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Malik (8/1/05)  

Well, if I cared about Square Enix anymore (my last bit of hope in that company was dashed with a nice one-two combo from the suckiness of Sword of Mana and Star Ocean 3), it would be a good time for Square Enix news. After all, they had their big shin-dig in Japan to highlight their current projects. Gamespot has some coverage for those who haven't been jaded by their massively large levels of crap over the recent years...I'm sorry, but Square Enix titles of today are just no where near the quality that they were before they learned how to program eye-candy (eye-candy does not make a good game...quality game play makes a good game). 

There's news along the lines of World of Mana being bastardized across every possible platform (from potential novels and films to actual games), FF12 coming out next March in Japan (wow...wasn't this game supposed to come out a couple years back?), and plenty of FFVII being whored out in all possible forms (PS3 tech demos, Dirge of Cerberus, Advent Children...aka, the $50 movie). I think I could care a little more if it wasn't just Square Enix squeezing extra money from a bunch of former cash cows that are well past their prime. 

It all reminds me of Star Wars. While the SW universe is a cool thing, and there are some cool levels of potential within the background plot (as KOTOR 1&@ showed us), it can't do too well when under the watchful eye of it's creator. In this case, Square Enix would be playing the role of George Lucas, and eye-candy would be the role of Jar Jar. Until Square Enix is ready to back up their products with something deeper than a cliché story of a brooding boy getting together with an over or under emotional chick, I think I can easily say "no thanks". 

Anyway, I spent the weekend giving my PSP some long needed love. I hit up some homebrew apps (I've decided against upgrading to 2.0 or anything higher than 1.5 until I have a good game in my hands that requires it...probably that will be October 2nd, when I get GTA) and I bought Mercury. Basically, for those who ignored this game, it's Marble Madness with some variations to the concept. Instead of a marble, you have a mass of mercury which can split and reform itself. Instead of levels being giant races, the levels are more of puzzles on how to get as much of your mercury glob from the start to the finish, while completing a few objectives. Sadly, the biggest difference over Marble Madness (which is one of my favorite old-school games) is that the mercury glob is slow as hell. If only the speed was kicked up a bit, this would be an awesome game. It's not bad...but it's just not awesome. 

Anyway, the We Love Katamari review is essentially done. I need to do some Photoshop work on some screen shots, but that's it. I expect the review to be up tonight or tomorrow...ok, I've dragged my feet long enough.  Here's the We Love Katamari review!

Well, I feel like I got food poisoned last night, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet (before my keyboard is made less sweet by escaping food).  So, as I go and feel ill, I just want you all to think about something...maybe I was wrong on the whole Hot Coffee thing.


Malik (8/2/05)  

I love it when overblown crap just keeps getting dragged out. Case in point, how Take Two was first being attacked over Hot Coffee. When the dust finally settles, there are more than one lawsuit against the game over stupid grounds. In fact, both lawsuits, I can say with almost certainty, are the products of over-liliaceous lawyers who simply have looked for the right pawn to take the face of a lawsuit that has almost no merit. 

I like, in particular, the false advertising claim on both lawsuits. Seriously, when did a GTA:SA ad say "there is no sex in this game, and there's definitely none locked in unused code that should never be accessed"? I don't recall it, but maybe I slept through, I would've seen or heard that. There was no false advertising. Even if you want to say how they said the game was rated M turned into a false statement...well, it was never false. They said it was rated M when IT WAS RATED M. Their ads even changed to say rated AO after the rating changed. 

I just hope these people lose nice and quickly (the lawsuits) and that the media coverage is nice and small. I am a fan of GTA and know this type of publicity will only help to sell games, but at the same time I just don't want to hear any more of this shit. It's like the two lawyers involved in these two cases are trying to be Jack Thompson...a man who was required to undergo a mental evaluation when he ran for some political position quite a few years back. Yeah, that's a good guy to emulate. 

On the note of Jack Thompson and stupidity, on that same link you probably saw the part about the upcoming game Bully. It's going to be protested by a group of school children from DC, it's been attacked by the British, it'll be a nice target for Mr. Thompson. Is there anything this game can't do? 

