Plasma, Protecting Children from themselves & PS3 pipe dreams – Welcome to the column that never discloses whether or not it is rated M for Mature (just assume it) known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. I’m your host that made the big jump this weekend. I went and bought a 42 inch Phillips plasma from Best Buy. I don’t want to get too much into it since this is good story fodder but it got delivered on tuesday and is waitin… on the installation people for proper hookup. Also, if you will remember I had asked this girl Jennifer out, who works at the karaoke club I go to. Well she never did call after she had said yes and I had given her my phone number. However, I went back to the karaoke place on friday and saturday to see if she was working. Apparently, she never showed up at work and never called in either, ala no-show on both of those days. Something is fishy in Brazoria county and it goes far beyond avoiding your favorite columnist because you said yes to go out with him. I really do wish I knew the whole story, but I might never get that chance.
Ode To Morgan Webb
Unca Morgan Kenobi! Use the joystick young skywalker, and please m…errrr, sorry my brainwaves got slightly altered there. Even though you might think of this picture as creepy, there is something pretty hot about it. Unless you don’t like Star Wars or unless you thought Obi-Wan had it coming to him. I mean he was a jedi after all, they don’t exactly lead glamorous lives. Han Solo was the man, lets accept it. He got the babes, and he shot first! (which was a pain in the bedroom, but he got used to it). Oh right, Morgan..see she’s hot and I want her, and I’m not her father…though…*bad thought edited by George Lucas*.
Quick news stories of interest
According to a new report from members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a coalition of 275 faith-based investors, retailers still need to improve disclosure of their related sales policies and the results of those policies. Members of ICCR are in dialogs currently with some of the nation’s largest videogame retailers in an effort to coerce them to adopt and enforce policies ensuring that minors be barred from purchasing ‘M’-rated games, particularly those containing graphic violence, strong sexual themes and/or racist themes.
The ICCR report covered several retailers including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, Sears, Toys “R” Us, GameStop, and Wal-Mart. According to the report: “It is evident that retailers are doing well on several fronts: all retailers included in the report have video game policies to restrict access by young teens to M-rated games; all display signage about the ESRB rating system; all conduct employee training programs and ongoing education on the video game rating system for employees; and all have established a system to identify the age of the purchaser at the register. ICCR is pleased with both Target’s and Best Buy’s policies to restrict ads for Mature-rated games in teen publications and on television. Target also places a prominent “M” on games advertised in its store circulars and Best Buy has a robust internal auditing process and compliance program, which are noted improvements.”
While the report was favorable with regards to Target and Best Buy, the ICCR still expects better reporting on the results of retailers’ policies. Julie Tanner, corporate advocacy coordinator at Christian Brothers Investment Services, said: “While we appreciate the productive dialogs that we’ve had with retailers and applaud the steps these companies have taken, retailers need to make even more progress in certain areas. The most important omission by retailers is the lack of information on the implementation of and results of their policies. This information allows socially responsible investors like CBIS to evaluate the reputational risks facing individual retailers, and enables us to track company progress over time.”
And if we make the warnings bigger, we can avoid games like Grand Theft Auto and other “M” rated games ever getting in the hands of young gamers. (yeah, right) This sounds a lot like all the scenarios that surround cigarettes and their advertising. God help us if it ever gets to that point. You ever notice they make no mention of “R” rated movies and what they are doing to make sure no minor buys them even though its essentially the same practice as games. Besides, I’m sure the ICCR wishes that there was no M rated games anyhow. It would make their “work” a lot easier. I mean I understand this is just the religious right pushing their little tucus around the place, but I always wonder about how this affects us adult gamers. I never want it to get to the point where I have to show my id, they scan it and finger print me as I attempt to buy a mature gaming title. If that does happen, the gaming era will reach another ice age, guaranteed.
Sony Still Promising 1 Million PS3s This Year< Recent NPD data has revealed that Sony sold 197,000 PlayStation 3’s during the month of November. And since the console sold out immediately, it looks like Sony shipped less than half of their launch day target of 400,000. But according to Dave Karraker, senior director of corporate communications at Sony, manufacturing problems have been solved and one million units will be shipped by year’s end.
