Thursday, March 29, 2007

8 Points of Revelation - Exposé

I'm taking a cue from one of my favorite Lost podcasts, Get Lost with Scott and Steve (sadly, it's no longer active), and starting my very own list of the "8 Points of Revelation" for the latest episode of Lost, Exposé.

So, in no particular order...

1. Billy Dee Williams is still awesome. He was awesome as Lando. He's apparently awesome in Command and Conquer 3 as a GDI director...

2. The underground tunnel system has been confirmed. We've seen hints of a tunnel system on the lockdown map, but now we see the Others have obviously used them to get to the Pearl station. There's also hard evidence now that the Others have been monitoring the Swan station via the Pearl.

3. Charlie cleanses his soul and confesses his sins to Sun. It took him an entire season, but at last Charlie is finally free from the guilt of kidnapping Sun. Why do the Other's always gotta be the scapegoat, anyway? So is this it for Charlie, now that he's come full circle? I guess only Desmond knows.

4. No one on this island shares any information. Fans have always complained about the writers for not portraying the sharing of information amongst the "losties," but this episode clearly shows that no one share much of anything with each other. Paulo could have warned them of Ben's plan or revealed the Others'walkie talkie. Either one would have helped when the A-team decided to take on the Others.

5. Winter is coming. It's now day 81 (that's Dec 12th, 2004 for those of you keeping track). Thanksgiving was 2 weeks prior, and so the winter season is finally here. We'll soon see the impact the seasons will have on our survivors, if Locke's revelation to Paulo of the rising tide is any indication. I was gonna say the "2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami" is coming, but it doesn't look like it really affected the eastern-side of Malaysia as much, where it's assumed the island is located. I guess we'll see.

6. You should wait 9 hours before burying dead bodies. I'm sure Nikki and Paulo would agree with me on this one. 8 hours just isn't enough time to be 100% certain a person is really dead. 10 hours is a ridiculously long time. No, you should always wait 9 hours, just to be sure.

7. Nikki and Paulo weren't good people. As far as we've seen from their flashback, these two might have genuinely deserved to die. Negative fan reactions aside, even after we "knew" who these characters were, it didn't cause me to like them any more (unlike Shannon and Ana Lucia). Hopefully we'll see more info on these two that'll shed some light as to why we were even introduced to them at all.

8. The writers of Lost enjoy adding easter egg references to their fans. Hurley's misplaced insistence that the "[smoke] monster" is the only logical answer to what happened to Nikki and Paulo, is a playful jab by the writers that there is no Dues ex machina device that will explain all the island's mysteries.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Well, I decided to finally try out Twitter, so I created an account ( So far, I can't really think of any cool uses for the web service, other than using it as a more versatile "away message" with RSS support. I could see if being very useful as a public live blogging tool for relaying bits of news very quickly (it refreshes about every 2 minutes), like at a keynote or trade show.

As for using it on a daily basis, it's really only useful to the people who might be checking in on you. It's really more like a undirected, public instant message that your friends can see. I suppose if you subscribed to a bunch of people's twitter RSS feeds and fed them into an RSS reader like Google Reader, then you could receive updates from your contacts without using email at all. The problem with this is that it's almost too much work to set up and email is already standard-practice for most people.

I guess I'll have to play around with it some more and see if it is indeed useful, or if it's just another flashy web app that becomes lost in the infinite sea of web apps.

I actually did a bit more looking around, and apparently, there's a lot more text message and AIM integration invovled. I'm not really into either of these, but there's potential there, I guess. Like many things on the internet, it's only as good as the community of users who use it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Weekly Radar - Week of March 26th, 2007

This Week in Gaming
3/26 Command and Conquer 3 (PC/Xbox360)
3/27 Oblvion: Shivering Isles expansion (PC/XBox360)
3/29 Calling All Cars (PS3 Network)
3/29 Grand Theft Auto IV Trailer @3pm PST (check it out)

This Week in Movies
3/30 Blades of Glory (Will Ferrell.. figure skating.. need I say more?)

This Week in TV
3/26 24 - 8PM-9PM
3/28 LOST - 314 - Exposé (Paulo & Nikki flashback)
3/28 Naruto Shippuuden - 006/007 (no more false alarms)
3/29 Grey's Anatomy - 319 - My Favorite Mistake
* no new episodes of Heroes, The Office, Desperate Housewives

FYI.. The Office returns next week!!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fanboys Whine Over Nothing

This past week, a very vocal group of Sony fanboys created another one of those meaningless Internet petitions games to boycott Capcom games, due to the fact that Capcom has decided to make Devil May Cry 4 into a multi-platform game for the Xbox360 as well. Now, I could understand gamers' frustrations if their favorite series moved to a different platform and remained exclusive for that new system, but this is obviously not the case. If you bought a PS3, you can still enjoy this game. But this console war seems to go beyond the normal rivalry of the "my team's better than your team" mentality. Fanboys are taking stances more akin to crazy, religion fanatics who no longer use reason and refuse compromise.

