Double Agent
Fight the future - February 15, 2002 - Erin Mehlos

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. Don't plant that there!!! Don't say we didn't warn you.

What the hell is the matter with you people? Not a one of you wrote in flaming me for yesterday's Valentine's Day massacre.

Oh well.

Let's go.

Game, set, match -- Sony


It's good that Sony is planning to have an assload of different games. What they really need to add to the line-up is a sports game in every flavor (football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.) with upgradable teams and tradable players and a car racing game with upgradable cars and tradable parts. RPGs and action titles alone are not going to justify the existence of an online network. They need to make the rest of the gamers justify the existence of the cash cow before we can ride along on its back, chewing a grass stalk and playing our niche games.


I agree with your line of thought wholeheartedly. Hopefully, between Gran Turismo Online, Auto Modellista (which has already been revealed to feature customizable vehicles), an untitled racing game from SEGA, and untitled sports games from both Konami and Namco, Sony is set.

Group horror


"Does 'survival horror' still have meaning if there's supposed to be strength in numbers?"

I think that if there's anything Romero-sensei has taught us, it's that the ONLY way to survive is in numbers. The real horror is watching the mental anguish of the survivors and watching them all get picked off one by one as they start to go insane.

Although we probably won't get much mental anguish and confrontation between the protagonists in RE:O, I still think it'd be fun to play as a small group of people trapped in a confined space crawling with the walking dead. It'll be like High School all over again.

Resident Evil Online has the capability to be the closest thing to playing a horror movie if it's done right. :)


I'm a little curious myself as to the details of pulling off an online RE. Somehow I can't quite fathom how "survival horror" works when, instead of waiting by your lonesome for the next wave of undead, you're brushing shoulders with fellow players in the hallways and tripping over couples cybering amongst the zombie bits.

Fuck the future


If the future is online gaming, the future can go fuck itself.

Let me tell you, there's nothing I need more than to bleed an extra $20-$40 a month on something that offers little to no long-term satisfaction on my part. I think I'll stick to my already well established drug addictions, thank you.

-Red Raven

True, none of us needs an additional monthly bill, but to the best of my knowledge, monthly fees for Sony's broadband service (which, admittedly, will vary depending on the ISP through which it's offered, similar to services like WebTV) are estimated to cost around 1,500 yen (11 USD) for gaming and basic internet service, and an additional 1,200 yen (around 8 bucks) to download games to your PS2's hard-drive. Yeah, when you're broke you're broke, but Sony's pricing is nonetheless shaping up to be pretty reasonable.


Erin: Purveyor of Fine Confectionaries to her Majesty's Court since 1845,

Never let it be said that Sony doesn't know how to push my buttons. Every time I want to kick them in the gnards for being brutally and painfully stupid, they go and announce 12 to 15 games, a few of which I would be very much interested in playing. While the thought of an online Biohazard game makes my skin crawl (unless I can be Mr. X and line the streets of Raccoon City with the decapitated heads of anti-social teenagers around the country), the annoucement of a new Xi/Devil Dice, an online Everybody's/Hot Shots Golf, and a new crack bunny(tm) game make me titter like a schoolgirl.

As for the online games, I could care less for the most part. After a few months of playing UO and Evercrack and watching other people play PSO, I've come to the conclusion that massively multi- player games have been, are, and will continue to be a phenomenon that doesn't appeal to me. I don't have:

a) the inordinate amount of time required to truly enjoy most online experiences.

b) the patience required to deal with the horde of anti-social peons that tend to inhabit the online realm.

c) any desire to spend my hard-earned cash on the broadband modem, keyboard, and monthly fees that will go along with playing said games.

All of these points have been beaten to death, so I won't go any further. Though it may sound arrogant of me to say, these games have always seemed to me like social interaction for the socially inept. If you can't deal with mature relationships and genuine feelings in the real world, that's OK! Just hide yourself in your room/apt./etc. for hours on end and talk to other emotionally-handicapped people behind the masks of false identities and trumped-up internet arrogance.

