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John_Adkins Blog

The grand finale

Well, I'm leaving for good. Yes, this journal entry is a bit close to the other one, but circumstances have changed from what I'd originally anticipated. I'm leaving today, instead of on Sunday or Monday.

The reasons? Simple enough. I tried to leave for good back in 2005, but something called me back. It was JediMoogle's Xfire Union. I'd always planned on helping promote it to the top, but I cut it short by leaving. It felt rather cheap and incomplete, to me. Like one of those loose ends left by Halo 2's ending. The union kind of withered and died horribly. So, I asked Moogle if he'd give me the leadership position so I could set things right. He did, and I began my work. At this point, I don't even remember how long it's taken me to get to this point. I wanted to make the union big - so big that I could just leave, pick a new leader, and have it sustain itself, without the constant work needed for a smaller union. About two weeks ago, I decided that I was just going to be running around in circles for possibly another year. Or more.

So, basically, I decided that finding a quick replacement leader and cutting things loose was my best bet. I told Moogle I was leaving first, and he decided to take the union back. It was quicker resolution than I'd expected, to be sure. Then my plans got screwed over for a few weeks, due to vacations, suspensions and other nastiness. I wanted to leave then, but better late than never, I suppose. So, for all my SW compadres, long-time pals (here's to you, sonicare) and completely awesome newer people (*cough*Teufelhuhn*cough*) who I don't talk to on Xfire, so long. Well, not quite. I still have one last thing I'd like to rant about, first.

The state of the press. Specifically, gaming's press.

What's wrong, here? Things seem to be going smoothly. Lots of competition, smaller publications gradually becoming bigger, or being swallowed up by bigger ones. Business as usual in the media. Well, that isn't the problem. The problem is the content. What content, you ask? Is there something special? Yes, there is. Have you read The New York Times, recently? Perhaps the editorials, or the latest movie critique? Even the news, itself. What you see here is professionalism. The kind of professionalism that you can be proud of. These people are experts - not wannabes. Whether you agree with what they say or not, denial of their professionalism and general couth is not something you'll get away with.

When you read a movie critique in The New York Times, you don't go "what the heck? I could write a better critique than that!" Well, unless you are either very good at what you do, or very, very ignorant. When you read their reports, you don't see the cheap puns and artificial humor that you get as a rule in gaming news. When you read the editorials, you don't write these people off as blithering faux intellectuals desperate to have some shred of complexity. You can hate them, sure. But questioning their legitimacy is not an option.

Why doesn't gaming have this? GameSpot, you say? Not a chance. IGN? Even worse. Gamepro? Game Informer? EGM? Gamespy? Gamedaily? All wrong. Name 'em all you want, but there is nothing. As I know it the best, I'm going to break the rules a tad and use GameSpot as an example. There is one person here whom I respect, and always have. Greg Kasavin - the only person I've ever found in the entirety of gaming publications who, in my view, holds a position on the same level as a "real critic." The rest? Not really. I've been coming here for years, and it's really always been the same - there are the wannabes, the people who don't get it, the faux intellectual-types and the complete and total fakes. I'm not going to name names, however. That would potentially get ugly.

But the problem isn't just GameSpot's style of reporting news - the bad puns and lame cracks, the generally low quality of writing, the largely laughable editorials (when they show up, anymore), the bogus critiques (reviews) or all that other great stuff. It's the fact that this defines gaming news as a whole. If I had to spell it out with one word, it would be this: unprofessionalism. The exact opposite of what publications like The New York Times bring us. Go to IGN, some time. I remember a crack they made about Super Monkey Ball for the Wii - (are you ready for this?) "Wii with balls." This is the level of filth in which gaming news resides. Third grade humor and generally tasteless comments. On top of this, I was once over on that awful site, checking on the news, only to read the ending of F.E.A.R. No warnings, no suggestion that it would be there. Just bam, the end.

And do you know why? It's because of the market which gaming attracts. Big business focuses on the money, and as always, the money is in the masses. Play any random online game and you'll see what these masses are - ignorant punks who seem to be fresh out of special school. These are the people who laugh at these pathetic attempts at humor, and are incapable of understanding actual writing. These are the people who get bored when reading legit news. These uncouth barbarians inundate the industry with their retardation, slowing the progress of gaming as a whole by keeping the publications in the dark ages. It's like every source for gaming news, editorials and the like is trying to be "alternative media" in order to pander to these... creatures. People, there is only enough room for alternative media before it becomes the norm. But it gets better: I once read a gaming-related magazine that I liked. It was called GMR. I didn't like it because it was professional - I liked it because it really was an alternative media source. It wasn't like these other dumps that feign legitimacy while feeding the morons who keep their coffers full - it was straight up bawdy and hilarious. It didn't try to be legit, because that wasn't the point. Here's an example: on the back page of every GMR, there was a section given to an invented character dubbed the "game geezer." His photo was a black-and-white picture of an old man, cantankerous-looking and wide-mouthed as he appeared to be yelling. This section never failed to be hilarious, as the geezer always had something offensive and ridiculous to say, even if it was always backed by a legit point. This is alternative media, my friends.

