Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Song of the Day: Boston's More Than A Feeling

Going old school rock with this one. Back when they used to name themselves after states and cities and whatnot.

I love this song. Blame Scrubs. Forgive the corny lyrics in the video...or not, and sing along if that's your thing.

(Live) Video of the Day: Hall and Oates - She's Gone

Okay, so I'm not a huge Hall and Oates fan. ...Not really. I copped the best of way way back though and I'm a huge fan of THAT. 20 tracks and almost all of them are amazing stuff. Here's one of my favorites.

She's Gone. Does this have something to do with my current state? ...Not really. Hope you love it, though admittedly the album is cooler, where I guess they played with Hall's voice so its extra-deep--works very well.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Song of the Day: Little Brother - Ladies' Jam

And so we're up with the song of the day, again. Jeez, its like these things are...daily or something. :D Anyway, another group I'm a huge fan of, is Little Brother. They really are pretty much everything I'm looking for in a rap group. They've got the lyrical cleverness, the beats that make my head nod--like they say so often in their songs. "Dope beats, dope rhymes, nigga that's hip-hop."

Just..'cause I can't help it...I want to give you guys a Wiki link to Stop the Violence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_the_Violence). Read the link first--once you listen to the song, you'll see why I wanted you to. Anyway, keepin' it short, onto the show folks.

Music Video of the Day: UVERworld's Dtecnolife

Another rock song. Go figure. You might think I was...a fan or something.

That's the funny thing about Japan. When THEY do a song for a cartoon, or a television show? Its actually good. Imagine that. Rock out.

Song of the Day: Asian Kung Fu Generation - Jihei Tansaku

Video of the Day was some classic hip-hop, so I figured the song of the day should be a sharp contrast. Imagine that. Rock music. And here I was told that, I didn't like rock music. Ain't that about a bitch. Me and my two best friends are the only black people in town who listen to rock as much as rap (also one of the few people who enjoyed J-Rock, at that), but apparently, I don't like it. Man...screw it. Just...listen to the song.

Jihei Tansaku actually probably wasn't a big favorite of mine when I first heard it, but a couple months ago I had my mp3 player on random and this song came up and something about the intro got me really hyped and made me love it. But, shutting up now. Listen to the song folks.

Video of the Day: Tupac - I Ain't Mad at Cha

Okay, trying to get away from the MJ stuff now, so we're going to move away from the King of Pop, and move to a person some might call the King of Hip-Hop.

Working on being slightly more succinct, in my posts, so no long stories or whatever. Its good music. Speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Song(s) of the Day: Jackson 5 Edition

So yesterday I did some of MJ's hits as a solo act. But you know he was inspiring people through his music in a group act with the Jackson 5 for years prior to that. Kids these days probably don't know that, but I can almost guarantee you they've sung a Jackson 5 song at some point in their lives. And while I've never had that many Jackson 5 songs myself, I DO have some favorites. Hit the jump.

Never Can Say Goodbye. A definite classic. Admittedly, I'd never heard it before I copped the Man in the Mirror mixtape, but here's one we've all heard, no doubt. (This one's a live.)

The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back". Gotta love it.

Lastly, there's this one, which I really wanted to do after I heard little MJ do the chorus on Rhymefest's song.

As good as Bill Withers' version.

....Now I gotta toss THAT in. Know where your stuff comes from, folks. I ain't like all these people who've never wrote a song in their life but are constantly talking shit about people who *dare* to sing a cover ("Make up something of your own!" Ugh. Morons.), but I WILL say that you need to know your music history. Prior to MJ's death, somewhere there were people who believed that Fall Out Boy created Beat It, and that's kinda depressing.


Enjoy folks.

Music Video(es) of the Day: Michael Jackson Tribute

Yeah, I'm doing another day of MJ tributes. What's it say at the top? Jumping in Headfirst? Right, that's my site, so we do what I wanna do.

Plus, I intended to give you guys these anyway, just not at first.

The first of these is a cover of the Michael Jackson song, Smooth Criminal. I hate to say it, but I first heard this song watching American Pie 2 when I was 14 and liked it so much I had to get someone to burn me a CD with it. Still--whatever. I like it, hope you do too.

