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.