Well it’s the end of the month and time to live up to my new year’s resolution to write a monthly column about anything particularly aggravating or revolutionary in this wonderful business that we have come to know and love.

Quite a recent event and one that might seem less than revolutionary on initial observation was Dan Hsu’s interview with the (ready for this?) Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Retail Sales and Marketing for Microsoft’s Home and Entertainment Division, Peter Moore. How might this interview (which can be found here be any different to that which you might read every other day of your freaking life? Well to put it bluntly Dan Hsu asks real questions that almost catch Peter Moore off guard with their brutal inquisition. I believe that, were this not a man used to this kind of grilling, he would have crumbled. It’s great to see a games journalist bridging the gap between themselves and the nitty-gritty newspaper reporters or paparazzi you see plaguing the lives of their latest target. I believe that other journalists for our delectable medium should follow suit and start delving deeper when interviewing industry bigwigs. We are not an audience who enjoys being patronised. Speaking of patronising I for one would love to see a grilling of Sony’s Ken Katarugi, wouldn’t you?

Play time this month has been absorbed by my 360 mainly due to the gamerscore system. It has to be the first time I’ve ever seen hardware drive the user to play the software more. I for one would never have bothered playing Call of Duty 2 on a more difficult mode but because of the gamer score system I feel the need to bite the swastika laden bullets and brave the ever vengeful “Veteran” mode. Why? So that when Joe Nobody views my gamer tag I can brag about what I’ve done without even having to even talk to the guy. In all honesty I’m very pleased with the 360, Live has managed to get better when I didn’t think it possibly could. I won’t delve into the quality of the launch titles argument, as far as I’m concerned that’s been done and dusted last month without a sufficient conclusion. I will however add that Dead or Alive 4 is looking damn sweet and seems to be the real killer title the 360 needs and if David’s (a.k.a Rokhed00) review is anything to go by, it is an essential purchase.

On the gaming critique front I figure it’s best to put one of my biggest gaming peeves in the first edition. Loading times, I play a lot of games, and this incurs the wrath of the dreaded loading time. However I discovered what must have been in December of 2004 with the release of Dragonball Z: Budokai 3, that loading times do not need to be boring. Where most games would just have the user sit there looking at some pathetic bar fill, Budokai 3 presented a small pre-loader where you rotated the analogue sticks to fill up the screen with lots of little characters. This made the games ridiculous loading times much more bearable. Why can’t developers do this with every game? I despise sitting in my chair waiting for the game to start knowing that there is an alternative. Some games even have the barefaced cheek to present the user with a bar that they wait for to fill and as soon as it gets to the end…BAM the bar empties and starts again. This renders a loading bar useless in its entirety, the whole point of the bar is to see how long we have to wait for it to load, yet on some games we are forced to witness this bastardisation of gaming hell. Developers, if you’re going to have any loading time, don’t make it boring, give us gamers something to amuse our thumbs with or at least put something mildly amusing in its place.

This would usually be the part where others would make irate (but not necessarily inaccurate) comments about one Jack Thompson but to be honest talking about him isn’t going to achieve anything and will merely play up to what he wants, attention. Instead I would like to dedicate the first edition of Lag to fellow gamer Kuja105 Reborn or Mitchell Stuekerjuergen as he was known outside the virtual realm. A GameFAQs forum member who publicly announced his intent to take his own life, and then did. The incident spread through the gaming community like wildfire and this writer believes it shows the strength of gamers as a global community. We hope that Mitchell finds peace and our thoughts go out to his family and friends from everyone here at DarkZero.