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).
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.
I tried out most
of the new song DLC for Rock Band last night...as 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
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
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
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.
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
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
added...at 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
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
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.
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
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 that...it'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;
(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?
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
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
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 world...at least for humans as monkeys enslave us all to work on
Yes, that last bit
made no sense...at 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.
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