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FriedConsole Blog

Travel Stories

As a frequent traveler I often have to listen to non-frequent travelers "horror stories" and they often end with something like "...and so we sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes". I then pause for a moment and then expect the story to go on and get interesting but after the moment passed I just realized I wasted time listening to a story that has happened to me hundreds of time. I am often mystified at the passengers ready to start a revolt because the pilot mentioned we need to wait 10 minutes to park at the gate. If you booked your connecting flight so close that 10 minutes means you will miss your flight, you are a moron that deserves to spend a night at the airport. At the company I work for, everyone travels and when we have a few drinks and swap stories you really hear some interesting stuff. Here are two of mine:

Clippy
I was lucky to grab a bulkhead row and an empty middle seat to boot. I was in for what I thought was a good flight. I am reading my magazine when I hear the unmistakable noise of finger nail clippers. (This was pre-9/11 so this dangerous weapon was allowed.) I look over and sure enough the guy is clipping his finger nails. I was like "that is pretty gross" but I continued to read. Then I noticed him take off his shoes. I was like "he better not be doing what I think he is going to do". Sure enough toenail clippings were bouncing off the bulkhead wall sometimes coming dangerously close to me. I was secretly wanting a clipping to hit my leg so I could have an excuse to sock him in the head.

Second Cla$$
I am again sitting in bulkhead, because flights from New York are impossible to upgrade because there are too many rich people who actually waste money on first cla$$ seats. We are sitting on the tarmac on a weather delay and the tape of Everyone Loves Raymond I have seen 100 times is playing. People are getting restless and starting to wander the aisles. From first cla$$ comes a young richly dress woman with a small toy dog in a matching outfit. She introduces the dog to everyone and I am like "that's fine she is looking for attention and it is all very amusing." Shortly after the introductions she puts down a diaper mat for the dog to go to the bathroom. Quickly the flight attendant tells her that she needs to have the dog relieve itself in the bathroom. I realize that she went back to coach not to talk to us but because she thought it would be inappropriate to have the dog go to the bathroom in first cla$$ but it seemed OK for the dog to pee among us commoners in coach. I am sure she thought it was noble of her to introduce the dog to the poor before we watched it defecate.

Note: I have to use cla$$ becaue of the crappyness of the GameSpot editor.

The Five Worst Airports in America

Airports are like purgatory. It is the time before the miserable hell of flying but still almost as miserable.

5) Kansas City - I have visited many airports with as many places to eat as the K.C. airport but they were all 3 gate small town airports. If you want to eat in K.C. you better like the Cheers restaurant. At this Cheers everyone might know your name but that is because it's the only damn place to eat. Maybe because this airport is in the middle of nowhere it is really hard to transport good food out there.

4) St. Louis - This airport is creepy. The extinction of TWA caused what is literally a mile of weird empty gates between the Southwest and American terminals. It is like one of the post-nuclear holocaust movies from the Eighties. Things left where they were before somebody was sent to the unemployment line. Signs on restaurants left 7 years ago stating that "we will open back up soon". I am afraid to use one of the restrooms because my body will never be found for years if I get killed by someone gone mad after being bumped from an overbooked flight.

3) New York La Guardia - Thanks to Giuliani's campaign to clean up the city in the 90's the airport is now crappier than the subway. Sure you could have paid $1000 dollars more to land at the nice airport that is incomprehensibly 3 miles away but you just landed at La Guardia instead. You can tell it is going to rain in New York that day because the staff has put out buckets to catch all the rain coming through the roof. It feels like I am playing Frogger crossing the street with the exception that the yellow cars get faster when you walk in front of them.

2) Las Vegas - Landing in Las Vegas is like stepping into a dream world. There are slot machines IN THE AIRPORT. This conveys to you that you are in some kind of fantasy land. The problem is that the same slot machines look really sad with a hangover on the way home. Old ladies are trying to make back their social security checks with the slots that have the worst odds in the state of Nevada. The longer you stay in the Vegas the sadder the airport becomes on the way home. It is compounded by the fact that after 3 days in Vegas you can't wait to leave because you made the mistake of viewing Vegas in the daytime and not intoxicated.

1) Chicago O'Hare - When you look at the departure board you have to do a little math to figure out the real time you will depart. Just add a random amount between 2 hours and 3 days. The only time your plane won't depart is the time on the departure board. The worse thing is that are not enough seats and there is no damn place to eat. There is only one damn sit down restaurant in the whole airport. Good thing my delays average 4 hours so I can wait an hour to sit and eat some decent food and overpay for a beer.

