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Column: Game Rag Slapdown

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Trash Talking

March 14, 2011 12:00 AM |

['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]

cgw-9305.jpg

Oft-times I sit at my PC on a Saturday night and find myself with no clue what to write about in this column. Usually, when this occurs, I spend the next ten minutes browsing around the net, tormenting the ferrets, or maybe even perusing an old Apple II magazine or two. Sooner or later, inspiration comes along. Tonight, that inspiration comes in the form of a question: "When was the first time a game mag printed cuss words?"

This is a thornier question than I thought it'd be. I was quickly forced to limit the question to U.S. mags, because editors in England swore up a storm in their mags practically from the get-go and tracking down a "first" would be impossible. (Among the more famous occasions was in the July 1992 issue of Amiga Format, which features a placeholder sub-headline that was likely not what the editor intended to print on a page devoted to a kid's coloring-book program.)

COLUMN: 'Game Rag Slapdown' - An Open Apology To G4TV

July 26, 2006 10:51 PM |

I'm losing it...[The 'Game Rag Slapdown' is an exclusive bi-weekly Thursday feature written by The Game Rag's Nathan Smart that's always video game related, sometimes funny ha ha, but mostly funny hee hee (and sometimes funny, period). This week, Nathan apologizes to G4TV.]

<== Here is what this apology references ==>

Dear G4TV,

I just wanted to take this time to apologize for publishing a series of articles in which one of my writers watches your channel for 24 hours and then talks about what he experienced while watching.

This is truly unacceptable. I know that one of the bullet points of your mission statement is to "get rid of viewers" and with this article we have stopped that with a bullet point proof vest. I have talked with the writer and he is being promptly promoted to Features Editor as punishment for this journalistic crime. He will now have more work than ever and your staff, more than anyone, knows how much it sucks to have to work.

When he first approached me with the idea I said no right away. I had told him that you guys didn't like people watching their shows but he went ahead and did it against my wishes. When I read it, I felt I had to publish it. If anything I thought that maybe it would do your viewers good and turn them away, thus, fulfilling your mission statement.* What I didn't realize is that you don't even want ONE person watching - even for the greater good!

This is why I, Nathan Smart, applaud you. You don't subscribe to the 'mix in a little bit of evil with the good' philosophy and that's commendable. You stick to your guns. You shoot from the hip. You keep it real. You're the man now dog. You are.

So, again, I say, "I'm sorry." I apologize for boosting your ratings by one. I'll be keeping a steady hand over my writer stable from now on. Anyone steps out of line... *SMACK* "You lose all the money you made today!"** Thanks again for voicing your concerns and then deleting them like you never said them. I appreciate the taken back criticism.

*Am I supposed to put a comma after 'thus?'
**That is what I would say to them because I treat my writers like whores.

[Nathan Smart is a fake news writer for The Game Rag and really enjoys the benefits of it (no facts, no research, no real interviews). He also does Bobby McFerrin versions of indie rock songs with his one man group Indie Blockedappella. He thinks things are funny.]

COLUMN: 'Game Rag Slapdown' - Poop It Forward

July 13, 2006 8:14 AM |

I'm losing it...[The 'Game Rag Slapdown' is an exclusive bi-weekly Thursday feature written by The Game Rag's Nathan Smart that's always video game related, sometimes funny ha ha, but mostly funny hee hee (and sometimes funny, period). This week, Nathan solves race relations with an ape.]

This week I’ve been playing a lot of Black & White 2. I got the game because I thought it was going to be the sequel to race relations from the Civil Rights Era. I was wrong.

I have been feeling guilty lately because I haven’t interacted much with the opposite color - as much I’d like to - and this game was going to be my ticket out of guilt city.

I opened it up, installed it and instead, was treated to a game where I’m a God trying to choose between helping my people or being mean to them. I was really angry at first because I was thinking how the heck am I going to get over my guilt now? Then, something weird happened. Something that touched my heart. Something that pulled on my teste strings.

