idiosyncrasy Today

Scathing social commentary meets the gamer generation.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Namco needs half a million sales to break even

Correction, that is half a million sales on each of the PS3 titles to break even with the development costs. After this low hurdle the company will begin to make a profit on their games.

"We have to sell at least 500,000 copies per title worldwide to make a profit on Playstation 3 games," said Namco-Bandai President Takeo Takasu.

Namco, having released both Ridge Racer 7 and Mobile Suit Gundam for the PS3 launch, is hoping that their decent product sales continue, with each of the games selling around 22,000 units over the previous weekend.

There is a good and bad side to this for Namco. On the plus side, there aren't many PS3 games available, so anyone with a console will most likely atleast pick up one of their titles. The downside? The install base for PS3 users is still quite small due to a lack of available systems and the large price point.

I've got my fingers crossed Namco, don't worry, I'll do my part and pick up Gundam.


Xerox comes up with reusable paper

Xerox has now somehow, most likely through arcane magery, witchcraft and Satan worshiping, created self erasing paper.

After being all inked up the paper fades in about 20 hours. Think about how many trees this could save thanks to corporate America's grim fascination with memos, hard copies of e-mails, and multiple pages of meeting drivel. All of these things end up being read once and then discarded.

If this paper actually works it would be a pretty neat thing. I know personally, there is very little that I print at work that I need for more than a few hours.

Full Article Here


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

PS3 shortages causing PSP sales to rise?

According to SCEA PSP sales are up and up as of late, 280 percent up to be exact. Though 280 percent of 3 still isn't that impressive in my mind.

Hopefully things are working better for Sony than I'm visualizing, they need all the help they can get. Though as expected, Sony has reported that every PS3 system shipped at launch was sold and they have a second shipment going out this week, which will most likely be devoured by the ravenous holiday shopper.

Full Article Here


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turkey Day Break

Hey everyone, I'll be back tomorrow with new posts as my short break on account of turkey day and other turkey related festivities is coming to an end. See you soon!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Students who use cellphones to send e-mail are more likely to have sex?

According to a recent study done by the Japanese Association for Sex Education, students who frequently send cellphone e-mails are more likely to engage in sexual intercourse.

"E-mail leads to a strengthening and expansion of communication, which is probably why users are more sexually active," said Masahito Takahashi, a professor at Yamaguchi University who analyzed the results. "On the other hand, it appears that using the Internet on computers often does not lead to sexual activity."

The study ended up separating two different sects of e-mail users, those that use cell phones and those that use computers. Lo and behold, the geeks and otaku on the computers aren't getting any.

I could have told them that. Have you looked at the basement lurking monstrosities that relish in online worlds? Everquest players? Those guys are most likely not on the top of the dating charts.

On the alternate side of the spectrum however you have the teeny-boppers milling about in the mall, walking slowly in front of you while talking on their cellphone and dressed like hoochies. If I had to guess which one was more likely to attract sexual attention from the opposite sex I'd guess... gee, that's a tough one.

The study did however bring up the important determinate here that cellphone use, while I find it abhorrent and people with them tend to lack common courtesy, does in fact strengthen community bonds. It's the new social scene, people are connected to everyone at any time. Whereas trolls on their PC's are still very detached.

The findings on the percentage of sexually active students per grade range is quite interesting as well, I'd be curious to see how these studies would turn out in the US.

Full Article Here


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Japanese submarine smashes into civilian ship

TOKYO - A Japanese submarine collided with a civilian cargo ship during exercises in waters off southern Japan Tuesday, denting the military vessel but causing no injuries, officials said.

The Maritime Self-Defense Forces submarine grazed the civilian vessel during surfacing exercises about 30 miles off the southeastern coast of Miyazaki on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, a defense agency spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity in accord with agency policy.

Goodness, every so often a story comes along and warms the heart. Maybe it's just me but I can't help but think a perfectly feasible reasoning behind this "accident" was that the military grade submarine mistook the cargo ship as none other than enemy of all that is good and pure, Gamera! We all know that Japanese waters are full of giant bestial forms of common day animals, it can be quite strenuous to accurately identify every large moving mass off their shores.

Yep, that's the only thing that makes sense.

Full Article Here


Bill Gates on the recent PS3 launch and Microsoft's position.

"I wouldn't change positions with them in a million years. I mean, we know what it's like to be a year late. We feel great about the position that we're in. And, of course, they're going to sell a lot in Japan.

