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by Ethos

Scatter Storming. Issue #038

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

YOU HEARD IT STRAIGHT FROM THE BITCH’S MOUTH, FOLKS! The asshole misses me! Scatter Storming goes away for half a month, and Riddles is already in tears. If any of you even half-follow the site, you’ll know that my girlfriend finally moved into town this week, so my time has understandably been focused on that section of my life before she starts school and I have to go back to the reality of writing for my website and doing other things with my life. So let’s scatter some storms, shall we?

I got Ys 7 -
Because why the hell not. Well, I’m broke, so that’s a good reason, but I had enough money on my PSN account to get it, so I went for it. Because of the aforementioned attention to my lover, I haven’t played it too much, but it’s actually kinda fun. The beginning was slower than I wanted it to be, but I think that’s because I was anxious to try out this action RPG series for the first time.

People tend to agree that the game doesn’t look very good, and while technically I agree, so far it has been a rather whimsical and magical universe. The character models and textures are nothing impressive, but I like the atmosphere. Anyway, positive impressions so far.

I got Windows 7 -
Well, I downloaded it and I’m trying to install it. The upgrade attempt didn’t go so well, so I’m thinking about backing everything up and starting a clean install. I’m sick of Vista, although one certain event set this decision in motion.

FFXIV Beta -
I preordered the game, so I’m very interested in this open beta, but the client just insta-crashes whenever I try to open it. I blame Vista. My impressions of the beta would be here if it wasn’t fucking up. So stay posted for that. While I’m on the topic of downloading a bunch of shit.

Goddamn Birth By Sleep -
It is deservedly Birth By Sleep Week next week. I’m very excited for the title. But for whatever idiotic reason, the game will not be released on the PSN. I’m aware that the PSP Go was dead out of the gate (the thing never should have cost that ridiculous price), but the 4 Go owners (myself included) aren’t the only ones who can download PSP games off the PSN. It just doesn’t make any sense.

So, to combat their stupid move and to bring you all proper impressions next week, I’m going to borrow Andogo’s PSP and steal that bugger. I’d gladly pay for it if I was able to, but sadly I can only purchase the UMD, and I have no interest in that. I’m sick of physical media. Switching discs and carts seems so archaic to me now. I know a lot of you like looking at your collection and breathing a happy sigh, but you’re all old men to me.

Old men with walkers, who wheeze about the good old days while shouting racist remarks and talking about how the airplane ruined good character because kids used to have to swim across the Atlantic to get to school every day.

Metroid: Other M -
To get back to Riddles, since this is his issue, he was right about one thing. I did want to write a few editorials about Metroid: Other M this week. Hopefully I’ll be able to at least bring you guys a Soapbox tomorrow.

That’s it! This Oliver Issue appropriately rarely focused itself on him. I’m going to go try to get Windows 7 to work. If I delete everything, then fuck me twice and call me Suzanne. Later, cretins!

Metroid: Other M Review – There is Exploration in Metroid

Monday, August 30th, 2010

LIKED:

-Fast and varied combat, way beyond a button-masher

-Surprisingly engaging story and voice-acting, despite some cheese

-Challenge, optional paths, good puzzles, and spooky moments

DISLIKED:

-The rare, but annoying, forced first-person sections

-The controls for the just as rare, just as annoying 3rd person suspense building sections

-Not as much environmental authenticity as the Prime series

Metroid: Other M was a game that nobody was expecting in a great number of ways. After the Metroid Prime trilogy was completed and saw moderate – but not blockbuster – success (the entire trilogy combined sold about 20% of New Super Mario Bros Wii sales alone), the entire gaming population was neither clamouring for nor expecting any new Metroid titles for at least a little bit. But then along comes Nintendo at E3 2009 to announce a collaboration with Team Ninja to make an all-new story-heavy 2D-3D hybrid Metroid game. It was both unexpected and a risk, but the major question is: did it all pay off? Largely, the result is not only a “yes” to that question, but a promising effort for the future of Nintendo’s dwindling hardcore fanbase.

