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. Hell...it 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 $20 ceaper PS2 version). Most of all, the game
gives you some fun player creator modes. In Success mode you take a
new AA recruit and progress him through AA and AAA in the hope of
making it to the majors...while trying to avoid too many injuries.
Along the way, you train to increase whatever skills you think he
will need to make it to the big leagues. For example, I made a right
fielder who's trying to become a slugger with some room to field
with decent skills.
Along the way, you have to impress scouts (the true mark on if you
make it to the majors), coaches (only way to not be a bench warmer
in AA and AAA is to make you coach happy with your dedication), and
deal with the potentials of random events (which can help or hurt
you), and the questions of if you want a second job (to earn money)
and if you want to add romance to your player's life. All of this
plays out with you playing just as your player. You don't bat three
times per inning, unless your team is slaughtering the opposition.
You will bat, on average once per three innings...unless your a
pitcher, then it depends on if your a starter, closer, or reliever
on when you'll be playing.
If you make it, you can add this player to a MLB team and use him in
Life mode. Life is much like Success, but you don't have a timeline
to make it to the majors. Instead, you deal with buying large homes,
relationship woes, and other issues of a far larger nature.
These two modes are exactly what's needed to inject fun and life
back into what had become a stale genre of games. The only downside
I've seen is the room for multiplayer is a little goofy. I, for
example, couldn't find a way to play more than single player on the
homerun derby mode...which seems like I'm missing something or
Konami really missed an opportunity to make the game just a little
On a final note before I head out for today; FFIV DS is a mother
f#@$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.
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.
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,
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
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 song...no matter what.
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.
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.
Not exactly what I
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).
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