[OPINION] Anatomy Of A Console Launch

Naveen Sivakumar, our newest star writer and Chemical Engineering Correspondent, explains, hour by hour, the breakdown of a video game console launch.

6:00 pm: T-minus 12 hours
Oh boy, by this time tomorrow, I’ll have the (console name). I’ve waited so long to get it so I can play (disappointing launch game). It so has game of the year written all over it.

7:00 pm: T-minus 11 hours

8:00 pm: T-minus 10 hours
All right, I got my preorder receipt, extra clothing to keep me warm, and (handheld system) to keep me entertained. Time to stand in line at (local retailer)!

9:00 pm: T-minus 9 hours
Mike’s calling. He wants me to come over and play (awesome game on previously released console). Doesn’t he know that the (console name) is launching today? Who wants to play last-gen when you can get a 2% increase in floating point pixel power!

10:00 pm: T-minus 8 hours
I’m getting hungry. Where are those PB&J sandwiches mom made for me? I left them at home? Dammit! I’ll lose my place in line if I leave. Wait, there seems to be some half eaten nachos in that trashcan. Dinner is served!

11:00 pm: T-minus 7 hours
These guys standing with me are all weirdos. They keep staring at my (handheld system) and screaming about how (competing handheld system) is so much better because it (is more powerful/has an innovative touch screen/is not an N-Gage). Plus, they all seem to be wearing Battlestar Galactica shirts.

12:00 am: T-minus 6 hours
This is starting to get boring. Maybe I should have brought more than one game for my (handheld system) to play while in line. No problem, I’ll just fantasize about all the awesome games I’ll be playing and how I’m totally gonna rub it in Mike’s face. This whole thing will be worth it for (upcoming killer app) alone. I can’t wait until it gets released this December (more likely next December).

1:00 am: T-minus 5 hours

2:00 am: T-minus 4 hours
I begged my dad for the extra cash. I told him that this would make up for the pain of the divorce with mom. Sucker. Well, I may be at the back of the line, but I preordered the (console name) 2 years in advance. They have to keep one for me, right?

3:00 am: T-minus 3 hours
I’m really starting to bond with the other guys standing in line. We’ve been talking about all the games we were looking forward to and how the (competing next-gen console) is totally (for kids/too expensive/not powerful enough). We seem to have developed a little brotherhood. Even if I don’t get a (console name), it would have been worth it just to hang out with these guys.

4:00 am: T-minus 2 hours
The manager is coming outside. They only have 5 consoles?! Outta my way losers!

5:00 am: T-minus 1 hours
They just handed out the last claim ticket to the guy in front of me. I told him I’d do anything for a (console name). He told me to close my eyes and open my mouth…

6:00 am: Launch
I got one! I finally have a (console name)! Now to go home and bask in the glow of a 2% increase in floating point pixel power!

7:00 am: Disappointment
All these games suck. I paid (cost of console + tax + dignity) for this? Oh well, I’ll just sell it on eBay at an insane markup. Suckers!

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[OPINION] Source Material

According to esteemed scientist, Dr. Avery Orden of the John Hopkins Institute, the ratio of video game commercial tie-ins to terrorists is 1:1. Taking into account the large amount of video games we find based on movies, books, and even music, it is easy to discern one of two things:

1) The U.S. has lost the war on terror.
2) Terrorists don’t know how to make video games.

The vast majority of video games based upon popular franchises are abysmal. If the game is surprisingly well made (GoldenEye, Spider-Man 2) then terrorist involvement was undoubtedly not influential on the project. It is such titles as Friday the 13th (NES), The X-Files: Resist or Serve (PS2), and Superman 64 (N64) that truly spread terror. What is the common reason these titles suffer?

A complete lack of respect for the source material on which it is based.

I don’t remember the last time Jason Voorhees teamed up with a legion of zombies and failed to kill numerous camp counselors, nor do I recall Agent Mulder shooting so many enemies in an episode of the X-Files. And I certainly don’t remember a time in which Superman ever took damage from a bullet.

There are three major reasons terrorists cannot produce quality video game titles:

1) Terrorists don’t know America and, as such, don’t know anything about the rights to the franchises they scored through obscure weapons deals.
2) Terrorists feel that video games are so inferior to other forms of entertainment that they must spice things up with five times the action featuring robotic enemies.
3) They smell.