Admittedly, while the video is amusing, its nowhere near as cool as some of MJ's. That said? The kid breakdancing? Hilarious.

Heh, if you didn't like THAT one, I know you won't like this next one. I HATE doing this, but apparently a gang of jack-asses on YT got rid of all the fan-uploaded versions of this, so I'll have to link you to it. I hate doing that. One, because I like the traffic. Two? You can catch stupid reading their comments.

Fall Out Boy's cover of Beat It

Pay careful attention to the video and you'll catch Scrubs' Donald Faison (Turk!) doing his best MJ impression. I was actually, well...impressed. :D Enjoy.

Okay, near as I can tell, that should pretty much do it for MJ related songs in the Video of the Day. Tomorrow? Haven't decided yet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Song(s) of the Day: Michael Jackson Tribute Edition

Was going to hook you guys up with Masami Okui's Key today for my Song, but as said before, I found out about Michael Jackson's death, and that made me change my game up. So instead, today I'll be giving you guys some tribute songs by one of my favorite rappers, Rhymefest, who devoted an entire mixtape to Mike last year called Man in the Mirror. Enjoy your music folks.

Let's kick things off with Rhymefest's title track, Man in the Mirror...kind of "new-school" MJ, but its a great, great song.

Couldn't find this one on YT, but still. Rhymefest's Breakadawn is classic. You can hear the respect both rappers have for MJ in it through the references and their view of how he affected their lives and how he lived his.

And lastly...my absolute favorite of Rhymefest's MJ tribute songs...No Sunshine. A very young Michael Jackson (who I'd never heard before this, and it blew me away) fucking RIPS Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine in the chorus, while Rhymefest drops straight fire in the verses. One of my favorite rap songs of all time. Enjoy folks.

Edit: One more. Not a Rhymefest song. While I was listening to some of these songs I remembered this cat on the Foxxhole, a former American Idol contestant named Ace Young doing a rendition of MJ's Butterflies off his 2001 album Invincible...and I remembered the song was kinda hot. MJ still had the moves even back then. Check it out.

Hope you liked the tribute folks. I'm out. Gonna go find me a "Best Of", meditate, and enjoy the King of Pop's music legacy. Later.

Music Video(es) of the Day: Michael Jackson Edition

Initially, I'd planned to give you guys another dose of Do As Infinity, but then, I heard some news that made me put the breaks on that.

Michael Jackson, one of the greatest music stars of all time, has passed. And I know the bar ain't that high here anymore, but, for once, I'm gonna put the jokes away. We're not going to talk about whatever "problems" the man had. We're not going to act like they didn't exist--its just...for once we're going to put that away and remember the best of The King of Pop.

Three videos this time.

Billie Jean was always one of my favorite MJ songs. Like Jamie Foxx said--it was very pop, but at the same time it was one of the most "street" songs ever released, when you listened to the lyrics. (He was doing the "that's NOT my baby's momma" shit WAY before these so called "hood niggas" with this shit.)

Next up...

Thriller is one of the greatest songs, and greatest videos of all time. Hands down. I remember the first time I saw the video--I was 12 at the time, and BET was doing the 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time. If I remember right, this was #1. If you watched it, you can see why. He really pushed the limits of what people thought music videos were for, because most of his were amazing--Thriller plays out like both a movie *and* a music video all at once, and does both better than most that are only trying to do one or the other. (He was also ahead of his time with the dance moves, because people are STILL doing that zombie dance from this movie, or derivatives of it.)

Remember the Time is so amazing, I STILL remember the tune and the lyrics and I haven't heard it in ages. And, once again, Mike does a fantastic job with the video. He even got Eddie freaking Murphy (who was crazy hot at the time--this was like, the early 90's back when Eddie was a big movie star) to be in his video--that's how big he was. He was also always willing to step it up another notch and try something new, working on this song with singer/producer Teddy Riley (another legend).

