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Malik (5/31/05)  

Well, there is a little news on the 360. Pretty much, according to Gamespot, the really informed estimates by...well, just about everyone who's been following the 360...are proving to be true. The 360 is scheduled for a November release with a price "around $300". 

It was pretty obvious that it would come around in November. I mean it's the right time to get the holiday season shoppers, and at the same time to pay homage to the original XBox, which was released four years prior to this November. It's obvious Microsoft will aim for a time before the big Friday after Thanksgiving shopping day (what better way to get a larger audience than to get your product out before the single biggest shopping day of the American calendar?). It's obvious that Microsoft is trying to win over a larger share of the geek world this next generation, and the best first step is to get the console out when people will buy it the most, and with the most rabid of an attitude. 

As for being around $ surprise there. Microsoft has money to blow, thanks to their (cough::overpriced::cough) computer software, that is funding all lost gaming profits. While Nintendo gets all of their revenue from game sales, and Sony is now getting (I may be slightly off, but I think it's...) about 60%+ of the revenue from game related products, Microsoft can easily afford to keep their old tactic of selling at a loss to crush the competition. Yeah, it won't crush the competition, but it will help MS to ensure a better fan base than to sell at a profitable price margin. 

Beyond not working for direct profits, MS can also keep a stronger fanbase by keeping the price at something the consumer feels is more "acceptable" and "normal", like being around $300. It's like how game developers and publishers won't sell many new games at a price above $50. They don't want to scare away fans with a higher than expected price. This is probably what MS is realizing, and that Sony may be f%^$ing up with if their PS3 comes out at anything unreasonably above the typical $300 range. 

I'm still trying to remain open minded on all the next-gen consoles, but I can easily see that MS may have the most dedicated and cut-throat attitude about this whole thing. If Sony announces a higher price, it won't matter how many new gadgets are attached to the PS3, because they will have lost some of their target audience. Let's face it, many of us geeks are poor. We may not like to see that, but when we look at our bank accounts (or lack there of), we know that money is limited, and each new generation brings us more reason to dread new releases. While MS may have no qualms about charging up the ass for computer software, they can see this part of the economy clearly. 

Anyway, the Phantom Brave review is almost done. I may try to get it posted by the end of today, but I'd expect more of a Tuesday posting of it. The words are all in place, but it's the editing that's always the most annoying part...and quite frankly, it's a vacation day. I shouldn't even be posting and editing this, but I'm a little insane or something. Anyway, since it's, as I said, a vacation day, geek stuff will have to wait since the past and future smell of burning animal flesh and the feeling of having no responsibilities are making me excited...mmmmm...BBQ! 


Malik (6/2/05)  

Well, first off I should explain. I didn't post much this week, so far, and there's a damned good reason. I shouldn't have even posted on Tuesday. I've been on vacation, and sadly, as all good things must do; my vacation is now over. It was good. I laughed, I cried, I lived...or some shit like that. 

While I was out, I did get the last touches put on my Phantom Brave review. It should be up...but if the link doesn't work, it just means I'm fighting Photoshop to edit the final images. Anyway, it should be up soon, if it isn't already when you read this. 

Beyond that, I did some definite non-work type of things. For one, I renewed the registration to this domain. In other words, has celebrated it's big one year anniversary. When I started this site, originally on Brinkster, I didn't know how long my attention span would last. When I moved from a free site to a real domain, I still had my doubts. Well, with how my mind works, if I last more than a month at something, then I'll last for as long as I feel like it, attention span be damned. In other words, you can all take the first birthday of the same way I have taken it; as proof of my dedication. 

Also, over the long weekend (why didn't I just take off through the next weekend? Starting a work week on a Thursday is a little too strange) I got a couple of games. 

First off, I bought the sequel to Mark of Kri; Rise of Kasai. Many people gave the original a rather shoddy review. I personally enjoyed the unique flavor it gave to the platform/action genre. It was like living through an episode, or season, of Samurai Jack. So, despite the current reviews for Kasai, I gave it a shot. Well, I wish I could say nice things, but it's hard right now. It's not bad, but it has lowered the bar a little. Mainly, the part I find frustrating is in both the visuals, which are now too dark, and the controls. The visuals no longer feel like Samurai Jack...they are just too dark and gritty. Maybe the game is meant to look darker since it has such a dark story, but I think this is going overboard. As for those control issues...well, if you bump into a wall, you will stick to it for a second before you can turn around. Also, your partner has the most retarded AI I've ever seen. Seriously, if I have the ability to enter a "stealth mode", I expect my partner to wait a second before blindly charging to the next set of enemies. My "helper" is not, in any way, helpful. 

I also picked up Hot Shots Golf for the PSP. Now this is a game that is being under-reviewed by some sites that have a bad habit of tearing apart PSP games despite their quality (sites like come to mind). This game is beautiful, it controls smoothly, the difficulty is perfect, the learning curve is sweet...if you like golf, this is an awesome golf game. Plus, with the dress up features like those found in Gunbound, it's even sweeter...yeah, I know a majority of dress up stuff is pointless, but I like it none-the-less. 

