It's as if millions of geeks suddenly cried out in terror...

E3 IS DEAD?!?. It's not completely official, but expect an announcement that E3 will be massively scaled down if not outright canceled. Certainly a disheartening announcement for us gamers, as it's what we look forward to most each year (and really the only show worth paying attention to most years). But, as far as affecting the industry itself, I don't think it will be that big a deal. The really big companies will probably just put more money into their annual shows that already exist, and there will probably just be a few more small shows added into the calendar for the smaller companies. Hell, odds are some other new show will just take its place (though possibly not for a couple more years). Still it's hard to imagine that gamers won't be getting in a big frenzy every May any more.

So I did end up seeing Miami Vice, and I enjoyed it. The plot was hard to follow, but the fairly kickass shootouts splintered throughout the film made it worthwhile. I'd still like to see one that's much closer to what the show was like, though.

All right, that's it for today, but here your SCRUBS CLIP OF THE WEEK:


Pac Man is more than half violent

64% to be exact, according to recent senate hearings. Just how fucking insane are politicians? Pac-Man? The game where all you do is gobble up pellets and eat the occasional ghosts? How could PAC-MAN possibly be considered the least bit violent? I am just truly speechless at the out of touch jackasses that run this country. Is it any wonder nobody even bothers to vote anymore?

Moving on to a slightly more amusing topic, how much does G4 suck? They went from a promising channel for gamers by gamers to some low rent version of Spike or MTV, just desperately trying to grab a piece of the coveted young male demo. Now, a writer at Gamerag undertook the arduous job of actually watching 24 hours of this tripe and chronicled his painful experience. Just a guy expressing his opinion of the content on the channel (which any gamer worth their controller would share). But somebody at G4 took great offense to someone calling them out for being a horribly unwatchable network. The response was petty and filled with inaccuries, so obviously it was one of the higher-ups at the network. Gamerag's response? A very amusing "apology ". Thanks G4, I apologize for ever being stupid enough to watch you horribly shitty channel. I'll make sure never to make that mistake again.

Ok, lot's of movies opening this weekend, so I'll just do a brief rundown of each:

John Tucker Must Die
: If you aren't some vapid tween female and are at this movie, you should be shot. I'm pretty sure the vapid females who actually go see this movie should be shot too. Good way of thinning out the herd.

The Ant Bully: What makes this not a complete and utter ripoff of Antz or the far superior Bug's Life? There's a human involved this time! Seriously, this is tired as hell material, even for a kids movie.

Scoop: Woody Allen, Scarlett Johannsen. I hate Woody Allen, and Scarlett Johannsen's not quite enough to drag me to another one of his painfully unfunny comedies. Seriously, the guy peaked with Annie Hall, and it's been 30 years of pure mediocrity since then.

Miami Vice: This is Miami Vice? It looks nothing like the show. Granted, that could work in our favor, but I sure as hell wouldn't mind seeing a cheesy campy overblown big screen version of the influential tv show. Otherwise, this is just Bad Boys with an Irish dude pretending to be an American dude, even if Michael Mann is the guy behind it (and one should note he was the executive producer of the original show, so we he would make the movie so drastically different is beyond me).

And finally, Little Miss Sunshine: This little indie comedy seems to easily be the best choice this week, but good luck finding it, as it's in limited release (I can't find a single theatre in the Seattle area that is carrying it). Steve Carrell as a suicidal gay uncle? Sounds like fun for the whole family!

That's it for today, so here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: KITTEN CANNON


The same thing we do every night, Pinky

Ok, sorry for the lateness but I sorta got hooked on this little anime called Bleach this week, and basically spent the last few days watching episodes. It's quite easy when every episode released for a show so far is all in one convenient website (i.e.:Bleach Portal) to get caught up in it. I'm planning on doing the same with Full Metal Alchemistt pretty soon, just need to give my eyes a break from staring at the screen for hours on end.

I did take time out for complete vegetation to go see Clerks II, and it was pretty entertaining. The performances were pretty bad aside from Rosario Dawson and the dude who plays Randal, but the all the jokes are spot on, and it's a fun film that wraps up the story of these two losers nicely. Any fan of Smith's should really enjoy this one.

