Thursday, June 28, 2012

When Liberty Goes, So Does Sega

It was a mediocre day for multiple reasons, Sega included.

But first, I would like to briefly mention Thursday's Supreme Court ruling.  Five out of nine Justices have made it mandatory to buy healthcare or else you'll face a fine, something that can be seen as unconstitutional (citizens are forced into commerce).  That's 2700+ more pages of regulations that you must abide by.  It may not seem as "epic" as that Skyrim expansion but just come back in 5-10 years and tell me which one's more important then.

I don't claim to know a lot about's dirty business no one likes to hear but with big elections coming up soon, let me say this in layman's terms:  Do you like authority?  Do you like being told what you can or cannot do?  Most of us would say "no" because it's common sense and these absurd video game/SOPA bills from recent times are still burned into our memory.  So even if you want nothing to do with politics, would you encourage and/or vote for candidates who will intrude your life with even more of the same?  Who will hire more faceless bureaucrats to regulate everything from businesses to cars, from energy production to food?  Who will pass more and more of these endless laws?  Who will print & spend money on the taxpayer's dime?  Are these guys able to make better decisions than you and I?

NOTE: I'm not suggesting anarchy.  I'm suggesting we follow the US Constitution.  The Founding Fathers listed a bunch of things the government can NOT do--nowadays, our politicians are all about what the government CAN do.  Big difference.

Sorry--I know we all want to fly away to this perfect little blue-sky world where the "worst" thing that happens is Sega releases a bad Sonic game but it gets much heavier than that in real life.  But you know where I'm going with this so I'll stop.

Anyway...there goes Sega of Europe & Australia.  Offices shut down and more jobs lost though their HQ remains intact.  I've been thinking for the last couple of months--"Well, Sega can't get any lower where they are now," and then they fall down another notch and then I really begin to wonder if they'll assume room temperature in the next couple of years.


So Sega is reaffirming their confirmation to focus on four IPs only: Football Manager, Total War, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Sonic.  Did you ever imagine years ago that Sega would need to rely on the mundane like FOOTBALL MANAGER or ALIENS to survive???  Speaking of which, Aliens is made by Gearbox, an American company out of Plano, Texas so what's Sega involvement outside of publishing, I really don't know.  And where the hell is Yakuza?  Here, read this quote:

"The big IPs are becoming bigger. Whether that's FIFA, Call Of Duty or Assassin's Creed, those titles are just becoming bigger and bigger and it's harder and harder to break into the market with new IP." - Jurgen Post, some Sega dude

Ya wanna talk big government: well, let's talk big video games.  I believed for a long time now that video games are becoming bigger and more popular until it's become this big, bloated abomination and games are deemed "failures" if they sell less than 5+ mil copies.  Take a look at what they're doing with these video game consoles, trying to make too much out of them that it actually hinders playing the game itself.  Sega is too fragile to do things "their way" so you get very little in terms of innovation--the same sterile crap that gets them by and nothing else.  You aren't going to see a plethora of games out like you did back in the Arcade/Genesis/Dreamcast games anymore.  The "Good Old Sega" is NEVER coming back until this current gaming model disintegrates and everyone stops pissing themselves over games with $15 mil+ budgets.  Until then, enjoy the Dreamcast ports released far & between and pretend it's Sega's glory days again.

I can keep kicking Sega while they're down but what's the use.  Sega fans are just used to being sent through the Ass Kicking Machine on a daily basis so we're just numb to it all.  I don't know if actual Sega employees read this but we wish you the best but damn, it's so hard to get optimistic for anything anymore.

BTW, I guess I'll conclude with my job search.  I cannot go into much detail now but we're all looking for job/internships.  I cannot delve into much information right now.  I did the unthinkable and applied to Sumo Digital as a "Gameplay Programmer."  Yes, Sumo Digital in the UK (healthcare for everybody!!).  A reply back two weeks later said I needed more experience which is understandable and at least I'm glad they read my resume.  At least they seemed "okay" with hiring a foreigner.  I'm not surprised but still, what a bummer.  BTW, Sega of Europe also has plenty of job openings, one for "C++ Programmers."  I didn't apply there yet what?  If Sega of Europe was going places, I'd say "yeah" but now, I'm hesitant.  If you live in the UK, have game design experience, and like Sega racers, APPLY TO ONE OF THESE PLACES IMMEDIATELY!!!

Getting experience here in the States is the best option and the best place to do that is at none other than Electronic Arts but that's still a toss-up right now.  Then I have some more leeway on where to go.  It's just strange cause it was only a few years ago, you had dreams of working at the place you love to be doing what you want the most.  Yet here I am and my main focus has shifted from doing what I love to just getting paid.  Cause working at EA or some small-time social game studio isn't my dream but what choice do I have?  Oh, Sega, if you didn't tease me so much, then maybe I could live a NORMAL life and get paid and be happy for once.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Super Sprint 1.2 Video Update

Put plenty of time into Super Sprint lately but have had very little to say about it.  I just made a big video containing most of what I've done since the last update.  Too lazy to type out methodologies and so forth--save it for later.  Just watch the video, check out my annotations, and I'll get around to documenting this into further detail later.

Maybe I'll release 1.2 but without online play.  Online is a monster of its own--lemme get as much single-player stuff out of the way now before embarking on online mode again.

Anyway, if you still have any suggestions or want to help with the graphics/sprites and so forth, let me know.  It's still a massive work in progress.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Need For Speed, Burnout, DiRT Showdown, Innovation: Thrown In The Trash

So anyway, Electronic Arts's creep continues to expand throughout the Orlando region as they had a big announcement in the FIEA building early on Friday morning (damn you EA for making me wake up so early).  This included news cameras, University of Central Florida guys, and even Florida Governor Rick Scott who made an appearance (I shook his hand while the petty lib gamers stood way in the back).  But whatever you think of politicians, we can all agree on one thing and that is Electronic Arts sucks.

EA is opening up an "Innovation Lab" right down the hall from the FIEA headquarters (we're housed in the same building as some other arty-farty UCF programs).  EA and innovation...two words that sound awkward together, huh?  Innovation for what--new Madden touchdown celebrations?  The small studio (with desks for 20 employees) had some nice digs though.  EDIT: If you're curious, here's a Joystiq article on the new studio.

But nevertheless, EA is slowly creeping up on us.  They plan on building even more studios across from us where the demolished Amway Center once stood.  Sorry, EA, but a couple of fancy buildings and IKEA furniture isn't going to make us like you even more.  Money can't buy friends, but a focus on true quality and respect for the individual (BOTH employees and consumers) does, plain and simple.  BTW, EA's stocks are going down, I love it, cocky EA taking a hit for once.

