Friday, September 12, 2008

Facebreaker = Hopebreaker

Do you remember Ready 2 Rumble Boxing? It was a fun, cartoony Midway title that struck a decent balance between simplicity and depth. I remember playing it and thinking, This game is cool but I REALLY wish it had a Create-A-Character mode.

(I pretty much wish every game had such a mode, but some games seem to beg for it a little harder than others.)

With that in mind, I was psyched about the recent EA Sports boxing title, Facebreaker. It appeared to be everything I had hoped for: A stylized party game with a sense of humor, some celebrity appearances and the ability to create new characters (and even load a player's photo into the game to make a creation that was truly one's own).

But then Facebreaker came out and received some poor reviews. In fact, it did pretty badly overall. Critics cited an overly simplistic fighting system and ridiculous AI difficulty that make the game a lot less fun than it could have been. Disappointment became by new middle name, as a game I'd been anticipating revealed itself as a game that everyone hated.

And it wasn't the first time. Other games that have let me down over the course of history include:

  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2) - because it traded the badass Snake for the annoying Raiden as protagonist for a large portion of the game
  • Red Faction (PS2) - because being able to destroy the game's environments sounded a lot more fun than it turned out to be
  • Soulcalibur Legends (Wii) - because it generally felt like it was rushed through production just for the sake of extending the franchise's presence to the Wii
  • Tenchu: Shinobi Taizen (PSP) - because shouldn't ninjas be able to see more than just a few meters ahead of themselves?

Obviously, oodles of crappy games are released every year. It's a fact of the industry. But when a game that should so closely match my personal criteria for greatness turns out to be garbage, it's hard not to be disappointed.

Friday, September 05, 2008

There Is Hope For Chris Matthews

Once in a while, MSNBC's Chris Matthews makes a good point about something. Here he is at the RNC, making a point about Sarah Palin as he takes on a pair of her ditziest cheerleaders.


Note the contention by Republican Representative Adam Putnam (the red-headed stepchild on the right) that scrutiny of Sarah Palin is unfair in comparison to previous scrutiny of Hillary Clinton. The way I see it, he's effectively saying that all women who run for office are the same, and should all be held to the same burden of proof regardless of their credentials. Except this conversation isn't about all women. It's about Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

World to McCain: "You've Got to be Joking"

I've been trying to resist the temptation to do any more political blogging for a while. But when strange stuff like this happens, I just can't stop myself.

Blogger friend Rick at Bent Corner has been doing a fine job of keeping up with the unbroken stream of weirdness that has ensued following John McCain's vice president selection, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. It feels like some new, damning chunk of bizarre news about this lady comes out every few hours. To summarize:

  • Her political career consists of six years as Village Elder of Wasilla, AK (population 5500), followed by a couple years as governor.
  • She appears to have lied about her fifth (and, god willing, final) pregnancy for the purpose of hiding the pregnancy of her teenage daughter.
  • She wants all those polar bears dead.
  • She has a very limited, spectatorial understanding of the Iraq War.
  • She's a bit confused regarding the origins of the Pledge of Allegiance (and I'm willing to bet that she's unaware of what kind of salute the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance had in mind when he wrote it...but I digress).

  • She did not possess a passport until 2007.
  • Apparently, being a baby factory runs in the family.

A few hand-wringing republicans are still intent on using Palin's inexperience as some kind of crooked crowbar for attacking Obama's résumé, but even they have to admit that Obama isn't asking this badly for ridicule. How can someone with four (to five) kids possibly be McCain's VP? Her time will be divided between parenthood and the changing of the president's adult diapers, with no time left over for VP-ing.

In this video from MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan take a sledgehammer to Palin's credentials before it's even announced that she's been picked by McCain.

With such a unanimously adverse reaction to his VP pick, I can't help but wonder if McCain won't try to take it back before November. You know, pull a CREM maneuver and say, "Couldn't you guys tell I was only joking?" On the other hand, maybe it doesn't matter. The damage to his campaign is done.