I’m back to podcasting.
I give my thoughts on the reveal of the third Xbox console from Microsoft.
I’m back to podcasting.
I give my thoughts on the reveal of the third Xbox console from Microsoft.
+ Jacoby Jones’ 108 yard return. A fantastic moment which more or less should have put the game out of reach. In a season where a vast majority of kickoffs have resulted in boring touchbacks, it was a breath of fresh air to see Jones bring the ball out near the back of the end zone. The score made it 28-6 at the time and as you know, wasn’t enough.
++ Baltimore’s intentional safety. With 11 seconds on the clock, the score 34-29 and in punt formation, the Ravens snapped the ball to punter Sam Koch. Instead of kicking, he ran around the back of the end zone and eventually out of bounds to take valuable time off the clock. The result was a safety, the score became 34-31 and there were only four seconds remaining.
There were several blatant holds that probably should have been called against the Ravens, but those would have been completely irrelevant had they been flagged because the result of an offensive penalty in the end zone is of course a safety. What an intelligent play call by Baltimore.
+++ Making a game of it. While San Francisco started extremely slow, possibly the understatement of the season, they fought back midway through the third quarter and were in position to tie late. The foundation the Niners have built is very strong and I fully expect another NFC Championship at least once over the next three years.
- Beyonce’s half time performance. Her set is generally getting mixed to positive reviews based on a quick internet search. The Super Bowl is the most watched television program annually and it is not even close. While she is very easy on the eyes, I can’t help but feel she was underdressed (save the jokes here). The message being sent based on wardrobe is probably not the best.
It was a nice touch to reunite Beyonce with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, former mates of the group Destiny’s Child. They put out a couple short versions of songs and even helped Beyonce with her hits “Single Ladies” and “Crazy in Love”.
Fact is though, I think it is time for the half time show to feature something other than mainstream music. There are a plethora of options. How about a variety show, comedian, a world record attempt…Mix it up a bit. Think about what the first thing that happens when the half time entertainment is announced. Everyone usually cringes and wonders why they chose [insert singer/band here].
- – San Francisco’s first half. This was the definition of uninspired football. While Joe Flacco and company were making big offensive plays, the 49ers managed just six points through 30 minutes. LaMichael James’ fumble contributed to the massive deflation of the team and they would never fully recover until…J
- – -The blackout. A 34 minute delay occurred midway through the 3rd quarter when a power failure at the Superdome killed most of the lights. This seemed to spark the 49ers and they stormed back to pull within two of the Ravens. It also resulted in a even later than usual night for many viewers who may have had to get up early for work. Certainly compelling television, but not something I wanted to wait out.
I’ve made it clear on multiple occasions that I do not watch the NBA. It is simply uninteresting, not exciting and not a watchable sport. College Basketball is where it is at for me.
On the flip side, the NBA is full of fun, interesting and compelling stories. In fact, it may be the most dramatic in that department when it comes to all sports. So when LeBron James made headlines again, I simply rolled my eyes.
I’m far from the only person who was completely disgusted with his bolting of Cleveland for Miami. To be clear, it isn’t because he made the move, it was the manner in which he arrogantly televised his decision. Someone making themselves bigger than the game is unacceptable.
Since his championship last year, I feel like James has toned his bad boy image down significantly, if not altogether. He is happy all the time, extremely outgoing and clearly enjoying himself….similar to how he was in Cleveland, no?
Last week, a fan in Miami made an amazing half court shot, a hook shot mind you, to win $75,000. LeBron James is part of a foundation that also awards money to a youth club if the shot goes in. As the shot went in, James came over and tackled the shooter in celebration. It was a fantastic moment for everyone, and aside from the cash, something that fan will never forget.
Seeing the joy on the face of James is not something you would have seen before his championship in Miami. It looked like the kid I watched on ESPN in high school with the giant grin. It was the guy putting the Cavaliers on his back and leading a playoff run.
So is it time to put behind us the disgusting past of James? In short, maybe. Think about this, what else has James really done to make you mad at him? It was inevitable he was going to leave Cleveland so I can’t really blame him for doing it. In fact, if he had stayed, it would have been the biggest sports story of the year and been a massive shock to just about everyone.
Everyone likes to hate a winner without just cause. He’s not a trouble maker, not linked to any kind of PED’s, and he promotes the game more than most players do. If he had never been involved in “The Decision”, would you still feel the same about him? I can’t imagine I would. The Heat franchise probably didn’t help either with their over the top unveiling of the trio of Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and James, but that’s not really his fault.
