Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (12/15/08)

Snow is awesome. Well, except when it destroys any part of your property (like a deck cover...sigh...). Saying that, it would have been good fun if the Seahawks played at home yesterday. The cold, the wind, the would have made for a great football game.

Instead, the game was on the road in St. Louis. At least the Seahawks won in the most unlikely way. Instead of giving up a decent lead in the fourth, the Seahawks took the fourth quarter to win from behind. It may have only been a small 3 point margin, but a win is a win. Now Seattle is not tied for last in the NFC West. In fact, unless something weird happens (like St. Louis winning another game), Seattle will remain 3-13 over the Rams at 2-14 when the year draws to a close.

Since I have stopped caring, I actually saw little of the game until there was 2:49 remaining. That would be when Seattle tied the Rams at 20-20. It's hard to put much more effort into watching than that when your team is such a disgrace from the previous few years of constantly seeing the playoffs.

I'm still playing Chrono Trigger DS on the side. That is to say that I've now finished every quest before defeating Lavos (final boss). Then I can get some bonus endings, and more importantly I can face the final extra dungeon that opens after you beat the game normally. That's the one part I'm most interested in, since I've seen each ending a few times of the original twelve endings.

On a final note for today (which will require another shorter post), I never used Ayla (the cave woman) on Chrono Trigger. I used her, on the SNES version, only when required. Beyond that, I did use her for the Blackbird (a dungeon in which a person who fights with no weapons is a blessing). This time I changed my mind and gave her a chance. Not because I like her abilities (she's the only character with no magical attacks, which makes enemies immune to physical damage a pain for her to face). However, that was easily ignored when you take advantage of her charm (steal) technique. Holy crap...nothing like pillaging all your foes for some of the best shit in the game. I cannot believe I ignored this ability for so long. I guess that's why replaying these ports can be so much fun...the new things you learn.

On a final note for today, I don't watch game award shows. I find them completely off base with anything I care about, which (by the logic of Fight Club that we are not all unique snowflakes...quite true, even if it does sound pessimistic) means they probably don't carry any weight for the majority of other gamers. For example, I like RPGs, which are still usually a niche audience type of genre. The same can be said for puzzle games. In fact, beyond action, FPS, and (now) rhythm games, most genres are beyond the least enough to make most popularity contests (like makeshift award shows for games) irrelevant. Plus, everyone, much like with asses, has an opinion. Also, like asses, most opinions stink. So, with that in mind, the only real award for "Game of the Year" that I care about is my own opinion. In my opinion, the "GotY" for 2008 is Rock Band 2. However, some people will say GTA4, some will say Fallout 3, some will say whatever the latest Tom Clancy offering was. For some it's...any game can be game of the year to someone out there. If I only played Braid this year, I'd call it GotY. If I only played GH:WT, then I'd have to, by logic, call it GotY.

I bring this up because of two things. First off, it let's me say that you will never find me go "OMG, teh GTA4-zor is teh GotY!!11!!1" I have no stake in my favorite game being awarded an award which holds no meaning. I don't ever hold any stake in my favorite game winning a worthwhile award (like being put in the Smithsonian, like the Virtua Fighter games have been). I don't make the game, I don't earn money on it, and the only thing that matters is sales...and that's because a good game will usually only find a sequel in it's future due to good sales of the original (like how Okami and Beyond Good and Evil are both prime targets for me to have cared about their sales, and nothing else...wonder if the BG&E sequel will ever materialize...).

Secondly, I didn't see anything about Dante's Inferno until this morning while looking at gaming sites. I didn't see some big announcement on Spike's Video Game Awards show (since when did Spike even become an authority on...anything?). However, I can now, after reading about it, present my ass...I mean my opinion.

I love classic literature. I don't mean the crap that gets passed off in modern Western society as literature. Jane Austin is nothing more than the older equivalent of one of those novels from the 1980's with Fabio on the cover. I mean the really old school marvels. A good example is Dante's Divine Comedy. This was one of the first examples, in Western literature, of a narrative being told in a complex and complete format. Even if the material is not interesting (which it is), it's an amazing example to browse to see the evolution of modern narratives from ancient writing styles.