Charlotte probably has the best airport with a live piano singer, good food, and rocking chairs. Too bad if you got there you had to fly US Airways.

No international airports are mentioned because to hold other countries at a different standard isn't fair. Sure O'Hare is hell with crying baby in your ear but at least you can drink the water and it doesn't have any French people.

Three days in wasteland - Glad to be back.

I am glad GameSpot finally got their act together because my search for a new video game site was not going well. Here is what I found:

IGN
Wow this site is a mess. If I wanted stuff on movies and TV, I would go to a site for movies and TV. IGN takes so long to load that I thought I was browsing on my DS. Why are there checkboxes next to the games? I was afraid to click on them because it would probably spend another 2 hours loading the page again.

1UP
Wow this site is ugly. White with red text? Are you serious? I didn't know my computer could render fonts that small. GameSpot has the SoapBox where good writers can have their work read. 1UP seems to feature just popular bloggers who just happen to be attractive girls. Coincidence? Some of the blogs at 1UP make MySpace musings look like Voltaire.

ScrewAttack
OK if you post video of gameplay footage and just state some obvious knowledge of the game you are wasting people's time. Really Contra had a code to get 30 lives? Thanks for that insight. Yeah just say the game is "awesome" 50 more times.

GamePro
I think magazine game sites purposely make you click on 12 links to read something so you will just go out and buy the magazine. Yeah gaming print magazines are useless unless you like reading a preview for a game you already finished.

Luckily GameSpot decided to clear things up because I was worried I would be reading old issues of Nintendo Power from 1989 for the next couple of years because it was better than anything else out there.

I am done here

Unless I hear from GameSpot that the Jeff Gerstmann firing is false, I am going to assume it is true. No more GameSpot for me. I am actually a Netratings household so I probably represent about 10,000 household not viewing GameSpot. No more CNET either. No more Edios either. Gotta stand up for something.

I think it has been said better by other people so I will not go on about it.

I am sitting on an entertaining and funny Soapbox entry about the PSP. Does anybody know of another site where it would be read and welcome?

Fanboy Test Revisited

A couple of weeks ago I received a few comments about my fanboy test and after reading them I lost 20 IQ points. It seems that people wanted to prove that I was right by systematically illustrating every one of the points I made. The resulting responses were so unreal that I started to think that some comments were a high form of satire that surpassed my intellect. The most mind boggling were the fanboys that just started listing off console war talking points ignoring the entire point of the article. This is probably evidence that the gaming corporations employ robots to respond to every comment section with randomly generated fanboy gibberish. Obviously the corporations haven't yet programmed the robots to use capital letters or punctuation yet.

Wal-Mart PS3 Fanboy

I was accused of being a PS3 fanboy which was interesting because I never said anything positive about the PS3. This maybe be a metaphysical argument but does one have to own a PS3 to be a PS3 fanboy? The only time I have played a PS3 is the demo of MotorStorm in a Wal-Mart after some kid was slapped away kicking and screaming by their mumu wearing parent. (For the international readers, Wal-Mart is a store where parents with mullets are required to beat their kids until they can be heard from the other side of the kilometer sized store.)

I regret to write this because it will make some fanboy way too happy, but I have had a lot of fun with a 360 controller in my hands. The thing about the 360 being almost ubiquitous is that I have no need to buy one. I can go to somebody's house and play through the awesomeness of Gears of War and save myself $460. I'll probably get a 360 later when games for it become cheaper and Microsoft makes a machine that stops making noises like a gerbil is getting tortured inside. I could list the reasons why I would want to buy a 360 but the corporate robot fanboys will inevitably list the reasons for me in the comments section below.

Bias Is Everywhere

Some people think that I was hypocritical to play as a fanboy in my test. The truth is that I originally tried to write the editorial without a bias but I was really left with two choices:

1) Write the editorial completely without illustrating examples and make it really boring.

2) Try to write it using examples from each console exploding it into five pages of redundancy.

Either way I was sure some fanboy would see some kind of bias in it.

It seems like calling bias is something people do when they don't want their brain to hear any truth. This is something you see in politics all of the time with all sides of the political spectrum calling the media biased when they report something they don't like. If a politician starts to bash puppies with baseball bats, the supporters start talking that the media is biased and they don't report on all of the times he doesn't eat babies. If you read the comments here at Gamespot, you see people claiming Gamespot is biased just for reporting the information they don't want to hear. Just because a number assigned by an editor at GameSpot for an enemy system's game is higher than your systems game, doesn't mean you should fill up the comments section with your conspiracy theory on GameSpot receiving bribes. After watching any GameSpot video featuring the staff, you would know by the clothes (obviously acquired at truck stops) that they aren't getting suitcases of cash from Microsoft.

