Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (7/18/11)

Just a quick post of random thoughts today since I feel sick and out of sorts.

Monday Night Combat (found on Steam) is an amazing LAN party game. I played this with some friends on Saturday and couldn't get enough of it.

The US Women's World Cup team was amazing to watch, up until the penalty shootout that ended the tournament. Seriously, I don't know what was going on, since the US team is not this bad at shootouts. I can understand that Hope Solo looked a bit banged up after regulation and overtime, so the goals Japan made were not a huge surprise. However, the shots by the American women were flat out horrible. I mean one was shot for the moon, and most of the players seemed to advertise where the shot would go long before they even started to approach the ball. It felt like a sad end to what was one amazing tournament. At least the Japanese women sure looked like least after they fell behind 0-1 in the second half. That first US goal was like poking a hornets nest, and it unleashed a great attacking team.

The Sounders FC keep amazing me. They have a nine game unbeaten streak going on. Between the US Open Cup tournament, MLS play, and soon the CONACAF tournament, I see good things this year from the Sounders, despite one of the most pathetic starts to a season I've ever seen.

Meanwhile, in the opposite side of things, the Mariners are now on a nine game beaten streak to go with the equal unbeaten streak of the Sounders. Like how the Sounders turned around a floundering start, the M's seem determined to throw away what looked like a pretty solid start of the season (at least for a team with 100+ losses in two of the last three seasons). If things don't change soon, it will be sad to see how bad of a W-L record the team can give one of the most amazing pitching rotations that MLB has ever seen. This is a bad season to see the M's try for some records since each record is just beyond sad. Nine games in a row without a homerun (franchise record). 40 innings in a row without a run (franchise record obtained on Saturday). The best starting rotation with the worst record possible (not a real record, but will be seen at the end of the season).

On a final note, I've finished Zelda on the 3DS. It was incredibly fun, despite being a game I've played on two previous Nintendo systems. While the game is a bit stale about now, the improved visuals and controls definitely made for a great experience. Hopefully this will just be the start of good 3DS games, since I'm getting tired of my 3DS being used mainly for virtual console, DSi Ware, and backwards compatibility. That's not what I bought this thing for (actually it is...but not for this alone...I want 3DS games to make my system into more than just an over glorified DSi).


Malik (7/21/11)

Last night I was confused. I had not seen a digitally altered soccer game before, but I swear I watched the Sounders uniforms and players superimposed on North Korea's team from the last men's World Cup. I mean the final outcome was 0-7 and that sure looked like that major blowout North Korea had in the last World Cup.

In all seriousness, I have not seen such a bad game from the Sounders as last night. Manchester United blew Seattle out of the water with no sign of mercy. It was a bit slow to start, but six goals in the second half sure changed things. Actually, Rooney coming on the field seemed to be enough to change the game from a friendly into an all out war of one of the best versus a minor league team. Let's face it, compared to a European powerhouse team, the MLS is a minor league team without any skill worthy of note.

I think the only thing worse than this complete dismantling of the Sounders was that the game was broadcast on the worst available channel for local sports. In Seattle, we can watch the Sounders on two local channels (KING and KONG...sister channels available with even a poor quality antennae), or they have been on ESPN and ESPN-2 (of which, the Chicago Fire game against Man. U. is on ESPN-2 this weekend). The final option is FSC (Fox Soccer Channel), which in the Seattle area is a pain in the ass to get. Unless you have some premium package material, Comcast is not going to give you the hook-up. Also, unlike ESPN and ESPN-2, you cannot stream from the FSC website. In fact, for people in the Seattle region to catch the game last night, the best option I found, unless you actually are dumb enough to give Comcast a lot of money per month (yes, I am that dumb), was to stream the game from MUTV (Manchester United Television) via a secondary server with a .eu domain.

It's one thing to not have the Sounders friendly games on regular TV, but it's another entirely when the Man U games against New England and Chicago both get the ESPN treatment and those teams do not draw the rabid support on finds for the Sounders. Not to mention how the Sounders are also second place behind the tough-as-nails LA Galaxy right now in the MLS. If any team was worthy of a good TV deal for their Man U game, it is the Sounders. Still, I guess I can't complain too much that the nation would have some trouble watching Seattle flop and fail against such an amazing team.

Don't get me wrong; when I say amazing, I mean they have skill coming out of every pore. As far as supporting a team, I see Man U as the Yankees of soccer. They are great to support with rabid admiration if you are either from the Manchester region, or if you just want to sound like a poser who is only jumping on board the easiest to recognize team in the world. I just don't see the appeal to be a supporter in such a bandwagon way. Support local first and support family tradition, but don't support if you really only know a team due to their name. Take the time and find someone to really support for who they are, what they show, and support a team that may have loses not just blindly follow a team because they don't win. At least that's my take on the world-wide blind adoration of Man U.

I'd rather support Real Madrid...and that has a local connection. That was the team that helped pull Drew Carry into soccer, and he was one of the best things to happen to local sports in a long time with how he worked so hard to craft the Sounders into a team for Seattle to take pride in...and to take local pride to a new level.


