Friday, April 29, 2011

Are People Seriously Worried About Trophies?

Since you're clearly not kidding about your trophies, you deserve to have your PS Blog Username shown.
In the wake of the PS3 hacking, apparently enough people were concerned about their friends lists and trophies to prompt Sony to respond to the questions.

Ok. Someone or some group of people out there have your name, address, phone number, date of birth, email address, PSN ID, and password. They "may" also have your credit card number, though Sony is pretty sure that's not the case. Your personal information was taken from you without your consent and may be used for malicious purposes. And you care about your game trophies?

This is why identity theft happens. Or at least one of the reasons. People are so worried about other, ridiculous things, that if they get an e-mail asking for their ID and password, they'll give it away. As long as it doesn't affect their gamer score. -_- In 2003, at least 10 million American's reported that they were victims of identity theft. They need to update the website seeing that it's 2011, but there aren't many stats listed on credible sources. "Oh. Well that will never happen to me." Because of the very "relaxed" state of the internet where people click on things without reading, it's actually pretty simple to give your information away to a stranger.

I'll cut the rant short. But really? Gamers. Get your priorities straight. Your personal information > your PS3 trophies.

And to answer the question, no. PS3 trophies were not affected by the hacking. Why people thought they would be? Who knows. Download history, friend list, trophies, and PS +Cloud were not affected.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PSN Updates - The Whole Mess

Clearly this user has his priorities straight.
Since I've had a few people contact me, I'll be making a quick round-up on PSN news.

Yesterday, Sony made a statement to Kotaku saying that they were unaware of the severity of the security breach until Monday April 25. Once it was determined what was potentially stolen, they announced it to the public on Tuesday. They had an outside security team come in to assess the damages. Again, I'd like to state that most companies have a decent security system in place and would know within a few hours of a breach what was taken. It took Sony a week

Richard Blumenthal, currently senator of Connecticut, has sent a formal letter to the US president of SCEA Jack Tretton, demanding answers over the PSN hacking. We're not entirely sure why he is taking a position on this. He was elected in the most recent election, so he's still new to his position and has a few years to go. So it's not to try and get the gaming communities vote. It doesn't seem like he would be of the gaming mind frame, but maybe he's a closet Socom fan?

PSN downtime means bonus stuff for the MMO players, such as Free Realms and DC Universe. Since those players have no access to their games, they are being offered double XP and double coin days at the end of the month. Assuming the network is back up.

Microsoft is joining the no phishing bandwagon, issuing a warning about phishing attempts through Modern Warfare 2. While this has been a fairly common experience, it's a no brainer. If someone asks for your id/password/cc #, don't give it to them. Apparently a few people have given away this info in MW2, thus the warning.

ICO, the Information Commissioner's Office in England, will be questioning Sony over the loss of consumer data. The ICO is an independent authority that helps defend the rights of consumers who have had their personal data stolen. They've dealt with a lot of large companies before. So this issue with Sony is nothing new to them. The group has a record of being able to restore people's lost identities and helped in filing lawsuits.

Finally, a Kotaku FAQ of everything you need to know about the hackings and how it'll affect you if you have a PSN account. Sony reps tend to comment on a lot of Kotaku news, so they are your best resource at the moment. As a reminder, even if you never used a credit card or barely to never go online with your PS3, PSP, or PS2, if you ever logged into the PSN, you may have been affected.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PSN Still Down. But When It's Up, Change Your Password!

In another fun addition to the Sony drama, they have announced that hackers may have obtained user data between the period of April 17-19.

Thanks for waiting a week to tell us. >.> I'm pretty sure most normal systems would have been able to determine that within a few hours of occurring. But it's Sony. *shrugs*

The information that has potentially been stolen are PSN ID's, passwords, names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and birth dates. There is also the potential of credit card numbers being stolen (if you purchased PSN points or bought a game) but that has yet to be confirmed. It's also unknown how many accounts were compromised. But they had a period of 2 days to do it, so there's a good chance that a lot of them were.

The network is still down with no predetermined date of when it'll be back up. But once it is, Sony, and everyone with common sense, recommends that you log in and immediately change your password. You should also keep an eye out on your credit reports and the like. And if you get any strange e-mails asking personal info, report them to the FTC, FCC, and Sony. You know. The usual. It's be awesome to handle all of this stuff now, but PSN is still down. Thanks Sony. Way to keep loyal customers.

Nearly 90 Million In Sales Lost in Japan

Since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, a multitude of games have been delayed and/or canceled in respect to those affected. In turn, a lot of money has been lost in the business.

