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by Ethos

Lazy Saturdays #04

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Christ. What another lazy goddamned Saturday.

It’s probably just because I’m unemployed, but this whole Lazy Saturdays thing has become sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ever since I started it as a feature, every Saturday has been a dull, droll, and mindless affair. Usually involving me sitting at my apartment. By myself. Such is life, though; or, at least, such is the life of Oliver “Riddles” Motok.

I saw Iron Man 2 a few days ago. I don’t actually, uh… remember much about it, but I seem to remember liking it. Not as much as the original, perhaps, but it was an enjoyable experience. Definitely check it out if you’re an Iron Man fan.

Oh yeah, and I watched Aladdin yesterday! In HD! For the first time in years! God, that movie is timeless. It’s also one of the few good things Robin Williams has ever done with his life.

Ubisoft Bitches About an 81% Metacritic Ranking for Red Steel 2 – Sometimes, I really hate numerical review scores, and this is one of the reasons why. Gamers, media outlets, and publishers alike have all gotten spoiled. Really fucking spoiled, in fact, as evidenced by this statement from Ubisoft’s Jason Vandenberghe:

Let’s start here: if you clicked that Metacritic link back there, you know that (as of this writing) our average rating is hanging out at a solid 81%. Anyone in the industry will tell you: that doesn’t suck, but it ain’t the bestest ever. It’s the kind of number you need to be in the running for serious sales, and given the nature of the market we are releasing into, etc, blah blah blah, it’s pretty darn acceptable, but of course you always hope for more. It’s what Metacritic calls “generally favorable reviews”, but it’s closer to “mixed” than we’d prefer.

Ingrates. They’re all ingrates. Why is it that these days, a game has to score a 90% percent or higher to be considered worthy of a shit? I feel like it’s a trend that’s come along with the current console generation. 81%, for all intents and purposes, is an excellent aggregate ranking, especially when you consider the fact that the original Red Steel was flat-out panned by the gaming press. Grow the fuck up, Ubisoft. And everyone else.

Are You an Apple Fanboy? Well, You Can At Last Have True Love - I’m gonna go ahead and chalk this up as a solid 8.1 on my weird-shit-o-meter. (Cookies for whoever catches the reference.) This summer will see the launch of a dating site called Cupidtino. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Cupidtino?” Latina women, of course. Or men, I suppose. But no. Cupidtino is a dating site designed for Apple fanatics. Here’s the site in a nutshell, according to “Mel,” one of its co-founders:

Essentially we’re hoping to do to dating sites what the iPhone did for smartphones. We want to create a simple, clean, uncluttered and Apple-esque experience. The profile page will not only show your typical “dating” features, but also highlight your Apple-ness – things like “when did you become a Mac?” and icons for the Apple products you own. We’re also thinking about an AppStore like “approval process” for profiles, which will require that your main photo must be posed with an Apple product or in an Apple retail store.

Sound… creepy to you? Yeah, me too.

Check Out this Trailer for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – It’s no secret that I’ve been intrigued by this game. And I gotta say, this first trailer doesn’t disappoint. Lots of gameplay, showing off combat, platforming, and Ico-esque partner mechanics. Really neat stuff.

Wow, sorry, this is much later than I anticipated. I got, uh, distracted for a while. My lazy Saturday is suddenly not so lazy. Unfortunately, though, I’m exhausted. Because… in the last 60 hours or so, I’ve slept for 8.

Signing off,

-Riddles

Hey! Look! Listen! #51

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Well! Things may have began somewhat awkwardly this week, but we’re certainly on track now. Or, at least I am. No idea where that bumbling fool Ethos is hiding out. Hopefully you’ll see something from him today.

As you’ve already been informed, Hey! Look! Listen! is now a once-weekly affair. Ethos will be providing Friday news in the form of his deranged Tingle-themed column. I think the arrangement is mutually beneficial, and should keep things varied around here. And, maybe in the future, Ethos will find the time to include more than one news story.

Heh heh. Anyway. On to the topics of interest!

