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Malik (1/30/06)  

This weekend I got the Full Auto demo downloaded. At first I thought the demo was completely f#@$ed, but I guess it's not. For some reason, it has, for me, some issues when multiple controllers are active. If I have only one controller on, the game plays normally, but if I have all four turned on (they turn on automatically when the play and charge kit is plugged in) then the game goes crazy. By crazy, I mean it (as in one or all controllers) will send the signals to get your car turning, driving in reverse, with the rear-view perspective, and with the uncrash (time reverse) constantly in effect (until your ability runs out). In other words, if you want to play the Full Auto demo, have only one controller on. Period. 

As for the game, when it's not freaking out...sigh...ok, this is not the system seller that many people claimed it was when it debuted last E3. No. This is as much a system seller as Crazy Taxi was for the Dreamcast. It may be a good diversion for a few hours, but it will feel like a wasted $60 in only a couple of days. While the game may be very pretty, it's like many pretty people...very shallow. You drive, you crash, you shoot, and you uncrash. That's about it. If you wanted a Twisted Metal racing game, without as much depth, then this may be a game for you. Otherwise, avoid this game (or better, download the demo and see for yourself). 

I also got the demo for Mable Blast Ultra, and play a bit. Ok, I played the entire demo. It's a fun game. If it was a normal 360 titles, I'd say I don't think it's worth the full $60. However, being a $10 Arcade game, I think this is worth it. 

MBU plays a lot like Monkey Ball. You try to maneuver through some silly levels, and you basically are just a rolling sphere. However, unlike Ai Ai (and company), the marble has some abilities to keep it interesting. You can jump, build up a "blast" to make a bigger jump (and it's used in multiplayer for much more), you can pick up one time use items to super jump, grow big, get a speed boost, etc. Basically, this game takes some of the best elements of Monkey Fight and Monkey Race (both from Super Monkey Ball), but keeps it all in the normal puzzle mode. It may not be everyone's idea of fun, but I see this, with it's $10 price, being more widely accepted and played than Full Auto. 

Since I always like to hit some stupid news, when there is any, here's my daily fix. LA Attorney Rocky Delgadillo just finished announcing that his office is going to sue Rockstar over Hot Coffee scandal related BS. Wow. Way to stay current. Maybe you could also go after McDonalds for not warning about how hot their hot coffee is. After all, that's yesterdays news too, and it's a pretty damned frivolous lawsuit, as well. 

Basically, the LA attorney is looking to take down Take Two after how they misled the public by including pornographic material on a game with no one knowing. First off, last time I checked, as I said, this is very old, and it's no longer the time to sue them. In fact, to do so raises some questions in my the city of LA in desperate need for money? If so, then this lawsuit may make sense since it could equal a large fine for Take Two. If not, then I don't understand making what sounds like a completely frivolous lawsuit. Also, is this a publicity stunt? That may be quite true since Delgadillo is looking to run for State Attorney General of California in the know I'd want someone who files such pointless lawsuits and ties up the courts with them to be the head legal dude in my state (that was called, teh sarcasm). 

If you think the demanded settlement/outcome is unreasonable, you're wrong.  Unreasonable is to demand that Rockstar removes GTA:SA from store shelves until a proper M rated version would come along (like how many retailers unofficially demanded of Rockstar).  No.  This enters a special level that makes unreasonable things seem quite reasonable.

Also, I still stand by one simple fact; Hot Coffee was not much in the way of pornography. It's also not much in terms of what kids can find with far less effort. Also, the game is still for "mature" gamers with it's M rating. The Hot Coffee scandal was BS, the lawsuits were BS, the stance of all people who got involved (including Take Two) was BS, and anyone who decides, now of all times, to jump on board is not just full of BS...he would be a completely sleazy looking (I don't claim to know how someone like Delgadillo really is, but he sure is looking sleazy with this publicity stunt) person without a redeeming feature. 

Anyway, I don't have much else for today. I finally ditched my old apartment, I've been organizing my news home, and I just haven't had much time for games...luckily, I think it's all settling down finally. Too bad the game market is still pretty bleak and least until March. 


Malik (1/31/06)  

Who knows what it may mean in the future, but one of the major game conglomerates (probably used that word incorrectly...meh...) is supposedly up for sale. It would be interesting, to say the least, to see Take Two being bought out and merged into another company. Imagine what it would mean if, let's say, EA bought them. I mean we already know EA has the money to buy just about anything they'd want. Now imagine if they bought the Take Two, along with their 2K studio. In other words, imagine if EA held all of the sports game cards in their hands. 

If these rumors turn out to be true, the only thing I can say is that I hope that the future owner takes better care of Take Two's franchises than Take Two has...but with the same level of creativity for the developers. The last thing we need is for a company to own the GTA franchise but to be morally objected to it. 

Speaking of moves that could have the potential to make me have nightmares, a new DoA Volleyball is in the works. All I can say is one simple word; why? Do we really need a DoAXBV2? Even the abbreviation sets my nerves on edge. I would think that Itagaki could better apply his talents by leading Team Ninja on a game more...ummm...well, any other games in the franchises would be better to devote their time to. 

