Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pining for GTA4

Didn't get the chance to go out and pick up "Grand Theft Auto 4" today. I am in Valdosta, Ga. on assignment and don't have my PS3 with me. (Too much to drag that and my work computer.)

If anyone has played it will you please tell me what you think? I'm dying to know.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Mario Kart Wii" first impressions

Picked up and started playing the game a little while ago and so far so good. The Wii wheel that comes with the game is heaver than I expected, but is fun to use. And the online play is flawless. I haven't had any problems logging on or joining a match. Major bonus points to Nintendo for that.

Will be taking this thing with me on a road trip this week- so expect more posts and observations. I will say, it has been interesting switching between this game and Nascar on Fox.

"Mario Kart: Wii" codes.

I don't have my copy of "Mario Kart Wii" yet but I thought I'd open up another forum to exchange "Mario Kart" codes. Yep, the genius that is Nintendo's friends codes system mandates that we run around posting digits everywhere and manually punch them in with our Wii motes.

So feel free to post your codes here and add others you see on this list. I'll hopefully be able to afford my copy soon.

Late edit: so thanks to the trade in value of some older games, I was able to purchase my copy of the game today for a small price.

My code is 0774-4650-5873.

Nickname- Dano.

Add me and I'll add you back.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Grand Theft Auto 4" anticipation

Somewhere, in this city, "Grand Theft Auto 4" is sitting on shelves, waiting for their Tuesday release. So close, but yet so far.

Here's the official trailer.



If anyone knows someone working in the stock-room of a local retailer who's willing to pop open the cash register a few days early so I can buy a copy, please introduce me.

No column today



Alas, we don't get one today. But I thought I'd comment on my wife's race to get a level 70 character on "World of Warcraft" before the next expansion pack comes out. If Blizzard is going to get a fraction of my income every month, could they make better-looking clothes for high-level characters.

Please?

I am enjoying my double XP weekend on "Call of Duty 4." I'm sure I will get nothing done around the house because of it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

New maps

Got my first taste of the four brand-spankin' new "Call of Duty 4" maps last night. For the time being they'll have to be played separately from the usual fare- I assume that's to give all of the regular players an opportunity to download the map pack. That's fine with me and, as if the new maps weren't awesome enough, it's double experience points all weekend. I've got some catching up to do with my ranking, so thanks to Infinity for that.

All of these maps are solid, but my favorite so far is "Creek" an expansive romp through the forest where players can crawl through some natural terrain. It's very distinct from the usual "CoD" fare and I think it will be considered the best new map of the bunch.

The television station map is a close second. I'd like to thank Infinity Ward for not phoning these maps in and putting some time and effort into it, making the maps worth the wait. And I'm sure no one had a problem paying the meager $9.99.

But what I want to know is: when will the PS3 players stop being treated like the red-headed step children? Xbox has had these for a month now.

Oh well.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No column this week

My editor informed me they're not running my column this week because of a special section that will run on Saturday. This will give me ample time to play and review the new "Call of Duty 4" maps, which come out today.

There are also possible plans to move my column (and some of the section that surrounds it) to Thursday sometime in May. I am highly supporitve of this move and hope they decide to do it.

But we'll see.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

For those of you who like rock band

Our friends, the Gadrock gamers are on top of things in Gadsden. Looks like the public library- of all places- is sponsoring a free Rock Band tournament.

But I'm most interested in what the tie-in with using the library would be. I think I'll have to make it out to this one....


Free Rock Band Competition @ Gadsden Mall Saturday!
Category: Games

That's correct sirs!

The Gadsden Public Library is sponsoring a free Rock Band competition this Saturday night from 6 PM - 8 PM.



It will be located on the fountain stage in the center of the mall.



I'm just typing what I know, so I may or may not be correct with anything else, hah.



Try to have a full band assembled before the event, just to make things easier.



If I hear any more information I'll post it.



A little more information can be found at http://www. gadsdenlibrary. org/teenzone/

I, Jason and hopefully another staffer at Gadrock will be there to support the competition and to spread the word about GG to the masses.



I do know there are prizes to win, the format of the tournament is being worked on right now.



We'll be working with the Library's Teen Zone with future video gaming events for you guys!

Thanks,

Jason R.

Coleman

Monday, April 21, 2008

Batman: Gotham Knight looks like a winner....

