7.23.2009

The triumphant return of EGM...


http://www.egmnow.com/
That link says it all. Electronic Gaming Monthly is returning, in the hands of it's original creator no less!

I talked awhile back about EGM going out of print, as you may recall. Now it seems Steve Harris has taken action to buy back and revive the magazine in its print form. A bit of gaming history, Steve was the original creator and owner of Sendai Media Group, and Editor-in-Chief of EGM (and my former boss). He sold the company to Ziff-Davis, who continued the magazine for a number of years, and eventually gave it an online presence, 1-Up.com. 1-Up was then purchased by Hearst Communications as of this year, and the first act of the new corporate overlords was to cease production on EGM's printed form.

This is why I install Satellite TV. I don't fit into the corporate world, where decisions are based solely on the acquisition of wealth. I understand the term "good for business" and I've had plenty of exposure at many companies, including EGM. Even got a taste when I was involved with Gaming FM. You have to make decisions outside your normal character for the good of the business. I don't like to make those decisions. That's why I'm no longer a businessman, and why I didn't make it at EGM. I don't believe you should have to stand on the shoulders of your employees, or shut down production on a magazine with a 20 year history to be successful, do you? Maybe you do... That's why I install Satellite TV.

Steve Harris was one of those people that made me feel the way I do about corporate America. He was one of those bosses that sat on a black leather throne in an office with a gold plaque that read "God-Emperor of Sendai" and made himself completely inaccessible, even a bit scary to a 17-19 year-old employee like myself. He eventually fired me for reasons I won't get into here, but it was one of the best life-lessons I could ever learn. When I started Gaming FM, I believe I acted with friendship and respect toward my co-founders and we were consistently successful for a long time as a team. It's a lesson that can't be taught through words, you have to live it. I did.

I will say this. Although Steve and I had differences, I had and continue to have respect for him as a gamer and creator of EGM. The magazine under his leadership always had the best design, the most current news, and was always at the cutting edge in every way. By far the finest gaming magazine in existence. I'm absolutely thrilled to hear that he's bringing back EGM and taking the helm. I said before, I don't think there's a place for printed media alongside the internet. However, I know that Steve is a smart fellow, and it sounds to me like he's maybe going with a weekly format? Possibly as a companion for the website. Sounds like an interesting idea and I will be watching and waiting as this project takes form. I haven't cared about EGM since Steve left, but hearing this news really gave me a feeling of nostalgia. It's just plain cool.

7.21.2009

It's a tradition every year…

I hate G4. Up to recently, I kept the station on my programming grid so I could tune in once a year and DVR the E3 press conferences. Then I would skip all of the games I don’t care about and commentary by the G4 hosts, turning three different 3-hour press conferences into about an hour of information television for me.

This year however, I did my own Dish Network installation, purchased AT&T DSL, and dumped Comcast in the river where they belong. As a consequence, I lost G4 (is that really a consequence?) Anyway, I began to download the press conferences from Giganews, but soon realized that they’d all been made available as downloadable content on their respective systems! God bless modern technology! So I was able to watch the Nintendo press conference on my Wii, The Sony press conference on my PS3, in HD! And I’m sure the Microsoft conference was available on Xbox 360, but I refuse to wade through the sea of content to find it via that horrible screen flipping interface, so I did end up downloading the Microsoft conference via Giganews.

And as is my tradition every year, I started with Nintendo, and waited eagerly for Reggie Fils-Aime (I challenge you to properly pronounce his name), president of Nintendo America to wow me. At first, I wasn’t wowed. In fact, the press conference started with a re-hash of a bunch of stuff from last year’s E3 that had failed to reach the shelves on time, most notably, Wii Motion Plus (again), and Wii Sports Resort (again). Looks like a lot of fun! WHEN DO I GET TO PLAY IT? Then Reggie cleared the way for Satoru Iwata, the Japanese Nintendo President. He showed me the Wii Vitality Sensor. A new peripheral that you connect to your finger so the Wii can monitor your vitals. Presumably this would have an application in exercise games, or perhaps a high speed action game could monitor your heart rate to know when you’re pumped up and alter its difficulty level. Iwata-san had no in-game applications to show, only the device itself. So far, still not impressed.

Then Reggie came back out and assaulted me with some content I actually cared about. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for DS. In the cartoony Wind Waker style, this time Link rides a train instead of sailing the seas. Could be interesting.



Then he busted out New Super Mario Bros. for Wii. It’s a brand new, 2D side scrolling Super Mario Bros. game. A lot like the DS version, this one adds a twist. Four player simultaneous co-op. WOW! Now that’s pretty neat. Playing Super Mario Bros with someone else on the screen with you could be fun. Can’t wait to see it. Nintendo hasn’t released two major Mario games on the same platform since the NES days so this news was surprising as they had already released Super Mario Galaxy on Wii last year.