I’m willing to cut the guy a lot of slack for his obvious efforts to win back his fans. ”The Decision” will never be forgotten, but you can’t change the past right? All anyone can do is work to improve their future, and it is hard to argue what James has attempted.
While sitting down to watch NBC’s latest game show, Take It All, I wondered where they would screw it up. It happens eventually, sometimes taking years (Deal or No Deal), or just minutes (Minute to Win It). Look, NBC hasn’t exactly been successful with game shows. 1 vs. 100 is by far the best thing to come from them in over a decade and it was cancelled after being treated poorly. So as I watched the entire game of Take It All play out, I was surprised by how entertaining it was…then the final segment took place and I was mortified.
I’ll go through the show chronologically to bring back the happy memories. Howie Mandel, who seems to be NBC’s “go-to” personality, hosts Take It All. While not typically a fan of comedians turning into game show hosts, Mandel was superb on Deal and here he is no different.
The game plays like a typical Christmas gathering where you have a “white elephant” gift exchange. There are five players in a game and they are told the value range of all the prizes. Player one is introduced and chooses from one of the five mystery boxes on a screen. They are given a description of the prize and are even given small props so everyone knows what they are…a nice touch to represent the gifts which can be from $3,000 to $60,000 or more.
Player two is introduced and has a choice between taking Player one’s prize or taking one of the remaining mystery prizes on the wall. If they take Player one’s prize, then Player one must choose another prize.
Player three is introduced and play continues until all five players have had a chance to play. The player with the lowest valued prize at the end of the round is eliminated. So right here we see a little bit of “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” involved in the game. There is a more strategy for the players when you allow each of them to lock their prize and prevent it from being taken. This can only occur ONE time by each player in the entire game, and they play three rounds.
The second and third rounds play out the same, with higher valued prizes each time. After round three, we are down to only two players and we reach the end game called the Prize Fight. After a very intriguing three rounds of simple game play, I had high hopes for Take It All. Unfortunately, the Prize Fight had me questioning humanity.
Similar to “Friend or Foe”, the final round features a prisoner’s dilemma. Each contestant must secretly choose to keep what they have or take everything that both players have accumulated. To add to the greed, each player selects a secret envelope with money ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. If they both keep, they both win what they have. If one takes everything and the other keeps, the player who takes it all does just that. If they both choose take it all, they both get nothing.
I hate this format because it typically brings out the worst in people. It is extremely rare to come out of this with two winners, the only way I ever feel good about the ending. If both leave with nothing, it sucks. If someone leaves with everything, they look like a complete jerk.
NBC, you have a good show on your hands. The end game MUST change however. I’ve read so many posts on various sites that can’t stand it. I’m with them. What a terrible way for this to conclude. To allow two people to stand there and lie to gain the other’s trust only to rip everything from them at the last second is terrible. When has allowing another person to control your fate ever been a positive thing?
I want to like this show. It’s fun and enjoyable but the end game has got to go. I’ll watch again, but overnight ratings were simply mediocre. I expect them to drop throughout the week as it will be on every night.
UPDATE 12/12/12: Overnight ratings were surprisingly UP 5% for night number two. Two things…The show is either getting so much word of mouth about the first 50 minutes being solid, or people are actually into the prisoner’s dilemma end game. I’m shocked and would be interested in seeing the rest of the week’s ratings. NBC might be ordering more if this trend continues.
UPDATE 12/13/12: There is it. Take It All dropped nearly 50% in night number three. I am no longer watching this show. The final ten minutes just pisses me off too much.
I must admit, as a life-long gamer I never thought we’d be where we are now. Playing Super Mario Brothers on the NES was all that for sure, but games got bigger, better, and had higher functionality.
In 2001, the Xbox debuted from Microsoft going head to head with the Nintendo Gamecube and Playstation 2. While it was obvious that PS2 would win that generation on console alone, the Xbox would have another trick up its sleeve a year later that would put them ahead going into the current generation of systems.
In the summer of 2002, I was having a blast with the Xbox. NHL Hitz was the first game I had played on it. Halo was purchased at launch as well, and it changed everything. It was graphically superior to anything I’d ever seen. You could even play with up to 16 players by hooking up multiple Xboxes to a LAN. There was also great games like NFL 2k2 and Morrowind.
I had signed up to become part of a massive beta test for Microsoft’s Online Network. It was something that was going to revolutionize gaming. In July of 2002, I remember waking up for work, checking my email and being ecstatic as I was chosen to be part of the first wave of beta testers for what would be called Xbox Live. There were only 5000 chosen for the first wave of beta testers and while this number expanded over the course of 60 days, I was among the very first.