And, because I'm a big Chris Tucker fan as well...a bonus video. Check it:

You Rock My World. Mike had a brief revival in the early 2000s with this song, which got huge in part because whenever an R&B singer first comes back, its always a big deal, but also because Chris Tucker had just come out of our generation's "Lethal Weapon" alongside Jackie Chan with "Rush Hour", and he guest-stars in the video. Again, ahead of his time with the dance moves, and the video was top-notch. Gotta love it.

There's a crapload of other MJ videos that deserve to be watched--these are just my personal favorites. Hope you like.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

(Live) Song of the Day - Masami Okui - Chaos (!)

And, here we are with the start of the OTHER new column at JiH. Basically, I'm a huge music buff. If I can vibe to it, I want it. But that means a lot of the songs I like just won't have videos, plus there's way too many to just do one a day, so I'm doubling up. This column will be for the songs that don't actually have a music video since, for whatever reason, they weren't granted "single" status. So, give the jump a quick click and see what Santa Sage has for you today.

I've said this in a column elsewhere, but I'm absolutely in love with Masami Okui and her voluminous body of fantastic work. She's a superb artist who doesn't get enough credit for being so awesome, and one of my favorite albums of hers is her sixth, entitled Neei. For whatever reason, the J-Pop Queen had slowly been moving away from her pop roots with every album after her first, with Neei being almost pure rock.

My absolute favorite of the songs on this album is entitled Chaos. I don't know why, but everytime I hear it, I get so excited. Its got so much soul and raw emotion stuffed inside of it, and you honestly don't have to know what she's saying to catch the song's meaning, but to enrich the experience, the lyrics (and a translation!*) can be found here.

Anyway, forget me...time for the main presentation~! I present to you, Masami Okui's Chaos!

Sage's Note: Wow, the translation has been redone, and for the better. ....And its scary how much I can relate to it.

(Live) Video of the Day: Do As Infinity - Heart.

Sage: Aight, you got the video ready?

Bunny DJ*: Nope.

Sage: What do you mean "nope"?

Bunny DJ: We couldn't find it. Its not out there.

Sage: ...Its Do As Infinity. They're one of the biggest bands in J-Pop, and this is one of their very first videos. Its gotta be out there!

Bunny DJ: If it is, we won't be getting to it soon. Plus, didn't they break up?

Sage: Yeah, but they were huge!

Bunny DJ: But they broke up like, three years ago. You know how humans are. All about what's "now".

Sage: ...Dammit. You're right. *sighs, gives her a carrot* Thanks.

Bunny DJ: *takes it, munches* Thanks. We did get a live though.

Man, I don't know what to say. But you see we ain't shit around here. Today was SUPPOSED to be the start of a new series of columns on JiH: Video of the Day. Where I get a music video of a song I really like and upload it here. But that ain't work out, since on my first choice embedding the video was disabled, and my second choice I simply could not find the video. So, instead, we'll be dealing with the Live Version today.

Do As Infinity's Heart, off their first album, Break of Dawn. They've always been one of my favorite bands, and the fact that they broke up saddens me to no end. I'd go into detail about this video, but they're due for a column all to themselves anyway, so I'll just shut up and let the live do the talking. Enjoy folks!

* Yes. The DJ's an actual bunny. I told you it was awesome in my head.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oh Shit, Its E3! : The Leftovers.

Apologies for this being late. Intended to have this out Wednesday. Anyhow, this is the leftover stuff from E3 that I didn't get around to talking about before. Anyway, a special edition of TheLinkUp coming. After that though, is a post about comics, I should warn. (Oh noes! ANOTHER comic post?! I must be "obsessed".)

