Welcome back to a brand new week. You may have noticed (but probably not) the slight change in the title. The reasoning behind this is because I needed a way to keep my columns apart from one another. In our system, if I just look at a list of my columns, I’m just shown the title. However, at the bottom of all my columns, it lists a date next to my archived columns, which means if I put a date next to the title, it is redundant. So I figured I’d steal the whole “volume/issue” thing from Lucard and package it as my own, more of a version number like with software. So I’m kinda like EA, stealing good ideas and making them my own.
Lately I’ve been settling into a routine. Sadly, it’s been more watching TV during the week and playing games on the weekend, but as long as the shows are good, that’s ok. Maybe I’ll just start sleeping less and playing more games. Sounds like a good idea in theory, but knowing me, I’ll end up being cranky all day.
Well, enough yacking. Enjoy the column. Chances are good that it won’t be as long as last week’s column. I’ll make it up to you next week. I promise. Pinky promise in fact. Just don’t kill me if I lie. Because there’s a good chance of that. So, just don’t keep your hopes up. Anyway, on with the shoooow!
In The News
In completely unsurprising news, Square Enix and Microsoft are conspiring for me to have absolutely zero money and to not sleep at all for the month of December. Squeenix has announced that they will be releasing Dragon Quest VIII in America on November 22nd, the same day that the Xbox 360 is released. And just so they ensure crazy amounts of sales, it comes with a playable demo of Final Fantasy XII.
Now, let me state up front that I’m not the biggest Dragon Quest fan. I personally thought VII was overrated and played like it belonged on the SNES. I’m a fan of old-school design, but I’ve never liked the menus in Dragon Quest games, so I’m seriously hoping they updated that as well as the graphics. It IS by Level 5, so I’m getting it regardless. But the added demo disc just means I’m going to have to pre-order it. For those keeping track, it means that on November 22nd, I’ll be getting an Xbox 360, Dead or Alive 4, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland and now Dragon Quest VIII. Yikes. That scares me. (Source: Games are Fun)
Square Enix has completed a “friendly takeover” of Taito by purchasing 93.7% of the company’s shares.
This is a somewhat odd move for Square Enix, two companies who have made their fortunes off RPGs. For those who aren’t aware, Taito is the company behind Bubble Bobble, Puzzle Bobble (aka Bust-a-Move), and shooters like Darius and Raiden. This could possibly be bad news, and may mean that Squeenix is going to try to become the Japanese equivalent of EA. (Source: Evil Avatar, Gamespot)
RUMOR: It has been claimed, by an employee of Factor 5 (makers of the Rogue Squadron games) who goes by the name of “Han Solo”, that the Revolution system will have the following specs: Custom IBM PowerPC 2.5 GHz Dual Threaded CPU with 256 KB L1 cache and 1 MB of L2 cache (with a rumored L3 cache), 512 MB of 700 MHz 1T-SRAM, 600 MHz GPU with 256MB of 1T-SRAM, with support of up to 2048×1268 resolution, and HD support is still being decided.
What this jargon means is that in all likelihood, the Revolution will be the “weakest” of the 3 systems when it comes to hardware. But as we all know, that means jack shit because the PS2 is the weakest of the current generation, yet is the winner sales-wise. As for the validity of the claims, who knows. If it is real, “Han Solo” is a total f*cking moron. For an employee to break the NDA like this would be career suicide. For that reason alone, I seem to think this rumor is fake. (Source: Evil Avatar, Gamespot Forums)
Rockstar has announced the release of two Grand Theft Auto special editions. The first is for the Xbox, and is called “The Trilogy”. It contains GTA3, GTA:Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas. It is supposedly going to cost $59.99. The other, for the PS2, which is GTA: San Andreas Special Edition which contains the game and a prequel movie, and will go for $49.99.
