Wii are not amused.

Nintendo's officially announced their name for the Revolution, and the only explanation I can come up with is those higher-ups in Japan must be on some incredibly good acid. No matter what way you try to spin it, this is officially the stupidest idea in video gaming history. No one wants to buy a Wii. No one wants to admit owning or even thinking about a Wii. Nintendo devotees have a hard time getting respect as is, this is going to make them the mockery of the next generation. I know Japanese and American cultures are very different, but there is no way Reggie Fills-Aime is going to be able to talk about a system named Wii to an American gaming press with a straight face. I guarantee you, if Nintendo goes ahead with this, it will flop bigger than Michael Moore endorsing Jenny Craig. I'll probably still buy one assuming the controller lives up to its potential, but I will never call it by that name. EVER.

Ok, let's quickly move on to this weekend's movies before I say something I regret:

United 93
: From all reports, this is an extremely powerful movie that manages to be respectful of the people on the plane and their families. But I'm still not going to see it. I believe it is way too soon for stuff like this. This wasn't 20-60-100+ years before most of us today were even born, it was very recent history, and I find something incredibly ghoulish about that (especially since at least a few roles were played by the actual people who were involved in the event).

RV: I had a little hope that since this movie has Robin Williams & Cheryl Hines, who are usually hilarious, starring; and Barry Levinson directing, that it might be a long overdue fresh take on wacky family vacation films. Unfortunately, the answer from critics so far seems to be a resounding no. I guess I will just have to wait with high anticpation for Mrs. Doubtfire 2(note extreme saracasm).

Although Stick It is from the same people that brought us the fairly enjoyable Bring It On, this one doesn't seem nearly as interesting or filled with contagious pep. I'd also feel kind of creepy seeing a film filled with teenage high schoolers in leotards, even if most of them are actresses over 18....

And finally there's Akeelah and the Bee. Great another movie where some whacked out mentor takes a troubled but promising kid under his wing and makes them excel at something that normal kids would mock them for. It's only a matter of time before they have one about a troubled kid that learns to better themsleves through sowing....

Lost in a Sea of RPGs

So, I haven't even finished Oblivion yet, and I just recently picked up the original Mario & Luigi for my DS since I never beat it (it was pretty damn hard, which is suprising for a Mario game). Suikoden V & Shadow Hearts: The New World are seeming more and more tempting to me. To top it off, several new rpgs released this week as well. Something had to break. So today I picked up Lost Magic for my DS and Atelier Iris 2 for my PS2. I almost also got Metal Saga, but figured I should at least wait till I finish or get bored one of the now 4 rpgs I have occupying my plate.

The main reason I went with those particular titles is they are pretty unique. Lost Magic, while having a fairly banal story, makes extensive use of the stylus, which no other current title I own does (it's like an RTS, excpet that you use the stylus to draw runes in order to cast spells). And Atelier Iris 2 places emphasis on combining items & essences for effective use in battle, which makes for some truly creative strategy. Admittedly though, I bought both on a complete whim, so hopefully it pays off, I'll let you know by the weekend.

The PS3's price finally revealed?
Lord only knows. $400 certainly seems reasonable, but what does that include? And are they going to go with two models like MS did (hopefully if they do, one won't be completely fucking pointless)? It seems likely enough, but I'll take it with a grain of salt til I hear officially from Sony.

Looking for a new MMO experience? Somebody's gone ahead and compiled a list of the best free MMOs, I'm sure at least one should fill your needs while not making your wallet any lighter.

IGN has listed their top ten comic book movie villains. Although not technically a comic book villain, I'm pretty sure Ben Affleck should get at least an honorable mention for tarnishing Daredevil forever.

Alright, that's all for today, I'll definitely be back tommorow with a look at this weekend's movies.


Defining "Next-Gen"

