News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.23.08

Too early to declare a console victor
Ignore that Microsoft recently declared that history has shown us that the first system to 10 million historically wins the race, thus heavily implying their console is the winner as it’s sold a little over 10 million in the states. Their new PR line is that declaring a winner between the PS3, Wii and 360 will be impossible until one of them reaches 100 million in sales. By this logic the only systems to have ever “won” a generation are the PS1 (barely) and the PS2, and they did it after many years on the market, long after it became apparent to everyone who doesn’t work for Microsoft that Sony had won those generations.

The long term angle behind this absurd criteria for victory may be to prevent Microsoft acknowledging any victor this generation. →  We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we play.

Non-Review Footnote – Persona 3:FES

Last week marked an interesting release on American shores, as Atlus shipped out Persona 3:FES. FES is both an expansion pack and a revision to the original P3 – it mainly serves as an epilogue chapter to the story, but was also served with the original game as a “director’s cut” that added new goodies to the entire quest.

This kind of release is very rare on consoles. For example, whenever Square releases an International Edition of a hit RPG, you can be sure this nation won’t see it. Yet for whatever reason (likely due to success of P3 last fall), Atlus decided to grace us with more of this excellent game, rather than leave Western fans out in the cold as happens so many times. Not only that, but the price is only $30! →  18 Wheeler American Pro Reader

Tales From Behind The Counter – Come One, Come all! Hear my tales of Mystery and Excitement!

Welcome to the inaugural release of my new and (hopefully) weekly column. Since returning to America, I have found myself short on cash and pretty much willing to do anything for a buck or two. Yes, I have even tried to sell my body but for some reason or another, most prospective customers frown upon my “by the pound, by the hour” pricing scheme. This lack of cash and abundance of free time meant that I spent a lot of time hanging out with my friend who works at a small video game shop close to my house. Well lets be real honest, it isn’t my house, it’s my parents’ house and I live in the basement.

One night my friend and I were talking while there was a lull in customers tooling around the shop and it came up that if I was going to hang out with her at the video game shop, I may as well be getting paid for it. →  Game is dead. Game remains dead. And we have killed it.

Ziff Davis files for chapter 11, rebel journalists celebrate

So Ziff Davis, owner of the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly and website 1Up, is finally going under. Last week they filed for bankruptcy (I hope you didn’t have any gift cards for their merchandise). This probably won’t mean much since companies have the amazing ability to survive even after they’ve lost all of their money, but for the sake of argument pretend it means that the 1Up network is dying.

Should this passing be celebrated or mourned? Forget that there are real people who need to eat running these publications for a moment – our capitalist system is harsh and we all implicitly agree that if people can’t make a living doing what they do then they are probably not good enough at that job (minus those of us who belong to the American Communist Party – I still believe in our mission comrades, this whole site is a ploy to gain the trust of the greedy pigs). →  These are the games I know, I know. These are the games I know.

Hysteria Over Mass Effect and the Infantilization of America: On the Benefits of Exposing Children to Adult Material

Volumes have already been written regarding the recent clash between several conservative pundits and the gaming community over ‘objectionable’ material in BioWare’s newest addition to the RPG genre, Mass Effect. What the conservative pundits found abhorrent was that the game offers the option for the main character to develop a romantic involvement with a bi-sexual member of another species which culminates in a 40 second love scene somewhere around the 30 hour mark of game play. Yet another editorial in defense of the game would likely serve little to no purpose. (A forthcoming review of Mass Effect will hopefully provide all the defense the game needs from misinformed critics.) In this instance, my reason for setting finger to keyboard is to focus briefly on the detrimental effects of the rapidly escalating, conservatively rooted, child protection fetish. →  Now you’re reading with power.

Gametap grows, but is it changing for the worse?

For the longest time, Gametap was a confident and persistent service that had a vision and, at least content wise, seemed to be making good on their promises. In the last year however, the service has changed considerably. They began supporting original projects, such as the critically loved Sam and Max episodes. They offered a select few games for free every week for anyone to play. Their community site exploded, and now rather than merely offering forums and commentary on their own games, the ‘tap has reviews and commentary about the industry as a whole. Blogs like Joystiq now cover the weekly releases with some semblance of seriousness. Not bad for an idea that no one thought would catch on. As for myself, I have been impressed with Gametap ever since I signed up in the summer of ’06. →  Hell is other gamers.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 2.1.08

New game from Parappa masterminds
Well this sounds promising. A new Wii game from the creator and lead artist of Parappa the Rapper. What’s this, Majesco is publishing it? That’ll be ok, a good idea doesn’t need 10 million dollars to work. Err, it’s a marching band simulator? That… sounds cool. I mean, I’ve always despised parades and anyone who likes them and walking around while playing music makes as much sense as reading while performing ballet, but… Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind?

