October 26th, 2005

HALO

Conquering the world used to be more fun before this cultural crap got in the way.

I see that Civilization IV will soon be released, featuring the voice of Leonard Nimoy. Wooo. I'm so impressed. [/sarcasm]. Big-name actor chrome aside, it looks like Firaxis put some serious effort into making the game easier to play against live opponents online and in LAN environments, which is nice to see, but on the downside (from my perspective) it looks like they kept a lot of the time-wasting stuff from Civ III such as workers. I dunno...I am planning on picking up a copy of Civ3 in the near future, now that you can get a copy of the game and all its add-ons for about $15, and maybe my irritation with those features will go away after I become more familiar with how they work.

This game was being advertised at IGN.com when I went to look at the Civ IV review, and as I'm a big fan of contemporary military sims I had to take a look. Well. Shattered Union looks interesting enough, positing a second Civil War in the wake of a contentious national election and the nuking of the Federal government, though it worries me that the game will be available for the XBox and PC - judging from the various options available, it strikes me that the game might be too complicated for the XBox and too dumb for the PC, but that might be just my prejudice toward the PC. The reviewers at IGN clearly like the game, but then I trust online game reviewers about as much as I trust game magazine reviewers, which is to say not one damn bit. What I'm afraid of is that this is the 21st century version of Dixie, except with flashy CGI battle scenes and modifiable terrain. We'll see, I guess; I'm certainly not going to run right out and buy a copy of this thing until I actually see it played or hear from people who have.

Of course, the really cool thing about Shattered Union is the possibility that PopTop will do follow-ons that allow other alt-hist Civil Wars set in the 1890s, World War One, and the 1930s/1940s. M3 Grants versus Somuas or A13s on the Great Plains, anyone?

UPDATE: Oh, man, this game sounds like it's going to make Electrolux rethink its slogan.
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Rock radio is dead

In New York City, anyway, according to Michele Catalano. [Washingtonian 'tude] It was never all that, anyway, okay?[/Washingtonian 'tude]
She doesn't help her case by linking to this post, whose author obviously doesn't know sh!t about Rush Limbaugh. Rush went national after arriving at WABC, yeah, but he'd already made a name for himself in Sacramento standing the old, worn-out talk radio format on its head and playing to the simmering rage of the Silent Majority. But we came here to talk about rock...

It is pretty ironic that the city that sent so many great rock bands out into the mainstream of America isn't going to have a normal rock station like KQ or KS95, much less 93X or 105, but if Ed thought Infinity was going to go for hyperlocal programming he's too ignorant for words. Networks are all about the national, the common culture biz, the assumption that what plays in LA and New York and Seattle and Chicago is going to play in Minneapolis and Atlanta and Detroit and Cincinnati and so on across the (increasingly fractured) fruited plain. The networks are scared spitless that Sirius and XM are going to take their audience away, so they're throwing big names like David Lee Roth and Adam Carolla into the breach...and that's not really going to solve their problem for them, since the radio business is just another tentacle of the music business and suffers from the problem that people just don't need them any more - the technology is common enough and cheap enough so that people can listen to whatever music they want and not what some coke-addled music company executive from New York or LA thinks they ought to be listening to.

That's a rant I've delivered already, so I'll let it go.

UPDATE: More about this on Jeff Jarvis' Buzzmachine
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Somehow I don't think this is going to play well outside the 4th & 5th districts.

Al Franken acts out, and then fails to amuse on the Daily Show after bombing on Letterman. You hear about him running for the Senate in a few years, but the longer all this stuff goes on (and let's not forget the ongoing Air America/Gloria Wise scandal, which the MSM seem awfully reluctant to ask Al about) the more you have to wonder if the DFL would be that suicidally desperate for someone to run against Coleman or defend Dayton's seat.

On a related topic, Ed Driscoll looks at the dubious future of newspapers and the related topic of professional guilds. Do we really want the government deciding who the real reporters are? We just got rid of one of those regimes a few years back, didn't we?