Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from the Driver ID



just wanted to drop by and say, from Max, Dustin and myself, have a happy new year. enjoy your games and be safe out in real life. we hope to keep up the fun articles and hopefully get our long fabled podcast up and running next year. 'til then, keep playing games.


J.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hello dear readers, and Merry Christmas! (Or happy whatever your holiday may be)! I spent Christmas Eve with family, and watching the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life with my wife, Maureen. She had never seen it, so it was a treat to enjoy it with her for the first time. Of course, she hadn’t seen the “Lost Ending” to the movie, recovered years ago by Saturday Night Live. So before I nuzzle into my bed and wait for Santa, I thought I’d share this treasured find with our you, and the rest of our dear readers.



It’s been great doing this blog, so thanks to those of you reading out there! We’ll keep doing our best to keep things going and keep you coming back. Hope you all get the games you're wanting! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best from your friends at the Driver I.D.!


Max

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Those Darn Kids…Holiday Edition

It’s Tuesday and Those Darn Kids are back to ruin your day! But can’t we find any kids in the holiday spirit? Well, with Christmas fast approaching, I couldn’t resist posting this next video. I’m sure everyone’s seen it to death, but think of it like those Christmas specials, like Rankin-Bass’ Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that are an annual yuletide tradition. This kid’s freak out is extreme, though it’s in a good way:





If only everyone reacted this severely to holiday gifts you gave them! Ironically, in the Summer of 2006, “Nintendo 64 Kid,” now all grown up, put up this very N64 on eBay and got (I believe) a couple hundred bucks for it. We really are a pop-culture obsessed society I suppose.


The “Those Darn Kids…” segment will be taking somewhat of a holiday break, as I need to scour the ‘net for more clips of kids throwing fits over games and work on other stuff for the blog. They’re sure to be back with a vengeance, but not until some time into the New Year. In the meantime, why not check out “Kids” segments you might have missed?


Happy Holidays everyone!


Max

Monday, December 22, 2008

(soon to be) IN DECK: merry (early) x-mas to me (on tuseday)

i know, i know. i've been a little down on the PS3 as of late. it's mostly the universal hatred of Home by the gaming media and in turn, everyone that hates the PS3. but i still like the black box. and with x-mas coming up, i decided to (finally) buy myself bioshock, a game i ranted and raved about months ago and forgot to get. i really want to play it and now i am.

on top of that, (and Chrono Trigger on DS AND a 320 gig hard drive for my PS3) i also decided to support the PSN by buying some games that i've been wanting to pick up.


Super Street Fighter 2 HD remix

i recently talked to a friend of mine that i grew up with. he lives in India at the moment and has a PS3. we talked about the old days and street fighter 2 came up. we reminisced about playing all night and i mentioned that street fighter HD remix was (at the time) coming out soon. he suggested that we pick up where we left off years ago: him kicking my ass with cheap ass hits with chung li. fuck chung li. it's all about Guile, baby.

Super Street Fighter 2 Hyper Global Meganet HD Remix is out now for $15.

Soldner-X

finally, an old school, side scrolling, hard as fuck shooter. this game looks awesome. i loved life force and i've been waiting for something like this. not alot more i can say about it. seems like more side scrolling shooters would be coming out for the the download services. coupled with online play and it seems like a great fit for the "get in quick/play for 30 minutes" video game market. i saw screens for this game and i knew that it was looking great and that it was going to be a good one to pick up. i'll talk about it more later next week. until then, check out the screen and link.

Soldner-X is out now for $10.


Lumines Supernova

oh yeah! this is it. my favorite PSP game is finally coming to PS3. lumines is my go to game on the PSP. anytime i have some free time, at work or school, pulling off a quick game is always a good idea. so, take all that and put it on the PS3 with new skins and new modes, i'm in. the only downside is that there isn't a online mode. i would have really liked to play people over PSN. but, in this world of DLC, i'm sure we'll see it sooner then later. also, there will be a holiday skin pack for free. that way, it can be x-mas all year long! right...but free stuff is a good way to get people to buy. i'm on it.

Lumines Supernova is out dec 23rd for $15.


Pain: Movie Studios

i really like pain. it's something that i've said before. it's the highest selling PSN game this year. but, some people seem to really not like pain. sure, it's juvenile and obnoxious, but damn if it isn't fun flinging sid, the punk rocker, into the side of a moving car. so after almost a year of no content from idol minds, new levels seem to be flying out of the studio at a crazy pace. this time, it's the movie studio and the addition of the hoff. call me nuts, but throwing david hasselhoff into a some kind of explosive box or barrel sounds like a lot of fun.

Pain: movie studio is out now for $6.

it's been a good year for PS3, even with the numbers coming out at last month. with lumines coming tomorrow, it's enough to get me through the hard times. cheer up, only two months until........



merry x-mas or whatever your deal is.

J.

Street Fighter IV vs Iron Chef


Seriously, I can't believe that nobody else has noticed this yet, but Iron Chef America himself (Bobby Flay) has been included as a playable character in SFIV! Add that to the full roster line up, Max!

Dustin

All Max Wants for Christmas…A Game Wishlist

After tackling my massive Wii Holiday Game Guide, I wanted to take a moment to list off some of the games I’m hoping to get under the tree, even though there are some I have no chance of getting. J did this awhile back, and I thought it’d be cool to do my little list. I’m kinda burnt out on hunting down screenshots after doing the Holiday Guide, so use your imaginations.


Left 4 Dead - Xbox 360


Luckily, my brother game through for me and got me Left 4 Dead as an early Xmas gift about a week ago. Although I haven’t played it every night (as many of my friends are) I’ve still sunk plenty of hours into both the campaign and versus. Now that I’ve played the final version, I gotta say that it is really fun to play as zombies in versus (my favorite is vomiting on opponents as Boomers), and very intense to play as survivors in either mode. This is definitely a must have game for Xbox 360 owners!


Wii Fit - Wii


I was really hoping to score a copy of Wii Fit for Xmas, but the price and its limited availability made that pipe dream go up in smoke. Seriously, people are eBaying copies of the game for boo coups bucks, and online and retail stores are selling out of them as quickly as they get them. The lucky folks are people who are getting Wii Bundles with Wii Fit included—which is about the only way the game is readily available. Ah well, maybe next year…


Chrono Trigger - Nintendo DS


This is the game I absolutely want the most for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure it’s already under the tree. I haven’t played Chrono Trigger in some twelve years, and I cannot wait to play this epic time-traveling RPG again, with bells and whistles added such as animated cut scenes, a new dungeon, a new ending, and last but not least, the portability.


Animal Crossing: City Folk - Wii


Call me crazy, but even after playing the first two Animal Crossing games, I still want more. Especially because both my sisters-in-law have the game, and there’s a good chance Dustin will get it too. Playing online is one of the few things seemingly expanded upon in this version of AC, not to mention the new chat function, provided you have the microphone. I really hope to get AC:CC so I can play with Maureen and she can play with her sisters, and if I’m really lucky (though I’m not counting on it) I may be able to score the Wii Speak Microphone for the game too.


