Aug 31, 2010

Letter to the Hip Hop Gamer

Mafia II is the most racist game I've ever played. A product of this nature coming from an industry that is predominately white makes me question why nobody has spoken up. I figured I'd ask the Hip Hop Gamer how he feels about The Situation. After a day without a response I discovered he made a song in support of Mafia II. How is the only black journalist in the gaming industry going to support this racist mess? Mafia Music? You and I both know your not Vito Scaletta. You have to be Italian or Sicilian which is a requirement to join according to the blurb I read on a Load Screen.

I've been trying to talk to this guy on Twitter, and he won't answer me back. The only response I get from the guy is:
Like it or not you are the only black voice in the gaming industry. When something racial shows up people are going to look at you to see what you have to say. You've got to speak up. If you don't you're avoiding the issue in support of a racist agenda. It makes you look like a coon.

Aug 27, 2010

Mafia II is Unacceptable

 I see why UNICO didn't want Mafia II to hit store shelves. I thought it was due to the stereotypical aspects of Italian-Americans, but after playing the game I find that every character in the game is  a stereotype.  It's disgusting. There's a prison scene in the game. I was disgusted to discover that there were only black people in the jail. I looked at the other gate and realized every race was segregated. Who want's to remember times like that? Racists.

The game is also homophobic. Every other word out of these assholes mouths is "Cocksucker" and "Fag." It's disgusting. People are out here fighting for equal rights, and this game comes a long and thinks it's the shit. Fuck you Mafia II.

It's also sexist. It leaves Playboy Centerfolds from the stone age scattered around the city for you to find. When you open it you see a beautiful white woman's breast and buttocks. When we get a prison shower scene we get guys showering with their underwear on. That's a double standard.

You really thought you were going to get away with putting this out? Saying it was the 40's doesn't excuse the conscious decision to focus on the segregated aspects of American life we try so hard to move on from. Get with the times 2K.

Aug 26, 2010

Poke Mania: The Aftermath

Poke Mania had reached a peak in my life, but was far from over. I couldn't stand the sight of Pokemon cards. I couldn't stand the sight of anything to be honest. I remember feeling so ashamed as I emptied out hundreds of Pokemon cards from my pockets. It changed me. I tried to distance myself from the dumb things my friends would do. The easiest way to avoid all of it was to stay in the house. I began to watch the show.

I used to watch it whenever it was on, but I began to watch it religiously. If I wasn't up by 10:00am on Saturday my weekend was ruined. Those were the days lol. I remember I saw a commercial for the game Pokemon Yellow. I began to think of my friends at school who would play Pokemon Red & Blue all the time. They looked like they were having fun, so why shouldn't I? Well for starters I didn't own a GameBoy. I saw an ad in the paper for the Limited Edition Pokemon Yellow GameBoy Color going on sale for the holiday season. I knew what I was asking Santa for Christmas.

I was skeptical about whether or not I was on Santa's naughty list after that whole mall incident, but I figured I wouldn't know unless I tried. Christmas came, and Santa came through. Boy was I a happy camper that morning as I began my adventure with Pikachu in Pokemon Yellow. I then realized that the Pokemon series was a role playing game which I despised. I was shocked. I thought I did more than tell the Pokemon what to do. I decided to give the game a shot, and I'm happy I did. I stopped watching the show not long after that. I became determined to catch all 151 Pokemon. I managed to do it in about a month. (Here's how:

It's February 2000 at this point and I'm learning about the new Pokemon Gold & Silver version. There was word that 100 new Pokemon had been added bringing the # of Pokemon to 251. I found out the game had been released in Japan that past November and wasn't due in the US until the upcoming fall. I was determined to play the game as a result. I wanted to be the first kid in my school to see these new Pokemon. I went to Ebay.

