Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2021


The eBay listing for a haunted Nintendo Entertainment System (still a whole day left to get your bid in!) is generating lots of chatter.

Am I the only one who had this goofy item bring to mind the “Video Ouija” episode of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”?

I’m calling bullshit on this one; it’s a hipster prank. Shoot, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Adult Swim marketing team were behind this, in a viral marketing bid.

Besides, if you really want a spooked-out game console, buy an Xbox. Those eerie alien noises that come out of the audio when the thing is sitting idle and disc-less certainly sounds like a candidate for exorcism.

In a related note: I cannot believe it took this long for the above group picture of ATHF to make its debut on this site.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/15/2005 10:17:20 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Videogames | Permalink | Feedback

Monday, March 14, 2021

Fifteen years ago, I bought Final Fantasy Legend for the original Nintendo Game Boy. It was a trip: A fantasy role-playing game that was designed to take you days — days! — to play and complete. For the early ’90s, this was largely uncharted videogame territory.

A friend of mine quickly took a shining to the game, and would play it for (what seemed like) hours on end. He was borderline obsessed with it. Despite much derision from me and our dormmates, he pressed on, devoting ridiculous amounts of time to it.

He got to a point in the game where it wasn’t at all obvious how to proceed. It turned out to be a real dead end, despite all efforts to try to suss it out. It appeared that the end of the line had come, with an unfulfilled feeling to go with it.

Why didn’t he just do a search for game cheats? This was 1990ish, children, and there was no Internet (to speak of). Dark ages, indeed.

What there was, was a 1-900 number that Nintendo had set up just for these situations. The idea was that anyone who spent hours of effort getting to a certain point in the gameplay wouldn’t mind shelling out some coin to get the inside secret on how to get out of a difficult jam.

The downside, of course, was the stooping to extracurricular aid for a freakin’ videogame; you might as well have gone to a prostitute. It represented a divide: Going from playing a consequence-free game, to demonstrating an unhealthy preoccupation. The feeling at the time was that the shame was too great to actually resort to telephone help for something only a generation removed from Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.

But he couldn’t concede defeat. So he called the 1-900 number. He probably spent 2 minutes on the call, but he got the info he needed, got past the game’s sticky point, and went on to solve the whole thing.

And I made sure to ride him about it. A lot. In fact, I just rode him about it today, during lunch. Paying for a videogame after the purchase of the actual software is enough to earn my years-long derision.

So, you can imagine what my opinion is of today’s virtual marketplaces for massively multiplayer online role-playing games like EverQuest, where players pay real-life cash money for game elements and actual businesses have sprouted up around the “pharming” model.

So if you feel like bragging to me about how you landed a coveted Sword of Foofram, and paid only $250 on eBay for it, think twice. Unless you want to be reminded for the next 15 years about what a chump you are/were.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/14/2005 09:52:22 PM
Category: Videogames | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

save the humanoids
Quien es mas macho: Robotron: 2084 or Smash TV?

I’m extreme oldschool, yo. Robotron all the way!

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/19/2004 04:01:32 PM
Category: Videogames | Permalink | Feedback (3)

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

hit hyperspace!
A dimly-lit pizza parlour. Blaring television set, greasy smell wafting throughout. And strategically situated, a circa-1980 Asteriods coin-op machine.

A scene from my long-departed childhood? Nope. It was the scene from half an hour ago, when I hit the nearby north St. Pete West Shore Pizza. I went in due to a craving for a couple of slices of pie, and was happily surprised to see the relic Asteroids sitting right there. And no one else around! I got a few quarters (it was only 25 cents for a game!) and jumped on it.

It was the same as it ever was. I got my name on the high score (which wasn’t hard, as it didn’t look like it had been played much lately), and after my second and last game, my fingers started aching in that old-time Space Invaders Wrist kinda way. Golden!

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/30/2004 09:17:29 PM
Category: Videogames | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Sunday, November 28, 2021

KO!
Remember that Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake spat with an overly-aggressive paparazzi?

Nah, me neither. Who has time to keep up with all those celebrity derring-dos?

But even without the full real-world context, Liquid Generation’s “Paparazzi Punch-Out” is a fun little diversion, and a great send-up of the 20-year-old Nintendo game.

While Justin is predictably easy to knock around, Cameron turns out to be one tough cookie in the ring. Must be a result of all that Charlie’s Angels training.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 06:59:48 PM
Category: Internet, Celebrity, Comedy, Videogames | Permalink | Feedback

Saturday, November 27, 2021

It sounds like a typically improbable spam email subject line, doesn’t it? (Or else an obvious politician-bashing assessment/joke.)

But no, for real, venerable C-SPAN broadcast unpixelated nude girlie scenes from videogame titles “The Guy Game” and “Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude” earlier this week.

Is it sweeps week for C-SPAN? No, it was just a segment from the Senate’s briefing on National Institute on Media and the Family’s “MediaWise Video Game Report Card”, complete with visual aids. I guess someone forgot the cameras were rolling, or figured the scenes wouldn’t show up too clearly (which they didn’t, but apparently they’re clear enough for a gawk-worthy RealPlayer video stream).

Congress better be careful. It doesn’t take much to bring on the FCC’s wrath these days, cable or no cable. Besides, we don’t need the Federal government levying fines on itself; it’ll only inflate the deficit.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/27/2004 05:48:01 PM
Category: TV, Political, Videogames | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Sunday, November 14, 2021

game on?
Shares in Digital River did some fancy jumping on Friday, caused by the rumor that the company’s software would be used by Apple for enabling sales of downloadable games onto the next-generation iPod.

It would be a break with tradition for Apple, which has kept iPod digital commerce routed strictly through the iTunes Music Store. It’s not out of the question, though; the deal with Hewlett-Packard to produce HP-branded iPods was a departure from standard operating procedure, and that happened.

It’s an intriguing concept. The iPod already comes pre-loaded with four games, all of the simple time-killing variety. Apple’s not going to give the iPod a major hardware/interface redesign for the purposes of gameplaying, so I’d expect any games they try to seel would be of a similar vein (and very much like the game-lettes sold by wireless providers on mobile phones).

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/14/2004 06:36:58 PM
Category: Tech, Videogames, Business | Permalink | Feedback (1)

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