Wednesday, December 8, 2010

By This Time Next Year: The Final Edition

As you may have guessed by the title, I'll be ending the blog officially. After this post and The Golden Duck Awards it shall be over (It'll be online, just not updated... Not much of a change, really). More details will be included in a final blog post which will be written towards the end of the month.

Welcome to the fourth and final edition of "By This Time Next Year", in which I will revisit my predictions made way back on December 4th, 2009. Without any further delay, let's jump right in.

"...Pikmin 3 will have been formally announced" = WRONG

Oh how painful it is to label this prediction inaccurate. Sadly, for yet another year, E3 has come and gone without any word regarding a new Pikmin game. Again. Come on, Miyamoto, let's get going!

"...Half-Life 2: Episode 3 will have gone another year without any sort of official announcement" = Correct!

Unlike the previous prediction, this one is correct. Just like the previous, though, the outcome is pretty crummy. A whole year and pretty much nothing. Way back in March Gabe Newell mentioned that future Half-Life games will turn back to "genuinely scaring the player" once more, but beyond that, nothing. Well, at least we're getting Portal 2...

"...a long-standing, long-since-forgotten Nintendo franchise will make its triumphant return" = Correct!

I had a feeling this would come true, but I didn't expect it would come true twice! At E3 2010 Nintendo announced both Kid Icarus: Uprising and Donkey Kong Country Returns, two classic franchises that have been absent for far too long. Even better, Donkey Kong Country Returns is out already, and it's getting amazing reviews. Let's hope Kid Icarus gets the same reception!

"...Project Natal will have been delayed until 2011" = WRONG

Now known as Kinect, the peripheral did indeed launch as scheduled, striking a blow to my score. I'm kind of surprised, really. I honestly didn't think it'd be ready so soon (And according to a few reviewers, it isn't).

"...people will still be erroneously calling the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 'next-generation'" = Correct!

Oh how painfully true this one is. ATTENTION CITIZENS: If a console is already available, it's NOT "next-generation", okay? If it's available, it is CURRENT. Say it with me: C-U-R-R-E-N-T. Damn it, people.

"...Mario Party 9 will have been released" = WRONG

Nintendo actually surprised me here... sort of. A party game was released by Nintendo, but under the name "Wii Party". SO CLOSE. Oh well.

"...Zelda Wii will have been confirmed for a Summer 2011 release" = Correct! ...ish

Yes. Yes. Yes. And more yes. At E3 2010 Nintendo pulled back the curtains on the long-awaited, built-exclusively-for-Wii The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The only problem? There's no specific release date yet. Just "TBA 2011". Could it be Summer? Possibly, but it can't be said for sure. I'm going to call this one 50/50 correct/wrong; Correct in that it was announced, but wrong in that there's no specified release date.

"...yet another same-as-before Call of Duty game will have been released, and people will still be yet to tire of it" = Correct!



Hmm? What? Oh, yeah. Uh huh. Sorry, the subject of this one is just so mind-numbing. It happened. Moving along.

"...a brand-new Nintendo IP will have been announced" = WRONG

Not much to say here, really, since it was wrong. Nothing happened, nothing to write about.

"...SEGA will once again bring shame to the Sonic brand" = WRONG (Wait, what?)

Oh boy, another Sonic game. What sort of crapfest is it this ti-Wait... Sonic Colors is GOOD? ...I... WHAT? GOOD? Oh, well, I'm sure Sonic 4 was terri- Oh. Apparently that was alright. Huh. Um... Aha! Sonic: Free Riders was terrible, wasn't it? It was? HA! I WI- What? It doesn't count? FIDDLESTICKS.


Well, that's that. Now for my prediction accuracy... 50%? Well, that could've gone better. Ooh, what's this? In the comments section of last year's post...

Who does this guy think he is, huh? STEALING MY THUNDER? Well, let's have a look at these predictions of his.

"A new form of DS, be it an upgrade or a successor, will either be shown or released" = Correct!

Well, he's got me there. As he predicted, the 3DS was revealed at E3 2010 this year, and it's pretty darn awesome, too. YOU WIN THIS ROUND, RAWFUL

"At least 2 Mario games will be released" = Correct!

Why that little... Ahem. Yes, he's right. Technically four Mario games have been released since then, but I won't be counting one of them (Super Mario Galaxy 2), as it was already announced when he wrote this. I don't appreciate cheating, boyo! (If you were wondering, the three released games are Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition and Mario Sports Mix, the latter two only available in Japan at the moment.)

So that makes his prediction accuracy... 100%? Well, I guess you guys know who you'll be going to for your predictions now that this blog is closing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Last Night's 3DS Announcements: Thoughts, Opinions and Surprises

Third post in a row with the 3DS as its primary subject. When will the madness end?!

It would be an understatement to say last night's conference was surprising. To start, a quick recap of what I expected as opposed to what actually happened.

I began my last post with the assumption that we'd hear the Japanese launch date, and, as expected, this came true. What wasn't expected, however, was the launch date itself: February 26th, 2011. I, along with many others, were certain that a November 2010 release date would be announced. In retrospect, though, it only makes sense to launch it next year, rather than cannibalize the sales of Nintendo's many Winter 2010 releases. Launch the 3DS in November and you can pretty much say goodbye to sales for games such as Kirby's Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country Returns. While it may suck for us, it makes good business sense.

Related to the above, I was fairly certain that there would be no word on a North American release date just yet. As was the case with my previous prediction, this, too, was wrong. A vague date of "March 2011" was given, and not just for North America, but every other major market. So much for me getting the best birthday present ever... Well, at least my release date period guess was correct! Curiously, though, this points towards a nigh-simultaneous launch all around the world, which, as I stated in the previous post, would create one heck of a limited supply. Better start lining up at Gamestop now, folks!

One announcement that did actually match up with my predictions was the final 3DS design. The changes, however, are far less drastic than I anticipated. A few minor tweaks around the slide pad are pretty much all that happened. The two separate types of plastic comprising the lower half still remain, sadly. I don't get why they didn't change that; It would look much sleeker with one solid colour. Speaking of sleekness, the overly-chunky hinge corners remain, raising many similarities between the 3DS and the original DS model. Does this mean a 3DS Lite will be coming our way within two years? Probably. Will this stop me from grabbing the 3DS "Fat" on launch? Not even close.

