Archive for December, 2010

Video Game Awards 2010 Reactions Entry

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

The Spike TV Video Game Awards are just hours away. Stay tuned to this space for my up-to-the-minute commentary on the proceedings.

7:07 PM CST Whew! a few minutes late to the show, so I missed the opening number. Shame. But I do see Neil Patrick Harris bombing in front on the audience and announcing one of the GOTY nominees, COD:BLOPS

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7:08 PM CST Another Arkham Asylum promo

7:09 PM CST This looks like Sam Fisher infiltrating the Batman universe

7:11 PM CST I have to admit the set looks pretty rad this year

7:12 PM CST Bioware gets the nod for Studio of the Year, kind of going for the big awards early, eh?

7:13 PM CST Dane Cook? Seriously? Were they looking for someone less funny than NPH?

7:14 PM CST Oh dear Lord, Dane Cook is absolutely bombing out there. No laughs at all.

7:15 PM CST Who is Chris Hemsworth?

7:18 PM CST this seems like a long commercial break with no real video game commercials. Do they not realize who is watching this thing?

7:20 PM CST Lots of robed folks entering the stage. Looks like an Undertaker intro. Oh, it’s Tom Howard.

7:21 PM CST Bethesda’s new game is… A new Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim. Very nice trailer

7:22 PM CST NPH trying some puns on some game titles. They’re all pretty awful.

7:23 PM CST Mortal Kombat isn’t dead yet?

7:25 PM CST Kratos in Mortal Kombat? No.

7:26 PM CST 90210, eh? People watch that show?

7:27 PM CST A game about a guy with a hammer? Are we getting a Hammerin’ Harry remake? No? Thor? Psh, whatever.

7:28 PM CST Thor looks a lot like that Castlevania game from earlier this year.

7:29 PM CST These jokes are falling flat for everyone

7:29 PM CST Best action game? Looks like the Wii finally getting some notification. Too bad they won’t win anything unless it’s “Best Wii game”

7:30 PM CST Assassin’s Creed wins. Shocker. These Ubisoft guys are French, which is why they sound like they’re tired and drunk.

7:31 PM CST Strongest character, Master Chief, Samus (pronounced “Same Iss” for some reason), and then Mario. Not sure how that worked out.

7:31 PM CST Army rangers, eh? Guess they’re big sponsors for this year’s event.

7:34 PM CST Denise Richards? Sounds like she’s haltingly reading from cue cards. Yuck.

7:35 PM CST My Chemical Romance with the first bathroom break musical number.

7:39 PM CST Nick Swardson. Yeah. No.

7:40 PM CST Mass Effect 2? Yeah, I bought that, need to start it, and then finish it.

7:42 PM CST Mass Effect was expensive? I think he meant ‘expansive’

7:43 PM CST Sounds like Alistair from Dragon Age, but this isn’t Dragon Age.

7:44 PM CST Mass Effect 3? Already? Even Holiday 2011 seems soon.

7:45 PM CST You know, I like video games and everything, but I’m not buying a car that’s a ‘special video game’ edition, no matter what the game is.

7:48 PM CST The “It’s Always Sunny” cast. Whooppee. I’m guessing that this is some kind of schtick. Not the funny kind.

7:50 PM CST COD:BlOpS getting the shout for best shooter. Props to my buddies at Treyarch.

7:51 PM CST Olivia Munn is not NPH.

7:51 PM CST Does this show have writers, or are they getting these jokes from Laffy Taffy wrappers?

7:52 PM CST Yay, boners!

7:52 PM CST Is it normal to want to punch NPH in the mouth at all times?

7:53 PM CST Resistance 3, probably another game I’ll never play. Sorry, guys.

7:54 PM CST Nearly halfway home and we’ve seen what, one title that’s not PS3/XBox 360?

7:55 PM CST I really don’t want to see any more Dane Cook Photoshopped into pictures with video game characters.

8:01 PM CST Nick Swardson sucks. I know I’m not the first to say that.

8:02 PM CST Hades and Kratos? I guess they’re “live via satellite”?

