I was aiming to do
some Ys this weekend, but once again I failed horribly. On one hand,
GTA:SA was just too much game for me to turn down (I'm nearly
done...so this shouldn't be too great of a problem in a couple
days), and secondly I was helping some friends move, which led to me
being too tired and busy to do too much in the way of geeking.
However, I did
catch a few movies, at least. I saw the DVD of The Incredibles. I've
seen this movie a few too many times, as it is. It's a great movie,
and perfect for the geek audience. However, the best part, for me at
least, was the extra stuff on the second disk of the set. The extras
included that Jack Jack Attack feature...the one advertised on the
commercials for the DVD set. But the best part was some imitation
Mr. Incredible cartoon that was made (in context to the movie) right
when supers had to go underground. The cartoon is a really cheesy
still image thing with human mouths super-imposed over the faces of
the still animation. It includes Frozone as Mr. Incredible's
side-kick. The cartoon is funny enough in the poorly done 19070's
style, but it's even better when you have the commentary track,
featuring the commentaries of Frozone and Mr. Incredible. This is
some of the funniest shit I've ever seen.
I also watched New
Police Story. It's a movie made about a year or so ago that
continues the plot of Police Story (or Supercop as we call it in the
US) with Jacky Chan playing the same old character we've come to
enjoy watching. However, the plot, the villains, and the acting is
all done on a level that I've never seen in a Jacky Chan movie
before. The tone of the movie is often time depressing and dark, the
villains are not the usual one-dimensional foes who are only out for
money or power, and the acting is on a level that I've never seen
from Jacky Chan.
The stunts, which
we have grown used to being amazed by in Jacky Chan movies, are a
little more low-key in this movie. They are still amazing, but they
are a little more subtle in their design. It's the type of thing
that is good to amaze the audience if they know what they are
seeing, but won't take away from the plot and the acting and can be
seen as a little more believable. In the end, this is not a movie
for those who watch Jacky Chan just for big stunts and crazy fight
scenes...this is a movie for those who like to be entertained on
more levels than just what an average American action movies can
Anyway, as you can
tell, games were not really front and center for me this weekend.
However, I am still getting in a nicely healthy (or is that
unhealthy?) amount. I played a good 6 or so missions on GTA
(including the casino robbery and one of my personal favorites;
Vertical Bird), and am back in Los Santos (which I'd have to be with
having done Vertical Bird). I should be able to finish quite soon
(assuming the draw distance doesn't kill me anymore...in Vertical
Bird, a telephone pole appeared right in front of my Hydra jet as it
flew at full speed...and then blew up at full speed), and then I'll
have no more excuses to keep me from Ys.
Also, I've been
thinking a good deal about the PSP. In the end, with it coming up
pretty soon for it's US release, I have to say there are only a
couple of things keeping me from watching it. I mean the battery
life is not good by any means, but I care not about that; I could
easily get power if I need it from a car adapter or the AC power
supply. The crappy design of the Square button is workable. I mean
the PS2 controls tend to have shoulder buttons that jam, but I get
through that fine (and a jammed R2 can be far more annoying than a
less responsive square button). Even the flying UMDs of doom are not
that bad...knowing me, I'd just tweak the latch for the UMD drive
and make it work as it should. No, the problem I have is the same
problem I have with how I got my PS2 and my GCN; bundles. I just
don't want to buy a useless bundle set. I mean it includes a movie,
and I don't aim to use this thing for movies. Period. It's a game
device. That's all it is to me. That's what I would want it for.
Games. Namely, right now; Ape Escape. Also, the memory stick...32
MB!?! Wow! It's like being in the 1990's all over again. If you have
a warehouse full of 32MB memory sticks, don't force them on to
people in some lame bundle deal. Seriously.
Anyway, I just
felt like venting. I mean I'm not buying one of these monstrosities,
and I felt it was my duty to explain why. Also, I wanted to
reiterate my hatred of bundle packages...after all, it's how I ended
up with Armageddon on DVD...and that's a feeling no one should have
to go through.
Well, yesterday I
did a couple of things. First off, as you can see right above this
post, I bitched about the lame value bundle (or whatever the f%$#
they are calling the way we Americans will be forced to get a PSP).