Ok...enough with me sounding high and mighty and elitist (which wasn't my intention...just saying where I'm coming from on my opinion).

This game is retarded. That is my opinion. Inferno was not written with some idea of a violent FPS (or third person shooter) being evolved from it. It was written as a study of many things. Action is not in any way relevant. This was Dante's chance to examine the metaphysical, emotional, and to strike a chord of revenge against his enemies (who are seen as being in the Inferno for crimes committed, usually against Dante during his life). All of this was done to set the stage for a story of love that goes beyond the realm of the living. Dante's ultimate destiny (in the narrative) was to find his beloved in Paradisio. This journey would take him through the Inferno, beyond Purgatorio, and would conclude with Paradisio. In fact, that's one important part missing from anything you'll find in any game set to the Inferno; there's two places in which violence and action would be the farthest thing from the matter of the story, and the narrative cannot be concluded without these two other destinations.

Two destinations that are often times dismissed by the less refined literature lovers simply because they don't have the classic sex appeal of hell. Inferno is rock/country (pain and anger forming a rush of adrenaline for your senses). Meanwhile, Purgatorio is jazz and blues (mellow, but still with a soul all it's own with both highs and lows averaging into a medium ground). Paradisio would be classical (soothing and comforting, but with some energy usually missed by those who are just looking for a lot of quick gratification). Inferno (like with rock) is a blast, but it cannot be fully understood and appreciated without the other two parts.

While I hold Dante's classic in full esteem and would recommend it to anyone looking for quality literature (and this comes from someone who generally prefers to play a game over reading an old tomb of written works), I can say with full certainty that this game will never find it's way into my hands. Even if the game is fun, it will still be like blasphemy to the written word as we all know it in modern society. Plus, I bet it will be a game that's simply "generic FPS/third person shooter" set in the setting with the least amount of skill needed to create...a setting that's in public domain and is already created.

Paying homage to Dante's classic is great (for example, the fiends in FFIV are named for demons in Dante's Inferno)...but distorting it for nothing more than an easy buck (which will sell just because of how it can make any random person feel like they are a master of the classics, which doesn't equate to real mastery of anything) is an insult to a great artist. I know I would definitely not be happy to see my own work distorted by someone for a cheap thrill, and I imagine this type of treatment of his visions would not be appreciated by any of the classical masters.

What will be next? Maybe "The Merchant of Venice"? You must slay, in one on one arena combat, all who stand in your way until you collect your pound of flesh (each kill gives you one ounce and sixteen will let you beat the game). At least games based on "Three Kingdoms" are using war situations to recreate a tale set in a war filled time.


Malik (12/16/08)

Just a short post today, since I have little to say beyond how much cold weather is starting to piss me off. Nothing like ice, winds, and hills to make for a fun time...or a hellish time if you are sick of this already.

Anyway, there's now word, as of a couple nights ago, that Ten (the first Pearl Jam studio album) is coming to Rock Band on March 24th. I haven't brought it up because it's three months away right now. I only bring it up now so I can try to avoid looking like life is so damned crazy right now that I've given up on paying attention to anything beyond my own self.

Also, I must say that as a Seattleite, I hate this news. "But don't people in Seattle love Pearl Jam?" No. Well, not all people. I grew up having their music crammed down my ears with non-stop all day Pearl Jam marathons on the two local not-classic rock stations every time they held a concert here...which was nearly every month it seemed. This wasn't the case with other local bands (Presidents, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Sound Garden, etc.)...just Pearl Jam. Non-stop Pearl Jam. I still can't avoid a day of hearing Alive or Even Flow on the radio, no matter how much I try.

On a final note for today, there's some lawsuits out there in the gaming world. Most seem to revolve, at least on the consumer involved suits, towards the 360. There's the RRoD suits. There's suits about Microsoft failing to deliver on Live any time a surge in use triggers an outage. There's suits about poor customer service in repairs of warranted systems. However, I think my favorite is on scratched disks.

