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Malik (3/16/09)

There isn't too much to say today. I'm still waiting for Demon's Souls, some new Rock Band songs, a new Angry Video Game Nerd episode. At least only Demon's Souls is unknown, since the rest come tomorrow and tonight, respectively.

Yesterday, I nearly broke down and got Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection to fill the time void caused by Demon's Souls. However, I take it that fate was against me. Either that, or it was the fact that Gamestop can hire some real "winners". It's not that all Gamestops (or Gamestop owned stores, like EBX) hire only douches. Some of their employees are really good, but it's a lot like going to a fast food place. If you don't get to know the service, hitting a less familiar one can have you getting the equivalent of someone spitting on your burger to add to the "special sauce".

In the case of yesterday, I walked into a Gamestop I have not gone to for many years and asked a simple question. I wanted to know if they had any used copies of SUGC (I mean $5 off a $30 game is a pretty good thing). I got the informative answer of "I don't know" said with total astonishment that I would dare ask this employee if he could actually do his job and make a very easy sale. I would have pressed the point that it is this clerk's job to maybe know (via looking it up in their inventory system or looking for the game), but when he proceeded to just walk away to "help" the next customer in line, I decided this was fate's way of telling me; you don't want to get this game. Either that, or fate was telling me to just leave this store of the damned behind.

Maybe I'll still get SUGC, since I have no faith in Demon's Souls arriving anytime soon (cheap shipping and going through customs doesn't make for a quick travel time). However, I'll probably just look for it at a store in which I can ignore salespeople (stores like Fry's or Best Buy) and not count on them for help. That, or I'll go to a Gamestop owned store that I know to be ran by people who are of a less dick-ish mindset.


Malik (3/18/09)

For the new Rock Band songs this week, it feels like a strong divide to me. On one hand, you have Papa Roach, The New Pornographers, and Against Me! all supplying stuff that just feels weak and pointless. Ok, Last Resort sounds pretty fun for guitar, but the song has long overstayed it's welcome. The other songs all seem to just offer nothing that hasn't been done, and done better at that, in other songs.

However, there's also three of the most enjoyable songs yet in the funk pack. The Average White Band is offering one of the best overall sounds in funk, Earth Wind and Fire is dropping a nice and familiar track, and James Brown is giving a song that will, at least with me, make one want to pick up the mic and sound like a complete fool. Yes, the funk pack is something that wasn't needed for Rock Band, but now that it's here I couldn't imagine Rock Band being the same without it. This is one of the first packs in a long time that really makes me think of the two words "must buy!"

On a different, and quick, note, I did buy Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PS3. There isn't much to say when you've seen the list of 49 games included in the collection and how it's going for a mere $30. I mean that's something around $0.60 per game with some of the greatest games of the bygone 16-bit era. I mean all three Streets of Rage, all four Phantasy Star titles (the real PS games and not the Online/Universe crap), both 16-bit Shining Force cartridge games, and some of the other greats that defined this era, you can judge if the games worth it without any reviews or suggestions/recommendations.

The only problem, at all, that I found is some unusual lag in the mini-games of Sonic 3 (which is a bit of an issue when you need these games for Chaos Emeralds). You can compensate, but it's not an easy thing to do. You must hit all direction changes a good few moments early. Then there's also the lack of lock-on technology between Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles. Sadly, this won't be remedied, but hopefully a lag solution can be patched in in the future.

My one big closing thought for today is that I had forgotten Sega's attitude in the past; it doesn't matter if you have fun. I mean these are games from when challenge came in the form of a game just mercilessly kicking your sorry ass. Especially this is seen in puzzle games. I mean Dr. Robotnik and his damned Mean Bean Machine are on a mission to cause heart ache and tears. After being a master of this game when I used to play it around 15 years ago, time off on the simpler games like Bejeweled have left me in a sorry state of constantly seeing the continue screen in DRMBM. Still, I don't care if Sega doesn't care if I have fun. I will get my licks in as much as possible.


Malik (3/19/09)

I'm actually enjoying the thought of trophies/achievements in a game. After playing a fair amount in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, I'm starting to dig the concept for the first time. No, it's not so I can brag about my poor fragile ego, like these things normally exist for.

