First and foremost, Josh
Brown kicks so much ass. Another Seahawk's game, another successful
last minute field goal by Brown to save the thing. True, it's not
like he was going for 60+ yards, but still...in the clutch, a good
play, no matter what size or the nature of it, is always a good
play. Now the Rams are basically sinking into the distance, and if
the Seahawks can keep this up, especially with the likely return of
Alexander and Hasselbeck next week, things will turn out ok this
On a different random
note, I saw
article on MSNBC.com about the Playstation. Not the PS2 or
PS3...but the old school original PSX. Apparently, if you're an
audiophile, you could do far worse than to use your PSX as your CD
player. I guess, despite Sony typically putting half assed
components into their game systems (at least the non-gaming
components...see the PS2 DVD player), the PSX CD player is about the
best quality you can get...even with a giant bank account.
Ironically enough, you need to keep this system, one that dies so
damned easily, on all the time for the sound to really shine.
On Friday night, I
was finally able to get some time with Guitar Hero 2 in a
multiplayer environment...as in a few of my friends and I have some
drinks and started to rock out. This was my first opportunity to
enjoy GH2 with more than just the single player experience.
foremost, GH2's two player mode blows GH1's out of the water. In
fact, we never did play any of the face off competitions since
that's all we could do for the previous year with GH1. All we did
was co-op, and a lot of it.
The first and most
important feature on this mode is that the game no longer revolves
around compromise. If you suck at a song but the other player rocks,
then you now have the option of alternative difficulties. One player
can be on expert while the other is on easy, or any combination in
between. I think this one change, more than any other, will be what
will make GH2 accessible to the masses. I had many friends who tried
GH1 in multiplayer with me for their first attempts to learn this
game, and it usually ended with them annoyed at how hard the game
was (if we compromised with a medium difficulty) or it ended with
them wondering why I looked so bored (playing on easy). Alternating
difficulties for the different players is nothing short of a true
step forward. Plus, one person trying a harder than usual difficulty
while the second player carries the song is a fun chance for people
to push themselves forward a little more.
having one player playing the lead guitar while the other plays
either bass or rhythm (depending on the song) is great. That way you
really feel like you're working together. The majority of a song is
made up on different sounds overlapping into that wondrous
rock...with each player adding to the song. No longer do you just do
a competition and hope for half of the song to sound like crap (as
your competition suffers)...now you actually enjoy hearing the whole
thing come together.
Plus, when you
have a bass heavy song (Killing in the Name), it's just a little bit
extra sweet to know you can control the very strong and emphasized
bass line. With the right song, it's not even like the second player
(the one who's not the lead guitar) is not important.
Besides my Guitar
Hero 2 time this weekend, it was a pretty dull two days for me.
Between not having any other game to play (and too much GH will kill
your wrists) and a constant flood of rain, it's hard to keep oneself
So, I'll keep this
post short and end on a different note...a constructive one...a note
that involves a review of Tale of the Abyss.
I will probably keep
things short today. I popped my shoulder out of joint this morning,
so each second at a keyboard is about as much fun as stabbing a
knife into my shoulder and twisting. Yippee...
Anyway, if you
haven't heard yet, the PS3 pre-orders at
Gamestop/EB will not all be honored. It seems that, from the
sounds of it, Sony gave Gamestop some hopeful numbers, instead of
concrete numbers prior to the pre-order deals that took place a
month ago. So, in retrospect, the Gamestop pre-order situation,
which was supposed to avoid the whole 360 pre-order insanity, will
once again look like the 360 pre-order situation.
At least, for
those who pre-ordered with
Toys-R-Us, there orders will be honored. It's not much of a
conciliation prize for Gamestop customers...but...well...
I honestly cannot
really feel pity or anything of the sort for people who wanted to
avoid the mad rush to get a console by pre-ordering. It was always a
gamble in the past, and to hear it's still a gamble, but with a $600
"prize", doesn't really mean anything to me. In fact, if anything
this should serve as a real reminder; pre-orders, like with anything
else, are not always a guarantee...and to think otherwise is always
going to be costly.
