Gaming Zen 3-13-06

Yikes. So I had an overwhelming reaction to last week’s column in which I tried something different. By overwhelming, I mean “none” so I suppose that I’ll try something different this time around. Being one of the few Inside Pulse staffers still in college, I’m right in the middle of midterms week so this is going to be an incredibly short column. Plus, I did TNA Live coverage and am doing Raw Live coverage tonight so you’ve got enough of Tommy P in this week. I’ve got a few plugs, a what I’m playing, a couple deals, and a nice little rant about why PSM is a POS. First though, plugs:

The Plugs

Mark B is f*cking insane. How insane is he? Why insane enough to write too much damn shit! Fuck man, get a damn popsicle or something. He’s got another three reviews coming soon too.

O’Reilly writes about Acclaim coming back. He really needs to represent the Great White Maple Leaf Hope more often though.

Lucard really needs to start linking his Nyogtha columns in his Livejournal so I can pimp them early. Instead, I’ll pimp his cartoon tournament. The first round should be ending but you can still get in on the later rounds.

Speaking of tournaments, NCAAs were selected yesterday. I’m a huge Orangemen fan and their run in the Big East was nothing short of a miracle. After all of that, a 5 seed though? What the f*ck? Anywho, listen to IP Sports Radio.

That’s it for plugs I say. On to me bitching!

The PSM Rant

What’s on tap this week? Well I was reading through my PSM, and it might be the worst single issue in the history of the entire video game press. There’s a lot of things that piss me off about it, but where to start? Leave it to my good friend Mark to write something in Playing the Lame about, well, its lameness. He ranted about their awful PSP article that excuses the homebrew crowd. From Mark’s column:

“1.) trying to justify homebrew PSP applications by using the old standby of how PC game makers don’t pay a licensing fee to release PC games. Hey, guys, Nintendo Seal of Approval, remember? Developers/publishers have been paying for the right to publish games on home consoles for about two decades now, so the belief that Sony’s going to suddenly say, “Aw, hell, make whatever ya want for the PSP instead of paying for our shit” is incredibly trusting and stupid. And if you DON’T believe as such, even broaching the argument is the act of an asshole. Knock it off.”

The fact that they talk about the homebrew scene on the PSP didn’t annoy me that much. I’m in favor of the homebrew crowd as it’s really the future of gaming. What annoys me is that they take a completely blaze attitude to game piracy. The fact that they proceed to talk up and even condone the emulation scene pisses me off. Here’s a quote from the article:

“It’s no secret that some have used the PSP’s security holes to run pirated games off of memory sticks, and that is illegal. Sony certainly has a right and a reason to want to prevent this, but is running homebrew software, which isn’t created using any copyrighted Sony tools, illegal? In a nutshell, no. Running emulators of other game systems on the PSP is fine, as long as you’re not playing ROM images if games you don’t actually own.”

Ok people. Get it through your heads. The ROM scene is illegal for several reasons that should be explicit. The fact that ROMs today are distributed largely in batch torrents make them illegal. The fact that Nintendo anticipated ROMs and actually went as far as to write in some instruction manuals of cart based games, “Warning: Copying of any Nintendo game is illegal and is strictly prohibited by domestic and international copyright laws. “Back-up” or “archival” copies are not authorized and are not necessary to protect your software. Violators will be prosecuted,” (Taken from the SNES Earthbound manual in case you’re wondering) makes them illegal. Furthermore, the United States Copyright law does not recognize the claims of people who say that Abandonware should be able to be copied freely. In short, PSM makes the same claim that every 14 year old wanker on the GameFAQs forums makes when defending their right to play Super Mario Brothers with a sprite swap that makes Mario a penis.

The article then goes on to talk about how stoked the folks are about getting an N64 emulator on the PSP and how wicked sweet it’ll be to play an emulated version of Super Mario 64. Those complete and utter pricks claim to be a legitimate gaming magazine, yet they turn around and essentially say “oh, it’s ok if you steal other things, just don’t do it from Sony”. They are f*cking hypocrites. I’m glad I didn’t pay a red cent for my subscription (yes, I’m a whore myself for picking up every free magazine I can get) as their magazine isn’t worth the ink and paper that it’s printed on.

