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by Ethos

Hey! Look! Listen!

Thursday, October 8th, 2009


For some reason, I have a serious lack of motivation tonight. In fact, I suffered the same problem last night. However, I’ve determined the best way to overcome such lethargy is to actually open a text file and start typing.

So far, it’s working just fine.

Welcome to Hey! Look! Listen!, everyone. As always, it’s your darling Riddles here to bring you industry news as seen by ME. But enough faffing about; let us get down to BIDNESS. (That’s the cool way to say “business”).

Isolation is the word of the day...

Isolation is the word of the day...

Follow Up: IGN Won’t Drop the Citizen Kane/Metroid Prime Thing
Ugh. Perhaps you recall the segment from ABC I linked you to in my previous HLL, in which IGN’s Michael Thomsen compared Metroid Prime to the immortal Citizen Kane. I found the comparison rather odd, to say nothing of useless, and figured that was the last time we’d ever hear of it.

Well, I was quite wrong. Michael Thomsen has now followed up his brief appearance on ABC with a meaty article on IGN, exploring so-called similarities between Metroid Prime and Citizen Kane.

Regardless of the fallacies, the article is a fantastic read. However, the vast majority of it seems to focus on why Metroid Prime is such a definitive interactive experience. Why or how it supposedly translates the passive viewing experience of Citizen Kane into an interactive sci-fi action game is still somewhat unclear to me. I suggest you read it for yourself. Perhaps it will make more sense to you; if it does, I’d love to hear your opinion in the comment section below.

Michael Pachter Thinks the PS3 May Dominate the Holidays
Funny, I’ve been thinking this for some time. But now Michael Pachter, one of the more well-known industry analysts, agrees with me. Just listen to what he has to say:

“We believe that the recent round of price cuts may benefit the PS3 the most in coming months, given that unit sales last year were only 1.5 million for the September – December 2008 period. The Xbox 360 has outsold the PS3 for the past 13 months, likely due to a higher perceived value proposition (the Xbox 360 “core” model was priced $100 lower than the PS3). We think that the PS3 will outsell the Xbox 360 in September, and may continue to do so for the rest of the year.”

Beyond a doubt, the “higher perceived value” benefit of the Xbox 360 is gone. I was once convinced that the 360 was the definitive gaming console of this generation. The main reasons, of course, being the robust software library, and the competent price point. But unless you’re a zealot (and I know there are plenty of you out there) it’s clear that neither of those reasons apply today. The price points are identical, and the software battle, in my opinion, is at a dead heat. Can you point to a single notable 360 exclusive this holiday season that doesn’t have Halo in the title? And don’t forget, one of the two consoles sports a fully functional Blu-Ray player. (Kotaku).

Halo 3: ODST Sells 2.5 Million
Of course, that’s NOT to say the 360 is down and out by any means; not if the Halo franchise has anything to say about it. Within two weeks of release, ODST has pushed a staggering 2.5 million copies, despite it’s utter lack of Master Chief. (Kotaku).

On that note, if you’re worried about the Chief, don’t be. Microsoft’s Frank O’Connor is pretty sure you’ll see him again:

As for Master Chief, odds are he will be seen again. “I think that (his) fate, Cortana’s fate and the identity of that giant, dark planet at the ending (on the game’s hardest skill level) – that’s a spoiler – are probably big mysteries that would be irritating if they were just cliffhangers,” O’Connor says. “We do have a plan that goes out at least six years,” he says. “Eventually, it will become very apparent that there is a plan for the way the canon all ties together and the way the comic books and the novels all tie together.” (USA Today).

So, worry not Halo-Heads! Your beloved franchise isn’t going anywhere soon.

This is So Fucking Stupid: University Student Surveys “Gaymers”
A student at Full Sail University (essentially a game design school) has created a survey asking homosexuals what they would like to see in their video games. His name is Paul Nowak, and here’s his explanation:

“Ideally, I want to learn what exactly it is that gaymers want from their games and how that differs from their heterosexual counterparts. I’ll take that information to develop guidelines the industry can use when trying to make gaymer inclusive games that don’t become offensive or insulting to any gamer regardless of sexual orientation. If someone had done the same kind of research when the industry was trying to reach out to female gamers, girls wouldn’t have had to suffer through the wildly unsuccessful attempts of games like “Mary Kate & Ashley’s Winner’s Circle” pony racing. I’m hoping to help the industry avoid the same mistakes as it reaches out to gay gamers.”

Here’s a little tip to oppressed minorities everywhere: if you wish to achieve the acceptance you (supposedly) seek so desperately, stop trying to segregate, differentiate, and otherwise set yourself apart in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY YOU CAN.

