Thursday, July 29, 2004 @ 20:24 (Japan Standard Time)
About

A hobbyist video gamer in the middle of Japan's gaming zone. Comments on console, PC, handheld and arcade games.
On this page

2004-07-29 Thu

Why can't they make the ship out of the options?

2004-07-28 Wed

Some good articles

Collection, take 2.

A collection maker, flak monkey

2004-07-27 Tue

Running, into walls

Loop one complete

2004-07-26 Mon

new score

My precious, rotating options

2004-07-24 Sat

Rapid button kills.

Come on, we're just getting started.

2004-07-20 Tue

bloglines

Walking in the wee hours of the night

2004-07-19 Mon

Kaze ga kureta oyasumi

2004-07-17 Sat

Magazines and the week in review

2004-07-16 Fri

On rotating options

2004-07-12 Mon

Endurance

2004-07-10 Sat

The weekly rag, where's the omake?

2004-07-09 Fri

A list of games

2004-07-08 Thu

Stumbling upon artistic games

2004-07-04 Sun

(Rarely) Thinking About Gaming

2004-07-01 Thu

Duped

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Why can't they make the ship out of the options?

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, I hate the level 5 with a trembling vengeance)

Got a higher score for Gradius V this time, and I used the score ranking mode, so it won't save in my high scores table.

1,249,820 - 1-6 - Edit (Flying Torpedo, Freeway, Laser, Rotate, Force Shield)

I registered the score in the official internet ranking, top 182 in edit mode only. Heh. I probably have a better chance of getting a higher score through something else.

If only I could get through stage 1-5 unscathed. No amount of rotating options will save you from the onslaught of danmaku style bullets rain.

And yes I probably was about 19 years too late with that joke in the title.

Some good articles

Instead of gazing at my gaming navel, I checked out slashdot... a couple of links later, we have a guy's blog about wanting game developers to Design Games for the Wage Slave. I agree that some games should be designed for quick bites of virtual fun when Real Life doesn't let you get away because you are at the age with Real Life Responsibilities. Let's not forget the slashdot discussion that started my linkie linkie.

So how to critically think about your game purchases? How about some better game journalism? What's wrong with game journalism? This guy knows.

Collection, take 2.

Well, I had a IGN account laying around since 2001 and they have a "my collection" home page. Since I started my list with Gamespot and the lack of titles was frustrating, I decided to finish with IGN service. About 7 hours later, I have inputted about probably 85 percent of my junk and I got the grand total.

342 TOTAL GAMES
58 PS2
16%
42 DC
12%
42 GBA
12%
38 GB
11%
29 PC
8%
28 PS
8%
22 Saturn
6%
19 GBC
5%
17 GCN
4%
16 NES
4%
15 SNES
4%
8 N64
2%
6 Xbox
1%
1 2600
0%
1 Arcade
0%
Favored platform: PlayStation 2
Favored publisher: Nintendo
Favored developer: Nintendo
Estimated value of collection: USD 7,585.47**
IGN Editors' avg. score: 8.4
piyokun's avg. score: 9.6


** IGN Gamestore value for available games

If you want to see the complete listing of the incomplete data, here's the link: http://users.ign.com/collection/piyokun. I also put the link in my Owned page. It's hard to argue with numbers. I must really like my Playstation 2. I think I need to buy a backup one now.

Also it says that my favored publisher is Nintendo. Heh, I don't believe that one for a second. Sure, in the past I spent a lot of time with teh Mario, Zelda, etc., but now I hardly look forward to their newer iterations.

This list is incomplete because I got tired of inputting data and the rest of my junk is either in the next room in awaiting Sofmap bag bundles or back at my home in the States, awaiting my return. I have some interesting games over there, such as the PS1 version of Tempest. But most of the other ones there are Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation junk I found at bargain prices back then as a "starving" student. Really I think I can see the forest from the trees even though I'm not done yet. I really, really need to downsize my "collection".