“While initial day-one launch shipment goals weren’t achievable due to early manufacturing issues, those problems have been resolved and we do remain focused on having one million PS3s in the pipeline by December 31, 2006,” Karraker said. “We will continue to utilize airfreight delivery for PlayStation 3 to assure a steady stream of systems for North American consumers through the end of the year.”
While these manufacturing issues meant the PS3 came in third place in next-generation console sales last month (Xbox 360 sold 511,000 and Wii sold 476,000), the PlayStation 2 outsold them all with 664,000 units. Of course, all of these systems were left in the dust by the Nintendo DS, which sold 918,000 units last month.
HAHAHAHAHA, cause we can make 800,000+ units in a month. Yeah and my back will be used as a launching pad for a Boeing 747. (that could hurt) Does anybody believe this jibberish? Even Sony themselves? What I find interesting about this is the last paragraph where XBOX 360 is leading the next-gen war and a strong second by Wii. That’s impressive. Even more impressive is PS2 and DS sales. I had no idea that there were that many DS’s sold in a single month. PS2’s outsell PS3’s by over 3 to 1. Mindblowing. *taps his 360*, I’m really starting to think I made the right choice. Sure these are early numbers, but when the dust is cleared it will be interesting to see who is sitting at the top. I just have a hard time right now believing that Sony has any real stake in first place anymore.
The Plasma experience
It’s storytime boys and girls. Huddle up close as I tell you the story of one man, okay one man and his best friend(not that best friend, get your mind out of the gutter) on a journey for a television beyond no other (well beyond no other in his house). In the midst of some forgotten discussion with my ex-wife, I had promised her one of my two tv’s as a result of our settlement. Well her tv went out and she brought it up. Oh, crap. See my two tv’s do have purpose. One is used as the main tv, one is used for games. They are both 27″ Phillips (silver and black) tv’s with a mess of inputs and outputs. So I take the silver one and wrap it up and throw it in the kitchen so my ex can pick it up. Then I decided I finally need to take the plunge, into the world of high definition. Plasma or LCD, there is quite the debate. I look at prices, the average 42″ LCD, somewhere around $2000, the average Plasma around $1500. The gap will be next to nothing soon, but this still mattered in my little world. I then take the time to look at ads, Best Buy…until January 2010 no interest on all tv’s above $999. I can do that! *little jumps of joy*. *look at the tv’s* Here is a very nice Phillips TV, plasma, $1399 down from $1699. All the inputs, HDTV tuner, all the goods, Mikey likes it.
So on last friday, me and my best friend Brandon decide to go to the Best Buy up on I-10 and Old Katy. We walk in, I can feel my blood pressure rising (this happens anytime I decide to buy something pricey). Even though I had spent all this time in research and know what I’m going to do. So I go back there (while Brandon tells one of the employees to turn on the PS3 display, I know what he came to do and it wasn’t to support my television purchase) and look at the tv’s including the display of the Phillips one. I find myself in a little of a dilemma as the LG’s and the HP’s and the JVC’s all look so tempting. But the one thing that kept me coming back is that I have never had a problem with a Phillips TV. So, after about a half an hour and asking questions, I say to the Best Buy employee who had become my buddy (cause he knew he was making a sale), I want the Phillips. Alright, and so he asks what kind of vehicle are you driving? A Toyota Corolla, worried look on salesman face appears. He decides to measure the box and the vehicle, not going to do it. I immediately start to backtrack (happens during big purchases)..maybe I don’t need this today. He says wait, lets see how much delivery is going to be. I live about an hour and a half from this particular Best Buy, and 45 minutes from any Best Buy period. This doesn’t bode well. Computer comes back free…what? I think the rest of the store repeated this in turn, what? Yeah, normally its $80, but its free right now. Also, there is a $200 installation thing by our home theater install partner and you get that free as well. What? Do you want to be my new best friend? (Brandon at this point is figuring out the Lord of the Rings game on the 360 console, he could care less). Thank you!, as I whip out my Best Buy card…my hands trembling slightly. So we set up the time for the TV to be delivered, I am given a # to the home theater install place and sent on my merry way. Me and Brandon would spend the next hour playing with the 360 and me kicking his butt on Guitar Hero 2 on the PS2.
