Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Night of Fun and Suprises!

Tonight was awesome. I hung out with Capt. Apple in Technical Communications and we were TOTALLY working on our project...and by that I mean we were chatting with his friends on a voice chat. It was great. I jumped on and after 20 hours of trying to get the nerve to say anything and their reactions were HILARIOUS!! Everyone was quiet for a few seconds and then a guy goes, "Who the fuck was that?" They then wouldn't stop talking about a girl on the internet. It was so much fun! Silly boys.

And lastly, not to brag, but...I got an e-mail from a hero tonight. John C. Dvorak. He was thanking me for the kind words about his blog. Good to know that JOHN C. DVORAK knows I link to stories about vibrators and bubble gum that makes your boobs grow. YES!!!

All I need now would be an email from the entire Xplay crew, Leo Laporte and Tim Schafer and I will be SET!

FINALLY!! Technology for the Ladies.

"The Toy"

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHA!

I wonder if this made it to digg?

Special thanks to Dutch at The Digital Blast.

A Gamer's World: The Way Life SHOULD Be.

I love the idea of bringing gaming to real life. Xplay did something like that called "Real Cheats". For example, if you are so drunk you feel like you are going to throw up, throw your arms up twice, then to the left, down two times and then to the right and BAM! You are good to go for more shots. Though we know this wouldn't really work, it made for a great skit and is an AWESOME idea!

Well, there are more of these ideas coming out in commercials now. Xbox 360 has a great video on the web right now with people pointing their fingers at each other like a gun and blowing each other away. Not only is it just a really fun idea to run around with perfect strangers and play like that, its also an interesting commentary in violence in video games. It is SO obvious that these people are just playing a game and these people look rediculous and like they are having the time of their lives. ITS ALL PLAY and its all PRETEND! Just put them all in Counter Strike, or someother shooter game (DOD2 for the 360 in this case) and its the same idea. Its just. a. game.
Xbox 360 ad

Another commercial on the internet is for Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones where two kids are trying to figure out the controls of the game, but in a real world setting. I'm not gonna say any more, just watch the video. You're new mantra WILL be...xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, I promise you. (Watch out for the triangle though! Those are a BITCH!)
PoP:TTT video

Now a Word From Mr. Dvorak *sigh*

I'm sure many of you know that Dvorak Uncensored is one of my all time favorite blogs to read and I have, once again, found just a couple stories to share.

So, I guess I live under a rock (typical for a child of the MTV generation) and MY GOD! Venus can cast shadows on Earth!(I love stuff like this!!!) This week is the best week to see it, but it wont go away until December 3rd. I have no idea how you'll know if you see it or not. "Eideard", one of Dvorak's minions who helps him maintain the blog, notes that the best place to see it is in Northern New Mexico on top of Northern Rowe Mesa, because "no city light in the sky." Here is my question: If you see shadows during the day, how will city lights affect it?
Shadow of Venus

There is a gum coming to America, ladies and gentlemen, that will increase a woman's breast size.........................................................................
....................................................................................
....................................................................................
........................do I really need to say anything more?
Bubble Gum for Bigger Breasts

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Well, Alright!

I read in Gamasutra that Georgia is following Louisiana's steps to offer film and video game businesses tax credits if they set up shop there. That is VERY cool. I think Wisconsin should do something like this. As of right now, it is nearly impossible for indie groups to make films here because of the taxes, fees and registration involved. Madison is a great city that could be a hub for independent film makers. There is a lot of support for artists here. Milwaukee has a really great community, but its very small. Strong and getting attention, but still small. Its going to stay that way, unfortunatly, so long as it takes an act of God to get a film off the ground here.

Truthfully, I can't see Wisconsin pumping out many video games. I don't care. I'll be in Los Angeles anyway. Or maybe in Japan as a corespondent for Joystiq(with my robot baby and Nintendog). YES!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Considering the Revolution-A Jumble of Thoughts

The past months have been filled with talk of Next Gen gaming and consoles. Its made for some pretty interesting and sometimes heated discussions. At first everyone thought the race would only be between Microsoft and Sony because their machines actually had hardware to boast about. Nintendo's Game Cube had done poorly and the Revolution looked liked it would follow in its footsteps. Nobody could've guessed what they had up their sleeves with the Revolution controller. After Iwata-san gave his keynote speech at TGS, anyone and everyone had an opinion on it and they all made sure to voice it. It seemed most game journalists were either a bit apprehensive at first, then caught onto the idea and loved it, or they just loved it right away and designer reactions were similar.