Story

This is fun

This is the one that might have the masses split. Not so much because of the story itself (although it gives a rather bold backstory for Samus), but because one of this nature exists at all. Metroid has traditionally been told largely through mood, implication, and optional in-game research rather than the involved cutscenes that Other M brings to the table. Personally, I think the story-telling is refreshing for a Nintendo title. It is sincere, introspective, and fits the mood of what (little) I have seen of the Metroid series. I love that Samus frequently gives her personal take on what people say and the things around her. It solidifies her character as solitary, critical, yet very human. While the plot, style, and even characters are nothing new, I can’t compare Other M’s story-telling style to any other game. In fact, I found myself wishing for more of Samus’ commentary during extended sections without a cutscene.

But despite these scripted elements, Metroid: Other M doesn’t abandon its predecessors’ ability to foreshadow and create the appropriate atmosphere through gameplay and natural surroundings. Windows in a hallway overlook directly into a boss’ liar, and room and puzzle designs give clues as to the nature of the facility that Samus is exploring.

Still, while I’m pleased to see Nintendo take big steps – for them – toward immersive and admittedly unique story-telling, Other M is not particularly well-written, is prone to being occasionally hokey and melo-dramatic, and isn’t very surprising. That being said, my previous comparisons to Kingdom Hearts aren’t far off in the sense that despite these short-comings, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Not to say that the style and themes are similar to Kingdom Hearts, so don’t be turned off if you’re not a fan of keyblades.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Metroid’s story, however, is how well it stacks up to modern HD titles. Sure, it’s no Bioshock, but the tale is engaging the entire time and even has moments that are completely badass, something not seen in a Nintendo title for quite some time. Other M’s story was the element that had me the most skeptical going in, and after completion, I am sold.

Young and naive... naive and young... young and naive...

Gameplay

It works. Other M’s bizarre hybrid of 2D and 3D simply works. Not only that, it is a better experience for it. 2D combat uses the Wiimote held sideways and is fast-paced and frantic. Samus runs quickly, shoots quickly, dodges quickly, and jumps like crazy. In 2D, as long as Samus is facing an enemy, she will shoot it. This auto-aim doesn’t dumb anything down, however, it just allows the focus to be on positioning and strategy instead and this is a great design choice.

To dodge, Samus needs to tap the directional button in any direction. It’s very easy to pull off – which is good because it’s an essential move – but the catch is that if you want to take advantage of Samus’ speed, you need to be holding down a directional button, and not be tapping.

Of course, there’s always the option to point the Wiimote at the screen to make the smooth transition to first person. This lets Samus gain the ability of powerful missiles and precision aiming at the expense of mobility. The transition works incredibly well from a mechanical standpoint although there are a few intense instances in which the transition is unfortunately a little disorienting.

Perhaps more important than combat, is the freedom the first-person perspective gives you in platforming and exploration. A 2D perspective can feel limiting sometimes, especially in a game like Other M, when there are hidden paths, secrets in corners, and long hallways. Thankfully, the first-person perspective is a godsend for any meticulous player. Of course, the game was designed for players to make full use of all options, but that just means it was designed well.

In fact, all abilities that Samus gains are consistently useful. While some of them stack, others aren’t just useful for a short time after they’re gained, but can be implemented in combat and searching for hidden items and upgrades throughout the experience.

But on that note, I unfortunately have to move on from the great combat, varied exploration, and well implemented unique gameplay mechanics and talk about some of the duds.

I hate these guys

While missile ammo, beam charging speed, and health can be upgraded by searching the various areas in classic Metroid style, major upgrades are handled terribly. Samus is fully equipped the entire game but only uses weapons that she’s authorized to use. Now, the game gives a bit more justification for this, so it’s not quite so awful as it sounds in that simple summation, but overall it’s a frustrating mechanic. Thinking “I could have got that extra health earlier if this stupid weapon was authorized” took me out of the experience on more than one occasion. I know it’s just a pretense for releasing the equipment, but at least finding it scattered across the game is familiar and consistent with finding the other upgrades.

