Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dear Gamers: Question 1

Do you think game sequels work?

Personally I have seen some sequels work very well. As a girl gamer I don't mind the differences or nuances between Spyro 1 and Spyro 2. But what are your thoughts on sequels? And what would you consider a sequel and what is just part of a series?


There's a Lost Planet multiplayer demo? That's awesome! I've been stoked about that game since the E3 demo came out a while ago, but I haven't done much with my 360 lately as my HDTV is in the shop (curse you Best Buy!). I'm glad to see it's good though, I'll have to check it out some time. Have you played any Gears of War online yet? The online gameplay in that is pretty sweet, though again it does rely a lot on WHO you play with. There's more than a few people who convinced me to go find another server after playing with them for approximately 3 seconds. Nevertheless, the multiplayer is tight especially when you get a team together that actually talks and works together. Too bad you can't keep a team together in ranked matches, but I guess achievements aren't everything...

Oh and in your response about the PS3, I think you are totally right about the difference in supply between the Wii and PS3, and considering that the PS3 has one of the worst launches ever (Resistance:FoM and what?) it's no big loss. I figure it will work out just like the 360, as soon as they have an exclusive I'm desperate for (like Oblivion for the 360) it should be on its way to being readily available in stores. In the meantime I'm playing a lot on my PC (Mark of Chaos, Neverwinter Nights 2, BF2142) and the PS2 (FFXII, Okami, Valkyrie Profile 2) so I should be good for a while =).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Lost Planet = Super Awesome

So, I beat Gears of War on casual tonight, and I didn't feel like starting again on hardcore right away, so I hit the marketplace to see what's new. Dark Sector video, huh? Why not. Lost Planet Online Demo, hello! I had seen some videos of the game a while back and was none to impressed, but I downloaded the single player demo a few weeks ago and had a lot of fun with it. And even thought I usually don't care for the multi-player aspects of games very much (call me crazy), I figured I'd give it a shot, and I'll be damned if one elimination match didn't sell me on it.

Maybe it has nothing to do with the game itself, and everything to do with the natures of the other 10 people I was playing with, but no one resorted to cheap tricks just to win. This really impressed me, since the game is littered with weapons that just scream CAMP WITH ME (e.g. the laser cannon)!!!!!!! It also helped that I didn't suck, as is usually the case with me and online shooters. I got second place, and probably could have won if the default controls didn't suck. The three options that I should have been default:

1. I blame Halo as the game that began this horrific trend of not inverting the Y-axis by default. Anyone who had ever played a console shooter before 2002 was raised on the inverted Y-axis! This should be default on every console shooter!
2. The default sensitivity for the cross hairs is at least 2 settings too slow.
3. Why is the options menu the back button? Especially when the start button is not mapped to anything else? It took me about 3 deaths to find the damn options menu.

Also, am I going crazy? Did they switch the "change weapon" and "anchor" button mappings for the online demo? I haven't double-checked, but I swear they did.

Anyways, Lost Planet has jumped way up my "to get" list. As one guy in my match said:
"When does this game come out?"
"Not soon enough."
Too true may friend. January 12th seems so far away.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Next-gen" is here

Hooray! All of the "next-gen" systems have been released. I'm currently taking all bets on how long until news sites stop referring to it as "next-gen" and start calling it "current-gen." The over-under is Christmas.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Gamecube 1.5"

Of course Nintendo can have 1.4 million units at launch: they're using 3-year old hardware. It wouldn't surprise me if they bought their chip sets from an army surplus store. Using materials that are readily available allows you to make lots and lots of consoles.

You know what materials are not readily available? Blu-ray drives and Cell processors. Sony's manufacturing process for the PS3 is dependent not only on their ability to assemble consoles, but also on other manufacturers ability to create the parts used in the PS3. If Cell manufacturing gets slowed up, Sony's up sh*t creek without a paddle.

