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  • Urge to Buy… RISING

    Posted on August 22nd, 2005 Finster 3 comments

    This week, the Nintendo DS drops in price to $129 and Nintendogs and Advance Wars are released… Must… resist… Wife will… kill me…

    If, like me, you think that Welsh Corgis are the greatest breed of dog on the planet, then you will want to make sure you pick up THIS Nintendogs version:


  • Open Letter to Sony

    Posted on August 22nd, 2005 Finster No comments

    This guy at lockergnomes posted an open letter to Sony regarding the PSP, Memory Sticks, and UMD movies.

    Of note:

    I have two suggestions for you: (1) Sell PSP movies / shows at $5 a pop; and/or (2) bundle UMDs with your regular DVD cases as value-adds. . . . The second deserves your full attention. You’ll fuel countless more PSP sales by bundling the UMD with another media purchase.

    That’s actually a really good idea. If Sony included UMD’s with their vast DVD catalog, it would probably go a long way towards bolstering PSP sales. Plus, it has the added bonus of making Sony not look like a pack of wild idiots. So, probably would never happen.

  • Uwe Boll Watch: Dr. Boll? Doctor of what?

    Posted on August 18th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I saw this linked on Kotaku and I laughed heartily.

    Uwe Boll’s interviews are always entertaining. Good to see he’s still drinking his own Kool-Aid.

    This comment scared the jeebus out of me.

    24. What other games have caught your eye ? What about Splinter Cell? Good idea

    Dr Boll – Postal and Metal Gear

    Did he just use Postal and Metal Gear in the same sentence? Filthy blasphemer.

    On a sidenote, I wonder what Jack Thompson thinks of Uwe Boll’s movies? If anyone out there gets a chance to interview Jack Thompson, make sure to ask him about the Bloodrayne movie. That would be wicked fun.

  • Xbox 360: Pricing Announced; Blogger Pissed Off

    Posted on August 17th, 2005 Finster 8 comments


    By now, you’ve all heard the news. Xbox 360 pricing has been announced, and… oh, look! The 20Gb HDD is going to cost $100 more dollars.

    Microsoft today officially announced two price SKUs for the North American and European markets, with a premium SKU selling for $399.99 in the North American market… while the Xbox 360 Core System will MSRP for $299.99 in the U.S.

    What the hell is Microsoft doing? Oh yeah, being themselves.

    Peter Moore, one of MS’s VP’s answered some questions for IGN. I’m going to respond to some of his comments… because… well… they royally piss me off.

    Some gamers want simply to play a game and have none of the, in their estimation, some of the frills of the gaming experience, and price becomes paramount for them. At the same time, we believe it’s important to offer them the ability to set up and upgrade.

    Yeah, geez, I know when I play a game, I don’t want any frills, like not having to buy a stack of memory cards, or have universal HDD support in every single game I stick in the machine. At the same time, I also enjoy the prospect of having to upgrade my console. That way, it’s more like the PC gaming experience where you have to spend $2000 every couple years to be able to play the latest games.

    We have no plans to have Halo or Halo 2 loaded on the hard drive right now. For us, I believe, we need to focus on high definition experiences. Halo 2 is arguably close to high definition. Halo was built in standard definition, as you know, but the idea of putting stuff on the hard drive is to have an instant, out-of-the-box experience in high definition.

    Phew! Wouldn’t want that extra $100 to bring in anything of real VALUE besides a peripheral that won’t be universally supported by game developers. Luckily, there will be some Hi-Def videos on there for all those clowns that buy UMD movies.

    The quality of the current generation of peripherals for us has been like, if you will, the Wild West. It has not been, I believe, that of a quality or consistent experience. So we are trying to get a better grip on that, quite frankly.

    Okay, for a second there, I was worried that third-parties would be selling cheaper versions of controllers, headsets, and the like. Guess I won’t have to worry about that. Thanks to Microsoft, I’m sure they’ll all be as expensive as the first-party peripherals.

    I hate you, Peter Moore. I hate you J Allard with your hip hop period-less first initial and your crappy marketing wardrobe. I hate you, Microsoft, for being just like Sony.

    So, Nintendo, when’s that Revolution coming out?

    BTW, I can’t wait to buy the cheap system, and then for $100, mod it, and give it a 250 GB HDD. After all, MS wants me, TEH GAMER, to be at the center of the Xbox 360 “experience”.

    Shut up, J Allard.

  • Halo as RTS? That’s IMPOSSIBLE!!!

    Posted on August 15th, 2005 Finster No comments

    One of my favorite columns on the web is Gamespot’s Rumor Control. As the administrator of the Fiorina 161 penal colony says, “This is Rumor Control. Here are the facts.” Unfortunately, Gamespot sometimes gets it wrong. Not often, though.

    They said:

    Source: Various conspiracy theorists in the gaming industry who read a Halo 2 survey dispatched by Microsoft.

    The official story: Say it with me: “Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation.”–official Microsoft spokesperson.

    What we heard: Microsoft recently posted a survey asking questions about Halo 2 and its multiplayer map pack. Nothing special here, right? Well, not exactly. A few clues prompted some to see this as simply more than market research. Case in point, Question #17: “Do you regularly or occasionally play Simulation games on a console or PC?” Why would Microsoft ask Halo players such a thing? Next clue: an e-mail informing gamers of the survey says “Commanding the battlefield takes strategic thinking.” Anyone who has played Halo 2 knows that the only thing one commands in the game is the direction bullets fly. These clues spawned one eagle-eyed GameSpot editor to be rich with curiosity, and he/she promptly galloped to the conclusion that a Halo-themed strategy game may be in the works. Logic says that if Solid Snake can be featured in a card-based strategy game, then Master Chief could meet the same fate, right? However, given developer Bungie’s track record with its popular franchises (Marathon was always a FPS, Myth was always an RTS), it seems unlikely that you’ll be reading the text “M Chief needles Covenant Elite for 20 points of damage.”

