Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (1/29/07)  

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? Yes...).

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 to Okami.

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 the Wii.


Malik (1/30/07)  

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.


Malik (1/31/07)  

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 console world.

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 this...

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.


Malik (2/1/07)  

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 came along.

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, 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 Sony.

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 products.

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.

Absolutely, the 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 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.

This console 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.

The SNES/Genesis 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 believe.


Malik (2/2/07)  

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.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page