So we drive back to the office and me and Brandon say our goodbyes. I then drive my merry behind in search of accessories for my new TV. This includes a TV Stand (since the old cabinet inside my house is not going to cut it), a Source Selector (since I need multiple opticals and my 6.1 receiver only has one on it and I’m going to have my PS2, 360, DVD, and HDTV all using opticals), XBOX 360 Wireless Connector, and some miscellaneous cables and furniture accessories to compliment the stand. Turns out the only Source Selector available on the mass market that supports 4 opticals (and not three like so many) is found right back at Best Buy. So I ended up buying that and the XBOX 360 Wireless Connector (since this is the same price everywhere) at another Best Buy, mainly for the rewards points. Which I figure I will have $35-$40 worth once I am done with this. The TV Stand was the most interesting though; I looked at Best Buy and found some stuff I liked but was looking at near $400. Probably about right, but I’m a cheap bastard. Then I proceeded to go look at Fry’s and Target and found next to nothing. I had told myself not to go to Walmart, Walmart=crap. But I said screw this, I’ll go anywhere, worse comes to worse I’ll decide on something else. Just so happens that this Wal-Mart in Pearland has gotten better in the furniture department. Seriously. I mean I’m not going to have furniture for the whole house or anything but they have some stuff. I found a wonderful tv stand (and it is probably the most popular model) that supports up to 50″ flat tvs (and has a little mount action going), black metal w/ black tempered glass shelves (if you mount, you get three shelves if you don’t two and a half depending on your tv) all for $229 and some change. Okay, I’m sold. Walmart isn’t so bad. After that, I got some new optical cables, a couple of speaker stands, and this and that. Unfortunately I think I spent about $500 on accessories. Also, I know I will need to get some HDMI cables to boot, but those can wait a week or so.
To get to a nice summary point, Me and Brandon put together the TV stand on Sunday, it took roughly 4-5 hours not because it was challenging but because we were watching Vince Young whip up on the Texans and eating pizza. It looks really nice even with the old tv, but you can tell it is meant for some high def. I have played my 360 with now surround sound and I must say I enjoy it totally, I can’t even begin to imagine a 42 incher with some Call of Duty action going. I called Dish Network and the Home Theater install place on Monday to schedule my upgrade to HDTV and get my new crap installed. After fumbling with each place for about an hour, I came to a date. Friday to install my TV, friday the 22nd, Dish Network on the saturday after the 23rd. Yeah, I have to look at my tv in the box (which got delivered on tuesday) for a week and a half. At least it is flipped to the spanish side so I don’t have to look at it too much. I’m sitting and watching the Daily Show and honestly watching the box more. It will be a hard week and a half. But at least they are coming on the days I have off so I don’t have to take even more time off of work. I really need all the work I can right now so I can pay for the tv and that “other thing” coming in the new year. I got both covered, but need to make sure.
PS2 Guitar Mania Amplifier
PS2 Wireless Guitar Frontman Controller
PS3/PS2 Controller Adapter
Shrek Smash & Crash
Star Trek: Legacy
Chicken Little: Ace in Action
Far Cry: Vengance
Super Swing Golf
World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champs
Metal Slug Anthology
Full Metal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy
Lionel Trains: On Track
Star Wars: Lethal Alliance
Jump! Super Stars
At least Nintendo knows how to release games around this time of the year. Everybody else, not so much. We get a series of decent titles for the Wii including Elebits, Far Cry, & Metal Slug Anthology (truly the pimp title the arcade platform shooter in all of us). Even DS gets some decent titles which should make all those kiddoes happy. The rest of the release list is dull, uninteresting and makes me want to skip ahead to next week. So I shall and get to the closing.
Some Final Thoughts and Mutterings
As far as gaming goes, I’m doing my best in Galaga on Live Arcade to get #1 among my friends, I’m about 16,000 off. Not bad when the top score is in excess of 100,000. I also am in the process of reviewing Viva Pinata; a extremely gorgeous and unique 360 title. I should have it up by the weekend and it is a very nice test of the Dolby Digital 5.1 capabilities of the 360 as well for you audiophiles. I know, I know I just need to get up my 42 inch plasma, I agree; I just figured I have waited this long, might as well wait for professionals. It is a nice present for myself but honestly (not to end this column on a downer), I wish I had somebody to share that christmas present with. Be sure to give more this christmas rather than receive, everybody needs a little help out there. Take care kids.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)