Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy GTA Eve

Most Anticipated Title of the year comes out tomorrow...and its a BIG one!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Torn between two clubs

Palermo got €43 million from PSG for Pastore. In all likelihood, Arsenal will get less for Francesc F├ábregas i Soler from Barcelona and it will be astonishingly bad business, especially in this market (, especially since he is under contract until 2014 (conflicting reports have it as 2015?), especially since Arsenal do NOT need the money and would prefer to keep him, especially since he is the Captain (El Capitan) of the side. But the fact is - he ONLY wants to leave in order to go to Barcelona and has no interest in going to any club other than Barcelona - and Barcelona KNOWS this.

But there is a growing sentiment in Barcelona that Cesc should stay at Arsenal - partly because its good to see a Catalan performing outside La Liga (an advertisement in the Premiership of the "Golden Generation") and partly because he left...!/BarcaGooner/status/97083375701073920

Its said that Cesc wears #4 because of his boyhood idol Pep - but it is also common knowledge that Fabregas was given the number 4 shirt once Viera left - these 2 things can both be true and just a matter of convenience for Cesc - but right now, Thiago is wearing #4. Cesc might feel pressured that if the transfer doesn't happen this season and Thiago becomes even more of the phenom he already is, Barca will be even LESS inclined to sign sign him (citing that Sandro has already said the 27m bid was because he is one year older and one year less has run down on his contract).

And then of course there is the constant quotes from Pique, Xavi, and Iniesta clamoring for the services of Fabregas and even the mayor of his hometown claiming that Arsenal kidnapped him ( which is completely contradictory to what some Barca fans are saying. The saga has been going on for 2 years now and despite the growing sentiment from a contingent of fans that he is unneeded - Barcelona, the team definitely want him to come.

Of course Iniesta wants his World Cup teammate that provided him the pass to score the winner in the 2010 World Cup - the celebration afterwards with the Barca players putting the jersey on Fabregas is probably the image seen a thousand times.

Probably the best piece on WHY Barca want Cesc when they have Xavi and Iniesta -

Plus, Cesc injects some Catalan back into Barcelona - where the rivalry with Madrid is tenser than ever. Evidently there seems to be a superiority complex with the Catalan club and players like Pique are known to exude their "nationality" ( Unfortunately for Pique, Barcelona are a little Catalan-lite - some of its main contributors (Messi, Alves, Iniesta, Villa, etc) are NOT Catalan and once the 31 year old Xavi steps away the midfield will be led by Iniesta and Thiago (neither of which are Catalan). Which is not a problem in of itself, most of Arsenal players are NOT from London - but Barcelona (the city as well as the team) as stated above have a serious superiority complex.

*A side note...
Its kind of weird being an Arsenal/Real Madrid fan - very hard to watch Henry in a Barca shirt finally winning the Champions League with the team that beat us that one night in Paris and its very strange "rooting" for CRYstiano Ronaldo in the Clasico, a player I despised when he played for ManU. Most of my Arsenal friends and Uncles are Barca fans and it seems natural to be fans of both sides as both sides play the "beautiful football." And there is mutual respect between the two clubs - especially in the build up of a Champions League draw. Barcelona is known to say in circles that IF they had to lose, they would rather lose to a side like Arsenal, a side that plays football the way its supposed to be played. But it is VERY easy to root against Busquets and Alves - and to tell the truth, Cristiano looks right at home in La Liga, where diving is thought of more like a tactic and "cheeky" rather than cheating. But for me its therapeutic to follow a club like Real - a team that prescribes to the Galactico philosophy is the perfect contrast to a team that is led by Professor X and his school for gifted children. Also, I think its important to point out that while I believe Cesc Fabregas is Arsenal's best player, he is not my favorite Arsenal player…because of stupid reasons (I always liked fast players, and his Jamaican lineage) my favorite player on Arsenal is Walcott…favorite is subjective, so is best I guess - but ask any Premiership fan who is the best/important/most valuable player on Arsenal…85% chance its Fabregas.

Arsenal cultivated Cesc and the Wenger "experiment" will never come to fruition if our young players leave when they are 24. Wenger has a history of flipping his players for exorbitant fees at just the right times (Hleb, Adebayor, Toure, Henry, etc.) Some would put Viera in that category, but I feel we could have kept him a little longer - but I would concede we got his peak years and performances and in the end a player we bought for 3 million we sold for 20 million…not bad at all. Even players like Flamini, who we lost prematurely, diminished greatly after leaving Arsenal. This is going to be the first bonafide "special" talent since Ashley Cole to leave the club before his "peak" years. We lost Cole because of Russian money and the player's greed, we are going to lose Cesc for far more virtuous reasons - he wants to go home, to the club he feels he will win trophies with.