This collection feature of IGN is great but the database is still incomplete. I have 54 other titles that could not be inputted at the time. They include the gal-get games I played such as Kimi ga nozomu eien and To Heart, other esoteric titles such as Cho-aniki for the PS1-jp and or just older U.S. games that just weren't included, like Deathlord and Wasteland for the Apple IIe. (Yes these entries do exist for the IBM PC or Commodore 64).

I wonder how smart it would be to "screen scrape" the data that IGN has built into my collection after I selected the titles. There are those other titles I want to show in their full glory in either English or Japanese, just like the woefully out-of-date owned and owned (JP) pages. What I want is a database that shows those titles and how many copies I own of each. Unfortunately I picked up two copies of a couple of games, plus there's the whole U.S. gaming side I forgot to bring with me which I purposefully duplicated.

In any case all of these games listed out like this, feels like a ton of bricks on my shoulders. Too many.

A collection maker, flak monkey

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-jp, It's good to hear "flak monkey" from the announcer.)
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, I hate bullets.)

I was intrigued by the collection page for this guy. Not so much for the collection itself but for the database and presentation. I tried registering some of the games I have, and most of the Japanese ones weren't available. How sad. I could try to post my collection here, but it doesn't seem to work. Well, take a look at it anyway. Gamespot only gives me an empty page after I log out, I wonder if you can see anything.

I experimented with Gradius V edit mode today. Um, yeah if you clear the game, even by credit feed you get the edit mode. But basically I am still mainly a type 4 derivative setup. But no matter what kind of setup I use it is still a matter of wits and twitch. And I still can't surpass my score of 1,100,000+. Maybe I need to take a break.

Oh yeah, and UT2004 surprised me by calling a "flak monkey". This is only possible in a tightly confined map like ONS-2fort. I hear this map is derided by many players but still people vote for it. This is probably because once the center nodes fall and the supplemental base nodes are almost captured, it is impossible for the losing team to get back to the center nodes. That and it is pretty hard for the winning team to get a hefty crack into the base node. It turns into a battle for the last mile. Which is pretty fun for the winning team, I guess.

Running, into walls

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, The backgrounds are reminiscent of the Ikaruga color scheme)

Recently I was walking from my kitchen when I bumped into the wall. I was probably preoccupied with something, but the candy I was carrying fell to the floor. Eww. This is how I felt when I bumped into the wall in stage 1-3 just before the spider boss. Ugh ugh ugh. I needed that life for today's top score attempt! I got 1,090,000 something before I died on a piece of space debris. Ugh it's like hitting a parked car or something stupid like that. (>_<);

Loop one complete

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, What's a Gradius without "loops?")

I "beat" the game and it only took me 10 credits to do it. The ending is anti-climatic. As the credits were scrolling by I saw "Treasure Co. Ltd" in a similar font as in the end credits of Ikaruga. Or maybe it's just my imagination.

The second loop is not only extra bullets, or death bullets, but changed boss behaviors! This is too hard. This really is too hard. And another thing... Would you like ripple with your laser? Hee hee hee.

new score

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, I died on the first wave of enemies in the sixth level!)

1,130,600 Stage 1-6. My personal best on Normal.

Hands are still trembling not from that but from trying to get far in stage 1-7. That's where I wasted the remainder of my credits.

Couple of things that were working for me this time. I was able to get past that "flesh wall" part unscathed and without losing a life. Wow. "He could go all the way!" to the voice of a sportscaster. Also I could get past the spider boss without dying. Yeah. That would help.

My precious, rotating options

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, My eyes are singed with blue lasers)
Well well, Gradius V is turning out to be a very very fun game. Fun but devilish hard cry your eyes out keep smacking the continue/start button fun. ^_^; The in-game clock says I've been at it for 11 hours, not continuously, of course. I think 4 of them were spent in the Stage Select just playing stage 6 bosses over and over again. Fun fun fun.

I am still playing with type 4. The type is not recommended by the "Pride" column in Weekly Famitsu. It's only two stars out of five. The type 2 is the best one, they say, five out of five stars. Frankly, in the later parts of the game, I agree with that. It's just that I like 4 now.

