Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Of Wii games, broken PSPs and E3

Soz, my house hold is now complete for this generation.  Within the confines of my room a PS3, 360, PSP and DS sit and sitting near it, in the living room, the newest member of the gaming house hold, a new shiny black Wii system, from Nintendo of course :P

My sis, whom just finished 4 years in university was itching for a long time to pick up a Wii and now that she's got some money to play with, it's finally a reachable item. She picked up the new black bundle which includes a black Wii, Wii-mote, Wii Sports, Sports Resort and 1 Wii-Motion Plus. She also grabbed another Wii-mote and New Super Mario Bros which I know is a good bout of fun. More Wii-Motes and Nun-chucks are planned for future purchases but I was wondering about games.

Can you recommend some good games? Both Wii disc based and download titles? I went browsing the Wii-shop channel and got Super Mario Bros (NES), Super Mario Bros 3 (NES) and Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) downloaded from the Virtual Console section and they're spot on awesome :) My sis didn't know the Wii had this feature and really enjoys it; she's already making a list of games she wants to get. I then checked in on the WiiWare section and had a few ideas in mind... but from what I see there's a hefty price tag attached to most of the games there. I've even seen some games I own for my PSP (as mini's) that cost me a few dollars at the time, are on the WiiWare service for like $10+, yikes. Soz, that's why I'm asking for help in choosing some goodies, as to not get burned.

Wii, disc based game recommendations are also welcome. I've got an idea of some titles I'm looking at playing on the system, but I'm prob missing some. I've got Metroid Prime Trilogy in my wishlist as well as A Boy and his Blob and some No More Heroes to name the biggies. I'm also following the new Metroid "Other M" title quite closely too. My sis is all about mario, so don't both recommending Galaxy 1/2, Kart, Party or w/e Mario iteration you're thinking of as she'll prob get it without any help from me. I'm also looking for Wii unique games, as I own a PS3/360 and can play all of the better multiplatfrom games on those systems. Thanks.


Switching from great news to some not-so-great news. My PSP's UMD drive isn't working :( I had the system with me on a trip last week, Wednesday night being the last time I sat down and used it. Playing a UMD movie it worked fine. Come Sunday during a family gathering/bbq, I let one of my cousins use it to give FF Dissidia a try and he came back moments later saying it was making weird noises and not loading. Sure enough that's exactly what it was doing. The UMD drive clicks, pops and grinds as it spins the UMDs and never gets to loading teh data to the PSP.  I played around with it after consulting the internet for info on the subject... and I've got the clicking and popping noise reduced, but it's still not loading games :( It's a 1001 model (the first, phat model) soz maybe I should just bite the bullet and get a new 3000 model? After checking online, I found out that it'll be at least $90 to ship it to Sony to fix (not under warranty)... but for $160 I could go get a new one at the store. Sigh. I think I'll just wait to see if anything about PSP2 arrives at E3 this year, if not I'll just go get me a 3000.

E3 hype and rumors/news

Speaking of E3, who's excited? It's a few weeks away (June 15-17, 2010) and stuff keeps building up as speculation for the show in regards to announcements, titles and even new hardware rumors. There are a large list of games I'd like to see shine at the show and some interesting new technologies being prepped for the future that would be awesome to see more on.

Just recently Insomniac, the team behind the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance series announced that they're partnering with EA Partners for a multiplatform deal with a new IP they're working on, perhaps something could be shown for that?

Killzone 3 was let loose recently as well, as Sony officially announced it via magazine article and online debut. Scale and variety is said to be the beast they're aiming to tackle this time around and it's confirmed to support 3D, of which Sony seems to be pressing as of late.

Speaking of 3D, Gran Turismo 5 the ever elusive racing sim is said to of been delayed last time to allow time for support of both 3D and PlayStation Move. No confirmation on that, but there are strong rumors. Very kewl.

A strong rumor (being one with actual ground to stand on) is circulating that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are being given the HD treatment not unlike that given to God of War 1/2 and will be released in early 2011. Speaking of Team Ico, their new title "That Last Guardian" is rumored to make a large appearance at this year's E3 too.

