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honestgamer It's not all an elaborate ruse, some misguided attempt to establish for myself an online persona of dubious quality. I really am dull. If you don't find that unbearable, though, this is my blog that examines just how truly boring I can be.

Title: My reviews in September, the complete list
Posted: October 06, 2008 (11:39 PM)
This September, I reviewed... nothing.

You might think to yourself, "But that can't be! Surely he wouldn't go a whole month without reviewing a game!"

It's no lie, though. I did indeed go that long without posting a review here... or anywhere else, actually. So, just what did I do with September, and when will this disturbing trend end?

September was the month in which I wrote a FAQ for Infinite Undiscovery, which is exclusive to this site and to IGN. Nice, huh? It's a hefty document and was quite the undertaking, sucking a bunch of my free time but at least producing a really good file.

Otherwise, I wrote only one review in the month and that was on assignment for Hardcore Gamer Magazine's web site. That review wasn't posted until this evening, though, and is a review for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 on PlayStation 3. I liked the game.

And to be fair, I did write a preview of a game in September: on the 30th, I posted my thoughts on Master of the Monster Lair for the DS. It's an Atlus game I'm very excited about. Review to come later this week.

So, when will that reviewing draught end? Well, it sort of ended tonight, but of course the real end that means anything to most of you will happen right here on HonestGamers; this week I plan to post two reviews, one on Wednesday and another on the day after. The first one is already written over the weekend and the second one should be penned soon, so they're truly October reviews.

The busy season is almost upon us. You'll probably be seeing a lot of reviews from me in the months ahead, but there's a lot of RPG gaming ahead of me so maybe it won't seem like there's much coming at first. The probable list of reviews in the near future goes something like this:

1. Mega Man 9 (Xbox Live Arcade)
2. Master of the Monster Lair (DS)
3. Dragon Quest IV (DS)
4. Tales of Vesperia (Xbox 360)
5. Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 2 (Wii)
6. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (DS)
7. Game Party 2 (Wii)

Those should take me pretty easily to the end of the month and maybe beyond, at which point I expect to have built up still more games to review. If things work like usual, you'll probably see a pretty steady stream of content from me now through the end of January or so. Crazy!

Are the rest of you planning reviews? There are still a lot of games that no one (staff or otherwise) has covered yet, you know. Some of them are even worth writing about. A lot of them, actually. I hope I can count on some of you to write about great games I might not know about. Cover some Genesis gems that don't have reviews posted here yet. Dig up Commodore games that should make me wish I had owned one. Cover that niche Game Boy Color title that only you seem to know really exists! Most of all: review, review, review!
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Title: In order of preference...
Posted: October 06, 2008 (05:47 PM)
...your favorite Britney Spears CDs?

For me it would be:

1 > 2 > 4 > 5 > 3

Who else agrees?

But seriously, I usually enjoy her albums pretty well. There's some really good stuff on there. I know that her voice isn't the best in the biz, but I like it. I know that the beats and such in her songs aren't mind-numbingly complex, but that's okay. She usually does a good job as an entertainer.

I have high hopes that her sixth album--due in September and of course not counting the "Greatest Hits" one--will be a return to form for her. The fifth album, "Blackout," isn't bad but it's also not particularly memorable on a song-by-song basis.
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Title: McCain Replaces Palin with Startled Deer
Posted: October 05, 2008 (12:47 PM)
There's an important political article that none of you should miss:

Oh yeah, you know you want to click!

Also, what do you all think about the O.J. Simpson conviction? Myself, I can't help but think that the jury was using this (relatively) petty crime as a way to put him in jail for the murder many believe he committed in 1994 (though as we all know, he was cleared of that crime).

The story as I understand it is that one year ago, some goon was going to sell a bunch of O.J. Simpson's stuff to the highest bidder. Simpson, figuring the police wouldn't be anxious to help him because of past events, rounded up a posse of friends and went to confront the guy planning to sell the stolen goods.

At the confrontation, O.J. Simpson shouted to his cohorts to "not let anyone leave this room," which to me sounds like typical language for a robbery but which the prosecution has somehow turned into a charge of kidnapping. What the hell?!

The kidnapping charge is enough that Simpson could be put away for life (he's now 61). The other stuff amounts to as little as two years in jail.

