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Malik (1/16/06)  

It may seem a little off topic to some, but I'm a sports geek (and there are plenty of us out there) as well as a game, movie, and music geek. So, I just have to say, as a Seattle (suburban and urban) native for the last 26 years, I cannot say how good it felt watching the Seahawks game this weekend. Actually, it's more like how good it felt at the end and how horrible it felt along the way. I guess the ends were justified by the means...or something like that. 

In the first quarter, I felt physically ill, for what may be the first time, during a game from something other than the food or drink flowing into my mouth. Watching what looked like a standard tackle and seeing Shaun Alexander not get up was what I expected to see as the beginning of the end. Constantly, as the game progressed, I have to say I kept waiting for the typical Alexander smile to know it would all be alright. That smile took it's sweet time to return, and seeing Morris come onto the field to fill in, I thought it was over. In the end, when the second half began and we finally had the update that Alexander was out, I could have sworn things were over. 

However, what is a disappointing game (how it felt at the time) without seeing another Seahawk go down? When Darrell Jackson went down with what looked like a season ending back injury, I felt that illness starting to return. I still had no idea if Jackson would even be good for the next game (if there was to be one) when he somehow was back on the field for a touchdown. While I still felt like the Seattle curse (Seattle teams cannot win their first playoff game/series...look at the Sonics, the Mariners, and the Seahawks past records) would stick around, it did feel good to know that at least things were getting better. 

I didn't actually start to feel good until I saw two important things; the first was seeing a little kid holding Hasselbeck's touchdown ball in the third quarter. It sounds sappy, but nothing feels as wholesome in professional sports as a child being given what could be the decisive scoring ball on one of the most important games of the year. It's sentimentalism and all that, but it makes one feel good to see something so unselfish. Then, when we kept getting flashes to Alexander, smiling like a made man, I knew things could be alright. 

In the end, the Seahawks have ended their lame duck approach to playoff games, and Alexander is probably going to be back from his concussion to face face the Panthers. All is feeling alright with the world. While some people would like to say that Seattle is not a football town (since the Seahawks have only been around for a few decades) and how Seattle doesn't have any reason to complain, I would just like to say we are a football town, and we have seen far too many heartbreaks from the boys in blue. It's about freakin' time to see something this good come along. 

So, Velveeta and I have started our exodus from Seattle. We aren't moving far or anything (just across a bridge), but we'll soon be free from seeing/hearing people getting gunned down in front of our apartment. We started with three car loads worth of crap being moved on Saturday, and three more on Sunday. It's been a long and tiring weekend, but it isn't nearly over for us. We'll be having trips out to Bellevue once a night until Saturday, and then we'll have the whole U-Haul deal. Why am I saying this? Because it's both a great change for us, and because it may explain why I may get really lazy on posting between now and next week. In other words, I'm tired as hell after two days...and there's about 6 more to come. 

So, there's no real game news or anything. I'm still loving Mario and Luigi DS, and I still enjoy Legend of Heroes. Portable games are winning my affection right now (as my FFXI beta goes sans love). I have to say, until I get a full review (maybe next week) up, M&L DS is a must have game for any DS owner (RPG fan or not). 


Malik (1/17/06)  

So, in the theme of the current week, which is filled with practically no importance, I came stumbling along an article on Gamespot. Maybe I'm just a jaded and grumpy old man (pretty doubtful, since I'm not that old least I don't think I am), but I just find it sad when this type of stuff actually happens. 

When I was a kid, I didn't get all of the newest game systems. In fact, unless I saved for about a year (with hard earned allowance that involved me doing shit to get $1 a week), and pooled it with holiday money, I could never hope for a new game system. I got the NES after my brother had a Gameboy (if you don't know, the GB came out several years after the NES), and only with some massively saved money. The SNES involved me getting a lot of odd jobs mowing lawns and such to pull it off...about a year after it launched. 

So, when I hear that a kid tries to buy a PSP by drawing pictures of the PSP and selling them to friends for a quarter, I can't honestly complain. The kid is obviously trying hard to find his niche and he's working for the money. However, I start to feel like things are a little out of whack when someone hears of this kid's "plight" and a web site starts to raise donations for this kid to get a PSP. Excuse me, but we live in a time when people in Pakistan are still suffering after their massive quake, people are still displaced and jobless after Katrina and Rita, and there is still the "usual" suffering (the homeless, jobless, etc). So, why the f#@% will we (and by "we", I mean people who obviously have too much money to begin with) raise money for a kid who doesn't sound homeless, he's too young to be "jobless/unemployed", and he generally sounds like a well off (or at least not destitute) child. In fact, child is the key word. While I can't honestly fault the guy who ran this blog, or the kid, I do find it disgusting that people will donate to this while there are still bigger issues that will literally be happy with every cent they can raise to help those who honestly are suffering. 

