Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EA CEO Talks Acquisitions

   In an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, EA CEO John Riccitiello described potential acquisitions as "too expensive" thus far and went on to say, "There are probably 25 companies on our radar that would make sense for us at somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the asking price.” When asked about the possibility of acquiring Harmonix which produces the Rock Band rhythm games, Riccitello stated, "While buying the Rock Band music video game franchise could make “theoretical” sense, it’s not the strategic direction the company is moving in." In 2006, Harmonix was acquired by MTV Networks which is owned by Viacom. Earlier this month, Viacom expressed their interest in selling Harmonix which is unprofitable.

Playstation Move Reaches 4.1 million Units Sold

   In a press release this morning, Sony marked a milestone in sales of the Playstation Move which has reached 4.1 million units sold globally since its release on September 17, 2010. With an installed base of 41.6 million Playstation 3 consoles in the world, the Move has reached nearly 10% of the userbase. It's still too early to determine if that sales figure is good enough for publishers to continue developing Move-compatible software.

   Microsoft also released sales figures for their Kinect motion-sensing device today at 2.5 million units sold since its launch on November 4, 2010. Microsoft expects to sell another 2.5 million Kinects during the 2010 holiday season.

Sony Patent Application #20100299595

   Akihabara News has been sleuthing around recent patents filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website and they’ve found seven patents filed by Sony Computer Entertainment of America. The diagrams included with the patents appear to indicate a touch-sensitive screen of some sort, a thin clamshell design, text entry capabilities, a mini keyboard, and a mass storage port or built-in device.

   Akihabara News and other sources that have picked up on the news appear to speculate that this might be a future PSP model but the device looks more like a PDA of some sort that might be capable of playing multimedia applications such as games, music, and video. The patent application #20100299595 may be viewed at http://appft.uspto.gov.

The abstract for the patent reads as follows:

    A hand-held electronic device, method of operation and computer readable medium are disclosed. The device may include a case having one or more major surfaces. A visual display and a touch interface are disposed on at least one of the major surfaces. A processor is operably coupled to the visual display and touch screen. Instructions executable by the processor may be configured to a) present an image on the visual display containing one or more active elements; b) correlate one or more active portions of the touch interface to one or more corresponding active elements in the image on the visual display; c) operate the one or more active elements according to a first mode of operation in response to a first mode of touch on one or more of the active portions; and d) operate the one or more active elements according to a second mode of operation in response to a second mode of touch on one or more of the active portions, wherein in the second mode of operation, the second mode of touch activates an enhancement of one or more of the active elements.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kinect doesn't connect in Japan

   Following the stunning sales of the Kinect in the United States, the Xbox 360 hardware accessory has met a more muted response in Japan. According to new data from Media Create, the Kinect sold 26,000 units in its first two days of sales on November 20-21. Earlier this month, Microsoft sold a million Kinects in the first 10 days of availability in the United States. The Kinect currently retails for JPY14,800 which converts to roughly US$175.

Pirate Bay Loses Appeal

   In another blow to online file-sharing, a Swedish appeals court upheld on Friday the copyright convictions of three of the four founders of The Pirate Bay--perhaps the world's most well-known and notorious file-sharing Web site.
    The court agreed with last year's ruling, which found Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundstrom guilty of helping Pirate Bay users break Sweden's copyright law. However, it revised the ruling to decrease the defendants' jail sentences and increase the amount they must pay in damages.

   Despite the convictions and affirmation of the convictions, the Pirate Bay continues to operate and is still in business. It's unlikely that the defendants will appeal the decision but who knows, anything's possible in the war between the copyright holders and the pirates.

   In other recent news, the U.S. government has begun seizing domains that are providing file-sharing services or selling counterfeit goods. Dvdcollections.com, Torrent-finder.com, and 2009jerseys.were all taken down yesterday and their index pages were replaced by a notice which read, "
This domain name has been seized by ICE--Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court."

   I thought the following statement related to the Pirate Bay case was absurd: "In two years, this type of piracy will be over. After a ruling like this and all the pioneers start to get older and have children and families, piracy won't occur to this extent," Monique Wadsted, an attorney representing American record companies, told the Swedish news agency TT.