You know, Sony can make 80,000 bricks, and people would buy them. So the real competition—you're going to see the impact of our innovation and all the momentum we have in Christmas 2007. This Christmas, the story is: Xbox 360 is going to sell super-well, and they'll sell the rounding error amounts they can make." - Gates

That's fantastic. But it's true, Microsoft invested an entire console generation in making bricks, sure they were easily mod'able bricks, but they were bricks nonetheless.

Article Here


Monday, November 20, 2006

Wii already making money

According to a recent interview with Nintendo of Canada's executive Pierre-Paul Trépanier, Nintendo is already raking in cash from the Wii. They are making money on every system sold, unlike their competitors.

What a novel business scheme... earn money on products sold. Interesting.

I'll just recap my highlight of the interview.

"We make a profit on the system itself," Trépanier said. "Unlike our competitors, we don’t have ulterior motives; we’re not in it to sell HD TVs, or to become the operating system in the living room or anything like that."

Snap Sony and Microsoft. Thanks Nintendo for just trying to sell me a gaming console, that's all I wanted.


Rehash, Smash my Wii

For those that didn't know, the aforementioned also funded a version to crush the little white duckling of the next gen consoles and carried through with as malicious a thrashing as before.

Damn, I like how the Wii apparently has more little moving parts that the PS3, because this one shattered under the raw force of a heavy mace wielding sociopath.

Friday, November 17, 2006

PS3 and a Snickers.... Sold!

So this rather clever young lad decided to grey market his PS3, not only that, to add some flair to the sale he's tossing in a brand new, unused, Snickers. Yes, that's right. Check out the ebay auction here.

Any in other news, those entrepreneurial chaps at broke their PS3 today, and ignoring the fact that the one guy was dressed like a hooker named Snowball I used to see on the corner of Dana and Knox, the video was very entertaining. I highly recommend watching it.

Smash it!

Aw, good times.


Don't have a PS3? Pay a maid to borrow hers!

In Akihabara's maid cafe LittlePSX, customers can come in and pay to spend time with an ever otaku fetish, the maid.

Now, those crazy maids have bought numerous PS3's, and have added it to their shtick. For the low low price of $3.40 an hour, a patron can play the PS3 (with games Resistence, Gundam, and Ridge Racer being available) and then have their picture taken with one of the maids. If they are only attracted to plastic, the person can pay $1.70 to just have time with the PS3 hardware, and not warm soft flesh.

This is a great idea, think about all the geeks you know, who have never known the touch of a woman. This is the first step in the right direction. They love video games, and in turn don't know women. Introduce the two together and hopefully he will begin to see why women are pretty awesome, and I'm talking about real women, not DOA ladies.

I wonder if we're getting that Gundam game in the states? I'd like normal mapped Zaku.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Waiting outside Best Buy for 4 days

With the coming release of the PS3 here on the rainy coast, we have seen the forming of the lines. At last head count at our local Best Buy there was over 20 people waiting, the earliest having staked out their grubby piece of concrete early Tuesday morning.

When questioned by local media, there was a range of reasons why they were all out there, some actually wanted one, some want one for a relative, but the majority seem hell bent on resale, hoping to make a large profit due to the minuscule amount available.

Current ebay bids for reserved systems range from $1200-$3000, with Yahoo! Auctions selling some systems for only a few hundred above the retail price.

Frankly this all makes my head hurt. To think that people are warped enough to think that $3000 for a game system will make them happy as opposed to say... life, scares me. Sure, I'm a gamer, but christ people, wait 4 months and buy it in store.

Oh, and to make you feel a bit warm inside when thinking about the goons waiting outside of Best Buy, it's raining today.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PS3 grey market up and running a few days after launch

With the launch of Sony's PS3 in Japan, the system only having a paltry sum of hours to its lifespan, the grey market is up and running.

The release of this next gen system is already marred by third party dealers selling the system at ridiculously overpriced amounts.

Whether it's a Chinese "merchant", online retailer (that hasn't been shut down *cough Lik-Sang*), or even just these shady individuals selling brand new PS3's out the back of their minivan. It feels like this could be an episode of "When soccer Mom's go bad!"

Apparently the upstanding citizens depicted on the fuzzy image to the right were selling PS3 consoles for the low low price of $824 (20gb) and $951 (60gb). That's one nice markup, gosh I love open markets and free trade. See, Sony could be making huge amounts of money if they just had enough systems to go around to all the crazed (see: rabid) fanboys.

Let's see how the launch goes here in the states, I know some people who are already camped out.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Elebits for the Wii

Cue mass viral marketing.

If the Japanese understand one thing, it's that Idols sell video games to grubby Otaku, they just do.

This video shows a fairly eccentric title for the Wii, what with having the player pick up a toy room, plucking beets from a garden and turning door knobs.

