Medium Entertainment's totally pointless year end awards!

Well, no movies opening this weekend and no breaking news, so now's a good a time as any to give my year-end wrap ups. Going for something a little different from the usual "best of" this year, so enjoy:

Best Vaporware:

I don't why anybody is surprised at this. Sure, potentially Sony's metagame/virtual world is a visionary and fantastic idea. If it ever gets done, that is. This could be the Second Life for consoles, but it also could just end up being some ad-filled eyesore to pump merchandise, which seems the more likely of the two. I wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't really see the light of day until at least 2009.

The Helping Amateur Stalkers Everywhere Award:

Xbox Live's Friends of Friends. Seriously. who's fucking bright idea was this? So, anybody can potentially track down anybody on live, which probably isn't that big a deal, but I rarely let people I've never even talked to on an internet forum join my friends' list, much less somebody who is a friend of a friend of a friend. Xbox live isn't Myspace. This really just seems like a tool for advertising where you get asked to be on the friend list of The Burger King or something horrid like that.

The resting on their laurels award:

Yes, it was a banner year for Nintendo. Their waggle system continues to sell like it's the last system ever. But really, what did Nintendo do to please it's already big installed base this year? Not a whole lot, and the sad thing is , it wouldn't have taken much to make us pleased. Better virtual console releases, for one. Yeah, what is classic is subjective, but most of what we've seen this year on the virtual console was questionable at best. I probably should be having trouble keeping my Wii from overflowing with VC titles, but it just isn't happening.

Which leads me to my another major complaint-Nintendo still hasn't made it so that you can play anything from an SD card, which massively limits the memory options. I mean hell, I may have to start choosing between channels and game saves soon, especially with Wii Ware on the way next year. And finally, the ever-lasting complaint of simplifying online play. Their is literally no justification for making your customers have to jot down 16-digit codes for every friend for every individual game. You don;t even enable voice chat, so that whole protecting the kids mantra is complete BS. And even if you did, that's what thing like parental settings (and parents themselves oddly enough) are for. I mean honestly, this is the kind of thing that will make people skip otherwise solid titles like Battalion Wars 2, because it just isn't worth the hassle. These are all easily fixed problems, Nintendo, and shame on you for being lazy as hell about it.

The You only get out of it what you put into it award:

3rd Party Wii developers: Seriously, just how many half-assed pieces of complete shovelware have we seen on Nintendo's console this year? And all of them are by third parties just desperately trying to cash in on the Wii's success. Then they have the gall to piss & moan about how they can't make any money on the Wii. Granted, you're not going to hit monster numbers like Bioshock & Mass Effect, but I thought that was one of the points of the Wii in the first place-that you could make more daring titles that don't have to be monster hits because they cost a fraction of what it costs to develop titles for the 360 or the PS3. The Wii has effectively proved people don't care about graphics that much, but they still need something besides 10,000 minigames to bide their free time.

Biggest Jackass:

Granted, several Sony execs were in the running, but the increasingly insane antics of Thompson month after month made him a shoo-in. I mean the guy has targeted everything from Microsoft to the Department of Defense, and even facing disbarment hasn't slowed this maniac down in his crusade to destroy videogames that just ends up destroying any credibility he has left. It's been fun Mr. Thompson, but it's looking like 2008 will find you jobless and possibly in a rubber room where you truly belong.

The biggest disappointment of the year:

Xbox Live Arcade: Seriously, it's been around a year longer than the Virtual Console, yet the amount of quality titles is a hell of a lot less, and it's not because the usually only do one title a week. Sure, there have been a couple of rare gems like Bomberman & Worms, and Streets of Rage 2 was certainly worth the $5 to download; but a look at the rest of the list reads like some hastily slapped together "greatest hits" compilation with only a couple actual hits and most of the running badly on hardware that should have no problem running it. Microsoft can;t even decide what the hell it wants Arcade to be. First it's an outlet for indie developers, then it's a land of mostly badly emulated classics. Now it's trying to reach out to a young and casual crowd that isn't even there with games that feature Spongebob collecting underpants. Arcade is in the middle of a giant identity crisis, and it will be looked upon as one of the great blunders of this generation if Microsoft doesn't get their act together.

All right, that's pretty much it. See you guys next year!


Cinematic Overload

Wow, for once there are just too many goddamn good movies for me to catch-up on. I did manage to see both I am Legend & Juno today, both of which I highly recommend seeing (especially Juno, that's easily my pick for best comedy of 07). But suddenly, there's a huge avalanche of new films that all seem worth seeing. First up, there's what may be the best spoof film in quite a long time in Walk Hard, a star-making role for the brilliant John C. Reilly. Then there's also Tim Burton's most critically acclaimed film in over a decade, the movie version of the macabre musical Sweeney Todd. We also have Tom Hanks latest shot at Oscar Gold in Charlie Wilson's War. All good choices that I really want to check out. Hell, I even want to see National Treasure 2 since I enjoyed the first one, but it's definitely under the category of "if you've seen everything else.

That's pretty much it for me today, but I'll leave you with a Christmas classic: A Charlie Brown Christmas... Performed by the cast of Scrubs!


A long NIGHTS journey...