    Bogus or not bogus?: We have to say Bogus on this one. If only because the thought of the Chief moving across a hexagonal board is creepy.

    Gamespot must have forgotten that Halo originally started out as a RTS. It was after getting bought by MS that Bungie switched gears and made Halo the FPS that we know now.

    So, a Halo RTS doesn’t sound so far-fetched, now, does it?

  • More SG-1: The Alliance: Interview with Perception Dev Chris Proctor

    Posted on August 12th, 2005 Finster No comments

    Stargate Gaming has an interview up with one of the developers for Stargate SG-1: The Alliance.

    Note the awesome al’kesh screen:

    Also, if you haven’t checked out the games many multi-player modes, please do so.

  • The Latest on SG-1: The Alliance

    Posted on August 12th, 2005 Finster No comments

    This news was so depressing to me I didn’t know how to comment. I am unapologetically a Stargate fanboy. Have been ever since the original movie.

    In case anyone hasn’t been bothering to read the news linked on every other gaming site, The Stargate game’s publisher, JoWood, announced that SG-1: The Alliance was being cancelled due to lack of quality on the part of the developer, Perception. I was so sad.

    I knew the Ancients were still watching over us when I read this press release direct from the developer:

    Development on the game will continue uninterrupted at Perception’s Sydney studio. Perception is committed to giving fans the best gaming experience possible.

    Oh, and Perception is suing the pants off JoWood (and rightly so if their claims are true.)

    Ben Lenzo, CEO of Perception said, “We view it as unfortunate that JoWooD would elect to make such misleading and libelous comments to the media and the marketplace. Over the last 9 months, JoWooD has openly acknowledged being in breach of contract in a number of areas including many legal and confidentiality breaches as well as several financial defaults for work performed by Perception and accepted by JoWooD.”

    JoWood reminds me of the g’oauld, and Perception’s Jaffa decided they weren’t taking this crap from their false gods.

    Anyway, I plan to follow this one and will let you know what happens.

    I would also like to add that if EA becomes the publisher for this game… I will cry.

  • Jack Thompson: Rampage!

    Posted on August 8th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    The Buttonmasher has a great post highlighting this Economist article on video game violence which sums up the FACTS on this whole video game violence thing.

    In a corollary, El Buttonmasher posted a great link to this email flame war between VGCats and the one and only Jack Thompson, professional idiot.

    My favorite part is where Jack Thompson goes off on this whole “I get death threats so I don’t have time to respons to you.” Then, the very next email he sends:

    From: “Jack Thompson”

    dear idiot: you initially contacted me. stop, or else. got it?

    Wow. This is Jack Thompson, folks.

  • Dungeon Siege II: First Impressions

    Posted on August 7th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I’ve played about an hour of the DS2 demo and you may color me less than impressed.

    The graphics in the demo are improved over the first DS for sure, but they’re still pretty much crap. I was surprised how crappy the graphics were, in fact. Fate had better graphics, IMHO. The characters were low-polygon affairs that shared the same basic look and feel as the models from the first game. Actually, it looks like they may have just copied the models straight over. Spell effects are nothing new. You’ve seen them all in Diablo 2 and Neverwinter Nights.

    Game-play wise, it’s the same tired gameplay that was in the first one. Linear maps that take you pretty much from point a to point b, oh look, a mini-map, so now it’s even easier to follow the linear maps. They could’ve just removed the movement controls and made a pretty decent rail shooter.

    The story seems somewhat cliche but is not entirely devoid of interest. *yawn* another evil guy gets powerful by means of some ancient artifact and tries to track down more artifacts. Blah blah blah. I’ve played this game. It was called Diablo 2.

    So, yeah, I’m a little cynical about DS2, especially because it feels less like a sequel and more like an expansion pack or a user-created mod of the first game.

    Maybe the editing tools will be decent this time around. I doubt it.

  • Lucas at SIGGRAPH: AI stinks!

    Posted on August 5th, 2005 Finster 1 comment

    At SIGGRAPH, George Lucas expressed his desire that video games have much better AI. I’ve seen his comments posted in a few places, and the so far, the most lucid response has been, “OMGZ!! JARJAR IS SO GHEY!!!111 LOL!!! JARJAR NEEDS AI!!!”

    Are we done hating on Lucas yet? No? Well, too bad.

    He is right.

    The AI in current video games is CRAP. Right now, AI consists of very elaborate scripting. Scripted sequences != AI. Video games need real AI, where an NPC watches the PC and learns behavior from you. If you are bunny-hopping and getting more kills that way, then the AI should pick up on that and do the same thing. Using the same route every map? Then the AI should learn from that and send more guys that way. Or perhaps the AI will decide to use a feint and really be planning an assault on the other route and come from behind.

    AI in games has been pretty much the same or worse since Descent. That was the last time the AI did something that made me go, “Holy crap, I’ve never seen a computer-controlled enemy do anything like that!” I was floating down some tunnel, I turn to go into a room and I start getting plinked in the back by some drone. I turn around to lay into him, and as soon as the drone notices this, it backs out of the room and hides behind a corner. It didn’t even wait for me to fire. That moment scared me.

    I realize that it was scripted, blah blah blah, but it was really well done. That was over 10 years ago. It’s time to move on. Let’s see some truly innovative AI.

    Oh, that’s right. EAUbisoftVivendi controls the video game market… nevermind.