Hirokazu Hamamura, chief executive of Enterbrain (publishing company of several gaming magazines, including Famitsu), has stated that at least $88.9 million have been lost after the natural disasters due to the game delays and cancellations. There is no hard figures on arcade closures/losses in Japan (where it's still a big deal to play games), but estimations could reach a billion once factoring in the rolling black-outs from power companies to reduce consumption.

However, Hamamura believes that the industry, overall, will recover by the end of the year once the delayed titles are released. The next few months of the gaming business in Japan will be rough. Some of the largest gaming shows will be reduced in size, delayed, or canceled. While probable that the business will recover by the end of the year, 2012 seems like a more accurate time-frame.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Musing Abridged ~ Should Sony Compensate Gamers?

This was proposed on Kotaku.com yesterday afternoon. The PSN network has been down for about 3 days, heading into it's 4th due to an external hacking. It's been going through a series of hackings in the past month. And then there was that debacle in February for older systems not updating clocks correctly and assuming a Leap Year was in place.

Kotaku has placed a poll, with the majority so far favoring that Sony doesn't need to owe it's consumers anything. Followed by they should offer a downloadable game for free. Overall, I'm glad that a majority understand that the PSN is FREE and are siding with the "Sony doesn't owe us" answer. For everyone else who may be complaining, I ask why?

If you're thinking about those PlayStation Plus owners, the outage doesn't affect them all that much. PlayStation Plus allows those who buy a lot of downloadable content to get them at a lower price, by paying a monthly fee. Similar to if you were in a coupon club; you pay access to get more discounts. If you're a once a month DL user, it's not worth the price. But if you use the service more then 10 times a month, then it pays for itself. PlayStation Plus only applies to the PSN store. It doesn't give the user any more or less internet access for multiplayer gaming and the like. EVERYONE with a PSN account, regardless of Plus or non-Plus status, can play online for free. Even some games are still being updated through the PSN, according to Kotaku's article, though you don't have access to the network (my bet is the PSP games).

Now, it is true that some games such as Final Fight can't be played at all because it is fully integrated into the PSN and requires you being online to play. And with a week of Portal 2 release's with multiplayer, PS3 owners are missing out on the experience.

My 2 cents. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Is it the end of the world and should Sony have to appease the masses? No. If we were PAYING FOR THE SERVICE, then I could understand being upset. But Sony gave us online gaming for free. And that's, most-in-part, why I no longer have a Gold subscription to XBox Live. I already spent the money to buy the system, get the headset, get the rechargeable batteries for the controllers (those come in the Sony controllers by default guys-Microsoft. Nintendo. You should look into that), and bought the game at full retail price. Oh and I'm already paying for internet use at home. I really don't want to pay for more when I rarely use the online features for my system.

In truth, the only people the outage affects are the habitual PSN downloaders. They can't get their content for another day or two. Holy crap! >.> If Sony wants to provide a free download or some PSN points to them, that's their call. But really, they don't owe the public anything.

Except an apology for not being honest in the first place. It's one thing to call it "maintenance" from the get-go. It's another when you stay quiet for a few days that it was a hacker attack and parade it around as if it's a routine maintenance for PSN. Apologies first. Free stuff later.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sony Full of Fail This Week

WTF Sony - TGS 2007
First, The Last Guardian (which was announced in 2009 for a 2010 release, which got pushed back to 2011) and the Ico Collection are being delayed. Again. Both are expected a 2012 release, with Ico originally being released this winter holiday season. SCE and Team Ico are starting to become like Blizzard on their release dates. I give you Starcraft II as an example.

If that wasn't enough, we know that the Sony network has been down this week for "maintenance". Well one of the bosses came clear about it. Another hacker attack happened and Sony has been trying to keep it locked down. The Anonymous guy is stating it's not him, but of course people are all over Sony's blog about it. There have been a few outages of the Sony network over the past month. It's just one more to annoy the consumers. At least we're not paying for our service.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gaming Retailers Policing Sales Just Fine

Without the man hanging over their head, that is. In one of the few pieces of news that makes me giggle with delight, the FTC conducted their yearly check on who's been enforcing R/M rated material and who hasn't. And guess what? Gaming retailers did the best job.

Basically this is a breakdown of how it works. The FTC has a random sample of children aged 13-16, paid of course, and sets them loose in a few cities to attempt to buy M rated games, tickets to R rated movies, and purchase Adult Advisory music CD's. The gaming retailers at GameStop, Toys R'Us, and Target only sold M rated games to 13% of those who attempted to purchase the items. It's a sharp decrease over the past decade. Mostly because the majority retailers have a policy that if you're caught selling an M rated game to anyone under 17, you can, and most likely will, be terminated from the job (speaking as someone who has worked in the business).