Def Jam Rapstar*: Okay, I admit it, I'm a fan of rap music. For some reason that's a crime or something, but whatever. I mean, don't get me wrong. I know that, *cough*, certain people wouldn't believe it, but I LOVE rock music. So games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band are right up my alley. But at the same time, every now and again, I just wanna show people that, "Nigga, I know more rap songs than you." (This isn't exclusive to rap though. Sometimes I wanna show off my mad knowledge of J-Rock songs. When I tell you I can put a hurting on a Asian Kung-Fu Generation joint...) And apparently, Def Jam Rapstar is going to let me do that. And fortunately the "Def Jam" is not so much going with the label Def Jam as it is with Def Jam the Brand (thank God), so I'll be able to do a wide variety of rappers, from Kanye to the Notorious BIG. I hope support for this game is as large as Rock Band, and DLC comes out in freaking multitudes. How can I play this game and not want to do Lupe Fiasco's The Cool or Kick Push, or Little Brother's Good Clothes? (Or even Outkast's Rosa Parks?)

*Those are two different links. Both are very informative, so you know.

Glory of Heracles: I'm not so much with portable RPGs, as I'm never in a car long enough to get anywhere with them, but this game sounds awesome. The game is about heroes (in this world, meaning immortals) who for whatever reason were made amnesiacs by the gods and the game is apparently about finding other immortals and regaining their memories. Hopefully they go into heavy detail as I do like they kind of stuff in a story.

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis: Again, fantasy stuff for the win. I'm normally not so much with the PC games, but I have to confess. An RPG where I eventually become a "Dragon Lord" sounds sweet. Plus its never a bad idea to create an RPG with an extensive set of quests. The world sounds like the kind I like--intriguing, expansive, full of magic, and just overall fun. Well, for gaming at least. I also like the idea that they seem to put a lot of thought into the experience system, even going so far as to say that the dragon and human forms don't share skills or XP. I actually don't hate level grinding, its just when I level grind to reach the higher levels only to find they offer mostly the same skills as the median levels that I get pissed. (I hate Dragon Quest VII for this very reason.) I want to see a screenshot or five. Outside of that? I want this.

FFXII Summon Details: Yeah, yeah...I covered FFXIII, I know. But hey. Check it--new details for the game! Apparently the classic summons are back (those FFXII summons were beyond useless), and they did indeed keep the idea of making the summons into vehicles as well as summons. They'll also play a vital part in the story, for whatever that's worth.

Huh. This is quite a bit less than I thought would be in the Leftovers, but still a number of games nevertheless that all sound amazing.

With this done, thanks to 1Up, RPGFan and Destructoid for the coverage. Obviously I couldn't have talked about jack-squat without them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oh Shit, Its E3! (Day Three)

So its the last day of E3 and I'm pretty sure its all but over, but I'm hoping there are at least a few surprises. As always I'm only talking about the games I actually give a crap about, or if nothing else I find noteworthy. So don't expect a super long list.

And here is the rest of it.

- The new DJ Hero game looks kinda sweet, I have to admit it. I actually saw this on Day One, but I felt it was worth mentioning. CRAZY difficult, and I can already see the backlash of the "heads" who think you should go spend months of your life to actually learn turntabling. Which isn't a TOTALLY bad idea, but the thing is I'd never do more with it than put it on the list of "cool shit I can do"--just so I could be DJ SageShini, ya know? Anyhow. I was thinking the game would be all hip-hop, but they appear to have gone back to the roots of turntabling, using a mix of dance, electronica, and hip-hop. The video I saw on Day One on G4 had a mash-up of a Gwen Stefani song and Rick James' "Give It To Me"--hopefully I can find a better song to mash-up with that disco classic, but even though I think I'm going to SUCK at this game at first, once I saw I had the chance to link all that stuff up like that, I couldn't resist being interested. No idea of the release date, but I wants it.

- Dragon Age: Origins is, shockingly enough, a BioWare RPG I'm actually interested in playing. Apparently a "spiritual successor" to Baldur's Gate, you're out to save the world as a member of a group called the Grey Wardens from the Blight. Admittedly, talks of the game being "dark" do not engender me to the game as a whole, but I've surprisingly yet to actually get my hands on a game that allows one to walk the path of the Hero or the (*cough*loser*cough*) villain. Could be interesting if the ending comes out right. I got to see a group of heroes take down a dragon in the trailer I watched on G4, which was actually pretty sweet. Plus the game appears to be pretty lengthy with an expected 80 hours of gameplay. Even if that's only 40 hours for the good side and 40 hours for the evil side, that's STILL 40 hours of play for me; can't complain about that. Game's due later this year.

