March 2005

Happy Birthday Son

March 31, 2005

My son may never see this, but I just want to wish him a happy first birthday. I can say without a doubt that he is one of the reasons that I get up in the morning. I am not really sure why I waited until 5pm to post this though.


March 31, 2005

New Game Journalism is a hot topic right now. Those who are using that approach are proclaiming it to be the greatest thing ever and the rest of us are just kind of sitting around and staring at them as they cause a big rukus. Dots had a few words on the topic and so we give you Sound Off Vol. 2. Enjoy it and make sure you aren’t drinking anything when you get to the end of it or you might ruin your monitor.

Alright, you can start yelling at me now. You can yell anything you want. Get it out of your system now. Done? Good. Now proceed with the article.

New game journalism is “all the rage” these days. It is being passed off as this new and revolutionary style of writing. For all of you out there who are asking yourselves “Just what is this new game journalism?” I will tell you. It is the style of writing in which the author reviews or talks about a game from his or her point of view. In other words, tells his experience in game play. This is where I come across my first problem with this revolutionary style of writing, the “new” part. I can sum it up in one word; storytelling. Yeah, you know that thing that people have been doing since the beginning of mankind. There is nothing revolutionary about talking about something you have experienced from your point of view. That actually, believe it or not, has a name for it that they teach you in school. It is called First Person Point of View. And if I were so inclined to talk about my buddy playing a video game and my watching him that one is called Third Person Point of View. So, nothing revolutionary to see here folks.

Oh, I can hear it now. “Dots, you don’t understand. It isn’t necessarily that this is a new writing style, but it is new to the world of [i]journalism[/i].” I say, “Really?” You mean to tell me if I pull an archive of any newspaper in any town I won’t find any article told by someone about their experience that reads like a story? Wrong again. I bet I will. (Aren’t you glad I made you yell at the beginning of this article?) Let us take one type of reviewing in particular for our case example on this one – restaurant reviews. A good critique will read like a story; about how the wait staff treated you to the way the steaming pile of hot pasta hit your tongue and made your taste buds tingle. Yeah, that might read like a story.

In actuality, there is nothing really all that new and fascinating about new game journalism. “Dots, you forgot one key part to this – the [i]game[/i] aspect of it.” Ah, I am getting there. Here is where I just want to jump up and down and scream, but I won’t. I don’t think that there is anything great and wonderful about this particular style of game reviewing. It starts off with the fact that if I wanted to know what it was like to see you play a videogame I would come to your house. Trust me, no one cares. I don’t even want to hear what it is like for Brad Pitt to play video games. I want to know what it was like to play, like how the music set the mood or the graphics were phenomenal, but I don’t want to hear about how “totally freaking awesome I am at [i]Halo 2[/i] when I busted through that door grenades flying and took out everyone of those SOB’s.” I think that there is a nice way to incorporate your personal experiences into the actual discussing of the content of a game. Most of the articles/reviews that I have come across read like bragging rights. [i]I killed this many people in this many seconds. Or I killed all of those losers with one carefully place grenade and there was nothing they could do about it. I rule. I am the best. I should be given an award for being the best thing to happen to the world of live gaming.[/i] Yikes. I DON’T CARE. And how do I know if you are telling the truth? Have you noticed that everyone seems to be exceptionally good at playing video games when they do their review in the new game journalism form? No one admits that they suck. Here is an excerpt of my review on [i]Star Wars: Battlefront[/i].

[quote]I was running, running as fast as I could get my Wookie ass to run. I was running because there was an AT AT on my tail. I ducked behind a tree and got blown up. I respawn. I ran around shooting at a Storm Trooper. No, that wasn’t a storm trooper, that was a tree. I really wish that they wouldn’t make trees look so much like people. I just got shot to death. I respawn. Crap, dead again.[/quote]

I mean, come on, how cool of a gamer do I look now? That wasn’t even the whole truth. Let me tell you how the thing should read.

[quote]I was running, running as fast as I could get my Wookie ass to run. I paused and changed the baby’s diaper. I sit down and unpause. I was running because there was an AT AT on my tail. I pause and pull the leaf that the dog drug in out of the baby’s mouth. Unpause. I pause. Where does this kid find all these leaves??? Unpause. I ducked behind a tree and got blown up. I only blew up because the baby pulled my controller out of the Xbox. I respawn. I ran around shooting at a Storm Trooper. No, that wasn’t a Storm Trooper, that was a tree. Man, when is Cone going to get home from work? I really wish that they wouldn’t make trees look so much like people. I just got shot to death. I respawn. Crap, dead again because when I threw my control it bounced up and hit the baby. Oops.[/quote]

Yeah, exciting huh? If you read anyone else’s take on [i]Battlefront[/i] all you hear is how dominate they are and how they never die. I have a way better idea. Why don’t you all pull out your penises and I’ll measure them and see who really wins? No? I’m not surprised. Then we would know the truth.

I don’t think that you can call new game journalism anything but a fad. I will be surprised if its popularity lasts more than a month of two. Why? Simply for the fact that people who visit gaming sites want to hear whether or not they should buy a game and what makes a particular game stand out from another one. If you want to brag about how good you are, do it in a forum. Of course, I could always be wrong. I thought for sure that VHS was the way to go and that DVDs were on their way out as soon as their shadow filled the doorway and that legwarmers were here to stay.

A while back Sony announced they would unveil the PS3 at a briefing held in Japan sometime during the month of March. As you can tell, today is the end of March and late last night Sony sent out word that this unveiling wasn’t going to happen. Sony left the door open for a possible Pre-E3 event, but said E3 would be the latest it would wait to show off the new console.

Sony says the event was cancelled to avoid pressuring developers. I am not sure how showing off the new console will pressure them, but whatever. Expect to see Sony go big on this unveiling.

Source: [url=]Gamespot[/url]

Metal Gear Acid

March 30, 2005

Metal Gear Acid is a rather interesting product. In recent years, we’ve seen many of our beloved franchises break out of their traditional genres. Mega Man X Command Mission, for instance, turned a pure side-scrolling action game into a Final Fantasy-esque, turn-based RPG. Other titles that have recently shaken things up are Onimusha Tactics and Paper Mario 2: The Thousand Year Door. While Metal Gear Solid was never a cookie-cutter action game, Metal Gear Acid pushes the series further from its roots than ever before. It takes the familiar Metal Gear elements and squeezes them into a turn-based card game. The concept may sound odd, and it will likely be limited to a niche audience, but the game can be a real gem for those who love both Metal Gear and turn-based strategy games.

The first thing anyone familiar with the Metal Gear series will notice is that this title was not directed by Hideo Kojima. He surely had some input, but the fresh development minds behind this entry have resulted in some definite changes. For starters, the story is odd… very oddA