I think the Phantom joke is pretty much played out.
So Infinium Labs, the people who make
nothing, got a $5 million dollar funding commitment from Golden Gate Investors. Their lapboard idea is somewhat interesting. Playing first-person shooters is a sub par experience on a console system. The fluidity and precision of a keyboard and mouse cannot be matched on any console controller. Shooters on consoles compensate by some aiming assistance or generous target areas. Still the game play leaves something to be desired when compared to their PC brethren. Infinium promises that the lapboard will allow players to use a keyboard and mouse comfortably from the couch. Awesome. However the company is something like $57 million in the red and Xbox Live Arcade is going to eat their as of yet unlaunched gaming service for lunch. If I were Golden Gate I am not sure I would of thrown in another 5 mil to bring a cute gaming peripheral to market knowing that Mad Catz will be right behind them with a better product for probably less.
! I gotta say I am a big fan of the holiday and I plan on doing something adventure game related today. I am not sure what, but I have plenty of time to figure it out. I also have to say I am a pretty big fan of Ctrl+Alt+Del
and Tim Buckley
. However that last week or so of CAD has kinda sucked. Maybe I am not into the plot driven stuff or maybe the last week was a bit forced because of timing or whatever. This last week has felt a bit uninspired and maybe even a little self-congratulatory. Ah well. Everyone has their off days.
So E3 is trying to get back to the "industry only" event it supposedly once was. To effect this change ESA is restricting attendance and requiring a more somber dress attire for exhibition personnel. Is E3 really responsible for the spectacle the expo has become? It could be the industry is now just really really big. It also could be that a lot of the people in charge of media relations and marketing are just plain dopey. I mean the exhibitors are ones determining how they exhibit. The scantily clad women didn't show up on their own. Someone at some publisher somewhere decided this half naked person would accomplish something for them and decided to hire em. I know a lot of complaints about E3 are from the "working press". They say it is hard to get their job done when they have to compete with ... horrors of horrors ... game fans. I for one like the show. I view it a little like a vacation. I meet up with a few people that I know, who I would not normally see. We have a few drinks, go to dinner. During the day we have a few meetings and play a lot of demos. Rob knows a ton of people and he spends a lot of time taking portraits to upload. All in all I like wallowing in all the juicy video gameness of it. I like the light and noise.
So there has been a lot of press about video game journalism and most of it is pretty negative. I would have to agree that the majority of the coverage of the industry is pretty poor. In nearly all forms of media there is this feeding pyramid. The top few sites, stations, papers, magazines whatever may only garner 20% of the traffic, readers, viewers, listeners whatever but they get 80% of the ad revenue. While we may think this is unfair the reasons behind it are pretty legit. If I were an advertiser and I wanted to get my message out in front of 10 million people that fit my demographic, let's say people likely to purchase my video game, would I want to buy advertising on nine hundred different websites and get invoiced nine hundred times and write nine hundred checks? No way. Instead what happens is Gamespot, IGN and 1UP get all the advertising dollars ( Yes I know I usually provide links ... but not today or at least not for those guys ) because it is easy to deal with them. They can deliver the 10 million people and the advertiser only has to deal with one or two online media outlets. How does this factor in to the crummy state of video game journalism? Well first with all that money there is a lot of temptation. I do not think there is any quid pro quo where publishers are explicitly buying favorable reviews. However publishers control the advertising dollars and almost as important the publisher controls access. It is not through any great investigative reporting that Gamespot got the scoop on the exclusive first look at Super Mario Prime Sunshine Party 2. Oh no no. The publisher decided to let Gamespot get the exclusive. No one ever explicitly said that if Gamespot stops playing ball their access gets cut off. However the subtle pressure is there. This is no different than what exists in other forms of reporting. Politicians can control access to information. Large corporations very much finance television, radio and print through advertising. Why does video game journalism seem so bad in comparison? Well, Noam Chomsky
would argue that traditional media is better at fooling us. I am not so sure I agree. Rather I believe it is because the game industry is still relatively nascent. A lot of the people reporting on video games are gamers first and journalists second. While at first glance that may seem great. However, journalism is a craft and today much of the writing is one level above fanboy message board posts. There is no great tradition of video game journalism. We do not have our Edward R. Murrow. Because there is no standard of journalistic integrity we succumb to the temptation and pressure.