Finally, Since it's technically Monday as i write this, I'd like to plug two very great DVD releases that are out tomorrow-Animaniacs & Pinky & The Brain Vol 1. These are both absolutely brilliant animated shows that manage to be fun for kids and adults, unlike most of the painful crap that is on today for kids. I'm going to leave you of today with a few examples of their brilliance:



No Laughing Matter

So, after much rumor and speculation, it appears the Heath Ledger is almost a virtual lock for the role of the Joker in the next Batman film. It's certainly an interesting choice, and Ledger is an excellent actor, but it seems an odd one when there a guys who would more easily slip into the role like Crispin Glover or Jim Carrey or even Robin Williams (and especially given what a great job Nicholson did in the 1989 film). But I trust Nolan wouldn't give Ledger the role without good reason, so hopefully he'll do the role justice.

Ok, onto this weekend's movies. Monster House is the latest animated family fare, and while the critical buzz is actually pretty good, it just seems incredibly dull to me. The animation looks flat and uninspired, and it didn't look the least bit entertaining in the trailers.

Then there's My Super Ex-girlfriend, which features an interesting twist on the romantic comedy genre, as no film has really explored exactly what it would be like if you broke up with a girlfriend who was psychotic and had super powers. Ivan Reitman, Luke Wilson & Uma Thurman sound like a winning combination, so I'm definitely intrigued by this one.

And we also have M. Night Shamalawayadingdong's latest piece of utter and total crap that will make no sense and have nonsensical plot twists-Lady in the Water. I have absolutely no interest in seeing anything this complete and utter hack does ever. I pretty much consider him in the same league as Uwe Boll at this point. He's squandered any hint of credibility with his last two films and odds are this will only lower his stock. (I seriously hope those rumors about him directing the next Potter film are completely unfounded).

Finally, the movie I'm most excited for-Kevin Smith's return to what he knows best, Clerks II. Now granted, this seems a really unnecessary sequel, but Smith is totally in his element here, and word is any fan of his work will thoroughly enjoy this trip back to the ViewAskew universe, which I certainly am.

And last but not least, the teaser for the CG Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been released. I was initially against the whole CG thing, but after seeing this, I think it's looks pretty damn promising.


Why the PS3 will Succeed

I know it seems like my blog has had a motto of “Sony sucks!” lately, but the fact is Sony has had nothing but bad press ever since their rather unimpressive E3 showing. Does Sony stand a chance this holiday season with their high price and seemingly arrogant attitude? They most definitely do, and here’s why:

1. The name you know: For seven straight years, Sony has dominated the best brand poll by Harris interactive. Nintendo was once synonymous with gaming, Sony has taken that, along with being the top recognized name in electronics. That generates a familiarity and customer loyalty that’s hard to break through. Customers who had a PS2 will most likely get a PS3 because generally speaking, they had a good experience with it and are willing to bank on the PS3 being an equally good experience.

2. It’s a steal: Maybe not compared to other consoles, but let’s not forget that the PS3 is reportedly offering cutting edge technology at what is considered for the market a bargain price. As has been stated before, $500-600 for a machine that can play games, Blu-ray movies, music and go online when the new Blu-ray players by themselves are going to be around $1000? Sounds like a bargain to me.

3. Blu-ray is the future: HD-DVD may be cheaper, but Blu-ray has the support of a large majority of the major Hollywood studios. That, combined with Sony using it as their game format could easily and quickly usher in the Blu-ray era, leaving DVD/HD-DVD players and the systems that utilize them in the dust.

4. SHINY!: Both Sony & Microsoft are betting that superior graphics will be a huge part of the console war. If it’s the defining one, Sony’s already the winner. Assuming they weren’t completely blowing smoke out of their ass at E3, they will easily have the most impressive titles in terms of looks, and let’s face facts-impressive graphics sell. Can you honestly take one look at trailers like Resistance: The Fall of Man or MGS4 (or even the conspicuously MIA Killzone from last year’s E3) and tell me those don’t make you want to go out and get a system that can reportedly pull off something that impressive.