Wii Music - Wii


Like I said in the Wii Holiday guide, despite all the negative press surrounding Wii Music, after seeing videos about the game week after week on the Nintendo Channel, I’m interested. I don’t think there’s any way I can get this for Christmas, but I may end up picking it up in the early days of 2009, or at least give it a rent so I can try it for myself.


Personal Trainer Cooking - Nintendo DS


Yeah, I know this is an unusual request to make of Santa, especially when there are games like Fallout 3 (which I have no time for unfortunately) to be had. Still, Personal Trainer Cooking is an all-in-one game to boost your real life cooking skills, providing step by step recipes, a shopping list you can take to the store and several other neat functions that made me want to get it. Maureen did look for this as a holiday gift for me, but couldn’t find it anywhere. This will be something else I’ll have to get in the New Year.


Omega Five - Xbox 360 XBLA


I don’t know if this counts, but after buying Maureen Banjo Kazooie for XBLA as an early Xmas gift, I bought Natsume’s Omega Five with the remaining Microsoft Points. I did want it for a really long time. It’s a great sidescrolling shooter, where you fly around the screen. The really neat thing is that you shoot by pressing in the direction you want to fire on the second stick—pretty slick! The game is hard, but fortunately by increasing your play time, you work your way up to earn more credits and eventually unlock Free Play. There are also two characters to unlock. A really fun, well designed game; I guess it was a little gift to myself!



So that’s that. Any of these games would be great to get, and since I already have a couple of them, anything else would just be sweet. Here's hoping you get the game(s) you want for a holiday gift!


Max

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Complete Street Fighter IV Roster Revealed

Some of you may already know the full roster of Street Fighter IV, but some of you may have been in the dark as I was about the full lineup, totaling 25 characters. Although none of the SFIII characters appear (aw!), some from the Alpha series are included (Rose, Gen, Sakura) and almost all of the Street Fighter II: Championship Edition gang are here (save for T. Hawk and Dee Jay, sorry guys). There are also a handful of new characters too. Many of these characters will be console-exclusive and do not appear in the arcade version. Check out the story on Joystiq, as well as their awesome alphabetized character gallery to see the full cast of characters. While you’re there, take a look at all the things being offered in the Collector’s Edition of the game (I usually avoid collector’s editions but whoa, I might have to get this one). I gotta say that with its awesome character line-up, Street Fighter IV is shaping up to be one of my most anticipated post-holiday games!


Max

More on Club Nintendo

After giving a quick rundown about Club Nintendo with information I heard from a close source, I was finally able to access it late in the week, see what it was about, and register my games. The problem with logins is solved, and the site can now handle enough traffic for you get into the prestigious doors of Club Nintendo. First off, I may have been misinformed about the Famicom designed Nintendo DS being available as a prize; the prizes include much more modest offerings, such as Wii Remote holders, game cases & holders, stylus sets, Mario Party & Animal Crossing themed playing cards and even a Hanafunda Card (the cards that Nintendo made and sold when the company started over 100 years ago) set with Nintendo artwork. Below you’ll find a miniaturized version of the prizes currently available (click on the image for a bigger picture). Prizes are subject to change without warning.




There are still some bugs and unfinished aspects to the site. A couple of examples of this is that the page states you can get 10 Coins for every Virtual Console/Wii Ware title, but currently, those are not being counted. Another example is that the page claims you can register games you intend to buy to get a 10 Coin bonus, but that section of the site is not live. Certainly, there’s still some kinks to be ironed out.
Some games you think that would count toward Coins (in my case ExciteTruck on Wii and Star Fox Command on DS) do not count at all—weird. No explanation for that either save for something along the lines of saying “all games are not worth Coins.” Oh well.


So that’s about it for now; despite current unfinished aspects, it’s really nice to have Club Nintendo for North America now. Again, the best way to learn about it is to check out Club Nintendo for yourself. Register your games and earn some swag! Prizes will start shipping out tomorrow for those who wish to claim prizes. Happy clubbing!


Max

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wii Game Holiday Gift Guide



I’ve been promising this for awhile, but at long last, here is The Driver I.D.’s Wii Holiday Game guide. Not too long ago, I emailed a few friends about The Driver I.D., telling them about the blog, that I was writing for it, and that they should check it out. One response I got back was from my lifelong friend and barber, Bill, who recently just got a Wii. He asked me to tell him which games were good now that he had a system. I decided then that since there are several people getting Wiis now that the supply is not as limited as past holiday seasons, I should do an article for such folks. So I decided to do a “Wii Gift Guide” to let Bill and others know what games are worth your time & money. Of course, the holiday shopping season is coming to a close, but this guide is not just geared at last-minute shoppers. It’s intended to give new Wii owners an idea from Christmas on what games are available and worth investing in over time.


For the most part, I’m only reviewing games for top picks that I’ve played. However, I’ve played several Wii games and have some good recommendations of the cream of the crop. I’ve also included a section for some really good second-tier titles that are worth a look, either in quality, value or both. Yes, Wii Sports is a great place to start, but it comes right out of the box with the Wii. Where do you go from there? Here are some suggestions, and for you parents out there, I’ve included the ESRB Rating for each game. (The following games are not listed in any particular order.)



Super Smash Bros. Brawl

The ultimate Wii game. First off, this game may not be the best for young children—just ask my niece and nephew, aged 8 and 9, who hated it and found it too complex. However, for pre-teens on up, SSBB is a fantastic bargain of a game to own (and some even get fanatic about it). If you’ve never played a Smash Bros. game, they’re fighting games that pit Nintendo’s all-star characters (Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Samus Aran, and many more) against each other in over the top fights. Adding to the mayhem are crazy items consisting of weapons and power-ups, most of them also taken from Nintendo games. There are numerous characters to play with, tons of levels, practically countless modes, including a new story mode, “The Subspace Emissary.” There’s so much to do, even I haven’t done or unlocked everything yet. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is practically a must-have game—especially if you have more than one player in your house. If not, you can play the game online with friends or random people online over the Wii’s Wi-fi online connection. Again though, this game is definitely for more “hardcore” gamers; though casual fans could definitely get into it, SSBB is geared at longtime Nintendo veterans.

Rated “T” for Teen


Mario Kart Wii

For those uninitiated to the Mario Kart series, let me give a quick breakdown: It’s go kart racing with weapons and power-ups, all of which usually attack players ahead, and it stars the characters from the Super Mario Bros. games. On top of that, it is very fun and addicting, and the original created a whole genre of mascot racers. OK, now that we’re all on the same page, I’ll say that Mario Kart Wii is definitely a worthy entry to the series, has online play, battle mode (which can only be played on teams for some reason this time around) and comes with the “Wii Wheel” –a peripheral of questionable worth (sometimes it’s cool to steer with it, sometimes it’s utter crap). The game itself has many tracks, both old and new—though despite this it feels like there could have been more variety. One last gripe is that the A.I. computer controlled players can be very vicious and cheap at higher difficulty settings. It doesn’t make progressing impossible, but it can make it annoying. That said Mario Kart Wii delivers a fantastic game with some cool features (like being able to drive with your Mii if you pass enough courses) and is an all around great time.

