Nyogtha MAILBAG 04.04.05

Nyogtha MAILBAG
Tagline: I’ve got emails in the triple digits from last weeks column, so this week has to be a mailbag.

Man, what a crazy roller coaster of a ride last week was. The article on corruption in the video game industry got linked by so many places and my inbox filled to the brim with emails. Oddly enough, there wasn’t a single negative email that I received. Not one. However on some message boards there was so profanity and name calling, but lacking any debating or constructive criticism. Isn’t that odd? I suppose you could draw all sorts of conclusions from that, but I’ll let you make your own assumptions. ;-)

Anyway, let’s take a long look at some of the emails I’ve received.

Investigative Journalism in IP? Rock on! Great article. It seems like no matter what form of journalism it is, there is always going to be bias and special interests coming into play. I wonder if there’s any way to turn a grassroots movement for complete unbiased news into a grass fire. People, though, seem to enjoy sensationalism and when you present just the facts they grow bored.

-Richard Mimms

Richard is right. Bias and corruption happens everywhere, from a local paper having a reporter who makes up quotes to create a better, more entertainment story to say…Fox News.

Alex,

Love your work. Really love the piece on video game industry corruption. Really felt you displayed all viewpoints accurately, although I felt it was a little wordy and would be lost on the Average (rating of five) reader. Heck, I’d say I’m an eight and even I didn’t click on the links. But I like your work because you’re not the type of writer who gets bored of his own work halfway through and rushes things, so I can’t bitch too much. In the end, you really did get the meat of the story, just most of it was in the last four pages or so.

I really liked the bits with the PR rep and Pankonin. I am more in his frame of mind when it comes to the issue, to be honest. PR companies on the whole are like that, not just in the Video Games industry. It’s their job to sell a thing. Doesn’t matter how they do it. If they do it, they get paid, if they don’t, they don’t.

But, as I’m sure Pankonin granted you, it’s certainly well within your rights as a journalist to tear into him for that. Some might suggest it’s your duty, if they’re into that whole Truth/Spider Jerusalem kind of thing. Which I admit I kind of am.

I’ve rambled on long enough, I just thought you’d appreciate some thoughtful feedback. Just want to leave you with two things before I go.

1) How’d Widro feel about the piece?

And

2) I actually really like Final Fantasy VIII (but not so much VII)

-Bill Laird

The article was wordy wasn’t it? It took me all weekend to get that saddled up properly.

1) Widro’s feelings changed constantly. Sometimes he was really proud it was on his site. Other times he felt bad for the guy we exposed. Sometimes he pulled the article. Sometimes he put it back up. Sometimes I badgered him and threatened him into putting it back up. Overall Widro, being in charge of the site, had a hard time balancing wanting to do make everyone happy, and not wanting to hurt anyone. I know I rose his stress level last week to the extreme, as was mine, but in all I’d like to think that he enjoyed the article and was glad it got so much notice.

2) Good! There’s nothing wrong with liking that game. Everyone has different tastes and opinions. That’s what makes life so great.

Wow – really good article.

Hum, I think this explains a bit too why I am more impressed with IP and there reviews than the reviews on Gamespot. The reviews from IP tend to be more how I would views games and I know if a game gets a good score on IP then I can buy it without fear of it being overrated by reviewers.

-JRemKing

Well that’s the thing. Find a site or some writers who tend to have the same tastes as you. That like the same genres as you. And read their reviews first. It doesn’t matter what site they write for, but if you find yourself agreeing with them the vast majority of the time, stick with them for reviews.

Most dev houses with a few notable exceptions are pretty much owned by
the publisher for the duration of their game cycle because the publisher controls funding/production/distro. So the dev really has no weight to throw around. The publisher on the other hand would seem like it could, but most publishers are owned by large corporations (VU games and Disney are two I have worked with) run by a board of directors, followed up by top management positions being businessmen, not game players.
So by the time it gets down to positions that actually influence the game, the larger business and marketing aspects have already been decided and enacted by corporate heads. Its kind of distressing. I have a bit of hope for developers to get outside of the publishing noose, Steam being a good start (even though some aspects of the
implementation were distressing to me as a gamer) and Biowares direct to
consumer model helping. If Devs can get out of Publisher control you could see some better control over the industry, I have doubts about publishers curtailing themselves though.

