First off, you may have
noticed that my post on Thursday was replaced with a post from the
previous week. My PC is now up and running, but it decided to throw
one final wrench in the system by corrupting my web page as I
uploaded...erasing both my off and online versions of the postings
for last week. They are gone and won't be back...but I'll always
remember them in my heart. If you need a re-cap...
My PC died. It was
ultimately my master HDD that went bad. That's now fixed.
The Catalyst software
for the later Radeon cards will f$#@ over your PC. Don't install
Anyway, on to new
Congress is going to
look into a
"Truth in Video Game Rating Act". This is flat out retarded. It
would force the ESRB to fully review all content prior to issuing a
game rating. Why is this dumb? Well, games have far more content
than movies, TV, or other forms of media, and the amount of time
needed for the ESRB to review all possible bits of info on a game's
disk/cart would be insane. We're not talking about extra
days...we're talking months.
This is also pretty lame
since the ESRB is doing a hell of a good job in fighting people like
Rockstar to ensure that all hidden info is now brought to light.
However, if Congress wants to step in, it would turn a pretty damned
successful self-inflicted game rating system into a government body.
This type of act could change what we know as the ESRB and possibly
be the first step into government control of the ratings board.
On a different note,
Utawarerumono (one of the best anime series I've seen for a long
time) is going to be licensed by ADV (no link...just try to find a
torrent and you'll see). I don't mind that, except for how they
licensed the series when only 8 or 9 episodes remained to be aired
in Japan. This means I'll have a bitch of a time to see how the
series ends...unless I like the thought of waiting for about 6-10
The Dead Rising demo is
available on the Live Marketplace. I'm not too impressed. I mean the
game is a lot of fun, but I think the demo solidified my long
standing belief; Dead Rising will be a great rental, but the button
mashing zombie slaying will get old...fast.
You can say that I'll
have hundreds of improvised weapons to use in this game, but in the
end, it's the same basic weapons. There are pointless projectiles
(soda cans, gems, etc), blunt weapons (sledge hammers, trash cans,
cash registers), firearms, and pointlessly weak weapons (handbags).
However, at the end of the day, I'll just be slamming the X button
to hit as many mindless zombies as possible, with no real variety. I
honestly don't see this remaining fresh in my mind long enough for
the up-to-10-hour game...hell, 3 hours may be too much. Maybe if
multiplayer was an option, there would be something to look forward
to doing. In fact, if there was multiplayer, this would go from a
decent rental to the best must-buy we've seen since Oblivion.
I needed a new game to
keep me entertained until Saint's Row hits the market at the end of
the month. I really wanted this game to be something I could do on
the run, so it would need to be a DS or GBA game. Well, I settled
upon Final Fantasy 4. It had been a few years since I last played,
and the game promised better translations and more content on the
recently ported GBA version. On that front, so far the game is
However, on the front of
the game being a good port...well, FF4 for the GBA is a horrible
port. The visuals are slightly improved, and the music is
wonderfully old-school. However, the controls, somehow, have gone to
shit. If you want to pause in a battle, you will need to wait until
nothing is happening. If you want to input a command, you may have
to hit the A button a few more times than necessary. In fact, the
only time the controls are fully functioning are when you walk
around on the map...and I think that may even be slightly flawed.
Considering how we've
seen the GBA handle far more advance of SNES ports, I really don't
understand what happened with FF4...unless it was greed and laziness
which inspired the people are Square Enix and Nintendo to have
allowed this half-assed port. I will still enjoy the game fully,
since I really did enjoy FF4...but I don't think I could recommend
this game to anyone who isn't a FF4 fan who isn't sick of retro
Well, I have to get some
more files installed on my PC (the most fun of flattening a PC is
the reinstallation of EVERYTHING /sarcasm). Best of all, I cannot
install iTunes since it uses some very unusual settings for
InstallShield (check the Apple forums for InstallShield errors when
installing iTunes and you'll soon see of my woes).
Last week's posts were found (in a
very unlikely place...don't ask...it involves me making a noobish
error that was, for once, in my favor). They are now up and
running in the archives. Enjoy!
