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Join sisters NinJaSistah and Pandalicious and the rest of the ESH Crew each day as they discuss video games, tech gadgets, anime, manga... pretty much everything within the geek chic lifestyle.

From Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC game reviews, previews, news, and gushings to audience questions and rumor mill seeding galore you'll find it here at ESH!
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Search through the goodness that is ESH. Want to see if we are writing and chit chatting about the crap you're interested in.





    CES Coverage

    We went to CES and here's what we saw and molested.

    E3 Coverages

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    Xbox 360 Stuffs

    Check out crew rantings on the XB360 platform.

    PS3 Things

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    Wii Little Bits

    Get your Nintendo bits and bobbles here.

    Oh Hai! Anime-niacs

    Peep the stuff we've written about on the anime tip.

    Manga Love

    We less than three manga as well, so peep the manga reviews.

    ESH Photo Galleries

    Check out the snapshots we've taken at events and more here...

    The Aftermath After "The Aftermath"

    posted @ 11/02/2009 06:00:00 AM by Pandalicious

    It was acquired, played and here comes the afterthought...

    Sometime ago I introduced a game called Obscure: The Aftermath. Through the forces of fate, I was given a review copy of this game for the PSP.

    Here is a little refresher in the storyline of Obscure: Take several high school teenagers and trap them on school grounds. Add a demented headmaster who subjects these students to evil experimentation, then unleash horrific baddies on them while they slowly get taken out Darwin style. Oh, do not forget to add the grainy filter, and atmospheric music. Those who made it out alive now have since been treated for the mutations they endured, and also have graduated. Enter next step: college, which proves to not be such an easy transition.

    Even though I have a natural attraction to the distorted and demented stories encased in survival horror games; I also harbor an enhanced reaction to fear. In laymen’s terms: I’m a scaredy cat. To be completely honest, they scare the bejesus out of me! This fear hasn’t stopped me from playing these titles; all they have managed to do is instill in me a habit of late night rummaging for something a little less threatening with a smiley face on it.

    As I loaded this game into the PSP, I heard the chilling sounds of eerie children singing. If we haven’t learned a thing or two about what makes an atmosphere creepy; disembodied child-like choir voices surrounding you like the coat you put on is a good start. If that isn’t enough add the agent that is key to all Japanese horror films and no I don’t mean deathly pale eight-year-old girls. The element of flashing horrific scenes or pictures does the trick. Walking down a hallway at night can be spooky, but add a flash of screaming face or a mutilated person or dog and you are in business.

    Lastly, if the grainy filter, invisible choir boys, and B movie acting isn’t enough to strike fear and uncertainty into your sub cranium, perhaps the lack of true control of your pairs will do it. It is one thing to combat the forces of the darkest twisted corners of the human psyche but try doing it when the only analog stick on your PSP is the biggest piece of crap on the face of the planet. One wrong flick could land you into a corner where you’ll become these monsters’ nighttime love…or at best their nighttime snack.

    If you are a wizard at modification or know someone who has that gamer god-given talent, then I suggest bribing them to mod your analog stick. Then you’ll know for sure that your death was just bad luck and not because you couldn’t move efficiently.

    One concern I do have with this game isn’t really a fault with the game but with Playlogic’s choice to put this game on a portable platform. This game has its share of jumpy moments that could compel someone-say like myself- in utter terror to throw their PSP into the air, thus potentially breaking it into several pieces. To safeguard said PSP, playing in a place made of plush pillows should be considered. However I have recently discovered that Obscure was initially for the Playstation 2 and the fan base clamored for a portable release of this game. So you guys got what you asked for!

    Overall I felt like the atmosphere really set the tone for this game. It reminds me a lot of Silent Hill 2, which is one of my favorite survival horror games. So I give Obscure: The Aftermath for the PSP a 4 out of 5 rating. If you want some portable fear in your pocket Obscure: The Aftermath is the way to go.

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    Subservient What?

    posted @ 9/28/2009 08:00:00 AM by Ninjasistah
    The best way to kick off the beginning of a fresh new week is with a new episode of the Electric Sista Hood podcast. This one has an audience question, video game reviews and anime... the holy trifecta of ESH!

    We start off with a question brought to us by William Bell of TheXboxDomain which fuels the conversation for the bulk of the show about how nit-picky we have become as gamers. From growing up and having to learn to love what you get, to almost being apathetic as new titles flood the market. Pandalicious and NinJaSistah don't really come to an agreement on the subject, but it is a fun journey towards an answer nevertheless.

    Then we move on to hands-on video game reviews of Bethesda Softworks new release Wet on the PS3 and NinJaSistah's knee-jerk reaction to the DJ Hero demo. Then we chat about the Dreamcast/PS2 games available via PSN rumor and Pandalicious tops out the hour with her coverage of the anime series Black Buttler

    Here is a quick glimpse into what the episode is like:
    • Five-Year-Olds Don't Need Boom Boxes
    • My Douche-Baggery Made You Better
    • I'm Not Condoning Eating Cats
    • Videogames Are Not a Pos-Apocalyptic Guide
    • and finally
    • Spoiler Alert! Bambi's and Norman Bates' Mothers Both Dead

    Dig in and enjoy Electric Sista Hood Podcast Episode 165: Pandalicious Loves the Hired Help

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    Finish what you start...


    posted @ 9/29/2008 08:00:00 AM by Ninjasistah
    This week, I promise not to bring up Pandalicious' little escapade in recorded audio incident on the new episode of the podcast.

    Ooops, I already did. My bad Panda, my bad.

    On the podcast this week, NinJaSistah and Pandalicious attempt to go all anime on your ass. From Panda's Code E/Mission E two'fer to NinJa sharing some of her first impressions of Mushi-Shi and Michico E Hatchin and Personal 4.

    The girls talk a bit about a bunch of things in this episode. No love toilet talk, but they do go on a few tangents. Check out some of the titles that came up, but weren't chosen as the winner:
    • Anime or May Not
    • I Failed the Flying Test in High School
    • Pandalicious Portrays Herself in "A Night in Panda"
    • Finally -- Some Anime Characters That Aren't the Other White Meat
    • The Kids Have Been Around the Block a Few Times Now
    • It's a Fresh of Breath Air
    • You Could Make a Live Action Version of Mononoke... BUT DON'T
    • Leave the Actors Where They Are, Just Move the Scenery
    • I Never Made It Past the Part where They Brought In the Munchkin Asian Chick
    • and
    • Panda's Put Pictures of Her Pie On the Internet

    It's another laugh filled episode of the ESH podcast, so have a seat, grab a frosty beverage and enjoy ESH podcast episode 115: This Title Has Nothing To Do With Mecha Booby Bouncing

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    Technical Difficulties Suck

    posted @ 5/26/2008 10:00:00 AM by Ninjasistah
    Being Monday, we had to hit you with a new episode of the podcast... but this one probably should have been left in the oven a bit longer.

    Poor Pandalicious has having some serious internet issues which left Evermore with a hell of a job editing a show together, but they pulled it off pretty damn well if you ask me. In this episode of the podcast, Panda shares her top five video games of 2008 [so far] with you. There are a couple of honorable mentions and a list that I only have a single problem with. Let's see if you can guess which game gives me the heebie geebies.

    Have a seat and enjoy: My Top 5: Video Games of 2008.

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    Ninja's Away, New Podcast Day

    posted @ 1/06/2008 09:59:00 PM by evermore
    Just before NinjaSistah flew out to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronic Show this weekend, she and Pandalicious recorded a new podcast.

    Pandalicious talks about a creepy new anime called "Ghost Hound." It doesn't contain ghosts (at least, not Casper-style ghosts) and it doesn't have any hounds, either, but Panda insists it's worth watching.

    NinjaSistah discusses several topics, including last week's Xbox Live outage, some free Rock Band tracks (but Playstation players are out of luck), God of War 3 and the HD movie format wars.

    And, as usual, there are plenty of rejected titles for this episode:

    Three Guys, a Girl and Their Suicidal Thoughts

    Anime's Psychic Friends Network

    Alien Butt Babies Make You Make an Ass of Yourself

    It's Like an Oreo Cookie for Your Ears

    There Be Dragons in HD&D

    The Farmer's Gettin' a Dell, Dude

    So, while Ninja's workin' her butt off in Vegas, you can sit back and enjoy Episode 81: Can Kratos Survive a Third Daddy?

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    When reviewers get lazy, the gamers have to take up the slack

    posted @ 11/12/2007 04:32:00 PM by Alex J. Avriette
    On a recent trip to Best Buy (for The Orange Box), we picked up Tokyo Drift 2 in the $10 box. Apparently they haven't been able to sell it. It's not surprising given the linked review.

    I'm particularly curious about the disparity between the editors' review and the review of the gamers. At the time of writing, they were 5.2 and 8.3, respectively — a healthy sixty percent difference. What's immediately clear is that the editors don't really have a clue what's going on. First, they say that the cars are hard to handle, but they don't phrase it that way, as such. Rather, the cars don't handle well. They also talk about a story being "nonsensical," when anyone who has familiarity with Initial D and/or haraschiya and zero-yon will tell you that it makes perfect sense.

    They tell you to start with an FF (that's front-wheel-drive, front-engined). And they even offer you these cute little Daihatsu trucks and everything to do this with your initially very limited purse.

    So, like anyone who learns to drive fast, you learn to drive slow first. You get to carve up mountain lines through cherry blossoms in the spring. You get to do it in the winter. You can do it in the rain. And all this teaches you how the car moves. You get a feel for the controls, which are admittedly very different from, say, Need For Speed or Project Gotham Racing, but neither of those titles quite deals with vehicle dynamics like Tokyo Drift does.

    Witness: You can buy different brakes for the car, different tires, and different suspension. So if you want to stiffen up the rear end of your FF car, and put sloppy tires on it, it will hang its tail around turns like the meanest of FR (front-engine, rear-drive; think Corvette) vehicles. Of course, you have to be real careful when you do this, and every time you buy or sell parts, you lose a little money, so you gotta learn what you put on the car. This is what makes the little Daihatsu competitive on these tracks, just like the legendary Initial-D Hachi-Roku.

    They then tell you to progress to an AWD car (such as the Subaru STI or Mitsubishi Evo) because, no matter what those people tell you about the cars being bad-ass, an AWD car is easy enough to drive. This also introduces you to more power, and power-sliding, as you can use the power-over (or throttle-steer) to bring the tail around, and not have to rely on suspension tricks.

    Again, this is missing from the PGR/NFS franchises, and every other American car game I've played (and I mean all the way back to Spy Hunter on the 8 bit Nintendo, kiddos). It's absolutely crucial for understanding how to drive in a drift, or really, how to handle any car that's ass-over nose or vice-versa. You get the STI or the Evo in PGR and NFS, and you just go faster. They "handle" better, which means they respond better to the stick and they stick to the road better, but the dynamics of the cars don't change much at all.

    In NFS:Carbon, we had the "drift" segues, and that was simply a matter of timing arrows on a course. And even then, your only technique was the power-over (and possibly also the feint).

    So while the AWD cars are a little more fun because they can scoot a little faster, you still have to build up your skill, and this is where the reviewers for the magazines probably got pretty bored.

    From AWD there's really only one place to go, and that's rear-wheel drive. There are basically three configurations of RWD vehicles, the MR (mid-engine, rear-drive, like an MR2 or some Ferraris), the FR, as previously mentioned, and the RR (rear-engine, rear-drive, like a Porsche; Automobile magazine once proclaimed the Porsche 911 to be the "king of oversteer," where oversteer is just a polite word for ass-over-nose, or, more currently, "drifting."). There are plenty to choose from, and we have your average Supra and so on. I don't really need to go into detail here, because we can mostly just repeat the section above about AWD.

    Going faster does not mean you drift better. Having more horsepower does not make your car drift better. It's entirely about the dynamics of the vehicle while on the course. Tokyo Drift 2 forces you to focus on the course, the car, and even the car's components and more importantly what they do before you can get very far. This means there's a steep learning curve. For those willing to pay that price of admission, it's a very rewarding game.

