Archive for February, 2010
For a while now, I’ve read stories of the Gamestop horror stories, and how their used video game reselling practices help no one but their company. I’ve only recently took a look at this after some realizations that some features will degrade in this, but then something actually happened to directly bug me.
But before we get to that, what of these used game practices? I’ve always been a fan of them for buying used games. Every gift giving holiday, I’d go and get stacks of games for my nephew’s original Xbox that last few years. I’ve had a Game Informer subscription through them for ages. I hardly used my 10% off card that it came with except for holidays, because I really just enjoyed the magazine, and still do. It was the best of what I was missing when the old NextGen Mag closed down, and great reviews. I’ve been aware for a good while about the markup in the games versus what they actually give you. But the clincher has been two fold. First, games like Guitar Hero allow you to import content into new versions via a code on the book. I am not interested in buying a used copy to find out an exclusive code has already been used. And it seems like this trend is only going to grow. Aside from this, video game companies get no incentive from used game sales. It’s not a large factor, but in a time when good studios are being closed and cut back, I feel better directly supporting them. Besides DRM issues, this industry isn’t the RIAA in terms of ugliness.
But then there’s a customer issue. When you buy a game from the new shelf at a store, what do you expect? A new, shrink wrapped, untainted copy, right? That might not be the case with these guys. There are two factors. 1.) Gamestop opens a select number of copies for the shelves as display copies, storing away the game in their massive drawers. 2.) GameStop employees (and I do know a few. This is no slight on you, just the company’s practice) are seemingly permitted to lend out new releases. It makes sense so they know what they’re selling you on. I’m sure they can’t afford every new $60 release they push you to preorder. But in either case, if there aren’t enough shrink wrapped copies, you get a game that’s been opened, and sometimes, actually used. Just like if there’s a used copy of Rock Band 2 with it’s case and manual, or without either, it’s the same damn price! I watched for this. We picked up Assassin’s Creed 2 since it was on sale for nearly $20 off. Good deal, right? I watched like a hawk as a second fellow was asked to get our copy while we took care of our purchase. I saw him go for the glass case, not the drawer to get our copy. I felt we were in the clear. I had noticed, but not thought about, seeing him put some sort of plastic on the case. My first instinct was maybe it was some sort of sensor? The game was in a bag before I knew it and handed off. Get home. Realize there’s a price tag sticker on the box. There’s only one plastic sticker keeping it shut. No label sticker on top. No shrink wrap. We open it to find mall scratches on the outside.
So, instead of going back to Gamestop, complaining to some poor employee that has no bearing on these policies, and disappointing my wife, once again, with a game (this was bought with a card when the copy of Rock Band 2 was scratched she got for Christmas) that I had to return, and maybe not have a new copy to replace it, I’m vowing never to visit Gamestop, or their online component, for my video game purchases. If I want a video game, I’ll hit up Walmart, Amazon, or best yet, the local stores like The Exchange or MIB Ninja in my neighborhood. The latter two have better rates, and when a used game doesn’t come with a manual, or has more wear and tear, the price will reflect that.
Gamestop. You’re off the Christmas card list…
The latest from my…latest…
Ashley talks about Rihanna, Kirk Cameron, Sorg’s Lady Gaga review, and much, much more!
I’m pretty excited about this. WMS takes it’s first venture on the iPhone App Store:
Thanks to the help of those fine folks at Wizzard Media, who have roots right here in Pittsburgh, PA, and their ProApp program, you can now get this app as of this week! Load it up, and you’ll find a WMS themed interface with access to all of our audio shows on our current server, iPhone wallpaper, quick access to the Mayhem Hotline, Twitter, email to the show, and sharing WMS with your friends, as well as bonus content for select episodes!
What’s this? Bonus content? We started this week by including some extra video taken before and between segments where we go a little more off topic than normal. Drop by to see some more behind the scenes! For the time being, this is the only way to get the content (though we’re looking for options for non-iphone users).
Get the app. Support the show. Get Mayhem at your finger tips! It’s on $1.99! Get it here!
There area few series out there that have been mismanaged, to say the least. We’ve had Halloween’s foray into odd masks and convoluted backgrounds. But little have been as confusingly mishmashed, yet retained a fan base as Highlander has.
The original Highlander is an 80′s action classic. The movie had me at 5 years old from the opening scene in the parking lot of a wrestling event. The Queen-based soundtrack was amazing. And with the finality of the ending, you would be happy.Then we were surprised by Highlander 2. I remember old Entertainment Tonight episodes talking about some of the most dangerous stunts attempted at that time for this movie. I remember watching it and being curious about the return of the dead Sean Connery, and future explanation of the immortals being aliens. Surprising, but accepted at my young age. The recut Renegade version didn’t help matters much.
Then we had “The Final Dimension“, where we decided that winning the prize still worked because everyone forgot about a handful of immortal baddies stuck in a cave for a few hundred years. Right.