-Matt Owczarek

Matt makes some great points here and as he works in the industry is able to show yet another point of view in regards to my comments.

Excellent piece, Alex! As a casual gamer who has kids, a house, and bills to pay, I really can’t afford to waste a lot of money on video games as I once did. So I rely a lot on word of mouth and reviews of games from various sources to see which are worthy of purchase. Usually, I can see through the bullshit, but when I see games get 7 or higher and the actual reviews are more negative than positive, I wonder what the hell is the hidden agenda. I always suspected this kind of thing of happening and now your column has confirmed that.

Want a prime example? Like everyone else I was buying the hype of Doom 3 being the end all be all of FPS. But when it came out, little by little I was hearing how disappointing the game was. Now I confess. I go to Gamespot a lot for my video game info and was anxious to read their review of Doom 3. What I found shock me to no end. Doom 3 had scored an 8.8, yet when I read the review the game was basically torn apart with point after point of how certain aspects of the game were terribly dissappointing. Everything from the repetative gameplay to the lack of substance in plot was listed on this guy’s review. He complained about the same exact things you guys complained about! Yet this shmuck scored it an 8.8. The only thing positive he said about the game was that the graphics were great. I couldn’t believe it. He spends the entire review trashing this game until the very end when he types a few sentences trying to justify giving this game a high score, even though he didn’t seem convinced of it himself. It was at that point that Gamespot had lost credibility with me as a source for reviews of video games.

As for that Activision Rep. Let me tell you, Bebito did not come off as a jerk in that conversation. Bebito was merely stating IP’s relationship with video publishers and your stance on video game reviews. Then this arrogant prick had to respond by typing “Please don’t tell me about your audience and your site. Don’t forget that I started your releationship with Microsoft and [Video Game Company].” You know what? I don’t blame Bebito at all for getting pissed at this ass-wipe. He called him out on what that douch bag was hinting at. And whenever you have someone asking you to compromise your integrity, you tell them to go f*ck themselves. I applaud Bebito, and I know Widro had to see that as well.

Its a shame that these game publishers don’t realize that they’re wasting valuable time and money on PR firms rather than spending that little extra in the development of their games. I’d rather wait for a great game than get that same game months in advance a be disappointed with the bugs and lack of quality. Who do I blame for the corruption in the gaming industry? Not the gaming media, not the PR firms, but the game makers themselves.

Sorry for the long e-mail. I’m pretty sure you got a ton to read after this column. Let us know if you’re doing a follow up column. Peace!

-Angel Camacho

Truth is, originally Bebito wanted to co-write the article from last week, but changed his mind and asked me to do the whole thing. I’d really love to see Bebito do a follow up on this actually. Because everyone misses the Down-Lo I think.

Hey,

Enjoyed the latest column, as always. While researching your article, you probably heard stories like this dozens of times, but just figured I’d share a related anecdote.

I used to own a mid-level Playstation reviews site in the mid-90s (psi.simplenet.com … long since closed ), but we were lucky enough to have
enough attention to acquire free games from publishers such as Konami, Activision, and Atlus.

So anyways, Konami sends me copies of whatever their basketball franchise
was at the time, as well as Nagano Winter Olympics, an atrocious track and
field style game. So we give the basketball game an average score, and the
olympics game a below average score because it sucked.

So Konami emails us and says we’re off their comp list, and their next high
profile game (probably MGS, i can’t remember), will not be comped to us. So
of course, we buy a copy and give it great scores.

It’s too bad that the same bullshit scheming is still going on, and why
companies don’t just make better games instead of being dicks. Take it easy
man,

Steve
http://www.hugeinternetsuperstars.com

Thanks Steve. That’s a great story to share, and it shows this sort of thing happens across the board.

