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Malik (4/4/05)  

Well, if I seem any less coherent than usual for a few days, it's because I'm tired of the old and antiquated notion of daylight savings. As far as my limited interest in this subject has taught me, this is something from the days when farmers were a major profession. The workday was best scheduled around the sun rising at certain hours, and since we like to mess with what we can't control, someone came up with messing up the sleep schedule for all of us non-farmers. Yipee! Many years later, I'm tired as hell and don't know a single person, especially any farmers, who are glad to lose an hour of sleep each Spring (especially since it's a weekend hour). 

Anyway, I'm think that the following link will work in a short while; the Ys VI review is finished, but I'm adding screen shots to round out the experience (and doing the editing work to make them pretty). It shouldn't take long, but until it's done, that link will be there doing nothing. I am glad, however, to have this experience behind me. I came into Ys loving the game, and what did it get me...the same emtpy feeling that Xenosaga 2 gave me. Actually, that's wrong. Xenosaga 2 left me with a far worse feeling that was not only that which one gets from playing a bad game (which Ys ultimately gave me), but also a strong feeling of betrayal...Ys VI was pretty loyal to what the prior Ys games were about; just poorly executed in some areas. 

I mainly spent this weekend with the PSP. I think my consoles are not going to get much love until Jade Empire (which did go gold) comes along in a little over a week. Until then, Untold Legends, Ape Escape, and Wipeout are all holding my attention span. Also, with the higher than usual price for PSP games versus other handheld games, I have to say that is definitely a good thing...I'm still not crazy about $50 portable titles, but I'll deal with it as long as the games are actually good. I just hope the release calandar for the PSP doesn't start looking like the DS...which is probably going to face some severe problems in terms of peoples' love and attention, unless some good titles come out really soon. Nintendo needs to surprise us all with some quality games right now, because no good games from Wario Ware (or Yoshi, if that's your thing) until the last few months of this year is not a good way to manage a new system...especially if you've already done this shit before with the N64. 

I did try out the wireless Internet browser with Wipeout this weekend (if you're trying to find the details on how to do this, I used this post at I guess I'm supposed to be impressed or excited. I mean if you checked out any message boards (like at, you'd see geeks going ape-shit over this hidden "feature". It's a nice bonus, in theory, but it's still nothing amazing. The connection is slow since the PSP is not designed to handle all that many forms of content beyond text and images. Also, the amount of information you'd need to set this up (like router IP address) makes it too complicated to use anywhere that it might prove useful. Instead, the only logical and simply places to set this connection up for would be somewhere like your own home, a friends home, blah, blah. In the end, this means that you'd probably have a PC to use for web browsing anyways, and the PC would do a lot better of a job doing so. 

Anyway, I've need to do some good old PhotoShop to get that Ys VI review done. Check the link, and it should work shortly, if it's not active already. 


Malik (4/5/05)  

July 7th! According to Gamespot, this is the date Japan will see Katamari Damacy 2. Also, unless a solid release date for the US is posted before then, that will be the day that my reserved copy of the Japanese version ships to me. I mean, while the first game was awesome with the weirdly worded dialogue, the game play was even better, and didn't require any real language to appreciate. I think I'd rather play the Japanese version as soon as possible than to sit on my thumbs and wait for an American release (unless a real release date is posted and is not much beyond July 7th). 

Also, in upcoming games that WILL be really cool, Burnout 4 is being revealed in small bits at Gamespot. Burnout Revenge, the next game in the series, will be fully unveiled at E3, but at least we have confirmation that the next game is in the works. It should be getting a Fall release (and considering how Burnout is almost an annual event now, I'm not's like Tony Hawk games, but seems to get less stale with age). The only real details, so far, beyond how the game is in development, is that there will be new race, crash, and (best of all...) Road Rage modes. I'm just glad to see, like with Burnout 3, that the old features are becoming more and more integrated with each new release. I personally found the Road Rage events to be the most's a good way to blow off some steam after sitting in rush hour traffic for a couple it's good to see that Road Rage is only becoming more advanced in the next release. 

I'm still playing PSP like there's no other system in my home. I think my early acceptance of the DS was nice and all, but I have to admit (despite how much I'd like to support Nintendo) that the DS is on a slow path to it's doom. While the DS did offer some neat ideas and a couple fun's getting old. I mean the DS has 3 games I'd really call fun; Mario 64 (I don't count it as "just a port" since the mini-games are some of the most addictive parts of this title), Wario Ware: Touched (can't go wrong with Wario...well, not counting the old side-view platformers in which he made me wonder why I couldn't just be Mario), and Feel the Magic. That's two launch titles and a game that came out three or more months later. Plus, for now, there's nothing good on the release calendar until Fall...Metroid Hunters (not my thing, but many people liked the demo) is due in the August, Mario Kart is a Fall/Holliday release, same for Animal Crossing...what's the point of a new system when every anticipated game is constantly pushed back? 

