idiosyncrasy Today

Scathing social commentary meets the gamer generation.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Off to the sunnier coast

Sorry, I don't have time for a real post today, so I'll simply leave you with this.

Man, other countries are awesome!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ayumi Hamasaki plays the Wii

On a recent game show in Japan, J-Pop idol extraordinaire Ayumi Hamasaki throws down in a game of Wario Ware: Smooth Moves for the Nintendo Wii

After playing she says that it's "interesting to watch people play". Yes Hamasaki-chan it certain is. Afterwards she asks for a freebie (meaning the game of course) but hey, I'm always up for a go.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Out this week

I'm going to be away on business the majority of this week, (*waves hi to California and nice weather) so my updates will be sparse at best. I'll be back in town on Friday, though I'll have flown in on the red eye, so I may be broken and passed out. If I'm functional I'll update, otherwise I'll have a post on Saturday.


Best Buy game sale

I know it's old news but hey, I'm behind.

Best buy is having a huge sale on their games today in store. Prices range from $2-$10 USD.

Chances are most of the titles for sale won't be in store, but if they are thanks for the cheap games.

Full List Here


Friday, February 23, 2007

Sony drops a deuce on Europe

With the soon to be released PAL localization of Sony's next-gen (or is it now just current gen?) system, news has flooded the tubes of the interweb about its newly installed deficiencies.

Yes... that's right... it has gotten worse.

"David Reeves (SCEE CEO) had these comments to say about the upcoming release of the console:
The backwards compatibility is not going to be as good as the U.S. and Japan models."

"Software will take over some of the functionality that was originally taken care of by dedicated chips, which means far fewer PlayStation 2 (PS2) games can be played on a European PS3 compared with the Japanese and American PS3 models which play 98 percent of old games."

"Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3."

While the validity of these appalling statements could seem to be in question, they are in fact true. Thanks to a follow-up statement by Sony.

The European PS3 will feature the Cell Broadband Engine™, 60 GB hard disc drive, Blu-ray Disc player, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, SIXAXIS™ wireless controller. It also embodies a new combination of hardware and software emulation which will enable PS3 to be compatible with a broad range of original PlayStation® (PS) titles and a limited range of PlayStation®2 (PS2) titles.
How does a console get arbitrarily worse when flying to Europe from Japan? Did someone spill mayo in the disc drives on the plane? Perhaps instead of controllers all of the consoles shipped to Europe accidentally had Snickers with wires stuck in them?

I just don't get how Sony could seriously believe taking a dump on Europe is good for business. Last time I checked there were very few playable (see: not flaming piles of poo) titles for the PS3. In fairness that was also true after the release of the PS2, and man I love that system now. But at the time, when my PS2 was effectively worthless it still loaded up Final Fantasy Tactics, which made all my troubles go away. Now the European PS3 can't even manage the fairly simplistic task of running Final Fantasy 12, or any number of the amazing PS2 titles to hit shelves within the last year.

The PS2 isn't dead yet, in turn a next gen system should support its predecessors to further increase their longevity, and in no circumstance should a system be effectively broken in one SKU and not another.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

CGE is a go in 2007

For those that missed the Classic Gaming Expo last year (see: it didn't happen so everyone) this comes as exciting news as we as old-school gamers need our fix of awesome gadgets and a time of remembrance to the golden age of gaming.

The Convention will take place this year in Vegas on July 28th and 29th.

Old-School gaming legends in attendance include David Crane (Pitfall, A Boy and His Blob, and many others), Don Daglow (NWN for AOL, founded Stormfront Studios), and my personal pick Noah Falstein (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [adventure], and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis [Adventure])

So for those in the Vegas area you should definitely make an appearance, it's going to be a great convention.


Snow Yoshi

Thanks to the good fella's over at Kotaku I've stumbled across this pretty slick Snow Yoshi.

One of their readers named Jen built this to win a copy of Lost Planet, but the game aside this is fantastic.

The fact that it's colored really makes it for me. This snow Yoshi would totally eat my snow Goomba I made. Damn, back to the drawing board. I need something that could beat Yoshi in a fight... you know, like a snow Solid Snake. But wear am I going to find a combat knife and a bandana at this time of night Brain?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

XBOX 360 Price cut

With the coming of the PS3 launch in Europe, it seems Microsoft may be fighting back... even more.

Thanks to this image from The Inquirer of a retail store ad, we see the price of the XBOX360 premium dropping to the price of the standard core version of the system.

With prices like that even chimps at the zoo can toss down the pocket change for a premium 360, whereas only the well paid gorillas can throw down the hunk of bling necessary to be the proud owners of a $600 block of plastic.

