Open Call re: Browser Games

With it being a new year and all, I figure it's a good time to review some wiki policies. Specifically, I'm talking about in-browser games. 
I'd be willing to find a better way to get these into our system (with a proper platform page, rather than just lazily tagging them to PC and Mac), but I feel like we need better guidelines about what we accept. Ideally, we'd just be able to say that we allow "games of note" to be included, but I'd rather not create a ton of arguments about which games are notable. 
I also don't want every thing that's ever been made that runs in a browser, either, because we don't need a database that just attempts to mirror every crappy little game from Kongregate or Newgrounds. 
So it'd be great if we could get a rule in place that says YES to things like Realm of the Mad God or Kingdom of Loathing but still says NO to This Flash Game I Crapped Out In 20 Minutes But Hey It's About A Current Event So Awesome. If anyone has any input about what the rules that govern this platform should be, I'd love to hear them.


I signed up for Formspring (and it's a dumb idea)

Since i get a lot of the same questions over and over again, I thought that maybe I could sign up for Formspring--which lets people ask questions in an organized way and gives me a list that I can answer from--and deal with it. Close to 700 answers later, this has clearly gone way, way wrong. 
But hey, I need something to do when I can't sleep in Ryan's car on the way in every other morning, so... 
Ask away, I guess. Can't promise I'll answer everything, but I'll try to keep checking it. And if I give up (say, in favor of my own Usenet group, alt.sports.gerstmann), I'll let you know.


Podcast: "waiting for it to show up on iTunes."

I'm writing this to serve as a semi-permenant resource for those of you who often say you're "waiting for the podcast to show up on iTunes." If you're one of those people, chances are you're DOING IT WRONG
After the podcast goes up, we update the RSS feed that points to our podcast immediately. Automatically, even! If you're subscribed to our podcast in iTunes, your computer hits our servers when you right-click on the podcast and select "update podcast" from the menu and IMMEDIATELY starts downloading the new installment. 
Do NOT go to the store page in the podcast directory, search for Giant Bombcast, and listen to it there. The feed on that page is current as of whenever Apple decided to look at our feed last, which isn't automatic and sometimes takes a day or more to update. Or, at least, don't do that if you're planning on staying up to date with what we're doing, because it's an awful way to do that. 
Troubleshooting: In some cases, your copy of our RSS feed might get cached by iTunes or your podcasting downloader of choice. Later versions of iTunes don't seem to have this problem, but if you "update podcast" and nothing new comes down (and you're sure that there's a new one out there that you don't have), you may need to quit the software and relaunch it. Failing that, maybe reboot? But I doubt that happens much anymore. Like I said, it hasn't happened to me in iTunes for at least a year. 
Thank you and good podcasting, GLHB, HAND, and all of that.


Reminder: Musicians are not "Persons"

So I'm doing a little clean-up on the Rock Band 3 credits right now and I noticed that Ozzy and a bunch of other musicans were attached to the credits. 
Licensed musicians do not qualify for Person pages. Likewise, musicains who have appeared in games in other capacities (Mike Patton in The Darkness, for example) should not be attached to games that license their music. We are not tracking licensed music credits at this time. Thanks!


Wiki Aliases And You: A Helpful Guide!

I've taken to clearing out a few of the more ridiculous lists of aliases on the site, and here's a helpful tip about why we have that field in the first place. 
The alias field is there SOLELY for search purposes. It's meant to catch cases where people are searching for one thing ("girlfriend mode") when we have a page that covers that topic under a different name ("asymmetrical co-op"). It's meant to help people who type in "DMC" when they mean "Devil May Cry." It's not designed to be a fat list of every single term you can come up with.
When you go overboard on alias lists, it's a great joke. But it also makes the site more difficult to use by cluttering up search results with unrelated pages. Please keep this in mind when suggesting new page aliases on the boards.


Ads on the Site

Just had it reconfirmed that those "Ads by Google" ads that have been showing up on the site are NOT supposed to be there. We're in contact with the guys we're partnered with for advertising and they should be gone shortly. Thanks to those who brought it up. Though, I have to say, this one that Brad found is pretty fucking hilarious:

With an ad-free option now available to members, there's always that temptation to allow more advertising onto the site, but that's not our current plan. We still want everyone to enjoy the site, whether they've chosen to become a paid member or not. Though the online advertising market still seems to be exploding around us, leaving layoffs and carnage in its wake, we're sticking to our original "fewer, better ads" idea. Adding paid memberships is one of the things that allows us to continue doing this. 
Ideally, the ad market will figure itself out and allow us to run smarter advertising that doesn't immediately make your skin crawl and force you to run, screaming to a copy of Ad Block Plus. When all of that lines up, that, along with our paid members, are going to give us the fuel we need to grow. From new sites to new equipment to new personnel, all of us across all of these sites have ideas about where to go once the rest of the world catches up to us. 
So, just to recap, here's your five-year plan:
1. Start websites. 
2. ?????
3. Profit. 
4. Buy fireproof suit, convince Will Smith to set me on fire, aim live camera directly at fire. 
5. Oh, right, continue writing about video games and shooting interviews and being honest and stuff since that's why we're all actually here even though it sometimes seems like some of you totally don't care that we're covering games and just want us to film ourselves setting ourselves on fire. 
Right now we're somewhere betweeen step 2 and 3, I think.

Thanks to all of you. Whether you've decided to slide us some cash or not, you really are the ones that make this possible. We'll surely hit some bumps along the way, but I can guarantee that we'll at least make it interesting to watch.

Wiki Editors: Please Stop Making Assumptions

I just had to make some updates to a new page on the site for inFAMOUS 2, which technically hasn't even been announced yet. 