I was able to get to level 5 on one credit woop woop. After that I have amassed a total of 12 credits and I have opened up to stage 7. OMG stage 7 is effortlessly competent. In whipping me, that is. Everything about this level is quality, not only graphics but puzzle difficulty and just plain shmup-ism. It feels like a Treasure game. And can you believe how long it is? That's how it's not like a Treasure game. The twist at the end of stage 7 has shades of other beloved Treasure games, no I'm not going to explain that. I am being totally vague about the levels because I'm sure some people want to be razzle-dazzled with the surprises.

Believe me, when I say Gradius V belongs in your PS2 top three must-have-shmups list, I mean it. I disliked side scrollers. Gradius V has me on the edge of my seat. I hated the Gradius-type power up system. Somehow Gradius V has me reaching for just one more powerup. This is the only time you will see a (good!) Treasure-made shooting game on the PS2. (Didn't they make the lukewarm Gradius IV for the PS2?) People, what we have here is Ikaruga on the PS2, effectively. You must play this game, I kid you not!

With that being said, I hear the options are calling me again. Or is it the English announcer in echo voice over, saying over and over, "Come on?! We're just getting started!"

Rapid button kills.

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, "You need practice")
Well with a little more practice I can get to level 3 in Gradius V without continuing. Now I have 7 credits accumulated and I need all of them to get to the end of level 5. My right hand is in pain though from squeezing the controller too hard, though, so I'm taking a blog break.

So far my favorite level is level 5, the rocks. The middle section where you weave through the moving platforms and the rocks is somewhat boring but the boss makes up for it.

And then I notice you can't keep the rapid button down because the obstacles will kill you for it. That's novel. Ahh my hands are still hurtin'.

And I watched the Options DVD, which is only 20 minutes. Obviously it doesn't have a full play through, in fact it has 2 interviews (game director and illustrator), and "superplay" for level 5 with tips. Level 5 isn't the last level. In fact Weekly Famitsu gave away how many levels there are. Wow, kinda long. The first interview with the game director was pretty interesting. It looks like he was using Powerpoint to explain the options. I don't know why the illustrator was interviewed, since he only did the box art. He was also interviewed in Weekly Famitsu at the same time for this game. He is famous for mecha design in the anime Macross Zero and box art for Mobile Suit Gundam. The super play itself is competent but not breathtaking. The graphics are extremely crisp, which makes me wonder if they used an RGB monitor. The whole DVD reeks of Famitsu DVD "quality" though.

Ah it makes me want to play it again. Heh.

Come on, we're just getting started.

Recently playing:
  • Gradius V (PS2-jp, The seminal side scroll shooter in space)
Now stacking:
  • Giga Wing 2 (DC-jp, Vertical scroll shooting without having to rotate your TV, epic music)
  • Roommate Asami: Okusama ha jyoushi kousei Director's Edition ((Roommate 麻美 おくさまは女子高生 Director's Edition)) (DC-jp, Love sim, but you start out married to the heroine!)

I've got the Gradius V in my hot little hands. I had the first preorder at the 'Map, so I was able to get the "Option DVD" for free. Nothing else came with it. I played the first and second level, and I got to last part of stage 2 on one credit before the debauchery began (I mean I started pressing the start button for more credits.) As far as a Gradius is concerned, this is the one for me, because I can die and restart at the same place, and even re-collect the option ships. The ship is a little slow but adding 1 speed option is just right. My favorite mode is type 4 which is rotating options. I aim to get the lasers as well, and when all the hee-haws and doo-dads are added, it makes for a intense light show. Yes! Gradius V is a effervescent light show of bright blues and glowing oranges. But there are the crazy greens. Ugh.

And just for kicks I tried doing the Konami "secret" or "cheat" button press. You know, Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start? Only this time I used X for B and Circle for A. It seemed like the logical choice. Nothing wonderous happened. Nothing at all.

