PS3’s Slim Chance

Posted in GAMES! on August 20, 2009 by John Lewis

This Tuesday Sony officially and finally announced the PS3 Slim.  It’ll use less power and fit into smaller places than the current models.  But it will still have the smaller library of games, the Playstation Network will still be inferior to Xbox Live and you still won’t be able to play any PS2 games on it.  I’m sure Sony is pleased that this will help them catch Microsoft for the number two spot of current generation consoles.  It probably won’t.

If anything is able to help Sony it’s the price drop.  The slim model will cost less and they finally came to the realization that no one wants to pay $400 for a videogame console right now.  It’s just too bad for them that their competitors figured that out last year.  Not to mention that now that they’ve dropped their price, Microsoft will probably do the exact same thing.  And since the Playstation brand is nowhere near what it used to be, saying that you still have the most expensive machine but now it’s smaller, isn’t going to help you get them out of the hole they dug themselves.  It’s not like this thing is coming with a book reminding Sony how to sell systems.  A redesign doesn’t fix all the problems they’ve had with marketing the last few years.  The problems with the PS3 have never been about the hardware.  Only fanboys and people with a taste for ignorance would say the PS3 isn’t great hardware.  The problems are coming from the people running the show.  You can’t say the upcoming lineup for the PS3 doesn’t look amazing… well you can say that because whoever’s doing the ad campaigns for Sony is an idiot.  Now when people think videogames they think Nintendo and Microsoft and that company with the expensive console.  Even though the price difference between the PS3 and the 360 hasn’t been that big since the PS3 launch.  People still think of it as the $600 console.  Microsoft has gotten people to think of the 360 as a hip device with glorious amounts of synergy.  Sweet delicious synergy.  Success of products rarely rests on one’s quality it has to do with convincing your products better than the alternative.

To me making a smaller, streamlined system is not a surprise.  Both the original Playstation and the PS2 eventually got the same treatment.  However both of those came out as the successor was known to be in the works.  The slim is coming out much sooner than I thought it would and it seems that Sony is reaching into their bag of tricks a little too soon. Dropping the price too late and bringing out a redesign too soon makes me see how poorly Sony is handling their products.   Maybe this will do really well and companies will start making more games for the PS3.  We’ll start finding out in September whether or not the Slim will matter.  With Microsoft and Nintendo still far ahead redesigning your hardware may not be enough.


Ready or Not Here Comes Halo.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2009 by John Lewis

Come September of 2010(probably), Bungie will release Halo: Reach for the millions of Halo fans.  With this Microsoft will finally be free of the burden of restraint that Bungie has bullied onto them when it comes to the franchise that made Xbox.  The shackles will be taken off and the monster will be let loose.  No longer will we have to wonder what crazy shenanigans Master Chief is really intended to do,  pump cash into Microsoft’s greasy hands.  It’ll be like free money.  Sure there will be overhead from developing the dizzying array of tie-ins and schwag but, really, who’s gonna care. 

Attempts at extending the brand have been in effect for years now with the novels, comics, cd’s and different types of games with Halo Wars.  While this sounds like a lot all of these products were still (to an extent)meant to meaningfully expand on the fiction.   A spartan made its into DOA 4 and that was clearly a warning sign.  Soon there will be an anime, someday a movie, and more games that look less and less like what the first game was.  Bungie has been able to keep busy, forcing Microsoft to keep things in check so far, everything has at the very least been something you could entertain yourself with.  That’s already beginning to change.  Mark Ecko is coming out with some ugly t-shirts.   And in an effort to prove synergy is always awesome, Halo waypoint is going to give you everything you need to know about Halo, where to buy it, when to buy, and how to buy it, all in one convenient on-line destination.  All this before Bungie is even, completely, gone.

I, for one, can’t wait to see Halo vs. Sonic at the X Games sponsored by The Dew.  The Arbitor will go for the gold in skateboarding and Rally racing against his new arch nemesis, Tails.  The prophet of Regret will face off against Dr. Robotnik in floaty chair street luge.  More and more games with less and less effort and care going into them.  On the bright side, we’re just a few years away from the inevitable and glorious reboot of Halo.  Remember last year when EA said they were going to change how they were handling the Need for Speed series.  Remember how they immediately announced four different games in the series.  Soon you’ll remember great games like; Halo 8, Halo: Black(by Criterion, don’t ask how), Halo Stealth and Halo: Spartan Jump rope.  This is how things work and it’s what makes America great.  Whenever bullies, like Bungie, step out of the way of progress we all succeed.  Poor Microsoft has been sitting on their hands and twiddling their thumbs for the day that Bungie packs their crap and leaves Halo behind.  And Master Chief and Cortana are gonna get married and have holographic cybernetic seven foot tall space marine babies, and they’re going to fight Army Men.  Hallelujah.

