Dear God, Why Won?t It Just WORK?!?!

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

Or: Customer Service is Officially DEAD. Or: ?I just want it to be over? part III.

Apologies for the lack of updates? I?ve wanted to for a while now, especially to take advantage of all the new traffic I?ve been getting recently thanks to the Beat and Kotaku. But these past few days leading up to my trip to Japan has just been pure torture; literally every single day this week I?ve been swamped by bullshit, to the point that all the actual important stuff that I wanted, or needed, to get done has more or less been left untouched. Thankfully, some folks understand (like Simon, who again is letting me slide for not handing in a GSW piece their past Wednesday, one that?s long over due), but I?m just really pissed off at all. Actually, I?m now past the point of anger? I?m almost too tired to be angry. Yet I still feel this need to bitch and moan, since, well, it feels good to spill my guts. So please excuse yet another lengthy diatribe; I know its not only childish, but rather clich?d, since it seems almost every single time before I go on some trip, all hell breaks loose and before I set foot on the plane, I always have to scream ?FUCK YOU EVERYONE, I?M OUTTA HERE!? But again, I think this time around, I believe I have especially good reasons to be so pissy. How come? Well…

First off, there?s my web host, 1&1. I?ve complained about them before, but the problem has just gotten ridiculous; my webmail is ultra flakey. Half of the time I can?t even log in, and when I?m able to actually use the damn thing, it does stupid shit, like fuck up the formatting when replying to emails, annoying stuff like that. I usually have to bear and grin it till I get home, where I?m able to download all the messages into Apple Mail. But the tip to Japan means no email client and nothing but webmail, for two solid weeks.

So after struggling for over four hours to check my messages Tuesday morning, I had enough and decided to call customer service. And, as has always been the case, I was put on hold for twenty minutes had had to hear The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony and the same James Taylor song, over and over and over again (so apparently their phone system only has two songs for people on hold?). Finally when I got someone, it was of course some tech halfway across the country whom I can?t understand, and vice versa, due to both a language barrier as well as an ultra shitty connection. In fact, to understand me, I literally had to scream into the phone, and since I was walking around crowded Manhattan streets, it was pretty embarrassing to say the least. Also just every time before, the tech hears my problem, and… since I can?t see the guy, I would have to assume that when talking, his face has that totally stare-face look… says ?we suggest you use an email client, like Outlook and Thunderbird? and then I had to explain once again ?Jesus fucking Christ, were you not listening? I use an email client at home, but I can?t during the day because I work remotely!? I then demanded to speak to a supervisor, even though one is never available, and was then told that they are aware of some issues and are working on it. To that, all I could do was scream ?YOU?VE BEEN WORKING ON IT FOR TWO PLUS YEARS NOW! WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BE FINISHED?!?!? and for whatever reason still demanded to talk to someone higher even though I knew damn well that one is never available (either this person doesn?t exist or does and simply doesn?t want to deal with any problems) and also opted to stay on-hold for two hours, to either wait till I got disconnected or simply get so pissed that I hang up and fight back the urge to throw my phone against the wall. Which is exactly what happened, again. When I got home, I decided to send an angry email. Over 50 of them. It wasn?t that hard; you just write one, then copy, paste, and send. Again, I had so much shit to do, but was so angry that I couldn?t focus. Plus, for safety, I decided to send the same message via their online form another 30 or so times. As expected, I got nothing but automated responses saying ?Thanks, we got your message, and we?ll get back to you in 24 hours!? which has NEVER happened. Though adding insult to injury, and once more, I?ve long become accustomed to it, is the ?We know you called, so tell us how we did!? form mail.