My final prediction concerned the announcement of an additional, game-changing feature within the 3DS, such as a multi-touch screen or a Kinect-like camera. I didn't really expect either feature to be implemented, and, as expected (Or unexpected?), neither was... Nor was any other new game-changing feature. A few features we'd heard of previously, though, we're more adequately fleshed-out, such as a game-pausing Home button that allows users to browse the internet or perform other functions mid-play (Sounds like a DSi feature I proposed some time ago). Not quite game-changing, but certainly a helpful feature.

Not attention turns to the announcements I didn't consider, such as the price announcement. First of all, I need to say I have no idea how I managed to forget this one. I guess it was just sort of lumped-in with the release date announcement. Anyways, the price was announced and... Well, this was my reaction*. The 3DS will retail for 599 US dollars* 25,000 Yen, which translates to, oh, roughly $300 USD*. Not all hope is lost, though, as this was the Japanese launch price for the Wii as well, and that started at $250 USD. In all likelihood Nintendo won't do a direct conversion on the price, and we'll end up paying far less than $300. After all, Nintendo wouldn't sell a handheld for a higher price than the Wii... Would they?

And now for a quick rundown and opinion regarding all other interesting 3DS announcements:

  • -Miis have been confirmed for the 3DS, with a built-in editor that's actually better than the one found on the Wii. How about updating that one, too, while you're at it?
  • -Miis can also be created instantly by taking a picture of a face. The system will then attempt to recreate the picture as closely as possible. Cool idea, but this sort of thing has never worked that well for me in the past. Maybe my face is just too weird.
  • -One final Mii-related announcement says that Mii data and pictures can be uploaded to an SD card for system-to-system transfer. Finally, a way to get a picture of a Mii without actually having to point a camera at a TV screen!
  • -The advanced Tag Mode, now known as "StreetPass", can download and transmit data from 3DS to 3DS, even if the game related to the transfer isn't physically in the unit. I foresee many interesting applications of this in the new Animal Crossing.
  • -The above functionality also extends to internet connectivity, where the 3DS will download game and system updates automatically. The Wii was announced to do this as well, but that promise sort of fell through. Perhaps the 3DS will finally bring this idea to reality?
  • -Much talk regarding Wi-Fi connectivity seems to hint at a less-restricted online experience. Could Nintendo finally be dropping Friend Codes? Well, no, probably not, but I can hope!
  • -The 3DS can use both cameras at once to snap a picture of both the player and someone standing in front of them, then merge the pictures into one. This frightens me more than a little.
  • -Also included in the box with the 3DS is a charging cradle, a 2GB SD card and several special cards for playing augmented reality games. I suppose that helps soften the prospect of the high price point a little bit.
  • -The 3DS will feature a Virtual Console-type service, allowing for the download of 3D-enhanced Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, as well as retro titles. Game Boy Advance downloads are currently unconfirmed, but would be more than welcome in my eyes!
  • -The 3DS will be available in two colours at launch: The black unit seen above, and the blue colour seen below. It's unknown if this relates to Japan exclusively or all markets, but judging by recent hardware releases Stateside, I wouldn't expect more than one colour on launch day.

That about covers all the 3DS-related news that surfaced last night. To summarize: Wow. The 3DS is certainly packed-full of features and, by extension, potential, making the wait for March even more difficult than before. I'm certain it will be worth it, though, so I suppose for the time being we should just sit back, relax, and enjoy the wait. To me the anticipation is one of the most exciting parts of a new console coming out. Difficult, yes, but very exciting. Here's to many long months of anticipation!

*This is why I will never go professional as a writer, and I am fine with this.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Upcoming 3DS Announcements: Predictions and Opinions

For an explanation regarding the recent void of updates on the blog, click here. Now then, moving along.

In a few short hours Nintendo will be holding a press event all about the 3DS. Many possible announcements float in the air at the moment. Hardware release dates and new software are well within the realm of possibility, along with many other hypothetical headlines.

First off, it's certain that the hardware's Japanese release date will be laid down tonight. After all, that's pretty much the core purpose of the event. Well, as far as we know, at least. Back on subject, many "sources" point to this yet-to-be-announced release dropping on the 11th of November. Can't really call it a prediction what with the crazy amount of outlets pointing in that direction, ergo this paragraph shall just sit here with a blank look on its face, much like I do every day.

Crossing the ocean back to the land upon which my blank look is typically fixated, many are eagerly anticipating a release date for the North American market. Sadly for those people (Myself included, blank stare and all), I just don't see such an announcement taking place tonight. Look anywhere and you'll see a million signs pointing towards the system not hitting our shores until at least 2011. Games deemed launch titles are being quietly announced for next year, bringing the 3DS along with them. Add to that the complications that would result from attempting to release a highly-anticipated system in multiple regions nigh-simultaneously and you've got a 2011 launch date*.

One announcement that's sure to please everyone, however, will be the highly-probable reveal of the 3DS' final design. As has been stated repeatedly since E3, the model we've seen so far is still in development, and changes from that model are surely going to be detailed tonight. I'm anticipating a sleeker design, one without the two different types of plastic comprising the inner and outer halves of the lower section. Doubling the camera on the inside to allow for more 3D picture possibilities would be nice as well, but I'm not exactly expecting it. I suppose such a feature would lend itself to some rather perverse interactions should a video chat service be included...

Slightly related to the above is the announcement of a new built-in, game-changing feature. It was suggested many months ago that the 3D was far from being the most revolutionary of gameplay-related additions to the handheld, and now would be the time to announce such a feature. What could it be? A multi-touch screen on the bottom, allowing for more advanced manipulation of and interaction with the game world? Perhaps the seemingly-normal camera we've seen on the inside is actually a highly-advanced, Kinect-like, hands-free motion controller? Or could there be no final secret after all and I'm just rambling like a madman? I suppose we'll find out shortly.

Uncertainties aside, one thing we all know for sure is that the 3DS is going to be a great system once it hits... Whenever that may happen to be. Whether it's next month or next year, though, it will certainly be worth the wait.

*Slightly off-topic, I personally believe the 3DS will be hitting North America sometime in February or March 2011. My mind's stuck on February 20th for some unknown reason... Or maybe it could be really cool and launch almost a month earlier, on my birthday (Which conveniently lands on a Sunday). Well, Nintendo, if you've been wondering what to get me this year...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Nintendo DSi? What's that?"

Those are most certainly to be the words on everyone's lips come this time next year. Heck, I think we're halfway there as is. All anyone can talk about is the 3DS, and who can blame them? It really seems to be an all-round amazing handheld. Where does this leave the recently-released Nintendo DSi line of products, though?

