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Malik (3/8/10)

I don't care about the Oscars, or any other awards. I mean if I like a movie, that is what matters. I didn't care for a good deal of movies that have been called amazing in one way or another. For example, as a fan of Star Trek, I thought the latest movie was crap. However, a good deal of "Trek fans" wanted it to win some hardware. Why? Because they love all things Trek. Since I love all things that are good Trek, I could take to something that seemed to have too many moments of stupidity.

For example, if the Enterprise is the latest and greatest flagship in the Federation, then why is it staffed mostly by cadets? Yes, it was seen as some sort of training/emergency exercise when everyone finally gets onto the ship, but this still doesn't explain why it was the Enterprise and not some minor ship that was filled with, to be blunt, newbs. Plus, in the Federation and Star Fleet, there is no reason why Kirk would not have been in the brig the entire trip. It's like the fourth wall was destroyed so the Trek fans could get what they wanted; the birth of the Enterprise crew.

I mean the bulk of the movie was a fan-service, and the only service I need, as a fan, is a quality movie.

My point is this; I didn't like Star Trek, despite it being nominated for several Oscars. If I like a movie, and if it doesn't win an Oscar, then it still doesn't change my opinion and it shouldn't change anyone else's opinion.

Most of all, if a movie is popular, it definitely doesn't say if it's award worthy. If you really need to complain about "your movie" not winning, or if you actually are ready to argue "popularity = award worthy", then you might need to find better things to argue about. Awards don't mean anything to you, or at least shouldn't, unless it really is YOUR movie (you worked on it or own some claim to it's rights). Otherwise, all that should matter is your own enjoyment. If Avatar won the Oscar for best picture, and you liked the movie (personally I've avoided Avatar since it just sounds like sentimentalist bullshit with pretty visuals and very little substance...a lot like the reason I don't feel compelled to get FFXIII), would that make you enjoy the movie more? Do you now like the movie less, if you enjoyed it, now that it lost to Hurt Locker?

Critical acclaim is worthless when you look at the big picture. Arrested Development was an awesome show with critical acclaim...but no viewers. Therefore, while the show remained great, it was also quickly (well, quicker than I'd like) canceled. Meanwhile, Star Wars Episode 1 pulled in major money, but anyone who would argue that it was worthy of the best picture Oscar should be beaten senseless with a Jar-Jar action figure.

My point, or the moral of this rant, is simple; like what you like, not what people tell you to like. If it's acclaimed and you enjoy it, that's fine. However, if the critics love it any you don't, it doesn't make it good...nor does it make something bad to you if the critics don't go for it while you love every bit of it.


Malik (3/10/10)

It's been announced that Lady Gaga is going to be on Rock Band next week. While that's fine for people who enjoy her music (I can take or leave her stuff...not bad, but not my cup o' tea), I like the extra song in the announcement. It's not often that life imitates art, and it's great to see that Harmonix has a good sense of humor by including the South Park/Eric Cartman version of Poker Face. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that this was an April Fools announcement.

On the note of Rock Band, I have some additional thoughts on the game as of late. Since I've been neglecting anything game related beyond Gyromancer, and now I'm not even playing Gyromancer, I've fallen out of the know with RB. Now that I'm back to needing easy entertainment, RB is back in my life.

First off, I bought the White Stripes Pack 02 yesterday. I love the music, since Jack White just knows how to write a great song and how to make a killer guitar lick. However, I have a very large annoyance. On one hand, it's good to see that Fell In Love With a Girl has no bass part. The White Stripes did not have a bass part on this song. In fact, they are a band that does a lot with a lack of the old bass. So, it's only natural for Fell In Love With a Girl to be bass-free. However, I don't get the bass chart on Seven Nation Army. This song, like with Fell In Love With a Girl, has no bass. It may sound like a bass riff during the verses of the song, but it's a guitar that's been dropped an octave. As someone who loves playing this song on a real guitar (the whole reason I bought a Digitech Whammy IV Pedal was Seven Nation Army), I can see why the Rock Band charting is two dots on guitar; it's hard to not play the guitar part that's missing.