I chose the ape character and he was just moseying along gathering grain and pooping on storehouses. This got me kind of angry so I punished him. I don’t want him gathering grain, I just want him to poop on storehouses.

Anyways, an opposing army approached and so I decided to destroy their city. I can’t have armies approaching my town – not even just to walk by. I took my armies and my ape creature and directed them to tear up the enemy’s town. My armies went to task but my ape decided to ignore me and this is where I was touched.

Instead of destroying the town, he decided to gather trees. I watched him gather a tree and I assumed he was going to take it to our storehouse. Instead, he planted the tree in the enemy’s city.

What a perfect metaphor for race relations in our times! Racist people are always getting so angry at black people for approaching them and instead of attacking their towns (like Harlem and Beverly Hills) – wouldn’t it be nice if they planted trees there? Or better yet. Pooped on their storehouses?

I know, I know. I’m living in a dream world. What kind of a utopia am I thinking of where trees are planted and poop is pooped? Well, before you completely think I’m a nutjob, just hear me out.

The next time someone you don’t like does something mean to you, instead of retaliating, why don’t you just look them in the eye, grab a tree and plant it in the nearest piece of property they own? Or look for a shed where they store stuff and just drop out a little poop on it? Wouldn’t that just blow their minds!

It’s a new thing I’ve come up with that I’m calling Poop It Forward and I hope you’ll pass it on.

[Nathan Smart is a fake news writer for The Game Rag and really enjoys the benefits of it (no facts, no research, no real interviews). He also does Bobby McFerrin versions of indie rock songs with his one man group Indie Blockedappella. He thinks things are funny.]

COLUMN: 'Game Rag Slapdown' - An Open Apology

June 29, 2006 9:06 AM |

I'm losing it...[The 'Game Rag Slapdown' is an exclusive bi-weekly Thursday feature written by The Game Rag's Nathan Smart that's always video game related, sometimes funny ha ha, but mostly funny hee hee (and sometimes funny, period). This week, Nathan Smart apologizes on behalf of the entire video game community for its role in this year's E3 over-attendance debacle.]

I keep having to tell people about my trip to E3 and with each telling I am asked if it was as fun as it sounds. Of course, I say that it wasn't - just like every other person that has gone to E3 has told me. It really stinks to have to admit that they are right because I imagined E3 as video game utopia.

The main reason everyone says it stinks is because of the sheer amount of people. I like people and so that didn't seem like an issue - that is, until I started my 3-day-wait-in-line experience at the LA Convention Center. I'm no stranger to waiting in line (I mean, I live about an hour away from Cedar Point) but my feet have never hurt more.

I was always angry at the "big guys" for being mad that the "little guys" got to go to E3 - but now I understand their anger. I am one of these little guys - people that don't really make a living writing about games or people that make a living writing about video games but still suck at it. I really do feel sorry for the main guys and I'm here to apologize on behalf of all my little brothers and sisters.

Nothing says "I'm sorry" like the phrase "I'm sorry" so here you go:

I'm sorry.

Now, with the apology out of the way, let's get to the people who I'm speaking for:

-Kid whose business parents got her in
-Japanese person whose fashion sense got him in
-NGage Booth
-Bloggy Bloggerton and his Video Game Round-Up Gang (all 20 of them)
-Family Guy fan who snuck into meet Adam West and quote pop culture reference after pop culture reference after pop culture reference after unfunny script joke
-Guy recording phone message from Charles Martinet
-Charles Martinet
-WoW fan who just couldn't wait to add 5 more minutes to his 100 hours of play time
-GameSetWatch columnist

Again, we're all very sorry that we ruin your E3 experience every year. We hope that you will forgive us and allow us some time to adjust to our E3-less future. We may relapse and show up next year.

[Nathan Smart is a fake news writer for The Game Rag and really enjoys the benefits of it (no facts, no research, no real interviews). He also does Bobby McFerrin versions of indie rock songs with his one man group Indie Blockedappella. He thinks things are funny.]

