Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Once More Into The Breach...

Something big happened yesterday, something epic.

Nintendo decided they'd had enough of the homebrew shenanigans. They've heard about all the crazy hacker stuff that them darned internet kids have been up to and they decided to drop the hammer on that shit.

And this wasn't just messing around with the hackers like last time. See, last time, they just removed a small glitch that made it ever so slightly harder for new people to install homebrew programs. It didn't actually undo anything.

No, this time, their new update not only checked for homebrew files and erased them, it runs the check on every start up and erases them AGAIN.

Holy freaking shit.

They weren't screwing around with this one. Oh hell no, they meant serious business this time.

With one fell swoop, these hackers and their nefarious homebrew were forever wiped out. This entire update was meant for only one purpose: bringing an end to the age of homebrew.

Truly, the gauntlet has been thrown and I don't see how the wii homebrew scene could possibly ever recove...


They ALREADY have a workaround for this?




Yeah, how've you been? How's the family?

What the hell was Nintendo thinking? I mean, I understand that they're not happy with the whole homebrew thing, but they're basically just pissing them off at this point.

This isn't a rival company. This isn't some guy across the street in an office building trying to figure out how he can make his own game business.

It is, quite literally, thousands of people with nothing better to do than poke holes in Nintendo's code.

Do you know how hard it is to write absolutely perfect code?

Neither do I, but I assume it is really difficult.

I assume that because they keep putting out system updates and games that have more holes than the plot of Lost.

While it is really difficult to write code without holes, it is pretty damned easy to find those holes and use them to do some seriously messed up shit.

Do you want your Wii to play DVDs? They can totally do that.

Yes, I know you already own like eighty seven things that can play DVDs. All the other systems play DVDs. Your toaster plays DVDs.

That's besides the point.

I'm not sure what the point is, but the point plays DVDs now.

So, yeah.

Okay, okay. I know that a few (read: A LOT) (read: MOST) (read: PRETTY MUCH EVERY F&%@ING PERSON ON THE PLANET) are using homebrew programs to run illegal back ups.

That's bad.

Unfortunately, there's really no conceivable way to stop people from doing this.

They're organized. They're focused.

They're lacking any other hobbies.

Other than playing games.

Illegally downloaded games.

These people live to find new and creative ways to use Nintendo code to do new and creative things.

This whole new system update thing came down like fire raining from the heavens. Homebrewers ran for cover, their entire world crumbling around them.

For like seventeen minutes.

Then, the guys behind the homebrew scene, the guys doing the seriously crazy things with Nintendo code, decided to break that shit down.

Most people guessed they'd have a viable workaround by the end of the week.

They were off by about three days.

Less than 48 hours went by and that shit was already solved.

Boom! Headshot!

I realize Nintendo was trying to send a message. They were trying to get a point across to these terrible hackers/pirates/people in need of one more DVD playing thing.

Apparently, that message was "We're going to temporarily inconvenience you. Probably."

That is not how you take on a hacker scene.

That is how you take on a group of British school children.

"Pip pip. Cheerio. Please stop that. Alright, since you will not stop, I will be forced to tell you to stop again."

Honestly, the best thing they could do at this point is to wave a goddamned white flag. Just throw that thing up there and pray the hackers don't make the flag play DVDs or something.

They're already as rich as F&%@. They should just let it go.

It's starting to get embarrassing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

WTF, Video Games?

Tomorrow is my birthday.

As I turn one more year older, I think back over my life and one thought occurs to me...

What the F&%@ happened to my life?

I'm not saying I'm not happy with my life the way it is. Between my beautiful wife and beautiful daughter, things are pretty damned good.

Still, I feel I should have done more.

I know I'm not even old yet, but years of video games have taught me that I'm starting to fall behind.

According to video games, I should have already:

a) become a Pokemon master

b) undergone extensive military training

c) broken into and robbed countless houses

d) saved the entire world from unmitigated evil like seventeen times

I have done... Well, none of those things.

Hell, I don't even know how to turn myself into a ball and navigate my way through alien space installations.

What the hell have I been doing with my time?

Yeah, yeah. Drinking.

Why do people keep bringing that up?

What's really left for me now?

I suppose I still have my Mario years ahead of me. I can become a plumber and save a kidnapping-prone princess from the retarded offspring of a turtle and a dragon.

There's still time for that.

Plus, I get to grow an awesome mustache.

Oh, I can save the world from terrorists using giant robots.

All I need is a cardboard box and a pack of cigarettes.

Also, a headband.

Bitches love the headband.

You know, I just re-read this entire post and I just now realized my future life goals are to grow a mustache and buy a headband.

Reach for the stars, kids.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Conundrum

I find myself in a philosophical predicament.

Is Megan Fox really hot?

Now, the red-blooded male in me says "What the F&%@ is wrong with you? Of course, she's hot, you moron!"