Does this mean Sony is not doing something as diabolical as purposely holding back production? No, Sony is a diabolical company. It is well within the realm of plausibility. I'm just tired of everyone riding Sony's ass about production shortages. When you have such a ridiculous amount of demand, it's impossible to satisfy it. Unless you make some ridiculous number of systems, let's say 10 million, which is not a fiscally feasible number, there are lots of people out there who want it and don't get it.

So you didn't get a PS3? Life sucks. Get over it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Consoles != Money

First of all, don't think for a second that Sony cares about you, you might as well pray for one because it's more likely that divine intervention will get you a PS3 than appealing to Sony's sense of decency. Or you can hire a Chinese immigrant, apparently that's working out pretty well for the Japanese, and eBay...

Bitter diatribes aside, I believe the truth of the matter is consoles don't actually equal money for the company, at least not in the short run. Consoles are sold at a loss, but the money is made up on the videogames in which a cut of every $60 goes straight to Sony. With the relatively small launch line-up that the PS3 has (which is mostly composed of ports from other systems), Sony is probably expecting to lose a fair bit of money on the launch, and it is entirely possible they are trying to cut their losses by slowing down the launch schedule.

It is also entirely possible that they have completely screwed up the manufacturing process, and they really can't manage to produce near enough to meet demand. I mean 400,000 down to 200,000? Why is that only being announced now? Did it sneak up on you? Was one of your warehouses raided by PS3 hoarding warlords? Doubtful. The truth is they didn't want to stall out their hype machine with the little fact that on launch day, most of us are going to be disappointed.

Really there's no excuse for it, I mean look at Nintendo. 1.4 million Wii's worldwide at launch and another 4 million by Christmas. It is unclear whether they will hit these goals, but they seem pretty confident about it. The Wii is probably the last system I want to buy (yeah I'm kind of a graphics whore, sue me), but you gotta respect that at the very least they are trying to meet demand. Sony on the other hand, I think takes sick delight in the fact people are camping out as early as Monday in order to get their hands on a PS3.

Do I want a PS3? You bet. Did I actually take a day off to try and wait in line? Yep. Is it worth all this trouble? That remains to be seen...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm Still Waiting....the PS3

While I have a PS3 on hold, in theory, I have not heard whether or not I will actually get one. I find that horribly unfair. I curse you video game makers and your need to create "fake" demand or whatever lame excuse you would like to use about why you will not be selling more of these machines sooner. Machines sold = money. You do like money, don't you??? All I know is that between tense football games and waiting for the PS3, not to mention a little trouble getting a Wii my fiance just might implode. I really can't handle his video game stress. So come on a girl out....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Re: Feel My Fury EB/Gamestop

While we all probably *hope* someone gets fired over thousands of Gears of War sitting on a dock somewhere, I doubt it will happen...if it did these companies would have improved their service a long time ago, unless there is just a long line of incompetence they must purge before they can hire smart people (or monkeys). yeah...I think that must be it...lots of incompetence.


A while back I wrote a preview for a Sandlot game called Westward! I highly recommend this game (based on the preview) and have it on good authority (from someone on the inside) that everything I took issue with in my preeview has been updated and revised for the launch on Tuesday, November 14th!! I hope that you will consider checking out this great game.

Read my preview here!

PS: While you wait for that...go pick up Viva Pinata (XBOX 360), one of the best games I've played in a while...and guys...this is a great one for girlfriends!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I won't say I told you so

But I told you so. Please reference my previous post "I hate Gamestop."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Feel My Fury EB/Gamestop!!!

"Due to an unforeseen shipping error, you're order of ... Gears of War ... will be arriving in stores tomorrow afternoon, we apologize for the inconvenience..."

Way to go EB/Gamestop! What it probably should say is "we're sorry you decided to order your game from a storefront that is completely devoid of any customer service or even basic intelligence. We don't really care that we completely f*#%ed you. Now please bend over." I mean seriously, a think of bunch of monkeys high on ecstasy could run a more organized operation.

Anyone who had this happen, sound off on our comments, and berate EB/Gamestop while your at it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, EB & Gamestop suck, and the market is screaming for a game store that isn't terrible and actually tries to service their customers.