In addition to that annoying quirk, there are two other gameplay instances that frustrate during Other M. One is a forced first person perspective. This happens a few times for either research or combat. Both cases are contrived and feel antithetical to the rest of the game. The other instance is during times that are meant to build suspense. The camera zooms into a tight 3rd person over the shoulder shot and Samus can only walk slowly and without using her weapons or abilities. In and of itself, these sections actually work to build tension. But the controls are horrible. Walking in a straight line is fine, and even some turning is okay. But trying to backtrack or maneuver tight spaces is a nightmare.

Another thing that might be more of a personal annoyance is a small frustration at the location of the game itself. All of Other M takes place in a single facility. Now this facility manages to work in a lot of other classic Metroid sceneries, but it just doesn’t feel as authentic as the locales in, say, the Prime trilogy.

But to end my gameplay thoughts on the positive note that the game deserves, Metroid: Other M was a pleasantly challenging experience. Experts won’t have a terribly hard time, but the title thankfully does not feel dumbed down and the only way to fully recharge health is to find a save point. No health bonuses for defeating enemies. Although at critical health, Samus can take about 10 seconds to recharge a portion of her health at the risk of leaving herself incredibly exposed. Because of the risk and the only partial recovery, I am very thankful for the mechanic.

Graphics

Other M does not look as good as Metroid Prime 3. Other M does not reach the excellent level of art design that the Prime trilogy possesses. Of course, Retro Studios’ work would be hard to match, so this isn’t really a surprise or a disappointment. Especially because Other M is still a very pretty game, just not the best the Wii has ever seen. And with so much production value and attention to cinematics both in scenes and gameplay, it’s occasionally difficult to come to terms with the fact that there isn’t a HD version of the game that you could switch to. Of course, that is a hardware issue, so I cannot fault the game for that.

However, because the only way to move around the world is in the 2D perspective, there is a distinct lack of more epic terrains. Smaller rooms and tight hallways make up the majority of the environments, which isn’t new to Metroid, but can feel a little claustrophobic when coupled with my previous gripe of the overall location choice.

Jump on the head, blast off the face

Sound

Metroid: Other M successfully combines music and sounds reminiscent of both the classic Metroid games and the Prime series as well as throwing in some more epic elements into the mix with even a small taste of Mass Effect in there. Still, the sound design isn’t as detailed and unique as the Prime series, although still quite impressive because – again – comparing technology to Retro’s trilogy is a bit of a lost cause. In fact, I played with the volume louder than I usually have it, and the score was always appropriate in tone and volume.

The voice acting was way better than I expected. Samus’ somber thoughts were able to portray her serious nature with genuine emotion, and the supplementary characters ranged from believable to good. Sometimes a few lines were ridiculous, but that was more a fault of the writing than the actors.

Final Thoughts

Do not let my nitpicking deceive you, I really enjoyed Metroid: Other M. Despite its ridiculous name, Nintendo and Team Ninja were able to make a unique, ambitious title that was largely able to bring the best from all of Samus’ adventures into a new form. Other M is an extremely promising effort from Nintendo, showing that it is, perhaps, willing again to try and push boundaries to make unique hardcore titles. Oh, and did I mention that the game continues beyond the credits? Other M isn’t super-long, but it’s worth your money as a Metroid fan, or a gamer looking for a moody action-packed adventure with – yes – exploration.

Review Outline

Quick Update

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Hey fellows and gals,

Although it may seem like it, it will NOT be a fortnight long theme week. Riddles and I are actually going to make a bit of an experiment with the rest of this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

As you all probably know, I’ve been playing Metroid: Other M all week and just recently found out that I’m allowed to review it as soon as tomorrow. That likely won’t happen. Still, I am on track to review it by when it comes out on Sunday so you can look forward to that as well. I might take advantage of the embargo lifting tomorrow, however, and write up some impressions as I’m a fair way into the game now. I’ll give you a little spoiler in that my impressions will be largely positive.