I almost leaped into the "next generation" this week, as it's not that hard to find a 360 at either your local game store or mass merchants like Walmart and Best Buy anymore. But as I gave it some serious thought, aside from the still somewhat scary price tag (easily over $600 if you include a couple a games, at least one more controller, and a year's service of live, which is the best value); I had to really look and ask, what is the 360 offering that I can't currently get? Sure, it has prettier graphics and I can load custom soundtracks and whatnot, but really, what is the 360 offering that I can't already experience? Online play? Nope, I can already do that. Watching DVDs? I can already do that. And as I started thinking about it-A worrisome thought occurred to me: Neither Sony or Microsoft are really offering anything new-Now or in the near future, it seems. We see unparalled levels of graphic capabilty-but that doesn't change the basics of the game. What defines "next-gen", at least in my opinion, is truly different gameplay that wasn't possible before. There were huge leaps in terms of what games could actually do when gaming what from 8 to 16 to 32 to whatever bit the Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube roughly classify as. Halo, even with much simpler graphics, would simply not be possible on a PS one or a Dreamcast. 3D platforming games that we play today simply would not work on a snes or genesis. You get the idea. So, what are the upcoming games of next-gen really offering? Look at Fight Night 3. While the game is extremely-impressive looking on the 360, it's still at it's core not drastically different from versions on the Xbox or the PS2. Sure, the cuts look more real, and the punches look more brutal, but the game is still roughly the same at it's core. Or for an even better example-just take a look at Oblivion-it is a bigger, prettier version of Morrowind, but that's truly all it is. The core of the game remains the same. And I haven't seen anything in highly anticipated titles for either the 360 or the PS3 that screams-THIS GAME IS DIFFERENT AND NEW to me. Why is that? It boils down to philosphy-To both Sony and MS, their definition of next-gen is "more". More people being able to play online, more non-gaming related capabilites, more robust graphics. When really, the philosphy of next-gen should be "different". As in-We now offer something completely different than what you could do before. And I see that in the Nintendo Revolution. Their setup, assuming it performs to its potential, offers something different. If you've read the most current issue of Game Informer, you've undoubtedly read their huge cover feature on Red Steel. Now that is pretty much the definition of "different". I will admit, When I first saw the controller, I thought we'd simply be getting slightly better-looking versions of the crappy gimmick titles you'd get from things like Eye Toy. But, if Red Steel is any indication, Nintendo (and Ubisoft) has the right idea of what next-gen is actually suppossed to be-something I really couldn't experience previously. And that will really be the key to winning the console war in the long run.



The ever expanding universe

It seems like Sega has finally wised up, as Phantasy Star universe will be coming to the 360. This virtually gaurantees me getting one in the near future if not immediately (still a little hard to find in my area). If things work right, this could be the first real cross-console MMO with PS2 & 360 people playing together.

The PS2 has dropped to $129. Giant who cares. Seriously, this might've meant something a year or two ago, but even though the PS2 probably has a couple viable years left,but that's mainly for the already intalled base. Not many are going "well I wasn't going to pick it up at $150 brand new, but now that's it's $20 wholr dollars cheaper, I can't possibly pass this up!".

I finally got to watch the long-awaited english version of Advent Children, which will be out in stores Tuesday. FFVII fans will most likely enjoy it, as the action scenes are great and it looks fantastic. But the dialgoue is very stiff and the it lacks a decent plot, so anybody who is not a Square fanboy probably won't enjoy it.

As for movies opening this weekend, the best bet clearly seems to be American Dreamz. The reviews aren't that solid, but it still seems like a good bet and anything from the same guy who brought us About a Boy can't be that bad.

I'm sure Keifer Sutherland fans will line up to see The Sentinel. The problem? Everybody is expecting this to be 24, and it's obviously not. And this has been done before and better in movies like In the Line of Fire and The Fugitive and every other movie where a good guy is wrongly framed for a crime.

And then there is Silent Hill. Not only is this yet another video-game based movie that the studio did not screen for critics, it's based on a series of bad and unscary video games that mainly rely on creepy fog and slow, dumb freaks of nature that wouldn't frighten a small child. No wonder Roger Ebert watches crap like this and claims games aren't art...

Finally, for a little fun: For a while now, there's been a fun conspiracy theory that Mario is in fact a clever communist campaign. So here's a really clever cartoon based on that concept.


The Cyber-revolution will be televised.

Cyber-athlete. Even as an avid gamer, I used to relentlessly make jokes about people who considered themselves "professional" gamers. Who the hell want to watch someone play videogames? And how could you ever make a living off of it? Course, I don't get the draw of watching Poker either. But what used to be a fun hobby has definitely grown into a living for a few selct individuals. Far evolved form the ancient days of Starcade, where some random geeks would match up on simple arcade games, we now have official Madden Tournaments & Halo tournaments and even Arena, a competetive gaming show on G4. But surely, none of these non-athletic geeks can be like real sports athletes and get sweet sponsorship deals, right? Wrongo. Fatal1ty is generally considered the best player in the world, and is sponsored by numerous computer companies. Ubisoft sponsors the Fragdolls-and although the group reeks of corporate construct, it's a start.
And it's about to get a whole lot bigger. This holiday season USA will start airing the Major League Gaming circuit, and it will become a regular fixture on the network. Now, my initial thought was nobody will watch this, but it's at least as exciting as watching people play poker, and obviously has huge implications of making this a very legitimate thing. The best players win sizable amounts of cash (not compared to say, golf or big stakes poker, but 25-$100,000 is nothing to sneeze at regardless), cars, or kickass gaming rigs, and this has the potential to make everything bigger (if anybody is looking for a commentator, I'm happily available!). It'll be really interesting to see if this takes off. I have no doubt every serious gamer will watch this because they want it to succeed. I wonder if that will be enough, though.

