Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (8/18/08)

I don't have too much to say today, so this will probably be a short post. Considering I spent most of my weekend drinking and taking care of people who were drinking, I have not much more to say about the weekend than that it was a blur, at best. At worst...well, I'll just say I'm glad that birthday parties and going away parties are not an everyday occurrence.

First thing I'll say today is that the new layout for Gamespot is annoying as hell. I like the site for one reason, it loads quicker on my piece of crap work computer, so it's a good coffee break type of site. When I'm drinking coffee at work is about my only time to check news and things, so I simply end up with IGN having to come in last place to the usually more inferior Gamespot. However, that may have to change with the new layout not being too friendly to the lower resolution desktops (like mine at work must be). Plus, it's just ugly in appearance. It makes me think of a rather poorly designed forced layout change. It just looks rushed. New for the sake of new.

Secondly, I will not have enough time to enjoy everything I want to play that's coming out this season. We have a shit ton of RPGs coming out in the next few weeks. I do want to put Tales of Vesperia on the top of my list, but I still need to worry about Tales of Symphonia 2, I'm intrigued by Infinite Undiscovery, I'll probably skip Too Human, I also have to play Rock Band 2 (less than a month away), Fable 2 will take over my October and start of November, I then...I just have too many games to worry about. I would have loved some movie studio style delays (like how Halfblood Prince is going to next July and Star Trek is next March) to ensure some evenness around the rest of the calendar...but game publishers only seem to see the holiday season and throw caution to the wind despite the simple ultimate fact; too many games at once will ensure some great games still go ignored.

On a different note, I don't like to agree with Activision much anymore on music game opinions...afterall, they did ruin the Guitar Hero name with false charts and forced challenges. However, I do find their opinion on licensing fees to music studios about right (there's some of the bad new Gamespot layout). Basically, this started when the CEO at Warner bitched about royalties.

To summarize it all quite bluntly; Warner wants more music despite how the game companies typically (for rhythm games) have to do a lot of work to make the music into the game. Charting, or over charting, does take time and effort. Then the songs must be released at a fairly low price to ensure customers do actually buy it. Furthermore, Activision Blizzard's CEO (I still can't get used to that new name) Bobby Kotick had a great point.

Music in video games is something larger than music in movies or on the radio. Music in games is brought in a more complete and detailed method. You, as a gamer, get a large variety and you may hear something new and love it. This could then make you into a fan. In other words, game music is able to serve as advertising in new ways that other more traditional media doesn't present. In other words, Kotick basically is saying that they pay money to the music studios and then, in return, give advertising through this. The game companies win when the music is paid for by fans, but at first it's basically Activision, Harmonix, or whoever that is paying to advertise someone else's product.

I have to agree. Ultimately, I more feel that the price must be low for game music since more work goes into the music (making it game ready) and it does reach a smaller potential audience than any movie ever will get to. Afterall, GH3 (using an Activision game as example) is in the homes of a good several hundred thousand people. Tropic Thunder (picking a random movie that would have a soundtrack worthy of purchase...I think...missed seeing the movie due to parties this weekend) will be seen by millions of people. GH3 takes the work of charting and all of that to get the music into the game. This takes work. Anything that would be on Tropic Thunder is put in with some degree of thinking and editing, but no technical work as to the tune of making two to four charts (two guitars, or two guitars with a drum set and a mic).

Anyway, I do agree with the thought of this also serving as advertising. I know of some bands I've grown to love primarily from being exposed to them in rhythm games.

Then again, with how things have gone in terms of RIAA insanity, I have one final thought on this. The music industry is not seen in a good light. My advice to Warner, Sony, or any other music related company is this; sit down, shut up, and don't do anything stupid to make yourself look even worse. No one cares for the music industry, it seems, and to say "wah, wah, I need more teh moniez" like some sniveling brat is not going to help you or convince anyone to not pirate music just because you're too damned greedy to be worthy of any more money.