It's already dicey for us to even have an inFAMOUS 2 page, since it hasn't been confirmed, but since that Portuguese magazine has been so obvious with its next cover, we'll let that part slide.
But don't do this. Don't assume that a sequel is going to have the same traits as its predecessor. At best, you're making mistakes that will have to be corrected later. At worst, you're gaming the system for points and will end up losting a great deal more than you've fudged if you keep stuff like this up. Thanks.

Me on the Xbox 360 Updates

None of the stuff Microsoft is adding to the 360 is a particularly bad idea, but the implementation of most of it is kind of awful. For starters, the current 360 dashboard (the good ol' NXE) is getting more and more cluttered and it's getting harder to simply get to stuff on it. It's also a bad way to present features that should be more integrated. Like Netflix before it, all of the new stuff feels really tacked on and crammed in. 
Facebook: The Facebook stuff is good for looking at photos of your friends on your TV, and that's about it. The slideshow stuff is pretty good and it shows the captions. But the rest of it, which tries to use the NXE-style panes to show you different information, is a pretty poor way to convey things like your friend-based news feed. This thing should be custom-built for TV screens, not thrown together using existing Microsoft UI ideas. 
Twitter: Twitter is, at least, not just another NXE design with new data splashed onto it. It has a custom look that better supports what Twitter is supposed to look like. But the main screen is limited to the last 50 things your followed users have said, getting around to see your replies/mentions isn't plainly obvious, and the lack of a web browser prevents you from seeing what URLs your followed users are linking to. It's kind of a mess and I can't really envision an actual use for this. Anyone currently using Twitter is using a better interface for it (though I recommend TweetDeck if you aren't already using it), and anyone not using Twitter already probably won't have a very good experience if they're only using it on the 360. I really don't see the point beyond the obvious bullet point of "EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT TWITTER AND YOU CAN USE IT ON OUR GAME MACHINE." The whole thing stinks of suits.
Zune Video/Music Marketplace: The streaming tech for video downloads is a welcome change. I don't watch many movies, but since I've had the same two discs from Netflix sitting on my desk for close to a year now, I'm thinking about scaling that back to the lowest possible Blu-Ray-friendly plan, primarily using the 360's Netflix streaming for movies, and occasionally renting a movie via this new Zune-branded stuff. $6 or so for an HD movie isn't a great price when you consider the different Netflix packages, but if you rarely watch movies, it's probably cheaper to pay this on demand price than it is to pay a monthly fee for a service you barely use. It all makes me wish that Netflix had a streaming-only plan. 
Oh, and it's weird that these new stores launch you off into a separate application instead of letting you sift through content directly from the dashboard, and it's even weirder that the Music Marketplace is actually just a Video Marketplace for music videos. Paying $2 for an SD download of a music video feels like just about the dumbest thing in the world. Aren't music videos supposed to be promotional tools to get people to buy albums? Considering MTV has free streams of most music videos and YouTube has bootleg copies of plenty of stuff, I don't see the appeal. 
Lastly, the Zune branding doesn't make any sense. It comes from the same store, but it's not like you sync your Zune to a 360 or something now. It makes all of it feel like "Video Marketplace, brought to you by Zune." Maybe someday you'll be able to use a Zune Pass to actually listen to music. I mainly like from a data perspective. It's neat to see what I've been listening to broken down into charts and graphs. The streaming side of still feels like a poor man's Pandora, and the NXE-style content displays probably aren't the best way to convey's data. There also doesn't seem to be any sort of support for the social side of, like seeing other users, groups, and so on. Considering that most of this stuff also doesn't exist in's iPhone app, I can only assume that most people don't care about any of that stuff and only want to hear music. I've mainly used the site for the data and recommendations, but I'd rather sift through a lot of text and user profiles to get those recommendations and then make a decision to listen to specific tracks instead of just hitting some kind of "recommended for you" station. Oh, but the nice thing they've done is the video ads (which are mainly just Brutal Legend and a house ad for at this point) are the same volume as your music. So the ads don't blare at you to get your attention. 
So yeah, none of these ideas are awful, but I also feel like the 360 has already outgrown the "new" dashboard. They're trying to do too many different things and cramming all of it into the NXE's panes leads to a lot of confusing interactions. Also, I'm not really sure who the audience is for some of this stuff. Twitter especially sticks out as some kind of executive mandate to add to the Xbox 360 "story."


Trophy Research (Missing PS3 Games On Profile)

OK, I've spent the evening taking a longer look at the way Sony provides data, and my early conclusion is that there are some games that will never show up on the public version of your profile. 
By public, I mean the page you'll see if you view your profile while NOT LOGGED IN to If you're logged in, everything that the server side knows about will be displayed on YOUR profile, but not other profiles. 
That means when I go to...  
...I see everything I've got, including unreleased stuff like Brutal Legend. But when YOU go there, you shouldn't see BR, as well as a number of other games that have been available for some time. 
So I'm trying to compile a list of games that aren't showing. Here's what I've noticed so far... 

  • Shatter 
  • The Beatles: Rock Band 
  • Guitar Hero: Metallica 
  • UNO 
  • Digger HD 
  • Bionic Commando
  • Katamari Forever
  • FIFA 10
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
  • Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
  • Need for Speed: Shift
  • Guitar Hero 5
  • Prototype
Also, Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2 aren't showing up yet, but since those games aren't out, it's understandable. I'm not sure what the Sony policy is for publicly displaying trophies for unreleased games. 
If you have other games on your profile that aren't showing here on or your public-facing profile, comment here and let me know. Maybe we can assemble a list and send it off to Sony to help them correct the issue.