    There is one downside to the game, and that is the graphics are a little on the poor side. While it is a PS2 game, it looks almost like a ported PSX game, or even something from a Super Nintendo. It's pretty not-so-great. However, I am definitely willing to give it a huge amount of credit for the locations — more than the cars, which are pedestrian, as drifting can be done in anything, even a bicycle — all I wanted to do in this game was drive through the flurry of sakura cherry blossoms in my little Daihatsu truck. The more advanced I got in the game, the more I had to focus on the car, and the less I could pay attention to how actually beautiful the graphics are, despite the low polygon and texture count.

    The one thing you must remember with drifting is that it is not a sport. It is frequently not even a competition. Drifting happens all the time, people, alone, on a road, just enjoying their vehicles (recently watching the foot-dragging KTM 990 Super Duke drifting has gotten my tongue lolling). Hockey, you could say, is a sport. Drifting, as my friend Gabe likes to say, is a lot more like figure skating.

    It's just there to be beautiful.

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    Good News/Bad News

    posted @ 9/20/2007 01:30:00 PM by evermore

    For those of you who are tired of reading bad news about everything, today we present the first in a series of Good News/Bad News stories. For those of you who just like good news, pay attention to the left side. For bad news junkies, enjoy the right side of the page.

    News item: You can't go Home -- at least not until next year. Sony announced that it's Home virtual world for the PS3 will not be available until Spring 2008. "We want this to be a worldwide service," said Sony CEO Kaz Hirai. "We want to make sure that we have a range of services which can be satisfactory to our users throughout the world... so we decided to delay the service’s launch date... Please be patient in this regard."


    It leaves more time to design Mii's on your Nintendo Wii.

    It leaves more time for Sony to develop add-ons to Home, such as in-game ads, email and other things gamers don't really want.

    News item: Nintendo has announced that starting with the December issue, Nintendo Power Magazine will be published by Future US, the folks behind the Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, and Mac|Life.

    Future already publishes a Nintendo magazine in Britain. Chopping down treees, turning the wood into pulp, painting the pages and shipping the results by snail mail is so 1929. Wake up, people. Magazines are dead.

    News item: Kaz Hirai, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, told the assembled audience at the Tokyo Game Show that he considers the PlayStation 3 to be "a game machine."


    After a year touting the wide and varied uses of the PS3, it was refreshing to hear someone at Sony admit that the primary purpose of the PS3 should be to play games.

    From Wired: But outside of announcing the DualShock 3 controller, Hirai made no announcements of new products -- certainly nothing that would by itself represent a change in PlayStation 3's fortunes in Japan, where it is being outsold about three-to-one by the Wii.

    News item: It doesn't look any different, but reports say it feels heavier. What is it? Why, the new DualShock 3, a new controller for the PS3 that brings back the force-feedback "rumble" functionality left out of the original controller.


    It'll be available in the U.S. in Spring 2008, and will replace the Sixaxis controller in new PS3 boxes. The list of games that will take advantage of the new rumble features is a long one.

    Ya gotta buy a new %&*$@#! controller!

    News item: LucasArts has announced Krome Studios will release a Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed that will let you use the Wii-mote as a lightsaber.


    Although some bloggers originally announced that the lightsaber action was available only in duel mode, in actuality you can use the Wii-mote as a lightsaber throughout the game.

    You're going to have to push buttons to work the lightsaber in the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP and Nintendo DS versions. May the Thumb Doctor Be With You.

    News item: More anime is coming to Xbox Live. From Joystiq: "Beginning today (and continuing over the coming weeks) you'll be able to find titles from the Starz anime library like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Seasons 1 & 2), Street Fighter II V, Noein, Tokko, Virus and Astro Boy on the service."


    Starz has a tremendous catalog of anime titles.

    I'm trying to code this item in a way that NinjaSistah doesn't see it. Between Xbox Live and iTunes, she won't even have to walk the three blocks to the local anime store to get her fill.

    News item: The E for All Show shoots itself in the foot by moving its 2008 date from October to the same weekend in August at the very popular Penny Arcade Expo.


    This should put the final nail in the coffin of the badly managed spin-off of the old E3 Expo. It is a fitting end for E for All show host IDG, which killed the summer Mac Expo a few years ago by moving it from New York to Boston.

    This is all everyone is going to want to talk about in the run-up to the 2007 E for All event in October (which Sony and Microsoft have already vacated).

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    New Podcast Day: Episode 67

    posted @ 9/17/2007 12:44:00 AM by Ninjasistah
    Monday has once again sneaked up on us from behind with intentions of molesting your ears with a new episode of the ESH podcast.

    I don't want to ruin it for you by going into too great of detail about this show right now, but Pandalicious leads off the hour with hands on review of Mario Party 8 on the Wii, and MagicMystic steps up to the M1KT to share her thoughts on Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3. Then NinJa closes out the podcast episode talking about the anime series Moon Phase, and the new Ninja Gaiden 2 trailer.

    Oh yeah, we have a candy bitch. Congrats Ariel!!

    Now, I give you, the rejected podcast episode titles:

    • The Monkey's Part is the Part I Remember

    • It Explains Why You're Not Black Very Often

    • Watching Magic's Melons Rise

    • Is 1+1 a Trick Question?

    • Every Girl's Gotta Have Her Bling

    • The Sistahs Share Bodily Fluids With You

    • It's Got Anything You Could Possibly Want

    • I Haven't Been With Skeevy Perv, Doucebag

    • I Hate It When Itchy & Bitchy Happen

    • Grandpa's Boning the Blonde Vampire

    Catch a sample of Persona here.

    Then hit up this NinJa Trailer here

    In any case, enjoy episode 67: When you Can Play With More Than Just Yourself.

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    Attorney at What?

    posted @ 9/04/2007 07:31:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Who's the guy in the suuuuuuuuuuuuit? Whooooooooooooo's the guy in my WIIIIIIIII?

    You guessed it! Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is coming to the Wii [and PS2 and PSP] this November in the form of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law™...the video game. From the fine folks that bring you the Adult Swim and the creative folks over at Capcom comes what they call a
    "unique style of gameplay... players will step into the shiny wingtips of Harvey Birdman, a third-rate superhero turned third-rate defense attorney charged with exonerating parodied classic cartoon characters.

    In the game, players must guide Harvey through a series of oddball cases. In order to prove his client’s innocence, Harvey must peruse the scene of the crime, gather evidence, talk with other cartoon characters, occasionally have drinks with opposing council, and of course, tear holes – no matter how ridiculous – in the testimony provided by the witness for the prosecution.

    What sounds cool about the game is that all of the original voice talent is on board including Peter MacNicol and Gary Cole, so I'm a happy chiquitita.

    So, LOOK OUT!

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    Why Did Sony Fanboys Censor Themselves?

    posted @ 8/12/2007 05:56:00 PM by evermore
    At the end of September last year, ElectricSistaHood published a post asking the big question of the day: Will the PS3 cause Sony to go broke?

    The story was a massive hit. More than 55,000 people read the story the first day. That's more people than read a front page story of many mid-market daily newspapers. Since publishing the story, it's received 87,595 page views through yesterday.

    Last week the story started getting attention from a new source: the forums at, the European Playstation site. Then, suddenly, the attention stopped. After a little investigation, we discovered the horrid truth: The Sony fanboys are censoring themselves!

    Before I continue, a few caveats are in order. First, the folks at ElectricSistaHood aren't Microsoft fanboys. I personally own five machines with Apple computers inside (three Powerbooks, an Intel iMac and an AppleTV). We have two iPhones. We're not Microsoft haters, either. We have one Vista laptop, but we didn't have to pay for that. We own a couple of copies of Microsoft Office for the Mac. We own a copy of Windows XP that we run on the Mac in Parallels. We own an Xbox and an Xbox 360 -- and the 360 recently spent about a month or so in the shop. We have a Nintendo Wii with four controllers and a DS Lite.

    And we own our good share of Sony stuff -- a couple of PS2's, a 20-gig PS3 and a PSP. The only trouble we've had with any of them is that the first PS2 had difficulty playing some CD's when it was standing on its side. We use the PS3 mostly for its Blu-Ray movie-playing capability, but we find it a good, solid platform for playing games.

    When I wrote the story last September about Sony going broke, it was well researched and fully documented. And I wasn't the only one having severe questions about the company. The very same day I wrote about Sony, the Wall Street Journal published a similar article.

    In the story, I posited that under the circumstances, if the stars fell into a certain alignment, there could be the possibility that (a) Sony could find itself in a position to ditch the gaming division and (b) Microsoft could find itself in a position to purchase the Sony gaming division. It's not an impossible notion. Who would have thought a few years ago that Daimler would suddenly toss Chrysler into the dust bin?

    Besides, at the time ElectricSistaHood was barely attracting 300 people a day to the site.

    How did a little blog like ElectricSistaHood get such a big response? We were Slashdotted. If you're unaware of what that means, we were mentioned in a blog post on the website In addition, we were Dugg -- mentioned in a post on the website

    As a result of those two mentions, blogs and websites all over the world found out about the story and linked to our post. That post single-handedly put ElectricSistaHood on the map. Today we attract more than 60,000 unique visitors a month and we're aiming for 100,000 by the end of the year.

    My story got kudos from some and flames from others. My head didn't swell from the kudos and I didn't cry myself to sleep from the flames. I just liked being able to get so many people involved in that important topic.

    Since September, interest in the story has continued. We generally get a few dozen pageviews of the story every day, and people still comment on occasion -- usually with harsh opinions on one side or another.

    Then on Friday, the page got hit with a few hundred readers. Comments heavily weighed toward Sony's side of things. What had suddenly made people so excited about a story that was written almost a year ago?

    To find the answer to that question, I searched through the server logs of and discovered hundreds of people coming to the site from a forum at -- the European Playstation website. I tried clicking into the page from which they came, but the page -- (Click here to try it yourself) -- was no longer there.

    Someone had removed the page. Was Sony censoring its fanboys? What could they have been saying on the forum?

    I did some more digging. I knew that the words "Sony" and "broke" would have to be on the page, so I did a Google search on "" and "sony" and "broke". The search found the pages, but clicking on them resulted in the same error page -- the comments were simply gone.

    Of course, the nice part about looking up stuff on Google is that it also caches the pages as it crawls them. All the original forum pages were still there and available by clicking the "Cached" link on Google.

    So I read through the postings. It was the usual mix of Sony fanboys and Microsoft fanboys trading shots with each other. There wasn't anything controversial there. Nobody threatened to do bodily harm to anyone. No reason for Sony to pull down the pages.

    Then, near the end of the posts, the Sony fanboys started getting cold feet about the whole thing. There just weren't very many people coming to the defense of the topic, which was called "Microsoft to buy Sony? ha".

    About a day after making his first post on the topic at the forums, MPower wrote, "Ok, I only posted this to show how absurd the article was. So if anyone thinks I took it seriously hence the 'has anyone got a gun' [comment]. Anyway, this topic is really irrelevant and ANOTHER bloody flamewar is starting so lets move on shall we ladies and gents?"

    The next poster, Rider2006, agreed, writing, "This thread should be deleted as it's off topic." After a couple of more posts, the topic was deleted from the website in the early hours today (Sunday, Aug. 12).

    I think this is what happened:

    MPower learned of a story proclaiming the possibility that Microsoft was going to grab Sony's gaming division. He saw that the story was on a girl-gaming website, which he must have thought was particularly funny. He probably thought, what could girls possibly know about gaming?

    After a few congratulatory posts from his Sony fanboy friends, others started making disturbing comments about the realities of PS3 sales vs. the sales of the 360 and the Wii. Then the discussion degenerated into unrelated asides about sales of Sony TVs and Walkmans.

    I think the Sony fanboys started realizing that it wasn't the year 2003 anymore. The Playstation 3 is not the PS2. There aren't any substantial games for it yet, and with the absence of Grand Theft Auto IV this Christmas, it will be mid-2008 before a marquee game arrives for the platform. Even then, they will have to share the stage with Microsoft, which will have the game for the Xbox 360 at the same time.

    The discussion got irrelevant all right. But it was the Sony fanboys who made the discussion irrelevant. Nintendo sells every Wii it makes and PS3 boxes are stacked to the rafters at Best Buy -- even after a $100 price break. There's no defense to that little argument, and the Sony fanboys know it.