But again, somehow I couldn't turn it off, the lure of the idol swinging the Wii-mote kept me hooked. Those kooky Nintendo execs, always thinking.

Higher resolution version here


An ode' to PS3's in Japan

((side note: sorry for the lack of update yesterday, I had a damn bad Migraine and was all messed up))

Enterbrain has revealed that the ratio of PS3 to purchased games in Japan is 0.98 percent, meaning that more systems were sold than games.

This delves into the realm of online retailers purchasing systems for over-seas sale and things like that. But what this really boils down to is that the hardcore gamer in Japan is not flocking to the stores to get a PS3, because if he/she was there would be a higher percentage of game sales to systems.

Everyone said there would be so much demand for this system, and us naysayers pointed and laughed at them for their silly ideas, and lo and behold the system is failing in the one place you would assume it wouldn't.

In other news, the games that are selling? Mobile Suit Gundam and Ridge Racer 7. Ridge Racer!!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Bluegrass Jump

David Lee Roth just shit on my childhood...

I take back all those arguments saying Roth was superior to Hagar, atleast he's still a rocker, sitting in Mexico making people toil over his Cabo Wabo tequila foundaries so he can retain his riches and sit drunk on the beach every day.


Great way to dodge angry husbands

I knew there was a reason I bought that mask outside of grim fascination.


Possibly a trump to the Cthulhu baby

So we got this picture at work the other day and there has been a hefty amount of discussion over it.

The discussion was predominately based on the stats, I mean, sure the sentiment itself is really cute and fun, but we're geeks, we play D&D, we needed to confirm the logic in the numbers.

All of the stats seemed about right except the Armor Class. (and the int, but that's another argument) An AC of 6 seems a bit off for a creature with 3 dex and no armor. Plus you have to ask if a human baby counts as a small creature. Humans by default are medium, whereas things like gnomes and halflings are small. Well this baby is certainly smaller than a hobbit, thus it's natural AC would be higher than a human (probably counting him as being tiny), but it's dex is abysmal, the -4 modifier for dex would drop him to 8AC, because tiny size gives a base natural AC of 12. There is now a good amount of argument over whether the baby gets a dex bonus for becoming tiny (like an adult human shrunk to tiny size) or if the baby would count as blind.

You also have the issue with the baby being prone, and most likely not being able to defend itself.

So then what exactly would combat with this baby be like? By our best estimations the baby would count as an immobilized target and as such could be coup de grace'd. This is easily achieved seeing as how you can enter the baby's tile without drawing any AOO's.

The trick however is that the baby will most likely have numerous henchmen willing to lay their life down in defense of it judging by it's 18 charisma. You would have to go into the situation expecting atleast 2, and possibly more (see: grandparents, siblings, etc...)

It's messed up, I know, but this is what game developers do in their free time.

This isn't nearly as bad as the conversation revolving around who would win in a baby eating contest, Wolverine or Superman. You have the physical capability going to Superman, but the likelihood of actually doing it goes to Wolverine.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Professional Gaming isn't all Action and Booth Babes as we were led to believe?

According to professional gamer Tom Taylor (gamer tag Tsquared), the life of a professional gamer is not bubble gum and lollipops like most people assume it would be.

I would like to take this moment to state that Tom here makes around $150,000 a year playing Halo 2. Just to put his thoughts into perspective.

Taylor's yearly income sits at a fairly hefty sum, that revenue is due to both winnings and private game tutoring (which he is currently charging $115 USD/hour for). He also signed a $250,000 contract with professional league Major League Gaming where he is the team leader of the group Str8 Rippin.

In defense of his theory on professional gaming, Taylor states that he has not had a real vacation since he started, and on average only gets around a week of home time per month. The rest of the time is spent on the road doing publicity events and participating in tournaments.

Taylor plays atleast 3 hours of games every day, and that number raises dramatically to 12 hours a day when he's preparing for a tournament.

He was voted one of Stuff Magazine's most influential people under the age of 30, probably because he is the envy of every 15 year old.

Outside of gaming, he also maintains a healthy lifestyle of running, weight lifting, and healthy eating to ensure that he stays in good physical as well as mental condition.

He did however say that his position has helped him with the ladies, counter to popular beliefs that all hardcore gamers are virgins for life.

Frankly I can't see his complaints. Sure, he's not at home much, but unlike so many he doesn't wake up and desperately wish he was a different person going to a different job. He doesn't walk into a cubicle and the highlight of his day is not office gossip at the coffee machine. He also makes more money then most people with a BA *raises hand*, and for a high school drop out that's impressive.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dedication to video games starts at an early age

This is great, who says video games make children antisocial and recluses? Obviously these kids here have mastered the art of communication.