Rated “E” for Everyone



ExciteTruck

ExciteTruck doesn’t get much love, but it is definitely worth owning and a Wii game bursting with fun. For me, it goes down in history as the first video game my mom ever played—and she loved it! She was laughing as she steered and crashed her truck this way and that. You steer your truck using the Wii remote held sideways, like a steering wheel. In fact, because of this, the game works great with the Wii Wheel peripheral, but it’s by no means necessary. The best way to describe ExciteTruck is that it is an arcade racer; you can wreck other cars, there are power-ups that terraform the terrain, there’s huge jumps, turbo boosts, over-the-top stunts and crazy crashes. Following in the ExciteBike tradition, you’re racing up and over hills and utilizing turbo to get ahead—but if you turbo too much you’ll overheat. There’s fantastic multiplayer (for two players) and it’s one of the few games you can play your own music in-game through use of a SD Card. No online play, and the different tracks are in the same areas, but these are easily overlooked shortcomings. There’s lots of replay and I come back to play this one often. If you like racing games at all, ExciteTruck is a great choice for your new Wii. You never know, maybe you can get a non-gamer member of your family to be a crazy truck driver too!

Rated “E” for Everyone


Resident Evil 4

If you’ve played this game on other systems, then I don’t need to tell you how great Resident Evil 4 is. I played through the game a LOT on GameCube, but still bought the Wii version for the motion controlled aiming and extra features from the PS2 version. However, if you’ve never played this game and are a mature gamer, this should be on the top of your wish list. It’s a must have. RE4 was one of the best games of 2006, and it holds up today very well. It’s super good; very long, rewarding, scary, intense and features phenomenal graphics, gameplay, story and sound. You don’t even need to have played previous Resident Evil games to appreciate it. If you have played it before, maybe check out some other entries in this gift guide, but hey, it’s still worth buying again, and this time it’s cheaper (as low as $19.99!).

Rated “M” for Mature



The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess

Because The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a Wii launch title, it may be getting overlooked by people who just purchased their Wiis. That’s a shame, because it is definitely one of the best Zeldas to date. This is due in part to the fact that it's very much like the N64 Zelda games, so if you’ve played any of those, you'll know what you're getting into. Twilight Princess is really cool with all kinds of great moments throughout, both gameplay and story wise. One new mechanic is that you can transform into a wolf, which can dig holes or track scents... Pretty neat. Also cool is that you can swing the Wii-remote which swings Link's sword in the game. There is also horseback combat, which is a really nice addition. There are several new items, a huge world to explore, and a quest that will take up several hours of your time. Don’t be fooled by the game’s slow start: Twilight Princess is a heck of a ride. It’s Zelda! Need I say more?

Rated “T” for Teen



Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy is by far one of the best Wii games and definitely a worthy entry in the Mario series. It's a lot like Mario 64, with Mario’s move set seemingly lifted directly from that game, except this time there’s crazy flying and gravity added to the mix. Many levels are like small planetoids, which you can literally walk "around." There are all kinds of crazy power-ups; Fire Mario makes a return and is joined by Bee Mario, Boo Mario & Ice Mario. It’s full of funny stuff and AMAZING gameplay, both traditional Mario style and some new innovative moves too. One of the coolest things about Super Mario Galaxy is that a second player can assist the first; it’s co-operative gameplay, but not in the way that you’d expect. Using the Wiimote, the second player can point and click on moving platforms, enemies or obstacles and stop them in their tracks. The second player can also pick up the countless star bits that pop up throughout levels simply by pointing at them. It makes the game a lot more fun, and perfect for family members who want to play together, but may not necessarily be gamers.

Rated “E” for Everyone


No More Heroes


Adults only! No More Heroes is a super violent, super fun, super WEIRD action game that looks like Grand Theft Auto but isn't (it takes place in a big city you can roam around on a rocket cycle but there are only a few places to go outside of missions, so it’s not quite a sandbox game) and has various 8-bit aesthetics sprinkled throughout. The premise is you're trying to get to the #1 spot of the top 10 assassins by killing your way to the top with a lightsaber like katana you won in an online auction. The game is divided into part time job mini-games (mowing lawns, filling gas tanks, catching kittens), which open assassin missions and both types of missions help pay for entry into the Ranked Assassin battles, or boss fights. The boss fights are all distinctive and spectacular. There are also some unique controller moves (swinging the remote in a certain direction to cleave a guy in two or chop off his head; holding the remote up to your ear to listen to a cell phone call), though most of the motion control while fighting comes from holding the remote up or down for high or low strikes. Again, it's very weird, but it's a very fun mature game & definitely one of my very favorite Wii games. I’m not alone; I’ve heard from two friends of mine that after playing No More Heroes, they’ve been unable to find a worthy follow up game on the Wii. Good thing there’s a sequel in the works… Plus, on top of all the goodness of No More Heroes, it’s available for $19.99! Don’t miss this excellent Wii exclusive!

Rated “M” for Mature


Wario Land Shake It!

Wario Land is a 2D side scrolling platformer with fluid animation starring Wario, the "Bizarro Mario." It's really fun with a lot of different challenges and treasures in each level that aren't necessary to proceed but add to the replay value a great deal if you try to get them all. There are motion controls, like shaking the remote to shake enemies or coins out of money bags, or gesturing quickly to slam the ground which stuns enemies and opens pathways. They work well and don't seem tacked on. The graphics are really cartoon like, the music is excellent and it's just an all around fun game. The game is best suited for fans of 2D platfomers and gamers who don’t mind a challenge. While playing with friends, I thought for a second the game may be too hard for kids, but then I remembered the games I played as a kid, and there’s no comparison; I had it a lot tougher back in the 8-bit era.

Rated “E” for Everyone



Wario Ware Smooth Moves

It’s another Wario game, but a completely different flavor than Wario Land: Shake It!. In my opinion, there is no other game other than Wario Ware Smooth Moves that takes advantage of the Wii’s new control style of motion sensing and uses it to its full potential. If you haven’t played a Wario Ware game before, they are basically collections of “micro games,” games that last about ten seconds (or less!) each which require you to do some task quickly and efficiently. Wario Ware Smooth Moves takes this formula and adds in motion control, and each level features a different way to hold or use the Wiimote. One has you hold the remote like an umbrella, straight up in your hand; another has you holding it on your nose like an elephant’s trunk. The really cool thing is that even after I’ve played a bunch of this game, every once in awhile when I pick it up again, I’ll be thrown a totally new micro-game. There’s a single player mode that has you go through multiple levels, but there’s multiplayer too that’s perfect for a party game, which has you doing different mini-games to see who will mess up first. There are also several mini-games that are unlocked along the way, including a upward scaling Brickout-type game and a 3D version of Balloon Fight where you must flap your arms to fly. The only downside to Wario Ware Smooth Moves? You’ll look ridiculous playing it, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.

