Gaming Zen 3-22-06

Hi, I’m Tom Pandich and I hate my Internet. It’s been going down for the past three days or so whenever the sun is out. Someone from Bright House is apparently coming to fix it today though so huzzah for that. Not to mention I’ve been mad constipated recently. So much so that I gave myself an enema before writing this column (TMI, right?). In short, SPRING BREAK 2006 WOOO!

Rather then bitching about all that shit (or lack of shit), I’m going to toss together an ultra late, ultra short column in which I post some letters and then write about PS3 information. Joy. No banner this week either. My little River City Ransom approximation of me will have to stay in the Sushi Shop this week.

Feedback

First off, near regular Scott J writes:
Hey dude, another week, and another awesome GZ.

I usually get PSM every month, but lately Im starting to grow more and more annoyed with them. I mean, they gave True Crime: SoNY (did anyone pick up that acronym before?!?!?!) an 8 out of 10. I somehow doubt its as good as they claim, seeing has how every other review of it I read said it has gamebreaking bugs.

It just seems like they are no longer independant. Especially when giving glowing reviews to mediocre games, and not so great reviews to decent games
(World Series Of Poker is actually pretty good…)

After reading your rant, I dont think Im going to bother with picking up anymore issues….. Any PS2/PSP mags you would reccomend?

Anyways, good luck with the finals!!

Thanks for the feedback Scott. Hmm, a Playstation exclusive mag that I like. I really don’t have much faith in either of the two major Playstation magazines out there at the moment. I’d say go with the Official Playstation Magazine though just as it has demos and demos make the world a happier place. If I’m going to have a magazine shilling me out to the highest bidder, the least they can do is give me a chance to try out the games that they’re salivating over. By no means is that meant as a reccomendation though. I just prefer OPSM to PSM any day of the week even though it’s like picking castration to a kick in the nuts.

The True Crime score was a joke and an insult to anyone who likes actual improvements in their game series. True Crime: SoNY is just as utterly broken and cliched as the original, it just isn’t nearly as funny. Ah well, at least it can be picked up at a near GH price.

Next up is my other regular, Terry R. He says:
Hey Tom,
Been a while since I shot you an email but you brought up some good stuff in this edition and I had to put my 2 cents in. You are totally right about PSM. Personally I find it the worst of the gaming mags I tend to go though every month. A lot of people make cracks about Nintendo being hardasses but the fact is that the Nintendo Seal of Approval kept them from being another Atari debacal with anyone and everyone pumping out whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and crashing the market again. No console maker is ever going to dare to stop the practise.

The abandonware issue is going to be mute when the revelution comes out and Nintendo resells the games, not to mention the fact a lot of those games were rereleased on the GBA. Oh and I did enjoy your PSP breakdown last week. I too am just getting done with midterms so I have had little time to read…that and I just got Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition.

Here is a question for you, are any of you IP writers ever going to go the podcast route? I have been doing some practise podcasts to get ready for something I am calling the RedStar Show (where I blather on about what Anime and Games I currently am watching/playing) and it seems kind of fun.

Anyway keep writing and I will keep reading,
Terry R

Ok, let us work backwards. Inside Pulse, at the moment, has no official plans to start podcasts. The IP Sports Radio guys have what essentially is a Podcast, but beyond that, I don’t officially know of any plans for podcasts to start up. Personally, I’ve kicked around the idea of Podcasting but I’m waiting for the summer. Also I have the girliest voice ever apparently and won’t subject you to it unless the demand is there or I get a really super idea for one (and can pull in a few other Games Staffers for it).

As for your own personal podcast, a few pieces of advice.

1. One man podcasts don’t work unless they’re short. Bring someone along for bantering purposes.

2. If you do start Podcasting, make sure you keep to a pretty regular schedule. I know nothing annoys me more when a column or podcast takes a week off (hence me trying to churn something out at the moment even though I really, really don’t want to). Its tough to build up an audience without a regular release schedule.

3. Keep your podcast focused. The absolute worst podcasts have no real direction. It’s good that you’re doing some practice first before you start in with it. Avoid babbling about anime X or game Z all the time and you’ll be good to go.

As for Abandonware, it’s really not Nintendo that has to worry. They’ve always been on top of their intellectual property. The real fight over abandonware is going to happen with Sega, Atari, SNK, and any number of arcade companies that published titles before deciding to move away from Hardware X with Processor Y.

Finally, I don’t know if the piracy was what brought down the Atari. I think it was more the fact that the market was too crowded and thin, the systems were too expensive, and the games were crappy. The market crashed because of a lack of “Nintendo Power”s or the Internet or even Blockbuster. Thanks for the feedback.

Sony News

Sony really dominated the news cycle over the past week with all of the PS3 announcements. The fact that the PS3 was delayed is a bit of a bummer, although not that surprising considering that the first home use Blu Ray player shown at CSS had a MSRP of around $800. Having said that, Sony made a bunch of good moves.

The one system with hard drive is great news for gamers. Microsoft really dropped the ball with the “core” system. The hard drive is really a selling point for gaming systems these days.

Sony still looks to lose a bundle at the launch of the PS3. I’m guessing they could lose anywhere from 50-200 dollars a system if the PS3 launches at the expected price point of $400. Having said that, this isn’t that huge of a deal as everyone is making it out to be. The old model of selling a system, taking a loss on it, and then making back your cost in games used to always work. Coupled with the fact that most gamers will end up signing up for some sort of online “Live”ish service makes every PS3 a potential source of income. Additionally, Sony will set up a marketplace of some sort which will bring in some big money too because lord knows people will buy stupid ass costumes at 2 bucks a pop if they can see digital titties flop around in them.

The biggest negative at Sony Playstation Biz Briefing was the complete and total lack of games. Sony fanboys can hold up their MGS4 trailer all they want. The simple fact of the matter is that until we see actual in gameplay footage and maybe even a playable demo of something, the PS3 will be nothing but an expensive boomerang display case. By no means am I saying that this is panic worthy. Sony is saving their load for E3. Still, this was the perfect opportunity for Sony to hit get some buzz going on with the games to offset some of the negativity about the potential losses and the delay of the system.

Perhaps Sony’s brightest spot came with all of the PSP announcements. Between Alex Williams’s rantings and ravings about how good Mega Man: Powered Up is, the price drop happening at the end of the month, and the announcement that there will be a PS1 download service in place shortly made sold me on a PSP finally. I know that this business meeting was all about the PS3 because its the new kid on the block, but Sony really should have placed more emphasis on the good the PSP is now doing. With any luck, Sony can lock up a strong lead over the DS in the United States by the time the PS3 hits in November.

Well that’s all for this week. I’m working on something for the WCW rememberence package over in wrestling, plus I have a ton of reviews in TV, movies, and games going live in the next few days. Until then, I’m off playing Tetris DS as the mere thought of it is consuming my soul. See you all on Monday with a much longer and better column.