Every day gamers were a different story. Very few seemed to like the idea and the two most common complaints I heard were 1)I wont look sexy playing with that glorified remote control (which makes me laugh. As a woman who is attracted to guys who game, I have to say that NO controller makes you look sexy) and 2) its a gimmicky peice of crap. Give me better graphics, not new game play.

This is quite disconcerting to hear come from the mouths of people who consider themselves "hardcore" gamers who have been playing for 20 years. Is that what it all boils down to in the end? You want to look and feel sexy holding a VIDEO GAME CONTROLLER in your hand and only want improvment in graphics. This blows my mind.

I am worried for the industry. Video games are extremely expensive to make and so, in turn, they are expensive to buy. Like any industry, consumers have a level of control over what is made. No one will take a gamble on something that they don't think anyone will buy. If gamers are closed minded, then so are the designers. They have to be to make any money. And so, walk into any store that sells video games, and all you see are franchises. They are a product of our own way of thinking. We have no one to blame but ourselves. And we do try to blame others for our misery. We blame the designers, the publishers, EA for buying everyone out...then we run out and buy the newest Madden...and after we are done playing it for a couple hours, its back to bitching. In fact, I've heard people bitch about the insane number of franchises AND how lame they think the Revolution will be in all in the same breath. Its amazing to me that gamers can't seem to make the connection. Why can't they see Nintendo's vision?

Maybe its not so much that gamers can't open their hearts or minds to Nintendo's vision, but more that they are unwilling to. The gaming sub-culture revolves around a very tight knit community full of history and inside jokes. We have clung to our roots and were faithful when playing video games was a epitome of nerdyness and now that gaming is becoming a cool and mainstream thing, the community feels threatened.

But there is a real reason that gaming is gaining popularity. A very cool and postive reason that is so interesting that The Escapist online magazine has an entire issue dedicated to it. The first generation of gamers are all grown up and are now having babies! They are the second generation of gamers and they are a voice in the community that needs to be recognized. I worry how our decisions as consumers will affect the next generation of gamers. We need to be aware that this industry is growing and evolving. Growth needs to take place in all areas and we should encourage it, because right now, we aren't!

The Xbox 360 and the PS3 play important roles in pushing graphics and technology, but the Revolution plays an equally important role in keeping the bigger picture in mind: the non-gamers and the 2nd generation who are poised and ready to take our places. Its time to introduce a new, simplified way of playing games. Again, The Escapist online magazine has an entire issue on intergenerational gaming and the article called "The Third Generation" looks at how children are attracted to simple game play. The author, Spanner, discusses how playing these kinds of games is a way of bridging the generation gap. This is something that Nintendo understands and wants to do. I remember Kotaku's Luke Smith reported on an article that was in Business Week where Shigeru Miyamoto talks about wanting the Revolution to be the console for the whole family. Do you know what Luke's reaction was?

"No offense Miyamoto, but I don’t want to sit in front of the television while my parents wave their arms around with the Rev’ controller in their hand squawking like seagulls. I don’t share your vision."

The vision isn't for you and YOUR parents, its for you and your CHILDREN.

Again, I worry. The gaming community is still young enough where I don't think many do have families, so they can't understand something that aims to bring one together. I can only hope that we learn to keep our minds open enough to allow this idea to carry through to when we all can relate and support this idea...that video games CAN be for children too and that they can be a postive influence in a family.

-S

Check out: The Escapist,
Kotaku's story on the Business Week article, and 4 color rebellion's look at Nintendo.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Girlfriends Against Video Games...Yeeeaaah.

MTV has an article online that is about a group of women at Kansas State University who have formed a "support group" called Girlfriends Against Video Games. The article really isn't that interesting. I thought there would be more, but there isn't. It all comes down to people not being able to let go of the idea that gaming is very much an adult hobby. If these guys were spending as much time on building a car or even a computer, no one would say a thing. The article sucks because it discusses what the girlfriends have problems with, then their gamer boyfriends just kinda shrug their shoulders and no solutions are offered up. Well, I have a couple thoughts on what I think these couples should keep in mind in trying to come up with a solution.