Malik (7/26/11)

The NFL is back! I didn't post yesterday due to so much news coming in from so many angles. This is in addition to wondering if the economical world as we know it is f#@$ed on August 2nd (when the US economy is set to tank), and all the other questions on what is going wrong in the world. However, the NFL is looking like the one shining spot in the world. The NFL is back and the pre-season is starting to ignite with a fury.

Of course that all started to look a bit less awesome today when it was stated in the Seattle Times that Hasselbeck is not coming back as a Seahawk. Wait...let me say that in a different way; what is the story behind the Seahawks currently in the running to field Charlie "Football Jesus" Whitehurst as the starting QB?

I know that Seattle has no other clear options at this point, and I know Hasselbeck wanted to (or said this, at least) that he wanted to end his career as a Seahawk. So, what happened? Pete Carroll said he wanted Hasselbeck back. What broke down? Is this real or just rumor? What is going on in Seahawk-land? Are the Seahawks hoping to toss away the season to pick up Andrew Luck with a number one draft pick? Are the Seahawks in major talks with Kolb? With Palmer? With Leinart? With Young? What is the plan on the table and why did things fall apart?

As I see it, Hasselbeck is made of glass, but he is also amazing when protected. The last few seasons saw a broken O-line that couldn't keep him safe, and also couldn't help the running game. If the O-line was reformed around skill (and removing Stacy Andrews is a start since his only contribution seemed to be false start penalties when they hurt the most), Hasselbeck could be amazing. If Seattle aims to contend, then a QB is the most important piece of the puzzle. In fact, Seattle had three major goals, as I saw it, to make 2011 a great year. Make a new O-line that was powerful and healthy. Make sure Mare returned as the kicker with his amazing golden foot. Lastly, keep Hasselbeck until the QB of the future was found and groomed under Hasselbeck's tutelage.

This is now no longer clear, and Seattle will have hard work to do to convince any other competent QB to play under an O-line that is legendary for not keep the QB safe. If you were Kolb, who can demand some powerful money, would you want to play where your safety is not promised or even likely? I know I wouldn't. The other options all look pretty bad in QB land. I sure as hell don't want to see McNabb here, and he looks like the best alternative (beyond maybe getting Carson Palmer). Vince Young and Matt Leinart both look like a bad call, and there is not much else out there that is not pretty much secured by another team and a hefty contract. I know that Schmidt and Carroll would love to make it look like Whitehurst was a good purchase, but that just seems like goofy thinking. He is an eternal "work in progress" and that will only help Seattle by getting a higher pick in the next draft. If Seattle wants to play that game, then I sure as hell will not be watching it unfold for 16 lame-duck weeks this fall and winter. I have better things to do than to watch another Seattle team try to obtain record losing streaks. The M's are painful enough to watch.

I'll wait to see what all unfolds, but Seattle better have some damned good options on the table, or this better be one hell of a rumor. Otherwise, I am going to have to turn my back from the hell that will be unleashed.


Update:  Tavaris Jackson...(Malik goes off to cry in a corner...he is dumbstruck.  Schneider scores a critical hit.  Malik has been slain.  Schneider gains 9000 XP and no gold since Malik is not a season ticket holder).


Malik (7/27/11)

Now the rumors are out there saying Matt Lienart will join Tarvaris Jackson in joining the Seahawks. So, if I see this correctly, not counting some undrafted free agents acquired in the last 24 hours, the Seahawks are going to be holding competition this pre-season between Lienart, T-Jack, and Clipboard Jesus (Whitehurst) to see who is the starter in the 2011 season. Wow...this looks like the type of competition that is perfect for high tension and high excitement.

Is there any serious way to look at this setup and not be depressed about the 'Hawks season? T-Jack has been nothing more than a good level backup/second string QB since joining the NFL. Whitehurst already showed he is not much of a backup in the NFL and has a contract that is way too bloated for someone who was never worth the price of admission. Then you have Lienart, who probably spent the extra year in college just to get a final year of living it up before he bombed so hard in the NFL that he made Vince Young look good. Maybe the 'Hawks can make it even better by seeing if the Titans would be willing to send us Young. Then we can have four guys with no reason to be on the field all trying to prove they are the best of the bad choices available. I really wouldn't be surprised, assuming they get a chance at all, to see one of the QBs acquired as undrafted free agents with a better chance of starting this season than T-Jack, Lienart, or Whitehurst.

Of course, now that I think about it, I'm actually a little happy to see Hasselbeck go. I would love to see him remain a Seahawk for life, but things will be better with him in Tennesee. I should say, it will be better for Hasselbeck...not for Seattle. Hasselbeck can mentor Jake Locker, who will need a veteran presence to get him acquainted with the NFL, and Hasselbeck is the perfect tutor. Also, the Titans have a more stable O-line (of course a pee-wee league team has a better O-line than the Seahawks), which should help to keep Hasselbeck on his feet. If he continued with Seattle, the season would have once again seen Hasselbeck on the injured list after a young and untested O-line, which doesn't even have a left tackle so far, failed to stop the blitz for another entire season. Plus, without a good blocking game from the O-line, all the pressure is once again on the QB, and Hasselbeck has been injured far too many times by the single largest fault of the Seattle team; that damned O-line.