Left 4 Dead 2 Gets Two New Enemies. First Screenshot!

Posted in GAMES! with tags , , on July 28, 2009 by John Lewis

mtx-madonna__oPtYou guessed right kids, it’s Madonna’s arms.   You may be wondering how Valve was able to license the arms of someone so famous?  But I think it’s safe to say all parties involved know that there’s nothing scarier than what this chick is packing.  It will be interesting to see how they will be used in the game and what exactly will their attacks be like.  Will they even attack you at all?  Just getting close enough to creep you out could give the horde the advantage it needs.  Think about it.  If these monsters were to get near you, would you be able to concentrate at the task at hand?  I sure as hell couldn’t.  I’d stop doing everything I was supposed to because I would be very nervous and frightened.  They’re like Cousin It’s gross cousin that he won’t associate with because they’re too weird and disgusting. 

Perhaps they’ll be like the flood from Halo.  You know, the enemy that your enemy fears.   Tanks and Boomers are no match for these things.  How could Madonna’s arms be afraid of something that vomits if they’re the things causing the vomiting.  How will a Tank be able to strike them?  No Tank will want to touch them.  What happens if you touch them?  What if you caught what they have?  No one, humans and infected alike, wants a raging case of Madonna arms.

So, I say, lets end this boycott now!  It’s obvious that Valve isn’t bringing us a quick cash-in sequel.  This isn’t something they could have offered as DLC.  If they were to send these to your 360 or PC, it could cause crashes and freezing and explosions.  Keeping it on a disc is the safest way of giving us old fashioned scares.

So now I”m even more anxious get my hands on L4D2.  This could be the first truly truly scary video game.

Modern Warfare is Call of Duty

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 22, 2009 by John Lewis

Turns out that Modern Warfare 2 is a pretty dumb name for a video game.  It’s actually a bad name for pretty much anything.  When it was revealed that it would say Call of Duty on the box inerest in the product skyrocketed.  Now I’m not one to normally criticize others for giving something generic boring titles but, Modern Warfare 2 is a boring and generic title.  It sounds more like a description for a show on the military channel.  When was the last time you watched the military channel?  Probably never.  Because it’s boring.  They might as well have called it, “Shooting Guns 2: The Sequel to Shooting Guns”.  Modern Warfare works only as a subtitle because people expect subtitles to describe what the product is to a certain extent.  Just look at Call of Duty: World at War.  If it were just called “World at War” no one would ever want to play it.   What on Earth has propelled Infinity Ward to simply call it Modern Warfare 2.  There should be no controversy about this.  Since it’s now on the regular edition’s box you can call it what it is, a Call of Duty game.  Quit being all pissy because Activision lets another team work on games called Call of Duty.  There are enough people who realize that if the box doesn’t have the Infinity Ward logo on it that it’s not as good as a Call of Duty game can be.  Hell, calling it Call of Duty 6: Modern Warfare 2 would be better than just Modern Warfare 2.

Modern Warfare 2: The Art of Being Ridiculous

Posted in GAMES! with tags , on July 20, 2009 by John Lewis

As you probably already know,  Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is following the trend of having multiple retail sku’s when it’s released this November.  However with it’s release it has raised the bar on ridiculous crap to be included with its Prestige Edition.  It even trumps “Halo 3 Spartan Helmet Edition”.  This will be the first, and hopefully not last, game to come bundled with fully functional night vision goggles.  While there is no need or practical reason for me to purchase this particular edition of the game and the fact that asking $150 is too much to purchase the game, I will still be purchasing the Prestige Edition.  No one buying a video game needs a pair of working night vision goggles along with their purchase.  It’s unneccessary and dumb.  But that isn’t going to stop me.  I’m gonna walk around in the dark with my Infinity Ward branded night vision goggles and not bump into anything.  I don’t even have any reason for night vision goggles.  If I wanted I could even get a better less expensive pair.  However I’m an idiot and I’m just fine with that.  Also you get a voucher to download the very first Call of Duty and that’s rad.