First, in my opinion, there is a lack of either party opening up to each other. Guys have to be aware that girls feel threatened if they are put in second place to ANYTHING. Girls have to be aware that if you date a hardcore gamer, you are pretty much always going to be in second place to gaming. Girls need to accept and deal with this if they want to stay with the guy and guys need to make what I like to call "princess time." NO GAMES for at least an hour a couple times a week.

Second, if you are a hardcore gamer and you fall in love with a girl who hates games, try to bring her into your world. Share them with her. Ask her sit with you while you play your favorite games, and tell her why you like them! Let her in on inside jokes. Buy her some games that you guys can play together like Mario Kart, or Katamari Damacy, or Animal Crossing! Those are FUN games that can actually make for a pretty cool date night! Laughing is fun AND its sexy. Another great game to play with your girlfriend is Fatal Frame. Its slow, thoughtful, and SCARY! Turn off the lights and cuddle up! Its very romantic. Also, let her know how special it is to have her play with you and make sure you take the time to talk her through things and teach her how to play. Girls, open yourself up to sharing his passion. If he doesn't initate it, then do it yourself! Tell him you want a game to play with just him, or suprise him some night with one. Ask him to tell you about his favorite games. It will mean the world to him if you want to know more about his passion. Guys, you should also learn about your girlfriend's hobbies. Get involved and show her you are interested in what she loves. If she's an avid reader, find out what some of her fav books are and...*gasp!* read them for yourself so you can share that with her. This is an idea that is very important in any relationship. You date someone to get to know them and share your lives with them. While its healthy to have your own seperate things to do as individuals, its also healthy and imporant to share them as well.

For any girl who really wants to understand/relate to your gamer boyfriend, I recommend checking out the gaming blog Kotaku. Its light, its fluffy, its a great introduction to gamer pop culture and chances are, you'll love reading it.

Also, at the end of the day girls, if you are turning to a forum called "Girlfriends Against Video Games" to bitch and moan about your boyfriends...maybe the problem is just not worth fixing for ya. If thats the case, just go!

Finally, Guys, we know gaming is fun. But, so is sex! Find balance in your life!!!

joytiq (its "my" pic!)
MTV

Marimba Madness

I'm sure everyone has seen this, but its too good to take the chance and not share. Check out the 6 minute video of a group of kids who play Mario music on a marimba and drums.

clicky

Dvorak Uncensored

There were a couple news stories that were posted on John Dvorak's blog that I thought I would link to. They are pretty interesting. One is about a ban that was imposed on a London college campus. No hoodies, or scarves in any of the buildings. That goes for head scarves to cover your head and or face for religious reasons as well. Interesting! The last one is about a bill called H.R. 1606 that goes out today that will deal with our right to blog, especially in light of political elections.

London Ban
H.R. 1606

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Love: Part II

Shortly after I posted about Julia putting Michael(and/or Jaime) in his place, we all started to congregate by the fire. Now, I am of the cuddly persuation and I LOVE back rubs. I love them so much I sometimes convince my nephew and neices to "draw" on my back with their fingers. They draw a picture on my back, I guess what it is and then I draw a pic on their back and they guess.

Michael and Jaime usually fall for this (though not the last couple times), but Julia is another story. She has NEVER agreed to play this game with me and today was NO exception. I called out to her and asked her to draw on my back as she walked by and with out stopping or even looking at me she yells out:

Rule number one: I will not draw on your back.
Rule number "phree": do not ask me again!

Julia is five and apparently is one smart cookie...maybe not such a good counter though.

Thanksgiving Love

My nephew and neices were eating their thanksgiving dinners in the sunroom and the adults were in the dinning room. A steady jumble of laughter and bickering started to waft through to us from the kids. It grew and grew and grew until it was an all out fight. And as my sister prepared herself to leave the table and silence them, Julia's voice rang out loud and clear.

YOU ARE A TURD!

Then all were quiet in the peanut gallary.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

PMS Clan-WTF?



I was cleaning out my delicious favorites and I came across a two week old Kotaku story about an interview with "AthenaTwin" of the PMS Clan: A group of women gamers 400 strong. I saved it because I didn't have time to read through the interview at the time and I was seriously put off by the idea of a group of women forming a clan only to call it PMS. I wanted to know more.