Apple’s iPhone 4.0 Lost, Recovered by Gizmodo


That’s right. An Apple employee managed to lose an iPhone 4.0 in a bar, and Gizmodo ended up swiping it for $500.

Gary Powell is a software engineer for Apple. About a month ago he was celebrating his 27th birthday at a bar in Redwood City, California. He had with  him a next-generation iPhone, cleverly disguised as a normal 3GS. Unfortunately for him, when he left the bar, he left the phone behind. The phone ended up in the hands of some unnamed guy who eventually sold it to Gizmodo for $500.

Gizmodo, of course, proceeded to blow the lid off of Apple’s next-generation iPhone. They were unable to turn on the device, but they managed to glean plenty of information nonetheless. Check it out at Gizmodo.com.

I personally think it looks pretty damn sweet. The flatter, sharp-edged new design is a huge draw to me, I think it looks far better than the curved models. The increased screen resolution is a huge plus, and even the new frontal camera could be neat. (Video chat calls, anyone?)

Ugh. My internal smartphone conflict remains unresolved. Apparently, Apple was pretty eager to get their prototype back, and it’s been returned to them. Hopefully they won’t go too hard on the poor schmuck who lost it in the first place. (Gizmodo)

Ubisoft Getting Rid of Paper Game Manuals

Yep, that’s right! In the interest of being eco-friendly, Ubisoft is doing away with paper manuals for their games. Instead, you’ll access an in-game digital menu. From their official statement on the matter:

Ubisoft internal data shows that producing one ton of paper used in Ubisoft’s game manuals consumes an average of two tons of wood from 13 trees, with a net energy of 28 million BTU’s (equivalent to average heating and energy for one home/year), greenhouse gases equivalent of over 6,000 lbs of CO2, and wastewater of almost 15,000 gallons.

Shrug. Hard to find fault with this, I suppose. But, at the same time, I kinda hope this doesn’t catch on. It reminds me of when DVDs stopped coming with paper inserts. Sure, they were fairly useless, but they made it feel like you were getting more for your money. DVD’s felt much… chintzier when they stopped coming with them. (VG247)

Three New Villains Revealed for Arkham Asylum 2

Hell yes. I can’t wait for Arkham Asylum 2, and it’s great to finally get some new info on it.

First, actress Stana Katic, who stars on ABC’s Castle tweeted that she was voicing Talia al Ghul, the daughter to classic Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul.

“I’m voicing Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in ‘Batman Begins’)”

She took the tweets down quickly, but plenty of people saw them thanks to Google’s cache.

Second, we have Maurice LaMarche who’s probably best known for voicing Kif Kroker in Futurama. He spilled the beans while speaking on the Geekcastradio podcast:

I’m about to go in and do Mr. Freeze for Arkham Asylum 2 … He’s out for blood right now because, err… I can’t tell you the situation, but he’s actually somewhat a sympathetic character within the framework of the game.

And finally, we have the voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, speaking during a panel at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo. According to Mr. Conroy, Arkham Asylum 2 will be “really, really dark.” He went on to compare Arkham Asylum 2’s “tone” to Batman: Return of the Joker. A bit strange, seeing that it’s Sega Genesis title from 1991.

In addition to all that, however, Mr. Conroy managed to reveal that Two-Face will be a villain in Arkham Asylum 2. So, there you have it. Three new baddies that will grace our presence in Batman’s next adventure. Let’s hope to see more at E3 2010. (VG247, Kotaku)

Rumor: Nintendo 3Ds Coming This October?

Previously, Nintendo’s only given a window of “before March 2011″ for the release of their 3DS. But now, CVG is very confidently reporting that the handheld will be released a full two months before Christmas – October of 2010, to be specific.

According to “a very senior publishing source:

It’s a surprise – we were expecting it much closer to Christmas. But I suppose it gives Nintendo the opportunity to get it front and centre in people’s minds nice and early.

In my experience, you don’t launch a product that early to Christmas unless you’re confident in it – and going to spend a lot of money on it. We’re reassured that Nintendo is going to give it some decent backing in Q4.

