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Category: Games
Monday, November 20th, 2006 @ 06:58 pm
Posted By xerxes7
So Matt begged for an update and I'm off work at a Christian hour and don't seem to have any sexin' on the menu this evening. I don't play WoW, though, so let's see... what's been going on lately? Something that everyone who reads this site might be interested in?

Well, I found an old Whale video last week. It has a hot geeka chica singer in it crawling around with costumes on and electric guitars and the ol' grey brick and plenty of good stuff. I sure do miss Whale. Too bad that second album wasn't much good.

I want to put it in Cia Sara. She is so dreamy.

What? I'm the only one around here who likes Whale? Well fuck all y'all. I'll just talk about video games.

The PS3 is expensive because beneath its black paint job it is actually drop forged platinum.So Friday the PS3 went on sale. When did douchebags start lining up in front of the place where I work?

Tuesday afternoon.

I realize I'm kind of the opposite of line waiters. In fact, I refuse to wait in lines ever if I can avoid it. I look at pictures from the Great Depression and shudder. Not because of the soul-crushing poverty everywhere, just because of pictures of bread lines and shit. The only lines I'm interested in form up on mirrors. (Just kidding, Baby Jesus!) So I don't wait in lines. And I'm patient about game releases. Hell, I usually wait for shit to hit the used bin. Only way I'm getting a Wii before it releases in black is if everyone I know has one and is playing it online and I'm feeling powerfully left out. And that's not happening. So I'm no waiter.

But these people waited like three days! And my store opened two hours early to accomodate that shit. I mean, that makes no sense. We had (according to the mighty Ko) only 20 on hand. Even if we had like 100 units, it would have taken only an hour to take care of that. 20??? For a store that's always worried about how labor is being spent, I can't help but think that spending two hours of labor for the whole store wasn't such a bright idea when you consider that there's no markup on the consoles and hardly any markup on the games. Oh well. I didn't get to see any of it because I went to work after all that shit. Apparently it was all over in about twenty minutes and the only big incident was some dude was leaving the store with his waffle iron in hand and some other dude approached him and asked him how much he wanted for it and the first dude was like "Six thousand dollars" and the second dude was like "Okay".

You with me?

This isn't waiting in line for concert tickets. This is waiting for commodity entertainment stuff that in a year will be so available you won't even think about it. It's just rare right now because Sony is run by retarded mole people. Some guy paid 1000% markup just to be able to play the thing now not a month or two from now. Unless he knows where to sell it and turn a profit.

So that's that.

The Wii is capable of propelling both tiny discs and big discs at blinding speeds. Not for murder, but for LOVE.When I left work Friday there was no one waiting for the Wii.

When I got to work Saturday morning there was no one waiting for the Wii.

When I took a smoke break Saturday around noon, there was a kid sitting in a chair.

Two hours later he was gone.

When I left work at six he was replaced by three people.

I was off Sunday. Reportedly we sold out of our sixty or so units pretty quickly. Oh yeah. 20 PS3s merit opening two hours early. 60 Wii only get one hour. I'll never understand retail.

One more thing. I saw the Crue last week for free. Suckas.


Category: Games
Thursday, January 12th, 2006 @ 04:29 pm
Posted By Brent

Many, many moons ago LucasArts, the video game development arm of George Lucas' media juggernaut, used to be a pretty diverse game house. It might be hard to imagine now because all they do is take their Star Wars franchise and try to find a way to trick their loyal customers in to buying a crappy game with a Wookie or a Droid on the box (KOTOR excluded).

No, at one time they had their fingers in many a pie, one of these being the Adventure Game market. For the unwashed masses not interested in memorizing the subtle nuances and differences in the different genres of video games, in an average Adventure Game you take the role of an on screen character who travels from "room" to "room" solving puzzles and collecting clues to meet whatever the goal of the game is. Currently it is a dying genre that will hopefully be buoyed by the recent critical success of games like Indigo Prophecy, but it used to be livey little niche, one which was presided over by the God of Adventure Games, Tim Schafer.

