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Malik (10/2/06)  

Red Octane has finally set some solid information on Guitar Hero 2 for the 360. In particular, the game will indeed come out sometime after we all change over to the new year. However, beyond that, the controller for GH2 for the 360 will be wired...for some sick reason.

While it makes sense that the first part of that is true (the 2007 release date) since GH2 was originally designed off of the PS2 architecture, the other part makes very little sense to me. For one thing, considering the massive size of a guitar controller, I doubt they simply ran out of room for the wireless transceiver/transmitter in the controller. I also doubt it's a price thing, since it really should cost that much more (maybe about the $10 difference Microsoft charges for first party controllers) to make one wireless. No...this makes no sense, and it's pretty sad.

I was already getting excited about no longer being told that I am rocking out too hard when I yank out a controller cable during an intense solo. I know I'm not the only one that thought with the 360 wireless in place, that no game would benefit nearly as much as good old Guitar Hero. After all, this is the type of game that is meant for wireless...sigh.

Well, I'm still enjoying the slightly under-rated Lego Star Wars 2. Damn! This is one great game. While it may not be the visual feast that many gamers seem to demand in the new generation, it more than fulfills all it needs to be. For one thing, visually, if this game was improved much I don't think it would feel right as a Lego based game. However, beyond the visuals, there is simply nothing really important to dismiss about this game (except the occasional freeze...which is true with all games in the modern gaming era).

I've finished playing through the entirety of the levels in story mode. This may not take much time if you're only out to just beat each level, but it does take some time if you're into finding each Easter egg (of which, there are more than a few) and if you want to get a completed game (like finding all collectables...which is actually fun in this game).

I've also started my journey through free play, in which I'm happily taking Boba Fett through a journey to help the rebels. Now this mode is where the game really shines, since it is this mode in which you can play as whoever, whenever, with no holding back.

I think, despite having beaten this game, I won't be done actually finishing this game for a couple least. There's just too much to do and too many possibilities to enjoy. It's like watching the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD/VHS/ may go through them once, but you're not done. You're never done.

Speaking of done...that's the best word to describe the Seahawk's winning streak. I still can't believe how badly the game went yesterday. I wouldn't have minded if the game was close, and if it came down to something logical (like Alexander's absence leading to more field goals as no one could rush the ball when it's 3rd down on the 6 yard line)...but watching Hasselbeck throw interception after interception...ouch. Unless something changes with tonight's game, he will have the most interceptions so far this season.

It's not over or anything, but if the last 1.5 games is any sign of things, something is wrong with the Seahawks. I'll still be glued to my TV for each game, but I am starting to feel like a change is in the air...and it's probably not for the better.

Before I go for the day, one last thing. Remember that Enchanted Arms review I promised to show in the near future. Well, the future is today. That review is up and running. Enjoy.


Malik (10/3/06)  

For some reason, like a train wreck, I cannot look away...especially when you can surprise people, with stealth skills (or is that "skilz") with a tasty Whopper. Yes, I'm talking about the new XBox and 360 games from Burger King. While these games sound about as high of quality as a modern shareware game (as opposed to a demo of a commercial game), they just seem to grab my attention in a weird and almost unsettling way.

Plus, when you consider a $4 price tag from a fast food joint I'm already willing to occasionally clog my arteries with, I think I may have to pick up one of these...namely the Sneak King game. I know I want to jump out of a trash can with a BK sandwich to surprise some unsuspecting individual with tastiness.

On a side note, is this some sort of message about their food? You have to sneak up on people to get them to eat it...? It's perfectly find to hide in a trash can with their food? It won't lower the quality or how safe it is to consume? Wow! Now that's one heck of a pathogen encrusted food item!

Anyway, despite how silly this promotion may seem, I think it's actually pretty smart. This is a perfect way to bring more fat asses (no offense meant...I enjoy BK the most of all national fast food chains found in my county) to the BK family, and it's a great way for both Microsoft and BK to feed upon each other and the inbuilt audiences. Plus, by only charging about $8 ($4 for the value meal and $4 for the game), this is a cheap alternative to doing nothing at all. Also, it will give some kid friendly games to the 360, which is one thing that console is seriously lacking.

So, there's not too much to talk about today. News is slowly trickling in, despite the fact that we are only one month away from when all hell breaks loose (the dreaded November rush is soon to befall us). I would imagine more surprise news about now than just what Burger King is doing with Microsoft and that Nintendo will possibly only supply Wii kiosks to Gamestop around the middle of next month. I would've expected some real excitement about now...but I guess there's already enough to plan for with how chaotic November will be for companies to not have free PR people to actually spread some exciting rumors.

Anyway, PR people are apparently no longer needed anyway. After all, it's the executives of the big companies that are becoming instant celebrities. Who needs any PR person to hype the Wii when Reggie Fils-Aime will be selling the first Wii? The same happened with Microsoft when Bill Gates was involved in selling 360s at the Best Buy in my current home town. Maybe Kutaragi can sell the first PS3, and also give out some friendly Kutaragi styled bullshit at the same time of how the entertainment supercomputer will also be able to do chores around the house...making it the cheapest Blu-ray playing maid service in the world at a mere $600 dollars!