I keep trying to draw parallels between Gradius V and Ikaruga. As you may know, I have somewhat of an abnormal fanboyism with Ikaruga even though I'm not very good at it. Let's start with the developer. They are supposed to be the same, Treasure. Then there's the matter of starting out, and you meet a 4 groups of enemies coming from alternating positions, just like Ikaruga. If you finish off a particular enemy with great speed, then you are rewarded with more enemies. The hit box is pretty small. The boss takedown explosion is rendered in slow motion. The second level of each game starts you off in an open area then you have to pilot through an area with walls, but then the boss battle is in an area with no walls. Hm, maybe that's it. But these points are emulated in all the other great shooting games.

I finally got Giga Wing 2 but I had this nagging feeling that I bought it before. This time I jumped on it because it had the spine card ((帯)). Anyway I got this game because the music is so epic. That's right, I listened to the sound track before buying the game. Not the normal order is it?

And then I got that Roommate Asami game because it was cheap, only 1400 yen. I like the artwork, if you must know. I'm not sure the story is any good, and at this price, it's probably no good. I decided a couple months ago that I would buy the rest of the latter-day DC gal-get games over their PS2 counterparts, if available.

Oh and then I flipped opened the Weekly Famitsu and I see To Heart 2 and To Heart 1 will be bundled together in a special edition. In other words, To Heart 1 was ported to the PS2! Hm. I already have the PS1 and the PC (all ages) version, should I jump for this one as well? Oh yeah, To Heart is getting the retro-nostalgic OVA (Original Video Anime) treatment later this year. Multi and Akari will reprise their roles. Waku waku I can't wait!

bloglines

Let me take time out to comment on my own blog. I added the RSS feed link for syndication on the Site map a couple of months back. Also RSS feed auto-discovery should be working: All you have to do is put my blog's address in a news reader like SharpReader for example and it will automatically figure out the RSS feed I provide. I figured how to output the first couple of lines of comment into the RSS feed so you'll have some idea what the latest entry is about. Now today I just added an "RSS" icon and changed the text link to "Syndicate" just because it sounds more appropriate. Hopefully this makes my site easier to track for the readers. But you know I'm just doing it for myself.

Now I'm going to mention www.bloglines.com, which is a free web news aggregator and reader. It has the unique feature of counting the number of subscribers on the blog. So far BlogLines tracks 3 subscribers to my gaming log. Okay, if you subtract me out of it, then that leaves two. Thanks mom and dad. I'll be up for dinner in a minute. (The "joke" is that I live in my parent's basement. Not much of a joke, ha.)

I guess you can call this entry, playing games with blogging.

Walking in the wee hours of the night

I played a game with my body yesterday. "Can I endure foot pain?" I walked back to my home in the dead of night because I missed the last train. 4 hours of non-stop walking. I figure a normal adult can walk 6 km per hour, and so I guess I walked around 20 km. Yup got home at 4 AM. I'm pretty much an idiot.

I got my Gameboy Advance back. I'm not really interested in playing it right now. The pal who I lent it to bought that "Kinpachi" game for the PS2-jp that seems to be popular now. What is it? It's actually 3 nen B-gumi kinpachi-sensei [[ 3年B組 金八先生 ]] It's a character-driven game revolving around a class of junior high students and their teacher Kinpatsu sensei, I think. It had a couple of spreads in the Weekly Famitsu. This isn't my type of game just like Gyakutan Saiban isn't my game.

I took the time to get out of my hellhole and I got the soundtrack to Angelic Concert. It was totally dusty from the infrequented part of the shelf at Gamers. Great!

Oh this is not gaming related at all but it cuts into my gaming time so I guess I'll comment. I've started using colinux and moinmoin. The former is virtual Linux on Windows and the second is a "wiki" or a community editable web site management system. Both will help use my computers better, I hope.

Kaze ga kureta oyasumi

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-jp, I hate idiots that don't know which is THE important node of the moment.)

Game music that I really like? Has anybody else listened to the soundtrack for To Heart (PS1-jp)? There's this song called Kaze ga kureta oyasumi ("Rest from the wind") that's particularly calming and is probably the only orgel music that I like.

