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Malik (5/30/06)  

I love starting the week with something as funny as this. Yes. Infinium is not out of action, yet. In fact, I think no one bothered to tell Infiniun that they are a few years overdue to fold and call in chapter 11. Actually, that raises a good question; do they even have any money left?

I also have to wonder what their proposed July shareholders meeting would be many people would be present? Would all three of their shareholders bother to make it to the meeting? Would any of them admit that they bought their stock in a state of severe drunkenness?

It is, in all honesty, time for Infinium to be forced to shut down. They have released nothing, produced no coherent concepts, and have no real long term goals (except for changing their name in a slim hope of getting more stock in the market to make more money). Infinium makes me think of a frat house. Nothing really gets accomplished, but they keep living off of mommy and daddy's (shareholders who are too stupid to see what is going on) money...with not a damned thing to show for it.

At least, on the bright side, Infinium is like a good joke. They keep going, giving us plenty to laugh about over the years. Plus, best of all, they keep changing just enough to remain fresh as time goes by. Like now with Kevin Bachus suing for $51,000. I think that's about the equivalent of someone suing Microsoft for $51 billion.

This weekend I got in some time with Rise of Legends in a LAN environment. Overall, the game is a fun LAN addition, but there were some issues. For one thing, it is hard to get a game started since we found that while all of the computers present could join a game, only certain ones could host. To be precise, the game would only allow all players to join if certain machines hosted. It's nothing major, but I feel like there must be a few screws loose for this to have occurred.

Secondly, and most important to me, is the types of games you can make. We typically will have about 5-6 players present in one of our LAN games. We try to keep it all friendly (and evenly balanced for the newb-ish players) by having 5-6 humans versus 2-3 (8 player maximum per RoL/RoN game) difficult computers. To be precise, the 5-6 humans are always on the same team. Well, with RoL, you can only have teams if the number of players is even (3 vs. 3, 4 vs. 4, etc). You can't have 5 vs. 3 or 6 vs. 2 ever. However, the game has a mode called "diplomacy" that allow a free-for-all setting that allows for peace treaties on the fly.

This diplomacy mode is pretty well handled, except the game won't end if all players that remain have declared peace. So, after we take down the final computer player, we usually end up having massive, and rapid, breaking of peace treaties as the game gets very silly. While it's fun for a while, it's obvious something is missing when you don't all get the great feeling of victory together.

At least on the bright side, the computer controlled players act a fair deal like human players. They will try to form peace treaties with you, if you are nice to them. I was even being complimented one game for every action I took by a computer that lived on my border...well, until I captured it's cities. It makes it interesting to see a computer control player act more realistic. It also means that you can better play against them.

I need to run about now (too little sleep this weekend), but I may have no post tomorrow. I'll see what I can do, but tomorrow is the last day one of my co-workers is working at the same place as me, so my evening will probably be filled with much drinking (and little Internet time).


Malik (6/1/06)  

I didn't get around to making a post last night. I guess I should say, I had the post typed but I was just too damned worn down to put it online. So, instead of going through the hassle of writing a new post and neglecting my work from yesterday, I will just post my post from yesterday, call it new, and try to get in a much needed nap. Without further ado, yesterday's post...

I'm in the right sort of mood to do it, so today I offer another day of Bitchings...

First off, I'm getting really tired of the speculation about Microsoft and the handheld gaming market. Namely, I think we've heard enough bullshit and double talk to last a lifetime about their "plans" to enter the portable gaming market.

While it's not beyond the realm of possibilities, it is still nothing but BS. For one thing, if Microsoft was looking to make a handheld, we won't hear anything to confirm or deny it until some major trade show. Considering E3 just came and went with nothing on this "news", it's safe to say that if Microsoft has these plans, they will not surface for another year. In which case, it might be for the best for people to shut up about it.

On the other hand, no matter how much power, strategy, or whatever is put into portable gaming, Nintendo is going to reign supreme. Sega, NEC, Tiger, Nokia, GamePark Holdings (who did a great job for a cult portable), and scores of others have tried and failed. Sony, with their muscle has tried and has come up, despite being the number one console maker, with what was supposed to be the killer portable...and it is coming up a definite second place.

If Microsoft made a portable game system, I think it's safe to say that the only real competition for it would be the PSP. No one knows how to handle portable games (hint: don't treat them like non-portable games, unless you want to lag behind Nintendo), no one realizes that portable needs more strategy than just pumping out pretty visuals, and no one seems to realize the potential audience (aim for kids first, hardcore gamers second) as well as Nintendo.

