Meanwhile, in the Grammar Crisis room....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Long-awaited sequel to "Oh God, it's another video game post!"

More than a week ago, I promised to finish a feature comparing sports fandoms to videogame fandoms (yes, possibly the nerdiest premise ever). This took me so damn long because I couldn't think of a fanbase to compare Nintendo fans to.
I'm just going to go with my first instinct here and say Nintendo fans are Cubs fans. Both are past-obsessed (NES; Wrigley Field). Both always seem poised for success before the season (console generation), but find some way to muck it up (though Nintendo's been bucking that trend recently). But despite their losses, both are totally ingrained in the hearts of their fans. These fans are obsessive, as opposed to some Yankee fans (keeping with the metaphor, Playstation fans) who merely like the team because of its recent prominence.
Now, as to why those people who buy all consoles are pantywaists: imagine console gaming as betting. The goal is to find the contestant with the best chance of winning (providing fun games). A person who successfully chooses a winner receives the most for the least cost, and enjoys the added bonus of feeling prescient. People who bet on all sides also receive the maximum benefit, but expend the most. They have announced their failure to pick the winner and, indeed, a failure to even attempt to do so.
In short, people who buy all the consoles deserve to be treated with the same disdain as those who bet on both sides of a prizefight.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A few random thoughts that occurred to me while watching "The Departed"

  • Man, that "300" movie looks good. Finally, a movie that combines Spartans, yelling, insane CGI and Frank Miller in one shiny package.
  • I'm watching an ad for an "American Pie" spinoff in a theater crammed with old folks. Imagine watching "American Pie" with your grandparents. Now, multiply that by about 100, and that's what I was going through. By the way, who decided "American Pie" was worthy of two sequels, and (thus far) two spinoffs? I mean, the original was ok, not classic. The series has been on a downhill slope since then. Why make more?
  • "The Good Shepard" - has like 200 Oscar winners in it, and the worst title in recorded history. Did you guess that the movie's about the founding of the CIA? Yeah, me neither. They could have called it "Pancake Assassins," and it would have made as much sense.
Movie itself:
  • Holy crap, Jack Nicholson totally redeemed himself (Note - I had originally written "found his balls again after the travesty that was 'Something's Gotta Give,' but removed it for fear Nicholson would kick my ass. That's how good he is in this movie).
  • Ha! I've totally been there! (Thought this about 20 times during movie. Seriously, seems like movie is one big Boston in-joke)
  • Martin Scorcese keeps trying to sell me on the idea that Leonardo DiCaprio can play an Irishman/Irish descendant. Still not convinced.
  • Jesus, Damon's laying that "Bahston" accent on thick. I know that's the character, but it was noticeably irritating; his accent seemed overly exaggerated throughout. He's not the only culprit, but the most egregious.
  • Wahlburg's awesome in this movie. I think this is the first role of his I liked.
  • Movie is seriously funny (like that's not an oxymoron). This movie is funnier than at least 10 recent comedies I can name off the top of my head (hint: "Little Man" is tops on that list).
In conclusion, go see the damn movie.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oh God, it's another video game post!

A few days ago, Gamepro called the next-gen console race in favor of the Playstation 3. Nowadays, though, seeking Gamepro's advice about videogames is a bit like asking Kevin Federline about the electoral college - you're not likely to receive a comprehensible answer.
Why bring it up, you ask? Because it serves as a flimsy pretext to rant about the new consoles. Tonight, I'll be answering that most ineffable of questions: why are PS3 fans so damn annoying?
You may have seen these folks on the internet, typing out grammatical-error-laced tomes about how the Blu-Ray drive is the greatest thing since sliced bread, how Sony invented videogames and how $600 is not a lot of money. You may ask yourself: how can these people be so damn irritating?
I'll tell you why. It's because Playstation advocates are Yankee fans.
Not literally, of course, but metaphorically.
Think about it: a fanbase that obnoxiously starts listing recent successes whenever criticized (Playstation fans list their two successive dominant systems as proof of infallibility; Yankees fans list their World Series wins). The fans are both advocating very expensive products (Playstation 3: $600; Is there still a number as high as the Yankee payroll?). Both believe past successes have made them utterly incapable of losing. And both are led by a executive who might be insane (PS3: Riiiiiidge Raaacer!; Yankees: Steinbrenner).
Xbox fans seem like Red Sox fans: we bitch about the Yankees payroll, but we fail to notice how ours is second-highest. Indeed, this team (console) has a very "second place" feel to it. The team is good, and the console has good games, but it needs a lot of luck (and something cancelling out the PS3) to win it all.
Tomorrow: the thrilling conclusion, and why those who fail to choose a side are pantywaists.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'm back, baby!

And you thought disappearing for two months and moving to another state would deter your least-favorite blogger.
Got a new job (at a small Vermont paper), new digs and the same old mental defects.
Today, I'm going to hate on Madden '07 for the Xbox 360. I know I had previously criticized some for complaining about having both a Xbox 360 and Madden to play on it, and I can only say mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Everything about the game just feels so cumbersome, though it's hard to explain why - cumbersome is the word that pops into my head whenever I play through it. Navigating through the menus feels like using a jackhammer to do open-heart surgery.
The tragedy about Madden is that it's not necessarily a bad game. You can still have a hell of a lot of fun playing through the game. It's just that Madden has hit it's "superstar" period, where it realizes that it can phone in performances for the rest of it's life and people will buy it up like candy. Just like George Lucas.
The game has become like eating Lucky Charms just for the marshmallows, especially if you dislike the regular pieces. You know you like the marshmallows, but the regular pieces temper your enjoyment. Every bite of marshmallow is mixed with something distasteful.
And can I call for the end of the challenge system in Madden? Quite frankly, I always thought it was a bad idea. Since the computer creates the universe in which the game is played, it has an intimate knowledge of it: it knows when a player is in-bounds, out-of-bounds, is down or has fumbled. In order for the challenge system to work, the programmers had to have the computer make calls it knows is wrong in order for the player to have any successful challenges.
Think about that for a minute.
In other words, the Madden system wasn't created to change wrong calls, wrong calls were added to make the system work.
If that isn't the definition of idiocy, I don't know what is. And it serves as a perfect example of the dysfunction that infests Madden today.