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Extra-Life

http://www.Extra-Life.org is a fundraising organization that works with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. They will be holding 2 events during the month of October to help raise money for kids. October 1st will be G3: Gaming and Giving for Good, being sponsored by XBOX 360. Even if you don’t have Xbox Live, they are giving you a free weekend of gold membership to play games online in support of the fundraiser. The other, the Extra-Life 2011 Marathon, will be held on October 15. The idea is that it’s like a walkathon, but with video games. Play games for 24 hours on your favorite console, or PC. This is being supported by PS3, XBOX, Steam, and Rift. Below are links to each respective events sign-up page.

DONATE!

Everyone is welcome to participate whether you are an individual, team, want to donate, or even just pass the word along. $1 would be better than nothing, and if that’s too much for you, then at least take the time to let someone else know about this and forward this site to them.

I will be joining in on Extra-Life 2011 on Oct 15. Expect to catch me on XBOX Live most likely playing Space Marine all day. In case you haven’t already noticed, I have these huge banners on the sidebar so if you’d like to sponsor me and make a donation, click on them. My goal is to get $100. That doesn’t seem like much if everyone who came across this even gave pennies. Any little bit helps, so Make a Donation!

I get no money out of this. You’re not giving me money, you’re giving money to kids who need medical attention. Even giving next to nothing would still be SOMETHING. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your computer to donate. Just click on the large SPONSOR ME! picture and it will take you to a link where you can donate. They have preset denominations, but you can select other in put in whatever. You can use a credit card or even paypal! PENNIES! PENNIES WOULD BE AN ACCEPTABLE DONATION EVEN.

Retro City Rampage

If you haven’t heard of Retro City Rampage yet, you either didn’t grow up with a NES or you’re one of those people that doesn’t play anything but Madden. But if your gaming library consists of more than just the past 3 years of EA sports titles, please, read on.

Retro City Rampage is a Grand Theft Auto open world style parody, but done in glorious 8-bit! In development now by Vblank Entertainment, a process which has almost reached completion after 7 long years. I had a chance to chat with Brian Provinciano, the founder and lead developer, briefly via email. He’s a busy man and has already done a handful of interviews with people far more important than myself, plus I didn’t want to hamper production of this game any further, so I kept the questions short.

Greg – Clearly there were many influences you had going into this game; Mega man, Duck Tales, Metal Gear, Grand Theft Auto, Bionic Commando, Jackal. You didn’t seem to stick to just games either, I see Back to the Future* in your logo. Did I miss any? What else was on your mind?

Brian – I got into games because of the games I loved growing up. Retro City Rampage is an homage and celebration to pretty much everything that I’ve held a controller to and enjoyed. I’ve lost count!

Greg – How did you find ways to fit all the parodies* in? Was there a massive brainstorming sessions or just work them in as they came to you? I feel this is a pertinent question because every time I watch a video, I notice another little easter egg.

Brian – There were some brainstorming sessions, mostly in the beginning, but otherwise it’s mostly me. Maxime (the other artist on the project) has some great ideas though too when we’re adding some extra cherries on top.

Greg – I know Grand Thefttendo was the original title. I hear it was even originally supposed to be on a cartridge. What other major changes have taken place since? Are there things that have been taken out of the game that couldn’t fit?

Brian – Grand Theftendo was an entirely different game, but same end goal –an 8-bit Grand Theft Auto style open world game. I developed that on the NES, whereas Retro City Rampage is running on current platforms and does far more than an NES actually could. It still retains the same feel but packs are more punch, fun and is dosed with more sprinkles.

Greg – I guess with the cost of production, I can see why you chose to go digital, but will we ever see a physical copy?

Brian – It’s possible, but I wouldn’t expect something like that to happen for over a year if it did. Digital is far better in many ways. It costs 6-7 figures to release a retail game. Some XBLA games gross less than that. We may sell retro boxes/manuals with download codes though. It’s still up in the air.

Greg – Can you make just one? Or two. One for me, one for you of course. I’ll pay for both.

Brian – Unfortunately you can’t just start the presses for a couple copies of a console game.

Greg – The soundtrack fits perfectly with everything I’ve seen so far. What kind of direction, if any, did you give to your composers? It all seems to be very reminiscent of NES Konami games.

