Archives for 2004

The Christmas Lewt Haul

Once again, the jolly old elf found his way to deliver the goods once again. He had my assistance, he can’t be totally trusted. I helped out by picking up the ViewSonic N5 Video Processor (I mentioned I was getting the N4 but ended up going with the N5. More on that below), Burnout 3: Takedown, and Viewtiful Joe 2. He merrily brought me Metroid Prime 2 and Mario Tennis. On the non-gaming side, he brought me The Christmas Story 20th Anniversary Edition DVD (Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie!), the Extended Lord of the Rings Trilogy (my precious), and Aladdin (it’s for the kid). I also think he’s got Need For Speed Underground 2 on back order, it should arrive later this week.

So far, I’ve played some Burnout 3 (Game of the Year Contender) and Metroid Prime 2 (ditto). I’ve played about an hour into Metroid Prime 2 and Retro Studios has done it again. Amid the din of the “it’s same old game, not that that’s necessarily bad” there is an extremely detailed, smooth, wonderfully crafted gem of a game. It takes a lot to peel me away from Halo 2 on Live and Metroid Prime 2 is doing just that. That in-and-of-itself speaks volumes. I haven’t even taken VJ2 and MT out of the plastic yet. My gaming queue is growing out of control.

I sadly must admit that I think I’ll be sending the N5 back to Dell. I had hoped it would be the cure to what ails me – the lack of another TV. With the ButtonWife watching TV on the Sony 27″ WEGA, I don’t get as much game time as I’d like. So I thought the N5 would be an alternative. Unfortunately, my ViewSonic A90 wasn’t meant to be a television after all. It’s a shame it didn’t work out. I never tried the actual TV reception, I only attached my SNES and Gamecube consoles to it. They looked okay but a tad too pixelated for me. I’ll take my chances with TV time for now. I’m on the look-out for a nice, 20″-24″ TV to complete my setup downstairs. But Halo 2 still rocks the house on the Sony.

Happy Holidays

Well, after a foot of snow has been dumped on central Ohio, we’re on our way home for the holidays. Just wanted to wish all the Button Mashers a Merry Christmas!

Week in review (Part 5)

A day late on the review of the past week, but here it is, nonetheless.

A lot has been said about the Video Game Awards on Spike TV, you can read my live comments here and some of my comments about what others said here. I will sum up my thoughts on the VGAs with a haiku:

Spike TV, so wrong
Video games are more than
Babes and Rap. Puhleeze.

I haven’t commented much lately on Electronic Arts, but things are starting to look scary. First they score an exclusive agreement with the NFL and the Players Association for the next 5 years. After that, they start buying Ubisoft stock. And now they’re going after DICE. Scary. There has been some severe backlash against EA. I can’t link everything, but you can look here, here, and here. Of course, the best comment is definitely this one. This isn’t good press for EA, already reeling from the EA Spouse (which is still going strong) revelations and their impending lawsuits. It must be hard making crappy football games and having the prospect of no one wanting them. Of course Midway, in true Midway-rip-out-a-spine fashion has given a big, fat middle finger to the NFL and EA and are going to make a mature, drug-ridden football game complete with babes and booze. Great.

To further thin the sports gamer herd, Microsoft has closed shop on their sports games division, too. I would wager a guess that 90% of the sports gaming public don’t really care. They want to be spoon fed EA titles year after year, and I think EA has done a huge disservice to sports gamers by charging full price on each seasons “updates”. They hook you with a new feature, a-la playmaker controls, or the match-up stick, or the juke-jive-and-wail or whatever to get you to buy, at full price, a moderately updated, mostly rehashed, version of last years game. If EA would price their sports games between thirty and forty bucks they would make even more piles of money than they already have (and don’t share).

I like reading AFK Gamer, I like reading the current goings-on over at World of Warcraft. I like reading because ever since I swore of MMOGs (Neocron being my last foray) I’ve been pining to return to the fold and WoW seems so appropriate for me since I love Blizzard games (I logged countless Diablo 2 hours). I still can’t do it, but when he posts funny stuff like this, it makes me want to go back.

