From a Gamer’s Basement

I think this week we’re going to try something different. It’s time I actually start to structure this column, with actual sections, and what not, just so I can have a bit more fun with it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the write whatever comes to my mind routine, but with an actual format I feel I can provide more content, and still say whatever the heck I want. So let’s get into this.

Plugs

I really should have started doing this a long time ago, because the Pulse Games staff kicks ass on every single level.

Make sure to catch out Lucard’s Nyogtha this week and every week. This week he goes into the supposed curse of King Tut’s Tomb. Very interesting read.

The Inside Pulse Games Staff are here to tell you what was what in 2004, with our Inside Pulse Games 2004 Year End Awards.

Alex Williams ended 2004 with a new edition of Encore Extra Stage. Read it people, or you may be visited by angry men in yellow coats.

Bebito has a review for us of MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf. He liked it, so therefore I think many of us will as well.

Melissa has been busy, and she wears whore boots while at it. Ok that sounded wrong, but she still has been busy. Check out her previews of Rise of the Kasai and Project: Snowblind.

Finally, I couldn’t forget to give Geli some love as well. She has a preview up for Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath. Go read it and enjoy it scabs!

Intro

Alright, so last week I wasn’t around, but in all fairness I did state I might not be. I won’t get into a ton of details, but here is what has been going on in the last two weeks that has kept me so very far beyond busy.

I got engaged on Christmas Eve. It was the greatest single moment of my life, and I can’t see myself being with anyone else.

Of course there was Christmas as well, which comes with all the normal obligations we all have to family, friends, and what not. Two days after that though I had all four of my wisdom teeth yanked out. After that the next couple of days were full of pain and thusly very little desire to write.

I will soon be without a job, not because I’m getting fired, but because I will be entering my last semester of college and starting my student teaching on the 11th of this month. So the last few days have been filled with working as much as possible to squeeze those last few bucks out of my on campus job before that well runs dry.

And finally I’m moving back to my hometown, which is thirty minutes away, with my fiancÃÆ’Æ‘ÃÆ'”šÃ‚©e (who is also going to be student teaching) so I can have a shorter commute to the school I’m teaching at. So packing up an apartment, canceling services, switching addresses, and everything else that goes with a move has also been there as well.

So, needless to say the last two weeks have been as busy as any two in my life. And with student teaching starting I don’t see my life slowing down a bit until May when it ends. So the deal with me is, here at the Pulse, is that I’m keeping my weekly column (with spiffy new format) and two previews per month, and until I graduate I will shelf doing reviews and then resume them in May when I get that all important degree. But writing is one of the few things that keep my sane, hence me keeping some duties here. So, anyways, enough on my life, let’s move right along.

The Video Game World

This section, as the title would allude, too is dedicated to whatever is going on in the video game world that I want to talk about. This week the one thing I really wanted to touch upon was the upcoming release of the for-now Gamecube exclusive Resident Evil 4. Talk about a series that I really shouldn’t like, but do. The RE series has always (and still is) one of the main reasons I keep my PS1 around and hooked up. I love the bad voice acting, the crappy control scheme, and the recycled plots. I don’t know why, but I do. Ever since playing the original RE I’ve been hooked. However, while a lot of people give the RE series flack (and some of it is very well deserved) I would make an argument that the RE series is one of the few out there that has shown a lot of development since the original. The plot may be clichÃÆ’Æ‘ÃÆ'”šÃ‚© at times, and downright bad at others, but if you have followed the games of the series you know it all fits together. Buried within the zombie killing and finding key cards for no reason is an actual story that can be pretty enjoyable, with the evil Umbrella Corporation at the core. Starting out on the Playstation, the series has seen successful and not so successful titles on many platforms including the Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, Gameboy Color, PS2, and the Cube.

