Welcome to the latest installment of Finishing the Week. It’s time for the DNF crew — along with a few random special guests — to get together and toss back a few brewskis while cracking wise at the latest and greatest news the video game industry has to offer. Click the links, enjoy the banter, and feel free to talk back in the comments section below.
B. Indifferent: It seems like everyone’s giving their franchise a gritty reboot these days. I wish we had something we could give the gritty reboot treatment to.
Tony: Remember when we used to rag on video game news stories every week?
Donald: I do. Hey, when did the police approve the reopening of this conference room?
GlowPuff: Do I know you? Why am I being included in this conversation?
Brad: Oh hey, guys. I totally didn’t stage a fake crime scene here and have the room sealed off so I could live here rent-free after I got kicked out of my apartment. What have you been up to?
Donald: Bitterly won seven thousand Bafta awards and I took up clogging.
Tony: Guys, I think it’s time we gave Finishing the Week the gritty reboot it deserves. Donald, you’re going to have to give up the clogging. It’s not gritty enough.
Donald: I clog in syringes! Gritty enough now?
Tony: Wait… *sniff*
Yep, that’s definitely grit I smell right now. Or is that blood? Anyway, the clogging stays. Let’s reget this reboot restarted!
Ric Flair: WOO!
Summary: The ESRB drops a mature rating on Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros for “sexual violence” among other things. According to Kotaku, the only other game to slapped with that particular phrasing was some game from Japan released in 2006 titled Animamundi.
B. Indifferent: This is long overdue. Where was the ESRB during Metal Gear Solid III, when that insane Russian colonel grabbed me in the junk?
Freud: Yes Mr. Indifferent, did that remind you of eating hot dogs in the park as a young child?
Tony: So… Bitterly’s pitch for hosting an inaugural DNF Hot Dog Social in the Park this summer makes a lot more sense now.
Brad: “Sexual Violence” is going to be my ring name if I ever become a pro wrestler. I’ll be a fan favorite in Japan and Pittsburgh, and a bad guy everywhere else.
Tony: Only two games have ever been tagged for “Sexual Violence”, and both are from Japan? I don’t mean to stereotype, but sexual violence means tentacle rape, right?
Giant Tentacle Beast: Correct.
GlowPuff: I’ve seen LOTS of movies with… oh we’re talking video games.
Donald: Man, Animamundi is such a good game….why are you guys staring at me?
Summary: 2K Sports is no longer in the business of making Major League Baseball video games.
Donald: Good thing Brad is here to explain why baseball matters.
Brad: Which would be a lot easier to do if it did. Baseball’s popularity has been on the decline for a long time now. Part of the problem might be that not as many kids play it anymore which, if you’ve ever tried to set up a pick-up baseball game, you know why – the sport just doesn’t work with anything less than 18 players. You can have a 3-on-3 football game in your backyard, or play some 2-on-2 hoops in your driveway, but baseball is really hard to play without the proper number of fielders – there’s too many gaps. And in this day and age, you just aren’t going to find 20 bored neighborhood kids hanging out looking for something to do. They’re all inside playing Call of Duty 8 or whatever. So ironically, video games may have made kids less interested in baseball, and now lack of interest in baseball has killed off a video game franchise.
Donald: Sorry, I zoned out, did you say Call of Duty 8? Because let’s not do that ever.
Tony: Well, I’d file this story in my If a Tree Falls in the Forest and No One is Around to Hear it, Does it Make a Sound Bin, but I’m all out of paper and eagerly waiting to hear the sound of a tree falling in the forest so I can begin to harvest the resources to make a fresh ream.
GlowPuff: I purchase my paper at Dollar Tree, and the only sound I ever hear is the money I save jingling around in my pocket. Think about that. Mind……blown.
B. Indifferent: I’m hungry, let’s get a hot dog.
Summary: EA is already dealing with major departures from studios like PopCap, and Criterion, now comes word that the co-founders of Chillingo are the latest big names to leave the fold.