Nintendo’s dismissed the story as “rumor and speculation,” but CVG seems resolute. I suppose I wouldn’t be too surprised, frankly; I mean, why wouldn’t they attempt to take advantage of the Christmas season? At any rate, we’ll probably know for sure when Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference rolls around. Until then, this is technically just a rumor. (CVG via Gizmodo)

QUICKIE: Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Announced – That’s right. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Spring 2011. Full title is Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.

Well, that was enjoyable. Hope you’re all having a delightful evening! Look for the kick-off of our stupid theme week-inspired lists soon.

Lazy Saturdays

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

And what a lazy, lazy Saturday it is.

The hour is 2:29 p.m. CST. I’m alone in my apartment with all the blinds drawn. The place is an absolute wreck, truth be told – covered in boxes, bottles, cans, plates… ah… you name it.

I’m at my computer typing this. To accompany this scene, I have the soundtrack to Brick playing. It fits oddly well.

And that’s been my life for the last four weeks or so!

UGH.

Something has to give, eventually. Right? Right. Enough of that. I suppose as long as I’m here, we might as well talk about something interesting.

Wii Fit Turns Woman into Sex Addict – okay, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t for real. Regardless, it’s a story on Yahoo! News. And… it’s been there for a few days. Apparently, after falling off her Wii Fit board and damaging a nerve, Amanda Flowers is now a victim of persistent sexual arousal syndrome. And yes, that’s a real thing. So, why don’t I think this is for real? Try the closing quote from Flowers: “With no cure I just have to try to control my passion by breathing deeply. Hopefully one day I’ll find a superstud who can satisfy me.”

Who says something like that? Nobody, that’s who. Nobody.

Apple Blocks Political Cartoonist from App Store, Quickly Regrets Decision – y’know, for quite some time now, it’s been my plan to ditch Verizon and purchase an iPhone this coming November when my contract is up. But stories like this one are what make me consider alternative (read: Droid OS) options.

Mark Fiore is an accomplished political cartoonist. In fact, he made a little history recently by becoming the first web-exclusive journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his work. However, because his cartoons “ridicule public figures,” Apple refused to feature his work on the App store. So, essentially, Apple has begun making judgments on editorial content.

Obviously, this enraged more than a few, so Apple quickly backpedaled and asked Fiore to resubmit his app. Good for them, but that Google Nexus One phone is looking sweeter all the time…

Four Year-Old Kid Gets Free Weed with Game

Ba-hahahaha. Ahem. Ah, anyway. Some dad in the UK bought is kid Fight Night Round 3 for Xbox 360. The kid opened up the box to find tobacco laced with weed. He showed it to his father, who, reportedly became “horrified” and “took it off him straight away.” (The bag, I’m assuming.)

“But what if he’d thought it was sweets, and started munching away?” The dad said. “It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

No, actually, it doesn’t; because I’m pretty sure the worst thing that would have happened to the kid would be a nasty aftertaste.

When I think about the number of gamers who likely would have been thrilled to receive such a perk, the fact that it ended up in the hands of a four year-old becomes even funnier.

And that’s all. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday.

-Riddles

A Message to Apple: You Suck, Suck, Suck

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I realize now how ironic it is to write this after our “podcast” (look below) has just recently been added to the Apple store. Regardless, grateful as Ethos and I are for that, Apple still sucks. Why? I’ll tell you.

500x_sportsillustrated

Acceptable.

Apple has recently cracked down on apps that they deem sexually explicit or provocative. Not content, mind you – children are still allowed to download all the sexually explicit music and TV shows they want to, as long as they can provide a valid credit card number – but apps, such as the infamous Wobble iBoobs app.

Jon Atherton, the developer of said iBoobs app, released the newly-implemented list of taboos to the public via TechCrunch:

1. No images of women in bikinis (Ice skating tights are not OK either)
2. No images of men in bikinis! (I didn’t ask about Ice Skating tights for men)
3. No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was OK, and the Apple guy got angry)
4. No silhouettes that indicate that Wobble can be used for wobbling boobs (yes – I am serious, we have to remove the silhouette in this pic)
5. No sexual connotations or innuendo: boobs, babes, booty, sex – all banned
6. Nothing that can be sexually arousing!! (I doubt many people could get aroused with the pic above but those puritanical guys at Apple must get off on pretty mundane things to find Wobble “overtly sexual!)
7. No apps will be approved that in any way imply sexual content (not sure how Playboy is still in the store, but …)

Female_Figure_Skater

Not acceptable.