Actually, the important part of this is that a school yard bully should be of most importance to children in school. Meanwhile, I'm betting this will be an M rated game. So, if anyone wants to go off about how this game will corrupt children into learning the arts of school yard brawls, I just want to point something out ahead of time; blame the kids, blame the parents, blame whatever you want...but make sure it's a responsible party. The game will be M (this is not set in stone, but I'd put money on it coming true), and it shouldn't be played by children. I am sick of hearing about all of these damned kids playing games rated for a higher age group, and then the games are blamed. The game, being rated M, is not demanding the kid to play it. It's the kids who want to play it (a lot of children also want to see porn, and parents would get hell for buying a XXX tape for their kids), and some adult who either supplies the game or the money to get the's not Take Two who supplies it to the kids. 

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is this; almost any other age related item would not be treated this way. It's about time that society realizes that an M rated game should not be treated any differently than any other age restricted item. I would not want to see a kid walking out of a store with a freshly acquired gun, sword, R rated movies, booze, smokes, or whatever other age regulated item seems inappropriate. If this did happen, it wouldn't be Smith and Wesson, Camel, or Jack Daniels who gets the's be the adults, who should show some responsibility, who get blamed (and rightly). However, change that to a game, since they have some antiquated notion of being only for children (bullshit), and the rules change. This is a double standard, it's hypocrisy, and it's pretty damned ignorant of the masses. It also leads to me either being looked at like an evil amoral ass for playing games at my age (almost like how a grown man would be looked at for playing with a Barbie), or it leads to the wasted time and news space of supposed news stories (like Hot Coffee). Enough is enough. It's time for the media, the parents, the stores, and the children to all take some responsibility and admit that not every product is intended for every person...and especially the media should admit that children who have GTA:SA (or whatever M or AO games) did not get them from Rockstar/Take Two...they got them from parents, or friends, or stores, or grandparents (to the grandmother who started the first GTA:SA lawsuit; for shame...take some responsibility and quit this lame attempt to make an easy buck for both you and your lawyer). 


Malik (8/3/05)  

Well, before I go off, August 12th the is the big day that us American PSP owners can face the decision; upgrade to a browser or keep our homebrew apps. It's a tough decision, and I think I'll chill until October (GTA release month), but if you have 1.51, you might as well go to the update that has substance. 

So, I'm about to go off. I have a shitty day yesterday, which mainly included my apartment complex taking a giant crap on me (too bad I'm not a fan of the Cleveland Steamer), and then they finished with an R. Kelly (a little number one to add insult to crap-tacularness). Basically they decided that sometime to be named later, I will have to be kicked out of my apartment for three weeks. During that time, which won't come until September 1st or later, I may not even have such an important thing as Internet. F#$% that! Then, to make things worse, they took my name off the front door box so I can't even allow visitors into my building. All of this, perfectly enough, comes only a week after I extended my lease. Thank you so f#$%ing much! 

Anyway, I have been looking at HDTVs for a while. Mainly it has been a pastime since they are way too damned expensive to afford. However, since I'm a game geek, HD will soon be almost a requirement for really enjoying the next era of games. So, while looking at all of this, I am now faced with further knowledge that I feel like going off about. It's the fact that in 2009 all TV broadcasts will have to have dropped analogue in favor of the new standard. This is not too some regards. I mean the old standard is just that, "old". 

However, this requirement is still something beyond expectation and reason when it comes to the fact that someone as dedicated in getting HD in his home as myself cannot afford to do so. What does this mean for those who are not lucky enough to be part of a two (non-poverty) incomes? What does it mean for the less wealthy of the American population? 

TV is not just the "brain killing" device that it has been touted as by groups like the PTC. TV is an important tool for people to get news, education programs, and the basic relaxation that is needed after a labor intensive day of slaving away at work has come to an end. TVs (the old school TVs) are cheap enough for the populace to own. I could go down to a drug store and buy a 10+ inch TV for easily under $75. When the big Thanksgiving sales roll along, I can drop this price to under $40 with no real effort. However, at the rate that HD sets are dropping, this will not be true with the new standard in 2009. In fact, in 2009 the poorer of people will have three options. The first is to pay more than they can afford for a HD set. The second is to buy a decoder device for about $50-$100 that will only serve the purpose of forcing the person in question to waste money that could be saved for HD. Lastly, these people could go without TV (which includes news, and more important are those usually annoyingly tested public emergency broadcasts). None of these options look good. 

