Friday, September 29, 2006

My Worst Fear Is...

Falling. However, that's not the point of this post. The point is that the fates have conspired against me, and I will end up spending large amounts of my hard-earned dollars buying all three next-gen consoles, and as usual, it's all Microsoft's fault.

I mean, how badly to you have to fail in Japan to give up on the region. Apparently, you have to fail really, really badly, since Microsoft just won't let it go. They're are actually trying to release games that Japanese gamers want to buy, particularly RPGs. Eternal Sonata (or Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream if you're Japanese) and Lost Odyssey are the first of what I'm sure will be many RPGs on their way to the console. Add to that the fact that SquareEnix recently announced that they plan to spread the love around to all the next-gen consoles, eventually Microsoft will have enough must-own titles for me (and maybe some Japanese people,too) that I'll have to swallow my pride and actually buy a 360.

So, when Lost Odyssey comes out I will most likely buy a 360, since it has ties to the Shadow Hearts team. Simply because of that, if it is any good at all, and I mean if it is even playable, I will almost certainly buy it.

Just to round this post out and cover all the bases:
PS3: Kingdom Hearts 3 is an inevitability for this system. Please don't tell Square that I would be willing to buy a $500+ system to play this game alone.
Wii: Super Mario Galaxy. If this is half as good as Super Mario 64 (which it will be), it's worth $250 by itself.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Even I want to play hockey

Let me say that Incognito's post about NHL2007 makes ME want to play it and since my last attempt at video game hockey was in the fall of 1999, that's saying a lot. I tried to play NHL 98 and found that I had to continually chanted the controls to myself, outloud, I might add, so that I could try to remember which button shoots and which button fakes. I looked like an idiot.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The blinding love of LEGO

You know, I am one of those guys that has fully embraced the so-called "micro transactions" regularly put on offer in the Xbox Live Marketplace, but despite any number of great purchases, I do occassionaly get burned. The latest such occurence would seem to be the direct result of my blinding love of Lego Star Wars. To cut a long story short...don't buy this theme. The main pictures are bad, they are low-res, and the pattern that is applied to the sub-menu makes the options there darn near unreadable. Its a pity that something as great as little plastic people acting out a 30 year old space opera can't get a little more respect.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bringing it Home: Sadness

I realize this is old news, but are there any gamers out there that are as bummed out by the end of E3 as I am? I was downloading the "Bringing It Home" promotional materials for TGS on Xbox Live, and while I am glad to see that there are preview materials available for the games coming out this season, it is clear that TGS isn't near the wonderful spectacle that E3 was.

The really unfortunate part of this whole thing, is that the reason E3 was even ended was because big companies were spending ridiculous amounts of money on insane promotions (e.g. Navy Seals rappelling in from the roof) for their games, but littler companies were getting more attention because their games were better, and the big companies didn't like that one bit. To be clear, I am all for sticking up for the "little guy," but don't confuse me with some kind of anti-corporation anarchist, some of my favorite games were and are produced by the industry's larger corporations. What irritates me is that E3 was a utopia of gaming meritocracy, and even though some companies might try to confuse the audience with flashing lights or "booth babes" the gamers knew that it was all about the games, that's what people were there to see, and in that way E3 represented the industry: "it's all about the games."

It isn't about who you have working for you (prolific names like Shigeru Miyamoto, Hironobu Sakaguchi, and Hideo Kojima aside), it isn't about how much money you have, it isn't about where you are located, it's all about the games. Gaming is one of the fastest growing industries because it has some of the fewest barriers to entry, all you really need is a good idea and some programming knowhow and you can make a game. The hardest thing is trying to get your game noticed and E3 was THE way to do that, because if you're game was good or exciting or innovative, people would start talking and with basically every member of the gaming press at the event you could be guaranteed to get some positive publicity and maybe even a chance at continuing coverage.

So what message does closing the doors to E3 send? It's basically a slap in the face to everything the gaming industry was once based on, by companies that only got where they are because the barriers to entry that they themselves create didn't exist when they first started. I mean what was EA's first piece of software? A pinball construction set? Nintendo was originally a playing card manufacturer for god's sake!

At this point, I realize I am no longer sad about the end of E3, I am angry. Heck, part of the reason this website even exists was to try and get press passes to E3, because it was like a Mecca for gamers. Going there would have been like a pilgrimage for gamers, and for those among us with aspirations to actually make games it would have been THE opportunity to learn, to network, and to succeed. Sadly, that opportunity no longer exists, but who knows, maybe someone else will be brave enough to pick up the mantle of E3, and if they do I can promise you, I'll be the first in line to sign up. Until then, I guess TGS and the other pale shadows of E3 will have to do.

