EGM: the End of Print

Goodbye EGM

If Nintendo Power was like this nerdy kid in class who collects figurines, and Gamefan was the thick accent foreign exchange student who let you play with his cool toys, EGM was the badass cool kid.

It got personality, it made fun of other people, and it got into troubles with parents and censor people. I used past tense because as of now EGM is no more. This is both unexpected (it was the most popular gaming magazine) and depressing. Before I started reading Times, National Geographic, and Newsweek, EGM was the first magazine I picked up in 1994. I heard that it’s got canceled without even able to release the final farewell issue.

But During Its Last Years, Was It Still Relevance ?

Before online news site, EGM was the best source for news. They have in depth coverage of all the events and happenings that concern the video game industry. The best thing that I like is the fact that it also educates the readers about who’s who in the industry too. I learned who Shigeru Miyamoto is, all the bits and bytes of the system (during the classic Saturn vs PSX vs N64 war), how the companies merged, why Squaresoft left Nintendo, all the good and bad peripherals etc., from EGM.

But now with online news sources like IGN and Gametrailers.com update everyday including screen shots and movie clips, buying a video game magazine for news just don’t make sense anymore.

So take out news and guides, what else can EGM offers?

Entertainment.

The most famous part of EGM is the review. They are always amusing. Despite having a rating system that is clearly broken and with several blunders and bias reviews, they are still the most trusted names in the short list of video game critics. That is because they are honest. They are even honest about their bias. People like Dan Hsu are stars because of their blunt honesty. And when they were making smartass remarks or acted immaturely in anyway, we feel that we can relate to them even more. And I think EGM is the only place where you can find editors with differing opinions writing their review next to each other, which were really fun to read. It is also the only place I bother to read the review of the games I don’t care about.

To compete with online competition, EGM tries to be like FHM and Maxim

EGM tried so hard to not be a kid’s magazine. This resonated well with their readers… the kids. Because no kids wanted to think of themselves as kids. So EGM made several attempts at being adult magazine by putting up photos of naked women, fat dude on a toilet, and a lot of other things that made parents write angry letters. They loved these letters because they can respond smartass-ly to them and become the readers’ heroes. You know, the kids.

The truth is, I don’t know for sure why it got canned. Something about a company that bought them just shut them down after the purchasing was final. That’s kind of messed up. It’s like after Microsoft bought Yahoo, it doesn’t do anything with Yahoo name, just shut it down. It’s like saying, you are worthless and even though I own you, I’ll make more money with you gone.

So instead of getting into that, lets celebrate the best and the worst moments of EGM.

The Honorable Moments of EGM
– They give games that are low profile reasonably high score if it deserves them, like Disney’s Hercules and some of the Titus game released during the last days of SNES.
– Some game deserve 4 score of tens, the perfect score, even games you don’t expect, like Mega Man X. It shows that their standards aren’t too high.
– Their April Fools prank are always cool
– They apologize for their mistakes
– Seanbaby’s “The Rest of the Crap” section, where a guy called Seanbaby made fun of bad games no one else would bother to play and review. It becomes my favorite and the first section I read of every issue that has it.

The Bad Moments of EGM
– In the year of Chrono Trigger, Yoshi’s Island, and Tetris Attack, game of the year was Twisted Metal.
– Dan Hsu gave Bust A Groove bad review because he said the idea of music game was first utilized by Parappa the Rapper, and therefore Bust A Groove stole the idea from it. This is just another example of bias and immature reaction that makes the EGM reviewers more human.
– I forgot the month and the year of the issue, but it had the crazy clown from Twisted Metal on the cover. That issue contained so much ads it’s sickening. I had to go through 10+ pages of ads before finding the first page with real content. And that issue was thick.
– EGM’s 100 best games of all time list gave Tetris the top spot. Think about that yourself.
– Goldeneye 007 was game of the year, but during the month it was reviewed, Final Fantasy 7 beat it for game of the month
– Super Mario RPG was deemed too kiddy, and on that month, Resident Evil got game of the month instead.