In the dust, to put it bluntly. The 3DS is pretty much a 3D-enabled Gamecube in the palm of your hand, while the DSi is basically the same DS we played in 2004 but with cameras (Which the 3DS also has, one of which being equipped with two lenses for taking 3D pictures). In short, the 3DS is everything the DSi is, and more. The DSi's outlook isn't looking too bright.

I can think of one scenario in which the DSi will continue to succeed alongside the 3DS, but it isn't exactly a happy one. This scenario involves a wallet-strangling prospect: A cripplingly-expensive 3DS. A distressing possibility, the most distressing part being that it's even a possibility at all. The 3DS packs some serious firepower, and it can't be coming cheap. Unless Nintendo wants to sell this handheld at a loss (Something they have never done before), the 3DS is slated to be quite the expensive product. This could very well save the DSi. If they continue selling the DSi at the current price, or perhaps even lower it, it could stick around. The 3DS would be marketed as a "luxury" alternative and the two would live in harmony for a couple years or so.

...or they could sell the 3DS at a loss, make the ad campaign "3DS does was Nintendo(DSi)n't" and obliterate the older product's sales. It's up to Nintendo, I guess.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nintendo's E3 2010 Press Conference: Prediction Accuracy

The day has come and gone, and Nintendo has, in my eyes, completely stolen the show. The 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword both look amazing, but the importance of that pales in comparison to the following: My prediction accuracy! Did I just say that a small post on my virtually-unknown blog is superior to Nintendo's entire press conference? Yes. Did I mean it? Not at all. Moving along!

My first prediction was the debut of Pikmin 3. You know, the game Miyamoto's been talking about for years, giving us subtle progress reports all the while? The one so many are eagerly anticipating and frothing at the mouth for? Yeah, didn't show up. Miyamoto did mention it in passing (Again) during his roundtable discussion, but that's it. I'm off to a bad start here. Prediction: WRONG

Not a great start. Next up I predicted a new Animal Crossing game to accompany the 3DS hardware revelation. Did it happen? Yes... but not until after the conference. So this is an incorrect prediction then, right? Well, no, I wouldn't say so. The Nintendo E3 Network is basically like an extended press conference, giving attention to the games unable to fit into the actual presentation's tight schedule. By that logic, I was right. Lovin' loopholes! Prediction: CORRECT(-ish)

Next up is the rumour that Retro would be announcing a new Donkey Kong game. Lo and behold, the rumours came true, and Donkey Kong Country Returns is headed our way, and it'll be here by the end of 2010. Prediction: CORRECT

How about that fifth generation of Pokémon? Two Pokémon games are playable on the show floor today, but, alas, these games are neither Black nor White. Sadly, those of you dying for more information on the next round of Pokémon will just have to wait a little longer. Happily for me, however, my prediction proved true! Prediction: CORRECT

One of Nintendo's strangest announcements at last year's E3 was the Vitality Sensor. Even stranger is the fact that we'd gone a year without any significant news on it. Certainly Nintendo would see fit to bring it out during their press conference, with a slimmer design and exclusive software, right? Well, no. The Vitality Sensor wasn't mentioned even once. And with this, my streak of correct predictions comes to a screeching halt. Prediction: WRONG

And now we come to the one prediction I have made every single year since I started this blog; StarFox making a grand return on the Wii. Due to a lack of evidence, though, this year I had to label this as unlikely. So, of course, now that I don't expect it, a new StarFox is announced. But wait, what's this? It's for 3DS? So my prediction of there not being a new StarFox Wii game was correct? Yet, while still being correct about it not showing up, I still get a StarFox game? This just worked out way too perfectly. Prediction: CORRECT

Next I predicted Nintendo would discuss sales, demographics, all that sort of stuff, and, surprise, they did. Yup. Moving on. Prediction: CORRECT

Last but not least, I made a remarkably-vague prediction that something completely unexpected would happen. I'd say a brand-new Kid Icarus launching alongside the Nintendo 3DS is pretty unexpected. Man, the one time I don't predict a new Kid Icarus... Then again, I probably would've predicted it for Wii, so perhaps things worked out just fine! Prediction: CORRECT! (Duh)

Oh, all the predictions I should have made... I can't believe I forgot to mention Kirby Wii. I guess I can't complain too much, though, as my score today turning out quite positive, with only two of my eight predictions turning out false. Can't ask for much better than that, can I?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nintendo's E3 2010 Press Conference: Predictions

Just gonna say I wanted to write up a similar article for the Microsoft press conference (No such intentions for the Sony conference), but I was unexpectedly busy on Sunday watching four guys blow things up in a spectacularly over-the-top manner. As a side note, A-Team was some pretty good action. Now then, moving along...

The time has come once more: Nintendo's E3 2010 press conference is nearly upon us. But we can't go having a press conference without a healthy serving of my predictions, can we? And so I come out of my nearly month-long Springtime hibernation to bring you this, my list of predictions for the rapidly-approaching conference.

First, though, let's get two little things out of the way: The 3DS and The Legend of Zelda. These two things are practically confirmed to be showing up tomorrow, so really, there's no need to "predict" their presence. Alright? Alright. Let's get started.

To get things going, I'll to start with something we've known about for so long yet have seen absolutely nothing of: Pikmin 3. This has been hiding behind the scenes for ages now, and I'd say it's about time for this flower to bloom. Pikmin 3, Nintendo; I know you've got it. Now show it!

Next up I'll play off a little rumour I heard recently. According to Destructoid, Nintendo's planning on launching a new Animal Crossing game with the 3DS. Will it be a revolutionary step for the franchise? Will it bring back all those who were turned away by City Folk's over-familiarity? Heck if I know. Considering the prosperity of the franchise, though, I get the feeling that this little rumour will be going to E3, not crying "wee wee wee" all the way home.

Another rumour that's been floating about is Retro Studios working on a new Donkey Kong game. To give this rumour a little more validity, an IGN staff member Tweeted teasingly in a sly manner, using terms such as "go ape" and "barrel me over". A suggestion of insider knowledge, or just some of that classic trolling we internet users have become so used to? It's hard to tell right now, but man, I could really go for a rumble in the jungle right about now. I'm gonna let my hopes take the wheel here and put this in the "probable" column.