GlowPuff: I’ve decided to leave the fold as well – by not purchasing any more EA games.
Donald: I’m more upset that Criterion fell apart than about these guys leaving Chillingo. I’m not saying that I think Cut the Rope is a dumb game. But, I think you know what I am saying.
B. Indifferent: Chillingo is a publisher, not a developer. And they’re a publisher that had its breakout successes years ago, when launching an app was a completely different process.
(ZeptoLab, who actually made Cut the Rope, has moved on to million-dollar publicity campaigns and Burger King tie-ins.)
Chillingo had some early successes, and then their founders sold it for $20 million before anyone realized how dramatically the mobile landscape had changed. Now they’re cashing out before it goes down in flames, with EA holding the bag. That’s a pretty impressive grift.
Brad: Wait, Chillingo is a game publisher? Judging just from the name, I figured they were some mid-90s dial-up ISP provider, or maybe one of those companies that used to offer less expensive long-distance calls if you dialed a super-long number first. I can already picture Jason Alexander and the lady who played Daphne on Frasier guest starring in their commercials:
Open on a payphone. A “grunge” looking fellow, wearing flannel, long jean shorts, and a winter hat despite it being summer, skateboards – no wait, rollerblades, because this is 1994 – up to the phone.
Skater: Oh dude! I need to make a call, and I don’t have any cash!
Enter Jason Alexander and the lady who played Daphne on Frasier
Jason Alexander: That’s no problem! Just dial 10-CHILLINGO, then the number you want to call…
Daphne: Followed by the pound sign, then dial 20-20-555-9067. Then complete the quick phone survey and make your call.
Jason Alexander: Only 8 cents per minute!
Daphne: Not available in Oregon.
Skater: Making a phone call will never be this cheap or easy, ever! Now let’s all listen to some Urge Overkill and drink Boku!
Anyway, I’m having a hard time caring one way or another about two guys I’ve never heard of and their company I’d never heard of, but I am intrigued about Bitterly’s Burger King news. Is there a chance we’ll finally get a proper sequel to Big Bumpin’?
…also, as a side note, “Bitterly’s Burger King News” is a blog I would totally read.
Donald: For a second I wanted to punch you for suggesting Big Bumpin 2, but then you said that thing about Bitterly’s new Burger King Blog.
Summary: Nintendo held a contest to see who could complete a specific stage the fastest. Resourceful gamers found an exploit that involved pausing the game to fool the clock, so the contest was cancelled altogether.
GlowPuff: When I’m developing a game, one of the first things I do is make sure the pause feature actually, you know, PAUSES THE GAME. Just sayin’.
Brad: Well, then you’re a step ahead of Dragon’s Crown, GlowPuff.
Vanillaware: OH SNAP!!
Tony: Dear Vanillaware, I’d comment about how you shouldn’t be snapping that zinger, but I’m too busy playing Dragon’s Crown right now and have no way to interrupt my gaming session.
Vanillaware: Dear Mr. Puff, we’d like to speak to you about this “pause button” feature you speak of. Would you happen to be free for a discussion later today?
Donald: Couldn’t you do speed pausing in most NES games? So, this is just kind of how NES games run.
Tony: Your NES games run on speed pausing? Mine only run after spending 30 minutes blowing on a cartridge while trying to find the sweet spot for the connector pins.
Summary: Phil Spencer, Microsoft Studios corporate VP, has nothing but great things to say about his competition.
Source: Official Xbox Magazine
B. Indifferent: That was brave. I mean, he’s giving an interview to a magazine published by his company, full of ads for his product and reviews of his games. A few stray words from him might accidentally keep Microsoft products from staying front of mind.
Brad: Oddly enough, somebody over in Human Resources at Sony just got a copy of Phil Spencer’s resume sent to them, with what appears to be an interview intended for OXM attached as a cover letter.
Donald: In a related story, Reggie Fils-Aime was seen weeping in a dark corner upon viewing the recent Xbox One and PS4 sales numbers. A few hours later, he wiped away the tears and declared it The Year of the Wii U Fire Sale.