Incidentally, the red-blooded male in me is a bit of a dick.

Looking at her, you'd have to be retarded not to see that she is at least physically attractive. She's one of the main reasons why most men (and possibly women) went to see Transformers.

But is that enough?

See, as much as the girl is nice to look at, the geek in me is saying "She's as dumb as a box of hair. Seriously, her IQ is probably -7."

I realize we're not hiring as a UN ambassador or anything, but there has to be a line somewhere. We have to have some limit on exactly where you'd be willing to put your penis.

I probably wouldn't even care if half the news posts on Digg and Reddit didn't have something to do with the latest patently retarded thing to come out of this girl's mouth.

She compared Michael Bay to Hitler.

I'm not even kidding.

My knowledge of history is admittedly lacking, but I don't recall Hitler making over the top, barely sensible action flicks that replace any thread of plot with explosions.

And I assume I might have read about it if Michael Bay tried to annihilate an entire race of people.

How am I supposed to respect this person in any way?

I don't really care if everyone thinks she's the hottest woman in the universe. I need a woman to at least have an IQ higher than her shoe size.

That isn't asking too much, is it?

Is it really?

There are tons, literally tons, of incredibly hot, SMART women out there. Why aren't we giving them any attention?

Can we at least get Megan Fox a tutor or a library card or something?

I don't ask for a lot out of the human race. Basically, dfon't kill me when I'm on the freeway and don't talk to me unless you have to.

That's not a lot to ask for.

But can we maybe get over the whole Megan Fox thing and find someone else to obsess over. At least, someone with an intelligence that doesn't rival that of a grilled cheese sandwich?

I'm glad we had this talk.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just Good Parenting

Thinking about the citizens of Vana'diel and their strange little lives put me in a very weird place the past few days. Suddenly, I found myself wondering about the lives of other video game characters.

This struck me as funny because I don't really care about the lives of actual people.

I hate people, but I've spent two days thinking about Mario's daily routine.

That's messed up.

Does Mario ever get freaking sick of jumping on obviously retarded turtles?

Does Master Chief watch movies like Starship Troopers and laugh his ass off?

Why doesn't Mega Man just shoot Wiley in the face already?

Of all the game worlds that I spent time thinking about, there was one that seemed more messed up than any other, one world that is really, REALLY scary if you think about it.

That's right. Pokemon.

What the sweet bacon Jesus hell is wrong with that world?

You're nine.

Everything is perfectly normal in your life. You're a regular fifth grader, doing the whole school thing. Math isn't your best subject, but you're not failing. And you're starting to wonder if you might like that girl that sits in front of you.

Then you turn ten.

Suddenly, for no explicable reason, your parents kick you out of your house and expect you to roam the countryside completely uncared for.

Here's a backpack and a mutated woodland creature.

Get the F&%@ out.

Does no one see a problem with this? Seriously?

I'm all for fostering independence in children, but I think there's a line between independence and sending your child to die in the woods.

It's not even like this is a normal world either. In the regular world, a child would only have to deal with the elements.

No, this world has forests teeming with animals that breathe fire and spit lightning. It is a regular occurrence to encounter an animal entirely capable of murdering and dismembering a small child.

It happens about every five to ten steps.

Sure, sometimes you run into a mentally handicapped caterpillar or fish or something, but quite frequently, it's some Godless monster with razor sharp teeth and claws.

Get him, Squirtle!

Oh, and let's not forget the marauding bands of criminals, terrorists, and rather obvious child molesters roaming through the woods.

As if you never thought about it before.

I'm sure they'll all be bumbling morons who only fail to thoroughly torture or murder your child because they are too freaking stupid to actually get shit done.

Yes, let's put all of our hopes in the complete incompetence of the people trying to kill your kid.

Good job.

Don't worry though. I mean you gave your child everything they would need, right? They've got their own blood-thirsty monster.

Pictured: Blood-thirsty Monster

Or functionally retarded ninja turtle

And a backpack.



Did you remember to pack any food for the kid? A change of clothes? Water?

Of course not.

That's a sweet freaking backpack though.

Not to worry. I'm sure everything will work out. I mean, your kid is setting out to become the world's best Pokemon master.

Just like every other kid their age.

This is dozens and dozens of children leaving their homes every other week, setting out to become the best.

They can all be the best, right?

It's funny. Remembering all of the Pokemon games and how every city had it's own little theme, I don't remember a town made from the skulls of all the children sent out to die alone in the wilderness.

Maybe it'll be in those new Gold and Silver remakes. Right outside Pallet Town or where the hell ever, you'll find Skull Town.

Or Rotting Corpse Town.

Or Huge Pile of Dead Children Town.