I don't mean it's my favorite because of how it's a well founded suit with great merit. I mean it's great because it's funny as hell (in a sad way) and reminds me of how much lawsuits can easily show how people simply fail at life. If I took my old fat PS2, my 360, or any other disk based system with a slide out tray (instead of the top loader GCN/slim-PS2 style, or the self injecting system like the Wii) and rotated it while a disk was in the tray and the system was running it would be scratched. It is a defect? Yes. However, this would be a user defect. Simple logic says that a high speed drive, with a front load tray style, would cause scratches on the disk if it's moving when I decided to flip around the drive/drive's housing. It's logical.

If your system is scratching disks while the console is not moving, which is sometimes the case, then it's only fair to expect compensation. However, if a suit is brought forth with the idea in mind that Microsoft did nothing to protect the disk when it's spinning if the user to too damned stupid to paid any attention to either the manual (which says to not do it) or logic (which says to play your damned game and not play with your damned system physically), I have to call bullshit on it. What next? Maybe we could all sue Microsoft is our consoles scratch disks when we drop the 360 a few feet to the ground while it's running. Afterall, that would scratch any disk inside.

People need common sense and a sense of responsibility. If you do something inane, like turn your 360 from vertical to horizontal (or the opposite) while a disk is spinning inside, then it's your own damned fault for scratching your disk. Microsoft didn't tell you to move the console while it's running (in fact, the manual tells you to not do this...ever). You got the damned idea in your head on your own. However, we live in a damned time when self-entitlement feelings overshadow any common sense. We are not entitled to compensation from uninvolved parties just because we fail at life. In a big hypothetical situation (meaning it would never happen...have to say that when you type anything like the following); If I spill hot coffee in my crotch, while moving my running 360 to a horizontal position, while committing an act of violence (read: murder) with a firearm, I cannot sue McDonalds, Microsoft, and Rockstar for my own failing at life. It would be my own damned fault, and that alone is reason enough for why I won't ever have third degree burns on my groin, scratched 360 disks, and a pending murder trial.


Malik (12/17/08)

Just a quick post today. I was reading random stuff online and had to hold back a good laugh at this. To top how the personal PC, which will only ever need 640kb of RAM, is now extinct since it was said that it will have died by now (and it no longer plays games either since gaming would move entirely away from PCs before 2008), it will soon no longer use keyboards! Yes! I'm so glad to know the future predictions of techies, since they are always right!

To be serious, this is hilarious since a prediction of this sort is a lot like trying to answer all questions with lies. DRM will only get stronger (or at least more half-assed and intrusive). This is obvious. It was one thing when the RIAA was freaking out due to Napster, Kazaa, and all those good old P2P servers. This is what introduced the damned DRM idea to the masses, and only helped to proliferate it's use so much that games would soon have deeper ideas than hard to copy CDs/DVDs. It was all done in the lame concept that piracy cost RIAA (and software makers) dollars per year.

In reality, sometimes piracy would hurt the bottom line, but more times than not piracy seemed (in my humble opinion) as a solution to a consumer base that was starved for entertainment but lacked a good outlet for their money. Read: crappie CDs (including clone bands, like the billion of identical emo/scene bands we now have proliferating the market), games that are more tech demos than full games, and products with numerous flaws/glitches led to a consumer base that just didn't want to waste their money on flawed merchandise. In fact, sometimes piracy was seen as a solution to DRM. You could avoid a malware DRM protocol by finding the DRM-free pirated version of a game you'd want instead of buying something which would permanently infect your PC. Sometimes the consumer would have to make a choice that could be recognized as wrong in order to appreciate something said consumer would want to pay for and support legally.

DRM will only get worse in the future, not be eliminated. This is due to a few simple facts. First, as the economy gets worse, the RIAA and game publishers will be in dire need of income. DRM is seen as a solution to this problem of a lack of consumer money. In reality, if anything, this will exaggerate the existing problem and lower sales numbers even more. Secondly, the RIAA and publishers both feel very smart...even if they are the exact opposite. This false sense of grandeur will let them think that by making a more advanced DRM utility that they will win over consumers while covering their assets (or is that asses?). In reality, it will only worsen the matter. In the end, however, the RIAA and DRM-fanatical publishers will be too damned blind (self induced is bliss, after all) to their target audience (consumers) to stop and realize that they should think out better options (good music, a chance for diverse genres and ideas within their catalogues, finished products that are not simply glitched tech demos in constant need of patches/updates).

