Ars Technica picked up on this story about a Gene Simmons branded guitar that has been made available by a small, third-party peripheral designer named Hipstreet. This is the first of their product offerings that has caught my eye and my gut reaction is one of conflict.
On the one hand, I'm quite impressed by this particular piece of hardware. On the other hand, the big problem for me is that I suspect it might represent the beginning of a trend that could lead to a glut of cheesy branded/licensed instruments. As far as I can tell, just about everyone involved with rhythm games (except Harmonix) at this point is looking to milk this thing until the udders are dry and this just might be another avenue for that to take place. The era of cheap plastic instruments has begun and it will consume your wallet.
I won't belabor this point, but I haven't seen this anywhere else on the site. I imagine some of you still have fond memories of when Midway was a decent publisher and would like to see them return to glory.
Anyway, Shari Redstone, daughter of famed media mogul Sumner Redstone, has resigned from her board seat at Midway (she was the chairwoman). The Redstone family plays a role in a number of different ventures, but the tie that binds it all together is their holding company National Amusements, which controls their ownership interests in CBS & Viacom and also operates a chain of movie theaters around the U.S. Recently, National Amusements has had some much-publicized difficulties regarding maintaining compliance with its debt covenants, which forced it to sell millions of shares of both CBS and Viacom. Some are speculating that taken in conjunction with the previous events, this resignation is perhaps the first step towards an eventual sale of Midway, who is desperately struggling and recently had to beg its parent for money to make it through the holiday season. In this M&A market, I can't imagine the company would fetch much of a price tag. This may be the beginning of the end for Midway.
While I'm not convinced about the overall necessity of the latest PS3 firmware, I did happen to find one seemingly useful feature in the update history:
"You now have an option to set the PS3™ system to turn off automatically after a background download or installation of content has completed. This option is available when you turn off the system under [Users] > [Turn Off System] while content is being downloaded or installed."
While this might not matter to some of you, people such as myself (i.e., those with a relatively slow connection speed) are often forced to download things overnight if they are of substantial size. Likewise, people such as myself have to pay for electricity. This will seemingly help me to do the former and help limit my exposure to the latter.
So I had contemplated posting a blog asking about the likelihood of a Watchmen videogame that would undoubtedly coincide with the upcoming release of the film, when it struck me that I better google it first, lest I be smacked by numerous, "Google is your friend" replies. Alas, I stumbled upon the following story over at MTV.com.
Now, my question becomes, what is to be expected of the title? Personally, I've never heard of the developer (Deadline Games) and I'm not familiar with the two titles referenced in the story (Chili Con Carnage and Total Overdose). What I am familiar with is the tremendous awesomeness of Watchmen, which I'm currently about 3/4ths of the way through. It's my first read-through and I have to say it is simply fantastic. I hope that neither the game nor the film will be disappointing. Judging by the trailer, the latter looks very promising.
So I had a really full schedule of gaming this weekend and I managed to plow through a couple of titles on Saturday that had been lingering on my conscience (mostly due to being about 80% of the way through the both of them). The two titles at issue were Haze, a generic, if somewhat underrated FPS, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which I'm sure most of you are familiar with. I felt a great sense of accomplishment in finally beating the both of them, but was also met with an overwhelming sense of relief.
The relief came not from what you might expect, such as knowing that I would no longer have to suffer the nigh unbearable plot of Haze or the awful menu load times of SW: TFU. Instead, the source of my relief was the knowledge that I would never again have to listen to the idiotic AI grumblings of either game, each of which had moments of ENDLESSLY LOOPED audio that drove me to the brink of violent crime.
If I had to hear the phrase, "Rip it out of the sky!" or "Remember your promise to Merino!" one more time...well, I probably wouldn't have done anything, but I would have continued to think it was a dick move on the part of everyone involved.
Anyway, my question to you is: How do design elements like this get through QA? Are you telling me not a single person during testing had the balls to stand up and say, "Yo, that line is annoying as all hell." As a public service to fellow gamers, are there any other examples of said phenomenon that folks should know about?