Personally, I have
no love for graffiti. I one hand, it's seen as vandalism, and on the
other hand it's seen as art. Either way, it's not my thing. However,
I can say the same of the art of Salvador Dali or Van Gosh, who are
widely accepted artists. So, while I don't give a flying f#@$ one
way or another in this, it seems that New York City has canceled a
promotional event to both push Mark Ecko's Getting Up and to exhibit
some one the spot graffiti "art".
Well, it's not
really that NYC canceled the show, since they weren't the promoter,
as much as they revoked the permit to allow this event. A permit
that has been filed for almost 10 months. So, while this game is one
that looks pretty lame to me, and while graffiti is something that
looks as art-like as a children's coloring book, this is pretty
messed up. This all came about because NYC wanted to try to keep the
attention away from something that glamorizes graffiti.
As geeks, this reflects
quite readily on what we like to do. While some graffiti is done as vandalism,
there's a lot that is done with permission of the land owner in
order to bring "art" to their premises. The same can been
seen of our "art". Game players are often depicted as
either brain-dead idiots who should do something more
"appropriate" with their free time, or as homicidal
maniacs who play games like GTA to "hone their killing
skills". We know that these two depictions are not often true
(the second one is pretty much a load of bull shit, while the first
one is occasionally, and sadly, true), but we're stuck with the same
pain of being labeled.
I just had to
point this out since it's amazing how in a world of political
correctness run-amuck, we still see labels on the less represented
of cultures. The geeks are seen as "idiots training to kill
police officers", graffiti artists are all labeled as
"vandals", teens are labeled as "slackers"...the
list can keep going on and on for all of the groups and cultures
that don't have active voices in the government. It's pretty sad
that because there are advid hunters in the US government that they
are seen as normal (despite having access to firearms to use to kill
things...not that I have anything for or against hunting), but a kid
with a video game is a "stone cold killer in training".
Well, I've taken
to playing FF3 (the NES FF3) and GTA:SA again. I started some more
GTA:SA because my new TV made me want to see how the game looked in wide screen.
Here's a hint, for those who don't have a wide screen TV; it looks
worse. The wide screen doesn't expand the outer edges of the
screen...instead it shrinks the top and bottom margins and then you
get left with less total vision than if you played normal. That's
why I like how my TV can expand an image to fill the screen. In the
mode I use, it cuts off less of the top and bottom than GTA:SA's wide screen
mode (so little you don't notice), and then it stretches more on the
edges than the center. This gives a wide image, but it makes it look
like it's a normal image on a rounded tube TV.
As for FF3...what
can I say. I was expecting to be playing that on my DS sometime
soon, but with no real word of it for quite a while (still no
announcement for the US and no date for Japan), I had to use my own
means to play this classic again. It is definitely a solid game, and
it's, in my opinion, more enjoyable than FF2 (NES), which we somehow
got. The only part of this game that isn't perfectly enjoyable is
how some of the classes (if you don't know, FF3 uses the FF5-style
job system) are completely worthless. For example, if you play the
standard style of having two mages (one healer, one nuker), you will
gain a ton of new jobs before you ever change them to anything else
(the better mages don't show up until late in the game). However,
this is one of those rare games that it pays to hunt down, if you
know what you're getting in to. Since Friday, I've played about 20
hours and have been enjoying each hour far more than I liked any 20
block from any recent Square Enix titles.
Anyway, there is
really nothing to talk about again today. Luckily, the slow days of
the summer are almost over. Unfortunately, they will still continue
for a few weeks. At least we are now on the home stretch.
Well, I guess I
was wrong. Last week I said that Nintendo is doing some rather lame
things with how they will have no games to be released before the holiday
season. I guess this list at Gamespot
shows how wrong I was...or not...
There will be a
few games that will get some major attention on the DS. I mean Mario
Kart has only been bumped a week, so it's still a November release,
Mario and Luigi 2 is still set, and Animal Crossing DS is now due in
the first week of December. However, beyond that, things actually
still look pretty crap-tacular.
Hunters...the demo we all saw as a reason to buy the DS when no
games were available for it, and was scheduled for a spring release
got delayed to the end of the year. That was, it was delayed for the
end of the year until now. Now Hunters will be due out in the world
of tomorrow...in other words, it's being bumped to sometime in 2006.