I just read it and I have to admit that I was really impressed. I knew "bapenguin" of Evil Avitar was going to make a big deal about girl gamers, because its such a hot topic now, but I was really suprised on how cool AthenaTwin was. I don't know what I was expecting from the interview. I knew they wouldn't talk about clothes, the mall or periods, but still. While they did discuss women's issues, they also geeked out A LOT! It was really cool.

What really impressed me was that AthenaTwin and I share the same ideas as to why it is so important to bring in new gamers. She also pointed out that women gamers are important to the community and the industry because we are a myth. When people hear about "gamer chicks" they pay attention and it brings in more money for the industry.

Oddly enough this was not something I had thought of. I had always wanted to just blend in as a gamer. I didn't want anyone make a fuss about me being a girl that played games, lest someone treat me inferior or think I'm only capable, or wanting to play "girly" games.

But now I see the other side of the coin. I'm proud to be a gamer girl. I like knowing I can bring interest to the industry. Because with interest comes new gamers and with new gamers comes more money and with more moeny we have a stronger industry and it promotes innovation.

Check out the interview and the PMS Clan website and show these girls your support! They are really working to push the industry forward and that is something everyone benefits from.

Interview

PMS Clan

I Want This on My Wall

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Goodbye Sam!

The world's ugliest dog has passed away at age 14. I was going to be mean and post the picture of Sam directly to my blog, but after having problems finishing my ICE CREAM after seeing his picture, I decided to link to the story instead.

clicky

Look for the video of Sam, so you can see him in action. Otherwise, you probably wont believe what you are seeing.

Sam's website

*GASP!* A Vampire Hamster!

That is awesome! I love Toothpaste for Dinner.

THIS is Crazy!

Hideo Kojima wasn't going to head the development for MGS4, but when his co-workers found out he was recieving death threats they talked him into taking over. I guess the fans weren't too happy with that one.

I love what PS3 Today said about it to their readers: "So now who of you was it?"

A Sad Day in Ohio

I'm not sure when this happened, but quite recently 24-year-old Greg Kleinmark of Fostoria, OH left his 10-month-old twins in the bathtub for at least half an hour to smoke a cigarette and play a video game, causing them to drown. Kleinmark has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and has attempted suicide twice. His wife has filed for divorce and a protection order against him so he cannot see his two other children.

I believe we have not heard anything from our good friend Jack Thompson on this one, but rest assured, he will be sniffing around this case as well. It'll be interesting to see what he pulls out of his ass for this one. As of right now, the video game he was playing has gone un-named.

Whatever happens this is truly a tragedy and my heart and prayers go out to that family.

sources: game politics, 13abc

Xbox 360 Madness

To Jerry:
Have fun standing in line your Xbox 360. Don't freeze to death and I hope you find one!

To Bill:
Don't get trampled over there at Comp USA and remember. Don't look them in the eye. They see that as a challenge.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lazy Ass Toy of the Year

Ummmm....


These are Fly Wheels.



Thats all they are. Wheels. You roll them around. There's no car. No engine. Nothing. Just the wheels. This toy had to have been invented the day after an office party. Everyone was sitting around the office, hung over, drooling, TRYING to come up with something. ANYTHING for the deadline.

That's ok. I blame the guy who approved the idea. He's the one who should be fired for letting a bunch of hung over, half-dead guys convince him that a box of wheels is actually a toy.

Amazing Stats

Joystiq has a really interesting post about consoles in Japan. Everyone knows that Japan hates the Xbox and with the 360 being released there in December, everyone's eyes are on the Land of the Rising Sun to see how Microsoft fairs this time around.

What's interesting is that right now, in Japan, handhelds are the console of choice, particularly Nintendo's DS. In fact, there are 406 DS's to every 1 Xbox in Japan. Again, that is a stat of 406:1.

Microsoft has said in the past that they are not interested in making any handheld hardware, but with stats like that for a handheld, I think Microsoft has something to think about.

Besides, something tells me that despite Japan's growing interest in the Xbox 360, they still aren't going to be able to pull it off. I mean, there are NO RPG titles at launch and they only have 12 backwards compatible games...which is probably more than there are people playing the Xbox anyway, but still. It sure looks bad! If I lived in Japan I'd be put off.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Why I am Now Excited for the 360

Oh. My. Goodness.

