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Since my last Sony/Amazon coupon contest was a rousing success, I figured I’d do the same thing again the next time I received a coupon for a game that I wasn’t planning on buying. Well, friends, that time is here: I just got an email from the PlayStation Underground with another e-coupon; this time, it’s for Gran Turismo 5: Prologue.

Go figure...the one time I get a coupon for a game that’s actually on a system that I own, it’s for a game that I’m not going to buy. The coupon is, as usual, good for $5 off a pre-order of GT 5: Prologue, if you make that pre-order at ($39.99 is the game’s regular price). Here’s a quick refresher on the guidelines for the contest:

Pick ONE number from 1 to 100, and put it in the comments below. At midnight EST, which is in less than six hours, the contest will end, and the person who has posted the number that is closest to (or exactly) the one I have in my head will win. Guess more than once, or guess more than one number, and you will be disqualified. Sadly, the contest is only open to U.S. residents — Amazon says that the game “can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses.”

That’s about as simple as contests can get, so if you’re thinking of picking up this game (*cough* Y0j1mb0), there’s no reason not to enter. Of course, we’re working on the honor system here — I’m going to take it on faith that you’ll actually use the coupon code, and aren’t simply entering to prevent someone who genuinely wants to buy the game from getting it for five dollars cheaper. In other words, don’t be a total fuckwad. And now that we have those unpleasantries out of the way, get guessing!

Valentine’s Day is the stupidest “Hallmark holiday” anyone could have come up with. Oh, let’s take a day out of the year to celebrate love! What kind of sappy bullshit is that? Actually, forget the sappy qualities of the day. This day just makes me realize even more how money makes the world go ’round. How many corporations (candy & card companies, along with restaurants) make millions of dollars on February 14th each year? It’s yet another example of the endless mass marketing of every semi-celebrated day out of the year. But Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest — you hear about these famed “romantic” restaurants where people reserve tables a year in advance, among all kinds of other absurd situations. (The underside of a Snapple cap once provided me with “Real Fact” #369: On Valentine’s Day, there is no charge to get married in the Empire State Building’s wedding chapel...the more you know, eh?) Corporate America has attempted (and it’s succeeding more and more each year) to equate this “holiday” with celebrations of equally abstract, yet immensely more significant concepts and events such as the birth and rebirth of Jesus (Christmas/Easter), being thankful for life (Thanksgiving), the birthday of arguably this country’s greatest civil rights leader (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), and our freedom (Memorial Day/Veterans Day). Am I saying that love is inconsequential? Hardly, though I’ve been accused of it before. My quarrel is not with celebrating love; it is with the bastardization and commercialization of that celebration. The whole thing just doesn’t make sense to me.

Wikipedia’s article on Valentine’s Day says this: “The Greeting Card Association estimates that, world-wide, approximately one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association also estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.” Yuh-huh. And there you have it.

This doesn’t represent how I feel; I’m perfectly happy being single!Oh, god...I’m living a lie...the pain is too much to bear...

I can understand doing something nice for your significant other (in fact, I’m all for it), but the idea of this holiday has formalized “doing something nice” and turned it into this huge spectacle. Now, there’s this image of what girls expect on Valentine’s Day: stuff like a nice romantic dinner, a box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses, yada, yada, yada. I mean, it’s so cookie-cutter, so ordinary, so...unspectacular. If I was a girl and I had a special someone, I’d want something special. I mean, anyone can go out and buy a $4.99 box of Russell Stover chocolates from Rite-Aid or order roses from 1-800-Flowers, and while that’s all well and good, I’d want that guy to go above and beyond. You know, surprise me...skip the flowers and truffles and get me my favorite romantic comedy on DVD or something. OK, so that’s not exactly you see part of the reasons I don’t have a valentine. I think you get the idea, though...I ask people what they’re doing today, and they all say stuff like, “I’m going out to dinner with my boyfriend,” or “I’m taking her to the boardwalk,” or something along those lines. I mean, I’d like to hear someone say, “My boyfriend invited me over for some chips, some salsa, and a night of Audrey Hepburn flicks.” See, that’s at least semi-original...and because of that, it’s commendable. It shouldn’t be about how much money you spend, but how much thought you put in.