No sign as to whether or not this is an actual price cut or just a store side event, and there is no sign of the system's price dropping here in the states as it's still selling very well at it's current price point.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to wash a cat

Wow this is the best thing since sliced bread.

How to wash a cat.


AOU2007 Coverage

For those arcade junkies out there like myself (and those too poor to travel to the holy mecha of coin operated gaming called Japan) here's a good rundown on some of the titles being shown as well as plenty of video from the event. The event of course being the All Nippon Amusement Machine Operated Union blowout party. Think of it like the old E3 for coin-op machines.

About half of the booths were dedicated to coin related games, ranging from Kirby to Taiko no Tatsujin to Alien themes, but were of no interest to me, as they all looked/played nearly the same.

Sega had a new haunted/scary themed (but not really scary) game where you use some kind of rod in a fashion very similar to the Wii. All the games consisted of waving the rod around or using it to hit enemies on the screen. Most likely for a younger audience, or maybe something to play with your girlfriend.

Taito was showing off their new fantasy/RPG-themed fighter Battle Fantasia. I don't ever play fighting games, but it looked interesting, to say the least. The 2.5D graphics were definitely nice on the eyes, with some good character design to go along with it.

Konami had a large portion of their showroom floor dedicated to their line of BEMANI music games. Me being a huge BEMANI fan myself, this was the most exciting part of the show.

They had set up: DDR SuperNOVA, Beatmania IIDX GOLD, Guitar Freaks/Drummania V4 and Pop'n Music Adventure. Only the newest DDR is already playable her in Japanese arcades. The lineups were crazy - from 10 min for DDR to 70 min for IIDX. Being the dork I am, I toughed out the wait for all games.

Aside from new interfaces, it was more of the same, in a good way. Konami has managed to successfully keep an addictive formula going, constantly backing it up with catchy music.

Throughout the day they put on small talk shows hosted by BEMANI music creator Naoki. Appearances were made by other BEMANI artists DJ Taka, Des-row, Wac, Tomosuke, DJ Yoshitaka, Jun, Asaki, and possibly others.

Silent Hill: The Arcade was just as people have been saying: fuzzy. Graphics-wise, that is. I was in too much of a rush to concentrate on the actual gameplay itself, but it should please fans of the genre as the basic elements seemed to be there. The poster shows the inclusion of e-amuse, which, if done right, can keep players wanting to come back for more. When I was still in Canada, playing Konami's games without e-amuse (such as Beatmania IIDX) was all fine and dandy, but being here in Tokyo, the ability to keep track of scores, unlock items, and compete online against your friends is a huge bonus.

Didn't get to try out Mario Kart 2 at Namco's booth, but what can I say? It's Mario Kart. It probably kicks a lot of ass.

Aside from the games, the crowd was generally amusing. Obviously most were otaku, but it was how they varied that brought a smile to my face. Some were incredibly shy and seemed freaked out by the fact that I wanted to ask them questions, whereas others got all giggly talking to me simply because of the fact that I'm a six foot seven inches tall guy.

Thanks Landon for the slick update, maybe I'll drop some moolah and actually attend next year.

Now for the videos!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Britney goes bald

Normally I don't post celebrity news because frankly I don't care, but I couldn't pass up this choice little tidbit.

As people may or may not know recently Britney checked into rehab (good for her!) and then promptly checked herself out less than 24 hours later (ok I take it back).

Shortly thereafter she went to a hair parlor and got all her hair lopped off. Yep, because why not am I right?

This woman is not right in the head, and they let her have kids.... K I D S. They are destined to be more maligned and socially reclusive than Michael Jackson's spawn. You know it's bad when your kids can draw a comparison to a cesspool fetus named "Blanket".

But now, for the kicker to this debacle of daily life... her "hair" has surfaced on over 50 ebay auctions. Yep, apparently Britney had so much hair 50 could split it up and sell for thousands of dollars...

Here's one such add.

God save us...


Friday, February 16, 2007


((editor's note: Sorry for the lack of updates, we were smashed with a blizzard and I've been busy dealing with that))

This is a pretty crazy article, live 20 years, then live forever? Seems ok to me :p

Article Here


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Idolm@ster additions

I reviewed a game a ways back called Idolm@ster, a Namco title Girl Band Simulator. Well now, given the game's success the good people creating the game have found a new way to wrench money out of the pockets of their customers, and this one doesn't involve flipping anyone upside down and shaking.

Like so many other gaming companies nowadays Namco is embracing the micro-transaction feature.

In Idolm@ster players, *cough*, otaku can now pay to download loads of new items for their girls, everything from a kimono to a horse tail.