Terrorists have struck again with the upcoming release, Pillman of Youth, which is based upon the popular Pillsbury Doughboy. This time he’s a rogue pill popper who hides all sorts of drugs in freshly baked bread before smuggling it across intergalactic borders. The developer, Buena Vista, didn’t go so far as to turn the doughboy (now doughman I suppose?) into a gangster ala GTA, but he is comprised of fully prepared bread pieces. The doughboy we know is clearly not yet baked and, what’s more, is a blob of dough, not different pieces of bread put together. The lack of care when handling the Pillsbury Doughboy’s transition into Pillman of Youth is a clear sign that none of the license was on the developer’s mind when the game’s story and gameplay was set in place.

As previously stated, Pillman bakes bread and hides drugs in them to smuggle across borders. However, even this extremely loose connection to the original license has been made completely worthless by the fact that this bit of gameplay is no more than a minigame. That’s right, Pillman of Youth is an open-ended sci-fi adventure with lots of robot enemies between you and the people of Yeast, whom have been oppressed for so long.

This is a simple truth that must be faced if we are to overcome it. Terrorists have been ignoring the source material for all of their endeavors for centuries. The Bible, the Koran, motion pictures . . . it’s all the same to terrorists. Video games based off of popular licenses will continue to fail unless gamers everywhere do something about it. Educate your parents or little siblings who don’t know any better. That Superman game will stab you in the back if you buy it and fear will spread forth anew.

Truly video games based off of popular licenses will continue to fail. Suitable only for casual gamers and foolish parents hoping to gain popularity with their children, these games prove something about this world. It’s not a point that people are stupid, or that terrorists suck at developing video games. No, the point is that casual gamers support terrorists.

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[OPINION] Bottom 10 Buttons


The top 10 controller buttons feature was the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. But some Russian Warez site linked to accidentally so it got like a billion hits in the last 24 hours. We need to milk this for all its worth. Can you follow up with a bottom ten buttons list, or an 11th to 20th best buttons list, or a 46-56th best buttons lsit or SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter, just turn it in by midnight TONIGHT!


(Pasted to remind me of the assignment. Editor: Please remove)

1. L (SNES): I’ve already been through this in some detail in my discussion of the totally awesome R button (See top 10 buttons, No. 5) but, to recap, the L button breaks the natural, perfect balance between one hand (left) for moving the player and one hand (right) for hitting buttons and such. When the SNES’s L button broke this balance, the controller was forever maimed, never again to attain that perfect balance achieved by the NES controller. The L button has tried to make up for this by doing things like firing guns and scrolling the screen to the left, but nothing can make up for this original sin of controller design. NOTHING! Also, you can’t usually reach it on the N64.

2. L2 (PlayStation): As if one L button wasn’t enough. As far as I’m concerned, the entire L button family can go JUMP OFF A CLIFF!

3. Select (old, crappy systems, Sony systems): There has never, EVER been a game that required the select button. EVER! I mean, you can just use the directional pad to navigate any menus, right? Except on those stupid NES games that MAKE YOU reach WAY OVER with your right thumb to hit the select button to navigate the menus. Nintendo long ago realized the futility of this button, and Microsoft has wisely changed it to a slightly more useful “back” button on its consoles, but this useless, vesitigial button – the appendix of buttons, if you will — still lives on in consoles through the Playstation line. This is why I have been taking part in a lonely, blanket boycott on all Sony products for the last 11 years.

4. 4 (Jaguar): While the entire number pad on the Jaguar seems ill thought-out and uncomfortable, The 4 button is particularly annoying. Why? I’m not sure really, but this is No. 4 on the list, so I thought it’d be cute to put a “4” button here, so it gets singled out. And now I’ve officially written enough to move on the the next entry. Oh wait, not quite. All right… there.

5. Power (PS2): So let me get this straight… if I want to turn off my PS2, I have to reach around to the BACK of the system and flip a hard to find little switch? If I wanted to rearrange my entertainment system every time I wanted to turn something on or off, I would… um… I would do that. But I don’t want to do that. I know you can hold down the reset button on the front of the system for a few seconds to put the system into standby mode, but who has time? I’m a busy man, with cheeseburgers waiting to be eaten! I don’t want to have to bend over for THREE SECONDS just to turn off my freaking PS2.

6. Z (GameCube): Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Z trigger was the proud king of the N64 controller, representing the experience of firing a gun like no button since the trigger on the NES Zapper (see Top Ten Buttons., No. 3). But in one short generation, the button has gone from a proud, central position to a malformed little nubbin completed dwarfed by the humungous R button behind it. It won’t be long before the Z button is out of work, selling pushes for two bucks a pop just to get by.

7. II (Turbo Grafx 16): Roman numerals? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NEXT!


9. L3 (PlayStation 2): Stupid controller designer: Here’s an idea! Let’s put a button on the controller that gets activated when people push in the analog pad! And lets not label it so that EVERY FREAKING GAME has to say “(push in the left analog stick)” every time they say “L3.” And lets make it really easy to accidentally push so you change your target or somethig stupid right in the middle of a big battle. R3 is ok.

