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by Ethos

Top 3 Worst Moments of Microsoft’s Press Conference

Monday, June 14th, 2010

So Microsoft’s press conference just happened, and I think it blew everybody away. With its terribleness. Their “hardcore” section at the beginning showed already announced games with nothing surprising, and then they blew into their Kinect casual awfulness. While the entire show was really bad and embarrassing, and because Riddlethos.com is not really the place for up-to-date e3 news, I thought I’d highlight the absolute worst 3 moments of Microsoft’s 2010 press conference.

3 – Skittles
To be completely honest, Kinectimals doesn’t look all terrible. Just in the sense that the tiger was adorable and the technology seems impressive. Still, I didn’t care about Nintendogs, and so I don’t care about Kinectimals. Why this moment qualifies for a top 3 finish is because of the pure ridiculousness of cutting to a small child saying “Skittles” over and over again. The kid and the tiger were cute, but I found myself wondering – not for the first or last time I should add – what happened to the gaming culture I used to know and love. I’ve already let Nintendo slip out of my heart, do I have no hardcore haven anymore?

2 – The Dancing, Oh Boy the Dancing…
While most of the other Kinect games didn’t look terrible for what they were – Nintendo games in HD – one title in particular, did. I forget what it’s called, but it doesn’t matter. It was awkward dancing that looks like it’s trying to be Dance Dance Revolution but without the gaming skill element, and so completely exposing the nerdiness of 95% of the people who play games. And Microsoft apparently didn’t want to hide that fact, so they got a nerdy white boy to talk about how he’s now an amazing dancer because of this game. Then he proceeded to dance poorly along with the music. This wasn’t the worst part though, it was when the two people in the background were spectating but then were just so into the dancing that they just had to join in! HOW EXCITING! I winced. A lot. And I went to a music theatre high school.

Would have much preferred this

1 – Worst Use of Twins Ever
Man, at least we had Felicia Day last year. She was nervous, yes, but it was a likeable presentation that made Twitter and Facebook demonstrations a bit less painful. This year Microsoft decided to take all the focus away from the actually pretty cool video chat technology and instead inserted in the most painfully executed script I’ve heard in a while. Some chick was talking about how Kinect is going to change everybody’s life and people were just starting to tune out when she mentioned her twin sister. Then people perked up. She called her sister, but before anybody in the audience could begin to conjure their teenaged perverted twin fantasies, they started the most awkward conversation in English history. It was so contrived, so forced, so uncomfortable that I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. It was that bad, even for the already obviously scripted conversations.

So that was my, er, bottom 3. What about you guys?

Worse than February: Paying for Online Multiplayer

Friday, February 5th, 2010
Me in February.

Me in February.

Yeah, it’s definitely February. The weather is cold, rainy, and foreboding. Like always, Time feels like it has nearly halted in place.

For the next twenty-three days, it’ll be inching along at an excruciating pace.

It’s currently 1:57 a.m. CST on a Friday. I should be in bed, but for some reason I feel like discussing something that’s arguably worse than this soul-crushing month.

That something is paying for online multiplayer.

The desire to write this editorial actually hit me a few days ago, after reading IGN’s interview with Peter Dille, Sony’s vice president of marketing. Readers might recall that I brought up a few of the interview’s key points in my last Hey! Look! Listen! column. One of them was the possibility that, in the future, Sony might charge for their PlayStation Network services – much as Microsoft charges for an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

I reacted with disgust, naturally. I have no interest in paying console manufacturers for the basic function of online play – and I don’t think I should have to. This is why I don’t have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. And that’s why I really hope Sony takes an alternative route if they do introduce some sort of premium version of PlayStation Network.

Something that’s easy to forget is that online play has been around for years. People were playing Diablo online over Blizzard’s BattleNet network almost 15 years ago. The technology isn’t even close to being novel; however, it was some time before we saw it properly integrated into console gaming.

xbox-live1When Microsoft first launched Xbox Live, it was the first online service that was both stable and incredibly easy to use. Taking the PS2 online was a whole bitch, and few games had any real support anyway. The GameCube’s online support was even more of a joke. But Xbox Live offered reliability, ease of use, and a ton of people to play with.

And that hasn’t changed. Xbox Live is still a fantastic service, with a massive community that continues to grow. But Microsoft shouldn’t charge $50 for online play.

I’ve always praised Sony for providing PSN for free. Perhaps the service isn’t as “streamlined,” per se, as Xbox Live. But in terms of functionality, the two services are practically identical. If the service was buggy or unreliable, Microsoft might be vindicated – but as it stands, the difference is negligible, if it exists at all.

free-playstation-networkAnd, remember, it’s not just the PS3 that offers free online play – it’s every single gaming device aside from the 360: PS3, Wii, iPod Touch, PSP, DS, and of course, the PC. Sure, the Wii’s online functionality is a bit of a joke, but Mario Kart online is pretty fantastic. And guess what? It’s free.

So how, exactly, does Microsoft justify making gamers pay for online play? And why on earth is Sony considering adopting the same business model?

I have a simple solution that I believe would satisfy all parties involved: provide simple necessities such as online play for free, and offer extra, “premium” content to subscribers. By “premium” content I mean original programming like Qore, services like Netflix, and perhaps even exclusive game demos. Y’know, stuff that actually feels like it’s worth paying a little extra for.

IGN doesn’t require an Insider subscription to watch video reviews, but only subscribers can watch them in HD. It’s a business model that Microsoft should adopt, and I sincerely hope that it’s the route Sony takes if they do decide to begin charging for PlayStation Network service.