Check out the website for an even BIGGER, more beautiful picture!

Games from Japan

It seems that there are a lot of opinions out there as to where you should and shouldn't get your video games and even what condition they should be in. The best example of this is David Jaffe who slaps your hand for buying games at Best Buy, but slaps your hand if you buy it used from EB or Gamespot. Gamers and tech geeks hate Circuit City and everyone hates the likes of Wal-Mart, Target and Toys-R-Us. Soooo, WHERE DO YOU GET A GAME???!!!???!!!

Get them from, Akiba dot com! They ship the games to you directly from Japan. Not bad. The prices are pretty good as well. Take the game Fatal Frame 3. Bestbuy dot com doesn't even have the title, target has it for $49.99, $55.15 with shipping. Akiba has it for $48.95 and $53.57 with shipping. Not much a difference and your games come from Japan, not TARGET.

Check it out for yourself: Akiba

Art in Insanity

Michel Wolf is a photographer who takes pictures of apatments. Not just any apartments though. We are talking about the insane living arrangments in Hong Kong.



I find these pictures dizzying, hypnotic, frightening and captivating.



Wolf doesn't just photograph apartment buildings of Honk Kong though. He also does chairs, portraits, propaganda posters and so on and they are all based on China/Hong Kong.

Check out his website for more: Michael Wolf Its pretty cool!

Viral Marketing

The Xbox Origens site probably would've been a whole lot cooler if it had been more like this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Diner Dash at a Glance



As if our days of hauling ass at McDonalds weren’t enough, we have Diner Dash. In this game, you play Flo, a woman fed up with her demanding office job. Her solution? Open her very own Diner. Because we all know customers are never demanding!

Your objectives are simple. Seat your customers, take their orders, bring them their food, take their money and clear away their mess for the next group. You must be quick, because if you make them wait too long they get upset and leave. They start with six hearts and if you push them far enough, all will disappear, including the customer.



The controls are very simple. Drag the groups of people to the table where they’ll sit and look at their menus for a while. When they are ready, they put the menus down and hold their hands up. You click on them with your mouse to take their order. Next you click on the spinner to drop off their order. When the cook places the food on the counter, you click on it and then click on the appropriate table to deliver it (they’ll have corresponding numbers.) When the group is finished eating they’ll raise their hands again. All you’ll need to do is click on them to give them their bill and they’ll leave. To clear the table, you click…again. Click the table, click the massive cart filled to the brim with dirty dishes and you’re ready for you next bunch of customers.


As addictive as this game is, it is very simple in its design. I can’t imagine any hardcore gamers going crazy for this one. It certainly fulfills that itch you may have while at work or while at the computer working on a paper. The game is, however, perfect for anyone trying to get into gaming. One key element to playing any video game is the ability to multi-task and keep an eye on several things at once. The controls are simple enough where a new gamer can focus on the big picture and make sure the objectives are met. With 50 levels of fast paced, repetitive game play, Diner Dash is a great way to break into gaming.

Witch Hunter Robin

I love this show. For anyone who doesn't know what Witch Hunter Robin is about, its the story of a group of witches who are a special police unit that hunts other witches. The show is very much like X-Files and Law and Order: CI. A murder happens, the police investigate, it seems like a super natural kill, so the witches get called in to take over.

The series starts out with the introduction of Robin, the main character of the story. The unit has lost a witch and Robin is there to replace that individual, a person we have never seen, nor do they openly speak of. Robin is new with her power and they discover she needs to wear glasses when using it. As the story progresses we learn more about the witches, their purpose, their struggles and that there may be more to Robin than anyone, even Robin herself anticipated.

I'm currently on the 3rd disk of this show, probably almost ready for the fourth disk and I am blown away by what I'm watching. I'm not going to go into great detail, because I don't want to spoil the show for anyone, but they way they link these witches (all current witches, really) with the Salem witches is amazing. They also are brillianr in the way they take our idea of the Christian religion and flip it on its head.

If you enjoy anime, but have not seen this title yet, I do recommend checking it out. I'm only about half way through it, so it could be all down hill from here, but I really doubt it.