Most of the tech world knows that Verizon is having a press conference today to announce they would be offering the iPhone. What I didn’t expect was that AT&T would try their best to push me away just minutes before the event started.
Attention web server admins: please remember to accommodate those who don’t automatically type “www” in front of everything.
It would appear that he has left the company entirely rather than moving to another international division. As you would expect, there has been no formal confirmation from Konami, so right now this is an unconfirmed rumour – albeit one generated from a pretty reliable source. To date there’s no news yet as to what Yamaoka plans to do next. Since leaving Konami he has been in the States and is now currently in Europe, seemingly on vacation.
Silent Hill fans, who have been lamenting the decline of the series in recent years, should probably consider the series dead at this point. Akira’s scores were one of the most haunting parts of the series, and it’s hard to envision anyone else doing the series justice. From the Bemani perspective, this is another in a growing line of artists who have left the company in the past few years. Akira Yamaoka joins Taku Sakakibara, Takehiko Fujii, and Reo Nagumo, among others. In memory of his work within IIDX, a selection of some of my favorite songs:
It is fall of 2005, and Bemanistyle is down for an indeterminable length of time. An upstart gaming center in Rhode Island called Tokyo Game Action immediately felt the effects of this outage – their website was hosted by Bemanistyle. Without a proper website, their community was being extinguished – and for an arcade that largely relied on the patronage of hardcore gamers, community is everything. But as luck would have it, my forums were readily available – and in a decision I don’t honestly recall making, I quickly made a temporary forum so they could keep operations going. (A similar forum popped up on Shoryuken to maintain the fighting game side of the house.) That was when I first had a chance to talk to Andy McGuire, the owner of TGA, who sent me a heartfelt note. I was immediately struck by his courtesy and motivations for opening TGA:
I don’t know how much you know about TGA, but TGA is unique in the fact that we are 100% dedicated to bringing the best Bemani experience possible to the United States. I won’t bore you with the sacrifices I have made and continue to make to make TGA a reality, but in short I do it for the love of the Bemani community and a service to humanity.
Every penny that TGA receives, goes right back into the store. I have accepted that TGA is my God given mission (literally, I am a Christian) to bring happiness to people in a way that’s not violent or vulgar. I live a simple life and dedicate all my time and finances to make this work.
Besides finances the most important part of keeping TGA alive is communications. And our website being down has killed us. But because of your assistance TGA is surviving and helping keep it’s head above water.
He offered to send me a full set of IIDX Happy Sky E-Amuse cards as a token of his gratitude – but as enticing as they may have been, I declined. I wrote to him then:
While I greatly appreciate the offer, I’m going to have to politely decline for a simple reason: After being in the community for 4 years (as of next week, anyhow), I have seen far too many places come and go – people who pour their heart and souls into businesses like this and unfortunately after a certain number of months, flame out for whatever reason. I would much rather see you keep the cards and sell them to your regular customers and keep the business going properly.
Andy’s dream had, thanks to his selflessness and sacrifice, managed to survive since that time. TGA played host to two Bemani community festivals, both fantastically received. And through the last three years, Andy always managed to keep all of his Bemani machines up to date with the latest releases – which is not an easy task when they are intended for release in Japan only. But while he was in Japan in December – researching the newest Bemani releases, working on getting BlazBlue – disaster struck Massachusetts, and TGA was heavily damaged by flooding. TGA stayed closed after the flood, but Andy did everything he could to work towards re-opening. Today, Andy’s dream has come to a heartbreaking end:
Tokyo Game Action is officially closed forever. With no income and other problems due to the flood, we are drowning in bills it is impossible to recover and reopen.
To pay our creditors and to prevent my family from being thrown out on the street (literally), I am left with no choice but to auction all of TGA’s assets.
TGA will be auctioning everything we have in May to pay our bills. Every game, pcb, poster, keychain, chair, plate, fork, Arch stand, figures, software, bowling ball, everything in TGA has to be sold.
My heart goes out to Andy and his family, to all the staff of TGA, and to everyone who had the opportunity to call it their arcade home. I hope to finally make the trek to TGA in May for the final liquidation – not in the hopes of purchasing anything, but to give my respects to a man who wanted nothing more than to bring happiness to a community of gamers.
Valleywag is reporting that LiveJournal has laid off 20 of their 28 employees:
The bubble in social networking has burst, decisively. LiveJournal, the San Francisco-based arm of Sup, a Russian Internet startup, has cut about 20 of 28 employees — and offered them no severance, we’re told.
The company’s product managers and engineers were laid off, leaving only a handful of finance and operations workers — which speaks to a website to be left on life support. Matt Berardo, a Yahoo executive hired on last summer, is also believed to be gone.
(While I do not blog on LiveJournal, this blog is available in syndicated form, and a number of my friends post there.)
While I haven’t been pleased with the level of service out of LiveJournal since Sup took it over, this sort of news doesn’t bode well for anyone who actively uses the service.
For those of you using LJ as your primary blogs, you may want to make a backup just in case.
p>ADDENDUM: azurelunatic has posted a minor rebuke to the Valleywag post – that only 13 have been laid off and that 17 remain.
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, Apple Inc. announced that Steve Jobs would not do the keynote at the 2009 Macworld Conference & Expo. That’s okay.
They also announced that they would no longer attend the conference in the future. That’s actually also okay. Apple doesn’t run the Macworld Expo, has never run the Macworld Expo, and for years has been appearing at the event because it was the easiest way for them to get press coverage, albeit at a great cost. But Apple no longer has an issue getting press coverage, and so they have outgrown the utility of going to Macworld San Francisco, much like they did in 2002 with Macworld New York.
Some people don’t feel that’s okay. Some people are so upset, they feel that such a decision is worth staging a protest against.
