thecubsfan.com

absurdly great

Oct
30

Roger Ebert’s rules for critics; ethically discussions usually are this entertaining, and proving once again that you don’t need to talk to say a lot. Even if you don’t know it’s a not-so-secretly a take down piece, it’s so insanely great.

Respect the reader’s money. It is admirable that the DVD of “Cool Hand Luke” contains an extra where they guess how many eggs Paul Newman ate while filming the egg-eating scene. But in hard times like these, do not say, “Reason enough to get it!”

I can’t think of how that, and other thing list, would be applicable to specific things so this post must end now.

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10/20 PS3 Releases

Oct
28

PS3 Releases for 10/20, with newer later date than usual.

You know, I’d actually buy Monopoly – if it was a $5-10 PSN download and enough other people got it as well. The board game is $13 at Toys R Us; that must be some great HD graphics to be three times the cost.

I wish I could find some place with a bit more accurate listings. Amazon always has a bunch of stuff that’s out of date, and there’s no easy way to keep track of changes that I’ve found besides looking at each page and seeing if it really did come out. Other sites aren’t much better – at best, I can find out what came out that week, but future dates are unreliable enough to almost be useless.

Played thru LBP a bit last night and relieved to find out I’m not the only one having consistent server issues. You’d think they’d have something like this working before the games get out (especially with the extra time and all), but I guess you really can’t simulate the volume until the game gets out.

Little Big Planet thoughts

Oct
21

I played the demo. It gave me a little bit to write about.

Little Big Planet, originally scheduled to release 10/21 in the US and now pushed back a week until 10/28, is going to be Playstation3’s game of the year. There are other games that have been and will be very positively reviewed, but this platform/puzzle game is both a great game and a great showcase for the PS3 abilities. It’s not just about it being an exclusive, it’s about it full realizing the special capabilities of the system; beautiful HD graphics, integration with the media server (turn photos into game play objects) and the power of a free-for-all always connected community. The gameplay, at least for the opening levels in the demo, was just the right mix of easy to pick up but hard to put down that’ll make it accesibile to everyone, and the ability of users to make and publish their own levels should allow for for replay value many times over what’s actually in the game.

I was skeptical of the game the last few months, I’m not sure I even understood what it was trying to be until I played it. Once you you play it, it’s not hard to figure. It’s a side scrolling platform (with an iffy 3D), with coin collecting and secret path finding. It’s not the most punishing game; there seemed to be plenty of automatic save points as you went thru the example levels, and even losing a life isn’t that damaging. The stress is more on solving puzzles, interacting with the game environment in ways that aren’t always easy, but more intuitive over time and never seemed cheesy. We only got to play the first ‘world’ on the demo mode, which took me a couple hours, and the whole game is supposed to play around 20 hours – surely a lot more if you want to go back and grab every item and get a perfect on every level.

20 hours is only the iceberg tip. Besides picking up coins, your character also picks up items. You can use some to customize your character, and others to customize your own levels. That’s going to be the real draw, the creative levels players make up on their own, and then publish (easily) for everyone else to try and beat. You can also create your own items for these levels, including grabbing pictures off the system’s hard drive, or play any of these levels with a group of characters at the same time. (I had no idea how much fun/challenging this was going to be until there were four Sackboys trying out race each other to the next coin or reward. I did have a crash doing one of these, but I think it might have been an issue on my side.)

Like I said, I think this is going to be the PS3 game of the year; unless you’re allergic to the briefest hint of cute, or all you want out of your system is to shoot noobs in the face, you ought to try out LBP. The thing is, I can’t help but think about how PS3’s undersized user base affects the ultimate potential of this game. All the levels that won’t be made because those people decided to go elsewhere or are still waiting for the next price cut. A real cool user-created level will end up popular (and probably quite a few of them), but how viral can you be in a smaller community?

LBP is a going to be a great family game, a great introduction into video games, a great game for casual players to pick up and not feel lost. PS3 doesn’t feel like it’s hitting those markets yet, and the game can’t reach those markets unless the system arrives first. If the PS3 was a bit more affordable, better comparatively priced to the other systems, you could bundle it with the LBP and they’d contend for the xmas gift to get/find. This could’ve been a tipping point, if treated right.

Console owners benefit from more people owning their console (this game more directly than others.) I’m hoping there’s a change from previously stated plans and they make the price cut, because I think it’d change the landscape. I don’t expect it to happen, and mourn those who will miss out until Sony gets around to that price cut months after it matters.

(The game being postponed due to passages from the Quran appearing in an included song is something I feel like I could talk for days about yet have the desire to write zero words for the permanent internet record. Disappointing.)

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PS3 Releases: week of October 13

Oct
20

I’m not posting these over here any more, because I just don’t have a good reason, but I still can link to the rundown. Highlights: scary game effective scary, thugging game effectively thugging. FIFA ’09 being great may cause the PS3 market share to dramatically increase (by 1 console!) If Sony is only going to release one PSN retro game a month (be it a classic or a revival like MegaMan), couldn’t they exploit genres that are little more lacking; there has to be a good PS RPG worth re-relasing.

