On one hand,
there's not much with news today. It's another slow Summer
day. I expect we'll be seeing, as usual, far too many of these
days for the next several months. However, we'll also see it
all end with a flurry of how too many good games will hit the stores
in September through November. At least there's a bit more of
an excuse with 360 coming this Fall, but it'll still be another over
crowded Fall. Anyway, that's just me thinking out loud (or in
I had a nicely
old-school weekend this weekend. It started with a good old
night of playing Saturn games with a couple of my friends.
While many people saw the Saturn as another step towards the demise
of Sega's hardware empire, I (along with a few others...very few)
saw the good. With the Saturn, there were some rather nice
games that too many people overlooked. For example, while the
guns were pretty poor back in the Saturn day, and are even worse
when used now, VirtuaCop 1 and 2 are still what I think of when I
think of the almost forgotten genre of gun-games. We got in a
couple of games with both of these titles. Sadly, unless
someone releases a new Saturn gun, which is as likely as someone
releasing a wireless NES (so, while logic has defied one of these
two situations, I'm still doubtful), these are two games that will
be likely to be some of the dustiest in my collection.
We also, in
between Saturn time, got in some games with the DS Bomberman
game. It's good to see that some publishers are not so greedy
as to require multiple carts for every multiplayer game.
Bomberman for the DS is one of these wonderfully designed
games. Plus, with the dual screens, you have the room for 8
players (which is used, not just a good idea) in a single
multiplayer game. However, there are a few minor issues that I
think were not properly planned...although some of these issues fall
down to the design of the DS more than the game, but...
There are some
multiplayer features that use the microphone. The most often
used one is when you're in revenge mode (after you die, you can
flick bombs at the surviving people using a cross between the touch
screen, the mic, and either the d-pad or the buttons). The
main problem is that if you're left handed, you will usually cover
the mic with your hand if you're also using the touch screen.
The mic, in this case, is used to power-up your bombs, but if you're
left handed, then you're stuck with less control of the touch screen
since you must remove your hand to use the mic. Anyway, this
is a flaw of the DS, which should've had the mic place either in the
middle of the screen area, or somewhere else entirely. Anyway,
I'm left handed, so this does tick me off a bit.
The other use of
the mic is in some games it will be used to either place bombs, or
detonate bombs. This is done with a simple blow or shout into
the mic. The only problem with this, and it can also become a
better way to seek revenge on a human player who outlives you, is
that you can effect other players if you shout loud enough. I
know I faced the wrath of my friend Bastich from this one...it was
unintentional, but that didn't make it less painful when I dropped a
bomb and it blew up immediately after when Bastich shouted and it
triggered my bomb. So, I turned the unintentional effect of
his shout into a full out revenge plot when I started to sporadically
shout for the rest of the round.
Anyway, I don't
know how the single player game is, but I think the multiplayer mode
of Bomberman (DS) is plenty to justify a purchase. It's being
said that Kirby may be the first must-have DS game, but I'm thinking
the same should be said of Bomberman, at least if you know a few
Well, I don't have
much else to say, so I'll end things for today with this; the Rise
of Kasai review is up and running. While I did complain a
lot about the poor AI, you may notice that my score is still quite
high for a game with such a fatal flaw. In terms of another
game with a horrible flaw or two (Xenosaga 2), it plays out a little
differently. While I played through Xenosaga 2 just to know
the plot, with RoK I played through because the plot wouldn't let me
stop. Anyway, just check out the review.
Well, it's nice to
see that the US is not the only f#%@ed up country in the world.
has an article on how Japan is now looking into considering bans and
limitations on sales of violent games to minors. I personally have
no problem with this type of behavior.
I may sound like
someone who doesn't like violent games to be banned from children,
but in reality I have no problem with limitations of these games in
terms of requiring parental consent for buying these games. The main
reason I say this is because parents do need to be involved in their
primary responsibility as parents; raising their children. A parent
should keep an eye on at least what a child is doing. While I feel
game induced violence is a big steaming pile of shit, I do also feel
that a parent should be involved in watching the kid to make sure
little Billy or Susie doesn't have some emotional or mental issues
that may make them act out. Sadly, it should not be a game ban to
under-age children that causes this action from parents, but
whatever keeps parents from being negligent towards their kids is a
As for the
violence "caused" by violent games...well, in Japan it
amounts to two major instances. The first was in the first couple of
months of this year when a 17 year old killed his teacher (and
wounded a few students) with a knife. My take on this would be that
this kid was probably the "mayor of crazy town" (I watched
Lemony Snicket last night, so I felt that quote would be a good one)
long before he played games...or at least he would've been even
without the games. Seriously, a game doesn't cause violence; it's a
mind that's been pushed too far (from either stress, other violence,
or mental problems) that causes this type of violence.