Remember how I told you I had a paper route back then? I still had it, and I saved up to buy imported copies of Pokemon Gold & Silver. The first seller I saw had both games for about 50 dollars. I won the auction, sent him the money, and never heard from him again. Salted. I was more determined than ever to play these games as a result. I found another auction a few weeks later and won. I sent my money and waited a week. Nothing showed up. A week to a 12 year old is like a month. It was brutal. I felt defeated after 10 days went by and nothing showed up. I began to lose hope. The next day my aunt tells me I have a package. I almost cried I was so happy. I Pokemon Gold & Silver 7 months before any of my friends at school did. Sure they all clowned me because I couldn't read Japanese, but I didn't care. I was able to navigate my way through the 16 badges and the Elite 5 so it wasn't so bad. Besides everybody knows the story stays pretty much the same.

I had thought Poke Mania had left my system, but the truth is it had evolved. What started as a trading card fad evolved into a passion for a video game franchise. Pokemon is the reason why I've owned a GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advanced, and a Nintendo DS. I could give up the trading cards and the show, but I could never give up the games. I used to keep my love for the series on the low because of my crazy past, but I don't care. I still have Poke Mania. Gotta Catch em All.

Aug 24, 2010

Poke Mania

Poke Mania was a time in the late 1990's when children of all ages became obsessed with Pokemon.  You knew someone who watched the show, battled with trading cards, or traded their Geodude for a Kadabra on their GameBoy's if you were a kid. It was everywhere.

I fell in love with the trading cards first. My card collection began after we stole a few cards from some kids we were trading with. This evolved into going to stealing packs Pokemon cards pretty fast. We were on the bus heading to the mall in about a week.

We would start at Sam Goody where they left  packs of Pokemon cards  on the front counter. I'd go to the music section and start acting crazy. My friend would grab some Pokemon cards and bounce. That's how I ended up listening to the Slim Shady LP now that I think about it, but that's another story. Sorry Eminem.  I had a paper route at the time, so the option of buying packs of cards was there. Pokemon cards always looked better when I got them for free. There's a certain shine to a stolen 1st Edition Holographic Charizrd that a purchased one doesn't have.  We got to the point where we got tired of stealing individual packs. It was time to graduate to booster boxes.

A booster box contains 36 packs of Pokemon cards which equals some really huge pockets for the dummies who steal them. If you're ready to graduate you better have a plan. My friend and I were walking around Waldenbooks when we realized they keep Booster Boxes in the front display. Why not sneak behind the registers and grab one? We grabbed a box and headed for the escalators. The rush started kicking in. We knew we had some nice cards we could either sell or trade with people. We've got all of these cards. Why not get some more? We headed back to Waldenbooks to grab another Booster Box. We were sloppy this time around. We were spotted running to the escalators with a box of Pokemon cards in out hands. I was far more concerned with finding out which holographic cards were in each pack. We walked around the mall opening packs of Pokemon Cards. Twenty minutes later we're walking around the mall with pockets full of 72 packs of open Pokemon cards. We headed for the bus stop outside, As the bus pulled up we were stopped by 2 security guards who asked us to empty our pockets.  Busted.

Aug 23, 2010

G.O.O.D Friday's

Kanye hasn't tweeted much since his "G.O.O.D. Friday's" tweets. He declared that he will drop a new song every Friday until Christmas. That's a bold statement for an artist with a new album (Dark Twisted Fantasy) due November 16th, and a performance at the 2010 VMA's. Call me a pessimist, but I'm not sure the upcoming Fridays are going to be as good as Kanye claims.

In Kanye's defense, he's had a good track record with dropping songs he tweets about. He promised a new song on Angie's show, and the next day the world was vibin to "See Me Now." There was also the release of the Power remix. He tweeted it was coming on a Friday and it did. It might have been a week after the Friday he claimed, but it's all good. You can't rush greatness.

That's my problem. You can't rush greatness. I listen to the Power Remix, and it's too much. All Kanye had to do was add new verses to the structure of the song, and it would have been a wrap. I was expecting Jay on the first verse, then Kanye spazzing on the next two. Case closed. Jay-Z's fire verse gets interrupted by the chorus and a new spin on the part of the original version I couldn't understand. Jay-Z kills his verse, then Kanye kills the second verse. It really is an inspirational song. Is that John Legend singing in the background? I do like the way the original beat sounds different. This song is feeling like an official remix.