Note: I don't pirate music, but I also don't buy much music since the industry seems to be stuck in cookie-cutter mode...which I tie into this greed factor since it's one of those trends that only greed could explain (I made money off of Artist X, so all new artists I sign must be the exact same).

Also, Venture Brothers...Wow!


Malik (8/19/08)

According to something posted at MAXCONSOLE that came from G4, Harmonix has six albums in the works for the remainder of the year for Rock Band DLC. This includes an alternative, a pop, and a metal album. I'm also willing to guess this includes at least one progressive rock album, since so many rumors have surrounded Rush's Moving Pictures coming to RB.

I'm also willing to make a guess on the metal album. It will, in my best guess, be Metallica's new album. Afterall, we're supposed to be getting the first single off of their new album as DLC in the near future. I'd even wager that I can guess next week's DLC.

Since one album is due out, according to that link, in August...well, there's only one DLC day left in August. My thought is we'll see both Cyanide (the Metallica single) and Moving Pictures next week. Let's just say it seems too likely and there's been too many rumors pointing to both being either next up (for album) or out by the end of August.

Having little left to say for today, I'll just say one thing; I picked up the Tales of Vesperia demo that came out last month on Live. I have skipped demos lately because RPGs usually get very bad demos (Blue Dragon, for example). As for ToV, I don't like the lack of knowledge you're given on anything going on and the controls, but the visuals are pretty. I think I will have to get this game when it arrives...even if I feel like my time is being spread far too thin on other games.


Malik (8/20/08)

I tried out most of the new song DLC for Rock Band last well as playing a few other songs and having some fun getting back into the RB groove before RB2 comes along.

First off, I skipped the Janitors song. Get Your Rock On didn't require me to check out the note chart or any deep investigation. All it required was for me to click preview in the Rock Band store to hear what it is; mindless made for MTV music crap. This song, I think, would be both easy and an embarrassment to play. It's not worth attempting on any instrument. It's also not worth being counted towards the 500+ song goal of Harmonix by the end of 2008. It is that bad. It's not that I don't like it (and I don't) as much as it's so manufactured sounding that it just shouldn't be. If Harmonix wasn't aligned with MTV, I don't see this song finding it's way to anything beyond American Mall (the bad made for MTV movie it came from).

The Devo songs, on the other hand, are amazing fun on expert guitar. I didn't try any other instrument, but they were just pure nostalgic fun for anyone who knew the joys of new wave goodness. They are both quite easy, but it's should be noted that fun doesn't have to be removed from all songs that are easy. Easy and fun can get along quite well when the music is so unique.

As for the Duran Duran songs...Girls on Film is a bit fun since it makes you work for a good score. The timing is going to be simple for anyone who loves to alternate strum (up and down). If you're like me and you only down strum (except I alternate on Creep's crazy part and a few other rare exceptions), then this will be a bit of a crazy workout. There's a lot of two colors followed by a fast progressions of the lower of those colors ending with the two one last time. This will be easy to beat, but hard as shit to do well on without alt strumming.

As for Rio...I don't even know what to say. The opening few choruses and verses are simple and a little fun in their simplicity. However, the stuff that follows the solo...where the f#@$ did that stuff come from. It goes from bass strum to held strum (for example, R then R+Y held). Easy and for good reason; the guitar is not the star of this song. The end of the song, which has beaten me into submission, is a progression of alt strum required green plus something, or green on it's own. It's fast, frantic, and without any remorse to the stress it will put you through. I think the note chart alone is enough for me to say that I just don't like playing the song. The song is fun and catchy in a nostalgic new wave way, but it's just not fun to play after the half way point.

Rio is probably a better song for other instruments anyway. The other parts sound like a blast. It might be one of the few songs I'd rather play bass on than guitar. It's definitely a song for anyone who digs doing the vocals.


Malik (8/21/08)

Today I am the very definition of being in a shitty mood. So, it only fits that I can bitch about something.

