There's a lot of good
reasons why I simply don't take notice of video game awards. For one
thing, to lump the best of a year together is so unbalanced when no
one person can ever deem all genres equal...yet the games for a year
usually deal with so many genres that no agreement can ever be
reached on the best game out there since one genre will always be
more "equal" in a voters eyes. For example, an RPG that blows away
the competition in terms of graphics, audio, game play, and the
overall enjoyment factor will almost always come out below an
equally great action/adventure title. It's all because some genres
don't weigh in the same.
Also, it's ultimately a
case of apples and oranges. Last year, Zelda was amazing, Okami was
breath-taking, and Dead Rising was a great shift from the classical
game ideas and a great step toward classical movie styled fun. If I
was forced to pick one as the best, I would personally go with Okami...but
someone else would go with Zelda. Another person would say Dead
Rising...and others would even toss out names like FFXII, Oblivion,
and even Wii Sports. Games are just too damned diverse to lump
together into a "best of" annual award format.
I guess Capcom is
finding another reason to convince me to
distrust best of styled awards. In particular, Capcom has
pointed out a problem with the Annual Interactive Achievement Awards
from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. That problem
being that Okami, which has to be the best game this jaded geek has
played in several years, and Dead Rising were both ineligible for
AIAS awards because Capcom refuses to pay the AIAS people any money.
Of course, why would
they pay? Capcom does a great job without this academy behind them,
so for them to pay this organization would be like paying for
volcano insurance in Seattle, Washington. True, Mount Rainer may
explode and take out your home...but you're far more likely to die
in the explosion (if it was bad enough to need the insurance), if it
ever even happened, than to not. The same goes for Capcom; they
don't need the backing of this group and to pay them is almost the
same as throwing money away. The only thing their money would get
them is a possible award (isn't that like having to buy an award?
Also, if a company has
to buy an award, is that any different than those lame fake awards
that parents can buy for their children? It's like one of those,
"Your child is a genius and we are printing the directory of
children geniuses of America. You simply must order five of these
directories, at $20 each, to see your child's name in it".
The way I see it, any
award that has to be paid for is not one I will ever trust. That,
and any company I know of that's willing to say no to this type of
virtual extortion is one that earns my respect. Throw in the fact
that I let my wallet do my talking and I only let my wallet speak
after reviewing the facts (I don't buy bad games, as long as I know
they are bad), and I can easily say that the AIAS can suck my balls.
On a different note, I'm
still playing Okami and loving it. It is easily the best damned game
I've played in several years. Oblivion? Zelda? Tales of the Abyss?
Those games that took so much of my free time mean nothing compared
However, since I needed
something a bit more action packed for when my brain needs to wake
up, I decided to pick up Wario Ware: Smooth Moves (Wii) last night.
This game rocks. I have a few minor issues with the motion sensor
doing it's job correctly in a few of the games, but otherwise this
is just the type of game the Wii needs. It's appealing to casual
games with it's simple and addictive nature, it's multiplayer is
great (from what I've seen...haven't bee able to play so far, but
have watched a few games of it), and the nostalgia is perfect for
the less than casual gamers (especially the references to NES and
SNES classics like Super Mario, Baseball, and Starfox).
Like with all Wario Ware
games, the game is a bit short in the overall length. However, the
games are typically fun enough to not have to care about that. Also,
the game introduces different methods to hold the Wiimote for some
really interesting game play. One set of games requires the Wiimote
to touch your nose (like an elephant trunk), another has it on your
head (called the "mohawk"), another has it held like a steering
wheel. There's about 10 different "forms" in total, and each one
opens a wide new range of games and abilities. This is like the
perfect tutorial for both Wii players and Wii developers on how to
use the Wiimote in a game. In this regard, it's just like how Wario
Ware: Touched was such a great tool for the DS.
I just hope that more
companies use this game as a teacher on how to properly use the
Wiimote. Considering how the DS went through so many bad games
before companies started to use the touch screen correctly, I want
to see that initial awkward period come and pass far quicker with
With games like
Mario Kart 64 on the Virtual Console, I have a new question
that's been on the minds of many Wii owners; when is Nintendo going
to update things so that a multiplayer game from the VC can be
played over WiFi? Seriously, the technology exists for this type of
thing, and Nintendo is just not taking advantage. If they want to
compete on all fronts with Microsoft and Sony, then they need to
enter the online gaming world with authority.
The best way to do
this is to give online capabilities to previously offline only
multiplayer games. The quickest way to wow the consumer in this
field is to just give a new way to play (online) with the games
we've always wanted online but never were due to the past
limitations of past consoles.
Despite how simple
it sounds, it does go enough against the Wii goal (of playing
together...not virtually together) that Nintendo will probably never
change any VC offline games to online. It would be sweet, however.