But Reggie wasn’t done kicking my ass yet, as he proceeded to bust out the granddaddy of the show for me, Super Mario Galaxy 2. That’s right, TWO major Mario releases this year. I’m a fan if you couldn’t tell. Mario games have always been fun and challenging for me, I love platformers. And Super Mario Galaxy ranks among my top 10 of ALL TIME. I think it’s that good, and very innovative.

Now that Reggie had me on the ropes he decided to give me a final swift kick in the face by showing me a secret project Nintendo has been working on with Team Ninja, the folks behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive (and Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball… YEAHHHH!). It begins in space and looks a bit mature for a Wii game. The main character seems to be a familiar blonde haired girl… Could she be…? Yep it was Samus, Nintendo and Team Ninja are making a new Metroid game. It’s called Metroid: Other M, and seems to be in the traditional Metroid style, THIRD person! Finally. I’m just not a fan of first person shooters. The Metroid Prime series was okay, but would’ve been so much better as third person titles. I finally get the modern Metroid game I’ve wished for. It seems to reveal more of Samus’ past and looks amazing. I don’t know much more than that because I passed out from excitement.

Overall I think my feelings about the Nintendo conference were summed up well by Gabe and Tycho on Penny Arcade:


And then we get to the other two... Sony and Microsoft. Who both had "Wii-rip off" accessories to show off. Everyone wants to jump on the motion bandwagon. Microsoft seems a lot further along with their Project Natal. A Wii-Sensor Bar add on for the Xbox, that you set on top of your TV, except it's called Project Natal instead of Wii Sensor bar. I'm interested to see what my TV rig is gonna look like with all these sensor bar add-ons for every system. It's starting to get a little crowded up there.

Sony's Jack Tretton, (who looks and sounds he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown every year) showed the PSP Go, a new PlayStation Portable without a UMD drive and a bit smaller with a cell phone like slide to reveal the D-pad and buttons. Jack also revealed that Sony was in the early stages of THEIR motion add on for PS3, that would be even better than Microsoft or Nintendo's... *Yawn* We'll see.

The highlight of the Microsoft and Sony shows were of course the appearance of Hideo Kojima with two new Metal Gear Games. TWO! The first, he appeared at the Sony booth with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PSP. Takes place after Metal Gear Solid 3 and Portable Ops in the 1970's. More Big Boss stuff, pretty cool!



Kojima-san then appeared at the Microsoft booth with an early trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Seems to star Raiden. We shall see!



As for my current gaming endeavors, right now I'm playing Ghostbusters for PS3. All of the original actors voice their respective characters in the game, Including Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler, Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz and William Atherton returns as Walter Peck. The game's story and dialogue was also written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Pretty good so far!

I've also become addicted to Portal on Olaf's recommendation. I normally hate first person games, but this is a puzzler rather than a shooter, so I'm enjoying it. If you've played it, then I'm sure you know by now... The cake is a lie. Play this game. The ending theme is well worth the effort. Makes me want to get Gaming FM going again just to broadcast it. I won't spoil it for you. It's a short game and it's fun.

And yes, I'm STILL playing Burnout Paradise. The best driving game ever. The Big Surf Island add-on just came out, and man it's just a blast!

That's all for this year... See you next!

7.06.2009

Work, sleep, work...

If you’ve sent me an e-mail, instant message or txt recently and haven’t gotten a response, I apologize. If you haven’t heard from me in months, I apologize. My new job keeps me busy and tired. I also blame the iPhone. Now instead of having a designated time to sit down in front of a computer, I get all of my messages instantaneously on my phone, which is always with me. Problem is, when I receive them I’m usually in a crawlspace, attic, or hanging precariously on a rooftop and can’t answer. Rest assured, I got your message, made a mental note to reply later, then forgot or was too tired. Needless to say the transition of my 35 year old out of shape body from behind a desk to out in the field has not been easy. I enjoy the work itself, but often find myself exhausted. It’s getting easier as time goes on, but that’s why I’ve been something of a ghost lately. The van which I was assigned by my office lost its brakes yesterday, which affords me a day off to finally write down a few things. Don’t worry, only a few people were killed when I lost the brakes (BTW, special thanks to Koop for picking me up!)

Some interesting things have happened since Star Trek came out (my last update), I bought the Ghostbusters video game which I love, I became a fan of Portal, E3 came and went, and I found out EGM is making a triumphant return under new management, or rather, OLD management might be the proper term. I’ll talk about all these things in the coming days. Until then, yes I’m alive and well, just adjusting to this new job…