___   ____ _  ___  __                                   
  |__ \ / __ \ |/ / |/ /   ____  ____  ____ ___  ___  _____
  __/ // / / /   /|   /   / __ `/ __ `/ __ `__ \/ _ \/ ___/
 / __// /_/ /   |/   |   / /_/ / /_/ / / / / / /  __(__  ) 
/____/\____/_/|_/_/|_|   \__, /\__,_/_/ /_/ /_/\___/____/  

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


In da club

When I was configuring my PS2 network adapter, I opted in to be considered for beta tests of new games. I haven't participated in any of those yet, but soon afterward I got an email from Sony inviting me to join their "Gamer Advisory Panel," a sort of ridiculous, but pretty much innocuous, thing on the Playstation website with message boards and surveys, ostensibly for 'elite gamers' but most likely for anyone who has given Sony their email address. It's a great thing to be a member of if you want to express your unwavering admiration of Sony Computer Entertainment. If you're a regular-type person, it's laughable PR with embarrassingly positive responses from devoted fanboys. Oh, and I got a free copy of the Official Playstation Magazine (including demo disc!); of course I already have a free subscription (you can too!), but Sony's effort is appreciated, since my subscription hasn't kicked in yet.

The emails I get from them are pretty dire, and always good for a laugh-- they love to overstate their importance and mine. Today I found out that they use the same tactic in physical mail too. I had to share this with you guys: my Official Membership Kit! Now you too can be (close to someone who is) Gaming Elite!

Here's the envelope I got. It's about a foot long and foil-embossed.

Inside is a letter congratulating me, stating that "this is the highest honor you can receive from PlayStation(TM)-- and we're thrilled to bring you into the fold."

(I had a hard time picking a section to quote. This thing is awesomely bad.)

In addition, I got this certificate:

which I will NO DOUBT frame and display proudly. I like the shiny Playstation logo in the corner.

Finally, the absolute best thing in here: my membership card(s!)


On top is your normal club membership card thing, which is a little nicer looking than my Capcom Fighter's Edge card, I guess. But the most magically dumb-shit-tastic thing in the whole package is on the bottom of this plastic sheet: a keychain card!
With my membership number on the back! I am curious as to the utility of this object: is there some top-secret Playstation grocery store? Do I flash this at EB in order to be treated like a human being? Anyway, it'll go great with my PSM "Extreme Playstation Loyalist" shirt, or it would, if I ever wore it, which I never ever have or will.

I have a new theory about the Playstation 3 price now: they have to recoup losses from sending out membership cards to the Gaming Elite.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


some New Games Journalism

This started as kind of a joke, but then almost two weeks passed and I started getting really nervous about finishing it, so I'm just stopping.

I spent the Christmas vacation of my second year of college at home playing Phantasy Star Online. I had a standing appointment with Zack, from 10 p.m. until he fell asleep. Zack played as a big robot, named ED-209 after the Robocop character. Zack's big robot was popular enough; after a cheater destroyed his character, he created a different huge robot called Capt. FatFat who attracted even more friends. I used my real name, but chose a female avatar with spiky blue hair. I chose the character type because I wanted someone who could use magic and a wide variety of weapons; I ended up getting a lot of free items and offers to team up, as well as other miscellaneous propositions. I never figured out what all those (ostensible) guys thought they were going to get in exchange for their Double Sabers and Crazy Tunes. Was I going to engage in some sexy PSO lobby chat? Was I going to make a symbol chat of his name and my name with a heart drawn around them? Or was I to... seek physical contact outside of the game world? Needless to say, I never encouraged this kind of behavior, but if somebody really wanted me to have some of their duped weapons, I took them. All I ever did to encourage these guys was walk around in the lobby asking if they'd seen Capt. FatFat.

Sometimes we wouldn't even make it down to a level. We'd stand around in the lobby for hours chatting. I'm certain that this is not uncommon in multiplayer games, especially those that put an emphasis on teamwork, like most MMOs-- eventually, the camaraderie that gets pushed on you supercedes the actual goals of the game. In my case, since my teammate was already my best friend, I didn't need much of a push. Sometimes I felt like fighting monsters got in the way of trying to type.

Oh, as sort of an aside, I should probably describe the game for people who haven't played it. PSO is a prettier 3D Diablo set in space, a third-person dungeon crawling game with online play for teams of up to four. The main gameplay involves killing room after room full of monsters and finding items of varying rarity. Each level ends with a dramatic boss fight set to fucking amazing music. There are also sidequests that you can voluntarily take for extra money, experience, and items. In the online game, players meet in lobbies before teaming up. In later versions, some lobbies are set up for a game called Lobby Ball. There is no evidence of anyone playing Lobby Ball ever.

A couple of days after we started playing online, Zack hooked up a second TV in his room so he could watch Star Trek and The Twilight Zone while we played. He eventually met another player who did the same thing, and on nights when I was offline the two of them would hang out in the lobby and watch TV together.

