The AbyssThe Abyss

Posted on Jan 22nd 2009 at 03:06:40 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Uh, Luc, Nintendo, Economics

God, it's been a while. Have you missed my Cynical Nature? My friends would tell you that I can be quite the Cynical Bastard, but in recent history I've moved to a new state and my Cynical Nature has been placed on the back burner as real issues consume my life. Life is good and all, and while I've been furloughed for four days I still have a job and that's fantastic.

Lucky for those of you that enjoy my Cynical Nature, I am writing this article. I mean there's plenty of things to be cynical about if you're American. For the sake of this article I'll keep it to limited to gaming. Let's jump into a few of those topics, after all it's been a while and some things have certainly happened.

Continue reading The Cynical Gamer #11: Uh?

Posted on Jan 4th 2009 at 04:06:36 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Feature, Year in Review, Modern Gaming

2008 is over, and has been now for almost three days. Is it sad? Nah, sure the economy hit the dump and many developers went belly up but that does not mean that there were not some great moments in gaming over the year. Sadly, there were also bound to be some disappointments as well. Being now 2009, it seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on the previous year as it pertains to games. Let's all do that, shall we? I'll start.

Continue reading 2008 games. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted on Oct 7th 2008 at 11:23:22 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Luc Bernard, Eternitys Child


Hey there readers, what you see above is some game developer off in the distance crying out for attention. It happens from time to time really, and it’s god forsakenly annoying. Really, it’s not cool, and honestly I don’t understand why some developers go the route of the attention whore.

You might have at one point been wowed by a game called Eternity’s Child. It had promise, it really, truly did. It’s developer seemed to be a charismatic developer who you might know as Luc Bernard. He seemed cool, and he was more than willing to tell his development story on Destructoid, and from a hype generating standpoint, he did an awesome job getting people excited for his game. The thing though is that you have to deliver on the hype, and apparently he didn’t do a good job finding a competent programmer for the job. Perhaps he should have hired Chainclaw on the side, because those people who have played the game as it was released on Steam found the game to be absolutely atrocious. One site decided that they would be brutally honest in their review, and this is where this story gets fun. See, Luc and Destructoid were buddy buddy prior to the release, and it was a shock to see a 1 rating for Eternity’s Child. We’re not going to go into the reasoning for the score, but you can read all about it on Dtoid.

What is important is what happened after the review. Luc appeared to become a child, criticizing Destructoid for giving his game such a low review when there were going to be many more revisions to come to the game. The thing though is that reviews are generally of the game as it is released, and in his case, his game apparently was straight from the seventh circle of Hell. Honestly, I don’t know anything about the quality of the game, but, if it truly plays like a low budget flash game then that’s rather sad. If a game is bad, be prepared to accept the cold hard truth. People are brutally honest, sometimes, and you got to be prepared for that. In Luc’s case, he wasn’t and he sort of went down in flames.

Destructoid commenters are a cruel bunch, and they absolutely destroyed him in not so nice ways. In reality, Dtoid could have done a better job moderating that comment string, but that’s not of my concern. After the harsh words and not so friendly banter, Mr. Bernard swore off developing games, and insisted that he’d only work on his art. Well, let’s fast forward to this week and what do I hear? Oh that’s right, Luc is working on Eternity’s Child 2.

It came to me as an epiphany. Luc was either a marketing genius, or someone with the emotional equivalent of a 12 year old. See, his game would never have gotten the hype it got if it wasn’t for his Destructoid relationship, which then got caught on with other gaming sites.  Truly, for an independent developer, he is a marketing genius. Unfortunately, his game sucked, and in the process we learned that Mr. Bernard couldn’t take the heat of bad press, or maybe he could… It certainly generated a lot of attention, and in the process a lot of us now know about Eternity’s Child 2 because he essentially leveraged attention he got upon himself upon his next project. How very shrewd.