The most expensive item on the list (costing 1000MS points which converts to about $12USD) is none other than a school girl outfit.

I've got to tell you this is hilarious yet freakishly effective. They know their audience and they know that it will sell. People are just pathetic enough to toss money to fully customize their imaginary girls.

Full list of items here


Monday, February 12, 2007

SCEA President Offers Bounty

This is a bit old, yes, I'm sorry, but I missed it and christ is it funny.

SCEA President Jack Tretton issued a challenge in a recent interview with EGM saying that he would pay $1200 for every unsold PS3 found on a store shelf.

How fantastically self deluded is this guy? There have been "sightings" of unaccounted for PS3's in stores since December. The Penny Arcade guys even did a comic on it, finding and photographing 11 PS3's in an hour. If my math serves me, that's some serious dough, even for PA princes.

I love it.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Verizon served a warrant of arrest

See what happens when you go to small claims court? They issue a warrant for arrest of a multi-national company. Yes, the company.

This story is hilarious, but equally awesome because a large corporation ended up not being able to screw the little guy as they had attempted to do.



New DS Lite for Japan

With the up and coming release of Final Fantasy Revenant Wings for the DS, Nintendo has decided to churn out a limited edition FF DS Lite to be sold as a bundle with the new game.

This is a tried and true sales scheme for Nintendo. Release a huge title, market special promotional gear, it all sells, even to people with a DS already.

They've really found a way to roll in Scrooge McDuck's money pit haven't they?

The game is due out in April for Japan, no date yet for the US release.

Damn I want one... yes I'm a Final Fantasy Fanboy and yes I've made peace with that.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kotaku Interviews Dez of Whorecraft

For those of you who have been living under a rock, the new website Whorecraft has become a hit. The site features fantasy themed hardcore sex with a twist, there's plot, and interconnected stories.

"People play these games and see these sexy elves, but they don't ever get to see the elves have sex," Dez said. "A lot of people try to roleplay in the game, but I decided to bring it out into the real world and do it right."

I love interviews with porn kings, because this is how they look at things. Like, "so I was looking at this flower vase and thought to myself... hmm... there aren't enough sex scenes involving a flower vase, I'll have to fix that."

Whorecraft, while again, hardcore porn, delivers some level of immersion that other such porn sites lack, namely a link from in-game to reality. While I can't say this is necessarily a good thing given the number of people addicted to games like World of Warcraft (we probably shouldn't help them loosen their grip on reality), it is a revitalizing take on the porn industry as a whole. Appeal towards nitch audiences, and if you material is good enough others will be drawn in. As sad and depraved as the industry is for so many reasons people love it and will always be willing to drop a dime for the quick fix.

Check out the full Kotaku article here


Otaku Idol sell out

For those that know, Shoko-tan is a very popular Japanese Idol, who is a raging otaku in her own right, having a flaring fetish for everything Dragon Quest.

She's always been cute and fun loving, truly an idol that the run of the mill otaku can relate to, more so than the average cookie cutter beauty with pounds and pounds of make-up.

Well conveniently enough in a new series of television ads, Shoko has been decked out in standard idol finery, aka loads of plasticizing make-up and clothing.

Every otaku in Japan is now screaming at the loss of one of their own. I'll help, I've always liked Shoko, most likely being that at my core I'm a dirty otaku myself.

In her defense however, when questioned how she was coping with this sudden change in appearance she said that in order to keep her staple frenetic excitement up to the rafters she pretended she was cosplaying as an adult.

Haha, aww that silly Shoko, she's still fantastic in my book.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gundam PS3 Bundles

With the sales of PS3 ever dwindling, it's up to the good people at Sony of Japan marketing to revitalize the console sales. Quick side note: Can you revitalize something that has never truly been virile? Well regardless they are trying.

The current plan? Sell PS3 60GB consoles with Gundam Musou (an upcoming title in the popular franchise), along with a hint book, character file, and art cards.

Quite clever seeing as how the Japanese love extra packaged goodies. So do I, but unfortunately the selling scheme hasn't quite hit the big time here in the States.

The price you ask for this amazing bundle of robotic joy? A very scary listing as "open" pricing. Vendors are free to determine their own cost. See, vendors could try that in the US, but most of our video game stores are owned by the same parent companies, so the prices would sky rocket.

Well now I guess I'll have to keep my eyes open on Ebay to buy the collector's cards :(


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Charles Martinet *cough* Mario, speaks out

According to Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario from the popular franchise of the same name:

Mario Galaxy is going to be the most exciting, amazing fun ever. I played a little preview of it and I had goosebumps of joy and was giddy with laughter. The new Wii controller has so much versatility and makes possible all these things you could never imagine doing before. It is like magic. This game takes it to a completely different level for Mario. I'm not allowed to reveal yet what I say in Galaxy but I can tell you there will be some surprises.