Tell me, because I’m confused: what exactly would a homosexual want from videogames that a heterosexual wouldn’t? If this is about eliminating negative portrayals of homosexuals, I highly doubt we need a survey to accomplish that. Nowak says he’s attempting to avoid the mistakes the industry has made in reaching out to female gamers, and I applaud him for that. But what he doesn’t seem to realize is that those attempts failed on account of their very principle, not in their execution. Producing games that are “female-friendly” or “gay-friendly” is a sexist act in and of itself. This survey is utterly pointless, and if it accomplishes anything at all, it will be contrary to what Nowak is hoping to achieve. (Kotaku).

Quickie: Uncharted 2 Demo Sees 27+ Years of Playtime
Nope, I’m serious. Apparently everyone in the world except me has downloaded and played the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves demo. Naughty Dog co-president Even Wells has gone to the trouble of tallying up the stats, and here they are:

Total Number of games played – 1,217,424

Total Number of Kills – 92,110,787

Total Number of Treasures Captured – 1,860,645

Total Amount of Money Earned – $38,841,367,350

Total Time Played – 9,905 days (or 27+ years!)

I have a feeling that when the game actually hits stores, the numbers are going to be something to gawk at. Or maybe everyone will just be a cheap-ass and keep pounding away at the (seemingly quite robust) demo.

Well, my lack of motivation was seemingly replaced with an almost unprecedented strain of verbosity. It felt good to write all that, and I can only hope you enjoyed reading it. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a Dead Space: Extraction review later tonight. But I’m not gonna promise anything, especially after writing all that. My creative juices can only go so far in one shot.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009


God, do I love The Office. The American version I mean, not that British knockoff.

Yeah I know the British Office came first, but I dislike it strongly, and belittle it whenever I can.

That aside, welcome to Hey! Look! Listen! I’m your host Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and I STILL have not finished Dead Space: Extraction. I plan to do that, and then move on to Modern Warfare, which is my chosen backlog game to finish this week. The campaign is supposed to be super-short, so it shouldn’t take long; especially since I’ve already put a few hours into it.

On to the main event! Bit of an offbeat setlist of news today, actually.

FTC Ruling Might Affect Video Game Reviews?
The Federal Trade Commission has recently issued a ruling that may affect the way news outlets review video games.

The ruling states that “material connections” between “advertisers and endorsers” must be disclosed. Material connections being money or free products, presumably.

Speaking frankly, I really doubt this will have any effect on the way video games are reviewed. Why? Because I’m pretty sure a critical review isn’t considered an “endorsement.” I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

But let’s say reviews were endorsements. In that case, “material connections” might refer to free review copies of games, and perhaps even money earned from advertising.

But again, I don’t think it will have an effect. I just figured I should report it, since every other news outlet is jumping all over the story. (GamePolitics).

Citizen Samus.

Citizen Samus.

Metroid Prime Compared to Citizen Kane

ABC recently aired a segment that featured IGN’s Michael Thomsen comparing the classic film Citizen Kane to the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime series.

Yeah, no, I’m serious.

A bit strange, to say the least. I mean, as much as I like seeing video games given mainstream coverage, comparing Metroid Prime to Citizen Kane seems a bit over-the-top, to say nothing of… entirely superfluous. It was hard enough for me to take the report seriously; I can only wonder how non-gamers reacted to it. Check out the video yourself here

I'm failing at captions today.

I'm failing at captions today.

Interesting Note: Activision Didn’t Want Modern Warfare
It’s true! Activision was convinced that Infinity Ward’s concept for a modernized FPS was not financially viable. This is according to Vince Zampella, head of Infinity Ward, in a recent interview with PlayStation Magazine.

“Activision also did not want Modern Warfare.” Zampella said. “They thought working on a modern game was risky and ‘Oh my God you can’t do that, it’s crazy!’ They were doing market research to show us we were wrong the whole time.”

Well there ya go. 14 million copies later, I’m pretty sure the big shots at Activision have experienced a collective change of heart. (Kotaku).

On That Note: Apparently a Call of Duty Movie is Happening
This isn’t officially official, as it’s all based off of a few Tweets from Robert Bowling, Infinity Ward’s creative strategist. He mentions having lunch with the Hitman movie director, Xavier Gens. Presumably during said lunch, he tweeted “talking game films.”

Bah, bah, and bah. I’ll concede that Hitman was actually a notch above most game-to-film adpatations. But it wasn’t good enough to make me think that Call of Duty would be anything more than a generic war film shamelessly hoping to profit from its name alone. (1UP).

Yes, This is for Real

And it's awesome.

And it's awesome.

As seen on Wine.Woot

That’s all I got. By the way, do you like the big shiny banner/logo up top? I think it looks pretty nice, myself.