That same little blurb about DoAXBV2 also mentioned that some new costumes would be coming to the Marketplace, possibly, for DoA4. However, like with most content downloads, they will probably cost money to get. I'm sorry, but with a fighting game, do we really have such a strong need for new costumes that we'd pay actual money for them? I know I would be fine with the costumes already included. The only way to really justify such a feature as "pay for new costumes" would be if the target audience is about 15 and male, and the costumes were nudity. That's the only way I actually would see people justifying throwing out money for costumes. Blah. 

Well, too much to do and too little time. I have to keep it short today. 


Malik (2/1/06)  

If you preordered a 360 and have not gotten it yet, you probably feel a bit pissed (and by "a bit" I mean "very freakin'"). Well, you had a good reason, since Microsoft is failing to fulfill the numbers they once promised (although, you probably should be more pissed at the store that took far too many perorders and didn't have any way to fulfill them despite still taking more...EB and Gamestop, I'm looking at you guys). Well, now you can find a more tangible reason to be pissed at Microsoft. Yup, the remote that came with the 360 Premium package is now being phased out. 

While this is not the be-all-end-all of DVD remotes, it still is pretty nice. Especially if you happen to use the 360 as a DVD player. I know that I've used it a couple of times (mainly while moving and my real DVD player was packed in a box), and the remote made the experience that much nicer. At least the option of using a universal remote is still out there (and there's Microsoft's remote that you purchase separately...but you probably don't feel like supporting this product when they just stopped giving a free one of nearly the same practical value). Maybe the game stores who failed to stop pre-orders when they should have should do the right thing...offer either a free remote or a massively discounted one to those who are still waiting for their pre-order to be shipped. 

Also, if you are wondering about the state of Take Two after the recent buyout rumors, you should check this out. It looks pretty safe to say that Take Two went a little crazy with spending. While some of the moves were pretty smart and calculated, there is a limit before you are just buying a little too much. Especially after the Hot Coffee scandal, Take Two should have lowered spending and tried to recover from the fallout. It's like if you, as a personal stock investor, take a big hit on some stocks, you should probably try to recover some losses before you try to purchase a bunch of high risk stocks in high volumes to make a quick recovery. While the gambit could pay off, it could, more likely, put you into some serious financial problems (like Take Two is currently seeing). I just hope, like I said earlier this week, that we don't see EA holding the Take Two name. 

And then we get more...with the supposed rumors that Nintendo will soon be taken over by Cisco. While it's possible that Cisco could be interested in buying some game company, and they do have the money for it, I don't think Nintendo will change hands anytime soon. For one simple reason, above all others, this looks to be complete crap. That reason is that Nintendo is financially solid, they keep making money, they have a loyal fanbase, and things won't change anytime soon. As long as the DS keeps kicking the PSP's ass (which will definitely be a long time since the PSP is still a gameless wonder), and as long as loyal gamers still crave more Mario and Zelda, Nintendo shall remain solid. Plus, it's been said many times by Nintendo that they won't sell themselves as long as they are survivors (and that they are). 

Speaking of big purchases and all of that, I finally got in my Mitsubishi 52" widescreen-HD-DLP projection TV. I love being in my new apartment, where such a big TV can be properly used. I also have to say that there is nothing like loading up a 360 game (in my case, Marble Blast Ultra...which I bought and have not regretted purchasing) for the first time on such a behemoth of a TV. I love that TV. 


Malik (2/2/06)  

EA, the biggest of the big game conglomerates is going to be laying off about 5% of their employees in order to cut costs. I really hope this doesn't mean that the few people at EA who show any creativity are not included in this 5%. After all, while I so do love ( helps to point it out since some just don't understand when I'm not serious) getting the same rehashed sequels and franchise titles year after year. Especially, I love (more of that sarcasm) how even the annual games are so devoid of anything new that I feel like I'm playing the same game as the previous year, but with maybe a slight graphical increase. 

In all seriousness, if EA would like to make some more money, they should consider a few different pathways on this tricky course. First off, they should, since they do have a large amount of capital and a large enough number of guaranteed best sellers each year (Madden, etc), consider hiring some creative people who EA could take a risk on...a risk that would look like a new and innovative intellectual property. Secondly, they should try to limit their licensing agreements. While Madden (the name) and ESPN, and even the NFL are all good money makers, the EA Trax have to be a waste. While the original sets of licensed music were pretty good, a few years ago, the recent selections on EA games have shown the world why it's best to play on a Microsoft system (which can include the player's own BS-free soundtrack). 

When you have a promised amount of money each year from definite best selling games, there is no reason to waste a good deal of money on extras that will not be appreciated. The biggest offender has to be the change from underground and unknown musicians to more mainstream (and less desired) musical tracks. Personally, after I listen to a song a dozen times on the radio during my commute, I don't want to go home, pop in a game, and hear that same overplayed song coming out of my gaming choice. 

Speaking of EA, and a game with a bad sound track, Burnout Revenge is coming to the 360 a week early. While this is normally non-news to me, since the game has been seen on the current/old generation for half a year, it is nice to see a 360 game being pushed forward and not backwards for once. After the massive delays of Oblivion, Mable Blast Ultra, DoA4, and a half dozen other supposed launch titles, it is good to see that one 360 game can come to us a bit sooner. 