Meanwhile, the PSP launch library has done nothing but impress me. Untold Legends, Wipeout, and Ape Escape (yes, it's a port...but it was missed by too many the first time around, and it's still fun) have claimed my free time in a way in which the DS has always failed. Then there's Lumines and Ridge Racer; two games I haven't played yet, only because I am too hooked on those first three titles. Not to mention that NFS:UR isn't too bad (it's fun, but it sucks compared to a console version of it). Plus the release calendar for the PSP is bright and shiny, while the DS is dark and cloudy. Midnight Club 3 is due in a week, ATV (for fans of the series) and Smart Bomb (a fun looking puzzle game) are both due a week after MC3, and then we have a few more sports titles rounding out this month. Just this month! I shit you not when I say the DS have nothing major until Metroid (unless you like the random games along the lines of more bastardization of Pac-Man or poker). 

In the end, the real value of a console is not related to the prettiness of the screen(s), or the shell, or the innovation of new controls, or the processing power, or the Wi-Fi abilities, or the media players, or any other shit like this. This is all nice and pretty on paper, but what it comes down to is GAMES. That's it. So far, the PSP has been out in the US for almost two weeks and it has an awesome library forming, and an awesome release calendar. Meanwhile, the DS (and I really want to love this thing...hell, I spent over $300 to get one for Velveeta and another for myself, not counting the money blown on games...I better love something this expensive) has nothing. 

Rumors said how Nintendo had learned their lessons, and how they were ready to be serious contenders again (something that, besides in the actual GB line, they have not done since the SNES), but it was a bunch of BS. They have learned nothing. They scared away the third party developers, they lost Rare to Microsoft, they didn't patch up anything with these former friends, and then they released a new style of system...with no support. It's like seeing the whole N-Gage situation, but with a good piece of hardware. 

Since I haven't done one for a while, and this is turning into a Malik's Bitchings, let's do this right... 


Nintendo needs to freakin' make some games for the DS. Right now. Make some announcements about some secret projects, develop some long desired's a hint: wireless, portable, multiscreen (one for up-close action and one for a more general battle area), one-cart-requiring (via the download feature) Smash Brothers. Bam! Nintendo announces this game along and their sales will pick up some. Smash has been one of the best selling GCN titles since it's launch (only a couple weeks after the GCN launch) and has inspired many a tourney...why not squeeze some more life out of this franchise? 

Anyway, that's the real solution to all of this Nintendo crap-fest. Nintendo needs to make a good library of games. A new input device (touch screen) and a new output device (touch screen) doesn't make an instant success...something to use it with does. For those who claimed Sony was getting in over their heads with fighting Nintendo on the portable battle-front...Sony knew exactly what they were doing. They saw a sleeping giant, but rather than just wake it up with some half-assed attack (like N-Gage, Nomad, Turbo-2-Go, GameGear, and Lynx all did), Sony went in for the kill. 

Meanwhile, in the end, it will be us geeks who suffer more than Nintendo. Nintendo brought this on itself, but we who actually bought the DS are looking at (prove me wrong, Nintendo...please!) a void that devoured our money and gave little in return. Plus, competition is what drives a market (hence the DS did so poorly, in my opinion at least, because there was no solid competition in the portable market until after it's release), and it's what drives progress. 



Malik (4/6/05)  

There really isn't much to talk about today. Game news is pretty slow (as it's been for about 3 month now), no new releases that are really interesting this week, no miscellaneous information...nothing. 

I'm still playing a good deal of Untold Legends on the PSP. From what I've seen in reviews, either one is destined to love or hate this game. I find this all pretty funny considering if it was the original game (called Diablo 1.5...a little of D2, a little of D1), then you'd be meant to love it or be an idiot. It's funny how this type of thing works. I mean the same people who called Diablo 2 awesome are calling this game half-assed and lame...however, in the end, it's the same damned game, but with a more centralized town like in Diablo 1. 

