Archive - Mar 24, 2005

Kent, Mild-Mannered Reporter

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Memo to Steven Kent: YOU ARE DUMB.

Today is the release day of the Playstation Portable, aka PSP. It's black. It's slim. It's sexy. It plays tiny versions of modern console games. It's two hundred and fifty bucks. Yay.

Now, I don't have anything against the PSP per se. Really I don't. I'm sure that, once they've gotten past launch, it'll have more than tiny versions of the same mediocre mainstream games we've been shoveled for the past three years. I'm sure that they've worked out that minor manufactuing detail where, if you twist the unit just so, the Universal Media Disc goes flying out of the thing like a tiny ninja star. And I'm sure it's very pleasant dinner company.

What I do have a problem with, per se, are newspaper puff pieces that differ from paid advertising in the important detail that if the paid advertising contained the exaggerations, falsehoods, and bullshittery of the newspaper piece, those responsible would have the FTC kicking down doors and breaking out the plastic cuffs. Like the piece in yesterday's Star-Tribune, authored by one Steven Kent.

There is, as many of you know, nothing like reading a newspaper story about a subject you're an expert in to make your faith in modern juornalism drop even further than two hours of Tucker Carlson interviewing Jeff Gannon. So, needless to say, reading Steven Kent's article on the PSP, I noticed certain... reality discrepancies. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"(The PSP) will not transform the way hand-held games are played. But it will make them more fun to play." - No, it fucking well won't, because that is not how it works. More power does not equal more fun. It creates the potential for new experiences, yes. Creates the potential for different types of gameplay, of course. But it doesn't, by itself, make games more fun. Ask anyone who bought "Fable".

"PSP has a 4.3-inch high-resolution screen that rivals high-definition television." - In much the same way that the Washington Generals rivaled the Harlem Globetrotters. The PSP screen has a resolution of 480x272. Standard television has 240 vertcal lines, 32 fewer than PSP. The worst HDTV signal has 480 vertical lines, 208 MORE than the PSP. Less than two paragraphs in, and we already know that Steven Kent is both philosophically and mathematically inept. But wait, there's more!

Kent correctly states that a UMD holds more than a cartridge (failing to mention the issue of load times, of course). To illustrate this, he provides the following information. "Namco threw the arcade classic Rally X onto the Ridge Racer UMD as an added bonus.- OOOOOOOOH. Let me catch my breath! Namco fit 28 FRICKIN KILOBYTES on there! Rally X takes up one third as much space as THIS COLUMN. If Kent's impressed by that, he'd have a spontaneous aneurgasm if he ever saw, say, Tron 2.0 for Game Boy Advance, which includes both "Tron" and "Discs of Tron" as bonus.

"PSP's amazing graphics show Tetris' falling blocks and Pokemon's doodled caricatures for the antiques that they are." - Well, now he's just being a prick. Interestingly, amidst all Kent's spooging over the PSP's launch lineup, he completely fails to mention the one interesting title of the bunch, Lumines. It's a puzzle game, kind of like Tetris, so obviously he must have disregarded it as an antique.

"(Spider-Man 2) looks and plays just like it's Playstation 2 counterpart." - Well, except for the full 3-D city that was the hallmark of all the modern console versions of Spider-Man 2. The one aspect of the game that people liked. That part isn't, um, actually IN THE PSP VERSION AT ALL. Minor detail, Kent. Minor detail.

"Metal Gear Acid...show(s) that the PSP handles sprawling adventures with no apparent difficulty." - Metal Gear Acid is a turn-based tactics game with a collectible card-based battle system. It's Yu Gi Oh with a camo headband. Not a sprawling adventure. Let's hope that Kent's PSP came with a mail-in offer for a fucking clue and a set of fact flash-cards, so that he'll eventually learn what one looks like.

"The pack includes the movie 'Spider-Man 2' on a UMD." - Well, no. YOURS did, because it was one fo the first million. But only the first million have that. It's a bonus, not a standard part of the package.

I sure would love to get me the PSP that Kent seems to have gotten. A magical device, with a high-definition screen, a much more sophisticated Spider-Man game, enough storage space to hold an entire 80's arcade game without batting an eye, and the Fun Amplification Circuitry, powered by pixie dust, that makes you forget you're playing Ridge Motherfucking Racer for the umpteenth time since it came out a decade ago. One where the tiny battery life can be safely ignored because the battery is rechargeable.

I don't want the actual model he has, of course. His is all sticky by now. But one like it sure would be nicer than what I'd gef if I stood in line today.