- Little King's Story is, if nothing else, rather cute sounding. I like the idea of getting a chance to create a kingdom almost from scratch, all the while taking out the less king-like...kings. Only downside is that the game is kind of simplistic for my tastes. Still, simplistic doesn't ALWAYS mean bad.

Lastly, a little sidenote that's not related to an ACTUAL game:

* After seeing a number of racing games being discussed at this year's E3 (Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, Split/Second), I realize I don't mind racing games, but they need to have a "hook" to it. All that realism crap? No thanks. To hook me you need to throw any semblance of realism to the curb, then maybe you have a chance. What I'd really like is a futuristic, Jetsons/F-Zero-type game with *extremely* high levels of customizations (I love micromanaging and upgrading, I admit it) featuring nothing but kick-ass hover cars that go at speeds of 500-1000MPH, easy on tracks that are all suspended in mid air.

WTF Link for Day 3 - You mean we CAN'T molest the totally virtual kids in this game? Well, why not!? I can still shoot an old lady in the FACE in GTA4! You're slacking, Molyneux. (I'm totally joking. Do not have Chris Hansen send me an IM talking about meeting with
a 8 year old.)

- This one's a bit short, but the fact is its Day 3. I wasn't actually AT E3 (obviously), but allow me to take a guess about what the people who WERE there have to do. See, to actually get INTO E3, you can't just be a really big fan of video games(this ain't the Tokyo Game Show). You have to be a member of a decently large gaming site or magazine. And like any large convention, the place is a madhouse and no doubt all journalists/writers have a schedule of about a billion places to be to conduct interviews and play specific demos so they can give us on the outside their thoughts. This insane (though fun) schedule is exhausting in itself, but then you have to toss in the fact that the internet has created a "gimme NOW!" culture, so on top of all the running around they have to do, they're expected to report on the biggest games that the largest amount of people will be interested in on the very days that E3 are occurring, so instead of going back to their hotel rooms and collapsing until morning, they have to head right in and start typing up thoughts and reports on shit. Sure there are more games, but they gotta get the "important" stuff done first.

As I'm sure I've said elsewhere, I'm generally not that intrigued by the same shit the larger gaming population is. That's not to be non-conformist or anything, I just don't feel like punching a hooker in the face or being a part of an organized crime mob. To make a long story short (if there's still time), what I'm trying to say is that reports on a LOT of games actually won't even be in until the weekend, or even mid next week, and I can almost count on the fact that a number of those games will be the ones I'm actually interested in talking about.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oh Shit, Its E3! (Day Two)

Okay, so its Day Two of E3. All the major presentations are done, but no big deal, right? The developers themselves no doubt have some pretty impressive games they want to showcase that the Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo didn't really feel was worth bringing up during their time on-stage. And some of those games are usually the ones that catch everyone's eye--after all, the press conferences are mostly just to show us what they think is going to be a hit (MAG), or to showcase a new entry in a franchise that's ALREADY a hit (Halo, God of War, Final Fantasy, Mario).

I shouldn't have to say this, but I feel its necessary. I'm not operating under pretenses of being important, or of being a journalist. If I'm talking about a game, I'm talking about it because I, personally, am hyped. If I don't give a fuck about a game, guess what? It don't get a mention.

With that in mind, hit the link below for more.

And here is the rest of it.

- Finally got to see a demo of Final Fantasy XIII being played in real time on G4. No real thoughts, other than the game looks beautiful. I really wish I could've gotten my hands on it more than anything else. Not so much because I'm so eager to play (admittedly though, I am), but because the guy playing fucking SUCKED. Seriously, either FFXIII is REALLY hard or that guy has earned his own slot as one of the Worst Gamers Ever. Who gets a Game Over Screen in a DEMO?? I didn't even know that was possible. Ugh. Oh well. Between that and the video I saw yesterday at Sony's Press Conference, FFXIII is probably one of the titles for the PS3 I'm the most interested in. Lightning looks like a kick-ass heroine, the world looks fun to play in (and hopefully I'll get to fix it), and I'm still hoping they kept the summons as dual-use beings. (There was a bit a long time ago mentioned that Shiva could be used as a summon in battle and out of battle as a motorcycle you could ride around, which is one of the most innovative ideas I've seen done in an RPG in ages.)