8:04 PM CST God of War 3 looks pretty good, but since I don’t have a Playstation, I probably won’t be playing it.

8:06 PM CST Best performance by a human male? “That’s what she said!” Yep, that fell as flat as… something funny that’s flat.

8:07 PM CST My problem with this category is that they pretty much only recognize established movie/television actors and not professional voice-over guys.

8:09 PM CST Whoops, first missed bleep of the night. But that accurately describes this skit.

8:10 PM CST Tony Hawk? He looks tired and stoned.

8:11 PM CST Prototype 2, eh? Could be good.

8:12 PM CST A look at the hottest mobile games? Uh a tiny video in the middle of the screen for two seconds. Yeah, good use of that airtime, Verizon.

8:17 PM CST Angry Birds Live? Ugh, this could be funny, but it’s pretty stupid.

8:18 PM CST Yeah, all video games are about violence and child abuse, right?

8:19 PM CST Another missed bleep, or “sh*t” is an acceptable word on Spike.

8:20 PM CST Best Indie game? And no clips from them? Lame.

8:20 PM CST Limbo wins. I guess that’s good, but I don’t see anything about the game, so I dunno.

8:21 PM CST Deadliest Warrior the game? This looks pretty awful. Kind of like the show.

8:22 PM CST “Jengis Khan?” The board game guy?

8:23 PM CST Portal was pretty good, but Portal 2 is the most anticipated game of the year? Yeah, Okay

8:24 PM CST Yeah, that promo tells me absolutely nothing.

8:25 PM CST Ah, yeah, a terrible song about characters that died in games. With fictional causes of death. Blech.

8:25 PM CST And now for the awards that weren’t important enough to make it to television

Best driving game: Need For Speed Hot Pursuit
Best Adapted Video Game: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Most Anticipated Game: Portal 2 (Duh, we just saw that)
Best RPG: Mass Effect 2
Best Music Game: Rock Band 3
Best Soundtrack: DJ Hero 2

I’d hate to interrupt these ridiculously unfunny sketches at an awards show by giving out awards during it.

8:31 PM CST Red Dead Redemption won Best Original Score and Something else (the Michael Chickless mumbled it). Good thing we’re wasting time with another song instead of giving out awards. We have a lot to go (including another My Chemical Romance song), and only 29 minutes to go.

8:36 PM CST Ooh, a Top Gear America promo. This show is taking a nose dive. Oh, it’s tangentially related to Forza 4. Still dumb.

8:37 PM CST It looks like we’ve seen the same previews for the same games a few years in a row.

8:42 PM CST A TMZ crossover. And mentioning Kratos again, and Assassin’s Creed and Halo. There were more than three games released this year, right?

8:44 PM CST And more Halo stuff.

8:45 PM CST Why are we waxing about Halo: Reach?

8:46 PM CST Does this violinist have a name? She did a pretty good job.

8:47 PM CST These backstage interviews really serve no purpose.

8:48 PM CST More porn titles? No.

8:48 PM CST Another World Premiere of… SSX? What does a helicopter have to do with SSX again?

8:49 PM CST What the…? Are they trying to make SSX look like some kind of snowboarding / extreme climbing / Medal of Honor hybrid?

8:54 PM CST More Dane Cook. This is last appearance. Thankfully.

8:55 PM CST More love for COD:BlOps. Good for them

8:55 PM CST We’re running out of time. This is going to get real quick.

8:56 PM CST I can honestly say I haven’t really been anticipating Uncharted 3, since I haven’t played 1 or 2.

8:58 PM CST Red Dead Redemption got Game of the Year? Really? And a few more awards (best original score, best DLC, and something else that the announcer mumbled)

9:00 PM CST Lots of awards going to get lost due to time constraints, I’ll have to check out the site later. And no second musical number. Yep, good thing we wasted all that time on the pointless piano songs and idiotic sketches. The show ends rather abruptly. The crowd looks utterly baffled.

Best dressed assassin, Assassin’s Creed
Biggest Badass: Kratos

And the rest get cut off because of time constraints.