When compared to R rated movie tickets (38%), R rated DVD's (33%), and music with the Parental Advisory Label (whopping 64%), gaming is doing pretty well at keeping themselves monitored.

It's interesting how the stereotype of gaming employees goes right out the window with this study. While I can't speak for every retailer, I know that at certain locations, even though I'm 27 and clearly look like an adult, I'm always carded if I'm purchasing an M rated title. The ESRB has been steady in their enforcement of their rating system and has been working well with retailers to ensure that the system stays in place. Otherwise we'll have the government step in and have some "wonderful" repeats of our media history hit video games.

To be clear, this was focused on children purchasing games directly from the retailer by themselves. No adults were involved in the purchase. Makes me wonder where kids are getting the M games, mom and dad and grandma and grandpa and cousin Mike and uncle Jim. >.>

Story time! Back in the before time, the long long ago, I received a call from a woman complaining left and right about an employee not selling her a video game and her 7 year old son was crying for it. I asked the title of the game. It was Gears of War. Because I was required to ask, I needed to know if she intended on buying that game for her child. Of course, she said yes. To which I politely informed her that Gears of War is an incredibly violent video game. Not just all of the shooting, massive amounts of blood and body parts and intestines rolling about, and the disgusting aliens, but you can use a chainsaw on your gun and hack someone to death right in front of you, with blood and guts and heads splashing all over the screen. While cool to me, not so cool to a 7 year old. Knowing this! and being informed by the employee and myself, she still wanted to buy the game for her child

I realize I don't have the best moral compass for media (I grew up watching Apocalypse Now), but that was one case where I had to say no. You're not filling a complaint against the store and you're not going to be purchasing that game for your son. The one fallback, awesome rule that we had at this place was that employees had the right to refuse service if they felt an inappropriate game was going to be given to a child.

Of course she yelled and screamed that she was going to buy it at Wal-Mart. A few days later I overheard a co-worker taking a call and, very clearly on the other end of the line screaming as if she were dying, was the woman who wanted to by Gears. She apparently went to another store, same company, without her child and said it was a gift to her husband. Why did she call to complain? She claims that no one informed her how violent the content was.-_-

This is one way children get M rated games. The retailers are clearly doing everything within their power to police the content being purchased by those under the age of 17. Stores are not there to parent children. It's up to the adults in that child's life to do the rest.

/end rant

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PSPGo Is No More

Shocked, but not surprised.

The system was released in October of 2009 to some wavering reviews. If you had UMD versions of a game, you weren't allowed to transfer them or download them from the Sony Store for free. At the time of the release, only older PSP games were available. Newer titles at that time, such as Final Fantasy Dissidia (which got it's own PSP system) were not made available until several months after their UMD release. Even now, some games take a month or two before being available for download on PSPGo.

With the system floundering, Sony dropped the price on the Go in the fall of 2010, but it wasn't enough. The original PSP system (1k-3k series) were still the top draw. While having good intentions, the lack of available content in an acceptable time frame, and customers having to repurchase all of their UMD products for digital form, the PSPGo wasn't meant to be.

Instead of working on these issues, Sony did something it sometimes normally doesn't do. They're stopping production on the PSPGo. According to the article, representatives are saying it's because they want to focus on the NGP, set to release later this year. But if that's the case, wouldn't they also stop working on the PSP to ensure a full push of the NGP? Nope. The original PSP system will still be in production. Just the PSPGo that didn't turn out so well for sales.While Sony is no longer going to produce the system, they will continue to support the PSPGo, much the same way that they continue to support (and sell!) the PS2.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Evolution of Entertainment

It's interesting to see how multi-million dollar deals for new movies and tv shows are made through YouTube. Last year you probably saw the Mortal Kombat Live Action video, way back in June, after Kotaku splashed it all over their website/blog. It became a huge success for Kevin Tancharoen in ways that were never imagined.Why? Because it was never meant to be seen by the general public. Which is probably why you don't post stuff on YouTube, even if you have a private channel.

It was literally a 2 day shoot, pulling some strings with people he knew in Hollywood, to make something for Warner Brothers, who owns Midway and bought the rights to MK, in order to green-light a full movie. Which didn't happen. It took well over half a year for Tancharoento get a call from WB and was given the chance to make a mini-series for Mortal Kombat for the web. The first video released just under a week ago has more then 5 million views. And even with WB backing them, they're still using the same guerrilla tactics to keep the project low budget. Actors working pro-bono, borrowing sets from other films/tv shows. Whatever it takes to keep it on the cheep.