Despite its up and down, EGM was still the best. I mean, I like Gamefan but it’s not like I will ever get to play half of the games that that magazine featured.

So, thank you EGM. Without you my childhood would have been a lot more boring. Rest in peace. Oh, and if there is a chance you may come back, don’t hesitate to do so.

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Pope vs Condom

Pope and Condom

Well the controversial holocaust denying homophobic ex-Nazi pope went to Africa, the continent that is worst affected by AIDS and say… condom is a sin.

But let me be the devil’s advocate (no irony intended). In the battle against AIDS aren’t we and the pope on the same side?

Neither of us wants AIDS to spread.

The thing is, his holiness the pope doesn’t want people to be having sex at all. We say you can have sex, just use condom. Nobody is on the side of “let’s have unprotected sex and spread AIDS”, that’s crazy. The anger is at the fact that we think that the pope’s expectation is unrealistic. But to be fair, isn’t his whole institution is based on something that is surreal?

And when the people who went on to have unprotected sex and passed on AIDS to others, if they are not going to use condom, it’s not going to be because he remembers the pope’s words and believe in it. If he is so hell-bent on obeying the pope, he won’t be having premarital sex in the first place.

Even if the pope changed his mind tomorrow and support condom, the numbers won’t change. It’s not fair for us to hold him accountable for people’s own negligence.

Telling him that he shouldn’t preach abstinent is, in my opinion, mocking his religion. It’s like being mad at Islam for not allow to eat pork. Catholic don’t allow premarital sex. There’s no way around it. And it’s always wrong to mock any religion.

I mean, really. We can make fun of abstinent preaching politicians. I think they are the worst kinds of assholes. But religious leader preaching abstinent is expected. You can disagree. You can even make fun. But being mad by it is very weird. I’m quite sure Dalai Lama’s stance on the issue will be the same.

The truth about condom: there’s a big reason why people wouldn’t want to use it. And for some weird reason, the condom campaign has consistently refuses to acknowledge this problem. So let’s cut the crap. Not using condom is not about being irresponsible, or about being careless. Condom hurts. It’s uncomfortable. Having sex with condom is like eating a fine expensive French dinner with your left arm tie to your back and the waiter stabs your shoulder with a fork every 3 seconds. It’s not pleasant.

And being pleasant is what sex is all about. If it isn’t enjoyable, there wouldn’t be so many useless junk in the market. Men will buy and sell anything they can to get laid. So does it make sense to convince people to use something that will ruin the one activity they are willing to go to the hell and back to accomplish?

You want people to use condom, tell them that the discomfort is worth the trouble. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Pope.

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All about the AIG Bonuses

AIG execs are like the people who cut trees along the beltway way during morning rush hour. Of course those tree-trimmers are not evil. It’s just that their job is making everybody else’s life a living hell. So there is a choice. Ignore other people’s plight, say “I’m just doing my own thing, don’t like it, too bad for you”, or be nice.

So why do those tree guys still work during rush hour and why do AIG refused to let go off of their bonuses?

Is there room for niceness in Capitalism?

No government can force its citizens to be nice. But is it important? There’s never a rule. What happen to a business person being called Sharks, and Cut Throat? Isn’t that cool and badass? That is why AIG is so dumbfounded. Why are people unable to tolerate their thick face selfishness all of the sudden? It’s business and it’s America. Why should I be nice?

Actually, niceness is a foundation of success for any group consists of two or more human beings.. You shouldn’t care about others’ opinion so much that you can’t be yourself. But without support, how can anyone do anything other than masturbate?

Never mind the marketing stuff you learn in Business school. Before they teach you how to count, catch a ball, and even the alphabet; the first thing adult teach you right after you started crawling and grabbing thing is to be NICE.

Niceness works in your favor in a classroom, on a bus, on your date, at your office, in congress, in Hollywood, and I am pretty sure it will be just as helpful on Wall Street.

Why is niceness important in Capitalism? Isn’t the system designed so that it would work best when a company wants to crush its competitors?

