Do you follow the game reviews on "Judgment day"? If you haven't, be prepared for a lot of arm gesticulating as Tommy and Victor, the hosts, wave their hands wildly and talk over each other in excitement! Their language is drenched with "basically, actually, sort of, sort of like, pretty much, definitely, kind of, cool, sucks" and other cliches. Which is why I love it, of course. Tommy and Victor have this special way of making you also want to try out the games they give bad reviews (I guess I should mention that a bad review on this show is 6.5 out of ten. Mostly, they stick with the grading 7.0 to 9.5!). They didn't give EA's FIFA Street the best grades on the show this morning, but I still can't wait to check it out!

G4tv airs some interesting programs for gamers - worth a visit!

posted to Media by Madison | Permalink



Earlier this morning, I was arranging a table with some new titles near the entrance. I couldn't help but yawning non-stop. Arranging displays isn't really my thing! Besides, the super-bowl party yesterday really knocked me out. Way tense.

So I'm stacking up copies of Gladwell's Blink. Suddenly, this old guy who has been a regular here lately, came up to me. I've been wondering about why he is here so often. It seems like he is searching for something, but doesn't know quite what.

"Now isn't this interesting," he said with a slow, friendly voice, pointing towards the books, "this writer claim that all the time it takes to form an impression of someone, is a blink!" "That's creepy!" I responded. Tilting his head slightly and taking off his glasses, he glanced at me for several seconds. "People aren't always exactly the way the come off, so don't you analyze me, please!" I warned. Lately, I've been having some trouble with customers who seem to know an awful lot about me. Come to think of it, they've all been male? It is downright annoying!

He didn't take my advice. "You seem like a sweet, caring, young girl with many healthy interests? I often see you over in the religious section!" "Well, that's because in the last month, those books have been pulled out over and over again. It's my job to put them back, so no need to make any assumptions. I don't believe!"

"Oh!" he said, with disappointment. "Putting the books back must be a nuisance?"

Sigh! How slow can you be. He himself is the special someone who pulls out all the religious books but never puts them back in place! How could he miss the sarcasm… "You bet! You'd be surprised to know how people treat books in bookstores." I finished the table. Blink all over.

"May I ask you a personal question?" he said, picking up a copy. "Depends on the question." I'm not generally eager to answer any "personal" questions.. But coming from someone his age, at least I wouldn't risk being asked out.

"What's your first impression of me?" he asked, nervously. Something in his voice told me that my answer would be important to him. Why? I didn't really have a clear impression of him at all! What did I think of him?

Friendly? Old-fashioned? Lonely? Aloof? Quirky? Sad?

I didn't want to hurt his feelings. "Friendly," I said with a smile, and told him I had to go and get some more work done. He brought his copy of Blink to cashier and left.

posted to story by Madison | Permalink

Something like a tennis elbow in a thumb


Gamespy interviews Hugh Hefner about Playboy: The Mansion. Hugh thinks of himself as an "old-fashioned cat" who won't play The Mansion in "any obsessive kind of way", was born into a"puritan society" and would love to be Elvis Presley in a game!

GameSpy: You have a game room here at the mansion. How often do you go in there and play?

Hugh Hefner: In the '70s and early-'80s, we were in there almost every night. I am, and have always been, a big game player. There was a time when I played Pac-Man so incessantly that I had to get a glove because I was suffering from something like tennis elbow, but it was in my thumb.

What is interesting is that while Hugh played Pac-Man incessantly - he won't play Playboy The Mansion obsessively... is this just an "old-fashioned" cat's preference, or....

posted to media, games by Madison | Permalink

Women + Video Games = Profit


Women have money to spend. As with the rest of the world, they are seeing games as one of their main sources of entertainment. Tap into their desires for fun, and *poof*, instant profits.

Yesterday, Clarinda Merripen of Cyberlore spoke at the Boston Postmortem. She had a lot to say about women and games - to an audience of almost all male game developers. "Women are the new powerhouse", she said, quoting sales statistics from Fast Company. Apparently, women purchase 66% of all home computer equipment in the U.S!

She accused the game industry of alienating women by their marketing campaigns. As an example, she mentioned the absolutely ridiculous Gameboyd Advance SP ad - the one with the guy and his girlfriend in bed. She is sleeping, while he is playing his gameboy in the dark. It practically spells out "women - this isn't for you" (and worse - guys would rather play with their gameboy than with you!). Clarinda asks the industry to reinvent their image. If Nike could get women to wear sports shoes, why can't the game industry get women to play games?

She also accused the retailers of catering only to guys, and boy, is that true. Every-time I pop into Best Buy in the mall, a bunch of "I know games better than you" clerks hang around the game section, looking at me as if I should rather be shopping at Victoria's Secret.

Anyway, she got the crowd excited about the new Playboy, The Mansion game - it just went gold and will be out on the 25th of January. I'm curious though - will women buy this game?

posted to media by Madison | Permalink

Playboy: The Mansion


- or, The Sims, on Viagra?

