Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yahtzee and Mass Effect

I don't agree with him in this case, but he is damn funny...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hands on with: Arkadian Warriors

When I put up the press release for this game I had no idea it was coming out so soon. This is the kind of thing I have wanted to see on Xbox Live Arcade for a long time. Is it worth it? Maybe. The game gives you three characters to choose from: a Warrior, an Archer and a Sorceress. I have played to level five with a Warrior and have not tried the other two classes. The game plays like Diablo and all of its clones. That is to say, it is very familiar. You get quests in a small town and a gateway opens up to portal you to the quest location. No wandering around trying to find where you are supposed to go with this game! You then proceed to travel through randomly generated dungeons hacking and slashing your way past a veritable cornucopia of monsters. There isn't much strategy to combat, after all it is a Diablo clone. You can find magic items and as you level you unlock various abilities for your class. One odd thing is that when you slash your sword, it doesn't make a sound when it contacts a monster. It feels like you are just swishing it around. Oddly, it does make a sound when you hit other objects. So far the quests have been the standard fare that one sees in these types of games and in MMOs. I think games like Dungeon Runners and Fate are better and I would dearly like to see them on Xbox Live Arcade. This games seems to be a fun diversion and if you are a fan of Diablo/Gauntlet clones then you will enjoy it. You can also link up with a friend to do some coop dungeon exploring. By the way, speaking of Gauntlet, where the hell is Gauntlet 2 for Xbox Live Arcade?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yahtzee Reviews Guitar Hero 3

Hilarity ensues...

Monday, December 10, 2007

My cat Frodo as a LOL Cat

I have been busier than a one-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond, so here is a picture of my cat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Xbox 360 dashboard updated.

Redmond , Washington—Your Xbox LIVE® friends list is about to get a whole lot bigger. Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Windows LIVE™ Messenger on Xbox 360™, connecting friends across Xbox 360 consoles, Microsoft® Windows®-based PCs and Windows Mobile®-powered devices.

Chat with your friends via Live Messenger.

Chat with your friends via Live Messenger.

With this update to Xbox 360, friends and families can easily connect and chat directly from their television using Windows Live Messenger, a network of more than 20 billion relationships and more than 260 million active accounts.
"Xbox LIVE has really become the
largest social network on television."
—Jerry Johnson, Microsoft

Beginning the week of May 7, 2007, the Xbox 360 Spring Update will provide Xbox 360 owners worldwide with access to Windows Live Messenger features, broadening the communication options on the Xbox LIVE social network.

More details here.

I downloaded the update last night and for the most part I liked what I saw. I did have some problems though. Everyone's gamerscores showed up as 0 and I kept crashing when I tried to voice chat with a friend of mine. I am putting that down to network overload. I'll check it out more tonight along with the new Xvid support.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's like they read my mind... Uh oh.

Arkadian Warriors™
Release Date: December 12, 2007
Studio: Sierra Online
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Wanako Games
Number of Players: 1 - 2

Define your legacy… Awaken your inner-beast…

Fight with one of Artemis' three powerful warriors to the ultimate confrontation with Gorgon herself. Spanning treacherous dungeons consisting of countless enemies, heinous and powerful bosses, your warriors will embark on a trek of unimaginable proportions.

* 3 Mighty Warriors – Soldier, Archer and Sorceress – each with unique leveling-up ability

* Monstrous Shape-Shifting Ability – Each Warrior transforms into their own iconic alter ego – Phoenix, Lion or Dragon – with increased power to crush their enemies

* Diverse Dungeon Generator – Never battle enemies in the same dungeon twice.

* Intense Multiplayer Co-Op Action – 2 players online or off

I have been thinking for a while that it would be nice to have a Diabloesque game for Xbox Live Arcade. You know, a nice little dungeon crawl you can pop in to and get your adventuring on for a while, maybe even play with a friend. Looks like Sierra has gone and done just that. The game should be out in a few months. I'll have more on it when it is released.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mass Effect Raises the Bar.... REALLY high.

Mass Effect™ is a sci-fi action RPG created by BioWare, the commercially and critically acclaimed developer of Jade Empire and Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™. Mass Effect delivers an immersive, story-driven experience coupled with awe-inspiring visuals, delivered exclusively to the Xbox 360™.

As one of the first human beings to step onto the galactic stage, you face a grave threat that may destroy all of civilization. Your job is complicated by the fact that no one believes that there is any threat at all. Travel across an expansive universe, exploring the uncharted corners of the galaxy, searching for pieces of the truth in order to discover how to defeat the coming destruction.

