Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (7/25/05)  

The events that were set in motion have begun with Hot Coffee. At Gamespot, there's a nice little piece that shows some of the stupidity that came about from this whole messed up incident. My favorite part is how the confusing rules of retailers have begun to eat away at the money they so care about. 

Basically, with how many stores refuse to sell games rated higher than AO, they have shipped back GTA:SA to Take Two. However, beyond that, there are the retailers who specialize in used games (like Gamestop). Used games are not covered by anything, and now the stores with rules about no selling AO games, but yes to taking pre-owned games, are taking a beating. These used games are pretty much ending up in a limbo state that only leads to some big questions. 

My favorite question with all of this is not what will happen to these used copies of GTA:SA. These copies will probably be sold in some obscure way to a retailer that will sell them, but for a major loss. However, the big question to me is why these stores won't sell an AO game. It makes almost no sense. However, many things with the ratings system make no sense. For example, why would a retailer be protested for selling a game with content that's not much worse than what's on daytime TV (sorry, but what I've seen of Hot Coffee isn't exactly all that perverted or's like what you'd see on a soap opera, but with more polygons)? Hell, for a "hot" sex scene in a game, I think God of War could easily take the prize for hottest (plenty of suggestive sounds and actions coupled with sharper images than GTA ever reached of fully revealed breasts...sorry, but GTA doesn't have shit on GoW), yet it escapes notice since most politicians don't know what God of War is. 

Anyway, I think the fallout from all of this shit will continue to build until it reaches a point that makes me glad that there are stores like Frys and online businesses aplenty to get the many new games that will probably face AO ratings in the near future. Either that, or I'll be pissed to see that all game makers will cater to the new standards that push what is allowed for M ratings into what would've been T a few months earlier. It's a lot like the damned Superbowl crap with Janet'll just make it where what's allowed will be far less than it should be (like how TV became really ultra-sanitized after Jackson's boob shot). 

Well, I don't have much to talk about today. It's just a slow day. I am working on puting together the review of We Love Katamari, and should have it up in the next few days. I've been killing most of my free time with this game. That's it. Beyond that, and the "evils of games" (next thing you know, we'll be told that Mario is a pedophile and all Mario games should be banned), there's not a thing to talk about, so I'll just poof for the night and work on my review. 


Malik (7/26/05)  

There's a typical government response to Hot Coffee...wait until everything has settled down and for people to finally be moving on with their business when you step in and try to keep something in the news for an extra couple of weeks. Yeah, according to Gamespot, the House voted in favor of having the FTC look into the nature of Hot Coffee. Well, I know about a million people out there that could easily explain this whole damned thing, but I guess the government needs to waste some money looking into a thing that is NOT regulated by the government. 

In fact, that is the key thing. Since game ratings are not required (a company CAN sell games that have skipped the ESRB ratings panel, but it would simply not be sold at any store that requires ratings, like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, etc), the government officially has no business regulating this industry, unless other steps are taken first. However, since government tends to do things out of order, and always a little later, I guess this is not a big surprise. Basically, this will be a great chance for a good deal of money to be wasted on an investigation that is relatively solved, and is not under federal jurisdiction. 

While the government may be interested in blowing excessive taxpayer money on the "brazenness of Rockstar Games in their effort to do an end-run around the ratings system", it will not accomplish a damned thing. Of course, the most entertaining part is the the reason this content is in GTA:SA will come down to one of two reasons, and neither can be decided by an investigation. Either Rockstar left this stuff in to have a potential mass advertising tool in the word of mouth that easily followed the revealing of Hot Coffee, or they simply had unused code that was not deleted (either it was forgotten about or it included some code that was needed for other parts of the game and simply couldn't be removed). 

...and to think, this whole mess could've been behind us right now if the federal government was not about 2 weeks late on this. Way to go! 

Anyway, I keep writing about this shit only because it keeps coming. I would love nothing more than for some real news to come along. However, any real news, if it comes our way, will only be hidden under the massive articles on Rockstar. For the first few days, this was cool, since it gave us some news in the usually dull Summer game season. However, it's been long enough, and enough good news stories have gone undetected. 

So, to leave this topic, I should have the We Love Katamari review up by the end of the week, assuming I can tear myself away from the game long enough to review it. It shouldn't come as a surprise, but this one will also be getting a nice a high score...could you except anything else from this franchise? I've finished the real part of the game, and only have a few extra and locked levels to finish, but I'll get onto the review without those (some are insanely frustrating to unlock). Anyway, time for a little Katamari before I (hopefully) write some more on the review. 


Malik (7/27/05)  

Happy anniversary Velveeta! 

On a less sentimental note, I finally finished the bulk of We Love Katamari. I was able to find the last few cousins last night. Before you can play the last two levels, you have to find the remaining cousins. Then, you get a weird level in which you have to collect all of the little bastards, while you race the clock (time trial, not a timed level). Finally, after you finish that stage, and get another ending, you have the most unusual of levels. 