AIG is not cheating the competitors. They are cheating the PEOPLE.

The people who make AIG what they are. The people who suffer are the clients, the employees, and the government. Even if the economy magically come back into full swing tomorrow, AIG still can’t deny the fact that they are like the guy who take 4 slices of pizza and put it on his own plate, eat it in the middle of the living room, then wonder why all the other guests at the party were frowning.

Their Excuse is… They earned it

Their argument for taking billions in bonuses, bless their heart, is that the money is owed to them. What they deserve. Yet they failed to realize that the entire country is suffering. There’s a woman who make “myhusbandneedsajob.com” website. That’s how bad it gets.

Think about this way. Your aunt promised you that if you get a B, she will buy you a Playstation. You got that B, but then would you go and ask for that Playstation a few minutes right after her house just burned down.

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Cable News War: Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, the only remaining news program that I still “watch”, has gotten into a war with words with CNBC’s stock analyst Jim Cramer. The whole thing didn’t start with Stewart mocking Cramer out of nowhere. It actually started with a guy name Rick Santelli.

It all began with “Losers Home Owners”

Santelli is angry at President Barack Obama for giving part of the bail out money to the “losers home owners”. He said “this is America, no one wants to pay for their neighbors’ mortgage”.

To be fair, Rick, we don’t want to pay billions for banks that keep giving out loans to unqualified home owners either, but we have to do that now don’t we? For what? Oh for the good of the country. I guess even that action can also be considered as socialist-like.  Selfishness is not synonymous with Capitalism, as much as you want that to be the case so you can justify your greed.

“Winner Home Owners” don’t watch CNBC

To counter the attack on Obama, Jon Stewart attacked CNBC claiming that their wrong advices may have something to do with people losing money and not able to pay for their houses. And Stewart pretty much mocked everyone from that network in order to prove a point to Santelli, that NO ONE SAW IT COMING.  Anyway, Cramer was among those  mocked. I don’t know if Santelli gets it or not, but Jim Cramer definitely did not get it.

Jim Cramer got personal

What Jim Cramer didn’t get is that if you are going to start a verbal argument with someone in-say, a classroom, you are better off taunting jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, goths, neo-Hippies, or even the teacher. But if you are sensitive to other people’s words, don’t start a fight with a class clown. No matter how great you think your comment will be, an experienced class clown can make fun of you 10 times better and makes you feel 10 times worse.

UPDATE: Cramer went on the Daily Show March 12th 2009

A credit has to be given to Cramer, the man is not afraid of the camera. He went on so many shows after the incident, including Martha Stewart. I think despite the overall opinion that Stewart “won” the interview on The Daily Show, the whole  thing seems to be harder on him than on Cramer. Before the end of the episode, Stewart remarked: “I hope that was as uncomfortable to watch, as it was to do”. Yeah, no kidding.

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Music Video and Trailers. Do Free Stuffs Hurt or Help the Entertainment Industry?

Warner Bro Took Down Opening Title for Watchmen

As a Motion Graphic  Designer, I enjoy nothing more than a good opening title to a tv show or a movie. The latest one that was a talk of the industry is the opening for Watchmen. But then, Warner Bro told all the websites that hosted it in Quick Time format to take it down.

The opening title to Watchmen was not bootlegged; it was part of a portfolio of the company that made it (that’s why it was in high definition Quick Time format). Can’t these guys showcase their hard work to the people in the industry? Sure it was a scene from the movie, but it was the title! To be quite frank, I think trailers these days ruin a lot more plot than the opening titles ever could.

Music Videos are Advertisements!

In a separate event but related,  you can no longer watch music video on Youtube outside of US, because Google (owner of Youtube) was unable to reach an agreement with recording industry in the UK.  The dispute is, they want Google to pay more than the previous time , claiming Youtube is becoming more and more popular. That sounds like something the Mafia would do. Like, oh your store is getting a lot more business, we better increase your security payment.

But why should Youtube pay?