Mario is kicking butt and taking names as his latest outing "Galaxy 2" garnered a 10/10 from gamespot and many perfect scores from various game publications across the board. Check in on meta-critic to see for your self.

There are also rumors of a Perfect Dark sequel brewing behind the doors of Rare and I can only hope that they're true and that the team takes more care to make a game like the insanely awesome N64 original and skip the crappy PD Zero style.

Some Sad news

I'd like to finish with some sad news, of which I found out about just the other day.

Paul Gray, the man of the black mask with metal spike teeth and bassist for the band Slipknot, was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday May 24th, 2010. :( Slipknot has been a huge band in my life of music and I have major respect for all the guys in the band, including Paul. RIP dude.

Paul Gray preforming onstage with Slipknot.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Console hate & fanboys... rant

I start this blog with a bit of a heavy heart. I don't know why I let this dumb stuff get to me at times, I really don't... but every so often it irks me enough to write a blog post on it.

I'm speaking of course of fan-boy/girl-ism and the downright foolishness of it all.

Everyone here is guilty of having a favorite console, a console they play more than another or prefer controller layouts of one over the other etc etc. But fact is, consoles are really only as good as your experiences with them and thus each system has the potential to be the "best" console in any ones eyes. Not to mention, that every gamer has a different scale of what makes a game great. Some people much prefer the online interaction of something like Call of Duty where short bouts of firefights and the ranks you get from those add up to your "show off" trophy statement while others could care less about something like that, favoring multiplayer with friends at home (not online) as something they can pull out and laugh over. Others love to delve into lengthy stories and others like to a strategic route, the underlying point is that there are all kinds of differing gamers with their own tastes that aren't going to like every game on every system, regardless of your views on game-Y.

With that out of the way... I'd like to share the short form of a conversation I had with an individual the other day regarding games and ... well, narrow-mindedness. I'll start with writing that I own a PS3 and have owned one since spring 07 when the big black machine cost a pretty $699 (here in Canada) and have not once questioned spending that kind of money on the system. I've had many a great time with it and I'm rather glad I was able to pick up an original 60gb model (one of the 2 models at the time) so as take advantage of the PS2 backwards compatibility in full. Thus I stand at a point where the PS3 is prob my fav console this generation. I do also own a 360 and enjoy the games I have for that and the people I play with via it's online services. Do I hate the 360? No, far from it... but I almost feel ashamed AT TIMES to be lumped into the category of "a gamer" because of A) The conversation I'm going to discuss in just a min and B) The general vibe I get from 1 system ONLY gamers who like to crap on others to make themselves feel better (fan-boys/girls). I'm not naive or stupid, I know not every one who owns and enjoys a system falls into the category, quite the contrary as I have many a friend who love their single systems and are completely fine not spazzing at others for not owning their faved system. It's the fan-boy/girl group that seem to be growing every day, on all sides, to force gamers apart into factions at each others throats.

We'll start with that conversation. It's one I've had many a time before and it usually starts with "Hey, have you played this game?" or "Ahh man, I was playing gameX the other night!" and from there various games will be discussed and thoughts of many will be shared. Actually, I've done this many times with this one individual, but this time something new shined through that made my respect for this individual's opinion dwindle.

We start off discussing Red Dead Redemption, a game out, today I think, which I've been looking forward to and finally got around to pre-ordering just recently and from there we discussed the Saboteur and other popular games and eventually DLC and it's exclusivity between consoles (we're talking PS3 & 360). I voiced the opinion that for the most part the idea of exclusive DLC is a joke and that no matter what system it comes out for it's only a matter of time before it heads to the other system. I used the example of the GTAIV down-loadable episodes and the individual made this odd face and agreed then followed with "Why is the PS3 getting so much stuff lately?". I gave him a puzzled look and explained that I felt the two systems shared content pretty much across the board and that only those titles and features offered by either development groups owned by the big console owners or the console makers themselves were going to be truly exclusive. I gave the example of GT on Sony's side and Forza for Microsoft's side or something like Halo and Killzone for each of their respective consoles. I also claimed that because of the price drop, it's (the PS3) seen improved sales and thus a larger base for developers to sell their games to.

