Tales From Behind The Counter – A Time of Loathing

When working in retail there is one time of year you dread above all others: the holidays. It means angry customers with no time and no money, pissed off that they have to brave ice covered roads and bumper car parking lots instead of being gleeful and warm in the comfort of their own homes. In video game retail land, there is one other time that I have come to regard in the same way I would a diagnosis of colon cancer: EA Sports Game Release season. Also called, the Unholidays, with a long e sound on that i.

During this time, Electronic Arts decides to rain shit from the sky in the form of a new NCAA everything, new Madden, new baseball whatever, and [shudder] Nascar 09.… Holy crap, show me more!

Tales From Behind The Counter – Lost Treasures, Trade-Ins, and Drugs

I should preface this installment by saying that I am a pack rat. I always have been and probably always will be. When I die, my relatives will come to clean out my house and find stacks and stacks of old newspapers, every wrapper of the slices of Velveeta cheese I had eaten over the past twenty years, and journals of every major weather event from 2025 on with my hand drawn renditions of how things went down. I keep everything. Having said that, it baffles me that most people have no problem trading in all of their old video games and accessories, and for extremely pathetic prices at that.

The other day, two guys walked into the store and told me they had a couple of items that they only wanted cash for.… Read, you fools!

Review – Flash Focus

Like smoking crack and murdering people, I don’t like MMORPG’s, even though I’ve never tried them. I think the reason can be traced back to the first one I can remember: Ultima Online. In the abject depression of my teenage years, when I spent most of my time in a filthy basement (oh wait, that’s still what I do), I had a friend who would spend all day training his Ultima Online character in the the most insidiously boring fashion. Hitting the attack button over and over for hours and days did not seem fun to me, and I felt like its eventual reward was not rewarding enough to warrant so much tedium.… Just read it.

Is Wii screwed?

Amidst all the recent articles on how the Wii is creating gamers out of grandmas and still out of stock around the nation, there are murmurs of doubt. Few people doubt the control scheme; it works well and is a lot of fun. But it remains unclear if Nintendo will be able to satisfy either their hardcore fans or their new casual gamer audience. Detractors are already labeling the Wii a repeat of the Gamecube; a platform for Nintendo games but little else.

As expected, the Wii will have a solid lineup of first party games:

Animal Crossing
Battalion Wars 2*
Big Brain Academy
Disaster: Day of Crisis*
DK Bongo Blast*
Fire Emblem
Mario Kart (not officially announced)
Mario Party 8
Mario Strikers Charged*
Metroid Prime 3*
Kirby
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Project HAMMER
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Paper Mario
Super Smash Brother Brawl

* Published but not developed by Nintendo

This move looks unfair.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing memory cards.

The Propaganda Project: J Allard

J Allard — Corporate Vice Presient, Microsoft

Empowerment to the next level, Allard is a PR guy who really loves clichés that push the envelope. Luckily, he seems to be grounded in what makes games good as he has said many times that graphics are a single component and not necessarily important. He also frequently says he wants to expand the market, mirroring Nintendo’s stated goal. Because dirt on Allard was significantly harder to find than on Harrison, some of the quote categories have been left out and I even added a new one: Inspirational.

(For an explanation of what this article is, please read this.)
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Bitchy Comments
Some people say the Xbox 360 looks the same as other systems.Postsona 3 FES

Lame Discussion: Console War – Part 1

Kudos on joining us for our second discussion. Well, actually you’re not joining us because it’s already over and you weren’t invited. But thanks for reading. The format may look a little confusing but shouldn’t be too hard to grasp for anyone who has ever held a conversation (which may not be all of you, I know gaming is a harsh mistress).

The contenders:
Dan – Really just wants to talk about the Wii.
Christian – Is slightly upset with Sony.
Golden Jew – May be secretly working for Sony.
Jay – Forces others complex arguments into black and white.
Pat – Will never make it through a whole discussion.
Stefan – Is planning to buy his first new console since the Dreamcast.… I’m gonna take you for a read.

A.I. woes

I’m currently reading a book on game design. The chapter on AI speaks only of the good that will come with advancing computer intelligence, yet not a word of caution or hesitation is included. I quickly outlined a number of worries I have over advanced AI and decided to bring them to our resident computer science major, Christian. Keep in mind I’m not “against” better AI, I just think it may lead to issues designers will have to deal with. I also find game design discussion to be infinitely enjoyable.

What follows are the initial worries I had and then Christian’s cool headed reponses.

This guy probably wishes he were smart enough to stop, drop and roll.

Read like G did.

More Predictions, but these guys actually get paid for them

Mike Wallace Reporting
Mike Wallace*
*Note that there is a slight chance this is a different Mike Wallace.

Analyst Mike Wallace of UBS Securities is probably not a household name to even the nerdiest family. I doubt his parents remember who he is. They likely purged all memories of their son after reading one too many of his astounding stupid predictions about the video game market. I don’t know Mike Wallace, so I can’t say he is a bad guy, but if he doesn’t do anything besides come up with predictions and projections he changes every few months, he makes too much money.

In a recent GameSpot news article, Wallace predicts that the Xbox 2 will maintain its lead over the other new generation systems.… Read it your way.

What are your gaming politics?

Pat Buchanan
Only plays Wisdom Tree titles.

Video games are a lot like politics. There are gamers who cry every time someone makes money, those who wouldn’t mind if Electronic Arts bought their children and then some people in the middle. I’ve compiled a list of what I identify as the most common types of gamers and listed their beliefs as seen through a political eye, but keep in mind I am biased by my own beliefs, both political and… gamitical. Call everyone into the room to find out what each other are. It’s fun for the whole family. Sorry, Nazi Gamer isn’t on the list, dad.

The big two – Most gamers, and decent Americans, fit into one of these two categories.Lame is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.