Magazines and the week in review

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, Drinking before fragging makes UT2004 even more Unreal!)

I bought the game mag Famitsu PS2. There were some pretty interesting goodies, such as the full color insert booklet for To Heart 2 (PS2-jp). Very nice. Also the black and white serial comic Kingdom Hearts is very attractive, the "anime" style of Sora and the "cartoony Disney" style of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell does not jar. Then again probably the artist can't deviate from the Disney standard. Fans and lawyers would be up in arms.

But as far as games are concerned, not a thing in here makes my must-buy list. Some things I want to check out, such as Final Approach (PS2-jp) which is another love sim with the gentle touch of character designer Aoi Nishimata. (Just how are you supposed to search for a game on the Internet when it contains greek and japanese characters??? Oh wait, no problem.) Another is True Love Story: Summer Days and yet (PS2-jp), which came out last year summer time. Now it's back at the 3000 price. Which reminds me of Memories: Off (PS2-jp). I'm just the gal-get game sensei, aren't I?

Seeing the 2 page spread of Sakura Taisen V "Episode 0" (PS2-jp) reminds me of Dynasty Warriors (PS2-jp). I saw the demo of the former in a store some time this week, horseback riding while assaulting steam-powered robots. The in-game graphics are laughably jarring compared to the anime sequences. How likely is it to see a red-haired young lass in cowgirl shorts sporting both a pistol and katana (?) galavanting the old west U.S.? Fighting robots? Finding the ol' Las Vegas neon sign? Sounds like another Japanese "creation", just like mayonaise is used to top off pizza here. Hm.

Just a day before I bought the game mag Weekly Famitsu at my favorite news stand. They sell it on Thursday evenings for all those hardcore fanboys. Yeah. I read that Gradius V got 8, 7, 8, 9. Perhaps they were generous. I was more interested in the 7 point comment than the 9 point one. Funny how I want this game now but I dread firing up the old Parsec 47 (WinPC-jp).

On rotating options

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, ONS-CBP2-Brassed is the stylistic bomb)

I finally got a chance to play Gradius V at a demo unit. Wow, it is better Gradius experience than I remembered. There was only one level but it was taste. I noticed that I gripped the controller a little too tightly. The option control button is on R1, but once I get this game home I'll put the fire on R1, the previous button on R2, for natural grip play.

Endurance

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, ONS-Legaia is a long map)

I just spent an hour and a half playing one map, ONS-Legaia. My score was something like 297. This was a test of endurance, yes it was.

The weekly rag, where's the omake?

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-jp, "gg" and "hi" are the only words you need)
You know I was going to comment on another quick read of Weekly Famitsu, the biggest weekly gaming mag on the planet. I read it pretty much for the pictures and the numbers. I think I have 95% of the mag starting from 2000 up till now. That's a lot of paper sitting around my place. What to do with them? Well I really wanted to scan the articles and reviews of my favorite games, like Ikaruga. In fact I have a set of Arcadia magazines just for that purpose. Recently I've been buy them and just reading them once in a 10 minute burst. There's not much on the horizon as far as upcoming games for me to get excited. Gradius 5? Yeah I got the pre-order.

Oh and I got a free poster of Espaluga for the PS2 at Sofmap. Funny that, considering I still haven't bought the game, nor do I want to. Sofmap is not so great with omake items for games. Once I bought Shikigami no Shiro 2 for DC, which was supposed to come with a telephone card. But they didn't have it. And now they're giving away free posters. Oh well they're not really worth anything.