5. It’s a status symbol: There is a certain segment of the population that’s wants the latest, most expensive, cutting edge hardware, and that’s exactly what Sony is marketing the PS3 as, and if they are successful, they will convince this segment that they need to have this system in order to stay ahead. I mean, I sure as hell don’t need a top of the line high-def TV to watch my favorite shows and movies, but do I want one? Absolutely. Simply put, owning the PS3 definitely makes a statement.

6. Familiar Faces: Want to play the new Final Fantasy, Devil May Cry, Ratchet & Clank or the next-gen God of War? Nintendo and Microsoft aren’t an option. Though exclusivity isn’t what it used to be, many of your favorite franchises from the last generation will only be available on the PS3, and while nobody can argue the sheer quality of Nintendo’s exclusive trio of Mario, Zelda & Metroid, Sony has such a large advantage in terms of more key franchises that it may not matter.

7. Free Deathmatch: As of right now, Sony’s online service is supposedly free. Although Xbox live is hardly expensive at $50 a year, free still sounds pretty damn attractive, and although we don’t quite know the details, their system seems to roughly mimic Xbox live, which is hardly a bad strategy, and looks a lot more sophisticated than the friend code system Nintendo is planning on porting over from the DS for the Wii.

8. It slices! It dices!: According to Sony, the PS3 isn’t just a gaming machine, it’s an entertainment hub that will replace all your big media devices-your stereo, your movie player, possibly even your home computer. And if this turns out to be the case, it’s suddenly a very appealing all-in-one device.

9. Microsoft & Nintendo have burned too many fans: Let’s face some hard facts here-Nintendo’s last two home consoles can’t be considered anything other than dismal failures as market share of the once dominant company shrank considerably. All but the most diehard may have completely given up on them. As for Microsoft, they completely abandoned the Xbox to focus on their new system pretty damn early. And it’s been a bumpy road for the 360 so far with long shortages, numerous reported hardware issues, half-assed backwards compatibility and a general lack of really strong AAA titles. This has not left a good taste in gamers’ mouths. Sony on the other hand, is still supporting the PS2 very well and reportedly plans to for at least a couple more years. They’ve also pledged full backwards compatibility. It remains to be seen if they can do what Microsoft has not been able to, but if they pull it off, that’s one more huge point in Sony’s favor.

10. The system seller: Granted, we don’t really know what the PS3 launch lineup is going to look like. But it’s been repeatedly proven that you need only one really standout title in order to move systems. Assuming it makes launch, I’m more than willing to bet Resistance: The Fall of Man will move a hell of a lot of PS3’s and it may not be the only game to do so.

To wrap up, despite the missteps Sony has had in the last few months, this round of the console war is still very up for grabs. History has a trend of repeating itself. But there are two pertinent histories to really consider here. The most recent being Sony’s, who has easily won the last two rounds, and despite all points otherwise, may be poised to do so again. But possibly more important is Nintendo’s history. The easily won the 8 & 16-bit wars, but the next round hit them so hard they may never fully recover. Could Sony be in for the same fate? Either way, should be a very interesting holiday season.

I'll be back on later today with movie previews and any news that breaks.


Make Love the Brisco County Way

In case you forgot, today one of the greatest tv shows of all time is out, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., starring the legendary Bruce Campbell. The list price is a steep $100, but I've seen plenty of places selling it for a much more reasonable $60-$70. I would love to see massive DVD sales lead to a movie or something, but truth be told, Bruce is getting a little old to reprise any of the roles that made him famous (although maybe he could pull off one last Evil Dead, specifically about how he's too old to do it anymore).

And if you have a little extra cash to spare, get a double dosage of Campbell in his short-lived series Jack of All Trades, where Campbell plays a bumbling agent of Uncle Sam. Pretty much trademark Campbell camp.