In a nutshell, if it happens, it won't be fully announced until a major tradeshow (which there are none of between now and TGS, and Microsoft wouldn't really show off anything important at TGS with their lukewarm reception in Japan). On top of that, it's just too early to speculate about something that isn't supposed to come around until a year and a half to two years from now.

Secondly, for today, I was playing Xenogears last night. I was also reading a bit about Children of Mana. I came to a sudden realization (I've realized this a few times now, but last night it hit me especially hard when I read some reviews of CoM).'s more of a question than a realization; What the f#@& happened to Square?

Square(Enix) was once a powerhouse of RPG glory. They had games that developed plots, developed characters, and gave immersive and amazing worlds to play in...and I'm definitely not talking about FFVII when I say that. Now they are not afraid to offer innovation at the cost of fun, or the dreaded dungeon crawl experience at the cost of plot. This is simply not right.

Most of all, they have taken some of their most beloved franchises and mutilated them. The best example is what happened to the Mana series. They remade Seiken Densetsu (Final Fantasy Adventure) into Sword of Mana and turned it into the most awful experience I've ever had from a Seiken Densetsu game. They added the annoying characteristics of having to change weapons ever few seconds, but needing to navigate a slow and clunky menu system to do so. It's like offering any other Zelda-esque game and forcing the player to pause between fights.

Now they have CoM, with all of it's dungeon crawling "glory". I think it was not too long ago, about a decade ago, when a lot of RPG conventions were challenged by gamers. Namely, turn based combat, random battles, traditional leveling systems, and dungeon crawling. While Square had no problem eliminating the others (and showing, in the process, how fundamental they are to a good RPG), they seem to have embraced the dungeon crawl.

FF:CC is nothing but a dungeon crawl. CoM is a solid dungeon crawl. In a nutshell, this is what Square is now thinking that we need for multiplayer/portable games. Yet, if you look just a little bit back into history, you will see that they didn't always think so little of gamers. FF Legend 1-3 were all great (well, mediocre to great) RPGs on a portable system. Seiken Densetsu (FFA) was one of the first and greatest Zelda-esque games (almost a decade before Zelda ever hit portable gaming, might I add...) for a portable system. Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana) was an amazing three player adventure/RPG that could've easily been seen as a party game in it's day...and there was a lot more than just dungeons to crawl.

Despite how Square will not recover it's roots and redeem itself, it doesn't effect me. In the end, I can count on Konami (Suikoden), Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls), NIS (Disgaea, etc), Mystwalker (Blue Dragon, etc), and a slew of other developers to keep making the RPGs I want. However, the one thing that does get to me can be summarized in this question; If Square is going to keep making bastardizations of RPGs, and if they will keep lowering the quality of their games (while pushing visuals...whoopity-doo!), why the hell will the fanboys (and this is the only title worthy of people who would rather buy a brand than a game) not snap out of it? Why does this keep happening? Why do we gamers (mostly fanboys, but we are all a little responsible) keep rewarding flawed games? WHY?!?!

Ok. I'm out of here...after all, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my miserable work life. Three co-workers down, one to go...and all of their work falls upon me...sigh...

Enough of what I was going to post yesterday. I saw this today and I just couldn't help but post something fresh to wrap things up...

I know Sony has a lot of things to do and that they are busy in the dozens of fields (PCs, game systems, audio components, video components, blah, blah) they work in, but are they so busy that they can't put a f#@%ing muzzle on Phil Harrison? It's like each time Sony lets this guy open his arrogant mouth, he automatically turns off a few Sony fanboys. In fact, one would almost think that Microsoft is paying him on the side to keep being himself.

On one hand, if he wants to argue that the PS3 tilt controller is not ripping off Nintendo, he's more than free to say so. It is the truth, actually. In reality, as I've said a few times before, the concept is more of a ripoff of the old Microsoft PC controller that used tilt (back in the 1990's). The implementation of this functionality, however, was most likely done because of Nintendo's innovative approach to the Wiimote. Plain and simple, while Sony did implement their tilt feature to try to one-up Nintendo, they actually have only ripped off the other side of the competition (Microsoft)...of course, Mr. Harrison could do a better job of saying this (even leaving out the Microsoft part) and not sound like a complete ass about it...but then again, he had to...