Lastly, I picked up a game for Velveeta that is pretty sweet...especially in the packaging. Velveeta has been wanting to track down Kid Icarus (NES) for a while. Well, when we were hitting a local game importer, we found the new Nintendo re-release of KI on the GBA. I'm not one to go crazy over something as unimportant as packaging, but this re-release series is cool. The games comes in...I'll just post pictures. It's too cool and hard to explain with mere words. 

Speaking of Japan, a re-release of the NES is being issued around September. I forget the name of this thing, but it's an NES with wireless controls and dual cartridge slots. It looks pretty nice for the old-school console fans. This new device is being made by the people who are making the Revolution controllers, so it should have some nice quality, in theory. 

Ok. I need to fight my epic battle with Photoshop. 


Malik (6/3/05)  

I haven't done a Malik's Bitchings for far too long. Since I had my week off from things for the majority of this week, I have far too little time to throw one together, but I think I can make today's posting a little familiar to those of you who remember this beloved column. 

More Bullshit from the Maker of the "Entertainment Supercomputer" 

Gamespot has some interesting PS3 news...really interesting news. It all seems to point out some further doubts I have with Sony's "Entertainment Supercomputer" bull shit. 

First off, and least importantly, the "batarang" (I used this word while others were still drooling over the PS3...before I saw anyone else use it) controller is scheduled to only go through minor changes between now and launch. I have some problems with this since there have been controllers with this shape in the past, and every one of them felt like crap in my hands. Which is when I'd either get a Sony PS2 controller, or a similar style of controller if I'm dealing with the PC. This style of shape is just not comfortable in a normal person's hands. I still can't even understand why Sony would abandon their old standard dual-shock analogue style that's been a hit on everything from the PSX to the PS2 to imitators on the PC. I like to say that success shouldn't be f$#@ed with, but I guess Sony would rather try to drop the idea of the PS3 being a game machine...and maybe changing the controllers to something this absurd is the best way to get people to stop enjoying games on the PS line of consoles. 

Also, on a more important note, it's being confirmed that there's a lack of memory card slots on the PS3. So, with backwards compatibility (which matters greatly to me, since I know the life span of an old Sony console is about five seconds past warrantee and my PS2 will be out of this safe zone too soon), the important question comes the f%$# do I transfer an old PSX or PS2 save to the PS3 to play some more of my backwards compatible games? I guess, unless you have a DEX Drive, or similar peripheral, the answer is simple; Sony says to go f$#% yourself. Thank you Sony for caring. I know there's more time for this to change, but for now, I have to say Sony is not rewarding brand loyalty with the PS3. 

Lastly, there is no solid plan, either way, to include or exclude an included detachable HDD. So, while the PS3 is designed to download shit from certain sources, we may, once again, pay through the nose for this ability. Plus, it means that while developers can plan on using the HDD to their advantage on the 360, they can make no such plans on the PS3. Unless Sony wants to announce, right away, that the HDD is included, it sounds like they are conceding more potential ground to Microsoft's new idea of fighting for supremacy in the next-gen. 

I know, like I said, that Sony has a lot of time to change their plans, but they seem to have failure to realize that the next-generation doesn't begin with the launch of their console. The next-gen has already begun. The war, that is. As soon as the 360 became pre-order ready, Sony was at war. If they want to call the 360 a "game machine" (which is a great thing), and if they call the PS3 an "Entertainment Supercomputer", it still won't matter. The people who will want a PS3 are the same people who bought the PS2...all the millions and millions of them. They care not if the machine is called a "console" or what, they want to buy a system that will push games forward. When you start to dick around with the details and the important features, you start to disappoint the potential buyers. When they get disappointed, it makes the 360 look that much better in comparison. 


If Sony wants to fight with the big boys, who they should be a part of, they need to act like it. It doesn't matter what they plan to market their next console as. What matters is that they realize who their real audience is. You can make an action movie with Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, and Ah-nold, and have it directed by John Woo, and you can call it a romantic comedy, and have the trailers show many explosions and martial arts moves...well it's a freakin' action movie and it will be seen by the fans of action movies. The PS3 has been shown off with pre-rendered garbage that represents some real games that should, in theory, come to retail next year, and these are not some sort of multimedia entertainment (you can call them that, but...). They are "games". Who will buy the console? Those who want the games. 

On top of that, to change standard features that have been held in esteem for a long time, like the normal shaped controllers, is just messing with success. Maybe these new controllers will be better than past batarang shaped ones...but that's as likely as Sony's "Entertainment Supercomputer" title sticking. Then, to remove features needed to take advantage of the console's abilities, like the PSX/PS2 memory slots, is just messing with loyal customers. 

At least this solves an old question of mine; if the PS3 could use a media other than PSX/PS2 memory cards for saving backwards compatible saves? It now just leaves two new questions...and I don't mean "WTF?". How do we transfer are old saves? However, maybe this is more important...can we even save our old PSX/PS2 saves on the backwards compatible PS3? 



Anyway, I think that these are enough deep thoughts for one day. I have some Hot Shots Golf to play on the PSP. I've never really liked golf games all that much in the past, but I just can't stop playing HSG. 

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