On a different
next-gen note, the
Wii will get DVD playback in 2007. Am I supposed to care? With
the exception of the PSX with audio CDs (as mentioned yesterday),
add on functions for GAME systems are pointless. A DVD player that
you could get at Fred Meyer or Target for $30 or less will always
outperform your $300 (average number...not much of a real number
anymore) game system's abilities. The PS2 DVD player could handle
most DVDs with mediocre success. The 360 DVD player will work, as
long as you don't want to have easy access to any common features
(subtitle and audio track selection, for example).
personal take on this news is actually rather simple. If you really
care about a Wii with DVD functionality, you will probably not need
to wait for a redesigned console. Afterall, the Wii has a DVD-ROM
drive in it, and the most likely scenario will have a firmware
update for the Wii (which has it's 24-Connect dealio going on for
constant access to updates) that will allow DVD software on the
system. If anything, since the DVD consortium does charge about $20
to license DVD playback, it will be an update you can buy for the
Wii over one of the Wii Channels. It's probably that simple, since
it would only alienate Nintendo customers to plan a second design
prior to launching the first.
Ok. Pain is now
telling me to part ways for today. So, the moral of today's story is
simple; don't dislocate your shoulder as you turn off your alarm in
the morning. You don't have to do it to be part of the cool kids.
I finally got tired of
having no plot heavy game (read: RPG) to play, so I cracked under
the pressure and bought FFV Advance (GBA) yesterday. I know...FF3
(DS) is out today, but considering my past with the FF series, I had
to jump on 5 first.
I have played all
past Final Fantasy games, except 12. However, I last played FFV when
I was in high school (a good 8-10 years back...damn, that makes me
feel a little old). I never did jump on the PSX version, since I
just didn't feel like taking on the long load times of a SNES port
on the PSX. It always seemed like a shame to play a SNES quality
version of a SNES port, but to do it with all of the inconveniences
of modern gaming technology (load times on optical drives).
On the other hand,
I finished my last run through FF3 less than a year ago. So, I
figured when picking a new game to keep me entertained until Zelda
is playable and in my hands (when I have the Wii...since Zelda
should show up later this week, if Best Buy's web site is truthful)
sometime next week. FFV was the obvious choice. I know that FF3 has
the newly evolved graphics and game play tweaks, but FFV is such a
great game, and in reality the two games are very hard to make a
choice between. They are both solid games, at least in their
original NES and SNES formats.
So far, from about
three hours of playing, I have one solid opinion formed from FFV
Advance; the team that ported FFIV to the GBA are a bunch of pig
f$#@ers. FFV had more system requirements of the SNES when it came
along, it had a larger world, and it had a far more complex game
engine, yet FFV Advance plays like a dream while FFIV Advance played
When you wanted to
pause a battle in FFIV Advance, you would have to wait for a break
in the action. If you wanted to understand who would attack next, it
did not matter who's ATB meter (the meter that shows when a
character will go next) was filling the quickest. After all, by the
end of the game, it would take four turns of the rest of the party
before Cecil would be able to act (despite having the second
quickest to fill ATB meter). The entire game was a bug. True, some
of these issues (the ATB one) could show up in the SNES version of
the game...but you didn't get to see the ATB meter, so you never
felt like the game was screwing you over this badly.
On the other hand,
FFV Advance plays just like the original, but with a more refined
musical score. If you hit start, the game will pause...no matter
what the battle is doing. If an ATB meter was filled, then the owner
of that meter would attack next...no matter how closely another
meter was filling up. If you wanted to move, the controls are spot
on. If you wanted...well...it all works correctly.
Anyway, FF3 (DS)
will eventually come my way. However, with FFV Advance, Zelda (Wii),
Monkey Ball (Wii), Elebits, and a few other quality guaranteed
addictions around the corner, I think it will wait until next year.
After all, one of life's greatest lessons I've seen is that you
cannot give two plot heavy games equal love at the same time. One
will always beat the other, and I don't want two classics, like FFV
and FF3, to have to fight each other. It's just not fair to the
Before I get to anything
else today, let me give a big
"F#@% YOU, SONY!". If you don't feel like clicking the link, or
if you feel this is some sort of Sony-hating, hold on a second. This
is by no means my feelings towards Sony (I don't like their recent
moves, but it's the GAMES, not the system, I enjoy). Hell, if Zelda
somehow became a PS3 exclusive, I would follow the bouncing Link.
No, this is about
not realizing that people of the world can sometimes not have the
BEST of the best. For example, that link says how the PS3 will take
720p video and convert it for sets that don't support 720p. However,
it is not as simple as the 360, which will convert it to either
480p/i or 1080i. No, the PS3, in all of it's "technological
splendor" [/sarcasm] will only convert it down to 480p. That's it.