Personally, I think the price on the Xbox version is great, considering you get 3 games for that price. I’d probably pick it up myself if I didn’t already own Vice City and San Andreas for the PS2. The San Andreas special edition, however, doesn’t really strike me as being all that great a deal. Most people who wanted San Andreas for the PS2 already have it. It’s about time that it should be a Greatest Hits, but knowing Rockstar, they’re looking to capitalize on the Hot Coffee scandal and keep it at full price, while packaging in some movie that I doubt many people care about. I personally wouldn’t waste my money on this unless it was $30 (and that’s IF I didn’t already own it). (Source: Evil Avatar, 1UP)
What I’ve Been Playing
Well, Indigo Prophecy got pushed back to this week, so that’s something I’m NOT playing.
But Katamari Damacy came out last week, so I’ve played that. There’s no other way to put it than if you loved the original, you’ll love this one. It’s more of the same, but even better. Not a big fan of the multiplayer modes, but they can be a nice change of pace. I’ll refrain from talking about it more since we’re probably going to do a tribunal on it.
I also rented X-Men Legends II this weekend. It was pretty fun, I guess. Not great gameplay wise, but the story is pretty decent. I’m just not liking the whole action RPG genre, which seems to be the majority of RPG games nowadays. It’s not so bad in this title because you can have 4 players playing it, but it ruins games with potential like Radiata Stories.
I like being able to upgrade skills and abilities and stuff, and collecting all the little hidden stuff like comics and sketch books makes it really interesting. So it’s definitely not bad for a rent.
What I’ve Been Watching
I think I’ve settled on which shows I’m going to watch, at least for now.
Lost – I’m pretty disappointed in the premiere. It used one of my most hated techniques in cinema/television/everything. Take an item, surround it with tons and tons of mystery, making you ask “what’s up with this item”. And no matter what your speculation is with the item, you’re WRONG, because the person in the f*cking hatch was a person that was introduced 5 minutes before we see his face. They so telegraphed the fact that Desmond was in the hatch, and made the actual reveal anticlimactic and just unsatisfying.
Invasion – This show was alright, but there are a few things that irritated the piss out of me, like the little girl. Every time she said “Carlita!” it was like nails on a chalkboard. The way she said it was not natural in the least, not like a loving child looking for her cat. It’s almost as if she just learned the word. Overall, the acting was pretty good, but they made it too obvious that something wasn’t right with the sheriff guy at the very beginning of the episode.
Survivor – I’m not liking this Survivor year all that much. I’ve got the distinct feeling that they’re all out of good ideas and just rehashing old ones. Then again, they’ve probably been doing that for years now. The only reason to really watch is for the people, and I don’t even really care much about the people either. This week’s eviction (or whatever they call it on Survivor) was well deserved. Don’t pull your weight, you get the boot. I’m a big fan of that philosophy.
CSI – Disclaimer: I did not watch the season finale, nor have I watched many shows over the past few years. But one of the big things coming into this premiere was that they were bringing the team back together. Then the makers of CSI proceed to unzip their pants and piss in the face of each and every fan of the show by splitting the team up within the first 10 minutes. One of the characters (Catherine?) noted that in fact, which acknowledges that the producers don’t give a shit and will resort to anything to get people to watch. If bullshit like that continues to happen, then I won’t watch it anymore, because I f*ckin HATE the bait and switch.
Ghost Whisperer – Let it be known, first and foremost, that I HATE Jennifer Love Hewitt. Let it also be known that I HATE her hairstyle in this show, so the only thing she had going for her (her looks) went out the window for me. That being said, the show wasn’t that bad. The story was good enough to keep my attention, and other than some cheesy special effects when the ghost was supposed to be “scary”, it was alright. It still isn’t an original premise, but at least the main character doesn’t really try to hide the fact that she can see the ghosts.
Threshold – This was a decent episode, with a few nice twists and turns, but the red team was split up for way too long. Data only appeared for a few minutes. The dwarf and the smart guy were together and then hawt Sin City booby chick and the marine dude were together. Still, it was a good story and they have opened up a whole new can of worms. Instead of just 7 infectees, they now have verified there is a planeload that could have potentially been infected. Now, if only the Hawt Sin City Booby Chick and the dwarf would hook up, that would RULE!
