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May 15, 2007
Ex-Girlfriend Playing Virtua Fighter With Some Other Guy Now. The Onion reports.

(It's funny because it's true.)

I know this site isn't updated very often these days. That's partly because I'm enamored of its sister site, Showbits.net. I intend to reformat this site to be similarly more modern, more fully-featured, and more aesthetically pleasing sometime this summer, at which time updates should become more regular.

March 28, 2007
Mario, Sonic, Luigi, Knuckles, Yoshi, and Tails will appear together in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, shipping this upcoming holiday season for the Wii and DS.

Though character crossovers are not new, they are nonetheless exciting; who else can't wait for Mario and Snake to go mano-el-mano in Super Smash Bros.? I only wish the meeting of Mario and Sonic was occurring in a venue more original and appropriate to their platforming history than a Track & Field game.

March 7, 2007
Home may be the first thing Sony has done right with the PlayStation 3.

January 1, 2007
Happy New Year! And now to tell you why I haven't been updating lately (other than playing with my Wii)...

Today I am pleased to announce the launch of a new Web site: Showbits! At Showbits, you can read and respond to news, commentary, and quirks coming from Hollywood and Broadway, with a special attention to the quirky, geeky stuff we all love, like Star Wars, Star Trek, and superheroes. You can use RSS feeds to be alerted to updates in all these topics, or just those that interest you; there are even RSS feeds for readers' comments and responses, or for specific topics of blog entries, like television, film, or "fade to black" obituaries.

Showbits can be accessed immediately and for free at this URL:

http://www.showbits.net/

And yes, this may bode well for a relaunch of Gamebits as well...

December 14, 2006
The contents of the message boards of the three forums I founded on the now-defunct online service of Syndicomm Online have been archived as ZIP-compressed text files and are now available for download:

November 30, 2006
This past weekend, I attended the wedding of two former classmates. The bride chose not to shy from the fact that her groom shares the moniker of Nintendo's famous plumber, carving these wedding cake figurines for the reception. She further exemplified her geekiness by setting their retrospective slideshow to the music from "The Inner Light". And now, all the good ones are taken...

Sadly, at this same wedding, I was seated next to a woman who had nothing but contempt for gamerkind. When a friend mentioned the lines of people who had waited for the PlayStation 3, she angrily demanded why these people couldn't just wait until the PS3 was more available. When I described the Wii as an alternative and how much more energetic an experience it was, she asked, her voice dripping with disgust: "Why not just play real sports?"

I'm so glad there are people out there who don't let a lack of understanding stop them from demeaning people who passionately pursue and derive joy from life's pleasures. However has she made it this far in life without encountering people who are - gasp! - different from her? How sad to be so angry all the time...

I was much more heartened when I stopped by a local salon (not a saloon, unfortunately) to visit a relative. This conversation also touched upon people waiting in line for the PS3. A little old lady overheard us and chimed in, "Those people are sick and depraved," referring to gamers who sell such wares on eBay. Before I could either defend or condemn capitalism, she continued: "Besides, they should be getting a Wii. It's a much more fun system." Whoa! Will you be my grandma??

Conversely, when I spotted a friend in his forties using some sort of cell phone-PDA, my query of whether it had Tetris was met with, "What's that?" I guess I've been immersed in this culture I call "America" for so long that my small mind is boggled by the existence of people - adults! - who've successfully cloistered themselves from such popular elements as even who Luke Skywalker's father is...

November 29, 2006
Tomorrow marks the closing of Syndicomm Online.

Syndicomm Online opened in December 2000 as a refuge for Apple II users fleeing Delphi, another online service that, after welcoming refugees from GEnie (then Genie), decided to drop the text-based access that many vintage computers require. I launched Syndicomm Online's first non-Apple forum - Gamebits - in May 2001. I opened Prolific Quill, a literature and composition forum, in November 2001; took over the Singles forum in January 2002; launched a movie/television/theater forum, Showbits, in September 2003; and helped reorganize the RPG Forum in June 2004. (Ironically enough, it was being single that granted me the time to enjoy all those other pastimes - making me varingly qualified for either all or none of these fora.)