Mr Bernard, you used the bad review to your advantage. You never were going to quit developing games, were you? Sticking to your art would not have given you the limelight you so sorely have wanted. Aren’t you an attention whore, Luc? Isn’t that why Mr. Destructoid was originally in the game? It got you press, didn’t it? When they slammed you, it was gone. Clearly then it wasn’t crucial to the game, now was it? Why else would you have placed it in the game? Maybe you genuinely wanted to do something nice for the site that gave you your attention, but I imagine it was so that Dtoid would keep you in the limelight.

Regardless, congrats Luc! You’ve got everyone to report on the development of Eternity’s Child 2, including now the niche gaming site known as RF Generation! Here’s to you!

Game developers – don’t follow the Luc Bernard route. Here’s a very important marketing / customer satisfaction mantra that you should follow: Underpromise, Overdeliver. The best games don’t need to show itself off like a prostitute from O-Town. For indie developers, it’s a fine line, trying to get mainstream recognition while at the same time underpromising. Well, why not just shoot for the mainstream recognition while not whoring yourself / your game out? Be careful, or your experience could end up blowing up in your face.

God, this really wasn’t about attention whoring, or was it? Might have just been me bitching about Luc Bernard. Oh well. It was supposed to be about attention whoring, but in my eyes Luc is an attention whore.

Posted on Aug 24th 2008 at 11:13:09 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Rhythm Games, Guitar Hero

You know, coding a game progress tracker is a lot of work. God knows when it will be finished, but to keep myself from going crazy, I like to play Guitar Hero. See, I like rhythm games. In fact, I like them a lot! They might form my favorite genre, and I wholeheartedly look forward to future releases like Samba De Amigo and Guitar Hero: World Tour. I don’t know what it is about rhythm games, but I find them utterly addictive and extremely enjoyable. Perhaps you hold the same opinion, or maybe you don’t. The latter is cool, except that some people in that group take their reasoning to the extreme, and it makes me angry.

See, I used to be a musician. A band geek, so to speak. In addition to being a band geek, I also wore broken plastic glasses, a monochrome short-sleeved shirt, and a pocket protector in the shirt pocket. Just ask the Black Perl, he’d vouch for that. You know, we band geeks are horribly nerdy. That must have been why the jocks always beat the crap out of me and my friends. But, aside from being an über nerd, being a musician gave me a love for all things musical. Can I still play a saxophone or clarinet? Hell if I know, but I can still play my recorder. But, it was a good time, and being a musician gave me some skill sets that others just don’t have.

So, I was a musician, marching in Ohio’s Finest (Only) All-Male Marching Band. I am proficient in reading music sheets, and if I practiced (and I don’t), I could probably become a decent musician once more. I really enjoy my musical prowess to a certain extent, but that certainly doesn’t exclude me from liking things that bastardize music. What could possibly bastardize music? Why, rhythm games, of course, and this bastardization make some of you very unhappy.

Continue reading The Cynical Gamer #9: Rhythm Whining

Posted on Aug 9th 2008 at 04:10:03 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Modern Gaming

Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, well, that’s at least what they say. To me imitation could be a good thing, or, in a market where being unique can lead to being hugely popular and subsequent huge profit margins, a very bad thing. Look for example at Apple. No one is really like Apple in what they do and what they offer. Apple is the trendy tech company, and pending the outcome of a lawsuit, they either will be comfortably the trendy tech company for years to come, or they could see their profit margins erode as the Mac OS is opened up to other hardware manufacturers. Certainly could throw a wrench into things, that’s for sure.

So, what does this talk have to do with gaming? What? Are you serious? Imitation in the gaming realm is making me want to throw up, and I hope you’re as dazed about this imitation as I am.

Continue reading Cynical Gamer #8: Imitation

Posted on Jul 10th 2008 at 04:12:47 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Nintendo, Wii, Crap

As you may or may not know, I tend to be skewed towards the world of Nintendo. I grew up on Nintendo, I supported Nintendo up to the Wii, and once the Wii was released Nintendo decided to defecate on every member of the Nintendo old guard and try to appeal to that elusive casual gamer. They’re doing a great job, they really are. Meanwhile, I really, really want LittleBigPlanet, and well, we all know what system that is on. But yes! The Nintendo Connection! You see, the Wii has the dubious distinction of being home to more crap than one can shake a finger at. Strike that, one hundred billion fingers. The more depressing thing is that people are buying this stuff. It’s really, really disappointing, and I’ll tell you why.