Is that it for them though? Oh no, they’re just getting started. They go on give the new Tomb Raider game a thorough dick sucking since Eidos gave them the first review of the game. The review ends up being as critical as a Halmark card. That’s not to say that this doesn’t have a chance of being a good game. I haven’t played it yet and Crystal Dynamics can make a great platformer (see Legacy of Kane series). It’s just that the game’s review gets seven full pages and it’s nothing more then an ad. Also, its upsetting when a title like Shadow Hearts: From the New World gets put below a Tomb Raider game and on the same level as something as mediocre as Black. This review is accompanied by fanboyish reviews of Pursuit Force, Metal Gear Ac!d 2, Fight Night: Round 3, and MGS 3: Subsistence.

As for the rest of the magazine, there’s an article that names the most “essential” movie games and pops in The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Star Wars Battlefront 2 as movie games along with painfully mediocre games like King Kong, The Thing, and Spider Man 2 while not mentioning solid efforts from Electronic Arts with the Lord of the Rings games. They also start out a preview of Sega’s upcoming Yakuza by quoting scores it got from Famitsu rather then, you know, showing how a game is good rather then writing about it in numbers. So what you’ve got is a shitty top ten list mixed with shitty reviews, shitty previews, and a “cutting” sense of humor. As it stands, the April 2006, Issue 109 of PSM is the worst single issue of a gaming magazine ever published. Congratulations f*ckfaces.

What I’m Playing

I picked up a few of the new releases recently. Here’s my quick take on some of the newer games (and older) that I’m currently playing.

Gun: Remember this game and how it tanked in price about a month after its release? This is Black in May. It’s a decent game that is hampered on the Cube by having to use the C-stick for aiming. Beyond that, it’s fun to shoot things, but not as fun as it should be. It gets a meh from me.

Pokemon Trozei: As far as puzzle games go, this one is a complete winner. The story mode and endless mode are a bit too easy to start out but once the difficulty gets ramped up on the second run through; Trozei becomes a much more challenging game. The one problem is that it’s very easy to miss out on capturing a rare Pokemon unless you pretty much know all Pokemon on sight. I don’t so capturing some of the rare ones is a pain in the ass. I still think its worthy of a purchase. I’m a puzzle game fan though so keep that in mind.

Super Princess Peach: A review is forthcoming on this game but it’ll probably be another week before I get some free time to write it. This is a very very easy platformer, but the game is filled with charm that makes it tough not to love. The boss battles are interesting, there are lots of unlockables, and the game is easy to pick up and play. The DS features are really kind of weak, but I’d take an excellent platformer with mediocre DS features over a mediocre platformer with excellent DS features any day of the week.

One Piece Grand Battle: Rush (Japanese version): I’m a huge fan of One Piece and couldn’t stand the dub voices so I imported the Japanese version. The fighting is kind of meh, but the presentation is superb. The addition of three characters blocked out in the US version, a few extra stages, and a collectible card game. This is obviously a game for fans only as the fighting is a tad repetitive. I like it though.

Deals of the Week

Lots of good deals this week mostly on DVDs, but there are a few game deals too. The best of the bunch goes to Toys R Us which has quite a few decent deals. Bust a Move, Nanostray, and a host of poker titles for the DS are 2 for $25. Also, a bunch of A-list games including Pokemon Trozei, Animal Crossing, and Mario Kart are Buy 2, Get 1 Free. Outside of these deals, Circuit City has some great DVD deals. Pick up the new Snatch 2-Disc set, High Tension, the Ghostbusters Gift Set, the Wayne’s World 2 Disc set, the Spider Man 2 Pack, and a ton of other movies for $10. Also Deep Discount DVD has a fantastic box set sale. Check it out.

That’s all for this week. Mark B has a shitload of reviews that’ll be up so be sure to check those out. Next week expect the same from me as I’m on Spring Break. Also check out my Naruto: Clash of the Ninja review before wandering around the pulse. Later all.