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Sunday, January 31, 2016

2778 - Classic Bite Commentary: October 14th, 2008

(2018 Update: Replaced an old Collection video with an even older Bite commentary.)





Don't tell anyone this, but apparently it's Election Day up here in Canada and we're supposed to vote or something. I don't know if you Yanks could follow this shit, but do yourself a favor and go ahead so you can watch the Great White North go down the political shitter... or not. Either way, it should be very entertaining for anyone who follows or remotely cares about politics.

With that having been said, it's another Bite commentary and a rather scathing one, I'm afraid. Because I had Canadian Thanksgiving off (which was yesterday - hope yours went well), I've had plenty of time to reflect on some things without being disrupted by outside forces. Soooo....

Apparently, a couple weeks ago, WWE put out a PPV. Nothing significant happened, although I've heard some matches were awesome while others were not so. Somehow, the prospect of a WWE PPV has been lost on me, as the shows themselves aren't even worth my time these days. In fact, I seem to be spending less time watching wrestling in general (the stuff on TV, at least) and more time doing other things. Fact is that WWE is putting out a pretty uninteresting product, nobody on the roster really stands out, and the ones that do stand out and have a unique look to differentiate from the muscleheaded juicers dominating show are being buried with lame-ass storylines meant more to give them something to do rather than make them bigger stars. I really had high hopes for the product when CM Punk was given the World title, as it seemed as though maybe... just maybe... WWE would be ready to push some new blood onto the scene and finally reshape their dwindling main event scene to reach that next great chapter in their history - much like they did a decade ago.

Of course, we all know what happened from there: while CM Punk held onto the title for a good couple months (much longer than anyone expected him to), he was eventually booked to lose the title at the Unforgiven PPV. This isn't really a big deal, because he got his time in the sun and now they want to move on to the next guy. But the kicker is that not only did he lose the World title at Unforgiven, but he lost it WITHOUT BEING IN THE DAMN MATCH. How did he not get involved in the match? He was hurt in a brawl with Randy Orton and company and as a result, they saw fit to strip him of the title. Bullshit. Pure bullshit. And the real piss-off is that CM Punk came back for his rematch two weeks later and LOST his rematch against the new champion Chris Jericho, who was CM's replacement in the Unforgiven match.

Now I'm not going to spoil Jericho's title reign - it's about time he finally regained the Big Gold he should have had many times prior and at the very least, it's another step - the next logical step, in fact - in keeping his excellent feud with Shawn Michaels alive. That feud, for the most part, is the only thing worth watching on RAW and part of me regrets missing out on the past couple PPVs because these guys have always produced quality matches and no doubt their recent ladder match was another notch of awesomeness. However, Jericho's title win seemed very dubious and more like a last-minute hotshot change than something that has been in the books for some time. If this was the plan, why couldn't they have had Punk-Jericho for the title at Unforgiven instead of the colossal mess of a show they had? It would have given Punk one last hurrah in a losing effort and made him look good, it would have legitimized Jericho's win a bit more and feel like it was a well-earned win, and the title would have more meaning. Instead, we got that mess of a main-event with Jericho doing pretty much fuck-all for the better part of the match while the defending champion was stripped of his World title because he got beat up. The whole thing reeks of bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit. And then they wonder why their ratings aren't as high as they used to be.

So let's shift gears a bit now: I'm considering picking up a Wii. Yeah, a Wii. The one with the Wiimote. The one that all the old people and soccer moms are playing. The one with all the shitty shovelware. Yeah, that Wii. Why a Wii? It's got the better version of Mega Man 9. The Virtual Console is also a nice little deal too, but for the most part, it's Mega Man 9.

"So why not a 360 or PS3?" you ask. "They got Mega Man too."

Perhaps, but they don't have Mega Man 2... or something. OK, that was lame.