The fact remains that Devil May Cry 4 will still come to the PS3. In addition, there has been no indication that this will be a timed exclusive (like Virtua Fighter 5), where one version is released earlier, or will offer less features (a la GTA IV). In the end, it comes down to simple economics. At this early point in the PS3's lifecylce, a game like Grand Theft Auto IV cannot hope to sell enough copies to remain exclusive to one platform. With skyrocketing next-gen development costs reaching $20 million, the risk becomes great. By releasing their games on multiple platforms, third party-developers can lessen the burden.

As for me, I'm just excited that all these great, previously PlayStation-only IPs are coming to the Xbox360. All I need now are for Kojima (Metal Gear Solid 4) and Square-Enix (Final Fantasy XIII) to make the jump to multi-platform developer status, then I might not even need to get a PS3.

Capcom Responds to Fanboy Petition.. (see Christian Svensson's post)

Btw, here's a list of recently announced games that were originally PlayStation properties that are heading to both platforms (PS3 and Xbox360) in the near future:

- Grand Theft Auto IV (next-gen GTA)
- Assassin's Creed (next-gen Price of Persia?)
- Resident Evil 5 (where's the Wii-love?)
- Devil May Cry 4
- Beautiful Katamari (coming to all major platforms)
- Ace Combat 6 (right now, only Xbox360)
- Unreal Tournament 3
- Guitar Hero II (also coming to Wii)
- Virtua Fighter 5 (timed exclusive)
- Mercenaries 2

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Weekly Radar - Week of March 19th, 2007

This Week in Gaming
3/20 Cooking Mama: Cook Off (Wii)
3/21 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (XBox Live Arcade)

This Week in Movies

3/23 TMNT (for the kids)
3/23 The Last Mimzy (Raine Wilson's in it..)

This Week in TV
3/19 24 - 7PM-8PM
3/21 LOST - 313 - The Man From Tallahassee (Locke flashback)
3/21 Naruto Shippuuden - 006/007 - The art is a bang/Naruto Shippuuden Special
* no new episodes of Heroes, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives

RPGs Infiltrate the Puzzle Genre

This is a bit out of left field, but I've been noticing recently that some puzzle games have been assimilating various Role Playing Game (RPG) elements in them. Two upcoming DS games, Zendoku and Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, both incorporate battling and experience-gathering into traditional puzzle games (Sudoku and Bejeweled, respectively). The popular PopCap word-game Bookworm has also received a similar treatment with last year's Bookworm Adventures, which adds many game mechanics that RPG-veterans will immediately recognize. This latest PopCap installment goes so far as to feature turn-based combat (using words as your weapons), potions to heal you, and damage-modifying gems.

Personally, I welcome any game that decides to blend elements of different genres together, as long as it's done well. Games that incorporate RPG elements are especially great, because adding that sense of growth in power and accomplishment can be extremely addicting. If you've ever played the Diablo series you will know how addicting this concept can be. The game play wasn't incredibly deep, nor was the story very involving, yet the game drew you in and always kept you saying, just one more dungeon, or one more experience level.

In a way, the different genres are bending more and more towards one another. I think what we will begin to see is blurring of the lines between what is hybrid and what is traditionally a separate genre. It's happening in many subtle ways, but eventually, I don't think you will be able to easily classify games as Shooter, or RPG, or Racing, or RTS, etc. Mass Effect has Shooter elements within it, Gran Turismo is part RPG and part driving sim, and then you've got games like GTA that encompass a little bit of everything. This is the direction gamnig is headed, and I'm exciting. In the end, when it really comes down to it, does it really matter what genre a game is if you enjoy playing it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weekly Radar - Week of March 12th, 2007

This Week in Gaming
3/13 God of War 2 (PS2) ~ 95% metacritic
3/14 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade game (Xbox Live Arcade)

This Week in Movies
3/13 Casino Royale (on DVD)
3/14 Shooter (free screening)

This Week in TV
3/14 LOST - 311 - Par Avion (Claire flashback)
3/14 Naruto Shippuuden - 005 - As the Kazakage...!
3/12 24 - 6PM-7PM
3/15 Grey's Anatomy - 318 - Scars and Souvenirs
* no new episodes of Heroes, The Office, Desperate Housewives

You Don't Know Jack is Back in Flash

Man, You Don't Know Jack was awesome back in the days. It still throws me off how the first part of the question and the second part usually have nothing in common, but they're always joined together in a wacky way. Hey, kinda like a Simpsons episode. The website even has a daily "Dis or Dat" (rss feed), which is cool, cuz the Jack games are fun in bite-sized pieces. So check it out. Play the first few episodes for free.