The next day, Wednesday, same fucking problem, so I called again, this time demanding to talk to someone in America (I know that sounds racist, but whatever), and this time got into an argument with a sales guy whoes basic attitude was ?So?? towards the faulty webmail issue. Eventually he said straight up, ?What do you expect for just ten bucks a month?? which got me white-hot, livid. It doesn?t matter how fucking little the price, if you advertise something and I?m paying for it, you had better god damn deliver! Eventually he got sick and tired of talking to me, and put me on indefinite hold. Which drove me over the edge even more, so I decided to once again spam their help box with even more. BTW, each message basically says ?WHY DO YOU GUYS SUCK SO FUCKING HARD? I?M PAYING YOU GOOD MONEY TO BE RIPPED OFF, THIS IS FUCKED UP, WHY ISN?T ANYTHING BEING DONE?? and then I insist that I be contact directly by passing along my email and telephone number, hoping that eventually I?ll get a reaction. And lo and behold, about an hour later, I finally got somebody! The first time, ever. So I was somewhat relieved that perhaps finally a solution was in sight? that was until he revealed that he hadn?t call to help with my problem but to let me know that if I ever spammed their system again, the plug would be pulled on my site. Instead of being pissed, I will simply in shock. I didn?t believe what I was hearing. I then mentioned the shitty attitude of the dude I had spoken to earlier, and the guy actually admitted that he overheard the conversation (I guess its not bullshit when they say that calls might be monitored for training purposes), yet had a total ?who gives a shit attitude?? despite one of his underlings saying one of the stupidest things ever. To all the problems I had been having with the service, all he could say was ?Hey, our web mail is awesome, and if you feel differently, maybe you should just go somewhere else.? Wow, talk about wanting to make your customers feel important. I knew at that point that there?s no real need to argue any further, plus my brain was also totally melting. It wasn?t till a later in the day, after a conversation with Jason, who pointed out that no one should take that shit, that I called, and this other person still fed me bullshit excuses, and also maintained the whole notion that web mail is not something that?s ultra important when it comes to any web hosting package. But hey, at least he gave me a refund for all my troubles. A whopping $15. Amazing.

Now, when I originally wanted to write all that stuff a few nights back, I then planned on segueing to this past weekend, and state that at least costumer service isn?t completely dead, as I would discover from my most recent trek to the Apple Store. I went back to the store in Jersey, to get a new iPod Nano, no matter the cost, but unlike the people that are in NYC, the one near where MK lives is actually staffed by courteous and genuinely friendly human beings that aren?t total fucking douchebags. I spoke to the manager about my problem, and in less than two minutes he acknowledged my problems were unacceptable and immediately authorized the exchange for a new one. I was elated! That was, until Wednesday morning when my brand new iPod Nano, the second one, FUCKING FROZE ON ME.

Now here?s the thing; each time when it happened before, I was on the way to work, literally in the middle of the street, so I couldn?t do anything. But this time, I was still at home, and figured that if I just plugged in the iPod to my Mac, it would ?wake up? from iTunes wanting to do something. Well, didn?t happen. I was so pissed that I couldn?t stop myself and in a brief flash of rage, tried to snap the Nano in two. I?ll give Apple a little credit I guess? that thing?s construction is rock solid. Anyway, after looking around the web, it would seem that my problem is actually pretty common, which is pretty sad. I also love (once again) both Apple?s attitude, as well as their faithful that $200,which is what the piece of shit Nano set me back, is no big deal in the long run. One person on some Mac-centric message board that I went to for some help actually asked if any of the music I have in my collection was from illegal means, inferring that a track that is distributed and assembled by BitTorrent might have some garbage in it that might affect the iPod and cause problems. Okay… that?s kind of a stretch, but I?m willing to consider anything as a possibility. Though of course, this Steve Jobs zombie had to seize the chance to give me shit for ?stealing? and pat himself on the back for being one of those dorks that blows bundles of cash at the iTunes store. Dear God how I hope Amazon?s new DRM-free music store will fucking crush Apple.

Next: I already mentioned this over at my cell phone blog, but I?ll just bring it up here since, why not, I?m already bitching up a storm. So when I called Cingular a while back to ask if I could use my brand new SYNC phone (which totally sucks btw; the call quality is way inconsistent, and it has one of the worst interfaces ever) in Japan, I was told yes, but it would cost me a fortune, around $3 a minute. Which wasn?t a surprise, but what was a real shocker was how they didn?t offer any special travel plan, since, you know, its fucking AT&T, which I thought was a global company. I then called back later in the week to see how much text messaging would cost, since I assumed it couldn?t be as high as voice calls, which turned out to be cheaper indeed. I then asked this second person if there really wasn?t some international plan and was told of course there was (and, like many times in the past recently, but for different issues, this second person had no idea why the first didn?t have his or her facts). It was suggested that I wait till just a few days before my trip to call back and have my SYNC set up for use in Japan. Which is exactly what I did, so when I called them back, I think yesterday, I was informed by the international department that my phone was in fact NOT compatible, and that my only option was to get a loaner phone from some third party. That?s just awesome! When I mentioned how, once again, one hand doesn?t know what the fuck the other is doing, and how it would have been awesome to either had all the facts ahead of time or not be told bullshit AND instructed to wait, so any time that I could have used to procure a loaner is now long gone, I didn?t get much of a response. Of course. In fact, the best/worst part about the people at Cingular/AT&T is that, not only do they have absolutely nothing to say in their defense, but they all do so with thick southern accents. I love how with their thick southern drawls, it takes literally three times longer to say the same things us fast talking city folks can spit out. So yeah, that makes two bullshit companies I waged a war of words with on the phone regarding shitty service and getting financially ass raped (unlike 1&1, my cell phone bill is hardly ?reasonable?).