Continue reading The Cynical Gamer #7: Crap

Posted on Jun 14th 2008 at 09:02:13 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Nintendo, Geeks, Otaku, Wii

You know, I happen to live in Cincinnati. It’s sort of an advertising / marketing Mecca. That’s bound to happen when Procter and Gamble happens to be based in your city. You know, Ivory Soap, Tide, Pringles, Gillette, Old Spice, Febreeze, etc… that company. Not to mention all of their recent divestures, we are home to the company who spends lots of money on their brands. In fact, they spend the most money of any company. So, certainly, we in Cincinnati have a company who knows how to do things right. God bless P&G. They make Cincinnati proud.

Some companies try very hard to be good at advertising. They try very hard to project an image. They’re so good that they do so at the expense of royally ticking off their old fan base. Nintendo seems to be that brand. It’s sad though, as they try to be just like Apple, but that’s hard when you have people like Laurent Fischer.

Continue reading The Cynical Gamer #6: Laurent Fischer

Posted on May 31st 2008 at 07:22:53 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Nintendo, 512MB

So, believe it or not, but I am actually a gamer. I know, wow! The cynical gamer is a gamer! It may frighten you to know then that I do not own a 360 or PS3. Rather, I own that technologically inferior Wii. I used to think that was a bad deal, but then I realized that when I do play the system I am absolutely enthralled. Who’d a thunk it? Thanks, Okami! (and NMH, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario, Metroid Corruption, and Twilight Princess). Truly, in the mounds of shovel ware, there are some winners.

WiiWare – how I am excited for this downloadable medium. Games like Eternity’s Child and World of Goo, in addition to Strongbad’s Game for Cool and Attractive People, certainly have my interest. On launch day (well, the day after actually), I decided to by Lost Winds. It was a gamble for me, for it was developed by Frontier. Ugh. They developed RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and that game crushed by top of the line laptop. (at least it was 4 years ago) So, I had low, and at the same time high expectations for the game. Turns out that the game is pretty darn good, but then, I noticed something, and it made me rather unhappy.

On the download screen, Lost Winds takes up about 250 blocks on the Wii. It was then I saw how much space I had left on my internal memory, about 500 blocks. Ouch. I guess I can download one or two more games before Nintendo, in their infinite wisdom, decides that I should start deleting things in order to obtain newer releases. I only have a few Virtual Console games on my Wii, and Lost Winds, so, this development has my head scratching.

What the hell, Nintendo? Do you really want to stifle people from spending money on your wares? Do you really wish to not utilize the SD card slot or USB for additional storage? Do you really think 512MB of internal memory is enough? If you did, then you certainly must have a clearer idea of what people like me want. I guess that I don’t actually know what I want. But, thankfully, you do, and you’re limiting me to 512MB of downloads. Bravo, Nintendo! Bravo!

So, Nintendo, is your head so far up your ass that you can’t see that people are willing to spend money to populate more than 512MB worth of space? Do you really think that everyone is going to only by NES games to populate the Wii Channel list that is horizontally expansive? Do you think people are going to want to constantly delete and re-add games whenever they want to play something? I sure hope not.

512MB is a miniscule chunk of space to bestow on a console with downloadable content. Perhaps it’s time for a larger storage solution for the Wii. Certainly, we gamers hope that Nintendo is doing what is necessary to afford us more space. Until that time, we gamers will continue to be frustrated by the prospect that we’ll have to delete something to add something new. On a console that tries to reach out to the elusive “casual gamer”, ease of operation should be paramount. It’s clear though that the ease of dealing with downloadable content is not. It’s time for that to change.