I’m O.K. at Being Terrible: The Story of Battlefield 1943

Posted in GAMES! with tags on July 19, 2009 by John Lewis

Since this Wednesday I’ve been playing quite a bit of Battlefield 1943.  It’s the only game I feel like playing right now but the thing is, I’m absolutely awful at it.  I’m completely useles with the sniper rifle, moreso than I usually am with a sniper rifle.  I can’t fly a plane to save my life, though that seems pretty common for people in a Battlefield game.  I can sort of do alright with the infantry class but I’m still not very good.

Being bad at an online game has usually made it much harder for me to actually enjoy the game.  However even when I’m doing badly I’m still enjoying myself.  A kamikaze attack on Iwo Jima can be one of the more exciting moments even if you didn’t do it intentionally.  If I fly in the third person it’s not a total nightmare but it’s still ugly.  I’ve probably killed myself more than I’ve killed other people with planes.  Luckily, I can drive the tanks and the jeeps without screwing my team over.

There are some things that I don’t understand though.  Like why when you zoom in with the sniper rifle there’s a second or so when you are not able to see.  It’s like after you put your eye to the scope the lens cover hasn’t been taken off yet.  And since the sniper rifle only shoots one bullet at a time you regularly can’t see for a second when you want to shoot.  I still wouldn’t be any good with it if I weren’t blind for that second but I just don’t get it.  Does the game not count your kills unless you kill them with your main weapon?  There have been a number of times when I would kill someone with a grenade or destroy an enemy tank with the bazooka and my killcount wouldn’t increase. 

I’m really hoping that as time goes on DICE releases more maps.  It seems likely that they will.  I’ve always liked the European theatre more than the Asian theatre.  Old European architecture is good for fighting others on my television.  Coral Sea just isn’t my cup of tea since I can’t fly a plane..

I’ll probably do better the more I play but right now I’m finishing games with five kills and ten deaths more often than not.  Being bad at an online shooter almost always makes it harder to enjoy but so far Battlefield 1943 is the rare exception.  Anyways, if I get too bad and want to play an online WWII shooter I can still go back and play COD 2 and kick the crap out of the last 12 people playing that.

My first memory of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 by John Lewis

When I was a kid the most popular musical artist on the entire planet was Michael Jackson.  For the most part I didn’t listen to his music since I just wasn’t into dance R&B.  But there was one thing that I loved him for.  When I was eight years old I went over to a friends house because he had a Sega Genesis and I only had my eight bit NES.  When he said he wanted to show the Michael Jackson game I thought he had lost his mind.  First of all, he knew I wasn’t a Michael Jackson fan.  Not only that but he wasn’t one either.  Apparently his mom got it for him because she thought that it would help him learn to dance or sing…or whatever, I don’t know.  But I know she thought it would be family friendly.  Anyway when he turned it on and the screen read, “Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker” and the music started playing I immediately became intrigued.  It looked like some kind of futuristic robot war with fantastic music was about to go down.  Or at least that’s what I imagined from seeing the font as a little kid.

The first level you spin through a door as Michael and toss a quarter into a jukebox from ten feet away and the music starts.  That may have been the single greatest entrance in the history of gaming up to that point.  It was also immediately the best music I had heard in a game.  It’s still the best music in any game to this day.  Smooth Criminal just translates to midi Genesis recordings so well. 

The gameplay up until the last level is a fairly standard beat em up where you have to rescue kidnapped children from the evil Mr. Big, but you do have a few special attacks.  You can slide down banisters taking out several enemies at once.  You can perform a spin move where if you spin long enough you can use your fedora as a boomerang and take out anyone that it hits.  My favorite and one of the most enjoyable moments you can hope to have comes when you get all the enemies around you to dance with you.  Depending on the level it will play a different Michael Jackson song.  When the dance is over all the enemies drop to the floor and you can move on.  It’s really fun to do but it does take away some of your health.

The game also incorporates other aspects of Michael’s moves and friends.  When you perform the standard attack, a kick, it looks like the dance move that he performed during his career.  It also shoots something out of his foot.  I can’t tell if its stars or ninja stars but it doesn’t matter.  When he does this or practically any other move he shouts, “WOO”.  The last level you get to play as the robot from the movie.  It’s a first person section where you’re shooting at Mr. Big.  It’s ridiculous in concept but great in execution.  Just like the rest of the game.

I can’t believe that a game based on a movie that had Michael Jackson as a robot fighting Joe Pesci is as fun as it is.  The movie is great in its own way to.  Eventhough I was never a big fan of his music, I, along with millions of others, managed to entertained.  Not in the way most were but, I still have fond memories and they’re in part due to Michael Jackson.