A perfect example
is the other case of violence "caused" by GTA3 in Japan. A
kid killed his father, who had supposedly (as far as the kid saw)
humiliated the child, and his mother (who kept saying her work made
her want to be dead in front of the child), and then blew up their
home. The home part I don't know the whole story of (it sounds like
the kid was trying to cover his trail), but it was a cross between
emotions of vengeance and mercy that caused the killings, at least
in the child's own eyes. It wasn't "that level" in GTA3
that has you kill your parents and blow up their home (which, anyone
who played GTA3 could tell you, is not in the game), despite how
journalists and lawmakers try to make it sound like it was taken
directly from GTA3.
pointless to show a form of media as the cause for violence when
violent media has been around too long. Some can argue that new
findings that show your brain handles virtual stress in the same way
as real stress could explain it...but I think that's only a sign of
how well developers have programmed games. It's not just a tool to
desensitize you from the violence of real world issues and problems.
Ok, so to end that
subject is always a thing I enjoy doing. I hate the bull shit, but I
still feel like I should comment on it. It's like a test in
school...one may hate doing a test, but they must do it if the opportunity
is presented...or something like that.
Anyway, I'm still
playing Tales of Symphonia for the second time through. In fact I
spent about 10 really enjoyable hours on it yesterday as I took a
day off from work after my crazy work week last week. I still am
thinking the game's more enjoyable the second time through. I think
using your leftover grade to buy an experience increaser for a
second play through greatly increases the replay value of this game.
It's not that there were too many times the first time through that
you had to power level, but there were enough to make it more fun to
not need them the second time.
According to Gamespot,
Merrill Lynch of Japan (one of those financial thingies, for those
who don't know) is expecting the PS3 to sell, upon release, for
about $400 (I hate the "$399" bullshit; it's $400, and
once your dealing with three digit dollars, the ones digit means as
much as a kick in the nuts). This isn't too surprising, considering
that the system is expected to cost about $494 per console to
This is all basic
marketing. I mean with most consoles, a company will lose some money
the first year. However, that first year will both establish a fan base
and it will set a date for when we can look back at the end of it's
life and say "it may be obsolete now, but it kicked ass in
2006". Anyway, Sony took a dive in profits with the launch of
the PS2, and they did it with the PSX. It's all common math and
However, the wild
card in this will be that Microsoft makes most of it's money from
non-gaming things, and thus they could afford to f#%@ with Sony by
dropping the price of the 360 (which is expected at $300) by $50 or
so right around the launch time of the PS3. This will leave two new
consoles (dude, the 360 will still be new when the PS3 launches)
with relatively similar abilities (at least game-wise) with one
costing almost 40% cheaper than the other.
I mean, this is
not exactly news or anything. This has been speculated and rumored
to be the way things will go down ever since E3. However, with
Merrill Lynch now saying the same thing, the rumors are looking a
little more like reality (although they are still guesses, at
Anyway, I think
that when real news comes out about the next generation, in terms of
prices and dates, it will be interesting to start really looking at
the situation. However, I think this speculation needs to be put to
rest. I especially think that Merrill Lynch should get with the
times. Yeah, they have a view to share on some economical stuff, but
what are they...the 10th company to say the same damned thing. I
just hope Sony and Microsoft will finally speak on their strategies
and put this endless speculation by the "experts" to
Anyway, I don't
really have much to say about game stuff today. That would be why
I'm going back to talking about the next-gen consoles. It's like my
way to fill in the post for the day if I have little to talk about.
About the only things I can really say is that this is a sad and
wonderful week for RPG-geeks. On one hand, two great RPG franchises
have sequels on the PS2 that just came out. On the other hand, Atelier
Iris is pointless, unless you like the idea of item creation more
than plot (and if you do, there's a better game choice for you...WoW...it
doesn't have to end after 50 hours like AI). There's also...
I really hate it
when a strong and functional series of games is untimely put to
sleep. That's bad enough, but it's worse when the company behind it
has some sick necrophilia fantasies and decides to skull f#%^ the
series that so many fans had once adored. Yeah, I'm talking of a
poor game know as Arc the Lad: End of Darkness. The once amazing and
fun strategy elements of the AtL series have been replaced with
single player hack-n-slash...very repetitive hack-n-slash. It's a
lot like Everquest and Champions of Norath, but with the original
game being awesome and the hack-n-slash sequel being crap.
Anyway, I'll stick
with good old ToS. It's looking like the only good RPGs that will
grace consoles this Summer are the ones that are already collecting
dust on some shelf.
Well, on the news
front, it looks like, according to Gamespot,
Xenosaga Episode 3 is in the works. In the past, this type of news
would have driven me insane with excitement. I am probably the
biggest Xeno fan I have ever known of...or at least I was. It all
ended with Xenosaga 2, which took a blending of innovation and the
command "stock" to bring me to what I'd formerly call the
"dark side". Now, I'd call it the logical side.
to a voice actor in Japan, he says that he's been doing voice work
on Xenosaga 3. So, I guess, despite Monolith not saying shit about
the potential game, it must be in the works. However, since there's
no info available, beyond the fact that Voyager, a bald dude, is a
character with voice work in the game, nothing has been revealed.