  • Explore uncharted worlds: Uncover a mystery that defies imagination as you travel to the far corners of the universe. Visit unexplored planets, finding side quests that unfold parallel to the main story. Discover alien life, new resources, ruined civilizations, and powerful technologies.
  • Fight in real-time: Mass Effect features a real-time, squad-based, tactical combat system. Enjoy intense and exciting third-person action as you face off against your enemies. Engage your foes with ranged weapons, biotic powers, science-based magic, and tech powers, all accompanied by astonishing visuals.
  • Customize your character: Build a stunning, photo-realistic character, expanding your skills and statistics as you progress. Utilize a deep reward system as you travel further afield and discover more about the coming invasion. Change the appearance of your characters with the additions of newly discovered weapons, equipment, and armor to make each one truly unique.
  • Experience the next generation: Mass Effect takes full advantage of Xbox 360 hardware, providing players with photo-realistic high definition graphics, amazingly realistic characters, branching dialogue with A.I. responses, and a massive universe to explore. As the future of gaming continues to expand online, look for premium downloads on Xbox LIVE®.
Ok, blah blah blah. How does it play? Like a Sci-fi geek's wet dream, that's how! Playing this game is like being in a great Sci-Fi movie and controlling the outcome. It's the kind of thing I always pretend to be doing in most other RPGs. In this case, Bioware has pulled it off. There are plenty of tuff decisions that effect game play, stunning graphics and a great story. Everything is streamlined so much you are almost never taken out of character and feel as if you are watching from the outside. The combat is visceral and engaging with a myriad of options. You can micro manage your party members or let them go on their own according to their personalities. Each NPC is well developed and has a long and interesting back story. I can't say a lot more without giving away some of the plot so I will just leave with this: Buy it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yahtzee takes on the latest F.E.A.R. expansion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I am not a huge fan of Machinima, but this is truly great. Some folks took the Neverwinter Nights engine and made a really cool fantasy movie with it. The writing is fantastic and so is the soundtrack. It takes a few minutes to get over the fact that it is done with such an old engine, but it is well worth it. I have to credit Bill Harris over at Dubious Quality for the find. Enjoy.



It is a story of a world where men and women carry magic in their blood, and spilling it can unleash terrible power.

Where these "Blooded" hide in fetid slums from the Church of the Angels, commanded by their divine masters to "cleanse" the Blood Magic.

Where choices are fraught, alliances rarely safe, and blood is all.

A young monk named Jered flees the Church when his own Blood Magic is released. Now he must survive the pursuit of the Church, the gladiatorial pits of the Blooded underground, and the hidden truths of the ancient struggle. The choices he makes will tip the balance of the war between Church and Blooded, and change his world forever.

Mixing a vivid world with fast-paced action and punk attitude, we think BloodSpell will be like no film you`ve ever seen.

It is made using the game Neverwinter Nights, and is written and directed by Machinima pioneer Hugh Hancock

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shivering Isles for PS3 owners....finally.

November 20, 2007 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that The Elder Scrolls® IV: Shivering Isles™ for PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system from SCEA is now shipping to North American retail stores. This standalone disc will allow gamers who already own The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® to experience the award-winning expansion.

This new retail product follows the October release of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition (GotY) for PLAYSTATION®3 system, which includes the Shivering Isles expansion. Originally released in March 2006 for Windows and Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and in March 2007 for PLAYSTATION®3 system, Oblivion has already earned countless awards from publications around the world and won numerous Game of the Year and RPG of the Year awards.

Oblivion features a powerful combination of free-form gameplay, unprecedented graphics, cutting edge AI, character voices by acting legends Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, Terrance Stamp, and Lynda Carter, and an award-winning soundtrack. Gamers can choose to unravel Oblivion’s epic narrative at their own pace or explore the vast world in search of their own unique challenges.

With more than 30 hours of new gameplay, Shivering Isles allows you to explore an entirely new plane of Oblivion – the realm of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Shivering Isles features a bizarre landscape split between the two sides – Mania and Dementia –filled with vast, twisting dungeons mirroring the roots of the trees they are buried within. Sheogorath himself looks to you to be his champion and defend his realm and its inhabitants from destruction as you discover all new items, ingredients, spells, and much more.

Shivering Isles for PLAYSTATION®3 system will also be available for download on the PLAYSTATION®Network (North American, English only) beginning November 29th. Shivering Isles is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Oblivion, Shivering Isles, or The Elder Scrolls, visit

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bethesda unleashes some Star Trek Wii goodness

Bethesda Softworks Announces

STAR TREK®: Conquest Now Shipping in North America

STAR TREK®: Conquest to be Available This Week for

Wii™ and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system

November 19, 2007 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, today announced that STAR TREK®: Conquest for the Wii™ home video game system from Nintendo and PlayStation®2 system is shipping to North American retail stores. Conquest features a blend of strategy and intense action set in the STAR TREK: The Next Generation® era and will be available on store shelves throughout North America as early as tomorrow.

Take control of Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, Dominion, and Breen forces and lead them in a campaign to control the Galaxy, one planet at a time. You can build and manage your growing empire in turn-based strategy, fully utilizing the Wii Remote™ as you select and maneuver your Starships throughout the large, galactic map.

Strategically, you must effectively manage limited resources to expand your empire. You decide how to best achieve objectives by ordering your fleets and admirals, building support structures, researching technology, and engaging your enemies in combat.

Once battle is initiated, Conquest switches to a ship level tactical view allowing direct command of your ships as you engage in real-time combat. While maneuvering your Starship with the Nunchuk™, you can take direct aim and fire away with the Wii Remote™.

Conquest has been rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and will retail for an estimated MSRP of $29.99 on the Wii™ and $14.99 on the PlayStation®2 system. For more information visit

Friday, November 16, 2007


This might be what it would look like if EA made a Spiderman game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Monday, November 12, 2007

Blogosphere sweeps week content... Alien Strippers from Mass Effect!

