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Malik (7/29/08)

With Vivendi and Activision becoming the latest massive behemoth of gaming, it's no surprise that some games would be cut from Vivendi's schedule of planned games. While I can see the latest 50 Cent game, the next Leisure Suit Larry, and a few others being in line to be cut, I have some disbelief.

That would come from the limbo state that Ghostbusters is in. It's not like a Ghostbusters game would, on the surface, appear to be a bad idea. However, we're not talking about some lame game built on that franchise like we saw in the 1980's. We're talking about a real deal sequel with some of the major talent of the movies behind the game. We're talking about all the original actors coming back. We're talking about the original writing talent coming back. We're talking about a full fledged sequel in game form on the modern systems that could tackle the explosions caused by their particle beams. We are talking about a real Ghostbusters situation.

I hope that Activision gives Vivendi enough room to find an alternative publisher and alternative funding for this game before it becomes one of the most highly anticipated vaporware properties since Duke Nukem Forever.

On a final note for today's shorter than usual post, I am finding the displeasure of the modern E3 funny. We've heard some complaints, but I think one of the best complaints yet has been from Peter Moore. In a nut shell, he's saying that the current form of E3 is a source of "frustration" and is "soulless".

That sounds about right for a show that was incredibly hyped by the media, only due to tradition (just a couple years back it was worthy of being covered by a large media frenzy),'s not that it's been ignored or neglected by other people who care about gaming. It's more that it's as recognized as a sunny day in San Diego or a rainy day in Seattle. Which is to say that it exists, and it might be recognized, but it just doesn't do anything special for anyone. E3 has become relegated to the "part of life" status that goes with anything too unimportant to be either recognized or ignored. It's just there...


Malik (7/31/08)

Yes, I've been bad with posting this week. I guess you could call it busy busy or lazy. For once, I think busy is the better term. Between a small bit of vacation on Monday and having a long work day of interviewing future servants (lower level technicians) for my job yesterday, I have been strapped for time.

Then again, I also have had little to discuss. I blame this mostly on FFIV DS. This game has claimed my free time like it was candy and the game is a fat kid. I have spent almost all of my free time just grinding away.

One thing I can easily discuss is that this game is hard as hell when compared to past FFIV versions and ports. I just finished with the first trip through the Tower of Babel. It basically entailed forcing myself to redo the first few levels repeatedly as the random encounters eventually ended up on (going off of old FFIV names) a group of three flame beasts. These this would quickly lay out scorch (previously called flame). The first use would hurt. The second would eliminate Kain, Rosa, and Rydia. The third would finish off the HP hording Yang and Cecil. Then I would have to replay the entire first few floors of the tower hoping to egt to the next area in one piece. Once you clear enough areas, you do find easier foes and some armor to block the death caused by scorch...but by then you've gained enough levels to not care as much.

At least this is normally a good type of challenge. What I mean by that is that it's more about how you fight than simply being strong enough to mash the fight/attack button repeatedly. It's usually about knowing what spells you can lay down to either debuff the enemies or buff your party. The question is if you're smart enough to figure it out before you see the game over screen for the millionth time.

On a small bit of real news, I think Peter Molyneaux is rushing things. It's good for fans of his work, like myself, to see three more Fable games may be in the future. It would, however, be wise for him to wait and see if the gaming world is still accepting of his work before riling up his long time fans.

Of course, if he does go ahead with Fable III, IV, and V, I will be ready to lay down my money to this mad genius. Afterall, while many hated Fable for what it lacked, I saw something more that I expect to see in Fable II; passion for making games. Molyneaux brings this rare flavor to his games and I am always game for another round of that type of goodness. There is always something a little more enjoyable about a game that shows the player that the designer actually has more respect for his job than to think of it as a standard nine-to-five money making thing.

Finally, it's Thursday so I'll wager on my guess for the Rock Band DLC to be announced tomorrow. Since we've had a lot of very modern stuff recently, I see something from the 90's or earlier this week. I'd guess with either something alternative (like some rumored Nirvana) or something more in the classic pantheon of The Rolling Stones or (come on Harmonix) more Deep Purple. Of course, if they could manage to bring something of the Hendrix flavor between now and September, it would show they can easily compete with and even out compete GH:WT. Anyway, I'm guessing either alternative 90's or hard rock 70's for this week. Also, expect another large set (more than three songs).

I just wish we could stop seeing so many artists using Rock Band as a way to push their new music. It was one thing when Saints of Los Angeles premiered on RB. It was new then. Disturbed wasn't so bad since we also had Jimmy Buffett that week. However, the Cruefest pack and the random shit from this week are just not worth it when there's nothing else to salvage the week. Especially when so many of these bands prove that their major hits from their first few releases are just not of the same level as what they try to cram on to the radio today (I'm looking at Staind and Papa Roach in particular on this crime to my ears).


