Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CROSSTOPIX #3: Part 1 of 3

Welcome everyone to another edition of CrossTopix! It's WrestleMania week as the biggest pro wrestling pay-per-view of the year is this coming Sunday, because of that, we will be discussing the state of pro-wrestling. Is pro-wrestling something you don't care to read about? Don't worry, we will also be discussing the Nintendo Wii and future competition, movie/music formats, and more movie discussion! This week will be a one-on-one edition with the NEWEST MEMBER OF THE CROSSTOPIX TEAM!!! I'll let him introduce himself right here!


Nick: Hi I'm Nick Smith... and looking forward to arguing with STVO

(and all of you) over the next week. It's a pleasure to be here for Wrestlemania Week!

If you live around the Chicagoland area... perhaps you've heard of a road that lies in Dupage County... MUNGER ROAD. One of the MOST HAUNTED places in the area... a movie is FINALLY being produced about it. Check out www.mungerroad.com (long load time for better quality) and www.whatismungerroad.com (click around... you might find some interesting things...)

Bad has arrived... and it's here to stay. Let the GAMES begin!


1. This month, pro-wrestling’s Monday Night Wars have returned and this week is WrestleMania 26! Some fans have speculated this could be one of the best WrestleManias in quite some time. Are you interested in it? What is your opinion of the current state of wrestling? Please feel free to discuss any aspect of WWE, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling: Guest Hosts on Raw, Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff running TNA, WWE NXT, etc.

STVO: I have a lot to say about both WWE and TNA but I’m going to try to make it

as simple yet effective as possible. The WWE product overall has been stale with John Cena/HHH/Randy Orton/Batista/Undertaker having countless matches with each other as the top main-eventers. Despite that, WrestleMania 26 has had a great build with matches like John Cena vs. Batista (I know this contradicts my last statement but the story has been solid, plus Batista is an unstoppable bad guy, WWE focuses too much on cowardly/cheating ones these days) and Edge vs. Jericho should be memorable. I have not enjoyed the Bret Hart-Vince McMahon or Randy Orton-Legacy feuds. One feud is between two (currently) non-active wrestlers and the other has Orton making the other two still looking like jobbers (this is a term for someone who loses all the time.) I also don’t like how WWE is planning on getting rid of the Survivor Series, a staple PPV for 23 years, and adding some lame gimmicky pay-per-views such as “WWE Fatal Four-way” (yes, they are actually naming the PPV “Fatal Four-way!”)

TNA has a very impressive roster with a good mix of veterans and newer wrestlers. From what I have watched on a few episodes of Impact, TNA dedicates more time to the wrestling matches than they do for skits, even the women’s matches are good! Some problems I do have are how some things are being currently booked (dream match of RVD vs. Sting was a 5-second squash, AJ Styles wearing a Ric Flair robe to make himself a complete wanna-be), some of Hulk Hogan’s added “talent” (Bubba the Love Sponge, Orlando Jordan, and the Nasty Boys), and the removal of the six-sided ring. Yes the shape of the ring doesn’t mean the end of the world, but I personally thought it added a unique look to TNA and as the audience at the TNA Genesis PPV showed, many loyal fans were unhappy with this decision.

The most important aspect both companies need to work on is making this new Monday Night War era feel truly new! Avoid the wrestler vs. boss angles and the “nWo-like” stables, we want new storylines, more wrestling than skits (please do away with this Monday Night Guest Host concept), Stone Cold Steve Austin/The Rock’s successors (not imitators), and to score higher ratings, maybe they should look at their real competitor…. UFC! I’m not saying, bring the “Brawl for All” back, but they need to look at what is making UFC a hit now and see if any aspects could be successfully placed into pro-wrestling.