I personally find this game to be quite fun. It's not the RPG that I'd wish for from the PSP, but that will come in due time. It's pretty much another incarnation of all the action/adventure/RPG games that spawned after Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance first hit the PS2. In other words, it's nothing new, but it's not bad in any way. Plus, with having the Wi-Fi of the PSP, it makes multiplayer more interesting (in theory...I've yet to personally know another geek with a PSP...I tend to be the experimental geek of my group, who is first to get and try out all the new hardware) by having more control over your screen (no fighting over which direction is up on the screen or how big the map is in relation to the playing field). 

The game uses some rather simple control with enough depth to allow some nice advanced moves...however, a majority of the time you'll just be spamming either the weapon button (if you're one of the fighter classes), or the spell buttons (if you're an Alchemist or a Druid built for magic). The game is really forgiving if you get caught up in forgetting strategy (read: it's not the hardest game ever made), but it's fun, none-the-less. It definitely doesn't deserve the lack of praise that it's been bashed down to face. 

Speaking of which, I was reading a review for Dynasty Warriors 5. I find it funny how this series, along with Mario Party sequels, always gets such mediocre reviews. I mean, on one hand, these two series don't offer much new with each incarnation. I mean you'll have the same game mechanics, the same characters, the same challenges, blah, blah. However, these are still both quite fun series. It's not like one should buy every version of DW or MP that hits the market, but each geek needs to play and be obsessed over at least one game in each series. 

However, both MP and DW do evolve in small steps with each new sequel. These evolutions fall mainly in the categories of visuals and audio. Beyond that, the changes are usually little more than slightly new challenges. This gets me to the point of this rant; the reviews for these two series always call new versions bad in EVERY way. That includes the audio and video. However, each game progresses with better visuals and audio than the previous one...yet the visuals and audio are always called "the same" as the last game in the series. 

I just like this hypocrisy. I mean these series are overly plentiful with sequels that offer little in new content, but that's no reason for a reviewer to call the games crap (or mediocre). If anything, each game should be reviewed as separate games, so those who are new to either franchise can make an accurate assessment of if this game is the right one to buy or not. It all comes down to how many reviewers are not afraid to try to throw around the fact that they've played too many games (to the point of being jaded on the geek life), and thus they can say in a review, "I've played this when it was called ". Big deal, I've played a lot of games that are imitators of prior games, but I still have no fear of praising the new generation of imitators (when they deserve such praise). 

For example, to go full circle on this post; Untold Legends is a clone of BG:DA and Diablo 2. However, before I bash the game like many commercial reviewers did, I'd rather say that I liked the series of BG:DA and Diablo, and I am addicted to UL. They are all awesome games, so there's no reason to downplay any of them. Also, if I was jaded on this style of game by playing a shit-ton of D2 before the PSP came out, I'd still be open-minded enough to say, "I'm sick of this genre, but it's probably a good game for those who aren't". 

Anyway, I'm just rambling and bitching since I'm sick of seeing how every Dynasty Warrior game (besides the first) is called crap because it's been done before (you know what, if you skip a few steps, one could see DW4 is a far better game than DW1), and how BG:DA1 is the only good console game of this game play style, while Diablo is the only good series of this genre on PCs, and Mario Party 1 was an amazing concept but MP5 is a horrible idea. It's all a load of BS. This type of hypocrisy is fine if you're bullshitting with your friends about why you don't want to play a certain game, but if you're putting out reviews, then you have an obligation to not mess with the minds of those who may value your opinions. 

Ok, enough bitching...for today... 


Malik (4/7/05)  

There is nothing, again, going on today. News is boring, hype is's a boring day. 

I can keep going off about some complaints I've had with the industry, but I feel like I've gone over them all enough lately. There's is just nothing to talk about. 

I could go off about how much I've played Untold Legends in the last week. It is a good game. It is really good, and just like with the DS launch titles, all of the fun PSP launch titles have been reviewed into the ground. It's like these games (both PSP and DS launch titles) are being compared to PS2 and GCN titles. They are separate entities, separate consoles, separate games.

Anyway, I'm just going to keep things really short today. I wish I could say something, but there's not a damned thing to go off about. I will throw out that I'd like to write a review or two on some PSP launch titles, but that will probably be delayed by Jade Empire being released in about 5 days. So, we'll just have to wait and see.


Malik (4/8/05)  

This post is a lot like my continuing theme of pseudo-Malik's Bitchings. So, as you can guess, there's no real Malik's Bitchings this week, but if you read the other posts for this week, you'll get all the Bitchings you could desire. 

Anyway, this one goes out especially for all people who are fed up with their Internet providers (and in particular for those who loathe Comcast with a burning passion...I know you people ARE out there). 

