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A big lover of all types of media, from Movies to Video Games, Books to Music, Television to Stage.

April 26, 2011

Sony Announces Depth of Trouble With Playstation Network

Well, it seems as though something of what myself and others have been writing about has caused people at Sony to admit what has really been going on and come clean with how bad the hack done to them last week really is.

First off, a link to the press release detailing what I'm about to tell you, and that can be found here.

The press release confirms these tidbits:  The Network is indeed offline on purpose.  They are re-building the Network from the ground up.  People's passwords have been compromised.  People's account activity has been compromised.  People's addresses, phone numbers, real names and birthdates, and e-mail addresses have been compromised.

Oh, and yes, while it can't be confirmed (bullshit), it is possible that credit card information has also been compromised as well.

So, the basic upshot of all of this is, is that the speculation I personally have been doing over the past two days has in fact not been speculation at all; rather I've been leaking the truth before they've announced it.

They are also providing a 1-800 number for those in the States to ask them any further questions, like how much money from my Playstation Plus membership am I getting back as a result of your overwhelming fuck-up that has the potential to allow hundreds of people to have their identities stolen?  The number is provided here for your irate phone calls:  1-800-345-7669 

Frankly, I'm even more pissed off that they took so long to admit the depth of the problem when they certainly knew from the outset exactly how bad things were.  This just goes to show what those of us among us were aware of from the launch of the PS3:  Sony no longer gives a shit about it's customers.  You need proof?  Follow the link provided at the top of the page, and read how they gently tell us they've given out our information by not using a secure enough service.

I'll be playing the 360, come get me when this shit is over.

PSN Down "Indefinitely"

So, today there's more news about the Playstation Network.  Well, one could call it news, or one could call it what the consumer expects from a system that screwed people over initially with the price, then a second time with a lack of system-selling games.

As of this morning, the Playstation Network is expected to be offline "indefinitely" while they fix the problem experienced when they were hacked last week.

Okay, so here's what is actually going on:  Now that they know their system is completely vulnerable to online attack, they've decided to rebuild the entire damn thing from the ground up.  What does that mean to the average consumer?  It means that at the very least a minor aspect of owning a PS3 has been removed...at most, all multiplayer functionality for each and every game that goes online is no longer available.  According to the Sony website itself, here, consumers can't play games, access the store, or sign into the network in any way.

Now here's what it REALLY means:  Anyone who paid for a Playstation Plus membership is getting screwed, anyone subscribing to the DC Universe Online MMORPG is getting screwed (I'm hit personally by both of these), and anyone who plays games multiplayer over single player (C.O.D. anyone?) is screwed.  Oh, and don't forget that your credit card information can't be spoken for either, as Sony isn't saying shit about that in particular.

If anyone harbours any doubts whatsoever regarding whether the PS3 is the lesser of the three systems, now would be the time to realize the truth.  The 360 hasn't been hacked and has better gaming titles for a system priced more reasonably, and the Wii II is being shown at this year's E3.  What will Sony do for E3?  Well, if I worked for them I'd have one big suggestion:  Apology City...

April 25, 2011

Playstation Network Still Down

You bet your ass I'm jumping on this bandwagon.

So, I'm one of the 70 million people who have been wondering exactly why I haven't been able to get online with my PS3 for five days - that's right, five freaking days, including a holiday weekend!  At first i thought it was my internet cable, but that checked out, then I got my wife to check their website for a tech support phone number, and we both got the same news (she saw a ticker on the site, I got a recorded message after dialing) that it was in fact that the PSN was down 'for maintenance.'

Well, I thought that was fishy, that a site so linked to a gaming console wouldn't have send out news that a major maintenance disconnect was scheduled.  After all, Microsoft always tells gamers when X-Box Live is going to be down for clean-up.  So, I speculated about why the site was down, especially for so long, especially on a long weekend.  And you know what?  Turns out the speculation was right...

The Playstation Network, vaunted repository of games, videos, music and Home, was hacked.

Now, a lot of people wouldn't think this is a big deal, but I personally have an enormous fucking problem with this:  The PS3, unlike the 360, requires the majority of it's purchases be done directly by credit card.  The 360 only expects that for memberships and digital purchase of full titles that were originally disc-based, and even those two things can still be done by entering coded cards instead of credit card digits.  So, since the PSN has now proven itself vulnerable, how willing are YOU to put your credit info online with them?

Sorry to all the PS3 fanboys out there, but once again the 360 comes out on top.  It's been out longer, has a richer online presence and, oh yeah, HASN'T BEEN HACKED!!!

Now, move back the couch, I got some KINECT to play...

April 8, 2011

Titles That Beg For A Sequel

Videogames are a lot like movies in certain ways.  They can make you laugh.  They can instill fear.  Some can even make you cry.  And, just like movies, some leave you wanting for more, more that will never come for one reason or another.  A while back, I wrote about what make a movie franchise and why certain titles get sequels while other, some more worthy films, never even get considered for a sequel.  The article can be found here.  I think the case can be made for certain videogame titles to have sequels, instead of the ones that actually get them.  Get ready for what may be a controversial post.

