Monthly Archives: November 2003


Those of you that enjoy console games, go out and buy the new Prince of Persia right now.

. . .

What are you still doing here?

It’s that good. I just finished the game last night, and my jaw was hitting the floor because the ending was perfect.


This game does everything right. Control scheme, voice acting, animation, graphics, music, storyline, writing, and the ever elusive, impossible to define aspect of “gameplay.”

The puzzles and combat were the right level of difficulty, scaling appropriately as the game progressed. The game makes a point of teaching you the rules of its universe, and then even shows you a quick sepia-toned vision of what is possible using those rules. At no point did I ever feel hampered by an inappropriately difficult obstacle or enemy. Some may say that this makes the game too easy, but I say that it’s better than the frustration brought on by bewilderment.

The storyline traces a graceful circular arc, across the entirety of the game, which ends and begins at the same point–but to tell you any more would spoil it.

Even the user interface is in character. Since the game is told as a narrative flashback, when you save your progress, the Prince says, any one of a number of different phrases that say, “I’ll start the story from here next time.” When the Prince comes to an untimely end, he states, “No, wait–that’s not how it happened.”

I cannot recommend this game enough. Put it on your wishlist, put aside some time (not too much, about 10 hours), and play it through to completion. The experience is completely worth it.

Like food and water

Somewhere, somebody on the nice list is getting a Swarovski Crystal Pez dispenser. At $165 dollars, a bargain at twice the price. From the catalog, also available from FAO Schwarz:

  • A Marie Antoinette Barbie (which I find wholly appropriate for this list) for $250
  • A Swarovski crystal adorned Etch a Sketch for $1,500 (in the catalog, but not found online)
  • A mahogany rocking horse for $7,000 (see above)
  • A magician automata for $9,000
  • A Mini Caravan, complete with working sink, flourescent lights, a wardrobe, and working road lights for $20,000
  • A gasoline powered, steel frame 9hp, independent suspension, hydraulic disc brake equipped Junior Off Roader for $30,000.

I don’t even know what to say, other than the new Etch-A-Sketch that makes noises is about $15 at KB Toys. I can buy a MiniCooper S, with cash to spare for the price of the Junior Off Roader up there.

Is it just me, or does this list just seriously piss you off?

Hrm, maybe I do know what to say.

It really has changed my life

When Sifu Maiky said that Shaolin Kung Fu would “change my life,” he was right.

I just ordered a tall Tai Chi Latté over at StarBucks.

I kept trying to say “Chai Tea” but it wouldn’t come out of my mouth.

And then beat the hell out of the chuckling barista.*

* Well, not really, but if the barista was threatening me with bodily harm after hours in a dark alley and I had no choice but to fall back on my training, I’m pretty sure that I would be able to take him out as a last resort, final option sort of thing, because Kung Fu must never, ever be used for bad.

The N-Suck.

Today, Nokia announced that someone has hacked their copy protection scheme for their games, which come on MMC cards.

In other news: No one cares.

Approximately one month ago, Nokia entered the handheld video market with its much hyped “N-Gage” portable gaming console – phone hybrid device. It was touted as a challenger to Nintendo’s GameBoy Advance, which currently has a well deserved chokehold on the portable gaming market. A great majority of the video gaming community has rejected the N-Gage, and they’ve told Nokia how they feel about it, by doing absolutely nothing. The launch of the system was one of the worst in my recollection. I wasn’t there, but neither was anyone else.

Nokia pushed the N-Gage via an aggressive marketing campaign that included hiring people to deface public property. If you recalled seeing strange graffiti at bus stops or metro stations, with the words “N-Gage” on them, they were Nokia’s attempt at reaching out to the youth market. Their campaign even included paying retailers to adopt ridiculous “hard sell” tactics at their stores. Both of these techniques failed marvelously, and were found repellent by the very customers they were trying to attract. Well, I found the graffiti mildly amusing, but I doubt that anyone else got the joke.

According to various sources, the N-Gage sold 5,000 units, nationwide. It was released in October. By comparison, Nintendo expects to sell 20,000,000 GameBoy Advances this fiscal year, and is well on its way to doing so. 20 million divided by 365 is 54,795. In one month, the N-Gage has failed to sell even a tenth of what Nintendo does in one day.

Time may prove me wrong, but if abysmal sales numbers are any indication, the N-Gage is turning out to be one of the worst financial failures of the gaming industry.

In my mind, it seems that Nokia developed and manufactured the N-Gage with absolutely no input from the people that would be purchasing the unit. Someone in a board room put together a bunch of buzzwords like, “Wireless,” “Mobile,” and “Games” and created a product that nobody in their right mind would buy. The phone aspect of the device is adequate, nothing fantastic. As a gaming platform, the device has received mixed reviews.

Nokia’s N-Gage has two jobs:

1. Play Games
2. Make phone calls

I have to remove the battery to insert and remove games? Cramped directional pad and strange button layout? No exclusive “must have” titles?

Gamers: Step into my office.
NGage: Why?
Gamers: Because you’re fucking fired.

But just because it fails as a gaming device doesn’t mean that the phone is horrible, right? It’s understandable that Nokia would make an inferior gaming console. They’ve never made one before. One would think that Nokia, in all their years of experience, would be able to make a phone that is easy to hold and a pleasure to use. If nothing else, Nokia has created a new word for our lexicon, “Sidetalking.” No one can be told what sidetalking is, you have to see it for yourself.

Fortunately there’s this parody site devoted to the “sidetalk” method of using the phone.

Also, as a warning, Nokia uses this eccentric method on the 7700, one of the newest phones in its lineup. I guess it’s a future trend.

To paraphrase the Simpsons, “I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.”

I don’t foresee a future with the N-Gage in it. I may be wrong. Again, only time will tell, as history is written by the victors. If it is a failure, I guess I’ll have to console myself with the GameBoy Advance and its superior library of games.

Ah well.

Wait, there's a sequel?

Hey, submit your song request for the next inevitable karaoke revolution sequel. Just click on the official website link and request a song. Anybody (with a ps2, natch) that wants me to come over with the game is welcome to send me an invitation to their house. I’ll bring beer, if you want. That website’s got the current song list too, if you want to check it out.