Sorry, I had to complain since I've always been a fan of the idea of Harmonix charting authentic charts for songs. Smokin' from Boston is a very simple guitar song, but for some reason I'm playing one difficult (on guitar) organ part at the same time. For Nine Inch Nails, there's keyboard and piano in on the action. On Somebody to Love (from Queen) we have more piano. I'd rather have a slightly boring part than something I just know to be bullshit.

On a different Rock Band theme, I finally realized that RBN (Rock Band Network) has gone live. Holy shit! RBN is amazing!

Flogging Molly is on RBN! I mean the idea of RBN was to get more bands on to Rock Band, but the inclusion of some major bands still seems unusual and amazing. Flogging Molly has enough coverage to be more major than what I'd have expected RBN to cover. That's not even mentioning that Flogging Molly ranks up there with being one of my personal favorites.

RBN is even covering new genres, like "urban". I mean, of course, new genres to the game. For example, there's a straight out of the club style rap song from Alias Unknown (I don't know him, but that's not the point). If RBN is going to keep bringing about new genres, artists, and songs that would normally not see the light of day in regular RB DLC, this is just great.

The only problem I'm seeing with RBN stuff right now is the lack of a good search feature. Instead of having a "new releases" search option, you can only look by artists, songs, genre, decade, or the other regular search options without having a "newly added" style option. It means extra diligence is needed to find anything new you may want. This also limits the exposure of RBN artists in a small way.

Ok...the price is also another possible issue. For example, I've heard Atomic from Blondie is going for 240MP ($3), which is pretty silly. Not many songs are worth that price, but that's up to an artist or label to decide if they don't want their song to sell as well as it could. Still, some artists (like Flogging Molly!) are good enough to sell their tracks for only 80MP ($1), which just sweetens the deal.

The final awesome part of this, which I wish normal DLC would utilize, is that you can download a demo of each RBN song, for free. This is a full 30 second demo that allows you to not only tell if you may like the song, but also allows you to tell if the charting would be worth it. After the demo ends, you're even given the options to buy the song, do nothing special, or delete the demo forever more. If only regular RB DLC could have this feature, I would be able to skip having to scour youtube each week to see if something I'm on the fence about is really worth it.


Malik (3/12/10)

I have just about nothing to say today. I like to aim for more than two posts a week, so I'll try to wing something...

Actually, all I can say right now is that I'm not excited about the PS3 motion control idea. I mean it's a $100 bundle (if you don't have Eye Toy), which is about half the price of a Wii. This is to give the PS3 something that feels like a cheap Wii imitation in order to win over casual gamers.

Maybe I missed something, but of the three major consoles, the PS3 is unique in not catering to casual gamers. If you look at the games offered on the three consoles, counting download only games (like Wii Ware or 360 Arcade titles), the PS3 is not for this casual audience. If they tack on a $100 investment on top of the usual ~$300 price tag for a PS3, this will still not win over casual gamers. If you add casual games, it still is not enough. There's no backbone for casual PS3 gamers as of now, and a high price will not be able to solve this.

Plus, my one main complaint this generation, beyond even the lack of games (I'm still convinced this is the most shovelware filled generation of gaming for how long the generation has persisted), is motion. The 360 is my current favorite console of the generation, and it has no motion support...yet. The PS3 is my second favorite, and the main games that I've gotten that feel like they could be better are the motion designed ones (except for the very awesome Flower and the short but sweet LoCoRoCo). The Wii is not a console I feel happy with and I think I wasted my initial investment price on it. The only games I even like on the damned system are those with more unobtrusive motion controls (like Zelda, and...ummm...was there anything else that was good on this console?).

I just don't think motion is the answer to gaming problems right now. Be it the PS3 solution, the Wiimote, or the Natal project on the 360. At least with the Wii, you don't have to drop three digits of dollars, beyond the price of the console, to enable this wasted feature.

The only thing I can honestly say I enjoy about the added motion sensing future of the PS3 and the 360 is that this will keep the current console generation living longer. Since the economy is ass right now, I sure as hell don't want to blow another large sum of money on a new console anytime soon.

As for the current generation, I think the answer is simple and obvious for how to better attract new gamers and keep the current gamers spending their dollars; make good games and stop with the shovelware. Unfortunately, adding motion is just an excuse to add shovelware. It's what happened with the Wii (where forced utilization of motion has created some of the worst excuses for games I have ever had the misfortune to witness), and it's what can happen, more so, with the 360 and PS3.


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