You can bet someone's getting fired over this. There's probably hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue, because apparently all the Gears of War are sitting on some dock. Sweet.

Gears of War > Final Fantasy XII ?

Sorry to hear about your technical problems Incognito. I've been hearing the same things from some other people trying to get NWN2 to play properly, mostly that the game's graphics don't warrant the high system reqs. That's Obsidian for you, they can weave a great story but I don't think their programming is quite as good as BioWare's. I mean, have you seen the videos of Mass Effect? I can't wait for that game, though nobody has any idea when it's coming out.

Anyway, the purpose of this post was for me to state my general disbelief that Gears of War could be a better game than Final Fantasy XII, but that seems to be what the reviews are saying. 9.4 from IGN, 9.6 from Gamespot, 5 out of 5 from Gamespy?! I've played a solid 40 hours of FFXII in just over a week, I can't even imagine a game that could grab my attention more than that. Well I've got the collector's edition preordered at the local EB, so after I pick it up on my way home tonight we'll see how these two titans stack up to one another.

P.S. FFXII has officially moved to my #2 spot (out of Final Fantasies), as long as the story keeps going as strong as it has, it should be able to claim that spot from FFVI.

Why does NWN 2 run like crap?

From what I can see, NWN 2 uses pretty much the same engine as Kotor 2, and Kotor 2 ran fine on my old machine. My new computer is faster in pretty much every department, but for some reason NWN 2 runs like crap. I haven't played a game this choppy since the PC port of Halo, but at least Bungie had an excuse: they didn't make a bad PC game, only a terrible PC port of an Xbox game.

I can't afford to upgrade my computer now, but why should I have to? For the life of me, I can't figure out why I (and some others from what I'm hearing) can't run this game at any respectable quality on machines that should be able to run it smoothly

10 DAYS TO GO!!!!!!

ONLY 10 DAYS UNTIL PS3!!! I am so excited, even though I will probably not do much other than brag about having one....I'm just the girl along for the ride. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


That's how long I have played FFXII in the last 6 days...

Minding that I haven't yet finished it, this may be one of the finest FF's of all time. Definitely top five, maybe even top three.

Now I must sleep...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lecture Topic: The Console Wars

At the end of Jimmy's post, he said "But that gets us back to a console war." For us to be able to go back to a console war, the console war would've needed to have left at some point in the past.

The console wars have always been with us, even though they currently don't resemble the console wars of the past. The days of magazine adds blatantly stating that you're a wuss if you play this console, or you need steel balls to be able to handle that console are over.

What we have now is more of a console cold war, if you will. A developer arms race instead of a nuclear one. Sony and Microsoft (mostly Microsoft) have been quietly swallowing up game development companies for years now, in an attempt to lock up as many A-list franchises as possible for their console.

However, I thinks things are about to change. The near-imminent resurgence of Nintendo as a major factor in the console market has a chance to really shake things up. The potential of the Wii will drive the development of 3rd party content exclusive to a Nintendo system, something that hasn't happened regularly in this century. All of a sudden, it won't be as easy for Microsoft and Sony (mainly Microsoft) to dominate the smaller (i.e. not EA, Sega, etc) publishers. And when that happens, don't be surprised when Sony and Microsoft resort to mud-slinging (especially Sony, since I'm pretty sure Kaz Hirai is crazy).

I can't wait.

Also, I'm happy I got to use the phrase "if you will" in this post. High-five!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Re: Hoot, Hoot the Owl

Jimmy, I totally agree with your complaints about video game commercials. One thing that always annoys me when a new video game commercial is released is how little they tend to show of actual gameplay. Take the new Marvel: Ultimate Alliance commercial for example. The entire thing consists of clips taken from the intro movie which, while cool, only serve to act as a "proof-of-concept" of the game. While such commercials might clue me in to the games existence, I'm generally gonna need a little more then the rendered intro video to decide if I'm willing to shell out 50 or 60 bucks. Maybe its just a pet peeve of mine, but its a big one.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hoot Hoot, the owl

Does everybody remember that owl from the tootsie pop commercials? You know, one, two, THREE! Well, those were the days of good commercials. Nowadays, commercials have become my favorite cliche: either really good or really bad. Election commercials are generally terrible. Maryland's Michael Steele actually has a pretty good campaign, though he's going to lose. But he does love puppies.