Syndicomm was not my first experience as a sysop: I ran my own BBS from 1993 - 1997, and I was a sysop on CompuServe from 1994 - 2004. But this was my first time as contract holder (CH). And I loved the service, running on software written by Sydicomm proprietor Eric Shepherd and programmer Dave Miller. It was modeled after GEnie, and its bulletin board structure allowed each forum to host 999 general categories with 999 specific topics within each and 999 messages per topic (these may be low estimates). I gleefully, almost obsessive-compulsively exploited its orderly nature for a variety of discussion subjects.

Moreover, I appreciated the opportunity to bring my sysoping experience to the Apple II community. I am not an expert in either the hardware or software of the machine, but I have some felicity both with people and with moderation and maintenance. I used these traits to provide the venues in which this unique neighborhood could discuss something less nerdy than vintage computers - like Star Trek, for example - and get to know one other in these alternative capacities.

The thousands (which may not sound like much in today's age) of messages accumulated on those message boards are a valuable resource; importing them to another system is beyond my ken. Besides, without the Apple II community, there would be little to distinguish such a service from the plethora of other boards out there on the Web. So I will be archiving text captures of those fora and making them available for download; this is all that will come of our time together.

Sayonara, Syndicomm Online. It's been a wonderful six years.

October 14, 2006
I was at GameStop an hour before they opened yesterday, making me 13th in line - on Friday the 13th... excellent. I'd be worried about my console exploding, except it's a Wii, not a PS3. Fortunately, someone stepped out of line, making me the dozenth of the 14 people they sold preorders to. I got myself an extra Wiimote and nunchuk pair, as well as Red Steel and Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz. I'll leave my Zelda preorder on the GameCube version for now.

This was the first console I'd ever waited in line to get. Since it was only 100 minutes total in an enclosed mall to by just the core unit, not some forced bundle, I consider it a relatively painless experience.

October 12, 2006
So I have #20 and #16 of what are apparently the twenty most valuable games for a collector to have. But I'd give it all up for #3...

October 5, 2006
My work here is nearly done:

I never thought I'd actually enjoy a video game as opposed to just being flustered that I don't get it. But it's fun! (The flusteredness is rapidly ceasing) I just didn't expect that I would enjoy games on the level that I am--that I would get into a game like Zelda. I'm loving it :-)

September 29, 2006
I recently met someone who, unbelievably, has never owned or even played a video game (console or arcade) before. So after taking her to a classic arcade, as detailed in previous news posts, I bought her an 8-bit Nintendo along with some core games: Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Tetris.

I came home Tuesday night to this email:

I am seriously close to conquering the first dungeon in Zelda. If I weren't so tired from a long day! Grr. You have created a monster!

Wednesday:

Okay, I got to the dragon in level one of Zelda...how do I kill that thing? Boomerang? Sword? Superior wit? I can get there with full strength! I'm so close!!! (I didn't do any homework yet again tonight. Damn Zelda!)

Thursday:

I know I declared a moratorium on Zelda tonight. I don't know if that's going to hold. It's been a long day and I'm exhausted. Not sure how studying will go...Or I could amuse myself with Mario. Or break out Tetris...I haven't played that yet. Options are endless to avoid my homework.

Friday:

I made it to 2-2 in Mario last night without losing my life once! That's a serious accomplishment in my world. (Of course, I played NES instead of sleeping, so I'm sleepy today and feeling like I'm catching a cold! Oh, AND I didn't get any homework done.)

I've corrupted the innocent. This is awesome.

September 10, 2006
September, a month of anniversaries - some of which I was out of town for, others I may forget when they occur later this month...

  • Friday, September 8th: Star Trek, 40 years.
  • Saturday, September 9th: Sega Dreamcast, 7 years; Sony PlayStation, 11 years.
  • Friday, September 29th: Nintendo 64, 10 years.

September 7, 2006
What fun to not write the news and to be the news, for a change! Such is the case in this local fundraising story, as well as an audio interview with me in A2Unplugged, an Apple II podcast, about my work with Juiced.GS.

August 22, 2006
Revelation of the day: PS2 USB headsets (such as Logitech's), generally used with games such as Karaoke Revolution, also work fine for Skype. (I assume the reverse is true, for those of you looking to sing duets.)

