Saturday, May 31, 2008

Halo 3 on June 3

Gadrock Gamers, along with Replays Gameware will be hosting their third tournament at Applebee's on June 3rd, starting at 9 PM.

The competition will be a 2 vs. 2 Halo 3 tournament.

It will start at 9 PM, registration starts at 8:30. The cost per team is $10. You can enter as an individual for $5, but will be paired with whomever else enters alone.

System Link will be used with two televisions for each match, one team on one and one on the other.

We will be playing under Slayer, and first team to get 25 kills wins. It is single elimination and will be randomly bracketed. Each map will be agreed on by both teams before selection.

We ask that you bring your own controller, but it isn't required, it just really helps us out a bit.

Two matches are going to be going on at the same time, one on each side of the Applebee's bar, which will be amazing.

We are going to try something totally different, and will be better than ever before at Gadrock Gamers, and we're talking prizes!

We are turning it up a notch, and we want you to crank it up also!

Without further ado, here are your prizes...

1st Place Team:
One Free Month of XBOX Live Each
$15.00 Cash Each
$15.00 Gift Certficate to Replays Gameware Each
$15.00 Gift Card to Applebee's Each
And more!
Over $100 worth of prizes goto the winner and each day these prizes are growing!

2nd Place Team:
$10.00 Cash Each
$5.00 Gift Certficate to Replays Gameware Each
$5.00 Gift Card to Applebee's Each
And more!

By "And More!" we're talking shirts, hats, free food from Gadsden's great food spots.

3rd & 4th Place Teams will not be left out!

Everyone participating in the event will get coupons from Replays for a free disc repair and $2.00 off any purchase over $10.00!

This is the most we've ever put on the line for YOU to win. So come out and get it!

So remember, Tuesday, June 3rd, come to Applebee's for some fierce Halo 3 competition, come for the memories that await and the great prizes for those courageous enough to step it up!

Thank you,

Jason R. Coleman
Event Organizer

Gadrock Gamers, as always, thanks Replays Gameware and Applebee's of Gadsden!

Resident Evil 5 trailer

The new trailer for Resident Evil 5 was unveiled last night on GameTrailers TV. The clip lasts over two minutes and features a good amount of gameplay footage to get your juices flowing. I am absolutely stunned at the amount of characters on screen at once. It looks like Capcom has used some elements from Dead Rising, a game that featured a mall filled with zombies, to create the ultimate horror experience.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Marketing chaos

Guitar Hero has taken the world by storm and is definitely a high tier game franchise. The Nintendo DS version features a special keypad controller that mimics the guitar buttons of the console games. The handheld hellraiser also has innovative features that can only be done on the small screen. Activision has created a hilarious tutorial video to explain these goodies to the gamer. I've included the video below.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dr. Mario Online RX

Nintendo released WiiWare to the North American market last Monday. The service, much like Microsoft's "Xbox Live Arcade" and Sony's "Playstation Network," is made to support downloadable titles from both small and large companies. One of the first titles to hit WiiWare was Dr. Mario Online Rx, an upgrade to the famous pill puzzler of old.

I haven't been able to put much time into the game yet, but I am very impressed from what I've played so far. The game features the original Dr. Mario game, complete with the dancing virus monsters and catchy music. The Wii update is also the first time that Dr. Mario can be played online against other gamers from all over the world.

The biggest addition is "Virus Buster," a multiplayer cooperative mode that bends the rules of the standard game. In this mode, multiple pills will spawn at the top of the screen, and gamers need to work together to be successful. The Wii Remote allows for easy point-and-drag gameplay. I'm going to try and round up some buddies this weekend to see just how crazy this mode is with four people.

If you liked the original Dr. Mario on NES then this is well worth a purchase. For 1000 Wii Points ($10), you get the classic with online play, and the highly addictive Virus Buster mode.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

A good holiday to all of you and many thanks to our soldiers serving abroad and at home. And of course the veterans. The freedom is much appreciated.

Special shout out to my dad, who served in the U.S. Navy.

I got sucked into this really cool article about worldwide Wi-fi.