My favorite part is that HD is a luxury. At the same time, so are cable and satellite services. So, when cable and satellite both offer such increasing levels of HD channels as they currently do, why force those who probably can't afford cable (and for those damned ignorant asses who say "but everyone has cable", many people don't because of the outrageous price of companies like Comcast) to have to get a TV that's even more expensive? Until HD sets can actually be afforded by the masses (and to assign a year like 2009, now, is ridiculous) this type of action should not be forced. This is not just some blind decision by the networks, this is a congressional act. 

I have news for congress, as someone who has seen plenty of poverty (unemployment checks were once a part of my household income, along with begging relatives for money), not everyone has the income of a political figure, or the advantages that come with it (like an insanely high pension). Until those with money can accept that not all of us are as lucky (I've been saving money for about 4 months, and I think HD may be in my future only after all of that time saving), the balance of entertainment and information will be unbalanced. The Internet is almost a requirement for daily lives, but many people cannot afford beyond a dial-up provider, HD is expensive, but it will soon be required. This is incredibly wrong. Before these forms of media (and more) are corrupted and made to be out of the common man's reach, maybe the government should look into lowering prices of these almost-basic needs (by that term I mean they are things that are not needed in most of the world, but in our corner they are as tied into our lives as being able to purchase food and to find out about threats to our way of life). 

Anyway, I'm pissed off at the fact that people are being shat upon. I'm pissed off at my apartment shitting on me. I'm pissed off that so many people can live in such excess while other are not allowed what is taken for granted by these people. I'm just pissed off I'm going to poof before I go off too much more. 


Malik (8/4/05)  

I love this crap about the motivations behind Rockstar. I mean these protesters decided to bring in a bunch of school children to protest a game which has almost no information available on it. I'm talking about Bully. 

I mean it's a little hard, in my opinion at least, to try to complain about a game that has only the tiniest bit of information available on it. After all, it'll be more likely to see Jack Thompson playing GTA:SA and loving every minute of it than for this to happen, but Bully could end up turning into a happy educational tool on how to properly handle a bully at school (with game play that includes reporting trouble to teachers, using the US legal system to get restraining orders, etc). So, while that will almost never happen, it's still complete hypocrisy to complain about a game that hasn't been seen in the real world...wait, maybe these protesters are time travelers and know the game from the future! We should seek answer from them about a cure for cancer, how to solve the the gas crisis, and how to take apart terrorism! Wow! We have real mother f#$%ing heroes among us! 

So, getting real about this, when the hell did Rockstar market games towards children? I mean the advertisements for GTA games have even included music which is less than well known by today's youth, but is wholly known by the real target audience (males, ages 18-35). Plus, just because it's a game it doesn't mean that it's for children. If we're going to think this way, then we should also say that only boys are playing games (after all, the stereotype says games are for BOYS ages 5-16). So, on that note, I say we protest against Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen games since they are obviously corrupting the boys they are aimed at by trying to make them too effeminate. Damn, I try to stop being sarcastic, and look what these protesters keep pulling me into. 

However, Rockstar may advertise their games with big explosions and firefights, and even fast car chases. Last time I looked, that was the same shit that R rated movies use to advertise themselves, but with a movie it is somehow ok to aim it this way at adults...just not with games. 

I can even see exactly who Bully is aimed at. It will definitely be M rated, as in not for children. Why? Because many people seem to forget, but Rockstar remembers, that bullies have been a factor of life for longer than the last 2 years. So, this game is obviously aimed at the people who were once school age, but are now adults, who either were victims of a bully, or at least witnessed the mayhem caused by a bully. It's a way for adults to escape into nostalgic events and still have fun with it. Like with GTA games, it's a chance to have some fun and to play out something they never could in the real world. 

My favorite part, beyond how these people are claiming that Rockstar advertises to children (f#$%ing ignorant idiots), is how the people behind these protests are bringing in children to do their dirty work. This is brilliant, since it's always an emotional tear-jerking angle on any protest or news. Show a child that has "had it's life ruined by" whatever is being protested or reported. However, these kids are not the target audience for Bully. 