This show is in some ways better and worse than last year. It’s like the industry is trying to put on heirs of being a serious industry, but sneaking in bathroom humor, poop jokes and sexual innuendo, just brings the show down to a ridiculously lowbrow level.

Final Fantasy XIV team gutted

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Back in October, I bought a copy of Final Fantasy XIV on release day. I really liked Final Fantasy XI, but didn’t really have the time to dedicate to it, and since XIV was to be more geared to solo/casual players, I figured it was time to dip my feet back into the Final Fantasy MMO scene.

Oh, how wrong I was.

It turns out that the game in its released state was broken in so many ways (not including their baffling decision to not process credit cards domestically for us users in the United States) that it resembled alpha-level software. Features were incomplete or nonexistent, the game was unstable, and it was not much fun to play. I lasted about a week and a half before I gave up (logging in twice).

So the guys at Square Enix rallied, apologized, gave people an extension on their complimentary month of game time in anticipation of some big fixes that were around the corner, including implementing such features as “can scroll map with mouse in PC version”.

And, true to their word, a patch was released in mid-November that addressed some of these issues, free game time was extended again, and more big fixes were promised, though some major game-breaking issues remain. For example, the decision to not have an in-game auction house means that buying and selling items between users is so time consuming and tedious that you can spend all night looking for something that may or may not be available.

That’s not fun.

So, even with the Big Changes(tm) that were coming down the line, I had given up hope on this game ever being good. But, then I got an email update with some surprising news:

Thank you for your continued interest in and support of FINAL FANTASY XIV.

While more than two months have passed since the official launch of FINAL FANTASY XIV service, we deeply regret that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise, and for this we offer our sincerest of apologies.

After thorough deliberation on how to meet those expectations, it was decided that the most viable step was to approach improvements under new leadership and with a restructured team.

To realize this vision, and in doing so, provide our customers with a better game experience, we have assembled our company’s top talent and resources. Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority. Not only is he one of our Group’s most accomplished and experienced members, Naoki Yoshida is also a charismatic leader possessing the skill to bring together and effectively helm a team which encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. We also welcome several new leaders handpicked from other projects to work with the existing talent on FINAL FANTASY XIV.

We realize time is of the essence and are fully determined to provide our customers with quality service. It is because of this that we ask our customers to be patient until we are able to confidently present them with a concrete plan outlining FINAL FANTASY XIV’s new direction. The free trial period will be extended until that time.

Regarding the PlayStation 3, it is not our wish to release a simple conversion of the Windows version in its current state, but rather an update that includes all the improvements we have planned. For that reason, we have made the difficult decision to delay the release of the PlayStation 3 version beyond the originally announced date of March 2011.

The FINAL FANTASY XIV team is working hard to bring our customers an unparalleled adventure, and we ask for your continued understanding and support as we march ever diligently towards that goal.

President and CEO, Yoichi Wada

You can read the rest of the announcement here, which includes an apology from Hiromichi Tanaka, the producer who is stepping down. I have to admit that I’m flabbergasted that this shakeup is being made so public. It’s clear that Tanaka is being made the scapegoat here for the mountain of problems this game has, but I don’t know that changing the programming and art teams is going to be enough to save this game. Once the free trial eventually ends, unless the game is radically reworked (and their payment system fixed) I expect a mass exodus no matter what they do.

Move in progress

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

So, to the two or three people still checking this site on a semi-regular basis, you’ll be the first to know that the family of sites has now moved to its new home. I was with OpenHosting for about four years, but the server was running a crusty old version of Fedora Core 4 (which is ten major versions behind for those keeping score at home) that hadn’t seen any security updates in about two of those years, maintenance became a bit of a chore.

That’s not cool.

And since there was no supported way to upgrade without tearing down and rebuilding the site anyway, I decided that it would be best to just move it over to a new host that seemed to have better support, better docs, and a more up-to-date environment. So here we are at Slicehost!


So, in short, things might be a little dicey during this transition, but I think I’ve taken care of most of the major hangups. If you see something amiss, hit the Contact link and let me know.