Brian – Konami’s been a great influence, but they’ve been very focused on experimenting with every style, from those of different NES games to music genres that didn’t even exist in those days. The soundtrack covers everything! Some of the songs were designed to be specific homages or fit specific missions, but I also told them to just have fun and play around for many others. In both cases we ended up with amazing tracks.

Greg – I remember last year hearing that Retro City Rampage was coming out holiday 2010. It was then set to release this summer. Any final words on a release date?

Brian – Likely mid-late January 2012. For business reasons I need to wait until the AAA and holiday season craziness is over.

Greg – This has clearly been a labor of love, taking you 7 years to complete. How do you feel? What are your plans afterwards?

Brian – It’s absolutely a labor of love. I’m very happy with how it’s turned out and all of the extra time I spent polishing it makes all of the difference. I was just playing it last night and a cutscene happened which I’d polished last month. I stopped for a moment and said to myself “Wow, those little extra touches really make it feel extra special”. I’m still polishing things as we speak. That’s what makes a game great.

I have a half dozen ideas for games I really want to make, but we’ll see which ones come to fruition, as games take a long time to make.

Greg – Do you still have a classic gaming collection of your own?

Brian – I do. I think I collected about 1/3rd of the NES library. However it’s all in boxes at my parent’s place. I don’t have room for it at my place, or money to continue collecting. Every last penny these days goes directly into funding RCR.

This game is parodies within parodies. They really threw everything into a blender with this one. My personal favorite I’ve seen so far is when the player gets bitten by a radioactive plumber and gains the super stomp ability. This is the type of genius you’ll encounter throughout the game.

Retro City Rampage, coming out early first quarter 2012 for XBOX Live Arcade and Wii Ware. You can check out Retro City Rampage‘s homepage for updates as the game nears its final stages, check out the developer blog, and watch some trailers. Being a big chiptune fan myself, I really dig the soundtrack. If you like that old 8-bit style of music you can download the tracks from the game there as well. The artists do an awesome job putting together a soundtrack that feels completely retro yet altogether something new. I strongly recommend checking out each of their own sites for some rockin’ tunes.

Retro City Rampage Soundtrack Demo Mixtape from Vblank on Vimeo.

As always, don’t forget to share this post. And don’t forgot to drop Brian and his crew a line as well. They’ve put a lot of work into this game. Let them know what you think.

Thanks for reading!

*I know Back to the Future was a game too, but does anyone really care about that awful thing? Let’s forget it existed, ok?

Crimson Alliance Lies!

Added just last week to the arcade is Crimson Alliance. As usual, every Wednesday I check to see the new demos that are up and when I went to download the demo for this game, the magic word “FREE” was there instead of the MS point cost. Clearly I immediately downloaded it thinking it was a promo they had going on or something. Turns out this free game is just really a demo in disguise anyway. More like an elaborate trick. The game is indeed free, but you have to buy the character classes otherwise you have limited gameplay. These micro transactions have gone too far. I hate having to pay for premium content, only getting parts of a game at a time. That aside, it does look like a pretty decent game, but I refuse to buy it because I hate being lied to.

Cthulhu Saves the World

First off, you have to love the box art, reminiscent of Capcom’s NES days. I’m immediately reminded of Little Nemo the Dream Master, though Cthulhu and Nemo have naught in common. Cthulhu Saves the World is the second game developed by Zeboyd Games. Much like its precursor, Breath of Death VII (also an awesome game to check out), Cthulhu is imagined in amazing 16-bit graphics, taking us back to a time when RPGs ruled the home gaming console.

Games don’t really seem to fit cleanly into one specific genre anymore. Call of Duty is the most popular FPS ever, but it does have RPG elements to it. You level up, acquire new skills and weapons, gain experience points. Then we have the biggest RPGs like Fallout and Mass Effect, which are basically RPGs turned shooters. The line that used to so clearly define the genre of a game has been blurred, almost completely erased even. Not that I have anything against any of those games, but I like my turn based RPGs dammit! Alas, they are a dying breed. Developers don’t really make them for consoles anymore, because unless you’re a Square Enix fanboy/girl, you want immediate action and swift gratification, which has been the standard for this generation of consoles. I get it… I mean there’s a completely valid reason; video games are more of a “business” now than they’ve ever been so they only push what sells. But that’s exactly why I wanted to review indie games in the first place; As much as I love video games, the artistic endeavor is often cast aside for the commercial product. Over commercialization of anything will ultimately cheapen it.  It’s all about how much money they can squeeze out of a franchise. How many Tony Hawk games are there? How many are actually any good? So where have the good traditional RPGs gone? They’re out there, just not so mainstream as they used to be.