Let me be completely honest about the other two systems. There's nothing on the PS3 that I want to play... or rather, there's nothing on the PS3 that I can't play on another system from the past generation. I'm sorry, but super-duper graphics and a Blu-Ray player is not enough incentive for me to pick up the grill-like console. I don't have a HDTV or anything fancy like that. I have a tube TV and it works fine. While you could argue about sharper images and better polygon-count quality, the truth is that I'm not a graphics whore and trying to cell me on... er, sell me on the visual and technical capabilities of a console will do nothing to convince me it is a system worth buying.

As for the 360, there are a couple of noteworthy games I wouldn't mind trying out - for example, the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game looks interesting, doesn't look stupid, and seems like it might actually work in spite of the two franchises' differing philosophies. And of course, some of the XBox Live Arcade games are noteworthy to be honest - but the console's rather infamous mechanical problems has made me somewhat hesitant to pick one up. Sure, Microsoft has improved the hardware somewhat so that there's less of a chance of breakdown, but the fact is that I'm not willing to fork over a couple hundred dollars for a system that could potentially flake out on me a day later.

Besides, neither one of these two systems offer anything new or refreshing that we haven't seen in the last generation of consoles. The last console generation (refering to the Playstation-2, Gamecube, and the original X-Box... and yeah, let's toss in the Dreamcast too since it's the first console of that generation) offered several innovations. The Dreamcast introduced built-in online capabilities, while the X-Box expanded such capabilities to include an online service that also included downloadable content to expand on a game's replay value or even full games available for download. Speaking of the X-Box, it was the first mainstream console to include a hard drive, so you never had to worry about buying a shitload of memory cards to save your games... although the Box had those too. The PS2 also came with a built-in DVD player and USB outputs allowing you to plug in additional extras such as flash drives and whatnot. And the Gamecube... well, the Gamecube... it had a Game Boy Player. That counts for something, right? Maybe? Uh... okay, maybe not, but it did have some unique features. All these consoles did and each of them brought something different to the market so that potential customers had a choice.

So when one looks at the 360 and PS3, what do they have? Every console has a hard drive, every console has online play, every console has downloadable content, every console doubles as some semblance of a multimedia disc player, every console offers perty graphics, every console offers "mature, grim-and-gritty" first person shooters that all look alike and play pretty much the same way, every console offers the same recycled bullshit offerings from EA Sports, and the list goes on. Only difference is that these consoles come in all shapes and sizes. You can get your hands on a budget-version PS3 with a lower drive capacity and no backwards-compatibility with older PS2 or even PS1 titles or you can get the ultra-expensive version with more features. You can get the 360 with no hard drive or you can get one with a 120GB hard drive, HDTV support, and it's painted gray. I mean, seriously. That's the big innovation these guys are offering? A slightly higher pixel-count and a number of different flavors? What the fuck kind of innovation is that? Achievements and leaderboards? Wow, what a great concept! Way worth forking four hundred fucking dollars for just so your name could appear on some invisible high score list. Sign me up!

OK, next.

So let's look at the Wii. Setting aside the loads of shit available for the console being passed off as video games, the Wii seems like a very underwhelming system. There's no hard drive, the online aspect is subpar, it doesn't play DVDs or Blu-Rays, and the graphical capabilities are a step above the Gamecube at best, but not much more than that. The only truly defining aspect about the Wii is its motion-sensor Wiimote, which is basically something you wave around and your character does certain things. It's the closest thing you'd get to a virtual reality experience (without gluing a TV to your face) and it's different, refreshing, and new. While motion-based technology has been tried before (Nintendo's Power Glove for example), the Wiimote is the first that actually worked and is so effective as a controller that the only accessories available as alternatives are hunks of plastic (such as a plastic sword, steering wheel, or whatnot) you stick the Wiimote into, giving it an enhanced feel depending on the game you're playing. Is the best control set-up? Not necessarily - and to be honest, I'd much rather stick with the traditional controller - but at least you get the impression that it's something different. And perhaps most importantly, it's very simple to pick up and play. Nothing overly complicated and nothing too sophisticated. And it's considered a good work-out tool (although it shouldn't replace real exercise).