I have gone on and on about how I hate the current generation of consoles (minus Nintendo's offerings) for one reason; you don't have the ability to ever have your system. Yes, you could buy the best version of the 360 or PS3, but in a few months, you will no longer have the best version. There will be a new cooler chipset named after a bird of prey or a new HDD that will be giant compared to what you thought was once uber-awesome...and is now actually just mediocre. You could find that even your "better than before" system is worse off than the one you could have bought when the console maker told you that it was the best but is now called obsolete. How does a console in the same generation become obsolete anyway?

Yes, Nintendo has done a bit of this with a DS remake or a GBA remake. However, beyond adding actual light to the GBA SP, there is no true improvement that will make or break the previous version when compared to the next. A DS Lite is cool...but my regular launch DS still does all the same stuff. I don't have light level controls, but then again I don't honestly feel I NEED them. I may want them, but it's not a loss of functionality across versions.

Losing backwards compatibility or being cheated out of inputs and outputs (PS3), or obtaining better chips and heat sinks that won't red ring you (360) are real deal makers and deal breakers. If I want a console, I should be able to buy it at launch and be good, beyond any price drops I'd miss out on, for the entire generation. Maybe a new color would come along, but who cares what the system looks like when it's the display that matters?

Previously, I had to give it to Sony for one thing. The PS3 might be a nightmare of constant version changes, but the PSP (no matter how poorly thought out this handheld is with it's empty library of solid games) was safe. It went thought firmware upgrades, but that's doesn't mean a new PSP is any better than an old one. That was until Sony decided to finally add new hardware to the PSP-3000. This is not just a thing that comes in three "groovy" colors. This is a PSP with a mic. What's the mic for? Who knows? However, the mic is new hardware and it will be used for something. Even if it's some homebrew (wait, Sony wouldn't add anything for homebrew when they so hate the independent community) or whatever, it will have to have a use if it's being least it must have a use in Sony's eyes.

The best part is that so many of these console makers (Microsoft and Sony) are trying to impress the casual gamers like Nintendo has done. It's a large audience that wants to spend money. However, the two mistakes keep remaining that will lock casual people away from Microsoft and Sony...

The price never really drops. An older model is replaced instead of being kept around at a discount price. The original PS3 models are gone and will never return. This is as opposed to being here for a bargain price that would entice casual people who are less inclined to spending money without thinking the decision through.

Also, with so many models, casual consumers are frightened away from making the wrong purchase about something they simply don't understand fully. You can slap user friendly names like "Arcade" on a console pack, but it still won't mean anything when there is also the Elite and the Premium...or is that the Pro? I honestly don't even know or care and I follow gaming trends and gaming news. The PS3 is even worse when it's the "80 GB" model instead of having even a simple name. Ever listen to a casual consumer buying computer parts? They will not ask for a 500GB hard drive. They will ask for that drive that's on special because they want more memory. How much more? They don't know or care. Casual people, when it comes to being casual about technology, are not going to take the time to invest knowledge in something that promises to be as easy as "plug it in and you play games".

Nintendo has done this so well on both handheld and console levels. The Wii? Has fun and simple games (Microsoft does too, and should take better attention in the marketing realm of Nintendo to capitalize), one console version, and one low initial price. There is no confusion, and you also won't see even the more hardcore of gamers complaining a year later that "I should have waited for the Uber-Teh-Roxor Edition". Wii and DS; buy it, plug it in (for the Wii) and play. Done.

Why is this so damned hard for Microsoft and Sony to grasp? Actually, that's easy to see. Microsoft has been a maker of PC software for too long, with two different worlds (home and business) to consider, for too long to break old habits. As for Sony, they have always been the elitists of the home entertainment (audio/visual) world and they can't break old habits of sounding like elitist jackasses. Meanwhile, Nintendo has always been about being "kiddy". I don't mean only appealing to kids, but bringing out the inner-child in all "kids" (grown and small).