While at LucasArts, Tim either wrote or had a hand in writing the most popular titles in the genre: Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, etc, etc. And how did LucasArts repay him? They dumped everything but Star Wars games and dropped him on his ass. Fortunately, he took this opportunity to hire a good number of his coworkers from LucasArts and start his own game company, Double Fine Productions.

Psychonauts, Double Fine's first and so far only release, is actually a platformer (i.e. Super Mario 64 or Tomb Raider) that has all the wit and memorable characters a Schafer game is known for (or so I read). Sadly it's apparently fallen into the horrible realm of games that are lauded by critics but bought by no one and is a commercial flop for the company. I recently purchased this game from eBay and am patiently awaiting my desk to get shipped to me so that I can start playing it without having to rock it indian style on the floor.

Actually, "purchase" is too strong a word. I didn't steal it, but I didn't pay for it either. I actually bought it from some company on eBay, and after I waited three weeks without receiving it I shot the company an email. They apologized saying their stock was defective and had to be returned to the manufacturer so they refunded me the money and that was that... until yesterday when I received it in the mail.

Now, I'm not sure who their "manufacturer" is, but I received a game that was in an already opened, crushed and crappily reshrink wrapped box, containing 5 CD's in separate chincy paper sleeves. I can't be sure if there was supposed to be a jewel case or if the sleves are the norm, but I can assure you it's not supposed to have gummy residue where the sticker keeping the box closed once was. Or look like it spent two weeks in a cab driver's front seat. Or look like it got shrink wrapped with some Saran Wrap and a Bic lighter. I can only guess that they had no idea what they did with to the used game they were supposed to send me, so they made up a line of bullshit about defects.

Anyway, I was feeling bad because I was quite certain none of my purchase would go towards Schafer and crew, and now it's pretty much a given. To add insult to injury, after perusing their site for a while today I realized that they actually sold individual units directly. Sorry guys, I'll catch you next time.

Actually, maybe the thing is defective and I'll catch you this time too, we'll see...


Category: Games
Thursday, August 25th, 2005 @ 03:46 pm
Posted By Brent

Nintendo, you win. I lose.

I will buy your hunk of shit, and I will probably love it. Your Nintendogs is too much for me to bear. Even if I didn't have a wife who was dying to play it, I'd still probably buy it. Even though I'm no where near in the same boat, I feel I can relate to this all too well.

Really though, Nintendogs is just the kicker, what started this was a recent bout of adventure game nostalgia I've been having. Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion, etc, have all been in my thoughts as of late and after the one-two punch of hearing about ScummVMDS and Trace Memory, I've been beaten.

Of course, add to that Advance Wars DS, Animal Crossing DS, Resident Evil DS and a handful of other choice titles, I just don't think I'm going to be able to hold out.

Now, when I called this DS a "hunk of shit" up there, I didn't mean in comparison to any other unit. I mean, we all know what I think of the DS's main competitor, so please don't start any shit Nintendo fan boys, I am one of you. What I mean is that it just feels like a big plastic piece of cheap crap. I'm sure a year after I buy one they'll come out with the smaller, sleeker version of it and I'll get all pissed, but I have come to accept the things I cannot change.


Category: Games
Saturday, June 11th, 2005 @ 06:28 am
Posted By xerxes7
It's difficult for me to get back to where I was a couple weeks ago when I wrote the first part of this. I was still on the information glut high that is E3 week. I was revved. My thoughts and feelings were frenzied. This is a different thing I'm about to write. Less podium smashing. More reasonable. In the words of Leroy Jenkins, "Let's do this."

Why will the Revolution be televised in my house?

Because I like that show.

Because I believe in what's going into it. And what will be done with it.

The argument can be made that I'm asking for more abuse. But my main complaints with the current system are being addressed. Or at least it has been said they are. Last time I gushed about what I loved. This time I want to be more rational. Let's start with what I hate.