After teasing us with the free demo since November, isn't it time
Nintendo delivered? I guess Nintendo doesn't think so.
We will soon see a
big surge of the standard set of portable games that no one cares
about. Just look at the DS and GBA lists and you'll see what I mean.
A card game, a casino game, a party game (or two), more Nickelodeon
crap (don't they get it yet...they can't make a game on their
licenses to save their lives), a Guilty Gear game (sorry, but
fighting games on portables are still second rate compared to the
console versions), blah, blah. It's all either second rate games or
the games that should've been released on a console that could truly
harness the genre (like any fighting games).
As for the
non-portable world...well, the Gamecube, without Zelda (and no
mention of Animal Crossing 2...if it ever gets released) is looking
pretty bland. If you take out Viewtiful Joe (can't go wrong with
this damned hard franchise) and Mario Strikers (sports and Mario are
the only thing Nintendo seems to do right anymore), you are left
with pure crap. There are enough red neck games (American Chopper,
hunting, and paintball...oh my...) to make you wonder why the GCN is
labeled a "kiddy" system.
While Sony is
offering up a nice dishing of the standard sequels and time tested
games (like how Ratchet: Deadlocked will be out in a few months on
the PS2 and GTA will be on the PSP in less than 2 months), and while
Microsoft is offering the next generation, Nintendo seems to be
stuck with a bunch of games that would be better off with a summer
release schedule. When Sea World is making a Shamu based game, and
when it's part of your holiday line-up, you know you have a problem,
At least Nintendo
will have some fire for the handheld battle. With a new Mario Kart
game, the DS is locked in as a contender. Then, when you throw in
some other Mario sports titles (like tennis) and Mario and Luigi 2,
you have a good defense against your competition. However, the GCN
is just dying out there. It has almost no worthwhile games now, it
has had no great releases this year (besides RE:4...which was pretty
close to being a 2004 release), and nothing good (or noteworthy) in
the works until a few months into 2006. This is the same way that
the N64 became a joke of a console, and it's the same type of
repeated slacking over the generations that led to Sega
falling...well, without the surprise launch of a console and massive
add-ons accessories. It's about time for Nintendo to wake up and
realize that dominance in the handheld market doesn't lead to
automatic dominance in the console market. If this keeps up, I think
I see the future of the Revolution...and it looks bleak.
I can smell the
360 just around the corner...it smells like...PRICE GOUGING! EB has
started to have 360 bundle packages available on their web site, as Gamespot
has reported. The bundles are some of the most outrageous ones I've
ever seen (and I've seen bundles as far back as the PS2 bundle
nightmares that included getting Armageddon on DVD). It's one thing
to force a bundle, but it's another thing to force on that contains
so many games of different genres.
It's a safe bet
that of the people who plan to get the 360 at launch, a good number
are planning on getting Perfect Dark Zero, DoA4, Project Gotham
Racing 3, OR Kameo. It's not a safe bet to think that a person who
finds Kameo fun would also be interested in PGR3, PDZ, AND DoA4.
That's the important thing...all of these games cover different
genres and it's rare for a gamer to like all of these genres so much
as to shell out $700. I won't even mention how if you're being price
gouged, you might as well forget the core unit (since you'll want
the HDD, blah, blah).
At least the final
prices do come out a hair cheaper than the prices for all the
components put together...as in you'll save about $20 on the
bundles, but you'll also be getting some games that will probably
just collect dust. Still, when you're paying $700 for a new console,
there's something wrong. I was dumb enough to not pre-order a PS2
for it's launch, but even with the bundle package I was forced to
get, I still only broke $600 because of tax and shipping. If you
live in a place that will get you taxed, you can expect to break
$800 (and then some) on one of these mail/Internet order bundles.
That's why, no matter how poor you may feel, if you think you'll
want a new console on it's launch, pre-order as soon as humanly
possible. At least my final purchase will include two games I want
(not four that EB picks), the console package I want, and no extra
crap to burn a hole in my wallet.
I guess you could
just say it's the season for lame game news. Between Nintendo's
announcements over their holiday game launches, the 360 bundles, the
360 prices from Microsoft, and the fact that a not quite firm
release date is set for what is going to be a really lame move
(Halo)...well, I guess all of the summer news we've been missing has
decided to show us why we're better off with no news; all the news
out there could be bad or just plain stupid.