Cthulhu has definitely been one of the most undersaturated monsters in the media. Vampires and Zombies are so commonplace, they might as well be a friendly neighbor. How many about Cthulhu? Aside from that one South Park episode, I can’t think of any. Though he has been a familiar face in the gaming culture for years. There have definitely been games about him, but never with him as the star. Cthulhu could not slumber forever. Through the unfathomable power held by the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu has risen from the murky depths and stepped into the limelight. I think once you have a plush novelty doll of yourself, you’ve made it.  Would H.P. Lovecraft approve of this game? Is this a bastardization of the Cthulhu mythos? Yes, and it’s good.

The first 5 minutes of the game introduce you to one of the most ingenious plots a god could muster..but not really. Allow me to explain. Residing in his underwater realm of R’lyeh, Cthulhu finally awakens to embark upon his destruction of the world. His plans are immediately thwarted as a mysterious stranger appears somewhat arbitrarily and easily strips Cthulhu of his power. Only by becoming a true hero and saving those in need will he be able to regain his lost power in order to destroy the world. Sounds kind of counter productive doesn’t it? Anyway, thus we are thrust into the game. I really don’t want to give anything of the story away because afterall, RPGs are mainly about the story anyway. Trust me, it is truly entertaining, humorous and just a solid good old school RPG. The dialogue is particularly light considering the cosmic greatness that is Cthulhu, and consists mostly of witty banter. So don’t expect a convoluted adventure, question the meaning of ones existence,  like most of the Final Fantasy games. Gameplay is pretty much straight out of NES and SNES Dragon Quest, though with more leveling up options. Depending on your playing style, the game will take somewhere between 6 – 10 hours.  Also, it seems a main battle mechanic is to make things insane. I for one am totally for anything that promotes insanity.

I would also like to quickly address the games credits.  In the “special thanks” section of the credits, they list Kainazzo, a boss from Final Fantasy II, and the lowercase letter ‘e’. Maybe they thought they could sneak those in there because no one ever reads the credits. But I do!

Available for XBOX Live Arcade at 240 MS points, or on Steam you can get the Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World bundle for just $2.99. You cant go wrong. So do it. If you don’t, you’re basically admitting that you don’t like good games.

Of course I wouldn’t leave you without a chance to see the amazing theme song trailer.

As always, please don’t forget to share this post.

Thanks for reading!

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

This review was written by request for Kimberly Amato of Pac-Man & the Hot One. That was fine with me because Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is just too good. And if you disagree, you’re just wrong.

The review is being hosted on her site. I definitely think you need to check this game out but if you want to see everything I had to say about it check out MY REVIEW OF EARTH DEFENSE FORCE: INSECT ARMAGEDDON

Thankyou Couch Co-op

I’ve seen the Dungeon Siege III commercial a few times now and it’s got me thinking. Actually I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and the commercial was more of a catalyst. What’s happened to couch co-op? Sitting around your room with a bunch of friends, a few bags of chips, and a lot of foul-mouthed tomfoolery. It seems so many games focus on online multiplayer that playing a game with a person in the same room is becoming a thing of the past. I understand that often times human interaction can be down right (forward, HADOKEN!) detestable, but video games are meant to bring people together! Too many games are either completely single player (which there’s nothing wrong with. Mass Effect is the best game ever) or are designed to get people online and into a team deathmatch as quickly as possible. I blame Call of Duty.  The predecessors to Call of Duty: World at War didn’t have a campaign co-op, so when World at War finally released I was quivering with excitement to get home and play with my roommates right away. It was a great night. I simply don’t understand why the follow ups took that feature away. More recently Brink, and we won’t even mention any other problems with this one, is strictly multiplayer even in the single player campaign! Why not throw in some split screen action?