But I'm not talking about EA anymore.  God forbid I actually have to mention the letter "E" followed by an "A" ever again.  They wouldn't bother me so much if A. the games industry still had some credibility left (i.e. the Japanese games industry--Sega in particular--was still competitive and not everything revolved around cinematics/production value/uber-violence instead of solid gameplay) and B. if I weren't trapped in Electronic Arts Land down here in Orlando, FL.  Seriously, why doesn't EA open up a theme park already?  Might as well at the rate of "innovations" they've made in the "entertainment" industry.

BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER!!!  I feel bad for the Need for Speed series--I really do.  You could call it decent up through the Underground series but now, it's a joke.  Since Black Box did such a crap job turning NFS into a movie (see Undercover & The Run), Criterion is now in charge of any future iterations for some unknown period of time.  In other words, NFS is now Burnout with a different name.

What happened here?  Why couldn't EA just let Criterion make Burnout games?  Were they that obsessed with that fetish-ized name "Need for Speed" that they needed to recycle not just the same name but also the same subtitles (Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted)?  Can't they keep the Burnout name so I can more easily identify Criterion's dreck?  Oh, and that NFS movie?  They're seriously going to make it now.  I have no expectations for this "summer blockbuster flick."  If they have that Razor Callahan dude, then maybe it'll be entertaining but I doubt it.  Lord Have Mercy on the Need for Speed brand since it's now a circus act for everyone to mock & ridicule (you heard it from me a while back!).

But hey, at least Forza is now Need for Speed!  You know, Forza Horizon looks like the old-school Need for Speeds but it still irks me somewhat.  However, as gaming evolution would have it, I wouldn't be surprised if in 5-10 years Forza turned into a crashing arcade racer too.  All modern-day racing series start out great.  Then they eventually...Burnout.  YYYYYYEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Anyway, one more racing game before I call it quits.  This is Dirt Showdown.  I saw this on Giant Bomb's quick plays and what the hell, let's check it out.

The first thing that grinds my gears is the Twitter hashtag you see RIGHT THERE AT THE TITLE SCREEN.  WHY IS THIS NECESSARY???  ARE WE SO EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO OUR SOCIAL MEDIA THAT WE NEED TO STICK IN EVERY ONE OF OUR GAMES IN SOME WAY???  Putting that aside, the rest of the game's not shocking.  The color hues are still screwed up enough to make me nauseous.  The racing looks okay but the Miami track they chose is this incredibly confined strip of road that barely does racing justice at all.  The Gymkhana/Tony Hawk "complete these goals" levels are okay, I guess.  Needs more pyrotechnics and "bro-sif" Ken Block stuff I guess.  Oh, and there's demolition derbies too.  The wrecks are incredibly tame which is guess is nice but any wrecking mini-games (ripped right out of Big Bumpin) come off as very plain.  In other words, I'm not offended by this game but I'm underwhelmed just looking at it.

I assume DiRT Showdown didn't sell well at all.  Can you blame 'em?  This isn't rally racing like we know it (play Sega Rally instead, you bastards).  I've mentioned this conundrum several times but here goes again.  A lot of racing games have come out recently that have bombed in terms of sales and/or quality--Split/Second, Motorstorm, Blur, Dirt Showdown, Sonic Riders (G-D Kinect), Fuel, Grid, the "bad" Need for Speeds, et. al.  Even though I don't really like many of these games in terms of style, gameplay, or some other reason altogether, am I still somehow obligated to buy them because I'm a racing game fan?  Or should I sit back and watch as our beloved racing genre continues to flail like a fish out of water?  Will the failure of mainstream racing games result in even fewer ones being made in the future?

A lot of racing games can't do straight-up traditional racing well so they coat it with all this fancy crap that seems to fail.  We only have one hope left and that is Sonic All-Stars Racing 2.  If this game bombs, then we're finished.  I have no faith in a future run by Burnouts--err, Need for Speeds, wannabe-poser racing sims like Forza, and Mario Karts.  It's a mess.  At least Sonic All-Stars 2 looks okay so far but the whole Danica thing is awkward.  Just stay tuned for more details and pray for Sumo to deliver in spades.  Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Future Of (Lousy) Interactive Entertainment

Help, I'm suffering from ear barotrauma and it's pissing me off.  EDIT: I think I got fluid buildup in my ear, that sucks.  Nevertheless, it's time for a post!  Recently, I was browsing the Internets as usual and I came across a funny slideshow.  The gradual change of Super Mario Bros. from the past to the present.  Here's the photo album.

It goes from this serene image: this horrible abomination:

More supplemental material!

Oh boy, another fun-filled rant about "casual" gaming is ruining everything!  As usual, Call of Duty is the culprit.  If you're a 4chan/Reddit poster, then this is all too familiar.  So I'm going to cut to the chase.

The way I picture it, the computer/console gaming world has morphed into this behemoth consisting of video games, movies, music, social media, YouTube, motion controls, 24/7 downloadable content (for a sizable fee), you name it.  You can't simply "play games" or "update Facebook" anymore in a vacuum.  It's the Wal-Mart go there to get everything you need, you get the "whole experience."

Bring this with you on a desert island and you're good!

Problem is, it obfuscates the primary reason we turn these things on in the first place and that is to PLAY GAMES, not to be disturbed by these other things I have little to no interest in.

I read an article from a friend's blog a long time ago (thanks Dave).  Basically, the Xbox 360 is no longer a game console--it's an entertainment hub.  Fair enough...Microsoft populated the new 360 dashboard with all this online crap so let's just bypass it.  Yet--and I'll throw this in here too--even if you stick to just playing the damn games, they aren't really "games" anymore...they're movies too (sort of).  Interactive as playing a game but as expedient as watching a movie--follow the instructions, watch the cutscenes, and be done with it in hours.  Not the first time I said this but let me delve into it further.

All the cutscenes, tutorials, linear hold-your-hand gameplay might as well substitute for "interactive stimulation" or something.  Don't get me wrong, some games clearly call for plenty of cutscenes (like Yu Suzuki's Shenmue) or tutorials/instructions/limitations (pretty much any strategy game), but they've gone way too far with many action-based games like FPS and racing games.  And this becomes a BIG issue when more production value is put into these side things than the actual gameplay itself (which is why I get pissed at games like Need for Speed which are basically rehashes of the same material in a different package).

Just for kicks, I looked up the definitions of the term "game" and "movie" on

Game (noun) - a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.

Movie (noun) - redirects to Motion Picture (noun) 1. a sequence of consecutive pictures of objects photographed in motion by a specially designed camera (motion-picture camera) and thrown on a screen by a projector (motion-picture projector) in such rapid succession as to give the illusion of natural movement. 2. a play, event, or the like, presented in this form.

While a video game can be a movie (sequence of pictures), can a movie be a video game (competitive activity of skill)?  Food for thought...