Game commercials consistently violate my cliche, which sounds quite lewd, but really isn't. Game commercials don't blow me away. They sometimes succeed in making me more interested in the game, but not regularly. I think that they should be more like movie commercials. Show off some of the best stuff and make the story sounds cool, even if it isn't (see Saw III). Often the commercials uses one of three systems: you've played the prequel (or a similar game) and they compare the new one to that, Maxim likes the game, it looks cool. Sure, there are other systems, but they aren't standbys.

Why don't I see more broad-based advertising. Thats a way to pull people in. It seems like most game commercials exist to sell the console because they all focus on that at the end. and consoles are advertised all over the place. According to the current norms, gamers mostly watch Adult Swim. Okay, that's entirely true, but from my experience, gamers do an exceptional job of playing while watching TV. Why not better advertising? Why not election-like smear campaigns between Gears of War and Halo and Red Steel. But that gets us back to a console war. Whatever.

Neverwinter Nights 2

Man, I completely forgot that game was coming out this week too, but I am totally tapped on money right now, and I think I have my RPG needs met for the next 40-60 hours. In Gamestop's defense I think there are two points that should be made: 1) more often than not the "order status" doesn't update fast enough, there are plenty of times I've received a game before they said they'd even shipped it, which isn't a good thing but better than it actually shipping late and 2) it is possible that the problem actually lies with Obsidian, given the number of delays for this game and their general lack of reliability, I wouldn't put it past them to have shipped it to EB/Gamestop late.

That being said, I don't particularly like EB/Gamestop, and outside of exclusives (FFXII Collector's Edition for example) or hard to acquire items I am more likely to go to Best Buy than I am to one of those stores, and frankly that is a really sad state of affairs. There was a time when EB/Gamestop had a lot of credit with gamers, and I think they've gone a long way to destroy that while Best Buy is gaining ground. I do, however, mirror Sidious' opinion that they are one of the more reliable online VG retailers, and I think that is actually where they are trying to focus. Which makes sense, it's often more convenient for the customer and it is cheaper for EB/Gamestop which means higher profits. I stand by my opinion that there is room online or in the brick and mortar market for a good videogame retailer, if you are interested in starting that up give me a ring and we'll put something together.

P.S. FFXII really is that good, it feels like it's been forever since the last "real" Final Fantasy, it's good to be back.

Re: I hate Gamestop

Incog, while I certainly share your pain at the inability of both Gamestop and EB to make good on their promises, I must say that I think things are moving in the right direction (at least online). I certainly don't know their business plan better than anyone else, but it seems to me that they are really starting to emphasize their online storefront over their brick and mortar stores (Anyone here have any luck finding a hot game at one of the actual stores on the day of its release? Not me.). Online, however, they have been really responsive to any complaints I have had against them (going so far as to discount shipping and a portion of the sales price), and for better or worse they are the most reliable online video game retailer out there. Still I know what it means to not get a AAA title the day you think you were going to. So in the words of Clinton, "I feel your pain."

I hate Gamestop

If I'm going to pre-order something online, I have one simple expectation: when the game is released, it will be shipped to me. Well, Neverwinter Nights 2 was supposed to ship October 31st, and it is now officially November 1st. Guess what? My copy of Neverwinter Nights 2 has yet to be shipped. What do they want from me? I pre-ordered this MORE THAN A MONTH AGO! I am so sick of the way Gamestop does business. You know what? I'm done with them. From this moment forward, Gamestop will not get any more of my money. I'll go to Best Buy, or Target, or Walmart, or wherever. No more pre-order crap, no more employees giving me attitude about buying the EA hockey game instead of the Sega one, and no more demo kiosks that are always turned off (what's the deal with that?).