I’d love to tell how NHL ’09 plays, particularly multiplayer. I could instead tell you how we went to 3 Family Videos, 1 Blockbuster video and 1 local video store to rent the game. Only 1 of the Family Videos had it at all for PS3 (of course it was out), the Blockbuster is actually no longer in business (Halloween shop) and the local store has moved to a smaller building and has all of 3 PS3 games for rent. So I can tell you how fun it for a couple people to drive around for two hours, listening to preseason basketball, and then ending up with nothing except a urge to justify just buying the game (if I didn’t have LBP coming…), but that’s even boring for this site. Hockey alone is still not so big in Chicago, but combine that with that PS3 and the fall of the video rental store and it’s apparently a niche inside of a niche instead of niche.

(Or we could’ve just called places before driving around, we realized later.)

GameFly last sent me PS3 Hot Shots Golf most recently, skipping over the top 3 entries on my Queue. I thought about just sending it back a week ago, but I just did that with a PS3 FF game I forgot I still had on there, and wanted to play something. Hot Shots Golf is fun, and probably a better multiplayer game than EA’s Tiger (though I think most adults would have able to get the cuteness of it all) and I’m glad I tried it, but I was so regretting not sending it back and trying my luck again

My goal is to write about LBP today, more than vague jokes, but we’ll see.

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sign I’m not really paying attention to the news

Oct
10

I’m very close to buying a PS3 Eye Toy ($30 used!) off of Amazon.com for the sole purpose of unlocking a trophy in Burnout Paradise. I mean, it’d save me the trouble of switing over my headset every time I want to use it and I could use it as a web cam too, and I have a rebate/gift card with my name horribly mispelled to the point where I’m sure it won’t work unless I use it online…but I’m thinking of spending money just to unlock a trophy that’ll let me unlock the big trophy.

I’m typically smarter than this. Really!

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I am not emotionally prepared to go thru this again

Oct
06

I despise you, Ken Rosenthal. Even if you’re right.

The Yankees could move Cano. The Marlins could trade Dan Uggla. The free-agent class will include Orlando Hudson. But the Orioles’ Brian Roberts, a switch-hitting leadoff man, still would be a unique commodity in a crowded second-base market.

A large number of teams could seek to upgrade at second, including the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Padres, Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Indians and White Sox. Several of those clubs have long coveted Roberts.

Meanwhile, Sisyphus started pushing that boulder up a cliff again.

Game 3: Dodgers 3 – Cubs 1

Oct
05

Dodgers were clearly the better team. Congratulations.

If you need me, I’ll be tuning out the world as much as possible for as long as possible.

Thanks for trying, Derrek.

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you and me both

Oct
03

Mark DeRosa’s blog entry, tonight:

You’ve got to let this flow over you and consume you for a couple hours. You have to. “Z” was pitching a great game, he’s feeling good, the double play gets turned, we go back into the dugout and the whole game is different. Our offense is able to relax and it’s different.

But when you find yourself down 5-0, a team that has a 1-0 lead in the series, they’re able to relax, Billingsley is able to pound the strike zone, their hitters are a lot more patient, a lot more calm. They’re trying to have good at-bats and tack on runs. We’re trying to press to get the score tied and take the lead. For me, this is terrible. I don’t know — I’ll be up for awhile tonight.

Part of me doesn’t want to sleep tonight – just pull a chair out to the patio and stare at the stars until sun rises. The rest of me wants to sleep and not wake up until 9 pm Saturday.

Game 2: Dodgers 10 – Cubs 3

Oct
03

Dodgers 2-0

POTG: the crowd. For all that’s been said about the game 1 fans and the reasons they were as quiet as they were, the people who showed up for this game decided things were going to change. They were going to cheer, they were going to cheer more, and they were going to start a Go Cubs Go chant on top of that. They gave a standing ovation to a pitcher coming out down 6-0! They stayed and cheered in the bottom of the ninth, treating a 9 run lead like it was 1. Yea, there was moments of mock cheering and booing (like every Fukudome at bat), but these fans were far more into the game than you’d expect from any crowd in this situation. If the difference between winning and losing was coming down cheering, the Cubs were not going to lose.

Unfortunately, the different was about eight million times bigger than that.

(Far away from where anyone could hear me, I got up after the bottom of the 8th and left to go home. I couldn’t take it a minute more and have no idea how I’ll cope with hearing about it all tommorow except going in to total shut down mode. It’s fun to care about a baseball team!)

(and I did flip the radio about 30 minutes later, just to be sure, and in time to hear Pie get his walk. It went downhill from there.)

I was talking about this before the game – in isolation of any other factors, I think the Cubs are favorites in a Harden/Kuroda matchup, and I think the Cubs are favorites in a Lilly/Maddux matchup. (Not sure we’re getting it, with Maddux warming up in the pen again today, but that’s the idea.) The problem is this is far from isolation from outside factors.

The best thing is the Cubs getting the heck out of Chicago. They ought to fly out right this moment, and not stay here a day longer. The sun will rise tommorow, and it’ll shine on a very angry, bitter city and it won’t help them to get caught up in that.

I hope, one month from now, we’re still talking about what crazy thing the Cubs did to stop being so tight, sparking a humongous turnaround. Hope’s all I’ve got left

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picturing postive outcomes

Oct
02