For 25 years, a very feral and cultish Mac community – some call them MacMacs – have swarmed the halls of Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA to see, obnoxiously line up for, and collectively drool over the products they love. By announcing their departure from this otherwise pointless trade show (really, there is little point for most people to attending MWSF if Apple isn’t there) Apple is signaling to the entire community that people now have a chance to froth at the mouth and act personally insulted that you will no longer be able to pay to hear someone announce products.
If you’re attending the Macworld Expo keynote on Tuesday, Jan. 6, you aren’t sending a message to Apple by remaining silent during the 2009 keynote. While Phil Schiller is on the stage, if you’re sitting in the audience, even if you sit on your hands, duct tape your mouth shut, and hold your breath, you’re not sending a message to Apple.
You know how you send a message to Apple? The same way you send a message to other companies: you stop buying their products. You stop worshipping the company and/or the products and/or Steve Jobs.
My name is Dan Dickinson, and I’m tired of fanboys.
Stephen Totilo of MTV reporting on a moment of honesty from today’s Activision/Blizzard earnings call, emphasis mine:
During today’s Activision Blizzard earnings call, a financial analyst asked the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, why the company didn’t keep all of Vivendi’s games when the two gaming companies merged.
The analyst didn’t name any games, but technically, he had to be referring to the likes of “Ghostbusters,” “50 Cent: Blood On The Sand” and the new “Riddick,” which all appear to have found new publishing homes…
Kotick responded not by addressing any of the games by name, but by talking about Activision’s publishing philosophy. The games Activision Blizzard didn’t pick up, he said, “don’t have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million dollar franchises. … I think, generally, our strategy has been to focus… on the products that have those attributes and characteristics, the products that we know [that] if we release them today, we’ll be working on them 10 years from now…You still need to have production of new original property but you have to do it very selectively… the focus at retail and for the consumer is to continue to be on the big narrow and deep high profile release strategy… We’ve had enough experience that I think the strategy we employ is the most successful.”
I suppose I can appreciate the honesty, but as a gamer, I couldn’t be more nauseated.
That’s not to say I’m particularly surprised – what was the last significant franchise they created?
Tony Hawk? 1999.
Call Of Duty? 2003.
Guitar Hero? 2005.
I often love the games that are too quirky, too weird, too inaccessible, or too obscure for the mass market. And it’s sad that a company that was there when I started gaming 25 years ago has become so unwilling to take risks with their titles.
They’re going to throw a lever and detach the tower-cable’s clip, and the man in sockless Banfis will free-fall for what’ll seem forever, until the crane’s cable’s slack is taken up and the line takes his weight and goes tight behind him and swings him way out over the grounds to the south, his arc’s upward half almost as high as the tower was, and then he’ll fall all over again, back, and get caught and swung the other way, back and forth, the man prone at the arc’s trough and seeming to stand at either apex, swinging back and forth and erect and prone against a rare-meat sunset. And just as the crane’s cab’s blond reaches for his lever and the crowd mightily inhales, just then, I lose my nerve, in my very last moment at the Fair – I recall my childhood’s serial nightmare of being swung or whipped in an arc that threatens to come full circle – and I decline to be part of this, even as witness – and I find, again, in extremis, access to childhood’s other worst nightmare, the only sure way to obliterate all; and the sun and sky and plummeting Yuppie go out like a light.
David Foster Wallace was found dead in his home Friday evening. He had apparently hung himself; I suppose given the above, one could consider it ironic. One familiar with his work could also be glad he didn’t stick his head in a microwave.
DFW has always remained high on my list of favorite authors, largely thanks to the book for which I’ve named this post. Now seems like an appropriate time to read it, and his sprawling opus, one more time.
Our poor cat has been through a lot in the last 48 hours.
Like all of these sorts of stories go, it was supposed to be a regular vet checkup. But after bringing him into the Astoria Veterinary Group, it appeared that his teeth and gums – something that had been pointed out as a potential problem in the past – were in bad shape. They recommended a “deep gum cleaning”. Katie had to leave him behind at the vet, turning a day that was to be spent relaxing with the cat into a day of worry.
The call came around 2:30: he was fine, but the “deep gum cleaning” had turned into a “double tooth extraction”. His trademark fang had apparently been loose and very exposed, as had the tooth directly below it. Both were removed, turning his usual expression – a little bit of exposed fang – into a lip curled sneer that would make Elvis proud.
Buttons returned home at 7PM last night, still drugged out of his skull from the procedure. This manifested itself in odd ways, particularly in his communication skills. Normally, he gets attention with a loud, cute “WOW!” – he doesn’t meow. Last night it was more of a “Wowwwwwweeeerrrrrrooooooooooooowweee.” He also walked around the apartment at least eight times as though he had no idea where he was – although he was very sure he still wanted to go under the kitchen sink.
We’ve had the catsujin for just over five years now (he’s five and a half); this is the first time he’s undergone a procedure of any sort. Being as attached as we are, Katie and I have both acknowledged an inability to deal with the idea of something happening to our cat. Taken as a test of how we would handle a small-scale event, it is easily argued both Katie and I failed brilliantly. We followed him around trying to cheer him up, lamenting to each other that we’d hope he’d be okay and back to his normal self soon.
To what may not be a surprise, he was back to normal not long after midnight, when he nuzzled up to Katie and watched an episode of Buffy on her computer. (They frequently share late-night TV watching. Apparently I’m not invited.) The morning brought the usual pillow-stealing, food-demanding, and lounging on the carpet that we’ve grown accustomed to with him. He greeted us home from work with proper-sounding “WOW!”s, and as I type he’s nomnomnoming away at a catnip plush duck.
Thanks to everyone who sent well-wishes over Twitter and concerned IMs; we do tend to joke that he has a fan club but it’s nice to realize it’s not such a joke after all.