Arsenal were rocked by the sudden emergence of a Russian billionaire skewing the market (Chelsea/Cole) and the emergence of the Spanish "Golden Generation" (Barca/Cesc) - something that was impossible to foresee at the time. When Wenger plucked Cesc from La Masia at 16 he had no idea that Leo Messi would be Leo Messi, Pique would leave and then reunite with his fellow classmate - naturally they would seek out the 3rd star pupil of that La Masia class to return to Barcelona. No way to envision that at 16, Cesc Fabregas would be your future captain and the most integral part of your squad, the maestro of the midfield.

Some have said that Nasri can play the Cesc role - he can't, not the way Arsenal are currently shaped. Arsenal would most definitely change formation to better suit a Nasri-led midfield but that's not the point; they are inherently different players - both creative playmakers but vastly different. Nasri is better in the box, or just outside the box where he can use his twinkle toes to evade defenders and either score or provide the short pass to the goalscorer. Cesc gets the ball into the box for a player like Nasri - perfect example of how these 2 players complement each other is the Emirates winner against Barcelona. Cesc makes the majority of his plays from midfield, supplying Nasri, RvP, Arshavin, Walcott, etc. Jack Wilshere is molded more for that type of role (getting the ball into the right areas from midfield) than Nasri; but he does it in a different fashion - Jack is brilliant but his style is more direct and industrious and less sublime and creative when compared to Cesc. Some circles compare Fabregas to Beckham and Wilshere to Gerrard - distribution-wise - its a little too simple for me, but probably the best "English" analogy. There will be a lot less overhead passes and thru balls at the Emirates without Captain Fabulous.

And that's the point, it's not just that we are losing a great player - we are losing a great talent that was fun to watch, a player who imposed his style on the team, and a player who embodies the "beautiful football mantra." Maybe its for the best - many were surprised at how the team responded when Thierry Henry left and it looked like it would just be a matter of time before Arsenal's abundance of talent would mature and wreak havoc. We saw an example late in the season of how a Wilshere/Ramsey led midfield took apart Manchester United - it was a great victory, but it was a different victory - it was boring, it wasn't your typical Arsenal game. It's premature to say that Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey are incapable of creating overhead passes, quick one-twos, and perfectly paced thru balls - they can and they will, but it is unlikely that they do it at the rate that Cesc did.

But that's the future of Arsenal Football Club, at present we have our Captain torn between two clubs. Arsene Wenger used the word unsettled - but I am pretty certain that the situation settles itself this week…definitely this month. With the departure of Clichy and the likely departure of Cesc there are no more players in the squad who were part of our trophy-winning seasons - new day indeed.

Some say Cesc is overrated…stats from his injury-plagued 2010/2011 season below!/orbinho/status/38971332590964736!/orbinho/status/39013329657794560!/Orbinho/status/38362433705877504!/Orbinho/status/80629261916045312!/Orbinho/status/80629759582806017

Its also important to note that throughout all of this Fabregas expresses deep gratitude for Wenger and constantly cites him as the reason he is the player he is today - he is not without fault and has at times during this transfer saga displayed some behavior and has had some quotes unbecoming of a Captain - but it is important to remember the circumstances, players on Barca are not vetting for Torres or Reina to come back - the only player that had a Barca shirt put on him was Cesc during that infamous World Cup celebration, he spent the entire summer with Barcelona-lite (Spanish national team minus Messi, which is also the nickname some give Arsenal). Not once has he demanded a transfer request, like Tevez, Modric, and even Wayne Rooney last season. His internal talks with Wenger must have remained internal - whether Wenger made a promise to him last summer a la Sir Alex/Cristiano we might never know...

With all the constant quotes by Sandro, Peter Hill-Wood, Wenger, Pep, Xavi, Pique, etc…its kind of funny that the normally quiet and reserved former teammate of Cesc had the most accurate statement regarding his situation…

"Cesc has a place for Arsenal is in his heart, but Barcelona is in his blood" - Leo Messi (Fabregas' teammate at La Masia)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Madden Day! August Updates

Still waiting on my Amazon Prime Release-Day Delivery via UPS...