Fanboy versus Non-Fanboy

One of the things that amazed me in the response was that people tried to put me in a "anti-fanboy" group. Will all of the PS3/WII/Xbox fanboys band together to fight the "anti-fanboys"? Ugh. No, I really don't care. Sure fanboys have made reading comments on Gamespot and other gaming sites a complete waste of time, but it really doesn't bother me. The reason I had the link to the Dufur was to say that genocide gets me more upset than some fanboy's waste of Internet space but not upset enough to get off my butt from playing video games all day. I made a mistake by making the ending a little too crass when the intention was to be humorous but I have a feeling fanboys would not have found anything funny anyway.

One of my goals of the editorial, although highly unlikely achieved, was that somebody would realize that they shouldn't be so close minded and maybe they would grow up and not be one of the many ignorant people we have roaming this earth. Sure it is a harmless gaming console fight but in reality that person is/will probably be irrational about a lot of things and probably contribute to the mental pollution that afflicts this world.

Obvious Fanboyality

Another mistake is that lack of subtlety in my test. My original intention was to just dribble in a little bit of Xbox trashing. The thing I realized while writing is that being a jerk is really intoxicating. It was so much fun pretending to be a PS3 fanboy that it got out of hand. I entered the mind of the fanboy and it was scary.

No Bullying Zone

I wanted to make fun of some individual comments really bad but I don't believe in bullying. I did snoop on some profiles and I found one fanboy (the number of comments will keep him anonymous) who only submitted one editorial and here is the entire text of the poetry titled "PS3 is garbage, Deal with it":

Heres what you do; get a box of wine and all your credit cards. Drink said wine and cut up your cards for making such a stupid purchase. And that ladies and gentlemen is how you "Deal with it".

He claimed not to understand my editorial. I do believe him.

The Fanboy Test and Steven Colbert

Unsure if you're a fanboy? The following editorial is an actual test to determine if you are a fanboy. Read the article from start to finish and by the end I guarantee you will know if you are a game console fanboy.

The user submitted gaming media these days consist of 90% fanboy babble stating the same points over and over again. I view video games as an art and I enjoy debating the merits and flaws of certain games but regardless of what I write people turn it into a console attack session. Nothing is heard over the din but "the PS3 is terrible" or in the correct Internet colloquiums "PS3 suxxors lol".

I could go on about how "it is really about the games" or something as almost as cliché as the fanboy talking points but I would rather look at the psychology of fanboyism. Why? Well I think we can learn a lot and apply the same science to how people get overly emotional and irrational about other things like sports, religious affiliation, nationality, ethnic backgrounds, and politics. Choosing sides on the console wars is nothing more than becoming part of a group. Unfortunately when human beings become a member of a group, they feel the need to hate the people outside of their group. It must be genetic because since the beginning of time wars have been fought over small differences in groups of people who will oddly band together in a few short years to fight people with slightly larger differences. Looking back at history it is amazing the human race still exists.

Blind Allegiance and Spin

To be a proper fanboy no matter how many times your gaming system screws you, you need to focus on the positive. We have all read the comments by the Xbox fanboy that had a 360 with the red ring of death four times but he will talk about how great the customer service is and that it's all free. No wireless Rock Band controller but the PS3 gets one? The wired one is better because it feels more like a real guitar. If the Xbox burned down a fanboy's house, he would talk about it really gave his family a chance to get a new house and that the PS3 sucks because it doesn't have the burn down your house feature.

Obsession with Sales Charts

As a corporate slave, I get called into meetings where I have to look at sales charts despite being a computer programmer. I find the meaningless numbers and graphs mind numbingly boring. Maybe if I really felt like the corporation that employs me really cared about me (it doesn't), I would care about the corporate sales charts. That is why I find it curious that some people care about a console maker's sales chart when that corporation doesn't think twice about bleeding them dry for money.

I guess it is like it is some kind of a sport to these people where the sales chart is the score. If your console sales are higher, your team is winning. These people track the trading of corporate executives like they were the third baseman from the Yankees. If you actually worked for a corporation, you would know that people at the top really have very little impact into the final product. These people sit in meetings where the topic of discussion isn't on making better games but how to make a profit out of milking kids dry.

