Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Comics + Cheap Games = One hell of a weekend

Free Comic Book Day!

Tomorrow. Visit your local comic book store. Free comics. Seriously. It's the annual Free Comic Book Day!

CNN has a posting on top 5 picks for Free Comic Book Day. I know. CNN. Odd. For more information, check out the comic book day website.


For those in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area still unsure about attending this years Akon 2010, passes will be available for sale at tomorrow during Comic Book Day. This will be the last time that the passes are sold at the cheapest rate. Anything else you have to pay at the door, ($60 bucks for the weekend...gah!). Here are the stores:

Keith’s Comics – Dallas, Denton

More Fun Comics – Lancaster

Dragon’s Lair Comics – Austin, San Antonio

Madness! Games – Plano





For weekend gaming deals:

Amazon.com: A SLEW of discounts on titles this weekend.

BestBuy: Assassin's Creed 2, for $30, Aliens vs Predator for $40, Just Cause 2 for $40, Call of Duty MW2 for $50. Reward Zone Gamers, XBox Live 12 month card purchase will received 400 MS points free. Starts Sunday.

GameStop: $20.00 with the purchase of 2 items priced at $49.99 or more. In stock items only. Promotion code 2SAVE20.

Also, the 10-30% and $10 coupon will no longer work on Bioshock 2, Final Fantasy 13, GTA: Episodes of Liberty City, and Monster Hunter Tri. However, the coupons will work for Mario Kart Wii with Wheel, MLB 10, God of War Collection, Just Dance, Wii Sports Resort, and Bayonetta; all games have been reduced today and are available for additional discounts!

Frys: Stores will have a sale on the Wii system, for those who have yet to pick one up. Buy a Wii and get 2 games free. Or, but the Wii Accessory bundle and save 80 bucks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bungie Missed The Memo

So...sometime this morning Bungie and Activision announced a 10 year partnership. I think they missed the memo about Infinity Ward.

The deal allows Bungie to retain control of their company. This isn't a buy out or an acquisition. But it's quite a quinky-dink on timing as Infinity Ward is being stripped. I guess it's a win for Activision. If you can't have Call of Duty, let's get the guys that make Halo and still keep our hands in the FPS gold pot.


Bungie President Harold Ryan stated in the press conference:

“We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise.”

While Activision Blizzard COO followed up with:

"Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities."

This is turning into an episode of All My Children.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Halo Reach Trailer is out!



It popped on the airwaves last night on a few stations, SpikeTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network (Adult Swim), just to name a few, to promote the beta on Xbox Live starting May 3rd. Good commercial on how a Spartan is born. Might be worth the effort to try another Halo spin-off.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sims Busting Out

...of PC/MAC world. Not that this would be the first time a Sims game has done so, but The Sims 3 will be moving to the PS3, XBox 360, Wii, and DS fall this year. EA announced at a press release today along with some additional details that will make the game different from it's PC/MAC counterpart.

For example, the Wii version will have it's own beach town and an in-game reward system called "Life Moments." What is interesting is the announcement of an exchange system with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, allowing players to upload and download objects, patterns, designs, and sims to their console. This is something that was severely lacking in the previous installments of The Sims on consoles, but the technology wasn't there to back it up. Now! it is. Console gamers can get an experience similar to PC players of The Sims. Part of the fun is making crap, throwing it on the exchange site and perusing to see what new, odd ideas people have come up with.

The DS version sounds promising in that it'll allow the user to draw the walls, floors, and make any pattern they wish right in the game. It will also have the ability to "sculpt" a Sims features. Might be a step in the right direction for The Sims franchise. After all, The Sims 3 launch is being toted as the biggest PC Launch of all time. May as well bring the console gang into the loop.

In all seriousness, reading the press release does give me a glimmer of hope that the franchise will grow into the right direction. EA and I have had a falling out, but I'm still a Sims girl at heart.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sliging the mud back

I'm being poked about responding to Konami and Famitsu's response regarding the Kotaku post. It's an intersting situation that we have stumbled in.

Kotaku Japan, which is not directly affiliated with Kotaku.com but does translate stories from .com, posted the infamous Famitsu article. Konami and Famitsu didn't like it. So Konami uninvited Kotaku Japan from a launch party for MGS Peace Walker.

