We Love, We Hate

We Love

Grand Theft Auto IV trailer finally hits:
It might be a minimalist imitation of the Francis Ford Coppola/Philip Glass art film Koyaanisqatsi, but we loved every second of thisstirring lookat the new, realistic Liberty City. And then we loved it again. And again. And now we're all tingly in anticipation of our next look at the game. Keep 'em coming, Rockstar.

Super Paper Mario captivates an office:
It's no small secret we're stoked to have the firstreviewfor Wii's biggest spring release. That excitement probably registered on the Richter scale when the game was initially fired up on Monday. At first one person was watching, then three then five then eight. Do you understand the power this game has over old-school gamers? Instead of ooh-ing at whatever PS3 game was being played, we were captivated by Mario 's simplistic art design and snappy dialogue. Well, and the way the world kept snapping from 2D to 3D and back, making the familiar strange and wonderful all over again. This game is a true joy to play... mostly.

PlayStation 3 explodes in Europe:
The PS3's launch on the other side of the Atlantic apparently netted 600,000 sales in one weekend, and that's a lot - especially when you consider that the console costs even more in Europe than it does Stateside. We've taken a few swipes at the black box, but deep down we really want to see it succeed - otherwise, we're all out $600.

NiGHTS 2 - if it exists (wink, wink):
Evidence of a Wii-bound sequel to Sega's classic side-view flying game NiGHTS into Dreams this week left fans puzzled, scared, and thrilled: puzzled because magazines from Sweden and Portugal seem to have gotten first worldwide dibs, scared that Sega would wreck it the way it arguably has the Sonic and Shining Force franchises, but ultimately thrilled at the thought of a new NiGHTS. Sega has refused to comment so far, but arguably legit online scans of Portuguese gaming mags don't lie. We'll let the comedy inherent in that sentence speak for itself, shall we?

Holy building blocks, Batman!
Call us nostalgic fools, but this week's news that a LEGO Batman game is in development made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Which is strange, considering that the comic world of Gotham is supposed to be dark and disturbing... butjust lookat his little plastic, furrowed brow. And those tiny penciled-in muscles. It's all so adorably moody! If Traveller's Tales gives this franchise the same loving attention they did Star Wars, you can count us in.

We Hate

Stupid fans' reaction to the GTA IV trailer:
In 63 seconds, Rockstar revealed a little about their next crime epic, but they inadvertently revealed a lot about the gaming community as a whole. Within seconds of the movie debuting, the mobs were online and either declaring the sequel a failure or purporting to already know every last thing about it. "Nothing's different," they moaned. "You can't fly planes!" they cried. "Why can't the main character be an American?" they whined. "Well, I'm not buying it," they pouted. Seriously, people? You realize that was only 63 seconds, right? Debate and discussion are cool; racism and smug assumptions are not. Everyone knows the internet's biggest export is cynical vitriol, but it was still disturbing to see it all distilled in one place and at one time like that.

Here's aquick samplingof what we're talking about, along with some actually insightful analysis.

Mario and Sonic... at the Olympics?
Maybe kiddies born after 1995 don't get it. We of the "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" era would literally fight at the drop of a plumber's red hat to prove which mascot was better: Mario or Sonic. It's been a dream for an entire generation to see these two go at it, to co-star in a game together or even just share screen time in any way.

Now we're finally getting it, but they're putting the two against each other at the 2008 Olympics. Sigh. Two hugely creative worlds and we're stuck in modern-day China? Double sigh. We wanted warp pipes and rings. We wanted to run through loops while the Hammer brothers hucked chain chomps at us, and to see Bowser breathe fire on Big the Cat and take his fish. But most of all, we wanted blood, people. We wanted a fight to the finish. Oh, we're sure this will at least be a perfectly passable Track & Field clone - but Sonic better be in Smash Bros. Brawl or heads will roll.

Nut cases:
Last week, Gregory Colbert, leader of Oakland's "Nut Cases" gang was sentenced to 75 years to life for murder. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the gang "told police that they spent their time getting high and playing Grand Theft Auto, then went and perpetrated the violent acts shown in the game, including robbery and murders."

The ridiculous origins of the Nut Cases' name - based on members' tattoos of the Planters Peanut mascot (what's tougher than a walking peanut with a top hat and monocle?) - would be laughable if it wasn't for their heinous crimes. That's just what we need: a bunch of homicidal pot-head GTA fans reinforcing the stereotype that all gamers are just a bunch of violent stoners.

Want to read more hug squeezing and hate spewing? Check out last week's column.

March 30, 2007