So, 360 owners, what are you thinking about getting this fall season? My bet is on just about everyone's list is Gears of War and the hugely hyped Too Human. But not so fast. The two top titles might be suffering from some major setbacks, Too Human is almost guaranteed not to come out til at least 2007 now, and though Gears of War will probably make it by the end of the year, the possibility exists that it won't. which in my opinion would effectively kill the 360 this season as it gets assaulted by the PS3 & The Wii and their shiny new games while the 360 would essentially have no major exclusives too push. Hell, even if Gears of War does make it, I'd think it would need a good head start before it gets buried under the hype of the new system releases.

Is the PSP dying? Gameworld Network certainly seems to think so. It cites some good reasons such as the failure of UMD movies and the lack of original titles, but I think they are selling it a bit short. I don't like the library, but it is selling decently, and i think the system itself has loads of potential, if only the developers would actually step up...



Strange Bedfellows

When Square first started out in the game buisness, they were pretty solid partners with Nintendo, as all their US released games appeared on Nintendo platforms. Then they had a less then amicable split (supposedly over Nintendo sticking with cartridges when everyone else was switching to cd-roms) and were staunchly behind Sony, and they've mostly been a staple of Sony's ever since, with most thinking you'd never see a Square title on a Nintendo platform again. But in the last couple of years, Square has really branched out, releasing Crystal Chronicles for the Gamecube, FFXI for the 360, and several upcoming titles for the Nintendo DS. Now in a most interesting turn, they are behind the development of an actual Nintendo game, Mario Hoops 3 on 3 for the DS, which suggests a pretty damn close relationship between the two companies, especially since they are including several Final Fantasy characters in the game. Just seems that Square, which had essentially by synonymous with Sony and were supposed to be for the foreseeable future, is really hedging their bets for this round, wonder if they know something we don't...

So, wanna no more about the mysterious Nintendo Wiimote? IGN has a fairly in-depth article that is really mostly speculation, but it's pretty good speculation. Lot's of interesting ideas, but one thing that worries me is that it apparently runs on batteries. Sure, 30 hours may sound like a lot, but any decent player can knock that out in a weekend, and hardcore ones much faster. I really hope there's some kind of rechargeable option.

Is the game industry broken? Well duh. But in case you didn't figure out that higher development costs, lack of innovation, and too much reliance on licenses & sequels is slowing killing the industry, Gamedaily has an article that nicely lists those & several other reasons why. Which pretty much supports to my whole argument awhile ago of Sony & Microsoft going bigger & better really isn't good for the industry.

Finally, it's common knowledge that the 360 is doing pathetic buisness in Japan. Now, there may be any number of reasons for this, and I know the Japanese market is very different form here, but horrible ads like this can't be helping:



The Wayans aren't funny

Oh don't get me wrong, when In Living Color started, it was easily the funniest show on TV for several years, and large part of that was due to the seemingly endless amount of Wayans. But last we saw, Damon Wayans was in some horribly unfunny TV show, and the last mildly entertaining thing the rest of the clan has done was the original Scary Movie. However, despite being one of the worst movies of the last few years, White Chicks (with a number of razzie nominations to prove it) was a smash, so now we get the assuredly incredibly unfunny Little Man, which ripped it's whole idea from a 7 minute Bugs Bunny Cartoon. I wish this would be such a huge flop that it would put the formerly brilliant Wayans clan out of business permanently, but lord knows the same moronic audience that actually made White Chicks successful will also make this one a hit (if for no other reason than it couldn't possibly have been the least bit expensive to make).

But then again, this weekend's other major offering doesn't look much better. Despite the seemingly surefire cast of Owen Wilson, Matt Dillon, and Kate Hudson, You, Me & Dupree doesn't entice me in the least bit. The whole horrible house guest that won't leave was sort of played out with What About Bob? (which conveniently also features a scene where the house is burned down/blown up). I mean, c'mon, you can't make a movie like Wedding Crashers, where you openly claim you're too old for this kind of behavior, and then next year do a movie where you are still doing the same kind of behavior.

So, what's a discerning moviegoer to do? Maybe you should check out A Scanner Darkly, IGN has posted the first 24 minutes, which should help you decide. I'm certainly intrigued.

Seems like EA is really stepping up support for the Wii, with no less than 6 major titles in development. I think it would be pretty cool to do a wizards duel in Harry Potter using the Wiimote and the mic function.

