The Bulletin


About Time

We finally know the Xbox One’s release date, a time-traveling shooter might be coming back, and a new development hits Gameological’s ongoing Pizza Hut app investigation.

By Sam Barsanti • September 9, 2013

The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.

The Xbox One gets a release date, finally
Peggle 2

Peggle 2

Ever since Sony and Microsoft revved up their console war machines, the two companies have paid very close attention to each other. I figured it was like a game of chess, and the two competitors were thinking several moves ahead and planning what to do based on what they saw the other doing. But now, chess is no longer the right metaphor. Now it seems more like some other game, one where the players are in different rooms and don’t communicate in any way. I don’t know how else to explain the release date that Microsoft has chosen for the Xbox One.

As announced on the official Xbox site last week, the Xbone will be in stores on November 22. As you may recall, the PlayStation 4 is coming out on November 15. That’s a week earlier than Microsoft’s system, giving Sony a week of being able to say “You can buy a PlayStation 4 right now” without Microsoft being able to do anything other than hope people wait another week to jump in to the next generation. Granted, this won’t matter at all a few months—or even weeks—after that, but it is another example of Microsoft’s apparent inability to control any aspect of the conversation about the new consoles. But hey, Peggle 2 is launching exclusively on the Xbox One, so that’s cool.

TimeSplitters is coming back! (But not in the way you expect)
Timesplitters 2

Timesplitters 2

Just so we’re all on the same page going forward, I want to be clear that the following is a scientific fact that is not open to debate: 2002’s TimeSplitters 2 is the best first-person shooter ever. At least I remember that being the case, but I was 14 when that game came out, so maybe I just got a kick out of the way it combines goofy humor and solid mechanics. Either way, more TimeSplitters is a good thing, but an upcoming reboot called TimeSplitters Rewind is probably not what fans expect. As reported by Gaming Blend, Rewind is a solely multiplayer “compilation of maps, weapons, and characters” from the series. It is not being developed by Crytek UK (the studio formerly known as Free Radical, which created TimeSplitters) but rather by a team of dedicated fans calling themselves Pantheonyx. This makes it more of a fan-made tribute to the series than a proper reboot or remake, but Pantheonyx secured legal permission from Crytek to release TimeSplitters Rewind on PC, so it might actually come out at some point. The studio is also working on a PlayStation 4 version, due to Sony’s extended courtship of indie developers, but it has yet to get permission for that release from the license holders at Crytek. It’s an interesting tactic—developing a game you don’t actually own—but hopefully it works out for Pantheonyx. TimeSplitters, after all, is literally the best.

Pokémon Bank, and a terrifying glimpse into the future
Pokemon Bank

Back in June, Nintendo announced that it was working on another free-to-play game to follow the 3DS submarine game Steel Diver—the first microtransaction-based game that Nintendo had released. Now we have another glimpse into what the company might be planning for a future in which they conquer players’ wallets 99 cents at a time. As reported by Kotaku, when Pokémon X and Y launch later this year, they will be receiving a companion app on the 3DS called Pokémon Bank that allows players to store up to 3,000 extra pocket monsters (including those from previous generations) in the cloud. That means that you won’t have to get rid of a Pokémon that you may no longer have any use for in the game but would still like to keep. The catch is that it requires an annual fee of about $5. If this takes off, it’s not hard to see Nintendo extending this sort of thing to actual in-game items—like extra Pokéballs or healing items—or even some sort of free-to-play Pokémon game. Pokémon Bank has only been announced for Japan, so you’re safe for now, American Pokémon trainers.

Gameological Investigates: Pizzagate Day 28
Breaking News

We interrupt your regularly scheduled sarcastic EA references to bring you a breaking news update: Microsoft has responded to our questions about whether or not you can order pizza with the Xbox One. This is the most significant development yet in Gameological’s groundbreaking, hard-hitting, deliciously cheese-filled investigation into the future of the Xbox 360’s Pizza Hut app, and its implications for the future of the video games industry are staggering. Speaking exclusively with The Gameological Society, here’s Microsoft’s complete statement on the matter:

We’re in continued discussions with partners to bring new content to Xbox One that will deliver rich, differentiated experiences. We look forward to sharing additional details later this year, but we don’t have anything further to share at this time.

Note that the official statement doesn’t mention Pizza Hut by name, or even pizza for that matter, which may indicate that the vision for the Xbox One extends significantly higher than we expected. Perhaps you’ll be able to order Chinese food or submarine sandwiches. This could be the last big bombshell that Microsoft is holding on to before the system launches in November. Whatever the case, you can bet that Sony is hard at work on a Domino’s app.