International Herald Tribune- At the moment, there are just 830,000 registered Foneros around the world, and only 340,000 active Wi-Fi hotspots run FON software. Because it's built upon the concept of sharing Wi-Fi access, FON works well only if there are Foneros everywhere.

And as he struggles to expand the FON network, Varsavsky faces particular hurdles now that the Internet's commercial side has reached a crossroads. Born a few decades ago as an anarchic, digital version of a barn-raising, the wireless Internet is now a battleground between two giant technology consortiums seeking to rein in the Web's chaotic openness in favor of creating uniform, global access built upon wireless data networks.

The two camps, known as WiMax and LTE, for "long-term evolution," are both top-down, highly structured approaches that will cost billions of dollars to build and may close a door on some of the architectural openness that led to the rapid growth of the Internet.

But their potential advantage is that closed standards can encourage the kind of growth that offers more access to mainstream consumers and business users, as occurred when Microsoft imposed a measure of conformity on software development.

For his part, Varsavsky hopes that FON can offer a middle ground — deploying the original, bottom-up strengths of the early Internet movement and at the same time wedding them to a more formal, corporate approach to expansion.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The upcoming week

Just to bring all five of my regular readers up to speed- I'll be going down to Montgomery for at least next week, and perhaps longer. Our Montgomery reporter has moved on to another job and the Alabama Legislature has to pass the state education budget. So I'll be down there keeping an eye on things for our local K-12 schools and our local university, Jacksonville State University.

I'll likely spend the first few days getting my bearings and taking a crash course in Montgomery-speak. So I won't be posting much. Thankfully, Dietrich, Pittman and my wife Katrina have agreed to pitch in. (Travis, I haven't spoken with you yet, but if you want to help, too, it will be appreciated.)

Pittman is working on a Wii Fit column that will run next Thursday. We're doing a special section of some sort this Thursday and, rather than move the column around the paper and confusing the crap out of everyone, I decided to just hold off a week. The column is really an extension of the blog, as I see it, so no big deal there.

All right? All right. I look forward to getting back in the loop soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sorry I was late

Here's this week's column from Mr. Dietrich.

'Okami' holds its own
By John Dietrich
Sports Copy Editor

Wherever the line is between making an homage to a piece of art and ripping it off, "Okami" stands just enough to the homage side for the game to stand on its own.

"Okami" is so similar to games from the Legend of Zelda series, you could swap out its main character for Link and never notice the difference. In all honesty, I wish they could magically use "Okami" to replace "Legend of Zelda: Windwaker."

"Okami" has sprawling worlds, a gorgeous artistic style, puzzles just infuriating enough to challenge you — and keep you coming back — and one feature that was so tailor-made for the Wii, it's a wonder the game didn't originate on the system.

The Celestial Brush technique enables you to paint effects onto the world. Because you play as the sun goddess Amaterasu, and because the game's artistic style is that of East Asian Ink and Wash painting, this makes sense. If it's dark and you need light, just paint in the sun. If there's some exploding that needs to be done, draw a bomb. The symbols used are simple, and time stops while you paint, but you've got to have a level of precision, or nothing will happen.

The catch-all tool is limited to just 13 techniques, so you can't draw a giant meteor, or summon dinosaurs or other items that would simply crush your opposition. Instead, it becomes your greatest tool, and you have to be innovative with it to solve the multitude of puzzles and vague hints you'll get.

The difficulty of the game is just low enough that you won't fling your controller at the TV, but just barely. Fighting and performing actions are laughably easy (but I'm only about 10 percent into the game), but it's the puzzle aspect that drives me nuts. You must pay close attention to the "hints" you receive, because it's easy to misinterpret what you're supposed to do.

This isn't aided by the lack of instruction the game gives you. Simple things — such as telling you how the health meter works, or warning you that although you're playing as a goddess-turned-wolf, I still can't swim for more than five seconds — are rarely explained clearly. You've got a lot of learning to do, and because the game relies on symbols instead of words, there will be frustrating moments.

Rest assured that you'll figure the mechanics out before the game erases you.

The rest of the technical aspects are solid, with music that blends in and lends an appropriate feel to the situation, tight control and a very fluid camera system that never jams up and rarely picks a terrible position.