Speaking of food, here's the schtick I was leading up to this whole time.  See Seinfeld Season 9 Episode 4 titled "The Blood."  George is on a date with his girlfriend when she lights up a vanilla incense.  The scent makes George ravenously hungry during a makeout session.  Therefore, George starts eating pastrami sandwiches at intimate moments..."Food and sex, those are my two passions!  It's only natural to combine them!"  This causes George to behave strangely when eating in public much to Jerry's chagrin.  Later, George goes for the trifecta...he smuggles a handheld TV into the mix.  Needless to say, his girlfriend caught him in the act and immediately broke up.

The point is you gotta keep 'em separated!  It's just strange because we've come so far in terms of technology, we're supposed to be "happier" with our newer games.  But messing around with these new consoles, it's a hassle to deal with the clutter of big-budget "movie-games", online subscriptions, perpetual DLC & advertisements, annoying online communities, over-reliance on game servers, RRoD's, and so forth.  Back then you occasionally blew on the cartridge and that's all you needed to play the game.  It was amazingly simple but it was first and foremost a game, not some bizarre digital amalgamation.

Seriously, tossing away all racing games for a second, I think Goldeneye on the N64 was one of my most favorite games ever.  Yes, it's massively outdated and is not as playable on your worn out N64 joysticks.  But I think it was awesome to run around unlocking cheats and beating the game on 00A using my wits and a few strategy guide tips to get by.  Nowadays, everything intrudes on the game itself that it just sucks.  My appeal for this current generation of games has been waning ever since.  Maybe I'm having a "grass is greener" moment, but eh.  Let's all be indie developers and make more GAMES first and foremost--yeah, that would be cool, bro.  Get in a time machine and travel back to 1998, best of both next-gen and previous-gen games, that's the ticket...

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I proclaimed before the race that TODAY IS THE DAY JUNIOR FINALLY WINS and guess what--he did!!!!  GTFO Tony, this is JUNIOR'S RACE!!!  Won it for Dale Sr. on Father's Day.  Four year streak begins & ends at Michigan!!  GO 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 JR WINS ALL of the Dale Jr. endorsed products!!!

Hmm...Jr's win wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it was.  Now get back to work!!!  *okay.jpg*

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Le Mans 24 Hours

You probably wouldn't know it but the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is going on right now.  That's right--24 hours straight.  You thought NASCAR was boring?  Try watching this.

If you don't know jack about Le Mans, allow me to explain.  It's the first prominent endurance race which began back in 1923 (and also one of the Triple Crown of Motorsport along with the Indy 500 and Monaco GP).  This race takes place at the infamous Circuit de la Sarthe, primarily made up of narrow roads along the French countryside.  This course is prominent in many racing games such as Forza and Gran Turismo.  Because of the race's immense success, other endurance races of similar nature have began on other popular tracks such as Daytona, Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps, and Nurburgring.

Approximately 50 cars enter the race in one of four classes divided by power and weight--two LeMans (LMP) classes and two Grand Tourer (GT) classes.  Each car has at least three drivers which swap in and out over the course of the race.  The car in each class to finish the most laps in 24 hours wins.  Manufacturers from all over the world participate.  You can see many of these cars in Forza (R1 and R2 cars). 

Since the race happens non-stop, a good half of the race is run at night.  It's surreal to see race cars with lights nowadays.  Most night races are held in well-lit tracks but in Le Mans, this is not the case.  It's also surreal cause after playing Forza for so long in the sunlight you're not used to driving in the dark :D

Not so fast, champ.  If there's a real-life racing event, Sega WILL make a racing game off of it.  This is Le Mans 24 the 1997 arcade game presented by Sega AM3 (Sega Rally team) and AM4 (Amusement Vision).

It's a Model3 game that shares some similarities with Scud Race.  There's a McLaren, Porsche, and F40 in the game as well as a Skyline, a Sauber, and a 787b.  Handling is loose as usual as you can swerve in and out of turns in usual Sega fashion.

While it's a great effort, the game doesn't look all that great. The texturing and polygons look like that of a crap Ridge Racer game.  Lighting is bland but that may improve with future emulator iterations.  Not to mention that the font/interface looks rather plain.  Compare it to Scud Race and there's a world of difference.  Doesn't mean the game isn't fun, of course.  It's another rugged Sega arcade racer...nothing wrong with that.

The game features the famous le Sarthe track as well as some other fictional French course.  You can race Le Mans in a theoretical 24 Hour mode in that over the course of 10 or so laps, the game fades from day to night to day again.  Bad weather can also obstruct your vision.  Or you can run a 3 lap sprint if you aren't enamored with this endurance race nonsense but where's the fun in that?  Play endurance mode, be a man, it's cool.

Needless to say, the Sarthe track in the game is greatly embellished.  It takes about 1:20 to complete a lap in the game and 3:30 to complete a lap in real life--a big difference.  The environments are also a lot more festive, including amusement parks, fields of grass instead of sand, wider lanes with easier turns, Sonic signs, and a giant inflatable Bibendum (the Michelin Man).

Here's another look at the game which demonstrates the game's 24 Hour mode.  Unfortunately, the guy is playing with a keyboard so it's twitch fest to say the least...

Believe it or else, there was another Le Mans game for the Dreamcast.  However, this one was published by Infogrames.  It's more realistic than the arcade version and has more cars & tracks too.  Occasionally this game will have the phrase "Test Drive" tacked on to its title.  It has very little to do with Sega's Le Mans game.  It got great reviews but it's not made by Sega's just not as good, I'm sorry.

Anyway, here's the Le Mans girl.  Pixelated race girls...ripped right out of a Ridge Racer game.  Go download the ROM and play it on the Supermodel emulator if you like.  It's worth a shot so tell me what you think.

EA Tiburon Field Trip And Retrospective (Do They Really Suck That Bad?)

So today, me and 50 other people from school drove 15 minutes up the road to tour EA Tiburon for a couple of hours.  While the words "EA" and "building" together conjure images of an Eldritch Location, the real estate is quite nice.  It's in this business park next to a Charles Schwab and Fidelity place.  The first building you see is the main studio.  Adjacent are two parking garages--one for employees, the other for visitors.  So where is EA getting all these visitors???  Um, whatever, we park wherever we can.

View Larger Map

This is it if you're interested.  So anyway, it's a six-story building.  First floor has a lobby, a store full of EA goods (including wonderful t-shirts that make you a big hit at gaming conventions), a conference room, and a cafe adjacent to a enclosed park/picnic area.  Second floor is marketing/finance stuff.  Third floor is NBA.  Fourth floor is Tiger Woods.  Fifth floor is Madden.  Sixth floor is NCAA Football.  So they're working on four games at once in the building.  There's about 350 employees working here right now.

