letter to Bill Simons.  I think it needs to be, here's the letter that says, better than I could ever put it, the feelings of Seattle on being ignored and disrespected.

Dear Mr. Simmons, 

I believe that you and most of the sports media need to refer to Shaun Alexander as Mr Shaun Alexander THE NFL MVP for the duration of the rest of the season. He showed everyone why he is the MVP on Sunday. He went against a Panther defense that everyone thought would be able to shut him down. He ran around, through, and over the Panthers at will for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He and the rest of the Seahawks did on Sunday what they have been doing all year. 

Do no tthe Seahawks need a little more respect in your column? The Panthers picked by the majority of the sports world to advance to the Super Bowl were completely manhandled by the obviously superior Seahawks team. After the first quarter the game was never in doubt. Delhomme was obliterated by a Seahawk defense that was thought to be at the Panther's disposal. Steve Smith was completely shut down. Apart from the punt return touchdown and the garbage time passing TD, the Panthers showed that they were the ones not worthy of being in the NFC championship game. In fact, Delhomme looked so horrible that his passer rating at one point in the game was 1.6. He looked more like Tim Hasselbeck than anyone else. 

I would like for everyone, including you, to stop talking about how the Seahawks haven't beaten any quality opponents. They were 13-3 in the regular season for a reason, and they showed it on Sunday. 

I don't know what will happen on Super Bowl Sunday as the Steelers team is an extremely great one. But please, don't talk about how Seattle isn't worthy. They showed everyone on Sunday. Alexander, Hasselbeck, and company are making everyone eat some nice, sweet, and tasty crow. 

But you know what? Lots of people are going to make some kind of dumb excuse of why the Seahawks aren't really that good, because they are "the Seahawks". It kind of reminds me of the 2001 Patriots, but oh well. But they have been doing that all year from the "they played in the weak NFC West" or "they didn't rout the Redskins" or "Alexander had a concussion", etc etc. In fact, keep doing that, they have been proving you wrong all year. 

Much Love From Seattle home of Mr. Shaun Alexander THE NFL MVP, 

Dan P

<Nods in agreement>


Malik (1/25/06)  

I'm back, after my day of vacation. Well, vacation was a bad term for it since Comcast (it's Comcastic) f$#@ed up my computer. When they finalized my address change, a day after my address was changed, they sent a message to my modem to take this into effect. This told my modem to tell my PC to download the latest Comcast Internet install package. Sadly, the package was crap, and it caused a proxy to be initiated on my Internet Explorer until I finished the install. I didn't expect this, and turned off my brain, so I was left with a bad IP trying to be detected when I ran IE, and thus I had to get a Comcast technician at my new place to fix it. I know...that was a newbish error, and I should've realized it was a proxy server being forced on my IE...I know. 

Anyway, the technician was good, despite how Comcast is. He walked in, went to my PC, turned off the proxy server crap (which, I know, I should've realized to do myself...I feel so damned newbish right now), typed in a URL, and said good day to me. That was nice and quick. So, I'm now back...sort of. 

I am posting late since I am now being forced to go through the clean up of my old apartment right after I get off work. This should only last a few days. Until then, don't check too early for new posts, but do expect a new post each day. 

Another good RPG is coming to Japan, and it probably won't see the light of day in the American continents...sigh. Yeah, after a long hiatus, Nintendo is bringing out another sequel to what we would call Earthbound. If there's anything that Nintendo should learn by now, it's that GBA RPGs do great business in the US. Plus, with the love and attention people here have for Ness (the hero of Mother 2...Earthbound) because of nostalgia and Smash Bros., it would only make sense to let us have this game...please. 

Since my PC has been Internet-less, I haven't checked out the details yet, but there's more good news. Hella good news! The Heroes of Might and Magic V beta is up. To find out more, the web site for Heroes V should have some info. Supposedly, Heroes 5 is more like Heroes 3 (the best of the series, so far) than Heroes 4, thankfully. I know I have been waiting for this day since I first played Heroes 4 and was majorly let down. I smell good things. I'll download the beta, myself, later this week (if it's still open). There's probably an NDA attached with the beta, so I'll not say a damned thing about it...but I can already say it is probably damned good. Viva la Heroes! 