Malik (8/1/08)

I am in a bit of a shitty mood today. Driving to work, on a day when I aim to take off early, is not a good thing when some damned idiot caused a tanker truck to close down all but one lane of the main driving route from the majority of the people to the majority of the jobs. In other words, I just finished (as I write, but not as I finally post this) driving for well over an hour at 5-10 MPH to make a commute that takes 20 minutes (at about 65 MPH). If you are the driver of the taxi that caused this; next time, go f#@$ youself in the privacy of your own home next time instead of deciding on f#@$ing hundreds of thousands of people in public.

Also, why the f#@$ was a tanker truck in the left (fast/passing) lane at 5AM on a stretch of interstate that is relatively low traffic at this time of morning? I damned well know there are no left hand exits for another 5-7 miles and that tankers are not usually associated with the concept of legally passing other vehicles. Just too damned bad that, for no good reason, it is legal for large trucks to actually be in the left lane at this stretch of I-5 (although, it is illegal only a mile before the accident...makes you think...).

Anyway, I am now thinking, due in a large part to peer pressure (damn you, Bastich!) of buying MLB Power Pros 2008. I haven't bought a sports game in about a decade, not counting extreme sports, but this may be the one to change that. For one thing, the PS2 version is only $20. Not bad for a game that came out only in the last couple of days. Secondly, it's a baseball game that recaptures the feel of RBI Baseball for the NES. In other words, it's baseball like I grew up with, before things became overly complicated and a baseball game would feel more like a job than a game.

Lastly, the game has a pretty awesome sounding RPG element in it. You are able to take control of a student in high school (or is it college...uhhh...same difference) and control his focus on sports, classes, and social things. This, along with buying and earning special equipment will allow you to make a player who can then be imported into a professional team (or you can get a code to get him into a friend's team on another PS2). It's a good deal like the fighter's evolution mode on Rival Schools...except this did come to the US (unlike said mode in Rival Schools which was cut for American audiences).

Despite having a need to finish Xenogears (for the 8th or so time), FF4 DS, playing Rock Band, playing real guitar, getting ready for Tales of Vesperia, then getting ready for RB2, and then getting ready for Fable 2 and Tales of Symphonia 2, I feel a calling. I think this should be a great game to play with my friend (damn you, Bastich!!!) who is constantly tempting me with this game and it's price.

Anyway, to wrap up this week, the newly announced Rock Band DLC for next week is...

Actually, one thought before I get to the announcement. I've noticed a sad trend lately in RB. Originally (up until around June), DLC and core (on disk) songs for Rock Band tended to go for one type of sound while songs for Guitar Hero 3 went a different direction. Heavier stuff that was less likely to get a general audience excited (Disturbed, Motley Crue, Slipknot, Slayer) and were seen as more guitar intensive were found primarily on GH3. On the other hand, songs on RB were less guitar intensive (some were obvious vocal or bass showcases) and more likely to be accepted (even if not generally desired) by a more broad of audience. However, upon the release of the Disturbed pack (and a small first step with Screaming for Vengeance a bit earlier), the sound of RB has been changing.

In recent weeks, we've been seeing RB move away from classic rock, 1980's fun music (new wave or general 1980's rock and punk), punk in general, and classical genre twisters (like The Grateful Dead and The Police). Instead, we've seen a lot of very bland sounding new songs from one-or-two-hit-wonders (Staind, Papa Roach, Disturbed), some obvious songs for audience specifics (Crue is not exactly an easy to appreciate band if you were not raised on them), some of the less desirable songs of otherwise good artists (sorry, but enough Stadium Arcadium crap from RHCP), and some forced MTV crap (Scene Pack). Hell, we've even seen a repeat with a second (although superior) version of Working Man from Rush.

I hope this is not a trend that remains. While some people will complain at something like The Police (although we did see some overkill on Police), Blondie, Clash, classic RHCP, classic Weezer, classic power and thrash metal (Metallica and Maiden actually are pretty commonly enjoyed by a lot of people who don't go for's just something about how well their sounds flow), and the other great songs and styles that can cross audience types and can be seen as more than guitar showcases. So, I type this just prior to the announcement being sent out from Harmonix, I say we need something for DLC that would have fit in with the first half year of DLC releases. Even if it's more Rush or Police (I'm not exactly a huge fan of either group), we just need something that can be appreciated by more than just the diehard fans of the DLC artist(s).

I write this an hour later at 11AM. The new DLC announcement is up! Actually, the "!" may be overdoing it for most of this crap. Here comes Cruefest Pack 02...blah! Sixx AM, Buckcherry, and Crue. At least it's only 80MP each (240 for pack) it makes it look like more economical crap.

However, at least there are two (160MP each) System of a Down songs. Got to love those crazy Armenian geniuses. Toxicity is alright, but I think the true star of August 5th will be B.Y.O.B. Definitely this would be one song I've been waiting for for a long time.

Too bad the majority of this DLC is fitting in with my previous observation. It's all stuff that not only represents limited tastes by diehard fans, but it's also not the best from each artist (ok...Sixx AM has nothing good, since it's all bubblegum MTV shit and Buckcherry does need to go away before they have a chance for a real song...and Crazy Bitch is not good despite what radio air time suggests), and it's obviously of the type of music MTV would force on it's viewers.


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