I was checking up on the upcoming Batman movie. When I noticed there's a new animated feature coming out.

It's called Gotham Knight and it features six interlocking films, in different styles of animation, set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It features the voice of Kevin Conroy, who will reprise his role as Batman for the movie.

And the trailer looks amazing....



Look for it shortly before the movie comes out. I am very, very excited about this.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Call of Duty 4" map dates set


Looks like next weekend is booked for me.

Joystiq.com- Call of Duty 4's Variety Map Pack has emerged triumphantly from the PlayStation 3 certification process and will become available for download next week on the North American PlayStation Network. Infinity Ward's Community Manager, "Fourzerotwo," has updated his blog with the news, confirming the $10 DLC's arrival on April 24th. Unfortunately, European gamers will have to wait an extra week (until May 1st) before gaining access to the four new multiplayer maps.

We recommend you frolic through the maps on the Double XP weekend for North America, which will run from 12:01 AM PDT on Friday, April 25 to 11:59 PM PDT on Sunday, April 27.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today's column

Six Big Girls

On March 30, six Florida teenagers took a grudge against a classmate to a whole new level. The girls filmed themselves as they took turns beating Victoria Lindsay for supposedly trash talking them on her MySpace.

The girls wanted to put the video on YouTube. Thanks to the video, portions of which were released to the media after the fact, the girls were caught. They're up to their eyeballs in you know what. They'll be tried as adults.

And what gets blamed for causing this mess? YouTube, the same Web site whose existence helped expose these girls and their crime.

A jury of misguided moralists gave its verdict. YouTube: it's the root of all evil.

I think the outrage and concern about YouTube, Facebook and other social networking sites is misplaced. They are just tools for communication and expression. Without them Internet users would find other outlets.

YouTube did not put the camera in these girls' hands. YouTube did not beat up their classmate. And YouTube is not being charged with a crime, nor can it be. The last time I went to the YouTube Web site I didn't see a big banner reading "Post videos of you beating the crap out of someone here!"

Our armchair pundit society has shirked its responsibility to raise its children and has put the blame on something irrelevant. The uproar about YouTube will last until "Grand Theft Auto 4" comes out. And the phony outrage machine will roll on.

America's media is punting the ball here. In its haste to crown the next YouTube celebrity it's ignoring a serious cultural illness, one that values fame and prioritizes vanity. Today it's possible to achieve notoriety with no talent whatsoever.

Instead of revering people for their accomplishments, like curing cancer or finding a reliable and renewable source of energy, we honor them for the most boorish behavior.

The problem isn't YouTube. The problem is that there is an audience for it.

Yes, I watch stupid stuff on YouTube, too. I'm not saying I'm above it. But posting on it isn't going to advance many noble causes.

YouTube is a mild diversion. It shouldn't be a golden ticket to instant celebrity. Sometimes I think we're so self-referential we're about to collapse in on our selves like a star that's burned up all of its gas.

But that's just me.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Turok"



Finally got my copy of "Turok" for the PlayStation 3. For a game about a spaceship that crash lands on a planet full of dinosaurs, "Turok" is running low on imagination. The motions were repetitive and sometimes I died and I didn't even get a screen telling me what happened. I just started over like a glitch.

And I'm not even going to go into the online play, the predictable plot...etc, etc.

It looks decent enough, I guess. Maybe I'm being too hard on it.

We'll see.

New Mortal Kombat v. DC Universe game

It's going to happen according to Gamespot.

Yep. That's right Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and the MK posse versus Superman, Batman, and familiar faces from the DC universe. And yeah, it's not going to be M-rated. How's that for some curveballs?

Before anyone starts citing this as a sign of the apocalypse, we'll suggest, as fans of the series ourselves, that everyone take a breath and keep an open mind. We were a little leery too but, after spending some time talking to Boon and getting a peek at a few things, we can say that there's a lot going on in MK vs. DCU. Once you get past the shock of the cape and tight set guest-starring in the fighter, you'll find that the game is the most ambitious reboot of the series since Deadly Alliance.



I'm even more intrigued by the trailer.



So what do you think? Will this game suck or rule the world?

I hope its the latter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

HD goodnesss



So last night, after much soul searching a nail biting, I took the plunge- I bought a Sony Bravia 32 Inch HD TV, something that came highly recommended. I was only able to do this because of a large amount of gift cards left over from my wedding and because Target knocked $100 off the price. (It will be the last thing I ever buy at Target, but that's a story for another day.)