I'd also like to
add that what this article hints at is not quite true. It's not just
the older CRT HD-TVs that support 1080i while neglecting 720p. Many
HD-TVs that are still on the market are this way. For example, and
this is why I'm particularly pissed off, my HD set that I bought in
January (2006) is 1080i only. This is not some ancient HD set, and
this is not a CRT (DLP...I love the gay-ass mirrors...sorry, those
commercials suck balls). In fact, the ironic thing is that my other
HD set, a CRT from last year, does handle 720p (and 720i, 1080i, and
all of the 480p/i resolutions). However, it's also a tiny set (26")
and I don't think I'd rather play the PS3 in my spare bedroom than
play it on my 52 inches of DLP glory.
I would not be
surprised to see a firmware upgrade in the near future for the PS3
in regards to this issue. In fact, I think this may be yet another
case of "make it now, finalize it tomorrow", like we see with so
many modern PC and 360 games already. However, this firmware update
WILL take time to appear. Afterall, the PSP would see a security
crack (one of Sony's priorities) and then a patch would not show for
about two or so months...if not MORE.
However, the final
message I see in all of this is that Sony is continuing their
typical crusade of "we are the best". They offer a system that will
handle 1080p, has built in Blu-ray, has built in...hell, you name a
tacky and non-game related feature and it's in there. However, if
it's a feature that's not cutting edge, it will not surface. In
fact, anything that Sony deems obsolete is automatically screwed
Well, when it
comes down to things, I'm a game collector. However, if the PS3 is
going to be expensive as f#@% because of all of it's features, then
I better be able to use them. I am not f$#@-tarded enough to spend
an extra $2000 on a new HD-TV just because Sony tells me to. In
fact, I buy a game system because it should automatically work to
it's peak with what I own, assuming I have the basic requirements.
An HD compatible system should work on HD-TVs, and not just on the
BEST of the best. The 360, which Sony likes to liken to a toy, can
sure as hell output on my 1080i TV. So, until I hear otherwise, I
can tell you one thing this game console collector is not going to
do; buy a system that thinks it's too damned good for me, from a
company that thinks I should worship them because they are too
damned good for everyone.
Maybe this is
actually a "feature" of the system...just like the running joke on
the N-Gage was all of it's "features". Like how the N-Gage made you
originally look like a tool when you used it as a phone
(side-talking, anyone?), how you had to disassemble it to change
games, how you had no battery life, how it...well...sucked. Maybe
the lack of 1080i is a feature of the PS3...the feature to alienate
a good number of people and to try to force a new TV (maybe a SONY
brand?...f#@$ers!) on other people.
I sure as hell am
not dealing with this crap anymore. Remove features (like dual HD-TV
support, memory card slots, etc)? Fine...it wouldn't be a Sony
system if features weren't removed. Want to jack up the price? What
would a Sony product be without an over-inflated ego or price? Want
to have a launch with no good standout games? That's the PSX and PS2
launch scenarios, as well. Want to tell me my TV is crap? Well, at
that point Sony can f#@$ themselves.
To quote Token on
South Park; "I don't know what I saw...I'm out!"
Now back to my
regularly planned post...
There's a demo
either out or soon to be out on the
360 Marketplace for Superman Returns. I really don't care and
don't want to. I know that there has been talk of how the developer
is planning to make the first good Superman game with this one, but
I've seen enough Superman crap on game systems to be a little weary
of these types of boasts. Also, considering how I felt about the
Superman Returns movie (it was no Batman Begins...), I really
couldn't care less.
For one thing, the
movie itself felt so damned stupid. When you throw in the prospect
of a Superkid or whatever you want to call this kid in the movie, I
cannot feel compelled to give a damn. In fact, when the next movie
comes along, I'm not sure if I'd even want to see it. This is coming
from someone who sees almost all major "blockbuster" movies just on
the grounds of "eh, why not?"
Maybe if the next
movie promised the death of Superkid, I could be compelled to think
of Superman as being back, and not just being a DC hero that has to
be constantly bastardized in the name of making a little cash from
the old license. It's like with the new cartoon of Superman in the
future that is shown on Saturday mornings...Superman has died, and
it looks like it'll take more than a simple resurrection of the
license to save it. Maybe some real content would help...but only if
it's good quality content.
Wow. I went off on
some random tangents there.
Anyway, it's a
rather interesting time we live in. If you don't believe me, just
drive by a Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or Circuit City tonight.
You'll understand. Those tents? That line? The fact that about ten
times more people are already in line at some retailers than there
will be PS3s waiting for them is amazing. Amazingly stupid, I mean.
But, then again, some of those people are the first to camp for the
In fact, this is
one of the strangest launch times I could ever think of (followed
closely by the "Saturn? That came out?" launch). When you throw in
truck loads of homeless people, it only gets weirder. And yes, I
did say that and there's a link to it. People are so motivated to
get some PS3s for eBay that they have started to pay homeless people
to stand in line and purchase the system.