Actually, maybe that's where all of those freaking ghost Pokemon come from. Those Ghastlies and Gengars aren't mystical. They're the obvious and easily predicted result of SENDING YOUR KIDS OUT INTO THE WOODS TO DIE.

Christ. I know this is a game, people, but this is some seriously messed up shit right here.

Luckily, the Google image search did help to clear up one of the most troubling parts of the whole Pokemon story.

Mind = Blown

I don't know about you, but that's a weight off my mind.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vana'diel Career Day

I was sitting down today, thinking one of my deep thoughts.

What? I do enjoy philosophy, you know. I'm not all about the video games.

And you think you know me.

So, I was thinking about FFXI and about how everyone ends up an adventurer. Every single person who logs in ends up as a hero bringing justice and peace to Vana'diel.

Really? Everybody?

I don't want to question the realism of the game, but what the hell? Are you really telling me that EVERYONE gets to be an adventurer?

You'd think someone would have to log in and end up as a janitor.

Or a bus driver.

I mean, I'm all for people having a good time, but somebody's got to pick up the trash.

Can you imagine the amount of garbage left around Vana'diel? Monster corpses and noob corpses, broken synths and dropped items.

Geez, the Sushi wrappers alone would flood the streets.

Shouldn't some people get to log in and roll up a nice janitor character?

Maybe there are players with REALLY low standards. Maybe all of that running around and adventuring looks like too much work.

Even if they don't want to, shouldn't we MAKE some of them?

I'm just saying that not everyone gets to be a special, unique snowflake.

Not everyone gets to be a doctor or a lawyer or a quarterback. Somebody has to get stuck with the really shitty jobs in life.

Why should an MMORPG be any different?

You log in and get your retarded ass a broom.

And what about the NPCs? What does it tell the children of Vana'diel that everybody gets to grow up to be a famous adventurer?

Kind of setting them up for disappointment, isn't it?

See, the thing is everybody gets to grow up and be a famous adventurer EXCEPT THEM.

Somebody has to mind the Chocobo stables or those fruit stands in every city.

What the hell was wrong with those people that they didn't get to be adventurers? We have functionally retarded players everywhere that get to go out and kick monster ass. What f&%@ing remedial class were these people in?

Oh, Billy, you colored outside the lines. Hope you like shoveling chocobo shit for the rest of your life.

Speaking of kids, why don't we see more kids around Vana'diel?

Yeah, yeah. We got the retarded kids who run up and down the same street day after day. We all know about those guys.

But where are the regular kids?

This is a world full of weapons and magic. You can literally make fire appear out of nothing and use it to light small woodland creatures ablaze.

If this game was realistic, West Ronfaure would be filled with children lighting bunnies on fire.

You'd assume they'd have some pent up rage to get out what with finding out they were destined to be selling distilled water for the next fifty or sixty years, while players who can barely string a sentence together get to save the world from unstoppable evil.

Tell me you wouldn't light a goddamned bunny on fire.

Honestly, I don't now what's worse: the fact that an entire world's native people are stuck acting as or menial servants while we run roughshod over their land...

Or the fact that I spent more than an hour thinking about that today.

And where I could find a bunny and some lighter fluid.

... Don't judge me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Enough Already...

We get it, okay? Somebody said something funny and now it's popular.

We all freaking get it.

Do you know what's not funny? When people use the same freaking phrase over and over AND OVER until you just want to scream and shoot someone in their stupid face.

Okay... Kind of went to the dark place there for a second.

Apparently, and you probably haven't heard of this as the news media has been very restrained about the matter, Kanye West was kind of a jerk to Taylor Swift.

You've heard about it? What are the chances?

Maybe it has something to do with the whole world going FREAKING INSANE OVER IT!

Kanye West was a dick. This isn't exactly news.

And yes, he made the poor little girl cry. Boo freaking hoo.

That does not mean every other sentence has to include the words "Yo, I'mma let you finish, but..."

If you're somehow not familiar with these words (you lucky, lucky person), feel free to Google it. You'll find around seventeen bajillion pages and videos and quotes.

And pictures.

Oh, Lord, the pictures.

I will admit, some of them are funny.


But I think it's time we let it go.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I love to beat a stupid joke to death.

Still, I think we've managed to hit a dangerous level of saturation here. We went from no Kanye to all Kanye WAY too fast.

Seriously, when was the last time you heard anything about Kanye West? Yeah, he had that song that time that you kind of remember, but don't know the words of.

And now he's everywhere.

What the hell, internet?

We had a good thing going. We had cats with speech impediments and/or playing keyboards. We had fat guys singing Numa Numa or going Nom Nom Nom.

We had Chuck Norris.

Now... Now, we have a third rate singer with a speech that just barely made sense.

We used to be better than that. We used to have some dignity.

C'mon, people. I'm trying to preserve our cultural identity here.

