Well, itÃ‚'s been an eventful month as I've tackled the Herculean task of daily changing a metric ton of diapers, but now itÃ‚'s time to get back down to the business of tossing about my unsolicited opinion across the ever prestigious internet. Inspired by my son's innate ability to deliver mustardy crap like some scatological savant, I've decided to do practically the same on a metaphorical level. Lucky you who gets to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Further, while on sabbatical, vacation, walkabout, whatever, I received a great number of encouraging e-mails, many of which said things like: Ã‚"˜youÃ‚'re awesomeÃ‚', Ã‚"˜we miss youÃ‚', and Ã‚"˜youÃ‚'re the smartest guy I knowÃ‚'. IÃ‚'d just like to say, thanks mom!So, to herald my self aggrandized return, I thought IÃ‚'d review a bit of what I missed over the last month before ramping up to speed. And, a busy month it has indeed been with some great releases, some notable absences, and the ever titillating scandal. LetÃ‚'s take a walk down short-term-memory-lane, shall we?
TheyÃ‚'ve just built a new Gamestop two blocks from my house. IÃ‚'m convinced this is good because I'll be able to save some money on gas when traveling to make impulse purchases. I figure IÃ‚'ll offset the cost of games by the jump in property value IÃ‚'m sure to enjoy having a Gamestop so close to my house. Practically doubles the value of my home, I figure.
Anyway, I walk into this Gamestop a few weeks back, and say, "Well met, shopkeep. IÃ‚'d like to purchase a box of your finest Half-Life 2."
"Are you talking to me?" He asks coyly.
"Chop chop, proprietor. IÃ‚'ve not all day to spend in your emporium. Half-Life 2, please."
"Uh, yeah. Listen, that got delayed. Would you like to reserve a copy for just five Ã‚"…"
"No no, my good man. YouÃ‚'re certainly mistaken. I have personal assurances from Gabe Newell that Half-Life 2 is to be made available on September 30. IÃ‚'d have arrived sooner, but I just had a baby, you see, but that matters nought."
"Are you high?"
I was in fact not high, but clearly IÃ‚'d been duped. Half-Life 2 appeared nowhere in the store, and eventually when the police came I had to take seriously the possibility that the game had not been released. I rushed home to get the latest news from GWJ, as IÃ‚'m sure all sensible people do, only to discover that my beloved site was nowhere to be found.
Eventually it became clear that our own Pyro had written an article (transcribed to the website from its original Burnt Sienna crayon) which broke the news of the leaked Half-Life 2 Source Code. Then Slashdot, in linking our news, promptly broke our website. Like a bunny with a Buick strapped to its back, we crumbled under the weight of tens of thousands of hits searching for a warez link to said source code. It reminded me strangely of how many hits we received by simply reporting news that a DOAX Beach Volleyball nude patch appeared to be making the rounds. We're not that kind of site, guys.
Following the technical troubles with the site, Pyro contacted me immediately to tell me how cool he was and that he would not endure my scorn again. This edict was disproved by the end of the day.
And so, to make a short story long, Half-Life 2 was delayed.
In other, vastly less important news, beleaguered cash-in game Counter-Strike Condition Zero was booted from yet another home like an arsonist foster child. Gamers, whoÃ‚'ve called out excitedly, "weÃ‚'re already playing Counter-Strike" didnÃ‚'t even bother to feign interest or surprise that the obviously flawed game idea is seeing such turmoil.
Let me get this straight, guys, itÃ‚'s exactly like the counter-strike IÃ‚'m already playing pretty much for free, except the enemies arenÃ‚'t as smart? I canÃ‚'t fault the developers whoÃ‚'ve tackled this product and been unable to devise a compelling game Ã‚– or thus I assume because it keeps getting kicked out of otherwise talented design houses. I imagine them sitting down, and suddenly realizing in a moment of caffeine induced epiphany how bad an idea Condition Zero is.
IÃ‚'ll be happy to be proved wrong about this one, but if Condition Zero turns out to be any more than a cookie cutter shooter with an aging graphics engine IÃ‚'ll be pretty surprised.
Romero Gets A Job
I know what youÃ‚'re expecting, a litany of tired John Romero bashing. Abusing John Romero is such an accepted past time that it should probably be an Olympic sport. But IÃ‚'ve not come here to bury Romero, but to praise him. Well, not praise him, but to at least give the guy a little credit.
Ok, I grant, when you blow it that big you deserve to sleep in the dog house for a year or two, but when it comes right down to it John Romero has never been anything but an enthusiastic gamer. And, he's certainly not the worst of the lot. IÃ‚'m resisting the temptation to mention some of the more irritating developer blowhards out there, because it doesnÃ‚'t seem like a Smart idea, and besides if you say their names three times they magically appear to remind you how edgy, independent, and great they are. My point being, I think weÃ‚'ve pretty much exiled John Romero long enough, and itÃ‚'s time to recall that for all his monumental errors, heÃ‚'s still been a part of some fantastic games.
Midway might turn out to have pulled off a helluva coup picking up both Romero and Tom Hall Ã‚– one of the most undercredited guys in gaming Ã‚– at once.
I was going to say something about NokiaÃ‚'s N-Gage. Then I thought about the few K of bandwidth it would take for all of you to read it, and realized how that bandwith could be put toward a much better use, like taking a pot shot at Pyro writing his articles in crayon, which I did in a parenthetical aside earlier.
Gamecube Drops Price, Releases a Game
Certis recently reviewed a new game for the Gamecube, Viewtiful Joe. Both of these events, Certis penning a review and Nintendo releasing a new game in North America, are about as rare as the appointment of a new pope, so I thought they deserved special mention.
Ok, that was a cheap shot. Fact is at $99 itÃ‚'s hard to give the Gamecube a real hard of a time anymore. Yes, the releases arenÃ‚'t as fast and furious as they are on other systems, but the quality is obviously still there. Even I have been tempted by the lower priced Gamecube, which IÃ‚'ve seen for sale as low as $79 used. Essentially, for the price of two rushed to market Xbox games, you can pick up an entire system. A system, I hasten to point out, with exclusive games like Eternal Darkness, Zelda, Mario Sunshine, F-Zero, and Metroid Prime.
Say what you want about NintendoÃ‚'s torpid release pace, or its dwindling support, but there are games to be played on the waning system that demand your attention.
I donÃ‚'t, however, take back my cheap shot at Certis. He deserved it.
I think that pretty well catches me back up to speed, and disenfranchises me from all the right people again. ItÃ‚'s nice to be back with you, GWJ.