I would think
about calling it simple exploitation, but in reality the people
doing this are not too bad, compared to what they could have done.
They are paying each person $100 per day of camping out for a
system, and they are bringing food and all of that from time to
time. In reality, it's not too bad of a situation...at least on the
outside. It still feel really creepy to me. Also, what happens when
the 50 homeless people walk away with only a half dozen PS3s? You
combine $100 per day, with 50 people, and that's it's not just a one
day deal and you see some major funding issues in the end. It's a
nice way, I suppose, for these investors to lose a nice chunk of
cash if the number of PS3s is not up to what they expect.
Between the two
systems coming out on the same long weekend, it will make things
interesting for anyone who considered that it might be possible to
pick up one of these consoles without waiting or pre-ordering. At
least with the Wii, it will be re-supplied on a nice and constant
basis between now and five years from now (when the next unusually
names Nintendo system comes along). This type of situation just
makes me happy to say one thing; I have mine (the Wii...not the PS3)
pre-ordered, along with many games, and I could not be happier.
With a new Zelda
around the corner, and with how Zelda has never seen a launch before
(only a vague launch window or two), I am determined to be enjoying
some Zelda action on my Wii by this time next week. However, I still
feel that Nintendo has probably done wrong by offering it for the
Wii at launch, while the GCN version (the first one announced) has
been delayed and pushed back a half dozen times and will not find
the main target audience (those hyped about the GCN version for the
last two years) until nearly a month has gone by. It feels like
Nintendo is a bad girlfriend who ditched you for the guy with the
better toys...but has no problems of coming back for some money a
while later when things turn stagnant.
Well, I'm being
nicely random today, so I'll drop out about now. I don't know why
I'm bouncing off of subjects like a child with ADD bouncing off of
walls...so it's probably for the best that I go and re-focus myself.
Something I learned of
yesterday, for those who feel the price of next-gen consoles has
just gone a bit too far. I don't have a link or anything, but I've
seen it mentioned a few times from different sources (hard to link
to TV...isn't it?); Amazon.com will probably offer the 360 for $100
on Thanksgiving. It is the Core system and it will be limited to
their entire stock of 1000 units. I'm not sure the exact time this
deal is starting, but it should be sometime (my guess) around noon
(PST) that you'd want to start hitting F5 like a mo'fo' if you want
Considering that a
Core 360 is normally $200 more, this is one hell of an offer. Throw
in a HDD ($100) and you're still under the price of the Core
normally and you're under the Wii price. Who says Black Friday is
the only day to get crazy sales during the holidays?
Anyway, to shift
gears a bit, I want to retouch on something I went off about
I suppose you
could say that Sony and I have a love-hate relationship like no
other relationship I have with the gaming world. Sony loves my
money, and I hate having to buy their shit in order to play the
games I want. However, in the end all that matters about a console
is the games, right? Afterall, if you want a console for the system
itself, then something is not right with that picture...and if you
want a bunch of games for a console, and it is in your means to
acquire without any hardships, there's no reason to avoid the
console just because the developer is an ass.
Well, my past with
Sony, and their wonderful level of third party support, is a very
ugly one filled with many scars of battles and conflicts. My first
Sony hardware was a Playstation. With the PSX, I went through a
period of loving the Sony console lifestyle...but then when I was
enjoying Saga Frontier (yes, I did enjoy that stinker), the game
started to lag and become unresponsive. This only continued for
about a week. That's when the PSX died completely.
I replaced the PSX
(at cost, since Sony nhas a convenient warrantee that ends right
before the thing breaks), and moved on. A little over a year later,
I was playing Xenogears. Once again the system lagged. It died a
short time later. In the long run, I had to eventually buy a total
of four Playstations. FOUR!?
Then along came
the Playstation 2. I was enjoying the thought of being one of the
first to own this thing, and I made sure (via the F5 button...try it
now to see what it does if you're confused) that I had one from
Amazon's initial shipment. Two days later, all was good...or it
would have been if not for the lies that came up from Sony. Awesome
launch lineup? Nope. Emotion Engine to make my games ultra realistic
(like a Pixar movie)? Hells no.
The years passed,
and Sony went through lawsuits as their system started to die more
and more frequently. I figured, at least I was spared. My launch PS2
was still golden. However, I started to play with modding the system
(voiding any chance of being in on a class-action settlement if my
PS2 died). Amazingly, my system survived...it would sometimes have
DREs, but they would be solved by turning my PS2 on a diagonal bias
when I turned it on. All was good...until the week before the slim
PS2 was released. Sensing that it was time to be replaced, my PS2
magically knew it was time to die for good...and leave me, with my
dozens of PS2 games, needing a slim PS2. Well, it was also the
holiday season, so I was stuck with having to search and kill a good
deal of time to find a new PS2. One month later, I was able to play
my games again.