The tour began with us all going to the lobby, getting a pass and a bag of EA freebies.  I got an EA Sports blue t-shirt and foam golf ball!  Others got mini basketballs & footballs.  Damn shame cause if they still did NASCAR then maybe I'd get a tire!  But anyway we were taken into a conference room where some guys talked to us about EA and stuff.

The propaganda presentations were about the Tiburon studio--"this is how we were founded" and "we're on the cutting edge of technology/social media," you know, all that softball stuff to get you loosened up.  Later we would all split into groups--the developers, the producers, the software engineers (they don't use the term "programmer" there), the tech artists, and the regular artists.

Oh, and about that NDA I signed...hardly anything mentioned was confidential.  During the programmer presentation, it was mostly about programming/shader/new tech stuff.  I couldn't even remember it all anyway and the blinds were open so anyone could look in and see for themselves (OMG, A SHINY LEBRON JAMES IN NBA LIVE).  Although we weren't allowed to bring cameras past the front gate.  Okay, sure thing, lady.

Frankly, these chats went on for way too long...I was waiting to tour the damn building.  But nonetheless, I got to ask a few questions for the EA guys:

"Will Sean Peyton be in Madden 13?"  Everyone cracked up.  Apparently not but it's because he wasn't part of the "coaches' club" or something so his likeness wouldn't be in the game anyway.

"Do you know where Peter Moore is?"  Peter Moore...that Sega bastard that killed the Dreamcast.  Apparently, he's living in San Francisco as the COO of EA Sports.  Didn't know he moved up so fast but w/e.  I'm always on the lookout for Sega guys.

"What happened with the NASCAR license?"  Apparently, EA decided to drop the series because they thought they'd make more money elsewhere. *coughFIFAcough*  I was wearing my Daytona Speedway hat so I looked like a moping racing fanboy I suppose.  Hey, it was a good question.  If they were still working on NASCAR, I might be more enthusiastic about an EA career.

(to an ex-student) "How similar is work at EA compared to grad school?"  Not much, apparently.  EA mandates that if you work too long a couple of days that you must go home and take a break.  I guess they don't want half-asleep programmers ruining the Perforce & stuff.

I should mention something funny.  During all this, some people brought out a bunch of goodies for us to enter for a raffle.  The prizes were some old-school EA t-shirts/phone cases, a bookbag full of EA games, an authentic Cleveland Browns helmet signed by Peyton Hillis (still in the box), some pair of shoes, and a pro-gaming headset.  Everyone got two tickets each and put theirs in the buckets of the prizes they want to win.  Everyone went heavy on the EA games and the headset.  Me?  I waited and put my tickets in the box with the best odds-to-value ratio and that was the NFL Helmet.  Surprise!!!...I won an actual NFL helmet signed by Madden '12 cover star Peyton Hillis.  It was the highlight of my day.

Me upon winning the helmet

Okay, time to go tour the building.  Obviously, I went on the "Engineer" tour.  Unfortunately it was a brief one and we only stopped on one floor--the six floor with NCAA Football development.  Even more unfortunate was that I had to haul that damn Peyton Hillis helmet around the entire building..."Whatcha got there?"  "Oh, I won a Peyton Hillis helmet in a raffle!"  The place looked rather...normal.  There were hardly any employees working at the time but the ones I saw looked clean.  The cubicles were densely packed but everyone had their own posters & toys so it really isn't that much different than grad school.  They had tons of reference posters of college football stuff for obvious reasons.  There was also all sorts of free food--chicken wings, cereal, candy bars, macaroni & cheese.  And a Mortal Kombat cabinet.  Didn't stop at the NBA, Tiger Woods, or Madden floors since they're pretty much the same thing with the same floor format (uniformity, it's in the game!).

The tour ended and we went to the cafe/picnic area, got some sandwiches and drinks and there were lots of EA guys around.  Most of them were young guys.  Everyone seemed nice and not terribly obnoxious.  Obviously, being socially awkward as I am (and still holding the Peyton Hillis helmet), I stuckwith my classmates.  I get a conversation or two with some tour guides and stuff because I radiate this aura about me as I sit lonely in the crowd staring at stuff and eating free M&M's and Twix bars.  There were also cookies with EA logos on them.  I'm sure they were delicious.

That's where the EA tour ends.  Regardless of my future with EA, I still got to see a legitimate game studio for the first time so the experience was alright.  Lately, everyone's been passing out resumes for job/internship interviews.  I dropped mine in a couple of inboxes--EA's included.  So I might have an interview with them really soon.  Hmm, interesting...a job interview with EA.  I just blew my mind.  They like to devour these newbie programmers...about 75% of them from previous classes (I'm not making this up) so that's pretty heavy.

Here's a bit of an aside from my recent expedition.  Looking at Electronic Arts for the millionth time, they're still full of crap in my book.  You can bring up a million reasons why EA sucks--the DLC, the DRMs, the killing of studios, the constant iteration of the same games, etc.  But give EA some credit since they do something right.  They're efficient, successful publishers.  If it weren't for them putting out mega hits like Mass Effect or Battlefield, you'd never have the luxury of ever playing them.  As for being an "evil" corporation, I could care less how much money EA makes.  The fact is I dislike them for other reasons...things that seep over to games I am actually interested in.

During the initial presentations, one thing we got a lot of was the "exciting new technology" from EA.  This included the new Madden tackle animations (look at this) and the realistic NBA light shaders (all the specular lights from the sweaty players, hence shiny Lebron James).  You's great and all but I ask, "Where's the gameplay?"  Oh sure, for the most part new features/R&D begets new gameplay but's the same game trapped in an eternal cycle.  "Oh, give us a few more years and we'll perfect it!"  Some EA guys said this is not a rehash at all and even went as far as to talk about 2K Sports and the exclusive NFL license.  BTW, did you think these guys were going to say anything remotely bad about themselves?  I don't think they're as evil as gamers say but I also don't think they're as good as they say about themselves.  Gaming is such a cut-throat business you take everybody with a grain of salt (even our beloved Sega).

In other words, if I hop on board with EA, I'm afraid most of my work with shaders/graphics.  Nothing really "new" in terms of gameplay besides bug squashing and whatnot.  Maybe I'm overstating this but that's the impression I got from the conversation.  And thus, this leads to even greater problems.  Yeah, EA puts out decent games but a lot of it is monotonous, only to be saved by massive, MASSIVE production value (EA has that $2 billion war chest, remember?).  And that's okay if that's their business plan.  I just think these big budget, broad, casual, play-it-safe titles are mainly what makes the game industry suck these days.  Hey, if EA is making money off this strategy, other publishers will follow suit.  Doesn't matter how stupid it is, if it sells, MAKE IT ANYWAY.  It it can't break 2.5 million copies, it's a failure (technically 5 million if you take it from this EA guy pertaining to Dead Space 3).