- Castlevania: Lord of Shadows. The long-awaited next-gen Castlevania game....! ....And my hype has been considerably stifled. The series appears to have passed hands from Igarashi to Hideo Kojima. And I ain't a MGS fan. Y'know, if it had passed hands to Itagaki, I might've had some interest. As is? I remain, currently, neutral. I actually LIKED all the Castlevania games since Circle of the Moon with the notable exception of Lament of Innoncence. The Action-RPG-ness of it all worked very well for me. Overall, this is kind of a downer for me, but until I see some gameplay I won't make a big deal of it. Trailer here.

- Lego Battles for the DS. A bit of background about me? As a kid, I always, always, ALWAYS loved Legos. Not the lame, simple ones that you could use to build a multi-colored highway overpass or whatever, but the really complex ones that essentially allowed you to create little miniature worlds. I loved the different themes they had too--like knights and astronauts in space and the jungle and even more pedestrian stuff like firemen and cops. They even had toy magazines that laid out all their products according to themes. They looked so cool but sadly, I never got around to getting any of them. Fortunately, Lego Battles seems to be a game version of what I wanted then. Pitting knights and wizards and spacecraft against some pirates, aliens, and skeleton armies. I've never played an RTS, but this is a Lego game--they know younger audiences will play this, especially on a portable, kid-friendly system like the DS, so I suspect it won't be TOO difficult. Thankfully.

- A trailer for Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2? Oh, freaking win. Itagaki's got nothing to do with this game, especially since he jetted along with quite a few other members of Team Ninja ages ago. But the director for this is the same guy who directed the last Sigma, so its cool. Same as last time, the port comes with tweaked gameplay and added features. This ranges from new enemies and bosses to two (!) new characters to use in the game. Check the trailer here. Yes, I know its ridiculous--that's the point!

That's all for Day Two, methinks. Depending on my level of productivity, I may get out Day Three sometime tonight. We'll see. Later folks.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh Shit, Its E3! (Day One)

Unique title, but E3 kinda caught me offguard this year. I don't actively search gaming sites because these days most games I'm really not that interested in, and gaming doesn't really work on quite the cycle something like comics or manga does. (CERTAINLY not how most manga works.) I want more Flash: Rebirth, I just have to wait thirty days. I want more Uncharted, I either better play it again or get ready to wait a year or two.

Anyway, fortunately I hadn't missed anything, and I have G4. Usually good for nothing more than getting a look at the stunningly beautiful Olivia Munn, one must always concede that they have almost invaluable coverage of the biggest video game and the biggest comic book conventions in America, E3 and the San Diego Comic-Con, so I was able to see the presentations for both Nintendo and Sony. (I probably could've catched Microsoft's too, but, who cares? I don't want a 360--its mostly FPS games anyway, and well, we've been over there.)

And here is the rest of it.

I gotta say, I was impressed by both companies' presentations. By no means are the days of FPS gone just yet, but finally some games that AREN'T FPSs are starting to pop their heads up in more substantial numbers, which always leaves me at least a LITTLE more interested.

In the interest of order, let's start with Nintendo. Holy crap! The company actually...LISTENED to the complaints people made after their show last year! The biggest post-Nintendo E3 presentation complaint boiled down to, "Hey, Nintendo? HARDCORE GAMERS DON'T WANT TO PLAY JUST ANIMAL PLANET." I thought this year would be a repeat, since in my eyes Nintendo has had a repeating cycle since the N64: Release all their first-party games at launch, clean up because those franchises are HUGE, then languish about for 4-6 years until they release their next system. Rinse, repeat. Despite the Wii selling what it did, I thought by Year 3 or Year 4, the casual fanbase would lose interest, and without any of those stellar first-party titles that Nintendo takes FOREVER to release to lure in hardcore gamers, people would forget about the system.