    That's why they halted the discussion and made it unavailable for anyone else to read it. They simply couldn't face the truth anymore.

    Want to read the posts the Sony fanboys don't want you to read? Click here for a PDF version of the entire banned forum topic!

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    When $500 Is Better Than $600

    posted @ 7/10/2007 01:19:00 PM by evermore
    Here is the horrible, horrible truth: Stay away from the new PS3. The old PS3 out there, the one languishing on the shelves of Wal-Mart and Circuit City, the one you don't have to stand in line for, the one you don't have to wait by your mailbox for, well, it's, uh, better.

    That's right. The 60-gig PS3, the one that's been around since November, the one that they just reduced in price by $100, the one that... oh, stop it. The word from E3 is that the older, 60-gig PS3 is better than the new 80-gig model. In fact, if you still play some PS2 games, you should positively stay away from the 80-gig PS3 model.

    Why? Emulation. The original PS3 also contains the PS2 Emotion chip to help it play PS2 games. Now that the Sony folks have come up with a way to emulate PS2 capability in software on the PS3, they have dropped the Emotion chip from the new machine.

    And we all know what happens when you emulate a chip in software, don't we? Incompatibilities. That game you've been playing for years suddenly doesn't work anymore. The disc spins and spins, but doesn't go anywhere. You're left with unexpected crashes -- or eerie silence.

    So here's the warning: If you've got several PS2 games you intend on playing on the 80-gig PS3, test them out on the machine before buying one. Better yet, stick with the original PS3. We suspect the 60-gig model isn't even being built anymore (they've got a few million on hand gathering dust at places like and GameStop), so when they're gone, they're gone.

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    Firmware Update Means Nothing for Gamers

    posted @ 5/23/2007 04:00:00 PM by evermore
    Sony Playstation 3 owners are going to have their hands full in the next few days, downloading software and updating their systems. What will it mean for gamers? Pretty much nothing.

    The updates aren't for gamers. You can see that right here. They're for people who want to watch a slightly better picture when they're using the PS3 to show DVD movies. They're for people who want to see bigger renditions of pictures they've got saved to their Playstation Portables. They're for people who... uh... well, that's about it.

    If you're a gamer waiting for a reason to use the PS3, you'll just have to keep waiting. Sure, it can upscale PSOne and PS2 games, but from what I've seen thus far, those games simply play better on their original systems -- and the PS2 is still beating the PS3 in sales, six months after the introduction of the PS3.

    Of course, you could treat the installation of the new PS3 firmware as a game itself. Score 10 points for yourself when you get the thing downloaded. Subtract a point for every hour it takes to download it properly. Score 10 points for yourself when the firmware update is installed and running. Subtract a point for every hour it takes to get the thing working right. If you're lucky, your score will still be a positive number in the end.

    Then add it to your gamerscore and... oh, yeah, the PS3 doesn't have a gamerscore.

    Do ya think Sony cares about gamers anymore?

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    Finish what you start...

    Kutaragi Quits, Universe Remains Otherwise Unchanged

    posted @ 4/26/2007 10:22:00 AM by evermore
    News item: Ken Kutaragi, creator of the PlayStation console, will retire from his post as Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s chairman and group CEO, effective June 19, Sony Corp. said.

    Do you know how you can tell Kutaragi chose to retire?

    By the splinters underneath his fingernails!

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    PS3 vs. PS2

    posted @ 2/13/2007 04:01:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    I have to hand it to TechRepublic, their side by side hardware comparison of the PS3 and PS2 hardware is pretty sweet, and a tad eye opening.

    I've never had the balls to crack open my PS3 case. In all honesty, after the green screen freeze of last week during DVD playback I've been weary of touching that thing at all. But the courageous folks over there at Tech Republic have broken down how the guts of the PS3 compare to those of the PS2, and they've done it all with pictures... good looking, non-grainy pics no less!

    It's when you get to this picture that the fun really starts, at least from my point of view. You can see that the internal parts main layout is similar on both systems, the only difference is that you can fit the entirety of the the PS2 components on the left side of the PS3 and still have some wiggle room. Hell, the PS2 is the size of the damned Blu-Ray drive! Oh, we can't forget that cooling fan either. You see this? See how large that PS3 fan is? Makes that poor lil PS2 fan have an inferiority complex. At least it would, if the PS3 didn't run warmer than all get out. I have to keep mine on a level all by itself in my AV rack so it can get enough air circulating in order to keep it happy.

    And the award for best image in the whole gallery goes to: the PS2 mainboard vs. Blu-Ray Drive. Sure, it's probably a tad bit unfair to compare a redesigned to be compact generation 2 PS2 to a first one out the gate in a hurry generation 1 PS3, but who in life said things had to be fair? The fact is, the system is bloated... but many gen 1 systems are. After looking at all the innards of the box, it's obvious that Sony has done their best to make use of every square inch of space that the PS3 encompasses, my question is when will the slimline PS3 be available?

    We know that Sony is hard at work trying to iron out the kinks in the backwards compatibility between the Cell Processor and previous PS titles so they will not have to include the PS2 hardware in the system. That will be a huge step towards reducing the physical size [and weight] of the PS3, but what about the size of the Blu-Ray drive? Will there ever be a reduction in it's size to allow the PS3 to get down to the size of the original PS2? [Give or take an inch or two] I think if they can get these issues addressed by next Holiday, the PS3 will be able to cut into the next-gen console war lead that Nintendo and Microsoft have on them.

    I still can't find another damn Wii for Pandalicious or another damn Wiimote. Can you?

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    Yakuza: Rental Or No?

    posted @ 2/07/2007 08:00:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    With box art this sexy the game has to be good right? Well, after the last 4 hours of playing I'm going to have to say no.

    I got my hands on a copy of Yakuza today from Gamefly and I have to say that I'm kinda disappointed. Originally I was really looking forward to playing this game because the voice talent behind it was impressive. Michael Madsen, Mark Hamill, Rachel Leigh Cook, Michael Rosenbaum, and Eliza Dushku make up an ensemble cast that many producers would give their right [and/or left] testicle for, so when the dialog falls flat, and you find yourself wishing the post office was still open so you could send this title back to the Gamefly from which it came, it makes you wonder what the hell has gone wrong.

    Yakuza shouldn't suck. It's made by Sega, it's a brawler [usually right up this ninja's alley] and is based on the Japanese mob so there is plenty of reason for violence, conflict, treachery, debauchery to take place. But in actually playing the game, you find things are very formulaic in that point "A" leads to point "B" and that there is no way to get to point "C" without first going through points "A" and "B." Within launching the title you immediately notice that this game is not for the kid-lings. Yakuza has more drops of the F-bomb [I'm talking fuck not fack] then a hooker with tourettes syndrome. Foul language doesn't offend me, it really doesn't... but when you use a curse word too often you take the edge off it. Fuck is one of those words whose edge should never be softened. In Yakuza at least one third of the dialogue exchanges that pops up contain some use of the word fuck, and for no apparent fucking reason either. Lame.

    As I reached hour one of gameplay I found myself comparing Yakuza to Shenmue, another game made by Sega. Both games feature a young man, in love with a girl, battling gangs/mobs throughout town to try and piece together how his lady has ended up missing. In Shenmue you play the character of Ryu, and end up traveling all around town finding clues, working jobs, and occasionally fighting the odd bad dude on the quest to save your fair lady. In Yakuza you play Kazuma, and after some shizzole goes down you get stuck in the joint for a 10 year bid. While you are in jail you find out that your honey dip Yumi done lost her marbles and has disappeared. Once you get out, you set out to find her and figure out what the hell happened all those years ago.

    Initial comparison aside, I expected the same level of detail in Yakuza that Shenmue had. Imagine my surprise when I started up the game and there were more artifacts on screen than in an ancient Egyptian tomb! Even pre-rendered video's seem to suffer from and infestation of jaggies. At times it is difficult to get the main character to stay focused on target and you wind up punching at air while a group of baddies stand behind you and try to hit you. Lame again. But I soldier on because I think that the story is going to get deep. It's obvious to me that there are going to be some twists and turns coming down the line and I want to see them. But the formula kicks in again... cut scene, cut scene, 5 person lame fight, cut scene, wander around to find the pink spot on the map, count the times the word "fuck" gets dropped. Yippie!

    Now, there is supposed to be a film adaptation of this game and there was a sequel to the game released in December, but for now I'm going to give Yakuza a 2.5 out of 5.

    Maybe if I get deeper into the game, the redeeming qualities that others have found in it will reveal themselves to me. But for now, I'm just going to go and play the Crackdown demo again and return Yakuza to GameFly

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    Finish what you start...

    Tower of Power

    posted @ 1/22/2007 10:08:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Months and months after moving into my new digs I have finally reassembled my tower of power is back in business.

    I speak, of course, of my gaming rig... the center of my entertainment world is whole once more. It's taken me months to find all of my cables, power cords, power bricks, games, and then the time to put the sonofabitch together. I put the most important systems on the TV to start [being the next-gen boxes] but the PS2, Xbox, and PSP sort of kinda languished in a box over in the corner of the room. A dimly lit corner of the room to make it even more pathetic. I would have had a GameCube in the tower as well but it was given to Pandalicious in hopes that it might lure her away from WoW. It did not.

    So what's in my gaming rig you might ask? Well, in what has now become the "Tower of Older Power" we have the Xbox with slight modification, a PS2, PSP, Gameboy SP, 6-input S-Video switch, XB360 quick-charge stand, digital cable box, and games awaiting a trip to the local Gamestop for trade in.

    In the main arena I have my PS3, XB360, and Nintendo Wii tucked away under my 42" TV from LCD Olevia Yes, the NinJa is back in action people. Now some of you may have noticed that I mentioned a bunch of consoles that have online gameplayability, [hehe, I made a new word] but didn't mention how I have them networked... it's because I don't yet. Right now, the Wii connects to my existing wireless network and my XB360 and PS3 are share a connection from an Apple Airport Express. Until I decided on a good ethernet switch for these guys to share it will stay that way.

    Now all I need is enough furniture so that the gaming parties can begin. What about you guys? What do your rigs look like? What would you like to add? Wanna send us a picture? I'm putting some larger images of my rig in the gallery, so check it out.

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    2007's Most Wanted

    posted @ 1/02/2007 11:24:00 AM by Douceswild
    It’s a new year people! Resolutions have been made (and probably broken already). As far as the gaming industry is concerned, there will definitely be new and exciting things coming our way. What are you looking forward to the most?

    I’m sure a lot of people would name Halo 3 the most anticipated game of 2007. I’ve had mine reserved for the past month and will be standing outside of Gamestop if they have another midnight release. Even though I’m excited about that title, and can’t wait to put Master Chief back into the fight for mankind’s survival, it’s not at the top of my list.

    One of the games of 2007 that has me sitting at the edge of my seat is Mass Effect for the Xbox 360. It’s an action rpg from the developers of Jade Empire and Knights of the Old Republic, both of which are awesome games. In both "JE" and "KOTOR", as they’re called, a lot of the plot twists and the outcome of the game depend on the choices you make. Your decisions may also effect the way your party members feel about you and whether they choose to join you at all. The same concepts have been added into Mass Effect and amped up a bit. All of this plus unbelievable graphics is enough to make my mouth water.

    This year will undoubtedly bring new and exciting releases for all systems. What titles have you running to your local game store to place on reserve status? I’ll get the ball rolling since most of you are still probably recovering for your New Year’s celebration.

    (Some of the these titles are coming out on multiple systems but I’ve listed the system I plan on playing them on.)

    Mass Effect – Xbox 360
    Assassin’s Creed – Xbox 360
    World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade - PC
    Tabula Rasa – PC
    Halo 3 – Xbox 360
    Wii Play – Nintendo Wii
    Crackdown – Xbox 360
    Rogue Galaxy – PS2

    There’s plenty more but I’ll stop here because I have to go look for a second job to pay for the rest of the stuff that’s going to come out this year. I’ll turn the keyboard over to you. What’s your 2007’s Most Wanted?

