The Gaming Rant 1
This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.
WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.
Never let it be said that I’m a cynacist. Ok, screw it, I’m a cynasist. How do you spell cynicist?
Anyway, what follows is a mixture of satire and political statement thinly veiled in satire. I feel the need to point out that my job with the top ten is to be grumpy on demand in a mildly amusing way, and that I do actually love most games, gadgets, services and add-ons as my living room and overdraft will attest to. I could have easily written a top ten about great things I enjoyed in gaming this week too, but that wouldn’t have been as funny would it?
1. MotoGP was a lot better than I was expecting
It’s always the games I’m not anticipating that I play most, yet I never learn to ignore the big hitters. Does this happen to you guys? I genuinely would like to know. Look what happened at the start of February: bought Dante’s Inferno and Bioshock 2 as planned; wound up playing Star Ocean. End of the month: bought Aliens vs Predator and Heavy Rain – both pre-ordered – wound up playing Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing which I ran out to get randomly on release day. History then became destined to repeat itself as I downloaded the MotoGP 09/10 demo expecting it to be about on par with GTI Club+, knowing I would be able to casually toss it aside and save some pennies, only to be bitterly disappointed as the slick controls and groovy soundtrack got me in the mood for another racing game. More expense. So long Final Fantasy XIII, you will be missed. Not too much though – see below.
2. The Final Fantasy XIII hype machine
The interwebs appears to be going apeshit over some little-known niche genre adventure game at the moment. It barely cost $75 million to make, hardly newsworthy methinks. I must admit to a little confusion. I was hyped over this game, but the truth of the matter is, last night I fell asleep on my sofa, controller in hand, during a battle, and died. Not literally died. You know what I mean. The point is, I can only walk down a straight corridor or a gently curving ice valley for so many hours before boredom and fatigue set in.
I can describe beating the first day’s play of Final Fantasy XIII something like this: push left stick forwards, watch badly scripted story “evolve”, press X-X every few seconds, occasionally alternating with up-X-X-X, L1-down-X and L1-up-X according to the length of a little line in the bottom-right corner of the screen, and repeat. Yeah, it looks gorgeous, but being a l’Cie isn’t what is used to be. Is this really how we define a good game nowadays?
I watched a developer interview of FFXIII yesterday, they said they drew inspiration from Call of Duty and Halo 3. Here’s a tip: the adrenaline-pumping reflex-based action of unloading an AK47 into your opponent’s face and timer-based stat-driven combat don’t mix. And why haven’t you given me a machine gun like all my enemies and the rest of my party have? Why do I always get to be the n00b with the sword? And why are my feet superglued to the ground in the exact spot I whipped out my tool? This is gonna make taking cover pretty bloody awkward you know. And when the enemies are dead, where do their guns go? If you want me to experience this game like CoD, you’ve stacked the odds well against me here guys.
Another tip for Square Enix: you already have an FPS in the works. It’s called Front Mission Evolved and it’s out soon. How about you just keep all the bang-bang in that and not water down your RPGs so much that even the average American can understand them eh?
3. The FirstPlay beta
But just moments after making that stereotypical assault on those 300 million people, I was forced to retract it. I will say that I’m looking forward to FirstPlay, I’ll be trying it out and I recommend everyone to buy at least one episode to see if they like it and make their own judgment… but… I had the unfortunate displeasure of trying the beta this week. There is a lot of stuff in there and I’m not going to review it as that wouldn’t be fair, but let’s focus on the presenter. She has a voice that would make even the horniest teenage boy slice his penis off immediately. She has a voice that would make Van Gogh feel vindicated in chopping his ear off and quickly set about slicing off the remaining ear for use in a bacon sandwich to ease the emotional turmoil. What I want to hear when I’m watching a video game magazine is Veronica Belmont telling me I’m sexy too and she’d buff my attributes anytime. What I don’t want is to listen to some commoner with poor enunciation who sounds like she’d be more at home slumped over a bar in Ibiza and reminds me how English girls got that reputation of being dirty slags in the first place.
Critical writing doesn’t seem to be among their strong points either. Or humour. Final Fantasy XIII is described as “possibly the only game we’d happily play for 20+ hours without ever fully understanding what’s going on”. So, no wonder the Americans don’t understand it then if Future Publishing can’t. The height of comedic delivery in the review was when the presenter said there was no paradigm shift called “windmilling in with a large bunch of keys”. The White Knight Chronicles review makes no mention of town-building or online play at all, describing the game as “a mazey maze of menus and inventory screens” and “a terrifying tree of skill sets”. It’s an RPG, what did you expect, falling blocks and a rotate button? Perhaps an All-Star mode that makes the menus open more quickly? The script-writers need to first demonstrate they know more than what is written on the back of the game box, then realise that what works well as written humour doesn’t always work equally well when spoken. They need a writer who understands video games. They need a writer with incisive wit and a good radio voice. They need me. It’s their only hope for suvival.