I still have
nothing really important that I've been up to. I'm still playing FF3
(in the second part of the three part final dungeon) and wishing
Square would bring it to the US on the DS already. I'm also still in
that beta I've mentioned...I so wish this game would be released
already, since I could go off about it for a good long time. Besides
that, I'm just waiting for my next pay check and some new games so I
can do something other than play free betas and old classics (not
that there's anything wrong with a good old classic game...assuming
the game withstands the test of time).
For those who have
actually decided to upgrade their PSPs, the 2.0 upgrade is up and
running...in the US now. This is the "big" upgrade that
brings in some added ease of use type of things, a new video format
(which is still not a common video format or one that anyone can
really use...why Sony doesn't start using something common place,
like one of the AVI codecs, is well beyond me), and the famous web
browser. Of course, if you wanted to web browser so badly, you
probably have the Japanese firmware already installed, or you have
Wipeout Pure in your UMD drive right now.
I can tell you,
I'm not going through the upgrade for a while. I'm happy with the
games I have, and I'm happy with the ability to play homebrew apps.
The big-nasty of the firmware upgrade is how homebrew will not be on
an upgraded PSP for a good long time. By the time someone cracks
homebrew for 2.0, we'll be a few firmware versions down the road.
So, while some people are happy to browse the web without Wipeout
Pure, I'm happy to use Wipeout (if I even want PSP web browsing)
between playing my PSP Doom, emulators, and other fun little games.
I mean, is there a real incentive to upgrade?
is. New games, for those who haven't bought any for a while, are
usually requiring the latest (or a later than 1.5) firmware version.
Sony would like to claim a hundred reasons for this, but the real
one is that they don't want homebrew on their PSP. So, by forcing
upgrades, they can keep homebrew games on the down low. For example,
I'm getting, like many other PSP owners, GTA:LCS in October. When I
do, I bet you that it will require the latest firmware, so my
homebrew days will be behind me. However, while that's the sad
truth, it means I will have a good month and a half before I kiss
On a different
note, I finally finished my latest play through FF3. I think it's
funny, if Square holds up it's promise of releasing it for the DS,
that this game will probably come by itself. In the end, while I had
a good deal of fun, the game is pretty short. The majority of the
game is marked by the crystals (like other FF games up until FF5),
and after you find the second crystal, you will almost immediately
find the third. Then you have a short dungeon or two, and then you
have the fourth. By the time you have the fourth (and final)
crystal, you are actually in the first part of the final dungeon.
While I have no problem with a shorter RPG (just check my Fable
review to see what I mean), assuming the game was fun, many gamers
have issues with an RPG even clocking 30 hours. Well, FF3 can be
pretty damned short, unless you waste time doing the two or three
side dungeons (which only add another hour or two). So, unless
Square includes something else on the DS version, or unless they add
new content (which is doubtful), I see a lot of angry geeks in their
future...if they even get off their asses and release the
So, I have no idea
what will now occupy my free time. I was thinking of playing some
other old-school games...but there's not a one that really is
standing out. Considering how my finances are screwed until the end
of the month, I may be in a tight spot about now. I have nothing to
play (except the beta I'm in...but...), nothing I can afford, and
way too much free time. I makes me remember that it is still the
summer, after all.
By the way, if you
all thought that EB had two really lame 360 bundles (priced between
around $600 and $700), just be glad that they offer you a better
choice than Gamestop.
While Gamestop is offering 4 different bundles, they all come with
at least five games (now isn't that just milking the cash cow a
little too much...).
For one thing, the
game selection boggles the mind more than EB's. Just ask yourself,
"who would be likely to enjoy PGR, DoA3, Call of Duty 2, and
Oblivion?". In fact, by including a hardcore RPG, these bundles
are almost guaranteed to turn off quite a few potential customers
who'd rather hit up EB than be stuck with one more game they
wouldn't want. At least it's better than those who order the $1200 (OMG...$1200!