Fins preseason kicks off this weekend against the Bucs
Arsenal begins their season against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday
Usain Bolt retired for 2010 - so unless Asafa shows up for some meets, the sprint season is DONE for me

The Expendables and Scott Pilgrim VS the World comes out this weekend...

Coordinating some fantasy football leagues - Draft Days will be between end of NFL Preseason and Opening Game.

Monday, September 28, 2009

4th Quarter Rush

Uncharted 2
FIFA 2010
ProEvo 2010
NBA 2k10
NBA Live 2010
Ratchet and Clank
Tekken 6
Modern Warfare 2
Assassin's Creed II
Forza 3
Left 4 Dead 2
New Super Mario Bros

...this is why i'm broke

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Life Cycle

I think it is now safe to say that the PS2 beat the GameCube and the Xbox...

Console Wars tend to always be heated when they are yet to be won. The 360 is definitely the favorite right now but it got a year head start and the PS3 has only pulled out one of its big guns- Metal Gear; Gran Turismo, God of War, and Final Fantasy have yet to come out. Final Fantasy XIII is multiplatform but FFXIV is exclusive.

People laughed when Sony came out with their 10 year life cycle plan for the PS3 and this was kind of puzzling. The PS2 is STILL going strong with a healthy lineup of games including your Maddens and Rock Bands, but it also has games like Jak and Daxter coming out in November and titles like Persona4 that came out December of 2008. Sure, the console is not pumping out games like before but in no way is it dead. The PS2 was released in 2000 and it has at least 20 titles coming out in 2010. The last Xbox game ever made was Madden 2009 that was released Aug. 2008.

The problem is that the perception currently among gamers is that once the PlayStation3 was announced the PS2 died. Many gamers were quick to jump to the 360 even though the xbox came out AFTER the PS2 and BEFORE the PS3. The Xbox came out Nov of 2001 and the 360 came out Nov of 2005. Why did gamers have so much faith in Microsoft when it was obvious that they were getting beat by Sony?

Console life cycle is NOT indicative of quality and just because a console outlasts another console does not make it the "victor" in the console war. But just about everything from the variety of games to the controller (xbox "fatty" launch controller) was better on the PS2. Plus the PlayStation had a great run that lead up to the tremendous success of the PS2 launch- the Xbox had 2 standout titles: Halo and Halo 2.

There were other great titles on the original xbox- Panzer Dragoon Orta, Jade Empire, Splinter Cell, etc. but the game that defined the xbox and helped cultivate the eventual 360 user base was Halo. XBL and Halo did more for Microsoft than any other title in the library. People played their xbox beyond 2008 because of Halo.

In fact some would argue that the xbox is not dead- people still play Quake on their Pentium II machines so that specific PC model is not dead either...but my original NES still works and on occasion I dust it off and play Mario so technically my NES isn't dead either.

The 360 when it is suffering from RRoD or E74 might be the only console that is dead (PS3 also has the YLOD and the PS2 is known for its disc read errors but nowhere close to the failure rates of the 360). Gamers dismissing Sony's 10 year plan might be puzzling but Gamers who are putting up with such severe failure rates on a console might be even more puzzling. Sure, Microsoft fessed up and offered to extend the warranty on these SPECIFIC issues- but a failure rate of OVER 50% should be grounds for a RECALL.

Has the culture of gaming shifted? More and more of my friends exclusively play shooters and sports games. I have friends who play Call of Duty, Madden, Gears, and Halo and THAT'S IT. Of course they would pick XBL and don't mind paying 50.00/year for a service that they use constantly. I pay the same 50.00/year but don't use the service to the extent that they do.

The gaming landscape has shifted and titles like the Last Guardian are not going to be nearly as important as Call of Duty 5 and unfortunately we as gamers might be doomed to move to whichever console has the newest Halo and that might be how we gauge the market. With Natal and Sony Motion Controls coming out I really expect this generation to last longer than people are projecting.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Videogame Vernacular

ThinkB4YouSpeak is a new campaign that is gaining A LOT of press in the gaming media.
Penny Arcade
A comment from the Joystiq post-


c. 1178: Means full of joy or mirth
c. 1300: Means brilliant, showy
c. 1890: Is a young tramp (a MALE that would give sexual favours to a FEMALE)
c. 1929: Is what homosexuals called each other
c. 1970: Is what the public calls a homosexual
c. 2000: Means lame