I understand the importance of having all players in the same room. The shit-talking is better. The peripheral communication is better. Bathroom breaks, beerings, general chit-chat all happen a little more easily when all involved parties are present. However...

Split-screen kills it for me. And it might be nice to just have a quick pick-up game without all the riding elsewhere to do it. I've got Metroid Prime 2. I've tried getting the girl to play, but Metroid's got some weird controls until you learn them. She's got little interest in learning them. The only person I know that might want to play doesn't live under my roof. And the process of packing it up and riding over for maybe a half-hour or so of quick "Yeah, let's play... That was fun, now it's time for dinner" just kind of leaves something to be desired. I'd love to just make a call and arrange for a quick match.

Next time, we get internet play. Sure, it'll be a game-by-game decision. But so far the gist seems to be that Nintendo acknowledges that they didn't do anything about it for the Gamecube and aim to fix it on the Revolution. They're pretty much good for their word. At least better than Sony. We'll see.

My other big complaint is kind of one for my own sake. But kind of one for the company's as well. Walk into any game store and look at shelf space. This mile of wall space by the door belongs to Sony. Walk on in until your legs are tired. Now you're in the X-Box section. That haze on the horizon is the back wall. Take my word for it, from here to there is all X-Box. Now, turn and look at the other side of the store. See those couple of shelves between the used PC games and the counter? That's the Gamecube section. It's already small. Pull everything off those shelves which is also available for the other two and it's miniscule. Granted, it's probably of reasonable quality, but there's just not much there. This is Nintendo's decision. I respect it. I don't like it, but I respect it.

Now for a moment I'd like you to direct your gaze toward the heavens. Up there by the ceiling there's a sign of things to come. In the next two weeks there are approximately forty games coming out for both the Playstation 2 and the X-Box. In the next month or so there are maybe three games coming out for the Gamecube. It kind of sucks.

It sucks for anyone who only has a Gamecube. But there's a side affect as well. Say a kid comes into the store with whichever parent they've been graced with for the weekend. Kid's gotta have a game. Kid's gotta have the Sony or the Microsoft. But Mom or Dad isn't sure. Lots of those games look like they've got that dreaded M rating. But there are lots of them. Lots of games to keep the kid happy. Mom or Dad remembers growing up with Nintendo, says maybe we should see what they've got. Well, they've got a handful of games. And it looks like maybe half of them were titles we already passed on the other side of the store. Screw it. Kid's hissing about the GAYcube anyway. X-Box it is.

Quality over quantity. I know. But there's something to be said for a robust library. And it's there. It's just that you passed it up in the used section. The used gameboy section, to be exact. Granted, I'm not of a mindset that I need to buy every game as soon as it comes out. But if I were, I'd be ass out with Nintendo. Fortunately, I can't walk into a game store without checking out the used section. If no more games were produced for a year (or more to the point, if I didn't buy any) I'd probably still be set. I've got a few old Gameboy carts and not a few Gamecube discs that I've picked up for next to nothing with the very expectation that there isn't always something new to play. But it kind of bugs me buying used. I like voting with dollars, and when you buy used you're out of that equation.

In steps the much whispered about download service. Even when there is nothing on the new games horizon for the Revolution, there will be the downloadable games. From NES to N64. (I say if they're smart they'll offer pre-GBA roms as well, but that starts edging into currently supported software and therefore some vague form of cannibalism, I'm sure.) As long as they don't go for over ten bucks, they should be set. No worries tracking down an old console and then being at the mercy of what the local shop has in stock- it's all there. And tell that to Mom or Dad and suddenly the library doesn't look so paltry. Hell, they'll remember some of the games and will probably want to play them themselves. The hell with Playstation. We're talking ultimate backwards compatibility. For an evolution analogy, we're talking about being able to have sex with fish. And I know you all like the idea of that.

Plus, shit. It'll have that add-on that lets it play DVDs. And it's so friggin' small. I mean, I've got textbooks bigger than that thing. And they're nowhere near as compelling.