Before Youtube, I have never seen music videos ever being sold separately at a store. They usually come as a freebie attached to another item.  The concert DVD may cost money, but those are not widely sold, and no they are not music videos. Why? Because they know it’s not going to sell well. It’s an advertisement!

I have friends who work in advertising agency. The goal is always be to spend as little money as possible and to reach as much audience as possible. With internet, they can reach audience more than over. But now they want to the audience to pay to watch their ad?

Even Movie Trailers! If that’s not an ad, I don’t know what is!

Movie Trailers used to get taken down too. Sure, trailers for Terminator Salvation and Transformers 2 are everywhere  now, but not long ago I remember having to race to watch Quantum of Solace trailer on Youtube before it gets taken down. God forbid, if it gets view in any other place other than the TV and the theater, people may want to see the movie way too much.

Movies

People who buy bootlegs movies are people who wouldn’t see that movie otherwise anyway.  I’m a director. I know. Sure we like money (we love money). But no directors make a movie and don’t want other people to see it. So if they are not going to see it in theater, they should see it somewhere else. Nobody that has the time, the money, and the will to go see a certain movie in the theater, ever decides to change their mind when they realized they can watch it on the internet through the eyes of a shaky camcorder.

TV Shows get hit the most

I’ll admit that TV Shows get hit the most because viewer ships are measured by Nielsen rating system, which I don’t think works in the first place.  I refused to believe there are less people watching The Simpsons than there are watching Navy NCIS. I watched both show. Hey, I can talk to people about the latest Simpsons, but I don’ t think half of my friends knows what the hell NCIS stands for.

LOST gets low ratings? When they measured viewership digitally through Tivo and also DVD sales, LOST and CSI Miami are always on top. Yes, of course people would likely download LOST instead of watching it on TV, because those who follow LOST are a bit on a geeky side. But the thing is, network xec should not care. LOST was aired, if nobody watched it by then… let them watch it for free. Because it’s a lot more likely that people will tune in for the next episode… if they knew what the heck went down an episode before.

The Audience Looks Like They Are Too Happy. How Come They Can’t Profit From That Happiness.

On the surface it looks like stealing. But in reality, it supports the industry as a whole and push it forward. There are good games, great songs, and great movies out there. And they are making big bucks. Every year end box office count keeps increasing exponentially, and so are the sales for music albums. The number of sales that classify an album as being a hit 20 years ago wouldn’t reach half the number of what would be considered a hit today.

How can you say the availability of free downloads changed things for the worst?

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Rush Limbaugh: Conservative Messiah Complex

The Election After Math

I remember how I felt after Bush won the second election. Will we ever have another Democrat president? The entire country is Red! And there were so many studies come out, saying how Democrat never really won any election. Like, Clinton’s victory from the first Bush was because a third party was stealing votes from the Republican. etc  To sum up: there was no hope in sight.

Now, as Obama swifts the nation with his enormous popularity, it’s the Republican turn to feel lost.

The Republican Republican Democrat Democrat Cycle. Create War Create Debt, End War Fix Debt. Rinse and Repeat

They did not know what went wrong. Actually, I think they do, they just don’t want to acknowledge it because changing is not an option. So they can wait out Obama’s 8 years. Let him rescued them from this recession, and then after he finishes his second term, hope that the country is ready to have another Republican president to lower down the tax for the rich, cheat off small businesses, start a war to stimulate weapon industry, and finds more place to dig oil. You Dig?

But for now, there’s Rush Limbaugh, who is such a messiah that when RNC chairman Michael Steele criticized Limbaugh, Steele was the one who has to apologize. So, who is this Limbaugh anyway?

The Legacy of Rush Limbaugh

A college drop out radio personality, Limbaugh imitated Michael J Fox Parkinson symptoms, played a song called Barrack the Magic Negro, called soldiers who disagree with the war “phony soldiers”, and he wants Obama’s plan for the economy to fail, claiming that liberal wanted Iraq War to fail too.