I also picked up Ape Escape 3 a week ago. This is an awesome game. It is good old-school Ape Escape action. The only downside, and this can be big for some, is that the guy(s) who programmed the camera fell asleep on the job. Despite the lack of a decent camera, the game is definitely a welcome treat for fans of AE1 or 2. Also, while most of the gadgets are the same as what we've seen a thousand times before, the new morph system is definitely good fun. The morph system lets you, for a short time, change into an alternate form that has unique bonuses. For example, the first morph is to become a knight. When the knight is not attacking, he has a shield for protection, and when attacking he uses a big freakin' sword. Also, the morphs let you capture all monkeys in a small radius around you with a simple press of the R3 button. I'll have more impressions of this game as I get time to play (like next week), but as an AE2 addict, I am quite happy. Also, while the camera is bad, it's not nearly as bad as the PSP Ape Escape had it. 

Since there isn't much more in terms of news, I'll get to some business. My Mario and Luigi 2 review is still just a twinkle in my eye. I want to get some words down, but the cleaning of my old apartment (which could involve large sums of money being recovered or lost) is a little too important right now. I should get this started sometime next week. 

Speaking of large sums of money...I needed to upgrade my phone service this week and ended up with a Motorola v360. All I can say is...DAMN! Considering I had a lame free phone from my previous service contract, this is one hell of a nice phone. I can't really add too much to that, but it is a great little piece of technology, and definitely a fun phone for a geek who doesn't want the silliness of holding a Blackberry or other PDA to their head to make a call. Also, the fact that it charges on USB and that it has upgradeable memory (Trans Memory cards), along with having enough room to hold a dozen MP3s out of the box makes this is a fun little toy. A good cutting edge phone without losing it's identity (in other words, without looking like it's not a phone). 

Ok...I'm worn out from cleaning, so I'm out. I should have some more news tomorrow. 


Malik (1/26/06)  

While I may be too caught up in finalizing my move (cleaning the crap behind the fridge in my old place) to know much of what's going on, I can still smell a good day for news a mile away. 

First off. About that Heroes V is open, but it should be today that it's fully open and not just open to subscribers of File Planet (or one of their partners). So, if you don't believe in wasting money on online subscriptions, like myself, today should be the day. I may not get a chance to play Heroes V for a couple of days, I know the download is the first thing I'm doing after this post. Viva the Heroes! 

Also, while Nintendo is riding high on the massive sales of the DS this season, they have their SP equivalent on it's way. In March, the DS Lite will be hitting stores in Japan. If things go like they did with the GBA-SP, we could expect this thing in the states only a few months later. While the DS Lite offers all of the same features as the DS (why would they eliminate features on an "upgrade"?), it also features less weight and size. In fact, when it's folded, it'll be about 30% thinner, as well as being shorter and less lanky when unfolded. 

The only truly new feature to the DS Lite will involve lighting. There will now be different levels of back light available. Considering how the PSP had (I speak past tense since that damned thing is dead to me until Sony tries making some games for it) the same feature, it's not all that new. However, considering how it can effect battery life, Nintendo may be able to look even better when the ~10 hours of battery life of the original DS is possibly extended when used with lower light levels. 

I'm not so sure, however, that this is the toy for all DS fans. I know my hand cramps on the original DS, due to it being too small (in some regards) for my hands. So, a shrinkage like this, while making it that much more portable, may be bad news for larger handed individuals. Still, it's a nice new design and it shows that Nintendo is great at their usual tricks...pimping out an older handheld with a thousand different variations. If I got this, and it does indeed play GBA games (another unanswered question about the DS Lite), then this could be the hundredth different Gameboy I've purchased in my time...yippee...? 