Normally, I'd ignore Burnout Revenge. After all, I didn't really care for the XBox version. It felt like it was just a little too half-assed for it's own good. Also, the traffic checking was a bit over played. However, I may give this version a chance. I honestly think that if any game could be saved by HD visuals, Burnout Revenge may be the game. I found, of all of the problems with the XBox version, that the limited sighting distance to be the largest offender. Mostly I'd see this when I was racing through a narrow alley and then a pillar in the middle of the road would materialize out of nowhere. Next thing I knew, I was turning off the game in disgust. However, if the game uses HD correctly, this may finally be solved. Also, the thought of playing this game in HD on a 52" screen has a definite appeal, since big screens are definitely made for fast action. 

Well, not much else to discuss today. I am still playing Marble Blast Ultra. I haven't touched the multiplayer modes, since single player is just too much fun. I know that I was not alone in wanting a new Monkeyball game, and I think MBU does a fine job filling in. The levels are so much like Monkeyball levels, but with a few extra abilities and powers...but with all the same frustration. 

It's rare to find a good game that pushes the player in the ways that MBU does. I think Monkeyball may have been the only other game that gives this level of challenge to you mind, reflexes, and overall control skills. It's also the only type of game I know that can frustrate you to no end, but it doesn't quite incite violence against the system (in other words, you can't afford to throw a controller in anger, because you NEED to try the level again before you get out of any groove you've been in). 

Also, I have not forgotten about a Mario and Luigi 2 (DS) review. I also have not started said review. It has just been too hectic of a week. Between setting up my entertainment center, cleaning my old apartment (which ended on Sunday), unpacking my new place, and freakin' out over the Seahawks, I just haven't had the mental capacity to do any serious writing. I'll get to it soon, but I think it's best to just say that my mind won't be fully in it until after the Super Bowl. 


Malik (2/3/06)  

Bitchings be a comin'... 

I feel like I have some sort of weird attractive ability between myself and all things which encompass stupidity. If there was a person that was stupidity incarnate, he/she would probably be at my home every night in some inane fashion to spread his stupid ways into my home. 

Sorry. Between the federal government stealing over $135 dollars from me (via their student loan program...and I do mean steal since they took a payment from me and are now calling me delinquent in payment), my anti-virus software (EZ Anti-Virus) no longer giving me updates and saying my account has expired about 9 months before my account (that I paid for) has expired, and so many other things. I feel like money is not something you use to pay for goods and services as much as it's something I'm simply meant to give away to anyone who wants it. 

Speaking of people stealing money, Take Two is in more hot water (I guess stupid incarnate avoided me just long enough for me to have thankfully dumped my TTWO stock before they went completely to shit). Basically, they are now being sued in a class action lawsuit by their share holders for something that the feds like to call teh insider trading. 

If you still think Take Two can resurface without having to be sold off to the highest bidder, I think the writing on the wall is trying to beg differently. While some would say they have just had some bad luck, I see it more as a fact that they got greedy, stupid, and corrupt. Since we've seen enough from these types of corporations, and since I know GTA will be purchased once TTWO is no longer able to stand on it's own, I have no fears and actually welcome this type of news. 

Take Two had the world on a platter (except for losing the NFL license), and they got stupid. They put some extra code in GTA:SA, and instead of owing up to it and also adding that the code was thought to be fully locked, they lied and said the Hot Coffee modder was responsible. They were just too full of themselves. Then, when things were getting bad, the executives sold off nearly $12 million in stock. They got greedy. 

There is no excuse for this type of action. The only question I have left in this is if this will effect the release of Oblivion (published by Take Two). I hope it's a big no...but let's face it, Take Two is going down the crapper faster than Acclaim ever could. 

To continue the stupidity...the 360 FFXI beta will end in April (give or take a few weeks). Why do I call this stupidity, you ask? Well, it's an outdated game, it's nearly impossible to enjoy on the 360, and the game itself is so damned slow and boring. There is no better way to explain a game that was released three years ago and then was directly ported (not upgraded) for a launch on a state of the art console. It would be like having a beta (with plans for a future release) of Ultima Online on the PS3 shortly after it launches, if it ever does. 

Also, with more stupidity, you can preorder games for the PS3 at EB's website. The supposed release date is October. If you think date is solid, and that all of these games (around 30 of them) are going to launch at that time, then I have a picture of a 360 to sell you. Not all of these games will be released this year, even, and the system has no firm date (or even a fuzzy one) so, unless you like to hand your money to major corporations (which is still probably safer than giving it to the federal student loan program...), then this is not something you should jump on. Sadly, the Sony fanboys are probably already filling out preorders like madmen. 

I will lay this type of news to sleep, since it has no actual basis in reality...much like poor Aibo was put to rest. 

Well, I'm out of here before I just explode from annoyance. Thank goodness the Super Bowl is almost here. At least I have something to view as a reward after I deal with EZ Anti-Virus and the feds. 


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