Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (8/4/08)

Before I get started on anything else, I find it highly disappointing that Penny Arcade is wanting to expand PAX to two regions. While this type of thing would work well for the purely fan controlled parts of PAX, such as free gaming, tournaments, and so forth, this will not be as nice for the other end of things. I'm talking about publishers and developers and how they fit into the show.

While no exact details are present, like if the sister show will run the same time/date as the Washington centered PAX, all that is clearly known is that 2010 is the year when PAX is supposed to go coast to coast.

However, the obvious fact is that there are a lot of gaming conventions in one form or another. E3 may go through another revival (doubtful, however, since ESA has their collective heads up one giant ass of a failed attempt to "improve" the expo), GenCon, GDC, Tokyo, and countless other shows exist. Unfortunately, people in the gaming business all have one thing in common; they are trying to put out new games. To have too many shows simply means that something will have to be sacrificed to attend them all. Usually this would be a loss of productivity. So, the easiest solution is to simply not attend every show.

I can see an East Coast PAX being the same type of neighbor as two Starbucks next to each other. They will cannibalize each other for products (instead of revenue like with the coffee people)...or should I say presenters? I can easily see some talent saying that they will only attend one of the PAX shows, leaving each one feeling half as cool as it could have been. For example, if a big presentation is made for a new game at one PAX by a small-ish developer, they would be more likely to not show up for the other PAX than to lose more production time trying to make fans happy...or not quite happy. Afterall, loss of manpower at the home base would only spell to loss of money or time to make the final product.

Even though I've constantly skipped PAX, despite having lived with 15 minutes of it each years it's been running (long story on why I do this...the punch line is that I hate paying to wait in line for anything), I would be pretty pissed to be a PAX regular and see this change coming. It simply means I will not be able to see nearly as much and get the same value for my admission price. This feels, to me at least, like the Penny Arcade guys are either trying too hard to please fans ("we don't want to force everyone to travel so far to get to PAX") or trying to make more money ("two sets of admission fees!")...but they don't seem to be realizing exactly what the potential is and how it could turn the reputation of PAX (currently: great show for fans) around (potential: watered down version of the glory days of PAX).


I bought MLB Power Pros 2008 on Friday. It was mainly peer pressure that forced my hand. I was once an avid baseball video game fan. I had bought or borrowed on a long term basis all of the great old baseball games. RBI, Baseball Stars, Basewars, Baseball Simulator, Ken Griffey JR (SNES)...all the way until Hardball 5 for the PC. I fell out of the baseball habit when I got tired of the games trying to hard to be realistic and not caring about the fun factor.

Power Pros solves the lost fun factor issue and then some. You still get the details, like more stats than you will see in any other game and more stats than you will know what to do with. It also features a solid batting, pitching, and fielding mechanic. is a solid baseball game.

The fun factor, however, is also very present. The game gives you simplistic cartoony SD visuals (the Wii version allows you to use Miis since they look damned close in detail to the players...for the record, I got the $20 ceaper PS2 version). Most of all, the game gives you some fun player creator modes. In Success mode you take a new AA recruit and progress him through AA and AAA in the hope of making it to the majors...while trying to avoid too many injuries. Along the way, you train to increase whatever skills you think he will need to make it to the big leagues. For example, I made a right fielder who's trying to become a slugger with some room to field with decent skills.

Along the way, you have to impress scouts (the true mark on if you make it to the majors), coaches (only way to not be a bench warmer in AA and AAA is to make you coach happy with your dedication), and deal with the potentials of random events (which can help or hurt you), and the questions of if you want a second job (to earn money) and if you want to add romance to your player's life. All of this plays out with you playing just as your player. You don't bat three times per inning, unless your team is slaughtering the opposition. You will bat, on average once per three innings...unless your a pitcher, then it depends on if your a starter, closer, or reliever on when you'll be playing.

If you make it, you can add this player to a MLB team and use him in Life mode. Life is much like Success, but you don't have a timeline to make it to the majors. Instead, you deal with buying large homes, relationship woes, and other issues of a far larger nature.

These two modes are exactly what's needed to inject fun and life back into what had become a stale genre of games. The only downside I've seen is the room for multiplayer is a little goofy. I, for example, couldn't find a way to play more than single player on the homerun derby mode...which seems like I'm missing something or Konami really missed an opportunity to make the game just a little better.