Since that news started so nice, but tended towards's a good one. One Star Locke, a Texas rancher, is running for governor of the state, is wanting to impose some wacky taxes (and ideals) on the people of Texas, if, this is just silly. 

"I take the position that the Founding Fathers took: that the power to tax is the power to destroy," Locke told the Amarillo Globe News. "So our concept is that we need to tax things we don't want and you want to not tax things that you want to encourage." 

So says the politician. Basically, the new taxes would include a massive 50% tax on most unhealthy foods (soda and fast food ranking at the top of the list), a $10,000 per abortion tax (I could say a joke...but I'll try to be kind so I don't get any pro-this or pro-that flames), and a 100% tax on violent games. All of this would be done to eliminate all property taxes. 

So, if you're like me, you're wondering how a politician, who is obviously biased, could be in charge of deeming which games are violent. Well, have no fear, people of Texas. Locke will form a 10 person group that will determine what games are violent...because what's violent to ten people (chosen by an obvious hater of games) is obviously violent to all people. Also, this tax will be placed on the shoulders of the game publishers, not the geeks. If, in some weird alternate reality, Locke was elected, I can foresee something. First off, the tax would be deemed illegal in the courts or turned around with a voter initiative. More so, if it was around, it would cause game stores in Texas to close down, making unemployment (way to go...let's try to eliminate all low level jobs, like those at EB, Gamestop, McDonalds, Burger King, etc). Further, it would not lower the number of violent games in Texas thanks to the most under taxed entity out retailers. Games would simply be purchased online for far cheaper. I guess one could say, while Locke is anti-employment in Texas, he is pro-employment in less tangible areas (online markets). 

To round out the silly, or stupid, side of news for today, booth babes are being restricted at E3 this year. Plain and simple, partial (or total) nudity and bathing suit bottoms are not acceptable clothing. It all makes some sense...since the game industry needs to stop focusing on sex and violence to sell games. After all, the average gamer is only in his (yes, it's guys, so "his" is right) mid 20's. How dare we try to focus on that demographic, and not of the children. 

There was some sarcasm there. Mainly because we are talking about forcing someone else's ideals onto a business that is ran based on a lot of baser instincts (sex is one of those). It would be like saying that no movies could feature sexual content. True, the babes are banned, and not the games (from the market). However, E3 is the time to showcase the newest games in order to build some publicity. You don't need the booth babes, but they are not hurting anyone. 

Beyond that, there is a simple truth. E3 is supposed to be age restrictive. I may be off, but I believe you cannot be a minor (under 18) and in the expo. So, is this rule supposed to protect anyone? I don't think so. Beyond that, if bathing suit bottoms are that bad, would we see them just down the road from the show at a local beach? I think so...but they are allowed in public beaches in which minors are present. 

In short, this is just another example of the wrong approach to a non-problem. Some vocal people complain that games are too much based on sex and violence, so the industry (or the E3 people, in this case) go to the extreme of banning undesirable elements. Undesirable to the people who don't even play games, that is. Maybe the correct solution is education. Educate these vocal asses (most are...sorry, but the fact that most of these people are ignorant asses is the truth) that games are not just for children. Educate them in the ways of demographics and who the main purchaser of games is. Educate on the fact that sex is in more forms of media than just GTA:SA...I mean games. Educate them on how far worse things exist than scantily clad females. Educate them that an M or AO rated game may be made because of these facts. Blah. I don't need the booth babes, but I see no harm (and if you argue that it "objectifies women"...I will just say it's only less than a single week of the year while other events do the same, or worse, far more frequently...also, even Velveeta seems to think this is a shame). Like I said, I don't need them, and no one else really does, but there is no harm in them being present.

Lastly, if you remember when the 360 launch was looming on the horizon, Microsoft made some promises. Some have been fulfilled, some were neglected, and some took time to fulfill. For example, the King Kong demo never really did finalize all that well, now did it? The Madden demo took a little time. Hell, most of the content that was supposed to be here at launch didn't show it's face in November. 