This is what I got out of the speech, "I have sold my soul for this shiny check from Nintendo, as such I will regurgitate all of the key phrases Nintendo wants to associate with their new game, like 'amazing fun', 'magic', 'goosebumps', and 'completely different level'. I regret nothing!"

Go figure, Mario shamelessly plugs his own title :p


President Bush Approval Rating in the Gutters

According to a recent poll run by CBS, President Bush's approval rating is stagnate at a meager 28%, this means that almost 70% of the population no longer supports our president. How wretched is that?

Funny thing here is that if he drops a few percentages lower he will be walking on the coat tails of none other than Nixon during his impeachment process.

That's fairly impressive.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Sony Australian Head Speaks out about PS3

Australia has seen a huge spur in the gaming industry during this round of console development. The XBOX360, after its launch, was the fastest selling console ever in Australian history. Then with the launch of the Wii a new console held the illustrious title. Will the PS3 be next to snatch it away?

According to SCE Regional Director Michael Ephraim PS3 will absolutely not take the prize. That's right, it won't. Thank God for some honesty.

It will be a huge launch, [but] the launch is one of a number of highlights on the long trek that we will take the PlayStation 3 on over probably the next 10 years We are very excited about the Blu-ray, high-definition evolution that will happen over the next three years. PlayStation 3 will have better and better standing as people understand that..

See, this is the kind of logical thinking that tends to fall to the wayside in loo of penis waving contests. My electronic penis is bigger! *Hi-Def!*... *Blu-Ray!*... *Revolutionary!* *Ridge Racer!*. Each company does it and I suppose that's marketing, but me? I prefer some honesty from my rich console cover-children.

Thanks Mr. Ephraim for laying it out. Yes the PS3 is a good system, but are people going to own it today? No... no they aren't. But in 3-5 years when the price goes down and people can afford it? Sure, why not.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Square Enix not a fan of Nintendo's "Friend Codes"

In a recent interview with Square's Senior Vice President Hiromichi Tanaka, all sorts of nosy questions were answered about Square's entrance into the current generation of gaming.

Some items stuck out and seemed to lack the fanboy fervor that we would hope, such as a port of Chrono Trigger to a system (or virtual console) which looks fairly unlikely.

Tanaka did discuss an issue with porting the MMO FFXI to the Wii. Apparently people still play it :p Well according to Tanaka the game itself could probably run on the Wii, but Nintendo currently has a poor outlook on online gaming with their use of "friend codes" intended to protect children from online predators. While sure, it keeps kids safe, it also heavily gimps the possibility that adults can use the Wii effectively in an online format.

There are other depressing tidbits so I highly recommend reading the full article. While it saddens me I can completely understand where Square is coming from. Nintendo has really bollixed the online thing... again. While I love my Wii I made peace with the fact that it will never be an outlet to the internet. I will not be playing Smash Brothers with someone in California, and being that the system is geared once again geared towards group use, it saddens me that it requires people to be around. In this day and age everything is interconnected. Social recluses in Alaska, surrounded by more bears than humans, can link up online and throw down in Counterstrike before bed. But not on the Wii...

Full Article on C3 News


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Godzilla coming to the Wii

Godzilla: Unleashed is finally confirmed, and will be making its debut on the Wii, DS, and PSP systems, thanks to the creative developers at Atari.

The game, scheduled to ship in late 2007, is planned to be a non-linear romp across the country side according to Rick Mehler, Atari marketing director.

"We are building on the famous Godzilla franchise by focusing on multiple story paths, devastating urban destruction, and utilizing the most imposing creatures in film history,” said Mehler.

Non-linear huh? Sandbox gameplay meets Godzilla? Sign me up. "I don't know... mebbie I fight Gamera... or mebbie I shoot radiation at the lamp post." Pardon my poor imitation of Jorge, the craziest and most clever designer I've worked with.


Comedic take on PS3 launch complete with steak sauce

I stopped by Kotaku this morning and came across some awesome pictures. Apparently the Akihabara retailer Sangatsu Usagi has been selling these gag bottles of steak sauce.

They are actually Bulldog brand steak sauce with a sticker over the logo, replaced by an image of none other than Ken Kutaragi, notice of the SIXAXIS Emmy disaster, and continued jokes concerning the rescaling of the PS3 price point. The prices have been slashed people! From 499 Yen to 399 Yen! (only for 20GB version) You too can own amazing PS3 sauce! Eat Beyond™! Steak tastes better with Sixaxis and High Definition!

I love it.

Full article and more images here.