Talk around in some groups and all you'll hear about is Pokémon Black and White. Pokémaniacs are practically (And in some cases, literally) frothing at the mouth for more information on the fifth generation of Pocket Monsters, and they've got themselves convinced that these games will be showing up at the conference tomorrow. Myself being a somewhat reformed Pokémaniac, however, I'm looking at the situation from a more fact-based angle. In the past, information on new Pokémon games has emerged almost exclusively at Japanese venues. While Nintendo's been doing a lot of things differently as of late, I don't see this particular trend changing. If I hear the Pokémon theme coming from my headphones tomorrow afternoon I'll be very surprised.

Turning attention to the Wii, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a major redesign of the Vitality Sensor showing itself tomorrow. Today Ubisoft showed off a very similar device, and it was far smaller than the clunky device shown hanging off a Wii remote just over a year ago. I've always thought that the Vitality Sensor was over sized, and now I see it's more than possible to shrink it down to a more manageable level. I'm willing to bet Nintendo see that, too.

Now to revisit a prediction I have made every single year since E3 2007: Star Fox, and its long-overdue return. Do I even have to say it anymore? The Wii remote is perfect for the job, and it's an absolute mystery why this game hasn't surfaced yet. To be perfectly honest, I don't see this prediction as likely or unlikely. I just see it as far, far overdue. I can't just leave this here without a likelihood rating on it, though... Well, as much as it pains me to say it, I'm going to file this in the "unlikely" column. As much as I hope it'll come true, there's just been no evidence whatsoever of its existence. Sorry, Fox, but it's looking like you'll be warming the bench for another year.

There will probably also be talk of sales, reaching new demographics, slideshows of actors pretending to be families and overdoing the motion controls, graphs, charts... You know, the typical Nintendo conference stuff. Okay, I get it, you're successful. Can we see games now?

And finally, there's always that announcement that comes out of nowhere and defies all predictors such as myself. Can I predict such a vague thing, or is that cheating? Bah, I'll do it anyways. Feel free to consider it a null point on my score sheet when it happens.

That's all, folks! The predictions are made, and the wait is on. Not that I expect anyone to read this before E3... in which case I could totally just edit out all the false stuff and write in a bunch of facts as "predictions"... Nah, I wouldn't. Or would I? Nah. Good night, and have fun watching the conference!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I believe that there's what they call a "false start"

Well, that plan kind of failed... Entirely. I think this deserves some explanation...

I'll be moving in two months (Pretty much exactly two months, actually) and I'm pretty stressed out about it. I've never moved before, and I don't really know what to expect during this whole deal.

So then, to make a short story shorter, I'm stressed out and it's affecting my ability to think for extended periods of time. What does that mean for the blog? That's hard to say. For most bloggers this would mean a temporary drop in update frequency, but that's not exactly possible in my situation (Unless I want to start deleting posts, but that's just insane).

So... I really don't know. There very well could be less than a handful of posts between now and August (Yeah, I know, huge change from the norm, huh?). Even if that's the case, though, August will bring many good things. I'll finally be getting my 360 online after the move, meaning I'll be able to fully experience all my new games and actually get to review them. Good things will come of this, I assure you!

In the more immediate future, I hope to make some time for a few smaller articles in the next week or so. Just keep on gaming until then, folks!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Xbox 360: A month of ownership, a month of opinions

Weekly updates ahoy! Also, in case you missed it, here's my thought process for deciding upon the Xbox 360 as my next console... Although I suppose my suspenseful writing means nothing now that you know how it turns out. Oh well.

Also, an important thing to note is that my 360 is not online, and it will remain offline for a while for a few reasons. I may update this post once I do finally connect it to the internet.

Back at the beginning of March I grabbed myself a 360 Holiday bundle, and since then I've put many gameplay hours into my new console. After a month of playing it nearly every day, I'd say I've garnered enough hands-on time with the system to deliver my view on it. Keep in mind, though, that this isn't a console review; This is more like a loosely-arranged collection of opinions. No fluff, no suspense, no bull. Just my raw opinions of Microsoft's current console, the Xbox 360.

First off, the console itself looks great. The sleek, jet-black case with the chrome disc tray is certainly easy on the eyes. Not so easy on the ears, however. The 360's internal fans are the loudest I've ever heard in any console or computer, sometimes even drowning out the quieter sound effects and voice acting of a game. Whatever that person just yelled in Dirt 2 probably wasn't all that important, but I'd still like to have heard it!

When it comes to controlling the games that I can hardly hear, the 360 controller does a pretty good job. It's well-shaped and comfortable to hold, and the buttons are all easily accessed. It took me a while to adjust to the X button being where I'm used to finding the Y button, but that's probably just because I've been playing too many DS games. One actually valid issue I have with the controller concerns the battery pack. No, it has nothing to do with battery life (Batteries actually last incredibly long in this controller, easily passing the twenty hour mark per set), but the location of the battery compartment itself. Its placement throws the center of gravity off entirely, causing the controller to tip forward in all but the tightest of grips. I've pretty much gotten used to this, but once in a while it does become a problem.

In the middle of the controller lies the Guide button, which grants access to the 360's simple-to-use yet greatly versatile menu. This menu can be accessed at any time, even in the middle of gameplay, without interrupting a thing (Some games even pause automatically when it's accessed). The Guide permits access to just about anything someone could ever need while in game, from reading messages sent by friends to checking out achievements for the game currently being played. It's quite the feature, and it sure comes in handy when I get an achievement I was entirely unaware of (Killing a bunch of barnacles with an exploding barrel is an achievement now? Heck, I'm not complaining!).

The menu seen when launching the 360 is equally accessible and eye-pleasing, as well as partially customizable, granting the ability to change the background image. Sadly, that's just about as far as customization goes, with no possibility of altering the colours of the menu options. That post-apocalyptic Fallout 3 background image would look great without these bright, cheery buttons floating around in the foreground!

Cheerily greeting me every time I start up my 360 is... Me. Well, my Avatar, at least. Most certainly inspired by the Miis of the Wii, the 360 Avatars are cartoony little characters tied to a user's profile. Due to this, users are restricted to one Avatar per account, eliminating the possibility of populating games with them as is possible with Miis. Also different from Miis is the art style, which, while not being super-realistic, does make the Avatars look a bit more structured and mature. The range of customization is also greater, resulting in my Avatar looking far more like me than my Mii. It's not perfect, though, as I've seen one or two Miis that look more like their real-life counterpart than the same person's Avatar. They also don't have quite the same charm as Miis, looking a little less friendly than Nintendo's take on the concept. In the end, though, I'd say Avatars are pretty cool, but they've yet to grow on me like Miis have.