Until all this happens: HOLD YOUR HORSES!

AMAZING!

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

More DeathSpank! Win!

DEATHSPANK SEQUEL!

Yup. Already. Fantastic. It’s called DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue. I couldn’t ask for more.

I know the game was originally designed to be episodic, so I guess a lot more was developed than it seemed. This is great news to me because I loved that game and have actually been craving more. To have a sequel in a month is beautiful music to my ears.

Oh, and as for a new theme week? Riddles can decide, I’ve had his back recently, now it’s his turn to have mine.

Especially because I just got a review copy of Metroid: Other M so that I can provide you all with a review in time for release. Long live Riddlethos! And Deathspank!

Metroid: Other M Preview

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Like I told you guys, I got to go see Metroid: Other M on Friday. I watched a 20 minute demo of mostly cutscenes with a little gameplay, then got to play about 15 minutes myself consisting of only gameplay.

The Expected
To be honest, I don’t really know what I was expecting. I’ve never been a massive Metroid fan, and I only really got into the Prime series when I tried out the Trilogy version. Even then, I didn’t get far into it before I got the thing stolen and had to rebuy it then return it to my friend. Other M appears to be catering to both fans of Prime (the 3D perspective) and the old side-scrolling adventures (2D and only using the Wiimote). Which I knew already, so I suppose I was expecting that. But the bulk of my feelings from this event fall into the other two categories.

The Unexpected
Although I knew that Other M was supposed to be story heavy, I suppose I thought that meant “for Nintendo”. The opening cutscene was epic and lengthy, and after the game started, they didn’t really let up. It was a little off-putting, but after I let myself relax, I found that I was enjoying the scenes. The voice acting and writing isn’t the greatest, but like Kingdom Hearts it appears to be sincere and character focused enough for me to get into it anyway. I like how the focus was on Samus’ point of view, and how she would narrate her feelings and reactions to the situations and people around her. There’s obviously more than enough room for the story and scenes to be largely terrible, but they were better than I was expecting.

In terms of gameplay, I was happily surprised to find that the 2D gameplay doesn’t seem to be restrictive in terms of traditional Metroid exploration. It’s because you can actually move in and out of the environments, making it more like 2 and a half D, as much as I dislike that term.

Another pleasant surprise was how intuitive the transition between 2D and 3D was. Pointing at the screen then going back to the SNES-style position was smooth as butter, and alleviated my fears of fighting with the controls in that respect.

2D?

The Mixed
Despite the smooth transition between perspectives, I’m still not sold on it. While I never got annoyed during the demo, I’m hesitant to say that I don’t expect to get frustrated that I can’t move around while in first person, especially because of the similar visual look to the Prime series.

I mean, the game at least seemed to react appropriately depending on your choice of perspective. 2D combat is frantic and fast, and the 3D seems to be more forgiving in terms of timing, but requires precise aiming as opposed to the auto-aim in 2D mode. That, however, doesn’t mean that the 3D perspective adds anything yet, and I’m completely unconvinced so far. Like always, I’m willing to change my mind, and I hope I end up liking it.

The only thing that struck me as outright bad was something of relatively little consequence to the experience. The way Other M handles Samus’ suit and weapon upgrades is that she’ll only use the equipment that she’s authorized to use. That’s dumb and will likely take me out of the game every time a little message pops up that says “Samus is choosing not to use her missiles out of respect for Captain Whoever’s orders”. Losing all your power-ups at the beginning of the game is just as silly, but at least it only happens once.

Another thing I should mention is that Nintendo made sure to point out that despite the heavy focus on story, Metroid: Other M will retain its traditional mood of loneliness. And from the little I saw, that actually appears to be true. The cutscenes are full of people, but the levels are solitary and have a classic Metroid feel. Only one boss battle included other characters, but it didn’t detract from the mood for me.

So that’s it. The demo made me cautiously optimistic for the title. At this point, it really could go either way.

Metroid: Other M tomorrow

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Sorry guys, I’ve been back to work, and it’s weirding me out! And Riddles is still sick.