And do you know what happened? GMR went under a few years back. Typical. It doesn't make sense, but there you have it. The one publication that actually succeeded in being alternative media, in the sea of publications trying to be alternative media, failed. Now, the real alternative media in gaming is only hypothetical, and it happens to be... the professional publication. I want news for people like myself - people who get that the current media is a dirty sham, and want something that covers the news like a real publication should. Like The New York Times.

The most baffling element is that no one who has also come to this conclusion (there has to be someone) has been willing to create it. Or at least make it succeed to the point of notability. I've gone digging for it, but it just isn't there. In this vast ocean of people and insignificant information, there is no real source for news. It deftly defies both logic and reason, but there it is.

Maybe legit publications will arrive once gaming becomes more than just another niche - when women, parents and grandparents are participating in it, just as they do with movies. And don't give me that crap about "40% of the gaming population is female, according to polls." It isn't true in the slightest, unless you count everyone playing Freecell and Minesweeper. I doubt the female gamer even enjoys 25% of the total market, honestly. As long as the punk, young adult male focus remains, the news will continue to be complete garbage.

Well, that's pretty much it. I'm off to find something better than this. Don't expect to see me back, because a perm ban is in my near future (although I'll be asking for it, not account suiciding like a lamer). That's all, folks.

Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnd.... I'm back

For now. This time it was a 3 day suspension for posting a brilliantly hand-drawn image of the lime cat. Some times I just cannot believe this place. I'll leave it at that, though, because if I said everything I had on my mind about this site I'd get suspended again. :lol:

Back from suspension

Thought I was screwed, there - I thought they'd banned me for good. Well, I'm back. Apparently calling someone a "fool" is now a bannable offense. Oh well.

Back to working on my union...

The truth about Sony's scheme

There's a lot of crap flying around about Sony. Some say they're going to come out on top, others say they're going to go bankrupt. From what I've seen so far, Sony isn't going to do either one of those. They won't win this generation of video game consoles, and I'm here to tell you why.

First and foremost, Sony is arrogant. Too arrogant. They have gone so far as to make statements like "If we make it, they will buy it." They're convinced of the strength of their Playstation brand. It is a strong brand, to be sure, and Sony will sell a lot of consoles. The problem is that Sony has set themselves up for a very hard fall. The very fact that the console will sell well will be their undoing. The problem is their world-wide launch. They are going for a world-wide launch with 2 million consoles. 2 million. For 2 months. That's it.

If you want an example of why this will fail, try the Xbox 360. It launched early, and did not go for a world-wide launch. The Xbox brand is not even half as strong as the Playstation brand. They sold 1.5 million consoles in North America, Japan and Europe alone from November 22 to December 31. Think about this: Microsoft sold a mere 100,000 consoles in Japan by the end of 2005. Sony has an enormous Japanese market. That alone will cause that 2 million to run out, and fast. But that isn't alone - Sony will be selling all over the world. Even with its titanic price tag, I predict that the first batch of 2 million consoles is going to sell out in around 2 weeks. That leaves a month and a half before Sony can launch its second batch of 2 million consoles.

What's going to make it sell? Two things: the Playstation brand, and Blu-ray. Sony is trying to push their format with the PS3 - they're marketing the PS3 as a cheaper Blu-ray player (which are normally around $1000 each). The problem is that Sony has a history of failing when it comes to introducing new formats (Betamax, Laserdisc and UMD). Their last attempt at pushing a format with one of their gaming systems didn't save it. It died just like Betamax and Laserdisc. Blu-ray stands more of a chance, as it is on their main console, but its success is still questionable. The real question is this: will people rebuy their entire movie collection, which they only recently bought, just for Blu-ray? I'm betting on no.

But what happens in between the time it takes for Sony to ship the next batch of systems? Nothing good for Sony. As with the PS2, there is a high likelihood of problems and glitches with the first batch of consoles (and unless Sony introduces a more robust costumer service system, this is not a good thing. No one is going to spend $1200 on buying this console twice). The fact that $600 will begin to leave a bad taste in many more people's mouths as they realize just how little there is on the console around launch time. Word of mouth is going to be a bad thing for Sony. A very bad thing. After the PS3 is sold out, what do you have to do besides sit around and ask your PS3-owning friends what it's like? And they will tell you that it is overpriced. The graphics are the same as the Xbox 360. There is no difference besides lack of consoles and games. But here's the real killer: Sony is launching during the holidays. They are going to be having shortages around Christmas time, while the Xbox 360 is going to be nice and stocked up - ready for anything, particularly high sales.