We are determined to get to the bottom of this issue, so keep your internet browser glued to The Gameological Society, your No. 1 source for the latest on PIZZAGATE 2013.

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110 Responses to “About Time”

  1. ferrarimanf355 says:

    You guys need to stop ragging on the Xbox One (I refuse to call it xbone, that sounds bad and you should feel bad for using it as an insult) so much. The PS4 won’t release in Japan in 2013, where’s the snark about Sony treating their home turf as a tier 2 country?

    • Sam_Barsanti says:

      Hey, if they didn’t want me to call it Xbone, they shouldn’t have named it Xbox One. 

      Anyway, blame early deadlines for not talking about the Sony thing. That just broke last night, didn’t it? It is certainly a bizarre move of Microsoftian proportion that is worthy of making jokes about.

      • Unexpected Dave says:

        Call it arrogance or call it wisdom, but I don’t think Sony sees Microsoft as any kind of serious competition in Japan.

        • ferrarimanf355 says:

          You never know, man. Stranger things have happened.

        • EmperorNortonI says:

           That’s because MS isn’t serious competition in Japan.  XBox360 barely got any shelf space in any level of store, and a lot of stores dropped it entirely a couple of years ago.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Sony and Microsoft (and, to a lesser degree, Nintendo) have created this faux-Highlander “There can only be one!” narrative and indulged in it every year since the Xbox first launched. I can hardly fault the press for reacting with glee that this time Microsoft apparently decide to start the fight by cutting its own legs off at the knees. It’s brutally funny to watch them announce their missteps with fireworks and confetti, only to have to retract and walk back each and every single one the moment Sony says, “We’re not doing that” and receives a standing ovation. 

      I have to admit, I think the “Xbox One” encapsulates everything wrong about Microsoft for this cycle (and I actually think that overall, they’re a company with decent products!). It’s numerically nonsensical, given the two preceding consoles. But then again where could you go when you named the old console after a circle? It’s part of the hubris of the company that you’d only need the “one” device (plus annual Live subscription) for all your entertainment needs, as though Sony (an entertainment conglomerate! They make music and movies under the same name!) were incapable of securing similar services and exclusive games for their device. And lastly, it easily set itself up for the “Xbone” portmanteau, signifying that they’ve really boned themselves on this one.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        There was some ancient army, whose name escapes me but whose tale I remember from The Cartoon History of the Universe, that would start battles by having the front line literally decapitate themselves, dealing a stunning psychological blow to the enemy. I can only assume that Microsoft, tired of having every vice president of whatever-the-fuck quote Sun Tzu at them, decided to go for a deep-cut historical strategy instead.

        The fact that I can’t remember the army’s name should indicate how good an idea it was.

        • SamPlays says:

          Wait, what’s the standard operating procedure for decapitating yourself? Do you use a knife, sword or some kind of personal iGuillotine?

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Man, everything I half-know about history, I sorta learned from Cartoon History of the Universe.

        • Touchdown_Spenser says:

          Yes, I vaguely remember that too. I think the drawing was of all the soldiers lopping off their own heads with swords simultaneously (surprisingly not gory in cartoon form!). It seems like it would’ve required some serious dexterity in addition to an unhealthy amount of national loyalty.

        • Boonehams says:

          The army was under King Goujian of Yue (present day Zhejiang, China), and the front line weren’t soldiers at all, but prisoners who were going to be executed anyway, which is a less-horrible strategy.

        • PhilWal0 says:

          The Judean People’s Front?

        • Effigy_Power says:


      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Introducing the Xbox Black Knight!

        “Tis only a flesh wound!”

      • ferrarimanf355 says:

        I still think it’s a childish insult. Almost as bad as replacing the s in Microsoft with a dollar sign.

        • Citric says:

          I don’t use it as an insult, but instead because Xbox One is really awkward to say.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I understand that, and the dollar sign Microsoft thing is juvenile silliness.
             But for me, calling it XBONE actually serves to make me like it more, because it makes me think of a new errant-but well-meaning member of Jeff Smith’s excellent Bone comic.

        • ferrarimanf355 says:

          Why not call it X1? Like me?

        • Enkidum says:

          You do realize this site is a second-generation Onion spinoff, right? There’s going to be a pretty high proportion of snark here…

        • Cornell_University says:

          Your skeletal bigotry will get you nowhere troll! Just try showing your face at Marrow-Con.