Also, if one more moron starts a GM call with "Yo, I'mma let you finish...", I am going to have to kill people.

Lots of them.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Official


I'm just saying.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seriously, Nintendo?

I'm actually starting to wonder what the hell is up with Nintendo.

After the whole Mario e-mail incident, I thought Nintendo was done surprising me.

I've been giving them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, just maybe, they knew something we all didn't.

Given the fact that they are rich as F&%@ right now, this could be a possibility. They must have some knowledge of gaming and popular culture.

Still, they did decide to develop a less powerful system. They did decide to focus more on kid and family-friendly games rather than the hardcore playerbase. They did decide to use a quirky motion control remote system.

Hell, they changed the name from "Revolution" to "Wii".

One starts to wonder if Nintendo actually does have its finger on the pulse of our community or if they're just making this shit up as they go.

Especially the name "Wii". It's hard to get past the fact that they would name their console to sound like a guy's wang.

Maybe "Wang" was already trademarked.

Also, the phallic shaped controller leans toward the "what the f&%@ are these people doing" side of the argument.

So, you're shaking your plastic penis at your Wii.


Maybe all of this shit just got past the approval committee. Maybe they've never actually been on or near the internet, so they weren't aware how readily our people can point out such things.

After all that happened though, they must have put someone in charge of checking these things out. They had to have hired someone to go through game titles being released for their console to look out for this stuff.

Even the third party shit. They'd have to be freaking insane not to be watching like hawks for more obscure sexual references.

Seriously, Nintendo? Seriously?

What the hell?

Maybe we should get somebody on this. You know, pay a guy to sit at a desk and read game titles looking for shit like "Money Shot" or "Meat Whistle".

Christ, it's like I'm the only sane person left on the planet.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Old Gray Man...

What's happening to me?

I remember just a few years ago, I could stay up all night. I'd play games from sun down until sun up and it wouldn't phase me in the slightest.

I could go from an all-night gaming session straight to class and not even blink.

Not any more.

Thing is, I'm not even old or anything. Yeah, I'm not 20 any more, but I'm still in my twenties.

Hell, I should be up until 5 am baying at the moon.

I honestly have no idea what that means, but I should be doing it.

Instead, as soon as the clock hits midnight, I start going narcoleptic. My eyes start to drift closed whenever I sit still for more than a minute.

This may or may not have something to do with the huge sleep deficit I've built up over the years. By my calculations, if the average person sleeps 8 hours a night, I owe roughly three years of sleep.

That's a big freaking deficit, let me tell you. Especially when you're paying it back in twenty second blackouts while you're trying to eat your cereal.

The worst is playing FFXI late at night. If I'm not totally rested, there's a pretty good chance I will pass out while playing.

Back when I first started playing, staying up late was nothing. I'd hunt NMs or run through quests until light started to creep over the horizon.

I even joined a late night Dynamis LS. We'd run Xarcabard until 3 am and I'd be there until the last mob fell.

Or until the White Mages could raise everybody.

But now... Now, I'm pretty much dead weight after 1 am.

I'd blame getting older, but I'm guessing part of the blame may belong to the tiny human I live with that insists on waking up with the sun every morning.



She's like a cute little alarm clock.

Possessed by Satan.

The only extra sleep I get is the very few blessed mornings that Susan lets me sleep in.

Ironically, I usually stay up even later the night before because I know I can sleep in.

Basically, I'm seeing just how far I can run this body into the ground before it just stops functioning. I'll be walking down the street one day and my eyes will suddenly go all Blue Screen of Death.

All so I can spend so many hours playing video games. All so I can rescue princesses and kill the evil bosses, save the world and destroy ultimate evil.

Now, any sensible person would tell me that is REALLY stupid. They'd say that they're just games and totally not worth losing sleep over.

I'm pretty sure we've established that I'm not sensible.

Sure, I could put away the games and sleep more. I could log out at 10 o'clock and get a good night's sleep. I could wake up renewed and refreshed.

But why would I do that?

I have lived countless lifetimes in these games. I have seen kingdoms rise and fall, eras begin and end.

I have killed the ultimate evil, the Shadow Lord himself.

37 times at last count.

So, I'm sleepy all the time. So, I drift off while driving.

So what?

It's a small price to pay for the countless lifetimes and countless lives I've lived.

Sleep is great.

Gaming is better.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Work In Progress...

Alright, folks. You know the drill.

Theme week is over, so I'm spending the night working on the fan pack.

In between pop windows.

What? Where do you think I get time to camp NMs and shit?

Anyway, the first part should be ready tomorrow. All of you who donated should wait anxiously at your inbox.

Starting... NOW!

Monday, September 07, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 7

Sin 7: Voice Acting




This is, without a doubt, the absolutely worst, most terrible sin committed by game designers.

Not including Superman 64, of course.