The only real technical aspect that might be poorly received is the graphic presentation. The game's very distinct style does not lend itself to crisp, clean, super-high-pixel-count-oh-my-word-I-can-see-every-strand-of-fur graphics. You'll rarely be confused as to what's what, and if so, it won't be for long. I find the Asian-influenced style to be quite a lot of fun to look at, but I also don't own an HD television because I don't see the point. Give me a DVR and $2,000 worth of movies, TV shows on DVD or video games any day of the week.

So pick up "Okami" and play it on whatever you've got. I'm giving it 4.25 buttons out of 5.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

Or, as I like to call it, "Thank God This Movie Didn't Ruin the Series Forever." Which it didn't. But it was one of those movies that seems really formulaic- until you realize that the people who made the movie invented the formula.

Gadrock Looking for XBoxes

Got any spare 360s?

COD 4 Related! We need your help!

Hey everyone!

GG needs some help to have the best COD 4 experience possible on Friday night.

I totally noobed it up when I was scheduling COD 4 2v2 for this Friday.

I had NO idea that System Link would mean, that we would need 4 TV's and 4 Xboxs to have just ONE 2v2 match.

That sucks!

So heres what we need from you guys....

We need a total of 8 XBOX 360s, 8 Controllers, 8 COD 4 Games.

A quick walkthrough of how to hook up system link between 4 XBOX's

I think we're good on a hub and ethernet cables though.

Anyone who can bring their own XBOX 360, let me know!

We currently have 3 XBOX's and 3 COD 4 Games and 3 Controllers or more.

If we can muster up another 5 Xbox's, Friday will be easier for everyone and way more fun!

So let me know ASAP, call me if you want to at 438-7955 or PM me on here.

If we don't get 8 XBOX's, this will make the tournament drag until next year, and we dont' want that, we want to keep games going, keep the adrenaline pumping and more!

Oh if you contribute with your xbox, you'll be handsomely rewarded (sorta.)



Contact Jason through the Gadrock my space blog.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rotten tomatoes critics give Indy 4 positive reviews

Well I'll be damned. The fruit huckers over at Rotten Tomatoes have given the latest Indiana Jones movie positive reviews. I think that's a good thing, since the trailers left me feeling wary of this movie's potential.

So, hooray.

Gadrock hosting tourney tonight

May 19, 2008 - Monday


Starting at 9 PM, Gadrock Gamers will be hosting their first event at the Applebee's of Gadsden, located on Rainbow Drive.

We will be having Guitar Hero III (Medium & Expert) Tournaments.

It only costs five bucks to enter and the prizes are stout!

1st place gets $25 Applebee's Gift Certificate, $7.50 Replay's Gift Certificate and 10% Cash from Entry Fees!

Prizes also for 2nd and 3rd include: Gift Certificates from Applebee's, Collector's Paradise (comic shop) and more!!

It will be a blast and enjoy half priced appetizers after 9 PM, buy a soda and get free refills or drink a beer, responsibly!

Format: Single Elimination, Best 2/3 Songs (Judges pick tiebreaker songs)

Be there! Lets keep having GG at Applebee's, but we need your support!

Next Week: NBA Live 08 on XBOX 360!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Setting up your own media servers

I just realized how useful having a PS3 hooked up to a High Def T.V. could be. I am now in the enviable position of being able to play media files on my computer using my PS3. This isn't that tricky to set up- mostly just time consuming because there are a variety of programs out there to manage your files. Katrina had no problems setting up hers on the Mac using a free trial of Twonky- but she had to help me figure out how to set mine up.

I used Windows Media Player 11 but it won't display my songs for some reason- perhaps because I have too many in one folder.

But here's a basic run down of the process that I snagged from a Web site.

Using Windows Media Player 11 as the server

Open Windows Media Player 11
From the toolbar, select Library then Media Sharing
Check "Share my media"
On the PS3 - Under Video, Photos or Music, select "Scan for media server"
Go back to the PC, and you should see a pop up showing an unknown device trying to connect.
Allow the device, and everything should work.