...go off about how the PS3 will render the average PC obsolete. Ok...we put up with the "entertainment supercomputer" bullshit for a while. However, when Sony starts to say that the PS3 will make an average PC worthless in a gamer's life, then they are not just sticking their foot in their mouth. No. They are handing a loaded f#@&ing gun to all of the gamers of the world. They are sounding so freakin' arrogant and out of touch with their audiences that they might even be hinting that they don't need gamers anymore.

In reality, I will never use a GAME SYSTEM (notice the emphasis on those two words) to surf the web. Sega tried to do it, and it sucked. Sony is going to try it, and it will suck. My PC does it, and does it with finesse. I wonder what way I'll keep doing my web surfing. Trying to go through the hassle of getting a descent image of a web site to display on a TV (no matter how good the TV is...) is a pain in the ass. Just ask me, my monitor, and my 1080i HDTV. We have stories a-plenty. Actually, I also have stories of Sony trying to help me web browse with the PSP...and that was a pain in the ass...hmmmm...

In reality, until Sony shows us Spore, HoMM5, Half-Life 2, SiN, and all of the other PC exclusive games being compatible on the PS3, they can shut the f#@& up. On top of that, show me the ability to be upgraded. Show me the ability to install whatever OS I desire. Show me a f@#$ing PC being emulated on the PS3 and I'll leave Mr. Harrison alone about these idiotic comments. Until then, no $600 game system will replace a $1000+ PC. At least by saying these arrogant half-truths, Mr. Harrison can justify the $600 PS3 price tag (if it actually did replace a PC, then this would be an awesome value).

Anyway, I don't know what POS PC that Mr. Harrison is used to using (maybe his problem is using a Sony made PC...maybe the PS3 will replace Sony made PCs...yeah...), but I can tell you that my PC will smoke a PS3 any day of the week. That's not even mentioning that I know my PC is well overdue for some major upgrades.


Malik (6/2/06)  

Microsoft's Peter Moore is usually a great example of backwards thinking. I guess he does it will more style and finesse than how Phil Harrison of Sony does it...but he still is able to completely hitting a nail the size of a f#@%ing house on the head.

According to Moore, "Nobody is concerned anymore about backward compatibility." Try looking at the message boards for any game web site ( is a perfect example). While Moore may say that nobody is concerned with it, there are a lot of gamers who are, and there are a lot of games that would be awesome if ported to the backwards compatibility list.

At the same time, however, I can see where he's coming from. Since each game has to be individually set up for emulation, the BC list is a major undertaking, and it's one that Microsoft has over delivered on (did they ever promise Burnout 3, etc? No!). In reality, if you know someone (or are that someone) who is angry at the lack of a bigger BC list for the 360, I have two things to say;

Microsoft never promised all games. They only said the best selling games would be on the list. While you can argue that the Burnout series sold well, maybe they only meant the games that sold as heartily as Halo/Halo2. If so, then they fulfilled their promise and they have over delivered. So, if you are whining (or know someone who is), just shut up already. We don't care that you sold your XBox for less than it's worth to buy a 360 early in it's life (when all systems have good game shortages). Maybe... shouldn't have sold your XBox. Did you ever think that if you wanted to play XBox games, it would probably work best on the original system? Look at PSX games on the PS2 and how many don't work, and that's not even going through the hurdles of emulation. Did you ever think that EB/Gamestop/I don't give a flying f#@%/whatever was offering you the real value of your XBox when you traded it in to get credit towards a 360? I hope you didn't. A simple lesson to learn is this; never trade in/sell something you want to keep.

For the record, the emulation staff at Microsoft has stated that they will keep up their hard work (too lazy to post a link).

Also, for those still following Oblivion (the scaling enemies and items killed my dreams of playing hundreds of hours on this would-be-gem), there some new content coming soon. Namely, the largest dungeon in the game, over a dozen new magic items, plenty of books and scrolls, and all of the other stuff one would expect for this, the most expensive Oblivion official download yet. There's no real word on the 360 price for it, but I'd expect around 250-400 GP.

I just have to wonder if Bethesda really needs to make the game more broken with the introduction of Mehrunes' Razor. A weapon that slays all enemies instantly seems a bit like overkill...especially in the world of scaling items. I personally doubt I'd download this content, just because the game grew too old too quickly. However, for those still enjoying Oblivion, or for those who are new to Oblivion this could be one of the best values for an official content pack (of course, if you have the PC version, just download some free user-made mods).

Well, I'm keeping this short tonight. I have too much to do, and far too little time to do it in.


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