   What Monique doesn't take into account is that every generation of pirates is replaced by a newer generation. She's dumb (for a lawyer) if her mind can't comprehend the fact that the pool of pirates is constantly replenished just like the pool of software designers is constantly replenished. So many people in this world can't think beyond their own little boxes that they've build around themselves. Feh. I'm done.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Imageepoch sticking with J-RPGs

   Japanese developer Imageepoch announced eight upcoming games yesterday to some fanfare. Four of the games are expected to be released next year and they're all J-RPGs with the remaining four planned for future delivery beyond 2011. What is a J-RPG you ask? Well, it's a Japanese-style RPG in all of its linear, formulaic, and highly conventional splendor. You can expect the graphics to be formulaic and conventional as well. The four games that were announced yesterday are:

PSP Black Rock Shooter (http://fps.jrpg.jp/)
PSP Tale of the Last Promise (http://brs.jrpg.jp/)
PS3 Chevalier Saga Tactics
NET Chibito Rock Shooter

Japanese-style RPGs may have gone out of style stateside sometime in the past 5 years but Imageepoch doesn't appear to care. They are targeting the Japanese and Asian market with their upcoming games and there are currently no plans to release them outside of Japan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DoubleFine Reveals "Stacking" Trailer

DoubleFine has released a trailer which includes footage from their upcoming "Stacking" game which features Russian nesting dolls aka matryoshka. There's stacking, flatulence, and thrills galore...

Sony shows commitment to 3D

   In a nod of support to the 3D revolution, Sony SCEE studio director Mick Hocking spoke at the Develop Conference earlier today in the UK and stated that 3D games are in Sony's future. According to Hocking, over fifty 3D games are being developed for the Playstation 3 by Sony and publisher. Hocking said, ""We're applying 3D to more than 20 internal games at Sony. It's a very positive thing to see the great level of interest in 3D from our development studios."
   Sony released a firmware patch in June 2010 to give the Playstation 3 the ability to render games in stereoscopic 3D. Note however that a 3D-capable television and 3D glasses are required in conjunction with the games to view them in 3D. Mick also mentioned "holographics" in his keynote speech, as follows,
   "Well, our focus absolutely is the home space right now. That’s where 3D will triumph. On the big screen is where, for the moment, players can experience 3D at its best.However, 3D on mobile devices, and other forms of 3D, are all possible and many companies are working on them right now. We also have techniques like holographics for the PS3 that I think will be very interesting for the future 3D games."
   You heard it folks, "holographics" are on the way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Details on Fallout: New Vegas’ first DLC, “Dead Money”

   Bethesda released a newsletter last Friday which included information on the upcoming Fallout New Vegas DLC titled, "Dead Money." The full text follows below:

On December 21st, Fallout: New Vegas' first DLC, Dead Money, will be available exclusively on Xbox 360 for 800 Microsoft Points.

To give you a sneak peek at the content, Senior Designer Chris Avellone answered a few of our questions about the heist-themed content.

Here's the interview…

    Can you discuss the setting for Dead Money?
    Dead Money is set in the Sierra Madre, an opulent and extravagant resort that was supposed to be the greatest casino in the west – except that it never opened. Bombs fell before the gala opening, and the Sierra Madre froze in time, its state of the art security system locking the place up tight. Nothing could get in, and none of the guests could escape. Years passed. The climate control and air conditioning system within the facility began to spit toxins into the surrounding city, causing a slow cloud and haze to form over the area - which proved lethal to anyone who tried to explore the city. Only a mysterious group called the Ghost People survived to call the city home, trapped inside what appeared to be hazmat suits and never speaking to their victims... only capturing them alive and dragging them away to the depths of the city deep within the Cloud.

    And so the Sierra Madre faded from the history books, only occasionally being seen in posters across the wastes, until it took on mythic ghost story status... a supposed "City of Gold" in the Mojave Wasteland where all the treasures of the Old World were rumored to be held. It was kept alive as a late-night saloon story by prospectors who'd claimed to have found maps leading there... and were willing to part with the "map" for a few caps. Or a drink. Or a warm place to sleep.

    How will the player reach this area?
    The Sierra Madre is a mythical place in the wastes, with travelers all risking their lives to find it. Only one man truly "found" it - and lived. After the fall of HELIOS One, Father Elijah of the Brotherhood of Steel set out to find new weapons to eradicate NCR. And in the process he found the Sierra Madre. The Courier is lured to the Sierra Madre by a faint radio broadcast advertising the gala grand opening.

    From a gameplay standpoint, Dead Money is accessed by loading a save file from any point in Fallout: New Vegas prior to the endgame sequence, in the same way as Operation Anchorage, Point Lookout, The Pitt or Mothership Zeta were triggered in Fallout 3.