If I could say one thing about shopping for an HD TV- Don't settle. If you're going to spend that kind of money, why not spend an extra couple of hundred and get something really special. The HD TV has crisp, clear pictures and amazing contrast. Some of the cheaper models, while a nice size for the price, looked a bit washed out to me. And the Bravia is somewhat reasonable compared to the other T.V.'s out there.

I played "Call of Duty 4" for the first time on it last night and drooled all over myself. I bought "No Country For Old Men" on BluRay. I was most amazed at how the T.V. managed the dark hues, seperating inky blacks and blues.

I am extremely happy with it- as happy as any man could be from something so material.

But I'll be hosting a christening party for my "man-cave"/ media room very soon....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blockbuster seeks huge acquisition

File this one under the "what are they thinking" category. Game and movie rental giant Blockbuster has made a bid to buy entertainment retailer Circuit City.

The gaming industry has seen more than its fair share of consolidation in recent months, with a spate of publishing-giant mergers, studio acquisitions, and developer closures. Now, two of the businesses that distribute the industry's wares are getting into the fortification game. Rental kingpin Blockbuster said today it has offered to acquire Circuit City for $6 to $8 per share, or $1 billion to $1.3 billion.


You can read the full article at Gamespot. I was under the impression that Blockbuster was almost belly up. This seems like a crazy move for them to make, and I really see no justification in this. It will be interesting to see just how this all plays out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Touch

Finally got around to playing "The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass" for the DS this week and I can't believe I put it off for so long. It's a charming gem of a game with a flare for the theatrical and a sense of humor.

"Phantom" really works the stylus motions into the game play and they are incredibly useful. It's some of the best graphics I've seen on the DS, as well.

I will have a more in-depth review of this and DS Mario Party in a future review. This week I plan to deal with the professional whiners who blame YouTube and other social networking sites for every problem society has.

Should be fun. I will resume regular posting on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

When gamerscore jumps the shark

Achievements are a unique way to brag about your Xbox 360 gaming skills to people from all over the world. Every retail and Xbox Live Arcade game features achievements that, when unlocked, create an online resume to show what a gamer has accomplished while playing the console. Each achievement is represented by a number of points. These points add to a running total called a gamerscore, which is where all of the gamers achievements are tallied for all of the games they have played. The concept is really cool, but the system fails in the most important of aspects — execution.

Jared Rea of GameTap has written a fantastic article about the gamerscore, and the problems that currently plague it.

Gaining achievement points should be a rewarding experience and while competing for them makes sense, developers run the risk of poisoning the online field for players. The recently released Turok encourages players to go online and defeat a single opponent multiple times in a row without touching anyone else, or better yet, to go through an entire match without killing anyone.


I feel that developers should not include online achievements at all. Gears of War and Perfect Dark Zero are two more games that have ridiculous online achievements that do nothing but hurt the overall experience. It's obvious that this is a problem when you watch a teammate avoid the competition simply to achieve 10 points on their gamerscore.

You can read the full list of online blunders here. Microsoft has an innovative system on their hands, but developers need to work harder to strengthen the quality of their achievements. The system is only going to get worse if the twiddle their thumbs.

Bully review

“Bully” is awesome.

Ever wanted to give those jocks who tormented you an Indian Burn? Ever wanted to wedgify the preppies that made you dread lunchtime? Wanna throw eggs at nerds?
“Bully” is for you.

The game is a sandbox-style first-person adventure a la “Grand Theft Auto,” just without firearms and death.

Also, there’s a whole lot more structure.

That’s what really makes the game brilliant. You have to go to class or the prefects make you mow the grass. You have to be in bed by 2 a.m. or you pass out and get robbed (why the high schooler you play as can’t pull the occasional all-nighter is beyond me ... wuss). Picking fights, bullying and vandalizing your school will cost you if and when you get caught.

That level of realism and the message of “Behave you scamp!” that the game sends is what keeps “Bully” from being the moral corruption it tries to convince you it is. Don’t believe the hype or the ads or the box art. At the end of the day, the game wants you to do the right thing ... and punish those who don’t.