10. Triangle (PlayStation) First off, any button that thinks it’s too good for letters and numbers is already on my shit list. But triangle has the audacity to not only be a shape, but also to be incredibly annoying to use when writing out cheat codes (unlike fellow PlayStation buttons X, O and []). Just look at this excerpt from an actual code (http://www.cheatcc.com/psx2/sppsb.html):

Hold R2 + Right and press Triangle, Square, Triangle, Circle, Triangle.

Just think how much disk space (or printers ink, if you enjoy killing trees) we could save if we just called the Triangle button something simple like A. This code alone has 21 wasted characters writing out “triangle” instead of a one-letter button name. That might not seem like much, but it adds up. Those are 21 bytes that are clogging up the internet, helping to slow down your porn downloads. Think about it!

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[OPINION] Top 10 Buttons

Oh crap, it’s summer and there are like no games coming out. But we have to write something or else people will stop visiting our site and go surfing for porn or, worse, IGN. Crap! We need a really easy feature story that we can crank out like RIGHT NOW. Kyle, can you write up some sort of top ten list or something to fill out our features for the month? Something like “top ten controller buttons” but not so stupid. Just make up some stuff… it doesn’t matter what you pick, as long as it fits our word minimum.

I need a drink.


(Pasted here to remind me of the assignment. Editor: cut out the above)

1. Start (NES): Where would we be without the start button? Probably still watching the attract mode in Super Mario Bros., that’s where! Sure, hitting A or X or, um, any other button will often function just as well to start a game, but there’s something about following that “Press Start” instruction to the letter that makes beginning your gameplay experience that much richer. As if that wasn’t enough, the start button lets you pause your game so you can go get a cheeseburger (except in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! where trying to pause makes you do an uppercut when you were JUST ABOUT THE FINALLY BEAT SODA POPINSKI BUT NOW YOU WASTED YOUR STAR AND DAMNIT! GET UP! GET UP DAMNIT! CRAP!)

2. A (NES): Pop quiz: What button has allowed players to jump, fire weapons, um… hit things… um… talk to people… OK, the answer is A. I was going to write about how multifunctional this button is, but man, most of the time it does like one of three or four things. And the one on the GameCube is so big it might as well be the whole controller. GOD! Well, I’ve already written this whole thing out, so I guess I’ll leave it at No. 2.

3. Z (N64): While other buttons have their merits, the Z button beats them all in one key area… resembling a gun trigger (EDIT: The trigger on the zapper actually resembles a trigger better, but who the hell cares? Thanks, Killstopher007!) The Z trigger inspired an entire generation of kids to point their controller at each other and yell “BANG!” and then throw the controller at their siblings like a batarang when they realized pretend violence is much less effective than real violence when you want your sister to just give you a bite of her freaking cheeseburger.

4. R (SNES): Back when I was in elementary school, some friends and I had a club called the “Hyper Nintendo Fan Club” (“HNFC”) (later renamed as the “Hyper Nintendo Fan Club That Hates Matt (Because He’s Dumb)” (“HNFCTHM(BHD)”)). We had lots of fun gathering behind the backstop at lunch discussing the finer points of Zelda strategy and throwing bags of dirt at girls (and Matt, because he’s dumb). We also discussed what would be on our dream controller. The number one feature of our dream controller was a dispenser that spit out cheeseburgers, but number 2 or 3 was “something to do with my right index finger.” I’m convinced that there was a spy working for Nintendo in our group, because the R button was introduced in the SNES and, as your probably know, the cheeseburger dispenser is being planned for the upcoming Wii console.

5. R (Dreamcast): You might be wondering why there are no L buttons on this list, while the R button is thrice represented. Just the fact that you’re asking this question shows your ignorance. There is a natural order to the design of a controller. The left hand is used to move your character (with a directional pad or analog stick), while the right hand is used to hit buttons. It worked for the NES. It worked for the Atari 2600 (if you held it the right way). Things were good. Then the L button came along on the SNES and broke the natural, god-given balance of the controller. Suddenly, players had to used their left hand to hit buttons AND move the player. Controllers were forever changed for the worse. And while the concept of left-handed buttons has brought us benefits like the Z trigger, (see No. 3) the downsides painfully outweigh the upsides of this introduction. Anyway, the Dreamcast R button is on here beause it’s analog.