However, I do get to see Metroid: Dumb Name tomorrow, so I wanted to come to you guys to see if you have any questions that you want me to ask. If there’s good stuff that I haven’t thought of, I’ll make sure to include it when I interview the PR dude.

Iced Latte Count: 1

Thank you, destructoid.com

Hey! Look! Listen! #57

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: let it be.”

Fifty years later, those guys are still smarter than I’ll ever be.

Welcome to the much-belated fifty-seventh edition of Hey! Look! Listen!, good citizens of Riddlethos. I can only imagine the anticipation with which you’ve looked forward to this day.

I can only imagine it because I’m sure it doesn’t actually exist anywhere outside of my imagination. But, I’m not going to let that hurtful little fact bring me down today. As the previous post made clear, I’m back. Bitches. And now it’s time for you to HeyLookListen to whatever I want you to HeyLookListen to!

Heavy Rain Devs Working on Two New Projects

Did you enjoy Heavy Rain? I certainly hope so, it was an amazing title – as should be evidenced by the glowing review I wrote for it. (My opinion, after all, is definitive.)

Anyway, even if you didn’t like Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream is apparently gonna keep on keepin’ on. Speaking to the Examiner, the company’s main man David Cage confirmed that his studio was working on not one, but two “very different projects.”

“After Heavy Rain, we have some credibility in experimenting with new IPs and new concepts,” Cage said. “We are not going to play it safe from now, we are going to use this credibility to continue to take risks, give ourselves exciting challenges and try to invent new ways of playing.”

Sweet. I mean, obviously, that means nothing when it comes down to it, but I’m just glad to know that they’re working on something. Hopefully we’ll see the results in less than five years? (VG247)

LOLocaust: This is How Much the ESRB Cares About Online Privacy

Is LOLocaust in bad taste? I’ve been using it as a phrase for a long time now, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it in a Riddlethos post. Ah well, it’s my first day back, and I feel like doing something controversial. Like combining genocide with an internet meme. Doesn’t get much more controversial than that, right?

Well, as controversial as that might be, I guarantee you that far more people care about Blizzard’s recent (failed) attempt to introduce a new policy that required people to display their full names in online forums. The idea, I suppose, was to cultivate a greater sense of online tact and responsibility; when you don’t have a clever internet nick to hide behind, people tend to act more civil.

But people don’t get on the internet to act civil, which is why everyone proceeded to throw a goddamn stink. In fact, a thousand people went so far as to email the ESRB, crying out for a redress of online grievances. Why the ESRB? Probably because they’ve been a proponent of online privacy in the past, with initiatives such as the aptly-named Privacy Online program.

Well. In a move that positively oozes irony of the most delicious variety, the ESRB responded to said emails.

No, that’s not the ironic part. The ironic part is that when they sent said response, they CC’d all 1000 people.

What that means is that everyone who received said response also received the email addresses of 1000 people.

Kotaku seems to think that whoever sent the email simply hit “reply all,” which would make this an honest mistake. However, Kotaku commenter MechaPumpkin aptly notes that there’s something distinctly wrong with that explanation:

Okay I’m a little confused by this.

It couldn’t have been a “reply to all” unless all of these people were originally in the email NOT in the BCC to the ESRB. They all had to be in the “to” field or “CC” field, right? Like the email to the ESRB was a single email with one source? You can’t “reply to all” otherwise. Or was it an actual petition where everyone signed their email addresses? So it was exposed anyway (I mean you can’t “sign” a petition without giving a name or maybe in this case an email address).

So what this means is the ESRB took the email addresses of all the individual complaint letters and put them in the “to” field right?

Just doesn’t make sense as described in the article. Or am I missing something?