Well, it's another day with too much to do, too much thinking needed (like needing to finalize my job changing decision by 5 on Friday...I loathe deadlines...), and not enough to talk about.


Malik (10/4/06)  

When the 360 launched, one of the big questions (besides "where do I get a 360?") was as to the nature of the gamer points and achievements. In a nut shell, these points served as a way to brag about how 1337 you are and nothing else. So, no changes ever occurred, but many jaded gamers and developers started to view these achievements as a way to ensure longevity for their precious games. After all, how can you really be done with Oblivion when you haven't scored the points for being the leader of a certain guild (even if that guild meant nothing to you)?

Well, I'm still in the position of thinking these achievements are completely worthless. Hell...what am I going to care if I unlock some new gamer points? Not one bit. In fact, just getting the damned pop-up notifications of how I scored some gamer points is enough to bring down the fourth wall and to keep me from truly getting into a game. If these gamer points never existed, I could be a far happier geek.

I guess I'm representing only one side of the equation. After all, we now have This group will actually earn gamer points at the "small" rate of 10 points for a dollar (assuming you want 1000 or more points...yes $100 dollars to increase your GP...). I really, honestly, in my heart, hope that this type of service fails. If this is the type of service that can exist in a world focused on achievements, it first of all means these GP are worthless (as I think already) to even the more GP hungry of gamers. It also means that people really are willing to throw away their money on anything, including the equivalent of trying to score a new high score.

This is just the type of thing that the new generation of gaming needs to NOT be about; obsession over being the best in a skewed and unleveled play field. I say that for two reasons. Wanting a high GP total is actually rather petty and pathetic. More than that, some games are far easier to score points on than others. Assuming I cared about my GP, this would upset me since many sports games are just easier to score points in. Trying to play 24 hours of Zuma is far more annoying and challenging (from a patience perspective) than trying to play 24 (I think that's the number) hours in Saint's Row. When you look at some sports titles, it only becomes more insanely easy to score GP and feel like you did something worthwhile.

Well, there isn't much else to talk about today. I could go off about how Sony is dropping in the stock market like an iron weight drops in the ocean. I could go off about how many developers are starting to feel that the PSP is a dying medium (like I felt when I sold mine about 9 months ago). I could find a thousand things to bad mouth about Sony...but it's not really worth it today.

I could also go off about how Microsoft is really not taking the initiative on the new generation wars, since November could spell a lot of pain for MS. However, that's not worth going into today.

I could also ask some questions about if Nintendo is really getting ready for the Wii launch with the right level of enthusiasm...after all, Nintendo executives selling Wiis may seem sorta interesting (if you also find the average sit-com interesting), but it's not the same as trying to really crank out the wow factor in light of how a Wii, which is meant for multiplayer action, is going to be insanely pricey with the cost of Wii-motes ($40) along with nunchuks ($20 each) and classical controllers (~$20 each). I just don't feel like it today.


Malik (10/5/06)  

It's not even mid to late November and it's already begun. I'm talking about the rumors of how the PS3 is overheating (based on reports from TGS) and how the hardware will be prone to technical problems from day 1 (or is that day -45?).

Well, Sony has a reply on these issues. Is it any surprise that the Sony response is that these issues are imagined? Is it any surprise that Sony will not owe up to any issues? Is there really an issue? Well, the first two questions are almost hypothetical since they are so damned obvious from the PS2 and PSP launches. However, the real question that should remain in all of our minds is if these issues are real.

In the end, I think it is obvious that two things will probably occur on the actual launch. First off, there will be heat issues. Seriously, with how much new technology is being crammed into these small (ok...the PS3 is a behemoth) new consoles, heat is a major issue for all to ponder. It's like when new PC mobos, video cards, and CPUs hit the market, usually the first generation is heat plagued. Secondly, a new console will always launch with less than perfect results. It's a simple fact that if you buy a first generation console of a new generation, the bugs will not have been worked out.

In fact, if anyone buys a launch PS3 and doesn't think that the two old problems (technical failures and not enough good games) won't exist, then this person is a Sony fanboy and is not willing to face reality. I still laugh each time I hear of someone with a less than a year old 360 complaining of not enough good games. There is no console in recent (about 10 years) history that actually launched with a solid line up. In fact, I think the SNES is the last console that had more than two noteworthy games (F-Zero, Super Mario World, Pilotwings, Actraiser, FF4) in it's first year...although the Wii may change that.

On a different note, this goes to the rock-aholics out there in Seattle; Alice in Chains is playing the day after Thanksgiving! F$#@ YEAH! Tickets go on sale soon, via Ticketmaster, and the pre-order is today. I am already there!

Besides what I said, I really am lacking for anything to say. I couldn't even play some buggy levels of Lego Star Wars 2 last night, due to how driving a whole 2 miles resulted in 2 hours being killed when I simply needed to hit the grocery store.

If you didn't catch that, I did say LSW2 is buggy. I did so because it is. At least the 360 version fits this description. Sometimes you can play for 5 hours at a time and not have an issue, but other times the game will die, crash, and freeze...many times. Especially bad is that it most often happens on Super Story mode (in which you play all the levels of a given movie with a set one hour time limit)...and then it happens in the last few minutes of the last chapter/level. Talk about a nice little feature. I guess that's called a reason to replay old levels...and then replay them again...and again...and then throw the DVD down the garbage disposal.