It's an interesting trend that we're seeing with the push towards more non-traditional content being backed by media corporations. Just look at Justin Beiber or the Friday song girl. To note, I'm only linking the video so as not to cause people to Google and get some weird pron images appearing, but I in no way condone the song, even with 2 million dislikes, the 110 million views is disturbing.

The face of YouTube is changing. What once was a website featuring farting pandas and the dramatic gopher, has turned into a starting point for new "talents," such as Abby Victor, or in a good scenario Kevin Tancharoen. Most of these videos are produced by studios, yes even the music for the Friday song was produced, and have an upscale feel in comparison to the farting panda video. But these are still done on very low budgets. Why? Accessibility. So much of the technology for high end movies 5 years ago is now available to the general public for a more reasonable price. It's possible for anyone to make a decent quality product on a very low budget. And it saves the studios a load of headaches. They can throw away a project they spent $20 grand on, over the $100 million venture. And if it's a hit, loads of money and advertising opportunities abound. Does anyone remember when YouTube wasn't plagued with ads? I do. Probably a side-effect of Google's purchase.

At the same time, YouTube isn't the best place to start out for new talent because you're still going to get buried by the thousands of laughing baby videos, at 20 million + views each. There are wonderful performance art pieces, movies, animations, and the like on YouTube that are not given the same notoriety as an evil cat video. Partially because of the history of YouTube being more of a mindless entertainment source. But you could argue that advertising plays a big part in it. Check out the YouTube homepage. Know why those particular videos are on the front page? They paid for the spot by whatever company sponsors them. Just like an ad on a blog. You click on the ad, the blogger makes money, even if it's a fraction of a penny. YouTube offers a similar system. Pay YouTube for page space, you get more views, and if people click on your ads in or around the video, you make your money back and then some. It'd be nice to think that the face of YouTube was changing to provide a better outlet for artists and independents. However, it's a market still dominated by 20 second silly videos and corporation endorsed children. Maybe the Google changes, such as removing Google Video, will be a step in the right direction. At least the MK video proved to be a gem in the rough.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

March Gaming Sales Drop / 3DS Making People Sick?

In comparison to last year, from $1.58 billion last year to $1.53 billion this year. Big drop. *rolls eyes* But it's still numbers in the corporate world. 16% numbers. It didn't affect investor outlook for the month as stocks rose for major companies such as Activision and EA.

While noted in the articles that the 3DS was released last month and sold just shy of 400k units in the U.S., they didn't make it clear that last month was pretty slow for games. The highlight was Pokemon Black and White. Everything else, including THQ's Homefront, was mild-mannered in marketing that nothing was anticipated as a big hit. You combine a new $250 system with limited new gaming selections, you're going to get a slow month.



In more 3DS news, The Sun, a British Tabloid, has been on a continual coverage rampage that the 3DS is making people sick to the point that they need medication. Here's the video from their WatchDog segment:




So far from what has been ascertained in the reports, The Sun has been only talking to one person in regards to sickness concerns with the 3DS system. The rest...feels like it's been made up. Nintendo has responded that they have had no complaints from consumers about feelings of dizzyness from anyone in Europe; that it may have been just a few people on Twitter making a remark here and there that got blow out of proportion. But The Sun keeps harping at it. I'm not sure what beef The Sun has against Nintendo, but they really don't want to give up.

As has been stated by Nintendo several times, and listed in their game manual, it's recommended that everyone playing a 3DS, regardless of age, should take a break from the 3D feature every 30 minutes. Every consumer is different and they should take a moment to adjust their position when using the 3DS to find an angle that best suits them. I.E. don't play the system nose-length away. There is a button on the system that turns off the 3D (it's a slider that works instantly. I've tried it. It's quite easy to turn off), and parents can use the Parental Controls to restrict 3D use on systems.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Want Portal 2 Early? Play Some Games!

In a fun twist that Valve likes to bring us, a promo has appeared on their domain aperaturescience.com. If you play a bunch of indie games, they'll release Portal 2 early. I'm ok with this.