Oh, and it will be available in black.


Category: Games
Monday, May 23rd, 2005 @ 02:41 pm
Posted By Brent

Before I get into this let me explain something to you: I am not a fan of hip hop. Certainly there are a few songs from the scene I like, but in all I'm not sure how a genre of music that basically consists of someone talking about how cool they are for two and a half minutes has lasted as long as it has. Outside of the few of the more "kooky" players like Busta Rhymes, I am not a fan of hip hop celebrities either. Above all I am not a fan of a culture that looks up to people who flaunt the abject poverty of their childhood and the brutality of their adulthood in order to make a buck. With that said, Def Jam: Fight for NY is a bad ass game filled with hip hop celebs like Snoop Dogg and Ludacris (pictured) beating the holy shit out of each other. They even have Busta in there too.

I really haven't gotten into a fighting game since Tekken 2 (with the exception of a brief Soul Calibur stint on the Dreamcast), so I really don't have anything modern with which to gauge it against but the mechanics seem pretty unique. First off, you have five styles to choose from (kickboxing, street fighting, martial arts, wrestling, and submissions). You have your run of the mill punch and kick combos for each, and a variety of "grappling" moves. Each of these three can also be done holding your "strong" trigger down, which will make it perform a much more destructive, albeit slower, version of each.

The grapples are basically holds on steroids. For example, in the Street Fighter series, a hold could consist of grabbing someone, then throwing them halfway across the screen. In Def Jam, a grapple can consist of grabbing someone's arm, twisting it so they double over, then bringing your foot up and dropping your heel on the back of their head as they collapse lifelessly to the ground. Then you stomp on their face.

While wonderfully brutal, it doesn't hold a candle to what happens when you grapple someone near the edge of the "arena." Depending on what the fight area is bordered by, you end up doing any number of horrible shit to the other guy. Are there people standing around the fight? Well, if you grapple near them, sometimes a spectator will hold the guy up while you kick him in the nuts. If the guy next to the spectator holding your opponent up has a beer bottle in his hand, he'll take the opportunity to smash it over the helpless fighter's head. If it's a wall that you end up grappling the guy against, your options are plenty and include sitting the guy down against the wall and repeatedly stomping his face against it. And it doesn't stop there, the environmental elements that you can use in a fight are as numerous as they are varied. Car doors, chain link fences, pool tables, neon signs, the list goes on and on. But the game's sadism doesn't stop there.

Taking the cake for sheer wince value are what the game calls your "Blazin" moves. Basically you have a "momentum" meter that increases the harder you are beating a person's ass. When this meter tops out you can perform a "Blazin Move," of which there are many. Like a hundred of them. Anyway, these moves range from the pedestrian (running up someone's chest and kicking their head like a freaking soccer ball) to the down right repugnant ( knocking someone face down on the ground, placing one foot on their back, pulling both of their arms back and repeatedly stomping on their back of their head).

The visual style is crazy with everyone all thuggish and thick-necked. When you play in single player story mode you get to choose what your guy's going to look like, and then you get to dress him up in liberally licensed accoutrements from labels like Sean John and Reebok. There's even a tatoo artist that can ink you up and a jeweler that you can purchase bling from. These all effect your "charisma," which in turn causes your momentum meter to fill up faster during a fight. Unfortunately, your dude's voice sounds kind of like Emenim, which you might think is cool, but when your trading words with someone like Busta Rhymes before a fight, you just sound like a whiney little white kid (which I guess is what Emenim is anyway.)

Oddly enough, along side the hip hop stars, they have a few sore thumbs like Henry Rollins and Danny Trejo. I'm pretty sure these guys have about as much to do with hip hop as Pat Boone does.

All in all, the unique fight mechanics make this a solid beat 'em up outside of all the cross licensed crap and celebrity appearances. It's one of those games where everyone in the room collectively says "Oooohhwww!" every thirty seconds in reaction to some move that would permanently disable any mere mortal. Thumbs up.


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