Posted on Apr 14th 2008 at 10:56:56 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Atari

There are many big developers out there. Such Behemoths as Activision, Nintendo, and the evil empire we know as EA. Love or hate, these behemoths tend shape the future of the gaming world, for better or worse. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ll have the fallen angels, where certain companies have just fallen out of favor. Such is the story for Atari. No, not the old Atari that was cool and caused the video game collapse in the 80s, but the current, sad, sorry Atari that was originally Infogrames / Hasbro Interactive. What went wrong, and what the hell are you doing?

Atari, you have some decent franchises. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Rollercoaster Tycoon series. Chris Sawyer was a genius, and the fact that the first game was the number one seller the year it came out proved it. Too bad then that you took the series and combined it with shit in Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. A sequel, nah, that was a castration. You tried to make better with the third game in the series, but while it was fun it was a resource hog that slowed to a crawl when your park became too large. Good job destroying that franchise.

Recently, you almost lost your license for Dragonball Games. For you, that certainly would have sucked, as your Budokai games are actually pretty fun. They are perhaps the only gems that are not tarnished in your crown by pieces of shit like My Horse and Me. Is that even proper English? I believe that it should be “My Horse and I”. Great job promoting the further castration of the English Language, in a world where the internet is destroying the written language you’re doing your part by influencing little girls who are too small to use the internet. In time, they’ll join the rest of us on the internet, creating some hideous MySpace page with the welcome statement “Like O My Gawd I am liek so Happy that u r here!” What a sick sad world it is. Thankfully, the economy has collapsed, so these bubblegum girls aren’t going to be able to hide in McMansions anymore. Thank God, perhaps they’ll learn what their poor English will get them in terms of a job. Do you think “Would you like Fries with that?” is hard for them to learn? I don’t think so, but I digress.

Atari, you’re a lost cause. Try as you might, but you’ll never be a behemoth in the gaming world. It’s funny though, because you do try. You took Phil Harrison from Sony. What the hell? You’re supposed to go out in a blaze of glory, taking the Infogrames stock price with you! But you must not realize that, or perhaps you do, and you just want to ruin poor ol’ Phil. Phil seems to be such a nice guy though, it isn’t as though he’s the one known for “RIIIIIIIDGGEEEE RAAACCER!” No, that’d be Kaz Hirai. What? You say you wanted that guy? I am sure that with enough money you can get him. I am sure Sony wouldn’t mind to have Phil back, and we’d be happy to see you go down in flames without him.

It’s time for you to smell the roses, Atari. Your time is over, and it’s time for new companies to grow out of your decomposed remains.

It is noted that a lot of thought came about regarding the structure of the English language from just writing this article. We really wish our resident grammar Nazi, known to the RFG Community as Arrrhaloymnn was around to give his perspective. There’s nothing quite like a native Dutch Speaker giving a native English speaker his perspective on English grammar. Oh well.

Posted on Mar 24th 2008 at 10:52:18 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Nintendo

Nintendo! What the hell is wrong with you? Words can describe how frustrated you make me. It's times like today where I wish that you went the way of Sega. You know how to print money for yourself, but in terms of catering to everyone, you've failed. I remember how you said that you wanted to cater to everyone, but now it's obvious that was a crock of shit. Kudos to you Nintendo, we love the shovelware that you promote.

Get this Nintendo - a large population of Wii owners are actually above the age of 18! We're sick of the "Protect the Kids Bullshit!"ť Microsoft does a great job protecting the kids while at the same time providing the best online experience of any console. You, on the other hand, are so preoccupied with "protecting the kids"ť that you neglect the potential sales and desires of your older owners. It pisses us off, and we hate it.

I don't want Carnival Games. I want more games like No More Heroes. I don't want Smash Bros with Friend Codes. I want Smash Bros with Live. I don't want the PS2 version of Rock Band; I want the full fledged version that the 360 and PS3 has. Perhaps you don't realize it Nintendo, but what you're doing now is pissing people like me off because your policies promote developers to port CRAP! I'm sick of this crap, and I am getting rather sick of you.