However, the use of Skype to sing karaoke is highly unrecommended.

August 21, 2006
An update regarding the hardware discussed in yesterday's post comes in the form of an email from Digital Leisure:

"The Digital Leisure products (Dragon's Lair, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair 2) included with the Dream Arcades cabinet are fully licensed and authorized for use in this cabinet. However, we cannot verify the authorization of any other products sold with the system other than our own. If you are concerned about licenses, GlobalVR, through their newest acquisition Ultracade, sells fully licensed coin-op cabinets similar to Dream Arcades, if you are looking for other options."

August 20, 2006
Just when I thought this week couldn't get any more historical. I spent the last few days in Georgia - and not because last month's trip to KansasFest and its late-night Denny's run left me hankering for the more Southern option of a Waffle House. Regardless, I find myself cohabitating with a coin-op machine that housed nine classic arcade games: Donkey Kong, Dig-Dug, Space Invaders, and Frogger among them. I'm unsure of the legitimacy of the construct: surely emulation is a gray area, whereas piracy is verboten. I encourage those contemplating such a machine to investigate legal options, or the legality of whatever option you consider. Regardless, such fun as I've had these past few days is worth every penny, even if it's in the hundreds of thousands of them.

And, the icing on the cake: after too long a wait, The Wizard finally hits DVD in two days. Just like the Power Glove, it's so bad!

August 15, 2006
Nostalgia comes in waves, apparently. It can't be a coincidence that my expedition to Funspot was followed the day after with my first exposure to the Atari Flashback 2 console. The shoddy documentation left me unable to recall how to configure certain games, but some needed no explanation: Combat, Maze Craze. And though I thought the previously unreleased sequels to games like Adventure and Yars Revenge would be new and exciting, it almost seemed sacrilegious to tamper with such a tried-and-true formula. Perhaps it's the rote ritual of games by which we conjure up memories of the past. Mastery does not necessarily denote ease of play, though; I'll never be able to predict the flight of Adventure's damnable bat.

Highlight of the day: watching a six-year-old and an eight-year-old eagerly take turns playing Pitfall. Kids don't need 128-bit, Blu-ray, 12-button, M-rated games today anymore than we did 24 years ago.

Witnessing the enthusiasm such simplicity invoked prompted me to research the coming of the Wii - especially after my evangelism of its technology and the ensuing revolution failed to solicit belief in the afore-mentioned arcade virgin. My sources for this investigation were both Wikipedia and Nintendo's own web site. I found the primary benefactor of this mission to be me: watching the variety of uses of the controller and reading the confidence behind the text invoked days of poring over Nintendo Power, drooling over what was to come. Am I reverting to fanboyism? If that's what it takes to rekindle my interest in gaming, I will happily swear fealty to the company that started it all. (Besides Atari.)

It has been a good - and holy - three days.

August 14, 2006
This past weekend, I made a pilgrimage to one of my favorite destinations on Earth: Funspot, located near Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, USA. This place was a popular vacation spot for my family when I was younger, but it didn't hold quite the same appeal then that it does now. Indeed, Funspot got a lot of flack from 1988 to 1999 - but they knew that, in time, sticking to their guns would produce for them a unique attraction.

That attraction is a room filled with more than a hundred arcade games from the Seventies and Eighties. This is the arcade where Billy Mitchell achieved a perfect score in Pac-Man on July 3rd, 1999. He is one of many whose pictures are framed on the Wall of Fame, while nearby are hung original posters advertising new games such as Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. Along the perimeter of the main room are dozens of pinball machines, from Superman of 30 years ago to more recent devices such as The Addams Family and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The games cost what they did back then: a quarter, unadjusted for inflation. I went to Funspot with someone who had never been to an arcade before - in fact, before last month, she had never played any video game whatsoever. We split $10 in tokens and squeezed out more than two hours of entertainment. We then played air hockey and skeeball, exchanging our tickets from the latter for a Chinese finger trap and some Pixie sticks, before heading from the cold, dark hive of electronic activity out again into the glaring sun of midday to take on Funspot's go-kart track.