    Can you share details on some of the new creatures/enemies players will encounter?
    This being an extension of Fallout: New Vegas, players will encounter several unique characters, each with their own motivations, all of whom will have to work together if any of them are going to survive. Aside from just struggling with their would-be companions, the courier will also have to deal with the mysterious Ghost People as well as the casino's substantial defense systems.

Kingdom Under Fire II Headed to PS3

   Citing the inability to give away free items on the Xbox Live network, Blueside CEO Sejung Kim announced that Kingdom Under Fire II is headed to the Playstation 3 instead of the Xbox 360. Kingdom Under Fire II is a real-time strategy game where players control a hero who leads armies into war ala Koei’s Dynasty Warriors.
    In addition to single-player action, KUFII also features a multiplayer online mode where hundreds if not thousands of players may participate in the carnage of a bloody battlefield. Despite the “II” in the game title, KUFII will be the third game in the series; it is the sequel to Kingdom Under Fire: A War of Heroes and Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders which were original Xbox games. KUFII is currently in development and no release date has been announced thus far.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vivendi CEO praises Call of Duty: Black Ops

Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO Vivendi
   The chairman and chief executive of Vivendi which owns a controlling stake in Activision spoke to investors in Barcelona yesterday at the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference. Jean-Bernard Lévy praised the recent success of Call of Duty: Black Ops which has raked in $650 million in global revenue in the first five days of its launch. The figure bests the previous 5-day sales record of $550m achieved by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. According to Activision, over 2.6 million gamers have played the game and have logged millions of online multiplayer gaming sessions.

   Activision Blizzard’s chief executive Robert Kotick said, "Call of Duty has become the first entertainment property in history to set five-day launch records for two consecutive years across all forms of entertainment, The title’s success illustrates the mass appeal of interactive entertainment as millions of consumers are choosing to play Call of Duty: Black Ops at unprecedented levels rather than engage in other forms of media. The number of people playing online and the number of hours they are playing demonstrates how online gaming has become a mainstream form of entertainment and certainly validates Activision Blizzard’s leadership role in online entertainment."

Friday, November 19, 2010

The 3rd Birthday : Debut Trailer with subtitles

Fans of Parasite Eve rejoice with the upcoming third game in the Parasite Eve series which is titled, "The 3rd Birthday."

Gaming News Bits for November 19, 2010

- Yars' Revenge Remake in Development
 The classic Atari 2600 game "Yars' Revenge" is undergoing the remake treatment courtesy of Killspace Entertainment. In the game, players control a fly-like insect known as a Yar who retailiates against an alien species known as the Qotile. Yars' Revenge is slated for release in 1Q 2011 and will be available as a download for the Playstation 3,  Xbox 360, and PC.

 - Portal 2 Pushed Back
 Valve has delayed the release of Portal 2 by two months to April 20, 2011. In Portal 2, players take control of a protagonist named Chell who is able to open "portals" on walls and floors by using an aptly device called a portal gun (Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device). Chell's objective is to find his way out of the Aperture Science Lab which has been abandoned. His nemesis in the lab is a sentient computer named GLaDOS who observes and attempts to derail Chell's escape attempt. Portal 2 is being developed for the PlayStation 3, PC, Mac and Xbox 360 platforms.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tetris headed to Playstation 3

   According to the brain-related research of Professor Osamu Shinohara of Tokyo University, playing Tetris stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain and may prevent dementia. This bit of information isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Tetris since observing the mating ritual of the humpback whale is probably just as stimulating... in terms of the frontal lobe. In any case, Tetris is a ubiquitous game and gamers have played hundreds of variants, clones, public domain iterations, and sequels through the years. Our frontal lobes have been stimulated like the dickens.

   Just like Jello however, there's always room for Tetris and EA is planning a version for the Playstation 3 which is being developed by EA Mobile. Tetris fans can look forward to the single-player default "Marathon Mode" or get competitive with a multi-player option which allows up to six gamers to rotate blocks in "Shared," "Team Battle," and "Battle" modes. To see how your elite scores stack up against other players, a regional and global leaderboards list the scores of top players around the world. EA touts 1080p and 5.1 surround sound for a high-definition Tetris experience.