Excellent column; good pull from the Inquirer graveyard too. This sort of PR pressure is rampant in pretty much every industry, from what I can tell – especially in computer hardware. Certain sites wrap their lips around a firm’s cock, get the cool shit before everyone else, and are instructed to keep performing review fellatio to keep the goodies coming. Tom’s Hardware is infamous for being an Intel mouthpiece, for example. After receiving unfavorable coverage, it’s fairly common for companies to drop the journalist a line and attempt to intimidate them by threatening to take their freebies away.

-John

See, now here’s my thought. If certain cites are well known for bias and having sold out, why do people keep going there?

When I reviewed computer games I used to get some neato swag. It never influenced my review. But then I wasn’t that important in the great scheme of things. But really, fly a computer geek to NYC, put him up in a nice hotel, let him see code for Doom IV, treat him like a big shot, he’s not going to write a bad review. Then add in those glossy back page ads companies take out in magazines, and they’re not going to run a bad review.

The neatest swag I got was a vibrating pen for some kid wordprocessor. The wordprocessor itself was pretty neat, with a lot of (literal) bells and whistles. The pen itself, the non writing end was quite large and vibrated madly. When you wrote with the vibrating pen, this produced goofy writing. However, it also turned out to be kind of Suzy’s First Vibrator. The thing doubled as a sex toy…

-Mindme

Agreed. A lot of people let emotion and fanboyism get in the way of writing an unbiased piece.

A moment ago, a Spinter Cell: Chaos Theory commercial came on. This commercial had various in game clips and quotes from the gaming media. One quote was from the Official XBox Mag saying 9.9 “Highest Score Ever.” Yeah, that’s definately an unbiased mag that I’d believe in.

I’m definately amused about Inside Pulse’s Spiderman 2 review. While, as the rep said, Widro scored it 15% below the GameRankings average, he actually scored it 1-2% below the current user average of 30 votes.

-Domichigibbings

Ah, but to the average PR rep, they could care less what the actual consumers think. They just want the press to be their mouthpiece.

First gaming magazine I read stated very clearly that a 7 was the average and anything below a five was crap (the closer to one, the more you’d hate yourself for playing it), so I adjusted the way I thought of a game and generally only considered games with a 9+. Truthfully I was surprised too by your scores, especially after reading the reviews and seeing how much you liked it (I think the first one I read you gave an 8 to and went on and on about how good it was…confused me quite a bit).

The corruption though is no surprise…it’s in other media outlets as well. Whenever advertisement and reviews are involved, you’re going to have these problems.

-Becky

Thanks for writing Becky. I wish I could say more, but I’m really trying to have this be you the readers comments, not me.

I _HATE_ magazine reviwes being quoted these days.

My particular pet peeve is stuff like Halo 2 commercials with reviews from ROLLING STONE!
What the f*ck gamer even CARES what rolling stone has to say?

I don’t even know any MUSIC people that care.

-Gygaxis

Ah Gyg, you angry angry bastard. I always love when he chimes in.

And let’s see what some other IP Staffers had to say.

Great article. I will admit, when I first read the reviews back when everyone was at 411, I was a bit surprised at the scores being so low. But I began to understand that 5.0 is AVERAGE, not bad. In fact, we’ve tried to emulate the same scoring standards over in Movies. Keep up the good work!

-Michaelangelo McCullar

Mike earned a plug this week for that one. ;-)

Poor Matt lost his internet. He would have ADORED this article.

I do hope it goes through intact, to be honest. If the PR guy for Activision gets pissy over it, he never should have said the things he said, period.