This is completely wrong. A bundle is never the right answer to the
question of "how will we sell our obsolete memory sticks?"
or "how will we squeeze an extra couple of twenties out of our
market?". No, the bundle is only the correct answer to this
question; "how can we be total dicks about our new
Yeah, I am still
going off about the bundle, and I will until people stop this
bullshit. Seriously, the use of bundles are bad enough on their own,
but even worse in the modern geek landscape with how we can ONLY buy
a new system in a bundle. Usually it's not even the good type of
bundle (well, the "less crap-tacular" type of bundle),
like how I got my GCN; where you can pick the games that come with
it. That wasn't too bad. I mean with the GCN launch, Kay-B-Toys
forced people to buy 3 games, but of the buyers choice (as long as
it was in stock). This is a lot better than with the PS2, which had
almost nothing at launch, as it was, in which Amazon forced me to
chose one of three really lame game sets. When there are no good
games at launch, the lack of selections makes it feel even more like
you're being screwed.
However, at least
things are different with the PSP. I mean the bundle only includes
an obsolete memory stick (32MB, does not store an "impressive
amount of data"), headphones, a battery (which should be
built in...I won't even go into this now), a cleaning cloth...when
the f$#@ was it decided to charge extra by forcing us to also buy a
freakin' cleaning cloth with a PSP?!?!...imagine the meeting when
Sony decided to not only unload a ton of old and worthless memory
sticks on the public (probably because it would be illegal to dump
that many into landfills), but to try to make the geeks feel better
with a cleaning cloth.
when I said things are different, I did mean it. This time, instead
of just a bundle, you get to buy your bundle in a bundle. That means
there's more fun bundled in your bundle that pulling the will to
live out of your wallet. Besides Bestbuy (who I linked to above),
every major retailer is selling this bundle in a bundle. For
example, check out EBGames,
which, judging by the web address, they seem to call this type of
shit "value packs". So, with them, you will have to pay
$400-$430 for a freakin' portable system that should be selling for
about $175-$180. Yeah, that sounds like one hell of a bundle offer
to waste your money.
But, at least,
that's not nearly as bad as the ToysRUs/Amazon
bundle of doom. Yup, 5 games in one bundle. There's no options.
It's these five games, or you get the f%$# out of their web site.
That's the options they present you with.
Do you know the
odds of liking every game in a bundle? Especially when the bundle is
4 or 5 games? I'll give you a hint; these bundles are not put
together by gamers. They are put together by retailers who know that
games like NBA will appeal to gamers, and that games like Ape Escape
are too obscure to sell to many people. So, you put both of those
games, with a couple of others, into a bundle and you will make
people feel happy with their NBA, confused with their Ape Escape
(one hell of a good series, I must add), and ultimately the
retailers just sold about 5 times more games than they would have
normally. Plus, these games will soon come back to the retailers for
trade-in credit, and then the retailers will make a little more
money off of the people who had access to a different bundle
ranting a bit, but not about the PSP. I will keep this all in
perspective. I like the idea of the PSP...I just don't like some of
the flaws, like the self ejecting UMDs, the poorly designed square
button, and the very short battery life. Despite what Sony or the
fanboys would say, these are real problems. Especially the battery
life issue. However, the real problem, beyond all others, is how we
cannot buy the PSP how Japan had the option to buy it; outside of a
bundle. I would, in all honesty, pick up a PSP (I do know where to
get one despite not pre-ordering it...I didn't pre-order the PS2 and
I had one day-one without waiting in line outside a store for 2
days, or even 2 minutes...it's really easy to do) when they're
launched, if I could get it without the headphones, the memory
stick, the blah, blah, blah. I would just want to buy the PSP, and
only the PSP, and Ape Escape. That's it...for now.
For those who are
touting the PSP as the second coming, or as the greatest moment in
gaming history...sigh...I'm disappointed. Not in the PSP (well, a
little...flying UMDs...), but in these people. The fanboyism is
insane. Plus, when these same people talk of how bad the DS is.
Seriously, both systems have some flaws. It's not a one-sided thing.