Tactics Ogre leads Japanese sales

    4Gamer.net has listed the Media Create software sales data for the week of November 11, 2010 and PSP Tactics Ogre leads the pack with 176,153 units sold. PS3 Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 followed in second place and Wii Super Mario Bros 25th Anniversary Collection came in third.

    Rounding out the top ten were: (4) NDS Pokemon Black, (5) NDS Tongari Boushi to Mahou no Omise, (6) PSP God Eater Burst, (7) PS3 Winning Eleven 2011, (8) Wii Party, (9) Wii Sports Resort, and (10) Wii Keito no Kirby.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds on February 15, 2011

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds on February 15, 2011
   Capcom finalized the ship date for their upcoming 2D fighting game which pits the camps of Marvel and Capcom against each other. The game will be available in a regular edition as well as a Gamestop exclusive limited edition which is packaged in a steelbook case. The cast roster is as follows:

» Capcom: Amaterasu, Chun-Li, Chris Redfield, Dante, Mega Man Zero, Nathan "Rad" Spencer, Wesker, Tron Bonne, Viewtiful Joe, Ryu, Morrigan, Felicia, and Trish.

» Marvel
: Captain America, Doctor Doom, Dormmamu, She Hulk, M.O.D.O.K., Spider-Man, X-23, Thor, Deadpool, Hulk, Wolverine, Iron Man, and Super-Skrull.

   Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be available for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shenmue City on Mobagetown

   Sega's getting into the social networking arena with an interactive mobile phone app called Shenmue City. Sega hopes Shenmue City will serve as a way for friends to encounter and fight each other while playing a Shenmue sidestory which takes place in the city of Yokosuka. The protagonist is a student who attends Hazuki Dojo along with Ryo Hazuki and other pupils.

   In the game, players can interact with citizens of Yokosuka, work part-time jobs, practice kung-fu, run a dojo, operate an arcade, and battle other online players. The game includes 11 scenarios and will be available on the Mobagetown mobile service as well as the Yahoo Mobagetown service for PCs. In related news, Yu Suzuki recently revealed in a Famitsu interview that Shenmue 3 could become a reality.

Microsoft Moves a Million Kinects in 10 days

   Since its launch on November 4, 2010, Microsoft has sold 1 million Kinect units and bundles in the first 10 days of availability. The Kinect is Microsoft's answer to the Wii's motion-sensing Remote and Nunchuk controllers which allows gamers to play video games without using a handheld controller. Microsoft is expecting to sell a total of 5 million Kinects by the end of 2010 which is up from the company's earlier projection of 3 million units.
   Sony's answer to the Nintendo Remote and Wii is a device called the "Move" which shipped to American retailers on September 17, 2010. According to Sony, over 1 million Move devices have sold in the first 30 days of availability.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Games Japan Festa 2010

   The ninth annual Games Japan Festa 2010 (http://www.games-j.or.jp/) took place at ATC Hall in Osaka, Japan over the weekend. Admission to the show is free and an estimated 30,000 attendees visited the venue.

   Sony and Microsoft were the main exhibitors along with smaller publishers but Nintendo doesn't do shows. That's right, Nintendo doesn't exhibit at the Tokyo Game Show or Games Japan Festa and they opt to hold their own press conferences and the occasional "Space World" event to showcase their products.

   Popular exhibits at this year's event included Level 5's Ninokuni Shikkoku no Madoushi adventure game, Chunsoft's Zombie Daisuki, and Sega's Sonic Colors. A stage show featuring Radio Osaka and free prizes kept the visitors entertained.

Using Kinect to Capture Video in 3D

The Kinect hacks keep coming. Check out this video from "KinectHacks" which shows off 3D images that have been captured by the Microsoft Kinect camera... but that's not all. He's projecting the color images back out into space to create a "holographic" representation of the persons or objects that are bring captured.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nintendo targeting 45 million in total Wii sales before next console

   In an interview with Kotaku, Reggie Fils-Aime stated that Nintendo is looking to sell at least another 15 million in the United States before considering the development of their next console. Nintendo has sold 30.4 million consoles in the U.S. market thus far. Despite the competition from Microsoft's Kinect and Sony's Move, Reggie didn't see a pressing need to address the Kinect or the Move now.
   "After we've reached an installed base of 45 million here in the U.S., we can have a conversation about the next generation," said Fils-Aime. He also went on to say that a succesor to the Wii would not be forthcoming for the 2011 holiday season. The Wii was released on November 19, 2006 so it took the company four years to sell 30.4 million consoles. Sales are slower nowadays but they'll probably move the next 15 million consoles within 3 years time. If that's the case, then the successor to the Wii won't be heading to retail until 2015.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kinect costs $56 to manufacture

   That’s the consensus from an outfit known as UBM TechInsights which provides IP lifecycle management services. According to an article in the EE times, approximately $17 goes to the camera, sensors, the microphone array which contains four mics, and the processor. The remaining $39 in costs is parceled out between the memory chips, the camera interface controller, subprocessors, USB connectors, and the snazzy black plastic shell that encases the whole shebang.