A list of games

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-jp, Did I just find someone I know in Real Life on my favorite server?)
Another friend has copious free time so I lent him my backup Gameboy Advance and these games. It's as if I don't trust him to bring them all back to me. Say it isn't so.
  • Advance Wars
  • Advance Wars 2
  • Atari Anniversary Advance
  • Boulder Dash EX
  • Card Captor Sakura - Sakura Card Version
  • Card Captor Sakura - Sakura Card Mini Games
  • Columns Crown
  • Dancing Sword
  • Darius R
  • Denki blocks
  • Double Dragon Advance
  • Egg Mania
  • Famicom Mini: The Legend of Zelda
  • Famicom Mini: Xevious
  • Fortress
  • Gradius Generation
  • Hitsuji no Kimochi (Sheep)
  • Hoshi no Kirby
  • Konami Arcade Advanced
  • Mario Cart
  • Midways Greatest Arcade Hits
  • Mr. Driller A
  • Namco Museum
  • Phalanx
  • The Pinball of the Dead
  • Pokemon Pinball Advance
  • Robotech
  • Sega Arcade Gallery
  • Super Mario Advance 4
  • Virtua Tennis
30 games wow. Most of them I bought new, and let's see if we assume an average price of 3500 yen, that's ... A lot of plastic. I sampled a couple just before packing them up and while they are still fun, I need to get into the atmosphere of each game. It feels kind of alien at this point.

Stumbling upon artistic games

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-jp, "No tears please, it's a waste of good suffering!")
I just want to say it's been a long time coming since I found an interesting Web tool. Yet StumbleUpon is just that. I found more interesting sites in the last couple of days, even gaming sites using this tool. Check me out here at piyo.stumbleupon.com. At least it wasn't called eStumbling or eBumbling. Hm.

So I've been stumbling and reviewing game sites that I know about, like www.ikaruga.co.uk. Stumbling has led me to this free book, The Art of Computer Game Design by Chris Crawford. It was published back in the 1980s. Here's a long quote from the preface.

The central premise of this book is that computer games constitute a new and as yet poorly developed art form that holds great promise for both designers and players.

This premise may seem laughable or flippant. How could anybody classify the likes of SPACE INVADERS and PAC MAN as art? How can TEMPEST or MISSILE COMMAND compare with Beethovenfs Fifth Symphony, Michelangelofs Pieta, or Hemingwayfs A Farewell To Arms? Computer games are too trivial, too frivolous to be called art. They are idle recreation at best. So says the skeptic.

But we cannot relegate computer games to the cesspit of pop culture solely on the evidence of the current crop of games. The industry is too young and the situation is too dynamic for us to dismiss computer games so easily. We must consider the potential, not the actuality. We must address the fundamental aspects of computer games to achieve a conclusion that will withstand the ravages of time and change.

1982. In 1982 the only opinion I could form about video games at the time is that I wanted something other than Fun with Numbers for my Atari 2600. Loving parents. Thanks dad.

But 1982. This is way before many mainstream trends like handheld gaming, online adventure/action games, FAQ about games. Let's not forget the Internet, the 0-day warezing, hackin', exclusive games, console region lock outs. How about spending hundreds of hours on one game?

Changing topics here... I'm blogging a little bit more. www.blogger.com is telling me to keep posting. I guess it's another way to motivate the monkeys to keep typing. I think they're wrong about the opinions of the crowd being better than the individual, though. Guessing the amount of jellybeans is a quantitative issue. Writing out an opinion is qualitative. There can't be a right or wrong in the quantative sense here. In any case, I'll just keep commenting on my niche of gaming, trying to make the english readable and such.

(Rarely) Thinking About Gaming

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, I know how to switch turrets now)
  • Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller (Xbox-jp, The Crazy Dash timing is different!)
Here's an interesting article about the animosity between game designers and game academics: "For a long time, academics have been considered like 'aliens', intruders, and trespassers by game designers, game journalists, game players, and even by other academics, who felt the urge to defend themselves from the apparent invasion." I wonder why should academics be treated like second class citizens. They should not be. I wonder why this article is even necessary. I feel it's important to analyze what we are doing with games and what games are doing to us, just like with any other tool or medium or other human invention. It's too bad the average gaming blogger like myself can't comment on game creation, but that is the nature of the ecosystem. As a game consumer, we experience the games from the intended viewpoint, with opinions like "OMG bazillion polygons dancing on my retina!" or "my system can beat your system, l4m3r!" Come to think about it, it's a rare treat we get games that make us think about the nature of video games. Take for instance, Ikaruga. This game is considered devilishly hard, a feast for the eyes and ears in its rawness and simplicity, the latest crowning jewel of a lost genre in today's landscape of MMORPGs and adventure games. But it also spawns questions like "Is Ikaruga art?" and "Why do I dream in black and white patterns?" It's too bad there is not much more we can talk about the creation of this game, or the environment from which it spawned. It is the work of a group of a handful of people, affect perhaps tens of thousands.