COLUMN: 'Game Rag Slapdown' - One And A Half Men

June 15, 2006 9:00 AM |

I'm losing it...[The 'Game Rag Slapdown' is an exclusive bi-weekly Thursday feature written by The Game Rag's Nathan Smart that's always video game related, sometimes funny ha ha, but mostly funny hee hee (and sometimes funny, period). This week, Nathan Smart and his non-video game playing friend discuss the week's news, in a very special, podcast edition of The 'Game Rag Slapdown.']

I decided this week to do something I've always wanted to do and that's record a podcast with my friend Zachariah. He's a really funny guy and someone who I really like to write with. I couldn't think of anything in particular to podcast about but then I remembered an idea I had a long time ago - a podcast with a video game expert and a comedian. I guess, when you think about it, it's sort of like Loveline except without the incest and fetish.

So, here's this week's edition of the Game Rag Slapdown in podcast form:

DOWNLOAD

A couple of corrections:

-Christian Slater was not in K-9 - that is correct. BUT, he was in a movie called Kuffs (another dog movie) and that is where the confusion was.
-Ellen Pompeo is on Grey's Anatomy.
-Rachel Bilson is on The O.C.

[Nathan Smart is a fake news writer for The Game Rag and really enjoys the benefits of it (no facts, no research, no real interviews). He also does Bobby McFerrin versions of indie rock songs with his one man group Indie Blockedappella. He thinks things are funny.]

COLUMN: 'Game Rag Slapdown' - Nathan Smart Breaks (it) Down

June 1, 2006 2:01 AM |

I'm losing it...[The 'Game Rag Slapdown' is an exclusive bi-weekly Thursday feature written by The Game Rag's Nathan Smart that's always video game related, sometimes funny ha ha, but mostly funny hee hee (and sometimes funny, period). In this week's column, Nathan Smart muses on his feature's title and ends up with a new stand-up routine about video games.]

Here we are again with another edition of Game Rag Slapdown. I just want you to know that I did NOT come up with that. Slapdown is ALL Simonc. So, my question is what does that even mean? I’ve come up with a couple of ideas but for the true answer you’ll have to email Simonc to find out (as will I).

To me, slapdown really sounds like a wrestling term. I’m guessing that when you first read that column name, you’re thinking I’m going to be writing about the past, present and future of wrestling games. Well, you’re wrong. Although, from time to time I may delve into the future of wrestling in video games, I will NEVER* talk about the present or past of them. I don’t believe in the present and I certainly don’t believe in a history of things. The future is where my thinking lies** and so I’ll only be writing about what will happen in the future. For instance, did you know that in the future you’ll be able to plug your mind into your own head? Yeah!

Another way to look at slapdown is to read it as two separate words: slap and down. Whilst typing this in Microsoft Word, I’ve noticed that slapdown, as one word, doesn’t appear in the dictionary*** and when you look it up the program tells you to separate it. So, let’s try to figure out what the words slap and down mean (and maybe find some synonyms). Doing a quick right-click for slap gives me the word clout and a synonym for clout is influence. Doing the same for down gives me... well... less than desirable results and... so... I’ve decided to quit with this joke. Breaking up the word slapdown has produced no comedy and I’ll just save you from a bad joke.

Hmm...

I’ve decided in the middle of this week’s entry that there is nothing funny to say about the title Slapdown. I’ve also noticed that I haven’t really talked much about video games except referencing wrestling games just to make a stupid Dippin’ Dots joke (see double asterisk below). I think I’m supposed to focus on video games and try to find the humor in them. So, let’s do that then! Here is the best I could come up with for this week. Here are my newest video game jokes:

Have you seen that new Nintendo video game system? What’s the deal with it’s name? Wii? I mean, come on! If I wanted to play with myself, I would do it for free! And what about this new PS3? Can you believe the price? A homeless guy can feed himself for a month, but he can’t play the newest SOCOM? I mean, what is the deal with that? WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH VIDEO GAMES?