The email informed me that over the next couple weeks, I’ll receive a package with everything I needed to get my Xbox online. When I did, I remember seeing a lot of orange. The packaging to the headset, the t-shirt, the bag, and the disc cover were all orange. It was a great day. It also came with beta versions of the game Re-Volt, which was also on Dreamcast, as well as a copy of NFL Fever 2002 featuring Peyton Manning.
I was given a set of instructions an went to town, downloading information onto the Xbox. After the initial setups I was in a room of 7 other people gearing up to race in Re-Volt. Everyone was happy, excited and eager to play. You didn’t hear any name calling and angry racists like you do now. It was adults who were respectful and grateful for this amazing opportunity.
Re-Volt wasn’t the greatest game ever, far from it in fact. However, just to play something online with others simultaneously and without lag, all while being in constant vocal communication was out of this world.
Throughout the 60 day beta testing period, there were more discs sent with updates and improvements. We also got a few other things in the mail like an orange memory card. There was a lot of communication from Microsoft via surveys that we filled out to provide input on service improvement. I like to think I supplied vital information that helped mold Xbox Live into what it is today.
On November 15, 2002, the service went live for anyone with an Xbox console. Mech Assault was probably the first game I played on the service. I honestly don’t remember enjoying it that much, but I know it came early on.
Other great memories came from Xbox Live over the last 10 years. Here’s what sticks out the most for me:
- NHL 2k3: Not only was EA Sports nearly irrelevant when it came to quality hockey games at the time, 2k was really finding its stride with an epic game of simulation sports. Hockey was no disappointment. NHL 2k3 was online and amazing. As with many sports games, my website hosted a league for it. Even just playing co-op on the same console against random opponents online was a blast.
- Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow: The ultimate game of balance for 2 on 2 stealth game play. Spies versus Mercenaries is still one of my all time favorite games to play online. It required significant team work and while we frequently had an advantage by playing on XBL with 2 televisions for maximum vision, we still enjoyed this game for years.
- Halo 2: When a sequel to Halo was announced, details revealed an online component that was even more massive than its predecessor, but it would be on Xbox Live. I logged nearly 3000 games of Halo 2 according to Halo Waypoint, but less than 500 for Halo: Reach. That’s how good Halo 2 was.
Those are the games that stood out but there are countless memories from Xbox Live. I routinely play EA’s NHL series online. The arcade section has expanded tremendously, and there are apps that run music and Netflix.
It was also announced this week that the longest tenured XBL members may be receiving 10th anniversary Xbox 360 consoles as a thank you for their commitment. No one has been a part of XBL longer than I have…..fingers crossed.
Happy 10th anniversary Xbox Live. You are the superior online service, and it is not even close.
Ever since Blogtalkradio stripped down their free option and severely limited the time for broadcasting, I lost the desire to stick with it. BTR was a fantastic program and I’m not sure anything could improve upon it for live internet radio.
I’ve always been ‘on again, off again’ when it comes to internet audio shows. I feel like I want to jump into it again in some capacity. I have some ideas but want to proceed slowly. Ideally it will be based on sports and gaming but there are a couple sites I am a member of where it would broaden the audience.
The program I plan to use has been given great reviews and will fulfill what I want to accomplish. Spreaker is the site I found and I’m hoping to utilize.
If anyone out there is interested in helping out, being a guest, a host, or a contributor, please let me know.
I’m a huge fan of the National Hockey League. More specifically, I cheer for the Columbus Blue Jackets. My wife and I go to up to ten games a season through a team ticket package. We also drive three hours to get to Nationwide Arena.
I cannot tell you how much CBJ apparel we own. From little things like a pen with the Jackets’ insignia to multiple jerseys. In fact, we planned on buying a couple new jerseys this season as well since a certain Rick Nash no longer plays for the team (that would just be awkward).
On our trips to the Arena District, we pay to park. We also frequent the establishments in the area for food and beverage prior to game time. Inside we cheer loud, buy a drink to keep our throat wet and then cheer some more. We may stop for food on the way home as well.
For the other 72 games we subscribe to DirecTV’s NHL Center Ice. On top of that, the All-Star Game is in Columbus this season and we already have tickets to see it…those weren’t cheap.
When the lockout hit, I was floored. I kind of assumed you’d reach a deal relatively quickly since you’ve already had a full season lockout just eight years ago. I mean you’d have to be completely stupid to do it again, right? RIGHT?
