You, Me and Gradius III

     Recently, a friend invited me over to play a freshly purchased copy of Gradius III (SNES version).  I'd never played the game before, but who could blame me?  It came out just five months after I was born and it was never a part of my childhood SNES collection.  At first, I didn't take much liking to the game.  The ship was slow, the power-up system was a mystery (we were both new to the game, so there was a learning curve) and Game Over was becoming common vernacular.  At some point, we became sidetracked with one thing or another and set the game down and to be honest... I didn't give the game much thought after that.
     Weeks later, I found myself playing Gradius III on the PSP (On the, uh, Gradius Collection of course.  :P) and loved it.  I guess the pacing of the action just sort of clicked, finally.  Without reserve, I nabbed the game off Wii Shop around 3AM this morning and played a good four hours before logging onto to update the neglected Gradius III article.
     I guess my point is... Gradius III is fucking awesome!  How did I spend the last two decades without it?


Bioshock 2 Crushes Dreams of Worthy Sequel for Sea of Fans

     I've got to admit, I was extremely excited to hear there was a planned sequel for one of my favorite games, BioShock.  However, the excitement quickly subsided upon information that BioShock 2 would actually be a sequel.  To me, it doesn't feel like there's much left to be done with the original BioShock storyline after the events fo the original game.  I feel BioShock 2 would have been a lot of fun had it been a prequel.  Could you imagine starting the game viewing the magnificence of the once eutopian Rapture?
     I think the game would have heavily benefited from the strong sense of dramatic irony gamer-end while watching rapture quickly crumble.  Imagine entering Rapture as plasmids were beginning to get out of control.  I mean, you could have even played the part of assisting Andrew Ryan and eventually become a Big Daddy or something of the like.  My point being, they could have still put you behind the roll of Big Daddy without putting you in a predictably lame sequel.
     They even could have introduced a new city altogether.  Perhaps a Rapture created for the moon by Ryan's predecessor?  There was so much room for Bio Shock 2 to be great.  As a fan, I'm left feeling sorely disappointed in what I've read, heard and seen about the game.  Let's hope 2K has an ace in the hole with this one.


Down-Low on the Download

     Downloadable content (DLC) has recently moved to the fast-lane and with it has come an added sense of value to today's games.  Who'dve thunk that within just a few short months, you could be enjoying all new maps for your favorite shooter, new campaigns for your favorite RPG or a slew of new cars for your favorite racing sim?  Well, The Man, that's who and let's make this much clear... the gamer's needs aren't being kept at heart here.
     Before DLC became a lucrative business, new gaming content was cheap and few & far between.  Sure, Halo 2 maps could be purchased through your XBox with mom and dad's credit card (Er, that game was rated M so, you had your own... right?), but frankly, who gave a shit?  You could find the same content in stores in stand-alone packaging and waiting for it to become free was always cheaper so, DLC took a backseat to becoming the norm for quite a while.  Then, with the more "advanced" marketplace found with a newly improved XBox 360 Interface (pre-NXE), DLC quickly moved into the public-eye and became an everyday norm of gaming life.  Instead of new content becoming the Easter Egg at the end of a tried and true fan-boy road, it is now being pumped out faster than ever.  Within a few months, new content is being found at the forefront of every gamer's dashboard.  We are now being bombarded through advertising to pick up the new map pack (or what have you) from an online store for a premium price.  You can't even pick up DLC for free anymore and here lies my problem.
     I've been noticing that fewer and fewer features are being included at the current $59.99 price tag (ref. XBox 360 New Title Price) and instead, the content you would expect is being released in the form of DLC.  A great example of this is the recent Mega Man 9 release.  Surprisingly, the game was released with limited features (including only one difficulty mode) and didn't include any cool extra shit (*coPROTOMANugh*).  To me, this was the first sign of price fixing.  What... no!?  Yes.  Obviously, gamers have become accustom to paying a certain price for their video games.  XBox and Wii users alike can expect to pay around $10 for any game that doesn't include three dimensions and it is obvious that a great game like Mega Man 9 deserved a bit more than the aforementioned price tag.  Let's face it, sales would have been moderately effected by anything higher.  The answer to this was simple, split up expected content of the game into multiple purchasesBullshit.
     While I'm not calling the famed BS card on only Capcom, I'm just ashamed they partook in this growing trend.  "Pure DLC" would fall under the lines of afterthoughts, things developers would've loved to include, but couldn't due to time constraints, undercooked ideas or oversight on content later demanded by the market.  It'd be a tough sale for me to believe Capcom (again, just an example) fell into any of these categories when they decided to make difficulty levels DLC.  On a separate note, the FPS genre has been showing preliminary signs of including less map content, in favor of lucrative and consistent DLC.  While there are no shining examples of this behavior, console FPS games just aren't flaunting the map list sizes they once did.  A shame for the genre and the dedicated community.
     To keep the future gaming markets pure from this consumer slap in the face, we need to nip this in the bud.  While America currently lacks the consumer unity to pull off a successful boycott on any scale, we can hit 'em with the good ol' marketing one-two punch... word of mouth.  Remember how consumer's killed Spore's sales with a simple star-rating attack on  Simple, effective, market effecting.  Post a blog, talk shit to a friend, kick The Man himself in the shins and run like your inner school girl, who cares?  Keep it simple stupid.


What is a man?

     No one really knows how to start a blog.  A first post is essentially useless, as is the first year's posts that follow.  Most people love to dive right in to who they are and what they are about.  I believe these things should be discovered through one's continued posts, not through useless shit like I'm currently in the midst of writing.  So, you may ask, what is a man, but his words?
     Guess who has two thumbs and doesn't give a shit?