Friday, November 9, 2007

This pretty much sums up Guitar Hero...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blind Guardian Rawks on. Is immortalized in a video game.

SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel: Musical support by "Blind Guardian" Basingstoke, 5th November 2007 - Soon "Blind Guardian" fans can admire their heroes as computer game characters! As part of a unique cooperation with ASCARON Entertainment, one of the leading German developers of entertainment software, the fantasy metal rockers will have a guest appearance in the long-awaited PC and Xbox 360 title SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel. To provide a fitting soundtrack for this virtual event, "Blind Guardian" will record a special song for the game, which will be released as a separate single next year. In addition, the video clip to be produced for the new song will feature sequences taken straight from SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel.

And the Sacred world of Ancaria will also tremble with the band's rocking tunes. By solving a quest in the game, players can unlock a bonus event, in which the motion-captured Blind Guardians perform their new song "live".

SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel is the long-awaited sequel to the internationally most successful German action RPG of all time. Game fans can look forward to an all-new epic game with many new features and expansions of the popular concept. In SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel players discover and explore a vast, highly detailed world with breathtaking graphics - for the first time in full 3D. SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel captivates players with its gripping story, which they can experience in two entirely different ways (light and shadow campaign).

For more than 20 years, "Blind Guardian" have been a force to be reckoned with in the German rock scene. Many fans consider the critically acclaimed new album "A twist in the Myth" the Krefeld-based band's best to date.

"We are very proud of the cooperation with 'Blind Guardian' and look forward to providing the band with a virtual stage in our game. For many years I've been a big fan of the band, and I'm sure the new SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel-themed single will be a hit with fans too", says Holger Flöttmann of ASCARON.

"To us, SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel is a dream come true, because, like all the other fantasy computer game maniacs, we had to wait a very long time for the sequel to the legendary SACRED. Thanks to its complex fantasy world and detailed characters, SACRED has become one of our absolute favorites, and we also loved both its storyboard and the tie-in novels. It's just awesome to become part of that SACRED world now. Music, story and images will merge to a perfect whole", adds "Blind Guardian" singer Hansi Kürsch.

Nuclear Blast's York Eysel also enthuses about "this one of a kind cooperation between our band "Blind Guardian", symphonic fantasy metal's biggest band, and the extraordinary action RPG SACRED 2 - Fallen Angel. We can't think of a better way to combine the worlds of music and computer games."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you....

Adrian Peterson. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Latest Zero Punctuaton...

Yahtzee takes on Medal of Honor: Airborne. Hilarity ensues. More great stuff over at The Escapist here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Everquest Online Adventures

Gone Fishing!

Scheduled to begin on October 31st, EverQuest Online Adventures (EQOA) will officially kick-off fishing season with its first ever in-game fishing tournament. Players can grab their rods and reels and seek out the best locations as weekly prizes will be awarded for catching special tagged fish. Anglers who are able to lure in the tagged fish will be awarded an in-game pet as a reward. The tournament is scheduled to culminate on November 15th, so time is limited. Join in the fun and hook a big one!

Fall Activities Galore!

- Trick or Treat Halloween Quest: Quest is comprised of 20 NPCs that the player must discover, collecting all the “treats” they hand out.

- Moradhim Earth Elemental Invasion: A GM run event that has players battling a Rift, the enraged earth guards, and the muddites. GMs take the guise of “rock named” elementals to fight.

- Scavenger Hunts: Players have the opportunity to collect specific items from various NPC’s around Norrath.

- Witch Hunt Quest: A witch harasses a nearby town. In an attempt to be rid of her, players assist her in finding her sisters.

- Unlock the Mystery of the Broken Blade!

Many years ago, adventurers encountered a Cave Hydra in the depths the caverns of Solusek’s Eye. After a long battle with this mystical three headed creature the adventurers discovered that it was protecting a secret. The Hydra possessed a magical Broken Blade with an inscription that provided little information as to the true destiny of this item. Hoping to decipher the words written on the blade they sought out many races throughout Tunaria for translation, but to no avail. Hop online and see if you can be the first to decipher the mystery of the broken blade that has eluded puzzle experts for years!

Click here to check out all latest enhancements!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Madden 08 Patch coming.

The Madden 08 Producer's blog has been updated with information about an upcoming patch. Here are the highlights:

Fumble Fix - Reduced fumble chances in certain situations. This has been tested thoroughly and we feel that people will be happy with a more realistic (and more fun!) number of fumbles. This was priority number 1 for us.

DB Reactions- changes to the way that DBs play man coverage. Defenders in man coverage won't be able to react to passes that they cannot see. This should make it easier to throw against man coverage.

Favre "Moonwalk"- I love the names that you guys come up with for issues such as this one. You can rest assured that you won't see Farve (or any QB) dancing toward the sideline anymore.

Hook Zone Flip Bug- I saw a post on a community forum talking about this bug and it turns out the fix was very minimal risk. You can now flip plays with hook zones without the players leaving their zones.

Franchise - Fixed NCAA import issue where players would turn 26

Franchise - Fixed bug where HOF Unlocked players cannot be released in Franchise.

Of note to me are the fumble fix and the DB AI. How a football game can be released where the DBs CAN react to the ball without seeing it is beyond me. We will have to wait and see if this patch actually makes the game playable. It might be worth a rent when this patch drops.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Xbox Live coming to India.

