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Malik (8/21/06)  

I think it's rare for me to be glad that the weekend is over...however, this Monday I'm feeling like things may be better off with less time to do nothing. I say that since this was a weekend with enough drama and confusion to last me for a good long while.

Anyway, I did in fact see Snakes on a Plane on Friday night. I'm not sure, still, what to say about this movie. Did it live up to the hype? Was it a good movie? Was it a really bad movie? I honestly don't know.

I do know that SoaP was a movie that entertained me. However, it's one of those movies that I may not regret paying to see the first time, but I would probably have to be paid to see it anymore times. It was a great movie to see if completely drunk, but a horrible movie to see multiple times while sober.

Samuel L. Jackson did an awesome job of acting in the movie that featured so little of that (acting). The plot, which is well known, is a silly thing about overly active snakes being released on a passenger jet as a witness to an organized crime revenge slaying is being transported from Hawaii to LA on said plane. It's not a good plot, but when it's all about Mr. Jackson killing snakes, we don't need a good plot.

What we did need, and what was not too frequently found, was good acting skills. The actor who played the witness (you can look this up if you want...I really don't care) was on screen almost as much a Jackson, but offered no visible acting skills. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was given the script only seconds before filming began. We made Keanu Reeves look like a Shakespearean actor of the highest caliber. This applies to almost all actors in the movie...if you can call them actors despite not ACTING.

Anyway, if you enjoy the prospect of a good drinking night, this movie should be included (after the alcohol has been allowed to take effect). Better yet, this is a perfect drinking movie/game (drink each time the witness shows no acting skills...wait, that would involve a few trips to either the toilet or the ER). How about drinking each time a gratuitous scene of sex or violence arrives? Maybe drinking each time a wound of stupid proportions to dealt (high heel stuck in the ear, snake biting a nipple, snake chomping down on cock...and I don't mean a rooster)? Still, too much alcohol would be required for any of those.

If you haven't seen SaoP and you're a Sam Jackson fan, then you owe it to yourself to see this once. If you never caught on to any of the hype and you don't like really bad movies, then skip this one...

There's no real news or anything of interest today. At least for geeking. I could say a lot about myself (like how I'm now looking at possibly being my old intern's subordinate with how my job hunt is going), but that's not the point of this space. So, before I dwell on anything too un-geek, I think I'll just sign off for today.


Malik (8/22/06)  

If the random rumors being reported at Gamespot mean anything, the Wii may be selling for as low as $170 when it launches in a few months. I don't really know what to make of this, since there's a lot of factors in this calculation. However, I do know, like we all do, that most of the technology in the Wii is not cutting edge, so a price this low could be plausible.

I also know that Nintendo is in an ideal position to take advantage of their liquid assets (they have money) and take a little hit from selling the Wii for cheap. This would help to ensure that the Wii is more proliferated in our geek society. However, before this price is called in any way official, there's one key factor that should be kept in mind...

Nintendo has not announced any price yet, and they will not until September. When in September remains a mystery still. However, I think, with all of the pricing rumors, it's best to keep a positive attitude and accept only the solid facts from Nintendo. The Wii will be cheaper than $250...but that only means that the system can go from anything from $249.99 and less. There is simply not enough Wii info from the source to make any conclusions, unless you like the thought of being potentially disappointed in a month.

There's also some random info at Gamespot about the PS3. Namely, this is info from analysts about their take on the PS3 and whether or not the system will be a hit or a miss.

Like with anything else, this is all info that time will have to be the final judge on, but I do find some issues entertaining from these analysts. For one thing, they don't necessarily know their facts in more ways than just having figures in front of them. These analysts seem to have mindsets of non-gamers, like most analysts in the game industry do, but they really seem oblivious to the real facts, as they would be seen by gamers.

This makes me wonder the same exact thing that analysts have always made me wonder about; who keeps paying them money to do this type of "deep thinking". When so many analysts in the same field have such divergent opinions with such non-committal terms being thrown around, it makes analysts seem like the most useless of professions. However, considering they still get paid at the end of the day, it also makes me wonder another thing...why am I not paid to do this type of half-assed thinking for a living? I could do it (and I imagine you, dear reader, could as well).