The countdown started yesterday at 100, but has jumped up to 69 hours as of this writing. I'm betting it's because people are playing that the clock sped up. At least according to Glados that's the case. The website links you directly to Steam Potato Sack where you can play the indie games. Stats are uploaded onto the website. So...what are you doing still reading this? Go play games for the sake of an early Portal 2 release! Cost for the games in the sack is at a crazy low of $38.72. Yes I know. That means you gotta pay to play, but early Portal 2!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Being A Female Gamer Is Rough

Especially if you're good at a game and play at tournaments. BurnYourBra, great gamer tag, is one such player. She's an African-American female who's pretty great at Street Fighter. Recently interviewed by DMG, Dominion Method Gaming, she talks about the trouble with trash talk becoming racist/sexist comments and how they are affecting the gaming community. The fighting game community in particular.

An excerpt:

BurnYourBra: At tournaments players talk [crap] to each other. That's just the way tournaments are. People get hyped. Players get salty when they lose, which is fine. But there is a difference between trash talking and calling other players disrespectful names. For me, I've been called a dyke, a butch, a slut, a bitch... I was even called a black bitch to my face along with being called a lesbian, a gorilla, and a monkey. Now I know people are going to say that as a player in the community, you have to have a thick skin. I do, but that doesn't mean that I won't speak up about the names I've been called.

DMG|jason24cf: So I'm pretty sure you have heard a lot of heckling while you compete.

 
BurnYourBra: Let's just say I've heard enough, *laughs*. But, I know I will continue to hear rude comments. That's just how it is unfortunately. I just want people to understand that there is a difference between trash talking and being an asshole.


I'm glad that someone is candid about the issue. In general, female gamers get the brunt of the verbal assaults. It goes beyond trash talking when you call someone a bitch, whore, and the c word that rhymes with runt, when you get beaten in Halo 3 multiplayer. That crosses the line of being rude and disrespectful. It's the same if one guy calls another a few expletives in a serious manner. (Can anyone else tell that it's already become a pain for me to keep this entry PC? lol)

BYB goes on to talk about how she doesn't like to distinct herself as a girl gamer nor as the top US girl gamer for Street Fighter. She sees all of her opponents as just that. There isn't a gender classification for the person she needs to compete against. But she also doesn't trash talk and call them vulgar names if she looses. She does the sportsman like thing and shakes their hand when it's all over. Her perspective is from the fighting game world where a lot of stereotypes run amuck. That only Asians people can play fighting games well. That it's a male dominated field. That any girls playing need to be Asian and pretty. More stereotypes then what I'm use to seeing at FPS tourneys. BYB and many other gamers don't fit those roles, and they get knocked for it.

Despite that growth in gaming and the market has been geared towards more female gamers (yes social network games and puzzles do count), there hasn't been much progression in the attitudes of gamers to include women. To test this out, just this morning I went on XBox Live to play a game with my headset on. For anyone that knows me, I NEVER do this unless it's with a close group of friends. If there are any outsiders, the headset is off.

It took less then 5 minutes to be called an f***ing bitch for winning a game of Uno.

Seriously? You're going to call me a B for winning Uno? Ok. Let's try another person who sounds more like an adult. Nope. I got the whore/whale comments.

As much as I'd love for women to push forward into the hardcore gaming world, regardless of age/gender/appearance, the problem is that we keep getting pushed back by our male counterparts. I wouldn't even call them peers because peers don't verbally assault one another. They help everyone to achieve their potential. It's part of the reason I stopped going to Halo tournaments. I use to be decent at Halo. Enough to win a few matches and placing second on one tourney. Back then I was still a teenager (yeah Halo is just THAT old) and had my brother and father with me and boy the trash talking was insane. Pops was cool though. He'd stand right behind the person I was playing against and would make it known that he was my dad (who's over 6'5" and looks like he could bench press a car). If that didn't instill the fear into no trash talk, nothing would. And from what I hear and read, not much has changed. Short of going into a life-altering gender change, what else can be done to allow women to be seen as peers? It's hard to say. There may never be an answer to this question, which is why gaming will continually held back until people's opinions start to change.

Aside: I realize that I'm recycling images used from a previous female gamer post. The problem of finding appropriate pictures that don't show extremes, in comparison to the stereotypes of women in the gaming world, is so prevalent that even 10 pages into Google Images and still nothing generic.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Compelling Argument

Times Square Chronicles was trying to pass this off as a  "new" story this morning and clearly wants to make the creators of the game into a martyr. It even urges you to contact your local government with your concerns. Someone should probably tell them that this is a modification made for a pre-existing game that is in no way related to the developers of said original game. It's not going to be something sold at your local grocery store. It's been known for a while that a mod for Half-Life 2 has been in the works called School Shooter, meant as a satire that allows individuals to assume to role of a student and shoot people in their school.

Is it tasteless and offensive? You bet. But it's a voice amongst the millions that would argue that there is some value to this game.