Re: Great Moments in Video Game Hockey History


I've been spending most of my time lately playing Okami and Saint's Row but I don't think I have any awesome play-by-plays for them. I'll try to think of something...

Great Moments in Video Game Hockey History

I just experienced one of my finest video game hockey moments ever, and I'd like to share it with you via a play-by-play:

"Time winding down here in overtime with the Kings and Canucks tied at 2. The Kings only have time for one more push. Visnovsky digs it out of the corner and sends it up to Avery. Avery sends it along to Cammalleri. Cammalleri brings it across the blue line, tries the one timer to Avery! He missed high and wide. The puck is off the glass, and Cammalleri is fighting for it in the corner. He's got control of it! Only 5 seconds left! He has no angle! Wait, he finds Rob Blake wide open at the point! 2 seconds left! Blake winds up! He shoots! HE SCOOOOOOOOORRRRRRESSS!!!!!! WITH NO TIME ON THE CLOCK! HE BEAT LUONGO TO THE STICK SIDE! I DON'T BELIEVE IT! THE KINGS WIN! THE KINGS WIN! Welcome back Rob Blake!"

There is no way I can top that, so I think I'm done for tonight. Whew!

Friday, September 15, 2006

omg hockey iz h3r3!!!!!!!111

I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

First, on the topic of ninjas: Tenchu RPG. How awesome would that be? I don't want an action RPG, that's too obvious. I want a strategy RPG where your movements happen at the same time as the guards/targets/etc. (much like Vandal Hearts 2). That way you always need to be one step ahead of everyone.

Anyways, I just wrapped up by first game of NHL '07. (Aside #1: The clerk at Gamestop gave me some serious attitude when I asked for this. I said, "can I get NHL 2007 for PS2?" So he says "do you want 2k7, or the other one?" "The EA one." "The EA one sucks. I don't like how they changed the shooting." It never ceases to amaze me the level of people that Gamestop will employ.) My first impression, the manual is nine pages. Nine! That includes all the credits and legal stuff. For a game that features almost entirely new play mechanics, that's pretty weak.

I'll give the good things first:
1. I'm glad we finally have a hockey game that utilizes both joysticks. It's about time.
2. When you are in the offensive zone, you deke with the left stick. No other buttons are involved. It's marvelous in its simplicity.
3. Passing with the right stick is super smooth.
4. It feels like hockey. It's hard to describe, but this game has a much better flow than the recent Sega games.
5. It's only $30 for the PS2 version.

And now the bad:
1. The best way to describe the player switching on defense is "drunk."
2. The control scheme is strange. Several times I went to change players and I did a spin deke instead, since they are both on the X button. Also I kept hitting R2 for speed burst, only to wind up to shoot. Would a tutorial have killed them?
3. The defensive learning curve is crazy steep. Even on "easy" I gave up 2 goals within minutes.
4. I lost 4-3 in a shootout. (Aside #2: This game really hates the Flyers. Even with Keith Primeau they are ranked an overall 84. As a point of reference, the Capitals are an 82.) At least I got to play a shootout.
5. Passing with the right stick does not allow you to make "precise passes easier than ever before," as the manual states. If fact, it's the same as passing in any other game, only you don't have to press a button. The puck usually goes the the player in the general direction you pressed.

Well, that's enough for now. Maybe I'll write a real review after I get some more games and the dynasty mode under my belt.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I don't think Sony is going to die. No way. But I still think that Nintendo has done quite a good job in this round of consoles.

As any marketing or business development book will tell you, once a product type reaches a certain level, the products converge to fit the desires of the users. Other than a few games, the Gamecube was not what it needed to be. Without Nintendo's extreme level of customer loyalty there may have never been a Wii, but they built an amazing fan base.

Now they've done the one thing that consumer's base decisions on at this product stage - differentiation. They have truly differentiated themselves.

The next round of consoles, either 4 years down the line of 10 years down the line, depending on whether we believe Microsoft or Sony more, will likely see more differences. The other consoles with adopt Nintendo's strategy and pick up the motion sensing abilities (oh wait - it'll be there within this round. Can you say peripherals and firmware updates?).

$250 is a pretty sweet price too.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jade Empire... HA!