The PSP has flaws and over-priced games, the DS has flaws (not many,
however, from a hardware stand point) and too few games (but
backwards compatibility with the GBA, which is hella sweet). Plus,
as Nintendo keeps saying, these two systems, just like with the GCN
and PS2, are not geared towards the same people. So, if you don't
like the DS, then just move on. Tell us all why you don't like it
and then move on instead of bashing the DS with your love of the PSP.
These two systems don't have to be compared.
Anyway, I will
shut up about now. I just felt like getting some of this bundle crap
off of my chest. Also, I felt I should clarify that I actually may
be interested in the PSP and am not one of those damned DS fanboys
(and there are PSP fanboys a-plenty too)...I just don't think Sony
is being considerate of our gaming dollars right now, and $50
portable games and required 32MB memory sticks are not showing
otherwise. Anyway, if you're one of those people who want to jump on
the PSP bandwagon and didn't pre-order, check out those links above.
I'd suggest the first one (Bestbuy) to avoid extra bundling of
The PSP is
launching before my next post, and I can't help but wonder one
thing; why have I talked so much about it this week? I think I've
just been caught up in the rather lame hype for this system, but in
my own way. Unlike the majority of views being expressed on the net,
I'm not a Nintendo fanboy (although I do appreciate Nintendo for
it's fun feel that is often times neglected by Sony and Microsoft),
and I sure as hell am not a PSP fanboy. In fact, I can see some good
in the PSP, but I can see some major flaws. The biggest of which,
the bundle pack, is what is ultimately keeping my excitement level
to a minimum...well, that and $50 portable games when I can get high
quality console games for the same price.
So, I'm wanting to
stop talking so much about this thing. It's a new system, and it's a
new type of system (the first handheld by Sony), but it still is
just another system. This is not the system that will change the
gaming world forever. Hell, it won't change anything, beyond giving
us another system to throw our geek money at.
So, on GTA:SA,
which is still pwning my attention span, I decided to go after every
territory this time around. I only grabbed as many as I needed my
first time through, but I figured I wanted to pushy my influence a
little further this time. While it's been fun, I think it's also
been incredibly lame having to drive all the way to the northern
edge of San Fierro (and above) to get the final areas. I can see why
these areas were included...Rockstar didn't want you to be able to
get all of the areas until the end of the game, so some had to be
outside of Los Santos. However, these areas are full of bugs when
you're trying to do gang wars.
I cannot find any
Vagos in San Fierro's northern territory, despite how it's the final
yellow zone on my map. I found Balla's (?!), and I found the Vietnamese
gang, but no Vagos, despite the area being yellow, so I cannot start
a gang war. This was annoying enough, but I'll get through it. The
worst part was when I went further north to the little city with the
boat school. I started a war with the Vagos, and the game decided to
throw me a curveball. The Vagos all appeared, in the gang war,
underwater. In other words, I could not kill them since they were
running on the ground, at the bottom of the bay. It was too far to
lock on, and being underwater, I couldn't do anything to get
them...all I could do was swim to the bottom of the bay and look at
them...I really should've taken a screen shot of that.
fixed that bug by leaving the area to cancel the gang war, and then
I returned to start it again. However, as soon as it started, I got
as far from the water as possible, and this made the Vagos spawn
elsewhere (on land).
I still can't
believe I haven't even put Ys into my PS2. I really do want to get
on to this game, but GTA:SA is just throwing too much entertainment
my way. I figure I'll put it in by the end of this week...I
Well, so much for
wanting to play Ys or with finishing GTA:SA for a second time. I
didn't get a damned thing done last night due to
"responsibilities". I have grown to really hate that word.
I mean when that dreaded word involves having to shop around for
financing options for a car that you have to research, that will
require insurance that you must shop around for, while you suffering
from the "wonderful" news that you have to get a couple
fillings...damn...last night sucked.
However, it did
end up resulting in two geek related things. First off, I played a
ton of Mr. Driller (DS) while I waited to see the dentist. It didn't
make up for having to get some fillings, and all that other crap,
but it did entertain me in a way which most games could not. I'm not
saying this is a perfect game, but it is a good deal of fun when you
don't have the attention span or time to play anything long and
involved. I mean if you have about 5 minutes, you can play a couple
games of Mr. Driller, while that time would fail to give you any
time to play something more involved. Plus, despite not knowing why
I like this game, it is really addictive in that type of way that
web based games, like those from Pop-Cap, are. That type of
addictiveness that cannot (and maybe should not) be explained.