Now then, with all that being said, it's time to move on to the most important part of a video game console: The games. I currently have eight games for my 360 (Thirteen if you count compilations separately), spanning multiple genres and several developers, so I'd certainly say I've put the 360 through its paces as far as gameplay variety goes. The controller is well suited to just about any genre, and the hardware is certainly capable of delivering a stunning experience both technically and visually. There's no end to the variety and quality of software for this console.

My gameplay experiences haven't been without their issues, however. Occasionally a game will stutter momentarily then return to normal for no apparent reason. I've also had it freeze entirely on one occasion when loading a new level in Half-Life 2, forcing a manual shutdown of the console. Finally, I've also experienced the audio cutting out for a second or two several times over the last month, but that's apparently due to outdated firmware, something I'll fix when I manage to get my 360 online.

Weighing the good against the bad, I'd say I've had a fairly positive experience with my 360 so far. There have been some problems, and I'm sure I'm missing out on a whole lot without having it online, but I'd still say it was well worth the purchase. I've barely even begun to scratch the surface here, so I'm sure things will only get better from this point onward. If only I didn't have to share the big TV with everyone else in the house...

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fools' Day wrap-up, site news

Ah, isn't April 1st a wonderful day? Nothing like some organized insanity to brighten up one's life. Yes, folks, everything published here yesterday was a complete lie. This isn't becoming a news site, all Nintendo-related hoaxes aren't true (Or are they?), Miyamoto wasn't caught getting Shiggy with it, Sony didn't announce the PSP 3D (But it's only a matter of time), and Microsoft did not, in fact, buy the moon. I figure this should all go without saying, but after hearing some people believed last year's fictitious PETA vs Nintendo lawsuit, I just wanted to make sure everyone gets the straight story.

Now then, moving on to the matter of this blog's nearly bi-monthly update schedule... That's something that actually will be changing. Starting now, there will be at least one post published to One Duck's Opinion every single week. I hope eventually to nail updates down to every Wednesday, but for now, once a week is how the schedule's going to be.

I suppose that's all that really needs to be said here... Oh, with the exception of one thing. Just in case you believe anything I said yesterday... APRIL FOOLS'!

This is Psycho J. Duck for ODDLY News. Goodnight everyone!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Microsoft buys the moon, plans radical redesign

In the most massive purchase of all time, Microsoft today gained the rights of ownership to Earth's moon. Their plans for the natural satellite? The universe's biggest billboard. "What better place to advertise than in a place people see every single day of their lives?" asks Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "In addition, we'll make it into the record books for sure, making absolutely positive that nobody on Earth won't know the words 'Xbox 360'!"

"We've been thinking about this for a while, and the time has finally come for us to start work on this tremendous undertaking. We're sending ten thousand of the finest imported workers into space, along with eight trillion green LED lights. The next Lunar Eclipse is going to be great!"

"Of course, this isn't the sort of thing you'd think up and execute in a hurry. Many designs were considered for the billboard, and we were surprised at the negative reception one of our prototype designs received." This rejected design can be found below.

In addition to the above, Microsoft will also be altering much of the technical lunar terminology. A partial list of the changes can be found below, with original terms on the left, and new ones on the right. Explanations are provided in brackets:
  • Apogee = Bungie (Rights to the name "Apogee" could not be acquired from 3D Realms)
  • Blue Moon = Green Moon ("There's nothing blue about this moon!" -Ballmer)
  • Crater = Blood Gulch (In honour of the map in Halo: Combat Evolved)
  • New Moon = X Moon (As it's the time at which the logo will be most visible)
"The moon isn't the only thing being changed here. We at Microsoft will change the world!"

Not to be outdone, Apple is now working on purchasing the Sun, which they plan to name "iSol". Some casualties are to be expected when it comes to stamping the logo on the yellow star's surface. "Hey, you can't make an iSol without melting a few interns!" commented Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Sony Officially Unveils the PSP 3D

Today Sony pulled back the curtains on their newest creation, the PSP 3D. I was lucky enough to grab an interview with a spokesperson for the company, Soniraji Osuteshon, where I was allowed to ask any question I wanted about this revolutionary new product.

ODDLY News: Before we get into the real interview, I'd first like to know a little more about how the PSP 3D actually works.

Soniraji Osuteshon: The PSP 3D utilizes solar radiation to power its light-speed quantum energy core, which superheats the air within three inches of the screen's surface, causing spatial distortion and creating the illusion of 3D imagery. It also doubles as a portable barbecue.

ODDLY: I'm just going to pretend I understood that and move along. From the few words I actually understood, I've come to the conclusion that this sounds incredibly dangerous to handle. What sort of testing has been done to ensure the safety of the player?

SO: We haven't really had a change to test the PSP 3D just yet, as we only finished up the design last night.

ODDLY: Last night?!

SO: Yes. As you've no doubt noticed, there isn't really much of an R&D department at Sony. It's pretty much just a bunch of people sitting at computers, constantly refreshing Nintendo news sites waiting for something new and interesting to be announced. Whenever Nintendo announces a new product, we jump right into the development stage, building off of whatever was just revealed. The only difference is, this time around, we're beating Nintendo to the punch, as the PSP 3D is slated for release in approximately... Ten minutes.

ODDLY: So soon? And without testing it for consumer safety?

SO: Consumer safety? What does that matter? We've finally managed to beat Nintendo to the finish line, and we're not looking back. The PSP 3D will be released today at 5:00 PM sharp, for the completely reasonable price of $14,000.

ODDLY: F-f-f-fourteen thousand dollars?!

SO: Yes. We at Sony offer luxury versions of the competition's products, and you truly get what you pay for when you invest in our technologies. Whether or not the consumer can actually afford it is none of our concern.

ODDLY: Well, for that price, the PSP 3D had better do a lot more than make things pop out of the screen!

SO: Oh, but it does! The PSP 3D will be twenty times as powerful as the PS3, with graphics becoming even more detailed than reality itself. In order to accommodate all these texture files and high-end models, the PSP 3D will ship with a separate 50TB hard drive and a complementary backpack in which to carry the massive storage device. This unit will allow the storage of up to five PSP 3D games at once. The PSP 3D will also come with seven car batteries, which can be carried around in a shopping cart, also included in the package with the hard drive and backpack. These batteries will allow for up to twelve minutes of gameplay/barbecuing.

ODDLY: But I thought the PSP 3D was powered by solar radiation... Or something?

SO: No, that merely handles the 3D capabilities of the product. This is some high-tech stuff here. No mere pushover like the Sun is capable of powering this kind of horsepower!

