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Malik (4/24/06)  

With the talk of how the PS3 online service will be a supposedly good rival for XBox Live (although, I'd expect this to come true only after a year or two of Sony taking apart the bugs and server issues that always follow a new online venture), and with how it's going to be supposedly (I like that word when dealing with the the PS3) free, it makes you wonder if Microsoft will soon follow suit. After all, Microsoft is already dealing free gold package time like it was candy. It's time for FIFA...Gold for all! Some random company wants a little publicity...Gold in their name for all! We have nothing else to do right now...Gold!!! 

With the amount of sponsoring that Microsoft is getting in this, and the room for advertisements on the 360 Dashboard, the money won't be a problem. In fact, just the premium priced downloads will offset the pricing issue of what was charged for the XBox (without nearly as many premium downloads). Since it seems like Microsoft has been testing the waters on a potential free Live Gold, I wouldn't be surprised if the rumors of free Live service comes true sometime this fall. Plus, if the PS3 service is free, and actually established as something bigger and better than the PS2 online, it'll be interesting to see if online cross platform games even are touched on the 360 if the PS3 version is free online multiplayer. 

By the way, if you want some more speculations on the 360, there's always these. This is actually a bit old and has been floating around message boards for a week or two, but if you missed them the first time, they are interesting to see. Also, if they are, in any way, remotely true, this could make the next gen battle a little more interesting to follow. Especially if Microsoft plans to have the Genesis virtual system to battle the Revolution (which has, up until this rumor, been unopposed by Sony or Microsoft), and if they plan a price drop to battle Sony...and the price questions that may be the chink in Sony's armor. 

On a completely different note, I hope the Dawn of Sorrows development team can learn from their mistakes this time around when Castlevania Portrait of Ruin is released. While not much has been revealed about this next DS Castlevania, I really hope that the game is not killed off, like DoS was, with horrible forced stylus usage. 

Since DoS arrived, the DS has seen a few really amazing games. In particular, Animal Crossing and Mario Kart. On one hand, with AC, the stylus was reserved for a few important places (designing patterns, etc), and the stylus wasn't even touched on MK. Hopefully, this will serve as an example this time around for Konami (if Nintendo could do it, can you think of a better role model?). 

While I loved Dawn of Sorrow, I think I'll skip out on Portrait if there's even a hint of having to draw f#@$ing seals in order to kill a boss. I still have nightmares of battling bosses, killing them, and then seeing them revive because the game was too stupid to realize I drew the correct symbol. In fact, DoS and Brain Age both serve as wonderful examples of how to not use the stylus on the DS...don't use precise symbols that requires recognition from the DS. If you are like me, and you have sloppy as shit handwriting, the recognition software will only drive you to rage. In fact, the only game that does it remotely right is Wario Ware Touched, and it still fails a few too many times to be called great. 

Plus, for some reason, I think Nintendo did not have the seals on DoS in mind when they created the touch interface for the DS. I doubt that Nintendo hoped that pointless mutations should be throw into popular game franchises in order to piss of game players. In fact, considering Nintendo's stance on keeping games fun, I think angering gamers was their last intention for the DS. 


Malik (4/25/06)  

As a kid, I knew a few things better than anything else.  Two of them were Transformers and military aircraft.  In fact, looking back, I can say I was completely obsessed in a way that only a kid could be without being sent off for a few rounds of psychiatric evaluations.  I mention this for a good reason; one of my friends sent me this link yesterday.

At first, while I tend to be afraid of nostalgia biting me in the ass, I was excited to have some news of the Transformers movie.  However, the more I read (go ahead and read the link...), the more it reaffirmed something I think we all know too well...Michael Bay must be stopped before he strikes again.  I'll admit that I do get some minor entertainment out of The Rock, however it only becomes bleak from there.  Pearl Harbor?  Armageddon?  Bad Boys 2 (the only movie that ever resulted in me being verbally threatened in the theater)?  No.  NO!  These are not some examples of Bay's brilliant ability to make a summer blockbuster...these are examples of why he should not be allowed near film.  Hell, he shouldn't even be allowed to go and see movies in theaters, for fear that he may taint the theater with his presence.

