Wednesday, July 27, 2005

But Wait! There's More!

When watching an infomercial, one needs to resort to a mental tactic that is often applied to the average Hollywood blockbuster - suspension of disbelief. It really is the only way to get past some of the contrivances introduced by corporations that are clearly far more concerned with selling a product than with something as inconsequential as logic. These extended commercials weave a world every bit as outlandish as something out of a Star Wars film, a world where friends stand in the kitchen for hours, discussing the merits of a new range of non-stick pans, all whilst asking each other redundant questions and unleashing disturbingly wholesome smiles. In this alternate universe, overly friendly strangers constantly barge into your home, right before spilling wine on your carpet and then offering to clean it immediately using a wondrous machine of potentially alien design.

I made a brief foray into this very world this afternoon and witnessed an enthusiastic demonstration of a new magical substance that can be applied to your car in order to ensure its safety.

Scene:

Two guys are standing in a suitably deserted locale and are, unsurpisingly, having a fascinating and completely one-sided conversation regarding this amazing product. After rubbing it on your precious vehicle, it is supposed to protect the shiny paintwork from the harshest of conditions and the most extravagant of attacks from key-wielding ex-girlfriends.

At this point, one gentleman expresses disbelief in the other's statements. Oh ye of little faith! With the car (which happens to be the same model as mine) conveniently parked in the background, it seems only obvious that a demonstration is in order. At the snap of a finger, several men equipped with acetelyne blowtorches materialize and apply their tools to the side of the car. I'm not certain how things would play out with any other kind of blowtorch, but the fact that "Acetelyne Blowtorch" flashed prominently on the screen must be of some importance.

Regardless, the black scorching of the super-heated flames is easily wiped away by a mere cloth, revealing a still shiny layer of paint underneath. Truly miraculous! Being regularly attacked on the roads by lunatics with blowtorches, I was obviously intrigued right away and could definitely see my need for such a product. However, I was truly convinced by what transpired next.

"Well? Do you believe me now?"

"Gee...I'm not sure. What if something even WORSE happens to my car?"

"Worse than being beset by intense ACETELYNE flames?"

"Hey, you never know! Ha ha!"

"Ha ha indeed! Let's blow your car up!"

"Okay!"

So, in a moment of unmatched cinematic intensity, a pair of gloved hands slowly opens a box labeled "Explosives" and removes a trio of red cylinders attached to a long fuse. The package is placed beneath the car and set alight.

KERPLOW! (or whatever suitable sound effect you have in mind)

With smoldering debris raining from the sky all around them and a thick plume of smoke enveloping what little remains of the car, the two men waltz towards the closest discernible piece of charred metal.

"Wow, the car was completely obliterated!"

The other guy pauses for a moment, bends down and wipes off an obscure piece of metal wedged into the ground.

"Yes, but just look at the paintjob!"

Naturally, I leapt out of my seat right away, rushed off to the nearest store and purchased this fantastic product. Tonight, I can rest easy with the fact that in the event of my car exploding and being reduced to smithereens, I won't have to worry about the paint getting scratched.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Xbox Living

If you happen to be perusing this blog and the thought "Gee, if only I could play some games with this guy on Xbox Live!" crosses your mind, go ahead and hit me up on Live. Unsurprisingly, my Gamertag is MrGenuchi.

That is all.

Frogging

Though work continues on a secret project, I've managed to set aside some time for this blog, my own little corner of the internet. Doing so wasn't easy, since

A) I really don't have a lot of free time at the moment.

and

B) Everybody knows the internet is a giant, circular hut.

There is somewhat of a sordid and tumultous history between gamers, Peter Molyneaux and his overzealous action-RPG, Fable. A twisted love triangle built upon broken promises and doomed peasant villages, the relationship between Peter, his creation and those that purchased it became even more strained this week, particularly if you were part of the group that anxiously awaited the arrival of Fable ever since it's Project Ego days. By now, everybody knows that the game simply failed to deliver on its life altering ambitions, though that was only the beginning of the saga.


Several months ago, Microsoft revealed that Fable would be ported to the PC, under the new moniker Fable: The Lost Chapters. Now, these chapters weren't so much lost as they were scrapped in order to finish Fable on time. New quests, new weapons, new areas and new hairstyles would be included in this definitive version of Molyneaux's epic, things that Xbox owners would simply have to miss out on. This, despite the fact that they had been the original supporters and had been waiting the longest in the first place.

Fast-forward to this week and you'll be intrigued to note that Microsoft is porting Fable: The Lost Chapters to the Xbox. That's right, the game has gone from Xbox exclusive, to completed PC version and then back to Xbox game. Now, the issues regarding Xbox owners being the last to receive the updated version of Fable (and they have to pay $20 for it, natch) are all worth discussing, but I'd like to point out something that could easily become an alarming trend.

Leap-frog porting.

"Well, it looks like I won't be taking that trip to the exotic island paradise of Guam this year."

"What are you talking about?"

"I've been working for Evil Axis Games for ten years, and this has been the most pathetic bonus I've ever received. I guess Flamin' Racing 2006 didn't sell all that well."

"Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about that. We released on every platform and advertised the hell out of it."

"Yeah, I know. If only...there was a way we could easily double sales. Like...if everybody bought the same game...twice."

"Oh, dream on. Nobody would buy the same game twice. There would have to be some sort of incentive."

"Like an extra car or something. But we couldn't release two versions on the same platform..."

"People would catch on to our mantra of corporate greed if we did that."

"I was going to say it wouldn't be the right thing to do, but that one works too."

"Wait. Wait. I just had this idea."

"How we could sell the same game twice?"

"No, about these singing ice-cream cones. Kids would love them!"

"Uh..."

"Wait! I just had this other idea too! About selling the same game twice?"

"Yes?"

"It's easy. First, we bring out the PS2 version. We wait until people buy that one. Then, we port it over to Xbox, only we include a new track and a new car."

"And custom soundtracks?"

"What are you trying to do, bankrupt us? No, just a new track and a new car. We wait for people to buy that one...uh, we call it the Director's Cut."

"And then what?"

"We port the Director's Cut back to the PS2! It costs us almost nothing and people buy it!"

"And then we add another track and another car and port it back to the Xbox?"

"You mean like...a director's cut of the director's cut?"

"Exactly! CHA-CHING!"

"Why would a director cut his own cut?"

"He could change his mind, you know? We could call it the Director's Other, Even Better Cut."

"Guam, here we come!"