ODDLY: Well then, uh... Getting back to the planet Earth for a moment, I've noticed the PSP 3D is nearly identical to the original PSP and its minor hardware revisions. Is there a particular reason for this?

SO: The PSP 3D is visually identical to the PSP for two major reasons. First, it's because we got lazy and just gutted a lot of old PSP units we had sitting around, and second, it creates confusion among the consumers. They might go out in search of a PSP 3D, and see a regular PSP on the shelf, buying it thinking they're getting the newest handheld.

ODDLY: You want to confuse the customers?

SO: Of course! We put out the visually-identical PSP 3D, and the consumer goes out buying a PSP thinking it's the same thing!

ODDLY: You're really banking on the consumer being so foolish?

SO: Yup! Look how well it worked out for the PSP Go!

ODDLY: But the Go sold terri-


ODDLY: I take it our interview is over?


ODDLY: ...I'm just going to leave now.


The PSP 3D is now on sale at all major electronics retailers for $14,000. Games that actually take advantage of the PSP 3D's abilities have yet to be announced, but are expected to cost between $100 and $500 apiece.

Shigeru Miyamoto caught in sex scandal!

In a shocking development, Shigeru Miyamoto was found earlier today in a seedy downtown-Kyoto "soapland" with dozens of naked prostitutes. This story is far too explicit to post in its entirety on this blog, so in order to see it all, click right here! Interviews, eye-witness accounts, shocking pictures and more lie within!

Believe everything you read: All Nintendo-related April Fools' Day hoaxes are real

From the fake Zelda movie trailer of 2008 to the "WiiDS" of this year's Game Infarcer, every Nintendo-related April Fools' "hoax" was actually a calculated market-testing exercise executed by the Big N itself. "It's cheap, risk-free market testing. It's brilliant!" said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. "It's the most ingenious move by the company since the very creation of the Nintendo Entertainment System!".

"Yes, every single one of these 'hoaxes' is entirely true," admitted Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. "We use this day to gauge public opinion of our in-development products, and we adjust or cancel these projects according to reception."

Every year, Nintendo sends out these in-production ideas to news outlets around the world, then monitors the comment section over the next 24 hours and takes notes on the public's reactions. At the end of the day, the news is "revealed" to be nothing more than a joke, and Nintendo returns to work on the project with the commenters' criticism's taken into consideration.

"Once all suggestions are implemented, the project often takes a turn in an entirely different direction," elaborates Iwata. "For example, the Zelda movie trailer we released with IGN turned into the mere addition of a few extra cinematics in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. We realized that no film we made could possibly live up to the expectations of the people in that comment section, so we turned our film-making attention to our upcoming DS game."

"In fact, most of our ideas are often met with less-than-perfect reception, meaning no 'controlled hoax' so far has ever been released looking even slightly similar to its beta form, if it ever even saw release at all. The Super Smash Bros. Brawl X: Extreme prototype we also demoed with IGN was canceled entirely after an incredible backlash over peoples' childhood idols being brutally massacred. The 'Wii Expand' idea detailed in the same article was also canned, as it just seemed too much like what the players wanted."

But what of the 3DS, announced mere days before Nintendo's annual testing of the public's opinion? "This was just too costly a project to alter in any way," says Iwata "We can't change anything about the 3DS as, sadly, we've exhausted the project's entire budget. All we can do now is release the 3DS as it is and hope the public embraces it. In addition, if we take it back into development now, Sony will undoubtedly get the jump on us and release their own 'me too' handheld in no time. We can't let them win!"

"This is an important yearly exercise for the company, and we'll continue to execute it for many years to come," says Fils-Aime. Now that the secret's out in the open, though, the test results will be contaminated, will they not? "There's no need to worry about [that]. Now that this practice has been made public, we'll be sending several actual hoaxes out with every fake hoax, and we'll refrain from telling the recipient which is which. All will be published as April Fools' articles, the readers won't know what's what, and things will be back to normal. We're Nintendo. We think things through."

A change of direction for One Duck's Opinion

Starting today, instead of my few-and-far-between opinion articles, I will be writing news stories, with exclusive news coming straight from industry insiders. Let's face it, people; Even if I did manage so somehow get off my ass and write more than once a millennium, this blog would never manage to go anywhere. Exclusive news and stories are where it's at, people! I need the hits and I need the money. Writing isn't about the readers, it's about the profit! Why I've bothered to stick around writing opinionated crap for nearly three years is a mystery to me. Being honest and heartfelt in my writing is getting me nowhere, people! Nowhere!

Under this new self-leadership, One Duck's Opinion (Soon to be renamed One Duck's Daily Literature Yielding, or ODDLY News) will surely rise to the top of the gaming news circuit, with updates appearing every hour, on the hour, from 2PM to 6PM, starting with this very post!

Cutting-edge journalism, folks, that's what takes you to the top! That's exactly what you're going to be seeing here, with my many industry contacts in every gaming company on Earth constantly supplying me with the newest, most exclusive news in the world! And you'll find all of it, right here, at ODDLY News, every day until we all die in a fiery apocalypse!

Keep in mind that this new direction will mean some changes. In addition to the earlier proclamation of decreasing how much I care about the readers, I will also stop caring about myself, for the greater good of my profits. I will be living in my bedroom 24/7, like any god of the internet, living off of Hot Pockets and warm soda, constantly refreshing my inbox for the latest in breaking gaming news!

A healthy diet, exercise, basic human contact... All of it, I'm throwing it all away, in the pursuit of internet riches! It's all anyone really needs in this world!

So then, you may be thinking "That hardly sounds like a life worth living", and you know, you'd be WRONG. COMPLETELY WRONG. It's all about the MONEY, people. Hasn't rap music taught you ANYTHING? JEEZ!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Xbox 360 or Playstation 3: Decisions, decisions...

A while back I declared myself a Wii and PC gamer. I chose the Wii because of its quirky games, affordability and long-standing franchises, while I chose the PC because of its incomparably-huge library and dedicated Valve support. Together I felt that they covered all the bases. About a year after I wrote that article, though, I started to feel I was still missing out. My computer was nowhere near capable of running all the games I wanted and the Wii was still getting shafted by most major third-party developers. With upgrading my PC being too expensive and complicated, I decided that it was time I look into getting a second console. At first I thought that the obvious choice would be the Xbox 360, but as time went on, the Playstation 3 began to appear a more attractive option. This choice wasn't going to be an easy one.