6. Black (Xbox): Darker-colored buttons have suffered a lot in the past, relegated mainly to the ghetto of the shoulder buttons or the rarely used “select” and “start” just to fit in with their brighter colored neighbors like “A” and “X”. The Xbox’s black button was tired of it! Though it still is relegated to an out-of-the-way corner of the smaller Xbox controller, it isn’t afraid to say “I’m here, I’m black, and I’m PROUD!” While black’s brave example has yet to be taken up by other controller buttons, this button will no doubt be remembered by future generations as the button that broke the controller color barrier for other colored buttons like Chartreuse and Plaid.

7. R2 (PlayStation): Some consider R2 to be a pale shadow of R (or R1), but I feel R2 shines in its own unique way. The “2” in its name, for instance. Plus it fast-forwards on PlayStation 2 DVDs, so you can get through those stupid FBI warnings while R1 skips you all the way to the second scene. (EDIT: I’ve been told you can use the R1 button to skip to the next scene, getting through the FBI warning even faster! Thanks Killstopher007!)

8. Button (Atari 2600): This button is so important it doesn’t even have a name. While future controllers would insist that more than one button was necessary for doing more than one function, the Atari 2600 button knew that any game with more than one function was utter crap! This single, vibrant red button was completely at peace with it’s singular nature, in perfect harmony with its system and its controller. The button is truth. The button is love. The button is the button!

9. Eject (SNES): This button gets a bad rap from people who say it’s easier and quicker to just pull the cartdirge out of an SNES without hitting the eject button. What they don’t know is that the Eject button actually discharges all the built-up electricity that has gathered on the cartridge while you were playing the game, making it safe to remove. Want proof? Read this letter for Electronic Gaming Monthly issue #46 (the one with Street Fighter 2 on the cover. No, the other one. No… the other one. Yeah, that one.)

Like, this one time, my friend Tim, right? He tried to yank out Super Mario Kart without hitting eject, right? Because he wanted to play Final Fight, right? But I told him that if he didn’t hit the eject button he could get hurt and mess up the game and himself (and that Final Fight was stupid and so was he), right? And then he TOTALLY got zapped with, like, a ZILLION volts of electricity ‘cuz we had been playing Mario Kart for 54 hours straight, right? Anyway, just thought you should know.

Moral: use the eject button.

10. Eject (Steel Battalion): Name me another button that has its own protective plastic shield? I rest my case!

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[OPINION] An Open Letter To The Usher Who Had Me Escorted Out Of ‘Play: A Videogame Symphony’

[The following is an Open Letter to the Usher who had me escorted out of ‘Play: A Videogame Symphony’, a night of orchestral video game music.]

Dear Sir,

I recently attended the National Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “Play: A Videogame Symphony.” Of course you already know this, as you are the overinflated jerk who had me escorted off the premises. I feel behooved at this juncture to perhaps explain my behavior on the night in question. You see, ‘Play’ purports itself to be a symphony of video game music, however I say it is more of a crap-phony of crap. The selection of music your orchestra selected was simply awful. I wasn’t the only one who noticed it either, I assure you. You are dealing with Gamers here, sir, and gamers are not the types to be made fools of. Let’s look at some of the songs in question, shall we? Sure, you played Mario, big shock, and some Sonic the Hedgehog, but the true gamers want the GOOD music. Songs from games they grew up with, like Boogerman, Bionic Commando, and Charles Barkley’s Shut Up and Jam! While the NSO was playing their seventeenth Final Fantasy song of the night, I know I was with the entire audience while I hankered for some music from Sunset Riders. However, unlike the audience, I was prepared to act. To incite some action and get some answers. Yes, I had consumed some alcohol – an entire cooler of Red Stripe beer – but that does not mean I was a ‘drunken asshole’ as you said, sir. Not in the least. I am nothing but a gamer with a voice and a stack of throwin’ bottles. However I feel now is not the time to replay the events of that fateful night, but time to redress some issues I had with you hereto forthwith. I shall point at them with bullets for your convenience.

-When I asked the NSO if they “Thought they [were] better than me,” that was a rhetorical question. I did not expect an answer from them, and I certainly did not appreciate the answer from you, mister smarty-pants.

-I did not loudly and constantly allege that there was no such game as Metal Gear Solid because I had consumed an entire cooler of Red Stripe beer, I loudly and constantly alleged that there was no such game as Metal Gear Solid because there IS no such game, sir. Just look at the title, I mean they didn’t even TRY to make up a believable sounding name! What’s solid, the metal? The Gear? Nice try, sir.

-My friends were not embarrassed at my behavior, but just astonished at the terrible song selection. That’s why they were hiding their heads, not ‘to avoid being associated with a loud, drunken deadbeat like me.’ I think YOU are the deadbeat, sir. Why do you keep picking on me and hitting me with things?