I do KIND of feel for his perspective, about your percentages being lower. Quite literally, IP is grading on a different scale than everyone else. To be totally fair, everyone’s rating systems should be the same to be compared and contrasted equally. In other words, even if everyone else is giving a game a 7 which translates to a 4 or 5 in IP-land, it kind of f*cks up an average ranking when your numbers don’t mean the same as everyone else’s numbers. Kind of like one of the local private schools here which allows any student who gets lower than a “C” to re-take a test or re-write a paper. Their class ranking is totally bef*cked compared to the rest of America; B-average students woudl be in the lower half of their class, something which would disqualify them from a lot of college entrances. So, they don’t use class rank, period.

I definitely, DEFINITELY do NOT agree with the 7/10 “average” and don’t employ it when doing music reviews. But one could argue that it’s like everyone else truly scores on a scale of 5-10 where IP scores 1-10, and your rankings aren’t representational of the generally accepted standard. Statistically speaking, IP is doing the “right” thing, but it’s not accurate when gathering the average of the whole.

-Gloomchen

It reminds me of the cartoon “The Critic” where Jay Sherman and Duke have a conversation about inflating ratings.

Duke Phillips: Why the hell do you have to be so critical?
Jay Sherman: I’m a critic.
Duke Phillips: No, your job is to rate movies on a scale from “good” to “excellent”.
Jay Sherman: What if I don’t like them?
Duke Phillips: That’s what “good” is for.

Dear Mr. Lucard,

My name’s Phillip Miner, and I’m a student from Hampshire College, a
quaint little liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts. I recently
read your column on the corruption in video gaming journalism (I was
referred to it via the Penny Arcade forums). And after reading the lengthy
piece where you’ve exposed all that corruption and lack of journalistic
integrity…let me just say as a college student soon to be a graduate
(providing I get my shit together and finish my final project), and
wanting to become a game journalist as my primary career choice after
graduating, that column scared the bejeebus out of me.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have written it, nor am I pressuring you to
rescind any of that…I wouldn’t forgive myself if I became a corruptor
myself. But it really made me call into question whether or not any of the
absurd amount of money my folks paid for tuition, and the obscene amount
of work and man-hours I’ve poured into pursuing my desired major here at
Hampshire College was worth it. Am I destined to be just another cog in
the hype machine? Will maintaining my personal integrity and honesty mean
I have to starve to death due to lack of a living wage from turning down
jobs that’d corrupt me? Have I wasted the past four years of my life?

When I wrote a video game review column for our school newspaper a couple
of semesters back, I have to admit I was guilty of some of the things you
described as corruption in video game reviews – power creep and fanboyism.
I had 7 be my average to mimic the gaming publications I so loved in the
past. I gave Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes on the Game Cube a 9
because of my love for the original. So I am not innocent…and it didn’t
even take a company’s bribery for me to lose my innocence. (No company did
bribe me, however, seeing as my reviews are pretty much only read by
Hampshire College students, and HC’s a small school.) I at least tried to
maintain some personal honesty and integrity in my reviews – for example,
when I reviewed Fable, I gave it an average score (i.e. 7, as mentioned
previously…I know, still power creep, but please understand) as opposed
to a glowing review and a maxed out or near-max rating. (IMHO, I didn’t
think Fable was total crap like you said…but I obviously didn’t think it
was that good, either. I thought it was in-between the two extremes.)

I think some salvation is possible for me, however, as the majority of my
video game related writings were analyses of video game culture in some
way, shape, or form. (Although a big part of that fact has to do with my
professors saying reviews weren’t gonna cut it when it came to passing
classes.) Pieces I’ve done in that fashion including an overview of the
participatory nature of video game culture, and if it can be called
independent gaming; the convergence of movies and games, and whether or
not that’s a good or bad thing; and giving my own, well-informed take on
various controversies. (I’m particularly proud of the piece I wrote on the
controversy surrounding the depiction of Haitians in Grand Theft Auto:
Vice City.) I hope my writings on video game culture, as opposed to just
doing reviews, will be my saving grace here. But I’m still scared that
I’ll just be a cog in the end, and that all my dreams are for naught, or
maybe that I’m already hopelessly corrupt and I could never hope to be
moral again.