Hmmm... me thinks a little misplaced rage just got leaked. My apologies. To each his own, I suppose.

Griffin, who can't imagine what an online Vibri game would entail.

P.S. I'm a little upset with myself that I missed the Valentine's column. Even though it is a pathetic excuse for a holiday created by Hallmark and Whitman's Chocolate Company to boost sluggish post-holiday sales, one can't help but feel a little tug at the heart strings. Therefore Erin, Drew, and DA readers: this 40 oz. goes out to you. I will gladly be your Valentines. Oh... and you got any of those conversation hearts left over, dearest? I could really go for a "Not if you were the last man on Earth" about now.


I think Sony's whole Online launch thing as little more than them trying to make sure FFXI doesn't go *plud* and fall next to PSO in the pit of online console games. In fact, I think online console games are a concept doomed from the beginning simply because its that hard to patch servers and keep a reasonable cheat-free environment. Frankly, consoles just don't have that amount of flexibility. Sony wants to invest in PS2's online capabilities because even their own Everquest is under "attack" by a vastly superior being. Blizzard and Battle Net. If anything will revolutionize online gaming, it will be Warcraft 3 and Worlds of Warcraft. The former being a free, hopefully cheat-free way of gutting innocent enemy peasants and the latter being an MMORPG that is looking to dethrone Everquest with it's zero-load times and user friendly interface.

No wonder Sony is trying to cover their rear end by investing in PS2's Online capabilities. But as I said already, due to the static nature of a console game - online or not - its a dead end.

As good as FFXI looks, all that glitters isn't gold, and gamers are going to learn it the hard way after spending so much money to onlinize their PS2s when they should be saving for a computer. You know they'll be pissed once FFXII comes out for a non-online-ready PS3 and they'll be left with a dead weight console.

Alas, I can shed naught but croc tears for them

- Enbreeze, who is apparently Erin's rag on a stick

But ... FFXII is being developed for the PS2? And PSO is hardly the leaden tanker you make it out to be. Beyond consistently decent sales, I know plenty of individuals who've made it the center of their gaming lives and swear it's worth every penny

I admit, I was dubious as to Square's ability to more or less sell the PS2's broadband and hard drive peripherals when it initially appeared they'd be going it largely alone at first. But I'm amazed at the perpetual negativity towards online gaming; the universal expectation that any online venture will fail and drag down whatever platform was stupid enough to host such a misguided endeavor. You people are supposed to be Square/Sony whores. What the hell is wrong with you lately?

The arms race

Dearest Erin-

Many people have the misconception that online games are inherantly unpopular and doomed to fail. And while most PC MMORPGs have bad raps, it still doesn't account for the relative success of PSO, the multiplayer modes of Starcraft and Diablo 2, or the fact that the so called unpopular MMORPGs have hundreds of thousands of subscribers each. So PS2's online capabilities are sure to be a success, and the list of titles only thus far deems itself quite worthy of attention. However, and I'm sure this will be said sixty billion double-times (name that ref) before this is all set in stones, but Sony's success will be largely based on the availability and reliability of the service. Even if they had online versions of Capcom vs. SNK 3 or Soul Calibur 2 or Gran Turismo 4 or Metal Gear Solid wouldn't make a bit of difference unless the service was fairly cheap, easy to acquire, and not follow after its potential affiliate, AOL for lack of dependability. And with as much times and money is being spent on this, Sony'd better hope their designs and campaigns run smoothly, lest they fail the next gen console war in the online department...which would give XBox a head start.

And yet, XBox's online capabilities aren't assured either. The race for online supremacy is becoming an arms race and fast, or so it seems. Both sides are, behind the scenes, scavanging and pasting together every ace they can get. And frankly, I fully expect Sony to faulter but still come out ahead in the runnings.