Rated “E+10” for Everyone age 10 & up


Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

The last in the Metroid Prime trilogy, and arguably the best. Mainly because despite the great controls in the previous two entries, with Metroid Prime 3, you can aim Samus’ arm cannon with the remote, giving the player a real sense of immersion. This works out so well, that Nintendo has announced they will re-release Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for the Wii with this control configuration. The graphics are beautiful, the music is haunting, and the atmosphere (as seen from behind Samus’ visor) is through the roof. There’s a good story too, with Samus acquiring a powerful (yet dangerous) ability: to infuse her suit with Phazon energy, which empowers her yet corrupts her at the same time. While most of the game is really straightforward, there are some stumping puzzlers I encountered while playing. I was able to figure out most of them however. The combat in this title is amazing, and exciting, as the grapple beam can now be used to rip enemies’ shields away, leaving them defenseless. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption totally belongs in your Wii library, if you think you’re up to the challenge.

Rated “T” for Teen


Super Paper Mario

Is it a platformer, or is it an RPG? Well, Super Paper Mario is sort of both! Instead of having turn based battles, Mario attacks in typical Mario style, jumping and whatnot. However, there are shops and people to talk to along the way very much akin to an RPG. In fact, there is so much talking and text in the game, that some people have been turned off by the whole experience. However, the dialogue is filled with jokes which often make the game fun by being so funny and outrageous. Another aspect to Super Paper Mario is that while the game usually progresses on a 2D plane, sometimes Mario gets stuck. When this happens, he can switch the plane to 3D for a short time and find the solution to his obstacle. This makes the gameplay very unique, though things in the 3D realm are usually a bit drab. As long as you don’t mind reading (and trust me, you will be rewarded by some funny moments by doing so) and you love classic Mario gameplay, Super Paper Mario is a great game for you!

Rated “E” for Everyone


Okami

Okami is a beautiful game that originally debuted on PS2 back in 2006. Fans clamored for a Wii version with motion control, and Capcom delivered it this year. Okami has a unique cel shaded art style that looks like old Japanese paintings, and has the unique gameplay aspect of having to “paint out” attacks, pathways and other functions to get through the game. You play the wolf goddess Amateratsu confronting an ancient evil, imbued with the power of a magic paintbrush. It sounds crazy, but it works and is fun. Although reportedly the painting mechanic is trickier in Wii version over the original PS2 version, I haven’t found it too difficult at all. It’s a really great game, one of the best on Wii right now, and it’s an experience no gamer should miss. If you missed it on PS2 like I did, do yourself a solid and pick this one up. Another thing to note is that this title has been favorably compared to being a lot like the Zelda games—an honor very few games have been distinguished by.

Rated “T” for Teen



Boom Blox

Disregard the cutsesy animal characters that adorn this game’s box art; Boom Blox is one of the best party games I’ve played on Wii or anywhere else. So much so, I almost can’t picture playing it alone. What makes Boom Blox so great is that it is a collection of games that are meant to be played with a group. Whether you’re shooting targets, moving blocks, throwing a ball at a block tower to knock over different point blocks, or even playing a Jenga-like game of carefully removing blocks, there are hours and hours of fun to be had playing this game—just be sure to bring friends. And don’t be intimidated if you don’t have four Wii remotes, as Boom Blox allows you to use one remote among four people, just by passing it on, as turns take place one at a time. I’ve had an insane amount of fun playing Boom Blox and cannot recommend it enough.

Rated “E” for Everyone


Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure

Zack & Wiki has been tragically overlooked, and while it may not be “the must have killer app,” it is a really great game that’s worth your attention. Instead of being a platformer or shooter, Zack & Wiki is a point and click puzzle solving game. Each room is a giant puzzle, filled with potential death traps, which you must navigate carefully through to get the treasure. Puzzles range from very simple early on to incredibly difficult as the game progresses. The best way to play is with family and friends, as up to three other people can control Wiimotes to draw on the screen to point out things to try. Maureen and I have been playing it with our pal, Aaron over several months and it’s a very rewarding experience to figure puzzles out together. Trying a couple puzzles alone, I’ve been forced to write things down, or draw diagrams to figure them out. It’s been since the 8 bit era that I’ve had to do that, and it’s a great feeling. It’s got style and charm all its own, and you’ll need to flex your grey cells, and not your thumb reflexes, to make it to the end of this one. It’s a unique game and is available for a bargain price ($19.99), so definitely give it a chance. Some of the puzzles may be a little tough for younger gamers to play alone, but with some guidance, it’s a great way to stimulate critical thinking.

Rated “E” for Everyone




Other Games of Note


These are either games I have not played but have heard good things, or have played and think they aren’t the best, but deserve an honorable mention for one outstanding reason or another.


Wii Fit

I list this on here sort of as a joke—not because it’s not a great game that supposedly does successfully help you shed pounds with low impact exercise (there are many reports of people playing the game and having modest weight loss results). No, it’s sort of a joke for me to list this because unless you bought your Wii with a Wii Fit Bundle, there’s almost no way you’re going to find this for Xmas. Hopefully, in the months to come, Wii Fit will finally become more available to the public, much like the Wii console itself has. If you can find it without paying an arm and a leg, snatch it up! The game itself is supposedly good and effective, but also the Wii Balance Board is worth owning, as it is being increasingly used in several other games being made for the Wii.

Rated “E” for Everyone


Wii Play

It comes with a Wii Remote! How can you go wrong? With remotes costing $40 each, and Wii Play costing $50, you’re basically getting $10 worth of games (and I’ve even seen the game & remote offered on Amazon.com for a little bit cheaper). The games aren’t super-awesome-great, but are fun to dig up every once in awhile and are certainly better than many of the mini-games available in the countless shovelware Wii titles. There’s a Duck Hunt-like shooting gallery, a “Where’s Waldo” type of game with Miis, ping-pong, air hockey, a cow race and a fun tank game, along with a couple others, each using the Wii remote differently. Think of it as a Wii remote tutorial. A true bargain to be sure.

Rated “E” for Everyone



Wii Music

I’ve heard a lot of negative press surrounding Wii Music with its main complaint being that it isn’t your traditional music game. True, Wii Music is nothing like your average Rock Band or Guitar Hero title in that you’re not scored on how well you can play a song—there’s actually no real challenge in completing songs on Wii Music. But there are different ways to play along, with over 60 instruments to mimic playing through holding the Wii Remote and Nunchuck differently. Sure, this might make it dullsville to some, and many are calling the game “just for kids.” However, I’ve been watching more and more videos on the Nintendo Channel about Wii Music and I’m really interested in the game now. There are many different ways to play each instrument depending on which buttons you hold, and different ways to arrange songs, making the game a virtual musical playground. For those of you lucky enough to have Wii Fit, you can use the balance board as a kick drum and play a virtual drum set; moreover, the game includes “drum lessons” that teach you feet and hand independence—skills which could be transferred to a real life drum set. There are also mini-games, such as ringing bells and conducting an orchestra at any tempo you like. If you’ve got kids, Wii Music is definitely a good idea, but even older gamers might get a kick out of it too if they’re of the musical persuasion.