Nick: Best Wrestlemania of all time? Ha-ha. I was physically present; sitting seventh row, for the last GREAT Wrestlemania... one that many consider the last of the ATTITUDE ERA, Wrestlemania XIX. I’m AMAZED that the WWE has turned Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon into one of the most uninteresting “12 years in the making” feuds EVER! Let’s look at Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania XIX... we actually FELT that Vince McMahon HATES Hulk Hogan... which he probably does in real life... but I see the character Mr. McMahon out there every week and he’s totally acting. It’s terrible. The feud also loses some chemistry because Bret Hart just isn’t a character. And if he is... tell me what it is? The cast of HOT TUB TIME MACHINE are the guest hosts for Raw next week. Do I need to say more about the concept? The best host for RAW thus far has been Bob Barker... what does that say?

TNA Wrestling is OK. I like their wrestlers more and have great interest in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Can the only man that has beat Vince McMahon beat him again? I’m not sure. There’s ONE BIG F’N THING missing from TNA right now and it’s the only reason why I’m not sure... they need to broadcast their shows in front of a REAL audience in ARENAS across the country. I never watched WCW when they were taped out of the MGM studios... but if they were worse than the IMPACTS out of the IMPACT ZONE... I would have turned it off. A REAL audience will tell Bischoff what is working and what is not.

Lastly, I’d like to say that the competition between the two companies is the reason why I am a fan of wrestling today. I stopped watching in the early nineties and tuned back in because I heard Hulk Hogan was a bad guy. After the fall out of WCW folding... I’ve lost interest every year and this new found war has rekindled it.


2. What do you think of the Nintendo Wii? Will Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s PlayStation Move provide stiff competition later on? Do you want to see motion controls continued to be used for future consoles, would you want them to find something better than those, or perhaps they should stick to traditional video game mechanics?

STVO: When it first came out, I believed the Nintendo Wii was very innovative at first but later on it has proven to be a gimmick as only a few titles utilizes the motion controls well in my opinion (Boom Blox, Wii Sports, and a few others.) Titles like Smash Bros., Muramasa, and Punch-Out I have enjoyed more with the traditional style of playing. Other titles like New Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, and Zelda Twilight Princess while all fun and somewhat utilizing the motion controls, all could have easily been made to play without the motion controls! I own all three game consoles and spend more time with PS3 and Xbox 360. Most of the titles I play on Wii are for the Virtual Console (NES, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo titles.) Also, do not get me started on the graphics being similar to Gamecube and not being in HD.

There isn’t too much information about PlayStation Move yet aside from some titles they have coming out for it and some current titles that will utilize “the wand” (hurray for me currently owning Resident Evil 5 and Little Big Planet.) The controller (or wand) looks like something someone would buy from “Lover’s Lane” and does look like a knock off of the current Wii Controller with a wireless nunchuck (which that I admit is cool.) I’ll be able to give a better opinion when I see more of it at E3. Microsoft’s Project Natal sure looks impressive on video (being able to scan real life objects like a skateboard into a video game and being able to talk to a young boy named Milo who understands your facial expressions and tone of voice!) The problem is, this kind of promise came from videos of PS2’s EyeToy and the Nintendo Wii, but I wasn’t personally blown away by either of those two as the final product (the former being a similar approach to “Natal”.) I’m glad these peripherals are being utilized on the current consoles (PS3/Xbox 360) as opposed to making a whole new system to utilize them right now. If the three of these companies push one another to make their respective formats work, I’ll be happy to w

elcome new ways of playing, but until I see something that doesn’t prove to be a gimmick, I’d rather have a traditional controller with a d-pad, two control sticks, 4-6 buttons, and some shoulder buttons.

Nick: First off, It’s hard to speculate about what kind of competition both Microsoft and Sony will bring since we don’t have their new motion controls in front of us. Anybody that was excited about Nintendo’s Virtual Boy should throw caution to the wind about ANYTHING new that comes along. With that said, I can at least play the Nintendo Wii... the NATAL PROJECT is BS. Anybody, ANYBODY that thinks that the DEMO video Microsoft is touting will be ANYTHING like the real experience is a MORON. And besides... tell me how far a video game will be able to go without ANY controller? How do I move? Do I have to walk? I’ll run into the television! If I have to “fake walk” in front of a TV, I’ll “real walk” that stupid thing right back to the f’n store.