On a final note before I head out for today; FFIV DS is a mother f#@$er. Actually, let me say that Leviathan is a no good son of a bitch who will take your party to the cleaners without the smallest bit of effort on his behalf.


Malik (8/5/08)

After playing most of a two year cycle on Success mode in MLB Power Pros 2008, I came to a realization. That being that I didn't read the instructions or try to explore half the menus. That led to me seeing the obvious...I had not created a good character as much as I built a guy with stats and no special talents or skills. In other words, from the upgrade menu that lets one improve a player, I had ignored all but one of about six pages. Yes, two pages are for pitchers and my guy was a batter...but he had nothing to help out as a batter beyond having power with no logical outlet for said power.

So, I started a new guy last night and am now in the final quarter of his minor league career. He's also more set to be drafted to the majors upon completion of success mode as he already has a maxed out scouting rating (the true mark of it you make it or not).

Better yet, he's a master of the Power Hitter ability (more homeruns), has a lot of power and trajectory, and has managed to hit far more homeruns than my first player (who hit a whopping zero) with about six. He's also more appropriately assigned as a first baseman than my old guy who was a right fielder with no fielding ability.

The one fun thing about all of this replaying is being able to see some of the possible "random" encounters. They are somewhat random, but there are still a lot of them that seem more likely to occur than others. While I solved a ghost mystery on the first time through, I've gone through several more interesting things this time around that have done far more for my player than just draining his vitality so he wouldn't be set to practice the next day.

While I would like to make another guy to be a pitcher, after I finish Success mode with this first baseman, I think I'll run him through Life mode (where you have twenty years to play him out in the majors). Afterall, it will give me more time to show off to the virtual world that I am the homerun king.

On a final note, beyond saying how awesome Power Pros is, I aim to check out the System of a Down songs for RB tonight. I don't expect anything from the Cruefest Pack 02, but I think at the bare minimum, BYOB should be awesome fun. If not solo, then as a whole band...the perfect song for having a vocalist in the band play.


Malik (8/6/08)

I finally passed Success mode on MLB Power Pros 2008. In the end, I had a first baseman who was almost useless in the field. However, that doesn't matter when he has the eye and control of Ichiro and the power of Barry Bonds when he's up to bat. I had designated his favorite major league team as the Mariners (I am from Seattle), so I began Life mode on the M's Cactus League team.

After wowing my manager with a few homeruns in Cactus league play, I became a MLB player starting with the first game of the season. Of course I wasn't given the opportunity to be a starter...until after I hit a few homeruns as a pinch hitter. In fact, with so much power and control, I was able to just rock the bat like it was nothing.

After one month of play (it's not May 1st on my game), I the starting DH for the M's, have the most homeruns in the majors (30...maybe I should have picked a harder difficulty level), was offensive player of the week for the second and third weeks of the season, player of the month and rookie of the month for April for the American League, and have an OPS above a 2 with a batting average around .75. The one downside is that I had to miss five games injured after sliding into second on my third at bat in the last game of the third week of the season.

I really think either the difficulty is way too easy for batting, or that I created a broken player (unintentionally) in Success mode by picking all the right options and lucking out on all the right random encounters. Either way, I think I can have some fun being the superstar rookie for Life mode.

I also find the Life game I'm playing funny as a Mariners fan. For one thing, Sexson is always kept in the lineup and I'm playing the role he should have been; DH who will belt it out of the park on a regular basis. I also find it funny that the M's lost horribly (four loses with the fifth day off for travel) when I was benched with my injury, but then we are number one thanks to how I play when I'm healthy. It's like a look into a bizarro dimension where the M's didn't make all the wrong trades and kept young talent (being my player) instead of trading all talent away for once-good-but-beyond-their-prime stars (Bedard, Sexson, Everett).

It's also more realistic (at least to how the M's are playing) by how the manager doesn't seem to get how to make a lineup. I am hitting after Ichiro most nights (good setup for a 2 run homer). However, I've batted everything from 1st to 9th in the order and am usually put at fifth or sixth...despite being the only player on the team with more than three homeruns. Now if the game would trade me for a washed up has-been pitcher, then it would prove to be the most realistic baseball game ever as far as the Mariners are concerned.

Man...I love this game.

On the Rock Band side of things, I didn't get a chance to play the new System of a Down songs and may not for a few days due to a pulled or torn muscle I want to rest. However, looking at the charts, all I can say is that Toxicity looks fun and...