Missing your weekly Office fix? Be sure to check out the webisodes NBC is putting up to tide you fans over for the summer. They are amusing so far, but really, really short.

Finally, for a little bit of fun, here's the official music video for SNAKES ON A PLANE:


Son of Phantom

The ambitious but troubled Phantom gaming console will probably never actually see the light of day, but we've got another company coming out with something that sounds surprisingly similar. And it's expected to be about $80 more than the extremely pricey PS3. Now granted, they aren't really selling it as a game console, more as a low-end gaming computer. But given it's price and Sony's claims that their system will be a replacement for home computers, that's pretty much direct competition right there. Plus, as much as the medium seems to be shifting towards strictly digital content, I'm just not sure the public is ready for a system that's completely dependent on it.

Is UMD officially on its way out? Two big news items from today would make it appear so. First, Target has apparently dropped UMD from all its brick & mortar stores, making it only available online. This is usually the first step towards phasing a product out completely. Secondly, Sony is going to start offering memory sticks preloaded with movies, which will essentially undercut their UMD sales that are already stagnant to begin with.

Sony has pulled their racist billboards. I realize this was intended for the possibly less sensitive Amsterdam market, but given how the internet works, I still can't believe they didn't think people who would take massive offense to these ads (like say the NAACP) wouldn't get wind of this. It was just a boneheaded move.

To add even further to Sony's woes, it's Blu-ray production is experiencing even more delay problems, which may ultimately affect the planned November launch for the PS3. I think Sony would rather go down in flames than miss this launch window, so I don't expect there to not be any PS3s come launch time, but this may severely affect how many units are available and how bug-free they are.

So, think you're an avid collector? Got quite a nice collection of figures hanging on your shelf? Odds are Brett Martin has you beat. With over 10,000 pieces of video gaming memorabilia to his name, he has to be pretty much the ultimate collector. the good news for those of you who are actually envious of this (and I'll admit I'm just a little) is that he's selling of a good portion of his collection through his website, which is linked in the article. Now I have to wonder if a Strago doll is truly worth $56...

Finally, Episode III of Super Mario Z. is up. This is just an amazing flash series, I hope the creator doesn't have to suddenly quit making them anytime soon.


Bill Gates & The Argonauts

Well, it's somewhat official. Microsoft is coming out with some kind of portable device named the Argo (after Jason's ship from Jason & The Argonauts) that will play music, games and movies, pretty much just like the PSP. Of curse, the article is still pretty damn vague. Will it play a whole new format like UMDs? It uses wifi capability, but to what extent? Will it get a big line of exclusive titles, or will the games be afterthoughts like on a cell phone? And finally, does Microsoft even know how to make something small enough to actually be considered portable? My guess is it's primary function will really be as a direct competitor to the Ipod, but potentially speaking it could wage war on both fronts.

Well apparently, Pirates>Superman, Spider-Man or just about any other blockbuster film ever, with the biggest opening day and opening weekend numbers in history. What did I think of the film? I enjoyed it, and it had some great fight scenes (the wheel fight near the end in particular) but it was also pretty damn long and with the focus mostly on Depp's character, you really felt like Bloom & Knightley, who were the crux of the first film, were little more than distractions. That being said, I'm anxiously awaiting the third one and I just pray they don't pull a "Matrix" on us.

And finally, the past couple months have been fairly bleak for gamers in general, but 360 owners finally have something to look forward to, with no less than 3 big titles out this week. RTS fans are basically left out in the cold on consoles, but no longer with Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II. Though EA is obviously milking the franchise beyond what they should at this point, by all accounts it's the first RTS on console that's really done right, and should hopefully pave the way for more of its ilk in the future.

Then there's Prey, which is sort of what I would imagine would happen if Tony Hillerman ever made a video game, as you are a Cherokee with special spiritual powers that has to save earth from an alien invasion. Not the most original setup, but word is it's a more than solid shooter that should satisfy most FPS fans.