At least while Gears of
War fails to take advantage of the hardware it's going to be ran on,
Splinter Cell 4 will not do the same. In other words,
http://www.gamespot.com/news/6155361.html. While no release date
has been announced for it, I'd like to think Ubisoft is smart enough
to release it prior to the game's release (like we've seen with
Saint's Row and Dead Rising), since that's the best way to get more
hype fuel added to the hype engine that is most 360 games.
In fact, I still
have to wonder about the publishers who don't release demos on the
360 Marketplace prior to a game's release. There is no better way to
bring in new fans than to give a little something for free. I'm not
talking about trailers, which could show plenty of non-game events.
I mean we need more demos. A demo is the single best way to entice
new potential fans of a franchise, and to ignore this is to ignore
what your potential fans want. Let's face it; we gamers decide a
game's fate with our money, so is there any real harm (in most
cases) to release a demo to entice us to let our bills fly out of
wallet and into their accounts? Not unless the game is so sub par
that a demo would only cause players to flee the game.
Well, I'm still
slightly in computer limbo. My PC is nearly up and running. By
nearly, I mean iTunes will still not install itself and I'm almost
out of ideas on where to go from here. It's interesting that
InstallShield error 1628 (the one my computer seems to enjoy so
damned much) is such a common problem for iTunes, yet it is the only
program I've seen that has given me an installation error of any
sort. You'd think Apple would listen to these complaints and make a
I've also solved
one issue. As a fan of multimonitor support, the Radeon X1600 from
ATI was killing me. With how each monitor port (VGA and DVI) are
handled as separate video devices in the device manager, and with
how the DVI port (my secondary...my HD-TV) is given priority, I was
nearly done with taking any more crap from this thing. Correct
that...I was DONE with that shit.
So, last night I
took my video card back and traded to an Nvdia card. I can't
remember off hand which one, but I've already seen the differences,
and it's good. I think I slightly downgraded across the confusion of
X1600 versus numbers like 6800 and 7600 and all of those Atari
sounding card chip sets. However, since the Nvidia card uses one GPU
on all outputs, it has made a giant difference. Plus, I still can
max out what Half-Life 2 can do, so it can't be a major step
backwards, assuming I did indeed downgrade.
Best of all, the
software package included with Nvidia cards is miles ahead of the
Catalyst software for ATI cards. I mean this in all possible ways;
features, stability, ease of use, stability, time to load, and
freakin' stability. Did I mention the Nvidia software is more
stable? It is.
I think this is
about where my PC upgrade hell ends...at least for this year. I know
I'll go through the same bullshit all over again in a year or two,
but for now the hardware side of things has come to a close. I still
want to get iTunes working, and my thanks go to my friend Metro
Ninja for his continuing support on this annoying issue.
focus more tomorrow on what really matters; games. However, I felt
like sharing some of my misadventures would be good for anyone
interested in seeing some of the hardware issues in the current play
field. Especially, I cannot say enough how if a person has a love of
multimonitor support, or if a person likes to have use of the
software utilities for their video card, then you need to go with
I once saw ATI
cards as horrible. This was when the RAGE chipset was used, and it
wasn't used all the intuitively. It was the most annoying and
difficult GPU to use and to properly setup for any games. With time
this changed, and the Radeon 9800 changed my mind. However, now that
I've moved beyond the 9800 (I still plan to test the 9800 I used to
use as little as two weeks ago on my backup PC...it may work), I can
see that Radeon took a step backwards into the realm of annoyance. I
hate to sound like a fanboy, but...
demo of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is now available. I
haven't tried it out yet, but if what we saw about this game from E3
holds true, this could be a good competitor to The Elder Scroll's
crown of being the best first person fantasy experience.
True, there are a
lot of things that make games like Morrowind and Oblivion as good as
they are. It's not just the genre or the setting...it's more of a
matter of how cohesive the entire experience is. However, the E3
showing of Dark Messiah was nothing short of amazing to behold.
Assuming the controls and the overall experience are both handled as
well as the visuals, this could be a great game.
Rising is finally out and
the reviews have started to appear. It looks like Dead Rising is
definitely better than I'd expect from the demo...or so I'd like to
say. However, with how much mention I've seen on this game about
escort missions, I have a strong feeling I'll be passing this game
by...at least until it's a bargain priced title.