I present to you the counter argument, Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

Danny Ledonne created the game in 2005 as a means of exploration. It wasn't about recreating the event for entertainment, but to allow people to confront this issue of school violence head-on. Ledonne is not a game developer, but a film maker. He approached this project from a new perspective, by telling a story that was enticing the user to ask questions. In no way was Ledonne condoning the violence at Columbine, nor at any other major school shooting, nor promoted the game as such. It's one of those products that has always been made clear from the beginning that it is a game meant to get people to think. The news outlets that say otherwise fail at basic understanding. I'd like them but there are just way too many to even bother. It's about as silly as someone saying you can use SCMRPG as a training simulation. It was made with RPG Maker 2000, a program that mimics the style of 32 bit sprites on flat backgrounds. It is the exact opposite of Call of Duty, which could easily be taken as a simulator.

There's a double standard in our culture when it comes to visual mediums, something that can be traced back to theater. When it comes to social issues and realistic problems of violence in schools, or poverty in your backyard, or anything of the like, people feel the need to censor it. Where as war and cops and robbers stories are totally fine because they are not happening around us. Here's the bottom line; if the gaming community didn't push the envelope we wouldn't have the culture of expression that we have now (as stifled as it is by the larger companies that fail to product original content). Movies, television, books, music, theater, sculpture, painting, all have gone down the same path. A part of what makes art art is that some things will exist that will offend people. They are there to force you to question your reality. That's the sign of a good artist.

Now I'm not saying that School Shooter is art. It's fairly obvious after one look on their website that it's meant as a satirical modification in a twisted demeanor. Rather, it's a mod to a pre-exisiting game that has gotten way too much attention. But people need to pull back and realize that the point of this, and any visual medium, is to get you to ask questions that might make you uncomfortable. Because isn't that what good art is about?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PS3 Hacker Boycotting Sony

Or rather, he's been barred from the law to tinker with Sony products ever again or he'll face a fine from anywhere between $10kto $250k. But because of his recent pains with Sony, he's boycotting all of their products and has encourage others to do the same.

No offense to the hacker, but let's get this straight. You broke into a system and distrubited it's content to others, which violated copyright and a bunch of other laws. Now I'm all for open-sourced content and allowing users to be able to make the most of their product and create their own mods and tools to make the system better. But you still broke a few laws and you got caught for it. Sony isn't going to care that you're no longer a customer.

It also doesn't mean that I agree with their request, and subsequent judge's order, to obtain all of the IP addresses of everyone that visited the website with the hack. Because I don't and who knows how Sony will use that information. We get that you're upset and both sides did something wrong. But you boycotting Sony doesn't hurt their sales nor does it change our opinion of you. Might be best to just take the punishment and move on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zelda 3DS Not Nintendo Made?

First, apologies for any bad spelling/grammatical errors. The internet is down here and I'm using my phone for today's post. Because of this, it's going to be a short and simple post.

According to the Australian ratings board, they received a request to rate the new Zelda 3DS game but it wasn't made by Nintendo. It's made by a company called Grezzo, responsible for Line Attack Heroes for WiiWare. Koichi Ishii is the founder of Grezzo who designed Final Fantasy II and the Mana games. So even though Nintendo won't be babysitting this one, at least it'll be taken care of.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Peace Walker Clothing

Starting today, Konami has released the first collection of Metal Gear Solid clothing in history. Konami has partnered with Musterbrand, whom also did real-world clothing for Gran Turismo, Deus Ex, and Human Revolution.


Knut Bergel (unsure if that's the real name >.>) a designer for Musterbrand has hinted at the company producing a digital line for future MGS games. Bergel looked to Alexander McQueen and other avant guarde designers before producing collections for their video game counterparts. Jonathan Jacques-BelletĂȘte, art director of Dues Ex, was only thinking about the clothing at one point in the process.“I was thinking of the aesthetics of the Renaissance era, and also sort of Baroque, yet fashionable and kind of cyber-punkie,” Mr. Jacques-BelletĂȘte said.

Now it's "suppose" to be on the website as of today, however Konami is noticeably absent of any Peacewalker clothing, other then the press release sent out last week. So we're going to use the crappy picture from the NYTimes, that is probably no longer accurate. >.>

The idea isn't new but I think if Konami approaches it from the right direction, it can be a good outlet for their products. While you may not be able to dress just like Snake, you can feel like you belong in the MGS universe.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

3DS News Collection

~ Starting off with the Sony CEO Jack Tretton.


Our view of the 'Game Boy experience' is that it's a great babysitting tool, something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting twenty-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those... He's too old for that.