I was never for even one moment happy when I heard more soldiers died in Iraq. I wanted the Iraq War to succeed. I couldn’t care less if Bush was going for his third term, when I saw Saddam statue fell down in Baghdad I was happy. And what I don’t know is, how can Limbaugh be happy if Obama fail? People are going to suffer! The economy is like this everyone will be on edge. The country will… Oh right, I forgot. To Limbaugh, caring about other people is thinking like a communist.

Conservative Is Important Part of a Two Party System

A country needs to have at least two-party system and a balance of conservative and liberal values. You can’t have one party having the upper hand all the time. If that’s the case then it’s not really a Democracy. Too much conservatives and the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer (Maria Maria). Too much liberals and there is really no drive to compete, something that is needed if you want your country to excel under capitalism.

Is it wrong to be a conservative? Is it wrong to want to rise to the top and drive out your competition? Is it wrong to want to preserve old values?  Is it that wrong to want to censor some things? Is it wrong to want to kill enemy soldiers and criminals? Do you have to want to give money to poor kids wanting to get free lunch and people who lose their jobs? I think there are rooms for people who think that way in our society.. It’s not a sin to be a selfish hypocrite.

Limbaugh is not a Conservative. He’s a Neo-Con Opportunist.

But there is nothing conservative about the Neo-Cons, or the NEW Republican. Conservative by definition is against the idea of big government and want to preserve “old values.” How is… lie about war, smear people who are against them, breaking international laws, ignore a group of people in need of help during disaster, appoint idiots with no credit to important positions in the government, and let oil companies destroy our natural resources and did what can equate to pretty much rob every singlecitizens at gun point to buy expensive gas… equal to preserving old values?

Rush was a neo-con opportunist who profit from Bush Administration’s policies that was both wrong and evil. He doesn’t have an opinion of his own. He just agrees with Bush, even after Bush retract, he refused to do the same.  His head is so thick he can sell a rotten fish with a straight face, and of course bunch of white guys in suit holding a rotten fish in their hands are going to love him. At least more than they love Michael “we better get a new fish” Steele.

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The Watchmen Walking Slowly

I just saw The Watchmen two nights ago.

It was such a big deal.

Watchmen is based on the “most celebrated comic of all time” of the same name. I never read it I just read it,and for what I can see, the movie done a pretty good job of bringing all the things that made the comic so great (and shocking) onto the screen.

So it was written by this guy name Alan Moore, who also wrote From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and V for Vendetta to name a few. But then you say, those movies suck. Well they do sucks, but the graphic novels were good (so I heard).  No surprise, Alan Moore never like the idea of his comic books turning into movies. This one included.

A Movie That is Unfilmable, No Support From Moore

Firstly, there are 12 issues of Watchmen, and people have strong feelings about it being turned into a film. They even called the comic “unfilmable”. But Zack Snyder, a director who directed Dawn of the Dead and 300, both great movies, decided to take a shot at it and swear to do it respectfully. He would make sure to copy almost the exact composition of each frame from the comic. Same technique he used for 300. Even then Alan Moore still said he doesn’t want to be involved and will most likely never see it.

So that’s the situation. But then Alan Moore used other people’s characters in his comic book too.  This holds very true for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  So in a way, he adapts those characters and reinterpret them the same way film makers tried to interpret his stories. Isn’t him being so disapproving of other people’s adaptation almost hypocritical?

Very interesting point. I just thought I brought that up. I have no comment on it.

watchmen

I really hate Slow Motion

The writer and the film makers say they don’t have enough time to put everything in. Not surprised by that statement. But I was surprised to see so many slow motion walking and awkward sex scenes that I can really do without in the movie. I mean are those necessary? It’s all ready rated R. People who walked into that theater knows what sex looks like. I wasn’t impress and if there’s going to be a reason I won’t watch it again, it’s that. What is so cool about slowing things down anyway? They weren’t doing fast Kung Fu moves. The scene just have people walking to god knows where, slowly.

There were a lot of great design choices, both the costumes and atmosphere (different from the comic, definitely) and the new ending, although not quite as violent, is very respectable considering the subject matter. I will have to wait for DVD of it to see how much I am willing to stand another round of slow motion walking!

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