90% of American DS owners pirate games
This comes from the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association and is wrong. It is so wrong it makes normally unbelievable things believable. If you told me the butter on my bagel was not actually butter right after telling me that 90% of DS owners pirate games, I wouldn’t think twice. →  Castle Readigami 2

Review – Lunar Knights

Because Lunar Knights is such a solid little game, I had hoped the gameworld would be fleshed out; I hoped that I’d have enough new levels to allow me to upgrade all my weapons without returning to the same stages over and over. I wanted the many mechanics to continue to build on each other and each to be fully realized. Hell, while playing it I designed my own game (usually I charge to see my ace designs, but for the sake of this review I am willing to go hungry):

Multiple high quality CG movies in a DS game? Yes, please.

Imagine Zelda in one expertly designed dungeon that has many facets closed off at any given point. As you progress you gain control over the weather but cannot change it at will, you must decide on the climate before descending into the dungeon, so choose well. →  Oreshika: Tainted Postlines

All you ever need to know about Japan

After spending 10 nights in Japan I am now qualified to make sweeping statements about the Japanese culture. The following are immutable truths (told in a convenient pros and cons style) about this wonderful and bizarre country:

Pro
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all since 1992.

There’s no use denying it.

Con
Japanese people seem as pro-Japan as Americans are pro-America. I was asked by one of my gracious host’s fathers why we came to Japan. He was an awesome guy but really pushed hard for an answer he found satisfactory. I think the question was probably just mistranslated and he actually asked, “How awesome is Japan?” The same day, a man on the street approached us and told us in English that “Japan is number 1.” With proof like that who was I to argue. →  The happiest post on Earth.

Mario Galaxy Non-Review

Not long into Super Mario Galaxy, the player will become quite accustomed to, maybe even fond of, seeing Mario enter each level with his arms spread as he flies around and lands on a safe spot, shouting “yes!” on his success. About 20 stars in, it dawned on me; the next time I entered a level, I really wanted to see Mario scream “yes!” as he performed a greased landing, hitting the ground running at top speed, not stopping until he got to the end (or came up to some tricky group of hazards).

This might sound like I am really looking for Sonic the Hedgehog Galaxy, and I suppose that is the point. Back in the day, it was always Sonic who was considered cool and edgy, while Mario was the gentle goofball. →  Fire Post Wrestling Returns

Review – King Of Fighters XI

I am still in a state of shock – SNK actually managed to bring the PS2 port King of Fighters XI to America. For a long time we heard nothing even regarding a possibility of release, and, in typical SNK fashion, it was announced and released so quietly that people only knew it was shipping via automated Amazon emails. I think the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting compilations from earlier in the year got more press coverage than King Of Fighters XI.

Rest assured dear readers, the game is here; mostly intact from the Japanese release (we lost online play) and sporting its own beautiful cover art. Part of me is, of course, glad to simply have a chance to play it, but a smaller part wishes it would get the attention it deserves. →  Ask not what this post can do for you - ask what you can do for this post.

Shameless Propoganda (and some insight)

This blog post is a bit off topic, but indulge me. I have the pleasure of being loosely associated with an upcoming independent film called “Look,” which is opening on Friday in a few cities (NYC and LA). The premise of Look is that there are 30 million surveillance cameras in America, which capture the average American 200 times a day. The movie is a fiction that covers several intertwining plotlines, with each scene shot from a hypothetical security camera: elevator cameras, convenience store cameras, even bathroom and changing room cameras.

What does this have to do with gaming? You’ll recall about a year ago there was a great deal of outcry when the Left Behind game praised Jesus too much. Actually, the Left Behind game had an embedded cookie tracker that would then deliver in-game advertisements tailored to your perverted (or not) needs. →  Go ahead, read my day.

The most racist-filled place on Earth: Xbox Live

Is it just me, or is America filled with racist pigs? I’ve been playing Halo 3 online since it came out, and there has not been one night where I didn’t hear a racial slur slung at me. And half the time it’s for no reason! I’m just sitting there, tea-bagging some guy after sticking a plasma grenade in his mouth, and I get called the “N-word”! That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?

I am not a black man, but I still get very offended when people say this. It’s not right, and it’s saddening that people are still subjected to this kind of juvenile behavior. What if I was a black man? How do you think I would feel? All I’m doing is playing a video game, trying to relieve a little stress from a hard day’s work. →  Monster Reader 4

A deeper look into Nintendo’s bling

Nintendo’s recent ascension to become the second largest company in Japan has been making news on a few sites which track the business aspect of video games. While it is true that a company’s market capitalization (basically a measure of what the stock market thinks a company is worth) has grown by leaps and bounds of late (as will happen when the price shoots up as much as Nintendo’s has) some of the underlying financial numbers are even more fascinating than the headlines.