I have nothing against online gaming. I’ve been playing MMOs (specifically not World of Warcraft), RTSs, and FPSers for years on the PC and nothing is more devoid of direct social interaction than an MMO. But what if my wife and I want to play a game together? For the most part we would both need to own a copy of the game, have separate systems set up on separate TVs in separate rooms*, that or be relegated to playing some garbage carnival game on the Wii or pretending to rock out with fake instruments.

NO!

I’m sure it all comes back to money. My previous line of thinking pretty much answers my question.  If you have a sibling or two and you want to play online with them,  a sale of 1 game is nice, but make it so that you can only do 1 person online per console, well now you have 2 TVs, 2 consoles, 2 games, 2 headsets, and 2 accounts sold.

Here’s a typical situation: You’re in a store looking for a game to bring home to play with your friends but all too often the back cover reads, “Players 1. Online multiplayer 2-16.” I’m always talking about how perfect the XBLA and PSN are for finding awesome games and this is another prime example. The best co-op games aren’t found in a store for $59.99, but are available for immediate download usually at around only 15 bucks!

So here’s a list of games I thank for having multiplayer, split screen, campaign co-op, and whatever other ways they make it so we can game together without our only form of connection being our headsets.

  • Halo – The most recognizable. This game has sold systems for years and from day 1 had split screen co-op
  • Borderlands
  • Portal 2
  • Hunted – Even though it’s mediocre
  • Dungeon Siege III
  • EDF – Don’t laugh. You have no idea how awesome this game is
  • Castle Crashers
  • Scott Pilgrim – This one’s so old school there isn’t even an online feature. You might have to make some friends to get all 4 players

And I was ever so excited when these 3 gems appeared on the XBLA

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  The Arcade Game
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
  • X-Men

Yeah I know I left out some games. I’m sure you have other co-op games on your own list that I didn’t mention. So what? Wanna fight about it?

Drop me a line, leave a comment. Most importantly, share this post!

* note that my wife and I do have separate systems set up on separate TVs in separate rooms

Sonic Generations

Why on earth did I not list this as part of my top picks from E3? Now I know what you’re thinking, “Sonic? Really?” Yes, really. For those of you who didn’t grow up with the Sega Genesis, I feel bad that you’ve, for the most part, had only crappy Sonic games to deal with. Sonic Adventures was all right though, but there was too much stuff you had to do that really bogged down the game… like Big the Cat.

There has been a demo available to download for a few weeks now, check it out. Unfortunately it only has 1 level of the classic Sonic mode. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it would be nice if they showed you both styles of play. Classic is fun, it plays exactly like the Genesis version, but with a few tweaks here and there and a major graphical overhaul. It would be cool if they added a feature that allowed you to play it in 16 bit mode. Modern Sonic mode plays more like Sonic Colors. Which, if you haven’t played it, is actually a decent game.  Modern Sonic is more about blazing speed; you almost never stop running. It’s awesome that they put both types into one game. I guess it could really expand the appeal of who’s going to buy it. I mean the handheld Sonic games have been somewhat like classic ones, but for the most part kids buy those. Putting both types into one game and on a console really opens up the age boundaries. And if you own a 3D TV, the visuals in the modern Sonic mode look amazing. The sense of speed you get running right behind a 3D Sonic feels even more intense.

I haven’t been this excited about a Sonic game in nearly 15 years.  Too bad it comes out holiday 2011 when the wallet’s gonna be tight with all the other big new releases coming out. Is it wrong that I’m more excited about Sonic Generations than Call of Duty?  This might even be the game that causes me to upgrade to a 3D TV.

And for those of you who are too lazy to look this up on youtube yourself, I did the favor for you and put it right here. You can’t imagine the overwhelming impatience I get when I watch this video, knowing I still have 4 more months to wait. Enjoy.

Impossible Threesome

Issue #3

I figured since this was my third review, I would do three games at once. They’ll be short though so that I don’t take up too much of your time. All 3 are what could be considered impossible games.There’s really not too much to say about these type of games other that they never end and they’re impossible and they’re impossible because they never end. For the most part,  they follow basic platforming principles. You go right and jump over or onto things that are in your way. The main difference between these and a traditional platformer is that you don’t stop moving. The game progressively gets trickier and timing becomes more and more precise. There is no respite like a normal platforming game. You just go until you lose.