Stop the Presses! Cue the Positive PS3 News

The Sony spin machine got a little break last week during the Game Developer's Conference (GDC), mostly because their products actually spoke for themselves. Among them were the newly announced Playstation Home community and indie game Little Big Planet. For the first time, since last year's E3, the hailstorm of negative comments and criticisms have subsided.

So.. Step 1, Make good games. Step 2 ??? Step 3, Profit. Easy as pie!

Oh and another thing.. Maybe the PR department at Sony should keep their executives quiet. Otherwise, they may say something they might regret later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Screen Time

It's amazing how much time we spend in front of screens every day. On top of the 8 hours of the day at your work computer, there's the home web browsing, not to mention TV watching, world of warcraft pwning, netflixing, myspace surfing, digging, movie going, and microwaving. Then, when you throw in time with your PDA, cellphone, or other device, possibly a portable gaming handheld or some sort of ipod (i think today, it's actually simplier to classify all devices as either "ipod" or "non-ipod"), that all adds up to a whole lot of screen time.

Granted, most of these devices I use are flat screen-based LCDs monitors, which are supposed to be easier on the eyes. Still, I would venture to say that I spend about 70 to 80 percent of my waking hours with my eyes glued to some sort of screen, and that's a little bit frightening.

You know, I really should read more. And not just blogs and websites and email (they don't really count), but real paper with real printed text. You can't replace paper-based books. Well.. actually, maybe you can. Nevermind. Paper's heavy and overrated anyway. Poor trees. Okay, I think I've made my point: Don't hurt trees.

So.. how much time do you spend looking at screens? Is it greater than zero? I bet it is..

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Get Ready... GDC Is Coming!

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is set to begin next week in San Francisco, CA. With E3 seemingly on the way out, or at least scaled down considerably, other gaming trade shows will have to pick up the slack. While E3 was much more oriented towards the press and game enthusiasts, GDC gives the developers the spotlight and allows them to share their ideas in a more creative environment.

This year, some notable guest speakers are scheduled to give keynote presentations. Namely, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Sony's Phil Harrison. But it's not all campfire songs and motivational speeches either. Expect to hear some big announcements next week, as the Big 3 try to position themselves for the coming year's releases. Personally, I'm hoping for an official Halo 3 release date (we've got one for GTA) and maybe some more info on titles like Mass Effect, Bioshock and Assassin's Creed.

There are a number of predictions going around, some plausible, some long shots. I think the announcement of the HDMI-enabled XBox360, with larger HDD, and 65nm CPU is very possible. I hope we'll see what Killzone 2 really looks like. I'm also interested in seeing more of Super Paper Mario (releases next month) and Super Mario Galaxy. Maybe some GTA IV details before the game actually ships. I just want to see the rainbow on the other side of this Winter drought, because I know there's a lot coming this year. It's just a matter of having enough time enjoy all the gaming goodness, with each megaton game conveniently spaced apart.

Also, I hope this is the last year we're gonna hear more about the upcoming phenomenon known as Spore. I know it's gonna be amazing and groundbreaking, but how many E3's do we have to hear about that game? I swear, I think I knew about that game before it came out longer than I knew about Diablo 2 and Half-Life 2 combined.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Apple iPhone Looks Down on Inferier Products

Apple's Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook launched a rather arrogant comment at a recent trade conference in Vegas, citing that:
"A lot of people pay zero for the cell phone. Guess why? That's what it's worth.." "If we offer something that has tremendous value, that is sort of this thing people didn't have in their consciousness -- it was not imaginable -- then I think there's a whole bunch of people that will pay $499, $599.''
So we should want to spend our hard earned cash on expensive devices?? Funny Apple. See, I had this crazy idea that cell phone service providers like AT&T were subsidizing the cost of new phones in exchange for your contract to pay them for at least 2 years of service. But I guess those phones are actually worth NOTHING because they're free. Boy was I wrong!

Now, I don't want to be speculative here, but doesn't this strike a similar cord to Ken Kutaragi's (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc) famous quote concerning the then unreleased PS3:
"[Our goal is] for consumers to think to themselves 'I will work more hours to buy one'. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else."
It is a fact, Apple charges a premium for their products. Look how the ipod single-handedly inflated the mp3 player market. Trust me, hard-drives don't cost that much. Now I'm not willing to argue whether their products deserve that margin. It's slick, I'll give them that. But, I do feel there's a difference between 'confidence' and 'arrogance' and right now Apple is walking that thin line.