games / Columns

B3yond the Report 01.31.11

January 31, 2011 | Posted by Mark Salmela

It’s been a long time…

How have you been? Man, I don’t even know if I can do this anymore.

*Clears throat*


Fuck Xbox!

Yep, still got it…

Welcome back to this wonderful masterpiece of a column known as B3yond the Report. For those who don’t know my name is Mark Salmela, and I created this baby back in 2008 (previously known as the SIXAXIS Report, also written by myself). I have to give major props to Derek Robbins for keeping this column going, and I have to say he’s doing a damn good job at it. Besides one E3 B3yond the Report Special last year I actually haven’t written an edition of B3yond the Report since July 21, 2009. Damn, that was over a year and a half ago. It feels like it was only a few months ago I was doing this every week. And before anyone rushes to the comment section to call me a Sony fanboy I proudly own every console. The “Fuck Xbox” comment was only a joke. Alas, I am willing to bet there are at least 3 or 4 people calling me a hater in the comments section.

411mania has changed in a lot of ways since the last time I wrote an edition of B3yond the Report, yet in some ways it remains the same. Games Editors have come and gone, writers have come and gone, Drew Robbins is still trapped in my basement, and 2 years later no one truly knows if Greg Bruno still writes for this site or not.

In addition to being known for writing B3yond the Report I’m also known for having an unhealthy obsession with two things: Target Terror and Shaq. I just recently re-aired my love for Target Terror in Jimmy Chavez’s Over or Under on Target Terror which can be found here. As for Shaq, well…

Shaq? Shaq?! Shaaaaaqqqqiiiiiiiiii!!!!

Yeah, he’s old news. It’s all about the shore now!

“T-Shirt time, t-shirt time, yo everybody it’s t-shirt time” – a rap by Vinny.

Alright I could go on for days with comedy and other various filler, but there’s actually news to discuss this week. So without further adieu, let’s get on with the show…

Because some things refuse to die, it’s B3yond the News of the Week~!

Sony announced PSP2… errr… NGP???

Here’s a live reaction from a local hockey game after the announcer informed everyone at the arena the PSP2 would be coming:

Yeah, Sony wishes…

In all seriousness after months and months… and months of waiting Sony finally announced a successor to the PlayStation Portable. The Next Generation Platform, a temporary name for their next portable handheld, will be coming late this year. The NGP will feature a kick-ass screen, web connectivity, and the ability to take home console quality games with you on the go. You know what this reminds me of? The PlayStation Portable announcement in 2005. I was extremely excited when I first heard of the PSP. How could you not? Sony, a juggernaut at the time was marching guns-a-blazing into the handheld market looking to dethrone Nintendo and their recently released Nintendo DS. You know what I think of the PSP now? It’s a complete and utter joke. For that reason along with a few others that I’ll explain in a moment I’m not excited for the PSP2. I don’t think I’ve purchased a PSP game or been excited for a PSP game since 2006. The PSP brand is effectively dead to me.

All of the features of the NGP sound awesome. O-LED screen? Hell yeah. Two analog sticks? It’s about time. Touch-pad on the back of the device? Sign me up. 3G support along with other web-apps? Cool beans. PS3 quality graphics in a portable device? Shut the front door… But you know the downside to all of this stuff? It costs money. A lot of money. Can you even buy an O-LED screen for under a grand yet? Now it’s obvious the NGP will not cost anywhere near that much, but if you think you’re going to get PS3 quality graphics in a tiny device plus all of these other great features for less than the price of a PS3 right now you’re out of your freaking mind. What’s the current price of a PS3? $299.99? Damn, that’s already out of my price range.

The biggest problem hindering the success of the PSP2 will easily be the price. I don’t want to keep beating a dead horse but people are going to think the Nintendo 3DS is expensive when it comes out in March. When people look at store shelves this Christmas and see the NGP for what I predict will be $399.99 at the very least they’ll think Sony’s crazy. Hell, I’m already supposed to have a second job according to Sony to support my PlayStation 3 habits. Should I be looking for a 3rd job now to fund the NGP?

I like the look of it.

Sony gave a very impressive presentation on Thursday morning unveiling the NGP. In fact I’d say it was one of Sony’s best presentations in a long time. Sony has also announced a stacked line-up coming to the NGP. Uncharted, Killzone, Little Big Planet, Resistance, that’s basically all of their triple A titles minus God of War and Gran Turismo which I’m sure will eventually be coming (at least in God of War’s case). There’ll be a lot of 3rd party studios supporting the NGP including Activision making Call of Duty although the lack of any mention of EA was interesting. Now I have no factual information to back this up, but I’m guessing EA will be supporting the NGP. There’s no way EA would pass up the opportunity to have Madden be on the NGP. I bet they’re just playing hardball with Sony to get more money.

I could go on for pages detailing all of the NGP news, but quite frankly you’ve probably read all about it on other sites. If not, here’s a nice little collection of NGP news on Kotaku here. I’ve always felt you guys read this column for the opinions, not the news. While I love my PlayStation 3 I’ve unfortunately been soured on the whole PlayStation Portable experience by the PSP. I bought it on day 1 and haven’t played any games on the thing in about 4 years now. The future of the handheld market rests on the Nintendo 3DS and the Apple platforms. Speaking of which, I bought my first Apple device this past year, the latest iPod Touch model, and that thing is the bomb. How could I have been so stupid as to not have one?