So what next? The games. Xbox 360 games cost $60 each. Sony will either match this, or exceed it. I wouldn't be surprised by $65-$70 games. Sony is going to be losing serious money with every console they sell, so how do they make up for it? With gargantuan game costs, and a draconian scheme to keep games revenue from slipping through their fingers. Just as the rumor states, they are going to make it illegal to sell used games. No longer will you be able to find games at a lower price by giving up their new condition - you either buy it from the store, or not at all. This is Sony's ultimate catch, and they want people to fall for it. And fall for it they shall - until the fact that Sony is screwing everyone over catches on. It shouldn't take long, either. I'm wagering that it will catch on around the second or third shipment of PS3s, and it will be indicated by steadily decreasing console sales.

Sony has priced themselves out of long-term competition. The Xbox 360 and Wii will forever be less expensive, with one offering comparable graphics and the other offering a new way to play games. After the chaos of the Playstation 3 launch, sales will die down. And they will continue to die down, particularly because Sony has no top-sellers as exclusives this time around (with the exception of Final Fantasy XIII, which may well not be promising enough for many buyers). Sony is going to lose first place to Microsoft this time around, and they haven't even realized it yet.

Well, looks like I was wrong

The Wii really was the official name. Anyone who believed me, I'm sorry for leading you astray. :P

The name doesn't matter to me much anymore, since I was blown away by that press conference. Wii is definitely on my list, now.

How... interesting...

Well, it looks like Ninty is at it again with the viral marketing. In a recent news story on nintendo.com, they allegedly created a code that would reveal some things about e3 to people who cared to crack it.

Naturally, as I am skeptical of the Wii name, I'm trying to decode it as we speak. It seems as though the code involves the following letters (in this order):

U B J Q L C N E Q A R E F J N L G B G U R P B Q R O H G L B H J V Y Y U N I R G B J N V G G B S V A Q B H G N O H G J V V J B A G L B H

With the possible inclusion of "P E N P X."

It also seems as though the key to unlocking it is in the name of the article's writer, which has been garbled into the following: ABN_EHSHF. That would normally say "NOA_Rufus," so my guess is that whatever the style of this code is, figuring out how "ABN_EHSHF" becomes that will reveal it. I've tried a few combinations but haven't come across anything yet. I'll keep you posted on my findings. :P

Wii are being lied to

It's true. I've compiled the information and there's just no other alternative. First off, Nintendo has a very good marketing division. Their ad campaigns are original and every time I listen to Reggie speak I want to support Nintendo with everything I have. Do you think such an effective marketing division wouldn't see the responses to this name from a mile away? Nearly everyone on the GameSpot crew made fun of it - on TAPE. Not only that, but the analysts' responses have been atrocious. On top of that, the Internet has literally exploded with negativity about the news - it wouldn't be too far-fetch to say that not even the most die-hard Nintendo fan seriously agrees with the idea.

There are millions of little horrible ideas at work here. As one analyst stated: "It's a sound that doesn't exist in Japanese, so Japanese people will struggle to pronounce it." Do you really think Nintendo, who goes on and on about how they're going to revive gaming in Japan, would create a console with a name that couldn't be pronounced in Japanese? That is horrific marketing. On top of that, in English there a dozens of downright offensive messages you could take from the name, meaning that it will be constantly mocked by any English-speaking audience.

There is also no brand behind this: with Xbox, you had the Microsoft name and a brick-shaped console with a big "X" on it, with Playstation... well, it just made sense, and it had "Sony" behind it. Nintendo has also put their name behind nearly (if not every) single console they've ever created, but what is this thing called? The Wii - NOT THE NINTENDO WII! Not even the wikipedia article on the thing calls it the Nintendo Wii. And on top of that the name is totally unrelated to the console! They have stated on multiple occasions that they're targeting a non-gamer market, and said market would not exactly have a big, positive reaction to this kind of naming choice. Nintendo knows the strength of their own brand - it sells systems with its name alone. They would NOT just abandon it.

Now lets look at the announcement: it's full of stupid puns, and sounds more like joining a cult than anything else ("it's really not about you or me. It's about Wii. And together, Wii will change everything."). Do you really think Nintendo would do that? Sure, they've created some hokey things in the past, but that just borders on insanity. Their reasoning also just borders on the creepy: it's all that sickening "bring people together" crap that no one can stand, and even Nintendo has avoided to an extent in the past. All this almost makes me not want the console.

Also, I do not see the logic of announcing the final name on a random day, instead of at e3. They could very well have announced that the Rev would be finalized, name and all, by e3, and generated a huge amount of positive hype.