So, how does Transformers seem to be shaping up?  Well, with the changes that Bay has decided to add, I have to wonder if anything will remain faithful.  Optimus Prime is seen without his face guard/mask...well, last time I checked, to say that would be like casually saying that a human removes their "face guard" of skin covering their face.  Optimus Prime is no longer sporting red as one of his main colors...maybe they can go ahead and fix that problem of him being a robot as well and turn him into a magical dragon.  The F-22 "can stop suddenly and hover"...if Bay is going to make shit up, at least make up a whole new jet and not completely change the abilities of an existing vehicle (no, the F-22 cannot hover...and if it stops suddenly, it means that it probably hit a f$#@ing mountain).  A plot about a kid getting his first car and it happens that he buys a Transformer...

Wait.  I need a second on that one.  First off, the idea of this bringing the audience in with some emotional and relatable content is complete bull shit.  It's mother f#@%ing Transformers!  We don't need emotional content.  What we need are big ass f$#@ing robots that shoot f#@%ing lasers and turn into f#@^ing shit like vehicles, guns, and one giant boombox with a speech impediment that shoot out transforming cassette tapes.  That is what we need to draw us in.  Children will love the original concepts because of the robots, cars, jets, and lasers.  Adults in their twenties and thirties will love the original Transformers for being what they grew up with.  However, this emotional content will only help to sell the movie to ignorant executives who simply want to make sure their investments will pay off.

While I'm at it, who the f#@% decided that Bay should have the ability to change how the Transformers look.  Prime losing his "face guard", the robot forms being changed to look more realistic (because this property is all about realism...idiot...) as to the vehicle forms, and giving the eyes a different look so the Transformers can show better emotion.  Seriously, Transformers wear their emotions on their sleeves.  If they are shooting a laser, they are pissed.  If they are yelling, they are getting pissed (and will soon fire a laser or two).  If Starscream is doing anything, he's being a sneaky ass.  It's all simple and obvious.  Making the eyes look like some retarded attempt to humanize the Transformers (ummm... they are ROBOTS!) is going to serve nothing more than to show that Bay doesn't give a flying f#@^ about the fans.

Anyway, when this thing hits theaters in about 14.5 months, I will need one thing more than anything else; Megatron as a GUN.  The idea of turning him into a jet and all that other shit after it was pointed out that children like to be stupid and imitate TV (kids don't imitate TV...a few stupid kids like to be stupid) and a gun would be a bad example was bull.  As a kid, I can't think of anything that disappointed me nearly as much as when Megatron stopped being one hell of a badass looking gun.  True, he was pretty useless on his own (guns don't kill Autobots...Starscream using a gun kills...or wounds...or doesn't hit anything...ummmm...yeah...), but he and Starscream made an awesome odd couple team.

Ok.  I'll wrap things up about here.  I need to get rolling to get my teeth drilled.  Yippee!


Malik (4/26/06)  

Today I got to hear the new Tool album (the one that comes out in May...sorry, can't remember the name of most albums), and I just have to say it f#@$ing rocks!  It's good to hear that not all bands get crappie with age.

Speaking of rock (spelled "rawk")...I don't mind too much if Guitar Hero 2 runs $10 more. Considering the cost of licensing music, and how Red Octane made a good deal of money off the first edition, I have no fear that the extra cost may end up in better assortments of licensed songs (read: I want more Megadeth, some more Ozzy, and some Metallica). However, the one thing I really want to see is some different non-bundles. Instead of the physical stores only selling the game with the guitar, how about they release the second game without guitar and even guitar without game? I know of at least one person who bought the whole game just for the second guitar for multiplayer...of course this release will probably be handled much better since Red Octane now knows they have a hit on their hands, and not just a potential cult favorite. 

Also, the Oklahoma bill to define some games as equivalent to porn (or is that "pr0n"? Damned and their secret languages) is getting closed to being passed as law. I honestly don't mind if games are restricted, according to age/rating, as long as children can access the games that are rated correctly for them, and assuming their parents don't neglect the kid completely. However, I find anything that wants to equate being inappropriate to; 

the material or performance lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or political value for minors 

then any politician behind this can kiss my ass. For one thing, some states find the writings of Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain to be wrong and lacking in value, while others call them literary classics. I personally thing that Hemingway's greatest contribution to literature to be that he didn't write any more books (sorry, I can't stand his...ummmm..."style"). Some people would think that Three Kingdoms is a book based on a franchise or three (Kessen, Dynasty Warriors, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms) published by Koei, and wouldn't know that it is a approximately 800 year old literary wonder. 