Also, the stress
just got to me after a while. Normally this involves me buying a new
game (that may just sit collecting dust...sorry, Ys...), but since
it's this magical time of year, it involved me ordering a PSP. I'm
not sure when I'll get it, since my usual method of getting a system
right before launch was way over-priced, so I had to go with a more
mainstream retailer...which means I'll probably have to wait a
couple weeks. At least the games I bought with the PSP will show up
pretty quickly...wait, that's not a good thing...blah.
Anyway, I figure,
since the stress of "responsibilities" are still pissing
me off, that tonight will be a bad time to start Ys. I mean I am in
the middle of a GTA:SA game, and I cannot think of a better stress
reliever than capping some virtual ass. If I started Ys in this mind
set, I'd probably get a bad first impression, and then I'll have
passed by what is probably a really fun game.
So, I'm not all
that with it tonight. Sometimes life just takes a crap on you...and
then you just need a nice break from reality...thankfully Rockstar
has this covered for me.
I was trying to
finish GTA:SA, for a second time, but I think one mission has ended
that. I'm talking about Grove 4 Life. It's a mission in which Sweet
and you have to take over some territories (which I already
reclaimed). This is a very bitchy mission (speaking of bitchy...no
Malik's Bitchings this week, but the PSP may make that come true
next week...). Sweet has all the intelligence of any other AI NPC in
this game. In other words, he likes to walk into traffic and get ran
over...then the mission ends. He also likes to stand in front of
you...and then you accidentally shoot him and the mission ends. It's
a lose-lose situation. If the mission included an option of leaving
him behind, I'd love this mission (gang wars are hella fun). Anyway,
I tried about five times last night. The best I did involved taking
all but one of the required territories before Sweet jumped in front
of a speeding car and it ended.
So, in my
frustration, I popped in Ys. Now this game is amazing. I cannot
believe I waited so long to put in into the PS2. It may have some
flaws (like the worst voice acting I've heard in the last 2-3
years...and every line in the game is voiced), but it is nothing
short of pure addiction. I thought I'd play for an hour or so, but I
ended up playing for about 4-5 without even realizing it.
The game plays a
lot like a cross between Crystalis (NES), Ys 1, and Gauntlet. You
have large armies of evil monsters to hack and slash through, a
limited number of equipment, and some elemental swords. The plot is
a little stale, in some regards, but rather interesting in other
ways. Also, the visuals have a simplistic look to them, which
actually makes it perfect for nostalgia fans. This may be my
favorite action/adventure/RPG of the year...well, not counting Jade
Empire (which will claim my life in a couple weeks).
So far, from what
I've played, I've gained plenty of levels, most of the game's armors
and shields and weapons, about 22 levels, and a good sense of losing
time without knowing it until I actually looked at my watch. This
game is one of those rare ones that actually makes it fun to just
gain levels. Killing monsters is just fun.
I'll try to play a
lot more in the coming days, so I can write a review. It may take
some time, since I'd like to finish this game first, if possible. At
least (well, in this regard it's good...but it's sad at the same
time) this game is supposed to be quite short. However, there's not
many good games of this genre that are much longer than 20
hours...just look at Zelda and BG:DA. The review should come,
...in my hands is
a thing of prettiness. I have yet to turn it on (since I feel I
should post this before I play anything...business before pleasure,
and all that), but it does look mighty pretty. Yeah, I'm talking
about my PSP, which arrived today. I'm hoping for the best,
expecting something in the middle, and not too happy with having to
get a bundle to buy this thing (since my usual connection failed
me)...that is, on top of the Value Pack bundle. Sadly, the games I
have are not really ones I wanted (except Untold Legends...A.K.A.
BG:DA Portable), but I should rectify that with Ape Escape quite
posted enough for today...actually, I just want to try out the PSP.
I am still not a firm believer, and I will probably not call it the
best thing ever (like many sites are doing), and I definitely have a
soft spot in my heart for the DS...anyway, I'll let you all know on
Monday how this thing compares in my less than fanboy mind.