The whole thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Punish the guy for what you've proved that he did, not for what you failed to prove that he did 15 years ago!
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Title: Norway doesn't like Apple
Posted: October 01, 2008 (01:38 PM)
Apple's iTunes program, which was designed to make music available for its portable iPod music player (at a time when such things, as I recall, were considered pipe dreams), is coming under fire in Norway because Apple has been successful.

Here's the article link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081001/media_nm/us_apple_nor...

Frankly, I consider this behavior nothing short of ludicrous. Is Norwegian law really so freaking retarded? Seriously?

Consumers have other legitimate choices besides iTunes for their music downloads. The program has always existed for the sole purpose of making iPod a success and a worthwhile investment for consumers. To expect that Apple would willingly--or even that it should--allow other players to bear the fruits of its labor is absurd to an unprecedented extreme. It's like saying that Nintendo should be required to let its games play on all consoles.

Every now and again, I hear about perfectly common-sense laws here that I take for granted. They make such perfect sense that I assume they're in effect around the world. But companies that want a worldwide presence have to deal with a lot of crap from regional lawmakers. I just didn't realize that Norway was one such place.
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Title: Don't mess with Nintendo fans...
Posted: September 26, 2008 (02:50 PM)
So, here's a tragic bit of news that happened in Europe:

http://kotaku.com/5055079/man-arrested-over-advance-wars-forum-murder

It's food for thought, at least. Even if you think it's all fun and games when you berate someone on an Internet forum, baiting them because you find their reaction so humorous, sometimes the person on the other end is really upset about it. Sometimes, he's so upset that he'll do... something unfathomable.
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Title: eBay might soon have to tell on you!
Posted: September 25, 2008 (02:05 PM)
Check out an interesting article here.

The gist is that Congress is looking to pass bills that would require sites like eBay and craigslist to keep records on its users and share that information with Congress to assist with investigations of organized retail crime.

For example--and yes, this does happen throughout the US--groups form for the express purpose of organized shoplifting from retail outlets, then sell it online at eBay (perhaps even becoming 'Power Sellers' in the process?) for around 70% of its retail value. That's a huge loss to the stores, of course, because they paid more than that just to stock the item. It's a win for the thieves, though, because on street corners they'd only get around 30% of the value.

The bills, if passed, would allow the government to have access to all of the information eBay has about you, and eBay wouldn't be allowed to tell you when you were being investigated (or otherwise tip you off).

What do you think about this? I personally don't mind as much as perhaps I should. That's because I work at retail and I'm sick of the absurd amount of shoplifting that happens. Even here in a tiny coastal town, there seems to be professional shoplifting happening (alongside the obvious petty stuff like people stealing CDs and such). The amount of theft that goes on daily is just absurd. Something needs to happen to stop it and sites like eBay have been making it twice as profitable for crooks for years.

On the other hand, this does feel a bit like punishing the innocent people. Besides, a lot of time you can get the information you need just by completing a transaction. Would the government simply be requesting a record of sales following an arrest, or would it be responding with more invasive attempts? There's a lot to be concerned about here.
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Title: Infinite Undiscovery and my site activity
Posted: September 21, 2008 (02:15 AM)
Well, I just beat Infinite Undiscovery. And since I've been writing as I went, that means that the big obvious stuff for my FAQ is now complete.

The game has a ton of smaller stuff too, though, little details that sneak up on a person and surprise you with their quantity. There's a lot of depth just below the surface and that's what's making it so difficult to write this FAQ.

In any event, I should have something ready come Monday, and that'll be pretty nice. I will also be returning to my regular schedule of mostly reviewing games around that time. It doesn't mean that you'll see a lot more content from me right away, but it does mean that I'll be working through stuff with plans to review it. Only right now, that'll mostly be RPGs. This is a great time to be an RPG fan. It hasn't been this good for lovers of the genre in 2 or 3 years, I think...

So yeah, look for me to start producing reviews on something approaching my old schedule, here in another week or two, and look for me to maybe be more visible on the site to boot now that I'm not spending so much of my spare time working on a massive text file.

