Gaming Zen

Welcome all to the triumph return of Gaming Zen. I’m Tom Pandich, and I’ve had a hell of a month with all sorts of things like road trips, surgeries, and family outings that delayed my column for this long. So let’s get things started.

I’m working a 80 hour week and mortgaging my house to get a PS3

Ken, Ken, Ken, Ken. I missed this last week but Ken Kutaragi’s comments that Sony wants “consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’,” about the good old PS3 show a massive disconnect with the market in Sony’s camp. Sony currently has a 250 dollar portable system on the market that is floundering behind a cheaper system with less functions, worse graphics, and less truly original content. Granted, the portable market and the home market are two completely different beasts, but Microsoft can learn something here.

To win the console battle, Microsoft needs to get a large chunk of the market at launch and then force Sony’s hand to either lose money on a quick price drop of the PS3 (assuming it’s launched at the projected cost of manufacturing the system, $400) or on a bundle with a popular launch game. Microsoft still needs to get their system out with a hard drive at least 50 dollars cheaper then Sony’s eventual projected price for the PS3 alone though for this scenario to work as Sony has easily enough market power in the US where a 50 dollar difference without a hard drive will not cause people to flock to the Xbox 360. Also Microsoft will need Halo 3 to be out within two weeks of the PS3 launch for it really to be a factor in the average gamer’s decision to pick up a 360 or PS3.

Speaking of Sony disconnecting with markets…

Hi Europe. Not doing too hot these days, are you? All sorts of bad shit happening with bombings in London, and the EU falling apart, and the French… in general. Certainly the last thing you need is to have Sony suing several game companies for selling imported PSPs. Sony has been pulling some really dumb stuff as of late. The several lawsuits about the questionable sales of PSPs across the pond is one of them and it stems from the simple fact that Sony has still not released the PSP in Europe.

The PSP is nowhere near close to selling out anywhere right now, so it makes no sense that practically four months after its release in the US that the PSP is still not out in Europe. Sony has created the problem of PSP imports by not attempting to seize a growing market where brand loyalty hasn’t really been established yet. Microsoft ran into a similar problem earlier in the year with the shortages of the Xbox all around Europe, and it cost them potential millions in hardware and software sales when they were focusing on trying to attract the dead Japanese market. Now Sony is making a similar mistake by pouring resources in to the United States, which has had a lukewarm reaction to the PSP. I’m telling you right now, Western Europe will be the deciding factor in who is considered the victor in the next console war.

Game of the Week

I have not played any of the games out this week yet nor do I plan to. I hate video games!!1111 Still, I’ll try to pick what game sounds the most interesting this week. I’d plug Misha but his game guide week thingie is missing so this week’s game list is brought to you by EB Games. EB Games: Where your dollar goes further if you don’t actually want any dollars back when you trade in your games. Credit… bah. Fuck credit. Oh and this will be console games only as you’ll probably end up downloading the PC games anyways.

Any who, the game of the week is *drum roll* Sid Meier’s Pirates for the XBox.

Here’s my rationale for picking Sid Meier’s Pirates. Lucard previewed Flatout a while back and said it sucked so that is out of the running. Bah to Burnout clones says I. Fullmetal Alchemist 1 sucked, and the Curse of the Crimson Elixir does sound too much my menstruation even if it does mean something in the series. Flipnic is a budget pinball game. Granted, no video pinball game should ever be more than 20 bucks anyways, but I’m going to have to pass on this one. While handheld pinball games can be good, it has been years since I’ve seen a good console pinball game. I hope I’m wrong but those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and let’s face it, that’s why there are so many damn Tomb Raider games. Finally that leaves us with NCAA Football 06 and Sid Meier’s Pirates. Oh yeah, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Seriously though, we’re down to NCAA Football and Pirates.

NCAA Football has and always will be a warm up for Madden. The game, while offering a slightly different approach to football, is never as good as Madden and never will be. Besides those three guys who worship college football and hate pro ball that chat with you on your Warez channel on IRC, what football game is everyone playing come September? That leaves us with Sid Meier’s Pirates.

I have not played Sid Meier’s Pirates on the PC, but have heard great things about it. It also has the advantage of being one of the few strategy games on the XBox where as NCAA Football is clearly the middle child of EA Sports. Add in some nifty features for Live including sword fighting and ship-to-ship battles and you’ve got yourself a winner of a game. If strategy games don’t appeal to you, save your money for next week as a crapload of games comes out including two Harvest Moons!

So if my lady cheats on me, I get an extra three months off to bitch on the Internet and get really fat?!? Awesome!

Ok ok ok. This is a game’s column, but I dabble in the Wild World of Wrasslin every once in a while. So Matt Hardy bitches, whines, and then comes back in what everyone in the IWC but Eric Sckxuszuskalisdkis calls the greatest angle since Pillman ODed on drugs. Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention to what was said in the IP chat the other night, but Pillman came up and then was put back down with a shot to the head. Damn zombie wrestlers. Seriously though, Pillman and Matty share a lot in common. Both of them seem to have the loose cannon thing down. Both of them have a “friend” with a drug problem (looking at you Jeffy). We know that both of them were/will be buried after what they’re most famous for. Finally we know that both of them have their best years behind them. It’s oddly appropriate that Matt Hardy returns on 7/11, the same place he’ll be working in two years. That’s ok for Matt though. Now he won’t have to pay for the three gallons of comfort slurpies he’s been drinking since his whore started bonking a Canadian.

Seriously, who f*cks a Canadian over anyone? I mean, I’ve been through North Carolina a couple of times. It doesn’t seem like that bad of a place, and the people seem nice enough. Could Matt have been a big enough hick to actually drive his bitch to a maple syrup drinking, aboot spewing, moose f*cking Canadian? It seems that way. Matt must be quite the pussy for that to happen.

Well crap. That got out of hand quick. I apologize to all French Canadians. I said what I said and I can’t take it back, but you’re good people. Well, at least your women are. There is nothing like a sexy French-Canadian. I’d love to plant my maple rod in one of their leaves one of these days. Oh yeah.

Next week, either massive apathy as I don’t crank out another column, or a ton of hate mail from all sorts of people. Send it to Besides that, I’ll do something that might entertain you. Until then, oodles of toodles.