Then there?s the computer hacker/spineless piece of shit graphic designer. Oh, so I?ve pretty much given up on YayHooray. I?ve said it before and I?ll say it again: its amazing that a message board that?s largely comprised of teenagers that lock themselves in their basements playing Xbox 360 for 18 hours a day is FAR more friendly/helpful/socially adjusted than one filled with graphic designers. Long story short, I decided to spread the word of my cell phone blog, by attempting to appeal to their sensibilities, which was pass along some of the more arty-farty topics that I?ve posted. Two things happen: first I get confused for some dude who plagiarized other people?s artwork. His username is not only similar to mine (FortNinety), but one of the things he ripped was apparently a piece of art related to cell phones in some way! So you had some people thinking I was that same asshole, up to his old tricks. But second was this troll who decided to get derail the topic and get under my skin, which I guess worked since I retaliated. He then creates a dummy ID posing as me, making me look like a bigger asshole at YH, and then send me an email filled with gay porn (which I of course was not expecting) that totally locked up my work computer, much to my embarrassment (not exactly the best impression to make at the new job). Even better is how afterwards he made threats to hack into my YH account, as well as my sites. When I asked a friend who the fuck this guy was and if was for real, I would discover that he?s a real lose cannon, a total bane to the existence of the community, one who made a name for himself when he mercilessly ridiculed one person for the loss of his brother. So, to make myself look like an even bigger idiot at work, I had to warn them about a possible attack, and also spend the rest of the day tightening up the defenses.

Back to my email! See, I did say that this bitch-fest is a pretty lengthy one… so Jason suggested that to deal with my 1&1 webmail dilemma that I use Gmail as a solution, by creating an accompanying account to redirect and manage my fort90 email. Which, I so didn?t want to do, simply on the grounds of principle. I won?t get into it, but I really dislike Gmail, and not to sound like some poser, but I was hating Google WAY before it became hip and trendy, and well before they sold out to the Chinese. But I had no other choice and caved in, so with Jason?s help, Google is now handling my email (note, I also have that other Gmail account that a few others know of, that?s basically been a back-up whenever my 1&1 webmail would flake out on me, which I guess is no longer necessary, except for Google Chat). And I have to admit, I was pretty happy to have a solution to my webmail dilemma, so much so that I got careless and when removing the 1&1 settings in my Apple Mail client, I accidentally deleted a ton of email in my inbox, everything for this month thus far. I only realized it about thirty minutes after it happened, but when I did… boy did I feel miserable. I know it sounds silly to be so bent out of shape over losing email, because it TOTALLY is. I just have really bad OCD, I have this tendency to collection EVERYTHING, and I have ?important? emails dating back, I think ten years. Plus I had a lot of actually valuable messages; the other night I passed along a survey to a ton of people about their cell phone habits and was pleasantly surprised by the response I got. Not only did quite a few people actually replied, but with a lot of detail, more so than I expected! And all that stuff is long gone, as are some other emails that I kinda wanted to hold onto, like the very kind words that Heidi MacDonald had to say when she found out about my Zedge blog. I was heartbroken.

EDIT:MK mentioned this to her earlier at a Rocketship party last night and said some additional, very nice things. She actually called me a ?true blogger!?

Afterwards, I downloaded a data recovery app onto my roommate?s iBook, and actually paid $100 for the full version (I was in a state of panic and couldn?t waste time looking serials online), shut down my eMac and restarted it in Firewire mode, ran the program, and hope for the best. But, in the end, nothing could be recovered. I did get a bunch of .mbox files, which is the format that emails are often saved as in most email clients, whereas Apple Mail?s messages are in .emlx format. It didn?t make sense, let alone how there was 6 gigs of the stuff, and I knew that size-wise what I lost was far less, but I had no real room to question things. And, either because my eMac sucks, or the Mail sucks, or the disc utlity didn?t do its job and therefore sucked, but none of the files would open, no matter what I did, and I spent all last night approaching the problem via multiple ways. And once more, I went to the web for a Mac related problem and got nothing. That?s the best thing about being a Mac owner; if there?s a problem, there?s very few places to ask for help since, compared to PC users, there?s very few of them, and often those that you find are in denial that their precious Apple products can do no wrong. Yeah, PCs suck and are loaded with problems (another thing, which I won?t get into since its another can of worms is how my experience with my work computers, which is a Windows machine, has been, how shall I say? nightmarish?), but at least one has tons of places to go for help.