Sports, okay, I'll let those slide since there's no room to improve on that besides graphics.  But this mostly applies to Need for Speed I might add, most of which I find mediocre.  Most everything they make is a sequel or rehash in some way.  Hell, even Origin is a ripoff of Steam.  If it weren't for the HUGE IP's they've recently acquired like Mass Effect or Battlefield, I doubt anyone besides the sports junkies would care about EA.  Yeah sure, EA has recently made NBA Jam or NFL Blitz but those are just remakes which are really no better than the originals except for the graphics.  NFL Street was good but they canned it way too soon.  Skate is new I suppose.  Tony Hawk has gone to crap so at someone stepped up to the plate instead (speaking of which, where's the baseball games, EA???  Little Facebook/iPhone apps don't count).


On the other hand, there's one of the most beloved game developers in the world, Nintendo.  Now I'm not a huge Nintendo fan but I respect them for coming up with clever new IPs over a long time span like Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Smash Bros, the Wii, etc.  Even if they use the same IPs often, at least they do different things with them (different generations of Mario & Zelda).  Yeah sure, they've made some blunders recently but only extreme segments of gamers really hate Nintendo.  On the other hand, you can't say the same thing about Electronic Arts whom everyone seems to be indifferent to or hate.  Holy cow, EA won the Worst Company in America contest, what did you expect...that people love EA???

And how about Sega?  Hey, I'm not denying production value is bad (Sega was on top of things with arcade hardware like OutRun or Daytona which made them even more successful) but at least these games came with revolutionary gameplay.  And how about the Dreamcast?  Most people overlook this but Sega had some serious GUTS back then!  Look at all the IP's they released in that time: Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Samba de Amigo, House of the Dead, Sega Bass Fishing, Seaman, Super Monkey Ball, Shenmue.  I mean, geez, if modern-day EA went back in time and made their own figurative Dreamcast, what games would they make for it?  A bunch of sports titles, a Need for Speed, and some more titles from other companies that they didn't make themselves.

I don't know.  Taking shots at EA gets old after a while.  It's really dumb.  So how can I still think about working for these guys?  I have my doubts.  But these guys apparently like making Madden and NBA games (I assume...defectors will be PUNISHED by their EA overlords).  And no one there is really a scumbag--they're just guys working on games and getting along just fine.  If you're not emotionally attached to one particular game/genre/company then EA is probably up your alley...BUT THAT'S NOT ME.

I make a big deal out of the games I want to work on.  This can be a terrible attitude to have at times but I can't help it since if it weren't for Sega, I'd never be in this scenario in the first place!  So assume I get a job at EA.  While I struggle to program a simple shader at an EA "incubation session," Sega continues to commit suicide and by the time I make it there, they'll be dead.  You can't flat out ask any of these guys "hey, do you know how I can work for Sega?" since they obviously want people to stick with them and no one else!  The EA experience helps a lot on resumes, if that means anything.  You can also use that in-house experience to slingshot to other EA studios across the world (this includes Bioware and DICE) but that's not where I want to touch down, of course.  Still, it's SOMETHING to think about.

I have mixed emotions about EA and the whole thing right now.  Hey, I don't know where to work right now but in the coming months, we'll just examine our job opportunities and choose.  EA's not off the table but I am super hesitant.  There's smaller studios where I'd feel more at home that are eager to hire people in the Orlando area.  I can't spend all my time worrying about the future cause then I won't have fun.  Fairly certain everyone is a bit worried as well, even if they don't express it so you're not alone.  Okay, I'm done rambling, another super late night post, signing out...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Ohohoho have NO IDEA how great of a day tomorrow will be.  Guess what I get to do???  Go on, say it.  Ok, I will tell you now...





I get to go on a field trip to THE EA TIBURON STUDIOS IN MAITLAND, FLORIDA!!!

So thrilled, yes I am.  I get to go to EA.  Sounds like fun until you realize...I'm going to EA.  It's like waking up on the morning before your wedding and you realize you hate your wife-to-be.  I CAN'T GO, GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!  I'M IN THE CARPOOL HEADED TO THE PLACE--GOTTA BAIL SO TIME TO TUCK AND ROLL OUT THE DOOR!!!

Actually, I made the joke that if I were one of the carpool drivers transporting people to and from EA, I would get everyone in the car and take an "unknown shortcut" when I'm really heading in the opposite direction of the building.  Once people catch on to my antics, it's too late for them to go to EA, therefore I performed my little Schindler's List deed of keeping a handful of people away from EA forever!  Yeah, it's just a few people but it's better than none at all!  Oh, if only I had a bigger car!!  We can all go to Five Guys instead, now that place is awesome and no one would get mad at me.  *notbad.jpg*

I know that we're getting a tour of the place and are presenting our capstone games to some hardass execs.  But we also had to sign NDAs beforehand so I can't spill the beans on what I learned...?  Like what, exactly?  If I'm told they're working on a Madden 14 (ZOMG EPIC SPOILARS) does that count as breaking the NDA?  In other words, if EA is performing criminal or paranormal activity there, I can't say it.  Well, maybe...if I don't mind being fined/imprisoned just to see EA's demise.  It's totally worth it.

So the Tiburon studio has a website and holy cow--I gotta tell ya, the place has got some nice digs. I can smell the air fresheners already!  Like if this were some average Joe studio and not part of EA, I'd like it.  But no, it is in fact EA so I have my doubts.  Like I said before, at least they make sports games...better that than a lot of other crap I'd pick apart for no reason because it's not a Sega/happy/racing game.

Oh, and guess what.  They have a NASCAR exhibit there (at least a couple of years back).  OH WATE THATS RIGHT EA's NASCAR games suck and they don't even own the license anymore.  SUCKERS!!!

Anyway, it makes me wonder...what do Sega's development studios look like?  It just makes me sad that places like EA (of all GD places) are so slick and professional while I visualize Sega as an animal house full of idiots who can't piece together a coherent Sonic game.  Really, it doesn't matter how "cool" EA Tiburon is (or any other places I go after school) cause I'm movin' out anyway for many places in order to get "closer" to Sega.  What a bummer--I don't think I'll ever feel home anywhere.  I just wish Sega didn't tease us as much as they do.  I'm sleep-deprived right now so I have nothing left to add to the conversation so I'm calling it quits RIGHT NOW.

City Buildin' War Games!

So today I came home early from school and OH WAIT NO I DIDN'T because I spent 5 hours straight trying to figure out how to change the palette colors of an OpenGL texture (the cars) for Super Sprint and utterly failed (trust me, I tried everything).  No, just doing the glColor3ub() thing doesn't work--it makes the entire car radiate these ugly diffuse lighting hues.  What a piece of crap.