Somehow I completely forgot to mention that I beat Kingdom Hearts II last week. It was a trying experience, as most of the bosses in the later half of the game are actually pretty damn orritating. But I really enjoyed my time, with Sora and the Disney gang amd will definitely go through it again and cannot wait for the third intallment. But this luckily leves me completely free to play lots of Oblivion, which is exactly what I'm doing.

The Xbox 360 gets its first MMO this week, but it's already been available to PC & PS2 owners for some time. FFXI hits this week, and it should be an interesting test. Although it does have a monthly fee like nearly every other MMO on the planet (12.99), the good news is that you don't need Xbox platinum service to play it on top of that, just the free silver service. The bad news? No in-game voice chat. You can still theoretically do voice chat while playing the game with your friends, but I don't see why if they could do it on PSO, they couldn't do it on FFXI. Sure, there are a lot more people playing, but different channels to communicate on could easily solve that (ala WOW). And MMORPGS are nearly impossible to play without a keyboard, and the 360 does not have one as of yet. It should be interesting to see how this goes, as there hasn't really been a solid console MMORPG since PSO, which has been around since the dreamcast days. Sure, Everquest & FFXI are available on the PS2, but neither has garnered much of an audience (especially since the new slim PS2s can't even use the hard drive adapter necessary to play FFXI).

And finally, I'm not usre how often I'm gonna do this, but there are a ton of fan videos of games out there. Some are well done, some aren't. So I've decided I'll start positng ones I really enjoy on a semi-regular basis, so here's the first one: A Final Fantasy IX fan vid set to "Yellow" by Coldplay. Enjoy!



Ok, I am extremely tired and don't have anything much to talk about today, so just a couple quick reviews and I'll most likely post again Tuesday or Wed.

Thank You for Smoking: Brilliantly relentless mean-spirited satire. This is easily the best movie I have seen this year so far. Aaron Eckhart, who usually stars in high budget failures (The Core and Paycheck), shows great range as a lobbyist whose only interest is vigorously defending those that he represents.

Hostel: Granted, there are a few admittedly cringe-inducing torture scenes, but it can't save laughably bad & predictable twists, a painfully slow pace and an almost nonexistant plot.

And in the spirit of the holiday, this week's free game: EASTER RUSH!


The Operative speaks

Chiwetel Ejiofor, aka the ice cold assassin from Serenity has brought a little hope of a sequel for us diehard fans: "Serenity's future is indefinite at this point. The box office take was less than stellar, but continuously strong DVD sales have left the door open. "I don't know what that is or that situation... Joss is such an amazing guy, and I'd be intrigued to see where he would sort of take that and take the story and so on, and whether it would be sequels or prequels. I'm sure he could do absolutely anything. He has such an amazing understanding, scope of understanding of the world that he has created. There's that kind of Tolkien universal knowledge of every raindrop that falls. So I'm sure he could sort of take it anywhere that he wanted to." Granted, it's a small sliver of hope, but it was the continually strong sales of the show that got the movie launched in the first place, so hopefully a similar thing will happen here.

A Battlestar Galatica game? Better yet, a Battlestar Galatica RPG? I'm so there if it happens. I'll admit I was very slow to warm to this show, but it's easily the best sci-fi show on TV right now.

In the market for an MMO that isn't all about war or medieval fantasy worlds? Auto Assault may be just what you are looking for, as it focuses all around cars rather than farming gold or going on dungeon raids. No real word on if this is any good yet, but a massive version of Burnout sounds like a can't miss concept to me.

Is the PS3 too big for it's britches? Apparently so. Like everything else, it's just rumour and conjecture at this point, but there seems to be plenty of rumour and conjecture that even if the PS3 does make launch this year, it'll make the troubled 360 launch look like a huge success in comparison.

Now, as for movies this weekend, we have a couple of really pathetic offerings. I'll admit that I enjoyed Scary Movie 3, but part of its charm was up until this one, they were spoofing at least halfway decent horror movies. Now they a spoofing horrid pieces of utter crap like The Village & War of The Worlds.

But Scary Movie 4 seems like a much better alternative than Disney's latest bland animated feature, The Wild. This movie performed so poorly in early viewings that no toy stores are even going to carry any merchandise from it. And considering all the junk in the bargain bin you can find from box office failures at Toys R Us, that's saying something.

Thankfully, Thank You for Smoking is finally opening nationwide this week, so I highly suggest you go check that out.


PSP, your source for kiddie porn?

Well, technically it's just a dating sim, but a dating sim featuring 12-14 year old girls most likely to be bought by creepy old guys. I never really understood dating sims and I don't think I ever will...