Throughout the weekend, I neither stepped foot onto Weirs Beach nor spent any moment of the fading hours of summer sunlight in the waters of New Hampshire's largest lake. I am home again now, thinking to myself of all that I've missed - not the natural wonders of New England, but the 20 years of arcades that have witnessed increased expense and decreased popularity. Fortunately, the fall of that empire can be, at least temporarily, reversed as decades past rise once again by this simple trek to Funspot - made possible by the determination and passion of people such as manager Gary Vincent, technician Randy Lawton, and donors like Curt Vendel, who detached themselves from their own precious gaming artifacts so that they could be made available to all generations at this living museum.

July 17, 2006
I once wrote a fictional review of Final Fantasy Football. Looks like they're actually making an FF basketball game instead.

April 2nd, 2006
Our contact form is finally operational again. To celebrate, I bought Metroid Fusion, which is probably the first use I've ever had for my Game Boy Player. Better late than never on both accounts, right?

February 21st, 2006
Happy twentieth anniversary to the original Legend of Zelda game.

February 4th, 2006
Check out the Silent Hill movie trailer, posted just this morning! Looks a bit heavy on cinematics, light on gameplay...

January 31st, 2006
A 1,000-word version of Gamebits' 21,000-word analysis of moral panics over youth culture and video games has been published in the January 2006 (#461) issue of the Bulletin.

Speaking of juvenile delinquency: I don't know if this ad is authentic or not, but this Xbox 360 commercial is a humorous and gentle poke at the belief that video games cause violence.

November 10th, 2005
Penny Arcade has kicked off their annual fundraising for the Child's Play charity. They apparently accept donations year-round, but really kick it into gear for the holiday season.

Of less national/global appeal, but just as interesting if you happen to be in Central Massachusetts, is the exhibit "Save the Princess - The History of Storytelling in Video Games" at the WPI Gordon Library in Worcester. This exhibit is fairly static, displaying boxes of key pieces of software, from Wizardry on the Apple II to Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo, though a playable NES is present.

Speaking of working consoles, the last Xbox 360 demo unit I saw was running a first-person shooter. I was a bit saddened at the lack of gameplay advancement this console promises. I'm reminded of the emergence of 16-bit consoles, which empowered designers to create the worlds they'd always envisioned and had attempted with 8-bit machines. By contrast, 32- and 64-bit machines enabled entirely new kinds of worlds to be built, and the 128-bit generation clarified those aspirations. I had hoped that every other console might be something truly unique - not an improvement on what already exists, but the creation of something heretofore unimagined. The Xbox 360 does not seem to be the home of such inspiration.

If you want inspiration, check out Business Week, which has a brief yet pointed online interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. I think it's an understatement to call him "the Steven Spielberg of video games". We'd have movies without Spielberg; I seriously doubt we'd have video games without Miyamoto.

October 30, 2005
Happy Halloween! Gamebits is not dead, although it is becoming more archival than active in its reviews.

We changed servers two months ago; the new host provides much greater storage and bandwidth capacity, and also allows numerous shortcuts or redirects. Though all the old links still work, the following URLs are now also valid and lead to the indicated pages:

Unfortunately, the new server does not support our old "Contact Us" form, the developer of which has been promising to fix it since March. We'll see.

Though I've mentioned it before, it's worth mentioning again the ChatterBox Video Game Radio Show. Since they were last mentioned here on Gamebits, they have settled on a dynamic host panel that works, have been successful in getting interesting interview subjects and neat prizes to give away, and have also been made available through the iTunes Podcast Directory. (With the iTrip transmitter, I'm able to listen to the radio show in the car - just like an actual talk show - without being anywhere near Phoenix.) It's the only podcast I've found worth subscribing to.

As for the coming next-generation console war, it's impossible to predict what will happen. Is the Xbox 360 launching too early? The Sega Dreamcast was first out the gate in the 128-bit era, and look where it got it. Of course, Sega was supporting too many consoles simultaneously, a trait that is currently exhibited not by Microsoft - but potentiall¦ ‹P×@hich has on ˘°market the GameCube, DS, and various iterations of the Game Boy Advance. However, i you didn't catch it previously, this article outlines the logic behind the Nintendo Revolution and why it may be just what the industry needs.

