The Gaming Rant 5
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.
Note: Contains strong language and drug references, but strangely no sexual references this week. This article is satire and does not reflect the opinion of TheSixthAxis or myself. The truth is, I’m deeply in love with all the people mentioned below.
Choosing between Labour and the Conservatives is like having to choose between Tetris and a hooker. Tetris is familiar, but eventually spirals out of control and you get bored of it. The hooker is exciting and initially pleasurable, but can have deadly consequences. Overall, they’re both risky choices, and all things considered, you’d probably rather be playing Modern Warfare 2 instead – and that’s where Lib Dem comes in. No I’m just kidding, they’re more like Noby Noby Boy: mildly amusing for a short period, but unlikely to ever gain significant market share. They’d probably ban violent video games too.
So on that tenuously constructed link, let’s proceed with some common all garden controlled rage.
DJ Hero pricing
This week Activision briefly remembered they had a DJing game out a few months ago and released some DLC. £6.29 for 3 songs, not available singly. What kind of music? A little dance, house, trance, techno or drum & bass you say? No. It was Jay-Z and Eminem.
If I wanted to shake yo ass, I’d put you in a washing machine and set the spin cycle. If I wanted to bust a cap in yo ass, I would take the aforementioned garment, roughly insert it into the aforementioned orifice, then proceed to cut the protruding section in half with a knife (I’ll wipe my hands on a copy of Guitar Hero Van Halen afterwards).
When I am spinning ch00ns, that’s exactly what I want to do: spin CH00NS. Phat beats. Driving basslines. A woman high on ecstasy singing about how beautiful the world is. I do not want to hear how bootylicious you think you are in the rhythm of a drunken cow with one prosthetic leg walking down a staircase.
I also don’t want to pay over £2 per song. The makers of DJ Hero did explain some months ago that the reason it costs more is because their in-house team of super-expert DJs who we’ve never heard of making “teh master mixez” makes it take longer and cost more. Perhaps if you licensed songs people wanted to actually play rather than spending a fortune on licenses for crap, they would be cheaper?
SingStar … the saga continues
Wow. The arrogance is staggering.
The SingStore update was finally released – 12 days late – on 6th April. I’ll say that again: twelve days late. When it did go up a couple of songs were in the wrong place or misnamed, and all songs were locked against purchase for some hours that evening – the classic SingStar QA process in full effect.
On 28th March I wrote on the totalmusicgaming.com forum:
“Who wants to wager a bet that if this update doesn’t get pushed by Tuesday that they won’t be ****ed to release anything on 8th? I’ll start the bidding at $100.”
Well, somebody at London Studio owes me 100 bucks, because on 6th April, SingStar Team wrote on Facebook:
“Okay sorry guys but the April 8th update will now be released on the 22nd of April. We are still not quite meeting your expectations I’m afraid. :(“
Gotta love that euphemism, quite. Saying you’re not quite meeting the customers’ expectations is a bit like giving North Korea a nuclear warhead with the uranium removed and saying, meh, you can have the payload later. When we can be bothered. Only in business hours. Not over Easter, we’re on break then. Then, when they get the uranium, it turns out that it’s old and stale and they just use it to grit the roads instead.
Content Manager Nina Scherer said she couldn’t comment on the delays but “let’s just say things have been at a standstill over the last few weeks”. Nina, how many times have I told you not to give the staff weed during work hours. Try Speed instead, maybe they’ll get something done then.
It was, however, their response to the subsequent complaints that was truly awe-inspiring:
“We didn’t like to give you too much good stuff in one week :)”
I shit you not. They actually had the audacity to say that. For those of you not in the know, the 25th March delayed update included such classics as Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio and Kisschasy – Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm At Night. Yeah, I know, I haven’t heard of them either. That is some seriously depleted uranium right there.
8th April was supposed to see the release of – among other things – a Lady Gaga song pack, announced over a month ago, and would have put them on par with Rock Band which, as a testament to how bad the SingStar licensing team are, already has more Lady Gaga tracks than SingStar.
At the same time, they told us there would be an “exciting announcement” on 8th, which turned out to be the online battle beta. Nina no doubt wasn’t too impressed when I said the only announcement that would excite me right now would be some involuntary redundancies. Pretty strong coming from a staunch SingStar lover.
A lot of people are excited about the beta. Hold your horses. Do any of you remember a time when SingStar Team released a feature that worked properly? Think hard… no, that’s right, you can’t. That’s because they never have.