Numb3rs – *sigh* That hurt typing that. Just as bad as typing Se7en. Either way, this show was interesting. Not enough smart talk for me though. For being about numbers, they only did like 5 minutes of smart talk, and like 25 minutes of dumb talking to people and bang bang shit. I doubt I’ll watch this every week, but it was on after Threshold, so I figured why not?
NFL Football – This was an interesting week. I was very happy to see the Dolphins beat the Panthers, and the Eagles/Raiders game was great. It’s too bad that McNabb is hurt, and I just hope that he and Reid make the right decision for them so that he doesn’t get hurt worse. And man, they need to resign Westbrook. Fuck T.O., Westbrook is much more important to this team.
Bones – Each week I watch this show, I see good things and I see bad things. This week, the “other girl” Angela, that I hated, wasn’t so bad. But I didn’t really particularly like the side-story about the nerdy guy who was having woman issues. For one thing, I find it hard to believe that a guy that talks and acts like that would get laid in the first place. But whatever. The relationship between Bones and Angel is getting more solid, and is working well. Sadly, as my interest in the show grows, Fox decides to put the show on hiatus for the month of October to show f*cking baseball. Does anybody even care about baseball anymore?
My Name Is Earl – This show gets better and better, and proves that it deserves every bit of money that NBC put into marketing it. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Jason Lee win an Emmy. Does he deserve it? I don’t know, but I do know that this show is one of the funniest sitcoms I’ve ever seen, and it sure as hell breaks the sitcom mold.
The Office – This is another show that breaks the mold. This episode (which was rated “Parental Discretion Advised”) was probably the funniest I’ve seen in the 8 episodes that are out. Come on, NBC. Don’t be so f*cking hardassed. Give this show a full season this year. It deserves it. Steve Carrell is the next big thing, and the rest of the cast kicks ass. This hour is hands down the best comedy hour on TV.
First and foremost, I have to link to this Indigo Prophecy Developer’s Diary. As you know, I’m going to be reviewing this game for the site next week, and this Diary is a great read. David Cage is a very smart person and went about making this game in a different way than most, so even before I play the game for real, he gets a lot of respect from me.
Eric is back this week, talking about politics and wrestling. You know what, I think I may watch TNA on Spike and WWE on USA this weekend/early next week. Who knows, maybe the former is good and the latter sucks less than it did when I stopped watching it.
Lucard talks about Latin. Here’s my favorite Latin phrases: Deus Ex Machina, Carpe Noctem, and of course, “Dona nobis pacem et salva nos a hostibus. Salva nos, Deus.”
Gloomchen gets some crazy bonus points for mentioning Nine Inch Nails. I don’t know what her reasoning behind not liking Hurt anymore is, but personally, I’m not a fan of it anymore thanks to Johnny Cash f*cking bastardizing it, and then getting praised for it. It pissed me off the most when he changed quite possibly one of the most powerful lines in the song (“I wear this crown of shit”) to something that completely and totally changed the meaning of the song (“I wear this crown of thorns”). So I don’t dislike the original song, but the cover of it I f*cking hate and I hate that everybody put Cash on a pedestal for ruining an excellent song.
Liquidcross reviews Trauma Center, one of the coolest sounding games out there. When I eventually get a DS (which will be soon, my crystal ball tells me), this will be 3rd on my list of games for it (after Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Nintendogs).
Basilo apparently liked the setup for Lost more than I did, which is alright. It is, after all, his job to comment on TV shows, whereas I just do it for fun.
That’s it for another week. Sorry if this week wasn’t quite as interesting as last week’s column. After the glut of news pouring out of the TGS last week, there wasn’t much of anything this week, so it was mostly filled with my own pointless drivel. But that’s what both of you faithful readers keep coming back for, isn’t it?
Actually, that dev diary that David Cole did has inspired me. Next week, I’m going to write a feature (or essay or whatever) on game design. I haven’t designed a game myself, but I’ve had a lot of exposure to game designers so maybe part of the feature will be somewhat intelligent, maybe informative, and at least partially interesting. We can always hope.
Anyway, seeya next week.