I wonder who they will outsource tech support to?

Microsoft India has announced that its Xbox Live service will be available in the country on November 5, with exclusive local content.

Live users will be able to download already-released UTV Bollywood films as well as trailers of 'Hanuman Returns' and content related to the upcoming Harman Baweja film 'Love Story 2050.'

As with Xbox Live services in other countries, there will be Silver and Gold memberships available.

Microsoft also announced a "rent a game" service for which the company has partnered with a film rental company called Seventymm. "Rent a game" will enable Xbox Live users to rent the latest Xbox 360 titles for a fixed number of days.

"We have just celebrated the first anniversary of Xbox 360 in the country this year and it is with a celebratory spirit that we offer our Indian consumers even more entertainment options on Xbox 360." said Robbie Bach, global president of Microsoft's E&D Division.

"This is not only a firm reiteration of our commitment to the Indian market, but also an exciting foray into connecting our Indian consumers to a world of 7 million Xbox LIVE members around the world."

PS3 Owners (all 12 of you) grab this while it's hot.

Bethesda Softworks Announces

The Elder Scrolls® IV: Shivering Isles™


Official Expansion Disc to Award-Winning Role Playing Game to be Available Next Month

October 24, 2007 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that it will release The Elder Scrolls® IV: Shivering Isles™ for PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system from SCEA at retail. This standalone disc will allow gamers who already own The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to experience the award-winning expansion.

This new retail product follows the October release of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition (GotY) for PLAYSTATION®3 system, which includes the Shivering Isles expansion. Originally released in March 2006 for Windows and Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and in March 2007 for PLAYSTATION®3 system, Oblivion has already earned countless awards from publications around the world and won numerous Game of the Year and RPG of the Year awards.

Oblivion features a powerful combination of free-form gameplay, unprecedented graphics, cutting edge AI, character voices by acting legends Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, Terrance Stamp, and Lynda Carter, and an award-winning soundtrack. Gamers can choose to unravel Oblivion’s epic narrative at their own pace or explore the vast world in search of their own unique challenges.

With more than 30 hours of new gameplay, Shivering Isles allows you to explore an entirely new plane of Oblivion – the realm of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Shivering Isles features a bizarre landscape split between the two sides – Mania and Dementia –filled with vast, twisting dungeons mirroring the roots of the trees they are buried within. Sheogorath himself looks to you to be his champion and defend his realm and its inhabitants from destruction as you discover all new items, ingredients, spells, and much more.

Shivering Isles for PLAYSTATION®3 system is scheduled to ship on November 20, 2007 and is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Oblivion, Shivering Isles, or The Elder Scrolls, visit

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pirates of the Burning Sea





Pirates of the Burning Sea, the MMORPG featuring high seas action and adventure in a bold world of pirates and plunder, is scheduled to be available for pre-order starting Tuesday, October 23rd at participating retail locations.



Players who pre-order the game will receive the following:

* An invitation to the “Pre-Boarding Party” allowing them access to the live game up to 15 days prior to launch, and the ability to keep their characters, skills and equipment after launch with purchase of game and paid subscription (characters will have a level cap of 20 during the pre-boarding party)

* Captain’s Best Friend – a blue and yellow parrot
* Mighty Blades - Swedish Rapier, Old World Steel or Musketeer’s Matching Blades (depending upon which fighting style is selected)
* Original Game Soundtrack CD – 60 minutes of pirate themed music (comes in pre-order box)


Pirates of the Burning Sea is scheduled to be available for preorder in North America on Tuesday, October 23, 2007. A European pre-order date has not been set at this time.

For more pre-order information on Pirates of the Burning Sea log onto


Pirates of the Burning Sea is an MMORPG featuring high seas action and adventure in a bold world of pirates and plunder. Set against the backdrop of the New World of the 18th Century, players can choose one of three nations – England, France or Spain – or choose the role of a Pirate and battle it out for glory and power.

With Halloween coming ....

Here is a little Even Stevphen for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bill Abner waxes elloquent on Sports Gaming...

"Sports gamers are trapped inside the industry's version of The Matrix. The fact we see "new" games every year almost guarantees only so much can be done, not only to add new features but also to fix problems from the previous edition. Each year, the hole gets deeper, and it gets harder for people not to see the spoon, as it were. As problems go unfixed, and new features are added, many of them also badly in need of fixes, it gets more and more difficult to justify spending upwards of $60 every year to buy the latest version.

This is all about money, obviously. In any sort of rational scenario, we'd see "new" sports games released every two years, and in the off years a roster update and a patch to fix the most egregious errors from the old game. But that's crazy talk!"

For the whole story go here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

NHL 08 Slider update.