I'll say this now. I was wrong. Nintendo ponied up the awesome-ness this E3. They started off boring, talking about WiiSports or whatever, but then they introduced New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. I confess--I'm not a HUGE Mario fan, but I do have fond memories of playing Super Mario All-Star on my SNES when I'd run out of PSX J-RPGs to go through, and they were all quite fun. I'd object to this if it were a simple remake, but from the video I saw, they had reworked all the graphics for the Wii, AND added a fun new feature: The ability to play "story" mode with up to 4 players simultaneously: Mario, Luigi, Green Toad and Yellow Toad. (Should've been Princess, but I refuse to nitpick.) The game just looked FUN to play, and above all else, that's what a game should be, right?

They followed this up with--Surprise, Bitch!--Super Mario Galaxy 2. The g/f *loved* the original game, and her enthusiasm was so infectious I actually watched this trailer with interest. I always loved Yoshi, so getting to play with him being my partner already has me intrigued. That plus the idea of hopping from mini-planet to mini-planet, and gameplay that looked positively addicting, and suddenly I want to play a franchise I haven't cared about since they screwed us Super Mario RPG fans with that pretender to the throne, Paper Mario.

But you know what? Fuck Mario. Fuck Mario, and his brother, and all the psychotropic drugs they use to fight the fifth ninja turtle. Because while those games looked fun, the REAL shocker from Nintendo was this. Team Ninja. Metroid. FUCK. YES. We're back to third person, the story appears to have a plot, and I suddenly want a Wii. Dammit Nintendo. You win. Continue to print money on schedule, guys.

They also talked a bit about the DS. The fact that the Mega Man Network games have a sequel series on it, plus the three Castlevania games have already ensured my getting buying a DS at some point, but then they also revealed the new Golden Sun game for the DS, which I confess looked positively stunning, even for a portable game (proof is in the link above). Plus Nintendo needs good RPGs; granted, it needs them far more on a console, but that's another story entirely.

All-in-all, four REALLY awesome looking titles make up a decent haul for Nintendo considering last year I was paying them absolutely no attention at all.

As far as Sony's presentation, well....

You gotta feel bad for Sony. They had to waste several minutes of their presentation rattling off facts to keep people from thinking 2008 wasn't as shitty a year for them as we thought--which, sad to say, it was. They never got that killer app they were looking for, and much of the steam they were looking for was straight JACKED when Square-Enix said, "Oh, hey? You know that new Final Fantasy game you've been looking for almost since launch? Yeah, we're taking that to your competitors too now!"

But once you got past all that, Sony had quite the kick-ass presentation too. I'll admit, I'm just a little disappointed in their new PSP Go! system. Assuming everyone has broadband internet (and especially, GOOD broadband) in order to download their games is just not a smart move in this country. And they should've gone for larger flash memory sizes than just 16GB, but I expect switching to flash memory will just allow them to do more of their multiple SKU craziness we saw on the PS3. Oh. While I'm at it, I should mention that my girlfriend called this as the future of consoles (this and the eventual switching over to memory sticks) and she was right. I disagreed, and thus I was wrong. That's a rarity, but hey it happens now and again.

Anyhow. Concerning games, I realize I'm pretty picky. They announced quite a couple potential "killer apps" for the PSP--a brand new Resident Evil game, and a legit Metal Gear Solid game designed by Hideo Kojima (!) called Peacewalker, but honestly I couldn't be less interested in either of them. Sorry.

I'd be excited about the fact that Final Fantasy VII is coming to the Playstation Network, but unless they tweaked the graphics or added some new materia or SOMETHING, I already have that game for my PSX, and I was never a big enough fan of it to want to own multiple copies. (Now if they release the Suikoden series, particularly 2 and 3, well THEN you'll have something!)

There's ALSO a new game coming out from one of my friend's favorite developers, Team ICO, entitled The Last Guardian. The last in the trilogy alongside ICO and Shadow of Colossus. Honestly the "Guardian" or whatever looked so Neverending Story I just kinda chuckled at it, but it WAS pretty.