-I did not ‘Rush the Stage’ to steal NSO property, as you kept screaming at me after you maced me. The third chair violinist had been making eyes at me all night and I thought I had a chance. It’s not like she can’t get another bow. I still think you made too big a deal out of that one.

-I don’t know who you are trying to fool, but I know for a fact the only music in Halo was the sound of a man named Blind Pete tying his shoes with guitar strings. I know because I was there, mister.

-I do not see why everyone got so upset when I tried to get the D.K. Rap going. I realize it is not ‘the wave’, but everyone knows the words, and no one was listening to Aeris’ theme anyway!

-You said I’m not welcome at Wolf Trap any more? Well YOU sir are not welcome at my bi-annual Boogerman themed Bar B-Q (A.K.A. the Boogerman Baked Beans & Brat Burn)! And you know what else, sir? You won’t be missed!

Honestly sir, I don’t blame you for taking me out of there. In fact I should thank you. I went home and fell asleep listening to an oc-remix of music from Shaq-Fu. And that was much better than listening to a half-assed symphony play through music from Battlefield 2. The Play concert should be less about the mainstream and more about the niche gamer who will just stay home and download music anyway. Until such a change is made, there will be more like me, proud patriots who drink an amazing amount of alcohol and proceed to make asses of themselves in a public forum. In closing sir, I think you should play some GTA or maybe street fighter. It might decrease the violence you feel is appropriate in your day-to-day life.

Peace, sir.

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[OPINION] My 24 Hours With G4TV, Or, How I Learned To Stop Complaining And Start Bitching [PART 3]

[We all talk about how bad G4TV is and most of that is based on a minimal amount of viewing time. Take a trip with Michael Piercey as he spends an entire day, on his butt, watching G4TV to find out just how bad it is, and if the ‘bad’ is actually warranted. The last installment has Piercey breaking down into a crapstorm of petty criticism and has been posted in its entirety for all you crybabies.]

1pm Game Makers. This show used to be called Icons, but as part of their new ‘we’re a real TV station’ makeover, the title Icons NOW belongs to a show where they highlight people like Kevin Smith, Marc Ecko, and the Suicide Girls (I am dead serious, there was a show called ‘Icons – Suicide Girls’). So Game Makers, it’s a workable title since the show focuses on people and companies that make games. It’s not a bad show, but it commits the crime of taking itself seriously (even dramatically) and it’s usually boring. This episode focused on the Final Fantasy series, and Squaresoft’s evolution. Now I’m not a FF fan, but I’m sure some people would find it fascinating. Me, I was praying for commercial breaks. Yes, its nice, you rendered things, let’s have an interview with a Japanese guy, GOOD, now lets show game footage, WONDERFUL, now repeat that for a half hour, and we’ll get lunch.

1:30pm ‘Electric Playground’. Seriously. That sounds hazardous. This show is basically X-play with more interviews and no humor at all. In fact these people REALLY take their show seriously, and it’s boring as all f*ck. They had interviews left over from E3 about this PSP game and that DS game, but nothing interesting. They even showed the new Sonic X toyline, whooptie-sh*t. The host, Victor Lucas, would really benefit from the addition of a personality. It’s bad enough when people pretend to be interested in games – this guy has to pretend be a human being AND like video games. Rough. Also the show has apparently been on for 10 years. My only question: Where? Oh, wait, WHY, too. Also Why.

2pm God has smiled on me and given me another hour of Cinematech. And surprisingly it’s NOT a re-run of the 2 episodes that ran at 11! Why is this surprising? Stick around.

3pm Three PM means its time for Brainiac, a British pseudo-science children’s show. Now when I say ‘psuedo-science’ I mean that it claims to be a show about science gone mad, where they do experiments and things. I add pseudo because that’s a load of sh*t. They light things on fire, put explosives in the microwave, etc. It’s entertaining, but hardly scientific. Oh, and it’s for kids. They do things like lightly electrocute a girl while she tries to bake a cake. OOH she drops things, ha ha. They try to swing over the bar on a swingset, that kind of thing. At its best, it’s Mythbusters for kids. At its worst, its silly British children’s programming, and it really doesn’t fit into G4’s groove.

3:30pm Oh god, I didn’t think BRANIAC fit? 3:30 brings us a new show (I lucked out and didn’t have to watch Fastlane, but at what price, I ask you. AT WHAAT PRIIIICEEEE?). It’s a police-chase, home-video-injury type show called ‘Totally Outrageous Behavior’, which may be the dumbest title for anything I’ve ever heard ever. And I once watched a show called ‘You can seriously not have a dumber title than this’. It was on Telemundo. But back to T.O.B. Why is this on my GAMER network? It was like Fox made a special, threw it away, and Spike TV dug it out of the trash and farted on it. The videos weren’t funny, they were mostly stupid, and the show did the audience the wonderful service of INTERVIEWING some of the victims of the show. I didn’t care about these people when they were fighting in mascot costumes, I sure don’t give half a sh*t what they have to SAY 2 years later! The videos included a drunk redneck trying to skateboard, some naked women pulled over for drunk driving, and the one they saved for last, a man getting butt-complimented by a donkey. SOMEONE TAPED THAT, AND DID NOTHING TO HELP! Look, it HAS to be in the bible, thou shalt not let thy brother get butt-complimented by an animal! Seriously, if I was getting butt-complimented by, say, a kangaroo (just to spice things up) and someone stood there taping it, I would literally rip the mans jaw off and beat him with it until he died. Then I’d take his dead body, chop it up into cubes, take the cubes, chop those into slivers, and harden the slivers, then I’d visit everyone he knew or loved and SLIDE THE SLIVERS UNDER THEIR FINGERNAILS. Basically I think the guy shoulda helped out is what I’m sayin.

4pm means more X-play. The first episode is a newer episode, but still old. Tomb Raider Legends review, and all. The 4:30 episode is more familiar. That’s because it’s the same episode that ran at 12:30. I did make a note that at 4:50 I saw a Mountain Dew ad, and it was the most entertaining thing I’d seen in almost 2 hours. It’s only fair to point out here that I still think Morgan Webb is hot. Thank you.

5pm Time for more Cheat. This block from 4-7 is what G4 calls their ‘video game mash-up.’ I call it ‘2 hours of X-play and an hour of Cheat, and Mash-up is a popular term at present, so lets use it even though nothing is mashed up’. Theirs is catchier, I’ll give you that, but mine is more honest. So it’s obvious I didn’t like my 10am dose of Cheat, maybe I’ll like this one more. And perhaps I would have, if it weren’t the exact same 2 episodes. Now, they ran 4 episodes of Cinematech already without replaying one. We’ve seen 3 episodes of X-play, and that aint bad. G4 doesn’t have at least ONE other episode of Cheat they can bring out? Now you can say no one would sit around and watch all day, and re-running things is acceptable, and to that I say you don’t know dorks. Sedentary in nature, my experiment of spending an entire day planted in front of the sofa watching ONE channel, is common to a dork, what the latin called ‘Smallos Potatoes’. So boo to you G4. You made me watch the same sh*tty episode of a sh*tty show twice. And that’s a thing I like to call ‘Doublepoop.’

6pm As I stated, as part of the Mash-up, here we get 2 more episodes of X-play! One of the things I like about X-play is any time you want to watch it, it’s probably on. The 6pm episode is another unaired (for that day) episode, though again, a bit old. Adam was out that week, and they had the comic reviewer from Attack of the Show in, and even for X-play she wasn’t very good. It turns out that a bad performance on a mediocre show is as painful as a bad performance on a good show. Tough luck. The 6:30 episode was a re-run of the 4pm episode, and their Starr Jones jokes weren’t funny the first time.

7pm Aah, the nightly new episode of Attack of the Show. Live, and everything. Now I’d love to rant and rave against AotS, but it’s G4’s big dog for a reason. It really is quality. My only complaint is that it shoots too broadly, trying to capture all the audience it can, covering movies, tech, games, sports, comics, music, etc. Still, if they narrow their view, who knows. The real plus for the show is that it’s live, which means they can roll with what comes at them. All day I’d seen promos for the episode, which mentioned their round table would be discussing Movie Stars and their marketability. When the show aired they opted to talk about the rumor that Sony’s PS3 wont play used, rented, or borrowed games, because a new article had come out about it. The only downside of the show was the inclusion of the wanna-be well-known Seanbaby as a commentator. Still, he said nice things about the Wii, so he’ll be spared from my wrath. Another plus side is I just got to teach my Spell-check that yes, Wii is a word, and yes, it’s spectacular.

8pm Now dorks and dorkettes, its time for prime time. Prime DIRECTIVE time! Oh man that was a #1 joke. Oh, 8pm means its time for Star Trek, the Next Generation. Now I haven’t seen this show in years, and I was never too big a fan to start with, but it was nice to see some TNG. Now I’m no expert, but the inclusion of Tasha Yarr, a Riker whose face was as bald as Picard’s head, and a spunky young Wesley Crusher hinted to me that this was what the fans call an ‘early episode’. The plot was about some race of aliens who wanted to make sex all up on lieutenant Yarr (she would make an awesome pirate, by the way). The highlight for me was really the Wesley crusher scenes. Will Wheaton is my hero nerd, even though his nerd level is much, much higher than mine (It is a well known fact that Will is so nerdy that when he has sex, Math falls out. Look it up.) At 9pm another episode ran, and though this one was funnier, and better written, the lack of some good Crusher action left me wanting. Still, having TNG on a night is a good move, and I think this is another example of G4 knowing its audience. Wait, this is a negative article. What I mean to say is, G4 sucks and they smell.