Well, this turned out to be simple. The guys in the forums over at Operation Sports have found some great settings for NHL 08, that pretty much make the game officially, "The Shit". As it turns out all you need to do is reset the settings back to default and then play in Superstar mode only changing game speed to 0 and shot accuracy to 1. If you aren't playing franchise, be sure and do those changes after the game starts because for some reason the game resets your sliders if you choose anything other than Pro. I played one of the most enjoyable and realistic games of video game hockey last night with these settings. Previously I had been playing on Pro and having my struggles, so don't worry if you think you are not good enough for Superstar. These settings make your AI teammates play much smarter. I am gonna try it tonight with player lock on the center position and I will have a report later. Skol!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oblivion TES IV: The Fighter's Stronghold add on

Defeat the attacking marauders and become lord of Battlehorn Castle. Located in the Colovian Highlands west of Chorrol, this expansive castle will allow you to live the life of a noble warrior, with private quarters, grand dining hall, wine cellar, barracks, training room and more. And what castle would be complete without a few hidden passages and dark secrets?
  • A fully detailed castle for you to explore
  • Knights of the True Horn patrol the castle and do your bidding
  • Secret treasure vault
  • Upgrade the furnishings in every area of the castle
  • Hire a vintner to create special wines to enhance your fighting abilities
  • Hire a combat trainer to spar with
  • Hire a taxidermist to craft lifelike trophies for your great hall
  • Purchase an ancient Dwemer Forge that buffs your Armorer skill
For the rest of this week Bethesda is offering a free download of the latest and last add on to Oblivion TES IV. I downloaded it last night for my Xbox 360 and messed around with it briefly. The initial battle to reclaim the stronghold was trivial. The biggest thing I had to worry about was the bandits attacking my horse, but at this point I could afford fifty white horses. Once the battle was over, the surviving guard thanked me and welcomed me as the new lord of the stronghold. I was then able to go to the capital and buy stuff to trick out my new home. I couldn't help but think that this would have been fantastic last year when I first got the game, but it is all pretty much fluff and relatively useless to me now that my character is a demi-god. If you are just starting the game out, I recommend taking the time to get this download. It will help you out greatly and you will find it a very useful addition. If you have already completed the game you could probably pass, but what the hell it is free so it only costs you the time to download 10 megs.

BBC one! BBC two! BBC three!

It's a world that's invisible to the uninitiated. And it's a slightly discomforting thought that for the next few weeks, after school - or more likely after work, since Halo 3 is rated 16+ - hundreds of thousands of people will be glued to their television screens putting in the many hours it takes to play a modern video game from start to finish.

You can share the camaraderie of gaming with others even when you are in your own bedroom
Tim Ingham

Discomforting because over the years, video games have been blamed for everything from destroying marriages to turning balanced adults into murderers and rapists. At the very least, will video games produce a generation of unsociable hermits?

It's a common misconception that gaming is a solitary activity, as today an increasing number of titles are for gamers to get together and play in turn. In this respect, it's no different to golf - a game which can be a source of marital friction but is rarely accused of incitement to murder.

Yeah baby! Yeah! To read the rest of this great article go here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Next Gen Sports Game Presentation

I have seen many reviews for sports game in this "New Generation" and they all seem to get high scores. But for what really? I think they boil down to the graphics being good. That should be a given (sorry Wii). There is much more to game presentation, however. The atmosphere of a sport can go a long way towards being captured with just good sound effects alone. Ambient sounds and crowd noise make the player feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Announcer play by play is also a huge factor in player immersion. I haven't seen much of any growth in either of these two areas since the previous generation. Madden 08 for example still has the lame radio broadcaster from last year. The game is named after one of the most high profile color commentators in all of sports. Use him. Other games like NHL 08, while b eing good overall games are seriously lacking in the presentation department. The announcers repeat the same 15 or 20 lines over and over again ad naseum. Keeping with NHL 08 as an example, the on ice sound effects are repetitive. I swear if I play any more I am going to hear: "Wheel! Wheel!" in my sleep. As far as I am concerned NFL 2k5 has the best game presentation of any sports game bar none. You would think that All Pro Football 2k8 would have as good if not better presentation, but that isn't the case. The Game Pass feature is cliche and annoying. The halftime presentation is decent but doesn't match NFL 2k5. What gives game developers? You getting lazy? We ARE paying more money for games now. I want more than good graphics. That should be a given considering the power of the new hardware (again, sorry Wii).

Friday, October 12, 2007

EA acquires Bioware, crushes my soul.

Sad news indeed. EA have acquired Bioware and Pandemic studios. I guess that is the end of great Bioware RPGs. It was a nice run, but once EA get their hands on them I am afraid it is going to turn into watered down crap.

Deal valued at $860 million

Electronic Arts has announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp., the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again," said EA CEO John Riccitiello.

"They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties. We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Riccitiello formed Elevation Partners in 2004, shortly after leaving EA. In 2005, his new company made a bid for Eidos, which it later withdrew.

Riccitiello returned to Electronic Arts as its CEO in early 2007.

EA will pay up to USD 620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional USD 155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria.

EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options and has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to USD 35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

The Pandemic and BioWare teams will join the EA Games label currently run by Frank Gibeau.

BioWare is currently developing Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is developing the upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and Saboteur.

The two developers employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and Brisbane, Australia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NHL 08 Slider Settings

NHL 08 is one of the best hockey games I have ever played and I think I have played them all. As usual it takes some time to get some good slider settings, but I think I have found some thanks to Operation Sports and a user named Flyermania. Here they are:

10 minute periods length, penalties maxed. Fighting up to user.