After you get some fanfare from the people of WLK, you have a new level in which you play something about "royal academy" or something like that. This is actually a series of levels from the normal game. However, you have a new goal of obtaining one million roses. Yes, it is as time consuming as you'd think. You have to collect the roses in either single rose or 10 rose bouquets. This means you will have to pick up at least one hundred thousand objects. 

It took me about 15 minutes to get up to 5000 roses. That's when I tried to quit the level, and was pleased to see that your progress saves. After the first level, if you return, you will be on another stage full of roses. I imagine quite a few stages are used for this level. I'm only up to 7500, so I don't know how long it'll take me, and I sure don't know if I'm going to earn anything special for this extra work. However, since I'm a Katamari fanatic, I know I'll be trying. 

I haven't gotten any more work done on the WLK review. It's just been one of those weeks in which too many things are going on at once (like my third anniversary), and too many responsibilities are trying to tear me apart from the geeking that I love. I figure, if worse comes to worse, the review will wait until next week. I can't say anything for sure, but we'll see what happens. 

Anyway, with all of this "real world" bull shit, I don't have much to talk about. Playing and finishing (well, except the rose level) WLK for an hour is about the best I could hope for in a night. So, I'll see what tonight holds, and we'll see how things turn out tomorrow. 

I thought I was done posting for the day, but then I saw this article at Gamespot. It goes on more about how the FTC is investigating the Hot Coffee scandal. I guarantee, no matter what happens, GTA is now, and will forever more be one of the most popular and best selling game titles. Hell, this type of publicity is not going to crush the giant that defined it's own genre and redefines what a best selling game is. No, this scandal will only further to give GTA word of mouth advertising, which not only doesn't cut into Take Two's budget, but also is usually more impressive and powerful than any media-based ad can ever be. 

However, beyond that, this goes into something beyond stupidity. It seems that one Florence Cohen has decided that Take Two needs to be taken to court over this. Her basis? Well, it seems she has been "damaged" (what ever the f$#% that is supposed to mean) because she bought GTA:SA for her grandchild. On one hand, I don't know how this "damaged" her, when it was her grandchild that received the game. Secondly, I feel sorry for the grandchild who has a lawsuit-happy relative. 

This is not a ground for bringing about a legal trial. No this is a ground for either saying, "the minors in my family shouldn't be playing this game (unsupervised)", or "good thing I pay attention to my relatives to know what it right for them before I buy a game half-assed and act like an idiot when it comes to buying a game or any other form of media for them". In other words, this is not a reason to bring about a court case. Hell, I'd imagine, with the current round of publicity on this, that the grandmother could return the game for a refund...either from the store she bought it from, or from Take Two directly. 

Beyond all of that, I might point out that this was not really "deceptive advertising". No, it was rather a section of code was forgotten about in programming the game. This code was never meant to be accessed. Beyond that, this code was there, I'm betting, only because it couldn't be easily removed without damaging the rest of the game's code. It was not intended to be accessed, and as far as Rockstar was concerned, it no longer existed. So, they did not deceive anyone as much as the situation just changed. It's like if you step in a pile of dog crap and don't know it. When someone says "what the hell is that smell?", you are not lying when you say you don't know...even if it was later learned that it was your fault. That's what Take Two did...they stepped in some shit and didn't know it. Nothing's just shit happening. 

Also, with how (I'm guessing this is true, but I may be wrong) one could probably get a refund from Take Two over this incident, if one chose to return their copy of GTA:SA, what is the basis for both a legal trial, and a class-action status? There is none. This is just an example of a lady with no better sense than to sue for the sake of being a waste of time and money for the US legal system. 

Plus, if Cohen wants to still be a good person about this, she could make sure her (probably under aged) grandchild is supervised while playing this previously M rated game. After all, that is not only the best step for an AO game, it is the best step for a freakin' M (17 and over) game. Plus, she could make sure her grandchild doesn't access the locked material, and then it's the same game she bought for him originally. 

But then again...let's sue because there aren't enough frivolous lawsuits as it stands! After all, we can all be asses by using our right to sue people for the sake of being jerks! Yippee!!! 


Malik (7/28/05)  

Yesterday, the new PSP Firmware Update was released in Japan. This is the update that actually gives some new features, unlike 1.51 (which only gave more security against homebrew programs). On top of the web browser, there are some extra audio files that are now supported, and some new image files. So, unlike the previous updates, this one actually serves a purpose to gamers. However, while this update should work on American PSPs, it is only found on the Japanese PSP site, and only has download instructions in Japanese. Plus, it is only being recommended for Japanese PSP users. In other words, Sony is either limiting the American audiences chance for a web browser, or they are just taking their time on our version of this patch. 

While nothing has been announced yet for our shores, I think it'll be only a matter of time before Sony brings an American version (one that will both work and be endorsed for American PSPs), since it sounds like a good deal of American PSP owners have taken the chance on this update. 