It will certainly be an interesting holiday, regardless.

August 7th, 2005
Now here's a neat little game: Diner Dash. It's really nothing more than a glorified Tapper, but with much more to do. The first five levels can be played online for free, but I recommend downloading the platform-specific demo; in its 60-minute limit, you can easily complete a dozen levels.

I flew Delta Song this past week, which I apparently had not done in awhile, as I was surprised to experience my first domestic flight that provided its passengers with video screens in the rear of the seats. Headphones and access MP3 and live television were provided free-of-charge, and games (such as Bejeweled and movies were $5 (less than the food, which was decidedly NOT free). A mouse-sensitive game like Diner Dash would work great in a touch-screen environment such as this.

June 20th, 2005
Six years ago, Bhob Stewart recommended to me the movie eXistenZ, which I finally got around to watching last week. The box proclaims it to be better than The Matrix, but the film bears little resemblance to that blockbuster except in the concept of a computer program that causes its users to confuse reality and virtuality. Perhaps the worst element of eXistenZ is how pathetically it treats its viewers by making as obvious as possible the conflicts and twists. At one point as the two protagonists stared at each other, I wouldn't have been surprised to hear the soundtrack break into, "Can you feel the love tonight..."

For a more effective element of movie-game reality, download the Peter Gunn Theme from the iTunes Music Store. I've put it on a CD mix and find it a most addictive and appropriate highway toolin' tune - though it does leave me searching my dash for the smoke screen and SAM buttons...

June 16th, 2005
My gaming time is currently occupied with getting my affairs in order and finishing that which I have previously left unfinished. In only a few days I have completed a third lap in Eternal Darkness, having seen all the endings and unlocked all bonus modes. Prior to that was another GameCube game, Skies of Arcadia Legends, which I'd left hanging at the final boss fight (ooh, a Death Star!). Perhaps next I will resume exploration of Everblue 2 - or else crack open a number of untouched PS2 games.

May 11th, 2005
Happy 25th birthday to Pac-Man! See this article and this gallery for a brief but enjoyable overview of the Man's history.

April 22nd, 2005
It was 15 years ago today that I attended the district competition of the Nintendo World Championships (which I understand was later rechristened PowerFest). I remember weeks of practice in Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris beforehand; the first Game Boy games being demonstrated in this pre-E3 event; finally ending up on stage with six other kids, and being whittled down to one of the two left standing. If we'd been playing Tengen Tetris, we would've been on evener ground. But though I didn't make it to the finals in Florida, I walked away with free copies of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Cybernoid (the former a then-impossible-to-find game; the latter a wretched piece of programming which I brought to Child World and exchanged for Dragon Warrior, which I'd previously rented for three weeks straight), and a mention in the next day's newspaper article (which is too embarrasingly detailed of my much-younger self for me to link to here). I wonder where the brat that beat me is today... and if he's up for a rematch?

Read this gentleman's recollection for a more detailed description of the competition process.

In the meantime, all I can do is hope for a DVD release of that wonderful SMB3 commercial known as The Wizard...

March 27th, 2005
When listening to the holiday broadcast of ChatterBox Video Game Radio Show, try their new podCast - thanks, Alon!

March 22nd, 2005
Looking for a use for that old PSOne screen? Consider connecting it to your classic computer! David Murray shows you how to use this console display as a monitor for Apples, Commodores, and other machines. (thanks to A2Central.com for the link)

March 16th, 2005
Andrew Molloy, writer for A2Central.com (with which Gamebits is loosely affiliated), recently had the good fortune of visiting Chicago during the opening of the Game On exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, and took these exclusive pictures while there.

I remember celebrating May 5th, 2000, at Sega World in Sydney, Australia. Some of the classic games Andy had the fortune of spying were present Down Under as well; it was one of the best Cinco de Mayo I've ever had.

March 15th, 2005
I reserved a copy of the new Zelda game (listed with some retailers as "Wind Waker 2"), but no official reservation SKU yet exists for the "super premium" edition mentioned at GameSpot.

And while they may not be video games yet, check out the cast list for the new Superman movie, and the online-exclusive trailer for the new Hitchhiker's Guide film.

