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!