That, and maybe
adding one more realm to the VC world; handheld games. Not DS or GBA,
since those systems are alive and well, but the old school
handhelds. For example, the Gameboy and Gameboy Color, as well as
Game Gear, both had some awesome games that simply cannot be found
or played by the majority of gamers. Just look at Final Fantasy
Adventure (far better than the remake; Sword of Mana), Defenders of
Oasis (best handheld RPG I ever played), and the many GB and GB-C
Zelda titles like Link's Awakening (first one to use bomb-arrow
combo attacks and jumping). This would be a great thing to throw
into the VC and it would not require much effort since the SNES
could handle all old GB games, and the Sega Master System (another
neglected console) was about the same strength as the Game Gear and
should be simple enough to emulate.
Maybe I'm missing
some weird Nintendo exclusive point of view, but there seems to be
so much potential that Nintendo is just ignoring. The VC is a great
way to both bring old games to a new audience and to add to the
pocketbooks of the companies that own the licenses. We already know
Sega is on board with the VC, and they have plenty of Phantasy Star
1 and Shining Force (GG) type games to bring to the party. For
Nintendo to limit the VC to the current consoles is a shame in the
least and a waste of talent in the most.
Of course, maybe
Nintendo needs to also re-evaluate what games they are bringing to
the VC. Right now we have too many over released games, like Link to
the Past (available on the GCN and GBA already), Ocarina of Time is
in the works (when Majora's Mask is the least released Zelda right
now and needs a second chance), Mario Kart 64 is already represented
enough with the superior Mario Kart DS, and a few other games that
are already available on current Nintendo systems or are almost
available on current systems. It's time for the VC to become more
than a chance to play TurboGrafix games that slipped by the majority
of gamers. It's time to see the games that never got their fair
chance to shine in an all new light.
On a brighter note
about Nintendo and the Wii plan, I have one thing to say. The plan
for the Wii was to unite gamers, past and present, with non-gamers.
I saw a great example on Christmas when Velveeta and I hosted my
parents for Christmas dinner. My Mom is an avid DS and Internet game
enthusiast, but my Dad is one who has not played anything more
substantial than Elf Bowling (sigh...) since Snafu came out on the
Intellivision (think early 1980's). Well, on Christmas, my Dad
became addicted to playing Wii Sports. At first he refused to play,
but he soon would not stop hitting home runs to come to the dining
room table when dinner was ready.
He has always been
more of the mind that buying a game system was a bit of a waste of
money. Well, last night I received a voice mail from my parents
(that will always remained saved on in my voice mail inbox :P)
asking, from both of them, where to buy a Wii. My Mom, as a Nintendo
player, is not a surprise convert or anything. However, my Dad, in
the background sounding like a kid saying what he wants for
Christmas, was amazing to hear. He wants a Wii. Both my Mom and Dad,
who have not owned a console (non-portable, that is) since the
Intellivision, both want to buy a Wii ("the one with the sports
game!") and an extra controller. The Wii has converted another
household and has won over a non-gamer that I thought would always
be the best definition of "non-gamer". I will actually have
something from my geek side of life in common with both of my
parents for the first time in my life (besides hating Windows), and
it's all because of Nintendo.
I think if more
non-gamers were given the chance to enjoy the Wii that my parents
had on Christmas, then Nintendo will not only come out on top of the
competition this generation...they will crush Microsoft and Sony in
ways that no one short of the Nintendo executives could have thought
possible. Nintendo, I thank you.
I usually don't talk
about it much, but I am a PC gamer. I just usually stick with
consoles since they offer more of a feeling of instant gratification
(in most cases) than a PC game would ever grant. For example, while
I just put the game in the drive of a console, the PC has the ever
fun (sarcasm) scenario of installation and then seeing which part of
my current system is considered crap and thus needs to be replaced.
When I tried to
get into City of Heroes, I had the installation, which seemed to go
on forever, then signing up for an account. Next I learned that my
cable modem was not one that really enjoyed CoH and I started to get
"Map Server" errors left and right. I finally got Comcast to replace
my modem (lucky me, I went from owning to renting a modem) and I
thought I was set. Then I learned I had additional problems in my
video card not living up to CoH standards. I went out and bought a
new video card, and after about two weeks of hassles and spending an
additional $250 (vid card), I was set to play my $50 game for $10+
per month. Meanwhile, I can put a game in any of my consoles and
know it will work with minimal hassle (with a few rare exceptions).
