Classic Dishes...



Maybe You Should Have Stuck With Blanka

From our “PWNED” file:

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“I named him ‘Willy’…”

Electronic Arts announced today that there have been 100 million creatures created in Spore.

I am setting the over / under for “creatures that resemble male reproductive organs” at 4,000,000. PRACE BETS NOW

Apocalypse, Now

In the last 24 hours, Jack Thompson was permanently disbarred, Jammie Thomas was granted a mistrial in the only file-sharing lawsuit the RIAA had actually won, and Slashdot users slammed Apple and were sympathetic towards Microsoft.

Now, if you will pardon me, there’s a monkey making a mess out in the hallways of my office. And since it flew out of my ass, I suppose it’s on me to go round it up…

This Is Not A Lie

From the Coolest Thing I’ve Seen All Day files: “Still Alive”, the song from the end credits of Portal, done as a typographical video:

Whatever they have Jonathan Coulton do for Portal II (and really, if Valve doesn’t have JoCo write another end-credits song for Ellen McLain to sing at the end of Portal II, they should get out of the games business immediately), they could do a whole lot worse than to present it as something like this.

You Stay Classy, San Diego

I picked up Rock Band 2 today. We “B” Toyz had two copies left when I called them, and I hurried down and got one. Yay!

I came home this evening after a great day out with some friends, dropped it into Ye Olde Xboxe, and set about starting a tour. One of the nice things about RB2 is that there is no longer a differentiation between “solo tours” and “band tours.” It all seems to be lumped into one single game mode. I approve of this.

And this means my band needs a name. Awesome. The band name I used in RB1 was “Distinct Kicking Motion,” after a phrase used no less than eight times in the NHL Rulebook to describe one of the criteria for disallowing a goal, a rule change the NHL instituted in 1996, presumably to increase scoring, since that seems to be the intent behind most rule changes in sports. (Before then, if the puck went in off of a teammate’s skate, the goal didn’t count. Period.)

So. Tap-tappity-tap (or, in this case, a fair amount of tedious cursoring around with the D-pad on the guitar, since that’s where I was logged in and so couldn’t use my Chatpad), and I hit Start to lock it in. And I get this:

“Your intended band name is not what most would describe as “classy.” You can continue to use this name locally, but it will not be visible on Xbox LIVE unless you change it in the Band Profile.”

The hell?

I just went back and experimented for a moment (because I wanted to get the exact wording of the admonishment above), and I isolated the issue: “Kicking Motion”? No go. “Distinct Motion”? Nuh-uh. “Distinct Kicking”? Totally fine.

The word “motion” apparently triggers the RB2 obscenity filters.

Again, I say: the hell?

I’ve got an e-mail in to Electronics Arts demanding an explanation as to how I developed this whore mouth all of a sudden. I’ll let The Four Of You know when I hear back.

So, first off, I would like to thank the religious right for their vigilance, watching over the English language for my own safety and bitching and moaning enough that censorship like this has become part of the national discussion, so that I am protected from filthy, disgusting words like “motion.” Well done!

And then, a message for all of those 12-year-old kids who think band names like “The Bung Felchers” and “Cöckgöbbler” are the pinnacle of hilarity, such that EA is pressured to add the filter in the first place: Fark every single one of you. Go back to Halo 3 and leave the rocking to responsible adults, huh?

Get A Room

This was seen at the San Diego Comic-Con:

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The Tetris-geek in me was appalled that the green L-shape didn’t manage to scoot over one space to the left on the way down. Then I realized that it was just as well, as it would have just made the unholy union of the purple and blue pieces stand out that much more.

Hex Gets The Square

My handwriting sucks.

Always has. I’m pretty sure I would have wound up as a computer geek regardless, but the advent of word processing sure as hell facilitated the transformation, and to this day I write in cursive in exactly two places: when I’m signing my name, and when I write a check. (Yes, I still write checks. Don’t start.) When I’m writing down a note and not putting it on my Palm, I block-print, and even that isn’t exactly neat.

So I’m reading through some of my video game news blogs, and I come across information on a new Nintendo DS title called Doodle Hex. Here’s a quote from the Gamer’s Universe review:

First off, to cast a spell you’ll have to draw the requisite rune on the lower screen, as opposed to holding a button down till everything in front of you melts. Do so with precision and your magic will carry additional weight, but make a dog’s dinner of things and it’ll fizzle out like one of our horrible punch-lines.

Needless to say, I will not be playing Doodle Hex. I bet this is what Hell is like: a small, dingy room, a comfy chair, a table next to it with a DS sitting on it, and this is the only game available to play.

(Okay, this and Deal Or No Deal.)

Game Over

I’m in California this week, visiting my parents for a few days, then spending the latter part of the week in San Jose for the Sharks’ first two home games, before I fly back home on Sunday.

Well, today, because I haven’t had a good proper burrito in far too long, I went to one of my old haunts, Papa Chano’s, for lunch. (And, damn. You folks back in Seattle who always listen to me complain about Taco Del Mar are gonna get it with both barrels when I get home; I’d forgotten how good a Mission-style burrito is SUPPOSED to be. It was magical.)