Obviously, in any game involving dialogue, voice acting is going to be superior to text. Anyone would prefer to hear actual dialogue rather than reading cold, dead letters.

Until the exact moment they actually hear voice acting.

The quality of voice acting in games ranges somewhere between horrible and makes you wish you were deaf.

I'm not sure if I misspelled that last word.

I really don't understand what the problem is. I would really assume that whoever is involved with recording the voice actors is able to hear them.

That would probably be helpful to the job.

And yet, the fact that they could hear these horrendous mockeries of human speech and still press them to discs and charge people money for them suggests that they are all very, very deaf.

Not just regular deaf. Like... SUPER deaf.

I don't know what that means, but even a regular deaf person would be able to hear just how freaking terrible these voices are.

Where exactly do they find these voice actors anyway?

Wanted: voice actor for video game work. Must have references and be completely unable to express appropriate emotion. Being a robot considered a plus.

I'm not asking for Sean Connery doing Shakespeare or anything, but at least get someone who can attach inflections and emotions that suit the dialogue being recorded.

No, instead, we end up with people who not only can't express emotion, but may not even understand the emotions they're trying to express.

They have the acting range of a piece of driftwood.

Bad driftwood.

The driftwood that all of the other driftwood makes fun of.

And these are the people that are trying to create atmosphere and substance in our games, the people that we are supposed to immerse ourselves in.

Not bloody likely.

It's kind of hard to get into a game when every other minute is ruined by inane and annoying voice acting.

Hey, it's a cutscene explaining an incredibly important plot point that ties together the whole game.

And I'm here trying to figure out if the main character is being voiced by that kid from Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

Not pictured: People with future careers

Yeah... Total immersion there, folks.

I don't think there's any one of us, any gamer, that has not played a game involving voice acting and not wanted to bring those responsible to justice.

Hell, anyone who ever played FFX.

Or FFX-2.

I love me some Final Fantasy (Who knew?), but damn. That game could make someone take a power drill to their ear.

And Stella Deus... If you've never played the game, go buy a PS2, find a copy, and then take a few hours to play.

You may also want to buy a hammer to smash the PS2 when you're done.

That MAY get the memory out of your brain.

If not, Home Depot is having a sale on power drills.

Honestly, I think there should be federal punishments for people who put out games with terrible voice acting. Severe criminal penalties for anyone involved with ruining good games.

The actors should be shot before they can act again.

Imagine the fake, tone dead screams.

And the people who made the games... Oh, there's only one punishment that would fit the crime.

They should have to play their own games. Over and over and over.

Wait... That's too cruel. Even for me.

Yeah, we'll just shoot those guys, too.

Even I'm not that evil.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 6

Sin 6: Shovelware

Now, before you think I'm about to pick on the Wii here, let's get one thing straight: every system has a heaping helping of shovelware.

Have you ever seen the bargain bin at a Walmart?

Okay... so the Wii has the majority of the shovelware. Probably more than twice that of the other systems.

It's just a side effect of its popularity.

Making good games is hard. It takes time and energy. It takes a careful understanding of what an audience really wants and the desire to create it.

Unfortunately, this also costs money.

Making bad games is easy. Throw a mediocre control scheme at a tired or pointless story and bing bang boom, you got a bad game.

It takes extremely little effort and yet, bad games often sell for the same price as a good game.

Yeah, once we figure out it's crap, that game is on a one way trip to the discount bin, but for a brief, glorious time, that game makes some serious coin.

Little effort + generous return = good idea


From a business standpoint, I get it. They're making games that are easily cranked out and yet still sell.

This is the definition of a practical business plan.

Unfortunately, it produces a glut of useless, terrible games that no one in their right mind could say are worth playing. These are the games that only sell when your Aunt Edna, who has no idea what a gamestation 380 is, decides to be cool and buy you game for your birthday.

Damn you, Aunt Edna.

Now, shovelware shouldn't be held against a system. Saying a system is bad because of a huge amount of terrible games doesn't make sense.

It should be held against the game companies.

There is no way most of these games could go through the development process and someone not point out that they're basically producing digital shit.

I would.

You would.

Someone in that company had to.

Someone had to point out that they're doing a huge disservice to both their consumers and their profession. Someone had to point out that they are the dregs of gaming society, a blight on our community.

And when they fired that guy, someone may have pointed out that they'd make more money if they made better games.

Not great games, mind you. I'm not saying they should be creating epic works of art or anything.

Just make games that don't make people want to jam their fingers into their brains and swirl them around.

I don't think that's asking too much. I really don't.

Here's a little system that I invented. I call it Reactive Quality Control.

Someone at the game company has to play their product. If that person:

a) becomes terrifyingly angry
b) becomes violently sick
c) threatens to destroy all of humanity
d) dies

Then you don't release that game.