Using Simplecenter as the server

Download Simplecenter from
Install - If you only want the basic version, just click next when it asks you to create an account.
Select your shared media folders and let it scan.
Click next one last time.
Check your PS3 and your media server should now be visible.

Other Windows Notes

I've heard that many people are using Nero MediaHome and consider it to be the most feature-rich server


We recently tried setting up my roommate's macbook as a media server using two different products: Allegro Media Server and TwonkyMedia. We had numerous problems with both, including configuration issues, lack of functionality and just general buginess. I've been told that Elgato Eyeconnect works well, but will confirm as soon as I have time.

This is fascinating to me- once they start making cheaper white boards you can project anywhere, I'll be set. (And yes, I know about the Wii mote thing...but I mean something smaller and designed for the purpose of being a portable projector.)

EA Offers Take-Two Buy Out...Again

Today Electronic Arts (Publisher of Battlefield and The Sims) has extended its deadline for the buy out of Take-Two (Publisher of Grand Theft Auto, BioShock) for the third time around. EA is offering $25.74 a share for the second time; On April 18, EA pushed its dead line to May 16 but dropped its share price from $26 a share. The reason why EA extended the offer was for the Federal Trade Commission can complete its investigation into the deal. Take-Two was swift to tell its Stock Holders not to sell their shares. Strauss Zelnick Chairman of Take- Two said
We said we were willing to begin formal discussions with interested parties on April 30, following the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV, and we have in fact begun that process."
Strauss Zelnick also stated that EA wasn't the only company looking at buying out Take Two.

EA as of May 16 owns 6,210,261 of Take-Two's shares which is around 8% of the total amount. But Since the Launch of Grand Theft Auto IV Take-Two's shares have raised to $27.10 on Friday at closing which is more then what EA is offering per share.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

This week's column

In no particular order

Every once and awhile, I forego the straightforward gaming column and let my random thoughts assemble. Their assembly is not unlike the Avengers, assembling, except none of my thoughts have superpowers or look as good as the Black Widow.

And speaking of the Avengers did any of you stick around at the end of the Iron Man movie credits and see the secret scene? If you didn't, you might consider seeing the movie again ...

Dietrich finishes "Bully"

Contributor John Dietrich, no stranger to childhood bullying, finished playing "Bully Scholarship Edition" for the Wii.

"Nothing I encountered lessened the game's appeal. You still never get weekends, but once you pass all your classes, every day is basically a weekend, because you don't need to be in school. That's when the game's open-world environment really begins to shine.

"My only complaint is that Gary, who's such a force in the first chapter and was an amazing teenage villain, disappears until the grand finale. I wish the writers had kept him around more consistently, because I love hating the jerk and he's a formidable challenge. Also, as always with any great game, it's a little on the short side.

"The missions do get more challenging, but the game was still unable to really get me frustrated at any point. That's a result of me being a good student in the beginning and dominating the classes, thus unlocking major bonuses. If you want to really, really make this game a challenge, skip the art, physical education, chemistry and geography classes.

"The game is definitely endless fun, mostly because you can continually torment whomever you want. Once you beat it, you unlock 'Endless Summer,' which is basically a mission-less chapter with no end where you can cause as much mayhem as you want and finish up any and all loose ends. I appreciate this, because too many games give you a ton of cool powers, but once you get them, you only get 10-15 minutes worth of game play out of them. With 'Endless Summer' you get as much as you want."

Fatality from cute

"Ultimate Mortal Kombat" wouldn't have been possible on the DS unless Nintendo could shove a puzzle game in there. Puzzle Kombat is cute for the first minute or so, but then you realize you're playing a game called "Puzzle Kombat" with a bobble-headed Scorpion. Nintendo could find a way to make "Grand Theft Auto" nauseatingly cute if Rock Star would let 'em.

Phony Outrage Alert

"Grand Theft Auto IV" was barely out a month before it became the target of phony outrage by a Fox affiliate in Chicago. A Fox report about the questionable taste of such an ad in light of the city's crime problem got the game's ads pulled from the side of Chicago buses.

I guess I could buy the story if the ads depicted any acts of violence. But it's a few head shots of "GTA IV" characters. "GTA" publisher Take Two sued the Chicago Transit Authority for backing out of their advertising agreement. Good for them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yes, I'm still playing WoW ...