10pm The Man Show. An entire hour of the damned man show. I was never a big fan when it was on Comedy Central. Not because it offended me, but because the humor was stupid, jokes about butts and boobs, and how women are dumb. It’s really not my cup of tea. Still, at least the episodes G4 runs are from the Adam and Jimmy days, and are therefore exponentially better than when butt-compliment and stupid took over. So, the hour of Man show was fairly funny, but I noticed around 8pm there was a shift in the ads G4 ran. They think that older folks tune in for the Man Show, ads for colleges stopped, and ads for hair-restoration and back pillows started. I would have guessed that the younger kids, who don’t know what a boobie looks like, and don’t know how to find them online YET, those would be the real audience. But what do I know?

11pm Star Trek 2.0. This show was a bit of a mystery to me. I liked the idea of running episodes of the Original Star Trek, but what was all this bullsh*t on the screen? At the sides of the screen is some kind of ticker, a ‘Spock Market’(get it?). On the bottom you get to see nerds answering questions live online, and at the top, trivia scrolls across. My good friend Shahin explained the Spock Market to me, saying that as things happen in the show, their ‘value’ goes up in the ‘market’. So if Kirk’s shirt gets torn, ‘Torn Shirt’ goes up in value. But what the f*ck does it mean? Why have it? What’s the point? And as Shahin points out, if you know what happens in an episode, you can just buy with foreknowledge and win big. So watching the episode, I took in the ‘experience’ of Trek 2.0. Here are my findings. The Spock Market is useless. It’s a stupid idea, and easily done away with. The chat screen at the bottom is seriously retarded. I use the internet, I see enough nerds arguing about trek and trying to be clever (key word ‘Trying’), and I get to see them CUSS when they do it! The way the chat screen works is, the show asks a question, like ‘What would YOUR transport box look like?’ I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing some of the answers:
‘Like a box filled with Doritos and Mountain Dew’
‘On Spocktopia my box would look like a hand doing the greeting sign’
Also, the chat screen showed me that 99% of people ‘interacting’ with this show don’t know what the word ‘Acronym’ means. While ‘Video games, food, and chicken’ might be your personal philosophy, it’s NOT a f*cking ACRONYM! So the chat screen can go. Now the scrolling trivia at the top is mostly useless crap, and somehow it’s the best thing in the whole show. So what they need to do is scrap the f*cking tickers and scrolling garbage, destroy the chat window, and use a Pop-Up video style presentation and still deliver the useless trivia. That way I won’t hurt my eyes reading white text on black while trying to watch the show, too.

12m Lately G4 has been promoting their new ‘Midnight Spank’, their answer to Adult Swim. The programming changes for each night, and sometimes its Cinematech but with racier games (which is really quite smashing), and sometimes, like the night I watched, they run Brainiac again. Now I think Brainiac is a fine show, but what it isn’t is adult! It’s a f*cking KIDS show, and it really doesn’t belong in their ‘mature’ block! Also, if you take an explosive, wrap it in metal, and put it in the microwave, IT’S GONNA BLOW THE F*CK UP! That’s NOT SCIENCE! While it’s cool to see them blow up microwaves and cars and things, it still feels very out of place in their Midnight Spank lineup.

12:30 Ahh, now This is more like it, a show called Late Night Peep Show, a collection of short cartoons, much more fitted to their lineup. However, this is still no Adult Swim killer. It feels more like MTV’s awkward early-nineties Liquid Television. There’s a few Happy Tree Friends shorts, which I’ve never been a fan of, and the Fuccons (also known as ‘Oh, Mikey’ and some anime called Ninju that I remember seeing years ago. All in all a nice little block, but the Midnight Spank apparently only goes till 1am. Oh well.

1am The same hour of the Man Show that ran at 10. Seriously, the same hour. This experiment is becoming a lot less fun.

2am THE F*CKING CAMERA SHOW AGAIN. They re-run that damn behavior show again. At this point I’m less tired than I am really pissed off. Forget that I’ve been up since 7:30 yesterday, forget I’ve now sat through some 3 hours of X-play and 2 hours of Cheat and 2 hours of the Man show, etc, I had the hardest time sitting through this garbage again. And as you can guess, come

2:30am They show the same episode of Brainiac they showed 11 hours prior! Still for kids, still not really right on this network, has nothing to do with games, yadda yadda yadda.