I don’t know what to do. I’m pretty frightened about my future – I already
had plenty on my plate with my final projects, the deadline being the end
of April, and now your column is making me think that all my hard work may
be for naught. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, but that’s why I’m asking
you for advice, if you so desire to give it. Can you help a fellow gaming
brutha out?

Sincerely,
Phillip Miner

P.S. If you feel so inclined, I could also use some advice on my
writing…some samples of it I’ve uploaded to my storage space on the
school’s network, which can be accessed here:
http://stout.hampshire.edu/~phm01/

My response was:

Hi Phil. Thanks for the long letter yourself.

Here’s the thing worth knowing. It’s not just game journalism. It’s all
journalism. Let’s look at about two weeks ago. That whole School shooting up
at Red lake, Minnesota. A bunch of papers and media outlets decided to blame
it on the gothic-punk scene. So the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, decided to
interview some people around here, including my friend “Frost.” Now Frost
isn’t goth. He’s a bartender and theatre set designer. But he likes the music
that falls under that genre and has friends who are.

Anyways, the Tribune calls him for comments hoping to get some nice quotes to
use. Frost says he’s not Goth, explains about the music and how Goth is just a
bunch of people in black and that the Red lake kid was screwed up. He was very
eloquent and well spoken and at the end of the day, the Tribune said they
really liked what he had to say and asked if they could use his quotes. Frost
said yes.

The next day the Tribune used his name, but made up entirely different quotes
for him. Nothing at all like what he said. And then labelled him a Goth. His
very relgiiously fanatic parents saw the column talking about equating goths
with Satanists and well…the were ready to disown him, until Frost called
asking for a retraction and I called with some very strong threats due to my
own “sub-cultural-icon” status. ;-)

And they printed the retraction.

The Media everywhere is corrupt Phil. It varies from the occasional journalist
making shit up to get a really good story to well…Fox News. The thing to
remember is that if you’re honest and don’t let yourself get bought or
corrupted yourself, you’ll be helping a lot of people by being that glimmer of
truth amongst the hype and twisting of facts and infotainment.

Look, everyone’s a fanboy in some way shape or form. I Loathe FF games because
I feel they’re pretty but lack any real plot or interesting gameplay. I’m
BIASED against them. And you know what? That’s why I don’t review those games.
I love other Square-Enix games, like Valkyrie Profile, Threads of Fate, the
Mana series and more. But I dislike Final Fantasy and so I give those to other
staff to review. It’s not a matter of being 100% pure, but instead knowing
where your biases are and keeping them in check.

You have not wasted 4 years of your life. Not at all. College is so important
to a succesful life and there’s so many things you can do and so many places
to work with a journalism degree. You just have to find a place and position
that feels right for you. Maybe be a video game reviewer/technology writer for
a paper, where there’s a lot less chance of getting swag, and yet a lot more
respect by the average joe mainstream.

Your non review writing that you’ve described is a great thing. More people
need to look at the industry and gamers and other aspects of the industry
aside from simple reviews that sadly boil down to a numerical score.

Like I said, we all have biases, and prejudices, and things we just don’t
like. At the same time we have things we’re fanatical about and love dearly.
Some people let those get in their way. Other people don’t. And sometimes,
when you are openly honest about your opinions and make sure everyone knows
you’re passionate and giving editorials instead of outright reviews, you can
pull off something very nice. Look at the old mag GameFAN. One of the most
opinionated zealot magazines ever made for the industry. And by far the best.
Because they didn’t lie to their readers or themselves. They let you know what
you were in for. And it was a great read.

I hope this helps. Being a journalist is one of the most important careers a
person can go into. You control truth. You expose lies. You are the servant to
the everyday person who is generally ignorant of the world around them. That
is a lot of power. The problem is, like politicians, the average journalism
has stopped serving that average person on the street, and started caring only
about their wallet and the companies out their that line that wallet with
currency. With enough people like you, Journalism can stop being
sensationalist crap and go back to actual news and reporting and giving people
an unbiased look at the world around them. Keep striving for it. Because if
you don’t fill a spot somewhere, someone with less morals than you will take
that spot in your stead.