It's been a while since I posted but yes, indeed, I have still been making the long trek to level 70 in World of Warcraft (because I'm the slowest leveler in the world). I'm currently sitting about 5 bubbles away from hitting the cap. This is how goofy I look (click for bigger):

Witch hat?!? Do huh? Anyway, Blizzard sure designed some ugly gear for Outlands.

I should hit 70 in the next couple of days, then I can start the NEXT long trek of getting outfitted with decent gear (that doesn't make me look like a circus freak).
And of course, once I have decent gear, I can participate in all the end-game goodies, hurrah!

That is until the new expansion pack comes out, which I hear is sooner than we think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Okami review coming

I just picked it up yesterday, so I'll get to playing it tonight and tomorrow and post some impressions. For the record, any non-FPS game that gets fantastic reviews for the Wii is probably something I'll pick up. That's just how easy I am.
And when I get done with Dan, no one's gonna think Batman could take Iron Man. No one.

I predict

Indiana Jones 4 (also known as Indiana Jones and the Quest for Relevance) will suck so bad it will throw an entire generation into a deep dark depression.

Then they can make Indiana Jones 5: Indiana Jones and the Quest for Prozac.

I hope George Lucas and Steven Spielberg prove me wrong.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Looks like someone beat us to Iron Man v. Batman

They didn't go as in-depth as we will, but dang.

Grand Theft Auto IV Smashes Records

Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have confirmed that Grand Theft Auto IV has sold
more than 6 million copies, which generated more than $500 million dollars in revenue. GTA IV sold 3.6 million units which produced $310 million dollars in the first 24 hours alone. Take-Two was quick to tell everyone of GTA IV success.
Grand Theft Auto IV's first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date,

It has sold so well that The Guinness World Records announced that GTA IV has set new records for Highest Grossing Video Game in 24 Hours and the Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours. The new record has beaten the previous title holder of The Highest Grossing Video Game in 24 Hours which was Microsoft's Halo 3 which made an estimated $170 million in its first 24 hours.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War."

And the 2007-2008 Broken Controller for Worst Voice Acting in a Video Game goes to: "Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War." Playing this battlefield strategy game reminded me of visiting one of those Historical Reenactment villages where everyone is required to be in character. The Barkeep has an unusual preocupation with the mercenary character and his mustache looks like it's glued on.

As a military strategy game, it's ok. But the bad acting and mediocre graphics relegate this thing to the eternal dung heap of PS3 also-rans. After playing it for an hour and a half, I realized there is no hope for it.

Maybe two and one-half buttons out of five? If that.

"Ultimate Mortal Kombat" wouldn't have been possible on the DS unless Nintendo could shove a puzzle game in there. Puzzle Kombat is cute for the first minute or so, but then you realize you're playing a game called "Puzzle Kombat" with a bobble-headed Scorpion. Nintendo could find a way to make "Grand Theft Auto" nauseatingly cute of Rock Star would let 'em.

I gave my friend Death Mammoth posting privleges, so hopefully you'll see some stuff from him in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Second verse same as the first

Just got back from seeing Iron Man again. I won't rehash what I thought of it, but I thought I'd post Dietrich's review of it SINCE HE'S A LAZY FOOL. :)

Movie review: Iron Man

In most ways, Iron Man isn't the best comic book movie ever. But in one way it is: This is the best template I've seen for generic comic book movies.

For characters who aren't Spider-Man, Superman and Batman (the big three of the comic book industry), the most critically acclaimed stories are the ones filmmakers should gravitate to because those stories showcase the character better than special effects, super villains and origins. So long as there are one or two scenes that really showcase the character's powers, that's all I need. If repetition is what you desire, grab a video game.