        • Girard says:

          Honestly, I’ve never used it because I never talk about the thing, but I’d totally use the portmanteau not as an insult, but because it’s the quickest, easiest way to textually or verbally refer to the thing. Instead of Nintendo Wii, I’d write/say ‘Wii,’ instead of Playstation 4, I’d write/say PS4, and instead of XBOX One, I’d say XBone.

          I suppose XB1 might be an acceptable condensation, but since no branding for the system ever uses the numeral, I think it’d be unclear.

        • Girard says:

          X1 is a virtually unrecognizable, awkward abbreviation which nobody except you uses, if the fact that I can go 10 pages deep into a Google search of ‘X1’ without once encountering the XBone. Which of course also means there are 10 or so pages of other things which already use the label ‘X1.’

        • Mr_Propellerhead says:

          “I still think it’s a childish insult. Almost as bad as replacing the s in Microsoft with a dollar sign.”

          Given their propensity for wringing every last cent from consumers, I’d suggest that the inclusion of a currency symbol within the name is entirely valid as a criticism.

          For the sake of fairness, I always employ the same poetic license with $ony as well. I’m nothing if not an equal-opportunity critic.

        • Merve says:

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus: If it’s a real portmanteau, I pronounce it “Ex-bun,” which makes it sound like a really awkward name for an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus: There’s a way of making that point without being mean.

        • John Teti says:

          You’re projecting. “Xbone” is just a funny word to say.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          How else would we know that Micro$oft wants money if we don’t use the dollar sign? Not like the charitable foundations that have so kindly given us the 3D$ and Play$tation family.

          The problem with Xbox One is MS gave it a pretty bad name, since you can’t retroactively call the original Xbox the Xbox 1 anymore, an unofficial name many people referred to it as. Now you have to call it the Original Xbox, and the Xbox One came after the Xbox 360, and…  the whole thing is just super vexing.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           Microsoft obviously expects us to call it The One.

    • Cloks says:

      Just leave Microsoft alone!

    • Sam_Barsanti says:

      Actually, now that I think about it, I believe there’s a method to Sony’s madness. The Xbox One isn’t coming out in Japan at launch either, and it’s a given that the PS4 will outsell it over there (at least going by how poorly the 360 has done in Japan), so it makes sense for Sony to put all of the muscle it can behind a US launch since it’s the only place where it has major competition. Sony probably doesn’t want to divert consoles away from here for the sake of a country that will most likely buy it anyway.

      • Marozeph says:

        It should be noted that the Xbox One will apparently launch in Europe and the USA simultaneously, while the PS4 will be released two weeks later in Europe (Nov. 29). So MS actually has a head start here in overseas.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      No, it’s too much fun. I have spent enough money on Microsoft and Microsoft-endorsed and related products to earn the right to make every possible joke about the XBoob One I feel like. The moment Sony makes any egregious boner-moves like that, they can eat it too. All things being equal, it’s more fun to call it the XBone than the… well… the PS4 doesn’t lend itself well to a fun portmanteau.
      Any suggestions that don’t pronounce PS as “piss”?

    • Yoder says:

      Last time around it was “RIIIDDGEEEE RAAACCEEERR,” “giant enemy crab,” and “attack its weak point for massive damage.” Oh, and $599.

      There’s always more than enough schadenfreude to go around.

      • ferrarimanf355 says:

        Remember, Sony holds a patent on used game blocking, and were coy about implementing it in the PS4 until their E3 announcement.

        • Yoder says:

          Um, okay.

          I don’t understand what that has to do with people making fun of video game console manufacturers.

        • ferrarimanf355 says:

          Sony was close to doing it, but backed off after MS got the brunt of the negative press. 

        • Yoder says:

          Again, I don’t care. I’m not defending Sony.

          I’m talking about what happens when gamers are dissatisfied with products … they make fun of them, and take pleasure in doing so. There’s always more than enough schadenfreude to go around.

          Sony got pilloried last console cycle because they made their console too expensive and said and did stupid things in their press conference.

          Microsoft got piled on this time because they implemented policies that gamers didn’t like, and people were vocal about it. The way they were vocal about it was making fun of Microsoft.

          If Sony had implemented their used game thing, people would’ve been pissed at them too. Instead they didn’t, and they took advantage of having a later press conference to make Microsoft look bad. It worked! Good for Sony, I guess.

          Extreme brand loyalty is weird.

    • George_Liquor says:

      I think it’s going to be a moot point anyway, at least for anyone who’s not willing to line up in front of a Best Buy for a week prior to the two consoles’ releases.