The first real interesting thing I managed to see was the Final Fantasy XIII trailer. I don't know why I let Square keep burning me. The only FF game I've ever REALLY liked was Tactics, and I've played all of them except the first three. Still, XIII looked gorgeous, and Lightning actually looks like a protagonist I might like. One thing I'll say for Square: Screw all the naysayers, they go out of their way to design an entirely new world with a brand-new mythology, magic system, battle engines, new characters, and really, new EVERYTHING each time they make a new Final Fantasy game. They're sequels in a line but really they're all separate games each time, and for that they are to be commended.

And this universe looks particularly interesting--I actually get an almost Final Fantasy VII vibe from it, which even though I'm not a HUGE fan, its still probably my second favorite of the FFs thus far, so that's a good thing.

The REAL shocker came when they showed us this. What. The. Fuck. No bullshit, the whole place went quiet when the FFXIII trailer finished and Jack Tretton just says, "Oh, and we got a little something else from Square. Final Fantasy XIV."

...Wasn't quiet HERE though. My response was, and I quote: "Bullshit. BULL. SHIT. No fucking WAY!" Hate all you want, but FF XIV looks beautiful. Only downer is that it appears to be online. Hoping though that it'll have an offline component as well, to legitimately earn the number at the end.

Only REAL problem with it all? This now puts a time clock on FF XIII Versus. They are seriously risking everybody just saying, "Who gives a fuck? When are you releasing XV?" if they release XIII Versus TOO late after the release of XIII. Ideally, Versus needs to come out 6-10 months after XIII to keep the XIII excitement going.

Anyhow, they went back to discussing tech after this, which upon reflection now made me wonder if there are literally "spies" going back and forth between the companies like on The Jetsons. I mean, come on, how can they ALL announce new motion sensor tech in the same show?? WTF. Still, if I had to rate them, this one and Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus sort of tie. (I like this one better, but Wii MotionPlus is due out this year), while Project Natal is a distant second or third. I don't want the techonology to be "invisible", Spielberg, I want to actually HOLD something. Be it a model gun or a controller or whatever.

There was also some shit about a new Rockstar game and another God of War but, fuck all that.

Other things worth mentioning concerning Day One at E3:

- There's a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game! Honestly, I just never get tired of kicking butt with Leo and Raph. Kinda wish it weren't for the Wii, but why not? Metroid: Other M has already snagged me, so I want a Wii anyway. Plus, a story by one of the creators of the Turtles means the plot could actually be interesting too. Go figure.

- A look at Bayonetta. Fucking FINALLY. I've gleaned form the link that the game is absolutely insane. Which, you know, works for me fine because I was insane before hand. Still, the idea of fighting a two-headed dragon in a church, dodging attacks inside the church from one head while the OTHER head attacks from the outside...well shit. That's just impressive. Oh. Did I mention the church was in mid-air? Now all I hope is that, much like Devil May Cry, our new character gets an array of ridiculous weapons to bitch-smack the villains.

- Batman: Arkham Asylum is looking like it might be the first good Batman game aside from the Lego one. Which is depressing, because I don't really wanna play in Arkham. I want to play in Gotham! I want a game that's essentially GTA, only instead of beating up innocent people I get to beat up crooks. Maybe next time.

- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was one of the last things they covered at Sony's Press Conference. Honestly Uncharted 1 was almost reason enough to get a PS3 on its own, and Uncharted 2 looks even more amazing. If my friend with the PS3 hadn't moved away I'd get over to his house and jack his PS3 to play the new beta, but alas, he's been gone for weeks now. Ah well. More of a reason to get my own PS3, one supposes. Still, I'm amazed its launching in November. The first game will only be about two years old when this hits. Usually gaming companies are much lazier following up big hits, but I can't say I'm not glad Naughty Dog knew the business.

Oh, and the WTF announcement so far? Click here.

Thanks to Destructoid for the web coverage...the only other site I know of that I'd feel comfortable checking is 1up, and their organization is pretty crappy. Still, I may give them a look anyway for a different perspective. If so, expect that in the next edition of TheLinkUp.