Rated “E” for Everyone


Link’s Crossbow Training


This game comes with the Wii Zapper accessory with the total package costing $24.99. While for me, the Wii Zapper is sort of like the Wii Wheel (love it sometimes, hate it others—especially with the superior Nyko Wii Pefect Shot out there) the game it comes with, Link’s Crossbow Training is a pretty nice, challenging little target game. There are bonuses to be had if you’re quick on the trigger, and the better you get, the more levels you unlock. Not the best shooting game (look for Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and/or House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return for those—both zombie shooting gun games, both rated M for Mature), but it definitely prepares you to use the Wii Zapper in other shooting games, and overall, the Wii already has a few of them with more in the pipeline.

Rated “T” for Teen


Metal Slug Anthology

If you’re unfamiliar with the Metal Slug games, they’re side scrolling, platfomer shooters, with funny (and violent) cartoon animations. Metal Slug Anthology collects seven Metal Slug games on one disc. Awesome. Because of the sometimes brutal animation, this one is rated “T for Teen,” but it’s a great buy—especially now that Nintendo and SNK are releasing individual entries in the series (starting with Metal Slug 2 a couple weeks back) for Virtual Console at $9 a pop. Metal Slug Anthology on the other hand, can be found for $19.99. Good for short bursts of fun, old school gaming.

Rated “T” for Teen



Mario Party 8

This is a pretty awesome game, provided you have friends to play with and an afternoon to kill with it. There are many great mini-games that utilize motion controls, and some that don’t. I found myself playing this game a LOT for awhile with my wife and our friends, and now I haven’t touched it for nearly a year. There are just not enough levels (game boards) to keep it fresh over a long period of time, and the excitement wears off after a bit. That said, I played the game a bunch. Even still, I could see myself breaking this out rarely in the future, but with party games like Boom Blox, Wario Ware Smooth Moves and Wii Sports, there’s a good chance it’ll get looked over again too.

Rated “E” for Everyone


LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga


If you haven’t played any of the LEGO Star Wars games, you’re missing out! LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga wraps up the two LEGO Star Wars games based on the two trilogies into one neat little package. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family. Honestly, the LEGO Star Wars series are some of the best (albeit wacky) Star Wars games I’ve ever played. You relive many memorable parts of the movies with major and minor characters alike, that the LEGO aspect isn’t even that noticeable. Plus, the price is only $19.99! May the Force be with you!

Rated “E+10” for Everyone age 10 & up


LEGO Batman

My niece and nephew may not like Super Smash Bros. Brawl but they are crazy for LEGO Games, and right now that means they’re up to their bat-ears in LEGO Batman. Batman's been in some really bad games, and this one seems to buck the trend despite the kiddy-spin to it. The really cool thing about the game is that while it’s lighthearted, it features nearly everyone in Batman’s supporting cast, and almost all of his rogues’ gallery—and you are able to play as many of these characters, whether they’re bad or good! There’s two player co-op and lots of fun here. If you haven’t been LEGOed out from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, definitely check this one out! If the quality of those games are any indication, LEGO Batman should be great. I haven't picked it up yet, but as a Bat-fanatic and a fan of the LEGO games thus far, I plan to pick it up in the new year.

Rated “E+10” for Everyone age 10 & up



de Blob

THQ’s de Blob has been a highly anticipated title, and from what the reviews are saying, it’s been worth the wait. In this unique game, you play as de Blob, it is your job to repaint an entire city that has had its color sucked from it by bouncing around town, colliding off of walls and splashing paint everywhere. The gameplay is top notch and includes a split-screen multiplayer mode. You’re bound to get carried away coloring in this addictive soon-to-be classic. I haven’t played it, but have only heard great things about it.

Rated “E” for Everyone



SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1

Much like Metal Slug Anthology, SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 brings back a bunch of old Neo Geo arcade games together for a cheap price ($29.99), while charging an arm and a leg for them individually over the Virtual Console. There’s some real classics to be had here including: World Heroes, King of the Monsters, KOF94, Samurai Showdown, Last Resort, Magician Lord, Art of Fighting, Burning Fight, Fatal Fury and 7 more games. Most of them are fighting games, but there is a platformer, a side-scrolling beat-'em-up, a shooter and a baseball game in there too. This may not be for your junior gamer, though for anyone who likes some of the best arcade games from last decade, it’s a steal!

Rated “T” for Teen


Rock Band 2

I haven’t played the Wii version of Rock Band 2; probably because it’s coming out this week. I’ve played both Rock Band games on Xbox 360 and loved them. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be interested in getting this title—even if you own either a PS3 or Xbox 360. Unlike the first Rock Band release for Wii, it has been confirmed that Rock Band 2 for Wii will have downloadable content songs and will eventually have all the songs of the other versions. From my understanding, Harmonix will also be releasing “Track Packs” that will add to your set and help the Wii version catch up with the set lists found on other consoles. One big advantage Rock Band 2 for the Wii has over its console brethren is that the game and instruments bundle are cheaper than for either PS3 or Xbox 360. Rock Band is a game that can make hours and hours vanish into thin air, and be the life of any party. With the recent news of DLC being available for Wii, I highly recommend it.

Rated “T” for Teen


Guitar Hero World Tour


Unlike Rock Band 2 where I’ve at least played the game on another system, I have yet to try Guitar Hero World Tour. Unlike other Guitar Hero games, this one seems to be taking its cues from the Rock Band franchise and including a drum set and microphone along with the standard guitar. Seeing as I don’t know much about it, I can’t speak to its quality or lack thereof, but I have heard good things. I thought that there was no downloadable songs for the Wii version (like Guitar Hero 3 on Wii), but it turns out there is; the downside is only single tracks can be downloaded at a time and some artists (or their ghosts) don’t like this, meaning not all of the songs will be available. I leave it to you, dear consumer, to research whether Rock Band or Guitar Hero is the music game you’re looking for on your Wii (many make these decisions on the songs available in each game). Personally, I’d go with Rock Band as its developer, Harmonix is the team that created the Guitar Hero franchise in the first place.

Rated “T” for Teen



Animal Crossing City Folk

I have yet to play Animal Crossing City Folk, though I have played the last two games, so believe me when I say I’m well versed in what the Wii version entails. Unless you’re a freak like me and have already played the GameCube and DS versions of Animal Crossing, you may want to skip out on City Folk, as apparently almost nothing has changed from the last go around. Still, it’s a fun game, where there’s no set objective. You can decorate and pay off your house, design clothes, catch fish and insects, plant gardens or run errands for your animal neighbors. Plus, the game changes with the seasons, so there’s always something new going on in your town. It’s a non-game, where you can just mess around, which is really nice sometimes. The big draw for me with this one is the Wii Speak Microphone that you can get for it, to talk to real-life friends of yours while visiting each others’ towns. Another cool aspect of the game is up to four people can live in your town—and this time everyone gets their own house. This makes it a perfect game to share with family and friends, as you can leave each other notes, send presents, or share furniture and other items with people you play with. I think this is the aspect of Animal Crossing I like the most, and I look forward to playing not only to visit family and friends’ towns, but to share a town with my wife, who has never played any of the Animal Crossing games before.