And there you have it. If you’re wondering how to read my new routine, think Seinfeld meets Dane Cook and you’ve got it. In fact, that’s going to be my new bio that will go out to comedy clubs:

“If you like relatable observations mixed with yelling and punching then you are going to love the comedy of Nathan Smart. He’s one part Seinfeld, one part Dane Cook - mixed with a little bit of sweetener to charm your mother and a lot of aggression to kick your dad’s face. If you like to laugh and get your stomach punched in, then you’ll want to come out to Nathan’s show. You won’t regret it.”

I’ll be here all week.****

*I repeat, NEVER
**this is why I only eat Dippin’ Dots
***although, I’ve just changed that with a much needed right-click and Add
****my car broke down and I’m waiting for a ride.


[Nathan Smart is a fake news writer for The Game Rag and really enjoys the benefits of it (no facts, no research, no real interviews). He also does Bobby McFerrin versions of indie rock songs with his one man group Indie Blockedappella. He thinks things are funny.]

COLUMN: 'Game Rag Slapdown' - The Dos and Don'ts of E3: A Beginner's Guide (A Guide from a Beginner)

May 19, 2006 9:40 AM |

Do?  Don't?  Let Nathan Smart Be Your Guide![This first ever 'Game Rag Slapdown' column begins a regular, exclusive bi-weekly Thursday feature by The Game Rag's Nathan Smart that's always video game related, sometimes funny ha ha, but mostly funny hee hee (and sometimes funny, period). This week's column is a guide from a beginner on the dos and don'ts of E3.]

E3 2006 was my first E3. Somehow, I got myself a pass by charading as a 'Game Journalist.' What does that title even mean - that I journal games? Whatever. I got in and that's all that matters.*

When I first got to E3 I didn't really have any guide as to what to do and what not to do. What kinds of things were 'kosher' and what kinds of things were like 'eating pork.' I ended up making a LOT of mistakes and so I decided that for you, the reader (and I use that term loosely, you illiterates), I would make a list of things that would be good to know for when you get to go to E3. The problem is, I can't remember any of the things I wrote down because I left my notebook in LA. SO! You're going to have to make due with this impromptu list I just made up on the spot. This should cover mostly everything you'll need to know but if you want more, you'll have to ask Juanita at the Alhambra Super 8 for a peak inside my lost, treasured notebook.

DO take your shoes to a cobbler if you've got a hole in them.
DON'T if you don't live in 18th century Britain. Just get new ones.

DO make a controller respond to your movements.
DON'T do it if you've just spent an entire year making fun of it. Hypocrisy has a tiny Wikipedia entry.

DO play Guitar Hero 2.
DON'T play on expert even if you've almost beat Bark at the Moon on the first one. You're not as good as you think.

DO see the Wild Summer game booth for a cool new GTA style 'hanging out' game.
DON'T ask the booth babe if her boobs are real. She doesn't think it's cute, suited guy.

DO see the Classic Gaming Museum in Kentia Hall.
DON'T tell the guy standing there that someone left the Virtual Boy on and ran out the batteries. He doesn't work there.

DO a good drama about smart kids in Boston.
DON'T do a stupid family comedy about a road trip in an RV. Especially if the movie is named after the plot device.

DO play Xbox Live Arcade games on the Xbox 360.
DON'T play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox 360. No point.

DO talk with SimonC from GameSetWatch.
DON'T make a joke about the Queen of England in front of him. Oh God.

And that's all I remember. I hope you can use this guide when you go and I hope it's not too specific to me. I don't think it is.**

*There are other things that matter in life such as food, water, shelter and a steady supply of Vicks Vapor Rub, but in this case, for the purposes of this article, getting a pass to E3 is all that matters.
**I do. Who cares.

P.S. Here's a pre-E3 video made by the Game Rag staff, LIVE! from LA, in which: "The Game Rag staff and one lucky winner record an audio podcast live from E3 just a couple of days before the show." Enjoy.

[Nathan Smart is a fake news writer for The Game Rag and really enjoys the benefits of it (no facts, no research, no real interviews). He also does Bobby McFerrin versions of indie rock songs with his one man group Indie Blockedappella. He thinks things are funny.]