Anyway, mm, it’s a beta, so, as I said, buy it anyway and judge for yourselves, it’s quite possible they just re-used material that wasn’t designed for screen presentation. Shuffling along awkwardly…
4. Final Fantasy XIII auto-talk option
FFXIII’s settings screens allow you to enable auto-talk. Who thought this was a good idea? Allowing women to auto-talk is a mistake; I’m a woman and even I know that. Women should speak when they’re spoken to – the rest of the time they should do the dishes and shut the fuck up (anyone wanna be my girlfriend? :P). For further proof, just see the length of this article. Need I say more? No, but I’m going to.
5. God of War 3 Release Date
What kind of stupid, short-sighted, business skills-challenged, out of touch with gamers company would have the utter wretched moronity to release an epic game a week after Final Fantasy XIII and expect us all to go rush out and buy it? Too hard? Let me throw in some clues. It’s the same company who released a massive RPG (White Knight Chronicles) 2 weeks before Final Fantasy XIII and expected us all to go rush out and buy it (I know, slight irony, I bought all three – I’m rich, deal with it; do as I say, not as I do). It’s the same company who promised us 1000 cars in 2006 but could only deliver 30 bangers. It’s the same company who thought to themselves: “take away UMD, make smaller, add 75% to the price” and actually believed that was a perfectly logical sequence (*brushes some paperwork over her PSPgo* – I’m rich, deal with it – though I got mine at a £100 discount and I still had to be rich to afford it). It’s the same company who thought, Kevin Butler in Europe? Nobody would think that’s funny, let’s make some gay StartPS3 commercials instead. Yes, you got it: it’s Microsoft.
6. This week’s SingStore Update
A non-event to many of you perhaps, but we SingStar fanbois live and die by the quality of updates. Every other Monday we rush to the forums to see what’s out the coming Thursday, and then generally slag it off whether it’s brilliant or terrible, just to keep the warm hearts of the hardworking underpaid souls at London Studio glowing. I have to take issue with this week’s update though, and I know LS read everything I write like a hawk (big up to you Jimothy, Sevenforce et al, you really should submit some scores), so let’s have a poll. This week’s update was billed as “more geared towards our European counterparts” according to SingStar’s Facebook page. So, who among TSA’s German, Spannish, French, Finnish, Dutch, Portuguese and Swedish audience thinks this constitutes a good update:
4TASTE Sempre Que Te Vejo (Sinto Um Desejo) (Ao Vivo)
Alain Souchon Quand Je Serai KO
Alain Souchon Sous Les Jupes des Filles
Alain Souchon Ultra Moderne Solitude
Alain Souchon Le Baiser
Alain Souchon Parachute Dore
Benny Neyman Ik Weet Niet Hoe
Ciara One Two Step
Da Weasel Outro Nível
Die Fantastischen Vier Die Da!?!
Die Fantastischen Vier Der Picknicker
Die Fantastischen Vier MfG – Mit freundlichen Grüßen
DJ Bobo Hard To Say I’m Sorry
D’ZRT Para Mim Tanto Faz (Ao Vivo)
El Fary El Toro Guapo
Franz Ferdinand Ulysses
Höhner. Wenn Nicht Jetzt, Wann Dann (Weltmeister Version)?
Joka Fantasminha A Dança do Joka
Laith Al-Deen Es Wird Nicht Leicht Sein
Lisa Loeb Stay (I Missed You)
Manu Tes Cicatrices
Marta Sánchez Desesperada
Martha And The Muffins Echo Beach
Mauro Scocco Om Du Var Min
OI OAI Jardim Das Estátuas
Olivia Ruiz J’traîne des pieds
T.Rex 20th Century Boy
Tiki Taane Always On My Mind
Tone Loc Funky Cold Medina
Zenttric Sólo Quiero Bailar
London Studio are reading so please feel free to speak as loudly as you can, preferably in all caps. Gentlemen, my Karaoke Revolution review is pending, pull your finger out before I get angerz. And if anyone says DJ Bobo is good, I will kill you where you stand. With a sword of course, they wouldn’t let me have a machine gun – and having seen this update, probably with good reason.
7. The Tester
One often wonders just how SingStar and certain other games can be so badly tested, developed so much in the wrong direction, and be so out of touch with what the gamers really want. In SingStar’s case I have always put it down to a combination of money, laziness, poor management and inadequately skilled testers. How vindicated did I feel when I reluctantly threw on the first episode of The Tester only to discover that one of the panelists is the QA lead for SingStar, Buzz, MotorStorm and some other major Sony franchises. The Tester offers a rare glimpse into how Sony selects its employees, and by consequence, why the games are all so bugged and why the ports are all so shit.