Now, Sony has the
PS3 fresh out of the factory. That's not a bad thing by any means.
Afterall, competition between Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are what
help to drive innovation and make the gaming world far more exciting
to all of us. Well, it would be even more exciting if the lies had
Sony has promised
a "true HD" experience. Well, what wasn't noticed was that any TV
that handles 1080i, but not 1080p or 720p will have to have all
games designed for 720p downscaled to 480p. Is this a "true HD"
experience? I think not. In fact, this is the type of crap that
should have been noticed before now, as someone had to program the
system to downscale (just like they should have programmed the
system to upscale to 1080i). So, someone over at Sony felt the need
to ignore that some HD-TVs are only able to show 1080i and not 720p/i.
This sounds more like a cop-out of Sony to force someone to
reconsider a new TV (maybe a Sony branded one?).
As for those
fanboys who say that potential PS3 owners with one of these TVs
should have been more intelligent in their TV purchase, I have one
thing to say; Shut the f#@$ up! No intelligent person would buy a TV
for a game system. If you want an HD-TV and you only plan to use it
for gaming, it should be one you'd enjoy for all gaming. If you want
one for entertainment, then it should be good for all entertainment.
However, if you want one for the PS3 and you bought one for the PS3,
then there was no way to even know about this issue until 48 hours
ago. This was not a lapse in judgment by TV purchasers, but rather a
lapse in judgment by Sony.
By the way, I
bought my HD-TV for entertainment. No single thing was more
important than anything else. TV (especially sports and nature
shows), 360, potentially a PS3, and computer all ranked right up
there with each other.
To get back to
things...Sony also promised an exciting launch.
I guess they did deliver, but in all the wrong ways. They said
there would be a world-wide launch...I guess Europe doesn't matter
to Sony. They said that there would be plenty of consoles to go
around and that they wouldn't launch in the same sad way that
Microsoft did for the 360 (Microsoft had a real world-wide launch
with more consoles supplied to each region than the PS3 did). They
said that there would be exciting games (maybe Resistance can be
counted...but nothing else in the PS3 launch).
They even had
other promises. The PS3 would support dual HD displays. I didn't
care, but they said it would be there. It would have been a
completely worthless type of situation (dual widescreens), but it
was still tossed out there.
In fact, this type
of rant can continue for a good long time. I could go off about the
PSP and how faulty it can be (especially the infamous square button
or the magically automatically ejecting UMDs). I could talk about
the value of a Sony portable music player (Walkman or Discman) and
how much less it did than the less expensive competitors. I won't
even say "Lik-Sang" (<---after that one mention). I could say a lot.
However, I will just say that if this console generation doesn't see
some really exciting exclusives on the PS3 then I will take my money
to Microsoft (Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Dead Rising, etc) and/or
Nintendo (Mario, Zelda, Smash, etc).
It's not that I'm
an anti-fanboy for Sony. It's rather that I don't give a flying f#@$
about the console. If the games are there, and I like the games,
then I typically find a way to get the hardware. However, if I know
that my 360 version of GTA4 (next Fall) will play in 1080i and the
PS3 version is 480p (because of the 720p downscaling), then my
choice is obvious. In fact, this time around, I need more than the
games. If I'm paying $600 or more (sale tax sucks, at over 9.0%, in
Washington state) for a console, it sure as hell better be a good
system...that allows all people with the required technology to use
it in the same ways. Afterall, I enjoy consoles the most for how
universal they are. You have the stuff needed, then your experience
should be like everyone else's.
I have honestly
never felt as unexcited for a console launch as this one. It just
feels like the egos have expanded a little too much and this is now
a time of who's better than who...instead of a happy time when games
are king. Plus, when you consider the price aspects, like seeing a
limited console selling for more than 5 times it's MSRP (eBay),
something just feels dirty and unclean about the whole experience.
I don't know what
my real message in this was. In fact, I suppose you could say this
post was more about how we got there than what the final destination
was. All I can say in the end is that I have no real love for any
console maker, but I guess Sony had it's final straw with the 720p
downscale crap and I now do hate one console maker. Will I get a
PS3? Maybe in a couple of years when the prices die down some and
when a firmware update fixes the 720p/1080i issue...and if the games
are right. For now...well, Sony will have to wait and get their act
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