I guess the worst thing about losing all the email is that it?s my fault. I was really careless, and if there?s one thing I am not careless about, it?s my data. I partly want to blame 1&1 for making me spending so much time and energy to fix their problem that, when I finally had a victory, my defenses were down. Though ultimately, it?s my big screw-up. Though the loss of all that precious information, and my relative blas?-ness to it (don?t get me wrong, I?m pretty devastated, but I?m not ramming my head against the wall or slitting my wrists, which I think my reaction during any other circumstance) is perhaps indicative of how fed up I am of technology. My email sucks, my cell phone sucks, my Mac sucks, my PC sucks, my iPod sucks, people on the internet suck… Everything sucks! I sure loved technology when it was just there to play either Gradius or Mega Man or Super Mario Bros 2. Or maybe just this week in general, and again, all this raging against several machines has me wiped. I guess that?s why when I accidentally dropped my Nano (which I have gotten to work again) on the concrete and got it all scuffed, I really didn?t get too upset. I?m just ready to get the fuck out.

It was actually a sentiment shared at dinner last night. I had food with Joe and June, along with Keith and Annie, the two other folks are coming along to Japan; everyone seemed to have had a rough week. And to cap it off, the food really sucked. It was Dave & Buster?s in Time Square, which I was a champion for since it meant decent eats and skee ball afterwards (aside from MK, June?s the only real skee ball diehard I know of personally). But I guess the normally delicious food is only served outside of NYC, as well as fries that are not cold and drinks that have more than a paltry drop of booze in them. But almost immediately after eating, I started feeling sick and knew that I had to head home ASAP. I didn?t even fuck around with the subways, I immediately hopped into a cab. Good thing too, otherwise… things would have gotten ugly.

Oh, another disappointment from last night, though far minor, is how I didn?t have a camera handy when at the 42nd St subway station. They had a midget doing a Michael Jackson act. And it was 1991 Dangerous MJ, which you don?t see too often.

Speaking of, I got a new camera this past weekend! And its pretty decent, at least for something that?s sorta cheap. It?s a Nikon Coolpix and here?s a test shot from earlier in the week:

I also want to mention real quick that last weekend, MK & I went over to her grandmother?s for dinner, if only because of how, while watching the Lawrence Welk Show, I made a Nicholas Brothers reference that went over very well with MK?s dad, and I?m still rather proud of that. After-all, who the hell else knows who they are that?s below the age of 40?

Wait a minute, what the hell am I talking about? Technology is f?n rad! It seems that things are finally starting to take shape. We?re finally getting…

- A power suit!

- Transportation that’s similar to Futurama!

- A machine that will give you eight hours of sleep in just four!

This is actually something I saw on Beyond 2000 (anyone else remember that show?) when I was a kid and figured that the reason why it never came out is that it gave people brain cancer or something.

- steering wheels that rap!

- A taser that looks like a cute pink baby seal toy!

- Robots that look cool and that appear totally capable of kicking our asses… even while wearing a skirt!

- BTW, on the subject of robots, the latest ROBO-ONE just took place and the action was as awesome as ever. My fave has to be the robot chicken that wears a Hawaiian shirt and dances.

But Enough Bitching, Let’s Talk About Games

Since it’s been a while, and my page of links to stuff I want to talk about has gotten past three pages…

- So one big sorta downside to my Japanese trip is that I’m totally going to miss out on the release of Senko No Ronde U.S.A. (I forget the mind-dumbingly generic name that Ubi Soft has bestowed upon it). I actually have a pre-order for it at a Gamestop. Yes, that’s how paranoid I am about missing out. I’m expecting a very limited print run. After-all, who else out there has a copy of Murakumo? I rest my case.

Since its paid in full, I’m hoping that they’ll save my copy till I can pick it up. That’s how it works. But of course, it being Gamestop, I’m betting the last copy they have will be the store display/gutted copy.

Plus, Odin Sphere comes out not too shortly afterwards. I actually never bothered to keep abreast of the game when it first hit the scene at all, despite all the clamor over at Insert Credit and Gaming Age Forums. I even shocked when Steve asked me about it at the King of Kong dinner a few weeks back (and I think he himself was shocked by my “meh” attitude towards it). But after finally checking it out, I’m interested, though I’m not exactly frothing with anticipation. Perhaps I might have at some other point in time, but as somewhat touched upon when it came to why I never bothered with Red Star, I guess I have other things on my mind. Actually, the fact that it will also be another hard to find/get a hold game is somewhat of a turn off. The hunt has just become tiresome. Though Senko… it might be the last game in a long while where I still have just as much enthusiasm and lust since day one, and I absolutely must get my hands on a copy, brand new of course, period.