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    Soul Calibur 3

    posted @ 12/04/2006 07:42:00 PM by geekwoman
    Soul Calibur 3 Review by Geek Woman

    Soul Calibur 3 is a fighting game that is an exclusive on the PS2. That was a big disappointment for many people. On the whole it is a truly great fighter. There are some problems with it, as there are with any game. It is a quality offering considering that we are in the twilight days of the reign of the PS2.

    Games that are vast and that have achieved a level of praise from gamers on previous installments, have a rough time of it when something like a third sequel is finally rolled out. That can go several ways. The game could just be terrible for many reasons. Sometimes a sequel isn't finished, and it doesn't have the depth that early versions of game had when the developers were trying to curry favor. This is not the case with SC3. It is almost too vast this time. It falls into that trap of trying to be the "everything for everybody" game. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it means they are trying to give you more stuff for your money. The good intentions don't always translate well. The addition of a real time strategy (RTS) game into the mix largely failed.

    Not all game play modes are available from the start of the game. Many of the characters move lists have been changed which apparently has p'oed the hardcore fans to no end. Why would the developers of a much loved franchise do something like switch up the moves? It would seem that since the game is exclusively for PS2, that it was directed mainly at an existing fan base. Why mess with them?

    OK counter to most reviews that you read which tell you the good stuff first, we've gotten the only two bad points about this game out of the way. First of all there is tons of content. Some of it is lousy granted, but still you won't run out of things to do. There are several new characters. Three of them are introduced right off. Access to the other new characters is gradual. There is new game-play, and the new modes too. If you have played Soul Calibur before you won't really be disappointed. If you haven't played any Soul Calibur games yet, get it or rent it.

    Soul Calibur 3 has some of the most fun and interesting female characters in gaming today. Each one has a complete move-list. They have a selection of weapons that upgrade. You can buy more weapons, and armor. There are several costumes for each avatar.

    Best of all is the character creation feature. You can design an avatar that suits you perfectly. There are endless combinations of clothing, armor and accessories. You chose a profession, appearance and even the voice of your character. That seems to be the most fair way to settle the issue with nudity in avatars. If you want to wear "barbarian underwear" to fight in - you can. If you want to cover up - you can. There are hoods and headscarves, your character could be clothed from head to toe and layers of armor can be piled on. The character creation capability gives a range of options that not only enhance the looks of your character, but it adds a new component to the game. You get to create your own ultimate fighter.

    There are about 18 different modes in the game. If you want to be hardcore and get all the unlockables, you would have to beat all of the modes to get absolutely everything. There are many surprising features in this game. Bottom line is it is the best 2 person fighting game out there. Still in all, you can win with button mashing. It's a fighter plain and simple, in spite of all the fancy window dressing. The AI is pretty predictable which can be good or bad depending on how you like to play. They seem to try to push your character into a wall or a corner. If you like a big challenge it is there. If you like to take it easy and see the whole game, you can do that too. Like many games, I can analyze what the game "punishes" you for. If you don't get the opening move right, it is likely that you will loose. If you turn your back to your enemy, or if your attacks fall short you loose. The timid are not rewarded in gaming.

    There are around 30 characters to play with in the game as well as a strange random character generator which is fun. Two of the new characters are female. Tira, is a girl fighter who uses a razor sharp hoola hoop as a weapon. Setsuka is a Japanese geisha with a parasol and a sword. Someone must be hearing us. The fighting engine was revamped and improved. The weird Chronicles of the Sword mode enables you to take your new custom players onto a map, where you need to occupy enemy forts by beating them in battles. That was done better in SC2. The Arcade mode is called "Quick Play". The Tournament mode puts you in fictional competition. What is that about? There is no online play for this game which is a terrible shame. I have to say that SC3 beat the pants of Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks - which I was looking forward to more, but MK Deception has online mulitiplayer.

    The environments in this game are stunning. There are gorgeous landscapes. Marvelous temples, over flowing water falls and Ivy's over decorated mansion. The camera pans quickly over pink hued clouds in the background, water effects shimmer with some of best eye candy you can see. For a fighting game SC3 has the best looks going. And I am including DOA when I say it is the best looking fighter out there. There is no lack of colors. It is bright, bold and conspicuous.

    The sound is a disappointment. There could have been better music for this game. I would have saved the space on the disk that was wasted on the RTS mode for better music. The voice acting is still very poor, and amusing because of it. The voices and the sound effects have not changed or been upgraded. While other games are integrating song lists and even iPod interfaces into games, SC3's lack there of is a letdown. I guess the developers missed the bit that Morgan Webb did on Xplay where they dubbed the weird grunts and groans from SC2 into suggestive parody skits.

    Despite the superfluous extra features the game still is the top of the line fighter for PS2 beating out Tekken 4 with style. Soul Calibur 3 has a lot to offer girl games that like to kick butt. They built this one for us. (Yeah, I know they built it for guys that like to play with sexy female avatars.) I give Soul Calibur 3 a 4.5

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    Finish what you start...

    Game Hardware Shopper

    posted @ 12/03/2006 11:43:00 PM by geekwoman
    Holiday Hardware Guide by Geek Woman

    If you are looking for some shopping advice on game hardware for the female, or male, gamer on your list then hopefully this article will help you understand it all. The location that is preferred for a game environment is an important choice to be aware of if you are shopping for games and accessories for your gamer. Games come in three basic types which are the PC, Console or Handheld. I'm going to try and give you the keys to the kingdom of the consoles.

    First of all "What is a game console?" These are a box like machine that you attach to a TV set. Games are played with a controller that is held in the hands and effects the action on the screen. These have indeed been around since Pong and Pac Man, and if that is where you left the game trail, then you might be glad to know that those old school or retro games are still offered, in game packs and collections. Sometimes they have been updated and upgraded. If you want to pick up something like that for a gift you need to know the brand name and the model of the console or game device that your gamer has. Write it down and take it with you when you go shopping.

    Some people opt for playing games on their PC rather than on the television. It seems that older people and women are the dominant demographic that enjoy using the PC for gaming. PC game - play are very popular for playing the massively multiplayer online games or MMOG's. Games such as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars are played on a PC with a keyboard and mouse. These games enable the player to interact with thousands of other players. Some of them also include the ability to talk to the other people while you are playing with them. Thought those features have been developing more slowly on PC. If your friend is playing an MMO there aren't many additional accessories for those. If they are a Guild Wars Player they may not have the new chapter called Nightfall which is a great game to add to the original Guild Wars or to buy it as a stand alone game. There are the Limited Edition Keyboards that are available for the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing) games that are good looking and work well which are sold by a company called Zboard. Zboards

    Perhaps the best way to determine what console to buy is to go by the age of the person who will be playing it. Right now there are three "next gen" consoles. Last year in November Microsoft upgraded their hardware and it is called the Xbox 360. It has mid - range graphics. There are over 100 games available for it at this time. The games are mainly of the first person shooter type or FPS and sports games. If you have heard of Halo 2 and Gears of War, or Oblivion those are titles for the Xbox 360. These games are for a mature crowd. The action is fast paced and bloody. Often the most popular games for the "360" carry a "T" for Teen or an "M" for Mature rating. Those ESRB ratings mean that Teens of 17 and 18 years old and above are the recommended age limit. These ratings can mean that there could be language or behaviors that some people would consider too crude for younger kids. It is no joke either. If you have a mix of older and younger kids in the house, the choice of games is crucial and requires your attention as much as monitoring what movies on DVD or cable that your younger kids could get into.

    With Xbox the online aspect is called Xbox Live. A paid subscription is required for this additional service. With the online feature more games and demos are available to download directly into the console. The console can be bought with one of a few choices of hard drive size for saving downloadable games and other functions. Xbox Live gives players access to playing with many other players at the same time. It isn't 'massively' multiplayer as it is with with PC. Although large groups of strangers can interact with each other in an open ended party - line conversation. There are over 4 million users on Xbox Live. Xbox Live has something of a reputation for "Trash -Talking" which in short, means that a player that is wearing the headphones is opening themselves up to the possibility of hearing unkind and curse word laced tirades about the flaws in their game from other players. There is no one monitoring these conversations and there is no one censoring what the others could be saying. Because of this tendency, I would not recommend the Xbox 360 for little girls or young women under 18.

    Costs for the annual subscription is approximately $50 US, its called Xbox Live Gold which includes voice chat, and Xbox Marketplace for gamers to buy and sell content. Sometimes original games, and old school arcade titles are downloadable. Xbox 360 works on HD TVs. They claim to have 250 old Xbox or "original Xbox" games that will play on the new console. Be careful to look up a list online for games that are called "backwards compatible" prior to inserting an old Xbox game into the Xbox 360. The digital media that it plays are DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD.

    Microsoft has two variations of Xbox 360 available for sale. One has the Xbox 360 faceplate, and a Silver Xbox Live package, $300 known as a core package, that comes with one wired controller, standard A/V cable, and the console. The Gold package is required to actually play online games. There is a $400 system with a 20 GB hard drive, Xbox 360 Remote Controller, High Definition TV component cables, Xbox 360 headset and a wireless controller.

    Next the Playstation 3 was released last week the manufacturer's suggested retail price is between $600 and $700 dollars US. It has been in the news and has gotten some bad press. Most of the incidents involved mismanagement of the long lines of people who were camping out to be able to get the very low quantity of these premium machines that were produced. One Massachusetts man was shot in a hold up of a line of customers waiting outside a store in Putnam Connecticut. The gunmen were attempting a hold up when this man refused to pay them. Because Sony was not able to make enough of these complicated advanced machines to fulfill the demands for them, it created chaos in several ways.

    In the past Playstation 2 has been the most popular gaming console in the US with the most millions sold. Perhaps Sony should have waited to launch the sale until they had more of them ready. The PS3 Platform plays a few more accessories peripherals than the 360. It also boasts to be the most graphically advanced system. The new Blu-Ray Disc™ is a type of High Definition disk for playing movies that is supposed to be the future of disk published media. The way that DVD's replaced VHS a few years ago. The PS3 has what is called a SIXAXIS™ wireless controller that interacts with the screen in a close to 3D experience. You can use your Playstation 3 with High-Definition displays as well as conventional or standard TVs. It comes with either a 20GB or 60GB removable hard disk drive (HDD). The thousands of PS One® and PS2 PlayStation®2 games as well as CDs and DVDs are useable on the PLAYSTATION®3. The thing supposedly plays just about everything including some digital photo cards.

    The PS3 has online capabilities including multiplayer gaming, text and video messaging, voice chat, downloading content and browsing the web. Even though the PS3 has impressive technical specifications, you may not be able to get one for the December holidays. It could be a moot point until sometime next Spring. There are over inflated PS3 prices on ebay, and buying those is not only exorbitantly expensive, but could be risky as well.

    The PLAYSTATION®3 is available in two configurations with either the 20GB hard disk drive or the 60GB HDD. Some PlayStation 2 or PlayStation format software titles may perform differently on the system than they do on the native systems for example the PS3 doesn't support a vibration controller.

    Then last Sunday the offering of the first Nintendo Wii consoles' launch was a 1960's "Love In" where the people in lines waiting were exchanging free hugs, ordering lunch for each other and playing games together. Something can be said about the two different types of people that were attending these launch parties. For the most part the Nintendo Wii draws a younger crowd and is most popular with younger kids and people that enjoy Nintendo's cute and quirky games.

    There are approximately 50 games for the Wii, and we are told that there will be enough of the consoles to go around. Nintendo and developers seem to be in a rush to create new games for this innovative new product. Nintendo wanted to bring gaming to everyone, and has many titles that are rated for all ages and for kids. They went one more step and made a controller that is supposed to be easier to pick up and play since it is designed to resemble a television remote controller. You play with two hands and the actions resemble the actual movements of slashing a sword or driving. The remote is used as a handheld pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions . The controller set called the "nun-chucks and wii-mote" interact with a sensor strip that you placer near your TV for a realistic complete 3D experience. A one-handed controller that uses a combination of accelerometers and infrared detection in conjunction with the sensor bar to sense its position in 3D space. Some people have found the workout to be a bit strenuous

    The Nintendo Wii is not all things to all people the way that the other two consoles are attempting to be an all around media hub that takes the place of all the other components in your home entertainment center. What the Wii does do is add another level of fun and mirthfulness back into games. The unique controller has been a big hit so far and has gotten high marks from every reviewer. It is rare for something so gimmicky and unusual to get such a unanimous welcome from the jaded and snarky gaming community. People that have the 360 are getting the Wii too because it is like the apples and oranges in the PC world yet again.

