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Return of the Proto-Paradigm

April 29th, 2004, by Matt
Q: Are we ready for another RPG featuring little else but men with swords, elves with bows, halflings with smaller swords, and dwarves with axes teaming up to fight orcs and trolls?

A: Well, not many let you ride giant pigs.

Videogames Playstation 2 GameCube X-Box PC

April 27th, 2004, by Matt
Far be it from me to say there is no god— I mean, I can pretty much guess by the nuclear bombs that actually exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of not exploding. If anything, any non-non-existent god is going to at least stop that. Not only stop the bombs mid-drop but, for effect, make them glow a nice purple and turn them into flocks of doves which, instead of bombarding the people with gamma rays, concussive energy, and eyeball-bursting heat, would instead do something the Japanese would like, like fly down and lift up the skirts of teenage girls with their blessed beaks. But even still, I'm not going to assume that it wasn't— as is extremely often and never convincingly said— all part of some power's really nice and benevolent plan. Especially since we've all learned so much from the experience about the value of peace.

At the same time, this is supposed to be a site concerning vital videogame matters, and I really don't want to have to add over thirty websites to the Google Ads "no ads from this URL" filter just because the word "church" appears on the front page. Yet that's what I had to do just to keep out thirty sites about Mel Gibson and whether or not jews killed Jesus (the consensus answer: they did, it was all part of the lord's great plan of course, there's plenty of more salient reasons to hate jews, please buy our book and tell the people in your ministry about it).

In other news, Activision certainly has faith in some mysterious power.

Heartache to Heartache, We Stand

April 22nd, 2004, by Matt
Alert non-reader Chris mentioned to me that the newly-announced Battlefield 2 would be breaking all sorts of paradigms, primarily by not being set in the year 2. No, instead it will have a modern flavor to it. That's good. I like Battlefield because it has so many vehicles that anyone can just hop into and crash, or kill their teammates with; plus they sound like vehicles and not Star Trek crap, like the vehicles in UT2K4 are often known to do. So I went looking around for information and, like a Half-Life scientist in an elevator, ended up at this interview on IGN.

IGNPC: What types of vehicles and weapons will the player have access to?

Scott Evans, Producer: Turn on the Discovery channel[sic] and you'll pretty much see it all. In other words, the most advanced and powerful weaponry deployed on today's battlefield.

The Magic School Bus, a semi-announced Battlefield 2 vehicle.
I took him up on the offer. A commercial was on, so I flipped to Discovery Kids. It's applicable; the game will probably end up rated T for Teen. With a moderate amount of research, I found that the Magic School Bus has air, space, and underwater capabilities. It can also shrink down small enough to go inside the body of a filthy child to teach soldiers riding in it about germs or, I suppose, hide them from the enemy. I'm anticipating that will figure heavily into the emergent gameplay techniques that the Battlefield series is known for, since this vehicle has no weapons. I bet that you'd be able to drive/fly underneath an enemy vehicle or inside a player and then re-grow the bus, to great effect.

Getting back to the Discovery Channel proper, I found out that Battlefield 2 will also feature sweet custom choppers made by cantankerous beefy guys, hot rods with glitter paint jobs that can also mow lawns at speeds approaching 60 MPH, and a special class of soldier that can sneak into an unoccupied enemy base and redecorate it without their knowledge.

Scott Evans, I think it's safe to say you and your team are innovative, and geniuses to boot.

Critics, Subspace Receive Comeuppance

April 20th, 2004, by Matt
Gordon likes a lady whose lips look like they're actively keeping her teeth from flying out of her mouth.
As TMOL readers know, reading amateur videogame news websites is important to public pubic safety. A new cry for help went out yesterday as a heretofore unknown (but apparently founded in 2000) site named VGPro.com sent out word that Half-Life 2 would be delayed until 2005. This news was based on a magazine interview from last year, in which Gabe Newell said Valve would delay it if they felt like it, and would spend $20 million more on it if it they thought it would make that love interest character have any less creepy a smile. The article, posted by noted videogame journalist and VGPro Staff Writer "Leafs Rule!", certainly set new standards for chicanery or, as the Irish say, "bullshit". But it also completely met the entirely stupid goal of getting lots of one-time visits to the site, so take that, critics.

I don't even feel bad that VGPro's completely false rumor about Half-Life 2 gets them linked on every game message board and IRC channel, while my completely true rumor of 3D Realms somehow affording to both license the Doom 3 engine and outsource it to Wisconsin for the purposes of resurrecting Prey from limbo gets linked zero times. The reason I don't feel bad is partly because that means nobody cares about Turok Prey, which is pretty cool. But mostly it's because the VGPro HL2 rumor isn't even the stupidest thing on VGPro's front page. That award goes to the helpfully titled "Wild West Hookers Beware!", an article so badly made it forgot to put the exclamation point on its warning to long-dead 19th century American frontier prostitutes. Or maybe the author was trying to let us know that wild west hookers often beware. Neither avenue is explored in the article itself. The article is merely a showcase— both for some non-information about Red Dead Revolver, and the author's ability to mangle pop culture references, shoehorn in some humorless bestiality and incest jokes, and screw up possessive case nouns.

Postscript: The title "Wild West Hookers Beware" has now been changed to a less vigorous "Red Dead Revolver Preview". The article itself, however, is still the goods.

What's That on Your Face?

April 15th, 2004, by Matt
Dear Random Internet Knucklehead,

If I was going to pick the film director that erstwhile game developer George Broussard was most like, it would not be Stanley Kubrick— who as far as I know never actually shot a remake of Army of Darkness with extra titties, even if Eyes Wide Shut came really close.

And as far as your "Fast, Cheap, and Good: Pick two of the three" maxim goes, I'd say after so many years of paying a revolving door staff to not ship a game, George has, at most, picked only the last one, if even.

Forgetting and Remembering

April 13th, 2004, by Matt
Space Marquise Alejandro was a little surprised when he scanned my brain this morning for the Buzz 6 and saw that City of Heroes was no longer in the running. "Hey, asshole," he said, since only terrestrial fictional Spaniards address their fellow non-spacemen as "my friend", "where is City of Heroes?"

"It's going to be $14.99 a month."

"Ay yi yi." Some dialogue affectations are universal.

And while it's been replaced by a game that will likely charge just as much, if not more, right now it's free and just as good. Sadly and unfortunately, though, it's very hard to make any jokes about World of Warcraft because it's more finished in its early beta state than a lot of MMOs years after release. About the only thing funny about it is that it doesn't look like Blizzard has made any attempts so far at adding funny to it, and that's the sort of irony that isn't even funny in Britain, just in Scandinavian nations.

But the British, and also Intergalactic Hispanics, will definitely appreciate the new Alamo movie's sub-$10 million opening weekend. The irony being, it certainly seemed like a perfect time to release a very expensive movie about a Texan who yee-hawingly jumped into a hopeless losing battle with no apparent exit strategy.

Take Two Voodoo

April 8th, 2004, by Matt
Take Two has bought yet another development studio and changed its name to the "Rockstar/geographic location" format. This time it's Mobius Entertainment, a GBA studio which we now know is located in Leeds. The new Rockstar Leeds will no doubt continue the fine tradition of not producing any games half as good as the one that the Rockstar (now specified as Rockstar North) name is famous for. Just like Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar Vancouver, Rockstar Toronto, Rockstar Vienna, and the other team at Rockstar North.

While it's a nice try Take Two, you guys have to realize that just because Rockstar made GTA III after you changed their name from DMA Design, that really wasn't the key factor. If it was, I'd rename myself Seanbaby Garland. Even if I thought it would ever work, that's just not going to happen, since it would mean the original would have to become Seanbaby Apartment of Girl He Met at Last Night's Party.

As promised, the anchor tags are now in. You can click the headline right above this or any other newswire article and be taken to the URL for its direct link, which you can then copy and send to Gabe Newell as punishment for not fixing Steam. Anchors have also been put on the mini-reviews.

Harvey Smith and the Glass Ceiling

April 6th, 2004, by Matt
Harvey Smith finds himself no longer employed at ION Storm, thus reminding us all that a fabulous pair of breasts can either get you only so far in this industry or make you think you can start your own studio, depending on whether he got fired or quit. In high performance game development, even our life lessons have branch conditions.

Over the course of the day, when I am taking a break from playing City of Heroes , I'll be adding anchor tags to the newswire articles so that you may link them individually to the people who run the more popular websites. It should be a fantastic way to annoy them.

Funny Game-Related April 1 Gags Recap

April 1st, 2004, by Matt
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