Then Swizz Beatz shows up. Why? It seems Swizz Beats new thing is he produces a five minute song for about 2 minutes. He did it on Drake's song "Fancy," and he does it here. It seems to be working. He's got Kanye tweeting that Swizz Beats is the best producer of all time. I don't know about that, but Kanye does go in on the Swizz Beats track. This song is a DJ's dream right here. Let's ignore the remixes by Jae Millz, Young Jeezy, and others to just play verses from Kanye West and Jay-Z. Sounds like a party to me. Overall I give the song an 8 for the lyrics and overall message.

I can't give the song a 10 because I've been on a really chill vibe with my music lately. Even since I heard "Shades" by Diddy featuring Lil Wayne and Justin Timberlake, it's been on repeat. It's been my party and hangover music. This song is infectious. I'm listening to it right now. I've been sipping Ciroc Red Berry as a result. That probably explains why I'm so broke.

Aug 18, 2010

Madden in the U.S.A.

Madden launches are as much of an American tradition as Thanksgiving dinner and Super Bowl Hangovers. What other game has President Obama in it? Some gamers complain that Madden is overdone with it's yearly releases, but the millions of dedicated fans beg to differ.

The Madden franchise is probably the only game I look forward to watching other people play. I enjoy watching the improvements to the graphics, sound, and overall enjoyment of the players each year. Watching diehards play helps me figure out the gameplay differences between each Madden. Apparently there's no sprint button in Madden 11, and my friends were having trouble kicking the ball as well. That's pretty much all I can say about the gameplay.

I do have a request for Madden 12. Get Bill Belichick in the game. It must drive EA Sports crazy that he's not apart of the Coach's Association. It would be nice to immortalize a person with the legacy he's left in New England. Even if he's only in one Madden game I'm sure Patriots fans would be happy to see the name Bill Belichick instead of NE Coach.

Aug 17, 2010

Why Mass Effect Should Stay an Xbox Exclusive

Earlier today EA announced that Mass Effect 2 is coming to the Playstation 3 in January. This is great news for owners of the PS3 as Mass Effect 2 (a January release) is in the running for Game of the Year by many critics. Shepard making his/her debut on the PS3 is probably bringing more questions than answers at this point. The biggest being "Why isn't the first Mass Effect coming to the Playstation 3?" The obvious reason is Mass Effect was published by Microsoft Game Studios which all but guarantees it will never see the light of day on the Playstation 3. I for one think the first Mass Effect should stay an Xbox 360 Exclusive.

Mass Effect 2 was the game that introduced me to the series. I played the first one for about an hour before my patience grew thin. I'm not saying the first one was a bad game, but it took a while to get interesting. Mass Effect 2 does a good job of describing what went down in the first one. It took me a second play through to realize it, but it does. It's a shame PS3 players don't have the option of experiencing the events for themselves, but at least they can get a grasp of what's going on. It's not like the game expects you to know everything from the moment you control Shepard. PS3 owners still get the short end of the stick when it comes to importing a character and decisions from the first Mass Effect. Bioware could make up for this by making the Cerberus Network free (one can hope) on the PS3. Either that or adding some exclusive content like Bioshock did.

The problem with porting the first Mass Effect (besides the obvious) is the game was released in 2007. A lot has changed since the days of long elevator rides and driving the Mako. Mass Effect 2 polishes a lot of the small annoyances that hindered the first one. What about Mass Effect 3? There's no way the people that played through the first 2 on the Xbox are switching to the PS3 edition. My only recommendation for the PS3 edition of Mass Effect 2 is a lower retail price. Nobody's going to pay regular price for a game that is cheaper on the 360. I don't care how new it is.