  2. rvb1023 says:

    The world has become a much darker place without Timesplitters. It still ranks as the most fun I have had with a console FPS.

    Here is the badass western theme, because it is badass and I want Timesplitters to come back.

    • SamPlays says:

      This statement is scientifically supported by NASA. I quote an excerpt from their news article dated October 27, 2009:

      “We want to compare the sun’s brightness now to its brightness during previous minima and ask ourselves, is the sun getting brighter or dimmer?

      Lately, the answer seems to be dimmer. Measurements by a variety of spacecraft indicate a 12-year lessening of the sun’s “irradiance” by about 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at EUV wavelengths. These results, which compare the solar minimum of 2008-09 to the previous minimum of 1996, are still very preliminary.”

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Yeah, Timesplitters was one of my favorite fps games on consoles. You could make your own levels! It was basically Goldeneye 007 but with better everything and faster paced. Somehow it’s hard to get excited for a multiplayer only pc version though. 

      Maybe it was the local play that made it so fun but there are already SO MANY multiplayer shooters for PC it’ll be hard for it to get noticed, unless it retains it’s gleeful ridiculousness. Monkeys and Bears fighting each other with guns that inflate your enemies until they explode might be a welcome change from the horrible realism of something like TF2.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Timesplitters 2 had what I consdiered the best way for two dumb tweens to waste an afternoon on PS2.  Do vs mode, each team with 11 AI teammates, ALL MONKEYS!!!, set weapons to nly remote mines and make a rule where you can only kill the other guy via suicide monkeys, wherein you throw a mine on a monkey and wait for it to get close enough to your enemy and blow it up.

      God I miss that game.

    • patagonianhorsesnake says:

       it was a game that loved being silly, and i like that in a game. i miss it too.

      i need a game where i can be a school of fish with a tommy gun

    • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

      It’d be a brighter world if there was no TimeSplitters on Gamecube. That played horribly.

  3. Unexpected Dave says:

    And in breaking Tokyo Game Show news, Sony has announced a device that allows (some) PS Vita games to be played on a television set via a Dual Shock 3.

  4. boardgameguy says:

    Xbone delayed their release date to ensure that enough markets would have winter weather to boost use of their suite of food delivery apps.

  5. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    Hey Sam, if you and your girlfriend ever travel to South Korea, be sure to leave a door or window open at night or you might freeze to death.

    (Wikipedia, Courtesy of the AV Club:  “Most people in South Korea believe that keeping an electric fan running overnight can be fatal. Purveyors of this myth include the Korea Consumer Protection Board and the dean of Kwandong University’s medical school. Supposedly, super-powered Korean fans can cool down a closed room to the point of causing hypothermia.”)

    • Citric says:

      This sounds like LG going all out on a weird viral marketing campaign.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      Sam’s girlfriend is Korean, then? How super-powered are we talking, here?

    • Effigy_Power says:

      It is indeed something I have heard from my very own Korean Human plaything who also runs my life.
      Then again, my mom insisted that if I touch a bird, the other birds will not accept it anymore, especially if they are chicks.
      Yet another cautionary tale about not touching chicks.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I believed the baby birds thing until LAST YEAR for Cripes’ Sake, long after I should have rationally been able to realize it was absurd.

        Just tell the kids “Don’t touch the baby birds, because they’re tiny and fragile and you might hurt them.”

        • Effigy_Power says:

          “But by all means help it back into the nest if that’s a possibility.”
          I wonder at all the tiny birds that succumbed to exposure because my mom forbade me to touch them. Probably no more than two, but still.

        • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

          I just realised right now.

  6. snazzlenuts says:

    Why does Xbone promising “rich, differentiated experiences” sound creepy, especially when the subject in question is food?

  7. JokersNuts says:

    “At least I remember that being the case, but I was 14 when that game came out” – oh jeez, thanks a lot for making me feel like an Old Fuck.  

  8. Marozeph says:

    Is it just me, or is the link to the PS4 release date broken?

  9. NakedSnake says:

    Timesplitters is indeed the best. I never played the 2nd one, but I played Timesplitters: Future Perfect. Through its unlockable minigames and bot-based challenges, that game raised me up from a FPS feeb to, well, a halfway descent player. I never understood how people can learn how to play FPSs through Call of Duty multiplayerm etc. Those games mostly just teach you how to be sniped by someone from across the map, or to be ambushed by some jerk who knows the map better than you. The twitch-reflexes take a back seat to knowing the maps. Timesplitters taught you how to twitch.

