Member Spotlight: Grasty

With 2007 in our review mirrors, we look ahead to all of the gaming goodness that 2008 has to offer. The New Year is a time for reflection, but it is also a time to look forward and correct the mistakes of the previous year. While your resolutions most likely consisted of losing the spare tire around your waste and watching less porn in 2008, the gaming industry has some resolutions it needs to make for the upcoming year. Here are the gaming industry’s most necessary New Year’s resolutions.

Xbox 360

Stop Lying about the Red Rings of Death
While Microsoft should be commended for changing the warranty on its increasingly defective console, it still has not come clean on the Red Ring of Death issue. Microsoft knew this was going to be a problem with the console before it released and hoped that it would go unnoticed. Unfortunately for Bill Gates & Co., the RROD issue blew right up in their faces and tens of thousands of gamers were left out in the cold for 6-8 weeks. If this wasn’t bad enough, the company was shipping back refurbished units that still had the underlying overheating problem and gamers paid the price by having multiple units overheat. It’s time to correct this mistake once and for all in 2008 Microsoft. Stop refurbishing the old units. Give people the new model complete with HMDI input (which should have been there all along) so people can stop riding the Red Ring of Death rollercoaster once and for all.

Stop Ripping People off with Microsoft Points
200 Microsoft points for a “theme pack” of my favorite video game… are you kidding me? So let’s get this straight Microsoft; you want gamers to pay you to effectively advertise your products to other gamers over Xbox Live. 2008 is the time to get rid of ludicrous pricing packages for virtual wallpaper. Microsoft and Developers should be happy that gamers want to “pimp their game” and say thank you for the free advertising instead of trying to suck a little more juice from gamers’ wallets. Also, it’s time to make one Microsoft point equal to one penny in 2008. There is no need to have to break out a calculator to figure out how much what you are buying actually costs. The whole practice is meant to be deceptive. Gamers feel like they are spending less money and therefore likely to spend more. 2008 is prime time to call shenanigans and stop this deceptive practice.

Make Xbox Live Free
If any of the hype that Sony keeps shoving down everyone’s throat about the PS3 and 2008 turns out to be true, Microsoft would be wise to scrap the silver and gold memberships to Xbox Live all together. The more the PS3 becomes competitive with the 360, the more paying 50 bones a year for a service offered for free elsewhere looks ridiculous to consumers. (Quick math: Xbox 360 + 2 years of gold membership = cost of PS3 with free membership for life). Intelligent consumers will realize that an Xbox 360 will cost hundreds of additional dollars over the PS3 given a long enough lifespan. The only fix to this is to bite the bullet and open the service up to the poor huddled masses also known as the silver members.

Playstation 3

Stop saying “Just wait and see”
Yeah yeah, we know. It’s the first inning of a nine inning ballgame. Gamers were force fed “Just you wait, we’re gonna knock your socks off” over and over by Sony in 2007. PS3 Gamers “just waited” for “Lair”… strike one. Then they waited for “Home”… strike two. “Little Big Planet”… oopsie. Then the poor bastards clung to Warhawk like it was the most amazing game to ever grace a console. In 2007, the PS3 was like your best friend that keeps talking about a hot girl he wants to introduce you to, but something always comes up and you don’t get to meet her. The people behind the Playstation need to make 2008 the year when gamers finally get to “see” what they have been waiting for. If 2008 is another wait and see year for the PS3, even the most illogical hardcore PS3 fanboy will have a hard time jumping to Sony’s defense. You are out of excuses and officially on notice in 2008 Sony. It’s time to deliver the goods.

Pray that Blu-Ray wins the format war
2008 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in the High Definition format war. Luckily for Sony, Blu-Ray has a sizable lead on HD-DVD going into 2008. However, HD-DVD is far from down for the count. Both companies are scrambling for exclusive contracts with movie studios and retailers and HD-DVD is one or two contracts from pulling within striking distance of Blu-Ray. Remember the song and dance you fed us about the price tag of the PS3 when it first came out Sony? It went something like “Uh, Uh… well the PS3 is so expensive because it has Blu-Ray technology.” If HD-DVD wins the format war, Sony better invest in a lot of rags to wipe all that egg off its face and maybe bounce a couple “We’re sorry” rebates gamers’ ways.