Fanboys seem to spend hours of their lives fighting for their corporation. Maybe that is why they feel that they are part of the corporate team. They should unionize and actually demand compensation instead having to pay $600 to work for marketing. In reality most of their work is read by people who already picked a favorite corporation. It is really irrelevant because the majority of systems are bought by soccer moms because it is on sale.

Always Looking to Debate

It doesn't matter what the news article is about - it is somehow related to the console wars. The article could be about kids learning from video games in school and the Xbox fanboy will post a comment, I am sure he thinks is funny, like "they probably can't learn anything when it is only displaying 30fps". If there aren't any opposing fanboys just make up something they might say and debate it with your self.

Collecting Dust/Echo Chamber

The fanboy will often talk about consoles they have never really owned or spent a significant amount of time with. Fanboys just repeat talking points over and over despite never having any clue. I naively believed that the PSP was slow to load games because I have heard from fanboys 1000 times. After purchasing seven different games for the PSP, I haven't come across the unbearably slow load time. I am sure there was some early sports game with a minute load time but it doesn't seem to reflect anything I have seen yet. The PSP does have actual flaws that are never mentioned in fanboy talking points. (I will have to have a future editorial on the reality of the PSP.)

The other set of fanboys always mention how their unfavored console is "collecting dust". If I paid $250+ for a console I never played, I would be really quiet about it. This just says "I am a moron with money to burn." Even if you say you sold it on Ebay after a month you still look like a moron.

Selective Facts and Complete Irrationality

It doesn't matter if the Xbox's games sales in Japan are less than the Atari Jaguar, if the Wii out sells the PS3, the Xbox fanboy is ecstatic. Just talk about how "360 pwned PS3" even if the news article doesn't really say that.

Steven Colbert's character is genius. He totally captured the guy who wants to believe his point of view despite any relation to the actual facts or logic. Fanboys act the same way. It doesn't matter if the chances of God of War 3 coming to the Xbox 360 are less than zero, this guy heard it on a forum so it must be true. To quote the great philsopher Steven Colbert:

Keep your facts, I'm going with the truth.

"No Good Games"

A typical fanboy always talks about how there are "no good games" on the enemy system. I think looking at any critic aggregator site would prove otherwise for all of the systems. In reality the fanboy really means to say is - "there are no good games in my limited genres I play." Here is the fanboy translation guide:

Wii - I don't like games that have different controls.
360 - I don't like shooters and driving games.
PS3 - I like my versions of the same games to have worthless achievement points.
PSP - I really never play portable games
DS - I am worried about people not thinking I am a man for playing cutesy games.

Paranoia

Somehow negative things about your console are really the fault of the competing corporations. The reason the directional pad on the Xbox is unusable is because all of the patents are held by the competitors. Really? How is it possible that all of these third party controllers have completely usable directional pads? How many times have you heard that the Dreamcast died because of the inflated talk of Sony executives before the PS2 came out? Seriously?

Bad News is Good News

If the PS3 has some bad news, it must be good news to the Xbox fanboy. I guess the games on the Xbox get better if a PS3 exclusive game comes out and is terrible. The thinking is that if the competing consoles dies the Xbox will become a better system without competition. Because history has proven when Microsoft kills the competition, that's when the real innovation starts. It is kinda funny because I writing this on Windows which has a new looking interface every three years but still "works" the same way every $200. Xbox fanboys are happy to pay for over priced micro-transactions now, but I wonder if they still don't mind when something, that should have been in the original game, are even higher in the absence of competition?

Character Assassination

If you are stuck in a corner about how to defend your console, your last line of defense is to just start attacking the person who slighted your console. It changes the subject and you never have to say anything remotely to the point. They must be wrong if their icon, name, grammar or previous comments were stupid. If it was some corporate executive, just bring up that corporation's negative history going back to 1950.

There is a reason I have no images or any kind of descriptions of myself here. It's because when people don't like your point, they rip apart anything about you instead of countering your point with reason. I guess it is easier. The only thing I have here on Gamespot is previous gaming ratings and people have commented that my opinion is wrong because only stupid people would give Black a 9.0.

I really don't see an end to the fanboys upsetting themselves on the Internet fighting the great console war. I suppose it is harmless because they almost never take it into the real world with exception of this kid. I guess if they didn't do it they would be fighting over worse subjects like politics or religion. It is still better than being one of those annoying Yankee fans.