    The Wii is an ideal choice for a household with older and younger kids, seniors, and for the homes that do not have a High Definition TV set. Those aren't interested in the more mature titles, and those chat capabilities that are for adults or older kids can have a fairly safe online experience with the privacy and Friend policies from Nintendo. The console also features its own online service WiiConnect24 , which enables it to receive messages and updates over the Internet. The Wii console won the Game Critics Awards for Best of Show and Best Hardware. The console has a few kid safety features such as parental controls to prohibit younger kids from playing the wrong games. It reads the content rating and won't play games that are not set to the right age level.

    The number of Wii consoles that will be available in the Americas during the launch rollout are expected to meet demand and sales of 4 million consoles worldwide by the end of 2006 are anticipated. The company affirmed that they "are working to ensure a plentiful supply and a consistent flow."

    The launch Wii package includes the console, a stand to allow the console to be placed vertically, a circular clear stabilizer for the main stand, one Wii Remote, one Nunchuk attachment, one Sensor Bar, a removable stand for the sensor bar, one external main power adapter, AV cables (component video and other type of cables will be available separately), and a copy of Wii Sports in the US and Canada. The Wii console is the smallest home console unit of the three contenders and the least expensive at $250. US. The front of the console features a slot-loading media drive lit up by a by distinct blue light and it accepts both Wii software and discs from Nintendo's prior console, the Game-Cube. They are telling us that it is fully backwards compatible with all the Previous Game Cube games.

    Additionally the interface for the console is designed around the concept of television channels, with a Wii Menu. Nintendo will not charge fees for playing games from the service. Channels are graphically displayed, and are navigated using the point of the Wii Remote. They are the Disc Channel, Mii Channel, News Channel, Forecast Channel, Photo Channel, Wii Shop Channel, Internet Channel. The Virtual Console Channel is basically an “online service, similar to Xbox Live Arcade. The Nintendo DS will be able to play game demos downloaded from the Wii console which gamers would receive from Nintendo, similar to a DS Download Station. Gamers can download retro games not only for the NES, Super NES, and Nintendo 64, but also Sega’s Genesis, NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 and others. The Wii has average graphics and only a 512 MB built-in flash memory, expansion is available via SD card memory, up to 2 GB max. It will take Game-Cube Memory Cards for saving GCN games only.

    In addition to the larger game consoles or PC games that you find at home, mobile games have become very popular. The Nintendo DS is a hand held, rechargeable dual screen portable game system. It comes in a variety of colors and it is pocket sized. It is the most popular handheld game console, which easily buried the competition, which were the Sony PSP and the N-Gage. it has continued to hold the record for the most units sold just as the Game Boy has for years. It comes in two sizes. The original unit that made its debut last year, is referred to as the 'NDS' and it can play both the library of Game Boy Advance games as well as games for the DS. The DS Lite is a smaller sleeker version of the same DS machine, but it smaller and does not have the additional slot for the GBA games. You can find several reviews and editorials about the DS right on this website. Nintendo DS and the Wii are expected to have a type of connectivity to use functions like the Nintendo DS's microphone and touch-screen as inputs for Wii games like Pokémon Battle Revolution. It is expected that all of Nintendo's huge repertoire of well known game franchises, such as Zelda, Metroid, Mario, Animal Crossing, and Pokémon will come to the Wii in some form.

    For very tiny kids and toddlers Leapster has the education interactive toys for under $100 Leapster

    For an easy comparison chart you can check out Gamefly. They have a chart showing the three consoles. The Nintendo Wii, the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3. Renting games or giving a Gamefly subscription is a good gift idea.

    For a stocking stuffer I recommend Geek Woman's Game Guide 2006

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    Finish what you start...

    Time For A New Podcast Episode!

    posted @ 11/20/2006 01:50:00 AM by Ninjasistah
    It's new podcast episode day again... this time, it's the super "buy me stuff" edition.

    Well, it's not the final "buy me stuff" edition as we will undoubtedly have a few more of these types of shows between now and New Years Day, but it's a good way to start off the holiday shopping season.

    Pandalicious pimps Angel Sanctuary and Final Fantasy XII while MagicMysticGrl shines the "perfect gift" light on the works of Sang Sun Park with special emphasis on texture in manga. [Or Manwha if you are a purist] Le Oro gets in the mix as well, then NinJaSistah rounds out the show with a spotlight on the movie Boiler Room, the PS2 video game God of War, and the XB360 title Viva Piñata. Grab a cup of egg nog and enjoy Episode 27: Gift Guide-O-Rama!

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    Finish what you start...

    The "Pink Thing"

    posted @ 11/16/2006 04:48:00 PM by geekwoman
    From reading and talking to so many female gamers I had gotten the impression that women have a very different game experience than males do. I set out to see if I was right.Studies do show that women players account for many game - play hours in online games. In my experience as a games writer I have found that women don't have an easy time of finding free time for video games. Often game play time is interrupted. Someone in the house will always need or want something if she sits down at the computer or picks up a controller. If people are not physically present there is the phone, the coffee pot, the micro (or crock pot depending on where you live), and washer / dryer that all will bleep, buzz or bloop for attention at exactly the wrong time.

    The Pink Thing and Video Games by Geek Woman

    It is no different if she has pets. When there are two small dogs and three cats for example then there are endless possibilities for someone's dish of water or food to be empty. Or they bark because they want "Out!" Or maybe a chew toy has fallen down the steps or a bone has landed behind the couch. Those dramas cause whining from small dogs which sounds like someone is filleting them for Carpaccio. Or the 16 year old cat may become suddenly interested in being on top of the fridge and then on top of Grandma’s TV. Enter the "home chaos factor", which may or may not be limited to one gender.

    Where is everyone else in the place when one is playing a game? Perhaps selective hearing is on a different gene than multitasking? No one else can see who is at the door, get the mail or answer the phone, once a character in an MMO is set up to play. In the frequent situation when it takes you over an hour to get ready and arrive at the location where you want to play next, having long blocks of
    uninterrupted time is essential.

    There has to be some furious multi tasking going on in the background that no one can see. Thank goodness for virtual online avatars. "Wait a second one of the cats is trying to annihilate the curtain..." One of my favorite moments in gaming was when my cat Miroku spelled out "M -I - L -T" when I stepped away from Dungeons and Dragons Online. He made my all character's skills disappear and had her dance merrily while stuck in a wall.

    It is at these precarious times that one's character may or may not be safe while left alone to her pre-programed idling animation of
    scratching her butt. She may be beaten to a pulp. In many games when the area isn't safe you end the session by dying. Subsequently you lose all your points and items. This will depend on how sensitive the developers were to the million and one things that compete for a gamer's time.

    In other games once you are out of the group you will spend yet more time finding a new group when you go back. In some games if you own a house that requires maintenance as in Ultima Online it could crumble into dust. Or you can get past due on your rent in Dark Age of Camelot The livestock in A Tale in the Desert could starve. There are the dreaded weeds of Animal Crossing. The randomness of life means there is going to be a lack of control over the length of our game session.

    Not all games will have the content easily available for solo players or even want to. It is more convenient to play games which are instanced or provide content in small chunks. Games which require big clans of people to band together in groups, can achieve larger goals, like changing the landscape and becoming a virtual community. That has other advantages and takes an even greater investment of time.

    Women make up 43% of all video game players. The number of gamers in the US is continuing to increase each year. At least four out of ten people play video games in the United States. When you read over all the reports it comes out even with women having a larger share overall. Games that make it easiest to save progress after a session of game - play or the ability to save at any time are assets to female gamers.

    Because of what I'm calling a the "home chaos factor" (or office) women play a great deal of the flash based puzzle, games, board games and quizzes which have shorter initial durations. Women also have higher numbers playing children's games on PCs and consoles. Women have stats that double the male numbers in playing dance and music games. Another area where there seem to be more women than men playing are the classic arcade type of ports.

    Women are multi-taskers, and the Internet provides quick connectedness, and information about games during game play. Women apparently do have a different game experience than men do. Women surveyed stated they had other tasks going and other media on in the background while gaming, either the TV, radio or MP3's were used no less than 70%. Since males had higher console than PC use than women, then they weren't necessarily able to be watching TV at the same time.

    Using my reverse logic - if aspects in real life from travel and shopping markets were implemented in game-play, the experience would be even more immersive. Some new statistics are said to show that women prefer to play games solo. Then they demonstrate that men seem to be more likely to group in an MMOG. Can the "home chaos factor" account for that too? I know that when I am playing an MMO I don't like to spend the extra time it takes to find a group of new people to play with to solve a quest. I've found that many of the women that I play with also try to go solo to save time and avoid the hassle of doing a mission repeatedly because new people don't know how to work as a team.

    Women seem to prefer to travel and game alike with established friends. In fact if you look at those other industries like travel and entertainment women's preferences are much more apparent than in gaming. Those are statistics that could be easily transferred to marketing games that would make the game experience more fun. "Girls travel in packs" it can be said. Games on Xbox Live for instance, make it very easy for ladies to play games together and meet other gals.

    In seeing who travel agents say is the average adventure traveler it is not the 28-year-old male that you'd think it would be. Travel agents figures show that a 47-year-old female is the most likely demographic to take nature, adventure, or cultural trips.

    There aren't any universal truths about women. However reaching women gamers is more than just making things Barbie pink. Women do process information in a more detail-oriented fashion. Women will notice more and likely expect more. That means we notice amenities, textures, subtleties, and read between the lines.

    “Now will you all shut up so I don’t get killed!”

    A few weeks ago when Sony / Europe announced that it's dropping the price of the PS2 for Europe and the UK. In addition, they mentioned that they are cutting the price on PS2 memory cards. Then they made another couple of unusual announcements.

    Stating that better efficiency has enabled cost savings to be made, Sony says that they are passing the savings on directly to new PlayStation 2 customers who may not want to shell out the $600 US and even more AU for the PS3.

    Sony hopes that with over 2,000 game titles another market of PS2 owners will grab up the cheaper console. But that may not be the biggest news. Besides the price cut, they announced a new limited edition Pink PS2, which comes with two pink analog controllers and a pink memory card. The Pink bundle will be available from "selected retailers" throughout Europe starting November 8th, and in the U.K. it'll come with the karaoke game SingStar Pop .

    At this time it is unknown if they will follow suit in the U.S. and AU. Some are saying that a comparable price cut will not come until next spring.

    Sony is indeed going to offer a pink PSP in association, we're told, with the singer Pink with the intent being to to attract "young women with freedom, confidence and attitude" to the platform. Unlike the upcoming pink PS2 , the salmon-hued portable console doesn't ship with pink accessories, but it is a limited edition, Sony said.

    The industry will have to start to think differently if it wants to reach the female customers. Just making things pink is not what we are after. One market study shows that girl gamers like to play during their spare time or when they're mobile. The Nintendo DS users are 44 percent female.

    Studies by the US market research firms Yankee Group and Parks Associates confirm the trends that there are several market segments where girl gamers are ahead of males. Mobile phone games are predominantly played by female gamers. In the United States about 60 percent of the people who play games on their mobile phones are women.

    David Gardner, chief operating officer for EA's worldwide studios, was speaking to a conference in Edinburgh. When he said the now much quoted line which was

    "The game industry has been failing women"

    He said the industry had to learn from the film business. And not too long ago this humble jounalist suggested that the games industry look at numbers from the Travel business to find out what girls want.

    Mr Gardner got one thing right "They don't want 'pink games'. They are not trying to play girly games where Paris Hilton and Britney Spears go shopping and put make-up on. Those kind of things have not been that successful."

    Well duh.

    But he said games such as The Sims and websites such as proved there was a market for women gamers.