- I forget where I came across this (actually, it might have been when I was checking out Resident Evil 2 for the GBA), but here’s an even awesomer tech demo: Metal Gear Solid for the GBA!

- Recently, Capcom announced that they were going to publish books that would introduce children to the video game industry. And I guess the most interesting part is that it’s going to be presented like a comic book!

- Hey, did we ever find out if Karous is coming out for the Wii or not? I might just get the DC version while I’m in Japan.

And I’ll definitely be getting Ouendan 2, which came out earlier this week and has been getting rave reviews across the board. Hey, there’s lady cheerleaders in the game now!

- Obviously, I also intend on hitting the arcades, with Rhythm Tengoku Arcade being at the top of my list of stuff to play.

- Back to Ouendan real quick, check out this parody commercial for noodles. The best part? Its features the true star of Godzilla: Final Wars, Don Frye!

- So I still don’t have pics from this year’s i am 8-bit show. Oh well, here’s something that, in my mind, is much cooler. METEOR, a Tokyo retailer/design place recently held an exhibition of custom created Famicom cartridges.

For more pics, Kotaku has some, though I intend on taking my own when I’m in the city next week.

- Check out some footage from the next-gen iteration of Katamari.

Wow, pretty disappointing isn’t it? Again, I know its not about the gameplay, and I don’t mind it looking more or less the same, though I am certain that “enhancements” could have been made while retaining the spirit of the original art-style. But to have the same exact levels as before? That’s total bullshit. Once again, I’m far more interesting in the upcoming cell phone version.

- And GameTrailers has three new videos demonstrating Seaman 2 that are definitely worth a look. The idea of a game where you take care of/boss around/torture a cave guy seems pretty neat. Note: I would have direct linked the vids, but the site is running pretty crappy, so I suggest just downloading the vids; I’m assuming the site is all locked up due to everyone wanting to view the trailer to Starcraft 2… which I have to admit, I don’t care about! I guess that makes me a bad Korean.

- I played this for the first time recently: Bible Fight. Its actually pretty decent. Here’s a fun fact: I almost worked with Pop+Co not too long, the folks behind the game, but things just didn’t come together, at least thing time around.

- Here’s another browser based game I recently gave a spin, simply because I heard it was WarioWare-esque. Its called Four Second Firestorm, and yeah, its like Wario Ware since there’s tons of micro games that the player has just, you guess it, four seconds to solve.

Unfortunately, they don’t play nearly as well. In fact, the controls are downright wretched, and if anything, it makes you appreciate how finely tuned virtually all 100+ plus Wario Ware games truly are. If you have just a small handful of seconds to dazzle someone, every micro-second absolutely has to count.

- This story, on folks that perform live music with Guitar Hero guitar controllers is kinda depressing. Why? Because I know someone who was going to do the same exact thing, and I kinda wanted to be there to see history take place (and be the first to report, it of course). But the person got busy, and… you know how it is. Still, it would have been nice to cover the evolution, in a “Making the Band” sort of way.

- For those of you who wish you had a DS but can’t afford one, well, this guy has the right answer.

- Courtesy of Select Button, i think, plus I linked to this before, or at least some of it, but anyway, time for some Sega racing paper craft! First for Outrun

And for Sega Rally

BTW, I gotta admit, Sega Rally Revo, from the screenshots I’ve seen a short whiles back looks pretty damn hot…

Here’s a few more. Though to be honest, these days, its only racing games that has me truly hot and bothered over the next-gen systems in general. I recall seeing some shots from the new Colin Mcrae game, called DIRT I believe, looking extremely impressive.

- Speaking of next-gen racers, may as well as this along: a head-to-head comparison between Gran Turismo HD and Forza 2. Hate to say it, but the PS3 wins this round.

- Sega also announced that they’re working on the video game adaptations of the upcoming Iron Man movie, and it would be really nice if those came out good, but for assorted reasons, the cards are stacked against it. And an Xbox Live Arcade game based on the Happy Tree Friends was also announced, which just goes to prove, if you go to licensing shows year after, after year, after year, and whore yourself out enough, eventually you’ll get picked up for something.

- Yet another slice of Sega: Apparently, Sega of America’s STI (that’s the Sega Technical Institute) tried to produce a Sonic game themselves in the early/mid 90s, one based on the ABC Saturday morning cartoon on ABC at the time (not to be confused with the one that aired Mon-Fri and that was syndicated, the semi-dark futuristic one and not the light-hearted one where all Sonic and Tails did was eat chili dogs).