Now, you can skip classes and get away with it, but going to class and getting good marks gives you bonuses. You get more health every time you get some smooches. You unlock new outfits and learn how to get off the hook for minor infractions. Besides, classes are minigames (such as a version of “Text Twist” or “Trauma Center”) that are quite a bit of fun and decently challenging.

That’s another great side effect of the realism. It makes this game tough. You can’t vaporize the prefects, teachers and other authority figures. Outrunning them is difficult. So you’ve got to be stealthy, sneaky and all manners of clever.

Sometimes though, the game does demand you pull out the whuppin stick. Actually, it demands that a lot. Whenever you antagonize a clique, they come after you.

Relentlessly. You can run, get beat up, or dole the pain right back out. As always though, don’t get caught.

I’m through about 1/4th of the game, but the story is pretty cool so far. You play as troublemaker Jimmy Hopkins, the new kid trying to fit in. You get manipulated my a psychopathic teenager, Gary, who wants to ‘rule the school.’ Gary is so evil, so well-written, he’s already leapt into the pantheon of great teenage villains.

As far as the mechanics, playing is easy and your Wii-motions rarely get incorrectly registered. Controlling Jimmy is pretty smooth, the graphics are good for the Wii, the sound is clear and there are some nice tunes. The music doesn’t approach “Smash Bros. Brawl,” but I doubt anything will anytime soon.

The only gripes I have are that it takes a while to really unlock the games’ potential — being able to leave the school. Also, you get no weekends. You have class every day and that clock never slows down or goes away. You’d think that the game designers would have given you two full days of in-game clock time for mayhem. Nope. You’ve got class. So buy the game, learn the ropes, and claim that “coolest kid in school” title you probably never had growing up.

I’m giving “Bully” 4.5 buttons out 5.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some Friday links

Apparently, I was incorrect in my assumption that "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" would not be coming to the Wii. It is, and it's cracked my list of top-5 games I'm incredibly excited for.

http://wii.ign.com/articles/865/865776p1.html


Also on that list? Mario Kart Wii, De Blob, Okami (which is already out, buy I need to beat Bully first) and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. SBCG4AP, as the abbreviation goes, will get it's own post soon. I'm still too excited to write about it properly though.

Halo 3 has released more maps. As somone who only played the first two Halos infrequently, and who's been absolutely stunned that Halo 3 didn't dominate the way the Wii has, I'm probably not passing along anything that's too Earth-shattering here.

http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/865/865935p1.html

If I had to guess why Halo 3 bombed, I'd go with three factors:
1) The novelty of the Wii experience has pushed it to the forefront of video games in mainstream culture.
2) The well-publicized "Red Ring of Death" phenomenon has scared a ton of people away from the 360.
3) The story was such a disappointment — to the point that several of my friends mentioned it as their biggest complaint — that the game never had a chance to develop a high level of popularity/good reviews, thus preventing casual gamers from deciding they needed to play the game.

Saw this on Joystiq, a story about the first trailer for Resident Evil 5.

http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/04/10/newsweeks-ngai-croal-on-the-resident-evil-5-trailer-this-imagery-has-a-history/

MTV discussed what it saw on the trailer, pointing out that the imagery appears patently offensive to black people, noting "No black people must have worked on this game." Having not yet seen the trailer (I'm at work, can't imagine that going over well) I can't really comment, but the images don't look terribly intelligent. Good to know that video game journalists are looking at stuff like this, instead of just saying "OMG!! THOSE GRAPHICS RULE!! I WANNA KILL BLACK ZOMBIES LIKE, NOW!!"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ikaruga hits Xbox Live

The arcade shooter genre has been really close to my heart for many years now. One of my all-time favorites is Ikaruga, an old-school styled shooter that was released on the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Gamecube. The game received critical acclaim from many Web sites and print magazines. Ikaruga became a very hard title to find and many people missed out on the wonderful experience due to the limited supply. That has changed with the release of the Xbox Live Arcade version which is now available for 800 Microsoft Points.

Ikaruga can be summed up in one word — hard. This is easily the hardest shooter I have ever played, but that is what makes the experience so rewarding. The game features an innovative "polarity" system that takes shooters to a whole new level. Waves and waves of black and white enemies come from all angles, and you can switch your ship to match their color. A white enemies fire will not harm your white ship, and the same goes for black fire with a black ship. This system may sound very simple, but it really adds a learning curve to each of the games five levels. The game becomes a blast when you master enemy movements and chain like crazy. The Xbox 360 version comes complete with Xbox Live cooperative play, leaderboards and the ability to save replays.