Namely, the kid playing threatened to slit Mommy's throat while she's sleeping unless he formed a makeshift couch so he could be comfortable while buck-shotting zombie heads at close range.

See? Cooperation! Video games are like watching Sesame Street, we learn to share, the kid on the floor is sharing his back while tears well up in his eyes as he knows he saved his mother's life and the other learned to express his anger in words as opposed to just acting out violence.

I actually have no idea what's going on here, but damn is that dedication. I don't know if I've ever felt the need to play a video game so bad that I've subjugated a friend to such humiliation before. There may be hope for the next generation yet. Kinda brings a tear to the eye.


That Sony, crazy dark bastards

Saw this new Sony commercial for the SIXAXIS wireless remote and thought to myself, "huh".

It's part of Sony's ad campaign to convince people the system can do cool things, you know, like the other next gen consoles. This one is trying to convince potential customers that their controller will be utilized like the Wii remote for better immersion, and scary black crows. Frankly I doubt we will see too many games really using this feature of the controller. Call me a pessimist, but I just don't see it being likely.

Previously there was the commercial with the Rubiks Cube, where Sony tried to trump up the processing power of the machine. Now I won't lie and say the little bastard isn't powerful. The catch is, that extra processing is going to be sapped away buffering discs to play at a reasonable speed seeing as how Blu-Ray is substantially slower than DVD. Whammy Sony. Stop pushing untested proprietary media, kthxbye.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ebi-Chan plugs Puyo Puyo DS

Yuri Ebihara, affectionately known as Ebi-Chan (ebi also means shrimp in Japanese) , is a high stakes model and dream girl in Japan. Frankly I'm not overly impressed, but that's another story.

She's done advertisements for everything from Shrimp burgers at McDonalds to her more recent work as model for Fujifilm FinePix digital cameras.

Now she is plugging the new game Puyo Puyo DS in some rather odd commercials.

That's one crazy fishman, see, in the US that would most likely be the Burger King, and would result in stalking charges.


Best picture ever

I got sent this image this morning from a friend at work with the tag "little Drew". I was confused... and then I clicked his link.

All I have to say is that when I have children, they will wear a cthulhu hoody, they don't have a choice. I understand that the great Old One will arise someday to kill the world, and those loyal will be destroyed last, and thus I will preserve my child's future for a time.

And... the hoody has built in gloves!!! It's sooo cute!

I want one.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Final Fantasy XII Weekend Review

As many of you know, last week heralded the release of the newest line of console RPG crack, namely Final Fantasy XII. It's a highly evolved take on the series, combining some of the great old concepts with very new ideas Square has been pushing.

Here's my highlights:
1. Character Design - Throughout the recent years of Final Fantasy development we've seem some truly sad main characters. In an RPG I'd rather not feel that my main character was based off an angsty teen seen at the mall *cough* Tidus *cough* Squall. But the characters in XII are a jaunt to the goodly side of the spectrum.

The main character is a street urchin named Vaan. He's your standard orphan who dreams of being a legendary sky pirate. Yes, the game has sky pirates. Ignoring the fact that he's rocking a bare mid-drift and in turn reminds me of a trashy girl you'd meet drunk at a bar, he actually fits into the story quite well, and from what I've seen thus far hasn't mentioned or acted like he's the depths of all sorrows.

Branching from Vaan you have one of his best friends Panelo, the run of the mill girl next door with sisterly love for the main character (see: Lucca - Chrono Trigger). She seems like she will shape up to be an effective mage while still dabbling in thiefy skills, she's cute, and wearing what looks like a rubber body glove, which gets my seal of approval.

Then you have Balthier, a British aristocratic sky pirate with a flair for white button up shirts and vests. I'm happy to see another seemingly affluent person with a ship making a strong presence in the FF series (see: Setzer). This guy saunters around wearing cuff links and bucks evil in the chest with his shotgun, he gets my vote.

Traveling with the aspiring thespian is Fran, a Viera (see: bunny girl), with an elvish grin and a dominatrix suit of leather straps (see: Lulu). Outside of being dressed for combat Heavy Metal style, Fran has a nose for sensing the Mist, a sort of magical flow in the world, which comes in handy more than once.

Rounding out the list of playable women is Amalia, err... Ashe, err... Amalia. You first run into this lass while making a trek in the sewers, and boy oh boy does she have a Daphne complex (see: Scooby Doo) though I suppose every game needs a damsel in distress. Ignoring that though she can kick some hiney. And unlike Rinoa (whom her clothing mildly resembles) she uses a real weapon (see: sword) when you first meet her, not some Xena inspired metal hoola-hoops.