Ouch. He's referring to the new 3DS system, but really that's a jab at all DS's. As the twenty-something who has used a DS on a plane, that hurt. Since I don't believe any "good" parent would allow their child to play GTA: Chinatown Wars, Advance Wars. Nor would a child with ADD be able to sit through Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger on the DS. Jack. Give the system a little bit of credit. It's been beating the pants off of yours for years. I realize it's a sensitive subject, but you just alienated a good chunk of your target audience of adults.

If you're really going to sustain technology for a decade, you have to be cutting edge when you launch a platform, Tretton continues, followed with motion gaming being "cute". Sure you have powerhouse system Sony, but your gaming line-up took a few years to catch up while Nintendo and Microsoft dominated the market. I get your stance but you might want to hold back on the trash-talk Jack.

~ Harvest Moon will be coming out to the 3DS. For those without a 3DS, the company plans to have a simultaneous release for multiple DS systems.

~ DSI Ware on the 3DS can't be played off the SD card. This is very similar to how games on the Wii Shop worked where if you stored them on the SD card, the system won't play them until you move them to the system. Unfortunately, a simple "update" of the system isn't enough to fix the issue. The way the DSi infrastructure for purchase and installation ends to foobar the process. However! If you are purchasing 3DS games, you can play them off the SD card.

~ Some US optometrists feel that the 3DS is good for kids under 6. I'm scratching my head on this one. But the basic idea is that it can help catch eye problems early if kids play the system, such as amblyopia if the child can't view 3D. Only 15% of pre-school aged children receive full eye exams, so the idea that the system can catch problems early is a help to doctors and parents.

Ok, I can see where they're getting at. But there are others in the article that still stand that the younger children should not use the system and everyone should use the 3DS sparingly. One optometrist stated that there should be a limit on 3D. While there is no set amount, sound judgment should be use.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Avatar Legends- Reason To Turn On The 360?

With the avatar thing becoming more and more apparent on the 360, developers have been releasing games that include your buddy. The Avatar Legends will be the first attempt at a more role-playing aspect with the 360 avatars. Developed by independent company Barker's Crest, the game is an RPG for single, multi, co-op, with about 10 hours of content, and includes a level editor.

The first few images have the 360 avatars shooting fireballs and lightning bolts while picking on helpless animals to level up. Which isn't that what we all have been waiting for with our avatars? Unlike the sports games for your avatars, this will allow you to physically control your avatar on a real adventure. The game is set to release on the 360 Indie Channel later this month.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

You Have Madden? EA May Owe You Money.

A lawsuit over EA cornering the market on sports games, in particular football, is officially going to court. And they want everyone to know about it and sign up to help the cause.

The complaint is pretty basic. Two guys, one in DC and one in California, allege that EA has a monopoly on the football game market by having license exclusivity to the NFL and NCAA licensing, therefore not allowing new developers to enter the force and causing a price hike on EA football products. The plantifs use Take Two Interactive NFL 2K5 as an example, and once EA got exclusive rights from the NFL their products went from a price base of $29.95 to $49.99. Because there is no one else in the market for football games, EA can easily raise prices and consumers have no other alternative to turn to. Except, you know, not buy the game. But heaven forbid. >.>

The way the complaint sounds, it's almost as though the plaintiffs were former Take Two employees who were pissed about losing their jobs. Their purchases of Madden took place in 2007 and 2008 long after 2K5's release for the newest Madden games, at the time. Or two guys that are just pissed off at EA and were looking for a reason to get back at them.

It's no secret that EA is the king of the sports market. They have licensing exclusivity for multiple sports franchises. And while they dominate the market, there are still some sports games, including football!, that are out there. It just happens to be that EA and their massive chunk of marketing money can put their product on the fore-front. Funny enough, EA did try to buy out Take Two not that long ago. Then it really would have been an EA only market on football games.

Those who have purchased Madden games since 2005 and have registered their email with EA may have received a note about the lawsuit in their inbox today. You have the option to join in on the fight or opt out. The plaintiffs are looking for monetary damages (duh), payment of at tourney fees (double duh), and more money. After reading the files it's all about money. Then again, what lawsuit against a company isn't these days? EA's response is pretty simple. They state that where their company is located, the price of Madden at the time and the price drop occurring at some retailers as part of a sale promotion, and that they deny any allegations as the plaintiffs do not have sufficient evidence to indicate a monopoly is taking place. Oh, and they want their legal fees reimbursed by the plaintiffs for going to court. Just to wedge that screw in a little more. lol

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rockstar Continues To Be Awesome And Rejects Movie Deals

Dan Houser, co-founder and VP doesn't like the transition of video games to movies, and vice-versa. Mostly because people turn out crap products in order to make a quick dime. Which is why we haven't seen a Grand Theft Auto movie.