I wrote the following (next two mini-paragraphs) early this morning, before Harmonix released their first ever Rock Band newsletter.  So, to summarize it, Moving Pictures is coming as the album download for Tuesday.  I'll still keep what I originally wrote (in italics), but I wanted to clarify.  If you want a link, then look on the Rock Band site or sign up for the newsletter.  I still guess another track (Metallica's really lame new single, The Day That Never Was, or something like's a bad song and Lars needs to turn down the damned mic level on his drums) or pack will follow.  Much like how Doolittle also saw the arrival of the three pack of Weezer's new stuff. 

To end for today, I already gave my guess on the RB DLC (the album Moving Pictures from Rush and the new Metallica single), so I'll end by saying one thing;

The world (read: Seattle commute and my current employer with their need for excessive bureaucracy which only hinder work output) needs to stop trying to piss me off. Afterall, it only leads to me having to write incoherent rambling posts (like the one above).

To end for today, I do have one thought...why are we getting an album that contains only seven tracks?  Why that album when two of the songs, as covers, are on the game already (Tom Sawyer and Limelight, which was DLC in January)?  Also, what will be done for YYZ?  An all instrumental song will be a bit lame for the vocalist.  Almost as lame as having to sing the new Metallica single (some of the worst Metallica vocals ever, if you don't count any of the crap on St. Anger).  What will YYZ entail...more cowbell?


Malik (8/22/08)

Gamespot has some details on how the transfer will work for songs from Rock Band's disk to Rock Band 2. It doesn't go into some details I'd love to know, but it offers a decent explanation of the basics.

In short, Rock Band will get an update on the day RB2 launches (September 14th...why a Sunday...why must I drive 16 miles to Seattle to get my pre-order when I assumed a Tuesday launch and I'd be next to the store I pre-ordered at since it's next to my work...sigh...). This update will add an export songs option to the main menu. Using a code that comes with RB2, you can then transfer the available songs to the HDD. Well, the code, the update, and also by using some price less than $5. Still not a bad price for this feature that's 100% optional. Of course this is only detailed for the 360 versions, since September 14th is only the 360 RB2 launch date.

The questions that linger are still there. Like what songs will not make the transfer? Yes, I assume anything Aerosmith (Train Kept a Rolling) is not transferring. I also assume that anything that gets a master DLC and was originally a cover (Tom Sawyer) will not transfer since Harmonix is going the way of master tracks. However, is anything that's a cover coming that's not available as a master? Will anything feature a surprise of being changed to a master under the cover of secrecy (Mississippi Queen for example)? Most of all, how much space will this take on my HDD? 20GB is finally starting to look small to me.

I'm glad the rumors that were floating around a few weeks back are not true. In particular, there was a rumor that said that we'd have to wait for the big 360 Dashboard update that allows installing games to the HDD for the transfer to be turned on. This will be day one, and that's what I want to see.

On another rhythm game note, I just have to say I find it funny that the first rhythm game DLC for the Wii will come from Samba De Amigo. It's about time that someone took advantage of DLC on the Wii. Even if space is an issue, it's not enough of an excuse to limit the growth potential of games on this console. To think, it took a monkey with maracas to do what the big boys at Neversoft and Harmonix wouldn't do. Once again, monkeys show their true genius. Maybe this is a sign of the end of the least for humans as monkeys enslave us all to work on banana plantations.

Yes, that last bit made no all.

To wrap up for the day, it looks like no further word has come from Harmonix about any other DLC this next week. So, it looks like, despite the overly strong rumors, the new Metallica single is not in yet. It also looks like this will be another time when the album is not accompanied by something else. I guess that one instance of the opposite (Pixies with some Weezer) may have just been Harmonix trying to cut off the shit storm of "teh Pixies sux and I wants my moar music that is teh roxor!!11!". Since Harmonix seems to worship Rush, I guess it's no surprise that Moving Pictures is flying solo.


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