Despite all of
this, I still do enjoy certain PC games. A LAN party without
Battlefield is not one I consider worth it. The same goes for
Civilization 4 and Rise of Nations. Hell, if Civ4 was available on
my consoles, I still would go with the ease of the PC interface any
day of the week. There are just some games that work so much better
with a mouse, a keyboard, and the ability to download and update
whatever content packs I want. You just can't simulate this in the
I'm going off
about this because Vista is now out in the public sector. I really
don't know what to make of this, as of now. For some reason, there
seems to be no good review of Vista for my type of person (a gamer
who likes to do a little web editing and graphic manipulation). I
know that from a business perspective, Vista will blah, blah, blah.
I also know that for doing hardcore video and image editing, I would
blah, blah, get a Mac to do it better, blah, blah.
I can't even find
a consistent set of reviews on how much Vista will f#@$ my PC if I
upgrade from XP. I don't know how many items will become unstable,
how many things I'll need to reinstall, how many hardware pieces
would need replaced, or anything of this nature. The best I can find
are conflicting and inconsistent fanboyish rants of "Vista teh
crash-zor!1!" or "Vista teh roxor!!11". No matter how you look at
it, however, there's simply no single bit of info out there that's
well thought out that details on if I should give a shit about Vista
now, or ever.
I'm in the mood to
upgrade if it does as much as Microsoft claims. I have one laptop
that could use some of the supposed performance boosts that Vista is
supposed to grant, and I have one unstable desktop that could use
the supposed stabilizing power of Vista. I guess what I'm saying is
Where the hell are
the reviews of Vista like we saw when XP came out on how much this
OS is worth it for a gaming machine and how much will it cause my PC
to suffer. I do care about security, but not nearly as much as I
care about my PC being usable. I rely on third party groups to keep
my PC safe from viruses, spyware, and what not. I could care less
about how Windows Vista has Windows Defender or a multidirectional
firewall. I have my back on this front already. I need to know if
this damned OS will kill my PC.
I guess I also
want to know how important it would be to have Vista a year from
now. Five years from now? Someone let me know this shit and not that
I can flip through open windows with 3D flipping animation, or that
I can add different pointless gadgets to the desktop (clock? Already
have one and don't really care about a floating one on the desktop).
If Vista will be the way we all must head in the future, I'd rather
upgrade now, while I know I can afford it and give myself extra time
to get accustomed to Vista's little quirks. I was a late XP adopter
and I regretted it after both watching my PC become far more stable
after the upgrade and after realizing I paid the same price for XP
that others paid for it three years earlier.
The prices are not
going to fall. Ever. We already know that's how Windows works. The
price now is the price three years from now. So, if I will need to
upgrade, I'd rather get it over with and get the longest possible
return on my investment. However, for me to do so, it all still
comes down to my one request for missing information; is Vista worth
it for a mostly gaming rig and is it really more stable than XP?
I suppose this
time around my best bet will be to blindly jump into it myself.
Maybe Microsoft will call me up for another night of game testing
and Vista will be on the gratuity list (the same reason I have two
extra full installs of XP Pro). Unless I was literally given Vista,
I guess I'll have to wait and either be happy or regret my decision
to sit on my ass over the next few years.
Dave Karraker, a
spokesman for SCEA, is now saying
the Wii is an "impulse buy". He says this like it's some sort of
insult and a justification for the Wii still remaining very hard to
find while the PS3 is a fair bit easier to acquire. I guess this is
what you say when you need a better reason to sleep well at night.
Don't get me
wrong; I'm not saying the PS3 is a failure. Afterall, the PS3 has
not been on the market long enough to even see a single true killer
app. That will come along later this year when games like MGS4 come
along. However, for the time being, a PS3 is not exactly the "must
own" system. In fact, compared to the 360 or Wii, it's the "must own
if I really want to collect all three systems" console. It's never
too late to turn around a console generation, as seen when the PS2
started with quick sales and then stagnated until some good games
However, to call
the Wii an "impulse buy" and play this off like it means only bad
things for the competition is incredibly short sighted. In fact, if
a $250 piece of electronics could ever be called an "impulse buy",
then the competition of this impulse item is in some trouble. $250
is not something that should be tossed around lightly, and for it to
happen means that the competition has found one hell of a niche
audience that has never been tapped.
Of course, that's
what Nintendo has done. The Wii is wanted by nearly all it seems.