Anyway, I haven't been saying much about the games I've been playing since there isn't much to say...for now. I'll be playing Saint's Row once it arrives in about a week. However, I've been filling the downtime with some old school nostalgia. Namely, I've been playing through the extra material in FF4 Advance, the whole game of Chrono Trigger (SNES...of course) from the beginning, and plenty of random as hell Virtual Boy titles. I wish there was something to say, but all I could really say that's worth the text I use to type it is this;

Chrono Trigger needs a sequel...well, another sequel and one that continues the time travel theme (not the reality shift theme of Chrono Cross). This is an awesome game, and a sequel would allow Square Enix a chance to prove if they are more than a one hit wonder, with their flood of new FF themed games that don't live up to the hype.

FF4 Advance should serve as a warning to Square Enix that they should not do things half-assed. When FF5 Advance arrives, it better have fully functional controls, and not just this emulator feeling control setup that FF4A showed off so poorly.

The Virtual Boy is like a drunken movie. It's good for a few times, but in the end, you'll have to face the day after. I only paid about $40 for my VB with 8 games, and it was worth it. However, if I was given the option of buying one again, I'd do it simply because I like to have my own museum of gaming history. This is not a product for the uninitiated...unless you really dig the color red, and you like the prospect of gaming giving you a serious headache when the day is said and done. That said, I love my VB and I still think all true geeks need to at least play a game of Mario Clash once in their life to see what would make an awesome Wii title.


Malik (8/23/06)  

A quick random thought...what the hell is with pink game systems in Europe? I feel like either I'm missing some sort of bizzare joke, or that some major news event happened in Europe to make pink an important continental pride thing. It doesn't matter one bit to me, since a game system should be more scored on what the displayed image looks like than the actual system, and since it's not a North America thing, but I'm still very confused and intrigued.

To change gears to a non-pink game system, some new Wii games have been announced at Leipzig in Nintendo's little show over there. While none of these games really mean too much (a new Mario sport we didn't see this coming a mile away), it is nice to see that the Wii is already looking like it'll have a far superior library versus what the GCN had. If this holds up, I think this will definitely be the generation that Nintendo reminds us all of why they were once the big boy in the gaming world.

However, while many good games have been announced, and while even more average sounding titles are being announced each week, I still have to keep things in perspective. In particular, we need to accept that what we see now may not be what we see a year from now. Look at the titles that have been canceled or turned cross platform with the PS3, for example. Things are always changing in the gaming world, and it seems that no solid conclusions will be formed about this new generation until a few years from now.

Well, I still have little to actually add to this thread from a personal perspective. I'm still playing Chrono Trigger (and loving every freakin' minute of it). I'll probably still be playing CT until Saint's Row hits the streets next week. However, that's not the full reason why I'm keeping things short today...

I have a lot of work (I do write these things prior to starting my work day, and today is going to be hectic), and even more on my mind. Especially, I have to tell my not so kind supervisor that I'm looking to leave this job (the condition I have to meet to get my uber-boss as a reference). So, I'll keep this short, and since there's not much important news, it probably won't even be noticed today.'s time to face the beast.


Malik (8/25/06)  

I was not really in a good "place" to really post yesterday. In other words, I had an incredibly long work day and was too damned tired and pissed off to have been a good poster. However, I should say that this may well be the case a couple of times next week. We'll see how that all plays out when the time is upon us.

As for some actual news...well, pseudo-news in the form of rumors...It looks like there's a chance that Lumines Live! will charge for a little too much. If there is any truth to the rumors, it looks like Lumines will require people to pay for the game, and then to pay for the ability to play against the CPU...and then to fully access the mission mode...and then there will probably be extra charges for other various crap. If this is true, this is what I always feared with micro-transactions on the Marketplace.

When the horse armor pack was sold on the Marketplace for about $2.50, I was unhappy. A lot of people were saying both online, and to me via emails, that I have all rights to simply not buy the content. However, it set a precedent that is being continued, and that's why I was so against it. If a game is completed, let the purchaser get the whole damned game. The horse armor was ready basically from when the game launched, but was removed to be on the Marketplace for some extra money. This Lumines content, if the rumors come true, is ready and should be part of the game, but it will go for extra just to get extra money. Have you checked the Samurai Warriors 2 section on the Marketplace? If not, then you will not have seen that the ability to hire or purchase many characters in the game are unlocked guessed it...cold hard cash.

