News: Prancin’ Aboot With Yer Heads Full’a Eyeballs

Not art. Or shut up.

Gamers Threw A Tantrum, Ebert Gave In

We may not have gotten candy or a new toy, but after much screaming and pounding our fists on the ground, the gaming community got what it wanted: Roger Ebert shutting the hell up. In his latest journal entry on the Chicago Sun-Times website, he writes:

I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place. I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn’t seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself.

He goes on to speak of the nearly five-thousand comments that his blog received, only about three-hundred of which concurred with his opinion. With his foot in his half-of-a-mouth, he acknowledges that not all were “cretinous comments from gamers,” but rather “intelligent, well-written, and right about one thing in particular: I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games.” He goes on to elaborate how he was wrong and to admit one critical thing about himself: he has no desire to play video games, and thus, cannot understand how they can be seen as art. He admits that he may not understand it, but as our site discussed at length, art is experienced differently by each viewer, or in this argument, by each player. He concludes his article with something we all knew from the beginning, “I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place.”

She's not touching the sides, you should be okay.

I Blame Virginia Herrell

If you live under a rock, you may not have heard of this miraculous device called an iPhone. Another reason you may not have heard of it is because your friends who have it cannot actually call you on it unless they hold it the right way. With the release of the iPhone 4 also came the newest technical problem for Steve Jobs to ignore, in which the user’s signal strength will almost disappear simply by putting their hands on the metal sides, an almost unavoidable task. This is not the first time that a phone has had a design flaws like this, Nokia released models with this type of problem several years ago, and as I was lucky enough to own one of these piece of cheap Chinese garbage, there is one clear difference between Nokia’s fail and Apple’s fail: the Nokia phone explicitly stated “do not touch this antenna area” and you were fine as long as you heeded that warning. Apple’s shining representatives did not state the antenna problem prior to its release, and have been rather unapologetic, with King Jobs even saying “just avoid holding it that way.” And you paid how much for that device again? Enjoy!

Eyepatch, check. Underboob, check. Loli panty shot, check. Its definitely a picture!

Nintendo Cures Googly Eyes

Amblyopia, or severe lazy eye syndrome, left young Ben Michaels with a severely compromised right eye, with such deterioration over the course of two years that his doctors feared permanent blindness in the eye. After taking him to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, his mother was shocked at the treatment plan for her son: video games. Per the doctor’s orders, Ben played Mario Kart DS for two hours every day with a patch over his left eye, and in no time, the boy’s prognosis went from rather grim to absolutely stunning. Because the youngster’s functional eye was covered by the patch, this forced the right eye to work harder and concentrate more on the figures on the screen. “When he started, he could not identify our faces with his weak eye,” his mother told the Daily Mail, going on to say that he now was able to read with the afflicted eye. Doctors are, as always, wary to say that video gamers are the cure, but admit that they certainly help as the child tends to stick with it more than with traditional methods.

RPGamer finally made Lusipurr's game, and the gameplay videos are out.

Gameplay Videos Are Piracy

For as many tech pirates inhabit the internet societies of Western civilizations, Japan still manages to ravage us in terms of piracy, so much so that publishers are cracking down with an iron fist. Visual Arts and Aquaplus, two visual novel publishers, have started warning users that posting gameplay videos to sites like Nico Nico Douga and Youtube is an act of piracy itself, classifying it as unauthorized distribution and threatening fines and jail time. Since visual novels differ from other games in that all players will follow the same dialogue prompts and answer the same choices, the argument is that these videos show the potential buyers exactly what will happen, thus eliminating the need to buy it. While calling this an act of piracy is not unheard of in Japan, many gamers and other industry watchers warn that any legal action could set a dangerous precedent and perhaps even hurt the developers themselves when sites refuse to even show trailers for fear of litigation. While the U.S. has several statutes regarding the fair use of such media, Japan does not, so the future of video game videos is yet unknown.

Tasty Spy
Probably not in the next update.