Old, young, in between...men, women...non-gamer, gamer. Everyone
wants one and that is $250 dollars that not only goes to the
competition, but it's $250 that cannot be applied towards the PS3
asking price. To dismiss this type of frantic buying as not being
important shows that either Sony is very full of themselves, or they
have simply ran out of excuses and will not say absolutely anything
to justify their existence. Either way, this is not good news for
In fact, why do
you think that many stores offer items in the checkout lanes? It's
because these impulse items will score an easy sale. There's money
in impulse items, and that's with a minor $0.65 candy bar up to a $5
discounted DVD. When impulse can count something $250, there is a
shift that is unprecedented and can only be bad news for competing
Plus, with each
new Wii sold, and with each PS3 that doesn't sell, that's another
reason for a major third party developer to take another look at
their strategy. If their plan is to sell for the Wii, then they feel
better about that decision. If their goal was to make PS3 titles,
then this may show them that a little more developmental resources
need to go to Nintendo's little magical impulse buy.
only people who can try to put a good spin on this are either
Nintendo (of course, since they are kicking ass and taking a few
names along the way) or Sony. The only reason Sony can try the spin
approach is because they have shown themselves to be masters of spin
doctoring all statements and facts...no matter how absurd. Just look
at anything Kutaragi has said in the last two years about the PS3 to
see this in action. Hell, he said $600 would not make any potential
customers think twice.
generation is a long way from being completed. Until that day
happens (about 5 years from now), we shouldn't draw any conclusion.
However, I will say that the current trend is showing two simple
facts; this generation is going to go a lot more in Nintendo's favor
than the last two did. Also, this is going to possibly be the single
best console generation to date.
generation may have been a golden age for gamers, and the PS2/GCN/XBox
generation may have been a platinum age. However, the Wii/360/PS3
age will blow them out of the water since we know that Sony and
Nintendo are not taking any prisoners. War is on, and while Sony
fights with a ruthless attitude, Nintendo is fighting with a sense
of love and peace (peaceful resistance?). Toss in Microsoft's sense
of entitlement (from being first out the gate), and things will
continue to get interesting. At least they will for the next year
and a half. After that, we may see a few early losses (too early to
determine, but if it happens, my money is on Sony floundering), but
that's too far off to think about. We have Halo 3, Blue Dragon, Lost
Odyssey, GTA4, MGS4, DMC4, Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Smash
Brawl, another unmentioned Zelda, and countless other blockbusters
in line for this generation, and they are coming this generation.
That's not even mentioning what the DS will continue to do this
generation (more Zelda and Dragon freakin' Quest 9!). We're in for
good times, despite what Sony or any fanboy would like us to
I don't have much to say
today. It's another day of just not having time, and even more so
it's a day when there's nothing worth talking about. Well, there's
not much besides a couple of simple thoughts.
First of all, I
think the PS2 is going to continue to be the shining star of the
SCEA family for several more months. When the PS3 is still pretty
damned expensive when you look at the lack of quality games, it just
isn't the right time for the PS3 to succeed the SCEA console throne.
However, with games like Rogue Galaxy recently coming out, and a few
more good games on the horizon, it looks like the PS2, despite being
the oldest console still supported (well, supported in large
numbers...sorry Dreamcast, but a new shooter ever few months is not
full enough of support for me), is still standing strong. At least
it's standing far stronger than the PS3 and even stronger than the
360 or Wii in a few genres.
Secondly, I think
it's time for rumors of a PS3 price drop to come to an end. There
will be a price drop, obviously, in the life of the PS3. In fact,
there will be several. However, the price drop is not coming anytime
this year, and it probably won't come the following year. For the
time being, price drops should not be the deciding factor in buying
the PS3. I'm not saying that one cannot say, "I'll wait for the
price to drop", but rather that one should buy the PS3 when one
condition is met...there are games that the intended buyer wants to
own and play. Until there's a game worthy of my attention, I will
not even consider this overpriced monstrosity. Once a great game, or
ten, come along, then I can change my mind, and I probably will.
However, if there are no good games, then it shouldn't matter what
the asking price is. Is $600 too much for something you will use
(assuming good games come along) versus $400 for something you won't
use? I think not.
Well, that whole
price issue has one other deciding factor. While good games and a
good price would influence me to buy a PS3, I also would need
support for 1080i TVs that don't display 720. Until that support
comes along, the same support I can find in the cheaper 360, then I
know I can't afford to use a PS3. My TV is too damned good, in my
eyes, to replace for a PS3, and I don't want to play Sony's vision
for HD gaming on a 480p setting. That just seems like me throwing
away money, either on a system not showing it's full worth or on
getting a new TV to take advantage of all of the PS3's settings. One
way or another, I just don't play that way.
My last thought
for today, and this week, is that I need to get Rogue Galaxy. That
game looks awesome. On one hand, it's looks like an anime when it's
in action (hint: from the geniuses behind Dark Cloud 1&2). On the
other hand, I need a new RPG. It's been a while since I had an RPG,
besides Zelda/Okami style action adventure games, and this one
should fit the requirements nicely. However, until I free myself
from my current load of games I'm playing, I will just have
daydreams of RG while playing and loving games like Okami and all of
the Wii goodness I have.
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