Voice control made you turn it on or off every time you went to sing, which wasn’t fixed for 6+ months, and ultimately the best use for it was to swear into the mic and see what song it selected. The video editor crashed people’s machines, wouldn’t save, corrupted people’s videos or wouldn’t upload for a further 8 months. SingStar Clubs is missing most of the features that would make a guild feature useful. The PS2 disk compatibility patch didn’t actually make all the PS2 disks compatible – that one took a year to fix. The 4.3 patch, billed as the answer to all our problems, locked people out of singing portions of their DLC for several weeks, with a “no access rights”-type error when selecting a song.
Imagine how happy I was to load SingStar and find that I couldn’t sing 140 of my paid downloads, then multiply that by a couple of million users. That’s a lot of uncontrolled rage my friends.
If you really think they are going to do a good job of this new feature, well, let’s just say I admire your optimism.
What is going on with the beta scene this week? First of all Future gives me a FirstPlay beta after I ravaged them on TSA last month, then says I can’t have it because I live in Norway even though I had the previous one. Then Ubisoft has the gall to tell me I have to download the R.U.S.E. beta from Steam.
Steam? STEAM?! Do I look like I have a PC that can play video games to you? I spent all the upgrade money on Ubisoft games for my PS3, so now I have a P4 3.2GHz, which is a technical way of saying I have at my disposal the processing power of a small calculator that can also fry eggs as a bonus.
The last time I upgraded my PC to play video games was in 2005 when EverQuest 2 came out. I know, I know, I should’ve bought Warcraft. I knew VHS was gonna win, but I had to support Betamax anyway. Bygones. Eventually I realised it was much better to sit on a sofa which a huge f*ck off TV and home cinema sound, and bought my consoles instead.
And besides, there’s something sort of pride-damaging about being told to go get the beta from where all the other plebs get it. I feel demeaned. This must be what it’s like to be a ‘normal’ user. *cries* Yes, I know, QQ Katy.
Blur beta only on 360, and not really a beta
The real kicker this week though was the Blur beta not being released on PC or PS3. Here it is the use of the word beta itself that bothers me, since Activision were kind enough (ie. they made an administrative error) to send me 2 beta codes for the 360 version.
The purpose of a beta is to test a game for bugs and get user feedback. The Blur developers stated that their purpose with the Blur beta was to profile player activity. Well, not really a beta then is it? There was no channel to give them feedback on the game itself or report bugs.
I also took exception to the fact they stated they used the 360 because it was the biggest platform. So there are more 360 gamers than PC gamers? Excuse me while I go back to primary school, I obviously need to learn to count again.
The really annoying statement though was lead designer Gareth Wilson’s: “Really because when we were doing the beta it’s hard enough to try and get a beta out that doesn’t crash every five minutes while trying to finish a full game. Trying to do that on multiple platforms at once, so trying to do a PS3, Xbox and PC beta release at the same time, it just isn’t possible.” – “It was enough of a distraction doing it for one platform,”.
Orly? Cry me a river Gareth, no offence intended of course. I know it is such a hassle to prepare something for three platforms for simultaneous release, it really does make you wonder how Assassin’s Creed 2, Borderlands, Modern Warfare 2, Aliens vs Predator, Dragon Age Origins, Bioshock 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 to name just a few recent releases managed to get published on the same day for all platforms. They must be miracle workers! Or, maybe their lead designers are just better at giving interviews.
I also love the idea that their code was crashing every 5 minutes, therefore they only felt it necessary to make a beta for one platform. No need to test the PC or PS3 versions – we’re sure all the bugs will be found in the 360 beta and that there are no platform-specific issues with the other two. Mhm. Anyone remember the 360 release of Need For Speed Shift? That tried to sign into PlayStation Network to download content. I rest my case.
Gareth will come back on this and say that the purpose of the beta wasn’t to test bugs. So, don’t call it a beta then. Thanks.
If you don’t know what LG5Tool is, I’m not going to tell you – although Google probably will. Suffice to say it was clearly put together by a script kiddie still in nappies because it doesn’t work for more than 5 minutes at a time and fails 100% of the time when you change PSN account. And it runs on circa-1995 Visual Basic DLLs. A genius h4x0r, this guy is not.
As luck would have it, my personality is based on being evil and having no moral compass, so I made my own solution. Being evil is, of course, a pre-requisite to getting the original features from a device that you paid for, because obviously no good person would ever take steps to prevent a corporation from illegally removing functionality from a device they paid good money for.
Speaking of Sony insulting me, today I just learned that I have less than 64 USB ports on the PS3. I had to resort to an 8-port USB hub and it’s woefully insufficient. Consider what you’re asking me to do here: keyboard, mouse, EyeToy, steering wheel, charger, Buzz dongle, SingStar dongle, DJ Hero dongle, GH3 dongle, GHWT dongle, drumkit dongle, headset charger, PSP data cable, external hard drive. These are all basic human rights and you deny them. 2 USB ports is like saying you can only have half a shandy when you’re out on the razz, or you can only eat one frozen pizza per week. Shambolic.