I initially rejected the TV series, due to throwing my hands up at it making sense in retrospect to anything else that had been released. I never got into it until it’s reruns on Sci-Fi years later after some prodding by my sister, who subscribed to the show’s merchandise catalog, and found it stood amazingly on it’s own. Throw in Highlander Endgame, which felt like a great return to form, and extension from the series, only to be dissapointed to the straight to TV/DVD “The Source”. When the wikipedia states the following:
“Adrian Paul and Peter Wingfield both expressed regret at making the film and as a result, the film is ignored by fans and producers alike.”
Looking at the Wikipedia, it looks like Kevin McKidd (Rome, Journeyman) and Vinnie Jones (Gone in 60 Seconds, “…The Juggarnaut, bitch”) are up for the parts of Connor McLeod and The Kurgan, respectively. That, plus the director of the 4th Fast and the Furious film make for an interesting combination, at least.
From Wrestling Mayhem Show.com..
Sorg and DJLunchbox are dressed up, and ready for the classiest event in Podcasting for the year: The Mayhemmys! We celebrate all of the glitz and glamour, and have an all-mayhem cast dropping by in Chachi, Mad Mike, wrestlefan, and even Doc Remedy as we tally the votes and present the winners. We also talk about indy wrestling, Elimination Chamber, dead men playing with fire, new wrestlers in movies, TNA, and much, much more!
This is Episode 207 for Tuesday, February 23, 2010. You can get the episode here on Talkshoe, Blip.tv subscribe to the audio or videoversions iTunes, look us up on Youtube, Roku, or Boxee, and as always, stay tuned towww.wrestlingmayhemshow.com for the latest! The Wrestling Mayhem Show is recorded live and can be heard/viewed from 8 PM to 10 PM Eastern on Talkshoe.comand Ustream.tv. Let us know what you think of the show, and your thoughts on the wrestling world by emailing us at email@example.com! Don’t forget you can find links related to the show’s news stories and more at our Delicious Links Page for Episode 207!
Fan of the Week: Big Freaky
A few months ago, I wrote about my time reading the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk series’ and how much they exceeded my admittedly low expectations of Hulk stories going into it. Now, I find myself grateful to have read those series’ when Planet Hulk snuck up on me as a DVD release. This week, I got my disc in the mail and insisted on watching it immediately. I attended a panel on Marvel Animation asking if people would like to see more stuff like the Hulk VS that had just been released. I’m ecstatic to see they followed it up.
For those familiar with the story, we are introduced to Hulk waking up in the ship, triggering a message from Iron Man, and a few obscured “super friends”, telling the Hulk how they duped him into being sent into space. Hulk promptly breaks things and gets redirected from his route to a nice, inhabited planet, to a war torn, oppressed world where he is put into servitude and made to fight in a Roman-esque coliseum. So much so, that one viewer commented that this was Hulk meets Gladiator. But I reckon it more to Gladiator, if everyone thought he was Jesus. So Hulk fights through the challenges with some random, new friends, and head to overthrow the king. The story is true to the original series in all the ways that matter, but allow for a major story arc to compress into an hour twenty minute DVD release. We miss the little intricacies, such as Miek’s backstory, as a whole, his odd relationship with Hulk, and even his foundation of a new hive and transformation. The Spikes aren’t referred to as anything but a secret tool of the Red King to achieve his goals. As Panels on Pages explained, we don’t get Silver Surfer in a surprise role, but a Thor-like character with a horse face I’m not familiar with. But still, an equally omnipotent being.
This is one of those stories that I typically shy from with the extraterrestrial nature, but the book proved to be a very fleshed out sort of culture, with a religion, prophecy, and deep history I would be willing to follow further, should Marvel decide to do so. Especially with the Warbound, Hulk’s friends.
For those big on Hulk, this is one to get. It’s an atypical Hulk story, where people look up to him, as apposed to the typical “how do we deal with this monster that we simply tolerate, now..” arcs of about any other story. And certainly a more happy of an ending. At least until they do a World War Hulk DVD…
Months ago, I was checking out the MacHeist 3 bundle. I’d heard about these software packages for charity deals, but never had the chance to catch it in progress. So I kept an ear out, and was impressed with the lineup, including World of Goo, Caveman Rally, and several productivity apps I’d love to give a try to. One of the cornerstones of working with “down the line” was BoinxTV. I bought this video production tool in this bundle despite only having my iMac, which was far removed from my studio setup, so it wouldn’t be of much use. But this past December, I found myself buying a brand new MackBook Pro, and finally, decided to dive in.
I’d made a sort of New Year’s resolution to dive headlong into video for my productions. Wrestling Mayhem Show had long been an “audio first” (though under a tight production time) podcast, with the video experiments pretty much extending only to the live audience with BlogTV, then Ustream. So I set out to make this happen.