Continue reading The Cynical Gamer #3: Nintendo

Posted on Mar 9th 2008 at 06:00:00 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, EA, Bioware

Maxis was a great company. Who didn't love SimCity 2000? Certainly, it's no Stunt Driver, but boy was the game fun. Could you get the Launch Arcos to actually launch? I couldn't. I suck. But hey, at least I could start major floods like the best SimCity players. Floods are something that all the new SimCity games surely miss. Bring them back Maxis. I beg you. Maxis was certainly a great company. Today, however, it is part of the behemoth known as EA. Sure, they still have reign to make potentially amazing games such as Spore, but let's look at the other, unfortunate studios. Take for example Westwood Studios, the original developer of the hugely successful Command and Conquer Series. Red Alert"¦ quality game. Red Alert 2"¦ also a quality game. So you'd think a studio with a series as successful as Command and Conquer would have been allowed to survive, right? Well, you'd be wrong. Instead EA ate them. No more. Completely assimilated. That's apparently what you get for screwing up on an offshoot of your major franchise. Thanks C&C Renegade. So, there went Westwood, and other studios have seen similar fates, becoming less autonomous and on occasion just not existing anymore. Bullfrog? What's that? They've been gone for a while.

EA likes to buy companies. In the past, they would assimilate the companies, but recently their CEO mentioned that this model just was not a good idea. Of course, this statement was made right around the acquisition of a high profile developer. You may know them as Bioware. They make good games. Most recently they released Mass Effect, and before that they had hits such as Jade Empire and Neverwinter Nights. Hugely successful. Congrats to them. But you got to wonder, will their success keep them from becoming a footnote in EA's corporate history? Sure, EA says that assimilation is a bad thing, but was that just said to placate the masses of people who find Bioware to be the be all end all of developers? (I'm looking at you, Tan) History shows they have no problem making developers part of the bigger EA. So, is that fate subject to Bioware? What could it take? A bad game? A whim of the CEO? Nothing? Who knows? But what I do know is that I'd take Mr. Riccitiello's comments with a grain of salt. It might make a future assimilation even more stinging than it should be.

So, why am I writing this article? Is it because there is a Blizzard Warning out right now and I am cooped up in the house, or is it because EA is trying to become ultra-mega EA upon the purchase of either Take Two or perhaps Ubisoft. Maybe it's both. But yeah, doesn't EA's Grand Theft Auto sound delightfully evil? The Evil Publisher, with what is considered by some to be the devil's game. How delightfully maniacal. Damn you EA for owning Maxis. You'll get my money for that. But, will you or will you not keep your future and new acquisitions autonomous? I certainly hope that you do, but at the same time I certainly will not keep my hopes up.

Posted on Jan 31st 2008 at 01:10:17 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Cynical Gamer, Feature, Waggle, Wii

Hey there, name's Dave. I run this here site. I am generally a bright cheery fellow on this site. However, if you know in me in real life, I am the ultimate cynic. Doom, doom, and doom.  So, I've decided on occasion to treat you to my brutally honest, cynical side. Friends that personally know me may get a kick out of this, while others may be infuriated with the statements I have to make.  So, sit back, relax, and enjoy my spin.

I wrote this lovely review of No More Heroes. It's a nice game. Seriously. However, reading through comments I see comments belittling the game because it has "waggle". Well, la de da. I hate Halo because of its control. No thanks. There is one difference though - I've played Halo.  Sure, you may not enjoy the "waggle" motions that get old (see Zelda), but trust me, this game is nothing like Zelda. The game makes "waggle" fun and rewarding. Finishing moves are completed via the "waggle," and to be honest, it's executed well. As are throws and wrestling moves initiated by "waggle." Never before has the "waggle" felt so good. I may even go so far as to say that the waggle of No More Heroes is better than that of Zack and Wiki. But, I digress.

I can't help but think that people who attack the motion controls of the Wii have some type of ulterior motive. Motion control, if executed properly, can be done really well, such as in No More Heroes or Even Mario Galaxy. It can also be piped into a shovelware title, and made to exhibit behaviors inherent of crap. Similarly, the same can be said for other systems. Do I look to play sims or RTS's on a console? Hell no. But look, there are games like the Sims or Theme Park World, and soon to be Halo Wars. Give me a computer to play these genres on. Even games with "normal" control can suck. Do I need to start naming shitty games with normal control? Nah, you're all smart, I bet you can think of your own.