This includes not knowing the ETA for this game to come out in
either Japan or the US, or if the game will be on the PS2, PS3, 360,
or what, or if the game will once again continue directly from the
same time point in which Xenosaga 2 ended, or if the game progresses
the plot some beyond being a direct sequel. Hell, we don't even know
if the protagonists from Xenosaga 1/2 are back (personally, I think
it's time to ditch Shion, Jin, Momo, Ziggy, and possibly the whole
remaining roster, with the possible exception of Chaos, who has
still been unexplained in his role in the game series).
All I can say
safely is that Xenosaga 3 needs to stop being plagued by
"original" and "innovative" combat methods.
Seriously, the stock command of Xenosaga 2 was the single worst
combat mechanic I've seen in an RPG. That's saying a lot since I've
been through the dark ages of FFVIII's "draw". For those
who didn't play Xenosaga 2, stock was how you pulled off any attack
that dealt more than minimal damage. You would "stock" an
additional attack into your combo meter. When it reached three,
which would take three full turns, per character, while the enemies
were beating you senseless, then you could unleash...no, if you
think the words I'd say are "a devastating attack", you're
wrong. You would unleash what any other RPG would call a standard
amount of damage in proportion to the HP of your targets. Then,
after you unleash the combo...you guessed it. Another three rounds
of "stock". Meanwhile, the enemy could deal massive damage
each and every turn. Yipee...
Plus, Xenosaga 3
better try giving an actual world to explore. In Xenosaga 2, there
was nothing more than a big-ass city, a couple of spaceships, and
dungeons. That was it. There were as many townsfolk/random NPCs in
Xenosaga 2 as other games would have in just a single town. Plus,
travel in the towns was so damned slow that it would take you an
hour to do a simple fetch quest. Hell, Xenosaga 3 better just
re-invent the entire game engine. If it wasn't for being so invested
in the plot, which seems like it may be going nowhere now, I'd have
quit after the first agonizing hour of Xenosaga 2.
this Xenosaga 3 news, there's not a damned thing to talk about
today. I've only been playing ToS, which I talked about plenty the
first time through, last July and August. So, I'll just go about
now, and hope for some real news tomorrow.
When there is
news, there is always a lot of it. I mean so much stuff can be told,
but it's always all at once. Anyway, today is not one of those days.
There is nothing. I guess the news that Nintendo is expecting for
the Revolution to come out after the PS3 is news...or it was when it
was first speculated and assumed. That was a month and a half
Anyway, I'm in a
strange mind set today. I won't lie and try to keep things lower key
than they should be. This site doesn't get the biggest number of
hits a day. It's not too bad overall, but I definitely have plenty
of bandwidth to spare. So, I looked at the stats and noticed that
recently I've been seeing my bandwidth getting devoured. My first
thought was that things were looking brighter on the hits-front.
That was until I saw some dumb ass mother f#%@er on a Spanish forum
had hotlinked to a video here at the old Asylum.
While I'm glad
that someone would link to one of my videos, since it's saying I
made something informative, useful, or damned entertaining, I don't
like the idea of people being asses about it. Seriously. I make an
entire site. I don't expect everyone to like every part of the site,
but I do hope there will be a little something for everyone. Sadly,
people will never see this site if they have a link that, instead of
opening a browser window, only opens a media player, with no links
back to the site.
So, what I'm
saying is two-fold. One part is that I'm killing hotlinking. I'm
doing it, like with most of my other stuff, in phases. The first
phase should be ready quite soon. In fact, if you check out any old
links that hotlinked my videos, you'll either find a nice message
about hotlinkers eating shit and dying, or you'll find a dead
The second part is
that there needs to be some respect out there. I think I am
definitely not alone in the web world when I say this; show respect
to people and their hard work. Even if you disagree with a web site,
realize that the person who made the site has probably put a good
deal of work into it, and possibly a good deal of money too. When a
person is hotlinked like that, it means that the majority of their
work is going un-noticed, and that a majority of their bandwidth may
be consumed without any form of gratification. For example, I like
to know that people visit my site. I don't get money (another form
of gratification) for my work. I just do this as a personal passion
for sharing my views and my knowledge.
Anyway, no one is
probably reading this, since it is off-topic in some regards, but
I'll just say this; If you want to show one of my videos to the
world, feel free. Just please link to the page you found the video
on...not the video file itself.
I was going to
post some more useful videos for some things, but I honestly have
lost my motivation...for now. I'll probably still do so, but not
until I get over feeling like I've been bitch slapped...so, with my
short attention span, that'll be a week at most.
Anyway, to end
things on a geek note...Bruce Campbell (of indy film fame...yeah,
that includes the Evil Dead trilogy) has a new book out; Make Love:
The Bruce Campbell Way. I just want to say that this book is funny
as hell. It's worth a look by any true geek.
Anyway, I have a
long weekend to get ready for. Happy fourth of July to all...or
something...at the very least, happy three day weekend to make of my
fellow working stiffs.
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