First of all, before I get any further, i want to give a shout out for the best and most meaningless double-dip in recent gaming history.  The title guilty of this dubious honour is "Batman: Arkham Asylum."  I would like to make it clear, straight from the outset, that I love this title.  The atmosphere, the voice acting, the gameplay, the storyline...nothing is amiss from this title whatsoever, as far as I am concerned.  My only sticking point, my only spot of contention, is that the game got released a second time with 3-D capability, that particular version being the one sported in the Amazon box over there on the left.  My problem with this second release is this:  Why the hell didn't they just do this in the first place?  It is an excellent game, and in 3-D it is absolutely incredible visually.  However, my original game save didn't translate over, and I have to gather my gamerscore achievements all over again (albeit earning more points as well).  Poor idea, and it makes me wary of buying the sequel too soon, because I don't want to give the company the idea that a double-dip is an acceptable practice.

Okay, that being said, there is a title that certainly deserves the sequel that is in the works.  This post, however, is about games that deserve it and don't seem to have one coming.  For a good example, I bring you "Condemned: Criminal Origins."  This was one of the first titles released for the 360 back in November of 2005, and it is still one of the best titles out there.  The sequel was great as well, and purposefully left the series open for a third title...and then nothing.  Monolith Productions, makers of both this franchise and "F.E.A.R." have added nothing to their website since 2009, and though there is in fact a "F.E.A.R. 3" on it's way, nothing has surfaced regarding a third in the "Condemned" franchise.  A shame really, as this is one very atmospheric game, rivalling "Resident Evil" for scares and creepy moments.  In fact, in my opinion, "Resident Evil" should have stopped with number 4 and been satisfied with that, as that is the perfect RE game.  But that's a series that goes on, so let's go to...

"Prey."  Now, I just got word this week (from @sentuamessage on Twitter, actual information from their video updates via the 360 system itself) that there is in fact a sequel to this well-deserving title finally on it's way.  Anyone playing the first title will recognize the fact that the gameplay was excellent, and almost certainly lead to the success of the "Halflife 2" spin-off "Portal," which itself is getting a sequel in ten days time in North America.  "Prey" was in many ways unique, the least of which being that for the very first time in any title that i can recall, the story's protagonist was a Native American.  An excellent FPS with incredible multiplayer, this title has been crying for a sequel almost as long as people have been clamouring for "Duke Nukem Forever," which may finally see the light of day this year as well.  Okay, realistically the wait for DNF is admittedly fourteen years, while the wait for a sequel to "Prey" has only been five, but you get the idea.  It's been a long time coming, but finally our waiting is going to be rewarded.

So far, I've been concentrating on the 360, but there are titles out there for other systems that really deserve a sequel, or a new title in a very popular franchise.  The biggest one for the PS3 in my opinion is "Sly Cooper."  Last year's holiday season saw the release of the collection you see to the left there, and when going through the trophy list, one sees a hint that there may be in fact a planned fourth game.  Rumours are abounding that this year's E3 will have something Sly related, but only time will tell.  There is, however, one game that the 360 and PS3 would really exploit, one that hasn't seen a sequel even though the game was absolutely incredible, one title that didn't get the sales numbers it richly deserved, even though critics and gamers who played it alike were raving about it and begging for more people to take the time to give the title a try.  Those who have played it know exactly which game I'm referring to, and those who don't have never even heard of it.  The platforms were the PS2 and the original X-Box, and the game was "Psychonauts."

The game is currently available as a downloadable title for both systems (I'm fairly certain this is true - I know for certain that you can get it downloadable on the 360 and think I have seen it the same way in the Playstation Store).  If you haven't given it a try, I have only two words of advice for you:  Get it.  You will not be disappointed, and you too will join the ranks of people wishing it had done better numbers when first released.  How good is the game?  GameFaqs included "Psychonauts 2" as a part of this year's April Fool's joke on their website. 

As for the Wii, I'm not too sure what to say.  There are Zelda titles, there are Mario titles, there are Donkey Kong titles, and there are Metroid titles.  Seems like all the good franchises there are taken care of, and some of them not too well.  That is more a result of the poorer control offered by the gimmick that is the nunchuk controller in my opinion, though to be honest I still have more Wii titles than PS3 titles in house.

Well, that covers the current home-based consoles.  There are titles out there that either beg for more or actually have more coming for them, but they are from the defunct Dreamcast system, and at the moment there are plans to release some of those old titles on the 360 Arcade, so who knows what'll happen?  I do know that I'd pay to see another "Jet Grind Radio" title, that I've wanted "Shenmue" to continue it's original title run.  I'd also love to see another "Panzer Dragoon Saga" title come out, but I worry these are not to be.  Damn shame too, as the Dreamcast was itself simply a victim of poor sales rather than poor titles or capabilities.  The Wii is actually inferior graphically to the Dreamcast, and it came out years later.  Oh, if Sega just hadn't made so many missteps earlier on...

Anyway, I'm bringing this post to an end with the only plea for a sequel that I haven't touched on so far:  Please, Sony, please hear me when I say that you have thousands of loyal gamers who deeply crave a true, non-3D, non-timed, non-cooperative, non-multiplayer, actual honest to God 2D side-scrolling puzzle-filled sequel to "Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night."  Make that happen, and I'll renounce my 360 and sing your praises for the rest of my life.  Until then, I respectfully remain loyal to my 360...Gamerscore, Ho!!!