As for my most wanted game...well unlike many people, i can't wait to start playing FFXI with my friends and random translated Japanese persons. The art style and character design seems just the way I want it...animeish, but with fantasy overtones, and with many options for clothing and appearnace. But what I'm really excited the untitled Konami music game. I'll admit whole heartedly I'm a DDR buff who can pass his share of catastrophics. So to imagine playing online...well let's just say the thought tickles me. So in conclusion, I feel the future of PS2's online campaign is looking up. And as long as they deliver as promised, I'll have no complaints. And that means another $20 a month or so in their coffers. Adieu.

~Sean, "Vash the Stampede"

I pretty much agree with this, so adding anything would just be seen as an attempt on my part to cash in on the success of the formula.

Unwanted addition to the family

The Valentines Edition was great. It needs to be a tradition now. You rock, Erin.

Anyway, about Sony's online plans: I don't care because I won't be participating. I don't feel like working my ass off to be able to buy the modem/hard drive so I can play FFXI. For the list, only FFXI waves a flag in my face as something I would get if I were rich, but I'm not, and I won't. Sony is going to fall into the huge hole that the 64DD fell into, and then the Xbox will be the main console for online gaming (like the DC before it, because it has a modem built in). I bet you a year's tuition at DigiPen that the only games that will sell are the ones that have offline sides as well as online sides (unlike a certain Square game...).


The gaming consumer has not historically been insanely enthusiastic about peripherals and add-ons, no. But online gaming is hardly the afterthought for the PS2 that the 64DD was for the N64, and not only has Sony more or less beat the Xbox to the punch in implementing broadband service, the third party software support they've announced is undeniably impressive. It's very possible they've turned the tables on MS.


Dear Erin--

Aww. ::sniffle:: You liked the Valentine...

...I think.

Anyhow, the various announced titles sound vaguely intruging (though I'm wondering just how an online RE is gonna owrk-- will you get to BE a zombie, too?), but some of the Un-named titles have me raising my eyebrows.

I mean, "Untitled Music Game" from Konami... can they get ANY more vague?

"I can't tell you the name of the game," said a Konami rep, "but its initials are DDR."

--Shawn David Struck

Next to nothing's known about the "untitled music game." Probably it's of the Bemani family: we can only hope it's DDR or Gitadora -- imagine the jam possibilities.

He's not bitter, dammit

Dear bitter and hung-over Agent,

First, let me say, it's nice to see that teenagers are still cynical, and the vast outpouring of cynicism that is triggered by V-Day. Kids, when you're pushing 30 and still single, then you can start to get bitter about the whole thing. 'Till then, shut up and eat the f*ck*ng chalky hearts (used to great effect on Futurama).

As for Sony's vast list of potential online games, well, woop-de-f*ck*ng-do. Until the hardware is announced, it's all a smokescreen anyway. And, contrary to popular (and marketing) belief, they need to announce when the hardware (and first games) are coming so that we can all get used to the idea (and the children can save their pennies).

"Untitled MMORPG (Atlus)", "Untitled Sports game (?)", "Untitled Resident Evil game". Good God. License EverCrack (TM), borrow EA's online code for Madden (hmm, maybe fix it a bit first), and tell Capcom to stuff the zombies up their ... "Hey, hey!".

Bottom line. They can announce 200 games (Yeah, Nintendo, I'm looking at you) and it doesn't make a lick of difference. Until something's actually available, I'll be working my throwing arm back into shape. Pitchers and Catchers reported yesterday, which beats the hell out of everything else that happened.

Orin the Lawyer - not bitter per se, just generally annoyed

I personally don't really feel that this is "all a smokescreen." Sony's broadband service will be ready to go in Japan this April, most of the games on this list have already been confirmed to be pretty far along, and RE's supposed GCN exclusivity appears to have evaporated. This is a pretty big deal for Sony, and I don't half expect them to blow it.

I guess there's nothing we can do but wait and see, bitching liberally in the meantime.

Closing Comments:

Drew's back tomorrow, so how about we piss him off by making him talk MegaTen.

That's right -- Shin Megami Tensei Nine is headed for Xbox. In light of this, think there's a snowball in hell's chance it'll make it to the States?

- Erin Mehlos

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