After lunch, I went driving around town a little bit, partially because I needed to run my auto insurance card to Mom at work so she could photocopy it for some reason or another, and partially because I was interested in seeing how Monterey had changed in the three years since I’d been here. (And, really, the last trip home doesn’t count, either…I was sick as a dog and didn’t do much exploring.)

And I discovered that Edgewater Packing Company was no more.

Colloquially known simply as “The Carousel” because of the 1908 merry-go-round that was its centerpiece, I had first heard about Edgewater at the tender age of eight years old, when I was taken to watch a family friend play in a Little League game. An older friend spoke of this wondrous place that had this ginormous carousel, a huge video game arcade, and an ice cream parlor, all in one incredible building on Cannery Row. I was wide-eyed. This news was the closest I’d ever come to believing in a benevolent God. This was a place I HAD to go to.

And so I pestered my parents relentlessly to take me to this ethereal paradise, and finally, one weekend (it had to have been a weekend, as we went at night), my parents took me there. And it was EVERY bit as amazing as I had been told. I rode the merry-go-round, and ate ice cream, and played video games and air hockey and skee-ball, and we took home a giant box of caramel corn from the candy shop inside. There was a toy store upstairs, with a kid-sized entrance that looked like you were walking into the mouth of a lion. There was a MAGIC SHOP upstairs. It was the best thing EVER, and it was truly the start of my video gaming hobby.

Over the next, oh, 20 or so years, I would go back there. A lot. Almost every weekend through most of the rest of elementary and middle school, then later in high school, and even into college. I would be taken again by the folks, then I would ride my bike down there, then Mom would drop me off and I would have to remember to save back a dime to call for a ride home on the pay phone. Then, my friends got cars, and would drive us down there. Then _I_ got a car and would drive myself. Sometimes I would be there just to play games, sometimes I had business at the magic shop or the comic book shop inside (that pretty much covers middle school), but no matter how old I was, no matter where I was in life, I always had a reason to go to Edgewater.

Over the course of my life in Monterey, four arcades had come and gone; Electric Light Arcade, the game room at Weird Harold’s Sandwich Shoppe, and Time Out all had their little runs, but Edgewater Packing Company was first, and it was last.

And now it’s gone.

I did some digging to see if I could find out exactly when it closed up shop (Mom couldn’t remember), and I never was able to. I did find out that apparently some developer wants to turn the building into an IMAX theater. Which is all fine and good, but you can’t play Paperboy, or Cyberball, or Star Wars, or Tapper, or any of an entire GENERATION of pinball machines, at an IMAX theater.

Wikipedia has an article on That’s The Question, a game show on GSN that to date has aired exactly two episodes. It does not have one on Edgewater Packing Company.

And if you ever need proof that there ISN’T a benevolent God, there you have it.

May I Go Wii Now?

In what could take the title of Most Stunningly Bad Product Naming Decision away from Pocari Sweat or Calpis (never name a beverage after something that sounds like a bodily secretion in ANY language), Nintendo announced the official name of their upcoming next-generation video game console yesterday.

Let me point out, before we continue, that the code name for the project, the Nintendo “Revolution”, was a perfectly suitable one and very much in line with Nintendo’s philosophy of continual innovation and development of new video game experiences. There’s no reason they couldn’t have just gone with that.

So, now that that’s out of the way, dig this: It will be called the “Wii.” At first glance, I thought this was pronounced “why” as in “Why in the blue hell would I want to buy this?” I was wrong. It’s pronounced “we.” Or “wee.” Yeah, that’s MUCH better.

In searching Yahoo to find the news item I linked above, it asked me “Did you mean “nintendo wifi?” Google interprets it correctly, but still, this is not what you want your product name to do in a search engine.

“Hey, Billy, do you wanna come over this weekend? I just got some more ChinPokeMon!” “Nope, I’m gonna stay home and play with my Wii.”

“Mommy! Let’s go to Best Buy! I wanna Wii!”

“Put this disc in your Wii, let’s see what happens.”

On the upside: it’s marketing decisions like this that make my decision to get on the Xbox 360 bandwagon look that much wiser. I wouldn’t have bought a Revolution anyhow, but NOBODY is gonna buy a friggin’ Wii. If the Sony folks would just announce when the Asstastic Buttsnoggler is gonna hit stores the cycle will be complete.

Get Off My Lawn

Some of the very poorest “journalism” found online today is in the video game arena, filled for the most part with way-too-hip twentysomethings who turn their nose up at Pong and Combat because the graphics aren’t up to snuff. Every so often you will see one of them crap out an “OMG MOST IMPORTANT GAMES OF ALL TIME!!!!111!!ELEVEN” list that is just a waste of perfectly good drive space because if it didn’t happen on a console made before the first Nintendo Entertainment System, it didn’t exist. Nolan Bushnell? Who’s that? Didn’t he run a pizza chain once?

Which brings us to today’s “You Just Suck” Award (as always, brought to you by our good friends at Oreck Vacuums), which goes to one Danny Cowan, for the following passage in this article “celebrating” the fifteenth anniversary of the Philips CDi video game console (emphasis mine):

The story may be an ugly one, but you’ll find yourself with a new appreciation of modern consoles after hearing of the blunders Philips made with its first — and last — voyage into the gaming industry.

Ralph Baer would like to have a word with you.