Home Upcoming Reviews About
Ethos and Riddles talk about video games...
            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, March 26th, 2010

HLLfinal

Mwa-hahahaha. That Blue Dragon Plus “review.” Man oh man, what a riot. Like I’d ever play that game.

Anyway. Hello, and welcome to the forty-sixth edition of Hey! Look! Listen! That’s right folks, I’ve written 46 of these things. Or… well, almost. Ethos wrote a few. But we’ll ignore that fact.

For your convenience, starting with issue #50 I’ll probably start putting the issue number in the title.

But yeah, that’s about it. I’m still unemployed. Let’s read some stories!

Xbox 360 to Receive USB Hard Drive Support

Well, it took them long enough but here it is. On April 6 Microsoft will release a system update for the 360 that will allow it to recognize USB hard drives, as well as flash drives. You’ll be required to specially configure the drive in the Xbox menu, and you can format up to 16 GB of space. You can have up to two drives connected at one time.

That’s… still slightly lame, but better than nothing. According to Microsoft, gamers will be able to transport “profiles, game saves, demos and more.”

As you can imagine, this announcement prompted a lot of Sony fanboys to gloat over the fact that the PS3 has had this capability for years, with no limit. However, a certain resident of the IGN boards named “tdgirard” swiftly shut them all down with this stinging, backhanded comment:

tdgirard

Ouch. (IGN)

Thanks to GamerLimit

Thanks to GamerLimit

Michael Atkinson Steps Down as Attorney General; R18+ Rating On the Way

Well damn it. I wrote about him once. ONCE. And he fucking throws in the towel. Mr. Thompson was far more tenacious than you’ve proven to be, sir Atkinson; I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed.

Ahem. Not entirely sure what the specific reason behind Mr. Atkinson’s resignation was, but from what I can gather, he was rather mired in the poor political decisions of his past. His stance against the R18+ rating was just one of many controversies he was involved in.

Stepping up to replace Atkinson is John Rau, who apparently is fully supportive of an R18+ rating for videogames. Speaking to Chris Prior, president of the Gamers4Croydon party, he “indicated to me that the lack of an R18+ for games seemed absurd, and that it was really just common sense to introduce it, considering the vast majority of adult content is already available under the MA15+ classification.”

Well. Sounds like it’s just a matter of time. Good for Australia! (Kotaku)

The Future of Video Game Controllers… is YOU!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that title. Speaking frankly, this is really neat. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have created a device that’s capable of turning your own skin into a touchpad for electronic devices. Tapping your arm, for example, produces acoustic waves, which the device recognizes and turns into input commands. Watch the video for more information; it totally shows a dude playing Tetris with it, as well as Frogger. (Kotaku)

finalfantasyIXlogo

Final Fantasy IX is Probably Coming to PSN

This isn’t confirmed, but I mean hell, why wouldn’t they? Apparently, one of Square Enix’s producers Shinji Hashimoto has been gathering public opinion on a Final Fantasy IX PSN release. Speaking on the Square Enix Japanese Twitter, he had this to say:

“Thanks to everyone for your opinions on FF9. Regarding an FF9 download release, everyone is so passionate about it that I’ll be proposing it at the next board meeting. Look forward to next week!”

Well, there you have it. He’s going to propose it to the next board meeting. I’m guessing it won’t be too long before we see it join Final Fantasy VII and VIII on the PlayStation Network. (VG247)

penny-arcade-adventures-1Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3 Cancelled

Bummer. I never actually got around to playing episodes 1 or 2, but I’ve heard good things about them, and I’ve always liked Penny Arcade. In an interview with Joystiq, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik confirmed that there wouldn’t be a third entry in the videogame series. But not all is lost; they supposedly plan on finishing the story somehow.

So, what brought about this cancellation? The developer behind the series, Hothead Games, is working on an EA game called Deathspank. (Yeah, no, that’s the actual title). I’ve never heard of Deathspank before in my life, but it’s the reason why Penny Arcade Adventures is being prematurely killed.