But none of that is the main reason for why I’m really excited about RE 4. Because this game looks to be a complete and total departure from everything we have come to expect from the RE series. The camera angles are changing, the control scheme is being redone, the plot has had a series departure from the Umbrella storyline, and the zombies are no where in sight. All we really have to remind us at this juncture that this IS a RE game is the title and the fact that Leon Kennedy, our hero from Resident Evil 2 is the main character of the game. What is the real story with these crazy villagers? The spoilers still have been vague enough to not give us any clues as to their real motivation. The girl in the screens seems to be Ada Wong, thought dead after Resident Evil 2. How will she play into things? Capcom really has done a great job of building RE 4 up to be one of the biggest Cube releases of this year, and it’s easy to see why. The upgrade this game is getting graphically (much like the remake of RE 1 and RE 0 for the Cube got) is amazing. Every single screen shot I have seen has been absolutely amazing in terms of detail. The atmosphere of the game looks sober, depressing, and uneasy which is exactly how it should be. The over the shoulder camera angle, along with the new system for aiming and firing, also will be welcome additions to the series, and should help address the biggest weakness of RE games: the control scheme.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the game itself (and of course try to make time for it in the process). Hopefully I don’t end up disappointed, since I have, admittedly, over hyped myself a bit for this release. Other things this week that are of interest is the new info for the Castlevania game for the Nintendo DS. Konami has stated that it’s a direct sequel to the GBA game, Aria of Sorrow. It will rely on heavy use of the touch screen and should really be a departure from what we have expected from recent titles within the series. Of course the French government’s involvement with the shady dealings of EA has also been interesting to read about lately. Hopefully EA gets stopped dead in their tracks, because like many others I have found their recent corporate actions to be as underhanded and dirty as it gets. Of course to stay abreast on the situation, stay tuned to Pulse Games, because coming through in the clutch is O’Reilly who has all the latest news on that story and many others.

What the hell I fell like

This is the random part of the column. In this slot every week I’ll talk about something, from any area of life I feel like. This week I wanted to talk about the end of good Television, and what I think this death has led to. I can’t even watch TV anymore outside of the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network. Simply because I hate reality TV. I hate it with a passion that rivals my love for Dragon Ball Z if I had to make a comparison. When I first saw the Truman Show, a movie starring Jim Carrey, I never thought I was watching a prophetic piece of work. It depresses me when I look at our society and the current cultural direction we are headed in. Anything is fair game to be made into a show. The aim of the game is to mass produce as many shows about so-called “normal people” and to cash in as quickly as possible. Every network has seemingly gotten in on the act, and the reality TV train doesn’t even seem to be slowing down. But there was a war before all of this. A war that is currently stopped because for the time being we have a clear cut winner. Reality TV beat good TV. I’m not sure how it happened, but good shows are in short supply these days. There is no Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the teenagers of this high school generation to watch and see what a well written program is. There is no one show, like Seinfield once was, that made you have to watch it when you saw it. Good dramas have become stale and old as all we get now is the 206th spin off of CSI or one of the law shows instead of something new and original. In days past what would have filled that gap were new, fresher shows. Instead what fills that gap now is the kind of crap Fox produces on a near weekly basis. Want to see a show about a woman picking her father out of a lineup of men? We have that! How about another reality dating show? Ask and thou shall receive! But Fox can’t shoulder the blame alone. The WB is the other network that I hold most accountable. What happened to them? Once a champion of good television, all they give me now is Gilmore Girls (which to be fair is a witty show if given a chance) and Smallville (which has it’s moments as well. Instead of letting great drama continue they have sold out for shows like Big Man on Campus, which I actually caught a moment of the other day and had to turn it off before my mind broke. Here is why: The girls on the show were in some kind of trivia contest and nearly none of them could answer a question correctly. Now that would be ok if the questions, you know, were actually kind of hard. But here are two of the questions:

Q. How many states are within the United States?

Q. When was the War of 1812 fought?

Now keep in mind that these overly beautiful girls are all college enrolled. Some of the answers I heard included 52 for the first question and 1816 for the second question. Let those answers sink in for a moment. These people are in college for Christ sakes, and they thought there were 52 states! What college are they going to? I want to know, really, because obviously their admissions department has no standards at all. But I digress. The point is that shows like the craptastic Big Man on Campus are more valued by network executives then shows that were actually great (yes, I am still bitter over the cancellation of Angel.) The question I now have is this: Will this trend every stop? Are we doomed to become a society that eventually gets to the point of the Truman Show where we are completely obsessed with other peoples lives to the point where out world revolves around their life and not ours? Or will reality TV fade away like other trends? I can only hope for the latter, because television has turned into a black hole with little to no bright spots left in it.

Final Word

That’s it for this week kids. I hope you liked the new format and the content I had for this week. Next week will be the first week of my student teaching, so I think I may add a tiny section detailing what kid makes me want to throw myself out a window first. Here’s to hoping none of them actually drive me to those thoughts.