In the case of Iron Man, the writers went with the true core of a well-known Iron Man tale, "Demon in a Bottle." They left out the demon in a bottle part, focusing on Iron Man's business rival (in the movie his partner) Obadiah Stane and Stane's efforts to take over Stark Industries (the company Tony Stark, who is Iron Man, runs and owns.) The origins part of the movie (a necessary evil) cuts into telling the main story, that of a cutthroat businessman Stane (Jeff Bridges) who uses psychological manipulation to drive Stark away. In the movie, Stane is Stark's right-hand man with an eye for the throne. He doesn't get to shine as much as he could, which makes it a shame he'll probably be confined to just this movie. The seeds are sown for other villains, such as Iron Man's historical main rival, the Mandarin, but Bridges gave Stane enough evil while convincing us he could fool Stark into trusting him.

Robert Downey Jr. handles the playboy part of Stark well, then shines during Stark's conversion into a full-fledged hero. Gwyneth Paltrow outshines all of them as Stark's assistant, Pepper Potts.

If you have no clue who Iron Man is, you'll end up liking him after seeing the movie. If you're super attached to him, you might need to accept some tweaks to what you know, but there are enough hidden references to keep you smiling. And if this is how Hollywood goes about introducing comic book characters to us in bulk, we'll all be happy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gears of War 2 in action

Last night, released the first gameplay footage from Gears of War 2. You can check out the full video below.

I have high hopes for this game, as I loved the first one. The chainsaw duels look very cool. The actual scale of the game looks unreal. Hopefully Epic will keep the multiplayer glitches to a minimum this time, because they killed the experience for me in the first game. I'd also love to see cooperative mode expand to four players.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

GTA IV- Review....

Greatest game ever?

Imagine you could be a god for a day. Not the God who controls the fabric of the universe, but a god among men, a guy who can take a bullet, steal a helicopter or jump off a tall building and live to tell the tale.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

"Grand Theft Auto IV" is the story of Niko Bellic. Bellic is an eastern European immigrant who is running from his sins. He arrives in Liberty City, an intricate virtual world that closely approximates New York City. He discovers it is not a paradise filled with scantily clad women and gold-lined streets, like his deadbeat cousin Roman promised him. Niko has to work his way up from the gutter, doing jobs for money and bailing Roman out of jams.

As quickly as some critics heaped praise on the latest chapter in the "GTA" series, some scorned it. The story, they say, is predictable. And while the graphics are impressive, it's all style over substance.

If you've confused "GTA IV" with the second coming, then it's easy to see where you might be led astray. It's not a religious experience, though you can push the boundaries of your virtual mortality. That being said, "GTA IV" is the best game I've played in years. Not only do the graphics seriously beat down on some of the recent titles I've seen, the online multiplayer is truly groundbreaking.

You can play with up to 16 other players in a variety of games, and you can use the entire city map! I still can't believe the developer, Rockstar Games, pulled this off. If this doesn't earn "GTA IV" game of the year status, something is seriously wrong with this country.

Some online games in "GTA IV" are cooperative, some aren't. There's also the "free-style" mode where you and your buddies can wreak havoc on the city and each other. But watch out — the police presence in this game is fierce and loud. You can't get away with much without having the law at your back.

The free style mode of game play wears a little thin for me. Yes, going on a ram-page is fun, but it's really the same thing over and over again isn't it? The missions are more focused and a lot more fun. "GTA IV" also offers a racing mode that could be a game itself. You can pick your vehicle types, the time of day and chose the weather conditions. Nothing challenges your reflexes better than driving a sports car at night in the pouring rain.

I spent the first couple of nights driving around Liberty City with my friend Kevin. As we talked on our headsets while riding in a shiny Porsche, we made our way over to the airport where we lifted a chopper. (Note: I don't think you can fly airplanes in this game. Some people might get their knickers in a twist over that, but eh …)

At night the cityscape as seen from our chopper looked like a crown full of jewels. Liberty City, not Niko, is the real star of "GTA IV." It's ripe with crime, interesting people and chances for misadventure. And it's waiting for you.

Some people will try to knock it off its glorious pedestal, citing the need to combat "hype." I'm giving it five buttons out of five. Give credit where credit is due: "GTA IV" rules.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

European game site reports GTAIV multiplayer patch

Not sure if this will affect our side of the pond or not, but is reporting a new multiplayer patch to fix "Grand Theft Auto IV" glitches.

Rockstar and Sony plans to patch the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV today to improve the multiplayer experience.