No, Mr. Pumpkin, I don’t think you are. And I’m willing to guess that whoever took the time to CC 1000 people knew exactly what they were doing. Having a laugh at the expense of a bunch of whiny overreactors, perhaps? Hell, I would. (Kotaku)

Here, Have Some Metroid: Other M Videos

I’m still maintaining a fairly palpable level anticipation for Tecmo/Nintendo’s relaunching of the Metroid franchise. I really dig the unconventional mixture of 2D and 3D gameplay styles, I’m tentatively excited for a more plot-driven approach (as long as it’s done *well*), and it seems as if they might be keeping the Metroid atmosphere intact this time around. (Something that Prime 3 did not accomplish.) Anyway, a few new videos were just released. The first one is really gimmicky and promotional, but the second one shows off some meaty chunks of awesome-looking gameplay. Check them out.

For whatever reason I can’t embed the damn things, so head over to this Kotaku page if you’re interested. Apologies, the internet is stupid sometimes.

Dragon Age 2 is Going All Mass Effect On Us

And hey, you certainly don’t hear me complaining. As strong a game as Dragon Age may have been, Mass Effect 2 was undoubtedly the stronger, more polished product on nearly every level.

So, in just what ways is Dragon Age 2 becoming more like its sci-fi brother, Mass Effect? First and foremost, you can say goodbye to the silent protagonist of the original game. Like Mass Effect, the protagonist of Dragon Age 2 will have a voice, a name (Hawke), and a personality. A decision that I’m sure will piss off more than a few, but it’s welcome news to me. Silent protagonists are dumb, especially in an experience as rich as Dragon Age.

Second, rather than keeping the traditional dialogue “tree,” where your exact dialog choices are displayed on-screen, Dragon Age 2 will be implementing Mass Effect’s (much more entertaining and intuitive) “dialog wheel.” Y’know, the one where you choose what’s going through your head, and your character then responds appropriately. I have no idea why the first Dragon Age didn’t do this, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re implementing the feature for the sequel.

Finally – and this change will prove to be the most controversial, I’m sure – the console versions of Dragon Age will feature combat “more tailored to the strengths of the PS3 and 360.” In other words, if you want the same strategic combat style of the original Dragon Age, you’ll have to go with the PC version. Once again, I’m fine with this. PC strategy action is meant for PC games.

So yeah, point being, you’ve got some major Mass Effect in your Dragon Age. This is more or less what I anticipated. Head over to GameInformer’s website for a few more odds and ends (you’ll be able to carry over save data, there’s a new graphical style, et cet).

My word count is now at 1194. No, wait. 1200. Not bad for the first day back on the job, I gotta say. Look forward to more of this in the near future, and until then, I leave you with this question: who else doesn’t really care about Dragon Quest IX?

Hey! Look! Listen!

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

HLLfinal

It looks like we’re back on a sort of regular-ish schedule here at Riddlethos.com. Aside from the part where the new theme week didn’t start until today.

But hey, at least HLL is here! Right? Everyone loves HLL, right? It’s better than Scatter Storming, right?

RIGHT?

EH?

Before I single-handedly destroy my own ego, we shall get started.

infinity-ward-logoActivision and Infinity Ward Are No Longer Friends

Well, I suppose I should rephrase that: Vince Zampella and Jason West, to two heads of Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward, are no longer friends with Activision. And, because of that, they’re no longer employees of Infinity Ward. Even more interesting than that, however, is that Activision has filed an SEC suite against Infinity Ward, investigating “breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward.”

You’ll notice that the above paragraph is rather short on details. This is because there aren’t many details to be had at the moment. What we know for sure is that neither Zampella or West are employed at Infinity Ward any longer (according to their respective Linked In profiles) and that Activision indeed filed the SEC suit. What happened to prompt such a lawsuit, and why did IW’s two big cheeses leave? Nobody knows. Kotaku is currently doing its best to stay abroad of the situation.

ps3fatSay What…? Apparently the PS3 Fat Was Having some Issues, All Better Now

This one kinda went under the radar for me, mostly because it didn’t affect me, because I have a PS3 Slim.

But apparently, owners of the PS3 Fat fell victim to what Sony is calling an “internal clock bug” yesterday, and because of this, many trophy-enabled PS3 games did not function correctly. Or… something.