Crap. Billy died. Back to the drawing board, people.

Then you start over with the next game you make. Not only will this increase product quality and decrease shovelware, but it provides a steady supply of jobs as previous testers just die.

It's like a make work program, but with more spontaneous death.

The worst that could possibly happen is that every single person at one of those companies could end up dead.

Still, it'd solve the shovelware problem.

Oh, well. You can't make an omelette without killing hundreds of people.

Since none of those people are me, I'm actually okay with it.

Isn't that funny how that works?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 5

Sin 5: Exclusivity

Exclusivity, the practice of a game franchise being exclusive to a specific console, is a lot of things. It is a sound business plan, a means of increasing console sales, and a way of associating newer consoles with major titles.

Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, the one thing exclusivity is not is good for gamers.

Basically, and I don't want to overstate my point here, exclusive titles are game companies' way of screwing us in the ass as consumers.

See, no matter what console you purchase, each of the other two major consoles is going to have exclusive titles. Microsoft has Halo. Playstation has Resistance.

Nintendo has all the Marios forever.

But what function could this really serve?

It's not doing anything for us. It does not present a new value, but instead creates a system that centers around us not getting to play many games.

That just sucks.

Sure, these are business decisions and all, but really, shouldn't someone think of the consumer?

ie, Me.

Like most people on the planet, I just can't afford to have every single game system on the market. It's just not financially feasible.

Especially since my daughter will just not go without food.

This perfectly normal situation, however, means that I will have to go without playing several major titles this year.

What the hell?!

So, I'm stuck either shelling out for the other system OR missing out on what could be the defining game of the decade.

And, to top it all off, the entire idea is counter-intuitive. Somehow, these companies decide they will make more money by selling games to a smaller group of people.

How does that even make sense? They're going to make more money by selling less games?

How is that even going to work?

Theoretically, they stand to make more money by broadening their scope to include all consoles.

Ever see those freaking Disney games that come out for every single console ever made? I'm pretty sure there's a version of The Incredibles that will run on a toaster.

That's how you make money while also not alienating gamers.

Sure, it's shallow and completely self-serving, but at least we get to play the game no matter what system we have.

But no. The big guys constantly throw their exclusive title in our faces, big letters printed on the case just to turn the blade a little more.

Oh, you don't have an Xbox 360? No Halo games for you.

Not because they wouldn't be awesome on a PS3 or even a Wii, but because the game designer totally pinky promised that you'd be the only one allowed to sell it.

And the whole thing just screws us over.

Yeah, occasionally our system of choice gets its own exclusive title and we feel all happy about it.

Still, there being three major consoles on the market, you basically have a 67% chance of being dicked over.

So, the entire concept of exclusivity revolves around limiting your potential market, insulting your potential market, and then abusing your potential market.

Good job, guys. Way to think outside the box.

Friday, September 04, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 4

Sin 4: DLMFC

I'm going to kind of bite the hand that feeds me here, but I HATE DLMFC.

DLC stands for downloadable content.

The M stands for the word 'mother' and the F stands for something you shouldn't theoretically do with your mother.

I'd hope.

DLC is the hip new thing in the world of gaming. Basically, they sell you most of a game for full price and then charge you EXTRA money to get the rest of the game.

I realize that sounds entirely insane.

That's because it is entirely insane.

Yes, yes. You can play the game without buying the DLC. No one is forcing you to buy the DLC. No one has a gun to your head saying "You're gonna buy some DLC."

Actually, I'm sure if they could figure out how to do that, they would.

And then they'd charge you for the service.

I wouldn't mind so much if the original game were cheaper and then you could opt to purchase DLC to bring you to a full price point. If there's twenty dollars worth of DLC, the game should be twenty dollars cheaper.

Can you imagine buying a car only to find out the seat and headlights were optional?

Sure, if it's months or even years later AND they're providing a new experience and not just a slight addendum to the game you already purchased, then I can accept that.

Grudgingly, but still.

But games today have DLC on day 1. Game hits stores and they're already asking you to spend another twenty bucks.

It took one creative/sadistic motherf&%@er to come up with that shit.

I know that they're just trying to find ways to make more money. Given the high level of competition in the video game market, game companies have to find a way to pad the bottom line.

And they do have to struggle with a sort of glass ceiling when it comes to game pricing.

Unfortunately, the reason that glass ceiling exists is that they're already charging the highest amount any reasonable or non-reasonable person might spend on a single game.

Now, they smash your head on that glass ceiling and then charge you more money to clean up the mess.

What the hell is that all about?

If you're already charging an arbitrarily chosen maximum price for a game, it is downright ludicrous to THEN charge more money for the rest of the product.

Even if you can play the game without the DLC, they're basically telling you that you need to spend more money to have a complete game.

Yeah, completely optional stuff like gold horse armor you can go without, but they're still slapping you in the face saying you have an incomplete copy.