The Xbox 360 was released in 2005, a year before either the Playstation 3 or the then-named Revolution would be seeing the light of day. It's essentially a year ahead of any other console on the market, and this head start certainly seems to have paid off. Being first out of the gate has given the 360 quite the solid selection of software, much of it fitting my admittedly-picky taste. It takes care of my racing addiction with the Forza series, caters to my adventurous side with games like Mass Effect, and fulfills my need for crazy-as-hell fun with Dead Rising. There's a lot more to choose from than the above three games, of course, but these are definitely the titles I'm most eager to get my hands on. I'd say the only real problem with the 360's game library is the apparent lack of adventure or action games. There really doesn't seem to be much of either genre on the console, if any at all. I'll admit I haven't exactly conducted extensive research on the matter, but such games are far less visible than the dozens of shooters clogging the shelves. The large selection of PC ports my computer is too weak to run properly is certainly a plus, though.

The online aspect of gaming is quickly becoming one of the biggest parts of the industry, and I honestly can't disagree with its popularity. Being able to play with 8, 16, 32 or more people from all over the world all at the same time is really quite the amazing feat of technology, and, more importantly, it's insanely fun. Sure, nothing will ever match the thrills of cramming on a couch with all your best friends and going nuts in you game of choice, but it's impossible to deny the importance and fun of playing online. Some say that the 360 has the best online system there is, and what I've seen and read certainly point to them being right. However, unlike any other video game system on the market, this online service isn't free. It's $60 a year to play on Xbox Live, which is somewhat of a kick in the nuts after having played online via Steam for free these last few years. Apparently it's worth the cash, but I'm still not crazy about the idea of paying for what other consoles provide for free.

There are a lot of problems regarding finances on the 360, actually. First off is the matter of the wireless network adapter. While the PS3 and Wii support connections with wireless routers out of the box, the 360 requires a pricey add-on. This is a real problem in my house, where the distance between my main TV and the modem basically necessitates the use of wireless connections for video game consoles. This leaves me with an uncomfortable choice; Either I pay however much they want for a wireless adapter and play this hypothetical 360 on my HDTV downstairs, or I hook it up to a wired connection upstairs and have the "honour" of playing Forza 3 on a TV older than the Nintendo Entertainment System. It appears you win this hypothetical round, Microsoft.

Yet another issue regarding things that should be included in the box is the matter of rechargeable battery packs. For whatever reason, Microsoft decided to skip on including a tiny little battery pack in every controller, instead making the consumer pay $30 apiece for a minuscule plastic cuboid. Of course, just like getting rechargeable battery packs for the Wii remotes, this sort of thing pays for itself in the end, but it's still a real pain at the start. Apparently these battery packs get about 40 hours to the charge, though, so perhaps the convenience is worth the investment. Then again, I could put that $30 towards something more useful, like, say, another controller. A wired one that doesn't require batteries of any kind. Take that, battery manufacturers!! Oh, wait... Crap, I yanked the hypothetical 360 off the hypothetical cabinet while rudely gesturing towards my house's battery drawer. Fine, Microsoft, have it your way...

"That'll be thirty bucks, sir."

One final financial woe regards purchasing things on Xbox Live through the use of a currency called "Microsoft Points". Hoo boy, doesn't that roll off the tongue nicely? "X-Points" not good enough for you or something? Anyways, the problem here isn't the fact that there's a points system. In fact, I like the idea, and have gladly purchased Nintendo Points cards for my Wii and DSi many times. The problem is the fact that the currency itself makes no sense at all. Somehow $20 = 1400 points. Uh... Pardon? It can't possibly have been too difficult to just make $20 equal, well, 2000. When I buy a game on the Wii Shop Channel I can say "That was a good use of $8." On the Xbox store, though... I'm going to have to do math, and by the time I figure it out the satisfaction of my purchase would likely be worn off, replaced by confusion and frustration. I like to be able to figure out how much I spent on a game in dollars. You know what dollars are, Microsoft? Those things that are the currency of the country that buys most of your products? You know, the place where you yourself are located? This isn't a major issue, but it's certainly one of those little things that really gets to me.

The 360 can hardly be considered "cheap" in the long run, but you really seem to get what you pay for. All these accessories and services must be paid for separately, yes, but it's well worth the expense according to many a 360 owner. On another note, while it may cost more than the Playstation 3 once all added costs are factored in, it still totals at less than getting a gaming PC in the ways of both expense and complication. With a 360 I wouldn't have to worry about playing a game that looks nothing like the screenshots on the box. It really bugs me when I buy a game for my computer, bring it home, and find that my computer comes nowhere near to running it as beautifully as depicted in the footage or screenshots I've seen online. Graphics are far from everything, but darn it, if I pay for a game, I want it to look as advertised! Luckily many of these PC games are either simultaneously or later ported to the 360, allowing owners of the latter console to see games the way they were meant to be seen. Finally I'd be able to play these games without every character being made of roughly five polygons! As an added bonus, I also wouldn't have to stand around in game stores and squint at the required minimum specifications to try to figure out whether or not the game would run at all, let alone beautifully. It sure would take a lot of the uncertainty out of buying games.

The 360 is a strange combination of pros and cons, perhaps even being pulled in both directions more than any other console. In my opinion, though, it's being pulled more in the positive direction. While the long-term expense may be great, you really do get what you pay for. The console also has a whole bunch of great games going for it, and that's really what's most important in a situation like this. It's certainly a strong contender in the console wars, and at first it seemed like the obvious choice for me when I began looking for another console, but then another system came along. A system called the Playstation 3.

At first I never would have thought I'd ever consider buying a Playstation 3. When it launched in 2006 the console was expensive, under-supported, and far too akin in appearance to a certain line of counter-top grills. Since then, though, the console has become just as affordable as the 360, support has greatly increased, and it's even received a much-needed makeover. Suddenly it's become a far more attractive a console than ever before!

First off and, of course, most importantly, the Playstation 3's library is really beginning to appeal to me. The Uncharted series is getting insanely good reviews, and games like LittleBigPlanet and the upcoming ModNation Racers are driving my creative side nuts. Again, like on the 360, there's about a billion more shooters than necessary on the console, but I suppose they're easy enough to avoid. After all, I manage to avoid all the party games on the Wii! If there's any sort of severe shortcoming to the PS3's library, though, it's that while all bases seem to be covered, there's not all that much substance to any category (Besides shooters, of course). They do have Naughty Dog, though, which carries the delicious potential for another Jak game. Do that and I'll forgive the shortcomings!

Yes, please.