Finally, before I wax eloquent on the Top Ten lists of 2004, here’s the Gaming Gaffes of 2004.

game-brains.com – home page

game-brains.com – I stumbled across this site last week, but forgot to mention it here. It’s a smart gaming blog (so very unlike this blog) with some great wit and good articles. There’s also a good Half Life 2 article by Adam Jacobson, who also does render, a gaming blog I frequent. Nice job!

Spike Video Games – The Gamers speak! (updated!)

Well, now that we’ve had a day to digest what transpired during the Spike TV VGAs, we can now look back and see what others thought. Seems that VGO and I weren’t the only ones who were underwhelmed by the whole shooting match.

New-to-me Grimwell Online took notes and commented. This is a great read, read the whole thing. A couple quotes:

Not that I’m complaining, yet. You see, I can’t really blame Spike. They have no idea how to do an awards show about video games so why not just skip it and play some music matched with titties and see who notices??? It’s Spike after all, it should be about titties.

He is an 80’s metal-head, so he was looking forward to seeing Motley Crue back in action but, after watching Snoop Dogg join in the song, didn’t think that was quite such a good idea. I’ll let you read his exact words on his site.

Snoop walks off, the song falls apart. The Crue has no idea where in the song they should be, so Mick wanders into a solo…. the song crashes and burns. I cry.

At NetJak, Rick “32_footsteps” also followed along, with the play-by-play blows. He wasn’t as mean to Spike TV as others but wasn’t kind, either. He gives us these gems

Host Brooke Burke promises to show previews of upcoming games. I wonder if they’ll just give out 2005’s awards now. After all, doesn’t this show rely purely on hype and flashy visuals over substance?

and

Was it better than last year’s show? Yes. But then again, trepanning without anesthesia was better than last year’s show. This year’s show was dreck, but at least it wasn’t insulting my intelligence at all times. Just half of them. I just hope that I’m the only one who watched this – maybe in the future, Spike will leave such awards to people who actually know games, and not just people with conflicting allegiances.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one watching.

Here, here, and here are a few forum threads discussing the awesomeness of the VGAs.

Of course there was the Video Game Ombudsman, who I followed during the show. He also chimed in with wit and biting sarcasm. But he sums up the way forward:

If we in the video game community — the press, the developers, the publishers, and the gamers — sit idly by and allow this type of show to speak for our industry, then we deserve whatever stereotypical bad-mouthing we get from the mainstream press and society at large.

Agreed.

Zonk on Slashdot has a great editorial as well, it’s worth a read:

I have enough problems in my day without having to explain to my family why a show honoring the entertainment I love is populated mostly by underdressed women in angel costumes. Once a year, wouldn’t it be nice to put the scruffy, anti-social gamer stereotype behind us? To sit down and watch some very intelligent people in tuxedos and gowns get their due for providing us so much entertainment? Seriously, wouldn’t it be great to see John Carmack present an award? Or get to listen to a Wil Wright acceptance speech? A gaming awards show taken seriously would be a sight to see. Even if that never happens, please — enough with the Spike-style awards shows.

Succint and to the point. Exactly the way I feel. My wife knows I love games. She even plays them with me. But when she sees things like “Cheat codes read by hot chicks” she gives me that “look”. I think she recognizes (and tolerates) the nature of the “stereo-typical” gamer demographic but even she can see through the Spike TV’s thinnly veiled attempts at pandering. But we can and should rise above this. I think these quotes and links prove that the award show in absolutely no way represented gamers as a whole. I hope enough of an outcry is made so changes can take place. The first step would be to prevent Spike TV from ever hosting a video game award show. That would be a step in the right direction.

Update (12/20/2004) – A couple other places on the ButtonMashing reading list have chimed in. The-inbetween had some choice words for Spike TV:

And to make it even more intolerable, the tape delay means that the Spike tight-asses are censoring about every other word that they say. My tv now sounds like a skipping CD.

Everyone (including myself) looks to Penny-Arcade for their comments and opinions on all things gaming, so I looked anxiously to see what they would say.

if your 2004 awards program does not include Metroid Prime 2 or World of Warcraft, it has no authority whatsoever to coronate the king of any genre. I’m not even saying that those games need to win. I’m simply stating that the games exist and are real, news which has not reached them out there on the ragged periphery of taste and intellect.

This is something I thought about but didn’t articulate. Even though I haven’t played Metroid Prime 2, the fact that they all but ignored Nintendo proves their insignificance and irrelevance.