Continued next page…

Nintendo Wii

Release quality titles that have nothing to do with Mario
Yes Nintendo, we all love Mario, and Super Mario Galaxy was arguably the best game released in 2007. We still want our healthy dose of Mario & Co. but for the love of Princess Peach can you release a game that isn’t based on the Mario universe of characters in 2008? Nintendo has a great track record for 1st party franchises (See: Zelda, Metroid) but 2008 is the time to stop releasing spin-offs of old titles. Before you pump out “Knitting with Mario,” think about developing new franchise that gamers will be loyally addicted to for years to come. We don’t want the lovable Lilliputian plumber to disappear, but let’s just keep him doing what he does best; platforming, brawling, and driving a go-kart.

Don’t Release Crappy Peripherals
Since its inception, Nintendo has been on the forefront of gaming innovation. Who doesn’t have fond memories of the “Power Pad” and the ultra cool “Power Glove?” However, gamers are still suffering migraines from the torture inflicted by the Virtual Boy. Gamers understand that making mistakes is an inherent part of innovation, but please Nintendo, don’t abuse your (now very large) fanbase in 2008 by cranking out peripherals that do less to innovate gaming and more to fatten your wallets. The “Wii Zapper” was little more than a hunk of plastic that decreased the functionality of the Wiimote. (Side note: why include a bow and arrow game with a peripheral that is a gun?) 2008 is already a mixed bag for Nintendo peripherals, Wii Fit looks intriguing, but the Wii steering wheel that will most likely jack up the price of Mario Kart looks like another useless piece of plastic. In 2008, remember what got you here, quality innovative gaming not worthless pieces of overpriced plastic.

Give Us Online Gaming
So let’s get this straight Nintendo, you included WiFi in the Wii so gamers could vote on whether they use a brush or a comb, but not so people could play games online with their friends? As exciting as finding out the current temperature in Bangkok is, we would rather be playing games with your online service. In 2008, Reggie needs to stop blowing smoke up our collective ass about how the Wii indeed does integrate online gaming. Online gaming is one huge aspect where Nintendo falls short of the other competitors. Even in online capable games, there is no way to communicate with the other player. Nintendo needs to implement a real system where gamers can connect and play games online, download demos, and maybe even march their little Miis around. While you’re at it Nintendo, scrap the friend codes in 2008. No one wants to type in 283 digit codes just to send people “Wiimail.” Predators have the internet; it takes too much time to harass someone with the Wiimote. How about a compromise Mr. Fils Aime? The first time Chris Hansen busts some loser bringing wine coolers and condoms to a 14 year old he met over the Wii, you can have your lame ass friend codes back.

Game Developers & Publishers

Don’t barrage consumers with crappy Wii games
No one can deny the early breakout success of the Nintendo Wii. Once written off by game studios, the Wii is now catching some attention from publishers and developers looking to cash in on its success. This is an open plea to all 3rd party developers for 2008. Don’t flood the market with terrible games just because every family in America now owns a Wii. Unfortunately, gamers already have enough crappy Wii games that have been previously released. The success of the Wii is a double edged sword, more games means a greater possibility of quality titles, but it also means an avalanche of crap headed downhill straight for Wii owners who don’t know any better. The gaming industry needs to at least make an attempt to mitigate the terrible games for the Wii in 2008. It’s time for someone besides Nintendo to make amazing games for the Wii.

Stick to Your Release Dates
In 2007, gamers were disappointed by game after game being delayed because of “production issues.” When did it become status quo in the gaming industry for all major titles to be delayed at least once? Gamers understand that sometimes delays are inevitable, but there is an inherent dishonesty behind most of these postponements. The delays aren’t minor glitches that are fixed in a few weeks. Games are oftentimes delayed nearly a year from their original release date (we’re looking at you GTA IV). How is it possible that a game gets two days from its release and then someone goes, “Gee, I thought we would have it done by tomorrow, but it turns out we are going to need 6 more months.” Gamers don’t want to hear you whine about tight development schedules, lack of staff, or running out of Mountain Dew’s Game Fuel as reasons why you had a countdown to a game on your website for three months that isn’t even coming out. All parties in the gaming industry share responsibility here. Maybe gamers should pull the same trick. Instead of buying a game on its release date, gamers should tell the industry “I know we were going to buy this when it came out, but our money is being delayed until the second fiscal quarter. We’ll buy it in six months.” In 2008, it’s time for the gaming industry to stop playing with gamers’ emotions and make reasonable release dates so that they can deliver a quality product at the time they promised it.

Whether you are car-jacking, brawling, or rocking a mullet and eye-patch, 2008 promises to be an eventful year in the gaming industry. Here’s to the hope that consoles and the rest of the industry stick to their New Year’s Resolutions because God knows you’re just going to get a bigger spare tire around your waist and watch even more porn now that you can stream DiVx to your television (you know that’s why you wanted DiVx support anyway).

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