   Before griping about the nearly $100 difference between production cost and retail price, consumers will have to take into account the manufacturing costs, Microsoft’s promotional campaigns for the Kinect, R&D, and the costs of getting the product into stores.

    “Basically, the strength of the design is the huge design win for the Israeli fabless company PrimeSense,” said Allan Yogasingam, a technical marketing manager at UBM TechInsights. “They’ve provided the most innovative portion of the Kinect with their image processor, audio and video interface.”

    A listing of the major parts found by UBM TechInsights within Kinect:

* PrimeSense PS1080-A2 – PS1080 SoC image sensor processor (works with CMOS image sensor and an IR light source)
* Marvell 88AP1-BJD2 – Possible Marvell camera interface controller
* Elpida E5116AJBG-6E-E – 70nm DDR2 SDRAM (SI#18324)
* (2) Marvell G39 00A1P
* H1025519 XBOX1001 X851716-006 GEPP – Serial EEPROM for Marvell Controller
* Fairchild Semiconductor FDS8984 – N-Channel PowerTrench MOSFET
* NEC uPD720114 – USB 2.0 hub controller
* (2) Wolfson Microelectronics WM8737G – Stereo ADC with microphone preamp (one for every two microphones)
* STMicroelectronics 25P16V6G – M25P16 – 16 Mbit, low voltage, Serial Flash memory with 50 MHz SPI bus interface
* STMicroelectronics H28A 9017
* WT245 – Texas Instruments SN74AVC4T245RGYR – 4-bit noninverting dual-supply bus transceiver
* Texas Instruments 70530-08T-AVF4 –  TPS3705-30 – Processor Supervisory Circuits with Power-Fail
* Texas Instruments TAS1020B – universal serial bus (USB) peripheral interface device
* Kionix KXSD9 – 3-axis accelerometer
* (2) Analog Devices AD8694 – Quad, Low Cost, Low Noise, CMOS Rail-to-Rail Output Operational Amplifier
* TI ADS7830I – 8-Bit, 8-Channel Sampling A/D Converter with I2C Interface
* Allegro Microsystems A3906 – Low Voltage Stepper and Single/Dual DC Motor Driver
* STMicroelectronics M29W800DB – 8 Mbit (1Mb x8 or 512Kb x16) NV Flash Memory

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trademarking "It's On Like Donkey Kong"

   Nintendo has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the phrase, "It's on like Donkey Kong." Really. This is another case of corporate douchebaggery where a common phrase that's used in the American vernacular is sought to be leashed and owned by a big corporation.

   Does Nintendo really need to own that phrase? Are they seeking the control of the phrase so that it can't be used in trite advertising from other companies? Nintendo didn't even come up with the phrase. Sure, they own "Donkey Kong" but if another phrase pops up in popular culture with "Donkey Kong" in it, will Nintendo try to trademark that too? When will it end? If the phrase "I'm eating pie like Pac-Man" becomes popular, should Namco seek to control and own that phrase too?

I can see the outcome of the trademark application already: DENIED.

I'm back. I was at a 3-day wedding in Vegas for a college buddy. -J-Sonoma

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spain names streets after video games

    If you're a Spaniard or visiting Spain, you're now able to meet friends and walk on "Avenida de Super Mario Bros." Unveiled this past Saturday in the suburb of Zaragoza located in northern Spain, the street is the first in the world to be named after a video game. From CNN:

   The government-sponsored Arcosur project aims to build more than 21,000 residences for people ages 20 to 35 who are buying their first homes, he said. Construction began last year. A dozen of the development's streets will be named for video games, Almudi said. Names of musical composers and Spanish monuments will grace the neighborhood's remaining 46 roads.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cook in 8-bit (NCSX syndicated content)

   Ever wonder what kind of meal Koopa is? Yoshi’s tongue is probably a delicacy after it’s been sliced to paper width and flecked with truffle oil. How about Chocobo? Probably tastes like chicken. Right? Right?!