3am Now we get to see tonight’s new Attack of the Show over again. It’s still a good show, but it’s late and I’m getting tired. I begin to go slightly insane, and draw Trogdor on the bottom of my foot.



4am X-play rounds out their programming day, with a double-dose of re-runs. We get the episodes from 6 and 6:30 again, and those Starr Jones jokes DO get kind of funny when you stir in some sleep deprivation. And then it went off. The network began running paid programming. My notes had turned to scribbles, I had eaten 5 hot pockets, and it was more than time for bed. Before I go into the results of my experiment, allow me to throw down and get into some things I tallied up during my 21 hours.

Number of ads for Colleges: 57. Fifty-Seven in the span of 21 hours. I only kept track of this because it’s seriously noticeable, and it adds to who they think they’re advertising TO.

Number of ads for the Army: 30. Again, noticeable since there’s one in almost every break.

Number of times they ran a Doritos Ad featuring the 1998 Godzilla: 14.
Now, that’s not that many in the span of 21 hours, I just bring it up because the ad bugs the crap out of me! Its 8 years old, why run it now? My girlfriend says they’re not referencing the movie, just using an ad where Godzilla wants to eat some f*ckin chips, and I say NO, we must NEVER reference the 98 Godzilla! There is no statute of limitations; we must lock all referencing ads, posters, etc away for all TIME!
But it could be that I am overreacting, I will think about it.

Number of times I forgot I’m (pretending to be) a professional Journalist and reached for the remote: 10

Number of times I felt happy/entertained: 8

Eight damn times.

Some other notes pertaining to the ads:

.Sprite’s new ad campaign makes me REALLY thirsty for a Dr Pepper.
.Apparently Car Insurance can get you women!
.A weight loss ad began ‘Are you sick of feeling Fat and Tired?’ Not only do they have G4’s demographic nailed, all their results, the people saying ‘I lost 40 pounds!’ had a disclaimer saying ‘Results not typical’. None of the results were typical. So…what ARE typical results? I mean you could have a dude who ate 30 big macs and lost 25 pounds, those results aren’t typical either. What’s my point? I don’t have one. (results typical)

Ok, so let’s look at the whole day, really drink in the mediocrity, and ask ourselves, who does G4 THINK their audience is? During the day there are a LOT of college ads, so the audience is in high school, or graduated and never went to college. However, they have shows like Kaiju and Brainiac that are clearly geared to children around 8-14. Hmm, that can’t be right though, because X-play often speaks to the 19-25 crowd, and those people wouldn’t watch kids shows. Same goes for Attack of the Show, they used a beer bong on their weekend show, and the banter tends to be overtly sexual, so they’re not for kids. Then there’s Star Trek and the Man show, which are supposed to garner a slightly older audience, but really don’t garner much of anyone at all. And of course Midnight Spank isn’t going to get anyone to quit on Cartoon Network. So their audience is men, ages 8-40, who sit at home all day playing video games, need soda and a college education, and have never used the internet. Fair enough.

However, who is their audience, REALLY? Well, the easy answer is ‘Me, and about 50 other people’, but that’s a bit cheap. Really, their audience is teen to adult men. That’s it. So what they need to do is quit with the stuff for kids, and pronto. They need to start marketing directly towards ME at all times, basically. That goes for every other TV station in the world, too. Honestly, what G4 needs to do is stop trying so hard to be relevant. Gamers are glad that we take up enough of the market to deserve a TV show, but we don’t want to be talked down to like we’re stupid. Kristin Holt I’m looking at you. However, at the end of the day, we’re probably going to keep getting our news, cheats, and reviews from the internet, so honestly we’re a sh*tty demographic to market to. That’s how it is! We’re flattered that you tried (if you’re trying, that is), but we can go ahead and call this a failed experiment – the station, that is, not me watching it, that experiment was f*ckin’ awesome. The bottom line, the main reason I think G4 failed, is they broke the cardinal rule of both gaming and cable television. THEY MADE ME WANT TO GO OUTSIDE. I had a strong desire to turn off the smart-box, put on pants and shoes, and crawl into the sunlight. Luckily I was able to fight the urge (who KNOWS what’s out there) but the fact that I felt it at all shook me to the very fiber of my being, which I’ll have you know is a very fine silk.

In closing, G4TV could be a great station. They could encapsulate the gaming experience, have really great shows, and truly understand their audience, but odds are we still wouldn’t watch. After my 21 hours, I know I won’t be turning G4 on any time soon. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe X-play is on. (I’ll be waiting, Morgan!)

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