Unlike on the Xbox 360, playing any of these fine games online won't cost me a dime on the Playstation 3. However, referring back to the "you get what you pay for" theme running through the 360 section of this article, Xbox Live is apparently better than the Playstation Network, even when factoring in the expense. I've heard of Playstation games sometimes cutting out for no apparent reason, while no such reports have been heard from the Xbox side of the online gaming scene. It appears that the annual $60 paid for playing 360 games online helps ensure the stability of the central servers, and while it's apparently not an incredibly common issue on the Playstation Network, I'd gladly sacrifice one game purchase a year to make sure things continue to run smoothly.

Carrying on with the topic of finances, the Playstation 3 has its own version of the 360's Xbox Live Arcade store in the form of the Playstation Store. Unlike the competition, however, there's no strange arbitrary currency assigned to this online shopping centre, instead using good old dollars and cents. The downside, however, kills the service for me entirely: There's no such thing as redeemable cash cards for the Playstation Store. The only way to buy things via the service is with a credit card, something I do not have. In other words, the Playstation Store is completely useless to me. A real pity, too, as there seem to be some truly worthwhile things available on it*.

One final note on the matter of expense is that, unlike the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3 comes with wireless internet capabilities built-in, free of charge, and the controllers have internal, rechargeable batteries as a standard feature. As a result of this, though, the Playstation 3 controllers cost a little more than those for the 360, but not as much as a 360 controller plus a battery pack. This means that the Playstation 3 is actually more affordable than the 360. And to think, only three years ago everyone was still going on about "FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE US DOLLARS"!

Hey, Microsoft, apparently it's possible, both economically
and physically, to cram a battery pack in there. Take note!

There's one more subject about the Playstation 3 that deserves attention, and that's the matter of multiplatform games. While there are many games that release on both this console and on the 360, the Playstation 3 versions tend to suffer from a higher amount of technical problems. Frame rate issues, disappearing objects, slow connections to online lobbies and more tend to pop up more frequently in the Playstation 3 version of these games than on the 360. This is a big problem for me, as one of the main reasons I'm looking into a new console is the fact that they share so many great games unavailable on the Wii. Dragon Age: Origins, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Grand Theft Auto IV are all large factors in my decision to seek an additional video game console, and there's plenty more where that came from. The fear that the game I buy may be inferior to the one on the 360 makes me hesitant to invest in the Playstation 3. The lack of any sort of definitive list of these porting errors only increases my apprehension. For all I know these problems could just be getting blown way out of proportion. It's really hard to tell sometimes! As a side note, a few Playstation 3 games contain features absent in their 360 counterparts, such as the ability to play as the Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum, but I don't really think it's enough to counter the myriad of problems with other ported games.

The Playstation 3 has really surprised me with how much it's improved in the last year or two. It's finally beginning to grab my attention, doing so without me really noticing until my consciousness was firmly in its grasp. However, it, like the 360, is being pulled by many positive and negative forces, and again, like its competition, it emerges on the positive end of the spectrum. The Playstation 3 is a fine console, and few serious arguments can be made that indicate otherwise. What matters here, though, is if it's the right console for me. Looking at all the facts and weighing its many pros and cons, I come to the conclusion that...

...I want the Playstation 3. As a matter of fact, I want the Xbox 360, too! They're both really great in their own way, and I'm eager to get my hands on both. The decision now becomes which to pursue first, and after thinking about it for quite some time, I've decided to begin with the Xbox 360. Lately I've just been going nuts for a realistic racing game, and Forza 3 has really got me under its spell. The draw of playing the many PC games I've either been unwilling or unable to get for my computer is also beginning to get to me. Playstation 3 games like LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted are still really going to grab my eye and will continue to do so for quite some time, but they'll have to wait a while. As of now, the game selection on the 360 is most synced with my current interests, and it's for that reason I've decided to go with Microsoft's console first. It may wind up costing me a bit more at the start, but I'm sure it will be worth it. Maybe next year, Playstation 3... Maybe next year.

*EDIT: According to user NintenDood on the One Duck's Opinion forums, there is such a thing as a Playstation Network cash card. I've never seen these in any store I've ever been too, from Wal-Mart to EBGames. In fact, they only appear to be online... Meaning I'd still need a credit card. If they are in stores somewhere, they certainly aren't in any shop near me, pretty much bringing things back to where I started.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spam eggs spam spam bacon and spam

Well, I may not have been all that active here lately, but some random Japanese spammer sure has. I woke up yesterday morning to seventeen e-mails waiting for me, fifteen of which were alerting me to comments on my blog, all of them spam. I figured I'd just delete these and it would all be over with.

...then I woke up today to find seventeen more e-mails in my inbox, and once again, fifteen of them were spam. From the same guy. On all the same posts. Either it's a bot that managed to circumvent the word verification thirty times, or some weirdo in Japan has way too much time on his hands. Either way, I've decided I've had enough of this crap. I've locked all but one of the comment sections that were spammed (I left one open due to it still being somewhat active), so maybe that will take care of things. Then again, maybe it won't. I guess I'll find out tomorrow when the bot/weirdo strikes again, as it/he seems to attack every night.

Well then, with that out of the way, here's a bit of news. I've been working on an article for the past little while. It's gone through about five different major changes in structure and subject, and currently only looks to be about half as long as the pseudo-novel I originally had planned. It may be shorter, but it's certainly more focused and it actually makes sense this time around. Bonus!

I'm aiming to have this article posted later tonight. Apologies for the inactivity in January. It was quite the hectic month for me, with a death in the family, a stabbing in the neighbourhood, a car fire in the underground parking lot (Located directly below my apartment, no less), and, on the bright side, my birthday. I suppose that helped balance things out a bit.

Well then, I suppose I'll be getting to work on that article now. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the following rejected titles for this post:

"James Spameron's Avatar", "Spamming Private Ryan", "Spam Spam Everywhere and Not a Link to Click", "Spam It All To Hell", "Mama Always Said Life Was Like a Box of Spam", "Don't You Worry About Spam, Let Me Worry About Blank", "Spam! Unh! Good God!", "Spam In The Hall: Spam Comes To Town", "Another One Spams the Dust", "I Am Spamerica And So Can You", "The Bugs Bunny and Spammy Show", "Spam Me Once, Shame on You. Spam Me Thirty Times... Shame on You", "NBA Spam", "Harry Potter and the Spammer of Spamzkaban", "The 52nd Spammy Awards", "Spamming 101"

Oh, this appears to be the first post of the year. Uh... Happy 2010?