My issue with the post made on Kotaku.com (this one so as not to confuse) is the connotation of the article. I get that it is a coincidence that both Konami and Famitsu contacted Kotaku Japan on the same day, within a short time frame, to express their displeasure with the posting of the article. And I do think that Kotaku Japan are being unfairly targeted by Konami as the original post was on Kotaku.com. At the same time, Konami is trying to protect their assets. In their situation, I'm sure many others would do the same thing. A bad rap on a MGS game could be a disaster for the company.


I understand why Mr. Ashcraft made the assertion that something fishy was going on with Konami and Famitsu. And I do feel that Famitsu should have made some notation within their review of MGS Peace Walker that it was unbiased and/or not influenced by the recent advertising with their president Hirokazu Hamamura. At the same time, I don't feel that the assertion of "these guys are bad, don't trust Famitsu!" should have been raised without evidence. Everything is circumstantial, and a bad set of circumstances at this point. To me, it seems a tad immature, I guess would be the appropriate word, the way the follow up article (this one) was presented. If anything, all sides of this situation are at fault and we need a clean slate. Start over fresh. Some things were said that probably didn't need to be said. So let's get a group hug going, make up, and move on. At this point, if you don't have the proof, don't sling the mud.


(As an aside, we should consider looking at the Famitsu system as a decade of change. The question should be, “Has Famitsu’s rating policy changed to allow for more games to reach the perfect score?” That would be a more viable debate. Thank you big bro for the reminder. :p)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pass Wake

After the last 2 days, I'm keeping this one light.


Alan Wake episodes on the NY Times.


I know. I'm just as surprised. But hey, more proof that we're not all arrogant 12 year old boys. You can view the full article and the first two episodes here. I think they're trying too hard, but whatever works.

And a quick thank you to everyone who has been reading and sending in comments via email.  Feel free to post your thoughts here as well. Comments are open to everyone, so a Blogger account is not required.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cosplaying 101: Don't forget the gloves!

The Japanese have an obsession with gloves.

Before you start throwing objects and call me a racist, hear me out.


Have you noticed that a lot of games, television, comics, manga, and movies out of Japan feature a lot of characters wearing gloves?


Plumber's wear gloves.

Hedgehog's wear gloves.
 
Even prosecutor's wear gloves.




The glove bonanza moves beyond arcade boxing and fighting games. They're seen everywhere. So I pondered if this was more then a fashion statement. (clearly, I was super bored at work today) It's like Final Fantasy and belts. If you're going to make a game, we need to get as many gloves on as many characters as possible!




A friend of mine proposed that the gloves were meant as a way to prevent artists from having to make the details of the fingers. In 32 bit days, I'll give him that. It's difficult, not impossible, to make individual fingers on a pixilated figure. Solution? Throw on a glove.


My reasoning for the gloves comes from something my Nihongo sensei (Japanese teacher) said in class one day dealing with feet. I know, that's not hands, but stick with me a moment. She was talking about how when she was younger and living in Japan that she was always taught to respect her feet. They were the livelihood of humans and needed to be taken care of. At the same time, they were also dirty after a long day of work. So, they needed to be covered by tabi, jika-tabi, etc to protect them from the elements while to maintain civility. It's still considered an offense to some in Japan to walk around in shoes that have your toes exposed unless you are wearing a sock. Toe socks became popular because of this, allowing people to be expressive with their footwear without worry of offense. Have you seen a barefoot game character from Japan? Even Sonic wears shoes.


I can see this applying to the left hand, in particular. The left hand is considered taboo in many cultures, and Japan is no exception. Speaking with friends currently residing in Tokyo, they have been told by waiters at resturants to not use their left hand while eating, or will get glares from others when writing with their left hand. I don't believe that it is still a do or die notion of "you must be right handed only!" but that stigma is still ingrained into the culture. Calligraphy is a great example. The Japanese kana system or stroke order is based on use of the only the right hand. So you cover the left hand to keep the right hand good.


Digging online I was able to find a comment from someone regarding why pilots, taxi drivers, and politicians wear white gloves. J-bird commented that white gloves signify purity; in a professional setting they show that an individual is committed to their job. Job commitment. I can buy that with our lawyers and prosecutors in Ace Attorney. And I can let our world saviors slide with gloves. I'm sure holding a sword that's 3 feet long can cause wear and tear on the hands. But what about the DDR stand-by characters and the plumbers? What reason could they have to wear gloves?

"To guard our hands and prevent them from being unseemly to those around us." Direct quote from my friend Kai in Osaka. So my logic with the feet is sort of correct. But she continued to explain to me that gloves are to show respect for yourself and others around you. Meaning you wear gloves to "keep yourself from harm of any germs and what-not, but to also show to others that you are concerned about their health as well." The health route. I can buy that. So how does this apply to video games?


The response that I got from my JP companions was emulation of Western culture. Early animations from Disney and Warner Brothers had a showcase of characters wearing gloves. Gloves signified an attachment to wealth and a desire to become greater then ones-self. Working classes would wear gloves in an attempt to appear wealthy and drive their goals. Considering Mickey Mouse got his start in 1929, the logic would coincide. There was a resurgence in Western animation in the 1980's, just in time for Mario to make his debut. Put the two together and there you have it.


My friend Kai also pointed out that gloves could also be a connection between the audience and the reality the game characters live in. This is a topic I preach with film a lot. All science fiction movies will follow this formula --> every alien will have a human attribute. By giving an alien some element of humanity, we, the viewer, can easily absorb ourselves into the story. Something as simple as a glove on Mario can help the audience, subconsciously, accept his world.

It's hard to say where the real answer lies. I am empathetic and can see how early games would use gloves on characters to represent hands with graphic limitations. But today, that argument doesn't hold up. Cultural identity of gloves, that I can buy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

California Throwdown!

Today, I got to sit at my desk for roughly 6 hours and did nothing. My computer could not connect to the network, which is needed to access any programs. I am not allowed to do anything but work, so playing my DS was out of the question. I'm not even allowed to read the company magazine that is published every month, because it's not constructive work. So for 6 hours, I sat at my desk. Doing nothing. Getting paid to do nothing can be annoying. I'm the type of person that needs to be busy. So, it's time for another commentary moment!

After reading the news this morning before heading to work, I found a piece regarding the Supreme Court looking into a California law that ban's the sales of violent video games to children. It's been posted on a few websites, which appear to be rehashes of Kotaku's article. The gist of it is California created a law in 2005 that would fine retailers if they were caught selling an "intensely violent" video game to a minor. The law only applies to video games, claiming they would do more harm to children, then explicit movies and television (dvd's, blu-ray, vhs). The bill singled out a few select titles that are super violent, "lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors", according to Leland Yee, a California assemblyman, at the time the law was passed. the games in question would be titles such as Resident Evil 4 and Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6.

The response back from ESA was a violation for the First Amendment, which was upheld by a judge which overturned the law. California legislatures were petitioning the Supreme Court to look at the case while the ESA has been counteracting to keep the current ruling upheld and the case closed.

Here's the bottom line. In an effort to help curb such cases from occurring, the ESRB was created as a means to prevent the gaming industry to be swallowed by the government in the way that film and television was. By creating their own rating system, the ESRB has been helping to keep video games out of the government's hands. It allows both the consumers and the retailers a choice. Seeing how the Hayes Code destroyed films, I applaud the ESRB for creating an easy system, and applaud gaming companies even more for putting in the effort to allow all of their products to go through the system before sale.

That being said, who's fault is it that an M rated game is being placed in the hands of someone under the age of 17? Every major gaming retailer has a store policy to not sell an M rated game to anyone under the age of 17 unless a parent or legal guardian is present to purchase the item in question. I'm 26 and I get carded every time I buy an M rated game. It doesn't matter if you're 8 or 80, you're going to get carded if you're buying an M rated game. The rule applies to everyone, just as it does when you purchase alcohol or cigarettes. And as someone working in a service environment for nearly 3 years for a gaming retailer, I know the rules. If someone breaks that one, it's an immediate termination. You do not sell an M rated game to anyone under 17. No exceptions

I don't place blame on the retailers. I feel that a lot of it goes to the adults purchasing the items. I have heard at least one complaint a week from a parent getting mad that we didn't sell little Bobby God of War 3 while he was in the store by himself. Sorry. He's not an adult. But if you're sitting in the car waiting on him, you can take the time to park, walk into the store, and buy the game yourself.

Which brings me to my next concern, since when was it the retailer's duty to parent the children buying the products? Retailers are not responsible for what happens to that game once it has been purchased. If you decide to give Grand Theft Auto 4 to your 5 year old, that is your call. Wal-Mart, Bestbuy, GameStop, GameCrazy, etc. are not the parents of your children. They don't take over for your lack of parenting skills. If you are "really" concerned about what your child is watching and playing, take the time to research. You'd be amazed what 5 seconds on Google will help you accomplish.

Which jumps into my next issue with the law. Why is it limited to video games? In the numerous of bad studies done on violence, I'm surprised they didn't throw in television and movies into the mix. All would qualify for retail awareness. If Wal-Mart can not sell an M rated game to someone under 17, then they shouldn't be allowed to sell an R rated DVD to an individual under 17. No one has provided a real scientific study which proves unequivocally that video games are detrimental to one's health, mentally or physically. Nor has there been proof that video games are more violent above movies or television. So, take your pick. You can't stick to one entertainment medium over the others. If you're going to pick a fight, go for the gold! Don't wimp out when you have 0 evidence to back up the claim.

My hope is that the Supreme Course will throw out the petition by California and keep the case closed. It's a law that has no fair means of being upheld and discriminates against the video game community. If you are going to apply it to just games, then there needs to be sufficient evidence to coo-berate. That isn't to say that I don't agree with the idea that retailers should not sell M rated games to children. But when company policy is in place to prevent such a thing from happening, it's really up to the parents/legal guardians to do their job.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Odd Couple

Hot chicks and cars should go together like bread and butter, right?

Microsoft has announced a bundle for the Xbox 360 to include Bayonetta and Forza Motorsport 3 to be released in Japan soon.

It seems...well...odd. I have a difficult time imagining that a gamer would be playing Bayonetta and turn around to play Forza. They are two different genre's with different audiences. Then again, a female in her mid-20's was probably not the intended audience for Bayonetta, and I love it. So hey! Whatever works. Sounds like Microsoft is trying to capitalize on the popularity of Bayonetta and Forza in Japan. You never know. Bayonetta is toted as superior on the 360 due to the weird porting issues and bad frame rates on the PS3. It could be a hit for Microsoft.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stop Bashing Famitsu

I'm not sure where Kotaku got the idea for their article about Famitsu's MGS:Peace Walker Review, and I don't know what would have prompted it.

It feels as though this is a moment of cynicism. Yes Famitsu is advertised in MGS:PW, and yes the former editor-in-chief of the publication is in a series of advertisements for the games and on the Konami website. But this is Famitsu. This is a magazine that very, very, very, very rarely gives a perfect score. When you compare the legacy of Famitsu to other magazines, what would be a 5/5 or 10/10 or 4 starred in one publication would only amount to a 6 or 7 in Famitsu.

It is really difficult to obtain a good score in Famitsu. Only 14 games have achieved the perfect score since the publication began in 1986. Time to count them out: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998), Soulcalibur (1999), Vagrant Story (2000), The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003), Nintendogs (2005), Final Fantasy XII (2006), Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008), Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008), 428 (2008), Dragon Quest IX (2009), Monster Hunter Tri (2009), Bayonetta (2009), New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009), and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010).

The common argument is that Famitsu has been handing out perfect scores like candy with publishers paying for the scores. It's been a longstanding debate, and knowing that a multitude of Western magazines partake, it's not difficult to imagine that Famitsu is holier and should be excluded. 4 games in 2008. 4 games in 2009. Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. There have been a lot of great games released within the past 3 years. The ones listed by Famitsu are great titles that any gamer must play. It's not like Famitsu has always given the Final Fantasy series a perfect score (they had 13 games to go through, and only 1 met their standards), nor to Mario, or Zelda, or even Snake.

I think it's a case of too much good at one time. Because so many great games came out in a short time frame, that people jump on the wagon and cry foul play at Famitsu for awarding so many perfect scores. I have played all of the games listed above, except Peace Walker (unless the demo counts). And I do believe they are all worthy of the 40/40 score from Famitsu.

Of course I do agree that it is a little fishy to have Famitsu advertised in Peace Walker and to have the former editor-in-chief lighting up ads in Japan. So I propose this to the naysayers, where is the evidence? All that we have seen is circumstantial. Physical evidence has not been provided linking Konami to buying the score in Famitsu. If you can find the evidence, then I'll make an apology.

For a world full of crap, I have some shred of hope that Famitsu is one of the few gaming publications that isn't swayed. 14 perfect scores in 24 years is nothing when you look at Western publications that throw out 10/10 on 5-6 games every month. That alone allows me to believe that the score for MGS:PW is legit. So stop complaining until you can bring in the real facts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nintendo's 3D system slated for October

I'm not a fan of 3D. Mostly because I can't view 3D. My eyes are restricted to glasses and with some pretty bad astigmatism, I can't wear contacts. 3D is still limited to those goofy glasses. Sure, they have come along over the past decade, but not to the point where they can replace my eyesight.


But now Nintendo has announced a release date for the 3D DS Lite system. It will not be a purchase for me.

The way that it sounds, only a very limited selection of titles will be made into 3D. Any previous DS games you have will be obsolete on the system. At least, that's how they are making it out to be. Add in a higher price tag and a mandatory goofy glasses, the system is losing it's portability. Even the DSi XL is pushing the limit. If it can't fit in my purse, it's not a portable system.

It also feels as though Nintendo is moving too fast on it's DS iterations. The length of time between the original DS and DS Lite was well spaced. It gave the DS a few years to grow with the audience and allowed for an easy transaction to the Lite. Lite to DSi went the same way. But the XL and 3DS are moving in too fast. I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo's sales figures for the XL are not as expected. The DSi barely came out a year ago. The consumer needs more time. It's too much, too soon. And I don't enjoy the thought of having to carry around 3 sets of glasses to play my system (normal, sun, and 3D).

Admittedly though, I would enjoy playing Phoenix Wright and have him yell Objection! with his finger protruding out of the screen. That might be worth the system purchase.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Peace Walker Madness!

GameStop is getting loaded with pre-order goodies for Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker.

If the 2 Limited Edition PSP's weren't enough, now there's a new Collector's Edition for the game that includeds a bandana.


Don't deny it. That's a pretty badass bandanna.

It also comes with a 35-40 page art book. Not bad for an extra $10 bucks.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday

Today is my birthday. So posting is at the bottom of the to-do-list. But I need to put in some effort.


So, here is some pie:















...video game pies are not easy to google.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend Coupons

There are a slew of coupons at Gamestop.com this weekend that stack, when they shouldn't have. So take advantage of them while you can!

The first is God of War III. First, there's a $10 price drop on the game. Second, use code 15NEW, for 15% off. Then you can stack that with 10AUTO, which is another 10% off and free shipping. These only apply to instock games

The stackable coupons also apply to Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect 2, all of the recent releases.

Even better, if you have an Edge Card, that's another 10% off if you choose the Used versions of these games. It's ridiculous! And probably the cheapest you will see these new games for a while.

If you are looking towards the future, the 25% off orders of $100 or more does work for pre-orders. The Code 25OFF is good until April 30th.


Steam's weekend deal is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for 14.99.

NewEgg also has some odd discounts. MGS4 for $17.99 and White Knight Chronicles for $29.99.

Happy shopping!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Music Beat

What songs move you?

Kotaku posted a listing of their favorite game music. No survey needed. No discussions. No back and forth. Just an honest, straight-forward topic. It was refreshing.

And now we all get to rip it apart and throw in our favorites. XD

I think the list is well rounded. It hits on popular and cult classics. They are songs where you hear the first few notes and instinctively know which game it's from. Not everyone is going to know the 10 second sleep song hear in Super Mario RPG, but those who have never played Zelda know the overworld theme.

My favorite is Path of Repentance from Final Fantasy X. The music is hauntingly sorrowful, but there is a glimmer of hope hidden in it's message. It's one of those songs where I still wonder how they could make the piano sound like that. It's simple and complex:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sid Meier is still king of 'Civilization'

Sid Meier (Civilization, Railroad Tycoon) was at the University of Michigan to judge a 48 hour game design contest. During that time, he was documented and gave some insight into his creative process. A nice mini-documentary if you have 30 minutes to spare:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mario speaks for all of Japan

With drama at home, my pension for blogging today is at a low. Sadly, I'll be rehashing a link to a story on Kotaku but it's not all bad. It's regarding a statement made by Ueamatsu-san, composer for most of the Final Fantasy games, about Mario's theme and the Japanese national anthem. It's an interesting, and quick read.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More PS3's Online Then Xbox 360's in the US

Now this is an odd study. A research firm has found that more Playstation 3 systems are connected to the internet then Xbox 360 and Wii consoles. The percentage of PS3 to 360 is only a 5% difference. Interesting how more PS3's are online in the U.S. when the market is largely dominated by the 360 and multiplayer gaming. It might be due to the increase sales of the PS3 in the U.S. while the 360 has been trickling off. I've seen it at work. PS3's have been dominating sales since November and have been steady in comparison to the Wii and 360. Now that it's so easy to get a Wii, no one wants it. And the market has been saturated with a 360, that most people who wanted one, got it years ago. You can read the full story here.