    "Most of the Sims players are girls - 70% are women under 25," he said. The Sims, which is published by EA, is arguably one of the world's most successful game - with more than 40 million copies sold.

    Mr Gardner said the industry needed to "create some mega hits in the girl space and that it would potentially add a billion dollars to their revenues. That's not small change. It confirms what we have been saying for years.

    Four of our 11 studios around the world are run by women. That's an important start. That is why it is so important for young women to get hired by game development studios now.

    Just making a console or a handheld pink doesn't guantee it will seel to women. Making a sinking ship handheld like the PSP in pink may not save it. The games for the PSP just aren't there, and there are more titles that are of interest to female gamers out for the Nintendo DS. Though some women gamers may be interested in picking up a new pink console, it would be as a novelty. I doubt that anyone is going to redecorate their family room which has black or silver components in the entertainment center, to accomodate a loud pink console.

    A pink handheld game player is a cute accessory that fits into a purse and can match with outfits. But a pink console is going to become dated and very yesterday very quickly. I just saw a commercial for a large hardware depot store where a teen girl says to her Dad, "I'm grown up now, and I want to repaint my room." The pink poofy stuff is painted over with lime green, mauve and orange. Sorry Sony the new black isn't pink anymore.

    Even though we write reviews, and make suggestions, go to conferences and kick butt in our clans and guilds the game developers and the console companies still don’t get it. We are gamers like the guys are. Stop reinforcing the stereotypes. Give us female avatars in games and equality in the industry.

    And if you still don't understand what women want - well you can ask me! (For a price.)

    Geek Woman is a freelance games jounalist and author of Geek Woman’s Game Guides. She is the Editor in Chief of the Australian women’s gaming portal She has given a voice to women and girls who play video games to demonstrate to anyone listening that "We are here!" She lives in the USA with her partner, two pomeranians, three cats, scores of bitchy seagulls and a weedy garden.

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    Daily News: Crazy Talk

    posted @ 11/08/2006 12:04:00 AM by evermore
    In the run-up to the launch of the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, there's going to be lots of rumors out there. At ElectricSistaHood, we're in as much of a fog as you are, so you can just take or leave these latest bits of information coming at us from all directions. It's all talk, and it's mostly crazy.

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    Aww, No Pre-Order For You

    posted @ 11/07/2006 09:29:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Bet you son's of a motherless goats thought you were too good for the likes of us with your fancy lil Best Buy PS3 pre-order from that SNAFU the Best Buy site had the other night... well lil mister "sucks to be you NinJa" I have some news for you in case you haven't read your email yet today:

    NO PRE-ORDER FOR YOU BUDDY BOY! -- Signed, the Best Boy folks. Ha Ha!

    I revel in your not having a pre-order like myself, and only getting a 10 dollar coupon in return for your frustration. The thought will keep me warm at night, these cold and lonely nights that I struggle with my lack of guaranteed Wii or PS2 pre-orders. Knowing that I am not alone, and that I have not been hosed by some folks that were able to take advantage of a website SNAFU that I didn't get in on will grant this NinJa solace.

    Now I just need Amazon to do the same with the two Wii pre-pre-order deals but then offer the reclaimed pre-orders to the fine folks who signed up for the early notification emails and all will be forgiven.

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    Daily News: Game Reviews from All Over

    posted @ 11/07/2006 12:07:00 AM by evermore
    There's just not enough hours in the day for the Sistahs to play all the videogames out there, so every once in a while we will present the views of others on the new games out there. Here's the first batch...

    Family Guy: Matt Slagle of the Associated Press (courtesy of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette) says: "But there’s just not enough variety or originality to make the interspersed comedic nuggets worth mining." Get it here.

    Destroy All Humans! 2: A writer from the Scripps Howard News Service says: "While not as original as the first game, there is plenty of enjoyment to be found here. You can never go wrong getting to zap all those pesky humans." Get it here.

    Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07: Chris Campbell of the Scripps Howard News Service (courtesy of the Navy Compass) writes: "Sadly, there are still too few courses to play on the 360 version. Only 12 are available, and while that is double last year's count, there are 21 courses on the PS2 and regular Xbox versions. Jealousy reigns." Get it here.

    Scarface: The World Is Yours: Alex Thornton of writes: "There's no shortage of open-ended crime simulators on the market, but what Scarface lacks in originality, it more than makes up in attention to detail and a comprehensive use of the franchise." Get it here.

    Phantasy Star Universe: Lou Kesten of the Associated Press writes: "The story doesn‘t offer many surprises, and the combat is lackluster, for the most part requiring no more than rapid button-mashing." Get it here.

    Spyhunter: Nowhere to Run: A writer for Chicago's Courier News says: "Without the driving and at least some of the classic gameplay thrown in for good measure, this game is at best worth a rental, and even then, it's disappointing." Get it here.

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    I Am Hardcore

    posted @ 11/03/2006 03:36:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    In case you hadn't picked up on it before, I am a hardcore gamer. Gamer to the core. I saw this proudly, if there was a patch that said "Gamer to tha Core" I'd have it on every pair of jeans and t-shirt I own.

    Have I played every game on the planet? No. I don't own a PC to play any PC games on, I haven't even installed World of Warcraft trial that I've been given. So you might ask, on just what grounds I can state that I'm a hard core gamer. It's because I take gaming very, very seriously.

    I care about the well being of my consoles... they are my ticket to a momentary vacation from reality when I need it. As such, I have to make sure that they stay clean, safe, and in proper working order at all times. To help make that happen, I have done something that I think any gamer worth their salt needs to do: I have all of my important gaming related electronics on Uninterruptible Power Source backups. That's UPS' for the uninitiated. A little too nerdcore for you? Well it shouldn't be. A UPS is the best way to show your deep admiration for games and I'm going to explain why.

    Nothing will fry your gaming box faster than a power surge. Having your system on a surge protector is a good start, but it may not be enough to save that HD drive if the power surges while you're in the middle of a hot and heavy capture the flag match. Many people know that it's a good idea to have your computer on a UPS to make sure you don't toast the machine that has a lot of your sensitive data on it... well, your console is at it's core, just another computer, so why would you treat it any differently than your bill-paying box? You shouldn't, and from now on your won't. Seriously, go home tonight, and tell your consoles you are not going to treat them like second class citizens in your home any longer.

    Ok, all jokes aside, it's really a good idea to put your consoles on a UPS system, especially if you have more than one active gaming console in your home. But don't stop at your console, think whole picture. In my gaming rig, which I am slowly but surely tricking out, I have my 42 inch LCD, digital cable box, XB360 and PS2 on a UPS battery backup. Some people might think this is overkill but let me explain. In a previous rig setup I have everything including my wireless router on a surge protector. It was a very highly rated surge protector, so I felt comfortable in the knowledge that my electronics would not be fried like an egg in a skillet. Then the lightning storm hit, and my surge protecting surge protector FRIED my wireless router like a shot of H to the head. Fuck! Then I called the manufacturer, no replacement coming... didn't matter that it was on a surge protector. "You should have put it on a battery backup..." was the line I was given. That's when I had my "ah doyee" moment. It's all going on UPS systems.

    I stress to all of you, put your systems on UPS battery backups... but do the research first. Find out what the energy requirements of the systems and TV in your rig that you are going to put on the UPS and then find the UPS that will support that requirement with ease. For instance, many battery backup systems have a certain amount of outlets that run off the battery, and some that are merely surge protected. I purchased the Belkin F6550-AVR system for my rig because it offered 4 outlets that were surge protected plus battery backed up, and then 2 more outlets that were just surge protected. This covers my main systems. I then bought an additional F6550 unit for the AV rack that houses my PS2, Wii, and wireless router. In this way, if the power goes out, I have plenty of time to safely save my games, power down my systems... no fried electronics... and all at about the cost of a new game. Not a bad deal, If I say so myself. If they could, my consoles and TV would thanks me.

    Every major electronic system in the house is on a Belkin or APC UPS backup system. I've opted to not go with some systems that say they are specifically designed for the consoles themselves because they are designed specifically for that one system. Many of those systems are in the same form factor as the console itself, and are meant to rest underneath the system. For my rig space, this does not work. It would mean a single back up for each system and a power outlet for each. Unfortunately for me I don't have 6 outlets on the wall where my rig is, so this is an unfeasible option for me, and I think for many other people.

    I am hardcore. I am gamer to tha core. Are you?

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    SAY WHAAA???

    posted @ 10/12/2006 06:13:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Dude, I'm confused. I've been looking forward to the PS2 God Hand for some time now. It's currently at the top of my Gamefly queue followed by Okami and Saints Row. So the news that the company behind the first two games is out of business and about to be liquidated kinda made me say WTF?!?!

    To say that I was caught a little off guard would be an understatement of epic proportions. When I read about it earlier today I bit my tongue, literally. I was chewing gum and was so floored I lost my chewing rhythm, missed the gum, and bit my tongue. This added to me puzzlement and anger.

    As you may [or may not] know, Clover Studios are the mad men and women behind Okami, God Hand, and Viewtiful Joe. If you haven't played any of these games, you've done yourself a disservice. I have yet to play the full versions of Okami or God Hand but I have played a demo of Okami and both of the Viewtiful Joe games. These games are unique. Within the first few moments of playing them you understand by instinct alone that these are the brain children of some creative ass people. Search the interweb for any of these titles or hit up the IGN website and look them up. You won't find any negative things being said about these titles. [Except for God Hand which gets dismissed for being a simple brawler that pokes fun at itself]. So why close up the Clover Studios shop on us Capcom?

    I guess it's the same answer as always: creative does not always equal profit while missed profits always equal termination. It turns out that Capcom [Clover is a subsidiary of Capcom] has decided that although Clover Studios was productive, evidently they were not lucrative [enough]to continue on. While Viewtiful Joe is fun and interesting, it mostly has a cult following much like "Rocky Horror Picture Show" or "The Blair Witch Project" films, and if you remember, it was a long time after the RHPS movie came out and BOMBED before it became a cult classic. In the game industry, the present is all you have to make a great impression, good doesn't cut it any more... do blockbuster sales, or go home. The more I write this, the more I ask myself why am I surprised at this turn of events.

    One of my favorite games top play is a game called Ico. Don't feel bad, if you don't know it... many gamers have never played or heard of this game. In this game, you play a boy who is born with horns on his head. These horns are a sign that you are to be sacrificed to ward off evil spirits from your village. People from your village take you to the sacrifice sanctuary and entomb you, but you manage to get out. You meet a girl in white, who doesn't speak your language, [ain't that always the way?] find a stick, and try to escape from the evil shadow spirits inhabiting the castle. What is intriguing about Ico is it's sense of style and atmosphere. The environments are carefully detailed and grand. The mechanic of having to call out to your female companion in order to lift her to high areas or catch her when traversing great distances was, IMHO, ingenious, but very few people were interested in the game. No one knew how to market it over here, so few people ever heard of it. But those that did, loved it. The loved it so much that the fine folks that created Ico got a second chance and produced a game you probably heard of called Shadow of the Colossus. I am almost sure that the reason Shadow existed was because the fans of Ico were so vocal about their feelings for the game as well as all of the glowing reviews critics gave the game and it's design team.

    Clover Studios sure wasn't lacking on praise for Okami nor was Viewtiful Joe a disaster, but I don't think either game has the kind of niche that Ico did, and that's why the panning that God Hand has been getting I think fueled the impending dissolution of the company. I think this is a mistake. As a creative person myself, I hate it whenever something creative gets rubbed out because the profit side of the deal was decent as opposed to being spectacular. Personally, I find it short-sighted to scrap a game, or developer studio because the titles they create do appease the large chunk of the gamer market. The market is diverse: give your audience time to find you and love you. You would be amazed by the length a devoted series fan will go to in order to show their support for the title, but you have to have the ability to accept "good" or "decent" sales in return for the loyalty. Many companies I think ask, "Why spend the time and resources to reach only this part of the market?" Simple, because that part of the market exists and NEEDS to be serviced. In all honesty, how many "flagship" titles can any company have or really need?

    I guess I have to just find some solace in the fact that the Clover Studio folks might just turn around and start their own company and continue being creative. I hope they do... I'll be waiting.