Jade Empire is in no more a "ninja rpg" than Oregon Trail is an fps. The main character of JE, totally not a ninja. Just cause you do martial arts does not make you a ninja (see samurai). Nor does being Asian make you a ninja (see Hideki Matsui, casue Ichiro is a ninja). Racist.

I want real ninjas!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Games that should be Movies

As the resident girl-gamer I don't necessarily keep up with all the great new games that are coming out next...

I do, however, search through gamers' DVD piles to find interesting things to watch and let me tell is NOT FUN to find what looks like a great movie with an interesting title that ends up BEING A GAME INSTEAD!

So, here are 3 games I would like to see as movies, based solely on their titles:

Crimson Skies: Starring Tom Cruise and Sean Connery. Top Gun meets Crimson Tide in this action thriller with skidoos and super jets. No Goose to speak of, but maybe George Clooney could play sidekick nicknamed duck.

Killer 7: A movie starring Johnny Depp where seven murders take place involving 7 clues, and 7 detectives head out to find the 7th killer. Is Depp the murderer or the detective? You decide.

Project Eden: Starring Ewan McGregor. Some sort of government conspiracy about genetics embroils our hero in non-stop action (oh yeah, and there's some sort of secret plot and love interest too).

This is a warning to all you women out there...keep the games and DVDs separate or you will be very disappointed.

PS: Do penguins really live in dens? Don't they just huddle in groups? I've seen March of the Penguins...I know what happens out there....or do Vampire Penguins live in dens?

Re: Ninjas!

Didn't Bioware make a Ninja RPG? I think it was called Jade Empire.

Oh, and Mass Effect is going to be awesome. I wholly trust Bioware and Pandemic individually so working together they should be even better, right? Wait, where I have I heard this arguement before? Oh right...the Square Enix merger that managed to substantially reduce the output of both companies (with all due respect to Dragon Quest 8 and Kingdom Hearts 2).

Anyway, I'm pretty sure Final Fantasy XII is going to be sweet (I mean who doesn't love sky pirates) and Mass Effect will be similar in sweetness, it is just a question of how long it takes to actually come out.

Oh, and I forgot about Final Fantasy XII in my previous post. Man, this really is going to be a great year for games!

The Best Season Yet?

I love the fall for one reason and one reason only. No it's not the weather or the way colors of the leaves change. It's the time for new videogames and in the case of this fall, new systems. In the next three months (hell, the next three weeks) there is so much to be excited for if you are a gamer. The PS3 and the Wii will be launching this season, in addition to triple-A second generation 360 titles (mmmmm....Gears of War). In addition the, PC will soon be seeing some sweet titles such as Company of Heroes next week and Neverwinter Nights 2 in early October. I'm sure there are plenty of titles I'm not thinking about (right now I am kind of obsessed with Company of Heroes since I love Relic and I love RTS's) but suffice it to say it looks like a great year to be a gamer.

In addition, I want to say that this was one of the better summers I can remember, at least if you owned an Xbox 360. Dead Rising, Prey, Saint's Row, Enchanted Arms, and Chromehounds all have offered fun and varied experiences on Microsoft's new console. While this list isn't particularly long, in the summer it's amazing to get even one or two great games, so getting five on a relatively new console seems unprecedented. I remember when the summer was a true dead zone for games (much like TV) and you'd be lucky to find an 8.0 in the bunch. It's good to see some publishers promoting summer releases. That being said, I think there's a lot of money to be made by a company that decides to move its releases to the summer, and take advantage of the low level of competition and high number of gamers thirsty for a new game during the summer drought. It just doesn't make sense to me why someone, maybe even a smaller company wouldn't want to fill that void. Anyway, it's something we won't have to worry about for quite some time, so for now we can just look forward to the panoply of games that are the fall season.


There is indeed "much busy-ness" as of right now with people moving and starting school/work, but before long the website should be pushing out new content on a regular basis. In the meantime, this blog will (hopefully) become more active and should feed your desires for video game opinions until the website starts booming again. Thanks for your patience...both of you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

There shall be greatness yet...

For the sake of respect and kindness to the glorious readers, I say that updates are coming. Soon enough they will be coming three or so times a week, but as there is much busy-ness, enough to be likened to a crack dealer on payday, that things are taking a little longer at the moment. But rest assured, arrogance and brilliance shall regularly be on display. Huzzah!

In addition, does anyone else find it humorous that the site directs readers to the "navigational sidebar" as though the site was written for 65-year-old grandmothers? We should add "click the links, which allow you to access subesquent pages of this website and the information therein."