So, my point is this...if you want to make appropriate equal to a word with such a vague meaning as "value", it might be time to pull your head out of your ass. In fact, maybe you should ask yourself, legislators, when you may a bill, what is the actual meaning. If you use subjective terms, all you are doing to a half-assed job of wasting money (you're paid to come up with laws, and not to make things that will immediately be overturned in the supreme court). Anyway, as the IGN article mentioned, does this mean that Ratchet and Clank is porn? I mean it doesn't have scientific, literary, medical, artistic, or political value at all. In fact, why doesn't "educational" get added too? 

Ok. I'm out now. I just am not being a social person today, and have grown weary of a few too many annoyances to do much other than play some Oblivion with Nocturne's mask on and take a town over with stealth and violence. 


Malik (4/26/06)  

May 8th through 14th should be interesting for 360 owners. If Microsoft does what's being stated, and doesn't just limit or alter things at the last second, it will be a great time for showing the true potential of the 360. Supposedly, a good number of demos being played and shown off at E3 will be coming to the Live Marketplace during E3 week. On top of that, and on the same vein as that, there will be a major push on adding content to Live in a massive push unlike any other week in 360 Marketplace. Beyond that, the week will feature free Gold service for all (another example of why I think that Gold will ultimately be free by the end of the year...assuming PS3 offers a completely free online service like Sony says they will). 

However, I have to be a bit afraid. Why? Well, while I don't feel that Microsoft has f#@%ed me over any with the 360, they do like to lower the expectations with each new push of content. This is actually something they need to stop doing since a lot of people are taking Microsoft's words for more than their face value and are growing disappointed (for their own misinterpretations are Microsoft) and directing their angst at Microsoft. So, while the 360 still has another 6 months of headway, it is a perfect time for Microsoft to go beyond their own expectations. At least that would be my advise to them in being truly competitive in the new generation. 

I don't say all of that as a 360 fanboy. I say all of that as someone who has greatly enjoyed his 360 (from Kameo, the little game that got a major bitchslap, to Mable Blast Ultra, to mother-f#@%ing Oblivion) and wants to see it do even more. I also say it since Microsoft, who makes probably a few less mistakes per given time span than Sony, is held to some weird expectations by many gamers and thus they are usually pushed around in fan sites more than Sony ever is. 

For example, I believe Microsoft in saying that 3-5% of 360s were faulty...honestly, if yours broke, you would feel like every one was bad and you would post, cry, and whine about it. But if your 360 didn't break, would you have put out the same level of vocal-ness? No. Why go off about how "Micro$oft teh suxor" or even the opposite with "Microsoft teh roxor" if your system works and you're too busy playing? You wouldn't. 

On the other hand, a class-action lawsuit tells me that the PS2 was one of the most f$#@ed up system ever made. In fact, tell me, how many consoles were so faulty that a class-action lawsuit was won over the system having to be repaired for free after the warrantee ends? One. I am not saying the PS2 is not one hell of an awesome system (for it's games), but rather that Sony seems to be held to a lower standard...which makes no sense since it's all games, and it should all be held to the same standards; Is it affordable? Is it fun? WHEN it breaks, can I get it fixed easily? 

Anyway, I got off track on this post. I just want to say that E3 week will be interesting, at least from the one camp that should have the least to show off (Microsoft). I just hope we get the same level of stuff/news from Sony and Nintendo. I also hope that, assuming Microsoft does offer some of the same demos as shown at E3 on Live, this could be the start of a new yearly trend for all three systems. Since we will have HDD/flash memory equipped and Internet ready PS3s and Revolutions this time next year (assuming the Cell doesn't start to explode again), I hope that E3 can start to become an event for those who don't go as much as it's an event for those that do go. It probably wont happen, and it probably will not quite go as smoothly as Microsoft implies for this May, but's nice to dream. 

Nintendo has finally come up with the solution to a question that has puzzled so many...ok, it's puzzled about 5 fanboys. They have a name to go with the final Revolution product. Yes...Nintendo decided, despite how their prototype/project nickname was actually intelligent and interesting (as opposed to...oh...let's say..."Dolphin"), and has become universally known, to a new name would be needed. They also decided, instead of going from a stupid as hell project name to a mediocre to tolerable console name, to do the opposite this time around. I'm sorry, but the concept of going from "Revolution" to "Wii" (pronounced the same as "we") seems...kinda silly. 