Well here’s recently unearthed footage of this previously unheard of game in action. The promotional vid boasts a few key details, such as new moves, huge characters (well, for the Genesis I guess), fluid animation (yeah… but with those Saturday morning character designs?) and 3D movement (Metal Gear Solid styling sneaking?).

I actually passed it along to NeoGAF, where I finally got an answer as to what was the deal with the chili dogs where!

- Back to browser based games, here’s one (again, via Select Button) that’s done in Java, is a shmup, and is pretty fucking awesome: Arcanacra. Check here for instructions and a link to a larger sized version.

- I will say, I’m pretty damn good at the original Super Mario Bros. But not this good.

- So I’ve never bothered to check out Play.d magazine, but I’ve downloaded the latest issue. Why? Because of this cover…

- Here’s something that’s kinda interesting: apparently there are nine basic type of video game players. It’s kind of an interesting read, but it also reminds me how unintentionally obnoxious and verbose most white papers on video game theory (I’m sorry, ludoloy) tend to be.

- A Napoleon Dynamite game was recently announced for the DS and PSP… It’s going to be by Crave Entertainment. I wonder it’ll be as good as their Elf the Movie adaptation. The funny thing is that I’ve had a fake mock-up of a Napoleon Dynamite for the GBA (by EA, of course) for years now that Tips & Tricks created, hung up on my cork board for years now, and every time someone sees it, they think its real.

- Back to EA, in case those who haven’t seen it, here’s the limited edition Xbox 360 that’s being produced to celebrate the upcoming Simpsons the Movie game…

- Must say, Ninja Gaiden DS looks incredible. Meanwhile, the Dracula X adaptation for the PSP looks, as this GAF thread states, like total bullshit. I mean, come on.

The graphics are nice and clean, I guess, but the style just looks totally off the mark, and no where close to the spirit of the original. And while I don’t ming veering away from what’s established. I guess when it comes to 2D games that don’t requite a make-over, as well as one that many have been dying to play but haven’t been able to, its not the brightest of moves.

Then again, I didn’t like the look for Mega Man Powered Up, the Mega Man Irregular Hunters X, or Ghosts ‘N Goblins remake either, the latter of which gets universal praise. Maybe I have a thing against the PSP? Those defending the look have said that at least you can unlock the original, and that’s good I guess. Also, apparently to some folks in that thread, the walk animation is supposedly all fucked up, which might make the process of making the original playable difficult. Oh, and God of War PSP looks nice doesn’t it?

- Back to 1UP real quick, they’ve been doing a month-long retrospective on Mega Man for the past couple of weeks that worth checking out. I just applaud any attempt to connect the storylines of each series.

- Here’s yet another interview with Masaya Matsuura (the guy behind ParRappa, UnJammy, and Vib Ribbon), with the highlight this time being he assertion that the reason the PS3 is doing poorly is because it’s too big for Japanese people.

And you know what? It makes total sense, given how small most Japanese folks’ living quarters are. Maybe when the “PSthree” comes out, they’ll change their minds. That’s when Im getting mine!

- There might be a new force to be reckoned with when it comes to video games. Believe it or not, Skype. I’ve got to wonder how it does since it seems to be going for the same territory that Gametap currently occupies, and I’m pretty sure that Skype’s recent alliance with Wal Mart, along with the fact that tons of people already have Skype, will mean that they might usurp Gametap, perhaps handily, despite the fact that Gametap has been around and some decent original content, such as Sam & Max. Too bad its Windows only, whereas Skype is Mac compatible, hence why I’m taking notice is in the first place.

- Described as “like a group Wii experience”, Newsbreaker is game that allow multiple people play the game together via motion sensors. Check out this vid of a theater filled with folks playing breakout. Pretty neat! And a far better attempt at getting lot of people playing a game together than those FMV games where the majority choice determined the outcome.

Though better yet might be the Intimate Game Controllers where people (presumably a couple) wear undies with controllers affixed to them, and you have to grope to play.

Actually, the vid of the game in action is pretty tame, sadly, but I guess its a student work, so the creator couldn’t go too far.

- I’m sure everyone by now has heard about the Scottish girl that got called a pretty mean thing in Animal Crossing DS

- As well as the story about the guy who was electrocuted when peeing on a PS2.

- And since all the tech blogs went ga-ga over it, but in case anyone’s missed it, here’s an old Brick Boy made into a working PC

- Time for some more “Second Life? LOL!” links. First: somebody got raped in the game and the real police were called in. Next: some folks are using it to trade kiddie porn. And finally: Playboy is entering the fray. Sorry Hugh, but traditional tits & ass won’t sell to the average Second Lifer, unless there’s hoofs connected to that body.