-Alex

And I don’t know what else I can add to that besides saying that Journalists, Teachers, and Politicians are the three jobs we need the least amount of bias and corruption in, and often times sadly have the most.

Now, I do want to bring up that half a dozen people did write in saying they enjoyed the article but wanted to explain why 7/10 is average is accepted for gaming reviews. I thought I’d share those.

Wow, fantastic article on the state of gaming journalism. It reminds me of what Jawbreaker said about the punk community – “bad scene, everyone’s fault.” Maybe there is corruption there, but honestly, I’d have to say that the problems with gaming journalism are more due to widespread ineptitude and avarice than anything, which is pretty much the problem with just about
anything. What I’m curious to know is how many video game reviewers actually have credible journalism or English degrees, and whether that number will increase over time. I’d like to believe that the proliferation of video games into the mainstream will help matters and the field would actually become credible, but all I can think of are my casual gamer friends who complain about Madden’s glitches as they play it for hours, because as sports fans they’re running out of choice, and my roommate, who doesn’t even own a PS2, but searched NYC for hours for a copy of GTA: San Andreas the day it was released to play on my system. Needless to say, I don’t think things
are going to be vastly improved by the popularity of gaming; there’s just going to be an entirely different kind of ignorance, one that avoids reviews altogether and just goes straight to the PR source. After all, how many casual filmgoers actually listen to movie critics, and how many movie
critics are even worthwhile in the first place? The only realistic thing I can see that would really help the industry is a more widespread knowledge of the games that are available, instead of just whatever Microsoft, Sony, EA, Rockstar, and the like are marketing, but the fact is that a lot of
great games are far too inaccessible for most of the gaming audience. How do you market Shin Megami Tensei or Katamari Damacy to a widespread audience? The only other alternative is trusting the games companies, developers, journalists, and fans to all make the right decisions, and I don’t see that happening under the current system. Not that the video game industry is
irredeemable, but the problems need to be adressed.

As an aside, something I’m wondering about the “power creep” phenomenon is whether or not it’s partially caused by school – getting 70-79% on a test means a C, whereas a 50 is a failing grade, and once you get used to a system like that, it stays with you in a lot of ways.

Anyway, speaking as a fan of mythology, folklore, and urban legend, I love Nyogtha, so keep up the good work, and again, great article.

-Joel

Great great letter and very much something worth discussing at a future date.

I enjoyed your article about biases in game reviewing. However, I sort of disagree with your point about “power creep”. The problem is that people are used to getting “reviews” of their own, in the form of grades from school. We’ve been conditioned since childhood to
believe that an average performance is 70% – a C; and that 50% is a failure. It might not be mathematically correct, but if you look at a review and see that a game scored 5 out of a possible 10, it’s only natural to think that that’s pretty poor. Likewise when you see a 7, it looks like it did okay but not exceptionally.

My advice? If you don’t want to change where you set the average, take a page from Dave Meltzer’s book and switch to a five point scale. That way it would be completely clear cut what represents good, bad and average.

1 – Terrible.
2 – Mediocre.
3 – Average.
4 – Above Average/Good
5 – Excellent.

I would argue that numerical scores should just be used as a rough guide, and that the nuanced analysis should come from the review itself; in which case, a five point scale is perfectly adequate (Roger Ebert gets by on a 4 point system). If you wanted to, though, you could still maintain a 10 point scale by awarding half points (4.5 for a very good game, for example) without the stigma you’re getting by grading from 1 – 10.

Anyway, just some unsolicited advice from someone who is interested in the subject of criticism. Again, I enjoyed your article.

-Josh Fugate

Thanks Josh! I really wish reviews didn’t need a numerical score, but alas companies and gamerankings.com insist upon it, and sadly most gamers don’t read reviews, they just look for the score.