A comment from the Gaming Politics Post-

But aside from all that nitpicking, I disagree with the very core of this campaign. Calling something gay to mean that it is stupid/uncool/etc is not homophobia, not in and of itself. Gay can be used in a homophobic way, but the context is everything. It's very similar to the word retarded. When you call something retarded because it is stupid or whatever, you are not using it to discriminate against the mentally challenged. That meaning of the word probably doesn't even enter your mind as you use it. It's the exact same thing with gay. It's also interesting that both words originated as harmless ones, gay meaning happy and retarded meaning slowed; later ended up associated with groups of people, gay for homosexuals, retarded for the mentally challenged; and now both have also become empty words for stupid/uncool/whatever. But the point is, just because the words can be used in an insulting manner, doesn't mean that every use of the word carries that same venom. I can understand that people who are the target of such insults can be overly sensitive about the word, but I don't believe that gives them the right to ignore the context the word is used in and demand that everybody eradicate the word from their vocabulary. Just be patient, soon enough slang will move on and "gay" will go the way of "square" (gasp! quadrilaterophobic hate speech!) and other antiquated insults.

And personally, I don't use the words gay or retarded. I think they are tasteless. But that's my decision, as it should be. I can choose what I do and don't want to say. I truly despise thought police and all the bullshit they come up with, like this campaign. Really, all this does is isolate homosexuals even further, trying to drive home that they are separate from the rest of "us" and need to be treated differently.

Am I going to be targeted as being insensitive if I am playing on XBL and somebody pulls off a 23-hit combo and I say "that's sick?" Is SwineFluSurvivor002 going to be offended by my use of the word so casually?

This campaign has good intentions; and there IS a problem- but centering your campaign on the phrase "that's gay" is like the LD teachers union or whatever faction is in charge of protecting the Learning Disabled going after the phrases: "that's dumb" "that's stupid" and "that's retarded." Imagine a football player who can no longer play because of a lame foot- due to his injury he starts playing Madden so he can rekindle his love of football in some way- and then he picks off a pass late in the 4th quarter and then returns it for a TD to win the game when the opposing player yells over his BT headset on PSN "that's lame."

Are we supposed to be articulate and slang-free whenever somebody does something "cheap" can we even use the word "cheap" anymore or is it to offensive for people who are poor or people who are frugal?

Sorry, but I just do not envision gamers saying "What a series of unlucky circumstances brought by an inferior set of skills unrecognized by low quality Artificial Intelligence."

"That's Gay" is a phrase said by GAY PEOPLE- it is a staple in our vernacular. Queer at one time was thought of as derogatory and then you had programs on TV like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. In fact you could make the argument that Queer is now so seldom used that it has become more harmful of a slang term than gay- and if queer is used so openly than how harmful can gay really be in its current criticized context? Even the phrase "No Homo" is being targeted- a phrase that is literally short for "not in a homosexual way"

In our quest to become more and more politically correct we are more susceptible to campaigns like this one; a campaign that tries to group people who say "that's gay" as being homophobic, or using derogatory language. There is a clear line between saying That's Gay and this-

Friday, August 7, 2009

Video Gaming a Sport?

Bryant Gumble recently tackled this subject up on his show Real Sports- it is often brought up when people mention "fringe" sports along with chess, race car drivers, etc. Tom Watson was the focus on this segment and after his recent performance, Golf is again in the spotlight.

I never thought Golf as being a sport, this was way before Tiger Woods. Golf is basically eye and hand coordination- just like crossbow, bow and arrow, sharpshooting, bowling, and billiards. If Tiger Woods is an athlete so is Minnesota Fats. If John Daly met his potential and won multiple majors would we be so quickly to label him as one of the top athletes of our time? Are we ready to put Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson in the same Athletic category?

Are we even ready to put Matt Light and Offensive Linemen in the same category as Randy Moss? I agree with Bryant Gumble and I think Sports is like beauty and is truly in the eye of the beholder.

But, if we do consider Golf as a sport and you can currently get a gold medal in the olympics for archery (but the olympics is known for cancelling and adding sports) is video gaming really that far off?

Games like Uno, Poker, and Final Fantasy obviously won't be considered...but games like Ikaruga, Call of Duty, and Fighting games should definitely be considered. Look at the evo championships-

What these guys do requires a lot of skill and at least deserve to be in the conversation of sports...a very controversial conversation.