The Impossible Game

Released in ’09, I think it might have been the first game of its type on XBLA.  It might have been the first of its kind in general, but I’m not sure. I can’t find evidence of one and my memory fails me aside from maybe Adult Swim’s Go Right, but that one was hardly impossible. Even if it wasn’t the first though, The Impossible Game  is one of the the most notable, jumping from XBLA to iTunes and Android, making it the namesake of the genre.

This is the most basic impossible game. The “characters” consist of triangles and squares. You are a square and you can use other squares as platforms to jump onto, but if you hit them sideways, you die. You don’t get along with triangles at all. Any contact with a triangle and you die. You jump over triangles, or jump onto squares to give you extra height to clear a gap or jump over more triangles. That’s pretty much it. I know that sounds really simple but you need to be super precise with this one. There is very little margin for error.  Your timing and reaction skills get severely taxed even just 30 seconds into the game.

I have reason to believe that, despite what I said earlier, this game does have an end. It is perhaps also the most rewarding since, even though you might never reach the end, you at least get the feeling of making some progress. There’s a pattern to the shapes that come at you, so through patience and memorization you at least accomplish a section which you will then have to repeat when you die moments later. The fact that they have released a level pack for it further lends credence to this theory. But I’ll never know for sure. I certainly don’t have the patience to find out.

Techno Kitten Adventure

For a mere 240 Microsoft points you can be harassed by obnoxious techno music!  I refuse to spend much time on this game. I feel I was swindled by my love of kittens. Just look at that cute, fat, smushy, little thing. Yup, that’s what drew me into this one. Kittens, I love ’em. I would be that crazy old cat lady if I were old… or a lady.  Anyway, this game isn’t a writhing mass of cuteness like I thought it would be. Instead it was a hated impossible game wrapped up in a flashing, seizure-y, techno-infused, package. Yes I’m aware that “techno” is in the title, but the kitten blinded me of its existence.

Positive points for this game: It has the widest variety of options, stages, kittens, etc, that I’ve ever seen in an impossible game, which would give it significantly more replay value. Also, all the menus make kitten noises.

Negative points for this game: Everything else.

Instead of playing this game, you could easily just go to a rave and pretend your a kitten and randomly rub against strangers. But you shouldn’t, because raves are for idiots.

Zombie Accountant

The most memorable part of video games, for me, is the music. There’s a reason why 20 years later we still hum the Sonic the Hedgehog theme. So if a bad game has good music, it might still be worth playing. Zombie Accountant isn’t necessarily a bad game but I really can’t stand these impossible games and my thoughts of, “Ugh! Another zombie game?!” almost had me passing this one over completely. I’m glad I didn’t. If for nothing else, it was worth it for the music alone. It’s got a pretty rockin’ chiptune soundtrack that comes from “The Factory” by Multifaros, whose website can be found here.

Zombie Accountant was developed by Going Loud Studios, and it follows your basic impossible game formula. Things are in your way, you have go jump over them, all while it continually gets faster. However, they’ve injected a fair blend of humor to give this game its own flair, the fact that you are an accountant that is also a zombie for starters. There are a few other details that make this one stand out in the impossible game crowd. For example, there are actually TWO commands rather than the ubiquitous jump button; you can also duck!  You must duck under the other accountants. DON’T JUMP! You have no idea how many times I keep trying to jump over them. It’s just a reaction. It seems like you would be able to, but don’t bother, you can’t. The sooner you learn that the better.

Your job is to collect files which are haphazardly floating around for some reason. The more you collect and the less filing cabinets you bump into, the faster you go and the higher your score multiplier gets. I don’t seem to be able to get more than a x3 multiplier, so good luck. Score enough and you can get a promotion, which negates one of the brains you’ve accidentally removed from an accountants cranium. After your 3rd infraction, you are awarded with your Termination of Employment scorecard. Apparently eating too many brains can get you fired.

Whether you were hired by this accounting firm as a zombie, or being an accountant turned you into a zombie (which could be an intended pun), is never revealed.