- It’s prom season all across the country, and Chelsea High School in… somewhere U.S.A… decided to have a Super Mario Bros theme.

What I don’t get is why the couple in the middle of the picture is playing golf. Man, nerds have no fucking clues when it comes to figure out ways to touch girls, do they?

- And on the subject of touching girls, here’s a piece on homebrew games for the DS that are “naughty”. Featured is TickleGirl, a title I featured way back for Insert Credit, since I knew the creator (I was his thesis advisor at SVA). Anyhow, it makes me wonder if JizzMoppa DS is something worth pursuing…

EDIT: Just great… whomever that was providing the banner ads for JizzMoppa replaced the SFW text ads with NSFW animated gifs! Just great.

- On a related note, check out the Flash demo to Drawn to Life, which is coming out for the DS later this year. It?s a side-scroller starring a character that you draw yourself!

- For those who aren’t to happy with the d-pad on the Wiimote, at least when it comes to playing certain game like Metal Slug, here’s a little joystick nub adapter. Hey, its only $6 American according to OhGizmo, but they’re kinda wrong when they state that it turns it into an analogue joystick since the pad is pure digital (and I have to wonder if the claim is even made in Japanese).

- And time to head on over to NeoGAF. First, check out this thread about the most shameful gaming set-ups, with the highlight being this:

- Here’s a thread I started about how the PSP is being used to view the Koran. It did’t take long before idiots started arguing about religion and thread got locked.

- Also as pointed out at the GAF: if you’re into MMOs, and horses, well here’s the game for you! Or your kid sister.

- And on a semi-related note: the only reason why I’m linking this is that there aren’t enough games starring seahorses, and there really should be.

- Reason #723 why I need a PC (well, one that I can play games on… I unfortunately don’t have admin privileges with the one I have at work): Street Chaves, a Street Fighter parody created from some Mexican comedy.

- Reason #97,231 why I stay far, far away from the message boards at GameFAQs.

- Back to Insert Credit: it was just reported that a doujin developer has been forced to cancel a game due to lack of funds. Its mentioned they wouldn’t have the money they needed even if their last title sold every copy. So I decided to check out this previous game, called Tomoyo Fighter Plus, and saw this…

And a number of interesting screenshots, such as two kids beating up some bears on the street…

Well, even though it might not help, but I might try to pick up a copy! Yes, even though I can’t play it.

- Hey, anyone reading this who lives in San Fran; any of you folks seen First Person Shooter yet? Its about a game company that makes a successful, and veery violent, video game that gets used when some kids go on a killing rampage at school and get blamed for it. Sounds interesting, though I’d like to know if its good or bad or not.

EDIT: Actually, here’s a review, found over at GSW!

- (Speaking of) I may not have the time these days to contribute to GSW much these days (though I’m hoping that after my trip to Japan, things will calm down a bit for me), I still have time to check it out! Recently there was this neat retrospective on one my favorite somewhat forgotten personality, Kenji Eno. And going back to an earlier subject, which seems to be getting a little more attention these days, which is weird (I wonder it it’s going “legit”) is hentai games, and its the topic for a brand new, and quite promising sounding, regular column.

- Oh, and get ready for the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. Oh Ubi Soft…

- And has anyone played Innocent Life yet? Its Harvest Moon, IN THE FUTURE! MK is currently addicted to the GameCube version, and this one… doesn’t look as keen.

BTW, MK just got a pony in the game (named Tony Pony, of course), and wonders what will happen if you give it the magical sheep potion, which allows sheep to have babies. Gee, wonder what that could be/was originally in Japan?

- Lastly, Touch the Dead also came out recently. Any impressions? I might grab that before heading off to Japan.

Meanwhile, Over At That Place…

For those of you who may haven’t had a chance to stop by my cell phone blog over the past few days, some highlights include:

- Both a PSP and a PS3 cell phone! And both play old NES games.

- SquareEnix once again makes countless fanboys scream in agony.

- Quite possibly the crappiest Transformers yet.

- A look at how obsessive I really am when it comes to cell phones, such as how I still have a serious boner for a phone from the past.

- And me retelling the time I got my my phone destroyed by some crazy crack head at a Chinese restaurant right before Otakon.

- Yes… those wooden things are actually phones.

- This is why I hate performance artists.

- And I’m all too happy to re-post this as many times as possible…

Random Is Awesome

- As of I didn’t have enough reasons to hate anime and CGI already.

- Here’s Nicholas Cage being tortured via bees.

- Screw Snakes on a Plane… how about Zombies on a Plane?

- Speaking of movies, I had more or less completely given up on the new Transformers film when it was revealed that Optimus Prime’s mouth would be seen. But I will admit that the latest trailer is not too shabby. And hey, the classic transforming sound is back! That’s good. Though I still object to Bumblebee being a bad-ass.

