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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PlayStation 2 Turns 9

On October 26, 2000, the PlayStation 2 launched in North America. It was quite a hyped up piece of machinery. Not only could it play PS1 and PS2 titles, it also functioned as DVD player (even if it was a sub-par DVD player).

Do you remember the USA PS2 launch? I sure do. Sony had originally promised 1 million units for the system's state side launch, but the number was cut it half for whatever reason. To say the shortage created chaos would be an understatement. The things some folks did to get one of these black boxes was just insane (The PS3 launch was actually similar to the PS2's.) Let's just say that the demand for the PS2 brought out some of humanities's worst qualities.

I didn't get a PS2 on launch day like my dad and I had planned. Even people that had reserved a system had gotten the shaft due to aforementioned cut in units. It took some time, but I was able to secure a PS2 because I was working at Toys 'R Us at the time and I happened to be working in the back when a shipment came in. Naturally there was a catch: If you bought a PS2 at Toys 'R Us (or at least the one I worked at), you had to buy two games or else you got no system. So that was $400 for a PS2! Was it worth it? Well, it was the must have item of the holiday season and even months afterwords it was tough to keep the thing on the shelf. The games looked and sounded amazing, but the system was plagued with a software drought shortly after it's launch. The drought didn't end until the Spring/Summer of 2001 where a steady flow of quality titles had finally kicked in.

These days you can get a PS2 for chump change and if you don't own a PS3, then the PS2 is the next best thing. There are a ton of games to choose from, many of which are at bargain prices. I have over 100 PS2 games and my library still isn't complete. Even if I didn't take into account the PS2's backwards compatibility feature, the PS2 stands fine on it's own because it has such a huge selection for gamers.

In a struggling economy where this gamer can't afford next gen hardware, the PS2 has been a dear friend to me, proving hours upon hours of gaming thrills. Botched launch and software drought aside, the PS2 has proven to be one of the best consoles in gaming, at least in my opinion.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chip Tuned Rockman Review

This is certainly an interesting choice for an album arrangement. The major of Rockman/Mega Man remix albums aren't done in this fashion, but after hearing this one, I'd love to see Capcom release more like it.

When I first heard of Chip Tuned Rockman, I expected that we'd be treated to the usual Rockman 2 boot-licking that we've seen from so many arrange and remix tracks by fans. Not only does Chip Tuned Rockman have a wealth of composers, both from the fan community and those that compose music professionally, the range of tracks from the Rockman games is to say the least, expansive. There are 20 tracks on this album and nearly every game in the classic Rockman series is covered.

Two things really impress me about this album. One, the quality of the music. Being a chiptuned based album, you might think the tracks here are simply NES-style covers, and you'd be wrong. Sure, the music here does sound like it belongs in an NES games but these are full blown arrangements and pretty spectacular ones at that. The composers here are truly masters at what they do and it makes me yearn for them to come back for a second album. I only wish Bun Bun (the composer of Mega Man 3's soundtrack) could have been involved.

The second thing that really wowed me is the aforementioned amount of games represented.
There are songs from Rockman, Rockman 2, Rockman 3, Rockman 4, Rockman 5, Rockman 6, Rockman 7, Rockman 8, Rockman & Forte, Rockman Battle & Chase, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, and even Rockman World 5 on the Game Boy. With so many games being covered, everyone is bound to have more than a few favorites. That also means that some of the lesser appreciated songs get some love. Groundman got some incredible respect here, as did Wind Carry My Words (Battle & Chase).

My hope is that this album will spark a major interest for remixers to do something else besides Dr. Wily Stage 1 from Mega Man 2. There's a ton of great music out there that shouldn't just be limited to the Mega Man 2 and 3.

My personal score for this album is a 4.5/5. I've listened to it more than a dozen times now and I'm still not sick of it. Any and every fan of Mega Man needs to hear these tunes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Capcom's At It Again!

If you haven't bought Street Fighter IV, you might wanna wait until March-April of 2010. Remember how many versions of SFII Capcom put out in the '90s? And don't forget the different versions of SFIII. SFIV looks to be getting similar treatment.

SNAFU totally called this one back in March this year.