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signz of the timez . . .

PsychoNiGHTS, Skat from EA
  Yeah so I thought it would be pretty street and hip of me to incorporate "z's for s's" into my usually-useless subject line. it's tight though. I wonder, when was the first instace of the ebonics Z (or it's predecessor?) Did it originate sometime in the 1950s or 1800s (on purpose, not out of ignorance, I mean)


  Anyway, let's talk about games. Game, games. So the EA Skate Demo has been out for some time now, and it looks pretty interesting, from the scant bits of info I have heard about it. I still suppose it's playing like a better Thrasher with Tony Hawk gfx. Man, I did not like Thrasher (but even i could have if I'd given it a real chance, perhaps!) The gamer community seems to be eating it up, and you know what - it sounds like it's a good game that was made with some love. So in that respect, good on them, they deserve it.

  I got my hands on a couple of games this week, myself.. oldies but goodies. Last night I fired up Psychonauts on Xbox (the guy who works beside me says "that game hurts my eyes!") Um.. weird game. Very impressive though. Again, obviously a labor of love, and I am a little surprised that it didn't get pushed a little more - victim of circumstances? Style-wise it feels like it has "Nickelodeon Property" oozing out of it's pores (though it's an original IP from what i can tell) and while that turned me off initially, what can I say, it works! In spite of that it's a bit dark-laden more so than you'd think, given that label. Anyway I made it through the first section, interested to plunder further. It's nice to see when a project is driven on (almost) all fronts and put out nice and polished.. and lovingly. Shame what happens when it's released to an ungrateful public, but what else is new.

  Today's play was 'NiGHTS Into Dreams" for our ol' buddy Sega Saturn. I have had a Saturn nearly a year now, complete with the special Analogue pad (1st to market, right?) but have only finally received this game from an eBay auction today, at last. Mind you I do remember popping it in for a moment here or there in the break room of my 1st job sooo many years ago, but not long enough to give it any kind of look. Anyway, cool game. I can see why Saturn players loved this back in the day - weird, colorful, stylish, "cool feeling." I had a little difficulty figuring out the mechanics at first but it gave me some onscreen info AFTER I failed my first attempt, so yeah better late then never. It's funny playing these older games in that there still remained a semblance of difficulty "if you die then it's game over, back to the beginning!" Yeah I sent the Psychonauts dude to his death countless times last night, only to regenerate at the last checkpoint ad nauseum.. not so with NiGHTS, you get that ass handed back to Character Select Screen thanks very much.

  I have a lot of other things to get my hands on, actually a lot of stuff lying around (old-school roms mostly) that I want to give my gaming attentions to, but really I am looking at endless piles of work to do ad I'd rather stuff my free time with trying to level that mountain. Ummm.. I have some things I'd love to vent in here about my day job and what I'd like to do about it, aesthetically and business-wise, but I'll keep a lid on it for now. I'll say this much, I see a lot of work I can do yet and I am glad to be in a position where I can flourish so long as I can keep my energy flowing. I do miss "old-gen" though where it was easier to get away with being more stylish in a way.. funny how much we all bitched about it back then.

  Watching the gaf boards, it's dramariffic as always. Heavenly Sword is getting "sorta" disappointing reviews (is it out yet?) and even worse is Factor 5's Lair.. 4.9 from IGN??? What is this?? I imagine that some high-ups gotta be pissed. This really confounds me, the credibility of website/mag previews gets completely called into question in these cases. Sure they wanna have a neutral stance (though optomistic) when a game's in prerelease state, but to be honestly excited about a game and then turn into a bitchfest when the game releases speaks purely of "something is just not adding up here." A quick zap over to gamerankings.com shows that more than a couple of reviewers think this title is a crock as well. It's too bad, Factor 5 = no slouch (net the best dev, but certainly not a bad one). Worse though is that the PS3 needs these "hyped games" to follow through and build their brand up. They haven't got anything to play on that system, still.

  What else.. hmm Denis Dyack is at it again defending the latest round of "Too Human" butchering going on over at gaf. I gotta hand it to the guy, he IS what he is. You'd think someone above that guy would have yelled at him by now. It starts to make me wonder if it's all part of some bizarre otherworldly marketing scheme (which apparently even I am feeding into, now...) The latest round of pics they showed look bleh to me too. Some of the recent shots (past 6 months) didn't look bad, certainly not "amaaaazing" but not offensive. I think this entire thing is up in the air, but one thing's for sure, they did a good job of getting that game on everyone's lips (after all these years!) It sucks though, because now even if it winds up a "good game" then it won't win over the naysayers who have dug in roots to speak out on it. It'll have to be at least on a level with Bioshock to get a decent reception.. good luck, guys...

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