Proving that even completely ruined franchises never die, Tomb Raider Legend is out on the 360, Xbox and PS2 this week. Personally, I've never been a fan of the series, who's sales were obviously bolstered by many horny lonely nerds (if you dubt that, just try and search for nude pics of Lara Croft on the internet, not hard to find to this day). And even though this new one has been getting fairly solid reviews so far, I'll probably give it a rent in a few weeks when I have nothing better to do.

I'm actually far more interested in Brain Age for the Nintendo DS. Not really a game or one of those lame "edutainment" titles, this is suppossed to actually make you smarter through various exercises. Sounds like late night infomercial crap, but it's huge in Japan and probably not a bad $20 investment.

Burger King makes video games? Not only that, but they are suing Kotaku for breaking the news before it was announced. Why? My guess is not too many 360 owners are going to be lining up to buy games that are roughly the same price as a combo meal. This is getting dangerously reminscent of right before the great crash of the 80s, where everybody was trying to get into the games market, including food compaines that had no fucking clue how to make a game....

And finally, if you ever wanted to know what it's like to be a supervillain, now seems like the best time. MMORPG.com is offering a free 14 day trial of City of Villains for all registered users (registration is completely free). I'm considering getting in on it, but I'm nonestly far too invested in Oblvion & Kingdom Hearts II to be much interested in anything else at the moment.



Easily my favorite show that never got its due, The Adventures of Brisco County, only lasted one glorious season, but thankfully I can relive that season as many times as I like now that it's finally coming to DVD. The $100 price tag gives me pause though, I'll probably wait until I can find a good deal on it through ebay or something before I pick it up.

Still nostalgic about all those great (and no so great) 90s TV shows? Retrojunk has most of the most popular intros so you can relive some of the nostalgia and not actually remember how bad most of those shows were (I still can't belive that I used to love Perfect Strangers...)

Ocean's 13 is on it's way, and while their isn't an official trailer yet, they probably could do well to copy what this guy thinks it should be like. The impressions are pretty damn uncanny.

And just as it seems Microsoft is finally getting their act together and getting 360s into stores on a regular basis, wacky legal issues threaten to cut them off at the knees. Granted, nothing will probably come of this, but if it actually succeeded and 360s did get pulled, I'd imagine Microsoft would effectively be done with consoles for at least this generation as they couldn't possibly regain the ground lost from such a blow.

All that's really left is the FREE GAME IF THE WEEK: Rambo BROS.!


Josh Hartnett's Lucky Number?

I know, it's supposed to be a clever play on words. In fact, Lucky Number Slevin seems to just scream "look how clever I am!". And movies like that tend to be far too clever for their own good. Although it boasts great star such as Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis, the focus is on Hartnett, who is only slightly above Paul Walker in acting ability.

Though it seems the best option out of another weekend of weak releases. Can we please make it illegal for anybody to make anymore "teacher inspires poor kids" movies for about 20 years or so? Because we have yet another one with Take the Lead, which uses dancing instead of basketball or chess or poetry or 5 billion other tired devices.

The other two films Benchwarmers & Phat Girls, weren't even screened for critics, which is probably for the best as I wouldn't even want to think who would actually give those films a good review and not hang themselves.

So, Oblivion's first official mod came out this past week, it's shiny new horse armor! And it actually costs money. Sure $2.50(1.99 if you have it for PC) seems like a trifle amount of money, but if this succeeds, it will probably lead to many more things like it that will slowly nickel & dime you til your broke if you want to play your game to the fullest. They are already talking about their next download, which will be a nifty new tower for you to explore. Sounds like a real bargain....


Nathan Fillion: The Next Bruce Campbell?

After seeing Slither this weekend (which wasn't quite up there with comedy horror greats like Tremors or Bubba Ho-Tep, but a solid film for those who like the genre), I'm pretty convinced that Nathan Fillion should have a long and healthy career in entertaining B-films. He's already got White Noise 2 on his plate, and seems perfect for the Evil Dead remake that Sam Raimi is planning on doing.

Expanding a little more on Kingdom Hearts 2-There are some minor quibbles I have (so you can put in Mulan & Pirates of the Carribean, but no Robin Hood, Black Cauldron, or Emperor's New Groove?), but anybody who liked the original, Final Fatnasy and/or Disney should pick this up immediately. It's also an excellent argument against going next gen anytime soon if AAA titles like this at least periodically come out of the pipeline.

And finally, although it seems like they've been talking about it forever, a Simpsons movie is actually finally coming to us next year. 10 years ago, I would've been estatic about this, but the Simpsons have been getting substantially worse the last seven or so years, and now I think this is just a horrible idea. To be sure, the kids with no taste that watch the show now will eat it up, but us fans who have been there since the beginning no longer recognize this monstrosity the show has become in its later years. I still hold out a little hope that because it;s tken so long to get to the silver screen that it might actually be worth the wait, but I'm not holding my breath.

That's it for todat,. FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Arcane Castle