I have seen only
one thing that has remained constant in video games from when I
first started to play game up through now; the classic escort
mission. These first started to show their ugly faces in old school
flight sims. The worst example of them being over-used was X-Wing
(PC). This game believed in forcing an escort mission once every two
or three missions. Usually this would mean that you'd have one or
two great battles that you'd barely survive prior to just being
annihilated in escort hell.
If I knew Dead
Rising skipped this, and if there wasn't a time system in the game,
I'd easily pick it up tonight. However, with these archaic and
annoying systems both in place, I've got no choice but to either
wait for a price drop or to wait for a friend to buy it, finish it,
and let me have at it. Either way, I won't be touching this game for
a while...plus, the demo didn't exactly inspire me with the very
repetitive actions (find a trash can, smash zombies...find another
trash can, smash more zombies...wash, rinse, repeat).
Well, I'm keeping
this short today. I have a lot on my mind and I am only going to
ramble if I keep writing. I should be back with some real stuff
tomorrow...assuming I get through my deep thinking (hint: it deals
with being turned down for 3 jobs in 24 hours...f@#$!!!!).
Rockstar is finally
planning a solid
release time frame for Bully. It's looking like the game that
has sparked protest rallies, despite almost nothing being known
about it, will be coming out in October. On top of that, the game is
also losing it's XBox support (read: probably, for now, a PS2
I just find the
story behind the surroundings of the game far more interesting, so
far, than the actual game. When you see a game in which almost no
one has seen any real details (besides the same image of a kid
outside a gate at a school and the crest/coat-of-arms of the school)
that has been so heavily protested, you just have to laugh. As far
as we know, the game may end up being and endearing tool for bullied
children to see better how to handle themselves in appropriate ways
(it's a long shot...but didn't Rockstar make a certain Table Tennis
In fact, until
this game is fully detailed or released, the protesters really need
to back off. While it's very likely that violence will be the flavor
of the action in this game, it's also possible that all of this will
be incredibly cartoonish or just so unreal that there's nothing to
complain about (unless you find Bugs Bunny to be a terrorist threat
to "our American way of life"). It's just a classical reminder that
too many people are so ready to fight in favor of censorship that
they don't even care about the facts. If you think Bully will be a
bad influence, then obey the probable M rating, and wait to see how
it really is before you complain. After all, complaining about
something when you have no information about it will only discredit
Speaking of this
type of thing, I recently saw articles on the negative
influence of wrestling and
sexually themed music on teenagers. I really just want to say
why I am a scientist (we all need day jobs) and why I hate this type
of shit. Plus, any time I can shoot down an argument from potential
censors and from bad science, I get a good laugh.
So, in these
studies, they found that teens who watched wrestling on TV were far
more likely to become violent on a date. The other study says that
teens who listen to sexually explicit material in music are more
likely to engage in sexual activities within two years of starting
these listening habits. The one thing this study did not look at was
the personality of the teens tested/studied.
What if these two
things are not directly related? For example, what if a certain
personality type causes both a fascination in a certain type of
media and a influence to do certain behaviors. For example, what if
being a violent person causes both for a teen to act out in
aggressive ways and to enjoy more aggressive programming on TV? The
same could be said about the sexual music study. This would mean
that instead of saying that violent programming turned a teen into a
violent person, it could mean that a violent person is just more
attracted to more exciting of entertainment.
For example, I
like being informed on things, so I both act out as a scientist and
I watch the news. Did watching the news make me act out as a
scientist? No. Did being a scientist make me watch the news? No.
Neither one directly influences the other. It's simply that my
personality affects me in many ways which can appear tied together
when they are simply controlled or influenced by a completely
Anyway, I brought
all of this up since it's almost an attempt to bend science in a way
to influence better what should or should not be censored.
Apparently wrestling and music with any sexual themes are things
that should be censored...at least this flawed logic says so. As
being a geek goes far beyond just playing games and battling a PC
24-7 to keep it running, and it includes music and TV (not to
mention movies, comics, anime, cars, blah, blah), this needed to be
vented on this post.