T. Funke: Did someone say fire… sale???
Summary: I know this story isn’t about video games, but I game on a Samsung TV and this is Michael Bay having a mental breakdown at a Consumer Electronics Show press event about Samsung TV’s, so there’s your connection.
Source: The Guardian
B. Indifferent: This is the only story from CES that I ever want to read.
Brad: And the only Michael Bay movie I want to watch.
Donald: Well, that explains the nuance in the scripts to every Michael Bay movie ever.
M. Bay: Well, I don’t care what you think. I left that conference in STYLE!
Summary: Gabe Newell was also at this year’s CES event to talk about Vavle’s partnership with 13 different Steam Machine manufacturers. He did not have a Michael Bay Meltdown, but their stage time was about the same.
Source: ARS Technica
Brad: He totally Swansoned that speech.
Tony: Gabe Newell knows how to delegate.
G. Newell: Indeed, but there was also the fact that my ride home was leaving a little sooner than expected, so I kept things short.
Donald: Sony and Microsoft are tied to their machines. Then there is Valve, if the machines don’t sell, Steam will be just fine. I’m not terribly sure Sony and Microsoft can say the same thing.
P. Spencer: Now, that’s putting it nicely!!
B. Indifferent: What? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of me not reading any other CES stories.
Summary: Sony reveals PlayStation Now, their game streaming service that will allow for backwards compatibility of games from the entire PlayStation portfolio via the PS4 and other devices.
B. Indifferent: So the future is Now, but Now won’t be here until the future, at which point you can play PlayStation games from the past. Sounds logical.
Donald: Did you just explain the movie Inception to all of us?
Brad: Wait, so now I can pay a monthly subscription fee to NOT keep my PS3, which I already have? What a bargain!
Tony: Whenever Later happens it will be interesting to see what effect this has on the current console war. Backwards compatibility was a major rally cry for gamers over the last year and change, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see if changes buying habits. I don’t think it will matter to the folks who aren’t hardcore gamers, but are buying a console… and most hardcore gamers whiny a-holes who have already chosen a side, and are unwilling to budge.
Summary: Rhianna Pratchett, writer of the original Mirror’s Edge has plenty to of interesting things to say about the original and it’s pending sequel. Unfortunately, none of it is all that flattering.
Source: Game Rant
B. Indifferent: Nothing says “the sequel will be a trainwreck” quite like “no one I worked with on the first game is on the ME2 team.”
Brad: Oh, this is a shame, because I only play Mirror’s Edge games for the story, said no one, ever.
Donald: Here are the only things you need for Mirror’s Edge 2. Tall buildings next to other tall buildings. Then you have to let me jump between them. What else would you need? Maybe some more tall buildings.
Tony: Wait, you’re supposed to jump BETWEEN the buildings? No wonder I couldn’t pass the first level. I thought the game was a street pizza delivery girl simulator.
Summary: Monolith Soft, the developer behind Wii’s cult classic RPG title, Xenoblade Chronicles is looking for game designers to help beef up their staff for something “urgent”. Wonder what that could be?
Source: My Nintendo News
B. Indifferent: Oh, boy! There’s going to be another hard-to-find game costing hundreds of dollars that I’ll never be able to play? I can hardly contain my lack of excitement.
Donald: I’m going to buy two copies of X when it comes out. Wait a year. Sell one copy for the GameStop artificially inflated price, and buy everyone a Wii U. And if you already have a Wii U, why?
Tony: To play Super Mario 3D World, duh!
Brad: I didn’t realize help wanted ads were now considered news. In other “news” there’s a construction company in Des Moines hiring a project manager, and a warehouse in Syracuse that needs a shipping clerk.
Tony: It’s only news if either of those positions pays more than Donald. My unhealthy obsession for Real Dolls doesn’t pay for itself after all. And on that note… I’ve got some important things to do right now… I say we call it a day, and we do this all over again next week.
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