Then there's Chromehounds. Disguise it with hip marketing buzz words all you like (like naming mechs "HOUNDS"), but this smacks of yet another slow, clumsy and awkward mech title. I understand the appeal of fighting with heavily armed giant robot suits, but when they are ridiculously slow and almost impossible to handle effectively (which is true of 99% of the games in the genre), why would anyone even bother? I'll just wait for the next Mech Warrior game, thanks.

That's it for today, so here's your SCRUBS CLIP OF THE WEEK:


Pirates > Superman?

Although faring better than Batman Begins for its initial 5 day take with a fairly impressive 108 million total, Superman Returns is considered somewhat of a disappointment when you think about the alleged $250+ million it took just to bring it to the big screen. Now, personally, I loved the movie, so I'm hoping the mostly good word of mouth will carry it to a steady good number. That being said, for the inevitable sequel, they desperately need someone who could physically match up with Superman (so we can have that big fight that was missing in the first one), and my ideal choice would be Metallo.

Now, onto the movie that will surely knock Superman from its top spot, and some are expecting to do even better given the huge hype behind it-Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest. it's pretty hard to believe that Disney was actually able to mine at least one good franchise out of it's rather laughable plan to make movies based on theme rides, and this film looks like it will easily top the last one with bigger effects and more focus on the tremendous Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. The reviews haven't been as solid, but I think it's because no one expected the last one to be good, so it was a very pleasant surprise, as opposed to the new one, where they are now expecting it to be great. I fully intend to be in line early tomorrow morning and am already am heavily anticipating the third one, due out next year.

Also opening this week is A Scanner Darkly, based on the Phillip K. Dick novel. I like the cast and it sounds like a challenging film, but it's also playing only on a few screens, so I may wait for video (plus I may want to read the book someday, which usually ruins the movie).

The Prime time Emmy nominations have been announced, and it's more clear than ever that the academy has their heads completely up their asses. There are some more than deserving nominations (Scrubs, the Office, 24, Arrested Development). But shows like West Wing, Will and Grace, Commander in Chief, and just about anything on CBS that isn't David Letterman getting nominated in any possible category is a complete and total crock. King of Queens for Best comedy over My Name is Earl or Everybody Hates Chris? West Wing over Six Feet Under or The Shield? I'm pretty sure at this point they just throw all the shows into a hat and pick at random.

And finally, in keeping with the Pirate feeling this weekend, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: PIRATES


The Launch Game

So, when exactly is Nintendo launching the Wii? A drunk rep apparently let it slip that it was going to be out on the 30th of October, but other sources place it as early as September, obviously giving it a solid head start over the PS3's mid-November launch. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the Wii came out in September, but ultimately, it could launch on the day and date of the PS3 and I don't think that would affect sales of either system that much. The initial shipment of both systems will sell out within a few hours and they will both probably be nearly impossible to get during the holidays (though probably not as hard as the Xbox 360 was). What really counts is the next wave, when the systems are readily available to the non-hardcore, casual public. And while the glitzy PS3 graphics may draw in a few with money to burn, the Wii is practically an impulse buy, which will make it that much more attractive.

Moving on, is Sony racist? Their string of PSP ads may suggest so. First, check out one of their thinly disguised video ads:

In case you that was too subtle for you, VGcats has a comic that puts it more blatantly:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now granted, the above is fairly debatable, but what isn't is Sony's newest billboard for their upcoming PSP white model:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This Amsterdam billboard is already drawing huge ire from critics, and I don't know how it couldn't, I mean seriously, what idiot looked at this ad and thought people (especially the more reactionary type) wouldn't view this as blatantly racist? I know the saying goes there's no such thing as bad publicity, but that seems to be all Sony is getting the last year or so, and in the olden days, I'm pretty sure something this embarrassing would force Sony's top execs to commit Hari Kari rather than live with the embarrassment caused by such a stupid idea. And really, all their latest debacles are fairly reminiscent of just about any empire (corporate or otherwise) that was about to fall flat on its face and never recover.

That's all for today, but I'll definitely be back sometime tomorrow with thoughts on this weekend's films. And here's your SCRUBS CLIP OF THE WEEK: