Archive for July, 2006

Hotspot on the spot

I was listening to the latest episode of Gamespot’s Hotspot today and they were talking about video game reviews and such. And while they were talking about how they didn’t feel people were interested in people’s opinion on games and the art of games, etc and that is why reviews on games are more technical and neutral than movie and music reviews. I don’t necessarily agree with this however. People like knowing others opinions. It is like the Siskel & Ebert syndrome… people had their favorite, I tended to like Siskel personally… and it is like that not just with those two… alot of people read the review of a certain reviewer for movies because they feel that person’s taste matches their own taste. Why can’t it be this way for games? I mean there are a billion places online you could go to to find the more technical and neutral review… but where do you go to find out whether you will actually like it based on your style? Not many places… you are still left wondering, well will I like this? What this ends up with is a system of consumer buying where people will just buy nearly every decent reviewed game of their favorite genre instead of breaking the genre and getting just good games. This is a boon to the industry because all they need to do is make a game technically sound to get a good review and not make it actually a game worth getting. The hotspot also brought up that the game industry is not an art right now because it is very corporate and games are made fairly safely. Maybe this is also because reviews are on the technical merits. The movie and TV industry are probably more corporate than the games industry and they still have their art. Yes there is still absolute crap like Fantastic Four, but from time to time you will get a movie like The Matrix or Lord of the Rings, or a TV show like The Office or Nobody’s Watching.

So I am going to start offering reviews of games from time to time. They won’t be often unless I see traffic going up and I can start supporting myself more on just that…. Because after all I actually have to buy all these games and put in the effort to review it. I don’t just get the games sent to me for free and am paid to sit there and play all day long like a gamespot reviewer. But I will try reviewing games that I get, offer what I think of it more than anything. I will talk more of art style rather than framerates. I will talk about storylines and plot rather than ignore this. And I will talk a bit about interesting new mechanics, and cost vs content. And yes it will have my style involved so there may not be a ton of FPS games around but I will do my best to try to get some games that maybe I wouldn’t normally get. We’ll see how this works, it might only be one game a month but I think it would be interesting to do. I will think of a system on how to rate games later.

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EQ2

So I got readdicted to EQ2 this summer. Now I don’t think it is because EQ2 is a great game or anything. On the contrary, but it is getting better. The problem is that it just seems to be the best currently available without going back to the older generation of games, which were good but I think their time is done in my life. This is turning out to be fairly bad in my life however. I wanted to get my geometry correspondance course done this summer, and to date I haven’t finished a single assignment during the first two months of summer and have 6 to go. I also wanted to write a book, and don’t have any of that done. Although granted, I think much of this issue lends to an issue I have deciding whether to make it the more difficult to read first person or the more difficult to write third person. Right now I’m leaning towards going first person but I keep flopping back and forth and it makes it difficult to write. While I have this as an excuse, I think EQ2 is leading a big role in why I’m not doing it, I think I’d be able to figure this stuff out if I would have the ability to sit down and just pound at it without playing games but I don’t. I am still kind of hoping that I just burn myself out a bit on the game. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. I did get burned on the PvP server over the last week. I guess that is a start.

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Nobody’s Watching

Last night I found out about the hit TV show that never aired: “Nobody’s Watching.” This show was created by Bill Lawrence (of Scrubs & Spin City fame) and 2 of the writers from Family Guy. The show was originally made for NBC but after seeing the pilot, NBC passed. Then the show was shopped at WB who after hearing some concerning screening feedback decided to pass on it too. The show died. Until a few weeks ago when someone posted the show on YouTube.com. Then it became a hit with over 350,00 views. Now studios are once again looking at it to see if they shouldn’t pick it up for their lineup this coming year.

The show is stellar. It is about 2 friends who are flown from Ohio to Hollywood to star in a fictional reality show about these two guys making their own sitcom. Imagine Scrubs mixed with the Office mixed with something like “Making the Band” or “Project Green Light.” Throughout the show you see these two goofing off essentially and making fun of other TV shows. Complete with a Friends set and Gunthar! You really should watch this show. It deserves to be on TV for not only being incredibly original, but also incredibly high quality.

However, this has created some interest in me in another way. Why couldn’t YouTube.com or something like it, make their own TV network? One of the problems with TV these days is that they don’t let a show build its audience the way it needs to. An audience needs to be built slowly over time, but TV Networks more and more require that a show be an instant hit in order to keep it on. Gone are the days where Seinfeld, Radio News or Caroline in the City would ever get a chance more than 3 episodes. And all three of these werr quality shows even if you didn’t care for them.

So why doesn’t YouTube start their own network? What they could do is have people submit shows (even professional studios) these shows would then be aired on the website. Just a single episode will do. If the show is downloaded by say 250,000 people a second episode is created for the website. And if this second episode reaches 300,000 AND the first episode reaches 500,000 then the show gets picked up for the network. In addition the network could have a variety of other shows showcasing the various youtube.com submissions. Maybe a show contaning original cartoon shorts, or a show that rounds up the most popular of the week, etc. This way taking true advantage of what they have built. Then after every TV season is finished they could reair the shows on their site with a small ad in the beginning to hel pay for costs. No more reruns… just youTube.

Now granted I realize the idea of YouTube is to get away from networks entirely and start a true IPTV experience. But lets face it, the majority of americans are still without the broadband needed and even fewer know about iptv. This is just a way to transition the idea I think and it may work!

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Flock

I just downloaded the beta of flock and playing around with the new browser and all it’s nifty little features. It is actually kind of cool. It’s essentially FireFox with a little beef added to it. The UI is very slick and much nicer than FireFox. It also has integration with Flickr, photo bucket, del.icio.us, blogger, live journal, and other online services to name a few. I can upload pictures, put them into blogs or emails share my favorites lists, and put favorites into delicious. All this with little to no extra effort, without ever visiting a website and without using up my link bar on silly text links that take up lots of space. They don’t seem to have integrated support for frappr or kaboodle yet which would be lovely additions, but maybe those will come down the pipe. Oh they also have support for technorati which makes adding the blog and tagging it easy as pie and you will likely see my blogs now have technorati tags attached to them.

I like the browser, however I don’t think there is enough here for the average user to make the switch. If you are a serious blogger or use flickr way too much for a healthy individual you will need this browser. I can’t help but wonder who they will raw in others though. Most people don’t care about these types of features… though I do think they add something to the Internet to make it more useful… it just isn’t enough for other people to join in. This browser in every other way seems identical to Firefox and I am just not sure if that is going to be enough to get people to make a change. They will have to do more to make every day Internet life easier without images and blogs. My only idea on this would be an integrated email client so you wouldn’t need a second program for this or built in support for gmail or something (my guess would be yahoo as they seem to be partnering with yahoo quite profusely). Having these as separate programs is not needed in this day and age and I think a merger is long overdue and may give flock the kind of additional push it needs.

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