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FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137 Background: I own and have completed every entry in the Ninja Storm series, so there is inherent bias but luckily this isn’t a review. These are just my thoughts on a fun series I chose to pick up after my Dragon Ball Z Budokai days. I am also only about 3 episodes behind in the...

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$870... Xbox 360!
Posted on Monday, November 19 2007 @ 05:54:16 Eastern

Wallet-sucking Shopping List:

Xbox 360 Premium
- Marvel Utlimate Alliance + Forza Motorsport 2 (included)
- 1 Wireless Controller
- Headset

1 Extra Wireless Controller
Plug & Play Charge Kit
512 MB Memory Card (for transfer between work and home)
Wireless Adapter
Xbox Live Gold (1-Year Subscription)

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Game of the Year Edition
Fight Night Round 3
Bioshock
Dead Rising
Super Mario Galaxy (just because...)

Wallet-sucking On The Horizon:

Rock Band (Already reserved for Tuesday release)
Assassin's Creed (though a certain red-bearded fellow completed most of it in front of me)
WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2008 (maybe... I get addicted to Create-A-Wrestler)
Beautiful Katamari (love Katamari but there's not much new about it)
Pac-Man Championship Edition and Geometry Wars

Oh, and every FPS that's good right now. (that is, if I actually want to get into the FPS genre... what's Halo, again? *gasp*)



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RPGs: The Cliche Male Protagonist
Posted on Saturday, November 3 2007 @ 22:20:36 Eastern

As to why male protagonists in RPGs have become cliche, I find that the gameplay in RPGs restricts the main character more than anything else. It's still about a character who defeats monsters for experience, gains money to buy better and better weapons and armor, defeats progressively more difficult bosses, gains access to more places for exploration - you get the drill. There's little room for a character other than a young male protagonist that follows the traditional male hero archetype to tell the story with how the gameplay traditionally progresses.

One reason why Hayao Miyazaki uses female heroines, with the exception of Princess Mononoke, is his affirmation that they allow for more emotional development than a male one. The development of masculinity from boyhood to manhood is rigidly classical, so trying to tack on some emotional richness usually ends up failing. And in an industry where male protagonists rule, the gameplay has only had to cater to those male story arcs. Even silent protagonists have a Clint Eastwood quality, where silence not only allows the player to enter the shell of the main character more easily, but can remain unemotional in the face of danger and war - stemming from the fact that men are more easily emotionally flooded than women. Silence (and pithy) is a natural defense that men can identify with more easily than talky and whiny.

I find it fascinating that Suikoden III works a large part because of Chris, a woman in a knightly role but still is feminine without being overtly sexified. Without her, the story would have had been led by two male archetypes, Hugo (boyhood into manhood) and Geddoe (the silent type). This isn't to say that Hugo's and Geddoe's story arcs were generic, because they were developed quite well (the manga is great, by the way). It's just that the addition of the other gender, along with the drama of warring factions and experiencing different points of view, turns what might have been a common story on its side.

Now, I'm not saying that adding a woman will solve the problem. It's that our ideas on the male action hero and how we want that male hero to be confines the story and its emotional depth - and all of that is encompassed by how the gameplay is structured in a way that tracks classical male development. Trying to tell the story of the "serious" yet more passive, gentler, romantic, or melodramatic male - that of Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day or Tom Hank's character in Sleepless in Seattle - through the predominantly active male protagonist in a video game is near impossible without being sappy and unbelievable.


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Karaoke Not In Vocal Range
Posted on Sunday, October 14 2007 @ 02:55:15 Eastern

As part of Chinese culture, after dinner my friends and I sometimes (not often) head out to a karaoke bar. And several times, I was surprised to find one function that I now wish was in Karaoke Revolution, SingStar, and Rock Band: pitch adjustment. Some karaoke machines allow the singer to change the song's key - notes, melody, and all - to a lower one (by pressing a 'flat' button) or a higher one (by pressing a 'sharp' button).

Looking at the list of songs on Rock Band, I want to sing many of them, but I can't because I'm comfortably a baritone. To sing higher notes in, say, the chorus for Nine Inch Nail's "The Hand That Feeds" and Foo Fighter's "Learn To Fly" - or how about The Hives, Jet, and OK GO in general - I have to go into falsetto. And that's not good to hear.

It would be nice to have some way to adjust the song's key, so that it fits within everyone's vocal range, because hey, it's one thing that's mostly out of our control - and by that, I mean we have to smoke or something to change it. For Rock Band, changing the key for the guitar shouldn't be a problem for anyone - and the drums don't have a key, really. If singing a song will damage my voice and make the rest of my band players fail, then that song probably isn't going to be sung at all. I might sing poorly, but at least give me a fair chance to sing it in the first place.



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On Being First To Beat The Most Difficult Song in Guitar Hero III
Posted on Friday, October 5 2007 @ 19:52:51 Eastern

The Duke jammed out a manifesto on GameRevolution about it, so I\'ll just give some personal commentary of the feat. I\'m not going to brag or prattle or show you some chakra skills. Instead, I\'ll start how most stories start -- at...   read more...

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"Being" First To Beat The Most Difficult Song in Guitar Hero III
Posted on Friday, October 5 2007 @ 19:52:29 Eastern

Duke Ferris jammed out a manifesto on GameRevolution about it, so I'm just give some personal commentary of the feat. I'm not going to brag or prattle or show you some chakra skills. Instead, I'll start how most stories start -- at ...   read more...

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Judging The Online Experience Before The Release Date?
Posted on Monday, September 24 2007 @ 19:14:37 Eastern

Yep, one of the harsh realities of reviewing is that games with expansive online multiplayer experiences can\'t be comfortably reviewed in full before their release date. There just isn\'t enough of an online community yet to judge them, so most r...   read more...

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Describe the key.
Posted on Saturday, September 8 2007 @ 14:21:11 Eastern

"A friend of mine asked me these questions while I was in Japan a few years ago, and now I'm asking them to all of you. Make sure you answer them all in order, and do so before reading any other replies, including those from me. It's also bes...   read more...

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What I Can't Consume
Posted on Saturday, August 25 2007 @ 03:33:46 Eastern

Is it wrong that I am more interested in what Rockstar cut from the original Manhunt 2 to have the ESRB finally slap an M rating on it instead of the fact that we "adults" can actually buy it in retail stores now?

To be released ...   read more...

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Oh, Jack.
Posted on Monday, August 20 2007 @ 20:21:17 Eastern

According to Joystiq, Jack Thompson filed the following complaint against Bioshock ads: "Take-Two... is aggressively marketing its newest Mature-rated video game to kids under 17 years of age... On this Friday's night's 8 pm Eastern time airi...   read more...

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Wiki Needs A Fixi (Addendum 1)
Posted on Saturday, August 18 2007 @ 16:07:41 Eastern

Edit: Family Guy link added.

With so many companies obviously "augmenting" their Wikipedia entries for some self-tooting, Wikipedia needs to rectify this edit-fest - and fast. What\'s the point of trying to be an encyclopedia whe...   read more...

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