Sunday, June 30, 2013

What is NBC Sports doing to Formula 1?

I'm a Formula 1 racing fan living in the United States. A fan who actually liked Speed's coverage of the sport, so I was a little concerned over the change to NBC, but optimistic over new blood taking over. However, it turns out I was not concerned enough. I've now unsuccessfully tried to watch the last three races, only to have them not start when they are supposed to, and always preceded by the race results and major happenings. I guess that NBC just doesn't give a shit. I sent them an email this morning after once again being f**ked while trying to watch the race. I doubt anyone there will do anything or even read it, but I wanted it out there, for all 3 of you who happen to stumble upon this post who may be also suffering because of NBC. As Zod would say; 'You are not alone'. 

Here is my email:

To whom it may concern, pass this on to someone who can make a difference,

Since you have taken over the Formula 1 broadcast, you have been doing an atrocious job of showing it on TV. As I am writing this (11:45 am EST), you are supposed to be showing the Silverstone GP, but are instead showing the Tour De France. That would be fine if you had a little note at the bottom stating that F1 will follow once the bike race is over, but instead, you cut to a news break informing me not only of the major happenings in the race, but who won it. That is f**king unacceptable. I usually work over the weekends, but rearranged my work schedule to watch the race only for you cunts to ruin it for me. What dumb f**king monkey is making these decisions? And I can't believe that you have a larger audience tuning into the Tour De France than F1, but even if you do, it gives you no right to treat the F1 audience with such contempt. You have now ruined the last three F1 races for me, but as a British man living in America, who went to Silverstone to watch the race live numerous times, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Your incompetence is sickening, and I hope everyone in charge of F1 gets laid off and someone with some passion for the sport takes over.

With utmost sincerity, go f**k yourselves.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Xbox One80

Something interesting happened after the E3 press conferences. That arrogant company that released a console a hundred dollars more expensive than the competition with the assumption that everyone would buy their expensive product, well just because, and then for the proceeding years after they continued to try and tell their consumers what they wanted, instead of listening. It cost them a huge portion of the market share, and took them 8 years to finally catch up to the install base of their closest competitor. Remember them? Well it looked like Microsoft was copying their playbook, right down to the fan outrage. Then sh*t got real.
The curse of the 3rd console is real!!!
Microsoft, the champion of always online and used games restrictions, changed their tune and reversed their stance on both policies. Sony, with their chests puffed out, went on stage at E3 and declared that the PS4 will play used games, and that the console doesn't need to be always online. Fans cheered, the internet went mental over it, and some Xbox’ers claimed that they were switching allegiance to the Playstation nation. However, when the internet gets ablaze because of issues like this, it rarely causes any significant, if any, change to occur (Kony 2012 anyone?). So just why did Microsoft change their tune?
Sony be like, what? Block used games? Oh hell no. 
It’s all conjecture from here on out, but the nice thing to think would be that Microsoft heard all the people’s cry and decided that the masses were right, and gave the people what they wanted. Another, and more likely, angle is that Sony’s pre-orders were eclipsing that of Microsoft’s, and they couldn't afford to stumble out of the gate like that. The PS3 suffered from a very poor strategy, coupled with it being released a year after Xbox 360, so it’s no wonder that it took them 7 to 8 years to reach and edge out the 360s install base. Regardless of the decision, it was smart, because right now all that stands between the PS4 and the Xbox One is $100.
We are so sorry. Please, just buy the damn thing.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to both consoles a year after launch. No doubt Sony has the best first party studios in the industry, but Microsoft has stupid amounts of money to the point where they can literally buy exclusives from third parties. They seemingly have already done that with the very cool looking Titanfall. But for every Titanfall, Sony can conceivably answer with an Infamous, an Order 1886, and unannounced Naughty Dog project, which can go against Xbox ‘exclusives’. It’s been a while since two major consoles have launched side by side, and with both seemingly coming this November, only time will tell which console wins the hearts and minds of not just the hardcore gamer, but the general consumer. Begun, the console wars have!!!

1 sentence review: Fast & Furious 6

I have no idea what the hell I just saw, and I don't know who thought it was a good idea to have a supposedly great team of international thieves who steal money and stop other thieves using super fast cars while making excruciatingly bad jokes, but you know what, I had a hell of a lot of fun once my brain switch off. 
For a movie that doesn't involve superheroes, people be flying all over the place.

Friday, June 14, 2013

1 Sentence Review: Man of Steel

An emotional and well told tale of a son caught between two fathers and torn between two worlds, struggling to find his place in the world and the answers to his deepest questions. 
"From one Superman to another, he did a good job Chris."
"I couldn't agree more George."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

E3 2013 - The Rest

Wow, didn’t know studying for a test was so time consuming! Well, back to E3.

So EA had a pretty interesting show. They had that awkward moment at the Microsoft conference where their game didn’t seem to be working, but to be fair, it turned out they were not the only one with troubles. The new Plant’s Vs. Zombies looks interesting, and I have never thought it possible to turn that franchise into a shooter, but it could be great. Battlefield looked amazing, and the Battlefront teaser was that tasty tease I desperately wanted from Sony with Uncharted. EA’s sports franchise were questionable at best. Sure it looked interesting, and I love me some FIFA, but I won’t believe it can look that good, and play accurately until I get it in my hands. So EA was fun, but nothing groundbreaking, so I’ll have to give them a C, a passing grade.