“They definitely could’ve done both games,” Holkins said. “I think they could’ve made DeathSpank and Episode 3 but I think Episode 3 would’ve suffered. I mean, I know it would have suffered. So we’d rather not do it than do it half-assed and so we’re going to finish that story but it’s going to be on our website.”

And that, as they say is that. No more Penny Arcade Adventures. They did, however, just release their 11 1/2 anniversary commemorative book, which you can see excerpts from here.

Ah, it’s so nice to have Friday night off.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

HLLfinal

1:32 a.m. on a Friday night, and what am I doing?

Nothing FUN, that’s for sure. I’m at my desk, surrounded by empty bottles of cheap lager, writing an article for you fucks. I hope you enjoy it.

Actually, I hope you don’t, because that would SHOW you.

Yeah.

Anyway. Let me grab another Yuengling, and we’ll get started.

Bobby NodickActivision Vs. Zampella/West: Things are Getting Heated

You guys should pay attention to this, because it’s one of the juicier, more scandalous stories to emerge from the game industry since Jack Thompson was disbarred.

In the previous edition of HLL, I reported on the unceremonious canning of Infinity Ward’s two main men, Jason West and Vince Zampella. I also reported that Activision had filed an SEC suite against both of them, citing “insubordination” and “breaches of contract.”

Well, the (seemingly) dynamic duo of West and Zampella aren’t taking this one lying down. They’re counter-suing Activision, claiming that the company owes them royalties for work on the massively popular Modern Warfare 2, and that they were fired without proper cause. They’re not playing small-time here either: their suit demands 36 million USD in damages, as well as the rights to the Modern Warfare brand. (Not Call of Duty, mind you; but Modern Warfare.)

Said West: “We were shocked by Activision’s decision to terminate our contract. We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we’ve been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we’ve done speaks for itself.”

Said Zampella: “After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”

Said Activision: (full commented blockquoted for douchery)

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Kotaku by a spokesperson. “Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

Well. If anything’s clear at this point, it’s the question of appearances. West and Zampella look like two creative geniuses who’ve been thrown under the bus, while Activision continues to look like a grand, huge, massive, gargantuan, money-grubbing bag of douche.

And, frankly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if that turned out to be exactly the case. I have no proof, of course, but the pieces fit. Why the hell would Activision fire their two golden boys? Either they were doing something awful, like, say, money laundering – or Activision just wants them out of the way. Creative differences, perhaps? Arguments over what direction the Modern Warfare brand should take? Understand, as the heads of Infinity Ward, West and Zampella had complete control over the Modern Warfare subseries.

There are countless rumors and nuances to this story, and I’m not going to try to sum them all up here. It’s honestly deserving of a site feature in and of itself. I’ve given you the basic facts. Choose your side, place your bets, and we’ll see where this goes.

portal 2 - GIPortal 2 Unceremoniously Announced

I don’t care about Portal. I’ve never played it. I actually have it sitting on my PC’s hard drive somewhere if I’m not mistaken, but I’ve yet to give it a go. Regardless, a lot of people like Portal. So. All of those people can now officially get excited.

I say “unceremoniously” because rumors have been flying around for a while, and it was revealed the next month’s Game Informer would feature a Portal 2 cover story. After all of this happened, Valve confirmed it through steam.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Maybe we’ll see a reveal trailer at GDC? It is next week, after all – and Valve’s very own Gabe Newell will be receiving a “pioneer award” (whatever the fuck that is) at the show. (VG247)

dsi-xlOh Snap: DSi XL and iPad to Hit Retail Within Days of Eachother

C’mon, isn’t this at least kinda interesting? The DSi XL and the Apple iPad, two devices that a) are catered to people who like… uh… large things, and b) don’t need to exist for any reason are both hitting North American retailers within the same week. You can grab a DSi XL on March 28, and then an iPad on April 3.

All of you “size matters” people should be in heaven. Me? I’ll be sitting back and laughing at anyone dumb enough to purchase either device. Unless they’re really old and have problems seeing things properly. I’ll still be laughing then, but for different reasons.