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    Final Fantasy Game Leaked?

    posted @ 10/03/2006 12:54:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Ok, I remember when KH2 was leaked over the interwebs before its official release last year, so when I heard about the new Final Fantasy game being leaked I took it with a minor grain of salt. I knew that it was *possible* but figured that it was not probably because Squenix, er Square Enix, wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

    I really need to stop presuming and assuming things.

    Upon double and triple checking, it seems that the files of the Final Fantasy XII game that people have been finding on ye olde interweb are actually viable and people have been downloading them. Now, unless you have done naughty and illegal things to your PS2 [you naughty, dregs of society you] getting the file won't do you much good.

    I just think that the timing of this "leak" is suspicious... the game is accidentally leaked to the public a few weeks before the release? I dunno, maybe it's the hidden conspiracy theorist in me, but it seems to me all this "leak" has done is put a whole bunch of focus on the Final Fantasy game pre-commercial release that it may not have had otherwise.

    FFXII was leap-frogged in the hype press by the trinity that is FFXIII which probably didn't go over well with the people who make the real money over there at Sony and Squenix. If people are waiting and looking forward to games that are slated for 07, they might overlook the game coming out now in 06. That statement has to send shivers down a stockholders spine. So how do you get some quick publicity for a game that you have coming out at the end of the month? You can't put together a contest or sweepstakes fast enough, and it might not reach your intended audience. A email newsletter won't do you much good either because between junk mail filters, and people just throwing out emails before reading them if they are low on time [or lack focusing brain power at the moment] your message still won't get out. But if you say, accidentally leak out a fully function version of the game that only a limited amount of your existing base can play, that will get the attention of the blogosphere and the fanboys, or that will get people focused on trying to find this pirated treasure of free gamitude so that your game name recognition goes up in the search engines, well, you might be on to something there. Get the people talking about the game, looking for it, and those slight few that have it and can play it will go on and on about how good it is [even if it sucks] because they have it and can play it before everyone else.

    I call shenanigans on the whole thing!

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    .Hacking Again

    posted @ 9/30/2006 11:02:00 AM by MagicMystic
    There's a new .hack game coming out, aren't you excited? I can hear you sighing and shaking your head as I write this. Now I know, just as well as the next person that .hack is getting a little old, what with 4 PS games, 3 novels (and a novel series), 2 anime, 3 OVAs, 2 manga, an online roleplaying game and a collectible card game, but I'm confident that .hack//G.U. will be different from .hack//SIGN, .hack//INFECTION, .hack//MUTATION, .hack//OUTBREAK, .hack//QUARANTINE, .hack//Liminality, .hack//Legend of the Twilight, .hack//DUSK, .hack//AI buster, .hack//AI buster 2, .hack//Another Birth, .hack//GIFT, .hack//ZERO, .hack//ENEMY, .hack//fragment and .hack//XXXX.

    I'll start with a little introduction for those of you who are reclusive, blind, deaf hermits who live under rocks in a remote area of the moon and have managed to avoid encountering any of the .hack franchise. The basic plot is that due to a worldwide computer virus epidemic, there is only one OS that anyone uses, Altima OS. Altima has created the largest MMORPG in history, creatively called 'The World.' The game is hugely popular, with over 4 million users signing up at its launch. Each of the .Hack titles focuses on a series of bizarre events known as the Twilight Incident, in which players actually sustained RL (real life) damage when their characters were hurt. Multiple users are put into comas while playing the game. Most of the .hack storylines focus on a group of anomalous AI including Aura, Morganna and Aura's daughter Zefie as well as the system errors and bizarre occurrences in "The World".

    In the original 4 title game series, you play Kite and Black Rose, two typical snot-nosed school kids as they investigate the net. Kite accidentally dies when a data error causes a high level monster to spawn in a low level area. Aura appears, revives him and when he wakes up he is wearing a bracelet that allows him to 'Data Drain' enemies (basically hacking the program to reset the level of the enemy.) Kite and Black Rose run around trying to find Aura, figure out what has happened to the unconscious players and defeat what I call 'glitch monsters' or monsters that have infinite HP and can only be defeated with the data drain. That is also what most of the other .hack titles involve, little kids trying to save 'the world.' Urg, Retch! Uh, that is... I mean, yay!

    The game .hack//G.U. is much darker, and from what I've read, it sounds awesome. Basically it's 2017, 7 years have passed since the end of the original .hack games. ALTIMIT OS has been replaced by ALTIMIT MINE OS and The World is now The World R:2 (WHOO, now those are some Big Changes.) After a group of players set off a Cataclysm (oops) the game lost most of its data and was shut down, until R:2 came along. Because the original "The World" accounts couldn't be recovered the RPG lost many of its origional players, and a new population took over. Ok, in order to understand R:2 here's a reference: Take WoW (which was recently recorded as having 6.6 million paying subscribers) and double it, make all the servers PVP without the aid of alliance and horde groupings, and you've got The World R:2.

    It is a bit post apocalyptic, think Mad Max. Instead of players helping each other explore the endless litany of dungeons, the players are busy killing each other and competing to survive. PK (player killers) abound and it's damn hard for an honest gamer to survive. The worst of all is Tri-Edge, a notorious PK who will unhesitatingly and wordlessly destroy any player that crosses his path. However, one day one of his victims falls into a RL coma just after getting PKed, and Tri-Edge draws the attention of Haseo, a famous PKK (Player killer killer.) Unfortunately, not even Haseo can't defeat Tri-Edge and his level 133 character is data drained to level 1 and stripped of all equipment. You heard me right, the bad guy, who looks like an evil twin of Kite, is the one who wields the all powerful Data Drain. Bit of a turn around from the original. So what does it mean to The World that Kite, Shugo and Tri-Edge all have the same character design and all three are chosen to wield the data draining bracelet?

    What G.U. stands for is never officially and definitively declared, but supposedly there are 12 or more refrences to things that could be G.U. within the game. True to .hack form //G.U. will not be a single game, but is a trilogy that will be completed over the course of 2007. Also true to form there will be an accompanying anime. According to Newtype
    "...the entire experience is more online RPG-like with more action-focused battles, a more robust skills set, and group attacks that get your entire party involved... just pop into a town area or designated battle area out in the field and you'll find scads of PKs for Haseo to hunt down... not to mention an almost startling graphical upgrade."
    The first volume is being released this October from Namco Bandai Games for the PS2. If you are too lazy to play the game you can still get to know the characters by watching .hack//Roots an anime currently airing in Japan that covers Haseo's exploits prior to being downgraded.

    Game and anime trailers for .hack//G.U. and .hack//Roots can be found at Cyber Connect 2's official web site or through the .hack hub site

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    Guitar Hero 2 On XB360

    posted @ 9/28/2006 04:49:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Not to be forgotten in the next gen console race [although I still think having an entire year up on the other two entrants is a tad bit unfair] Microsoft held their annual Xbox event X06 in Barcelona, Spain the past two days, and came out swinging to say the least.

    At some point in the next few days we will get to talking about the details MS shared with the world about the HD-DVD drive, Halo 3, Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2, and Fable 2 being on deck, but the most surprising news to me so far is that RedOctane has been working on Guitar Hero II not only for the PS2 but XB360 as well. Oh, and not only that, but they have been working on a new controller for the XB360 version of the game.

    Now, I got this info from this website because they included a picture of the "supposed" XB360 axe and I have to say, it's nowhere near as impressive [i.e. cool] looking as the existing GH axe. If this puppy is going to fly on the XB360, that guitar controller, if that is what it's going to look like, will need a massive overhaul before launch day. If you want my dollars, it's got to at least look a little cool... I can't have it bringing down my overall "with it" status.

    What really has my brain all a twitter is the idea of online PS3 vs. XB360 GH battles. I don't know if it's possible or if it will even happen... but dude it would be freakin' sweet! I love rhythm or music based games, as Pandalicious will quickly attest to, but all the games that I really enjoy I have a hard time finding people to play with me. I don't have a lot of friends around that are gamers, and it's hard to get people over when I have time to have them over [which is the big struggle] in order to open up a can o' whoop on em.

    In any case, to those of you about to rock, I salute you!

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    Finish what you start...

    Do the Math: Will Sony Go Broke?

    posted @ 9/25/2006 03:16:00 AM by evermore
    For video game players, the competition among the three game console manufacturers must seem like a Dead or Alive tournament. There's always a winner and a loser, but someone else is always lined up for another bout with the winner.

    Few tears were spilled when the No. 4 console maker, Sega, dropped out of the market a few years ago. But can you imagine if, in a year from now, there were only TWO console game makers?

    Not only COULD it happen, but we're going to tell you why it WILL happen.

    Can Video Games Bring Down a Multinational Corporation?

    Sony has a book value of $27 billion. It has nearly $9 billion in cash. Sony's not going anywhere. Or is it?

    Sony is looking at a potential for demise it has never faced before. With the failure of its TV and music electronics businesses and its up-and-down movie business, it has relied more and more on the video game business to keep profits up.

    But now even its video game business can't save the company. In fact, it's the video game business that could put the whole company right down the toilet.

    Here's a story of a company in trouble. Sure, you think you could help it by buying a new PS3 at the end of the year. But purchasing a PS3 this year could be the very thing that pushes Sony over the edge.

    The Seeds Are Sown

    Sony's troubles didn't just begin this year, but we all started to realize the wheels were falling off the train when Sony started delaying the release of the new PlayStation 3. The first excuse Sony made was that licensing issues were causing the delay from Spring 2006 to November 2006.

    Around the same time Sony was putting off the release, analysts released a disturbing story about the disparity in the cost of raw materials for the PS3, compared with the estimated purchase price.

    Analysts had predicted the PS3 cost would be in line with the cost of the Microsoft XBox 360 consoles.

    In a February story for CNet, it was estimated that the total cost of components for the PS3 would be in the neighborhood of $725 to $905 -- and that was before it was rumored that Sony would have to put PS2 components in the box because the new chip lacked the ability to emulate the earlier PSOne and PS2 games.

    The CNet story said, "The materials price estimates do not include marketing, software development, advertising or other costs, which will push Sony's total cost per console even higher."

    That there is such a disparity between the price of materials and the suggested retail price for a new console is not unusual because most new consoles are sold as loss-leaders, with the game maker making up the difference with the high margin of profit they get by selling games for the console.

    In contrast, the materials cost for the XBox 360 is estimated at only $501, and should continue to drop as the console ages. While Sony pays $200 to $300 for each raw Blu-ray drive, Microsoft pays only $20 for the simpler DVD drives.

    The Truth Hits Home

    With such estimates for raw materials, video game fans should have known that the new machine would need to cost a lot more. But a huge audience that was prepared to cheer the announced price of the PS3 instead sat in stunned silence when the suggested retail price was announced at the E3 conference: $499 for the basic system and $599 for the premium one.

    Of course, the single most costly item in the PS3 is the Blu-ray drive. Analysts originally figured Blu-ray would add at least another $200 or so to the price of the machine, but that figure has gone way up.

    First, there's more than just the mechanical equipment to figure in. Sony must also pay for all the codecs that must be licensed.

    Second, the slow adoption of high density DVD technology will keep prices high for years.

    Finally, all manufacturers of the blue lasers that are required for high density DVDs are having problems getting up to speed in creating the machines. This will result in low yields, further driving up the price of the drives.

    Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi was not ambivalent about the pricing of the console -- he kept saying it was a premium machine, sold at a premium price. Want a PS3? Work a little harder!

    "Our ideal," Kutaragi said, "is for consumers to think to themselves, 'OK, I'll work more hours and buy it.' We want people to feel that they want it, no matter what."

    But the consumer reaction was swift -- and harsh. Even the Official Playstation Magazine had a bold cover headline that asked, "Is It Worth $600?"

    In June, a month after Sony announced its price points for the PS3, analysts at Merrill Lynch estimated Sony would lose more than $1 billion in the console's first year of existence. By comparison, Sony lost only $458 million during the first year the PS2 was available. The company followed that with two strong years of profit -- $759 million in Year 2 and $1.3 billion in Year 3.