Last E3, Ubisoft stole the show with Watch_Dogs, and they almost did it again this year. The first great thing they did was rehire host Aisha Tyler, who if you listen to podcasts like ‘The Indoor Kids’, you know that she’s a hardcore gamer. Then they showed off some Watch_Dogs and Assassin’s, but left the meat and potatoes for Sony’s presser. Their racing game The Crew, which if it lives up to the promises, could be amazing, but only time will tell. Finally they finished strong with Tom Clancy’s The Division, which looked like a post-apocalyptic version of Watch_Dogs, and it was so damn pretty. Grade wise, Ubi earned a solid B.
The Division in all its next gen glory.
Finally we come to Nintendo, who chose to bow out of E3 in the traditional sense, and chose to just do their Nintendo Direct. There they showed off Mario, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, the Wind Waker remake, and Smash. That’s great, but most of it was for 2014, so why should I care right now? This E3 was just another case of Nintendo being Nintendo; announcing games we already expected or knew about, with no solid specific on the long term future of their franchises while creating something new. Frankly, it rang hollow, and I once again found myself caring little about the big N. They barely managed a C-. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E3 2013 - Sony

Sony showed the PS4 a while ago. For 2 full hours. Some great looking games were shown. A neat looking controller was used. Features like Gaikai and the ‘share button’ were touched upon. They set themselves up for an E3 that was theirs to loose, and with Microsoft already done, and Nintendo bowing out of the spotlight, they really had the last word, and holy sh*t what a last word they had.

Finally we got to see what the console looked like. It’s angular, slanted, a two toned black console, with an upgradeable 500gb HDD. It looked cool, something that would look slick sitting right next to my TV, and I liked seeing the architect. Its silly throwaway moments like that which stick with me; letting some guy who probably sits in a cubicle getting his moment in the sun. I like how the PS4 looks (a hell of a lot better than the Xbox One), and am glad they waited until E3 to show it off.

Now onto games games games. That’s what it’s all about. We already knew about Knack, Killzone, Infamous, and Drive Club, but what were the other Sony studios working on? Well, other than The Order 1886 (by the excellent Ready at Dawn studio; don’t let them go like Insomniac Sony), there wasn’t much else. What’s Santa Monica working on? How about Sony Bend? Media Molecule anyone? Where was NAUGHTY DOG??? There was a bunch of third party stuff, but Sony easily has the best first party studios, so I was hoping for more. What was shown was great, but like a beast that constantly wants more, I demand you feed me.
Killzone Shadowfall
Well here it is. The moment they won E3. Used games? Go ahead. Always online? Hell no. Price? $499? $599? Nope, $399. This was something special for the end, and sure the last game they showed was the cool looking Destiny, and sure there was no Uncharted tease, but it was this moment that sticks. It felt like that cool kid on the playground sticking up for some of the younger kids. It was a moment so purposely directed at Microsoft, going blow for blow eventually flooring them, you can’t help but see their girlwood rising. It’s what we wanted, and after years of mixed messages, Sony got their sh*t together and managed to not f*ck up!
How sharing games work on PS4.

So how could I give this anything less than an A? If there was a Naughty Dog tease, it could have been an A+. It was a solid show; a lot of fun with people who seemed excited to be showing their console. Sony did a good job, and there wasn’t much more they could have done to make it better. Sony got their swagger back.

Click for my thoughts on Microsoft, and stay tuned for what I thought of EA, Ubi later today, and Nintendo tomorrow.

E3 2013 - Microsoft

When Microsoft first unveiled the Xbox One, I didn’t know what to write. The presentation was focused less on games and more on entertainment which I didn’t care for. By the end of their hour long presentation, it felt incomplete, so I decided to wait till E3, as I had a feeling Microsoft got all that unpleasantness out of the way for the games. And you know what, I was right. Microsoft had a great E3, that was until a certain unnamed elephant in the room stepped up to the plate (but more on that later).

Metal Gear Solid 5 opened up the Microsoft presser, and boy does it look good. An open world Metal Gear, something they have been promising since Snake Eater, looks to be finally coming into fruition. From there, they went from game to game to game, each looking interesting. There really wasn’t anything extraneous. The biggest surprise, Insomniac Games are making an exclusive for Xbox One! I never thought I would see the day. That was huge. Game-wise, Microsoft had a great lineup of games.

Going into E3, we knew some disappointing things about Xbox One; there will be a used games limit, the console will have to log on once within a 24hour period, and it will come packaged in with an fixed 500gb HDD (you can have an external HDD for more space). All we needed was price, and for all its offering, I expected it to be a little high, but to lower the entry cost, I was waiting for a version with a subscription base. However, we are getting it for $499 this November, which is fine (a little high), but at least not of the astronomical levels of the PS3.

So how did they do? Not bad. They didn’t blow anyone away, but they had a solid (Snake?) showing. And it was the best presser until Ubi went later in the day (and of course Sony), but it failed to wow. I’d have to give it a solid B+. If Halo had been in playable form, would have been bumped up to an A-, and sadly, they ended up getting hurt by being first. 

My thoughts on Sony, EA and Ubi will be up later today. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

1 Sentence Review: After Earth

A coming of age father/son movie that’s quite entertaining though lacking in any real tension, showing that Will Smith’s still got it (despite his son mumbling half his lines), and that M. Night is finally starting to get his groove back.
1 of you got to where he is because he has talent, and the other is just very lucky he has someone who is looking out for him.