Test Results: Did you notice all my comments were skewed at the Xbox fanboys? Did it make you really irrationally angry/happy that I picked on Xbox fanboys? Yes? Congratulations you're a bonafide certified fanboy moron. You should really take a good look at yourself and maybe seek out medical help. Seriously there are really more important things in life to get upset about.

Cripple Ports: Bait and Switch

Sometimes coming up with a phrase to identify something as derogatory saves time and dissuades people from being identified as the pejorative term. So I would like to coin the phrase "cripple port" to identify games that sell you on a good name but are nothing like the system for which it was designed. Sure it has the same name as that awesome game you played before but when you pop the game in you realize you have just lost your money faster than betting on the professional wrestler with the name that sounds like it was made up five minutes before the match like "Tony the Tickler".

Game journalist often give one or two lines about the last generation SKU that will probably sell more than the fancy next gen version the review is really about. The one line is something like: "The PS2 version is not as sharp looking as the 360 version". No really? I thought the PS2 Emotion Engine would transport me into Virtual Reality like in that Aerosmith video with Alicia Silverstone. It would be really beneficial to know that a lot of features are missing, the controls stink, and it looks like garbage smeared on a television.

I like to list some examples to illustrate my point because people only read things in list form and most people already skipped this paragraph. All of my examples are from the DS because it's more interesting than writing about how how Beyond Good and Evil's PS2 version has the same frame rate as the filmstrip I had to watch on puberty in 1984. (I never get anywhere with the ladies because I keep waiting for the filmstrip ding noise to make my next move.)

Battles Prince of Persia

Awesome Prince of Persia on my DS! Whaa?? No platforming here but a card game?? I am a sucker for $10 games and I got suckered. I couldn't figure out how to play this game but to be fair I seem to have a mental block on card games. A friend of mine tried to explain Magic: The Gathering to me for twenty minutes but the byzantine rules only generated empty stares. I think my ability to understand Magic was hampered by the fact that we were in a loud bar, we had no actual cards except for napkin drawings, she had been drinking, I had been drinking, and I had absolutely no interest in actually learning how to play a game with dragons on cards.

Super Mario 64 DS

It's me poorly rendered Mario.

Super Mario 64 is a great game. This is not Super Mario 64. It should have been called Super Mario Cripple Port DS. The original being an early 3D platformer, already had suspect controls but the port to DS made it completely unplayable. I find it humorous that people knock the PSP for only having one analog nub when the DS sure could have used just one nub to save this disaster. I think the 64 is still in the name because it is the number of ways this game makes me want to curse at Mario. I think it only scored well in the gaming press because Nintendo delivered the game with attractive women carrying baskets of money.

DS MaddenCrippled Madden

I don't care if it makes me less "hardcore" to like Madden but I even liked the Wii version. (The only problem with the Wii version is that I kept slapping myself in the head with the nunchuck cord on field goals.) I have yet to find a GBA or DS version that isn't broken. The graphics make it impossible to see what is going on and after a while I realized it was easier to watch the X and O move on the bottom screen to pass. It is like I am playing one of those chalk drawings you always see in every football movie.

I know it is possible to play a good game of Madden on less powerful hardware because I played it in 1994 and it was called Madden 94'. Why doesn't EA just take the Super Nintendo code change the player names and put it on one of those cute little DS cartridges? We don't even need the expansion teams because nobody wants to play as the Jaguars anyway.


DS Racing Games

Here is a tip for readers looking for a DS racing game: if it doesn't say Mario Kart in the title the game is complete garbage. I think they called it Burnout Revenge DS, not because it has any resemblance to Burnout Revenge on a console or the PSP, but because it makes you want to take revenge out on the CEO of Electronic Arts. I won't go into details of my revenge plot after playing Burnout Revenge DS but it involves breaking the legs of EA's CEO in the exact same place with the exact same baseball bat every year and charging him $60 for the "new" version.

I think it was a mistake for Nintendo to include any kind of 3D capabilities in the DS because it almost always turns out bad. The 3D capabilities of DS are only really used well when it generates that creepy head of the "doctor" in Brain Age.