I stopped wearing anything with an NHL or CBJ logo, making my attire a bit more limited. When my ticket agent called to offer 4% interest on my Blue Jackets account if I kept the money with the team, I said no and I want a refund.
A preseason game and opening night, two games we had tickets for, came and went. I shrugged it off almost knowing I’d never see a game this season.
The NHLPA and the NHL owners were essentially refusing to talk to each other as if they were children.
Then, on October 16, the National Hockey League came out with a proposal. It was a proposal that I never thought I’d see from the owners. A 50/50 revenue sharing split. This was significantly less than anything I thought the owners would ask for. When terms of the deal were announced, it said that even current contracts would go untouched. In other words, a majority of players would keep their full salary for this season and future seasons to come.
Donald Fehr said he wasn’t sure if this was a real effort by the NHL or not. David Backes made an asinine statement that basically said it is like a person who makes $50,000 a year getting dropping to $40,000 a year, even though their company is doing great. Backes makes millions while the people that pay that salary, make nowhere near that.
So, NHLPA, here are some questions for you:
- What will it be like when you make next to nothing this season?
- How long until you get that money back?
- What feelings will you have knowing you are collectively destroying a great sport in the United States?
- Remember when everyone was saying you “just want to play”? Why aren’t you playing?
- My life will go on just fine without the NHL, but what about the merchandiser who sold me the clothes and jerseys? What about the employees of the restaurants in the Arena District who rely on the 41+ nights a year for big crowds? What about the parking attendants who will work fewer events? The arena employees, the vendors, the ticket sellers? Do you ever think of anyone but yourselves?
- To those playing in other professional leagues, how do you feel about taking the job of someone who is barely getting by playing hockey?
- How much money is enough money when you have millions in the bank?
The time has come to show you aren’t a bunch of money hungry athletes. The time has come to prove to the fans that you want to play hockey. Are you man enough to take a small cut in pay while still being of the top paid professions by a long shot?
Man up and sign this deal because you are lucky the NHL is offering this much to you. When you saw this, any reaction other than high-fiving one another is an insult to NHL fans.
Your fan base that is decreasing daily.
With the Emmy Awards coming and going over a week ago, it was another year of the fantastic cast of Fringe to go unrecognized. Peter Jackson is good, Anna Torv is great, but John Noble is simply fantastic. Noble’s portrayal of Walter Bishop is nothing short of phenomenal. Add to that the talents of his other character, “Walternate”, as well as a more coherent (and even a younger) Walter and you’d have to be blind to not see his abilities.
The Fringe fan base may be small based on Neilsen ratings, though DVR numbers are always 1st or 2nd in increase percentage. I compare the fan base to the passionate fans of Firefly. In fact, Fringe had no business getting a 5th season (or a 4th perhaps) if it wasn’t for the fans. For once Fox was extremely generous and listened to everyone.
If you look around, all Fringe fans have been clamoring for Noble to at least receive an Emmy nomination. I’ve never been so emotionally involved in a group of characters like Peter, Walter, and Olivia. Noble has the perfect delivery for playing that crazy old guy. He’s funny at the right times and he’s extremely engaging.
On Friday’s Premiere Episode of Season 5 (Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11) the final scene was a thing of brilliance. It completely set the tone of hope for the final 12 episodes, filled Walter’s desire for missing music, made reference to what the Observer said earlier that “Nothing grows from scorched Earth”, and tugged at heart strings like no other scene has ever done in the history of the show….Noble pulled this off without saying a word.
It was such a powerful scene, possibly the best of the series. This is what an Emmy performance looks like:
It is no secret that game shows are a genre of television program that gets my attention. Like video games and scripted shows, I’ve very particular about the quality of the game show. In the United States, nothing has come along over the last several years that has been worthy in my opinion. In fact, I find myself online watching British shows like Deal or no Deal and The Cube routinely, because Americans can’t make a good game show. A lot of this I blame on our culture which is full of nit-wits with an extremely finite attention span (I’m looking at you, anyone who watched Minute to Win it for more than two minutes).
Classic game shows of the 70′s and 80′s were fantastic. They knew how to make a well rounded show in 30 minutes, have great game play, and a bonus game that allowed for a big prize. A catchy theme song and a great host were attributes that helped define the genre. I could rattle off a list of 20 shows that fit this category. Many survived for years, and some were cancelled quickly. One show that stood out above any other was the Pyramid.
