"Ooh, they're definitely getting paid," I say repeatedly as Scott quizzes me on the review-scores for videogames in the latest issue of Game Informer. I'm not at all shocked by the notion that certain print-publications and a large number of online review-sites can have their reviews essentially bought and paid for by the publishers of videogames. What irks me about the practice is that they're not up-front about it, and yet they still proclaim themselves to be journalists. This is on par with me attending an all-expenses-paid junket to Las Vegas (and I do mean all-expenses) for a positive review of Leonard Part 6.
What really pisses me off is when it's obvious that they're either getting paid, though I suppose they wouldn't just go and admit that their reviewers are utterly retarded. IGN gave the new Grand Theft Auto game a wildly absurd score of 9.9 (out of 10). Sure, it's a nice game, but it's just GTA all over again, in that it's largely boring and parts of it are tremendously difficult. Gamespot gave the game a slightly more respectable (but still outlandish) 9.6, on the same scale.
And then you have the matter of PC Gamer's review of Half-Life 2, which came out considerably earlier than the game did. While I understand the necessity of having reviews out in a timely fashion, reviewing incomplete code is just bad for credibility. They also gave it an absurdly high score, though I can't remember exactly what it was at the moment.
I suppose all of this comes down to the situation with Fable, which might have been one of the most over-hyped games of all time, if at least since Black & White (which was also designed by the same guy). For the life of me, I have no idea how Fable got review scores as high as it did, given the fact that the game had nearly zero-replayability. It was fun for about three days, and then it got tremendously old, not to mention the framerate-issues.
Professional videogame reviewers are dumb.
Anyway. Scott's moved on to playing Dead or Alive Ultimate, or some such game. This is after he pulled out the first DOA game, which is actually the only game that I've ever seen where there's an option in the settings-menu that will allow you to turn off the jiggle-factor on the female characters' enormous breasts. And if you didn't think that was weird enough, DOA Ultimate supposedly has a special-edition release in Japan in which you also get a life-sized DOA female-character dakimakura, which translates as "hugging pillow" or "love pillow," whichever you happen to prefer. Those Nipponese are pretty fucked-up.
With the sole exception of the Soul Calibur series, I loathe fighting-games. I simply don't have the reflexes for them, and they're pretty much lacking in story beyond the classic, "My kung-fu is better than your kung-fu." The quality that redeems Soul Calibur and its sequel is the fact that they're button-mashers, which is to say that anybody can be competitive at the game, and so it's a great party-game. Get four semi-drunk people in a room, give them a Gamecube and Soul Calibur 2, and you're pretty much good to go.
I've just about got the science of ripping Final Fantasy VIII videos down to a science. For some reason, it's just not going as quickly as ripping the FFX videos was, which is strange since the documentation for both ripping-programs was in Nipponese (which I don't read). I'd probably have been able to rip and start chopping the videos after about a day, but I've been spending a few hours trying to get my Playstation emulator running a bit better. There's a bit of chop with regard to the sound, and I just can't play like that. I might also add that the emulator's sucking about ninety-four percent of my resources (on a 1.4 GHz Athlon, 768 megs of RAM), so maybe I should test it on a better rig ... I'm pretty sure a driver change should do the trick, though.
I saw Gothika over the weekend, and I can honestly say that it's probably got the most unbelievable, incredible ending of all time. Sure, some people might think that's a good thing, but I'm serious when I say that the ending is completely bereft of believability or credibility. Halle Berry chops her husband up with an axe, but (spoiler-disclaimer: I don't have a problem with spoiling bad endings to movies) she ends up going free at the end because she was possessed by a ghost and her husband was a bad, bad man. Then again, if she asked for a jury-trial here in America, I'm quite certain that she would be set free after that explanation.
Juries are dumb.
Football! The Packers beat the Redskins this weekend, marking the only time in my entire life that I've ever pulled for the Packers to win a football game. This is, of course, because of what I'm referring to as the Redskins Prophecy, which was mentioned no less than eight bazillion times during that particular game. In other news, the Bears beat the 'Niners in a game to see who was truly the worst team in the NFL; a bizarre game in which the Bears' third-string (starting) quarterback fumbled the ball twice in one play, two field goals hit the crossbar, and the referees made two fantastically idiotic (but favorable to the Bears) rulings on challenges. Seeing how I hadn't watched football all year, this was exciting for me.
It's that time of the year again: It's Election Day, which is the best day of the year, and you know why? Because that means we don't have to see any more retarded ads about who to vote for, or who not to vote for; which we are forced to watch, even though the majority of the ads in Illinois are for a congressional district that I am not a part of. There's one retarded advertisement by a Republican that says his opponent "would vote against Denny Hastert as Speaker of the House." Hey, everybody loves Denny, but since his opponent is a Democrat, she wouldn't get to vote for Speaker unless the Democrats took over the House of Representatives in the first place.
Political ads are dumb.
I suppose that the most fun that I'll be having on Election Day is laughing my ass off at the miniscule percentage that Barack Obama's opponent, Alan Keyes, is going to get. I mean, here's a guy who's going to get maybe twenty-five or thirty percent of the vote. While searching for news on their debates, I found the quote, "The third and final debate is over, and the score is clear: it's three straight wins for Alan Keyes and the voters of Illinois." This ran counter to everything else that I had read, and all became clear as I found out that the quote was by Keyes' campaign manager.
I suppose my biggest reason for laughing at Alan Keyes is because he's actually got a stance on porno. Not only that, but in his stance on porno, he actually uses the word harlot, which is a word that I would only consider using if I were going about some sort of sexual role-playing thing, while using Arthurian England as its basis. But I digress. If for no other reason for the citizens of Illinois to not vote for Alan Keyes: He wants to take away my porno.
Alan Keyes is dumb.
Anyway, the polls open in an hour, so I'm going to make myself a sandwich and go out and vote. I might take this opportunity to urge all of you reading this before voting, please, for the love of all that is holy, please vote for John Kerry. And, if you just can't bring yourself to do that, please don't vote for that punk-ass chump who's been running the country for the last four years. Vote Nader if you must, but at least in the event of foreign invasion (which I wouldn'trule out if we get four more years of this guy), you can honestly say, "I didn't vote for Bush." Why not?
George Bush is dumb.
And now, since you've gotten this far, it's time for Israeli Idol.