Metroid Prime Hunters & GoldenEye: Rogue Agent

One of things that made me go out and buy a DS during the short period when the PSP was cool and everyone was laughing at the DS, was playing the Metroid demo in a Target. The controls were awesome and I was sure that first person shooters would be better on the DS than even on dual stick consoles. I was wrong. The problem with Metroid isn't the controls but that all of the bad things about Metriod are here: backtracking, getting lost, long periods between saves, and scanning are now in portable form. The missions in Metroid are 30 minutes long which does not do well on an airplane when I am about to complete a mission and the stewardess makes me turn off the DS to prevent the plane from going down in a ball of flames. Playing Metroid for hours gives me Metroid shriveled hands the next day which makes people think I have some sort of new disease that needs it's own telethon.

Rouge Agent doesn't have all the Metroid problems but has a little problem in that the controls are unusable. Do you think someone at EA could have called up Nintendo and asked if they could cut and paste the good control code? This isn't Goldeneye on the N64 but more of a want to poke yourself in the eye with the stylus game. I think the perfect FPS on the DS would be a marriage between the two games and maybe that will happen with Halo DS. If Halo DS does come out, everyone should play through it really fast because the four horsemen of the apocalypse are not far behind.

DS Opera Web Browser

Not really a game unless you find frustrating yourself into wanting to see how far you can throw your DS out a window a game. The Web Browser would have been great if all websites were like they were in 1997. In 1997 the DS would only struggle to process the BLINK tag and that animated GIF of that dancing baby. However, in 2007 CNN will load but the news might be a couple of years out of date so you would be like twenty-three Britney Spears breakdowns behind.

Tony Hawk American Sk8land

Using numbers to spell your game does not make it cool. I never liked Tony Hawk so I have no idea why I bought this. Maybe my thinking was that since all the games I love on real consoles stink on the DS, a game I hate on the PS2 will be awesome on the DS. This game gets points for a cartoony look, not killing you with phony skate culture, or putting in any annoying Jackass characters. It fails for locking you into so many goals that my whole Tony Hawk strategy of pressing random buttons is totally blown. I don't know what a triple gab double aussie face belt dogtown 180 timeshift really is but I like to be really surprised when it happens.

The future of Tony Hawk should be a plastic skateboard controller on the floor. People will pay for it just like Guitar Hero. Just like Guitar Hero is for people who don't want to spend time learning real guitar, Tony Hawk Fake Plastic Skateboard Controller Edition will be for people who don't want to break their face.

Staying a generation behind for financial reasons probably won't save me money if I continue to buy more cripple ports. I will be buying a PSP this week mostly because it has Darth Vader on the back. I am sure it will be impossible to find any cripple ports in UMD format so I should be safe.


Note: Hyperlinks are provided for outdated references to readers under 20 years old.


Also I just realized that the DS game was actually Burnout Legends but that still didn't prevent me from fantasizing about injuring corporate executives.

Geographical Gaming Cultures and Japanese Satan Worshiping Sims

Warning: This editorial contains blatant generalizations about Japanese and Western developed games. The purpose of this light-hearted illustration is to only highlight general trends. In other words - take a chill pill dude.

Anybody who has wasted as much of their life playing video games, as I have, can generally ascertain from playing a game if it was created in Japan or the West. Although some games have a worldwide appeal, a lot of games are unique to a market. Platforms that ignore the tastes of a region will peril. (See Xbox 360 Japanese game sales chart for further demonstration.) Here is what I have detected about the cultural difference between games.

Story

Western - stereotypical action movie
Japanese - completely incomprehensible

Maybe Japanese game stories lose something in the translation - like comprehension and logic. I just finished Super Paper Mario and from what I understand the game is about a magician's love for a butterfly. Trauma Center's plot involved something about calling the power of Satan to perform surgeries. (Why else are you drawing a pentagram?) I am almost certain the writers of Kingdom Hearts were watching Fantasia on acid. If Katamari Damacy was created in America, the game would not have a unnecessary plot and it's name would be "Rolly Ball".

What is this?Western developers are far too lazy to think of any original stories. They just head to Blockbuster and rent any action movie created before 1990. Arnold Schwarzenegger should get royalties from Western game developers ripping off his movies. Something is making people go crazy - damn I better shoot them. Why are aliens always out to destroy mankind? Don't aliens ever just want to be friends in video games?

Note: This excludes all video game plots based on Ayn Rand Objectivist unrealized utopias. (Does it really require much thinking to expect an utopia based on everyone being a selfish bastard will fail?)

Difficulty

Western - easy
Japanese - brutally hard

Western gamers are wussies. They decided not to release the Japanese Super Mario 2 outside of Japan because they didn't want Western kids to pee their pants. In America, every Little League baseball player takes a trophy home. Judging from Japanese video games, Little League kids in Japan that don't perform sufficiently have their legs broken.