Beyond that, I feel for this kid. I don't feel for him for not having a PSP (despite now having one), but rather for having such horrible taste. Seriously...kid...a PSP has about as much entertainment value, especially to someone who shouldn't be playing M rated games (or even T for that matter), as a (this one's for you Sony...and your horribly lame advertising agency) piece of cheese, a nut, or carpet. I hate to flat out bash a system that's out (I don't mind bashing an overly hyped system that doesn't exist since all I can go off of is what's told by the company making it), but the PSP is worthless. With games, it might be ok, but it will still have the hard to use nub. 

Anyway, if you know a child who wants something, my advice, as a former-child who wanted shit, is to make the kid work for it. While some would say it's because "the kid will now know the value of their new item", I would like to look at it another shows that you have to earn things in life. I know too many people who, even in their post-childhood years, don't work for what they have, and they all have warped senses of money and work. The only thing I ever got that I didn't work for was a car or two. The only reason I got those from my parents was so I could get to school, earn a degree, and then buy my own car. The only reason I got more than one car from them was because they didn't get me good cars, but rather cheap ones so I'd be more motivated to get a good one, and thus the cars kept self-destructing. I'd like to say, with a good level of satisfaction, that everything I now own was either purchased with my own money earned, thrown out by someone else, or was a gift for a real occasion (Christmas, birthday, blah, blah). 

Also, if you want some fun reading to flame war over, IGN has some stuff...for the PS3, there's some good speculation (and for once, even they are calling it by that word I so do love). Basically, it's saying the PS3 is being speculated to launch in the US in the fall and it will lack some of the supply needed to not face this current 360 hating levels by those without their desired system. 

On the 360 side, there's an explanation of Microsoft's stance on supporting Blu-ray or HD-DVD. Basically, this explains, in more detail, about what Peter Moore said about an add-on HD-DVD drive for the 360. 

Let the flame wars continue, oh you great fanboys! 


Malik (1/18/06)  

If you're still puzzled over the Blu-ray/HD-DVD wars, there's some help in clarifying this thing. It seems that the number one best selling genre is showing it's first signs of support in this battle, and it's going Blu-ray. So, in other words, if you like the porn (or as cool kids say, "the pr0n"), Blue-ray is the way to go. Considering how things usually go, it shouldn't be long before the adult entertainment industry goes with total unified Blu-ball...errrr...Blu-ray support. 

Also, I hate to say I told you so, but for anyone who thought that another unknown handheld with nothing really new to offer could push it's way into the world marketplace, I told you so. Yes, the Gizmondo is not exactly keeping Tiger's finances healthy. 

Then again, it's a handheld that doesn't offer anything new. It offers no big name support. It has an insane price point. It's gotten no PR and has not pushed any advertising onto the world. In other words, this is a lame makes a normally lame duck, like the pwN-Gage look like a healthy and wonderful piece of hardware, and it makes something like the DS look like a deity to be worshipped by all. Yes, the Gizmondo has done that badly. That's not even mentioning the "brilliant" idea of putting ads onto a game system that you have paid for. It's like saying "Here's an overprice piece of crap that won't do anything for you, but it'll let you watch some ads we have selected for your 'enjoyment'". 

To continue this theme of stupidity and illogical trends, GameStop is expecting to fulfill it's 360 pre-orders by February. While some would say and have said that this is Microsoft's fault, I just would like to point out a simple and obvious fact; Microsoft never told GameStop, EB, or anyone else to take so many damned pre-orders. Most prior game system launches have included a much smaller cap on pre-orders than this one entailed. It was EB, etc, who f$#@ed up so badly by saying that there was more room at the inn, so to speak, when the pre-orders should have been capped months earlier. Hell, you could still pre-order at some retailers within a months of the consoles launch. Did anyone think this was honestly a smart move? No. I doubt it. While supply has not met demand (in some part to both manufacturing issues and the worldwide launch), the true problem is that the GameStop, EB, blah, blah, all pimped this poor system until it could no longer say, "For $400, I'll make you very happy, big boy," one more time. 

If you think Sony could do a lot better, don't get your hopes up. This fanboy fighting is only serving to make a lot of people look like fools. While some would like to say that the PS3 will launch in November (which is now the magic month compared to March or April from two weeks ago...and still is not concrete) with a gazillion units, there are no facts. I'm not saying that the PS3 will be bad, but I'm rather saying that there will be shortages. There are always less units than the demand dictates. 

In all honesty, the best move for any potential PS3 purchaser is simple. First off, don't pre-order this thing...yet. We don't know the price, we don't know the final specs, we don't know the release date, we don't know what a game will look like on the system, and we don't know if the bun warmer will be included or if it's more like the older George Foreman Grills that only can cook meat while you turn to your toaster oven to warm your precious buns. We don't know anything. 

Before the fanboys start frothing a little too much at the mouth, we all need to chill out. The PS3 will probably be good. It will have some nice support. However, if you think the visuals will blow the 360 out of the're probably wrong. The two consoles are going to end up a lot more similar in actual play than a fanboy would like to admit. The only major difference will be that the PS3 will have Blu-ray movie playing skilz, while the 360 will have a better online service. That's about all it will really come down to. That, and the price. Now if only the fanboys would see this before anymore 360 message boards turn into "M$'s 360 teh suxor" and anymore PS3 boards become "pS3 = teh brokeback mnt". these days. 