Hello Mr. Lucard,

I know that it is well known with the average score debate that Inside
Pulse has been having with other game sites on Review Scores, I think
I might have a solution to why other sites consider a 7 average. Most
children are brought up today on the grading scale used in schools
that anywhere from 70-79% is average rather than 50%, and that might
be something that gets it’s way into other ways of life, like game
reviews. Anyway just thought I would give my idea on the subject. I
love your articles and I just wanted to end this letter with these
words to live by: Persona Rules All.

Thank You.

-Shawn Mannon

Now this is importance. A few gamers are accustomed to an American School grading system and felt hat a lot of gaming sites are using that standard by which to judge games.

And that’s one of the biggest dis-services to readers I can think of. First, because only the US uses that grading standard. And that means sites are Ameri-centric, and leaves the international audience wondering what the bloody hell is wrong with Americans and their inability to do elementary school math. The second is best summed up by this comment from Jeff.

I was just looking at some of the forum discussion on IP about your article. I didn’t really feel like signing up or joining in, but had one thought. Trying to use the school grading system in talking about your review scoring doesn’t make any sense. It isn’t just a x10 expansion of the 1-10 scoring system. With the school grading you are looking at an actual percentage of correct versus incorrect answers about a subject matter. There is no correlation that can be drawn between that and a review score. The closest school correllary is as you’d mentioned the “A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0” system which actually supports your idea of 5 being average.

-Jeff

And Jeff is 100% right here. The thought of using a school grading system for reviews just makes me want to smash my head against a desk or sob quietly to myself. If people are actually running around using American Grade percentages for doing reviews, they need to really read Jeff’s comments and try and think of what the hell they’ve been doing. Ugh. Again, it comes down to bad journalism/lack of actual knowledge of the field, and just untrained fanboys writing away.

By the way, if you’re interested there are two different conversations going on over at our Inside Pulse Forums The first is at Writer’s Island and the other one is over in The Video Games Forums. I’d cut and paste bits from that but this column is 13 pages long already. And you can always read what the forums have to say.

Anyway, after last week and this week, I have to say it’ll be nice to get back to normal folklore. Next week I’ll be covering things like “Gravity Wells” and also the first and only Emperor of the United States and what happened during his reign. It’ll be nice to have things go back to normal. We’ll also be starting the Inside Pulse Iron Chef competition in these pages next week, so stay tuned for that!

13 plugs

If you missed my non-Nyogtha stuff last week, I review Shining Tears and did a preview of Atelier Iris.

In Games, Liquidcross wets himself over Lumines.

Jesus, last week was just me and LC writing for Games. :-P

In Music, Gloomchen bashes Type O Negative while Fernandez Jibber jabbers gets a plug for his new DJ gig. What can I say, if it’s Goth music related, I’m end up plugging it.

In Comics, there is lots of unhappy commentary towards DC’s Countdown to Infinite Crisis. RIP Blue Beetle. And Mathan gets plugged for his Superbuddies review.

In Wrestling Eric S has to cover two wrestling shows I am glad I don’t watch and Gordi covers the first V Wrestlemanias. I am going to go on record and say my three favorite WM matches of all time are Hogan/Warrior (Because I loves me some Warrior), Undertaker/HHH (if only because I got really wrapped up in it and thought HHH would win it after the sledge to the head), and Savage/Flair (because they both ruled back when I watched wrestling).

In Figures, PK reveals they are making Bram Stoker’s Dracula figures Isn’t that movie 15 years old? Oh, and Batesman shows us some H.G. Giger statues

In Movies, we have 4 reviews of Sin City, which I saw TWICE on Friday. It was that f*cking good.

Brendan Campbell
Robert Sutton
Michaelangelo McCullar
Scott Sawitz

Believe the hype. This really is the best movie of the year.

Closing

Again, no cooking this week. It’ll return next week. I’m surprised that the only thing close to negativity emailed to me about last weeks column was “Where’s the recipe of the week.”

Next week, no more letters, and no more video games. Just a straight return to Anthropology, Urban Legends, and Folk Tales.

-Alex