Dan Hsu, the editor of EGM, ranted about the sorry state on game reporting in one of his recent editorials. I have to give him credit on participating in the dialog. However in the preface to his latest interview with Peter Moore, some VP type at Microsoft, he writes, "[Peter Moore] seems to draw from an endless supply of energy whenever he talks to the press, which is good for him, because this interview is no walk in the park.... ". Dan then goes on to throw a typical softball interview with questions like, "What was your favorite launch game?". You can check out the interview on 1UP.com here
. Saying you are going to be tough and being tough are two entirely different things. Now I have never met Dan Hsu. I'd like to. I think he would be an interesting guy to chat with. I love games. He seems to genuinely love games. It would be a great way to spend an afternoon.
The real shame is some of the best commentary on video games is coming from a comic strip that uses too many SAT words. Heck these random news posts are no better than that of a typical fanboy. I hate writing. I do love games and the mission here stays the same. We are going to document every single game on every platform ever made, even the crappy ones. I just wish there weren't so many.
I still feel a little wobbly.
I got my nose set today. You would think 4cc of clinical cocaine hcl would be a lot more fun. So my doctor sends me to one of the better cosmetic guys in Manhattan. They spend about 30 minutes numbing my face. The doctor soaks a cotton ball in the cocaine mixture and jams it up my nose as far as I will let him. He then lets it sit there for a few minutes. After my nose is all numb he takes a new cotton ball and jams it even further up my nose and basically repeats this process until cotton balls and scrapping on the underside of my eyeballs. He then take a syringe and injects some sort of local anesthetic right into the break in the inside of my nose.and into a couple of locations in my face. After letting me sit for a few minutes the doctor jams two little miniature crowbars up my nostrils and straightens the thing out. It didn't really hurt so much, but I must say the pressure and crunching sound were pretty unpleasant. After admiring his work and making a few corrections he slaps a little cast on my nose. The cast looks like the mother of all Biore nose strips. The cast stays on a week and in a month I am good as new. What a crummy week.
CxHx enters top 50 contributors
CxHx, currently 2006's second-highest contributor, reaches the top 50, having scored 3221 points. Luis Silva, 3rd for 2006 so far, needs only another 350 points to overhaul him as it stands.
So I broke my nose yesterday. I was playing basket ball and I smashed my face full speed with this other guys head. I must say it did not hurt too bad, but boy was I a bloody mess. How do I know it is broken? Well ... the fact that my nose is now pointing in a different direction is one clue. I have an appointment with a doctor to straighten the thing out. A procedure I am not at all looking forward to. Why is it that the cure is always much worse than whatever ails you?
Ok. We just got the floorplan
. All I can say is we will be easy to find. The MobyGames booth is the top left corner of the exhibitor floor. Until someone decides to back up a huge dump truck full of cash and flood the offices with money we will not be able to afford the 2500 sq ft premium spots. We will definitely have fun, give away a few t-shirts and talk games with just about anyone who will listen. Also I cannot under some publishers. Who in their right mind likes IntelliTXT? You know these embedded links in bodies of text that are "contextual" ads. Bleach. What garbage. I mean that dump truck better be made out of gold if MobyGames is going to pull crap like that. Maybe this is why we cannot afford the sweet spot on the expo floor. The other thing that gets me is some pretty good sites use IntelliTXT. I really do hope those ads pay a ton of money. There could be no other explanation for intentionally spilling sewage right in the middle of your bedroom.
Come get some.
It is nomination time for the Game Developers Choice Awards
. MobyGames as a member, partner and supporter of the IGDA
we do get a tiny little voice in the nomination process. However every time this year I typically draw a blank when it comes to what games to nominate. I mean I do have opinions. I loved Battlefield 2
, Indigo Prophecy
, Guitar Hero
and others. However I feel the GDC Awards is arguably the only video game awards that are not complete BS. There are so many great games this years and so many other people who are much more informed on the matter than I. I did not play a single Nintendo game last year which probably means I am not entirely unbiased. I much rather sit back and enjoy the process as a spectator than a participant.