Julian ‘SiliconNooB’ Taylor: Master of Moustache Science

Valve is surely making a name for themselves as the most frustrating cocktease ever. In addition to releasing several new Portal 2 videos, they have also updated the Team Fortress 2 blog this week with a new comic. In addition to declaring Australia a cesspool of idiocy allowed to survive only by some strange gold brick, it reveals new details about the RED versus BLU backstory and the history of the Engineer. But what if you could care less about all that and just want to shoot things? We do know that the Engy will soon be getting a golden wrench, rumors are abound that a new shotgun is in store…and a new machine. The comic makes it sounds as if it will be some kind of invulnerability device, dubbed the Not-Dying Machine. The guys at Valve have the good of making English. What they are not good at, however, is giving a date for the next update.


  1. Thous Visual Novel publishers are shooting themselves in the foot.

    Also fantastic picture, you’ve done UNDERBOOB proud.

  2. @oyashiro – I’m not so sure that they are. it’s not like lookin up gameplay of an action game or an rpg, in most visual novels all you do is read. it would be like showin gameplay vids of Heavy Rain, not much point in buyin if you know the story.

  3. Even for Heavy Rain, a portion of the game was the controls. That’s really not the case for games that are entirely menu-driven. While I don’t really agree with the decision and it has yet to be seen what kind of impact it’ll have, I can definitely understand where they’re coming from. Like Breaka said, there’s not really any gameplay to this type of game. Nobody’s playing them for the awesome menu mechanic.

  4. It’s the group of people, the Otakus that they are pissing off. These are the type of people that issue death threats and stalk developers if they do something not to there liking with the characters they like. They buy VNs even after watching it being played 5 times in a row. You don’t mess with them.

  5. As someone who has played quite a few VNs, if the story were ruined for me, I probably wouldn’t buy them anymore. The thing is, if you know you won’t play if you already know the story, you tend to avoid watching the videos; so, the majority of people will just avoid watching them.

    The developers could also consider adding some other sort of physical merchandise to the game purchase to entice people to still buy it like collector’s editions do here. I mean Jesus Christ those games are expensive over there, we’re talking the equivalent of $80-120 US for some of them. It’s ridiculous.

  6. @Dan – for a book? how the hell do they stay in business?

  7. @Breaka: Because when you’re talking about the obsessive otaku, visual novels are the closest interaction with females that they get. Hell, its probably the closest interaction with other human beings.

    Plus, think about how easy it would be to make one of those games:
    Step 1. Write a script based on any of the typical anime archetypes (i.e. schoolgirl, magical girl, about-to-be-tentacle-raped girl, etc.), probably in flowchart format to accommodate the different choices.
    Step 2. Draw each girl in the following picture types: normal, happy, angry, sad, and blushing. If you want to make this really complicated, draw two or three different outfits, but facial expression always the same.
    Step 3. Repeat a broken meme.
    Step 4. Profit.
    So even if they don’t sell millions of copies, it also didn’t take them millions of dollars to create it. As long as they make a good deal of money on the few copies that they do sell, they’re set.

    Then factor the glorious world of sequels. Clannad was a rather good visual novel…..and then they went batshit insane with whoring it out. I have no idea how many various versions of Clannad there are, but I’m pretty sure Nagisa is the reigning queen of visual novel cash.

  8. Solution 1: Ban all gameplay videos from Youtube.

    Solution 2: Don’t make your game so damn linear that the entire bredth of its gameplay experience can be had by watching youtube videos.

  9. @SolutionNooB – they’re not that linear, actually. I know for a fact Fate/Stay Night, one of the more popular VNs, has branching paths and dialogue choices. the issue is that that’s all they have. if you can imagine Persona 3/4 without any combat that’s pretty much a VN.

  10. Type-Moon is one of the better VN makers, along with Key, 07th Expansion and I hear Circus is pretty good.

  11. Even if they use the same five characters and trade their names, I LOVE Type-Moon. I eventually want to get my hands on the Kara no Kyoukai novel, as I absolutely adored the anime. I’ve also been meaning to get around to Tsukihime, as well as 07th’s Higurashi series, but LOL laziness.