END

I hate these games. They’re so mindless and I find they’re hard to walk away from once you’ve started. They’re quick enough where you can jump into a 2nd, 3rd, 76th, playthrough before you realize how much you hate yourself for sucking at it. I find parents complaining about their kids playing “mindless” games like Call of Duty, but I bet there’s a bunch out there that have downloaded these or games like this that are far more mindless, but they don’t think that way because there’s no violence in it. Ok, off topic a bit…

Please feel free to leave any comments/suggestions/ideas/yell at me.

Like me on facebook if you enjoyed any of these posts.

Thanks for reading!

E3 Cont.

Issue #0.5mmmm....breakfast!My main source of nutrition for the three day period consisted primarily of nachos and energy drinks; the real gamers diet.

Top 5 Games of E3

1) Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. A rampage through the enemies of mankind. One of my favorite aspects of this game was the seamless transition between ranged and melee combat. That and it’s over the top, gore infused, non-stop action. They were handing out scratch off cards to people waiting in line for a chance to win t-shirts or a real life sized chainsword. Sadly, I won neither.

2) Duke Nukem Forever. This game is going to get bashed in reviews across the board, I just know it. But you kind of have to go into playing this game with that mindset. It’s a completely balls out FPS with corny, outdated humor, but I knew that already and that’s exactly what I wanted. Is it as good as Gears of War, Bulletstorm, or even Quake 4? Not really, but that’s ok. If you crossed together maybe Bullstorm and Eat Lead, I guess that’s kind of what Duke Nukem forever is like. And as long as you go into it knowing this, you might enjoy yourself.  It’s kind of like those hot dog carts in the city. The food’s great, but you know it’s not gourmet. Anyway, the line to play this was a bit longer than expected, especially since the game was coming out a week later anyway. Once at the front of the line, they put you into this room filled with Duke iconography, give you a beer or red bull inside a nifty little Duke Nukem cup cooler, and set you down to play multiplayer. I played a session of Capture the Babe; an interesting spoof of the capture the flag classic where you have to return the enemies babe to your base and you even get to spank her if she gets unruly.

3) Trenched. This was a fun spin on the tower defense formula.  Instead of just blithely placing towers and watching them take down the endless onslaught of mindless invaders from an overhead perspective, you are actively engaged in eliminating your enemies from a third person shooter view. You pilot one of three mechs: light, medium, and heavy, with light being fastest with least firepower but with the best towers and heavy with most firepower but weakest towers.  Towers remain common to the genre however, with anti-air, ground, air/ground, etc.  Coming out this summer for XBLA and it will support online multiplayer.

4) Street Fighter X Tekken. I didn’t get to play this nearly as much as I wanted to. There was constantly a large crowd surrounding the booth, much akin to the crowds surrounding the Street Fighter II cabinets from the days of yore when arcades ruled our collective video game consciousness. For those who were able to beat 3 opponents in a row, Capcom was handing out character themed bobble heads. I lost. It was a noble defeat however. The opponent who felled me had his difficulty setting at just about my level. Neither were able to land a finishing blow, instead all of our rounds ended in a time out. So I can at least walk away knowing I had a good match. The game plays mostly like Street Fighter IV but with a little MVC and Tekken Tag thrown in there.

5)Star Wars: The Old Republic. OMG! YES PLEASE! I didn’t get a chance to play this, though believe me, I wanted to. This had one of the longest lines at E3 and I really just didn’t have time to wait on another 2+ hour line. I did get to watch it a great deal though. This booth was adjacent to the Space Marine drop pod, so I got to watch an hour of so of other people playing it on several oversized displays. Looks very good, as any game made by Bioware is bound to be. It has their proprietary dialogue system, which should lend a great deal of narrative to this MMO, something that the genre sorely lacks. No official release date yet, but Mass Effect 3 has been pushed back to March so hopefully that means we’ll see a release sometime this year. *crosses fingers*

A few other interesting tidbits:

There was a bouncy castle tucked away behind all the main booths! Yay for analog entertainment!

They had a full retro video game history museum set up, complete with two dozen or so full arcade cabinets from the 70s – early 90s, all with free play activated! Not a single quarter was wasted this day. Some of my favorites on site were: Punch-Out!!, Raiden II (love me some bullet hell),  and Altered Beast. Shaolin Road was absent unfortunately, and as the self proclaimed master of that game, I would have liked to show off my skills.

I was surprised yet pleased to see so many people working well under the honor system; There was nothing holding the memorabilia down, no cameras, and no one standing guard. Their website is www.vghmuseum.org8 Bit Weapon, a chiptune group, and Descendants of Erdrick, a video game tribute band that includes a flute player, supplied crowds with live music.

A few people in cosplay, but nothing like going to a comic-con. Here we have Renegade Commander Shepherd to the left and Zero Suit Samus on the right.

Lastly and leastly, this is the best Square Enix had to offer. On display were all of the toys and collectables you can get from their web store. Some of you may argue that they were showcasing Final Fantasy XIII-2 but I would have to assume that’s a joke, because no one really cares about the garbage Square Enix produces anymore. Aside from the remake of Final Fantasy IV and the Dragon Quest games on the DS, and those don’t even really count because they’re not technically NEW, Square Enix hasn’t had any good original IPs since PSX.

Anyway, I do have tons more to say about my first ever E3 trip, but what can I say that you haven’t already heard watching G4, or hasn’t already been covered by any of the bigger websites, bloggers, or game mags.

I do appreciate your comments though, so PLEASE feel free to leave one. Don’t forget to read yesterdays post!

And I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think of the Wii U.

Thanks for reading!

My First E3!!!

This is what dreams are made of

This is what dreams are made of

Issue #0

Being that this is my first official posting, allow me to explain what the intended purpose of this blog is going to be.

At the very least, a weekly (hopefully) posting of indie games from wherever I can find them, though they will primarily come from XBLA (xbox live arcade).

Sure most of you that are gamers on the 360 have at least checked out a few games from XBLA, but have you ever checked out the indie games tab? I find most of my friends, or just anyone I’ve talked to about it for that matter, don’t bother, and since they’re indie, there really isn’t any advertising for them. Aside from word of mouth, knowledge of these games really doesn’t get out there. And maybe this is going to be a redundant blog, and I’m sure other people could probably do it better, but I haven’t seen more than a handful of blogs out there honoring these works of passion. Probably because there’s no money to be had in it.  And sure indie means that there’s really not much of a budget to speak of, but lack of budget doesn’t mean lack of quality. Yeah, a lot of them are complete stinkpiles, but there quite a few gems out there. So that’s my plan, get some groundswell going for these unknown and potentially rockin’ indie games. Oh yeah, best of all, most of the indie games you find are less than 5 bucks!

Also you may have noticed I started with issue #0. And if not, then you did now. So yeah, that’s how I’m gonna do this. I like comics and I’m going to number my blogs as if they were comic book issues. Games and comics seem to go well together.  The nerd communities generally intermingle and are often one in the same anyway, usually some Magic the Gathering thrown in there as well, but we’ll be leaving that out of these posts as much as possible. (evil, deadly, addition….) I have no intention of actually reviewing an indie game in this inaugural post. It’s really just more of a prequel and info-packet if you will.  So that’s mostly why I decided to label is issue #0, kind of like how comics get an issue #0 just to showcase some art or some such.

And now for the showcase! So I just got back from E3. One of my lifelong goals has finally been achieved. You can’t imagine how many points I feel I’ve just unlocked. This industry only event has been just out of my reach for years and I’ve always wanted to go ever since I first remember reading about it in the early days of Game Informer. It was more amazing than my fondest memories of Disney World as a child, though waiting in the lines seems about the same. Everyone’s been asking me how it was and what I thought of all the upcoming splendor we shall see this holiday season and early next year. Well here are my thoughts as organized as I can get them, but in no particular order.

Wii U

Holy dicks. Nintendo… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Look, we all love Nintendo, and I’m sure they will continue to produce absolutely amazing 1st party content, but Nintendo, you are making it really, really difficult to appreciate your direction. Nintendo is pretty much shitting all over my fondest childhood memories. Ok, so maybe this is a little hyperbolic, but there are a million better ideas that were probably floating around the Nintendo offices and this was the best they could come up with?! First off, the name. Wii U? Out of what I’m sure were a plethora of other splendid console names gathered during extensive brainstorming sessions, someone at corporate Nintendo actually decided that Wii U was the best choice. What happened to the Nintendo HD? That was a fine title. It’s straight to the point and lets us know EXACTLY what they intend out of the system.  Even the revolution (the codename the Wii had before it’s release) would have been a better choice. Hell, even the Dolphin! Didn’t anyone else heart break when they heard Nintendo announce their new system? From a strictly retail point, customers had a hard enough time asking for and pronouncing the Wii accurately for the first few years it was out. I wonder what kind of verbal abortions will be imagined this turn around.