Thanks to GamerLimit

Thanks to GamerLimit

Here, I’ll Up the Ante: Michael Atkinson is a Stupid, Melodramatic, Misguided, Fame-Seeking Fuck.

Note: I did NOT call him a crook.

Everyone other than SiliconNoob is probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Well, it goes like this: there’s this little island nation called Australia. Australia likes to ban a lot of games. They’re sensitive like that. Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the most recent examples. One of the reasons for this is that Australia’s most “mature” rating for games is MA15+. After L4D2′a banning in Australia, a bunch of sensible people decided that it might be time to introduce an R18+ rating for Australia, so we could end this nonsense of banning and/or altering games once and for all.

For the hell of it, South Australia’s Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, decided he didn’t like the idea. He’s opposing it tooth and nail. He just doesn’t understand WHY Australians crave more sex and violence in their interactive media! From a letter he wrote to… uh… someone:

“It does not follow that a game is more interesting to an adult simply because it contains extreme violence, explicit sexual material, or highly offensive language. Indeed, with all the effort and money that goes into game development, coupled with the effects and graphics now available, there is no need to introduce these extreme elements. I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’”

Cruel sex…?

Anyway. The above was just a crash-course in Michael Atkinson, seeing that I’ve never mentioned him on the site before. In a nutshell: he’s an idiot. The real story is this: sometime last year, a dude named Dean McQuillan submitted a comment on an Adelaide-based website. Somewhere in the comment, he called Atkinson a “crook.”

Because the comment was “highly defamatory,” Atkinson is now suing McQuillan for $20,000.

Yes, you read that correctly. An Australian attorney general is suing a civilian for calling him a “crook” online. And that’s, quite literally, all there is to it.

Atkinson’s head must be one hell of a place to be. Obviously the guy has some serious issues of self-worth, because he seems to be doing his very best to simply be noticed – to  hell with what he’s being noticed for. But hey, I suppose we should thank him. It’s been too long since we gamers have had a public figure outside the industry than we can love to hate. (Kotaku)

shimomuraNERD ALERT: Yoko Shimomura to Score Xenoblade

What? You don’t know who Yoko Shimomura is?! Where is your nerd card, sir?

Anyway. Yoko Shimomura wrote all the pretty music for Kingdom Hearts. She’s damn good at what she does, and if Famitsu via Destructoid is to be believed, she’ll be providing the music for the upcoming Wii RPG, Xenoblade.

I’ve actually been fairly interested in Xenoblade for some time now, if only because I’m the world’s biggest Xeno-fanboy. (Xenoblade is, for the record, written and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, the mastermind behind the Xenogears/Xenosaga games.)  Shimomura’s musical presence only sweetens the deal. I was actually just listening to the final boss themes from Kingdom Hearts II. Absolutely fantastic stuff. Xenoblade is set for release in North America sometime this spring.

FFXIII logoLook at All the Final Fantasy XIII Reviews

That pesty embargo for Final Fantasy XIII reviews has been lifted, so now the internet is practically swelling with verdicts on Square Enix’s first current-gen entry in the beloved series. Go to GameRankings. You might be a little surprised at what you see.

Having said that, I haven’t actually read any of the individual reviews, and I have good reason for it: I don’t want to go into Final Fantasy XIII with any more negativity than I’ve already acquired. I know for a fact that I’m going to be disappointed with some of the decisions they’ve made. I know that it’s not going to be the same as it was all those years ago, when I was young and Final Fantasy was the greatest thing in the world. But, regardless, I want to give Final Fantasy XIII a fair shake. I want to try to re-capture some of that magic that I felt as a kid, when I didn’t read or care about reviews. Impossible? Maybe. But I’ll give it my best.

As a closing thought, I leave you with indisputable proof that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is superior to the PS3 version.

Thank god for Destructoid. And to think, I was about to go buy it for the PS3! Silly, silly me.

Well. It’s now 3:19 a.m. on a Friday night. Or… Saturday morning. Whatever. Point is, I’m still not doing anything fun. I’m at this same desk, with the same empty lager bottles. Plus a few new ones.

‘Till next time!