Beware the ides of March!

March 13th, 2005
GameSpot.com is reporting that the next Legend of Zelda game will be available for the Nintendo GameCube in the fourth quarter of 2005. Their website also has a new trailer for said game. If you don't want to stream it, then you can sign up for a free GameSpot account and download the .MPG file from this URL.

The series' new sense of realism in this entry makes the game look like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Metal Gear Solid. It's strange that, this is what the fans have always wanted - but now, having seen it, I wonder if it's what's best... The original Zelda game was, for all its mystery, a rather colorful and well-lit world populated with odd monsters. But everything about this new game seems threatening.

February 27th, 2005
If you don't know how to spend this Sunday atfernoon, consider doing what I've done these past two weekends: listening to the ChatterBox Video Game Radio show. KFNX radio in Arizona streams their broadcast online, allowing gamers the world over to listen to their 3:00 PM talk show all about video games. Hosted in part by the EB employee who modded my PSX in June of 1997, ChatterBox covers a variety of topics, both large and small, from Xbox 2 speculation to the latest Wario Ware games. It's fun to listen to two guys and a girl who are knowledgeable about video games, and they accept call-ins as well. Past broadcasts are available for download, and podcasts are coming soon.

February 14th, 2005
Happy Valentine's Day from Ctrl-Alt-Delete. (this link, as all others, are endorsed, yet highly amusing - go fig)

January 30th, 2005
Pokemon causes cancer... who'da thunk?

January 10th, 2005
Hmm. I don't think I ever posted a link to my theme song. Kudos to the fantastic artists who recorded this piece, and the web site that hosts this and many other game-related musical performances.

January 1st, 2005
Happy New Year to all those who follow the arbitrary decision to divide days into the artificial Gregorian calendar.

Two-thousand four saw the end of my tenure as a system operator (sysop) on CompuServe, where I joined the staff of the Video Gaming Publishers' Forum on May 10th, 1994. (It was later rechristened the more general Video Gaming Central Forum.) In November of 1997, CompuServe discontinued their text- and telnet-based access to their fora, so I adapted to their other interface, HMI (host micro interface), employed by proprietary software such as MacCIM and MacNav. In fall of 2003, VGC closed as part of a restructuring and streamlining of the entire service, and was absorbed into the even more general Games Site Forum. In 2004, the service further eliminated support for the HMI protocol; the interface they exchanged it for is web-only, designed by Prospero, the same firm responsible for the online service Delphi's fora (another service of which I am a refugee, along with GEnie). This time, I chose not to adapt. But the ten-year run was fun and introduced me to many friends (Joe, Jeanne, Alissa, Arc Nova, Rudy, and innumerable others), whose company, both online and at E3, and gaming insights I've appreciated. I've now closed my personal CompuServe account, opened in the early Eighties with a 1200-baud modem, and my sponsored account will likely disappear with the next round of renewals.

Speaking of accounts, my registration for E3 2005 has been approved.

Cheers!

December 22nd, 2004
Links!

Added to the links page of this site is a reference to Red vs. Blue, a fantastic, online, episodic video series based on Halo. The DVDs would make great stocking stuffers.

Jeri Ellsworth's C64 joystick has been reported on in the New York Times; the story is available for free at news.com - but remember, you heard it here first! (thanks to Carl Knoblock and A2Central.com for this link)

Final Fantasy music tour - let's hope it tours widely and is better than the dreadful Best of Final Fantasy CD which I'm fortunate enough to own. (thanks to James Haupt for this link)

Ever try to make words out of refrigerator magnets? At Just Letters, you can try doing so while up to 50 other people are playing with the same magnets at the same time. (thanks to Tony Ward for this link)

November 28th, 2004
Congratulations to Apple II user Jeri Ellsworth, who is also a Commodore 64 user and whose latest product is now on sale at QVC. It's a joystick that plugs directly into your television and has 30 classic Commodore games programmed in - similar to the Jakks Atari joystick.

November 25th, 2004
Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my American readers; happy Thursday to the rest.