I simply cannot recommend this game enough. I have included a video below to further whet your appetite. I encourage all Xbox 360 owners to at least give the free trial a whirl. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Batman? This has potential


http://tv.ign.com/articles/864/864523p1.html

Cartoon Network is launching a new Batman animated series, "Batman: The Brave and the Bold." Read the link for more details.

Back?

So, what's a die-hard "Batman: The Animated Series" fan thinking?
This has potential.
Yeah, Batman's a deathly serious character, but a little humor rarely hurts. Some of the best moments from "Justice League" involved the Flash and his comic relief. If Wally West enhanced that show, I'm confident Blue Beetle won't ruin this one. Besides, we have more than 100 solo Batman stories ... let's see him in new situations with new characters. I like the decision to take things a different direction, though I'd love animated series on characters other than Batman and Superman, who've pretty much been done, and done brilliantly. How about Wonder Woman? The Martian Manhunter? Or, my absolute favorite, The Question?
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nk7RyyHq-F0)

The one thing that does bother me is the art. That alone will probably kill my interest the same way it did for "The Batman." I've been spoiled by the Bruce Timm stuff, so can we please make our super hero cartoon characters look human, and not comic-bookish? Look at that Batman logo on his chest ... those wings are far too large. The Blue Beetle looks like some kind of demon, and Green Arrow looks like his sidekick, Speedy. You don't need Bruce Timm, but lets drop the angular drawings and get some curves in there, please.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grand Theft Auto 4 goes big

I hate to blog about the same game two times, but I'm just too excited about Grand Theft Auto 4. Today marked the first day that the media could release their impressions of the multiplayer section of the game. You can literally find a preview of the games most anticipated mode at any website, but I find that IGN's is one of the better reads. Here are some notable quotes to get your anticipation to an all-new level.

Multiplayer is accessed from the single-player game via Niko's cell phone and supports up to 16 players. Oh, and the entire world runs at the same time. That's right -- all the pedestrians, traffic and cops are there. The entire city is open to you and your fifteen friends in apparently every mode.


I'm very pleased to see this. Saints Row, a game that plays very similar to the GTA series, chopped the map up for multiplayer and offered a limited mirror to the single player game.

Playing with eight people, we only had one instance of slowdown. And that was when all of us were firing RPGs into a crowd of cops.


Fantastic! Framerate was a big problem with the initial single player section of the game when it was previewed late last year. I love hearing that it has been fixed in both the single and multiplayer parts.

In open areas, things do get a bit more hectic. Especially when vehicles get in the mix. My favorite is holding tight to Davey Clay on the back of a motorcycle. You get a clear view of all enemies and you're free to fire while your partner drives. Headshotting a would-be assassin while popping a wheelie: priceless.


Rockstar is the king. The coop elements of deathmatch sound perfect. I can't wait to cruise through town on a motorcycle while my partner takes out the competition.

You can read the full preview here. Check out Gamespot, Gamesradar and Gametap for more previews.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Violent video games will send you to jail

Found this on joystiq.com: An Arizona House Bill designed to hold developers, publishers and distributors of obscene written, audio or video material liable for damages should a purchaser of said material go out and commit a felony or worse! An act of terrorism.

http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/48leg/2r/bills/hb2660h.htm

Firstly, double-shennanigans on this. To say that obscene material alone can inspire someone to commit a crime is ridiculous. By that extension, if you commit a crime and your parents/friends/guardians don't stop you, BAM! They should be liable. I'm a firm believer that our actions are governed my numerous sources and inputs, so singling one out (especially a recreational source such as music, TV or video games) is kind of silly. Columbine didn't come about because of bullying OR the ease in acquiring a gun. It came about because of BOTH (and plenty of other stuff too).

Speaking of video game censorship, I've had "Bully" for the Wii for about a week now, and I'll have a more traditional review in Saturday's paper. For now, I'm gonna throw in my two cents on the accusation that the game is a "Columbine simulator."