Don't they even realize what that amount of money is!?!? That's a
freakin' nice quality HDTV, awesome home theater system, or even up
to two or so months of rent!) "Ultimate Bundle". If you
actually thing you'd enjoy everything from Oblivion to DoA to Madden
to PGR to Tony Hawk...well, you probably don't even realize what the
hell you're thinking.
The best part of
that bundle, unless you have some sort of entertainment business
that includes video game setups, is that most of those games will
probably remain untouched for a good amount of time. By then, you
could've saved at least some good money by buying used copies...or
even saved more money by reading some reviews (let's face it, launch
titles are usually hit or miss...and a good number will be
"miss") and seeing that you just don't really want some of
While you could
say, "but at the price they're selling the bundles, you save a
few dollars over buying everything separately!"...that is true.
However, that's only if you want every game in the bundle and
nothing else in the launch window. Otherwise, you will save even
more money by not getting one of these bundles.
I feel a
compulsion to warn as many gamers as possible. I've bought bundles
in the past. I got a bundle with my PS2, my GCN, and my PSP. I can
tell you, no matter how good the bundled games look, some of them
will suck. It's inevitable. However, if you wait until a few days
after the system is launched, you can usually find enough user and
professional reviews to know which ones to avoid. Even better, if
you want to play it smart, try to find a store, right now (if you
want a launch 360), that is still taking pre-orders and lay down
your $50-$100 for the pre-order. It's the only smart way to go. When
you have a bundle for a few days, and realize how much money you
dropped on it compared to what you'd spend if you had picked and
chose your products individually, and when you see how bad some of
the games are (or at least how much you'd have never bought them if
you had a choice), you will kick yourself...and then you'll do it
again. Bundles only lead to disappointment in the
end...disappointment that tarnishes the fun that you should feel
during the first couple of weeks of owning a console that most of
your friends don't have yet.
Ok, I was wrong
about the stupidity of the 360 bundles. I thought that
ultimate bundle was the worst concept for milking a cash cow that
I've ever seen. That was until I saw Gamespot's "Omega
Bundle". It's beyond stupid. The description
says it "will truly statisfy (sic) your video game
obsession" (their bad spelling, not mine). Well, let me
tell you, as an obsessed person, there is a fine line between a
healthy obsession and stupidity, and this bundle (actually, any
bundle) crosses the line. If this thing actually can sell,
then I will only say one thing; I want out.
To tell the truth,
I really have nothing new to talk about today. After beating FF3 for
the second or so time on Wednesday, I spent last night trying to
think of something to play. I started off staring at my
collection...and then I carefully evaluated each game...then I
stared at the whole thing...then I stared at re-runs of The Simpsons
and Chapelle's Show...then I stared at the game collection. In the
end, I came to two realizations. The first is that I don't have
anything I'd be willing to play again. The second is that, even
after I have money and get paid next week, there's nothing in stores
that I want.
Maybe, if I'm
feeling a bit crazy, I'd consider Geist if I can get some good
trade-in value for some games (like how, for some weird reason, I
still have Ys for the PS2 despite how crap-tacular it is). That's
still pretty doubtful, however. I just feel like there's nothing
worth my time out there. Plus, when I think of spending more money
on games, I can't help but feel enraged because it reminds me of
bundle packages...and that's always been a source of rage for me.
They're the only reason I ended up with most of my worst games (and
my worst DVD), and the only reason I've ever felt anger after buying
a new system (which is not a feeling one should have when they are a
technophile holding the latest technology).
So, despite my
boredom, I did find something to mildly entertain me. I loaded
Morrowind (PC version) and started a new game. I doubt I'll play it
all that much. At least it can serve as a momentary reprieve from my
boredom. I'll give it some time, but I am thinking I'll be, once
again, staring at the game collection soon enough. It's just hard
for me to get back into this game when I know of all the new
features in Oblivion and how they eliminate some of my greatest
complaints about the earlier Elder Scrolls games. To get into this
game makes as much sense as for me to play through Fable again when
I know that The Lost Chapters would give me a better time.
I guess if there
was some real news (like Microsoft is getting close to launch time
for the 360...so...maybe...a release date is in order), or if there
was something to play, I could have something worthwhile to post. Oh
well. The beginning of the summer was actually pretty fun for game
news because of Hot Coffee, so I guess the ending would (by virtue
of karma) be extra rough. Blah.
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