Good question, Jon. How is Playboy still in the store? Or Sports Illustrated? Could it possibly be because they’re big, rich, revenue-generating companies? No, of course not. Here’s the real reason, according to Apple exec Phil Schiller: “The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format.”

Yuh-huh. Well, at least they’re not being hypocritical or anything. Those guidelines are so ridiculously strict and arbitrary that there’s no way they’ll be upheld. My guess is that they’ll be pulled out of the closet on occasion to put the kibosh on some small-time developer that Apple doesn’t care about. And, in doing so, they’ll be appeasing all of the stupid parental figures in the world, who don’t seem to realize that with an iPod touch an an internet connection, their children can access every porn site on the internet.

Lamesauce, Apple. Complete and utter lamesauce. I hope Google’s phone kicks your ass.

Anyway. I’m off to buy Heavy Rain. It’s my last full day here in the magical land of Canadia; I suppose I shouldn’t spend all of it smouldering in Apple-induced rage.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Yum, stale tortilla chips and dip. I am living the good life here in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At least I have beer, thanks to my good buddy Charlie. (That’s twice now that his name has managed to show up in a post.)

To be perfectly honest I had half a mind to go vegetate in front of Scrubs tonight instead of writing anything. But since I’ll be in hell at work all day tomorrow, I figured I’d throw the lot of you a bone now and save the relaxation time for tomorrow evening. Plus, there’s some pretty interesting stuff to report on today.

Just… make the announcement already.
Everyone freaking knows that the PS3 Slim is coming. For months now we’ve been subjected to a veritable deluge of rumors and info that have all but confirmed its existence. Still in doubt? Well get a load of this: According to Taiwan’s DigiTimes, Sony has recently placed some uncommonly large orders for key PS3 components. In other words, they’re looking to build a fuckton of PS3’s in the coming months. Wonder why…

If something sounds too good to be true…
…then it probably is. Happen to be a member of GameStop’s EDGE program? Y’know, pay ‘em $15 per year and you get 10% off all used games, an extra 10% credit on all trade-ins, plus a free subscription to Game Informer? Well, according to some recent customer surveys, they might be looking to replace it with a new program known as GameSpot Elite. Additionally, they’re rolling out another program called GameStop Rewards, which is pretty much how it sounds. Click here to read the survey. (Kotaku).

Read it yet? Yeah, how about that Reward Level 4, eh? An all-access pass to E3? For a MERE 501 POINTS??

I could blow $500 at GameStop in a very, VERY short time. So, like I said earlier, this has GOT to be too good to be true. And the idea of some nerdy spendthrift being sent to E3 while I sit here, (with my own FUCKING WEBSITE no less) forced to watch through the lense of the internet, fills me with rage.

This one is strong…
I’ve never actually played a game on the iPhone/iPod touch, but I’ve been watching the device’s evolution as a gaming platform with sincere interest. One thing’s for absolute certain at this point: if anyone is strong enough to step into the war zone of console gaming, it’s Apple. And with this analyst claiming that he’s been shown a new Apple multimedia device that will function as a game console, that step may not be far off. All in all, it sounds fairly legit; check out the full story here. (Develop-Online)

I should rephrase what I said earlier: while I’m fairly sure that such a device is being developed, I’m unsure if Apple plans to angle it as a “game console,” per se; at least, not any more so than the iPhone is. Frankly, I’m not even sure how they’d market the thing anyway. It’s too big to be a portable, and while I’m sure it would include the ability to connect to your television, it’s not a console either. So… we’ll just wait and see, I suppose.

And that’s that. Pray that Ethan finds the time and/or motivation to write something of substance tomorrow, because unless I have a major change of heart, you won’t be hearing from me.

And srsly, who DOESN’T know that Spider-Man includes the hyphen?