Male Character Models

Western - muscle dudes
Japanese - effeminate lady men

I am not sure who has a bigger sexual identity crisis - the developers creating overly macho muscle dudes or the developers creating gender ambiguous characters.

Women in Video GamesFemale Character Models

Western - hyper-sexualized
Japanese - hyper-sexualized

Apparently treating women as sex objects knows no international border. Someone should tell developers there are women that exist with breasts smaller than Pamela Anderson.

Graphics

Western - Particle effects, lens flares, triple trilinear fitlering....etc.
Japanese - This machine has a graphics card?

Popular gaming lore has Shigeru Miyamoto saying "Donkey Kong Country proves that Americans will buy a mediocre game just for good graphics". It is probably a myth but the statement is true. I could easily mention some recent average games selling more than they deserve as examples but somebody's head might explode.

Here is the part where I should ramble into a tired graphics versus game play debate but I will save that for GameSpot in the year 2345 and every day in between.

Music

Western - terrible licensed music
Japanese - terrible original music

Terrible MusicThe general trend in Western games is to license some terribly annoying music that often sounds dated in a couple of years. The Japanese found they could create just as terrible music in house and make it sound like it is from 1985. Sega should win a special award for its specially craptastic music. You know you are playing a Sega game when it's a dinosaur level and there is a dude singing about dinosaurs like Bob Seger. I am pretty sure the music in Hell is from Super Monkey Ball.

I think there should be more geographical centers for game developers. I think every culture adds a unique perspective to the video game arts. Who knows what kind of game some kid in Africa is creating on her OLPC? The music will at least be better than Excite Truck.

Note: I fully expect half of the responses to be exceptions to my barefaced generalizations. The other half will be people attacking consoles they don't own because that is always the other half of comments.

Blowing Heads Off With Wii Fit

There have been thousands of editorials written claiming video games need more innovation. Nintendo comes along and gives us lots of innovation and the hard core gamer responds with:

No thanks Nintendo. I really just want another FPS with better graphics.

Sure there have been gimmicks added to the FPS formula (cover system, physics engine, and now with even more gore), but really they are just Doom with a new coat of paint. I have played probably 100 different FPS games and I had a good time with them but it's hard for me to get excited about Call of Duty 4, Halo 3, Crysis, or BioShock. Sure they have cool graphics and new gimmicks (look new weapons) but that genre is dead to me just like I can't play another football, soccer, versus fighting game, or driving game. I used to love all of those genres and played the hell out of them but at some point I felt ripped off paying for a new version.Unnecessary Movie Poster

Why is the FPS still around when so many other gaming trends die like versus fighting games? I think the main reason is the visceral thrill of the violence. A cutesy Mario game can't give you the thrill of blowing off someones head with a shotgun. I guess at some point, as an older gamer, I have become less responsive to violent thrills and now I just want something different. It happened with movies too. I guess watching Evil Dead and Hellraiser too many times as a kid made me realize that some movies only offer violence with out any substance. Saw, 300, and every Mel Gibson movie is complete boredom to me now. I would rather sit through 12 hours of Battlestar Galactica at this point in my life.

There was a collective yawn over Nintendo's Wii Fit from the hardcore gaming community. To me it was the only thing at E3 that looked interesting. If Wii Fit can be another Wii sports I don't care if that thing costs another $250. I play the hell out of my Wii. Most of the games on the Wii are usually something new I haven't played before. I just finished Super Paper Mario and even with some slow and tedious parts (Chapter 6 is painful), it kept me engaged because it was something very different. I have never liked a Sonic game (even the old ones) but Sonic and the Secret Rings is challenging fun. Trauma Center, Elebits, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Wii Play, Wario Ware: Smooth Moves and Excite Truck are brand new experiences on the Wii even if they are derived from earlier games.

So why doesn't a good percentage of the hardcore gamer market embrace the Wii series of games? I think the complete lack of violence on the Wii won't let certain gamers even consider games that aren't a macho killing game. It probably makes sense why some really mediocre games with things that have been done a thousand times are selling well. When you mention the Wii on a message board often Red Steel is always mentioned as being bad. It is like Red Steel, a violent game, is the only game they considered buying the Wii for.

