Ninja Gaiden Slight, Righted

It turns out my prediction of Ninja Gaiden was wrong. I do apologize to Tecmo, and in particular, to Tomonubo Itakagi for my comments a few weeks back. I only mentioned them because I have had to deal with countless delays on other products which turned out to be sub par.

Not this time, because Ninja Gaiden was well worth the wait, but I would have granted them more time to fix the pain in the butt camera and to offer an easier difficulty mode. Otherwise, I am very pleased with the final product.

In any event, I have meant to write a commentary about my musical taste in games. It goes all the way back to my Atari 2600 days. I remember how I used to spend a summer playing the 2600 while hearing 80s music on GO 106, a Cumberland, Maryland radio station. That trend continued during my Atari 7800, and even through my NES days.

However, when I moved on to the Genesis, and with starting my college years, I noticed a problem with stations such as GO 106. They were playing the same trash on a daily basis. When I worked at my college newspaper, it seemed that every hour on the hour, GO 106 decided it needed to play some Sheryl Crow song again and again. The trend got worse, as when I switched to Q94 in Keyser, WV (or Netrock 94, Channel 94, whatever the heck they are calling themselves), a station that mostly plays classic rock. Their repeated song of choice was the dreaded Hotel California by the Eagles (which in my opinion, ranks up there with Walk Like An Egyptian and Love Shack as the worst songs ever made!)

The situation worsened when I moved to DC, as the local stations suffered from the same repetitive song disorder. WHFS (a modern rock station) was obsessed with the band Live, and would play them ad nauseam. Anytime I turned on Z104, the only song I heard played was the theme to Titanic (a horrible film that was so popular at that time), and the less I can say about Hot 99.5, the better.

In the end my car stereo was constantly set to WJFK, a talk radio station featuring Howard Stern, Don and Mike, and Ron and Fez, but in the past featured G. Gordon Liddy and Opie and Anthony.

While WJFK helped make my commute easier, it obviously was not meant for gaming. I also noticed a trend that commercial radio started. Stations became owned by corporations. How many stations these days aren't controlled by Viacom, Clear Channel or Infinity? Individualism in radio was becoming nonexistent and listeners like me were being forced to listen to the same song every hour, no matter which station was on.

It gets worse as it now seems the corporations are censoring shock jocks. Last week, Clear Channel decided to pull the Howard Stern show off of six of their syndicated markets. I know the actions of Stern can be extreme, and he has racked up over a million dollars in fines, but I thought we lived in a country that supported free speech? Then again, we have a Connecticut senator who wishes he could ban violent games constitutionally. (talk about hypocrisy!)

Maybe Clear Channel should consider changing their name to Gatekeeper?

Fortunately for listeners such as myself, I found an alternate, although by chance. Earlier this year I bought a car stereo which is designed for Sirius Satellite Radio. Granted I would have to pay $10 a month to listen to what I want to listen to, without any corporate payola, censorship, song repetition or any of that crap.

For my gaming experience, it works wonders. I can go to several 80's stations when I want to play classic games, and I could use all the different heavy metal stations for a Quake 3 fix. From what I have heard so far, there is no censorship in satellite radio, and for that I say thank you.

Although more satellite radio listeners subscribe to rival provider XM (even GiN publisher Nate is a devout XM subscriber), I chose Sirius because of my love of sports, and only they provide several play by play stations for the NFL, NBA, and NHL (though it would be perfect if they added MLB as well).

However, the best part about Sirius is that I can listen to it via the Internet as well at no extra charge, a must for gaming, since I don't play too many games in my car.

Because of Sirius and the Internet, I do not listen to commercial (or should I say, corporate) radio anymore. I even heard that if Howard Stern is censored from any more stations, he will move his program to satellite radio. If I didn't have satellite already, I'd pay the monthly charge to support his move!

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