Here’s the gist of it: the internal clock on many PS3 Fats reset themselves to January 1, 2000. Supposedly, this was because the PS3 fat was programmed to recognize 2010 as a leap year.

Well, after this automatic reset occurred, whenever owners of the Fat attempted to go online, they were greeted with the dreaded “8001050F Error Message.” And, on top of that, certain trophy-enabled games couldn’t even be played offline  - players were given the same error code, along with a message that said “Registration of the trophy information could not be completed. The game will quit.”

Anyway. As much as I’m sure that sucked for many people, it’s over now. Sony posted on the official PlayStation blog that it has been “resolved,” and if your time still isn’t right, feel free to adjust it.

Sounds so deliciously exciting. I’m sorry I missed out on it. (Kotaku)

wpid-Verizon-DROID-Eris_PhotoApple Sues HTC For Infringing on iPhone Patents

Perhaps by now, you’ve heard of HTC. They are, after all, the ones manufacturing phones utilizing the relatively new Android Operating System, such as the Droid Eris (the slightly watered-down version of Motorola’s Droid) and the upcoming Nexus One from Google.

Anyway. They’re one of the few players who are challenging Apple’s iPhone right now, so it hardly comes as a surprise that Apple is trying to sue them. Apparently HTC has infringed on over 20 of Apple’s patents, including multi-touch technology and other such nonsense. If you wanna know more of the specifics, check out this article on PC Magazine.com.

For drama’s sake, here’s a quote from Apple’s Chief Executive, Steve Jobs:

“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”

PREACH IT, MR JOBS!

Nah, actually, this kinda stinks of a dominant player in the smartphone market trying to stamp out competition before it becomes competition. And I say that with little to no evidence supporting me. It’s just my gut reaction.

space-invadersPeople are Trying to Make a Space Invaders Movie

No, really. They are. Or, Warner Bros. is, to be exact. They are currently in talks with Taito to purchase film rights for everyone’s favorite arcade classic.

This is so ridiculous that I’m not even going to exert the effort necessary to say that it’s ridiculous.

Except I already did. Fuck. Oh well. If the movie ever does happen, then it will (reportedly) be produced by Mark Gordon, Jason Blum and Guymon Casady. Gordon was involved with Saving Private Ryan. Blum produced Paranormal Activity. I don’t care what Guymon Casady did. His name is sketchy. (Kotaku)

500x_codActivision Has Plans for Call of Duty

Rather than commenting on the juicy Infinity Ward rumors, Activision has taken the sneaky way out, and outlined their grand new business model for their immensely popular Call of Duty franchise.

Activision intends to form a Call of Duty “Business Unit,” which will “bring together its various new brand initiatives with focused, dedicated resources around the world.” The focus will be on “high-margin digital online content and further the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models.”

Sounds pretty heavy. But they didn’t talk all business jargon – they confirmed that a Call of Duty game developed by Treyarch (responsible for Call of Duty 3, and 2008’s World at War) will be released in 2010. In 2011, another CoD game from an unnamed developer will be released. And, furthermore, another CoD title will be developed by the upstart Sledgehammer Games, a studio headed by Dead Space creative leads Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey. Reportedly, Sledgehammer’s take on CoD will “extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre.”

Wait… really? I mean, uh. That could be cool? Iunno. All I can think about is the fact that one of my (newly) favorite franchises is well on its way to being transformed into an Activision cash-whore.

I mean, I guess that’s what it was before. In a way. But you know what I mean. Right?

New Metroid: Other M Cinematic Trailer Looks Dumb

I’m sorry, but it does. I mean, I guess I can sorta get behind this dramatic, story-driven new direction that Nintendo is taking with the Metroid franchise. Really, I can, because it would be great to get to know Samus a little more intimately. (Not that way.)

But if that’s what they’re gonna do, then the writing had better be good. Like, really damn good. Better than it is in this ridiculous, melodramatic, gameplay-devoid trailer.

