By Miles Baker and Alexander B. Huls
The demo for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune mapped itself onto the Playstation network last week to my immediate glee, and to that of seven other people I know who own a PS3. I’m looking forward to the next generation of jungle videogames, the next jungleration if you will. We’ve come a long way since Pitfall. I thought Metal Gear Solid 3 did a pretty good jungle, but it’s been put to shame by this one. You can almost feel the humidity and hear the malaria-ridden mosquitoes landing on your neck. The only problem I’m having is that I can’t beat this demo. I’ve only tried a half-dozen times or so, but it’s whooping me on Easy. Perhaps I just need more experience with this Gears of War–style gameplay. Maybe I’m just used to the easiness of most games these days, but for the love of Drake, this is hard. That said, it’s been added to the Christmas list — it’s a lot cheaper than actually traveling to a tropical island and there’s no malaria.
— Miles Baker
Don’t forget to buy your MONDObooks out now in stores everywhere (not really)
The newest firmware for the Playstation came out along with that Uncharted demo last week. There are some slick new additions that don’t interest me — like newly customable themes and playlists for my empty music section — and a new couple new additions to the Playstation Network, like the Information Board. Yes, a new scrolling bar at the top, right-hand corner of my screen is telling me the information I need to know: that I can buy a new Star Wars game with a special edition Darth Vader-themed PSP. Great.
Why does Sony feel that they have to punish me for my loyalty? They already have all my money, they have an online store where I choose to download ads for their upcoming products on a regular basis, and yet they feel that I need to have a scrolling ad over everything I do in the menu screen. Thankfully, you can turn it off, but why would you spend any development time on a scrolling ad bar? Who did they think this would appeal to? If there ever was a man loyal to your brand it was me, but come on.
— Miles Baker
Rock Band gives Canada the finger
For months I have been hotly anticipating the release of Rock Band on the planned North American release date of November 20th. I grew out my hair, I got “Freebird” tattooed on my forearm, and bought an endless supply of tight jeans and bandanas. If Rock Band was an atom bomb, my apartment was a well-supplied fallout shelter ready to take whatever megatons Rock Band wanted to drop on me.
But a few weeks ago I began to get worried. Strange, even unsettling things began to occur. First, even though the price for the game bundle had been announced a month or two ago for the US, no word had been given as to Canadian prices. No big deal I suppose, given the travails of the dollar of late. But then time passed, and the beginning of November the game went gold, the Nov. 20ths release date was confirmed, and still no word. Then things began to happen with the release date. Blockbuster’s systems had it delayed until December 10th, and then the 20th. EB Games (where I pre-ordered it) told me December 18th. If you bothered to check Best Buy or Future Shop’s website you wouldn’t have found any information regarding the price or the release date, and you wouldn’t even have found the game listed at all. This is all very odd for a game that was supposed to come out in a few weeks and had been announced to have gone gold.
Then the rumors began to emerge on the internet forums. Some suspected that if there was a delay it was due to some mishandling of French-ifying the bundle box, the game, instructions, etc. Others theorized it might have to do with the recent announcement by EA that supply would not meet demand, and therefore the American market would get favored over the Canadian. Others didn’t even bother to theorize, and just cried. And not a peep was heard from anyone involved with the game; not from EA, not from MTV Games, not from Harmonix.
Until Monday. Yes, only a week before the game was originally supposed to be coming out, someone (MTV Games) finally got around to telling us what we all feared but sort of knew already: Rock Band is delayed in Canada till December 17th.
Now, I’m of two minds here. On the one hand, I’m kind of pissed that this was so grossly mishandled by whoever is responsible for the distribution of the game. The thing is, I can’t even tell what they did wrong, because in the announcement about the delay nobody even bothered to give a reason for it. Thanks, guys. Canadians wanting to rock are left looking dumbfounded, wondering “Yeahbutwha?” I mean where’s the North American unity here? Usually I avoid the knee-jerk vitriolic, uneducated anti-Americanism that seems to somehow have become an ingrained part of being Canadian these days, but in this case I feel some of it bubbling to the surface. Over a video game, yes, I know that’s sad. But I shall spare you my bitter words because on the other hand, as a gamer, this delay isn’t a horrible thing. With games like Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, and Uncharted coming out in the next few weeks, I’m actually somewhat relived that I now I have one less game to divide my attention.
Besides, if I wear a bandana while playing all of those games it’ll kind of be the same. Right?
— Alexander B. Huls