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Arnold’s Press Pause and Rewind: March 3rd

Gaming Overload

I have to say, this has been one of the better weeks in gaming
for me. There was quite a bit of good news, and even a minor
controversy. On the gaming side, I got MotorStorm on Thursday and
it's quite the romp: very enjoyable game, but not without its
faults. I'm still playing the daylights out of Virtua Fighter 5,
and having Tekken: Dark Resurrection on top of that is a major
plus. The other huge surprise to me was Gurumin for the PSP. I
wasn't expecting anything more than a Dora the Explorer game, but
seeing as how it was a Mastiff/Nihon-Falcom game, I held out some
hope. It's a really splendid adventure game, and Ys fans will
enjoy knowing that it stars the daughter of Adol. It feels
awesome having so many great titles thrown at you; a little
overwhelming – but awesome, nevertheless.

On top of Virtua Fighter 5, MotorStorm, Tekken: DR, and Gurumin,
I also went out and picked up Resident Evil 4 and Shadow of the
Colossus. These two came out during my year-plus departure from
gaming, so I missed out. I played the first hour of Resident Evil
4 and I was extremely disappointed. Why are the controls still so
clunky? Why can't I move while I aim/shoot? The off-centered
third-person camera is really annoying, as is the camera panning
which induces some crazy motion sickness. I got sick after
playing for that hour, and had to stop — the camera was just too
much. I'll try to give it another whirl, and I'll update my
thoughts next week.

On the other hand, Shadow of the Colossus is incredible. The
scale of the game is absurd. Within the first 20 minutes of
gameplay, I'm already facing a Colossus and I have to admit that
it's breathtaking. With the progressive scan enabled, SotC looks
like no other. Moreover, when you face that first Colossus and
you begin to scale him…something in the brain just gets
boggled. The concept is epic and downright exciting. I can't wait
to play some more.

One is a Bigger Disservice Than the Other

Moving on, so how about this Sony and Kotaku controversy? In case
you're not in the know, allow me to explain. A source within Sony
tipped off Kotaku about a new PS3 feature that Phil Harrison will
reveal at the Game Developers Conference this upcoming week. The
feature is called PlayStation Home, and despite a request from
the source to not publish the tip, Kotaku still went ahead with
the story. Sony sent them an email requesting the removal of the
story, because it was so heavily secreted. Kotaku refused to
comply, and Sony said that if they didn't, they'd tarnish their
relationship with them…and so that happened. Sony severed their
relations with Kotaku, but then apologized and re-instated them a
few hours later.

So who's right and who's wrong? Well, I can't comment on the
rights or wrongs, but I do have an opinion regarding the matter.
Sony's ultimatum wasn't exactly harsh considering that Kotaku
haven't exactly been the most professional of publications to
cover Sony's downfalls. Ben and I have reported on almost every
negative tidbit relating to Sony. We don't sugarcoat it for them,
but we do it with a bit more character and professionalism than
some of the more stark game blogs out there with an agenda
against Sony. Based on how some of these game blogs handle Sony
stories, it wasn't surprising to see SCEA get so upset. If
anything, SCEA should've held out, because this would've been
forgotten by the next day. Likewise, hopefully it'd have also
encouraged writers out there to wield a bit more diplomacy with
their keystrokes.

If I were in the situation (and I have been), I'd have complied.
Call it a disservice to my readers, but the bigger picture is
that it'd be an even bigger disservice to my readers when all our
Sony coverage suddenly disappears — all because I didn't want to
take down one article. I was in a similar situation when I made
some blunt remarks about Eidos' booth and poor showing at E3 2004
(it was indeed very poor, I stand by that)…they wiped me off
their list, but they were much hastier about it than Sony was
with Kotaku. Oh well, such is the media industry — PR people
will get mad at you very often, but you have to go about things
like this the proper way.

This Stuff is Crazier Than the Stock Market

Lastly, I'm beginning to wonder a few things about the sales of
the PSP, PS3, and Wii. It seems like the X360's sales numbers
have leveled (more or less), meanwhile the PSP continues to
fluctuate up and down, the PS3 is right behind the X360, and the
Wii is enjoying some big sales. It almost reminds me of what
happened two generations ago, and how Nintendo came out very
strong in sales with the N64 until Fall 1997 saw the PlayStation
with an all new Final Fantasy. The main question is: will the
Nintendo Wii maintain its success? Because thus far, a number of
analysts have all agreed that the system will end up last in
console sales, which is sort of hard to believe. Will the Wii
actually experience such a radical halt in sales leaving in the
distant 3rd it's predicted to be in?

It's impressive that the PS3 sold over 200k consoles in January
here in the US, especially considering that January had not one
PS3 game released, and December wasn't any better. In Japan,
though…the PS3 isn't fairing too well at the moment.
Monthly sales are just around 100k, which isn't super hot. But
Japan's PS3 game list is actually weaker that ours in the States.
It's important to not count out a console, especially this early
in the race. The Nintendo DS wasn't exactly a powerhouse early on
in its life, but some incredible games and a revised price-tag
changed all of that around for Nintendo. Having said that, better
game software in Japan should help the PS3 perform
properly…just look at how Monster Hunter Portable 2nd helped
sell 100k PSP's last week in Japan. Software really is the key.

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