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Tycho / on Mon, Sep 2 2002 at 7:29 am

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I’ve got Gabe’s post right here, so just scroll down to hear him chat up the Buffy game on the Xbox.  In the interim, of course we have produced a new strip on the topic.  It is a true story, even if it was him in the blanket and him who got in trouble.  Also, it was a different game and I was wearing a chef’s hat.  We were ass deep in iguanas during this period and I was seriously considering becoming a beekeeper.

Creamy Christ.  I don’t even know where to start.

I didn’t talk about the PS2 Network Adapter, even though it indirectly changed my life.  And since Gabe can’t be expected to bug out about hardware of any kind, really, I need to take up the standard. 

I always knew that my PS2 had some nebulous ports there on the back, ports that I could use to do x, but other than taking a quick peek when I was setting it up I didn’t pay them no nevermind.  More than just ports, now, you pull off a plate on the back of this thing and it has (in effect) a spacious cavern that is nearly as big as my apartment.  The room in there is for the hard disk peripheral, or maybe you could live there during lean periods - but the network thing attaches to the back, it doesn’t go in, and it is very cool like a spoiler.  It’s a modem and a network adapter, which strikes me as wise.  It’s very easy to install, as Gabe mentioned - a series of five or so very straightforward menus ask you simple questions, and you press X until you’re online.  Not bad.  It’s no Xbox Live, where you plug it in and it configures itself while it rubs your aching neck and shoulders.  But we’ll talk more about that when I feel like breaking my NDA.     

Anyhow, the PS2 broadband adapter is fine, but the disc that came with it renovated my brain.  It contained a video for Tony Hawk 4, which was a delight, and it showed me what I knew was possible - while it is sure to have the great multiplayer games that are so delectable in earlier iterations, the possibilities of multiplayer skateparks as (essentially) a new sort of non-combat social space online is intriguing to me.  So yes, cool, but it didn’t exactly cocoon me in light until I emerged as an astral being.  No, that was the multiplayer demo of Frequency

And I feel like a fuckhead, because you guys have been saying “Frequency Frequency Frequency,” and I’ve been looking at screenshots and saying, “What is this, Tempest?  Fuck you.”  I don’t know shit, and it’s an oversight like this one that makes me really think about what I’m doing here.  I suppose it did come out around Thanksgiving last year, which sort of explains it, because there is about a week there where I enter a sort of torpor and only respond to Turkey, which I have capitalized to indicate its primacy over all birds.  There’s also the possibility that it seems like a revelation to me because I make music, I use the term loosely of course, but beyond just being an amusing rhythm game it essentially makes your PS2 an instrument.  Yes, the sounds it plays are samples from other songs, but it is not difficult to imagine notes mapped to buttons.  It not difficult to imagine a Playstation 2 (or whatever) on stage next to something with strings on it.

I goofed around with the regular game mode, and it’s great.  It just is.  If you are down with with the rhythm genre, you probably already have it, because it’s a hallmark title - the game is practically a year old now, I’m freaking out about it long after sensible people have already purchased it and traded it in.  But the Game mode isn’t the real attraction here - any song you have unlocked in the game becomes available in the realtime Remix mode, which gives you access to the samples and so forth that constitute a given track.  I’ve had the ability to remix shit before, this isn’t the first application to confer that mystical power.  But to place the ability squarely in a videogame interface got me thinking - the gamepad as an instrument.  Composition as a toy?  I don’t know.  The whole thing strikes me as life-affirming.  Frequency is worthwhile just for its interesting visualization of ethereal audio concepts.   

As a point in the continuum that redefines “instrument,” it’s almost overwhelming.

I was over at Cardhaus this weekend, waiting for my man from Sabertooth to show me the Delos expansion, when I saw that Wizkids had released their Mechwarrior: Dark Age sets.  I curse the day I saw it.  It was at Comic Con actually, they were showing their Hero Clix thing there and I got to talking with the demo guys about their upcoming Mech stuff.  In fact, we got one of them to do a demo at our booth in the morning before the show, and as tiny hovercrafts and battlesuits did battle atop our poster the realization came over me that I was screwed.  It was like a beautiful and dangerous mechanism of breathtaking cleverness was slowly being constructed around my wallet.  I was able to avoid Mage Knight, I was able to avoid Hero Clix, and God Damn those bastards but they’ve finally got me by the balls.  See if you can get a demo at your nearest dork hole.  It isn’t complex in comparison to classic Battletech, nowhere near - but it’s complicated enough to simulate intense combined arms battles with elegance and options.   

(CW)TB out.

she’s got spies

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