About a dozen contestants were asked to spot the differences in some pictures, with 90 seconds to get as many as possible. The winner spotted 12 differences. TWELVE. I’m sorry but I know 8-year olds who can do an image differential faster than that. Spotting differences in code, models and layouts is a crucial skill in testing, but if the best your top job candidate can manage is 12, we’ve got some serious issues people. How I laughed at the end when poor presenter Meredith Molinari – trying her best in the face of woeful production values and a script that would embarrass Jeremy Kyle – said “pretty intense day huh guys?”. Well, if you call playing tangle tease on Buzz Brain Bender for 90 seconds intense, sure, I guess. Meredith is so pretty, she deserved a better job than this.
Aside from the above, the whole show is – as you would imagine – a real embarrassment to watch, and you really aren’t going to want to admit the download to your friends. I hope none of them win, except Star because she’s awesome at Guitar Hero and I like her rebel attitude. And the crying. Oh my God the crying. “I WANT THIS JOB SO BAD!!” Then do what the rest of us did, go onto the web site of 100 developers and file some friggin job applications. Try to include some real qualifications while you’re at it. Thinking you’re l33t at Far Cry 2 does not make you a good QA tester. For proof, look at, say, Far Cry 2.
8. My PSPgo AV cable
I’ve got 14 games for my PSPgo and I have no idea why because I only leave the house if held at gunpoint by an empty fridge. See, even my freaking fridge has a gun. I thought hooking it up to my HDTV and then sitting on the sofa with a PS3 controller to play them would be a good idea, and it was, so I procured the appropriate accessory. Which led me to realise it has one catastrophic, epic fail design flaw: you can’t output video to the TV and charge the PSP at the same time. HOW STUPID IS THAT. It also disables the headphone jack, but fortunately I have enough spare cables hanging around to make even the kinkiest public dungeon in Oslo look tame so I just hooked up the TV to my amp. When I’m playing games, I want to finish when I want to, not when the battery tells me to. Much like when I use the Arc as the sex toy it blatantly is. And judging from the PSPgo’s battery life with external video out and Bluetooth enabled, it’s probably smaller than Gordon Brown’s ballsack.
9. The Arc’s appearance is too ambiguous
Arc? Move? NunchukocalyPS3? Lollipop Stick? I don’t know what it’s called anymore. Anyway, I’ve never had a dirty thought before, but that new Arc press release artwork was disturbing. The problem is it looks just like all the other dildos, vibrators and ass-stimulating devices I already own (oh, right, scrap the dirty thought sentence), except with a PlayStation logo. That would be fine if I didn’t masturbate in the living room using my PS3 as the ultimate lesbian porn media server, but I’m concerned I am going to mix the Arc up with my actual PS3 peripherals. It looks far too much like a PS3 controller and they seem to have forgot the speed setting dial. I hope it is more powerful than the DualShock like the Rez was (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rez). Control over the internet for my webcam partners would be good too.
What’s that? It’s a PS3 controller not a sex toy? Orly. Why does it have a pink vibrating blob on the end of it then? Answer me that. If it had been a controller, they would have given it a blue blob, or better yet a green one or a red one, so there was no confusion. No woman would use a tacky plastic green vibrating sphere on herself, but a pink one? That’s just like an open invitation for instant gratification. Well, not instant, maybe 10-15 minutes, but close enough. Couldn’t we have given it a distinctive style to differentiate it from my console accessories? Perhaps a bunny rabbit on the end (give it two rubber ears spread a certain distance apart and it will have other advantages too). How about a little Xbox Live logo so I can tell Xbox fanbois to shove that in their ass and smoke it? And why isn’t it curved slightly for maximum pleasure? The whole thing smacks of cheap design. Made by guys who have no idea how to please a woman, no doubt.
10. 3D Madness
Ok, I’m a bit biassed for a few reasons. First I’m blind in one eye so I was one of the lamers who had to go watch Avatar in 2D. Not that I didn’t bring a few of my friends down to my level in the process mind you. And you thought I never left the house. Secondly even my stunning pile of gold bars – the value of which make God of War 3’s production cost look like a drop in the ocean – isn’t enough to afford a 3D TV even if I could use it. I would have to fire one, maybe two of my butlers to have that sort of disposable cash. Not Kevin Butler obviously, he’s far too awesome. What worries me is, they said colour TV was a fad. They said being able to record programmes was a fad. They said home computers and video games were a fad and they said HD was a fad. I really am going to have to put up with this 3D crap aren’t I? Of course, there’s nothing more social than donning your RetardGlasses so you can’t see or talk to anyone else in the room. Next they’re going to have us sitting on Arcs that vibrate whenever a helicopter flies past for added.. um.. bass. Am I the only person who reluctantly accepts the onslaught of 3D but thinks it’s generally just a pain in the ass? It certainly will be if I don’t take my Arc out soon, that’s for sure.
Enjoy your weekend. I’ve got my Arc prototype, so I know I will. Maybe I’ll lend out my PS3 for a few days.