While offers have been made, they've been turned down because they didn't meet with Rockstar's standards. According to Houser, they either want the best of the best to work on movie adaptations of their games, or they will make the movie themselves. That way if it fails, "it fail[s] on their own terms."

While I agree that a lot of these movies/games are about making more money and less on the final product, Houser believes that each media product can be transported into another medium if done correctly. "If [they] feel the property has something about it that is universal or could work in another medium ... then that is something worthwhile," he said.

No plans from Rockstar to make any movies of their franchises. I'm cool with it staying that way.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wondercon 2011 Wrap-Up

Writing this at 12:30ish Monday morning, in dire need of sleep. However, as I’ve spent the last 2 days staying up until 2 am, my schedule is a wreck. So I write this WonderCon 2011 wrap-up.

To start off, there is a lot of stuff all over the place. Holy crap. We must have circled the showroom floor at least 10 times and I still don’t believe I have seen everything. Though while it was insanely crowded all the time, it was a much more relaxed atmosphere then what I’m use to for a convention. And everyone gets something for free. T-shirts. Pins. Pencils. Patches. Comics. Wall scrolls. So many free things!
Favorite booth would be the Capcom Booth, despite not having RE Mercenaries available for play. Capcom was always busy. They had Okami DS, Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Street Fighter 3D available for play. They also had a retail shop where you could get swag and some of their older games. I was hoping for some imports, but sadly they had none available. But I think Capcom made me a believer in the 3DS. Not so much that I would want to drop $250 bucks on it, but I can see why it works. With Street Fighter, the 3D makes a very smooth transition from 2D in a way that doesn’t screw with your eyes. What Street Fighter has always done well was to create a 3D environment while staying on a linear plane for combat. So the transition to “real” 3D elevated the game. I was still having a fun experience that the 3D did not inhibit the game. The downside with the 3DS is that the D-Pad has been moved down and a thumb-stick replaces the old D-Pad location. Not a very responsive thumb-stick at that. The other is that if you are even just a millimeter off-centered from the screen while playing in 3D, everything looks incredibly weird.
 
Runner-up is the light-up sound t-shirts with their massive techno boom. Electro Flash media. The basic idea is they use EL wire with a circuit board that activates the lights when a sound is made. I’ve seen these before, but this was the first time that they looked really well made, had a long life-cycle, and was within a reasonable price-range (my brother bought his for $35). But it really made me happy to see that EL wire prices are dropping to become a reasonable means of introducing into clothing, and this company found a way to make it look great without increasing the costs to the consumers.

In Green Lantern news, I found out that most of the movie was filmed in CG. So that suit Ryan Reynolds is wearing isn’t real. In fact, they never made a real suit. It’s all computer graphics. No replicas will be available to fans, for anyone who might be interested. But what I did see looked pretty good. It just needs some fine-tuning. Looks too CG. And Green. You get to see the other Lanterns in the universe, as well as their planet, and the flying, and the punching, and all that. They went for the full transformation sequence of Hal into the GL without cutting corners. We, the viewers, get to see a more in-depth view of how someone became a superhero, instead of the hero being thrown at us with a 3-5 minute back story. It was nice. Reynolds was charmingly humorous at the panel along with Blake Lively (there was at least one Gossip Girl fan there, not me) who was giving Reynolds plenty of ammo to keep the crowd laughing. Their dichotomy off the screen shows that they probably had good chemistry on-screen. It was a great hour spent, and got some cool free stuff to boot.

Saturday was the big costume day, as with most conventions, but not as many as I’m use to seeing. A lot more of a casual convention. I didn’t get a chance to see Chris Hardwick at the meet-and-greet, but I did briefly on Sunday just before the Doctor Who panel that he was hosting. Nice guy and just as silly as he is on tv. The G4 booth was…kind of lame. They had t-shirts and were trying to promote the new Attack of the Show hostess, but no where near the flash that it should have had. Bet their booth at ComicCon is 3 times as large…show WC more love!

Also met the CEO of Trion, the guys that made Rift. Also a nice guy and very honest. He laid a smackdown on a fan question about why there isn’t more fan generated content in MMO’s. To which he admitted he felt bad about it afterward, but he made a good point. Developers need “good” content, not just “content”.

Overall, loads of fun. Hated having to leave as early as I did and maybe I can go back next year. ^^