So anyway, there's this huge gaming story that blew up on Reddit.  Some of you have heard already.  Some guy played the same Civilization 2 file for 10 years.  Apparently, you can't sit idle and let the AI auto-pilot your nation--you gotta make every move on your own (that's brutal).  And way into the future, it's been nothing but incessant war between the Celts, the Vikings, and the Americans.  It lasted for 1500 years and all they would do is nuke each other.  At first, I thought "oh this is cool," but now it has its own subreddit.  It's as if this guy stumbled upon his own version of 1984 or War Games.  Oh well, if you stick to ANY saved game for a decade, you deserve props.

See my friends, now THAT'S EMERGENT GAMEPLAY!!!  If you don't go to FIEA, you won't get it.

But Civilization 2 the point of this post.  I know very little about the Civilization series (you guys say "boooooo") but it does make me think because I like these kind of tile-based building/strategy games.  I'd go as far as to say that aside from racing games, strategy games of this sort would be one of my top choices for projects.  But NO FACEBOOK GAMES like Farmville or that crap--we're talkin' real serious games here.

Hasty transition to Advance Wars, a series of games for Nintendo handheld consoles.  Is it like Civilization?  I guess it is!  This is probably my favorite Nintendo IP (write it down, people, Eric actually loves a Nintendo game).  Played the heck out of all the games back in the day.  It was good old fun.

In case you know nothing about Advance Wars (made by Intelligent Systems), it's a turn-based war game in which you build various units like infantry, tanks, artillery, naval, and aircraft units.  They each have their own strengths, costs, and weaknesses.  You also get to choose from many different commanding officers AKA CO's (the guys you see above) which have unique skills and special abilities.  It gets much more complicated but that's the quickest explanation I can come up with.

Now this is Advance Wars: Dual Strike, the third entry in the series (sort of...if you don't include all the Famicom Wars for Japanese-only old-school Nintendo consoles).  Here, I like what they did with a multitude of things.  The units you see on screen are still cartoony and colorful as usual.  There's more units, characters, and maps than ever before.

But the game had a ton of problems--mainly that the balancing in the game just plain sucked.  Some characters were just plain overpowered (looking at Colin, Grit, & Kanbei as the main offenders) while others just didn't make they ran out of unique powers to give to CO's (like Koal...who gains a 10% damage bonus for units on roads...okay?).  Also, it was too lucrative to spam infantry (which clutter the map and can overtake cities & serve as meatshields) and air units were still superior to naval units.  Also, there was only room for three custom maps.  In other words, Intelligent Systems should've gone back to the drawing board and polished the heck out of it.  Seriously, there are fan-made ROM patches out there which balance the units & CO powers, something that the actual devs hastily glazed over.

But anyway, Intelligent Systems went back to the drawing board...and they completely overhauled Advance Wars.  The next game was called Advance Wars: Days of Ruin.

Simply because the Advance Wars series had reached a breaking point with Dual Strike (too many units, too many CO's, balance was out of whack), they killed off everything and brought about this new "theme," one that actually resembles a real war.  The "story" with this one is that meteor strikes kill 90% of the Earth's population (whether it's the previous AW world, we'll never know) and only a few survivors fight each other in an EPIC WAR GAME TO THE DEATH.  Before it was like, "Oh no, we lost, but at least we still have our friendship!"  Much, much different.

Days of Ruin did a lot of things right gameplay wise.  They balanced existing units and brought about new ones such as the bike infantry, the flare gun, the anti-tank, and the crop duster planes.  They also expanded the number of custom map slots to 50 (wow, finally!) and added Wi-Fi online play.  So what's there to hate about this game?

Oh, I's not as COLORFUL as the previous Advance Wars???  While the new cast of characters is okay, the serious tone was a far cry from the old AW games.  The units/sprites aren't as cartoonish as before.  It just doesn't feel at home.  There's no blue skies in this game.  The game's hues feel more faded out--not even in a Sonic CD bad future kind of way--it's just bleak.  Bear in mind this is the same studio that made Fire Emblem so of course they would elevate Advance Wars to match the tone of that game and not the other way around.

This is my opinion of course.  Some will say the new Advance Wars look is appropriate but I have a tendency to err towards happy games over gritty/depressing ones.  Days of Ruin came out in 2008 and odds are if Nintendo decides to revisit the franchise, the next one will be just like Days of Ruin as well--in other words, the old characters/world is dead.  That sucks.  Though I don't know how anything from Days of Ruin can compete with something like this:


BTW, if you want to play Advance Wars online, check out this site.  Play Advance Wars games on your browser.  Also features the old CO's/units and up to 16 players in one game!

That's all I have to say about that.  There's also one more strategy game I'd like to talk about and it actually has to do with building cities!  No, not SimCity.  This is Monopoly Tycoon.

This is a multiplayer RTS (sort of) game unlike most others I've seen.  It has very little to do with Monopoly or the other Tycoon games.  It's more like an elaborate version of Lemonade Stand.  Here, you and up to five other players are given a blank city with spaces named after Monopoly properties.  You drag & drop various types of businesses in an attempt to gain more customers & sales than the other players.  It's a cut-throat game in that all the actions happen in real-time as you stave off other players from getting in your space.  Sell the right type of goods at the right prices in the right locations to gain the upper hand.  Also try building apartments and buying property leases (including railroads and utilities) via auctions for great benefits such as property tax and the ability to build hotels, parks, and other players' businesses.

Guess who uploaded this video?  ME.  EDIT: To "win" the game, you have to meet some money-related condition like "First to make $100,000 total assets."  As you can see here, to make money, you need to spend money.  You can go up to $10,000 in debt and hope to make it back in scores.  However, if you remain in the red for more than 24 hours, you go bankrupt and lose the game.  So you gotta live on the edge of bankruptcy to get ahead!

I must admit I was skeptical of the game's quality at first but I became engrossed in it in no time.  There's more depth than meets the eye but the problem is the game can move at a sluggish pace since if you're not building stuff or tweaking variables, you're just passively looking by as customers buy stuff with the little katching sounds ringing in the background which is cool so no harm done.  The main problem with the game is that the AI is dumb as bricks, there's no one online playing (find that one player AFK in the GameSpy lobby), among a few other petty issues that would whoosh right over your heads.

BTW, the music in the game is pretty cool.  The game goes from the 30's to the 90's over time.  Not only do new business arise over time but the music changes as well.  All the game's music does a great job of capturing their respective time period.  Swing music in the 40's, synthesizers in the 80's, crap dubstep in the 90's, this is great.  The 70's theme is my favorite though:

I also uploaded these clips too, thank me very much.

This is one game I hope gets another shot but it's very unlikely at this point.  Sort of...I heard SimCity 5 will have up to 16 player simultaneous online play?  I presume it'll be competitive like Monopoly Tycoon (or cooperative, whatever floats your boat) but I have my doubts...this it ELECTRONIC ARTS we're talking about so the likelihood of me picking SC5 up any time soon is very slim.