Game Speed-1
Puck Control-0
Fight Difficulty-1
Fatigue Effect-6
AI Learning-3

Fatigue Recovery-1
Player Acceleration-0 (changed this to slow the game a bit more, also creates more battles for loose pucks)

Hit Power-0
Poke Check Effectiveness- 6

Pass Speed-0
Saucer Pass Speed-0
Pass Interceptions-6
Goalie Passing-1

Shot Accuracy-4 (increased this to generate more scoring)
Shot Power-2 (lowered to counter the increased accuracy)

Shot Blocking-6
Hook Effectiveness-6
Penalty Shot Freq-1
Goalie Cover Puck Freq-5

* I always let the CPU take the face-off so I don't win 75-80% of them. Makes it more realistic.
* I do a lot of cycling and dumping of the puck to set up my offense. If you prefer a run-and-gun style, you will get a lot of shots on net with these settings.

Note: I changed the game speed to 1 from 0.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wii need more games.

I am one of those "Wii-60" people who own an Xbox 360 and a Wii. However, I have gotten a great deal more enjoyment out of my 360 than my Wii. The reason for that is the overwhelming amount of games the 360 has over the Wii. Seriously, WTF is Nintendo doing? The only time I play the Wii any more is when relatives come over and I am forced to show them how to play Wii Sports. I played Zelda, and Metroid Prime 3, but those were mere snacks compared to the smörgåsbord of 360 titles. This holiday season looks a bit better but most of the games coming for the Wii that have any promise are Nintendo titles. It may work as a business model, but as a gamer I think it really sucks. I keep hearing people say it is just a matter of time, but this is starting to get ridiculous.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Conan Demo is now available for download.

Imagine my surprise when I fired up the old 360 today and found the Conan demo available for download. I played through it and I have to say that it is pretty tight. Make no mistake, this isn't a genre changing or revolutionary game in anyway, but from what I played I think it has potential. Combat is strategic with plenty of moves and combos. The AI seems to learn fairly well and the artwork is well done. There doesn't seem to be any multi-player or coop modes so this game might end up being just a renter albeit an enjoyable one. I think if you are a Conan fan like me you should give it rental. With God of War-like game play in the Conan universe you really can't go wrong. Here is some more info about the game:

Conan is an action adventure video game featuring a story of epic brutality, sheer evil and visceral combat within an expansive fantasy setting. Players will follow the journey of Conan the Cimmerian as he fights a vicious battle against a variety of enemies and an elusive power that threatens to consume the world. Using everything at his disposal including deadly weapons and environmental objects, Conan must fight everything in his path as he traverses a variety of unique realms within the Hyborian world.

Key Features:

  • Intense Action Combat: Playing as Conan, players will utilize a deep and gratifying combat system that offers a variety of fighting styles to battle enemies. Through multiple movement trees, players can string together combos and fight foes using grappling moves, hand-to-hand combat, sword fights and dual-wielded attacks.
  • Interactive Environments: Highly interactive combat locations and real-time physics will allow players to pick up any weapon in sight, such as swords, axes, spears and torches, and use surrounding environmental elements to inflict damage on your enemies.
  • Cinematic Game Play Experience: The Conan video game harnesses next generation hardware to deliver a cinematic game play experience, complete with innovative special effects, lighting and a powerful, epic soundtrack, to capture the essence of the Conan universe.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Microsoft and Bungie agree to start seeing other people.

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 5, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the “Halo®” franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie, at the same time continuing its long-standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft-owned “Halo” intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.

The critically acclaimed Xbox 360®-exclusive “Halo 3” achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, “Halo 3” is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

“Our collaboration with Bungie has resulted in ‘Halo’ becoming an enduring mainstream hit,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “While we are supporting Bungie’s desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our ‘Halo’ entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the ‘Halo’ universe. We look forward to great success with Bungie as our long-term relationship continues to evolve through ‘Halo’-related titles and new IP created by Bungie.”

“This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games,” said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft® platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios; and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through ‘Halo’ and beyond.”

Bungie Studios will remain in its current location in Kirkland, Wash.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's out. Go get it. Seriously, you won't be disappointed.

Time is running out...

The epic story of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker continues as Link finds himself lost and alone in unknown seas in a new adventure. Featuring intuitive touch-screen controls and innovative puzzles, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass offers new challenges for fans of the series and an easy-to-grasp introduction for gamers new to The legend of Zelda. But time grows short, and only the Phantom Hourglass can buy Link the minutes he’ll need to survive.

Here is an excerpt of the Gamespot review:

It's kind of shocking when you think about it, but despite the Nintendo DS's nearly three-year lifespan, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is the first Zelda game to hit the system. The good news is that it was worth the wait. Phantom Hourglass is essentially a sequel to the GameCube Zelda adventure The Wind Waker. It retains the art style, surrounding world, and plot of that game, but it revamps the mechanics for DS use. The result is a game that is unmistakably Zelda, with its perilous dungeons, tricky puzzles, and engaging boss battles; at the same time, Phantom Hourglass is a unique and innovative entry in the series due largely to its exclusively touch-screen-based control scheme. Everything you do in the game involves taps and swipes of the stylus, from traditional fights and puzzles, to new and specialized functions that really change the way you think about playing a Zelda game.