Malik (1/19/06)  

After the "failed" launch of the 360, with it's "staggeringly low" numbers, it seems that the newest PR tool for a system launch is the number of units to be available. So, of course Sony and their backers are trying to make claims of how there will be billions of PS3s at launch. Well, when it comes to 7 million in 2006, things are just getting silly. The simple truth, despite what people want to believe, is that Sony, just like Microsoft, and eventually like Nintendo, will not have 7 million PS3s available this year. There will be shortages. Man, this is a subject that I just wish would go away, but since it won't I'll keep saying the same shit everytime it's brought up; there will be shortages when releases the . It's that freakin' simple. 

However, at least some of the Sony PS3 launch lineup is starting to take shape, if you follow the rumors, as seen on Gamespot's Rumor Control article. The simple truth, just like with the huge promise of launch numbers and figures, is that nothing is known about the PS3. In fact, I personally doubt anything with Sony's launch will be better than the "horrible" 360 launch for one reason; we know nothing. 

Sony has not said a thing about any aspect of the PS3 that can be held to be concrete truth. We have not seen any actual game images (just pre-rendered shit), we have not gotten a final price (despite how everyone seems to have their own "truth" about this), and we don't have a launch date. In fact, the lack of a launch date and game images would lead one to the logical conclusion; we are still a sizable distance away from the launch. 

The only next-gen info that can be taken as truth either revolves around the 360 (since it's launched...kinda makes actual data easy to obtain...usually...), or the fact that the Revolution will be here in the US this year. Since Iwata has gone on record to say that the Revolution is going to be here for the holiday season, it's safe to say that we'll not only see it this year, but we'll see (just like one would expect for the PS3) a lot of data at E3 this May. 

Anyway, enough of this rumor and false info bullshit. Here's something a little more factual; Ape Escape 3 (PS2) is finally out. I picked it up yesterday. After staring at the box for an hour (the joy of moving, for me, has included packing all my PS2 controllers and moving them, despite leaving my PS2 with the Guitar Hero controllers in my still current home). So, after dropping off another load of stuff at my new place, I grabbed a PS2 controller and finally tried out the game. It is definitely some more of the good old Ape Escape. Sadly, while the game has many great features, the most obvious change is not a good feature. It's how the camera seems to now be controlled by those same monkeys you are trying to capture. In other words, expect to be blindsided by a lot of monkeys just off screen. If a monkey runs, they will always run to your blind spot and the camera will not give a shit about the pain that soon comes your way. 

On the bright side of things, AE3 is still a great game. It definitely won't make any new fans of the series (I leave AE2 as the centerpiece of this series), but it will keep fans of the real AE games (in other words, not the mini-game/party-game versions like AE Academy) happy. I son't know if the game should be bought for it's $40 price tag, but I'd say it's worth a good $30 at least. 

Speaking of determining the value of a game, I have my much overdue\ up and running. I know that I took a little too long on this, and there's sadly no images (my video capture device is still boned), but the review is up and it's solid...just like the game. I think, in the end, Kameo will become another game like Beyond Good and Evil. In other words, it just won't find it's audience, but those who happen upon it will not be disappointed. It'll also probably go without a sequel just because it will be perceived as too kiddie. Sigh... 

Also, I'm nearing the end of Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time (DS). I should be working on the review quite soon. I'd give about a week (give or take) before the review is up. If you want a sneak peak into how good or bad the game is...let's just say it's a Mario game and Nintendo never lets us down when Mario's concerned...except when it's an educational game (or is that "edu-tainment"?) on the SNES, but that's a different matter entirely. 


Malik (1/20/06)  

This is for you Bastich.

I'm not a big RTS fan.  Usually I can only stand them in a LAN party situation.  Even so, I still don't get into them that much since my friends like to usually make a flavor of the week from a new RTS.  We'll play AoE3 one week, and then we move on.  It's how we usually roll.  However, Bastich is claiming there may be a new champion in the RTS LAN experience.

Yes, Medieval 2: Total War is in the works.  Considering the range of events and situations that this game will bring, like the Inquisitors, Crusades, and the expansive time frame (1080-1530 ACE...AD...whatever) and the technology that could be pretty cool.  When you throw in around 20 empires/nations, and how each army is not just cookie-cutter in design...sigh...I may have to break down and buy this.

Well, tomorrow is my big day. I have taken apart my home theater system (with a tear in my eye), packed up all my systems (with an extra tear in the other eye), and have been packing and moving boxes for one loooooong week. The major part of the move will begin in less than 24 hours. Supposedly I'll have Internet back on Sunday, but there may be some delay in posting during this confusion. For one thing, there may be a snag with Internet (with Comcast, I always expect the worst, and get the not-quite-the-worst). Also, I'll be taking some vacation early next week so I can clean up the old apartment and unpack the new one. So, if I'm not posting Monday or Tuesday, I'll be back in full force on Wednesday. 

Good weekend to all. 


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