By market cap, Nintendo is substantially larger than Sony (Nintendo is worth about $75 billion, to Sony’s $47 billion). In truth, this metric is only one way to judge the size of a company. What’s another, you may ask? How about sales, I answer. Sony’s sales are leaps and bounds higher than Nintendo’s. →  Contains 10% more consonants than comparable articles.

Second helpings of the DS list article

Yesterday we covered 65 DS games as something of a jesting response to a PSP Fanboy article. Some readers decided to ignore the point of our piece, which was that games are, at least by our standards, the real reason to buy or not buy a system. For those people, we now present a second reason (in their view) to buy a DS — backwards compatibility.

The entire GameBoy Advance lineup is available to a proud DS owner. While a majority of games on that handheld were licensed kiddy garbage, it was still home to some excellent titles you should make sure to play.

After some GBA games, we will then take a look at 10 upcoming DS games that look promising. Like the GBA games, it didn’t seem appropriate to include these yet to be released games on yesterday’s list. →  Read like G did.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.18.07

Sony announces 9,648,319 games by March 08
Unfortunately, they counted each individual household a game would end up in as a unique game. If you don’t count your copy of God of War 3 as a different game from my copy, then 145 or more PS3 titles are coming.

Sonic RPG on DS being developed by Bioware
Funny, whimsical RPGs can be cool. Mario’s Super Star Saga and the whole Paper Mario series attest to this. Cute, colorful cartoon characters in RPGs can hold their own, too. Kefka may look silly this day in age, but he is still insanely evil. So what is so horrendous about a Sonic RPG? I’m glad you asked.

Sonic is uninteresting in every possible way. Running fast makes for a subpar to decent action game (or awesome 2D platformer) but is not solid foundation to build a character on. →  A reader is you.

Bullshit, eat fresh!

Has anyone else seen the recent Subway commercial that has a fat kid playing a Pacman clone? The game seems to consist of controlling a fat kid (not to be confused with the fat kid who is actually playing the game) and eating donuts and cake. For the sake of your time, I’ll ignore the shoddy game design and collision detection.

It’s harder to ignore the gist of the commercial, though. “What kind of eating habits are you kids learning?” it asks. America is the fattest country in the world. If little porkers are learning how to have multiple heart attacks, I guarantee it’s not video games that are teaching them. Why doesn’t Subway make an honest commercial that shows Fat Junior’s hippopotamus parents scarfing down fried hot dogs?

Because then fat people everywhere would be offended, despite the frequent truth that lard ass parents make pudgy kids. →  Ask not what this post can do for you - ask what you can do for this post.

Violent games may affect us but the Constitution protects us

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting the media once again pounced on video games, an easy target and frequent scapegoat. As usual, gamers were not very thrilled. Many gaming sites wrote scathing condemnations of the obvious idiocy of Jack Thompson, Dr. Phil, and company. Joystiq, however, chose to do something positive.

The site posted a declaration titled “What I know about violent video games” that partially reads:

– I know the difference between right and wrong.
– I know the difference between fantasy and reality.
– I know where the game ends and real life begins.

The declaration has a spot for a signature and is meant to be given to loved ones who may be concerned about your gaming habits. It’s nice to see an attempt to counter the negative media attention given to games that doesn’t resort to calling Jack Thompson an ignorant fascist, which he is. →  Disaster Readport

Console logos throughout the ages

This year, 2007, marks the 30th anniversary of the Atari 2600 release, which is what many consider to be the very first commercial video game console. And since then, the gaming populace has been privy to 21 major home consoles. To celebrate this momentous year, I have painstakingly researched and categorized each of the 18 home consoles’ logos. Yes, I have nothing else better to do with my time. So, with that in mind, let’s take a quick stroll through history, shall we?

Atari 2600: Here we have the granddaddy of them all: the Atari 2600. I don’t really understand what this logo stands for, but it must mean something cool, as it can still be seen on t-shirts and stickers everywhere. If you’re trying to convey the fact that you’re a retro gamer, you probably have the Atari logo somewhere in your gaming bordello. →  I’m readin’ here!

Joe Scarborough even more of an asshole than original tests indicate

He has the honor of being the first person I’ve heard mention video games in regards to the Virginia tech shooting. Looks like Joe has found the culprit. Joe closed this case tonight on his daily crime against humanity called Scarborough Country.

Seriously though, it was only a matter of time before someone hinted that games may be partly to blame and for all I know, he isn’t the first to do so today. Funny what things are ripe for picking as causes. If someone crazy is Islam, likes game or listens to metal, it’s those things fault. If they are ex-Marines or extreme conservatives waging war against secular America, they are portrayed as just nuts.

How can Joe, knowing nothing about the killer, bring up video game violence? It is an easy target. →  [put on your VR headset now]