How the f#@$ is BYOB a tier 8 song? It's chart makes all other tier 8 songs look like tier 3 songs and it even makes a few tier 9 songs look easier in comparison. I think it didn't get the 9 designation on guitar only because it lacks a solo...although everything beyond the chorus looks like a solo on crack. I have a feeling that my usual Rock Band night is going to be a little frustrating this weekend...because we will need to finish the matter what.


Malik (8/7/08)

Not much to say today. First of all, I want to say that traffic reports on the radio are full of so much stupidity that it hurts. For example, today, I learned that "a two car fender bender is blocking the left lane" means something different. In fact, it translates to "the two left lanes are blocked and a second major accident with medical response is blocking the right three lanes 250 feet after the fender bender". Thank you AM news radio for helping me so damned much. If it was as they said, I'd have been ten minutes late to work...not 50 minutes late unless I took an immediate alternative route.

Secondly, I am in severe blinding pain right now. If you want a fun time, don't tear a muscle around your chest or back. I've now done both, and they lead to one important discovery (which I made many years ago when I first tore a back muscle); you cannot lie down without more pain than you think you'd be able to tolerate. Also, that pain leads to no sleep. Here's to Generic Painkiller PM (knocked me out for a couple hours) and coffee (keeping me awake while at work). Sadly, I think I was wrong yesterday when I said this kept me from playing the new Rock Band songs. I think that strumming on a real or fake guitar might be the only things I can do without groaning in pain right now. Sadly, I have learned that even the simple button presses required for MLB Power Pros 2008 is an antagonist to my problem.

Anyway, I'm full of anger and annoyance right now, so let's do my weekly prediction on what Harmonix will announce for Rock Band DLC tomorrow.

Considering the mood I'm in, I think I'll just stop with the damned optimism. The next DLC, in my guess, will be more shit that MTV has to have had a say in adding. I see something akin to more Cruefest shit (mindless -core garbage. That, or maybe some of the lesser songs that actually do suck of some of the better bands out there. It will definitely be something off of a later album from a band/multiple bands that changed their sound to fit in more with selling out. Maybe we'll finally see Fuel from Metallica, or maybe something else off the latest Avenged Sevenfold album...just to piss me off...just to taunt me with good bands but lame song choices.

I also see another release of a three pack followed by one (maybe two...but I'd go with one) single song that doesn't belong and is halfway decent.

No matter what, I think one of my friends hit the nail on the head a week ago when he pointed out; it looks like Rock Band is probably going to just get lame shit until RB2 comes out. At that point, a flood of awesome DLC will arrive to make the new game look better. Much like when RB was released, but now it's cannibalizing a fun game in the process.


Malik (8/8/08)

Not exactly what I expected for next weeks Rock Band DLC.  Not at all what I expected.  In fact, I was ready to make some smart ass comment.  I planned this post out in my head to go something like;

I always wondered something.  I like really crappy music.  I mean the type of shit you can only find on MTV during TRL or some other lame attempt of MTV to latch onto the youth culture of today that is so bland and uninspired that it makes me miss the days of boy bands.  At least boy bands were obviously lame and fake.  Stuff like Angles and Airwaves is hidden, to an extent, behind having some slight semblance to rock.  So, what can Harmonix do for me to help me with my need for crap?  Maybe they could use some DLC like this (link attached to that last phrase).

No.  I can't be that big of an ass today when I see that Tuesday will see Mustain and Metallica reunited in a game for the first time ever.  Yes, it is a metal six pack.  While I'm not looking forward to the thought of mindlessly technical guitar solos, I will definitely give a look at the Roadrunner Six Pack.  Every song is 80MP ($1) for the first month, and then they will jump up to $2 each.  Not a bad way to get some extra attention to those people who may be on the fence over metal.

Anyway, the pack is Megadeth, Dream Theater, Machine Head, Airbourne, DevilDriver, and Killswitch Engage.  Nothing that exactly strikes me as my style of metal, but it's a good selection, none the less.  My only problem is the fact that I'm sick of Killswitch Engage (due to their overplayed butchering of covering Dio's Holy Diver)...but I can manage.  Assuming we don't see anything in the realm of not even fun to look at solos, I may have finally found a whole pack to download for the second time since the Pixie's album (the other pack being The Who, of course).


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