All I’m saying is this: there’s no reason not to do nice things for your girlfriend/significant other/wife/hooker on all the other 364 days of the year (or 365, as 2008 is a leap year) — this “holiday” seems to exist solely for people to spend money in ways they otherwise wouldn’t, and who ends up winning? Corporate America. Sure, some of the people end up winning as well (see: Y0j1mb0, Eschatos), and that’s great. But all in all, there really is no logical reason why anyone should be marking this day off on their calendar. Either way, if you do have someone to celebrate the day with, do something special with him/ playing some video games together.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with something I found on my homepage, the “Top ‘I Hate Love’ Songs of All Time”. Most of the songs on there are crappy, but I like a few of them. So break out your iPods and cry yourselves to sleep, friends; tomorrow is a new day, and there’s someone for everyone...right?

Disclaimer: This may just be my opinion because I don’t, you know, have a girlfriend at the moment or anything...but I suppose that’s what forms my views. At any rate, that fact shouldn’t invalidate my views or reduce their credibility at all...

P.S. Another interesting point to ponder, also courtesy of Wikipedia: according to the Roman calendar, the thirteenth of February would have been called the “ides of February.” if Valentine’s Day was just a day earlier, it would have another name (along with, of course, Singles Awareness Day, or “SAD”) that would bring much more negative things to mind, simply because of the word “ides”...

P.P.S. Oh yeah, for all you guys tryin’ to get some tonight...remember: No glove, no love.


Congratulations! I happened to be thinking of Mariano Rivera, so the number in my head was 42, which he (she? I don’t want to be presumptuous...) guessed exactly. Please send me a PM or email (my address is in my profile sidebar), and I’ll pass along the coupon code.

To everyone else: thanks for playing — especially Genfuyung; you were so close! — and better luck next time. (Knowing Sony and their spamming of my inbox, there will definitely be a next time.)

The few of you who caught my previous post in this vein already pretty much know what I’m going to say, but I’ll introduce my situation again for the newcomers. Sony likes to send me coupons for PSP-related purchases; they seem to think I have a PSP, which isn’t true. Last time, they mailed one to me for $5 off any PSP game from Best Buy, but this time, they went the electronic route.

I got an email a few days ago from Sony that contains a coupon code for $5 off a copy of God of War: Chains of Olympus — if you pre-order it from ($39.99 is the regular price). There’s an additional special offer attached to the deal: if you pre-order the game with the coupon code, you’ll get “free exclusive tracks from the God of War: Chains of Olympus soundtrack”. You won’t get them immediately; once the game ships, Amazon will send the songs to your Amazon account’s “digital locker”. All told, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal to me, but again, I don’t own a PSP, so I have no use for the coupon.

Since I tried to hold a contest for my last PSP game coupon, and that contest failed miserably, I’m not even going to bother with something as complicated this time. Here’s what you have to do:

Pick ONE number from 1 to 100, and put it in the comments below. At midnight EST, which is in about four hours, the “contest” will end, and the person who has posted the number that is closest to (or exactly) the one I have in my head will win. Guess more than once, or guess more than one number, and you will be disqualified.

Of course, we’re working on the honor system here — I’m going to take it on faith that you’ll actually make use of coupon code and aren’t simply preventing someone who genuinely wants to buy the game from getting it for five dollars cheaper. In other words, don’t be a total fuckwad. And now that we have those unpleasantries out of the way, get guessing!

As fellow c-blogger B-Radicate reported earlier, EA has extended their video game exclusivity agreement with the NFL by three years. It was originally slated to expire in 2009, but now, EA has locked up the license through 2012. Most people seem to think that this deal means that the apocalypse is imminent, but I don’t necessarily agree. Read on, friends, read on...