The premise is simple. Two contestants compete against each other. Each contestant is teamed with a celebrity. They play three rounds each, trying to guess a word from their partner. Each round is 30 seconds long and you must try to get up to seven correct words, for a maximum score of 21. After three rounds, the highest score goes to the bonus round known as the Winner’s Circle where you play for a certain amount of money, usually $10,000 or $25,000. In the Circle, you have to get six correct answers as your partner gives a list to describe the subject (i.e. things that are flat). The six subjects form a pyramid on the board and if you reach the top, you win. The whole process is then repeated in the second half of the show, switching celebrity partner.
Pyramid was reincarnated many times. A dollar value preceded the title each time and it was on the air for over a decade. The most popular and longest running, was the $25,000 Pyramid, hosted by the late great Dick Clark. Clark is known for so many things, but a game show host is how I’ll always remember him. On Pyramid, he was phenomenal.
The show was rebooted in 2002 and hosted by Donny Osmond. It was atrocious and simply put, a slap in the face to everything that was great about the show. It had no drama, looked way too modern, and Osmond clearly wasn’t a good host.
In 2009, a pilot for the $1,000,000 Pyramid was shot but never saw the light of day. It had a superb classic feel and looked like it could work. Unfortunately, CBS declined to pick it up.
Now in 2012, The Pyramid will debut on GSN in September. 40 episodes have already been ordered, and many already shot. This is all according to a site I frequent, Buzzerblog.com. Having read this, my excitement level is through the roof. It has a very classic feel and it appears to be done correctly.
There are a few minor differences from the original show, but most seem to actually be for the better or are not a big deal. The biggest in my mind, is the lack of a defending champion. It was always great to see the winner try to defend their title, just like on Jeopardy!. So every show will get two new contestants.
A fantastic new way for how much you play for in the Winner’s Circle is based on how well you play the main game. Everyone is guaranteed to play for $10,000 each game. However, for every perfect seven you get in the main game, $5,000 is added. This means with a perfect main game, you would play for $25,000. There are no longer any “7-11″ or “Mystery 7″ categories to choose from either because of this. In my opinion, this makes the main game much more interesting.
The celebrity rotation looks somewhat decent as well. Dot Jones (Glee), Oscar Nunez (The Office), Nicholas Turturro (Blue Bloods) and Yvette Nicole Brown and Dani Pudi (Community) are all confirmed.
I’m personally reserving judgement on the host of The Pyramid, Mike Richards. He is the current Executive Producer of Let’s Make a Deal, and The Price Is Right. As a devout fan of TPIR, I feel like he is a huge part of the terrible product that has been coming from that show over the past four seasons. As a game show host, I have hopes that he will be solid.
The Pyramid debuts on GSN, September 3 at 6pm ET.
EDIT: A promo on GSN is currently being run. Here’s a look. I must say that Mike Richards has this down if the commercial is any indication.
On a day when the NCAA handed down one of the most unprecedented punishments to Penn State University, I’m surprisingly not going to weigh in with my thoughts. SImply put, it is disgusting and no matter what the NCAA ruled, it wasn’t enough. Nothing could be enough.
In news that doesn’t make my blood boil, EA Sports has announced it will not extend the NCAA Football franchise’s exclusive rights when it expires in 2014. This means that anyone else would be allowed to create an NCAA football game if they acquire the license to make it.
This comes in conjunction with a long standing lawsuit from consumers over the legality of exclusive deals with Madden and the NCAA. The settlement will pay out a few bucks to those who purchased football games since 2006. It also means EA Sports cannot sign an exclusive agreement with the Arena Football League, which most people probably weren’t even aware still existed anyway.
The better news for consumers is that the possibility of multiple NCAA Football games will soon exist. It doesn’t mean EA Sports will discontinue the franchise. In fact, it is entirely possible they still don’t have competition. It opens the door for 2K Sports to get back into football however. It is widely debated that NFL 2k5 remains the greatest football game ever. In fact, it is said that NFL 2k5 (and its $20 price tag at the time) was the reason EA Sports signed the deal with the NFL.
As a longtime NCAA Football fan, this is great news to me. The game has grown terribly stale. Defense is still deplorable (and identical to the past five iterations), the AI can’t run or defend the option properly and bugs continue to plague the series at launch each year. In fact, NCAA 12 was NEVER fixed despite several patches.
NCAA 13 was released recently to a mostly negative reaction from reviewers and fan forums. Madden has made minor positive strides after a few extremely lackluster years and NCAA fans appear to be fed up with it. The most enjoyable NCAA I can remember is still on the last generation Xbox.
Knowing the option for improved and alternate NCAA Football games in a couple years is a great feeling. Now if only SOMEONE would put an NCAA Basketball game on the market.