Aug 16, 2010

Aug 15, 2010

Uncharted 3 Suggestions


Aug 12, 2010

Cash Money Records

The first song from Cash Money I heard was "Bling Bling." I heard it on Hot 97 on a family trip to New York. I was 11 years old and I thought Lil Wayne was saying "Blink Blink." I thought it was genius. The beat was so fresh, and Lil Wayne killed the chorus. My brother bought Juvenile's 400 Degreez not too long after. Every album released on Cash Money Records had a page in the booklet  showing the album covers of every album released on the label. Little did I know that every album on the page was underground. I thought the cover to B.G.'s Chopper City looked cool so I decided to start there. I took a trip to Target Records with my father to look for it. The only tape they had was "It's All on You Volume 2." I bought it (for like $18.99) and played it in my fathers truck. As soon as the beat kicked in for "Don't Hate Me" I knew I had found what I was looking for. Songs like "Living Legend" and Get Your Shine On" were staples on a paperboy making money to buy candy.

Thoughts of success began to flood my brain. Making a million dollars didn't seem impossible as I listened to the rise of Cash Money Records. The video for "Bling Bling" inspired me to win. The scene where they're sitting at the table throwing money around is something I aspire to do. Might seem a little shallow, but I always saw it as a way of knowing that you made it. I spent my teenage years listening to every B.G. album I could possibly get my hands on. You couldn't tell me B.G wasn't one of the best to ever do it. Credit must be given to Mannie Fresh for the rise of Cash Money. His beats were the sound that put them on, and he kept cranking out hits after they blew up.

Mannie's beats tell a story. His beats aren't just loops that sound hot. You can tell he invests his time to really create the sound. On the song "Living Legend" by B.G. when B.G. says

"What make 'em think they can touch beats from Fresh i get"

you can hear how the piano makes a different sound from any other point in the song. How many producers really invest that much creativity into a song? Another great bet is B.G's "Ride 2nite" I really can't do justice writing about what makes Mannie Fresh's beats so special, but I will say that there things about his beats that change as the song progresses. It's as if tthe beat shapes every lyric to the song. I wish my ears could write what I hear in songs like "Play'n & Laugh'n" or "Clean Up Man." but you'll just have to hear it for yourself. Mannie's beats really stay Fresh the whole time you listen to the song.

Aug 7, 2010

Don't Fuck This Up

Ubisoft please don't screw up Shawn White Skateboarding. The simulated experience of Skate doesn't do it for me. Variety is the spice of life, but when the choices are Skate, a game that imitates real life skateboarding, or Tony Hawk, the once respected franchise that today is nothing more than gimmick, what's a gamer to do?

Tony Hawk's biggest mistake was being published by Activison. This meant a new game every year which wasn't enough time for the development team to come up with original ideas. You know it's bad when missions include seeing how many people you can hit while riding your skateboard. The new game every year formula works when you dominate the market like Madden, but not so much when you don't have exclusive rights to the Pro Skating League. (Is that a thing?)  The franchise probably would still be strong had the developers took their time and released a new game every two years instead of taking a two year hiatus when the series was burnt out. Look at the franchise now. Its a joke. Skate might be on its way there too. It dominates the market for skateboarding games, and look at what EA does to prove it. They release a new Skate two years in a row.  If Skate 4 comes out next year, EA might as well make it compatible with the skateboard from Tony Hawk: Ride.

Shawn White Skateboarding could be the breath of fresh air the skateboarding genre needs. If the controls are similar to the Tony Hawk's that weren't motion controlled that would be a plus. If the game has cool levels, fun objectives, and a nice soundtrack I'll buy it. Ive been dieing to play an arcade style skateboarding game. It's one of the few sports games I'm actually good at, and it's fun to play while other people watch you do million point combos. Please don't mess this up Ubisoft.

Aug 1, 2010

Thumbs Down

Army of Two: The 40th Day crept it's way into my lab today. Enzo convinced me to rent it after he explained how he beat it in three days. I remembered my experience with the first Army of Two. Tino had bought it on launch day and was gassed. We played it for maybe an hour before I was done. The controls, the pacing, and the overall experience of the game was not for me. Flash forward to today. I decided to have a gaming marathon this afternoon with the 40th Day. Thirty minutes later I returned it back to Blockbuster. No thank you.

Getting Technical

My Twitter account has been showing me this screen for the past 24 hours. I miss you Twitter.