As for Think this scenario. First off, what is the easiest way to type a long message/document? The keyboard. A touch screen is, for one thing, less responsive. Secondly, is a touch screen keyboard somehow not a keyboard? It's still a keyboard no matter what tactile feel it has. Now imagine you are in a cubical at work (where many hours of keyboard use is done by a hundred or so million people each day). If speach recognition is so damned good to replace a keyboard, then what will this cube filled office be like? Simply put, hell on Earth. Try to get work done over the noise of a hundred fellow cube dwellers trying to out-speak their neighbors. If this ever happened, which it won't, I sure as hell am leaving the civilized world behind. I think it's officially a sign of the apocalypse...non-stop chatting to non-existent people surrounding you every single day. Libraries would even be more fun as the librarian hushes the people who must speak for their PC to do a simple card catalogue search.

The rough consensus was that "few lines divide professional time from personal time," and that professionals are happy with the way work and play are "seamlessly integrated in most of these workers' lives."

Glad I don't live in this constant hell in which my personal and profession lives overlap so damned much...unless it means I now get to play Rock Band at work! Awesome! Because unless I'm getting paid for it, my professional life is not coming home with this geek. Also, that's not just me speaking as a microbiologist would be arrested for having a biohazardous substance if I took it home with me...uncontained.

Another, which also met with broad agreement: "Talk and touch are common technology interfaces. People have adjusted to hearing individuals dictating information in public to their computing devices. In addition 'haptic' technologies based on touch feedback have been fully developed, so, for instance, a small handheld Internet appliance allows you to display and use a full-size virtual keyboard on any flat surface for those moments when you would prefer not to talk aloud to your networked computer."

So says this source of oracle like vision. Well, I can tell you two things...the bubbles these techies live in must be great...even if they are very isolated and lonesome. Secondly, my addition to this quote; "People are also used to dealing with trying to vocalize to their personal data devices while people around them tell them to 'shut the mother-f#@$ up before I shove that up your ass', so it's win-win".

Also, did I just read the keyboard is coming back in this future vision?

Also, when it comes to some game genres (I know, according to techies, games will not be on PCs anymore since they would have vanished from this platform a decade ago), like FPS and MMORPG, could you imagine not having the good old keyboard? No more quick number macros for your spells? No more movement via WASD? No more quick save button sitting right above your left hand? Yeah...keyboards are definitely obsolete in the year 2012. That's called sarcasm.

These types of informal surveys remind me too much of the old Conan O'Brien routine "In The Year 2000" that he did before the year 2000. He'd name some incredibly impossible scenario with a slight joke aimed at a current event. Maybe these supposed tech experts are trying to recreate that routine with their "In The Year 2012" version.

Now to go walk my robot dog, turn my briefcase back into my flying car, and to enter my VR holodeck to play some of that futuristic craze known as "Pong". Don't forget to not feed your tribble...but keep him handy in case a Klingon is anywhere around plotting to take your dilithium crystals.


Malik (12/19/08)

Next week will not be a whole album for Rock Band DLC.  In fact, this means that we will not, unless Harmonix releases two the next week, see all of the albums from that announcement in August this year.    Of course it was never quite stated, beyond rumors, to be all coming in 2008.  So, it's not like Harmonix is letting down anyone as much as the rumor mill is letting people down.

This week will see the second batch of Foo Fighters in the last month and a half (or close to two months) with DOA, Times Like These, and This is a Call.  While I'm all for variety, this is a nice step up from the Christmas offering of 2007.  Besides Dirty Little Secret (which is one hell of a guilty pleasure), that was a pretty bad week.  Even if it was the first week, beyond launch, to offer more than three songs and to offer $1 tracks.  Anyway, the three pack of Foo Fighters is going for the usual price of $2 per track or $5.50 for the discount pack price.  Not bad for a week when Harmonix employees probably cannot get into their work due to the blizzards hitting the country.

Speaking of which, time to get back to my early starting vacation thanks to massive snow storms in the Seattle region.


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