Which lead into this individual saying that all the games should be exactly shared on each system, that there shouldn't be exclusivity, that you should choose your system on it's features (not the games/features each has) alone. He then blurted out that he shouldn't have to fork out $700 for the PS3 to play some of the games he wants to play (he gave the example of God of War3), rather they should all be ported over to his console of choice, that of course being the 360. I again gave him an odd look, quickly set down that the PS3 is $299 brand new and that he couldn't compare it's launch price to that of a 360 price of today for comparison. I then went into the silliness of cutting out exclusivity of games to a system that was built by the system manufacturer. I asked how would any company pull one customer to their system over another if every game was the exact same as the other system, to which he shrugged, and I exclaimed that business wise it's suicide. If you don't have feature X (in this case a game title) to boast over your competitor to sell your product then your product isn't going to sell.

Then, just when I thought I had heard enough silly things for the day he whips out "Well, PSN is a broken service and you get what you pay for in Live" ... and I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't in a forum, rather, that I was actually in real life listening to this. I shook my head and let him know that my experience and the experience of many a gamer who owned the system will agree that the PSNs quality of letting gamers play together is on par with that of Live for fluid online play. Yes Live is bit more unified as a package and the whole cross-chat over any game is a nice feature which the PSN currently lacks, but everything else is there for you to have a good time in an online match of what ever game. Granted, for ANY online game you're looking at having lag when people dip below the minimum bandwidth requirement whether you're on Live or PSN, that's just how it's going to be and I've experience that with various games on each service. He touched on Live costing money every month as something people throw at him as an argument, which I totally agreed is annoying, as it works out to less than $5 per month and really, it's not something you NEED to buy into, rather a luxury service.

But... that's not it. No. Really, it isn't.  His comeback for my view on the online services? "There's hardly anyone to play online with PS3 because there's like less than half of the install base out there (on PS3) as compared to 360". I much of had my jaw on the floor... I swear I must have. I've heard all of this stuff on console-war like forums, but to hear it come from him just blew me the frack away. I don't remember my response, but it was quickly followed by me leaving (not rudely, I just left had to go :P). A quick look to Wiki has the Wii sitting at just over 70mill, the 360 at 40mill and the PS3 at 35mill... for end march/mid April sales figures. Which makes me question if this individual can even use wiki... of if he just believes what the forums tell him.

Now, with this example it's quite a one sided thing as it's really just me defending my fav system from insane comments that are being made up to make it's competitor look better. But I see it the other way too. Hit up any system specific forum and you'll get "haha, system X's game is bad" and "OMG this machine is garbage" in either camp. PS3 fanboys are just as dumb as 360 fanboys and PC fanboys and screw off too. The Wii seems to be the one system that doesn't seem to have a massive problem in this regard... it's curious at least.

This said, it's really only as apparent as you let it be in your life. At times I ignore this crap and just live my gaming life knowing I can enjoy just about any game I choose because I own multiple systems and don't hate on games for being on system X or system Y. Other times, like the other day I get annoyed and feel like venting, in this case, in blog form.

Gamers should unite, should use the common ground of their love for games as a base to start friendships... not hate-ships.... :D

Cartoons like this make me smile:

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Get Portal for FREE

top portal
Having been a fan of the title for a while, I wanted to take a few mins and let you know (just in case you havn't played it) that Valve is giving away their unique puzzle game for the awesome price of FREE.

No doubt to celebrate the arrival of their Steam service on the Mac platform all you really need do is download steam, make an account and claim for free copy of the game. Yes you read that right, Steam is now available for any Mac pc :)

The offer is valid up till the 24th of may 2010, so make sure you get there quick.

Head to their promotion page here, which directs you straight to the steam store where you can get your download.

Then just for kicks, here's a nice fanart pic of the main character of the game, or rather the one you play :P Chell: (original here)

Monday, May 10, 2010

THIS.. IS.. SPART... erm, Little Big Planet 2!!!