If these questions have ever crossed your mind, take a gander at Jude Buffum’s limited edition giclee prints which depict video game characters as… meat. The characters that are drawn and quartered into chops and filets include Yoshi, Blooper, Cheep Cheep, and Chocobo.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Eminem "Till I Collapse"

CODBO is shipping tomorrow so here's a little taste. Eminem sounds like he's mad-spittin' all over the place though.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

EA And Paramount Digital Entertainment Team Up For ‘Rango’ The Video Game

Official Press Release
Rango the Video Game to Launch Alongside Paramount Pictures’ Upcoming Animated Feature Film
   EA and Paramount Digital Entertainment today announced a distribution agreement that will catapult an upcoming Paramount property into the hands of gamers worldwide. Rango The Video Game, is an action-adventure title inspired by the upcoming animated feature film starring the voice of Johnny Depp.
Rango The Video Game invites players to continue on Rango’s wild journey through new adventures inspired by the movie.  The game is set in the Old West town of ‘Dirt’ where players romp through a gritty, pint-sized, Wild West filled with wild rides, off-color characters and frantic shoot-outs. Rango is Paramount Pictures’ first full-length animated feature film; both the film and the video game will be released in March 2011.

   “We are thrilled to be working with Paramount and the upcoming release of the video game version of its first animated feature,” said Sinjin Bain, Vice President of EA Partners at Electronic Arts. “Rango is a one-of-a-kind character that we know kids will love. We’re excited to give families worldwide the opportunity to take the humor and fun from the big screen into their living rooms.”

   “We are pleased to team up with EA to deliver an exciting, action-packed adventure game that captures the spirit of the film and puts the fate of Dirt in players’ hands,” said Tom Lesinski, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment.  “We’ve added exciting twists and turns in the video game that will challenge players of all levels on their adventures as Rango.”

   Developed by Artificial Mind & Movement, Rango The Video Game will be available on console platforms including the PlayStation 3 computer and entertainment system, Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system, Wii, and Nintendo DS in March 2011. Rango The Video Game has not been rated by the ESRB and PEGI.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gran Turismo 5 Production Kicks Off?

   The SEMA Trade Show kicked off yesterday in Las Vegas and runs until November 5. At the show, Kazunori Yamauchi stated that Gran Turismo 5 (retail) discs are being manufactured and stamped NOW. Really Kaz? You're not pulling anyone's leg are you?

   If the discs are really being stamped now, why hasn't Sony finalized the ship date in Japan after last month's delay announcement? Why haven't retailers gotten an inkling of the new date? WHY? Well, then again, aggregators like Rakuten still list the ship date as November 3. Feh.

   If Gran Turismo 5 only ships in Japan this year, I'm good with that. Importers will get to play the game before anyone else (legitimately). The early release in Japan also allows the Japanese gamers to basically road-test and bug-test the game for the other regions so that USA and Europe will get a bug-tested build that's been pored over by millions of Japanese gamers when it's time to release the game in the West.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jackass 3D Blows

   I enjoyed the first two Jackass movies. They were raw and featured a bunch of lovable clowns in outlandish and potentially suicidal situations. Remember that dude who took a dump inside a store bathroom in the middle of a showroom? He could've been murdered by the shop owner. Then there was the stunt where Steve-O fell into a pool of alligators. Dumbass could've gotten torn up.

   Anyway, Jackass 3D features the gang in another series of stunts. I laughed out loud at about 3 of them. The other stunts were just dumb, slaphappy, and literally shitty. There's also one stunt where Steve-O vomits about a pound of the contents of his stomach after drinking a real vile concoction. The opening sequence is a beautifully produced slow-motion affair where Bam, Knoxille, and the rest of the lot are smacked, smashed, kicked in the face, shot (paintball) and brutalized in sadistic fashion. Here are the three that I laughed out loud at:

1) High Five - the one where Bam gets smacked in the face with a big hand prop that's unleashed by Knoxville. To add to the hilarity, a bag of flour is attached to the hand which explodes in Bam's face. There's two other "high-fives" before Bam's but I laughed out loud at his smacking.

2) The bar fight scene where Wee-Man and his wee date are confronted by another wee man. A whole cast of little people then join in including brawlers, dwarf cops, and little paramedics. The look on the faces of some of the patrons in the bar... priceless. Check out the lady bartender who's probably seen everything under the sun holding her hands to her mouth in utter shock.