And why wasn’t all this stuff built into the PS3 in the first place? Everyone knew we’d be spinning on our plastic turntables 4 years ago, I don’t believe for a second that DJ Hero has been in development for less than 4 years – especially given its superiority compared to games like Uncharted 2, God of War 3 and so on. This is nothing but a conspiracy to make me spend money on accessories. If you wanted me to do that, maybe you should’ve thought about that and released the hairdressing game before I went to the salon eh?
The PSP should come with the PS3 and be built into a little flap next to the Bluray tray that pops out. The guitars and drum kit should be inflatable, and the headset should be like an ear piercing: staple that sucker in once and forget about it. Finally the plastic skateboard should rise up through the living room floor when you want to use it. In fact it should be on a CD-style changer along with my Wii Fit and dancemat, and all this should come free with the console. We all know how poor value for money the PS3 is after all.
Also, why do some things work in the USB hub but others have to be plugged directly into the console? What is the point of a USB hub that only works with 75% of the devices? That’s like giving me a kebab from one of those dodgy downtown shops that’s just a front for immigrant cocaine dealers and saying ooh well, I wouldn’t eat that last 25% if I were you. Also, why aren’t all the dongles a standardized shape? Terry’s Chocolate Orange wedges, lollipops and the SingStar wireless one, well, it’s curvy, it doesn’t stand up straight, and it’s a huge empty box with a tiny chip inside. Very badly executed, much like the SingStore updates. At least they’re consistent.
So, with more cables on my floor than in the Large Hadron Collider, and more flashing dongle lights than a Las Vegas wedding chapel, I decided to clean up. Why the hell aren’t there any USB ports on the back of the PS3, or on the side? Imagine if my TV and home cinema amp only had inputs at the front. Getting to the sofa would be like trying to walk through the Amazon basin in flip-flops. People would mistake my amp for a heart and lung machine. Step 2: Range. I press blue, red, blue, orange, orange. Rock Band says: blue, orange. Now I will admit, there’s a lot of RF noise in my living room, but 10 feet? Come on people. When I come to power, my law will be that if a wireless device has a range less than the distance a drunk man can piss, it shall be deemed illegal.
The Sadness of Finishing A Game
Some games – like Echochrome – you finish triumphantly, throw your controller down and proclaim: “I am NEVER playing that <long string of expletives> game again!”. Other games, you kinda feel sad when it’s over.
I went back through a few of my older games this week to finish them off – in particular Mirror’s Edge and EndWar. EndWar is an under-rated game by the way, if you haven’t played it before and you’ve got a microphone it’s a fun little purchase (it’s a voice-controlled RTS). Of course I spent 75% of my playing time cussing out those damn near-impossible wall-run jumps and the fact I could win 4 matches in a row on EndWar and still only be controlling the same amount of territory. Yet, when each game was over, I took out the disk and a little part of me died inside as I put it back on the shelf knowing I would probably never take it out of its box again because I’d seen all there was to see. Fortunately I have a lot of parts so I probably won’t run out until next year at least. I’m keeping my boobs til last, they’re too much fun.
So, will I trade them in? Hell no, don’t be ridiculous. That would be blasphemy. A true gamer never trades in her games no matter how broke she is. It’s a status symbol thing. I even still have all my Wii games and that went obsolete 20 years ago – just on the off chance I ever want to play them. Which I won’t, obviously.
Finishing off all your old games also raises new dilemmas. Now you have to start a new one from scratch. But when you have every major Bluray and PSN release between the release dates of Dead Space and God of War 3 to mull over, that’s an agonizing decision. Do I slap in Oblivion for a quick fix, to look cool on my friends list with the latest games and know that it’ll be over in half an hour or so? Or do I try to catch up by finishing my oldest games first that I paid £50 for and are now worth £5 so I feel like I got value for money? Or do I get my teeth stuck into something really long and involved like God of War 3, knowing it has at least 100 hours of gameplay and this will delay my ability to finish some other games? Or, do I just give up and play Uno?
So I did what all the most intelligent people do: nothing. I procrastinated, didn’t select a game then realised it was after midnight and I couldn’t play my drums either.
Some days later: In the end the choice was made for me, much like in the case of Goza The Destructor. The merciless slave-drivers at TSA Towers ordered me to review Resonance of Fate; hopefully it will taste as good as a marsh-mellow man. I can’t refuse free games of course – when a TSA editor asks if you’re a God, you say YES!