But there are genius minds at work behind this marketing, most definitely. Nintendo is not stupid, and would not do this without a very good reason. Here's the reason: it's the biggest free publicity gaming has seen for years. It's like they've set a fire that's spread to all corners of the Earth, and absolutely EVERYONE is hearing about it. The Internet is lit up in its entirety about this news. Nintendo is going by the old saying: "There's no such thing as bad publicity," but taking it with a grain of salt. They realize that if they release a console with a name like "Wii," it will not sell... to anyone. But with this name they are doing exactly what they said they wanted to: reaching the non-gaming market. Not only is the gaming community telling everyone (read: parents, non-gamer friends at school, non-gamer co-workers, etc) about it, but it's so outrageous that non-gamers are hearing about it through common channels.

All eyes are set on Nintendo. Everyone is laughing and waiting for the absurdity that is sure to be Nintendo's e3 showing. Nintendo has set themselves up to blow the entire gaming world away at e3 with their rumored "final secret." But what good is a final secret on a console called "Wii," you ask? That's just it - this thing isn't called "Wii." Nintendo is going to announce the real name at e3, along with the huge final secret - probably in that order. On top of that, they have already absorbed all possible hatred a new name for the Revolution would definitely bring (a side-effect of letting it stay codenamed for so long that people began believing it was the final name), allowing them to relieve everyone at e3 with the real title. That is brilliant psychological manipulation that I would not put past Nintendo. This is going to be the biggest, best case of shock-advertising + viral marketing in gaming history.

A few final, interesting notes: Nintendo has not patented the name "Wii" as of the typing of this entry (go look for yourself), and "Wii" also stands for "What is it" - right down to the capitalization of the "W."

My hat is off to Ninty for this brilliance.

Edit: Another interesting note that I did not realize while typing this out: Wii sounds similar to "yes" in French (oui), "how" in German (wie), "good" in Japanese (よい ) and "top" in Korean. It also has meanings in English. "Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion." Enough said.

It's official: Linkin Park 5ucks

Yeah, I know some of you are sick of hearing my Linkin Park hate, but I have come to a conclusion tonight: they are absolute, irredeemable trash - not just normal trash. I've just finished listening to a ton of their stuff (via also indescribably bad AMVs, but that's a rant for another day), so hear me out. :P For starters, I actually have trouble telling their songs apart - they can't seem to be original within themselves. Unlike many bands, it isn't that they aren't original in comparison to a lot of the competition - they just found a reasonably new type of sound and stuck with it. It's actually just... boring to listen to them; now that I've heard their rehashed sound so many times, it's almost like I'm listening to the same 2-3 songs over and over again.

And seriously, it's not just the sound they stick with that's repetitive - it's the lyrics. I pay close attention to lyrics, and let me tell you that all their songs are the same in this regard. With maybe a handful of exceptions, it's just the same empty, angsty stuff in every song. I don't know about you, but listening to someone scream about how everything they do is meaningless song after song is not something I can put up with. Plus, I doubt they even give a crap about their lyrics at this point - they're big, they're popular and they have a distinct market with the types of people who can stand this sort of thing. Why say something meaningful when it means risking the alienation of your largest market and losing money, eh?

Now here's the thing: some of the Linkin Park songs actually have a few interesting things in them. I do like some of the sounds they use, and some of the notes they hit are very cool (Points of Authority, in particular, has several parts that I like). It's just that moments like these are diamonds in the rough, and it really isn't worth listening to that same rap or rock song (Linkin Park's 2 most distinct sounds) again and again to get to them. You can only hear "Crawling" and "With You" so many times before you just can't take it anymore (only after I typed this did I realize the irony).

So yeah, they're horrible and irredeemable at this point, but they had a chance to be decent. If only they'd exploited their more interesting sounds instead of falling into angsty repetition. And if you're wondering why the heck I'm saying all this with Meteora as my avatar... it's a joke. :P I can't stand LP, so why not put them in my avatar? Try asking yourself that sometime.

Lastly, I think you should watch this. It will change your life forever, trust me. :o

(Note: sorry about the 1337 speak in the title. "Sucks" is filtered some some bizarre reason. Man, do I love GS...)

I am proficient in necromancy, apparently

If you were expecting something related to dark magic, look elsewhere. :P I'm referring to my work as the leader of a once-dead union.

The union I "inherited" from JediMoogle is actually doing quite well for something that was about to be deleted when I got ahold of it. >_> Active duty, 100+ members and almost level 2, to be precise. It was a bit of work, but I'm pretty sure my expectations of the difficulty were higher than this. The real trick is getting the members together for the main reason for the union: PC gaming get-togethers. I have tried and failed at 2 of them so far, but what I've learned from those failures I'm hoping to put to good use in the future.

It can be stressful to work on this thing. I'm always wondering if my next idea will send the union to an early grave, and I get nervous when I try to set up new things in the union, but I haven't made any enormous blunders so far. :P

I'm glad I'm doing this, really. It's tough, but in the end I think it'll be fulfilling.
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