Anyway, I guess the point in this is to go with a sugar coated image (just what Nintendo needs after being seen as way too hardcore and extreme...that's called sarcasm). On one hand, as Nintendo has said, "Nintendo needs you. Because, it's really not about you or me. It's about Wii. And together, Wii will change everything." On the other hand, Wii needs no abbreviation...which we all know is one of the greatest problems in the game industry right now. I know that trying to think of what system goes with the "360" or "PS3" abbreviations is just killing me. Luckily I can tell that "360" is short for Playstation 3...what? It's not? Why didn't anyone tell me this sooner?! 

The main thing about this, however, is that like I said, Nintendo is continuing to sugarcoat their image. This is not the right idea. While they are trying to make a game system for everyone, the "Nintendo" name will show families that the system is for them. The "Nintendo" will also show the non-gamers, who have recently gone crazy for the DS, that things will be alright. However, Nintendo really needs, more than anything, to influence the supposed hardcore games. They need to show that Nintendo is not just sugarcoated, but without looking like they are trying too hard (like how Grandia "X-treme" tried too hard). Revolution actually did that pretty well. Wii, with the "ii" representing two people together, and meaning "good" (Japanese) is not going to push an image of anything more than being a toy for those who don't play standard games. 

Anyway, in the end, the name doesn't matter all that much. But with how steep of an uphill battle Nintendo will have in the next generation, maybe it's time to check out all angles. The most important way to maintain their longevity is to go for the take every possibility head on and to avoid looking too soft or too fake. 

Anyway, as a final word for today, my post may be rather abrupt tomorrow. I have a interview (with a real f#@%ing company that likes to use the word "bonus" and they use some number$ I have only dreamed of), and I was invited to go drinking in the evening...which will probably not be an excuse to not post since I doubt I'd go. Let's just say the last time I was invited to a "bar", I ended up in a club filled with people who are as emo and poser as if My Chemical Romance and Fallout Boy had some sort of freakish love child (like a Tom Petty looking dude in a black vest and a black skirt dancing a goth himself). Ok, I'm going way too off topic. Peace. 


Malik (4/27/06)  

I really don't have much to say today. I spent last night wrapped up in a nice epic battle between myself (America) and Mongolia, with some hostilities from Russia, on Civ4. With how I've finished all but the fighters guild in Oblivion, I just feel like I need to give that game a bit of a rest. Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll wrap things up with that game, but I think I'm better off just doing some political backstabbing ala Civ4. 

The only other thing I can say today is this; with the large amount of hub-bub over Wii, I just have to laugh at the fanboys and the haters. While some people have had some interesting perspectives, some others have just tried too hard to accept something that seems a little pointless. 

For example, if you want to say that too many people get the systems confused as it is, with "Playstation 360" references, you're an idiot. Also, any person who would confuse the systems like that is...unless it's someone who doesn't play games as it is and is just trying to buy a gift for a game playing friend/relative. If it's that case, then it doesn't matter if you call it "Wii", "Revolution", or "Crappy McCrapster"...they will get the name confused. It's not because these people are idiots, but rather because they just don't care much about gaming (it's like if you asked me about 24...I have been told that it's a good show, but I've never watched and couldn't tell you a damned thing about it). That's why a smart gamer will be specific when requesting a game as a gift, or will request something more appropriate to the gift giver (a mutual interest) if they want the best that can be found in gift potential. 

Also, if you want to say that game systems need to have universal names (one name for every region), I think that's shortsighted. No matter what, the system will not have the same name in every region. If the Revolution was called that (English spelling and all that) in the end, then it wouldn't be appropriate to Japan. If you call it Wii, it's not appropriate outside of Japan (who knows that "ii" means "good"? Not many in the US) even becomes a joke of a name in some areas; In England and the US it becomes the "piss" to children, in France it's the "yes", etc. That's one thing I liked about the Super Famicom versus the Super Nintendo. The name was easy to recognize around the world, and it was still representative of the game system and the customers. Perfect name. Even N-64 fits fine. In fact, it it's to be a worldwide name, then the only logical one would be an abbreviation (DS, N-64, etc). 

Anyway, the system will sell no matter what it's called. However, I think the image of the system is not going to be as shiny after this. For example, Red Steel and other mature themed Wii games just don't seem as likely to be a spontaneous purchase for a person whose grown tired of Nintendo's kiddy least not quite as much as Red Steel for the Revolution. So, instead of a shiny image, I think Nintendo's image with this will once again be to say this...cel-shaded image. 


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