Anyway, in the
end, there are two types of people in the world...those who sit on
their asses all day watching TV and such, and those who go out and
do things (ok, there are a few people who do multi-class on this).
If you're at home watching wrestling all day, then you're less
likely to be violent (since you're sitting on your ass and not being
an active member of society). TV for the win.
G4, the self proclaimed
channel for gamers, held an interesting concept yesterday;
Jack Thompson would debate against Adam Sessler (X-Play host)
and Mark Friedler (the GameDaily CEO) on the current state of
violence in gaming. In particular, the debate would focus on how
Bully is set for a release in the next couple of months.
This was an
awesome concept. First off, I cannot tell you how often I had wanted
to see Thompson debate against some people in the gaming world. This
would show us if he was more of a person who could handle a debate
or if he was just going to yell and scream to get his point
across...by the way, it's the yelling and screaming approach he used
in the second half of the debate and ignoring others was the flavor
of the first half. Secondly, no matter what many may think of Adam
Sessler, he is really interesting when he is in a more serious of
forum than X-Play (although I'll admit that I usually enjoy X-Play).
Friedler was more of an after thought since he is far less vocal and
in the actual debate he barely opened his mouth except to be drowned
out by Thompson.
However, while the
concept was cool, the execution was horrible. I would like to know
who would have decided that a debate like this, that could easily
fill an hour of Attack of the Show, would only be about 4 minutes
long. This amount of time only gave us a single chance to hear from
each person before chaos struck. Then there was not enough time for
order to be restored before the debate was considered out of time.
Considering how G4
has turned so far against gaming with things like Star Trek, Street
Fury, Fastlane, Brainiac (I do enjoy this one), Arrested Development
(another one that will be watched by me...but really should be on
another network), and all of the other random non-gaming programs,
along with how shows that should be around are now gone ("Call for
Help" anyone?), this is the type of programming they need. In fact,
why not try to arrange an hour long debate between Thompson, Sessler
(he worked really well in the 4 minute debate), and maybe Doug
Lowenstein (ESA President) if he's up for it? That would be a great
show. In fact, try to extend these debates into a regular
occurrence. Maybe Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman could be in
future episodes. Councilman Yee would also be a great debater, as he
even showed up at the GDC this year and did such a thing.
and censorship fans would love a chance to show they are better, and
G4 has some rather under-used game related hosts and a wide
assortment of contacts with game industry members who could make
some awesome TV. This would be the perfect fix for G4's dying lineup
of G4-themed shows.
Since I don't want
to show why any random geek (like myself) could help save G4 from
it's doomed future, let's change gears...
Since E3 is
downsizing for the next year, it looks like the other conferences
may use this opportunity to become
the next big thing. GenCon and The Austin Game Conference are
both looking to expand, and I have a strong feeling they are doing
this in response to the shrinking of E3. Especially noted is Gen
Con, which will start focusing more tightly on video games, and they
will even be moving in the LA Convention Center starting in 2007.
The lesson in
this...if you're afraid of a void being made by something leaving
what you consider normal life, then don't worry. When a void is
found, usually in a capitalistic society the void will be filled by
the next biggest fish. I would expect the gaming world (or the
American side of it) to be back to having at least one really big
show by November of 2007 (Gen Con).
Best of all, as a
Gen Con announcement stated, they aim to make this show more
accessible to consumers. In other words, they realize something
important that is being overlooked by the downsizing E3; while
journalists and game industry people may have a strong need for
order and sanity at conventions, they also need fans. After all,
what is more likely to sway you about a future release; some
articles about how cool the game is, or being able to actually hold
the game in your hand and feel the future? Hype is a powerful
entity, and the hype generated by fans is the best of the best for
While I think E3
being downsized will fill a needed void (a show for the industry),
it was at the wrong cost. When a show for the fans is removed (and
let's face it; that is why the show was downsized...too many fans),
something will have to take it's place. If the ESA was smart, they
would've seen this a little clearer. If you want an industry only
show, then make a second E3 (a smaller and more formal one). If you
remove the original, you will only find others filling the void and
thus making a few bucks at your expense.
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