Hehehe, the news of this little (big) sequel was let loose a few days ago and slowly more and more info has been pouring in, then finally today we get treated to a full blown trailer show casing more sack(boy) than you can handle :)


From what has been said about the game, it's going to be a lot more of a sandbox system where you're left to create your own games, with genres being only left to your imagination. The trailer shows off some side scrolling platforming (like lbp1), over top racing, a space invader's clone and more while sources say even titles dipping into Real time strategy (think Command an conquer) and RPG or 1 on 1 fighting games are possible with the new robust building tools available in LBP2. The command and conquer reference made me scratch my head, but I guess Media Molecule (the team behind the game) has already gotten something like that working from the tools. Nifty.

Further info states that you can map any kind of controls to your game (even motion controls) to control the game you create, that character and environment pieces scale easily, AI can be attached to "robots" (any character you place in the game) and will interact with both the player and the environment depending on their make up. There are movie editing options, new gadgets and the ability to string together levels so you're able to compile a complete multi-level game.

That AND all of the DLC, user-created levels and content from LBP1 is all compatible with LBP2 and quite possibly upgradeable too (visually? They didn't specify).

Coming this Winter, 2010, LBP2 looks to knock gamers socks off again with is cute, wacky sense of sty|e and tools to let you get in and play game designer to your hearts content.

I'm Pumped.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Latest Pickups: Avatar + Playlist


Yay, amazon has finally gotten my items to me :D Took longer than usual, but w/e, they're here now. Once Avatar has been announced to come out on dvd/br I've been waiting for it.. and when the day come... I forgot. lol. Odd, I know, but a little while later I jumped on amazon and ordered it from there... cuz you know, life it too busy to rip into town (10 min drive) and pick up a copy at one of the various stores that sell movies :S

One very kewl thing I noticed about avatar is that the Blu-ray version... or rather the one I purchased (I assume they're all the same) came with both the br disc and the movie on DVD :D Soz, I don't have to worry about playing on something that doesn't support BR, which is VERY kewl. I did just recently get my Blu-Ray drive in my PC to work properly with my media software to play blu-rays, which is also a very awesome bit of news. Now I can slip in a blu-ray and watch it while surfing or w/e on my PC as I've done with DVDs for a while now.

Anyways, back to the other items. Besides Avatar on br, I also picked up Evangelion 1.11 You are (not) alone and Ghost in the shell 2.0 (both on br) and I'm looking forward to viewing both.

I also finished of my collection of the various series in the Trailer Park Boys TV series with box sets for seasons 5, 6 and 7. Great show IMO and I got them at a superb price.

Last, which I believe I mentioned in a blog previous to this one, Gears of War2 GOTY edition. I've yet to open it :P But hope to get into it at some point.

Which Segways right into my other topic: The Playlist. A few blog posts ago (here) I listed the massive amount of games I currently have to get through as a part of my plan to finish more games before buying new ones. The week especially, I've gotten heavy into playing games again and hope to whip through some titles at a much faster pace than I have been, since I've started this initiative.

Bioshock 2 was ripped into for a number of hours the other night and I'm not quite sure how far along I am, I'm really enjoying it. It's quite a bit similar to the first which is great :)

I also finally got The Witcher downloaded via steam and thus far I'm rather impressed with it's visuals! I wasn't aware it was such a nice looking game. Still playing around with witch controll scheme I like to use and hope to get deeper into the story soon.

I'm also still plugging away at Resistance: Retribution... and REALLLY hate the female huge head alien things in that game :( They're made so all you need do to kill them is shoot their head... but the autoaim... aims anywhere but, so it's annoying as hell when 6 come rushing you out of no where. Heck, I'd rather take on the 15ft beast with rocket launchers than those females... lmao.

Pokemon Heart Gold is on pause, but I do hope to jump into God of War 3 again, maybe today as a nice break from bioshock 2. Also, out of thin air I decided to start back into Doom3 (PC) see if I can get that finished :P Soz, lots of ma plate, lots more waiting, wish me luck.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Now Playing: HL2 CM10

Im going to start off my blog... telling you about a game. Most, at least heard of the game in it's original roots, but I want to open your eyes to a guy who's amping this game up to 11 and then some with a very ambitious project.

