Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wahoo it's the eve of Christmas eve and sadly I won't be able to post for a while. I will be in the barren internet land of Michigan so I won't have anything to say for awhile. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and of course an awesome Brand New Day...oh wait, I mean brand new year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

YouTube Find: Sonic vs. Pac Man

Sonic vs. Pac Man....actually, it’s Sonic vs Pac Man’s ghosts.....well actually, it’s Sonic destroying Pac Man’s ghosts and showing Pac Man who’s the better video game character. The name of the game is speed so try and keep up with the blue blur as he collects all the dots. A lot of the funny videos I find are on Daneboe’s YouTube profile so check it out if you want to see some really funny mashups. Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Final Fantasy XIII Sells 1 Million Units in One Day

HOLY COW!!! Final Fantasy XIII sold over a million copies in Japan yesterday....that’s crazy. One million copies of FF XIII translates to about 60 million US dollars. With that kind of money I could seriously buy a small island, build the coolest castle/fort thingy on it, and maybe still have enough money to buy a robot butler to do my laundry. But wait, there’s more. Final Fantasy XIII is a PS3 exclusive in Japan, just imagine how much more money Square Enix will earn when it releases the game in the US and in Europe for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Even Scrooge McDuck would be jealous of the giant swimming pool of money Square Enix is poised to make. If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy series I suggest you pre-order yourself a copy at your local GameStop right now or be prepared to face crushing disappointment when all your friends have the game and you don’t. Expect FF XIII to hit the US shelves some time in March 2010.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conan O'Brien Spoofs Popular Video Game

LOL this great!!! Conan O'Brien (a funny funny man) spoofs Assassin's Creed II with his co-host of sorts Andy Richter (also a funny man). In the clip from The Tonight Show, Andy believes he should have won an award at Spike TV's Video Game Awards show for his voice-over role as Ezio, the main character of Assassin's Creed II. This has huge implications for the gaming industry because it looks like main stream media is taking note of video game's impact on today's pop culture, even if the games are the butts of a jokes. Now sit back and let the waves of comedy wash over you.....ahhhhh that's the stuff.

Learning Literature Through Gaming: Dante's Inferno

Awhile ago I wrote a post on the educational ramifications that video games can have on its players (click here to read the post). It seems that someone at Visceral Games read my post (not really, but I can pretend I’m super important in the gaming industry) and has added extra content for it’s PS3 Divine Edition of Dante’s Inferno a game based on Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno.


The PS3 version sports:

  • Developer commentaries
  • A Wayne Barlow digital art book
  • The game’s soundtrack
  • A digital copy of the Longfellow translation of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno

I think this is great. After hacking and slashing demons and zombies God of War style you can pick up the real Dante’s Inferno and read what actually happened. English teachers rejoice, you’ve gained another tool to leverage your students into doing their homework.

I’ve watched trailers and gameplay videos of Dante’s Inferno and I wasn’t horribly impressed by the game, but now that Visceral Games is throwing in all this extra swag, I would be foolish not to buy it. I just need to get around that whole not owning a PS3 thing, but I’m working on it. I really enjoyed reading Dante’s Inferno in college so I hope this game can do some justice to the literary masterpiece that inspired it. I don’t think I can handle anymore of my favorite classic literature turning into pop culture failure like the Beowulf movie. Expect the game and all of its goodies to hit store shelves February 9th 2010.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can’t We All Just Get Along? A look at New Super Mario Wii

“Why would you pick me up and throw me into a piranha plant!” Yep that’s my experience playing the New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the Wii. I had heard a lot of great things about the game so I was over joyed when I got a chance to play it with my friends. Then we started playing and all that glorious joy went away.

Lets start with what the game does well and that’s basically everything except for the multiplayer. The graphics look great with its old school Mario feel mixed with semi 3D worlds. The music also brings Mario’s world to life with remixes of it’s classic themes like Bowser’s castle, underwater world, and starman. What really surprised me is that Nintendo dropped the Wii motion nonsense to make game feel as retro as possible.

Now lets move to the bad news. As a single player experience New Super mario Bros. Wii is an enjoyable time that’s a Delorean ride back to the good old days of Super Mario Bros. 3, but as multiplayer extravaganza it’s a pain in the neck. As previously mentioned it’s not hard for players to accidently (or purposely) throw you at the deadly enemies who have no remorse for taking one of your lives.

With more than two players cluttering the screen it’s also very easy to trip over each other. If you run too fast you’ll collide with one of you teammates then stop dead in your tracks. This is bad because you were probably running away from something and now the both of you have been squished. If you go too slow, the screen will scroll away without you and you’ll have to give up a life to continue.

The most frustrating aspect of the game was trying to jump when others were around. The idea to allow someone else jump higher by jumping on top of another character’s head is a great idea on paper, but when you’re both jumping over lava pits there is no doubt one of you will be pushed towards a fiery doom while the other lands safely on the other side. The other con to jumping is when a player dies. When anyone dies the screen freezes for a spit second to rub in the fact that that someone has died. No big deal unless you were getting ready to jump, then you’re guaranteed to press the jump button too early and miss the ledge by inches causing another split second freeze and potentially another death.

As a single player game New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a challenging and fun experience, but as a four player game the challenge becomes a game of delicate precision or instant death. I’ve focused on a few of the negatives, but don’t let a few minor problems keep you from getting this game. This is a very solid game despite some of its hiccups. If you’re still worried about needless game deaths and fights over why you had to be sacrificed for the good of the team then maybe you shouldn’t tell you friends about your shinny new Christmas present. New Super Mario World Wii gets 4 It’s a me, Mario out of 5.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The PS3 Gets the Midas Touch

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hmmm I have way too much money what shall I ever do with it all?” Well I haven’t, but if you’ve got a swimming pool filled with money, a private helicopter, or even a small island, boy do I have something for you. Introducing the 24K gold PS3 with matching gold controllers. No lie, someone made this and it can be yours for the low low price of $4,999. Whew, thank goodness it wasn’t $5000 that might have broken the bank.

This piece of golden hardware is brought to us by Computer Choppers a site dedicated to turning expensive technology like iPhones, Mac notebooks, and Blackberry phones into even more expensive items for sale. So if your looking for something to match your gold TV, your gold watch, or that prize winning show dog that you dipped in gold to impress the judges then I highly recommend you buy this shinny PS3. For the rest of us who still think a $299 price tag is a bit steep, we can always dream about another price drop or maybe we can find a lost 24k dog waddling through a park.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Violent Video Games Vs. Australia

If you haven't heard, Australia (the land that I love) is a little unfriendly towards gamers. Sad I know, but here are a few reasons why you don’t want to move to Australia if you love video games. Firstly, everything reaches its breath taking shores 6 months later then it does for everyone else. Secondly, the consoles and the games are almost double the price there then they are here in the US (tragic). Thirdly, (and what’s aggravating me) the wonderful land of Oz is banning boat loads of video games like Fallout 3 and Aliens Vs Predator because they are too violent.

Before I get to my rant let me drop some knowledge for those of you who don’t know about Australia’s video game rating system. Unlike the US and other countries, Australia doesn’t have a formal rating system expressly for video games. To compensate for this Australia uses its movie rating system to rate games. No big deal right....I thought so too. A lot of the more violent video games that get rated by the ESRB as M for Mature (that’s 18 and up) end up being rated as refused classification in Australia A.K.A. “Nah uh you ain’t getting into my country!”

The way I see it, an M rating for a video game is about the equivalent of an R rated movie. So you’re next question should be, “Do R rated movies get played in Australia?” Yes, yes they do. They get slapped with an R18+ rating and are ready for adults to view.

It’s odd that R rated movies can make it across the ocean, but the equivalent R rated game cannot. Australia’s Attorney General Michael Atkinson tries to explain, "You don’t need to be playing a game in which you impale, decapitate and dismember people." Atkinson is worried that the realism of video games will increase the crime in Australia. He continues to say, "98 percent, 99 percent of gamers will tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but the 1 percent to 2 percent could go on to be motivated by these games to commit horrible acts of violence."

At this point I still don’t have a major problem with the man banning M rated video games. Sure it’s annoying, but if Mr. Atkinson wants to keep the mean streets of Australia clean and wholesome who am I to try and stop him from trying to make Australia a better place. What bugs me is that he’s not banning movies, television, or other media that also depicts adult violence. Seriously, there are movies that have the audience cheering for the guy who just murdered 20 people (Boondock Saints, Crank, Reservoir Dogs, etc.) and I don’t see Atkinson getting bent out of shape over them. (On a funny side note: The Reservoir Dogs video game is banned while the movie is not.)

So Mr. Atkinson what do you say to the 1 or 2 percent of people who get lost in movies and decide to slaughter an orphanage? (Oh that’s terrible, lets hope that never happens) If you think adults can handle adult movies then why can’t adults handle adult video games? I guess what upsets me about this whole thing is the bias and hypocrisy that comes when evaluating video games. Is it really that hard for the Australian government to trust their citizens enough to make decisions for themselves? Thankfully there is some hope. Recently there have been a lot of petitions circulating around (like this one) asking for the rating system to change. If you want to help your fellow Aussie gamers then click the link. Hopefully Australia can get their act together before I smuggle myself into their beautiful country and take a life long vacation on one of their sunny beaches.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

YouTube Find of the Week: Mortal Kombat vs Donkey Kong

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe is a great game because you get to see the MK bullies beat up on the DC goodie goodies, but what if the MK characters had something cute and far less threatening to pummel? I present to you Mortal Kombat vs Donkey Kong. It's a surprisingly accurate battle as well as a surprisingly hilarious spoof. Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Better by Being Worse: The Legend of Chun Li

Well this weekend I finally got to see Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I knew from the previews and the short stay in theaters that this movie was a flop, but I thought it was going to be one of those, “It’s so bad it’s good” movies. Unfortunately, the movie just stays at “It’s so bad.”

First off, the movie tries really hard to be the next action adventure, romance, drama movie of epic proportions, but instead it falls flat on its face without capturing the essence of any of the aforementioned genres. I feel that the jack of all trades master of none approach to winning over the audience was a big reason why this movie did so poorly. I wish I could say that was the only reason for this movie being so terrible, but that’s not the case. The movie suffers from uneven pacing, poor characterization, lame effects, bad uses of flash backs, and a forced lesbian dance scene that looked more like the chicken dance then a raunchy attempt to keep teenage boys captivated. The list goes on, but I don’t have time to pick apart every reason why this movie was an epic fail.

So if the movie was so bad, why didn’t it become good? To borrow some insight from 30 Rock, the Chun Li movie didn’t climb down into the crevasse. For those of you who don’t watch the show, Jack Donaghy, one of the main characters, tries to advise his star employee about getting out of a difficult situation. He says:

"Some times the way back up is down. Let me tell you a story. It’s 1994 and I went ice climbing and I fell into a crevasse. I hurt my leg and I couldn’t climb back up. So fighting every natural instinct, doing what seemed most awful to me I climbed down--into the darkness and that’s how I got out."

The moral of that story is sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do in order to achieve our goals. If we follow this metaphor, the Chun Li movie tried to climb out of the crevasse by trying to appeal to everyone. Instead, it should have climbed deeper into the crevasse and focused on the niche market of nerds who already like the Street Fighter series.

Here are 4 ways the movie could have climbed deeper into the crevasse.

  1. Special moves-The movie only featured three of Street Fighter’s recognizable special moves. When I think of Chun Li I automatically think of her rapid kicking ability, yet for some reason her signature kick didn’t make the cut. If they really wanted to push this movie past the bad and into the good zone they should have had a lot of crazy over the top special attacks. Example: Have Bison, the movies antagonist, flying around the screen surrounded in a rainbow colored aura or have him leaping into the and stomping on people’s heads....hilarious, right?
  2. Music-There was no Street Fighter music in the entire movie. Would it have been so hard to update a few of the 16-bit songs? At the very least Chun Li’s stage music should have been incorporated somehow. Even if the director was completely lazy he should have thrown the original game music somewhere in the movie.
  3. Plot-Because the movie tried to be so many things to so many people the plot was very watered down. Considering the ridiculous storylines that come from the fabled fighter, I think the writers could have picked a more interesting plot or embellished the one they were already using. I don’t know Chun Li’s complete story off hand, but let me share Cammy’s story as an example of where the movie could have gone. Bison clones himself, but the clone (Cammy), unaware of her origin escapes his clutches and eventually seeks out Bison for the soul purpose of killing him. When she confronts him, she feels oddly attracted to him and then proceeds to pummel him to death. Crazy I know, but a story line like that could have made the movie a winning loser.
  4. Fans-The biggest thing they could have done was cater to the fans. It was very off putting to see characters not look or act the way they are depicted in the video games. Bison, for instance, was portrayed as a less than menacing blond blue eyed CEO. If you’re going to make a movie about something that already has an established fan base, you should maybe consider not alienating them in hopes of getting money from the casual movie goer.

I know it doesn't look like one, but this post was suppose to be a review. Let me just wrap things up by saying this movie was bad, don’t waste your time with it. If you want to watch a Street Fighter movie go watch the 1994 version. At least it was entertaining even if it wasn't good. I’m giving Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li 1 spinning bird kick out of 5

(1 out 5, that’s a first for Nerd Synthesis history. Congratulations Legend of Chun Li you suck)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Throw Up the Horns for Shrooms

Thanks to Twitter (yes, I have officially succumbed to Twitter....weep for me) I can now find really stupid, yet incredibly funny things on the internet. This little bit of internet gold comes from @NowGamer_Dan who didn’t tweet this specific video, but he did point me to the site called I must admit, might just become my new go to site if I want to waste that precocious thing called time. Sorry Facebook, Newgrounds, and you’re just going to have to vie harder for my attention. Anyways, Jack Black would be proud to see these fungi rocking out like Dethklok from Metalocalypse. If only Mario had heard this song before his little addiction to the magic mushroom, then maybe we wouldn’t be waiting with bated breath for his appearance on Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twisted Mickey

We were all worried that Disney was going to make Marvel into a cutesy sugar coated company where bad ass characters like the Hulk and Iron Man would skip through through fields of flowers; but none of us ever imagined that Marvel’s grittiness would rub off on Disney. It seems like Disney’s lovable mascot is getting a makeover for his his new game Epic Mickey set to be released sometime in 2010 for the Wii. Now when I say gritty I really mean a game that’s not blasting you with over the top cuteness just regular adorableness.

The plot of the game goes something like this: Mickey is kidnapped and brought to a demented world called Cartoon Wasteland where all of Disney’s cartoon rejects who couldn’t cut it as icons were banished to live their lives out in obscurity. Armed with a paint brush and paint thinner Mickey must battle his was through Cartoon Wasteland and unravel its mysteries. Like a lot of games today, Epic Mickey comes complete with a moral system. You can choose to be the hero and help the denizens of Cartoon Wasteland or (and this is were it gets kind of stupid) not help them at all and become a loner. That’s right you don’t even get the option of being bad, you just get the option of being a jerky good guy.

This is where I would normally rip into a game for believing that slightly tweaking an established character will appeal to a more hardcore audience. Instead, I will have to forgo my mockery until the game is released. The reason for this is because Spector, the creator of Deus Ex and Thief, is in charge of the game. Both Deus Ex and Thief are good games so I officially have mixed feelings. On the one hand the premise of a darker Mickey feels gimmicky, but on the other hand, I know that the developers who are in charge of this game are top notch. If Spector can pull off making Mickey “edgy” or at the very least shift people’s perception of the delightful spokesperson for that evil corporation...ehm I mean whimsical company, then I would be more than willing to give the game a try.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Villain of the Week: Ganondorf

So, for Villains Month I’ve decided to change the Hero of the Month to the Villain of the Week and while I was writing the Villains Month post, Ganondorf instantly popped into my head. Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda is the main villain in most of the franchise’s games. Though he has changed from game to game he always has one thing on his mind, conquering Hyrule and then...the world (Bum Bum BUUUM!). While wielding the Triforce of Power Ganondorf plunged the world into darkness in the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princes and inadvertently submerged the world under the ocean in Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker. Gandorf also does a good job at capturing the fair maiden, Princess Zelda, and holding her for ransom or using her for his dubious plots.

But under that gruff evil exterior is there goodness inside his heart? Maybe he’s just misunderstood and wants to change the world for the better. Maybe midway through his destruction and mayhem he realizes that he has become a monster and that’s why he allows Link, the hero, to gather the necessary supplies to defeat him. Naaaaah, even if there was an ounce of goodness in Gandorf’s heart, Dr. Horrible made a good point about people’s character in regards to gruff exteriors yet vulnerable and innocent interiors. He said, “Sometimes there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.” It’s obvious to see that Ganondorf is a monster and not just figuratively. In the games where Ganondorf starts off human he usually transforms into a beast named Ganon whose grotesque appearance reflects the evil in his heart.

Lastly, what really makes Ganondof a good candidate for villain of the week is that he is a survivor much like Destiny Child’s aptly titled hit single, Survivor. He has been “killed” many times, but unlike his protagonist counterparts who must be reincarnated in almost every adventure, Ganondorf is usually the same person from the previous game. Even if it takes him a century to return, when Ganondorf promises, "I'll be back," he means it. If only politicians could sick to their word like Ganondorf; and yes, I did just take a potshot at politicians by saying they were worse than monsters. What’cha gunna do about it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Villains Month

It’s Villains Month!!! Why November? I don’t know, I just made it up. I don’t think November is any more evil than June, but I’m sure I could make up a dozen arbitrary reasons why November could be a month of villainy. Hmmm what’s in November...oh yeah Thanksgiving. Well there is that warm fuzzy story about the pilgrims becoming friends with the Native Americans, eating a wonderful feast, and learning about cooperation while building the foundation of a great nation. But, it could be interpreted as the Pilgrims allowing their greed to get the best of them by plundering the Native American’s land and slaughtering all the innocent who got in their know, November representing the baddies might not be too far off. Anyways, it’s official now (because I have that kind of power) November is Villains Month and it will join November’s illustrious list of month long observances such as Aviation Month, National Epilepsy Month, and of course Peanut Butter Lover’s Month (mmmmm). In honor of my new observance I’ve
tweaked the site a bit to follow suit. Enjoy your Villains Month...Mwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A New Challenger Enters the Ring: Psylocke

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, while being a short game, is really freaking fun... or so I’ve been told. (I’m not bitter about not having a PS3 yet) Well our friends at Activison have made me more anxious then ever to get my hands on this compilation of Civil War in video game format. Psylocke my favorite body swapped psychic ninja is now available for for DLC on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. Check out this video of the psionic assassin doing what she does best.

Drooooool. While Psylocke does appear on the Wii and PS2 version of the game she certainly doesn’t look as good when compared to her NextGen facelift. Expect to see Psylocke and other downloadable goodies coming your way in coming weeks.


Learn Something New

So you might have noticed I haven’t really posted anything of substance for about a week and....well...the reason for that is because (cue the dramatic music). I’ve been cheating on this blog with another blog (gasp). I know it’s horrible and I feel terrible, but I’ll make it up to you somehow my sweet blog. Dramatics aside I’ve been working on articles for a site called It’s basically a place where business people (who have real jobs and actually get an hour lunch break) can go on their lunches and learn something new. It’s a really cool idea if you think about it. Feel free to go there and poke around. While you’re there you can check out my articles, they’re not hard to find, they’re the only articles about video games.

So anyways, while I was writing an article for I ran into a really funny video about the potential video games have for teaching. I would have written a post about it on Lunchlearning, but the video was too short, had no real business application, and well, didn’t look professional. It might not have been a good fit for my mistress site, but it’s an excellent addition to this one. If you’ve never heard the argument for games as teaching tools Daniel Floyd (the robust stick figure in a green tie) basically breaks it down for you. He explains the rift between games created expressly for fun and the games specifically created to teach. Floyd explains the pros and cons of both sides and offers suggestions on how to fuse both fun and education into one rewarding experience. While I doubt there will be a game that lets me beat people into submission while teaching me the fundamentals of trigonometry (what a weird game that would be) our tiny sketched friend has a point. Lets see if developers take the hint and use video games for something other than cheap thrills and one night stands.....[breaks down in tears] Oh I’m sooooo sorry my beautiful blog, I’ll never leave you again. Can you ever forgive me?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let me give you the BOOT!!!!

HAHAHAHAHA just another reason why people with video cameras who love video games and have way to much time on their hands should be my friend. I don't know what I would have done if that boot tried to stomp my way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Superman/Batman Public Enemies Review

I watched Superman/Batman Public Enemies this weekend and I was surprised to find that the movie was good. I mean, I wasn’t expecting the movie to be bad, I just didn’t expect it to be as good as it was.


A meteor made of kryptonite is on a crash course towards earth and President Lex Luthor (ehm bad guy) with his infinite wisdom decides to use his own patented missiles to destroy the space rock of doom instead of asking for help from one of the many superheroes who could have easily punched the meteor out of the sky. Superman and Batman, who think Lex’s plan will fail, decide on their own method of saving the planet and inadvertently bruise Luthor's ego. In retaliation to the egregious offense to his pride, Lex implicates Superman of murder and slaps a $1 billion bounty on the Man of Steel. Superman must then team up with Batman, the only person in the world smart enough to know that Superman isn’t a cold blooded killer, if he wants to survive the constant onslaught of foes looking for a little extra cash and friends wanting to bring him to “justice.”

What the Movie did Right

  • Fan Service-They definitely crammed a lot of characters into one movie, but it never felt like the abundance of characters were arbitrarily thrown into the movie just because it need bodies. A lot, but certainly not all, of the cameos got a chance to show off their talents as they battled our two heroes.
  • Battle Royal-A lot of animated movies try to focus on telling an interesting story with one or two big action scenes and that’s fine...sometimes, but this is a comic book movie and we (the fans) want action and this movie delivered it. I don’t think five minutes passed without someone getting thrown into a building or being pelted with exploding batarangs.
  • Good Writing- So what if the plot, “The world will be destroyed unless you save it,” has been done a million times before, it doesn’t mean the writing can’t be good. The dialogue wasn’t drawn out or sappy and none of the lines seemed forced or cliched so kudos to the voice actors. But what I really liked was that several characters brought jokes and friendly banter with them. I couldn't help, but laugh at random comments about Batman’s dreary personality and Power Girl’s accentuated costume.
  • This One’s for the Big Kids-Not to say that this film isn’t kid friendly, but the movie was definitely aiming to please teenagers and up instead of the 5-12 year old crowd that most cartoons these days are targeting. Basically, good job creators for targeting the larger demographic of your audience, I’m sure that will equal bigger sales.

Here’s What the Movie did Wrong (I’m just being nit picky)

  • Why so Stiff-The animation was stiff and it looked like all the characters couldn’t move properly because their rippling muscles got in the way.
  • Special Features-The special features were not interesting, well on disc one anyways. When the special feature says Green Lantern preview I expect to see a clip of the movie or some really good concept art, but all I got was the director telling me Green Lantern's origin and how perfect the voice actors were for their roles. Now there is a second disc with a slew of extras, but unfortunately Redbox doesn’t let you rent the bonus disc. Sad, I know, but I might add onto the review if I ever see the bonus features.

Final Thoughts

Overall the movie was a good, straight forward action packed flick that should make any DC fan happy. I’m giving Superman/Batman Public Enemies 4 batarangs to the face out of 5

Oh hey, in my preview of this movie which you can check out here, I mentioned that all the characters in the movie were ripped and that everyone must belong to a gym as some kind of world mandate. I’m here to go on the record and say that I was wrong. My new theory is that everyone had liposuction and the doctors didn’t know what to do with all the extra fat so they put it in her.

See that rather large androgynous looking woman with no neck making out with Lex looks like she's sucking out all the fat from lex's body. I bet you can't think of a better way to perform lipo, can you?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Poll Results

The polls are in for “Who Wields the Power of Thunder Better, Storm or Thor?” And the winner is....THOR!!!!! It was a good try Storm, but a weather witch just can’t beat a Norse god whose title is God of Thunder. Lets all go to Valhalla and party down with the the victorious Thor.

This month question is, “Who is Faster, The Flash or Sonic the Hedgehog?” Is it the Flash who is faster than Superman or is it Sonic, who according to his Saturday morning cartoon theme is the fastest thing alive. The race to be the fastest is on and it’s up to you to decide a winner.

Here are two clips that let you compare the two speedsters...sorta.

This is an episode of The Justice League that really shows off the Flash's abilities. Start watching the clip at 2:08 and if you like what you see just keep watching the episode.

This is Sonic, the song explains it all.

If you feel strongly about one speedy hero being faster then the other then post a comment like the one below. Otherwise, thanks for clicking one of the options to the right.

Hero of the Month

I was having a rough day yesterday and as I walked to my car I imagined that the best way to end my long day was to have a little yellow piece of paper tucked neatly under my windshield wiper informing me that I had to pay $25 for an expired meter. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, but I continued to think of what might have happened if the meter maid had left a gift for me. My one conclusion to the scenario was to yell into the dark empty void of space hoping that my reverberating voice would somehow cure my mounting frustrations. At that moment, without thinking, I let out a weird little yaaaaaa sound that reminded me of Banshee. My tiny yaaaaaa sound was so awkward and random that I instantly started laughing out loud and that is why Banshee gets hero’s honors this month because he made me smile on one of my off days.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Uncharted 2's Big Screen Preview

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is getting raving reviews from everyone and it’s already been predicted to be the best game of 2009...not bad for game that hasn't been released yet. Even G4’s Adam Sessler said that Uncharted 2 has the best single player experience of any game he has ever played and that’s saying something when it comes from the guy who controls all the gaming news for an entire cable station and its website. Apparently the game’s graphics will blow your mind and the game's attention to detail makes it standout from the heaping mass of generic shooters that clog Game Stop’s shelves.

As a way to create buzz around the game, Sony has decided to let people preview the game before its release in four movie theaters across the nation. Mike Fidler, Senior VP of Sony’s digital camera division said, "This is the first time we're doing it in a theater. We think it's a start of something for us, and hope we can build this into a standard element in the movie-going experience." Uncharted 2 will be projected onto the theater’s mammoth screen using Sony’s new 4K digital projectors. Combine the state of the art projectors with the game’s stunning graphic engine and the eyes of those at the preview will most likely melt out of their sockets due to all the prettyness happening on the if you plan on going to the preview you have been warned.

San Francisco and Thousand Oaks, California; Bellevue, Washington; and Rosemont, Illinois are the lucky winners of this video game/theater experiment (YAY Illinois). I’m not really into shooters, but I am interested in this one so come down to the MUVICO Rosemont Theater at 9701 Bryn Mawr Ave Rosemont, IL 60018 and check it out and don’t forget your seeing eye dog.

According to MUVICO’s website the Uncharted 2 tournament (yes, not just a preview, but a competition as well) will happen on Tuesday October 6 from 5:00 till 10:00 PM. It’s $15 to play or $10 to watch other people play (boring). If you want to order your tickets in advance go to MUVICO’s website or call (847) 447-1030.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories Review

Its been a long time coming, but I’m finally reviewing Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (CoM) for the Playstation 2. As you may know, the Kingdom Hearts (KH) franchise fuses Disney with Final Fantasy in such a way that it creates a completely weird and very interesting world to explore. You might be wondering, “Hey didn’t that game come out for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) like four years ago?” Yes, Yes it did and I can safely say that the PS2 version is exactly the same as its handheld counterpart with a few extras.


CoM takes place between the events of KH 1 and KH 2 so you could say it’s KH 1.5 and like most games that try to squeeze themselves between established titles, CoM’s plot has no real bearing on the main story. CoM begins with Sora, the spiky haired hero, looking for his friends Riku and Mickey. On his journey Sora and his traveling companions, Donald and Goofy, stumble upon an architect's worst nightmare called Castle Oblivion.

Inside the the castle, Sora meets members of Orginization XIII who inform him that his friends are lost somewhere inside the castle. In order to find his friends Sora must lose his memories so he can access all thirteen floors of Castle Oblivion. Sora must then weigh finding his friends against losing his most precious memories, as well as, unravel the secret behind Organization XIII and rescue a mysterious girl named Naminé.

Game Play

CoM is technically a card battler, meaning you use playing cards to decide how you attack, but the game cleverly manages to disguise itself as a button mashing melee game. You are given a set number of cards that you can carry and depending on how you chose to level up Sora, you can increase the number of cards you can hold. Every card is assigned a value between 0-9; if your opponent attacks with a card valued at 7 then you must use a card with a higher value or zero to defeat their card, this is called a card break.

You can also combine up to 3 cards to create a number too large for an enemy to break or use the combination of cards to perform special attacks. There are three types of cards: magic cards that let you shoot lightning, ice, or fire, attack cards which let you strike your opponents, and summon cards that let you bring other characters like Simba onto the screen to attack for you. The trick to winning most of the battles is to get enough high level attack cards into your deck so you can mindlessly tap the X button and wail away on all the bad guys. Unfortunately, once you figure out the trick the game becomes a battle against tedium and some gamers might not have the patients or the desire to play all the way through to the end. Granted, there are some amazingly challenging boss fights that force you rethink your strategy, but those are few and far between.


The game takes place in all the same locals of KH1 such as Wonderland, Agrabah, Halloween Town, and Monstro’s belly, but the big downfall of CoM being ported to the PS2 is the level design. In the GBA version CoM was a top down 2-D romp through a maze of rooms with each room missing a wall so the player could see inside. In the PS2 version, you now have the ability to rotate the camera so when you do a 360 degree spin around a room, instead of seeing four walls, you see three walls and a black void where the fourth wall should be.

So why were the game designers so lazy that they didn’t add a fourth wall? Because in Japan CoM was a free game when you bought the remixed edition of Kingdom Hearts 2. If you think about it, why would the game designers spend extra money on making a lot of changes to a game that’s wouldn’t be gaining profit. It’s very upsetting to know that Square-Enix got away with selling a free game in Japan for $60 here in the U.S.


No original music here. The music features everything you heard from KH1, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. This time around the cast from KH1 lend their voices to CoM in order to create a more in-depth experience. The cut scenes look great in fully 3-D graphics and some of the big boss battles made me want to put down the controller and watch the frenzy of dazzling attacks kill me. Because of the fleshed out graphics and the voice overs, CoM comes complete with a theater mode that strings all the cut scenes together into one large movie.

Reverse and Rebirth

The main reason I cared about this game was that after you played through the game as Sora you get to play it over again as Riku, the villain/hero of KH1 who is also lost inside the castle. It’s interesting to see how the two plots are intertwined and how both characters choose to escape the castle, but the real reason I wanted to play as Riku was so I could use his dark powers to blow stuff up.

Final thoughts

I can really only recommend this game if you like Kingdom Hearts. The story, the boring battles, and the poorly designed levels make this game really hard for the average gamer to enjoy, but if you’re a fan of Kingdom Hearts then this is a must buy because it’s fun to play as Riku and its cool to see the cutscenes fully rendered in 3-D. I’m not quite sure how to rate this game. As a GBA game CoM is easily a 4 out of 5 because the controls work better for the Game Boy and the game is much more challenging because you can’t side step every attacks. While the Playstation 2 game seems like a lazy attempt to update a good game with extras that feel tacked on. I would have to give Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories for the Playstation 2 a 3 out of 5.