Playing the Lame Vol. 12

Hello, this is Mark B once again here at PtL central, here to give you your fix of whatever’s on my mind this week. There was no column last week, you will note, for two separate reasons: first, because my job status at the moment is in a state of flux (that I’d rather not get into), and second, because Lucard was on vacation banging porn stars, and I figured it wouldn’t get posted.

Yes, really.

So, anyway, THIS week I AM posting a column, not exactly because I WANT or NEED to, but rather because I have something that needs to be said, and because I want to contribute SOMETHING to the site. I’d rather not just leave things without update, and there’s something I have to say, I think. So let’s get to it.

LINKAGE:

Scott Keith reviews a PPV, and hence gets top billing. Hey, I like his work, yanno?

Mr. Brashear talks more bad gimmicks, and as always, it’s highly fun to read.

Gloomchen saves me $14. Thanks much!

Kennedy talks about the University of Chicago and its relation to movie portrayals. Says I, at least it’s better than how Jersey is represented. The best we’ve got is “A Beautiful Mind”. He also talks superheroes, which confuses me on two levels: first, isn’t Vision a robot, and therefore possibly made with technology far beyond our understanding? Second, why WOULDN’T Sandman need a lot of money? Sand doesn’t buy cheeseburgers or a plasma TV.

FEEDBACK:

I didn’t get any this week. I’m sure you’ll live.

WHAT’S PLAYING:

Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires review will be up soon. Tomb Raider Legend is next, followed by Samurai Champloo and Metal Saga (not entirely in that order). And maybe Brain Age if no one else does it.

Playing Lost In Blue for the DS, as a friend of mine passed it along to me. Hideously time-consuming, but I enjoy it for what it is. Survival Kids was far better, but this is still quite fun. The major problem with LIB is that it’s far too meticulous with its game systems, but this is not so much a condemnation as a warning: if you’ve not played it, you might not want to. It’s rough, sometimes.

Also got to play around with Lost Magic and Tao’s Adventure. The former is bland and largely uninteresting, and not very easy to play; the latter is Azure Dreams, only themed differently (IE it’s a dungeon hack with Pokemon elements). Just so you know.

And I played about five hours of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey for the XBOX. Says I, it’s a hell of a good storyline, but as a GAME it’s a little bit of a pain in the ass. Oh, and the combat system is unnecessary and should be removed. Otherwise, it’s awesome, especially if you like adventure games.

And that’s it. I haven’t had a lot of time for video games these past two weeks. I hope you’ll forgive me.

YOUR HOT CUP OF RANT:

Only one thing this week. Seems that Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the French “Minister of Culture and Communication” knighted Shigeru Miyamoto and Michel Ancel a while back, and I didn’t notice it until it popped up in, of all things, OXM. Now, OXM TOTALLY IGNORED that Miyamoto was knighted, because they’re assholes, but I don’t think it needs to be noted WHY such was done; he’s an artistic god. Kay? Kay.

Ancel, on the other hand, holds only one truly notable distinction: he created… BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL.

While I’ve never considered myself a xenophobe at any point in my life prior to this, I can now clearly see why people hate the French. If you ARE, by some chance, French, I’m sorry if I offend, but it’s not my fault your “Minister of Culture and Communication” is a f*cking toolbox.

… ARGH. PAIN.

PLAYING THE LAME, VOLUME 12.

AKA “I had hoped this wouldn’t be necessary, but…”

Your soundtrack for this week is… um… KD Lang. Yes, really. Sometimes I like a little Texas Swing, sue me.

So.

Wii.

You’ve read about it, probably in a thousand different places around the internet. Some people are bitching, some are laughing, some people are trying to pretend it’s not happening. But assuming all signs are correct, Nintendo has officially named their new console, and it is Wii.

Wii (pronounced we, I’m told), of course, is being somewhat universally ridiculed as a stupid name by… well, almost everyone. I can understand that, I guess. I mean, it’s not exactly a great name or anything, and I can certainly understand that. We as gamers expect a certain amount of style and class from our hobby, and if our consoles aren’t named something like “XBOX 360” or “NINTENDO 64” or “TURBOGRAPHIX 16”, we’re not satisfied. We need our names to be hip and cutting edge, to match our incredibly cool hobby.

If you somehow managed to miss what I did there, you’re probably in the group I’m mocking.

See, here’s the thing: console names have been, frankly, stupid for two decades now. People are coming out of the woodwork to say “This name BEGS to be made fun of”, but some on: how great of a name was the “Colecovision” or the “Intellivision” or the “Gameboy”? It’s not that these names are exceptional or fantastic; it’s that we accept them as existent names simply because WE JUST DO, and Wii is something that does not mesh with our brains, for the obvious reason: we can liken the name to a synonym for “dick”.