The game in question: Half-Life 2 (See I told you, you would know it). Originally released for the PC in 2004 (thats 6 year ago now, wow!) and ported to the original Xbox then later to the 360 and PS3 in the form of "The Orange Box", the game is a superb example of story telling in a first person perspective and gamers wait eagerly for Episode 3 to get it's lazy butt onto store shelves and digital services alike. 

A german man by the name of Juergen Vierheilig, wasn't happy just waiting for more content from Valve and created a Mod dubbed "The Cinematic Mod" to help as practice  for his skills in modeling, texturing and coding. Much time, changes and iterations later we're at version 10 and it's oh so pretty.

The mod sets out to update all of the visual elements in Half-life 2 (PC) to a standard closer to that of modern PC games. He has updated and tweaked most of the textures, re-skinned and amped up the character models for everyone in the game, added support for HDR and other nifty lighting effects that were introduced in Episode 2 into both Episode 1 and the original Half-life 2 story and has even gone as far as tweaking levels to give them more cinematic lighting schemes, amped up music during strong story bits and filled in places where valve took shortcuts. 

The end result is a better looking and more involved expreince for the end user that feels closer to that of a movie expereince than the original did. It's quite amazing how much more emotion the game seems to have with these slight (or not so slight) tweaks and upgrades.

(HAD some images linked here... but got screwed around, go here)

I do have a couple knocks against it. One being the odd decisions to "SEX UP" Alyx Vance for her role. Through out the production of the mod she has gone through many changes, even to the point where breast physics have been introduced :S Thankfully the mod ships with a tool called "Character Pimper" where you can choose which Vance suits you best. I personally like the "Hybrid Alyx" which is nice mix of an updated model with the old Alyx face and a toned down "Sexiness". The other knock I have against it, which may just be because I've played the game numerous times, is that while the new character models look more realistic and great as models, they look different from the usual cast I'm used to seeing. Barney, G-Man, Dr. Cliner, Eli Vance... they all look different from their original parts... and it's just kind of disconnecting... for me at least. 

The game at it's core is still the same ol Half-life2 and this new "Mod" is really just some fresh paint and tweaking to it's presentation to the audience but I feel it's quite a nice improvement to an aging looking game.  If you want this sucker for yourself head to it's official site and download the 10gb (yeah it's massive) file, it's totally free and a cinch to get runing. Just make sure you check out the system requirements as it takes quite a bit to handel all of the improvements introduced.


So... my goal up wrapping up as many game titles as I can before I purchase new games is one that seems to be harder than I first anticipated. Granted, if I played more it would be a much easier process... but I'm lazy, lmao.  For the last two weeks the only reason I touched any console is to play Perfect Dark with my sis; which btw is going very well as we're one mission away from completing Counter-Op on Perfect, have quite a bit done in Co-op and need just one mission finished to complete solo on special agent. It's quite a beefy game content wise, but I loves it, so I don't mind the hours I sink into it. 

I did manage to get through a massive chunk of Resistance: Retribution (PSP), I'm about 3 missions away from finishing that sucker :) I also tried to pick up on crysis again (PC) but for some reason it's being weird and freezing when I load my game saves :( I managed to finish up all of the missions in Left4Dead (PC)... soz, that's one I can check off my list :P I'm still downloading The Witcher (PC), can't wait to sink my teeth into that, I also think about other various games I should finish soon. Hopefully next blog, I'll be able to list a few more :P

I did however grab a few new-ish games. Whilst grabbing some new DVDs and Blu-Rays from Amazon I just so happened to stumble on the GotY edition of Gears (of war) 2 for just $20... brand new... so I got it :P That should arrive early this coming week.  I also couldn't help but take steam up on their offer for a $7.00 copy of Bully and another $7.50 bundle of GTA 1, 2, 3, VC & SA - a sucker for a bargain I am. I won't count the GTA titles towards my list of unfinished games, as I've completed them in the past a few times and just plan on playing around with them... and at $7.50 for the 5 titles, it was too good to pass up.  As for buying NEW games though... I'm proud to say that I've resisted buying any :) ha. :P

Till next time :P peace.