I can't say from the previews if this game is going to be any good or not. I know for SURE that there will be some real discussion around Playboy, The Mansion when it is released (January 15th, I think). Just have a look at this. Ironlore, the developers, are putting real people into the game:

Have you ever dreamt of living at the Playboy Mansion, roaming freely in the world's most stylish pad, meeting with celebrities and enjoying the Playboy lifestyle in the place where it all started?

This could be you. If you're willing to look sexy on the web, enter a contest, and you could be the one they'll invite into the game. Their website is full of hopeful, sexy young people. Are they competing with porn sites? You've got to wonder when you come across pictures like this one:

The rules: You've got to be 18. Could they perhaps add another, small rule? Like... keep your panties on, at least?

Are you feeling turned off, or is this just me...

posted to Media, story by Madison | Permalink



I got my brother some really cool wireless Playstation controllers for Christmas. I really wanted to get him a copy of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, but my mum would have a fit... so I got it for myself. That was practically an invitation for him to move in with me... Oy. I should have known better!

There is a great San Andreas video review atGameSpot by Jeff Gerstmann. I've been spending most of my Christmas break on this game... is that bad?

Antonia came by, and for once, she wasn't nagging me to go out with her. She seemed kind of worried, though, just sitting there, watching me play. It was nice to be able to do what I want to do for once, but... honestly, I think something is up. I hope she hasn't gotten herself into any trouble.

posted to story, games by Madison | Permalink

The End of Men 2!


The news at NPR are really amusing these days. Here is another End of Men article - Making Sperm, No Men Necessary. This study is a gem!

(By the way.... notice that this study is lead by men.... talk about being self destructive!)

posted to Story, Reading by Madison | Permalink

Men everywhere


What is going on? I'm flabbergasted. I was just posting about wanting to write about my bookstore clerk experiences a few days ago - and suddenly, I'm overwhelmed by strange incidents. Like if I didn't already have enough to write about!

Yesterday, a slightly overweight guy walked up to me right before lunch, with a shy smile, handing me his business card. "I'm Brad," he stuttered. What was I supposed to say? Did I know him? Hmm…

He just stood there, waiting for me to make the next move. "...and..?" I finally asked. "Well, here I am!" he smiled. Yes, indeed he was - but what did he want from me?

He looked like a complete jerk, standing there in his wrinkled business suit, hiding his arms behind his back.

"Can I help you with something?" I said. "Well, I am here for lunch!" He kept smiling as if I knew him. "This is a bookstore," I reminded him, just in case this wasn't already obvious. I've had people ask for underwear here before, so everything is possible. "Aha..." he said, not entirely convinced, though... and wiggled his eyebrows back and forth a few times, nervously. "Is everything OK?" He shuffled some hair away from his face.

"I'm fine!" I insisted. I'd be better if he got the hell out of the store, but... "You know, usually, you get lunch over there, at the Food Court. Or, you could try the California Pizza Kitchen at the end of the mall." I pointed out the door with my finger, turning away from him to show him I was done with the conversation. I mean, f i n i s h e d. Done.

But he didn't move! I turned my back to him and began sorting some books to be re-shelved. Some minutes passed. What did he want from me? Finally, just before I was seriously freaked out, he left, slowly, looking at me as he walked though the door as if I was nuts.

Then today, when I came back from lunch... my store manager handed me another business card. "Frank DeLuca, Research Assistant" it said. "Where did this come from?" I asked. "Some guy was here, asking for you during lunch," she said.

What is this all about!

posted to story by Madison | Permalink

End of Men?


Take a look at this article: As Y Chromosome Shrinks, End of Men Pondered. One can only hope, I suppose? The very last thing I'd want in my life right now is a guy. Antonia invited me over to do this online dating thing a few days ago, but... even 20 minutes of that was more than enough for me to validate my impression of men: they're a bunch of needy, impossible, self-important puddles of flesh.

Their profiles all sound the same. They want a woman who would look just as great in a black, sexy little dress as she would in jeans and sneakers. Would Coco Chanel see a contradiction here?

This study is a sign from God.... Check it out!

Some geneticists think the Y chromosome is now little more than a genetic wasteland that will eventually just disappear. If that were to happen, it would certainly spell the end of sexual reproduction.
posted to Story, Reading by Madison | Permalink

Giant in the Playground's "Order of the Stick"


I found this great site this morning. It's a comic strip called "Order of the Stick" from the Web site www.giantitp.com. The comic artist, Rich Burlow, is a game writer and designer, and he is absolutely hilarious. It had me in hysterics! The characters are all straight from a role-playing game — the heroes include a rogue, a halfling ranger, and their battle-hardened leader Roy Greenhilt.

My favorite of strip was a spoof on those inane automated voicemail answering systems — you know, the ones with menu after menu of options that confuse and frustrate you every time your phone bill is wrong or you want to change your billing information with your insurance company. The minstrel, Elan the Bard, has been injured in the field of battle, so Durkon Thundershield the dwarven cleric decides to make an appeal to the Mighty Thor in an attempt to save him. But instead of the great and powerful Thor, he instead ends up with a recorded menu of choices at ThorPrayer®. He is trying to get a "Healing Miracle," but when the automated system asks him to enter the first three letters of the name of the miracle, H-E-A gets him the options of "Heathen Smiting" and "Heat Blisters." For each, he is asked to chant "one" if it is correct and chant "two" if it is not correct. The results are funny and twisted, but I won't give them away. Poor Elan … he was better off with the swords stuck in his spleen!