Rated “E” for Everyone



Don’t Forget the Virtual Console!


One of the best things about the Wii by far is its Virtual Console, which brings back games from the NES, Super NES, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafix 16, Nintendo 64, and Neo Geo to download. New games are added every Monday, though in recent months, it's been about one new game for the Virtual Console, along with a couple Wii Ware games. For more information on the Virtual Console and the games available for it, click here. Here’s some of my top picks of Virtual Console games currently available:


Kirby’s Adventure(NES, 500 points)


While Kirby had appeared on the Game Boy prior to this, this is his first console adventure. It was so simple, even my niece Katie could play it at a very young age. Kirby can fly, but his best known ability is his power to suck up enemies and copy them. He’ll need to use this to proceed through numerous levels. Kirby’s Adventure is a great platformer, with unique level & puzzle designs with mini-games sprinkled throughout. The music is delightful, and so is the gameplay.

Rated “E” for Everyone




River City Ransom(NES, 500 points)

While River City Ransom was not the first beat ‘em up sidescroller, it was one of the undisputed best for almost all time (dethroned perhaps, only by Castle Crashers just recently.) with its food item power-ups, street weapon arsenal and simple, yet effective control scheme. Not to mention classic lines of dialogue such as “WAAAAAAHHH!” and “BARF!” Seriously though, what makes River City Ransom such a great game for VC is that it is two-player and is perfect for the “save state” created when exiting the game to the Wii Menu. Although a little challenging, this was a classic back in the 8 bit days, and it’s still revered today with good reason.

Rated “E+10” for Everyone age 10 & up




Super Mario World(SNES, 800 points)

Super Mario World is the game that introduced the world to his ride able sidekick, Yoshi, though it offers up some really spectacular gameplay outside of dinosaur riding too. Another thing I like about SMW is that it is pure Super Mario Bros. action, though with a lot of bells and whistles (such as Yoshi and the most expansive baddie roster of any Mario game). Some say its derivative of Super Mario Bros. 3 and it is a bit, but this has got a bit more shine to it and is one of the better games of the 16-bit era. There’s also two player trade off gameplay, perfect for siblings to tackle the game together.

Rated “E” for Everyone




Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, 800 points)

This is a must have on any and every Virtual Console. It’s a true sequel to the original Legend of Zelda gameplay (as in top down view with no jumping) with so many great additions, such as a Light and Dark World that must be toggled between to solve puzzles and the introduction of power ups that would become Zelda standards, such as the hookshot. The game’s colorful designs, spectacular gameplay, and epic soundtrack remain strong even for modern players, and it’s arguably one of the best Zelda games out there to date and one of the better action-RPGs available both then and now. And though it is a long adventure, it is one not overly difficult so even younger players can enjoy playing through it.

Rated “E” for Everyone




Super Metroid(SNES, 800 points)

If you’ve played any of the Castlevania games in the past ten years, then you’re familiar with the gameplay of Super Metroid. Super Metroid’s non-linear gameplay, stacking power-ups, immense boss fights, and a whole planet’s caverns to explore made this game a benchmark that has been much imitated since. It’s a true masterpiece that improved on the original Metroid by a great deal, and while it probably is not for the easily frustrated (as you’ll be backtracking a lot to look for new areas you’re able to access with each power up, though there is a map function that helps guide the way) it’s a classic game by every definition.

Rated “E” for Everyone




Gunstar Heroes(Sega Genesis, 800 points)

I’ve always called Gunstar Heroes the “anime Contra,” but it’s way more than that. Yes, it’s a two-player simultaneous co-op sidescrolling platformer shooter, though it has way more character than any Contra, with great animations and character design. The music is phenomenal, and the gameplay is great, with three types of guns, all of which can be used individually or criss-crossed for varying effect two at a time. When enemies get too close though, you’re able to disperse them with a judo-throw. Gunstar Heroes has selectable levels of difficulty, so things don’t get too hairy for novice gamers. Another one of the Virtual Console greats, Gunstar Heroes is a testament to why the development team is called Treasure.

Rated “E+10” for Everyone age 10 & up




Sonic the Hedgehog 2(Sega Genesis, 800 points)

Lots of kids like Sonic these days, but precious few have played any of his games that were actually good. While the first Sonic is alright, 2 adds sidekick Tails (and along with him, two player simultaneous co-op) and a great deal of polish, creating numerous memorable worlds and high speed antics. Worth a look if you’re unfamiliar with the original series and think you can handle high speed platforming.

Rated “E” for Everyone




Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Earth – (N64, import, 1200 points)

One of my favorite games ever and another demonstration to developer Treasure’s awesomeness. It’s an on-rails shooter with jumping and sword and gun play. Sin & Punishment is both mature and challenging, and the Virtual Console is the only way it’s been officially released in North America, which is why it costs a couple extra hundred points. Still, the menus are in English, and all the spoken dialogue was always in English. The game’s been slightly touched up graphically since its N64 incarnation too. It’s a little tricky (OK, maybe more than a little), but totally worth experiencing; it’s an all around phenomenal game.


I can’t recommend this game highly enough—besides, how else are you going to prepare for Sin & Punishment 2?

Rated “T” for Teen




F-Zero X - (N64, 1000 points)

The F-Zero series has long been a favorite of mine, with the original game for SNES injecting a frenzy into me that made me want a Super Nintendo more than anything. It’s the high speed futuristic racer that inspired all other high speed futuristic racers. F-Zero X is the second installment of the franchise, and was made for N64. It introduces 30 racers to the mix, as well as attacks and trading off boost power for health. As with other N64 games, the graphics are a little dated, but the gameplay is solid and very enjoyable. With so many characters and racers, everyone is bound to find someone they like. Provided you have enough GameCube or Classic Controllers, up to four people can race against one another.

Rated “E” for Everyone




Super Mario 64 - (N64, 1000 points)

Called the “Greatest Game of All Time” circa its release in 1996, Super Mario 64 still holds on to much of its charm and addictive gameplay. The graphics are a little dated, though that should do little from dissuade platforming fans from considering it as a Virtual Console purchase, as it remains one of the better 3D platformers—a genre this title pretty much initiated—to this day. Mario’s move set found in Super Mario Galaxy has its roots here, and there are several memorable moments, from penguin racing to swinging Bowser around by his tail. A great Nintendo classic and a game that defined its generation.

Rated “E” for Everyone


These are just a few of the Virtual Console titles available. There are also several titles on Wii Ware, original games created for Nintendo’s download service, though I have not played any of them (though I’ve heard World of Goo and Tetris Party are standouts). Again, for more information on Virtual Console visit Nintendo’s dedicated Virtual Console website.