While I do enjoy LSW2, this is not even my first real issue with the 360 version. The largest issue is that the LSW characters are included on the disk (obviously they are since the download for these prequel characters is only a few hundred k), but you have to pay real money to unlock them. Viva microtransaction!

Ok. Enough complaints. I've got enough bullshit on my mind to be able to get to caught up on this whole BS. So, I'll focus on the good...Alice in Chains!


Malik (10/6/06)  

Peter Molyneaux is at it again. At least that's how most people seem to see things when he does this type of thing. He will be working on a new game, like Black and White 2, Fable, or whatever, and he will happily tell everyone who will listen about his novel and amazing new ideas. However, in the end, he usually delivers just a fraction of what he's excited about delivering.

It's definitely not how I see it. Personally, even if he doesn't deliver all of the goods, I still love to hear what's on this gaming god's mind. He is one hell of an inspirational force in the gaming industry, and this is what the development side of gaming needs; people who actually love what they do and get honestly excited about it. After all, even when Molyneaux doesn't fully deliver, it gives other developers higher goals on what they will strive to achieve.

So, this time, Molyneaux is telling about Fable 2 and what the game will allow us players to least what we can do if everything he wants is included. The largest parts of what he's excited about this time fall into two categories.

Before that, however, there is one other small piece of news that may make half of the fans happy. You can now be either male or female. So, if your a woman/girl who's sick of always playing the role of a guy, then things are looking up. Also, if you're a complete pervert and you want to get your lesbian fantasies into the Fable world of Albion, then you are going to be able to.

First off, he wants us to be able to buy anything in Fable 2. See that shop? Want it? Buy it! See that entire town? Buy it too! If you want to purchase something, Molyneaux aims to deliver the ability for us to buy anything we could possible want to own. While this will probably ultimately fall upon us only buying a limited number of locations from the final total (I doubt we'd be able to buy dungeons, ruins, caves, etc.), it should be a cool idea to let us own keeps and shops, along with houses and the usual lot of accessories.

Secondly, he wants the player to be able to have children. Not only that, but your children will love you, the avatar (or chicken-chaser, ranger, paladin, or whatever your titles is in the game), unconditionally. This means that if you are seen being an evil bastard, your kids will imitate you and be bullies. If you are a great hero, your kids will become mini-paragons of virtue. At the same time, your spouse will always want the better life, and this will give you more side quests (of obtaining a better quality of living).

I like what I'm hearing, but I have one small concern; age. In the first Fable, you aged with each new power or stat increase. This means that, for many player, you reached the maximum age long before you even started the second leg of your journey. I know I was a 65 year old man, both times I played Fable, before I ever even found the fate of my sister...which is still early on in the game. Hopefully, if you're going to have children, who have to age some to go from infant to adoring admirer, you won't be 65 and withered before you even start being a role model.

I would suggest that this time the game should age you according to something like how many quests you've done. That would make more sense. After all, the first game made experience too easy to obtain, and thus you would level uncontrollably at the start of the game. Along with how the first increases in an ability increased your age the same as the more expensive master levels of a skill, you would simply age by spending tiny amounts of XP in an attempt to learn every spell early on.

I also hope that you are not the only one who ages this time. It always felt a bit silly that I went from my teens to my 60's in the same span that everyone else aged not a single day. Of course it was always amusing to be 65 with a hot trophy wife :P

My other question, since there are now children in this game, is what will happen if you play as a female character and you get pregnant. Will you stop adventuring, or will you be running through a dungeon with a giant belly? Will time just automatically pass from conception to child birth? I'm honestly curious about this. On top of that, will same sex couples have children, and will they allow it through some sort of adoption, or will it just magically happen? I am seriously curious how Molyneaux will tackle some of these matters, which may end up facing the chance of being controversial.

I have to say that I hope Molyneaux has learned a lesson of only saying things that will actually be in the final product. I don't say this for my own expectations (I've never been disappointed in any game he's designed...honestly), but rather so that his anti-fans could shut the f#@% up already. I really can see a genius at hand when Molyneaux does his thing, but I think it's an honest shame that so many people attack him for something as honest and innocent as getting excited over his line of work. I wish I was more able to be as excited as Molyneaux when I'm working...and I think 95% of the Earth's work force feels the same.

Well, on that subject, I've turned down a job offer this week. It's been the only offer I've received in my 16 months of searching for a new job. It was hard to do, but it's a position that would consume far more than 40 hours a week, every week, without compensation, and would have been way too unchallenging for me. I need to be challenged by my job, and while I would like to make a few thousand more dollars each year (which this position would've given), I just can't stand the thought of having the science equivalent of an assembly line job. So, if things go well, I'll be missing more days between now and whenever at job interviews...oh...I hope I get a lot of interviews and some more offers. If you're a well wishing sort of person, send some of your happy thoughts in my direction...and on that hippy sounding logic, I am out. Good weekend to you all.


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