I'm enjoying that these achievements (well, trophies since I'm on the PS3 version) actually serve a purpose. When you obtain a trophy, you also tend to get one of the unlockables accessible in the game. For example, if you manage to live through Shinobi 3, without continues, to beat the first stage, you also unlock the arcade version of Shinobi. This also is a trophy. In other words, I couldn't care less about the trophy, but unlocking a new game is something I can definitely get into.

I think for games that have trophies or achievements, that this is the way to go. I can see the obligatory achievement for beating a game, and that's fine. However, it's the ones that you get in order to unlock new content that seem the most enjoyable. That same thing applies to games like Uncharted, in which you get points to unlock content in the game while you also earn trophies. I don't need the bragging rights, but I do want the fun bonus material and content. However, for games that don't feature unlockable content, I'd be just as happy to not get achievements as I'd be to get them. They really serve no purpose.

Anyway, I'm playing so much of SUGC because I'm still waiting for my copy of Demon's Souls. In other words, I am bored. At least some of these classics are a good diversion, but I'm just getting tired of waiting for this game. It's been nearly a month since the Asian version launched and I'm still waiting on my pre-order. At least I'm now just waiting for it to arrive, rather than waiting for it to ship. Sadly, since I really do want this game, I'm probably going to see my shipment stuck in customs for quite a long time.


Malik (3/20/09)

We've known for quite some time, but next week Rock Band gets Ten (the Pearl Jam album). The nitty-gritty is that it's 11 tracks (not counting Alive, which is a RB2 on disk song) for $2 each or $18 for the whole album. I was hoping for something in addition to this, but it works fine.

As for my feelings on this, I'm not the most excited person. I grew up in the 1980's and 90's in the Seattle area. This typically makes people assume that I must have loved Pearl Jam, especially if I was a fan of Nirvana, Soundgarden, and most of the other grunge/alternative music that came from this region. That's pretty opposite of the truth.

Warning: Here Comes a rambling rant...

I'm not saying I will not get these songs, since Pearl Jam has been fun on guitar based games (like with Even Flow on GH3 and Alive on RB2). However, I'll have to do some investigating into the guitar charts before I buy these. I just am about as jaded as possible on Pearl Jam, especially Jeremy (the song that is on local radio at least a few times each day).

The big difference for me on Pearl Jam versus most other grunge bands of the 1990's is two-fold. For one, I'm a metal head and a punk before I'm some damned grunge kid. When you take the sound of Pearl Jam versus most other grunge of the era, you have a loss of a deep biting edge found in, for example, Nirvana. Yes, you had a voice in Pearl Jam that was biting and dirty, but you also had guitar, bass, and drum work more familiar to generic rock. I mean this is not the pure raw energy of, for example, Breed (Nirvana), Facelift or Dirt (the albums from Alice in Chains), or Pretty Noose (Soundgarden). Pearl Jam was just too damned clean and generic in sound. Yes, some cool riffs existed, but this is not the same as some biting feel that you'd find in any other grunge.

The other problem with Pearl Jam, as a Seattle child, is that they didn't have the catalogue to support their radio play. I mean if Nirvana was on the radio, you could expect a few songs to be primarily played, but you also could expect nearly anything of their triple digit catalogue of songs. At the same time, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains both didn't get much air play in comparison to Pearl Jam. In other words, if I listened to the radio, I could guarantee I'd hear Even Flow, Alive, and Jeremy every single day since their release. You'd hear their other songs, but there wasn't enough of a catalogue for a DJ to feel really experimental to try playing "something a little different".

Then when you add in that Pearl Jam didn't break up, you had them coming through on concerts long after Nirvana was gone and Soundgarden was replaced by Cornel's solo work (then his Audio Slave stuff). Each time Pearl Jam would return for a concert, the radio would go into a non-stop Pearl Jam mode that would leave me dying for anything different. It didn't matter if it was the rock station, the alternative station, or later on the second Seattle rock station. They all played Pearl Jam and they would all try to hype up their concert with a long lasting storm of the band.

So, all this rambling is just for me to say one thing; I am just jaded on their music. When you add in the fact that Pearl Jam licensed their music to more things than any other grunge artists, you end up trapped in a constant storm of Pearl Jam. The last two decades are marked with their music never ending.

Ok...the rant's over.


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