- I know that after Life Aquatic, people really wanted a pair of Adidas that was just like in the movie. Well I myself have always wanted Nikes like from Back to the Future 2.

- I think most people’s vote for animated gif of the week would have to go to one based on this now legendary YouTube clip of a street dancer accidentally kicking a wandering baby, mixed with Mortal Kombat. But for me, I think Fudgie the Whale in a mixed martial arts match is just a tad bit better.

- If you want high quality novelty portraits, then I have to recommend Blue Storm.

- Pretty amazing what you can do with crates

And cakes, isn’t it?

- This was linked over at SB, and I think its neat. Folks who might remember my “fake” journal might not be surprised to find out. Anyway, here’s just one example…

“dear tao

john updike and salman rushdie visited me last night in a UFO also. they came into my apartment and followed me around but really we were just walking in a very small circle because my room is only five feet by five feet and i tripped over my hotplate and burnt my foot and then john updike tried to rape him after i fell so i punched him in the face but he didn’t move nor did he change his facial expression so then i took the hotplate and threw it at his face and finally he left. salman rushdie just stood in the corner and masturbated while watching us fight. now i have an infected pustulant wound on my foot that i won’t ever get treated because i?m too afraid to go to the hospital so probably in a few days i’ll try to walk to the convenience store to buy a folding pocket saw that i saw there last week to cut it off with and some band-aids.


One Last Thing…

As it’s been farily well established by this point, I’m heading off to Japan… this coming Tuesday to be exact. I’m actually going to try and post from there (for both this site and Zedge). Don’t expect too much actual writing (hopefully I’ll be too busy having fun to be couped up with a laptop to type another 7,000+ entry like this one).

I’m really hoping the next entry to be something special since, as some of you might have noticed (okay, just MK thus far), the very next one will be my 500th post! Though truth be told… I think the first 25 were tests, and along the way, one or two were lost due to technical reasons. But, who cares, the next one is the big 5-0-0!

Plus, the end of this month marks this journal’s 3rd year anniversary. Hey, not bad for something that started as a suggestion from Jason that I kinda went “whatever” towards but tried out anyway. Back then, I got like maybe three people reading it, and now I get between 2,500-3,000 unique visitors a day! Not bad at all.

So wait for it…

  • Heidi M.

    You are a true blogger but jesus lord HOW DO YOU WRITE SO MUCH IN ONE POST??????

    Also get a gmail account, forward everything up to another gmail account, and you have a non-local email back up. Come on Mr. OCD. I know you can hate on gmail, but it is sooooo convenient.

    I have a website on 1&1 but never use their email.

  • Ruddles!

    There is no text messaging in Japan, and AT&T is nonexistent to my knowledge. To answer your two questions.

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  • http://www.dmauro.com dmauro

    My friend is always harassing me when my Time Warner cable connection drops and so does my email/web server with it and telling me to just pay for hosting, but this post helped remind me why I run my own server (besides it being cheaper). And I back up all my emails every month automatically because, geez, who doesn’t have several backups of their emails :P

    Have fun in Japan. Make sure to get lots of pictures with that new camera of yours. In the meantime I’ll imagine a pissed-off Fort rampaging through Tokyo like a little Godzilla.

    Ouendan has always had the girl cheerleaders, they’re the expert mode.

  • http://9mmstudio.com Ed

    wow, huge blogging, my friend. Love the robot battles every time!

  • http://dhex.org/forum dhex

    testing – is your comment software fotzed?

  • http://dhex.org/forum dhex

    dude. cowon. dude.

    screw ipod, man. cowon. dude. cowon. dude. viral. dude. cowon.

    Cowon iAudio U3 4 GB – 150 bucks from amazondotcom. no drm. plays ogg vobis. plays movies (who cares, but whatever). and it’s not stupid looking like my otherwise super awesome player. (the f2 – which also comes in a 4gb version)

    you can trade music, use it as a thumb drive (and back up your email!) and uh, it’s cheap.

    amazon is also blowing out the 2gb u2 player, which doesn’t have a color screen, but it’s like 80 bucks. that’s hot.

    ps. posting here is difficult. i have no complaints about dreamhost for what it’s worth (dhexdotorg is on a different server with a friend of mine’s service)

  • Joe

    Congrats on your 500th post Fort! See ya at the airport in a few more hours. 8am – sharp!

  • Slonie

    Hey, don’t hate on the iTunes store, it’ll be DRM-free* soon too!

    *for EMI, the only label with the stones to condone DRM-free downloads

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