Anyway. Now that I’ve torn the trailer to pieces. Enjoy it!

And that, as they say, is that. I’m off to play more Heavy Rain. ‘Till next time!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

HLLfinal

I’m baaaaaack!

Or, HLL is back, I should say. I feel like it’s been weeks since I sat down and wrote one of these things… and that’s probably because it has been. We did have the debut of the Audio Edition last Tuesday, if you recall (I’m sure it’s impossible to forget, as much as you’d probably like to) but HeyLookListen started as a written column, and those will never go away.

Now, will we see more audio editions in the future? Well, I can’t give any specifics at the moment (largely because I don’t know them myself) but I think it’s safe to say that you haven’t heard the last of HLL.

Get it? Heard the last? I’m implying that, y’know… there’ll be more audio editions.

Anyway. Let’s get on with it.

SamusMetroid: Other M Demoed, Dated

Nice. I’ve always been a strange breed of Metroid fan, but a fan nonetheless. I really love Metroid Prime 1+2, but I never did get into 3. I played Super Metroid all the way up to Ridley’s lair, and then for some reason, stopped playing forever. And that’s the extent of my Metroid experience.

We haven’t heard shit about Other M for almost a solid year until now, and it’s looking like a day one purchase for me. The concept intrigued me when it was first unveiled, and after reading through the slew of impressions now floating around the interwebs, I’m all but sold. For once, it looks like Nintendo is doing something very, very different, and that alone is enough to interest me.

For your convenience, I’ve provided links to gushy, fanboyish impressions from IGN (in which Matt Casamassina literally quotes all the dialog from the demo) as well as slightly more objective impressions from Kotaku. Both, however, seem to love the game. Other M has been confirmed for a June 27 release date in North America. Can’t wait.

And who knows, maybe I’ll finish up Prime 3 for posterity’s sake before then.

mediaMario Galaxy 2 Demoed, Dated

Hey, this headline is the same as the last one… except it’s Mario Galaxy 2 instead of Metroid.

I suppose I could have mentioned the fact that the Nintendo Media Summit just took place. Hence these two announcements. I’ve really never had much interest in Mario games of any kind, but Galaxy 2 is looking pretty sweet. For a Mario game. And that’s my educated opinion, after watching the trailer and not reading these Kotaku impressions I’m about to link you to. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve also provided the newest trailer for the game below.

Oh, and uh… here’s the boxart.

UR MI AY...? Whut? "UR MR GAY" was so much more straightforward.

UR MI AY...? Whut? "UR MR GAY" was so much more straightforward.

ffxiiiFinal Fantasy XIII is an 18 GB Install on 360

That’s between all three discs, naturally. Ve3tro.com was nice enough to provide exact sizes for all three discs:

  • Disc 1: 5.9GB
  • Disc 2: 5.8GB
  • Disc 3: 6.6GB

18.3 GB in total. Of course, it’s entirely optional to install. And it’s worth noting that the PS3 version sizes in at about 38 GB, so it literally more than twice the size of its 360 counterpart. And it’s all on one disc, too! Oh, the beauty of Blu-Ray.

heavy-rain-1New Line Optioned Heavy Rain Film

And, in fact, it’s technically still an “option,” as it were. Waaay back in 2006/2007, New Line Cinema (y’know, the people who distributed the Lord of the Rings movies) filed a “Short Form Option” for Quantic Dreams’ Heavy Rain. All this really means is that they have the option to make one, should such a thing be feasible. It has no financial contracts therein. The filing was discovered by internet sleuth Superannuation.

So really, this is nothing at all to get worked up about, just an interesting bit of trivia. And also a reminder that development on Heavy Rain really did start a looong time ago… now that I think about it, I do seem to remember the game being shown off before the PS3 had even been released. It’s been a long time coming.

On that note, I apologize for the complete lack of Heavy Rain-related content on Riddlethos this week. It’s been a little difficult, getting back from 8 days in Toronto and readjusting to normalcy. But I promise to have something written and posted before this week ends. Look for it!