3) Pin the Tail on the Donkey - a dude has to gingerly approach a donkey and pin the "tail" on the animal but he gets kicked every time he gets too close. In the first kick, the donkey hits his thigh but in the second kick, he gets smashed right in the family jewels.

   The rest of the movie didn't make me laugh. I may have smiled but I got bored after a while. The bee tetherball was cruel because all the bees who stung those jackasses died when their stingers were ripped from their abdomens. Movie-goers can also look forward to farting action, porta-potty hijinx, a projectile-shit eruption scene, flying dildoes, a swinging-dick baseball scene (not as graphic as the Bruno movie though), and a scene involving a hungry pig and a fat dude on all-fours. Use your imagination to figure out what the pig does. Old-ass Johnny when he's in the wheelchair is sort of funny. J-Sonoma Rating: 5/10.

Court weighs state law banning 'violent' video games from children

   From a CNN article today: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/11/02/scotus.video/index.html?hpt=T2
   Washington (CNN) -- "Postal 2" features the adventures of the "Postal Dude," an interactive video game character who, under the control of the player, must confront everyday tasks. But it is how he handles these errands -- with the power to behead girls, shoot police, and urinate on victims -- that along with other explicit games, has become a constitutional controversy.
Now in a dramatic Supreme Court confrontation, free speech clashed with consumer protection over these so-called "violent" video games and whether they should be kept out of the hands of children.
The justices Tuesday appeared genuinely torn as they heard oral arguments in the appeal of a state law to regulate the sale of such material to minors.

   The proposed law is a load of shit. Excuse my French. Read the article on CNN and read between the lines and judges like Scalia and Ginsburg think it's a load of shit too. The gaming industry has a rating system in place to help parents restrict the sale of violent video games to minors. If the law is passed, retailers simply won't sell those video games that have the potential of incurring a US$1,000 fine. Think about it, retailers make about $8 selling a $60 game. Is it worthwhile to make $8 per game if there's the possibility of getting mugged with a $1,000 fine? Retailers should have the freedom to sell the games that the public demands without a gun pointed at them that exacts a $1,000 fine if an infraction is seemingly incurred.

   There's too much nonsense and politics in the world. This case is an egregious example of the nonsense that goes through the political system and feeds the wastrels.

Hungry Ass Bear Chases Bison

   Wypyszinski says he likes to spend his free time in the morning snapping photos of wildlife in the park.
   It all started when he was driving in the Fountain Flats area, located between the Madison Junction and Old Faithful, when he heard an unusual sound.
But Wypyszinski says any noise is unusual on that particular highway at 7am.
"I thought it was a horse and carriage," said Wypyszinski. "That was the kind of noise that I heard." 
   Wypyszinski pulled out his camera quickly, thinking he was going to catch two moose racing down the highway.
He quickly learned he was mistaken.
   "I thought I was having a hallucination or something," said Wypyszinski. "I couldn't believe what that buffalo looked like." It was a bison, badly burned from an encounter with one of the numerous hot spots in Yellowstone National Park. A grizzly was chasing the buffalo (which was practically cooked already) and gaining quickly. Wypyszinski stopped his car on the desolate highway and took out his camera."I stood along the car as long as I thought it was safe."
The two beasts passed the man by without paying any notice.

   Cool story, bro. If the internet didn't exist, I'd never know about this story. A girl on one of the sites that we own posted it to some of her friends who shared it with us. A good writer could make a short story out of this and add more drama, an alternate ending, and maybe even introduce a fourth party to the chase. In the real world version of what happened however, the bison died afterwards and the bear didn't get a meaty meal. 

Electronic Arts in 5-year Facebook Credits deal

   From an AP article today, EA has entered into an agreement with Facebook where Facebook Credits becomes the coin of the realm for EA's games on the social network. A snippet from the article follows:

   Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. said Tuesday it signed a five-year deal to make Facebook's virtual currency, Facebook Credits, the sole way to pay for virtual items in its games on the social media website.
   EA said "Pet Society" and "Restaurant City" are two of the top 10 games on Facebook measured by daily active users. The games come from Playfish, which EA bought last year for $275 million. EA's soccer and football games also are playable on the site and it recently launched Monopoly for Facebook.

   Disclosure: J-Sonoma holds a position in shares of EA.