No, this is not what Madden NFL 09 will look like

I’ve always been a fan of EA Sports titles over 2K Sports games — I just like the way they “feel” and control. In general, however, I hate the idea of exclusivity; it stifles creativity and allows developers to rest on their laurels, year after year. (Aside: I was thinking of doing a “Good Idea, Bad Idea” on exclusivity agreements, but I realized that I couldn’t find anything good to say about them.) 2K Sports owns the baseball license, and I really didn’t like Major League Baseball 2K7 (in fact, I’m much more interested in Sony’s MLB 08: The Show this year). But I absolutely loved EA’s last baseball game, MVP Baseball 2005 on the PS2, and it’s a damn shame that they can’t make them anymore.

Now, it’s important to note something that Peter Moore mentioned in his interview with IGN: he said that it was the NFL who originally looked into having an exclusive deal with a publisher, and EA just turned out to be the highest bidder. Is that their fault? No. That’s capitalism, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Much of the blame should be placed on the sports themselves — that is, the NFL and the MLB — for offering an exclusivity deal in the first place. But EA’s not innocent, of course; what is wrong with EA is the Madden games that they’ve put out since the deal went into effect, which have all been largely lackluster titles compared to the pre-exclusivity games.

Of course, I’m at a special disadvantage as a PS3 owner; the 360 versions of Madden games have been serviceable, but the PS3 ports have been a different story altogether. The week before Madden NFL 08 came out on August 14, 2007, Best Buy was offering a deal: pre-order Madden, and get $10 off any other regularly-priced game. So I pre-ordered it and got Warhawk (which wasn’t to be released for another two weeks) for $49.99. But I saw the error of my ways (or rather, EA’s ways) after I had the game in my hands. IGN gave the 360 version an 8.7 in their review, but the PS3 version of the game was scored a full point lower, a 7.7 out of 10. I read through both reviews in their entirety, and the only difference between them was the mention of the graphical shortcomings of the PS3 version of the game. After playing the game myself a few times and being disgusted, I put it aside on my shelf, and in December, I got rid of it for a measly 650 Goozex points.

So what I’m essentially saying is this: I wouldn’t fault EA and 2K Sports as much for their respective exclusivity deals if they just made good games. Is that so much to ask? And if you have to, use the PS3 as the lead platform for development (or at least start development on the PS3 version earlier). There’s absolutely no excuse at this point for either of the versions to have any major graphical or gameplay inadequacies, and that was the case with both Madden NFL 08 and MLB 2K7. In any case, at least I have an alternative for baseball: 2K Sports’ exclusivity deal only covers third-party games, so SCEA is free to develop their own baseball video game. I eagerly anticipate MLB 08: The Show, and I definitely have some interest in Madden NFL 09, though after last year’s shenanigans, that interest is lukewarm. Make me believe again, EA...that’s all I want...

On Thursday, IGN put up this four-and-a-half-minute-long video interview with Ted Price, the President and CEO of Insomniac Games. It doesn’t reveal a whole lot more than we already know about Resistance 2, but the few of you out there who are interested in the game may find this interesting.

Price acknowledges a few failings of Resistance: Fall of Man, such as the method in which the story was told — personally, I wasn’t a fan of the female narrator (Parker, if I remember correctly) recounting Hale’s tale — and he also mentions that Insomniac “got lots of complaints” because the first game had no online co-op play. It’ll be there in the sequel; however, as is usually the case with Insomniac, they’re doing it in their own way: apparently, the online co-op in Resistance 2 will have its own story that “parallels the story in the single-player campaign,” and it will feature three classes, à la Team Fortress 2 — a powerful soldier, a ranged special ops combatant, and a medic, each with their own unique qualities.

At this point, I wouldn’t say I’m psyched for this game — hell, I still have to go back and beat the original — but my interest is piqued, to be sure. Check out the video and let me know what you think!