Glad to see money is well spent. You know instead of finding a cure for AIDS or helping out the poor.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Coco's Back!

Or soon will be. TBS has worked a deal with Conan O'Brien to bring him back to late night television in November, after the breakup with NBC.

Why is this news on a gaming blog? Well for one, I love Coco. He's been dearly missed in my latenight viewing, though I have been able to gain an hour of sleep. But mostly it was a live posting on Deadline.com that peaked interest in the gaming community. According to their sources, Conan and his crew approached Microsoft to develop a talk show series for Xbox Live, as one of their out of the box moments.

As much as entertainment gurus were speculating an agreement with Fox, it seems unlikely that anyone was thinking "Hey. Conan should go to Xbox Live." But it's no surprise at the same time. Conan has been known to be an outside thinker for late night talk. He never did anything safe. And that's why the young people like him.

While the idea for a show on Xbox Live would be great, it would have limited his audience. Not everyone owns an Xbox 360. While it is one of the more common systems in the U.S., it doesn't have easy access as most cable channels. It also has a restraint on downloads for Gold cusotmers only. If you have the Silver plan, you might not be able to download the episodes, depending upon how Microsoft worked out the deal. With TBS, Conan would be able to reach his target audience and bring in new viewers that trail in from the 10:00 pm Family Guy/The Office slot and the George Lopez show. It fits with his crowd. It's easy to access. Something that Microsoft can't completely offer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Super boredom at work

Chad Concelmo at Destructoid must have been really bored at work when he came up with his post defeanding Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII. But it is commendable. It takes courage for a male of his age to stand up for a girl with pink hair.

"Now, before anyone jumps on me, I am not saying “special” in any kind of derogatory or disrespectful way. When I describe someone or something as “special” I only mean it in the highest regard.

We all have that friend. You know, that one friend that is a little different than everyone else. Hell, I think I am that friend in the eyes of a lot of the people I hang out with. Actually, I know I am -- they have told me before! Despite this friend being a little off at times, you love them. You can’t help but love them!

This is how I view Vanille. She is that special friend that you can’t help but love, regardless of some of the ridiculous things she does."

You sir, get a brownie.

Bordeom at work

Sometimes I'll peruse Not Always Right to keep me entertained with silly customer stories. And I stumbled upon this gem. Oh South Park. I'll never be able to look at Facebook the same way again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weekend

Due to the time of posting, I felt that rehashing game deals would be pointless. Instead I bring you cake. Lots and lots of cake.  

 
I'll bring pie next time.



In other news, you know those 2 guys Activision axed that created Call of Duty Modern Warfare? Well they're suing Activision to maintain rights to the title. And, shocker!, Activision is counter-suing. It is drama all around. I'm with West and Zampella, but no matter what happens, this is going to be one long, ugly fight. I wouldn't expect a Modern Warfare 3 anytime soon.

Friday, April 09, 2010

We have entered the Twilight Zone

Something weird happened in the world. I don't know when or how, but my brain is having a difficult time grasping the following news story.

There are schools in Europe that are showing Grand Theft Auto to children as a means to turn children away from violence.

Somewhere in Florida, Jack Thomspon's eyeballs have exploded.

That's right. There are schools teaching GTA to children to show the consequences of violent actions. The theory is that today's children are more desensitized to violence. By showing images from GTA, Looney Tunes, and The Simpsons (Itchy and Scratchy in particular) they hope to provide more guidance to children and explain why the image is bad, and what the resulting action would be (prison, death, etc).

Mrs Gaynor, whom helped to start the group boils the reason down to this:

“They just don’t teach their kids respect any more. They don’t teach them what’s right and what’s wrong which is exactly what we’re trying to do with this programme.”


Of course there is a proponent listed in the article, but who cares! Someone's teaching children about GTA! The world has gone mad! XD

I support the idea and glad that someone is using GTA in a positive manner. The worlds problems should not rest on Rockstar's shoulders.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

You have 0 Friends.

En epic South Park episode aired last night. Ok maybe not epic, but entertaining. It was about the obsession of Facebook, and Farmville. The situation was something I could relate to. I'm not a fan of Facebook. I like the concept of the website and that it allows me to reconnect with people that I haven't seen in years, but it can easily become an obsession.