Of course it looks like the game this year is all about, as many people like to say online, "suck 4 Luck!" Seattle seems to be aiming for a poor season to ensure a high draft pick...and only a number one pick looks like the one that will get Luck. Of course it also goes without saying that I sure as hell don't like this game. I am a fan of football and I don't aim to watch the next season with a constant sense of dread. I want to see Seattle continue to do what they did so well in the New Orleans game last post-season; win with total authority. Since that looks out of the question, I will still give the team a chance, but I expect to call it quits mighty early. When Seattle comes out to start with a 0-4 record, I am not planning to stick around for the other 75% of this torturous season. I'm not some damned fair weather fan, but I'm also not so much of a masochist that I can watch a train wreck without reservations.

I had all of that post done when I saw more news to bring a feeling of dread into my mind. Mare is apparently off to the Panthers. So, on top of losing the best QB Seattle has ever fielded, the only chance at scoring any points this season is looking grim when there's no clear answer for who will be kicking field goals. Of course, it doesn't matter too much since the only real action that a Seahawk will be a part of is the punting game. You only need a kicker once per game (a single kick-off) when you are not going to move the ball enough to reach field goal range...and you sure as hell are not going to be going for P.A.T.s.

At least the Lienart thing is not coming true since he'll be staying with the Texans. I'm not sure if this is more of a good news thing for the Seahawks or a stupid news thing for the Texans. Either way, at least the QB competition in Seattle will not be quite as stupid as it could have been.


Malik (7/28/11)

The 3DS is dropping in price on August 12th. It's not just dropping a small's falling $80 to $170 MSRP. Less than half a year after the system launches, the price is falling this much. It's unheard of for any game machine that is not the Virtual Boy or the 32X. It's also not a good PR move, from how I see it.

On one hand, it makes Nintendo look scared. True, the sales of the 3DS have been slow, but that can be summarized in two simple lines of thinking. On one hand, the economy sucks. When you have a lot of people looking at how to budget food and shelter in a budget that may include either unemployment or furloughs, $250 is a large price...but so is $170 for something that will not meet the basic needs, and no matter how much of a geek you are, you must recognize that gaming still comes after food and shelter. On the other hand, there are no AAA games out there right now. Ocarina of Time is a great port, but it's been seen on the N64, Gamecube (including the Master Quest), and Wii already. It cannot sell a system, but Mario will...and Mario is coming around the holiday season.

On the other hand, this is bad PR with loyal customers. Yes, they will give current 3DS owners 10 free NES Virtual Console titles and 10 GBA Virtual Console titles. However, unless some unusual games come along, I couldn't care less. A NES Virtual Console titles runs around $3 and includes all the games I am expecting to not care for. I have a NES and I have all the games I feel are truly worth it. If I'm going to be expected to take Donkey Kong Jr. as compensation for Nintendo screwing around with prices so damned quickly, then Nintendo is expecting something that is unreasonable; that I'll take any shiny bauble in exchange for feeling like they failed to plan properly. I may consider some rarer NES games, but I have yet to see the Virtual Console on the Wii show much in unexpected titles even after around a half decade of growing their library.

As for the GBA Virtual Console titles...I feel about the same, but more so. I don't have a dust covered GBA like I do with the NES. I have a DS (original fat one) and a GBA-SP, both freshly charged and with GBA titles in their cartridge slots. Both get used, and both have a nice library waiting for them. I can even still find many games easily available on eBay, Amazon, and even at some video game stores. Used they are cheap as dirt, and new is still not too shabby for many of the titles I would want...if I didn't own all of them that I want already.

Nintendo is doing the free games to make up to loyal customers...but are they also expecting loyal customers to not be loyal enough to already have a nice library of Virtual Console NES games and real GBA games already? I'd rather see them offer something like credit towards the eStore instead. I know of many DSWare titles that I'd love to buy, but this is not on the table. Anyway, while I appreciate Nintendo making some effort to make up for the random price shift, it still doesn't feel like they are really putting in the effort to think through their actions.

I think, more than the lackluster sales, Nintendo was attempting to make as much extra money as possible on the 3DS before the price had to fall in order to compete with the Sony Vita, which will go for $250-$300. In other words, I think they were actually just trying to take advantage of the more loyal of customers (who will forgive and forget, in Nintendo's eyes) before they had to step into reality to compete with Sony. If Nintendo wants to try an old excuse, that they don't sell for a price anything short of breaking even, then how did the 3DS technology drop in manufacturing cost in six months when the economy is screwed up around the world and when Japan (which manufactures many components) is still recovering from the tsunami in March? The logic doesn't fit, and with exciting games coming up before the holiday season, there would be a great opportunity in the future to keep the price the same and recover from the lower sales one has to expect from an off-season console release in a bad economy.

In other words; Nintendo, if you're need to think things through or just admit to screwing around or screwing up.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page