The controller: I don’t know entirely how I feel about this.  I’m torn at the moment. My limited engagement with the device left me intrigued, yet highly concerned. For starters, this could easily be another gimmick and there have already been far too many gimmicky games for the Wii. I do like the idea of a touch screen on my controller, but I don’t like the idea of a tablet-like device.  It’s about the size of an iPad and I think the iPad and iTouch, and all that other apple crap is terrible for gaming. Yes there are tons of games you can get from iTunes and tons of people play them, but they’re mostly garbage. People that play games on an iPad aren’t gamers. The iPad makes a poor gaming device and would be an even worse gaming controller. The first game I ran to when I got my chance to play the new Wii U after my nearly 3 hour wait in line, was Ghost Recon Online. I was more excited about the controller than anything considering it’s the only part of the system that I would really consider new hardware.  The size itself isn’t a problem; I was a fan of the original Xbox controllers after all. The problem is that it’s not contour friendly to hands and it’s analog sticks are terrible.  It’s nice and lightweight and there is a ledge (for lack of a better word) on the back that rests on your fingers so you don’t feel like you’re holding it up, but it’s a square. They may have worked 25 years ago with the original NES, but the controller then was a fraction of the size. Some contoured grips on the side would have been nice. As far as the analog sticks, they feel like the analog sticks on the PSP or 3Ds. They don’t move as smoothly as as a PS3, 360, or even an N64 controller. If they were going for the flat look, then they got it, but if they were going for dual analog sticks that felt natural, then they fell flat on their asses and failed. There are many things I like about this controller, but the crappy analog sticks make it worthless for real gaming. Lastly, turning to retail again; how much is this thing gonna cost? Seriously, a Wii remote/nunchuck combo it 70 bucks. I can’t see this thing costing under 100. And how’s that gonna fly with parents? And obviously kids are gonna break this thing. I can see an irate parents face already when they have to replace one of these because of a cracked screen.

I think they revealed the Wii U too soon. I don’t think they had enough to show and they shot their wad before it was time. On display were 2 separate tech demos, one of which had an exciting looking Link vs. a giant spider fight scene. But that’s all it was for: looking. The best piece of eye candy they had and all you could do was move the camera around.  They had this absolute rubbish game called Measure Up, which could have easily been on the DS since all it was was drawing lines and shapes more accurately than your opponent. The best things they had to show were another Mario Bros. game, Battle Mii, and Chase Mii. The Mario game would have been great, but it’s really nothing different so far. I’m not even sure if it was any different than the one from Wii, but maybe with some new features. I dunno, I really didn’t pay attention to that one.  Battle Mii and Chase Mii were the best they had to show, but they were both mini games! It’s a slap in the face. If Nintendo really wanted to excite people about their new system, after much of the gaming community has already completely turned their backs to the Wii, they shouldn’t have shown up with a couple of mini games! Granted they were really fun, but when Nintendo posed the question to themselves, “What would we like for people to take away with them after playing the Wii U?” The answer shouldn’t have been a couple of mini games! In Chase Mii one person plays are Mario using the tablet where the screen displays the location of all the players on the map and the other 4 players use the regular remotes to find and chase him down; basically it’s a glorified version of hide and seek.  Battle Mii had a little bit more merit. One person pilots Samus’ ship while the others are on the ground and from then on its pretty much a standard death match. No new concepts really except the cross-style gameplay, yet still not enough to showcase a new console. Bottom line Nintendo, with a release date and pricepoint both still TBA and no discernible line-up yet, the announcement of this console should have waited.

All right, the Wii U has got me a little agitated right now. I’ve got more to say about E3 and I’m sure maybe 3 or 4 of you are interested, but you’ll have to wait. More to come tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

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