Speaking to Eurogamer, a Sony source explained that the patch would help by "reducing the loads on the servers at GameSpy and hopefully the completely random hangs that some users have seen".

PS3 owners who bought GTA IV last week have had to endure problems connecting to the multiplayer service almost from day one.

What's more, some reported random crashes, for which Rockstar suggested that erasing game data and reinstalling as a possible solution.

This week, UK chart monitor Chart-Track reported that 926,000 copies of GTA IV were sold during its first week on sale here - with 413,000 of going to PS3 owners.

My friend Brannon said he had some problems getting online with his copy of "GTAIV" but I haven't had any problems myself. Anyone out there dealing with this?


"Grand Theft Auto" sales top $500 mln in 1st week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O) scored over $500 million in global sales of its criminal action game "Grand Theft Auto 4" in its first week, making it one of the most lucrative entertainment launches in history.

The video game publisher is sure to use the strong results, which topped even the most bullish expectations, to strengthen its bargaining position in talks with rival Electronic Arts Inc (ERTS.O), which is trying to buy it for $2 billion, or $25.74 per share.

"When you're negotiating like this it's all about leverage," said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey.

"Take-Two couldn't be in a better position. If EA wants to keep their bid at $25.74 and thinks that's a fair price, they are going to have to walk away from this deal," Hickey said.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It begins

Not even a month after the release of "Grand Theft Auto IV" the phony outrage machine at a Fox affiliate in Chicago got ads for the game banned from Chicago buses. Apparently an advertisement for a violent video game is a big no-no when you have a high-crime rate, like Chicago. By that leap of logic, the buses in Chicago should never advertise a movie like Iron Man or The Dark Knight because it depicts criminal behavior.

Oh and don't forget: think of the children. You know, the same ones who aren't even supposed to be able to obtain copies of the game in the first place but their dimwit parents buy them anyway because it's cheaper than hiring a baby sitter? Yeah, those parents.

Here's an actual picture of the "controversial" advertisements, courtesy of As you can clearly see, it shows a nihilistic orgy of crime and death.

Says Joystiq:

Take-Two has sued the Chicago Transit Authority for violating its free speech and contractual rights after the authority pulled ads for Grand Theft Auto IV on the transit system without explanation. Reuters reports that Take-Two accuses the CTA of violating the contract for the $300,000 ad campaign that involved running GTA IV ads around the transit system for six weeks between April and June.

The suit seeks an order for the CTA to run the ads, as well as at least $300,000 in damages.

Good for Take Two.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man movie rocks

Every once and awhile, comic book fans get lucky. There are few "good" comic book movies out there and a couple of great ones- Batman Begins springs to mind, as does the second X-Men movie.

But Iron Man, with its cast of A-list talent, shines like the power generator in the center of Tony Stark's chest. Robert Downey Jr. really sells the flick and the bonus scene at the end (it pays to stay after the credits) is one of the best in movie history.

Iron Man also has a solid moral center that shuns war profiteering in favor of peace. Downey' s conversion from billionaire playboy with an ego to billionare playboy with a heart comes off as believeable without being too preachy.

Dietrich will have his own full length review on this and I'm sure he'll have some positive things to say about it as well. But when you go, be sure to get there early so you don't miss this kickin' Dark Knight trailer....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bully final impressions

Finally, finally beat "Bully" a few nights ago, and nothing I encountered lessened the game's appeal. You still never get weekends, but once you pass all your classes every day is basically a weekend, because you don't need to be in school. That's when the game's open-world environment really begins to shine.
The story satisfies to a strong degree, as you end up taking out all four school factions (nerds, jocks, preppies and greasers) and even get to take out a fifth, non-school faction. You even get to run some errands for your teachers. My only complaint is that Gary, who's such a force in the first chapter and was an amazing teenage villain, disappears until the grand finale. I wish the writers had kept him around more consistently, because I love hating the jerk and he's a formidable challenge. Also, as always with any great game, it's a little on the short side.
The missions do get more challenging, but the game was still unable to really get me frustrated at any point. That's a result of me being a good student in the beginning and dominating the classes, thus unlocking major bonuses. If you want to really, really make this game a challenge, skip the Art, Physical Education, Chemistry and Geography classes.
The game is definitely endless fun, mostly because you can continually torment whomever you want. Once you beat it, you unlock "Endless Summer", which is basically a mission-less chapter with no end where you can cause as much mayhem as you want and finish up any and all loose ends. I appreciate this, because too many games give you a ton of cool powers, but once you get them you only get 10-15 minutes worth of game play out of them. With "Endless Summer" you get as much as you want.
It still maintains its rating of 4.5 buttons, and takes its place alongside "Metroid Prime: Corruption" and "Super Mario Galaxy" as the best the Wii has had to offer. Here's hoping Rockstar writes a sequel with Jimmy in college or elsewhere. He deserves the franchise treatment.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This week's column