Oh, and $50 is too damned much. It’s significantly more expensive than the average magazine subscription. And seeing that most of the content on Xbox Live (TV shows, movies, services like Netflix) cost extra money, I’m unsure why I should be forced to pay a royalty just so I can… pay more later.

But hey, this is all just personal opinion, and a bit of a gut reaction. It’s probably worth noting that I’ve never had an Xbox Live Gold subscription, so I haven’t experienced the wonders that fifty extra dollars supposedly brings.

What are your thoughts, people? Do you Xbox Live Gold subscribers feel that your $50 was well spent? Do you think that console manufacturers should continue to charge for online play? Sound off!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

HLLfinal

It would appear we have something of a slow week on our hands at Riddlethos.com, no doubt spilling over from our slow weekend. Somewhat disappointing, perhaps, but what can be done? I’ve been trying my best to finish Assassin’s Creed II, but I can’t seem to stay on track. The temptation to run around and entertain yourself with the game’s ENDLESS side-missions is too great! I don’t know how Nate Liles found the time to beat it already. Ethos? He doesn’t even play videogames.

In any case, it’s time to shake things up a little around here. Roll film!

ac2screen2Assassin’s Creed II Sells Almost Two Million

I am hardly the only one faffing about in Ubisoft’s critically acclaimed actioner. The company announced today that in one week, Assassin’s Creed II sold over 1.6 million copies. That’s a 32 percent increase over first-week sales of the original Assassin’s Creed, which launched back in November of 2007.

For the hell of it, Ubisoft also re-iterated the fact that the original Assassin’s Creed remains the fastest-selling new videogame property of all time. Not sure why that’s relevant now, but hey, they’re entitled to some horn-blowing, I guess. Check out my impressions of Assassin’s Creed II right here, and check back SOMETIME this week for a full review. (IGN).

Diablo III Won’t See the Light in 2010diabloIII

No, I didn’t mean 2009, I meant 2010. The sad fact of the matter is that if you’re a Diablo fan, you’ll be waiting a long damn time for the third installment.

“We always announce all of our games too early,” said Blizzard’s executive president of game design Rob Pardo. “We realize that and go, ‘You know what? Next time we’re not going to do that.’ And then we always fail at that. But I’d rather fail at that than fail at making the game great. I think it’s safe to say that, yeah, [Diablo III] is not going to be out next year.”

Bummer. I actually spent a decent amount of time with the original Diablo. If it was anything but a PC game, I might have finished it. Diablo II I installed and never played. As for Diablo III? Not sure if it’s a planned purchase or not. Sounds like I have plenty of time to think about it, though. (1UP).

bayonettaBayonetta Demo Coming December 3

Bayonetta looks like something that just screams to be tried firsthand, and we lucky residents of North America will be able to do just that on December 3. The demo will be released on both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and will likely be unchanged from its Japanese counterpart. The PSN Demo gives players access to the Tutorial and Angel’s Metropolis levels, while the Xbox Live demo will have those two plus the Falling Clock Tower level.

Sounds like favoritism, now doesn’t it? But then, it shouldn’t be too surprising, since the PS3 version has already been universally lambasted for looking and running decidedly shittier than the Xbox 360 version. Sega supposedly plans to release a patch that will, at the very least, address the PS3 version’s long load times. Regardless, it sounds like this is one multiplatform game that I’ll be purchasing for the Xbox 360. Bayonetta will be released in North American and Europe on January 5. (1UP).

Microsoft Faces Possible Class-Action Lawsuit over XBL Bansxbox_live_original

Well, this is rich. You’ve probably caught wind of the massive Microsoft banhammer that came down on Xbox Live a few weeks ago. Well, needless to say, it pissed a lot of people off, and it’s even caught the attention of a law firm.  Abington IP claims that they’re considering filing a class-action suite against Microsoft, and they’re attempting to rally all those who were banned to their cause. What legal feet do they have to stand on? None, as far as I can see, but Abington IP claims that Microsoft “conveniently timed the Xbox console ban to coincide with the release of the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game and less than two months after the release of the very popular Halo: ODST game.”

The idea, in case you’re confused, is that Microsoft intentionally banned a lot of people around a time when many, many gamers would want an Xbox Live Subscription – and if you’ve been freshly banned, the only choice you have is to buy another one.

What does Microsoft think of it? Not a whole lot, as it were:

“Piracy is illegal and modifying an Xbox 360 is a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use,” a spokesperson said to Financial Post  ”Microsoft is well within its legal rights to ban these users from Xbox Live.”

Yeah, that’s more or less how it sounds to me. I doubt we’ll see this one go anywhere, frankly. (Financial Post, via 1UP).

Watch the Introductory Scene of Spirit Tracks

Egads! Spoilers! Nah, it really doesn’t spoil a whole lot, but it’s undeniably Zelda. Cookie-cutter-ish and simplistic as it may be, this video actually brought back some fond, Zelda-related feelings of magic and… warmth. Anyway. Watch the video below if you so desire.

I Don’t Understand This Video, so I’m Hoping You Will

Yeah.

Anyways… um. Yeah.

And that’s all for tonight, ladies and gents! Hope you enjoyed yourself, and please, someone go become a fan of our Facebook page. We only need one more fan to hit 100, and it’s just killing me that we haven’t gotten it yet. If you haven’t already, then just help a brother out and… go become a fan.

If you have a Facebook, that is.

And if you don’t have a Facebook, get one, and then become a fan. Because seriously, who doesn’t have Facebook these days?