I apologize for not posting for over a week, but I really sick for about a week and am still recovering a little bit. I was in fact very pissed that I was so ill I could not go out to see I am Legend and check out the new Dark Knight trailer (of course by now I've seen the trailer, but I will also check out Legend this weekend).

But it is good that I have mostly recovered just in time for the last big release of '07-Nights: Journey of Dreams for the Wii! Granted, this game may only matter to those few of us who were lucky enough to play the seminal original on the ill-fated Saturn, but since it's been over a decade , I'll take what new content I can get. It's a shame that according to most reviews, that while the game works fine with the classic controller, they apparently could not get the Wii controls to work well, since that seemed such a natural fit for the game.

Duke Nukem lives? Granted, I've never been a big fan of what is basically a composite of Ash from the Evil Dead movies & Roddy Piper from They Live, but ID has finally has posted a trailer for the long rumoured vaporware. Of course, without some kind of release date, this means squat IMHO. And really, what relevance is Duke to modern-day gaming? We have so many more awesome heroes that could kick Duke's ass...

Trailer of the week: HANCOCK


Tom Brokaw is old and confused...

It always amuses me when someone who is the voice of a generation completely out of touch with today's world tries to make a statement on modern day stuff they obviously have no clue about. Take this latest from retired old fart Tom Brokaw:

HH: NBC ran the Virginia Tech killer tape on the day they obtained it. Steve Capus, Brian Williams made that decision. Did they make the right decision?

TB: Yeah, they did.

HH: Do you not think it's going to incite other people to try to do the same thing?

TB: No, I don't. I think...to get back to something we were talking about earlier in general thematic terms, I don't think we're doing a very good job about talking about violence in this country, either. You know, Virginia Tech went away. We didn't have any ongoing dialogue in our communities or on the air about the corrosive effect of violence. It was not what he, what people saw of him on the air that will drive them, it's what they read in blog sites, and what they see in video games. It's that kind of stuff that I think is cancerous. And I'm a free speech absolutist, but I think that at the same time, we have to have free speech in some kind of a context. And part of that context is a discussion of the possible effects of it.

What I really love is how he claims he's a "free speech absolutist" but condemns two very valid forms of it that sure as hell shouldn't be criticized any more than the media he worked for for so long. I'm all for examining violence and it's effects. Hell, blogs can be a very useful tool for just that and the ongoing dialogue Brokaw mentions. To call them cancerous and then throw in videogames just because it's fashionable to scapegoat them for everything (note that the VT shooter didn't play any violent games) is just absurd and shows how senile he is. Do yourself a favor and stay shuttered away in the old folks shelter, grandpa.

Onto happier news, one thing that has sort of annoyed me about the Wii controllers is that they aren't truly wireless. The nunchuck is still attached to the Wii remote and so is the classic controller. But help is on the way. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but Nyko is coming out with a wireless nunchuck and Thrustmaster (really, Thrustmaster?) has their own wireless version of the classic controller that is on its way as well. We all know the less wires we have to deal with, the better, so hopefully these will be on shelves soon as it doesn't seem like Nintendo is too concerned about developing their own wireless versions of these any time in the near future.

In addition to the free game of the week, a have a little treat for you guys, my newest fanvid, featuring Smash Bros. Brawl! Til next time...



All that glitters...

Is most certainly not gold. I already pretty much posted my opinion on this weekend's only big opening film, The Golden Compass. You'd be much better off trying to find some indie fare like say Juno(which unfortunately isn't playing anywhere near me).

New trailer for GTA IV hit today. Though I wasn't a huge fan of San Andreas, this is starting to look pretty damn promising.

I am also making some progress in my massive gaming pile, finishing off both Mario Galaxy and Mass Effect. I kind of wish A lot of these big games turned out to be disappointments because honestly I would love to play Mario some more or go through Mass Effect again but I just have too many other games that are pretty damn good to do that now or in the near future. It's a silly complaint, I know, but for all the complaints of lack of quality games by the gaming community, now we are dealing with more quality content than we know what to do with (well, if you own at least 2 systems anyways).

That's pretty much it for today. I do want to give a cheap plug for one of my Gorillamask buddies, Evan Smith, who does some pretty damn cool artwork on his blog, Broken Sanity, which is also in my link list so you can check it out at your leisure even after this post disappears into the archives.



EA is dethroned? Yay?

Potentially huge news: Activision & Vivendi have officially merged, making them officially larger than EA, which has been the world's largest publisher for years now. Granted, given that EA is filled to the brim with giant jackasses with inflated egos who put out the same licensed crap year after year, most would see a serious competitor arising like this as a good thing. But really, what has Vivendi done besides World of Warcraft in the last 6 years? And Activision isn't exactly none for original quality releases either, with an umpteen number of Tony Hawk & Spider-Man titles that vary little under their belts. Will this lead to both striving for good, innovative original content or will we just see even more crappy cross-overs and tie-ins like Tony Hawk's World of Warcraft or Spider-Man's Adventures in Azeroth? I'll choose to remain cautiously optimistic.

I managed to catch a sneak preview of The Golden Compass. I read the book earlier this year and thought it was ok. The movie was a huge disservice to the source material, however. They changed much, and the writing, editing and acting were all pretty horrible. It amazes me that you can go so wrong when you have such a clear blueprint to base your work off of.

Trailer of the Week: The Spiderwick Chronicles

FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Candy Mountain Massacre