Archive for January, 2005

Three Kings?

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When you emerge from the subway at the corner of 125th and Lennox, your first glimpse of sunlight features the massive disembodied screaming heads of Sirs Duncan, McGrady, and Garnett. A monument to the modern NBA through the eyes of Adidas.

It’s good stuff, but one has to wonder how long a sneaker company can stick with a star like T-Mac, whose ridiculous skills just can’t seem to make those around him better. Last year, their answer was to poke a little fun at his team’s woes in Lessons 2. This year, the answer seems to be to sandwich the man between two bona-fide monsters and pray for osmosis.

What will it be next season? Will he end up a running joke like his cousin? Doubtful — the effort is there. Let’s hope, then, that Tracy and his team will give Adidas’ ad department a little more to work with before the season is out.

photo via jellisvga

Ill Lumine Nation

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Is this really how Tetsuya Mizuguchi sees the audience for his games? Bald yet remarkably hot bodied mannequins? Considering his awesomely unusual brain chemistry, it wouldn’t be all that surprising.

That same brain, which brought us the wicked retro Space Channel 5 and the unspeakable Trance Vibrator, now gives us Lumines. It’s out for PSP in Japan and early impressions are positive. If Mizuguchi’s past work is any indication, this title promises to up-end the puzzle game genre in much the same way the transcendent Rez did the rail shooter. Puzzle mod Music indeed.

Will we see Lumines in the US? Looks like we’ll find out next week. Until then keep your fingers crossed and, oh yeah, say a little prayer for Meteos, Mizuguchi’s dark horse music puzzle project for the DS. That sucker just got pushed a bit, which probably ain’t the best sign.

Update: It’s official. Thank you, Ubisoft!

image grabbed from the freaky japanese ads at lumines.jp

Inauguration Irony

bush_inauguration.jpgThe big question on inauguration day seems to be: Is Bush a uniter or a divider? Well, the people have spoken and guess what? It’s split right down the middle — 49% on each side. That’s right: the nation is divided on whether nation is divided! Woodstock, this ain’t.

And on the other side of the aisle, gun hater extraordinaire Michael Moore’s bodyguard was busted packing illegal heat out at JFK. Guess guns are cool so long as they’re covering his ass, eh?

Sometimes you just gotta laugh to keep from beating folk upside the head.

thanks to john and mike for pointers

How Cold Is It?

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It’s so cold in New York City that Central Park muggers are saying stick em up just to warm their hands in tourists’ pockets.

It’s so cold in New York City that in order to heat his towers, Donald Trump has been burning his toupees.

It’s so cold that New Yorkers are going inside to urinate.

It’s so cold out that New York cops are frisking each other.

It’s so cold here that the hookers in Times Square are having sex with fat guys.

How cold is it? So cold even the crosswalk signs don’t give a crap what you do.

photo via jellisvga, levity via letterman and others

Mos Phat Videogames 2004

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Hello, New Year! Nothing like starting a year with a review of the last. And, considering how messy last year was, it’s probably best to start off this one on an up note. Games — it’s about the games! Alphabetically…

  • Burnout 3: Takedown – Arcade racing taken up a notch. It doesn’t quite have the technical appeal of Rush but it more than makes up for it with sheer adrenaline. Driving your rival into a telephone pole at 200mph is where it’s at. Doing it with a friend in co-op mode is even better.
  • Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest – A mediocre hack-n-slash on the face of it, but co-op online play with voip make this baby a must have. The first time you hear your friends screaming and seconds later see them rush out of a tunnel engulfed in flames, you’ll be sold.
  • ESPN NBA 2K5 – VC finds ways to improve what seems like perfection every year. This time, changes in the post game and help defense push it impressively close to reality.
  • Feel the Magic: XY/XX – Looks can be deceiving. This short and simple looking win-the-girl-through-minigames title is the first to illustrate the potential of the DS. Whistling, blowing, singing and…uhm…touching. Rude yet charming stuff and, oh yeah, hella fun.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The big daddy is back and in fine form. Rockstar spent the two years well and built a game that somehow uses the cartoon GTA universe to create some of the most believable characters ever. It can be touching and brutal at the same time. Most of all, though, that old GTA fun is back with extremely creative extensions.
  • Katamari Damacy – Rolling giant piles of junk is in. All who try this strangely, wickedly addictive game are sucked in to its bizzare world. Oh, and good luck getting the soundtrack out of your head. The single most innovative title of the year, if not several. Indeed we do feel the cosmos.
  • Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal – Everything you love about platforming and everything you love about shooting games seamlessly integrated. In a future world that is just campy enough, just smart enough. No one was more surprised than me.
  • Winning Eleven 7 – Wicked tight soccer you can almost reach out and touch. The dynamics of the game keep every match different and challenging. Now, if they could just get the difficulty settings on a bit shallower curve…
  • World of Warcraft – The first MMORPG to appeal to the non-hardcore gamer. The pacing, the glorious art direction, the east of connecting with others. This is ever-crack for the rest of us.

Honorable mentions: Mario Kart: Double Dash and Second Sight

Not played but might very well have ended up on this list: Astro Boy: Omega Factor, Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

Hardware of the year: Logitech Cordless Action Controller – Finally a PS2 wireless controller that is worthy of comparison to Nintendo’s Wavebird. Feels perfect, never runs out of batteries, and even outdoes N’s fine entry on several fronts. Rumble and auto-off, anyone?

For more, see last year’s list.





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