And don't gamers have plenty to be thankful for! Both new hardware and new software is plentiful this season, a veritable cornucopia of gaming goodness. I have Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metroid Prime 2 to look forward to, though the likelihood of me tackling either anytime soon is slim. It does not help that I am torn between a game that I think will be more enjoyable, or one I expect will be more engrossing with a more complex storyline...

I finished Silent Hill 4 last month, and was disappointed not only in the ending, but the lack of frights in getting there. Despite the innovations this entry brings to the series' control and level layout, it's really little that has been done before, and the connections to the other SH games was tenuous at best. Give me Silent Hill and Silent Hill 3 for a freaky and interwoven tale, thanks.

October 11th, 2004
I always believed Christopher Reeve would walk again - he had such hope and determination...

September 27th, 2004
A review of the book Dungeons & Dreamers has been posted, after receiving permission to make it available after its initial publication earlier this year in Juiced.GS, an Apple II newsletter (hence the focus of the article). I usually find video game chronologies somewhat staid and boring, despite the subject matter (Game Over being an excellent exception), but this one held my interest through the end.

September 26th, 2004
Release dates updated.

September 21st, 2004
Sony announced a new model PlayStation 2, due to hit store shelves on November 1st. Judging from the picture, this thing is slim.

This announcement goes against popular theory that Sony would want at least one holiday season at its current price point to deplete its current inventory before replacing the PS2 with a newer model. Fascinating.

September 20th, 2004
Movies from several perspectives: theater seat, couch seat, (baseball) stadium seat.

Review of Resident Evil: Apocalypse is up. Several aspects of the movie are left uncommented on, such as the Russian troops being faithful to the Resident Evil 2 game in appearance if not personality - but I believe I got the gist of the film (which is written by Paul W.S. Anderson, who wrote the medicore [and ridiculously PG-13-rated] Alien vs. Predator, and the excellent Mortal Kombat film).

Prior to the film was shown a trailer of The Grudge, which, along with another movie that was previewed, I initially thought might be a Fatal Frame film. But The Grudge made up for it by starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in a dark and spooky setting - a real stretch for the vampire slayer.

I recently splurged on some DVDs, most of them items I'd missed upon release: Buffy Seasons Six and Seven; Quantum Leap Season One (Season Two'll be out for Christmas!); ReBoot Season Four (it's been too long since season three); and the Star Wars Trilogy (duh), which releases tomorrow.

I spent the weekend in Boston, doing extra work in Fever Pitch, a movie based on the Nick Hornby book and starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Comedian Steve Hofstetter has already succintly outlined the lack of gratification involved in being an extra, so I shan't expound on it otherwise here except to say that the real pay was having another entry on my resume; that 17 hours of freezing cold in Fenway is not an experience I wish to have again (I knew I was tired when, on the drive home, my vision suffered from pop-up); and that I'll probably have to wait to freeze-frame the DVD (due in 2006) before I see if I'm even in the darn thing. (my "appearance must be visible in the final cut of the film" in order to submit an update to the IMDB, says they)

And on a non-movie note, my alma mater is designing a major dedicated to game design. Game on, WPI - and props for putting a GameCube controller on your front cover.

September 11th, 2004
Silent Hill 4: The Room is out. I think it's a bit soon for this game - only a year after Silent Hill 3. There was hardly time for any antici.... pation to build. Did that stop me from picking it up? Come on - this series continuously ranks in my top games of whatever year in which they are released. I'm always up for a good fright (which I didn't get from Resident Evil: Apocalypse - more on that later).

If you're into storytelling (then again, don't see Resident Evil: Apocalypse), then Fable is out soon - as is Demon Stone, which should be well-received if for no reason than the involvement of acclaimed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore.

Street Fighter: Anniversary Collection is a repackaging of little that we haven't already experienced on other consoles, but surprisingly, contains the feature length film Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (doubtless the rated version, sans Chun-Li shower scene).

Speaking of surprises, I was accepted into the World of Warcraft stress test. But this short-term phase of the beta-test runs only through tomorrow (Sunday the 12th), and I didn't get the notice until Friday the 10th, which is exactly when my DSL connection decided to crawl at dial-up speeds, which was not conducive to downloading the 2.2GB installer. So, no test for me. Ah well.


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