Am I the only person on the planet who thinks this is some seriously f&%@ed up shit?

Make a game. Put game on disc. Put ENTIRE game on disc. Look around for some more stuff to put on disc. Put disc in case and sell for one price.

Is that so FREAKING HARD?!

I'm not asking you to make games cheaper.

By the way... Make games cheaper, already.

All I'm asking is that when I buy a game, I get the entire game. I don't want to buy cards or points or tokens or whatever other freaking bullshit you're making up right now.

Give me the game, the extra characters, and the new hat.

For no extra money.


None at all.

I shouldn't even need a wifi connection for my console unless I feel like having a twelve year old gangsta wannabe question my sexuality because I just beat him.

That's what wifi was intended for.

Now, if you want to give me free stuff for my game, that's cool. I'm totally cool with that.

Hey, a free hat. Sweet.

But telling me I just bought a game, a game that has an opportunity to wear a hat, a game with hat wearing potential, and then asking me to pay for the hat?

So not cool.

What happened, man? You guys used to be cool.

Now, it's all about the hat money.

You sicken me.

Had To Mention

Sorry for the brief interlude, but I received an e-mail I just had to mention.

It's an ad from Nintendo that said:

"Dave, what's short, round, and tastes like mustache?"


Did no one proof read this thing before they sent it out?

Exec1>> Umm... Sir?
Boss>> Yeah, what?
Exec1>> The new ad copy you sent out...
Exec1>> Did you actually read it?
Boss>> Of course I did.
Boss>> Something something mustache.
Boss>> Whatever.
Exec1>> Sir... I don't think...
Boss>> I don't pay you to think.
Boss>> Hey, you... Guy...
Boss>> What about these new copies I've been working on?
Exec2>> "Take a mustache ride", sir?
Exec2>> Do you know what that...
Boss>> Of course I do.
Boss>> Idiot.
Boss>> What about this one?
Exec2>> "Watch an Italian go REALLY deep"?
Exec2>> Sir, I really don't think that...
Boss>> Know what I think?
Exec2>> What, sir?
Boss>> You're fired.
Boss>> Have his family shot.
Exec1>> Right away, sir.
Boss>> It is so hard to find good help.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 3

Sin 3: Cameras

Oh my sweet freaking god.

I am inventing a new law right now. I'm freaking serious. This is an actual law that will be punishable by death.

If you design a 3D game, you must immediately play that game from beginning to end. If, AT ANY TIME, the camera obstructs your view or makes it difficult to play, YOU DELETE THE ENTIRE GAME AND START THE F&%@ OVER.

Honestly, I don't give a shit if your game cost fifty million dollars to make and it's supposed to ship in a week.

You delete that shit and start over from scratch.

Really, is that so much to ask?

I realize nothing's perfect. I understand you're doing the best you can with the physical limitations of the game environment.




You're designing a video game. There are two basic components to this situation:

1) game


If you, through your design, fail to successfully provide both of these components, then you have not created a video game.

Instead, you have created a torture device that punishs players for even trying to play your stupid game.

Oh, hey. I just entered a new room. It's bound to be filled with enemies, so the last thing I want is for the camera to shift... Why am I looking at the back of a wall?

And I'm dead.

Good job, game designers. You fail at life.

If you can't properly design a 3D game, then maybe you should go back to designing 2D games. There's no shame in that.

Okay... There's a little shame in that.

Actually, there's a lot of shame, but at least you'll be creating games that don't make people want you to stab you in the trachea with pencil.

That's important.

Or, hey, you could make a sudoku game. Yeah. I mean, you won't have any problems with the camera and you know there just can't be enough sudoku games on the market.

See? I'm helping.

If there is any one thing we gamers need to truly enjoy a game, it's immersion. We need to disconnect from our own environment and actually be inside the game.

That's kind of hard when every time you turn a corner, you're looking in through the front of your own head while someone you can't see is bludgeoning you with a bat.

As you can imagine.

Really, you're just hurting yourself. There is nothing that is going to piss us off more than a terrible camera.

I mean, there are people who go out and spend thousands of dollars on video equipment. Hell, they spend thousands of dollars on cables to hook up said equipment. They are fanatical about getting the best video possible.

And you're giving us a camera that shoots randomly around the room or doesn't let us see the people that are killing us.

Does that make a lot of sense?

One of these days, some video freak is going to walk into a video game company and start shooting people.

No... Not me.

That really isn't my style. I'm more of a kill one or two people and then call it a day kind of guys.

What they should do is team up with some porn directors. You know, have some sort of camera angles seminar where they can share trade secrets and shit.

Ever notice that multi-angle button on your DVD remote? Yeah, porn invented that.

They know this stuff. You never see a scene suddenly go sideways or up at the ceiling or something.