The page says that it is updated every Monday and Thursday. This one is definitely going into my bookmarks.

posted to Media, Story by Madison | Permalink

Working in a bookstore


Bookstores aren't particularly peaceful before Christmas. There is all the angelic music for sure - no escape from angel harps sounding over you while you browse through the sections. But this is manageable. Customers aren't always so.

Since the internet, people have been treating bookstores differently. It's like everything is disposable: You read something, you dispose of it. In the past, you could always count on someone shouting out "oh, I have that book!" if you mentioned your current readings. Alas, no more: People stop by, pick a book, buy it, read it.... and.... RETURN IT!!! Just have a look at this article - The Barnes and Noble's experience:

One of the first things I learned while working at Barnes & Noble was that you should never, ever pay for a book. You can read an entire goddamn novel in the store and we won't bug you once. If you'd rather the convenience of reading at home, simply pay for the book, keep the reciept, and finish it within fourteen days. Even if you say "I didn't like it." they'll take it back. If this surprises you, then you should be even more surprised to learn that this is B&N's version of a strict return policy; recently changed from 'If we carry it, you can return it; no questions asked.' You'd be surprised at the number of people who do this; many seemingly consider Barnes & Noble a library that just happens to require safety deposits.

What's happening here?

I wonder - can it be a side effect of how we read on the internet? People don't keep physical libraries of anything anymore, let's just face it... they don't even shop for cd's now when all they need to do is to load the music into your iPod... Digital artifacts like book lists in a blog is more important than your home library. People enjoy showing off what they are listening to in their Instant Messenger heading when they are online more than bragging about having someone's lates album..

Anyway - this all means that every single day, clerks like me get bugged down with sales return after sales return, even before the infamous month of January...

The link above is a pretty hilarious read. I feel inspired to write about my own stories! Lately, this strange, elder guy have been coming to the bookstore. He never buys anything. He stays in the religious section area, carefully scrutinizing every single book. Yesterday, he seemed very interested as this cute guy approach me, asking for advice on a cooking book for his mum... I wonder what that was about - it was kind of creepy that he was so interested in our conversation. I'm already convinced that this guy is a live blog post waiting to happen...

posted to Story by Madison | Permalink

Claudia Cortes' Colors


My friend Antonia just sent me a link to Claudia Cortes'Colors because she liked it and thought that I might too. She really goes for all of that artsy stuff. All I can say is that it is so riddled with gender stereotypes that I am considering sending an email to the artist to complain and adding Antonia's email address to my spam list so that her emails get blocked.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the site, it includes movies for each of six colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet). In each movie, animated people that look like the people on public bathroom doors (the guys wear pants and the women and girls wear skirts) walk around and act out words that are represented by the color.

But listen to this … which gender is shown to represent the words educated, technical, authoritative, commanding, and rebellious? Men of course! The few women in the movie (wearing skirts of course) represent words like vain and fantastic (a delicate fairy!), or are nursing someone back to health, walking children to the school bus, or reading a book to children at bedtime. Not that I have a problem with showing women as being nurturing or anything, but there certainly are plenty of intelligent, commanding, and authoritative women out there as well (have you ever tried getting a kid to go to bed at their bed time? I rest my case!). There are plenty of nurturing male nurses and house-husbands out there as well (and they probably don't like it that their professions are always being represented by women).

The same thing happens in video gaming as well. The games are just the same old sexist fairy tales rewritten, over and over. The men are there "to save the day" and be some kind of big testosterone-driven hero, while the women are there just to have big boobs—so that the game companies can successfully market their products to all of those horny adolescent boys out there that have nothing else to masturbate to because they are too young to buy pornos. It makes me so angry!

posted to Media,story by Madison | Permalink

Game blogs


Neat idea - a collection of links to game blogs - some are reviewed, too. I wonder if this is how people get to these blogs though - these lists seems to be popular at first and then nobody updates and... suddenly, it is not that interesting anymore.

I find blogs via friend's blogrolls... blogrolls are as infinite as the universe. The next links has another blogroll, which has another, which has another.... you can surf up your entire day this way. Fun to do when work is slow.

posted to Story, web by Madison | Permalink

Comment Spam


Why must the World Wide Web, a beautiful and noble thing, be f..... .. by spammers and the businesses and peddlers who pay them?

Poor Jessey. My comments were completely ruined, too, in the end I had to cut them off my blog. I guess that is just how it goes, sometimes. Can blogs be interesting even without comments? Here is an article in the BBC news (from 2003) - explaining comment spam.

Some people think comments are all wrong, anyway. Mark Bernstein writes about the Moveable Type designers:

"The full-day delay of traditional weblogs is a good thing; the mistake the Trott's made was not in raising their prices but in popularizing comments.

Weblog comments incite duels. Duels are bad for society. We should all forego comments and return to carefully blogging responses -- including responses we disagree with, but excluding responses we cannot tolerate."

posted to Story, web by Madison | Permalink