How to earn millions by losing money.
I am not sure how Uwe Boll does it. I mean his movies down right suck. He has done movie adaptations of House of the Dead
, Alone in the Dark
and now Bloodrayne
All the movies have stunk. None of them have done well at the box office yet he is still making them. How is this possible? I have read speculation that there are some favorable tax regulations in Germany that benefits the financiers of these films. I am finishing up my final semester at business school and I am still a little confused at how this works. In order to come out ahead one would need to have a greater tax break than the total invested in the film. Now I know European countries have high tax rates, but I do not think they are over a 100%.
Second Female Contributor Among Top 50
reaches Top 50 MobyGames contributors, scoring 2999 points and becoming the second female Top Contributor, the first one being Jeanne
Video Games Live / GDC
So MobyGames contributor
, and prolific industry veteran
, Tommy Tallarico
and crew will be closing out this years Game Developers Conference
with a Video Games Live
performance. It is hard to describe the event without sounding like a terrible shill, but I will try. Video Games Live is an concert event featuring music from the most loved video games of all time. Symphony Silicon Valley and its chorus will be accompanied by video footage and music arrangements, lasers, synchronized lighting, solo performers, electronic percussionists, live action and interactive segments to create a rather unique entertainment experience. Whew. Brian and I will be exhibiting at GDC. If you are attending the conference definitely drop by, say hi and if you have time definitely check out VGL. The performance is definitely not free, but from everything I have heard and read VGL is definitely worth the dough.
Who wants free games?
That's right MobyGames is giving away free games.
As a way to say thank you MobyGames will buy you a brand new game. What is the catch? Well to qualify you must already be a contributor with a score of at least 500. We also ask that within a week or two of receiving the game that you submit a complete game entry including covers scans, credits, a review. You know the works. Obviously the game must not already exist in the database and the game should be in the current top sellers list. To get more details click here
A much wanted section to the site, Wireless and PDA games is now open for submissions. If there are tech specs missing from one of the platforms or any other comments please let me know
and I'll get it fixed as soon as I can. Along with opening up new platforms we're also looking for approvers to approve games submitted for these, so if you have a minimum of 1000 contribution points and want be an approver please apply
So I finally got my grubby little paws on a 360. It is kind of silly to write about my first impressions since the system has been out for over a month and half. Yet I do help run this website so I can write about pretty much anything I want. Here it goes: The bugger is heavy as hell. Xbox Live arcade and marketplace are really cool. I personally believe this online component is going to be huge. Bigger than anything we can imagine. The three penny shills who were hawking the nonexistent Phantom console now have metaphysical certitude that they will fail. Too bad for them. The Xbox 360 controllers are a dream. For some reason Nintendo still exists. Maybe because they make great games. Who knows? Gosh they make terribly flawed systems. I refuse to forgive Nintendo for launching the GBA without a back light. Then the GBA SP had a back light, but was missing a headphone jack. Right, I would never play the thing in a public crowded area ... like ... maybe an airplane or a choo choo train. Much better to force the people sitting next to you to listen to Pokemon
. Then the Nintendo 64 controller has to be the worst game controller since Intellivision. The N64 analog stick is in the middle of the controller where it is no good to man or beast. Yet for some reason Microsoft catches a ton of heat for their huge first generation Xbox controller. Well I do like the Xbox S controller better, but at least with the big boy you can play the damn thing. The new wireless Xbox 360 controllers are just plain awesome. Size, heft, design, feel. Everything is perfect. I've run though a handful of titles. No better no worse than any other launch titles. Some are weak some are pretty good. The only game that really stands out is Call of Duty 2
. If you like FPS WWII games this is a must have. Either way I am glad I now own a 360 and am really looking forward to what developers will be able to do.
Happy New Year!
2005 was a great year for MobyGames. We have high hopes for 2006. From Brian, Jim, Rob, myself and all the approvers we wish you a wonderful and happy new year.