Now I admit that an argument to my earlier point about the different varieties of PS3s or 360s can be made that earlier consoles had different configurations, including the holy NES. That may be true, but while there were different sets of PS2s, SNESs, or even NES systems to choose from, the only difference among them were the type of accessories and software included. For example, an NES Action Set would include a couple controllers and a game, while a Deluxe set would also add in a Zapper. But even though these sets had different accessories, the core hardware was the same thing. None had extra features that the other didn't have - like an Action Set NES didn't have more built-in functions than the other; they were all the same thing. You couldn't tell one NES from another because they're all built the same way... pretty much - outside of the redesigned NES top-loader and the hundreds of clones out there, but that's beside the point.

Meanwhile, two 360s put together from different sets, while having the same core mechanics, has different functionality that one has over the other and vice versa. No one console is the same as the other in terms of internal mechanics because of this and thus in order to get the best out of the console, you have to buy whatever premium version is out there and that can get pricey. Back in the old days, a premium console pack consisted of a common console and some extra accessories for you to play with. A different story, so to speak.

But why am I arguing about that for? I'm only considering the Wii for its Virtual Console, Wiiware, and Mega Man 9... and chances are I'll be using my own Gamecube controller instead of the Wiimote anyway. Besides, despite my desire to play Mega Man 9 as soon as humanly possible, I'm still perfectly content with my PS2, as new games get developed for it...

...and my original X-Box that still works even though the disc drive is a bastard these days...

...and my Gamecube with Game Boy Player...

*sigh*

...and my Dreamcast, even though I only have five games and only one is worth playing, so please suggest some good (but cheap) titles to seek out......

...and my Playstation-One, which I just recently forced it to suffer through a shitty Contra game - yes, Contra sucks purely because it spawned C: The Contra Adventure - but still works rather nicely...

...and let's not forget my Sega Genesis, which I got for five bucks and it still works. And somehow I only got twenty games...

...and then there's the FC Twin. It's been a year I had that thing (and also a year since I announced in a Bite commentary) and I'm fairly happy with it. While it doesn't play perfectly (some of the SNES games glitch under the system - nothing fatal, but still glaring), it's still a perfectly fine console that sees more play than the more expensive hardware in my possession...

...and of course, my new NES system. I'm not sure if this has been refurbished, but I found it works fine with little problems. Chances are it has seen very little use and is a testament to the longevity and reliability of the old hardware... back in the days when all it took to get a game to work was blowing in a cartridge.

...and my shit load of handheld consoles. A couple Game Boys, a Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, a DS, and a PSP. Not Handsome Tom levels... not even Cameraman Joe levels, but still not bad.

So I think I'm done offending just about anybody and everybody for today, so for the two tweeters still around, I might as well make use of the rest to update on some progress:

I'm planning a Webstation update this coming Friday; for the most part, this will mainly comprise of some game reviews as well as a couple quick console reviews, but nothing particularly special. The significant piece is that this is hopefully the first in a cycle of weekly updates on the site.

I'm still pondering the thought of doing video reviews for some games I have. For the most part, I've had a couple reviews planned with some "scripts" written (though, for the most part, this won't be scripted in the very least) and I have recorded some commentary and a slew of game footage, but I haven't gotten around to doing anything significant with them. If this does come out, expect it to be out some time next year... chances are I won't release anything until I have a bunch of stuff ready to go.

By a slew of game footage... I presently have 25+ (LP-speed recorded) DVDs worth of recorded footage, done purely for personal archiving purposes. It's a routine that I have started last year ever since I picked up an FC Twin back in October (yes, it's been a year since I owned that thing and it still works... nice).

Okay, that's it for today. 'Till next time...

Later,
Dave

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