Right now, though? Right now I'm going to watch another episode of "The Practice" on hulu...
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Title: Interesting about Xbox 360 issues
Posted: September 17, 2008 (03:58 PM)
So, the Xbox 360 poll on the site has had some results that I consider interesting. First, we're over 220 total votes now, which means that we've extended beyond our close-knit community audience to more infrequent visitors.

Secondly, the results show that more than 40% of those users don't own an Xbox 360. Of the remainder that do, 3% sold them some time ago. So there's about 54% of the site's users that have Xbox 360 consoles and play them with any real frequency at all.

Now, of that 54%, just under half have never had the Red Rings of Death experience. That means that over half of the HonestGamers users who own and use Xbox 360 consoles have experienced the issue, with about half of that number experiencing it more than once!

It's true that HonestGamers attracts more hardcore gamers. There are probably a lot of casual gamers who don't know about the site and who have never encountered issues. They obviously wouldn't have voted on the poll, which would skew results in a direction that Microsoft would be quick to point out (I'm sure) is not entirely representative of the standard Xbox 360 experience.

Still... less than half of the Xbox 360 owners who visited HonestGamers and chose to vote on the poll have never had the Red Ring of Death.

Looks like from a hardware standpoint, it's a pretty poor choice for a hardcore gamer. Software-wise, naturally, is another story entirely.
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Title: Busy, busy, busy!
Posted: September 17, 2008 (12:06 AM)
I've been doing a lot of work lately related to the site and to games in general, but I'm not sure it shows. So here's a quick recap:

* Updated site so that press releases can now be posted directly (after formatting modifications, of course, since many press releases come in a format that's not suitable for web publishing).

* Averaging 8 to 10 news stories posted every weekday.

* Working on and have nearly finished an in-depth FAQ/Walkthrough for Infinite Undiscovery, an Xbox 360 RPG title.

* Adding game profiles to the database, and screenshots and some cover art.

A lot of the work above isn't something people will necessarily notice, but it still needs to be done. The fact is that a lot of the stuff that keeps this site running is only noticed in the back of a viewer's mind. They browse the site and see cover art samples or more complete game data or screenshots and it looks nice but they don't stop to think "Wow, someone had to go through and submit all of that stuff!"

Many of you know this quite well, but that doesn't change the fact that a lot of staff content updates go completely unnoticed (EmP and Sho and Leroux and Masters will attest to this, I'm sure). The site is now at a point where unless people work on it--daily, even--things start to fall apart. So if your site experience these past few weeks has been smooth (and I believe it has), that's a sign that we're all doing a lot of work behind the scenes.

Why do I say this? I don't want you all thinking that maybe we're slacking off or that I no longer care about the site. If that ever happens, I'll be sure to let you all know. In the meantime, I continue to work hard behind the scenes--as do other staff members--and I hope that you will all continue to enjoy the site and to contribute content that helps it to continue improving.

Next up from me? After the Infinite Undiscovery FAQ, I will probably be working through numerous RPGs and reviewing those for you. I have several on my plate in the months ahead that I'm anxious to play and review, so through this holiday season that's where you'll probably see my focus. RPGs take time so... that's probably about all that you'll really notice from my corner of the site.

Have any plans of your own?
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Title: It's not a cab, my friend. I promise you.
Posted: September 04, 2008 (02:48 AM)
So, I'm watching more episodes of "Burn Notice" on hulu.com, finishing up the first season and loving every minute of it. The footage is sponsored (the two episodes I've seen tonight) by "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist," a PG-13 movie that has a plot about like a million before it: guy gets dumped by self-absorbed hottie, hooks up with crazy chick against his will, falls for crazy chick. I haven't seen more than the trailers and I can pretty much guess the ending.

Anyway, the only reason I'm blogging about it is that the writing actually looks like it might be pretty decent. There's this line where they're in his car--or someone else's--a little yellow compact and some foreign couple is trying to get a rid, mistaking it for a cab. So he says "It's not a cab, my friend. I promise you." The delivery is just perfect.

The preview showed other scenes that looked pretty decent, too. I will admit it: I tend to enjoy fluffy romantic comedies that go nowhere. This one looks like it might be pretty neat. Yeah, generic as heck, but the acting looks decent and I'd probably enjoy it fairly well. I... think I might end up watching it. Not in theaters, of course. But eventually.
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