This precedent was exactly what I've feared from the start of that magical buzzword (micro-transactions). Games are being released without their full content. While some could argue that games cost more to develop, I would like to say that games have also gone up $10 (20%) this generation. If you want to argue that you're getting extra content, I'd argue back that much of the content that is ready at launch was just that...ready at launch and should have been free or included with the game. Extra stuff that takes time to program (like the area downloads for Oblivion) I fully understand cost money to make and were completely armor, characters already in the game, and the ability to play against the CPU are not things that fit into this category. This is just greed.

If a game is to have extra content, make a clear distinction between costly extra content (licensed cars, for example) and those things that should be free and really aren't that expensive to include and should be covered in the cost of the actual game (playing against the freakin' CPU). When this line gets blurred, that's when I have a problem. If I pay $60 (well, it's about $66 thanks to taxes), I want a $60 game. I don't want most of a $60 game and the opportunity to finish the game purchase through a series of $2 micro-transactions. $2 may not be much, but look at the amounts of payable content on the Marketplace per game. The term micro-transaction stops making sense once you have enough to pay upwards of $20 or more extra to complete the game.

Speaking of crap on the Marketplace, the Just Cause demo is out. While the demo downloaded, I watched the various teaser videos also on the Marketplace. I couldn't help but think that either the game would be very bad, or the videos were just showing the most absurd parts of the game (jumping from airplane to airplane in mid flight?!). Well, once the demo was downloaded, I knew...

The absurdity is what this game is entirely about. Well, the absurdity and a complete lack of control responsiveness. It makes it even better when you can't f$#@ing lock onto anything correctly as a singular dude is shooting you. Controlling a vehicle is a chore, moving around on the exterior of vehicles is as much fun as it seems like a logical theme to base almost an entire game upon (in other words, it's not fun), the controls are overly confusing, and in the end, this game just doesn't look like it'll deliver anything worthwhile.

True, this game does have a couple things going for it. The visuals are really nice. However, we're talking about a game, and not some damned screen saver. Nice visuals can only be an asset if the rest of the game is tolerable. Also, this is only a demo, so it could turn out the the final game is not this bad...but considering how much the demo was focused on the stupider aspects of this game, I doubt that. It's like thinking a Star Wars game could end up not having any mention of blasters or light sabers, despite a demo showing constant use of them.

In reality, Just Cause is yet another attempt at someone trying to take the GTA play style, and throwing in an excuse for even more violence (you're fighting on an island led by an evil dictator...think Mercenaries...but far worse), and then trying something retarded (the vehicle stunts) in the guise of not purely imitating Mercenaries and GTA. I think, once next week is said and done, the simple truths will be clear. The only GTA clone that I think has an honest chance of being amazing is Saint's Row...and I only think that because it's basically GTA and not just another attempt to throw in a pointless game play element not in GTA that drags down the whole game in order to make a point that this game is NOT GTA.

Lastly, FF3 is out for the DS in Japan. I've been following this game's development since it was first announced and I have to say a few things about what I've read. First of all, I want this game and I want to play a properly translated version of this game, and not just a fansub of a ROM image. Secondly, I think the MogNet idea was just flat out stupid (you have to send letters to friends, AKA real people with FF3 and a DS, in order to unlock the best items and abilities). Thirdly, the idea of fully healing after a boss fight defeats the challenge that was FF3 (and this game was freakin' challenging...and great for it).

Most of all, however, I feel that this game will be worth it, even for those who have played and beaten the NES version. Seriously, between the proper dialogue translations and the FFVII style visuals, this will play out to be a whole new game. I just really hope something is done about the MogNet between now and when the US release comes out (which is now scheduled for the very busy month of November :o). At least this is something worth waiting for for the DS...and another justification that I can use when I say that I got rid of my PSP (sorry, but Legend of Heroes doesn't have shit on FF3).


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