Read the whole review here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

All Pro Football 2K8

Every year sports games come out and it takes weeks if not months to find decent slider settings. I don't know why companies don't just make Pro the best possible default setting for the game to be played. I really have no clue why the rookie settings are there. Seriously, if you suck that bad at playing sports video games that you need to play on rookie, maybe that genre isn't for you. The other end of the spectrum is usually called Hall of Fame (or All Madden) and is equally ridiculous in how the computer cheats to be competitive. I usually end up vacillating between Pro and All Pro depending on the game. What ends up happening is that there is no middle ground either I struggle to win at All Pro and have really low scoring games or I find Pro to be too easy. I have changed my outlook somewhat and decided that it is more fun to be able to move the ball and generate some offense than get into defensive wars that end up 6 - 3. With that in mind I have found some good sliders over at Operation Sports and so far they are working out quite well. Here they are: (sliders by NJPapi)

Human Blocking 70
Human Passing 50
Human Running 40
Human Catching 80
Human Coverage 70
Human Pursuit 50
Human Tackling 60
Human Kicking 60
Human Fatigue 50

Cpu Blocking 75
Cpu Passing 80
Cpu Running 90
Cput Catching 55
Cpu Coverage 100
Cpu Pursuit 70
Cpu Tackling 45
Cpu Kicking 50
Cpu Fatigue 50

Global Sliders
Injury 50
Fumble 100
Interception 80

I play 10 minute quarters for a good reflection of stats with accelerated clock

I use maximum passing

Game Speed is set at normal

No accelerated clocks unless you want to crank the time to 10 minutes

Performance EQ is turned off... this is to balance teams out

Auto Strafe Mode must be off

For those that want to use my custom camera here is the settings

Camera Custom

QB Pivot Mode (Home) On

Pass Play Zoom OUt (Home) Off

QB Pivot Mode (Away) ON

Pass Play Zoom Out (Away) Off

Camera Distance 54

Camera Pitch 0

Camera Angle 50

Camera Height 0

You may also want to try these Penalty sliders. There is a theory that they also affect game play, but I haven't verified that yet. Here they are: (penalty sliders by: Catcatch22)

nuetral zone infraction - 48
defensive pass interference - 65
offensive pass interference - 80
offensive holding - 100
defensive holding - 40
clipping - 100
roughing the passer - 0
roughing the kicker - 50
late hit - 50
ineligible receiver downfield - 55
face mask - 52

Friday, September 28, 2007

Zero Punctuation strikes again

This time Peggle is in it's sights:

Find more cool stuff at: The Escapist.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today's click and learn post.

(Part 1 of 4)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

End Game

I finished Bioshock today (great game) and that got me to thinking about how nice it is to actually finish games. It's like a good book, you don't want it to be over, but there is a satisfaction and sense of accomplishment there that feels good. During my long MMO addiction, I went years without finishing a game. I just drifted from MMO to MMO and made new friends. It all got rather boring and so I quit playing them. But, what if you could incorporate a sort of End Game option in MMOs?

I have long lamented that fact that the player in most cases leaves no impact on the MMO world. They are merely filler and exist to give other people a pool of players to group with. Eventually, in every characters MMO life there comes a point where they stop being played either due to player boredom, lack of content, or because the player moves on to the next best thing. What if there was a way for the player to "retire" their character and have some sort of an impact on the game world?

Some sort of point system could be set up that the player earns by doing various things in the game. Adventure points, crafting points and perhaps social points are just a few things off the top of my head. All of these could be accumulated in the background while the player goes about his normal MMO routine. When the player feels he has done as much as he wants to with the character he could choose to retire that character. This means that the character becomes unavailable to the player. The game would then look at the points accrued and assign that character a place in the world depending upon how much the character has influenced the world. They could become an NPC that owns an Inn or Weapon Shop or is encountered by other players in the game world via quests or random encounters. Or they could have not made enough of an impact to be remembered.

This system would at least give the player a chance to impact the world and give them some sense of closure with a character. Controls would have to be put in place to avoid having an Innkeeper named Luvs2spwg and other issues, but those things should be a part of every MMO anyways.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Viva Pinata: Party Animals

In the next installment of: I Play Demos so You Don't Have to, I present Viva Pinata Party Animals. I downloaded this demo not because I was particularly interested in it, but because of my deep deep love for you the reader. This seems to be Microsoft's attempt at competing with the likes of Mario Party. I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. As much as Mario Party 8 sucked, Viva Pinata Party Animals doesn't. The mini games (at least the ones in the demo) are varied and surprisingly fun. The demo lets you play four players, but I just played against the computer. Mini games consist of things like squashing Raisin Ants, an apple eating contest, and a burping contest. Every so often a Mario Kart type race takes place which while not on par with Mario Kart, is fun and engaging. I can see kids liking these sorts of things. The presentation is irreverent and funny. I recommend picking up the demo and trying it for yourself. If you have young kids in the family, this is a nice addition to the Xbox 360 library and fills a large hole in the game lineup.

Here is a rundown of the game's features:

Compete in a variety of zany battles and races in the social party game Viva Piñata®: Party Animals. Control the fame, fortune, and destiny of all your favorite characters from Viva Piñata: Fergy Fudgehog, Paulie Pretztail, Franklin Fizzlybear, and Hudson Horstachio. It's party time!