So, is it? Depends on what you mean.
Columbine was about a lot of things. It wasn't about two kids pretending to be action heroes, thinking there were no consequences to their actions. There was no element of fantasy, or pretend.
So, would "Bully" inspire similar feelings? Not really. Although it encourages you to beat up bullies, there are no firearms and no killing. Furthermore, when you get caught, you get punished. Following the rules (or at least not getting caught) matters. While the game does espouse violence more than mediation or letting authority figures handle situations, the general message is one of getting along and not tolerating bullying. Take out bullying from schools, and Columbine doesn't happen.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Journalist completes GTA4

One of the perks of being a video game journalist is getting to play the best titles before anyone else. Rob Taylor, deputy editor of Xbox World 360 magazine, was able to play through the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 4 earlier this week. Taylor was kind enough to answer some questions about the thriller for Web site GamesRadar.com. Here are some notables from the interview.

You're the first games writer to have finished GTA IV, how does that feel?

Pretty darn sweet to be honest, I allowed myself a quick smug grin when the Rockstar guys told me! It's funny; I didn't actually really get to play as much as – say – the Benelux journos we met while up in Chelsea (we were based in Rockstar's actual offices and I think I racked up 25 hours at the final count, while they were ensconced in their hotel rooms playing up to 11 hours a day!) and I also had to write down some fairly comprehensive tips for the first batch of missions so actually I got off to a slow start.


How different is the game from the others?

It's certainly tighter, both in terms of the way Liberty city is structured and the way in which the narrative feels more movie-like than before. Otherwise, everything feels as if it's been given the next-gen treatment; in particular the driving and shooting are light years ahead of past GTAs. Overall, it's a stratospheric leap forward, beyond anything I'd imagined.


If you had to pick a favourite out of all the games in the series now which one would it be?

GTA IV. By a country mile. It craps on all the others – even the mighty Vice City – from a height equivalent to the Statue of Happiness. Believe me, GTA IV is even better than the hype suggests!


You can read the full interview here. I'm pleased with a number of things including the games length (25 hours seems about perfect for the main story), the structure of Liberty City and the targeting improvements. The wait for April 29th will be brutal.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Today's column

Nerds in love

On one of those smart-alecky T-shirts sold in Target, there's a silhouette of a bride and groom. The caption: "Game Over."

I laughed when I saw that. My fianc�e Katrina guffawed and said, "That's mean."

I met Katrina in college, when we were both 20 . We discovered we had a mutual love of Rockapella, the group that sang the theme song for the Where in the World is Carmen San Diego show. We both liked to jog. And we both liked to talk on instant messenger � a lot, as it turned out.

It was very much an Internet romance, at first.

Fast forward: We had been in our relationship two years and things were going well. We'd moved in together, were finishing up our last semesters of college and trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our lives. I felt almost certain I didn't want any more school � she wanted to work.

We were both contemplating the great plunge off the Grand Canyon wall into the unknown when we saw the "E3" convention on the G4 channel. Between finishing high school and finishing college, I'd lost track of video games. I still played them, but was more likely to play things I'd liked in high school.

Katrina remembered her days playing "Dance Dance Revolution" for the PlayStation. I wanted to buy "Grand Theft Auto" and live out some thuggish fantasy. Together, we bought and purchased the newer slimmer model of the PlayStation 2. She played through "Final Fantasy VII" for the first time � I reached new heights of criminal glory.

We both graduated and got jobs � the real kind. We both went to our first Dragon*Con together after we moved to Anniston. We started saying things gamers say to each other as taunts � "ownt" and "pwnd"� and have spent long hours glued to our computer screens, catching up on the dubbed versions of our favorite anime.

As you're reading this, I'm probably a little nervous, adjusting my tuxedo, carefully arranging the hairs on my head. My whole family is here in Wetumpka, and friends too. Thinking about five years in this relationship, with this woman I fell in love with when we were young outgoing college students, I pause. For me the wedding is like an inventory of our small accomplishments.

Got degrees? Check. Jobs? Ditto. Are we in good health? Except for the regular fast food snacking, yes. Are we ready? Katrina and I are really two separate but equal ends of the nerdosphere, I've learned.

Between the two of us, we can keep the house from burning down with all of our high-tech stuff plugged into the wall. We laugh, we cry, and pay the bills while racing towards an uncertain finish before time is up. We are playing life in co-op mode.