And finally there is Captain Basch. Every RPG ends up with one grizzled scarred veteran (Thunder God Cid, Auron, Cyan, Frog...) and this is where he comes in. Unlike some terse and uninspired vets *cough* Auron *cough* Basch actually has a personality and it's interesting to see how his story unfolds. Plus, any person who gets referred to as "Kingslayer" is a welcomed addition to my party.

2. Sky Pirates - These exist and that just makes me happy. Thumbs up!

3. Revamped Progression System - With every new Final Fantasy game released, Square goes buck wild and creates a new skill system. In 6 is was espers, 7 had materia, 8 had JP, etc... well XII is no different and delivers an interesting twist. Now everything in the game is done through license points. Each enemy killed allots the players 1-2 (on average) LP to buy everything from Magic and Skills to the ability to equip that shiny new Mage Masher dagger you found. All magic and skills must be purchased once, and then every character who has bought the license to use them can do so. Equipment must be purchased for each character that wants the gear as well as the license to wear/wield it. The license systems sets up a fairly involved board similar to a periodic table of elements that the players purchase across, unlocking adjacent squares when a new one is bought. This free form set up allows you to make each character precisely what you want. Like Balthier but want him to be a mage? Buy him Black Magics 1 and 2, some mage armor licenses and the ability to use staves, done.

4. Real-Time-ish Combat - They finally pitched the standard turn-based combat for an engine that resembles FFXI's. Monsters are seen in the world, they are no longer floating in the invisible ether waiting to hop out and engage the heroes on an alternate plane. Walk past and wolf and he will attack you. This allows for players to pick and choose their combats better, and adds the worry of aggro and adds to combat which normally wasn't ever a consideration. It's a nice change actually, and this is coming from a classic gamer who prefers the old way of things most of the time.

5. Visually stunning - The game looks beautiful, as you would expect from Square-Enix in a last-gen PS2 game. The game supports 16:9 display and looks slick.

1. Game can be a bit jarring for fans of the FF series who skipped FFXI's online world.

2. Camera can be obnoxious on a fairly regular basis. It can be tricky to see in front of the player when the geography contains hills and rocks. You end up having to become a camera jockey to really get the whole run down of what's going on around you.

3. The game is engrossing and can eat up a good portion of your day before you know it, plan accordingly, set alarm clocks to remind you to eat, bathe and go to work.

So overall I think this is a game that can be enjoyed by both newbies to the series and veterans alike. If you're a fan of console RPG's you would be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this title.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Midway - The prison bitch who gets shanked yearly

Midway has announced that it is continuing its downward slide into the abyss of even more $20 budget titles after releasing Q3 US loss information.

The company posts a $22 million loss in Q3 of this year, continuing their trend of the US market throwing money away instead of spending it on Mortal Kombat titles. Good news however is that their Q3 loss of $22 million is substantially better than their loss of $27.4 million from Q3 last year! Bring out the fine china they are rolling in the moolah now!

Midway president and CEO David Zucker states, "We were pleased to exceed our financial expectations for the third quarter". You know it's bad when a company loses more than I will ever make in 20 lifetimes and their response is, "hey, we thought it was going to be worse. Booya!"

More info on their stock after the Jump.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Scientists attempt to birth an ancient virus

Researchers have resurrected an ancient retrovirus that apparently plagued our ancestors millions of years ago.

The study is being conducted at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, led by Thierry Heidmann. According to them, the virus is "wimpy" and we have most likely built up resistances to the virus. Others protest, saying that awakening any long dead disease or virus is inherently risky and that Heidmann and his team moved too quickly.

This is, frankly, scary stuff here. We seem to have once again run into the wall of science vs morality. I tend to stray towards the side of science in most matters. If we can clone organs and cure cancer I say start an assembly line and churn those kidneys out. But I draw the line at making illness. Personally I don't see much difference in custom making a virus as a bioweapon and reviving a long dead human endogenous retrovirus (HERV).

Just because we can split an atom doesn't mean we should.

Put on your thinking cap because there's some science after the jump.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

American's are whores

Lancet recently published a study which showed that Americans are far more depraved than other nations.

The study also went on to establish that while more wealthy nations tend to have higher rates of promiscuity it's developing nations with lower standards of hygiene mobility that suffer more from sexually transmitting diseases.

My response to all of this study? Thanks for wasting money. I could have off the cuff come up with the answers they derived through clinical analysis. Let's see... the US? We're depraved low lifes only concerned with getting "lucky". Have you been to a bar? It's filled with both men and women looking to get some action, while hoping to be too drunk to remember.

Full Article Here - Pretty interesting, evade link if science scares you