They stay where the action is.

That's what video games need.

No. Not that kind of action.

That would look downright ridiculous on the Wii.

Seriously, if you're designing a game or are thinking about designing a game, please, please, please put some thought into the camera.

I beg of you.

Don't make me shoot you.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 2

Sin 2: Realism

I get it, okay? You're designing a console and you want it to look infinity bajillion times better than your last console.

I mean, you're creating the next generation of consoles, so you'd look pretty stupid if the games didn't look better.

This ain't lateral gen, people.

But can we give it a break with the trying to make everything look photorealistic?

Honestly, I don't really give a shit anymore. It made a huge freaking difference when we were playing Atari games, but I think we've come far enough.

Do I really need to see pores in people's skin? Really? Is that some pinnacle of graphics evolution or something?

I don't look that realistic.

That's why men stand so damned far away from the mirror. We just want to get a general sense of how we look.

We're not detail people.

But when it comes to video games, people just lose their freaking minds. They say games look like crap just because you can't make out every hair follicle.

Is that what games are all about?

Silly me. All these years, I thought games were about enjoying yourself.

I get that people like things that are nice and shiny. I get that most companies out there are putting millions upon millions of dollar into making water that looks like real freaking water.

My question: Why?

Yeah, it looks nice. That's great.

That's not why we play games.

Basically, they're just trying to justify asking you to spend another $500 on a new console when you haven't even played half the good games on the last console.

Do you know two of my favorite systems? The Wii and the PS2.

Yes, that's a 2.

I like the Wii because they don't really give a shit about graphics. They make games that are fun and interesting and don't require me to see every speck of dirt on the screen.

Can you imagine what Wii games would look like in High Def?

Good luck sleeping tonight.

I like the PS2 because that system had some GOOD games. Lots of them.

Now, why would I spend twice as much money or more just to get a new system with better graphics and HDMI whatzits?

Oh, Wii graphics aren't up to par and PS2 games have jaggies.

Boo freaking hoo.

If a game looks like fun, I will play it. I won't play a game just so I can call people into the room and say "Hey, look at that. Isn't that realistic?"

Seriously, if the graphics are the biggest thing your game has going, then you made yourself a pretty shitty game.

Yes, make nice looking games. By all means.

But let's keep some perspective here. A game doesn't have to be photorealistic to be good and a photorealistic game isn't necessarily good.

A good game is a game that is fun to play.

That's it.

Keep your blue rays and your HD-DVDVDs. Keep your loud music and complicated pants.

Just make good games.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Gaming - Sin 1

Sin 1: Non-skippable videos

Holy freaking crap. Are you guys kidding me?

How in today's day and age are we expected to sit through a three minute cinematic?

Oh, watching it once isn't bad. I can live with that. Especially if the video is important to the story.

But those damn scenes that you have to watch before a major event only to die and have to watch it again?

What the hell's up with that?

Final Fantasy is rife with videos and I love that shit.


The cinematics are some of the best parts of newer FF games.

Still, you hit that X button and you're on to the next part of the game. They don't give a damn if you don't get the story.

You got shit to do.

They're cool with that.

Some game designers though... They expect you to watch that video over and over again.

Oh, you died? I'm so sorry. Let's watch a five minute cutscene again.

I'm freaking busy here, people. I don't have time to waste watching your silly little videos all day.

Yes, yes, yes. I know you spent days and weeks working on this cinematic. I know it's integral to the storyline.

Don't give a rat's ass. If I want to skip it, there should be a big freaking button marked "skip".

The very least you could do, THE VERY LEAST, is put a save point right after the huge freaking cutscene. I watch the very dramatic moment and then save, safe in the knowledge that I don't ever have to watch that damned thing again.

And half the time, the cutscene isn't even important. Instead, it's five minutes of entirely useless exposition that has no bearing on the story.


I'm serious. Why the hell would they put that in there?

I'm not against cutscenes. No, no. I love cutscenes.

They establish mood. They set the atmosphere for extremely important events.

Or maybe you just got a new weapon or hat or something.


Do you know what completely destroys mood? What absolutely ruins atmosphere?

Watching the same damned movie again and again.

And again.

Okay. I died last time, but I really think I've figured this out. I know exactly what I have to... Why am I listening to him talk about his grandmother again? C'mon, make with the stabby stabby.

Listen. Put the damned cutscenes in there. By all freaking means, fill the damned disc up with cutscenes.

Ever play Xenosaga? Best movie I ever played.

The game was fifty eight hours long. I pushed a button twice.

But, if you're going to put cutscenes in there, let me skip the damned thing if I want to. If I feel like sitting through the same cinematic over and over, then I can do that until my eyes bleed.

If not, I push X and I'm back in the game.

Everyone's happy.

More importantly, I'm happy.

Isn't that what really counts?