Whew! Well, that should give all you new Wii owners plenty of options and ideas about what’s out there to hopefully jump start your Wii game library. There are many exciting things in the works for Wii and 2009 should see some great releases. But there’s lots of games out now to suit every gamer and family. I’m sure I overlooked some games, or named ones that may not be on everyone’s list of favorites, but I tried to be thorough. Of course, I would have liked to finish sooner, but getting good games isn’t just related to holidays. Hopefully this guide will help steer you toward some quality titles in the years to come.


Happy Holidays everyone and enjoy your new Wiis!


Max

Metal Gear Solid goes to iphone; xbox fans resume hating


it's been the talk of the gaming world since it came out. "when is metal gear solid 4 coming to the xbox 360?" it was inevitable, right? the last of the MGS storyline featuring solid snake was only for PS3 and the tongues were out. "no way can MGS4 make back the money it took to make this insane piece of gaming awesomeness with it only coming the the PS3. it HAS TO come to the 360!" online blogs all but confirmed it. well, it didn't and MGS4 remainded the one exclusive PS3 game that xbox owners wanted more than anything. it's become somewhat of a urban legend of sorts.

once MGS4 came out, some 360 fans shit on it, rating it more of an interactive movie then a game. convincing themselves that such a game can't be all that was good in the gaming world and be on 'that' system. still, the legend lingered in the background. even when creator Hideo Kojima said that MGS4 couldn't be made on the 360 and it wasn't coming at all, 360 fans continued "360 has the greatest games. MGS4 can't be considered great if it's not on the 360!"

so, the rumor came back a few weeks ago with the now infamous teaser image. upon first sight, people jumped out of their skin. "it's in all green!!!11!!1 MGS4 TO #360COMFIRMED!!!111! ZOMG!1!11 SUK IT PS#3 FANBOIZ!!!!"

seems that that reaction was a little premature.........

so, it looks like MGS will be going to the iphone/itouch. to be fair, looking back at MGS4, no one should have been surprised. apple products were all over that game. it looks like apple just got a huge endorsement from konami. when a big developer is making a version of it's biggest game on your new system, it's a big deal. i'm interested in seeing how it's going to do. with all the iphones out there, it has to do pretty well. we'll see more, i guess, at macworld next month.

PS3 fans, no trophies. and don't hold your breath.

360 fans, you can resume calling MGS4 a shitty movie if it makes you feel better. gears of war 2 is still out. you could play games that...you know....actually ARE on your console.

blogs and video game news sites, time to write some more 'PS3 is doomed' stories. or start some more false hope about MGS4 coming to 360.


J.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Those Darn Kids...Furious Fits!

It’s (barely) still Tuesday, and after a small break last week, “Those Darn Kids…” are back to shock and annoy! It’s probably our most updated feature since I’ve been doing weekly updates, and certainly the most disturbing.


Here’s one of the worst cases I’ve come across of a bratty kid + video games, and one that’s a bit more recent too. In it, a young fellow gets so pissed at Super Smash Bros. Brawl that he starts wrecking his room. The picture’s not the best, but you’ll see plenty. His sister sets up the scene:




Good Christ. I remember crying once as a kid because I lost at Pac-Man and only had one quarter to play it, but I didn’t throw a FIT!


This next one features the kind of Halo player that everybody hates. A fowl mouthed kid on steroids. It’s another clip reminiscent of our young German friend, but like others we've seen, this one seems legit and not staged. This kid swears, screams, yells at his parents, this video’s got it all. Then again, it’s a little hard to watch, as it’s reminiscent of the worst part of Xbox Live that many of us would prefer to avoid:





What a disaster.


Yes, the Wii Holiday Guide is still coming, as I am just editing it up at this point, so stay tuned for that! Also, “Those Darn Kids…” should be back next week too, so look the hell out!


Max

Club Nintendo is LIVE!

After announcing Club Nintendo would be coming to North America in early October, I’ve just found out that the site has gone live at http://club.nintendo.com. Club Nintendo has been around in both Japan and Europe for awhile, allowing gamers to earn points (or “Coins” for the North American version) to redeem for Nintendo-themed rewards. Up until just recently, Nintendo had tracked Nintendo game purchases with its “My Nintendo” program via Nintendo.com, though there were few motivations for registering products as about the only thing you could get in return was three issues of Nintendo Power for free. Well, now it’s ready to launch here, and it’s long overdue! From what I’ve been told, the version us North Americans are getting is more similar to Japanese version than European one (and that is a good thing!). Unfortunately, there are some (read: a lot) of bugs still on the website. I’d love to tell you all about what you can expect going there, but although I’ve transferred my “My Nintendo” data to Club Nintendo, I can’t log into Club Nintendo. I called NOA’s Customer Service line to find out that they are aware of these bugs and are working hard to fix them. The Rep I spoke to said they should hopefully be worked out by tomorrow, and assured me my data had transferred successfully, despite me being unable to log in currently.


What I have heard is that Nintendo made DS and Wii games are the ones that are worth Coins, with DS games racking up 30 Coins and Wii games 50. “Bigger” Wii games, such as the Wii Fit Bundle, are supposedly worth more, like 80 Coins. While they are not currently worth anything, there is word that Virtual Console & Wii Ware games may eventually be worth Coins too, although a modest amount, like 10.


Again, going on only what I’ve been told, 300 Coins nets you “Gold Member” status while 600 Coins gets you “Platinum Member” status. Rewards apparently range in price from 300-800 Coins.

Also, apparently Coins are earned by not just registering games, but registering them and then completing surveys on the games you registered. Not all Nintendo published games have surveys up (games like Children of Mana, Trace Memory, and Polarium) and therefore are not worth any Coins, even if you have them registered…not yet anyway.


I look forward to learning more about the program, and once I’m able to access my membership I’ll be sure to post more, including information about what rewards are available (right now I’m hearing Mario & Animal Crossing themed playing cards, game cases, DS cases, even the Famicom designed Nintendo DS). In the meantime, check out Club Nintendo for yourself!


Max

good news/bad news for fallout 3

in case you didn't know, fallout 3 got it's patch, fixing a number of problems in the game. the PS3 version, along with the fixes, gets the much lauded trophies update, adding the achievements that are standard on the 360. so starts my possible new segment: Good news/Bad news.

so the good news: i started a new game. deciding to be an evil character, i started out speaking ill of everyone i met, not adding much to my evil karma meter. i continued through the beginning until i escaped the vault, with two trophies under my belt. i figured it was time to save. so......

Bad news: fallout 3 doesn't save like it predecessor, oblivion. apparently, when you start a new game, you start a new game. so, long story short, the new save autosaved over the old one. unless you actually save a separate game, you're fucked. so, my level 20, 80+ hour fallout save is gone. all the cool weapons, items and armor, as well as game progression......gone.


lucky for me, i love playing this game. this hasn't been the best few weeks for me.