'Mario Kart Wii' is a joy ride

Whenever Nintendo comes out with a new console, there's always one game that never fails to deliver. "Mario Kart Wii" is the latest installment in the "Kart" series, and has everything fans have come to expect.

Nintendo has also bridged the gap between its games and the rest of the free world — you can now successfully use the Internet to play against anyone around the globe. Joining a match takes no time at all, and I haven't experienced any lag issues. This is a welcome improvement from the problems plaguing the online modes in "Super Smash Brothers Brawl."

Nintendo gave fans a little something extra this time — the Wii Wheel. The Wii Wheel, a round plastic case, turns your Wii-mote controller into a tiny steering wheel. The wheel controls are sensitive, but not hard to figure out. There are two basic competitive modes in "Kart": the Grand Prix and Battle Modes. Both allow players to attack each other with different objects, such as turtle shells, or zoom past each other using items that give them turbo boosts.

There are also 12 starting characters, which inexplicably include Baby Princess Peach and Baby Mario.

Players race through 32 levels, half of which are new. You can "drift" around curves in automatic or manual modes. Automatic should be fine for new players, but anyone whose been around the track knows you get more out of manual controls. The ability to use mini turbo-boosts is essential to the game, but Nintendo has done away with the controversial phenomenon known as "snaking." The maneuver, used heavily in the DS version of "Kart," allowed players to use multiple turbo boosts on a straight track. Some players called it an unfair advantage. I never had an opinion about snaking either way, but at least now I won't have to hear people whining about it on Internet message boards.

Battle mode involves players shooting one another for coins or popping each other's balloons. These were always my favorite parts of the older games and its no different here.

The trouble with "Kart" is it doesn't stand out from its predecessors. The graphics are fine for the Wii, but they don't blow me away. Unlocking characters is nothing new. Each character has more karts to chose from, but so what? It's essentially the same game it's always been.

Wii Wheel aside, "Kart" loses points for its lack of innovation. That's why I'm giving it four buttons out of five.

Programming note

Beginning next week, this column will move to Thursday's Escapes page. My goal is to write one every week even during the annual summer video game drought. There are still so many deliciously bad games I haven't played, so I have some catching up to do.

Oh, and the new "Call of Duty 4" maps are out. I've played them all, but my favorite by far is "Creek." It's $10 well-spent.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gadrock hosting "Mario Party 8" tournament.

Good stuff.

Mario Party 8 Hype!
That's correct!May 23rd, Mario Party 8 will be one
of our featured contests for Gadrock Gamers.If you have been living under a
rock, Mario Party is a regular staple in the "party" game genre.Its been played
by tons of people throughout its career from N64 to Wii.Anyone can play this
game, so anyone could win this contest for great prizes, cash, gift certificates
and braggin' rights are on the line!Take Mario, Peach, Dry Bones and even
Waluigi out on the town and play some minigames, collect coins and win stars!It
starts at 6 PM and is only 7 bucks to enter, anyone can enter and do fairly well
no matter if they have previous experience or not!We'd love to see a contrasts
in players, from young to old, so lets bring the house down with Mario Party 8
at the Coffee Vine May 23rd!

"Grand Theft Auto 4"

Got my copy of "GTA4" and all I can say is; damn. What a sweet, sweet game.

Played online for two hours and I have to tip my hat to Rockstar. They've pulled off something truly amazing.

I will be talking much more about this game. I don't know where to begin.