Right now I'm probably contemplating my left ring finger, focusing on the space where I've never placed a piece of jewelry in my life. The inscription in my ring says "ownt." Her's says "pwnd."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday links

Some links from a Friday afternoon spent enjoying the rain (I'm from Portland, we like our precipitation).

The US relsease date for "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" was revealed to be Aug. 31 of this year. As someone who played the original on the X-Box, I'd be excited if this game came out for Wii ... because it's the only console I own. Still, it was a great game and would be a top-5 reason to buy another console. (Top reason not to ... money. No. 2 reason not to ... money. You get the gist).

http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/864/864278p1.html


"Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" will be released on Sept. 16 in the U.S. Anytime you can play as a dark Jedi, I'm for it. I like this trend of being able to play as villians.

http://ps3.ign.com/articles/864/864177p1.html

For those who've been disapointed in Sonic the Hedgehog's recent offerings, Sega has slated "Sonic Unleased" to be released this holiday season. The developer says it will be a return to his roots. It will also relsease on all three of the big consoles. Naturally, the game of the three I'm least excited for (never was a big Sonic fan, mostly because he was clearly a hippie) is the only one coming to the Wii.

http://www.joystiq.com/2008/04/03/sonic-unleashed-officially-announced-slated-for-holiday-2008/

And finally, something to refute the arguments that video games are bad for you. A London study says playing violent video games is actually calming, as opposed to leeading to increased anger and aggression. Of course, the violent video game used in the study was "World of Warcraft", which registers as a "T" rating. I somehow don't think that anti-video game moms (save for Tipper Gore) think of WoW when they oppose violent video games. I suspect they're thinking the "Grand Theft Auto" series, "Mortal Kombat" and stuff that comes with an "M" rating. Still, the study is worth a read.

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/36786/98/

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No More Heroes drops below $30



Here's a heads-up to all the Nintendo Wii fans out there. Capcom's cel-shaded gorefest No More Heroes has dropped in price significantly on several Web sites. The game was just released in February, so it's very surprising to see the price drop already.

The game can be had for a cheap $27.99 at Newegg.com. The company also offers free three day shipping to sweeten the deal even more. I've noticed that it has gone in and out of stock several times today, so be sure to check back if you are interested in picking up a copy. Amazon.com has dropped their price to $35.99, also with free shipping.

I haven't had the chance to play No More Heroes yet, but all the impressions I have read are favorable. You control Travis Touchdown, an average anime fan from a fictional town in California. Touchdown becomes a member of an underground assassin organization, and he must defeat other assassins in order to move up the ranks. No More Heroes has a Gamerankings.com average of 83%, and should not be missed for this great price.

Non-Wiimote controls limited for Mario Kart Wii


Our friends at Joystiq have posted an article about the different control schemes for Mario Kart Wii. The game will ship with a wheel "shell" that holds the Wii-Remote, allowing for a more "realistic" karting experience. Unfortunately, it seems that the player will gain limited control if they opt to use a Classic Controller or Gamecube pad.

Fans of alternate Wii control schemes were obviously psyched when it was revealed that Mario Kart Wii would support a variety of control methods, including the Wii Classic Controller and Gamecube pad. But those fans might want to scale back their expectations, as an updated game fact sheet (posted on Nintendo's press site) claims that players who don't use the Wii Remote schemes will not be able to perform "certain moves" and "some maneuvers."


You can read the rest of the article here. I really like the Wii-mote, but this news is not favorable. Nintendo should strive to keep the control schemes consistant across the board. I would much rather play a game like Mario Kart with my Wavebird. Hopefully the things left out aren't significant, so I can do just that.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Last minute prep

Brawlers- If you haven't added me yet, please know I've added you. I'm about to pack up the Wii and probably won't be playing again until the 12th or so..

But be good and Dietrich and Pittman will give you stuff to read. And have fun, as always.

wedding stress= no video games

To all the Brawlers who've left codes over the last couple of days: I'm sorry. I'm trying to make sure I add all of you and plan to make that happen tonight. I think there are two that have posted I havent' added- Shekira and anonymous.

I promise to remedy that soon. I have been planning a wedding on Saturday as some of you know and my nights are spent not brawling or capping fools on "Call of Duty" but packing clothes for the honeymoon, selecting wedding music etc....

Once again, I apppreciate your patience. Things should be back to normal in a couple of weeks.