Don't get me wrong - the Wii is currently the home of shovelware and crap. However, there are those gems in the landfill. In time, the frequency of these gems may increase, but who knows. Certainly it is a worrying thought for anyone who owns a Wii and also wishes for more than Casual Crap. The DS eventually became great, I certainly hope the same for the Wii.

So, those who dismiss motion control as "waggle," why? Did you get burned out on the Wii by playing too many crappy games, or do you possess inherent fanboyism? Maybe you're just getting old. I hear that as you age you get more resistant towards new ideas, perhaps that's it? Can you hear your bones rattling? That might be it.

Do yourself a favor. Take a deep breath. Think about why you hate or love motion control. Can you change your view of motion control? Are you willing to change your view? Perhaps you will as more good games are released with motion control. There might be a few you enjoy. All I know is that I feel bad for people like Suda51. Great concept and execution, dismissed for its "waggle". Certainly, a shame.

Posted on Jan 14th 2008 at 01:34:11 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Feature, PS3, PlayStation, Sony, Microsoft, 360, Modern Gaming

People have been sneering at the price of the PS3. They say it is expensive. You know, this statement is correct. However, I find it troubling that many of these people that say the Playstation 3 is overly expensive have no problem laying down the money for Microsoft's 360. I find such actions humorous. Let's analyze what I perceive as the true costs of these two systems, in terms of what they have to offer and what hidden costs lie with the system. Perhaps, we'll be enlightened after this discussion. Perhaps you'll be enraged. Chances are though that my arguments are pretty decent, and perhaps it will make take a second look at which system you ultimately end up purchasing.

Continue reading PS3 or 360? Why not Make an Informed Decision?

Posted on Jan 11th 2008 at 11:40:49 PM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Feature, Music, Modern Gaming, Classic Gaming, Retro

As I sit hear, listening to the Future of Rock and Roll, I was pondering what my next article should be. I sit hear, enjoying the music, listening to the smooth melodies of the indie rock scene. Feel the emotion, the magic, the rhythm. Music is a powerful medium. Music can be one of the best ways to convey emotion and mood without saying a word. Truly, music is an important part of games. From the 8-bit era to today, music has been an integral part of games. Think of the classics. The Mario Theme. The Zelda Theme, and many more, they're all great. Let's take the time to reminisce on the past, and identify the history of game music as it is today.

Continue reading Game Music through the Ages... Why is Game Music so Popular?

Posted on Jan 6th 2008 at 02:10:11 AM by (TraderJake)
Posted under Random, Feature, THE FORMAT WAR!!!, HD DVD, Blu Ray

So, Format War?
HD DVD is going to totally win
Blu Ray has just put the nail in HD DVD's Coffin
DVD will remain the dominant format for years to come
This war is just a facade for the inevitable transition to Digital Distribution
Free polls from

Well, it seems as though the format wars are possibly reaching a conclusion, with Sony's Blu Ray format beating out HD DVD. Depending on how you look at it, either this conclusion is vindication for Betamax or something that you wish mirrored Betamax. So, after years of fighting, bickering, and backhanded deals, the future is looking rather bleak for HD DVD. I guess the question then is- was the future ever looking bright for HD DVD? I don't know if I can say yes. It seems as though one of its principal proponents (Microsoft) seems to be rather preoccupied with its own download service. Do they really care about HD DVD? Perhaps we'll find out soon at CES with their rumored Ultimate Xbox announcement. But, I bet that even if the Ultimate 360 has a built-in HD DVD drive Microsoft will still have its agenda entirely on its download service. I wonder if it even matters any more. Let me tell you why.

Continue reading So there is this HD Format War... Do you Care? Should you Care?

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This is where my thoughts go and are never heard from again.

Well, maybe not, but this is the repository for all of my published thoughts and rantings. It'll make my day if you find at least 10% of it amusing and enjoyable to read.

Sorry for the other 90%.

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