Anyway, here’s my point: who gives a f*ck what Nintendo names their new console? Seriously. They could name the damn thing the “Nintendo Sack of Dicks”, and those of you who were all hyped about buying one would still be out there with your pre-order money in hand the moment EB Games opened for business. Does it REALLY matter what it’s called?

To some of you, apparently it does.

Here’s a question: how many of you have some “Febreeze” or a “Swiffer” in your house? That’s what I thought. But aren’t those stupid names too? Of course they are. But people buy these things anyway, largely because they’re useful, inventive products.

Okay, here’s an even simpler, relevant question. Of the following list, how many of these do YOU own:

Katamari Damacy
ICO
Day of the Tentacle
Mega Man (anything)
Lemonade Tycoon
Jet Set Radio
Rez
Earthbound/Mother
Final Fantasy II or beyond
Einhander (in relation to the subject matter)

In case you’re missing the point, here it is: these are stupid names. Seriously. “Final Fantasy IX? So, wait, this is the ninth ‘Final Fantasy’?” See what I mean? And bear in mind, a lot of these are names that are coming out of Japan in some form or fashion; these are people that come up with names for games like “Gregory Horror Show” and “Ephemeral Fantasia”. Okay? They don’t play by the same rules as the rest of us.

And again, “Wii” is coming from those exact same people, and it’s by no means the weirdest name for a console on the market, stateside or otherwise. What about the “Dreamcast”? That’s not a fantastic name for a system, guys. Come to that, what about the “Playstation”? Sure, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but come on now, it’s a stupid name. “Playstation”. Station for play. Makes sense, yeah, but it sounds like something I’d buy for my five year old. Oh yeah, and if you believe Zack Meston, NINTENDO game up with the name in the first place (not that I’d recommend you should believe Meston about anything, but still). Yet you buy that without a word about what an inherently stupid name this is.

And hey, this is a name coming from a country with systems named “Wonderswan” and “Gamepark 32”. Come on.

What’s to hate about “Wii”, anyway? It’s a silly marketing-inspired name that Nintendo came up with to generate hype. They attached a silly little “Wii means togetherness” schpiel to the concept, and BANG, they’ve got a crapload of hype, free of charge. At this moment, all eyes are on Nintendo, not because of the stupid controller, not because of the emulation capability, but because OF THE CONSOLE NAME.

You can’t BUY this kind of free press, people. This is instant gratification hype: name it something stupid, watch everyone slag the name, then six months later, see that yes, everyone is now interested because the “stupid” name drew their interest after all. Like I said: name it whatever you want, the hardcore fans who are complaining will still buy it. But name it something strange and confusing, and the casual fan will become curious, and after everyone stops bitching… the company with the weird name and confusing controller has the most free hype and public interest.

Isn’t it nice to know that you’re doing Nintendo’s job for them?

Doesn’t that make you feel good?

Didn’t think so. Which is why I didn’t want to write this column: because I hate shilling for free.

So please, do me a favor: shut up. Stop complaining about how stupid a name “Wii” is, especially if you own or have owned any of the consoles I’ve mentioned in this article. Keep your predictions of doom and gloom about Nintendo to yourself; they know what they’re doing. And try to avoid the hype and hoopla surrounding the stupid, inherently nonsensical name, or you’ll just end up doing the job Nintendo’s marketing department gets paid six figures a YEAR to do for them. Relax, take a deep breath, and realize that we live in an age where most of the good names are already LOOOOOONG gone, and understand that a fifty page forum thread is like fifty pages of FREE advertising to these people.

If you hate the name that much, don’t buy it. If you want it anyway, stop complaining about it. But don’t sit here and tell me “THIS WILL BE THE RUINATION OF NINTENDO~!” or whatever; Nintendo is still in business, and still filthy stinking rich, because people buy their games. Period. You will buy the games, you will love the games, and you will tell others about the games, “Wii” or no. Suck it up, deal with it, and move on with your day.

And for god’s sake, get over it. Something like fifteen web comics I read had to say something about it. YOU’RE NOT ORIGINAL. GIVE IT UP.

Oh, and as a public service to the people who will continue to call the system the “Revolution”: YOU ARE NOT COUNTER CULTURE, REVOLUTIONARY, OR MEGA-AWESOME REBELS. YOU ARE LAME AND REFUSING TO ACCEPT REALITY. WELCOME TO REAL LIFE.

Thank you, good night.

CLOSING COMMENTS:

That’s it for this week. Come back next week when I’ll have more than four pages together. Hopefully. We’ll see.

Oh. Yes. I’m Mark B, and you’re not.

Tags: