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Ninja Madness

A Ninja themed set of 3 quickies available from the Indie Xbox Live Arcade.

Ninja Stole My Bike

Ugh. This game is such trash. I won’t go into much detail about the gameplay, because there really isn’t much. Take an impossible game and make it more boring and then you have Ninja Stole My Bike. They took a genre of game where all you really do is press one button and found a way to make it less interesting. There are two redeeming qualities to this game however. For starters, it only costs 80 MSP, which is most likely more than what it cost to make the game. The other, which is probably already obvious to fans of YTMND.com, is the games namesake. Basically, your playing the cut scene from Punch-Out!! But instead of an up and coming boxer chasing a fat black man on a bike, you’re a pizza delivery boy chasing a ninja. So aside from the little chuckle I got from the connection to an overtly racist internet meme, this game is only worth it for those who have a major crush on these types of games and have played every other one in existence.

Developer: NinthDimensional

Released: 02/10/2011

Ninja Sneaking

Has that annoying chibi style of art, but that’s really the only negative thing I have to say about this game. It’s honestly pretty good for what it is. It’s a weird hybrid of a side-scrolling action platformer and stealth game, with a little bit of impossible game thrown in. Think if Solid Snake was storming Dr. Wily’s castle. The game has a much quicker pace than any Metal Gear though; you won’t be sitting there for more then a few seconds waiting for an enemy to turn away. You’re given two basic instructions at the onset of the game: Don’t be seen, and don’t murder anyone. The don’t be seen part was a given, I was expecting that considering the title and all. But the second part – no killing?! You’re a ninja and ninjas use swords and a swords sole purpose is to kill. Instead your sword is relegated to a glorified door slasher. The music’s not so bad either. I set my standards low for indie games, so I won’t say it’s good, but it’s catchy and goes with the pace of the game pretty well. This one’s also only 80 MSP and you could do much worse with a dollar.

Developer: Winglay

Released: 08/27/2011

Akane the Kunoichi

Kunoichi = female ninja

Definitely the most visually appealing of the three games reviewed. The 16-bit art style took me right back to the days of the SNES, with bright and vibrant sprite animations and backgrounds. This is a straight up action platformer. Akane performs as you would expect a ninja to – doing wall jumps, throwing projectiles at enemy ninjas, and harnessing her potent ninja magic. Although, the whole stealth aspect of being a ninja is thrown at the window. It kind of reminded me of Shinobi, but far more colorful, like if Nintendo had made Shinobi instead of Sega. The only real complaint I have is the noise she makes EVERY TIME you jump. I could really do without that, or at least some variety in effects. That aside, it was a pretty solid game. Controlled well, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, and a halfway decent soundtrack. I’m not a particularly big fan of platformers, so for that to be my only gripe shows that there was a good degree of effort put into developing this title. At only 80 MSP, it’s definitely worth the dollar.

Developer: Haruneko

Released: 05/28/2011

Since this is my top pick of the three, it deserves a video.

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Thanks for reading!

By the way, if you’re still wondering about where Ninja Stole My Bike go its inspiration, GO HERE. But I warn you, it IS racist.

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.

Get sum edyookashun!

I would like to take this moment, before you dive into this post at length, to warn you that this is a post of unbridled anger. I’m not reviewing anything or giving my opinion on anything. Call this social outrage if you will, but I am one who believes America is getting dumber. Being what this blog is about though, I’m staying clear of politics and economics, budgets, and what have you, it’ll simply be about business as usual: video games.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was just released this Tuesday and it’s fueled the burning hatred inside me that’s been building for years. Oh, no, I have no problem at all with Deus Ex. I think it’s a great game. It’s the rape of language that’s related to the title that I have a problem with. There seems to be a mysterious collective group out there that promotes the mispronunciation of various video game related terms. I’ve heard the same mispronunciation from many people in various different parts of the country, so this is far from an isolated event, which leads me to believe that this is an insidious intentional spreading of incorrectitude. Now is incorrectitude a real word? No. But I made it up and I can do that. Making up words in fine, at least I’m not butchering the pronunciation of a word that already exists.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the culprits comparing their correct and incorrect pronunciations, starting with the most recent.

Deus Ex

How I’ve been hearing it: Deuce. And if you can’t pronounce that either, it sounds like GOOSE but with a D. It’s not deuce, that’s a slang term for pooping, which also means number 2.

Correct way:  Day-us. Which is Latin for, God or Deity. As in, “Thank Deus that the game isn’t called “Deus Ex Machina” because then we’d have everyone calling it “Deuce Ex Masheena”

Pokemon

Now this one I haven’t heard in a while but every now and then it creeps into my world and it causes me to regurgitate in my mouth a little bit. It’s mostly parents to blame for this one and I just don’t understand what their problem is. Kids will say it the right way right in front of their parents and then the parents still say it wrong. This is why I said earlier that these are intentional. Someone is purposely spreading these verbal crimes. I hear this one pronounced po-ke-MAN. Man?! Where is there an ‘A’ anywhere in that word? Granted it’s a foreign made up word, but we can’t just go injected and omitting letters as we see fit. New England, you are the worst perpetrators of this crime. You know what I’m talking about….

L.A. Noire

At its worst, I’ve heard this one called La Noyer. Sometimes it’s half right and someone will know enough to at least realize there are periods after the ‘L’ and the ‘A’. But then I also get, L.A. No-ire. Noire i’m willing to forgive to an extent. It’s a a french word which means black. Most specific to the game, it would refer to the genre of film called, film noir, which is what the theme of the game is supposed to be. If you don’t understand, think of the movie, L.A. Confidential. It’s a film noir style movie. Hence the game, L.A. Noire. Now you understand the meaning behind the title. Now let’s say it correctly. L.A. should be easy enough to figure out. Noire can be tough, I admit, because we really don’t have this exact sound in our dialect. Don’t think of is as a monosyllabic word like noise, where the ‘O’ and ‘I’ flow into the rest of the word, think of it more like two syllables. It should almost sound like “new-are” but slurred together.

Grand Theft Auto IV

This is simple and quick. This is not Grand Theft Auto Eye Vee. IV is the roman numeral for the number 4. So this is Grand Theft Auto 4. You would hope only young kids would get this wrong, but no. Adults are just as at fault here as well. If you feel your roman numerals are a bit spotty, you can check out Nova Roma‘s website.

Nunchuk

In this instance I’m referring specifically to the Wii Nunchuk. Nothing is more like nails on a chalkboard than this one. I hate hearing people call this a NUMBchuck. There’s no ‘M’ or ‘B’ in this word. Even after hearing the correct pronunciation and seeing the word spelled on packaging, people still refuse to say it the right way. Ignorance at its finest. Maybe I’m spoiled because I grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Michelangelo wielded the nunchaku. Which leads me to another point. Maybe I shouldn’t be so annoyed by this. I mean it’s officially nunchaku anyway and not nunchuk, though both are accepted. The nunchaku come originally from Okinawa, and I don’t know exactly how it went from that to nunchuk so maybe we made that up and it doesn’t matter anyway. No! You know what, it’s spelled Nunchuk right there on the box. So they can say it that way.

That’s enough anger for now. If anyone else has got some they’d like to share, please feel free.

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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.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1

Issue #2

Perhaps the best dollar I’ve ever spent was on this game. Now go ahead, think about that. When was the last time you said you spent only a dollar and were completely satisfied. Even a bottle of soda generally will cost $1.25 or more and those are only temporary. 16 oz. only lasts so long and if you share it with someone, your reducing your satisfaction level; however, sharing this game actually brings your satisfaction level over 9000! Unless I was in the middle of the desert, dehydration enveloping me in its death grip, that dollar could be no better spent. But there’s no vending machines in the middle of the desert anyway, so I maintain it was my wisest dollar purchase ever.

There’s no doubt that the zombie apocalypse is coming (see ref. Zombie Survival Guide) Or in some cases is already here. I’m pretty certain that everyone in Canada is a zombie. Beware our neighbors to the north! But I digress. So with everyone’s rising interest in the oncoming zombie hoard, pop media in all its forms became flooded with zombies. Call of Duty: World at War and Left 4 Dead weren’t the first games to include killing tons of zombies, but they were perhaps the most influential of this generation. Thus opening the gateway for Ska-Studios to develop, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1  Around the same time, another game simply named, Zombie Apocalypse was released. They both offer a similar style of gameplay, but IMaGWZ1i is by far the most gratifying shoot ’em up out there. Especially if you use a cost vs. fun ratio. Please refer to chart A-1 which I made using MS Paint.

*A-1

As you can see they are pretty close in fun factor, hovering somewhere between a 7 and 8. However, Zombie Apocalypse costs 800 Microsoft points ($10) and IMaGWZ1i is 80($1), IMaGWZ1i has an astoundingly high positive CvF  (cost vs. fun) differential of +6.5, while ZAs CvF is actually negative. That means IMaGWZ1i is nearly 217% more fun per dollar!

Even though Zombie Apocalypse came out only a month later,  I’m going to claim that they completely copied IMaGWZ1i, and with their larger budget, were able to work on it an accelerated schedule to get the game released in just over a month. They both share the same concept; kill wave after wave of zombies. They both have a similar weapon loadout; machine guns, flamethrowers, shotguns, etc. IMaGWZ1i just executes it better.

Now despite what I may have lead you to believe, this game really isn’t about the zombie apocalypse, but there are definitely zombies in it, and you must kill them, all of them. You get thrown in without any explanation of what to do, but do you need one? Controls are simple, left stick is movement and right stick shoots. I really like this control scheme. It’s been around awhile but more and more games are using it now. The ease of its style makes it easier to just get into the combat and have fun without being bogged down with too many commands. There are plenty of powerups to help keep up the fight against the hoard; there is almost never a moment when there isn’t a new powerup popping up somewhere on the screen, often there are a dozen or so, and they are all necessary because there is also never a moment when the screen isn’t littered with things that want to kill you. And thats pretty much how you play the game. You spend your time running from powerup to powerup, dodging and killing as many zombies as you can in between.

Taking graphics out of consideration, the visuals are quite amazing. That is to say, if you were ever uncertain if a game could give you a seizure, this is the game to play.  Seriously, this is a warning. If you have any friends with epilepsy and you want a good laugh, invite them over to enjoy up to 4 player co-op. Without giving too much away, there are far more enemies in this game than just zombies. After the first wave, everything becomes complete nonsense and it only gets worse as time goes on. Confusion takes  center stage pretty quickly; you’re not sure what’s happening and are rarely able to accurately locate yourself on the screen and if you are playing with 4 people, it’s utter chaos, especially when anger mode starts.

The soundtrack is awesome. You can check it out yourself here. It’s a catchy little ditty about the game itself and often I find myself playing just to hear the song. On a side note, an odd point about the game is that the soundtrack is as long as the game itself. The game just ends. You either die or survive the predetermined time limit and are awarded your final score. This is by no means a strike against the game. It has just the right amount of gameplay to not get annoying or boring. If it dragged on any longer than it does, it would become sorely tedious. Whether it was because the developers had the keen sense to see ahead, or because of budget concerns or what have you, this is the most neatly wrapped up game you can buy for a dollar. And you should buy it…now… it’s only a dollar.

Please feel free to leave any comments/suggestions/ideas/yell at me.  A like on facebook would be awesome, but subscribing would be more awesome!

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!

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