First, we did a backtrack and grabbed the records from Ustream of the last several episodes. Especially the December episodes that had a lot in studio people, including the IWC Champion, Jimmy Demarco, new IWC owner, Chuck Roberts, and the return of Doc Remedy and Mayhem Missie for the Christmas edition. These are always the best shows. While I couldn’t convert the Ustream FLVs, Blip.tv handled them just fine. I only couldn’t put them to itunes without an m4v. But putting them to Youtube via Blip, then use the former’s “Download MP4″ and back that over to Blip. I’m glad I didn’t need to continue this…
I tested BoinxTV a few nights with my Sony DCR-TRV280 Digital8 and Sony DCR-TRV27 MiniDV cameras I had on hand pre- 3 chip upgrade. BoinxTV offers a chance for 3 cameras to cooperate, including the Macbook’s iSight camera. Both cameras worked fine via firewire, but not USB streaming, which both advertise. Apparently not a compatible feature with Macs. I tested the video for a long record, since I was looking to use it for a two hour show, if not more. A few issues cropped up.
- Get the format down – I was fine at first, then had a horrendous skip. I tracked it down to my cameras not being appropreately set by default to NTSC 4:3 on the devices. No problem.
- CPU is pushed. This is a Core 2 Duo 2.66 Mhz, and iStat reports an almost maxed out load. I make sure to crank the fans via SMC Fan Control
- Crashes! I was experimenting with the program, Ustream, and maybe another browser or so, and experienced the worse Mac crashes I’ve seen yet that didn’t involve foreign languages (once a month on work’s PowerMac’s, I swear). I’m yet to find a way to recover crashed recordings like I could potentially do in something like Audacity.
There was a rather confusing tutorial on how to stream your video on something like Ustream. Confusing, because it mentioned on software, yet linked another for screen capture. Finally, CamTwist became the software of choice. And the crashes? We slimmed our programs to BoinxTV, CamTwist, and Firefox running Ustream to send out the signal to the live folks. That’s it! I don’t even check chat via the dashboard in Ustream anymore. I touch the computer for switching, and leave it be.
Finally, with WMS 202, we ventured where no Sorgatron had gone before. I worked on some of the stock video units. I colored things for the show’s red and black color scheme. We scheduled Johnny Gargano, a great upcoming star from Cleveland, OH who just showed up on a DragonGate USA PPV that very weekend, who was adept at webcams and Skype, so we set him up as our very first remote video interview. Now, I was stuck with my one Firewire, so I have my iSight on me, and a camera with no one in the studio. In lieu of finding some sort of video input adapter for my laptop, I simply pointed the camera at the skype video monitor in the studio. Like a charm. I’ve thrown another Skype install on another computer to split the load of the calls coming in, and I didn’t even have to do the interview alone, as Mad Mike joined me from New York City. Things were lined up so that the Skype caller set right in to a two-up view for one on one conversations. I’ve played with other graphics setups to throw up images, we attempted a music video, and live motion for in between segments.
Basically, I’ve had to switch my typical “live to tape” 2+ hour show, and segment it. We save out the video during the music breaks. Make our Skype and other quick setups for each segment, and have to edit the whole thing together, and output the audio, at the end of the night. The first few weeks, it was trying to work in the switching work on top of the show management I had already shouldered from the show’s typical duties. Chat, sound board, Skype calls, video output, Talkshoe output, redundant Audacity audio recordings, and maybe more. So the first show or two, I may have forgotten a record button or two, so video viewers may have had a longer video loop.
Now, I’m four WMS and two Ashley After Hours episodes in, and things are getting smoother. The biggest killer, and something I’m still working on, is just what to do with all of this. Each 2 hour WMS seems to weigh in at 40-50 GB, half that for any of the Ashley After Hours shows, of course. I’m halfway through a 500 GB external drive. It’s time for a backup scheme! And the editing. Whatever format I have this at, it seems to be 640×480 instead of Final Cut’s native NTSC format. Add to that, that little trick where I could send audio to Soundtrack to edit, and retain the line doesn’t work. I’m presuming I typically don’t do this with as long of files as I’ve had (20-50 mins per segment). After some very late Tuesday nights, I’ve narrowed it down, figured out the change speed rate for the audio to match up, and getting quicker weekly.
Four weeks in, I know have a video podcast that is available on Blip, YouTube, Roku, Boxee, and bringing in an additional 80, and climbing, viewers to the hundreds already listening, or in chat. We also have the second show, just started, that has already almost reached similar numbers. Multiple times greater than the audio version, which I consider a bit of an anomaly.
I had some musings to write something about Google Buzz: one week later. Or maybe another pet peeve of Facebook, but in lieu of something that’ll itch my brain, and the utter burn out of late production cycles this month, I give you: cat being cute watching Braid…
I’m a person that hates change. That new Facebook layout? Are you kidding me? It’s all Web 2.0-ish and the icons at the top. I can’t stand it. I’ve started fan pages 300,000 people strong that think like me. Why doesn’t Facebook listen? Google rescinded on Buzz not even a week after launch!
I don’t know what Facebook is thinking. First, they change the layout to look like some…WeedWiteWeb, or something like that? But they’ve obviously lost their foresight.
So with this, I’m presenting my brand new fan page to Facebook to really send a message: Make Facebook College Only Again!