It seems like even the video game companies are trying to target those gamers. They know that the same violent thrills get old and you have to push the boundaries much like how the movie studios are trying to push ever increasing gruesome movies. To get the person a visceral thrill now you have to increase the dosage, hence the increase in sadistic and graphic violence. I guess developing a button tapping strangling mechanic really satisfies certain gamers. I don't blame game makers for collecting cash for rehashing the same formula. Innovation is hard and people will buy the same stuff over and over again.

Snore

Can you tell what game this is without cheating?

Dork on a Wii Fit

OK. At least I have never gamed in this position before.

The Incomplete History of Gaming Fads

It seems like every 3 or 4 years passing gives rise to a new fad in gaming. Every month in some sterile board room a couple of executives look at a sales chart, pick out a few games to mimic, and then order some programmers to crank out some clones. Predictably this leads to killing everything good about the concept in the first place. Here is are some of the more significant fads in gaming:

Pong Clones - late 70'sCourt Tennis

The original Pong in its self was a clone of the Magnavox, but Pong was the first mainstream success. Today we still see Pong clones with much better graphics. Is Wii Tennis and RockStar's Table Tennis really that much different? I would like to see a reproduction of 17th century court tennis where you can score point by hitting off a penthouse roof and through windows. Tennis games trying to amaze me with lifelike models doesn't work on me because unless they are hot and Russian I probably won't know who they are.

Space Invader Clones 1980 - 1984

Space Invaders was a novel concept that led to hundreds of rip-offs that were often better than the original like Galaxian and Galaga. What I think was missing from these games was a back story that made you really care when your spaceship was destroyed. Space Invaders should have had cut scenes showing a muscle guy and scantly clad girl (obvious sexual tension) trying desperately to save the universe. The enemies should all be Space Nazis so they instantly can be recognized as evil. The muscle guy should have one liners after kills like: "That invader won't be occupying anymore space."


Platformers 1986-1990

Scrubbing Bubbles


Once Super Mario Brothers was a hit everyone took whatever licensed property they had and made it into a 2D platformer. All movies/toys targeted at kids required a lame 2D platformer. Even characters created for commercials got platformers. I am surprised corporations only stopped with pizza, soda, cola, and raisins. Why didn't Scrubbing Bubbles get a platformer? Those bubbles could have platformed over different bathrooms leading up to the final impossible gas station bathroom level.


Versus Fighting Games 1992 - 1996

Street Fighter 2 spawned some terrible clones. The SF2 clones all had their novel gimmicks like Mortal Kombat with gory finishing moves, Dead or Alive with boobs, and Primal Fear with farting dinosaurs. My greatest joy playing fighting games was just hitting random buttons to beat some hardcore player who actually memorized moves. Game developers decided to let those hardcore dorks make us look stupid by making the fighting games hard and the majority of us stopped putting quarters in the machines.

Full Motion Video Games 1994 - 1998

Most of these so called "interactive entertainment" games were movies with interruptions requiring button presses. I loved adventure games but hated Myst. Myst was like being stuck in some Italian movie without any dialog. Nobody I knew had the attachments to play the console FMV games. I guess my friends were either poor and/or smart.

eXtreme Games 1999 - 2003

These games all capitalized on some "extreme" sport. I actually liked some of the games that used sports that made sense. However it got a little crazy with extreme jet skis, extreme snowmobiles, extreme rollerblading, extreme surfing..etc. I am surprised nobody made an extreme Segway game. Copious use of the letter "X" required. Blaring punk rock or 90's droning techno a must.

"Urban" Themed Games 2002 - 2005

Street

"Urban" games unnecessarily distilled street culture to appeal to suburban kids. Actual urban youths probably had a good laugh at these games and probably called them "wack". (Urban youths probably don't actually use the word "wack" but everything I know about urban youths I learned from playing urban themed games.) I am sure there was a board meeting where some executive in a tie said: "We need to dumb down our sports games, put everyone in Ecco clothes, and play really annoying music." I am sure Peyton Manning wears Ecco all of the time and says stuff like: "I am going to get you sucka". Putting rap stars in a fighting game is weird because don't they usually just have one of their bodyguards take someone out?

GTA Clones 2005 - XXXX

OK I am wandering around this world but where is the game? If I want to wander around in a open world and do mundane tasks, I would go outside. I failed a mission because this targeting system is terrible so now I have to spend 5 minutes to go back and start the mission again? Ugh. Every driving game now seems to put you in a world where you need to drive to your next mission. Even Pixar's Cars cash-in game had kids driving to the next mission which is dangerous because we will raise a whole new generation of kids that will never know it was possible to start a race by just selecting an item on a menu.

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