Also, if you're interested in some pseudo-spoilers (and an award show brought forth by the biggest whores of the "game news" business), Gamespot has the G-Phoria award winners listed on their site. The actual show will air on the 8th of August, but I know some of us can't wait to...I don't know how to continue this since I still feel that the G4 network, with a couple of exceptions, is about as watered-down as possible in the gaming world. It's like Nintendo Power, but for every console. 

Anyway, for those who care, it looks like Halo 2 pwned in the awards...which I find pretty funny since I guess I'm either blind or something, because Halo 2 was a good game...nothing more. It didn't re-invent the FPS genre, it didn't give us anything all that amazing, it gave us Bungie's version of MGS2's Raiden (the damned Covenant storyline was nothing short of cheese-tacular), the split-screen (I like split-screen over XBox Live, just because I like to be social with my multiplayer) was horrible compared to Halo, the weapons were not that exciting (I like the weapons on the first one a good deal more...and dual wielding didn't add all that much) short, it was just not enough new stuff or innovation or anything along those lines to have it win so many awards. Hell, for best original soundtrack, either you didn't know the competition, or you'd vote for Katamari Damacy; it's that simple. 

I'm so tired and hot that I'm actually finding myself arguing with the "logic" of G4, so I'm shutting up on that subject about now... 

Anyway, I'm sorta dragging on the WLK review. I really was hoping to get things running by tomorrow, but I can see that it's just not going to happen. It's been too hectic of a week for anything to actually get accomplished. I'll try to get in some work on it this weekend, but that might be a long shot too. I guess it's one of those wait and see situations. 


Malik (7/29/05)  

I don't think this is meant to come as a surprise or anything, but another of the pwN-Gage led revolution in handhelds that did too much has bit the dust. The Zodiac, from Tapwave, is no more...or at least it will not be made anymore. As for the three people who actually bought this thing and thought they were making a smart purchase...well, you f$#@ed up on pwN-Gage proportions. 

The idea of even making a PDA that plays games is either a brilliant move that was too intelligent for it's own good...or more likely, and this is what I'd have to say, it was a brilliantly stupid move. It's one thing is a major console maker decided to make a handheld in today's marketplace, but it's another if an unknown (in terms of video games) makes a gaming system when we have a strong level of competition from Nintendo, Sony, Nokia (yeah, they aren't fact they sucked...but they were here first and they were going for the same market share as Tapwave), and every cell phone maker in the world in the handheld market. 

At least it's good to see that Tapwave was defeated rather than trying new incarnations of they failed experiment, like Nokia has done. When a system fails, the best move is to get over it...I just wish Tapwave would've seen it sooner since, despite giving me a good laugh for the last two years, they cost a few stupid people some hard earned money. Of course, I doubt Tapwave could've continued on, since the whole company has gone belly-up...I just wonder if the Zodiac had any major role in this. If so, I hope this serves as a lesson for potential all-in-one handheld game system designers to leave the market to those who know what they are doing. 

I also wonder if this will have any effect on Tiger and their soon to be released Gizmondo. I'm not sure how well it's doing on the other side of the Atlantic, but I have a good idea of the American future for this system. It will involve not being sold in any real stores (or only getting a small shelf that's blocked by a giant cardboard cut-out of Master Chief), not being known to the employees of the stores that do sell it, and a few dozen stupid people wasting their money because they think that somehow the Gizmondo will be able to stand on it's own against the DS and PSP.'ll be like Tiger's thing that was released and failed horribly a few years back...only with a different lame-as-hell name. 

Anyway, I'm still dragging on the We Love Katamari review. I only had a small amount of time to write last night, and I blew it trying to collect the one million roses in WLK. At least I'm not over 2% done...after a couple hours trying. I'm at about 27,500 roses, and am starting to think that this is about as useless of an endeavor as I've ever taken in a game. At one point, Velveeta asked me, "Why is he making you collect one million roses?", with "he" being the King of All Cosmos. I could only think of one appropriate answer, "because he's an ass". I really like the idea of finishing this mission, but I don't know if I have it in me considering it's taken so long to just get less than 3% done. 

By the way, since I have almost nothing to talk about today, I thought I'd share this thing I found. While I was looking at some various GTA:SA forums (to read the funny and not-so-funny responses to the Hot Coffee stuff), I came across a link for the Wikipedia listing of Jack Thompson. Beyond how it's funny reading about how self-righteous he is, I found the bottom part the most interesting. Just keep scrolling to the end of his "open letter" to the game industry. There's a little message from a Gamefaqs forum member about the origin of the latest Thompson crusade. I don't know how true this is, but it sounds a lot like The Sims 2 is on his radar thanks to someone pretty much f$#@ing around with him. If it is true, I have to say it's pretty damned funny. 

Anyway, as you can tell, I'm not really with it today, and I have almost nothing to talk about today (it's the lazy news days of Summer, after all). So, I'll just log about now. 

For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    The Car    Disclaimer