J.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spike TV VGA fallout: J's take

despite not really wanting to, i watched the Spike TV video game awards show against my better judgment. i won't talk about the horrible job jack black did (though the opening was insane!) or the C to F list stars pretending to care about video game to get on tv for a few seconds. neil patrick harris?!?!? really? whatever. that weezer song was fucking awful as well. but, that's not why i watched. no, it was the new trailers and the awards. so here's what is thought about the video game portion of the show:

- GTA4: Game of the Year

i really didn't think GTA was going to win with all the GTA4 "it's not as good as hyped" backlash in the last few months. i knew MGS4 wouldn't win since nothing on PS3 is winning anything in the "best of" category in any press or media outlet. i figured that gears 2 would sweep everything with it's being touted as being some super revolutionary game this year by most. overall, i think it should have been MGS4, but if going by sales, which the Spike awards most likely go by, GTA4 would be my pick as well.

The Lost and the Damned DLC Trailer looked like i'm not missing much. i really didn't like the motorcycle chases and i really wouldn't want to do any more. the new shotgun looked cool. all and all after seeing the new content in motion, i'm more pissed about the fallout 3 DLC i won't get to play. but hey, at least trophies came out today.

- Brutal Legend looks awesome. looks like alot of fun and funnier than hell. i'd like to see more on this one. and rob halford is in it, so it has to be great.

- Fight Night Round 4 Trailer

i'm glad to see this game come back. it didn't look like EA is tinkering with the overall gameplay, which is a good thing. some new and expanded ways to customize your boxer would be cool. and some realistic dreads would be great for a change.

plus, who's glad to see mike tyson back in video game form other then me? tyson vs. ali? i want tyson vs. buster douglas 2. fuck buster douglas. talk about being in the right place at the right time. gamestop has it coming out in sept.

- God of War 3 Trailer

when i heard that god of war 3 would be represented in trailer form, i thought "wow, the game must be not that far off if they are showing gameplay." well.......to be fair, who the hell knows when it's coming out. the very brief "Trailer" was just that, brief. it looked cool, but it's short duration has given everyone more ammo to torch sony. way to go, guys. people already think your console can't deliver on any of your promises. a nicely edited trailer, showing ALOT of gameplay would have shut people's mouths. not even tipping your hand too much. just show some flyby footage of a level. a boss. SOMETHING. kratos has some bigass weapons this time around. those metal fists.......holy shit! gamestop has this coming out in oct. we'll see......

- Terminator Salvation Trailer

movie looks like crap. the game looks like crap. sorry it looks like a gears of war ripoff.

- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Trailer

again. it was cool. just not as cool as it could have been. i liked it, but it could have been so much better. it seems like it still has the 'normal guy' reaction to crazy situations type feel, which is what was cool about the nathan drake character. playing as a badass space marine is the oldest shit ever and i'm not interested in most stories involving anything like that. hopefully, sony will start showing this more. and while i'm thinking about it, hopefully sony will start pimping killzone 2 soon. two months out and no commercials? i saw gears 2 tv ads in the last week of august.

- Rock Band Getting Pearl Jam's Album "Ten" as DLC

get back to me when Calculating Infinity is upped.

- Dante's Inferno Reveal and Trailer

what the hell?!! sounds cool. sounds evil. based on a book says kim kardashian. thanks for the heads up. wonder how the unwashed masses will deal with a game based on a book? i wonder if copies of the Divine Comedy will spike? who knows.

so that's it. i figure that GTA4 got lucky getting GotY. the rest will be going to gears 2 or fable 2. fable 2? god, G4 is worthless.

and, for the record, why the fuck is 50 cent still rapping?


J.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nintendo fan's Resonse to Why the PS3 is Dead (from a Sony fan)

Holy crap. It's crazy to read J assessing the situation like he is because he is the biggest PS3 cheerleader I have ever met, and has always had a fist full of reasons why the PS3 isn't as bad as everyone is saying. I'll admit that I got caught up in a lot of the anti-PS3 crap that swelled after the E3 ’06 showcase and the "599 dollars"/"hit the weak point for Massive Damage" debacle. But I reserved judgment on the system until J showed it to me, and what I saw, I liked. It’s possible though, as J suggests, that this stigma that has surrounded the PS3 from the beginning may have a lot to do with why it’s not selling so well now.


What's crazy to me is (not counting the Wii's runaway success story) how well the 360 is doing. Yeah, there's great graphics and excellent games; hell, even the online experience is worth paying for, but there are a lot of problems, many of which I’ve posted about (and some I've had to restrain myself from posting about). For example, back in October, after Microsoft tried to automatically bill me for an Xbox Live Account renewal ($49.99) and I didn’t have the funds, they sent me an email telling me they couldn’t seal the deal, the account would be canceled and I should renew it manually when I had the funds. Then, last week, right as my paycheck hits, BOOM! They hit me with a $49.99 charge without any warning nor any notification about my account status. That really helps my holiday shopping, thanks Microsoft! Anyway, the point is Nintendo would never charge my credit card without notice; meanwhile Sony’s online gaming is free. Additionally, Microsoft’s consoles break down all the time, but the only way they’ll fix ‘em for free is if you have the “Red Rings of Death,” otherwise, it costs you another $100. This sort of bad customer service and unreliable product should be the trademarks of the console in last place in the console wars this gen, not the one who continues to do well and gets exclusive blockbusters such as Left 4 Dead. Or gets to steal exclusives from the other camp, such as Final Fantasy XIII for that matter…


I haven’t kept up with the NPD, though I know Nintendo is doing well from random reports stating how pleased they are with sales. So I had no idea PS3 sales were down. However, with the economy and everyone cutting down on holiday shopping, video games aren’t guaranteed to sell as well as they have past during past holiday seasons and the situation will probably get worse with the economy for year round sales. Dustin just bought a PS3 and given a price drop, along with some games coming down the pipe (like DC Universe Online, God of War III and the next Team Ico project for example), I’m still interested in picking one up. Maybe Home isn’t all that (it always seemed a bit too ambitious) but there’s not much to love about the New Xbox Experience either (in fact Dustin, Rose and I are talking about collaborating on an article about all the things we hate about it!); Nintendo doesn’t even have an online community (yet anyway)!


Yeah, I’m a Nintendo fanboy; that’s who I am. But the Wii isn’t really a console suited to go toe to toe with the 360 and PS3. It can’t, and I can’t get my heart’s content of hardcore top-tier (in terms of graphics and online) gaming action with just the Wii. I got a 360 because it won me over with its slick graphics, great online and console features but the experience has been horribly tainted by all the disasters I’ve had to deal with owning a system—more than any other console I’ve ever had. Perhaps if I, and others like me, had tuned into the PS3 a bit sooner (and again, may likely later) there would be less frustration for the PS3—at least in terms of seeing poor sales of great games and developers uninterested in doing ports.


I’m not counting the PS3 out yet either, but reading both sales of systems and the clearly revolutionary Little Big Planet are less than expected makes me agree with J that there’s an image problem with PS3—and it’s not just a sign of tough economic times. While it’s great to know J will be joining the 360 community soon, it’s also a little worrisome, knowing the troubles I and others have faced with the system and lackluster service. But I gotta say I love J’s comparing the PS3 to past console underdogs; I was big fans of both the GameCube and the Dreamcast, and those consoles being way behind financially certainly doesn’t mean you’re last in the hearts of the fans.


Max