Here's a report about getting to know the people known as booth babes. It's a pretty good article, because it's a refreshing viewpoint that humanizes those workers. "Sure, there are a fair number of women there [at E3 2004] - behind PR desks, or latched onto their gamer boyfriends looking very tentative. Then of course there's the third group: the booth babes." What is with this comment? Where are the women gamers? Are they too busy gaming to attend an exposition about gaming? If you can believe it, my minor in college was "Women's Studies", but this is hardly a report talking about race, class and gender. Looking at my gaming log, you could hardly say that I have any feminist stance, though. But back to the article, here are some more interesting quotes: "This environment is definitely over-stimulating for them [male gamers]." "I feel very offended when people think I'm a booth babe. These women know exactly what they're doing with their bodies." When I went to the Tokyo Game Show 2003, I felt put off by the booth babe phenomenon (coupled with the camera kozou). The tired mantra "sex sells" is still the rule here. Must gaming expositions be sterile of gender? I don't know how it is for computer expositions but I can't imagine booth babes for things like anti-virus software. I should think that it would be like that small corner of inactivity that I saw at the Tokyo Game Show 2003 that was the developers corner. No booth babes there. Should there be a booth babe for Metrowerks CodeWarrior compiler suite? No.

Okay enough obsessing about lofty abstract things. My gaming!

I finally unwrapped Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller and played for a little while. The timing for the Crazy Dash is different from the former Crazy Taxi games, which is a little frustrating. I kept thinking that I couldn't get used to this Xbox controller but after consulting a FAQ, I know it's not the XBox's fault. Funny how I want to blaim the Microsoft or their console for something that the game designer decided. The game itself seems much of the same thing as the first one. The West Coast map is changed again, evidently with more areas. I'm glad they included this familiar, bright map, because the other maps Glitter Oasis and Small Apple are depressing night time jaunts. Dark, too dark for this LCD TV screen. And there is slow down in the rare parts of the game, not enough to detract from the game play.

So far the Xbox hasn't giving me any more insights into gaming. It's just another damn console gaming box, just as good as a PS2 or a GameCube for entertainment. Perhaps if I invest in the DVD kit and the XBox Live I can see the XBox's strengths.

Duped

I was duped by my own expectations. Angelic Concert isn't a read-em-up at all. It's a music game, a Pop 'em Up, a game to turn your Xbox controller to a keyboard. There are eight keys you need learn, which turns into the D-pad directional keys, and X, Y, A and B. The first time I played Chapter 1, the game expected me to be able to play a complex tune. I haven't even learned what the buttons and the colors of the controller are. Hahah. Maybe if I could read sheet music this game would be cake. In any case, I turned down the difficulty to yasashii easy. I suspect this is equal to "monkey" difficulty.

One good thing is the character voices. Yui "Hocchan" Horie is great as ever as the lead. I have yet to get to Yukari Tamura's character, or Miyuki Sawashiro's , but if I can deal with the difficulty, it won't be long now.

You know I didn't know that Yui Horie did the voice to Hitomi in Dead or Alive 3. Wow. Funny. Hitomi is that anorexic-like karate femme fatale. Or in other words, another skin for Ein. Hahah.

I finally got a Xbox-like item in survival mode. I guess you just have to play survival mode a lot. So I now have all of Kasumi's costumes. Naughty naughty, half of them are school "sailor suit" clothes. I also have a personal best of 43 people KO in survival. I guess I was playing smart that time.

So far the Xbox is rock solid, not crashing or doing anything bad. I maybe in for a purchase pretty soon, or not.
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