Plus, for these people to complain about Rockstar is beyond simple minded. Maybe, instead of saying Rockstar has no freedom of speech in being able to make whatever game they want (while these people exercise the same first amendment to hypocrisy there...) they should try to take up getting game ratings to be a better way of limiting access of games to children. This, however, would involve going after a less prolific target, like either the government (this group is from DC and chose to go to New York...maybe they could look in their own backyard) or trying to spread the word to parents that they need to watch out for their own children. Either way, attacking the first amendment of a business by using the first amendment is a little beyond wacky. 

Anyway, there's no other real news out there. I haven't been playing many games lately (except FF6), and the only other thing I can even think of going off about is how FF7: Advent Children characters look so damned metro that I think I'd have to castrate myself to believe that these characters are actual bad-asses. I keep seeing previews and while the action may look pretty intense and skillfully animated, the characters are just not believable to be behind this action. It'd be more believable if the sword fights were actually performed all by moogles (at least I would believe seeing Mog swinging a sword or thrusting a lance more than these characters doing the same). The only character that doesn't look completely unbelievable is Vincent...and that's only because he's almost completely covered, so we cannot see what he really looks like. Blah. 


Malik (8/5/05)  

Well, I'll probably be talking less about the games I'm playing for a short while. I'm now spending a good deal of my gaming time with the beta of Ratchet: Deadlocked...which means I'll be working under the cover of a non-disclosure agreement. Oh well. Once the agreement is over, which I believe is the day R:D hits the stores, I'll have plenty to talk about. However, for now, all I have been playing that I can talk about is either FF6 (and we should all know this one by now) or Mercury for the PSP... 

As for Mercury, I'm a little disappointed. The game was packaged to look a lot like Marble Madness, but with enough new twists and turns to keep you interesting in a new $40-$50 game. Well, so far, and I'm over 50% done (according to the save screen) and I have to say that this is a good game...until you factor in the price. I would only pay $20 or less for this game. It really isn't worth a full price treatment. For example, the game is freakin' short. I've spent only a couple hours to be over half done. I suppose I could go back and try to get the high score on every level, but I don't see that coming. In fact, I could only stomach most levels for one try due to the unusual difficulty...some levels are almost ridiculous in their easiness. Meanwhile, some levels are either very simple (and I'm just looking for too complex of a solution) or are as hard as they seem to me...these levels are the ones I'll barely beat by getting the minimum requirements per level (like how much of my mercury glob remains, and being down to less than a second left on the clock) and that's only through luck that I do so well. This game is not made for the large price of the PSP games. Hell, this should be a downloaded homebrew game if there ever was one. 

On to games that I know aren't worth their price; Metroid Prime 3 is being discussed by Retro Studios. MP3 will continue the same damned plot line that the first two Primes other words, more about the overplayed phazon. Yippee...blah. It's being said that this will serve as closure; to the series or this plot, who knows? However, it's about time that this style of Metroid gets laid to rest. 

The game play was amazing in the first MP, however with the dark world damage, I just found the game play to be a hindrance in Echos. If I'm going to face massive damage from just walking around, then don't have an engine that makes it easy to get stuck on corners. It's that simple. Also, when ammo was thrown in for normal weapons, that crossed the line. It made the aiming system feel greatly out of balance since an enemy could always dodge as your final light shot goes off into the wall. 

All that's really known beyond the plot reaching closure with an "epic struggle" is that this will be on the Revolution. I can't even speak about what this means since Nintendo is still sans controller for the Revolution. Metroid is supposed to take advantage of the unique controller, but if that's good or bad...who knows? I just am afraid of another game with the same damned environment (there might have been many back drops and visuals, but in the end, there were two environments in MP 1 and 2...platformer style ledges and platformer style ledges with weird gravity due to being underwater), the same possibility of damaging environments, limited ammo with lame and archaic ways to gather more (that was the worst part of limited ammo...kill something with your precious light ammo to get precious dark ammo and vice versa...that makes the game so damned frustrating since it means it's hard to ever keep a full supply of either ammo type and you waste way too much time gathering ammo before entering a new area). I hope by being on a system call "Revolution" that MP3 could be revolutionary and not more of the same crap. 

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