Anyway, I could talk about more tile-based games.  Like SimTower, that was awesome (already covered that a long time ago).  But once again, it's super-late and there's no other games I feel like talking about more than these two.  ADIOS.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Forza On The Horizon...(Open-World Racing!!)

I'll just cut to the chase now--my E3 "pick" for favorite game goes to Lego City.  I like it--it's colorful, happy fun and if it has vehicles in it, it'll be awesome.  Everything else was uber-violent or made by Nintendo.

There's one problem's only for Wii U.  Rofl.  What am I going to play now...oh God no don't say it--

So here's Forza Horizon again.  I think my preliminary analysis was a bit harsh, but what else can you say?  That's how I genuinely felt upon seeing the news.  Forza has gone from a "serious" sim racer to a exaggerated speed festival with a bunch of things that are ripped right out the NFS formula.

Here's a Jalopnik article I will be referring to.  FYI, Jalopnik does a lot of promos with Forza--some of the DLC has the word "Jalopnik" written right on it.  So a Jalopnik blogger talks to some game boss producer or something at the Forza booth and we learn some things:

Microsoft is calling Forza Horizon an "action racing" game, and that underscores the big conceptual difference between it and Forza 4. Where Forza 4 is more of a racing simulator, this is more of an arcade-ish game.

I just think it's absurd that you need to tack on the phrase "action" to a racing game.  Isn't the racing itself action on its own?  Will this game add other action stuff like being able to get out of the car and run from cops?  Oh wait, someone did that already and it sucked.

He's the one who told me you'll be able to race a '70s Boss Mustang against a WWII P51 Mustang fighter. Sold.

Um, how can a car compete with a plane anyway?  Maybe in a drag race or a Amazing Race contest (get to the bus station locker first and win a million dollars), sure, but otherwise, the plane can just fly above the track and the car can't.  So that's fair.  You can't even pilot the plane (I assume) so what's the point?  This smells like one of those selling point story mode things that devs drop in the game to hype up interest.  Take NFS: the Run: Jack flips the police car over on the train tracks and busts out just in time.  And Jack dodges falling boulders along the mountainside.  They are story/campaign-related things that mean jack (pun intended) once you've played though it a few times.  It's cinematics & production value, that's all.  Very little to do with actual gameplay.

The lighting is dramatically more varied, with a low sun in the sky giving everything a striking golden cast, and your cars' lights actually work.

I must say that I applaud the Forza team for bringing out a lot of contrast in the environment.  That is a GOOD thing.  However, the lighting has me worried quite a bit.  Just looking at the screens (including the first one above), it looks a lot like they tweaked the hue values somewhat.  Games tend to do that nowadays, particularly the orange/teal hue in every damn action movie that's supposed to add "zing" to their visuals.  While Forza Horizon doesn't go to that extreme, it seems like they baked in too much yellow/orange lighting...enough to irk me just enough to bring this point up.

At least Forza Horizon doesn't exhibit the same dreary visuals you see from games like GRID or DiRT.  That would be terrible.

From what I saw, at times Forza Horizon seems to exhibit this phony lighting that is more obnoxious than anything.  I'll have to sit through even more gameplay first.  Wait until the game's release.  Whatever, we'll see how the game's final product looks first.

BTW, I'm glad that this game will have night driving for the first time.  Took you guys five games to get around to it, huh?  In the meantime, Gran Turismo had night driving from the start (see Special Stage Route 5).  Forza sucks.

The physics are tweaked just a bit, with your car feeling a bit more lively than in Forza 4, a bit more inclined to drama.

I think this is a good thing.  If it captures the little details that make games like Daytona or Outrun so fun to drive (responsive handling, car trembles at high speed, etc.), then that might be a saving grace.  But they said the same stuff in just about every other damn arcade racer (NFS comes to mind, again...) so I'm not holding my breath.

There's many more objects in the environment, guard rails and signs and fences, and they can all be effectively destroyed by some sloppy driving. And that's fun.

Oh noes guys, they're encouraging reckless driving!!  Weave in out and out of traffic.  Run from cops (think they would put up with these shenanigans?)  The true racing pastime.

The basic premise is you're attending a festival, and your goal is to become King of the festival by gathering fans. You do that by winning races, risky driving, stunts, special challenges and events.

Seriously, I hate this crap.  For some reason, a "festival" in the middle of Colorado reminds me of Woodstock with cars (or the original Motorstorm)--bunch of wannabe losers listening to bad dubstep, getting wasted on energy drinks and wrecking cars.  I think these things detract from the actual reason we play driving games which is TO RACE CARS.

Anyone played Need for Speed: ProStreet?  I did for the achievement points (beat every race) was average despite not having the open world exploration and police chases.  But the whole "race show" stuff was more of a hindrance than anything.  Plus, it has a "story mode"--your name is Ryan Cooper and you race to take down all the pro racers and become "King of the Racing Universe" presumably because your ride was stolen and/or someone pissed in your Corn Flakes.  But because you're stuck with that very name, half the race announcers affectionately call you by the nickname "Coop."  And trust me--I muted the announcer in no time.

Speaking of which, this open-world crap is a double-edged sword.  Some of my favorite games are the PS2 era Grand Theft Auto games.  I especially loved Vice City and San Andreas because they had a cool vibe, lots of cars, and a great soundtrack.

The Hotring of my favorite cars in GTA.  I had the cheat code to spawn one memorized in the past.

Now when you're cruisin' around city/wilderness, it's kind of fun.  But the actual bonafide racing in the game SUCKED.  GTA wasn't a game built for traditional racing.  The city wasn't specifically designed to carve out race tracks.  It's like some producers dropped a few nodes across the city and said "go drive through them in order, good luck."

Even other open-world racers like Need for Speed or Burnout just aren't that great for racing.  It's like they'll carve out a path through the city and place a bunch of glowing barriers to block off roads off the beaten path--you can't go through them but the traffic can.  And the city is laden with all sorts of scenery such that it obfuscates any sort of "racing line" whatsoever so you're acting in a reactionary fashion--see some arrows just forcibly turn in that direction.  It doesn't seem well-polished for a true racing experience.  Not to mention that little "shortcuts" like side roads & ramps also take away from the experience since it becomes more of a game of memorization than one of actual skill.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

Speaking of which, there's always the Little Rascals...which demonstrates how stupid urban racing can be at times.  They take a "shortcut" off the beaten path which includes driving through a grocery store parking lot (and knocking pedestrians 10 feet into the air).  Whatever, this is stupid and I can't believe I'm posting it but I don't care:

I think the game that did city racing the best was Project Gotham Racing.  Technically, you can say so since since there are modes that remove the barriers and permit free-roam around the city.  As for the artificial race courses, they are designed in a matter that makes it clearly obvious which way to go...clear visuals and signs tell you exactly where to go.  This also applies to Sega racers like Daytona & Outrun 2...

