Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Tagged Crispy Gamer

Crispy Gamer: Bang the DRM Slowly

Erich Remarque of Magnolia, Arkansas is pissed. After waiting three years to play Spore, he’s being treated more like a suspect than paying customer.

“[Spore] incorporates a draconian [digital rights management (DRM)] system that requires you to activate over the internet, and limits you to a grand total of 3 activations,” he writes in his glaringly critical review of the game on Amazon.com. “If you reach that limit, then you’ll have to call EA in order to add one extra activation. That’s not as simple as it sounds, since when you reach that point EA will assume that you, the paying customer, are a filthy pirating thief.”

Emotion may have got the best of Remarque, but he has reason to be upset over Spore’s limited use policy, which is extreme. And he’s not the only one who thinks so. At the time of writing, 85 percent of 3,000 user reviews on Amazon.com have given Spore a one-star (out of five) rating, almost all of them slamming the strict digital rights management employed by Electronic Arts.

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Crispy Gamer: Some Like It Short (Why Gamers Don’t Finish the Job)

Earth is under attack. Your favorite football team is waiting to win their division. There are more than 60 remaining stars to collect. And yet the gamers charged with overcoming the odds couldn’t care less.

They rarely finish their games, it seems.

According to an investigative Crispy Gamer survey of 2,000 players conducted this month, less than 25 percent of games are played to completion (i.e. the rolling of credits). What’s more, an alarming number of the same percentile say they finish less than 10 percent of their games, purchased, rented, or otherwise.

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Crispy Gamer: Boom Blox review (Wii)

When I first heard the news that Steven Spielberg was working on an exclusive Wii puzzle game, I was skeptical. What does he know about videogames, especially non-story ones like Boom Blox? On the subject of his pedigree: Sure he directed “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Jaws” and “Saving Private Ryan,” but he also directed “A.I.,” “Temple of Doom” and “War of the Worlds.” I think you can appreciate where I’m coming from.

After playing the game, however, I’m happy to report that Boom Blox is not just a marketing ploy or a misguided idea by the venerable movie director. It’s an inspired, console-appropriate and rewarding game — particularly for single-player challenge-seekers — even if it appears to be something that Spielberg wouldn’t be involved with.

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Crispy Gamer: Little Big Planet preview (PS3)

In March 2007, BBC technology editor Darren Waters wrote, “LittleBigPlanet is perhaps one of the most dazzling demos I’ve seen in the last 10 years.” More than a year later, after an extensive hands-on in late April, I can only say the same. LittleBigPlanet looks, plays and feels incredibly fresh — even for an unfinished game. It’s no wonder Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime was covetous of developer Media Molecule after the exclusive PlayStation 3 title was revealed last year. Here’s an update on its development.

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Crispy Gamer: Who Spilled Diet on My Instruction Manual?

Crispy Gamer examines the decline of printed videogame manuals.

Instruction manuals are on life support. If you haven’t noticed already, the once-precious and colorful booklets have recently been reduced to a few black and white pages. Call of Duty 4 is a fitting case in point. Despite containing just six paltry pages of printed user instruction (PDF here), the first-person shooter would go on to become the best-selling game of 2007. The undecorated manual obviously wasn’t missed.

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Crispy Gamer: Not Every Politician Hates Videogames

At a VIP game developer event in a secluded upstairs San Francisco lounge, a well-dressed man in his 50s is making the rounds. “Hello, I’m the mayor of Baton Rouge.”

“Do you just walk around calling yourself a mayor?” asks one doubting attendee.

“No, I’m really the mayor of of Baton Rouge.”

And he is. His name is Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden, and he was attending the Game Developers Conference for the second time in as many years. He wouldn’t be there (or be a sponsor) if he didn’t like videogames — or at least what they’ve already done and potentially will do for his city’s inhabitants.

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Crispy Gamer: On the Bright Side, Better Living Through Videogames

Blake Snow examines gaming benevolence and creative development twice monthly. The color of next-gen is bright.

Mr. Bright Side, here, back with more. This time, I focus on the increasing role of videogames as rehabilitation products, surgical guiding lights, brain developers, an aid to cancer researchers and tools for paramedics training — no, I’m not making this stuff up.

It’s easy to understand how conventional gamers and industry pundits may have grown tired of the positive media coverage enjoyed by Nintendo Wii since first launching more than a year and a half ago. Indeed, Nintendo took press clippings to a whole new level at E3 2007, when it incessantly showed a stream of favorable “we told you so” videos, but if you don’t get warm and fuzzy watching the “Wii Being Used as Therapy” story that was televised on “The Today Show” in March, you have a heart of coal.

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Crispy Gamer: Hot Shots Out of Bounds review (PS3)

Arcade golf games haven’t changed much. You mash a button to start a swing, hit it a second time to mark your power, and press it third time to dictate shot accuracy. The fifth version of the long-running Hot Shots Golf series for PlayStation 3 closely follows this formula, and that’s not a bad thing — after all these years, the simple gameplay continues to satisfy, and a fresh coat of HD paint is just gravy.

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Crispy Gamer: On the Bright Side, an introduction

Blake Snow examines gaming benevolence and creative development twice monthly. The color of next-gen is bright.

In 2007, a fictional food critic by the name of Antone Ego aptly described mass media and its audience when he wrote: “We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.”

Ego’s definition couldn’t have been wiser. Indeed, positive news has long since taken a backseat to negative reporting, with the former often compressed to a 20-second closing spot in a 30-minute telecast.

The same is true of videogames, if not by more, which have long been vilified and blamed for idleness, poor grades, insensitivity and random acts of violence by the mainstream media. Interestingly, even the gaming press has become more grumpy in recent years, adding drama where there is none to be found, discouraging industry growth and change, and forgetting the playful nature of videogames altogether.

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