So much of my enjoyment of PSO is tied up in the circumstances. Often the best part of a game is something personal that is not designed or included by the developers; Super Smash Bros. Melee, for example, was nowhere near as good as the original Nintendo 64 game-- despite being objectively improved in every measurable quantity-- because I was not a college freshman in a dorm full of gamers when Melee came out. The best quality of the original was that people living nearby always wanted to play it. I forget things like this when sequels to my favorite series are announced.

Phantasy Star Universe looks great. The art is beautiful, the graphics look great (for a PS2 game), and Sonic Team's emphasis on the single-player story is promising. But Zack no longer has internet access in his apartment, and besides that he has discovered Grand Theft Auto in a big way. Zack is a feature that will not be included in this new game, and is no doubt the feature that made PSO one of my favorite games ever. Inevitably most of the time spent on PSU online will be attempts to recapture the feeling of playing PSO with Zack. I hope that, at least, the new game is as good as the original, in terms of the gameplay aspects that Sega has control over. If you pick up the PS2 version when it comes out, you should look for me online. I'll be looking for new PS buddies to go with the new game.

I won't be hard to find. Just go into any lobby and ask for Capt. FatFat.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Phantasy Star Universe screens

Apparently the nondisclosure agreement on the closed PC beta of Phantasy Star Universe has lapsed, and someone has posted a shit-ton of screen shots in an open directory. The character customization looks awesome; the graphics are pretty, the art direction is gorgeous, and the areas look quite a bit more expansive than in Phantasy Star Online.

I am a HUGE PSO fan-- it's one of my favorite games ever, and something I put hundreds of hours into across different platforms. This looks like a nice evolution of the gameplay, with a nice new style. Also apparently the single-player game will be more fleshed out, with its own 40+ hour story.

I'm super excited about this one.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006




Doesn't use motion-control, so apparently same control as other Smash games
New characters include: Wario(!), Pit, Metaknight (Kirby), Fusion suit Samus (edit: appears to be no-suit Samus) and.






Hey, readers: tell me what kind of stuff you're most interested in and I'll tailor my news-condensing to you.

Back to oohhhhhhhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiit

lots of pics in this thread
edit: also Diddy Kong Racing, Starfox to DS zzzzzzzzzzzz

2005 PS3 vs. 2006 PS3


I still believed I could own one of these back then.

Wii gun attachment

Source: Jeux-France via NeoGAF

If this thing is cheap enough, then it could mean more gun games (besides the upcoming Duck Hunt. So, good.

i forgot a bunch of stuff

quick 'headlines' because I'm not a professional journalist, plus nobody is actually reading this

Halo 3 trailer on Bungie's website
GTA4 October '07 for 360 and PS3, 360 gets 'exclusive downloadable content'
GTA: Vice City Stories announced for PSP

Duck Hunt Wii
New Resident Evil Wii
Trauma Center Wii

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops for PSP: multiplayer, MGS3 cast, looks REALLY GOOD
Metal Gear Solid digital comic for PSP: based on Ashley Wood's comic series
Metal Gear Solid 4: new INSANE trailer on the Kojima Productions E3 page (the Japanese side seems to work better, and the links are in English). Also I found a page with a bunch of cool desktops while looking around the Kojima Productions site.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Nintendo E3 site


highlights: screens and videos of the new stuff for DS, GC, and Wii

previously unannounced GC games including DK Bongo Blast (a bongo-controller racer) and THE BEST THING AT E3 OR MAYBE EVER Super Paper Mario

also the Wii 'classic controller'

still nintendo...

Contest winner played Tennis with Miyamoto, Reggie, and Iwata-- looked fun, cutesy.

Nintendo conference:


Wii powers up Virtual Console games/Opera browser in a few seconds

Wii has functions in standby mode; can receive wifi stuff (other players can visit Animal Crossing town while console is off, for example)

Wii Sports: tennis/golf/baseball on one disc at launch

Nintendo Conference:

Biggest news:

4th quarter 2006
No price yet...
Mario Wii (looks like NiGHTs), called Mario Galaxy
Separate Wii and Gamecube versions of Zelda Twilight Princess, Bow/Sword Control with Wiimote
Wiimote has speaker, both parts have motion sensors
Sonic looks really fucking good

Speaking of MGS4...



Monday, May 08, 2006



Here's a bit of E3 news for you: Sony revealed the PS3 prices today: $499 for a 'base model' with a 20gb hard drive, and $599 for a 'premium' version with a 60gb hard drive, HDMI output, and CF/SD memory card slots.

Looks like I'm going to take a few years off to pick up some old games I may have missed, while crying bitter tears about my Metal Gear Solid 4-free future. Snake. SNAAAAAAAAAKE!

Oh, and they finished up the day by revealing that they ripped off the Nintendo controller. Really, high fives all around, Sony-- I didn't think anything would me take Microsoft's side in the 'console war'-- but you guys proved me the fuck wrong.