If you see it, you can drive to it. Well, maybe not some of the mountaintops, but still. You can drive into the Rockies, then look down off the side of the mountain and see the festival below. The map is full and huge and there's many miles of road to discover.

 This is also interesting as well.  Again, the entire game takes place in Colorado.  While the game exhibits forests, canyons, and lakes across limitless draw distance, that's all you really see the whole game.  Even though the game is beautiful, I think driving around in the woods can get a tad bit old after a while.  But what do I know--I need to see the final map first.  Let's hope there is more scenery like that in OutRun 2 (the definitive standard for...well...pretty much everything.

Outrun 2 doesn't showcase the fanciest lighting or textures there is (the game is now 8 years old), but it's simple, colorful style makes for good, clean fun.

There's a LOT of cars. I can't give a number now, but it's huge selection. All road cars this time, no pure race cars like in Forza. They're an eclectic mix, cars you'd take to a festival.

Damn, no Formula 1 cars.  :(  You  think by now Forza would have 'em but it's too late for that.

...BTW, one more thing.  I was looking at the comments for this Jalopnik article and the racing diehards aren't very impressed either:

BtheD19, Formula J treble World Champion
"The basic premise is you're attending a festival, and your goal is to become King of the festival by gathering fans. You do that by winning races, risky driving, stunts, special challenges and events."

And this is why I hate arcade "racing" games. Pass the GT5, I've got lap times to set.

Rattleface Blouses @BtheD19, Formula J treble World Champion
Yup, that's where I lost almost any interest in this game. It's takes after Dirt 2's brotastic environments.

Glad to see there's others out there who are a bit uneasy with this new Forza as well but the knock on arcade racers is a bit uncalled for.  But the Sega Racing Nation still exists out there cause a couple of comments later, someone says this:

Arcade racing games, when done right, are freakin' amazing. Play any Sega racer and you'll see it. 

I love this guy.  No homo.  Though none of the sim racing aficianados have replied.  Who cares...reading the comments section of any major blog/news site is a good source of brain cancer.  Just don't do it.

...I really don't know what else to say about Forza Horizon.  It looks better than the incredibly generic Burnout--I mean Need for Speed: Most Wanted (the 2012 one).  Seriously, I don't feel like commenting on the new NFS since it looks like Burnout w/ Facebook functionality.  No use complaining anymore because A. we don't know what the final product will look like and B. it's also tailored for casuals so if you're outside the intended demographic then deal with it.  Dumb games are dumb--I'm outta here, dudes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sonic & Danica, Lolwut

I must say this year's E3 was very entertaining.  Entertaining in that we had lots of things to poke fun at!  Seriously, when they closed E3 to the public, gamers wanted back in so they opened it up again.  Now gamers want to get out of there as soon as possible.  What's going on, people.

But anyway, OMGZ YUO GAISSSSS HERD DA NEEEEWWWWWZZZZ, Danica Patrick is in Sega All-Stars Racing 2!!!!  And there's about one billion articles on this very story on gaming sites, racing sites, sports sites, even on CNBC (???).  News bloggers/repeaters copied and pasted everything they saw from the other schmuck..."Gamers will get the chance to test their racing abilities as Danica against an All-Star cast of SEGA characters including Sonic, Knuckles, AiAi and others."  Yada yada yada, like 95% of the people who post these articles care (or even know) about Sega characters or Danica Patrick.

Also love the Masanao Maeda (President & COO of Sega of America) quote:

"Danica Patrick is one of the most popular athletes in the world and her accomplishments both on and off the track make her the perfect partner for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Danica’s involvement showcases the broad appeal of this title – everyone from casual gamers to hard core racing fans will be able to enjoy the fun."

Most popular in the world??  Maybe in your dreams, she is...

Hey look guys, I can Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V too!  It's secret agent DarthSOL (from Sumo Digital)!

"You know, when they (SEGA) pitched us the idea we went ‘The fans will go wild…’ I think they didn’t get what we meant from that though.

End of the day she hasn’t replaced any SEGA characters, she’s an extra and we’re very happy with the vehicle design we’ve done for her, which incidentally isn’t the one you might think it is."

I can understand why there's so few Daytona fans left.  Cause when you are teased like this on a consistent basis, no wonder so many jumped ship.  We're doomed, we're dead, I'm on the roof and if I see one more Need for Speed advertisement, I'm gonna jump.  EDIT: I'm just kidding...if DarthSOL is reading this, we love ya buddy :p

Anyway, I wonder how far Sega will go with factoring Danica into the game's presentation/advertisements.  She's driving the blue #7 Sega car at the Nationwide race at Texas on November 3rd.  Which is a crap day because everything will be enshrouded by the Presidential Election.  As for the game, I have a hunch she may be the race announcer/narrator (they said the old announcer is gone).  What she looks like (realistic, cartoony, etc.) and what the car looks like is beyond me.

But anyway, I will not flip a bitch about the Danica pick like 2/3rds of the gamers on the Internet have done (i.e. Sega sold out, they don't know anything, Danica sucks cause she only won one race, NASCAR sucks).  I mean just think about it--this is Sega we're talking about, you get used to these kind of things by now :)

Hmm....imposing a real-life female "bombshell" actor onto a fictional arcade racer...think I've seen this before:

That's Brooke Burke, Need for Speed: Underground 2 narrator and 5-year host of Dancing with the Stars!!  And she's a BABE (apparently).  And Pocketbike Racer is the greatest driving sim known to man.

A Danica thread is never complete without Go Daddy commercials.

I admit, I lol'ed...

That's it, two GoDaddy commercials is ENOUGH.

But wait--there's also this! ...

Hey Sega, none of this would've been an issue if YOU JUST ANNOUNCED THE HORNET AND/OR SEGATA SANSHIRO AS PLAYABLE CHARACTERS.  Dammit, it's time for bed, I'll talk more smack tomorrow, I swear.  But here guys, this is to cheer you up:

I love this corporation...GOOD EFFORT!!  GOOD JOB!!

EDIT: Rather than make a new post on this, here's Danica doing a brief interview with Kotaku/Gametrailers/I don't know who so just listen in anyway:

A lot of this ain't new but it's just strange to hear Danica repeat what we've already heard--"you go by land, you go by sea, and you go by air...the race combines all of them and I'm a character you can play."  I get the sense she doesn't know that much about the game, but what do you expect from a new spokesperson who has had very little to do with video games up until now?  Yeah, like I was expecting Danica to reveal Daytona spoilers in the video, lol, fat chance...