  • Huge variety of exciting mini-games: Viva Piñata: Party Animals includes more than 40 mini-games and a dozen foot races for players to compete against one another. Collect candy and special bonuses in all sorts of exotic and hazard-filled locations.
  • Gameplay for everyone: Appealing to young kids or those just young-at-heart, this unique social party game rewards and challenges all players regardless of their skill level. Friends and family members of all ages can party together in one place or from around the world via Xbox LIVE®.
  • Engaging and inviting graphics: The game is especially designed for interaction among friends and family. Pushing the advanced capabilities of the Xbox 360™, the game offers a vibrant and engaging gaming experience. It's the perfect game for parents looking for fun new ways to connect with their kids, or friends just looking to share a few laughs.
  • Great online play: Up to four players can gather together in the family room to play, or join a game on Xbox LIVE, and take the party global.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kill Jack Thompson?

Apparently in the upcoming game Grand Theft Auto IV, the very first misson is to kill an obnoxious lawyer who is on a crusade against video games. I LOVE it. I may buy the game just for this mission. Jack Thompson on the other hand is not pleased. Is he ever?, reports that Thompson believes the first mission is based on him. Read more about this over at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top five things I hate about Gamestop.

  1. Pushing their idiotic preorder policy down our throats. I went in the other day and was just talking casually about Halo 3 and the doofus behind the counter says: "Did you preorder it?" After I told him no, he went on to imply that I probably wouldn't be getting it on release day then, as if Gamestop is the only source for video games. You know what Gamestop? If you aren't smart enough to order enough copies to cover walk-in customers, then you deserve to lose the business!

  2. Trade-ins. You might as well walk in with your pants down around your ankles. "Well lets see Mr. Norseman, you have 15 games to trade in and we can give you 20 bucks towards your purchase!" You can also suck my balls! Never trade in games, it is the worst deal ever. Keep them, you never know when you are going to want to play them again. I see teenagers come in with literally 40 games and a system to trade in so they can get the newest thing. It ain't worth it. Steal more money out of your mom's purse, don't support these clowns by making this practice lucrative.

  3. Know nothing chicks hired so the manager can be around an attractive girl a few hours a week. Yeah, I am really gonna ask the giggly blond behind the counter if this year's Madden has fixed any of the previous year's bugs. Managers, go out and get yourself a life so you don't have to hire eye-candy in order to be near an actual woman once in a while. Now before you go off on me, I realize there are some attractive women who are also knowledgeable about games and good employees, but it is the exception, not the rule.

  4. Playing shit after all the employees in the store have brought it home. Time for a dirty little secret here. I used to manage an Electronics Boutique (now owned by Gamestop) and I know you guys have shrink wrap machines in the back room to re wrap opened product. I just don't want to get my game home and find pizza stains on my supposedly new game's manual. Also, stop doing such a crappy job when you shrink wrap a game. It isn't that hard, I used to be a pro at it.

  5. Quit lying to me. I'm not stupid and I probably have been playing games since before a lot of your employees stopped drooling on themselves (last week for some). When I know you are lying to me or in rare cases when I find out later that you lied -- I want you to die. I have no interest in shopping at your store anymore. If you can't tell me the truth or you just don't know then be honest about it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sega Rally Revo

I try demos so you don't have to.

I played some of the Sega Rally Revo demo. Unfortunately for Sega, I have already played DiRT and Forza Racing. This game is arcade racing all the way. They have been touting their new "track deformation" technology for weeks now and while that IS in the game, that is the only thing that gets deformed. Certainly, my car doesn't suffer any deformation from smacking up against the wall at 90 miles an hour. Here are my thoughts on the game so far:

  • The game is really gorgeous. But so is Forza and DiRT.
  • The computer cars either never use their brakes or their brake lights are broken.
  • It is REALLY hard to control the car from the external view.
  • Lot's of mud was being thrown around on the dirt portions of the track. NONE of it happened to land on my windshield though.
  • Apparently a small 2 foot fence is stronger than my car traveling at over 80 miles an hour. Strong enough to bounce me right back on the track.
  • It looks like as an arcade racer, SRR will be decent. Don't expect the same level of options and detail as DiRT or Forza though.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Gamer Dad needs your help.

On Saturday September 1st, Andrew Bub - the GamerDad, and my husband - suffered a heart attack. An anterior wall Myocardial Infarction to be exact. On Sunday the 2nd, he had an additional MI and on Labor Day he endured a Quadruple Bypass operation, which saved his life. He's been in the hospital ever since and dearly misses his children, his website, and all of you - his readers.
Read more here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bloody brilliant.

This comes from the folks over at The Escapist.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Our hobby is getting more and more watered down.

I used to manage an Electronics Boutique in the late 80s and early 90s back in the heyday of gaming when the industry wasn't desperate to become so damn mainstream. Back then, it counted for something if you knew your product and gave people good honest advice. Now its all about presells and used games. I am glad to be out of that shit now. Gameindustry is reporting that Gamestop is planning on making their stores more "casual friendly" so your aunt or grandmother can go in and find their damn brain game or shitty casual mini game fest. Here is a link to the article. It's bad enough you can't find the PC game section anymore, now they are going to have a friggin "Music game" section. If this trend continues I doubt I will be active in the hobby that has spanned over twenty five years for me. It's pretty depressing.