Realistically, I only check Facebook once or twice a month. I don't feel a need to post my status every second, like a Twitter crazed fan. As much as I am a geek to video games, there is a real world out there. Enjoy it. If you feel like you have to stick with constantly updating your Facebook page, this episode might cause you to rethink your interests.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

There once was a Tonberry

As I was playing Final Fantasy XIII this morning, after defeating the last boss and going back to finish the side-quests, I realized a weird paradigm in the system that is indicative of all video games. No not the job change you can do in the game.
 

At one point you are dumped out into the world and allowed to explore at a whim, if you choose to do so. It's made very clear at this point that this land is only a place where the strong survive, and if you are really freekin' big you are going to live. It's good in theory. The evolutionary history of Earth is one to show that this is true. So you spend the game avoiding the big monsters as much as possible. When you do get the courage to fight the big ones, they're pushovers. Then you sit an ponder "why the hell was I avoiding these things?" and proceed to kill everything in your sight for the next hour or two. It's not until you try to kill the small enemies, the ones that don't reach your character's knees, that you find yourself dead in 5 seconds. If only the strong survive, the why the hell is the world not populated with the small enemies, ravaging on the dead of the big guys? The same could be applied to our situation. The most poisonous animals in the world are small enough for a child to crush with their feet. Which would explain why they do not rule Earth with an iron fist.

So it brings two questions to mind. Why is this prevalent in video games that occur in different realities/dimensions/worlds when they are not meant to resemble Earth? Is this meant to be a kick in the shins to everyone who has picked on the little guy? I'm serious about the second question. When you think about the bully in high school as a giant ass turtle, and the nerd as the Tonberry, knowing full well that turtle is going down, it's sweet sweet justice.

The only conclusion I've been able to draw is that having this dichotomy allows gamers to better envelop themselves into that realm. By having little pieces of Earth in the game that we can identify with, we can jump into the game with ease and not feel alienated by this new planet.



I guess I bring this up because the dialogue in the game is misappropriated. Don't say "only the big survive" when a cactuar runs up, kicks you in the face, and the words Game Over sprawl across the screen. Maybe I'm just venting. I need to stop letting my brain say "run away from the big things" because clearly, that never works and I miss out on good XP opportunities.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

People Still Care About Asteroids?

After 58+ hours, the 1979 arcade classic has had it's record broken yesterday morning by one John McAllister. The estimated score is 41,338,740. That is a long ass game from one quarter. Because Asteroids is retro for anyone under the age of 25, it's a game about shooting at asteroids before they destroy you.

Why some of us care is that Asteroids is one of the few games from the arcade era that is best known. It was one of the first to use vector graphics that wrapped around both screen axes, i.e. you could moved your ship up and pop up below the screen and likewise left and right. It hadn't been done before...yeah that sounds silly now. But this was 1979. We didn't have anything else! The game is also used to help convey a visual representation of math and abstract science concepts in schools. So there...video games can teach you something.

The score will need to be approved by Twin Galaxies to ensure no foul play (they've done it before with Donkey Kong). For those of us born before 1982, we give a crap.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Hiding in the closet

Easter Egg!

As a belated Egg Day send off, here is a silly geek trick to keep you entertained for 5 seconds. Visit Google and enter in the following “the answer to the meaning of life.” Yes, it’s silly and you’re probably aware of it, but it’s worth a chuckle.



Initially I was going to give a micro-review over Plain Sight, a game about ninja robots where the objective is to kill yourself before anyone else can. An amusing spin of Kill Yourself in 5 Minutes. I even had a picture!

But that was not meant to be after an interesting letter directed to CNN was posted on the web today from a manga artist. For anyone who has been living under a rock in the gaming universe, CNN recently had a story regarding a game called Rapelay. The long and short of it is that it’s an Erotic game that has been out of print since 2006 and is no longer sold by the original publisher due to concerns from international retailers. For some unknown reason, CNN felt the need to dig it up and out of the depths of the closet and blow the game out of proportion. You can review the general report at their website as well as additional reports.

Here’s the thing. It’s an out of print game that very few people in this country were aware of, until CNN decided to create a story. Their concern? According to CNN, it’s to help make parents aware and keep children away from this game. As Dr. Cheryl Olson said in a follow up report with CNN “One of my concerns is that kids generally never hear about this stuff unless it gets this kind of publicity." So in trying to “protect” the children, CNN just made the game popular. Way to go! My thought is that it was a really slow news day. Not that hunger and war aren’t important, but they don’t strike the fear that newscasters want to bring into your home. “Your children can download this game and become severely traumatized. Be scared!!”