In case you didn’t already know, Sony disapproves of hackers

The California court system has granted Sony’s request for a temporary restraining order against George Hotz. Because of this, Holtz is now prevented from “distributing, providing, or otherwise trafficking in” any kind of device, code or any other method that gets around the PS3’s security. Hotz must also remove any links from his website that directs others to similar software.

On one hand I’m upset, because Sony brought this on themselves. I’m in the camp that believes they had no right to remove the Other OS feature of the PS3 because they originally advertised it as a feature. I believe there is a legitimate case of false advertising and support the people suing Sony on that topic. Hell, I wrote a guide back in 2007 showing people how to install Other OS on their PS3 and it was a big hit. While I didn’t use Yellow Dog Linux on my PS3 that often it was a cool feature to tinker around with and was something Sony could advertise that only Sony had. Now days, “it only does everything” is nothing more than a joke. Now only does it NOT “do everything” in regards to running other OS, it still doesn’t allow for PS2 emulation. For that reason alone I’ll never get rid of my launch day PS3 fat. I want to play my PS2 games dammit.

But on the other hand Hotz had to have known this hack would lead to piracy and hacking of games like Modern Warfare 2 when he released this stuff to the public. He also hasn’t helped matters by coming off as an arrogant jerk in interviews. Mocking Sony isn’t going to win you any favors buddy. I have no idea how this case will go down in the end, but as far as I’m concerned there’s no clear right or wrong answer here. Both sides have made solid points, and I think it’s very crucial that Sony gets this piracy problem under control right now. This could very easily be best year in Sony’s history, and the last thing they need is a piracy problem that has helped to cripple the PSP.

PlayStation Store update for the week of January 25

Oh PlayStation Store, you’ve grown up and matured right before my very eyes. When I first started covering you the PSN was nothing more than a web site controlled with an analog stick. You were ugly and nobody liked you. Your best games were Super Rub-a-Dub and Championship Sprint. Now look at you. You’ve got sweet games and you actually have new content each week.

Wait, what the hell is this PlayStation Plus bullshit? Ah hell, I can’t criticize Sony. According to credible sources Sony makes an insane amount of money off of PlayStation Home, and I’m sure they’re making a pretty penny off of PlayStation Plus. I may not be stupid enough to fall for a subscription that offers discounts on games I don’t want and games that have been out for months already, but I can see the appeal for the most dedicated of fans. I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I no longer buy as many PSN games as I used to. Besides Tetris and Pac-Man Championship DX I can’t think of any PSN games I’ve paid for since Sonic 4 came out last September. I think it’s the $14.99 price increase that killed me. Back when PSN games were $4.99 and $7.99 I didn’t mind paying for games I knew I wouldn’t play more than a couple hours. But now days $9.99 is considered a discount and $14.99 is the norm. Yeah, fuck that.

As for what came out on the PSN this week, the thing that interested me the most was the Bulletstorm demo. Bulletstorm is going to kick ass. I love first person shooters with attitudes. The only thing that’s bothering me about Bulletstorm is the knowledge that Duke Nukem Forever is coming out in May. I’m sorry, Bulletstorm looks incredible and I’m going to get it, but nobody stands up to the Duke. Hey, the man’s got balls of steel. In a time where video games are dominated by “realistic” characters (I know, Gears of War says hi) Duke seems like a breath of fresh air to me. Duke looks to harken back to a time when games were about having fun and that genuinely excites me. Bulletstorm looks to appeal on the same emotions, but nothing will stand up to Duke punching a giant alien in the balls and telling a giant naked alien “Hell, I’d still hit it.” Yeah, my boner rages hard for the Duke. Oh, and no homo.

As for everything else, screw it! PlayStation Store update? What update? Just like old times my friends…

B3yond the Cinema!

Here’s a “cool” and “edgy” trailer for the NGP. Looks like Sony wants the NGP to be for hipsters.

Warning this is a very gruesome video of the many deaths of Dead Space 2. This is not for the faint at heart.

The One Man Water Cooler~!

Yeah, it’s the Water Cooler. We’re going old school kiddies. For those who don’t remember the Water Cooler is where I would either write random opinion articles on various subjects or just talk about what I’ve been up to lately. If I were writing this column on a more regular basis I would write an opinion article but since this is a one-time thing I’ll update people on what I’ve been doing lately. If you’re not interested feel free to skip to the next section.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m a proud owner of Xbox Kinect. Not only that, but I love Dance Central. I’ve said for years I’m a fan of new, innovative games. It’s one of the reasons I loved Heavy Rain so much. While I’m not a huge fan or Kinect Adventures or Kinect Sports Dance Central is a fantastic game that actually works. I didn’t like Dance Dance Revolution because it basically boiled down to stepping in 4 different directions really fast, but Dance Central legitimately feels like dancing. Dance Central has made a Kinect believer out of me and I’m very excited for Child of Eden. I thought Rez was really good and I’m excited to see how Child of Eden takes advantage of the potential of Kinect to immerse the player in the experience.