    But Merrill Lynch warned that this generation of consoles was not like the last. Microsoft beat Sony for the next generation consoles by a year and a price reduction for the XBox could result in additional losses for Sony -- $730 million in Year 2 and $457 million in Year 3. That's nearly $2 billion in losses over three years.

    The Cost of Doing Business

    Of course, analysts questioning Sony's moves is nothing new. More than 10 years ago, just six weeks before Sony introduced the original PlayStation, the head of the project team quit amid rumors of difficulties in getting the console out on time.

    Analysts at the time believed Sony could lose as much as $200 million on the project in the first year.

    Sony's answer at the time was to require retailers to bundle the packages with one or two games, which still left Sony underwater, but not as much as it would have been.

    This, of course, begs the question, "Will Sony pull the same thing this year?" It makes sense, especially considering that Sony will be charging a premium price for its games (above $59 and below $99, according to most sources).

    The bad news for Sony this year isn't restricted to video game competition. The company is also liable for a large share in the laptop battery recalls being conducted by Dell and Apple. Nearly 6 million batteries have been recalled in the past two months -- all of them manufactured by Sony.

    The battery fiasco alone could cost Sony as much as $500 million.

    "The most important thing for Sony is maintaining the No. 1 quality, whatever the category or area," Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc. Senior Vice President Kiyoshi Shikano told MarketWatch this month. "So in that sense, unfortunately, the recent happenings have caused some small damage for the business."

    In addition, Sony is far behind its competitors in the fast growing LCD flat-screen TV market and has lost its decades-long edge in portable music devices to Apple Computer's iPod players.

    Sony is also likely to face a fight in Europe over its partnership with Betlesmann AG. A European court ruled in July that the European Commission was wrong to approve the venture. The court decision means Sony and Bertelsmann will have to re-apply to win European Commission approval for their venture.

    At the movie box office, Sony has had great success with its Spiderman franchise, but must wait until May 2007 for the next installment to arrive. The company's biggest film this year has been Will Farrell's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which has made $145 million thus far, but lags far behind Disney's hit sequel for Pirates of the Caribbean, which has already made more than $1 billion worldwide this summer.

    The Market Leader Goes Into the Cellar

    Although the PS2 captured more than a 70 percent share of the previous generation of console sales, it is entering the next generation at a distant third, with Microsoft predicted to sell 10 million XBox 360 consoles and Nintendo selling 4 million of its new Wii consoles, while Sony will be able to push out only 2 million consoles to consumers by the end of this year.

    That fact alone has analysts betting that Sony will introduce price cuts quickly. But price cuts, in combination with the losses Sony takes on each machine it sells, are a double-edged sword.

    "By reducing the price, it appears that Sony may have prolonged its recouping period of initial investments on the PS3 by a few years," John Yang, a Tokyo-based analyst with Standard & Poor's, told the Wall Street Journal today. According to the Wall Street Journal article, Yang estimates the PlayStation 3 will be unprofitable for at least three years.

    The Journal story brings up another point that may draw the most fear in the ranks of Sony -- the PlayStation will no longer dominate game developers. When the original PlayStation and PS2 were introduced, Sony had an impressive lineup of developers who made games exclusively for its consoles. That won't be the case with the PS3.

    "We don't want the PlayStation 3 to be the overwhelming loser, so we want to support them," Michihiro Sasaki, senior vice president of Square Enix, told the Wall Street Journal. "But we don't want them to be the overwhelming winner either, so we can't support them too much."

    So the price cuts have already begun. On Friday Sony announced a price cut for Japanese buyers (about $410 in U.S. dollars for the low-end version), there was no indication that such a price cut would be given to American customers.

    In addition to lowering the price of the low-end model, Sony added an HDMI port to the machine, which further increases the price of raw materials. Sony will undoubtedly be losing even more money than ever before.

    Do the Math

    As a result, Sony is forecasting an $862 million operating loss for the current fiscal year. But that's going to seem like chicken feed, compared to the loss it's liable to see in 2007.

    How much will Sony lose in the next 12 months? Let's count it up.

    Sony plans on making 6 million PS3 units before April. Let's say that they sell every one of them at full retail price. With what we know about the materials price -- particularly the price of Blu-Ray players -- let's say that they will lose only $300 for every PS3 they sell.

         6,000,000 x
    = $1.8 billion

    That's the same amount that analysts figure the PS3 will cost the company over the first three years. Why the disparity?

    The analysts are counting on Sony making up the sales of machines with the sales of video games. But it's not going to be as easy for Sony this time. Few game developers are making games exclusively for the PS3.

    Also, Sony has already said that games would be at least $10 more than the games for the XBox 360 and at least $20 more than the games for the Nintendo Wii. With everything being the same, would you pay $10 or $20 more for the same game that you could play on your XBox 360 or Wii?

    In addition, Sony will be nickle-and-diming you at every opportunity -- particularly with the HDMI cable, which will likely cost between $99 and $129. (That's surely why they added an HDMI port for the low-end PS3. They'll make their money back on the cable for it.)

    Surely the discounts will come quickly, but they'll all be a drag on Sony's bottom line. Let's say Sony loses $400 on every box they sell. Here are the numbers:

         6,000,000 x
    = $2.4 billion

    That really starts taking a mammoth chunk out of Sony's cash. Add to that the half-billion dollars of free laptop batteries they've got to give out and the losses start approaching $3 billion.

    But a company like Sony can afford to lose $4 billion, can't it? Once upon a time, that might have been true, but Sony is a much different company today than it was just a few years ago.

    The Japanese people who owned shares in Sony could see the value in building for the future. But, with its purchase of Columbia Studios and Columbia Records, Sony has become much more of a multinational company. Today, for the first time in its history, less than half of the company is owned by Japanese investors. Investors in the West demand more short-term benefits.

    Devoting nearly half of its cash reserves to losses in the video game and computing sectors, with no guarantee of future profits for another two years, could send the company's stock into a tailspin, once its investors realize the full measure of the grave situation for the company.

    In such a situation, Sony could start selling off large chunks of the company. But even that would come at a large cost. For example, selling off the movie division would result in the loss of the Spiderman franchise for the PlayStation. Without an exclusive there, Microsoft and Nintendo would gain the edge in game sales, since their games cost less than Sony's.

    Sony has become a minor player in the music player and TV industries, so they wouldn't be able to make much money off selling their stake in the aging Walkman and Trinitron franchises.

    When things are all said and done, the most valuable piece of the pie at Sony is its video game division. They could very well put it up for sale. And who could be the potential buyer?


    That's right. I said it. Just think about it.

    Who could benefit the most by purchasing Sony's video game division?


    You might say there's no way the U.S. government would allow such a thing. Anti-trust, you say.

    Just remember who's running the government. A Microsoft takeover would be treated with the same kid gloves that created DaimlerChrysler.

    Who knows? This time next year you could be playing games on a PlayStation 360.

    Want a PS3? Work a Little Harder!

    So you want to save Sony. What can you do?

    Well, as Sony's Kutaragi says, you need to work a little harder and make a little more money.

    Stop complaining that the PS3 costs $600. It doesn't. In order to cut down on its losses, Sony is liable to do the same thing to consumers that it did 11 years ago at the original Playstation launch -- it'll require that you buy two games in order to get a machine. That'll boost the price for you to around $725 or so.

    But there's more! Want an HDMI cable? That'll be another $100 to $125. Now we're at $850 or so. You've got a Blu-ray player, so you'll want a few Blu-ray movies -- Sony titles only, of course. Buy six of them while you're at it! At an average list price of $25 each, we're talking another $150. That pushes our total price to an even $1,000.

    That'll go a long way to saving Sony.

    Now who's going to save you?

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    Finish what you start...

    A Star Wars Game That Doesn't Suck

    posted @ 9/21/2006 03:13:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    How absolutely novel an idea.

    I recently got a copy of a demo for Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and I have to say, it's actually fun.

    Now before you get all pissy with me understand the difference between "good" and "fun". The Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic games were good [actually they were very, very, good], but I didn't have "fun" playing them. I thought the sound effects were great, the characters were perfectly designed, and I felt like I was playing Star Wars; just like the game was designed to make me feel. But I didn't have fun playing it which is why I lost interest in it very quickly.

    I've tried both KOTOR games as well as the Jedi Academy game and again found myself displeased with the slow gameplay and pace of the story, so I moved on to a new game. With all the previous Star Wars games I had expressed leaving a bad taste in my mouth, I avoided the first Lego Star Wars game like it had rabies. From all the things I had read about various Star Wars games they were always falling short in some area that I just knew would piss me off. LucasArts tries hard, I know they do, but for me and millions of fans out there the games did not satisfy. If I am completely honest with you all, I would not have tried this demo if Evermore hadn't asked me my opinion on it last evening. Deciding his question deserved answering, I popped the PS2 demo disc in my console and waited for the game to load.

    As the opening music and screen made their appearance I found my old skepticism creeping up on me, and even though I wanted to be able to bring an unbiased opinion to the game, I'd be lying to you if I didn't fess up to this before I continue on. I was ready to be let down again, and initially I was. I found the controls to be the most awful I had ever used. Even when I wasn't touching the controller the characters would slink around and continue to move on me making nuance movements nearly impossible. I was about to stop playing completely when I remembered that I was using a wireless controller that I hadn't used in months. A quick power cycling and the controls started handling properly. Trust me, this makes a WHOLE lot of difference.

    Lego Star Wars II is just plain fun. It's kooky in its use of humor, for the true original trilogy nutball fanatic the game stays true to how we remember the movies. Han shot first, bitches! With the controller working properly I was able to jump, dodge and get my general inner Jedi on. The game lets you change between characters in your party. So you can be R2 for a moment in order to open some doors or interact with other computers or be Obi Wan to use some force skills on items. It all runs kinda seamlessly, one button for attack, one for jumping, one for character swapping, and the left side of the controller for movement... the way it should be. But it's the tongue in cheekiness [is that a word?] of the game that makes it enjoyable. This article would have been done hours ago but for the fact that I've been addicted to the demo for that long. By the time I finish this I will have added the XB360 version of the game to my Gamefly queue and as a result of my funtime pleasure having I am considering upgrading my account to the 3 game plan.

    Sure you can tweak your Lego Star Wars avatar as you like with body pieces you acquire through gameplay and whatnot, but that's not where the fun of the game lies. I think it's because it's simple, doesn't take itself seriously, and stays true to what fans of the original movie franchise enjoy is what makes this game one of those, "damn, I can't put it down" type of games. It's not super next-gen, it's Lego people fer crying out loud, but you should do yourself a favor and add this one to your queue.

    If for no other reason, get the game and share it with a Star Wars geek you know. Fun times will be had by all. Greedo Bombs...need I say more?

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    Finish what you start...

    Sony Deals The Consumer Another Bitchslap

    posted @ 9/05/2006 01:14:00 PM by Ninjasistah
    Sony has once more laid a quick back hand on the face of the consumer base. Recently SCEA posted the specs for the PS3 on their US website and the base specs look good. Unfortunately two pieces of what you get "in the box" for the $600 dollar box should piss most consumers off.

    First thing, Sony is NOT including an HDMI cable. Yes, you get the opportunity to pay $600 for the potential of next gen high definition gaming, but you have to bring your own cable on that end. Now, let's say that the PS3 HDMI cable that is sold separately costs you $70 bucks,[a low ball estimate btw since current HDMI cables start at around $89.99] at least they will hook you up with some component cables in the box so that you can take advantage of some high-er definition visuals right?


    According to Slashdot the $600 PS3 unit ships with COMPOSITE cables know the type, its the same cable you use to hook up your PS2 or Gamecube to your TV right now. Yep, you get to pay top dollar for PS3 potential just don't expect Sony to help you help them reach that potential. Yes, even if you don't have a TV with an HDMI port but do have component inputs you'll have to buy a set of component cables yourself in order to take advantage of the high definition capabilities. Yes your friends at SCEA are throwing up a big "eff you" to the consumer.

    80 bucks for an HDMI cable or 50 bucks for a component cable on top of the $600 the hi-def PS3 will cost you and don't forget a game...brings us closer to an $800 initial potential investment.

    Sorta makes it hard to show brand loyalty now doesn't it?

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