February and March are great months for gaming…isn't that a novelty? ­čśë

Not likin' this side of you, ESRB

For the record, I'd like to clarify once again that I've always respected the ESRB. I think the vast majority of all games receive the proper rating, I think it's a great help to parents, and I even think the ESRB is often more accurate, more in-depth, and more reliable than the MPAA. But I really don't like this new trend of tossing personal opinion and commentary into what is supposed to be a factual, objective description of a game's content. Quite clearly, an irate, offended woman wrote the description of Dead or Alive Paradise , which – while understandable – isn't exactly professional. You can tell us about the "bounciness" and the cleavage and the posing; don't tell us the game "contains bizarre, misguided notions of what women really want." Nobody who plays this game actually believes real women act the way they do on that virtual beach. Nobody believes real women look like that or should look like that. Give us some goddamn credit for being older then the age of 10.

I can easily see how a woman might be offended by a game like DoAP, but I'd like to remind all those females of something: for many decades, we all played as muscular, impossibly handsome, ridiculously powerful and agile male heroes. They were all lantern-jawed, confident, and big hits with the ladies. …doesn't that mean we, as growing boys, should've been offended? And doesn't it mean we should've felt inferior; that we should've felt bad about ourselves? The women can complain about how females are portrayed in video games all they want; I point them towards the first 20 years of gaming. Or are we saying women are more sensitive…?

I will NOT be able to figure out echoshift

I loved echochrome . It took me a bit of practice so my brain could wrap itself around the various visual perspectives, but I got better over time and to this day, it really challenges and awes me. However, I know for a fact I won't be able to do echoshift . After seeing the release announcement and learning a bit about the premise, I realized it was a lot like Braid . Now, Braid is great, don't get me wrong; it's a beautiful game with an ingenious concept. But I freely admit to having a hell of time reviewing it, because for the life of me, I just couldn't find a way to fully understand that time mechanic. There are certain concepts that our minds just can't accept, although I imagine that when we get older, we become more rigid, more set in our ways. If I was younger, I'd be more confident that I would eventually find the light bulb over my head for something like echoshift . But hey, we're not all the same, regardless of what certain left-wingers want you to believe.

Back in college, I remember taking a Psych class where the professor put a problem up on the overhead projector (oh shut up, it wasn't that long ago), and then asked us to raise our hands when we were done. The problem didn't even seem like a problem to me, the answer was obvious. In seconds, a bunch of people had their hands raised…and then we looked around, and realized that it was only the males. All the girls had confused looks on their faces. Then he put up a second puzzle…and the exact opposite thing happened. I still remember thinking that second puzzle was little more than an insensible mess. This proves something important, people.

Personal gaming update

I'm nearing the end of my second Heavy Rain play-through and as a reminder, look for the review on Wednesday, February 10 after 9 a.m. PST or 12 p.m. EST. I'm holding everything back until that time, so you won't be getting any early commentary from me. However, I'm glad to see so many of you have enjoyed the demo (if you didn't do the Four Days Challenge, it'll be up on the PSN this Thursday for everyone). This week is all about Bioshock 2 for me; I've become more and more stoked for this one over the past couple of weeks. Just reading that complete list of the Plasmids and Tonics brought back all those great memories of the original. It was just so good and I'm expecting nothing less than greatness for the sequel. The reviews I've seen thus far have been positively glowing, and I'm certainly not surprised.

I hear Dante's Inferno is pretty good, too, but it doesn't appear to be on the same level as Bioshock 2 and besides, I'll be playing God of War III in a month, anyway. I like to stay diverse, if I can. Now, if you don't mind, I have to get back to playing.

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