Little Big Planet 2 is a fantastic game, and anyone who thinks it’s just an expansion to Little Big Planet 1 is insane. The only thing I don’t like about Little Big Planet 2 is the music. Am I the only one who thinks this? I loved the soundtrack to the first game so much I got the official soundtrack. It was that good. The music in the trailers for LBP2 was fantastic and I figured it’d easily be one of the best parts of the game. So… What happened? The game is absolutely fantastic and I love all of the new additions, but the music is pretty mediocre at best.

Yes, I preordered a Nintendo 3DS, and I eagerly await its release in March. I must say however that the launch line-up is pretty abysmal. I don’t even know what games I want to get and the system launches in less than 2 months. I love Street Fighter 4 but I don’t know if I need to buy it for a third time. I’m also not sure if I want to play a fighting game on a portable system, regardless of whether or not it’s in 3D. I hear Pilotwings is pretty good, so I may pick that up, but most of the games I’m looking forward to don’t come out for a couple months or later. Ocarina, Paper Mario, and Mario Kart aren’t coming anytime soon which sucks. Also, where’s Mario at? New Super Mario Bros 3D? Sign me up…

Finally, I must say this looks to be the best year in the history of PlayStation ever. I’m counting every PlayStation product as well. 2004 was a great year for the PS2 but this year we’re going to have Little Big Planet 2, Killzone 3, Motorstorm Apocalypse, SOCOM 4, Infamous 2, Ratchet All 4 One, Team Ico Collection, and Uncharted 3 in 2011. That’s an incredible line-up that spans multiple genres. My wallet is going to be destroyed in 2011. Uncharted 2 was my pick for Game of the Year 2009, and I’m pretty blown away by what little I’ve seen of Uncharted 3. The Last Guardian would be nice, but Sony has such a strong line-up for 2011 I wouldn’t mind seeing Last Guardian get pushed until February or March 2012. Their line-up is that good.

The 411mania Empire~!

What the hell ever happened to news reports? I miss the days of when the “big name” columns at 411 that drew all of the hits were news reports. We were the “big dogs” of the section, and everyone else wishes they were us. Now days, everyone’s gotta have strictly opinion columns. I’m being sarcastic, don’t stress out. But I do miss the days of me having constant battles with the writers of the Full Circle and Nintendophiles about which one of us was the best.

The Living Live News Report by Trace Aber. Trace has been doing this shit for a long time. Not going to lie, he wrote about Bloody Death before me. Damn you, FMV is my thing!
Declamations and Diatribes by Brett Day. Mad props to a 411 noob.
The Average Gamer by Dan Watson. Welcome to yet another 411 newbie. Don’t worry, liking Target Terror is a prerequisite to getting hired here.
Bytes and Flops by Vince Osorio. No seriously, all the new guys love Target Terror.
The 10th Hour by Derek Robbins. The best writer on the site today, there’s a reason I asked him to take over B3yond the Report for me.
The Thrifty Gamer Paul Meekin. Yep, loves Target Terror. Check!
Ask 411Games by Mathew Sforcina. I can’t believe I spelled his name right the first time. Hell yeah.
Editor’s Corner by Adam Larck. You’re lucky I don’t give you more shit Adam. Caleb, Ramon, and Lansdell nearly fired me hundreds of times for all the shit I gave them. You’re getting off easy my friend.
Four Player Co-Op by Stephen Randle. God damn Canadians… What? I bet no one else has ever insulted Randle based on his nationality around here. I’m totally original.
Over or Under by Jimmy Chavez. Read his shit! I told you they all love Target Terror.
Retronomicon by Lee Price. I can’t lie, I don’t read this as often as I should. Lee does good shit here.
Friday Night Face Off by Aaron Hubbard. What’s with all of the wrestling writers invading the Games section?
411Games Top 5 by Trace Aber. As far as I’m concerned that column wouldn’t be as popular as it is today without me posting Target Terror top 5’s every week for the first 6 months of the column’s existence. Mad props to Todd Vote for letting me do that.
Fact or Fiction by Adam Larck. Fact or Fiction Games has had so many writers over the years I had to look to see who was writing it. Hell I had a 5 – 6 month reign with the damn thing.
Working Title by Jordan Williams. If my memory serves me right Jordan Williams and Armando are the only people left who have been writing in 411Games longer than me. Damn, I guess I really am 3rd on the seniority charts when it comes to 411Games. Oh, and Working Title is the only column that has been running longer than B3yond the Report.

Signing Off!

Well it’s time for me to hit the old dusty trail. I hope you’ve enjoyed this wacky edition of B3yond the Report by the old guard.

Aren’t you forgetting someone?

Oh shit, I think we’ve got ourselves a situation…

Feel free to leave feedback in the comments section below or by hitting me up at [email protected] You can also find me on the PSN via my tag Fester. Pending a demotion back into my basement with his “brother” Derek will be back next week. Thanks for inviting me into your homes, this has been the Salms, and I’ll cya when I cya!

Oh yeah, this column has earned the seal of approval!


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Mark Salmela
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