Last night, I got home from a hard day of work (day-job work) and was getting ready to post. I got my post down in FrontPage and just needed to upload. This should take me only a minute (if I'm slow), but instead it took about 10 minutes...which makes no sense. So, I checked out a few web sites while waiting...or I tried to. Nothing loaded. It was one of those amazing Comcast Internet outages, in which the net isn't down, but it's so congested that it might as well be. The worst part of this is that I needed to do some research on the net last night in regards to a potential giant purchase (I never purchase anything life-changing without doing the research). 

So, I tried to reach Comcast support, since the thought of waiting on hold on my phone for an hour (yes, Comcast is that slow with phone support...I have been on hold as long as 58 minutes in the phone has a timer...I might add that none of this is slander since I have personally witnessed and have evidence to account for all of it...sorry, just covering my ass) was not a good thought. So, after I write to tell them that my PC is working perfectly fine, but the Internet is slow (in great detail), I click send. I then realize that I should check my email to see if I get any response...however, the net is so sluggish that I can't get into my email without the log-in timing out. 

This is the point I decide to bite the bullet and call Comcast. Then I try calling again...and then again...and on the 8th time I no longer get a busy signal from the customer support that Comcast calls top-notch in all of their really lame attempts at advertisements. The automated phone system is so over-whelmed (another sign that this is not a problem on my end) that the menu system glitches on me. I sit with silence for a minute. Then I get a message about how (to paraphrase, not quote), "an overwhelming number of people are calling tech support...please hold". So, I held. I got that message once a minute for about 8 minutes...then I got, "your call cannot be completed. Goodbye", and then the line went dead?!?! Comcast, with their amazing customer support and customer loyalty, blah, blah, HUNG THE F$#@ UP ON ME! That was low. 

I tried again, and again, and again. Each time I got killed by either a busy signal or that wonderful message that amounts to, "like we give a f$#@! Get lost!". It only (sarcasm on that only) took me about 2 hours to get through enough to get a message of, "we are experience massive outages". At that point, I was told I could remain on hold or hang up because they are working on the problem. I hung up. I had enough. They hung up on me about 5-10 times, so I was ready to return the favor. 

My access returned about 6 hours later. I finally checked my email and saw Comcast replied to me on my two emails I managed to send (the second one said "if you're having technical problems, I expect a refund on my bill for this"). The one about my refund informed me I would have to waste my time again to contact them again for a, I can look forward to an hour on hold to get back my $2...f$#@ that. My other email was responded to by saying, despite how their automated line said that they were having service outages, that my PC is the problem and that I need more RAM, HDD space, or I need to go to other web sites since the ones I tried were bad (including this site which is bullshit, Yahoo, Google, CNN, Penny-Arcade, VG Katz, Gamefaqs, Gamespot...the list goes on and I doubt they all would be down at the same time). This email further described how I'd be best restricting my Internet usage to the Comcast web site for the best results. Yeah, I pay them $60 a month (which, I am fully aware of, is a rip-off and they are raping my bank account...sadly, where I live leaves no other options) to just surf their site. 

So, long story short; those ads for Comcast in which it says their service is top-notch are bullshit. On Demand on my digital TV cable has never worked correctly due to the ancient relic they gave me under the name of "cable box". My bills are way above what they should ever be. As for their top-notch customer support...yeah, they gave me busy signals and hung up on me repeatedly and have (at least for me) an average wait time of 30+ minutes is a sign of their quality?! So, I say f$#@ Comcast and f#$@ their false advertisements. If I had any other options in my apartment, I would jump ship in no time. At least I could look forward to being on hold for 45 minutes to get $2 back on my monthly bill...that makes up for the loss of productivity I had last night...yup... 

So, that's my story. I honestly have to say that from my experiences, I would avoid Comcast if given a choice. If this was the only instance of problems, that would be one thing. However, when they changed their service in a way that caused all Motorola Surfboard modems (a great budget I owned, might I add) to fail in my neighborhood and then forced me to rent another modem, that was not even the first case of them f$#@ing with me. Hell, when I first signed up with them (before the merger, so it was actually AT&T Broadband), they failed to connect my apartment to their service, despite sending out a technician to do so, and then tried to change me extra to fix this when I called them to say they messed up. This has been nothing short of an endless aggravation. So, to also make this post read like a review (since it's also reading like a Malik's Bitchings), I give Comcast a "f$#@ off" out of 10. They'd get an actual score if they even tried.   If only I had a choice in this matter...despite what the monopoly holders say, Internet is communication.

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