In particular, Microsoft promised Marble Blast Ultra on the Arcade space. Basically, it's a very pretty looking game that uses some of the basic ideas first founded in Marble Madness. Well, at long last, only 2 months late, MBU is here. Well, not here, but rather on Live. Like with Heroes V, I won't be able to play this thing for quite some time, but I aim to at least download the demo tonight (the full version will run about $10 in Market Points). 


Malik (1/27/06)  

Earlier this week I complained about how Microsoft and the 360 developers have all been slow with releasing demos for the Live Marketplace. For example, besides Fight Night, I can't think of a single demo that was on Marketplace before the game had been out for a few weeks (or more). Well, that's changing, it looks like. 

The Full Auto demo is up in the Marketplace. I still haven't had a chance to play Marble Blast Ultra, so I haven't even downloaded this one yet. However, if Full Auto is truly the be all arcade racer it's supposed to be, this is a definite demo to check out. I'll try to get it this weekend and post some impressions Monday. 

Speaking of demos, the Heroes V beta is open and has been so for over 24 hours. I would say this is good news, but I have an issue with this sort of beta. 

I downloaded and prepared to play Heroes V last night. I was all set to play a couple of rounds until I saw the weakness of the's all online only. That's not so bad on many games. I mean a FPS usually is best experienced online, and the same goes for many action titles. However, to have a game that plays like a cross between a game of chess and Civilization all online in the beta is not cool. 

When I think of Heroes games, I don't think of the high paced action needed for an online game. I also don't think of a game that the first time you play should be against some faceless entity that is under the same need for a smooth and fast game as one would want for themselves. Heroes games have all come down to having two really good game play systems. Either the single player campaign, with the rather weak plot but plenty of action, or the hot seat multiplayer. After all, if it's a game that has a lot of downtime, like past Heroes titles have while you wait for your opponent to go, it should not be experienced against unknown people online...especially for the first time. 

In fact, hot seat games of Heroes 3 have probably been the single most enjoyable thing I've ever done on my PC. Playing hot seat, with Velveeta, while the TV goes on in the background, is a perfect diversion for a couple of people. In fact, in order to not lose my temper when I first played the Learning to Fly mission of GTA:SA, I also was playing hot seat Heroes 3. Usually, by the time I was so frustrated with crashing my plane, Velveeta was done with her turn, so we'd trade places (she'd try "Learning to Fly" while my army of dragons laid waste on my foes). 

I can understand how online helps a beta in terms of sending reports back to the system administrators and developers. However, I remember reading that this was an "open beta", and not a stress test. So, unless this is a stress test to test the servers, then there is a problem...after all, data can be reported to the developers while playing offline by sending data packets online while you play. I, for one, don't want my first experience with Heroes V (which may include an ass kicking, if my unknown opponent is already versed in Heroes V) to be a frustrating and annoying experience. For that reason, and since I'm the only computer owner I know who is playing this beta, I am simply not going to play the beta. Heroes is a sacred and wonderful game to me, and I won't let my impression of this potentially awesome game be tarnished by a bunch of slow, boring, and lame online games, while I fail to even have the time to fully learn the system. That is not how I seat or single player is, as Naruto would say, my ninja way. 

Anyway, despite not having played the game, maybe it's better that I don't try the beta. After all, like I said, I want my first taste of Heroes V to not leave a bitter taste in my it has done to some Heroes fans. Considering the fact that there is an online petition to halt the release of this game, and it has so many signatures after such a short time of existing (a day), this can't be a good sign for Heroes V. On these grounds, and how I don't want to start in blind online matches on a strategy game, I think I'll sit on the side lines for now. 

Anyway, like I said, I did download Marble Blast Ultra, and that is the next thing in my queue to do. I also want to download the Full Auto demo, but that will take a back seat since I like the simple premise of MBU...hell, it might even be the first game I'll pay money to buy on Live Arcade...if it's as good as it sounds. I'm also done with cleaning my old apartment, so I now have the time to finally play games again (between unpacking boxes of random shit) four weeks of moving hell are finally up, and just in time for the weekend. 


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