The Nintendo Wii is not a video game system. It’s best suited to be thought of as PICTIONARY or SCATEGORIES or ANYTHING that is brought out to a party and alcohol is recommended. There’s NO way that you’ll find me, alone, by myself, with nobody around, waving that s*** around. The most I’m willing to take that kind of motion is with the PS3... Take HEAVENLY SWORD for example... it’s not the ENTIRE GAME but it’s a great little feature that you can control cannons, arrows, etc. with the Motion Control... or you can still do it the traditional way.

By the way, with Playstation Move, that wand looks HORRIBLE. Sometimes I wonder if Sony even tries... and this is coming from an owner of a PS3... the only current gen system I have. Here’s the reason that MOVE will fail... it’s not offering ANYTHING new that most of the video game audience has (which is a Wii.) At least Microsoft is trying SOMETHING different. Somebody convince me that I need to slap down over $100 for this new crap after already slapping over $400 for the system... and $60 a game. Sony might as well just have said "F*** IT" and slap the PlayStation logo on this thing:

3. Rumor has it, In 5 years, DVDs/Blu ray movies might cease to exist on the market and there will be no physical format for movies. Instead you will download/stream movies to purchase or for rental. What is your opinion? The same questions can also be used towards the music and even video game discussions…

STVO: In relation to movies/music, I don’t mind this at all!! I do love my PlayStation 3 and blu-ray movies but the price of purchasing movies can take a hit to my bank account and might I add the shelving space in the room. Now for music, I love downloading from iTunes even more! Instead of buying someone’s CD for one song you love and a bunch of other songs you’re only okay with or don’t really like, you can buy one song for 99 cents to $1.29. With the iPod, you can pretty much make your own little radio station with all of your favorite artists. Also I figure down the road, movies can be cheaper to purchase/rent with the instant stream. I not only love Netflix for having rare movies I can’t find at a Blockbuster, but its selection of movie I can download on my computer, Xbox 360, or PlayStation 3 are incredible! Plus they’re in HD!

Now for video games, I just can’t see them being downloads only. Nintendo is one company that is big at setting their own format (it took them a long time to adjust to the disc-based format.) I’m sure third-party developers might like that more because more people can buy their games rather than having to develop for multiple formats (one blu-ray disc, one DVD, one Nintendo DS card, etc.) While it’s a shame you won’t get as much fun little cover art, I say as long as these downloads keep the wonderful picture-quality, typical DVD extras, and lower prices, the future then looks very bright to me.

Nick: My argument could be several pages long but I’ll try to be brief. I have a feeling that as we move towards a digital age and we aren’t storing information on tangible things other than hard drives... we as a civilization might have some problems DOWN THE ROAD. Take this example; my Hi-Def Camera uses individual tapes to record as opposed to the increasingly popular HDD. I like tapes, DVDs, and CDs because they are things that I can hold and store and leave alone and not worry about. Hard drives kind of scare me. If my camcorder was HDD that means that my footage HAS NO CHOICE but to be somewhere on a computer or external hard drive so that I can continue to use SAID camcorder. That doesn’t work for me as technology is hard enough to keep up with.

Is the convenience of not having to deal with tapes, or hundreds of DVDs or CDS worth it? I really don’t think so but I’m probably in the minority. Anybody that uses Itunes and has ever lost their data or had to deal with a new account... please tell me how much you enjoyed that? One last thing: mp3s, streaming quality, etc. has YET to match the quality of their tangible counterparts. Give me the BEST quality possible for my money.

That is all for part one. Stay Tuned for Part 2 on Late Wednesday/Early Thursday!

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