    The game also had 4 person split-screen, and was my only reason for buying the PS2 multi-tap (as well as 2 knock-off controllers). When my friends and I eventually got tired of killing each other in deathmatch, we came up with a game mode of our own. Since Timesplitters lets you customize enemy teams, we created a cadre of stupid, inept circus bears, and we would play a sniper-based Team Deathmatch against them on this frosty tundra level where you can see for miles. Though the bears greatly outnumbered us, the outcome of the battle was never in doubt. It was just a question of how many headshots you could rack up as the enthusiastic stoner of a game announcer sang out “Headshot!” “Skullbuster!” and “Kill Frenzy” with each successive kill. It was honestly such a jovial and chill experience that we ceased playing other game modes altogether, and eventually “do you wanna play Timesplitters?” became simply “do you wanna kill some bears?”

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Yesssss. The local multiplayer was the best part of those games. I played all three with my little brother, I think the campaigns were pretty fun too, and had coop? I might be misremembering. But yes, custom multiplayer matches with bots was too much fun.

      • NakedSnake says:

        Yea, the campaign had co-op, too. Man, I miss that couch-based multiplayer feeling. Here’s hoping that the PS4 redux will cater to that crowd.

  10. “2002’s TimeSplitters 2 is the best first-person shooter ever.”

    You spelled “Red Faction” incorrectly.

    (The original PS1 version.)

  11. PaganPoet says:

    If the Xbox One can bring sour injera, doro wot and tibs to my door without me having to get up off my couch, consider it sold.

  12. MathleticDepartment says:

    The Sony/Microsoft segment reminded me of a psych study I did in college.  In order to sustain my existence, I used to participate in various studies through the psychology department in exchange for small sums of cash.  Most of these studies were unremarkable, save one. 

    A group of 10 of us were brought in and immediately divided up into separate rooms.  There were 5 computer terminals in the room and we were told the rules of a classic game: we were partnered with one of the subjects in the other room and we would go through several “rounds” in which we would choose one of two options.  The options were the same in each round and the outcome was dependent on what our partner chose.  That is, any combination of choices would yield a various number of points for each partner.  A quick analysis of the combinations yielded a way to maximize my expected outcome at the expense of my unseen partner.  Naturally, I looked out for myself. 

    Once we completed all of the rounds, the test administrator came back into the room and unloaded the big reveal on us: the other group of test subjects wasn’t there!  They received their payouts and went home immediately.  The M.Night Shyamalan-ian plot twist sticks with me to this day, both for its immensely arbitrary nature as well as the gravity that they tried to inject into the reveal (“the other subjects could be home eating pizza for all we know!”).  We all got the same agreed-upon sum and left to go waste it on stuff.  And I’ve never been the same. 

  13. SamPlays says:

    You got game theory’d! 

  14. Cornell_University says:

    I called the Pizza Hut down the street and tried to order the Rich Differentiated Experience Supreme.  They castigated me on my lack of a fixed internet connection and hung up.  The delivery guy showed up an hour later with twelve pizzas, a dumptruck full of Diet Pepsi and Jade Empire erotica lithographs.  He just kept saying he was sorry over and over again.

  15. ferrarimanf355 says:

    While I’m at it, this guy is implying that the announcement of a hardware revision for the PS Vita is almost as important as the birth of his son.

    I seriously cannot tell if this guy is aware of how much of a self-parody he is.

    • Citric says:

      You can’t play Persona 4 on a baby!

      • ferrarimanf355 says:

        I know he’s a hardcore PS Vita fanboy, but getting excited over a hardware revision that replaces the OLED with a LCD screen that will certainly lead to a downgrade in visual quality strikes me as weird beyond belief.

        They did announce a bigger memory card, at 64 GB, though.

        • Citric says:

          Yeah, it’s kind of an odd thing to get excited by if you actually own a Vita.

          I actually do really like the idea of the Vita TV though, if only because it’s so cheap. Not sure how it’ll handle all the touch screen nonsense, but I do like the idea of getting a really cheap way of playing the new Ys.

        • ferrarimanf355 says:

          The Vita TV idea seems good in theory, but it always comes down to the execution.

  16. M North says:

    I admit I liked Timesplitters 2 and 3 a lot at the time but going back and playing them, they just don’t quite live up to the expectations. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes. 


      yeah, Timesplitters 2 has lost a lot of it’s luster since the heady days of 2002, but I’ve yet to revisit Future Perfect 

  17. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    Why does that poor unicorn look like he got punched in the face?