Why am I bringing this up? CNN use to be a respectable news organization that has managed to get egg all over their face. If it weren’t bad enough that they were bringing in gaming and child experts to dispute their story, but now we have the Japanese throwing it back and making the U.S. look even more ignorant of the world. The letter was created by manga artist Nogami Takeshi and basically tells CNN to shove it up their butt, but in a nice Japanese way. If I were in his position, I would probably feel the same way. I’m not agreeing with the game’s existence and I feel that it is pushing the limit on content, but it’s a game. It’s not real and anyone who thinks it is should consider seeing a therapist. It is not meant to be taken seriously. There is an artistic value to this game that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And if your kids are smart enough to figure out how to illegally download a game, you probably already had the talk with them about the birds and the bees. This whole situation shows how so much more mature Japan is in comparison to the U.S. Well, maybe not the entirety of the U.S. but more mature then news organizations.

If you have the time, the letter is worth the read. There’s a pretty good chance CNN will not respond to it, so I’m not holding my breath.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Firsties!

A new blog. A fresh start. A new year, to an extent. Not quite a new lease on life, but it is a beginning for something new.

For anyone who has any knowledge of Blogger, it will take you all of 3 seconds to figure out my past blog history has been fuzzy. 3 of the blogs were school related (anime, political vloging, and abstract thought?) and one is an ongoing experiment into the oddities of parallel design with film and gaming. Not the best topics in the world, but they kept my brain entertained, briefly.

But onto something new, and familiar. A topic that is near and dear to me and comprises my life style. Geekery. The act of geekiness. All things geek glorious. A daily update of the geeky world, primed for public viewing. Maybe reviewing would be a more appropriate word. My hope is to bring in something new to your eyes, something that you never knew, or perhaps a moment to laugh at our geeky selves. Whatever the situation, enjoy!

For a first post, something grand on the epic scale was considered. But that would be cliché. I could go the way of the IPad and make Apple’s head grow even larger, but again, too predictable. It doesn’t help that every media outlet in the United States has been focusing on the release of this “unique” electronic device. (When did that become popular? We’ve moved from American Idol auditions to Apple release nights for news. I couldn’t imagine that 3 years ago). Or there is always my favorite subject, video game transgressions. But that becomes a wonderful backup to the postings where I’m drawing a blank on new chic criteria.

I guess this is a moment that is best to keep it simple and explain a little bit about myself and my personality. Why video games? Or more accurately, why entertainment culture? My interest is based on a simple premise: enjoyment for the sake of enjoyment. I love the idea of creating something that will transport a person away from reality and into another realm where there are no limits to the story. That is partly why I spent 8+ years in school working on a multitude of degrees in film/media studies. It wasn’t until my senior year of my undergraduate degree that video gaming began to develop into a field of study for theory. Not that it’s all the way there, but it is progressing. It’ll be a matter of time. Since then, I’ve been involved in the merging of film and gaming into a new field.

Not movies based on video games. Those are terrible. The only good one was Street Fighter. When I was 11.

I mean the integration of interactivity into movies. More then 3d and smell-o-vision. It’s an idea that is currently in the workings by the super powers that be in Hollywood. Not that this will be a revolutionary wave in the next decade. My bet is 15-20 years down the road. Don’t quote me on that unless I’m correct.

I’ve always been fascinated by movies and video games. My family had an Atarti 2600 in the house before I was born. Still have the system. Works like its 25 years old. But it’s still running! I can spend days watching making of features for movies and enjoy every second of it. I’ve immersed myself into that culture. Prior to college, I’m sure I was the outcast. But now it’s cool to be a geek. (Again, when did that happen? Last I checked, being smart puts you on the bottom of the food chain of social adaptation). I’m cool 10 years too late. Lame. Maybe it’s for the best. All of those life lessons would have passed by if I were cool.

Games and movies were a way to allow me to reinvasion the world; to tell stories in a new way; to use that creative bump in my brain that allows me to make up the good, the bad, and the craptastic stuff that I do. Maybe I praise video games too much, but what’s wrong with that? I’ve seen them do some fantastic things for people with learning disabilities, weight problems, and spark creativity back into the Ikeman minds with children. Yes, I can see the argument about the negative impact, but I enjoy engaging in that conversation. >.> 2 degrees on my side have added a buttload of knowledge. I have to use it for something!

Now I spend my days exploring the geek world that has emerged. But there you go. A brief summary on why I am the geek chic girl that I am. The blog concept might not be new, but it'll be a fun experience.