Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nintendo diggin' in the archives

Gamekyo is reporting that Nintendo is planning on upgrading one of their classics for the Wii. The announcement will be made at the media briefing currently scheduled for Thursday.

Nintendo seems to be hiding some more surprises for its upcoming Japanese press conference next Thursday. Everyone is talking about a new model of the Nintendo DS that includes a camera, but what you don't know is that Nintendo has a new game to show. We can announce today that Nintendo will reveal a new game for the Wii during this event which is actually an old franchise that everyone is waiting for. Nintendo press conference will be held in Japan on October 2nd.

Let the speculation commence. I fully expect it to be Kid Icarus, but I'd also place a good bet on a Punch-Out! revival. Maybe the Big N will reach deep in their bag of tricks for Super Duck Hunt Hyper Fighting Turbo 2 Remix.

Monday, September 29, 2008

WoW hits PPV

I received an e-mail from our good friends at Blizzard today that gave me a chuckle. It seems that this years BlizzCon will be available for viewing on DIRECTV Pay Per View. That's right, fans of Blizzard games can watch the companies show from the comfort of their own home. Here are some of the details from the e-mail:

• Over 16 hours of crystal-clear high-definition coverage
• Exclusive interviews and commentary
• Tournament coverage and team highlights
• The BlizzCon 2008 World of Warcraft in-game polar bear mount

Those interested in ordering access to the two day event can click here for more details. DIRECTV is offering the PPV for free to new subscribers that activate their account before October 9th. Current DIRECTV subscribers will need to lay down a cool 40 bucks to watch the convention.

I think it's cool that Blizzard is allowing fans that cannot attend the event in person a chance to experience the magic of BlizzCon. It's also a great way for the company to rise the hype levels for the release of Wrath of the Lich King in November. I wish Square Enix had gone with a similar strategy for their FFXI Fan Fest events. Probably a good idea that they didn't though, because the company would have wanted my first born child and a pony in addition to the dough.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back to the Future

I've been quite busy now that football season is in full swing. That hasn't stopped me from picking up a controller every now and then, though. The past couple of months have been pretty tame as far as retail releases goes, but several good downloadable titles have been released across all three consoles. I'll have updates on a few other games later on in the week.

The Blue Bomber returns

I was pleased when Capcom announced that Mega Man would be making a return this year. That excitement grew when I learned it would be in the traditional series and that the game would come intact with the graphics of the NES versions. It then became my most anticipated downloadable game of the year when the company quiped that the title would be made in the spirit of Mega Man 2, my favorite in the series. Does Mega Man 9 live up to the enormous amount of hype? Simply put, yes.

One of the main reasons I love Mega Man games lies in the difficulty. These games were hard. Theres nothing quite like jumping from moving block to moving block over a dark abyss. The challenge combined with terrific gameplay and fantastic music made growing up with Mega Man a blast.

The newest installment takes the difficulty to the next level and provides the toughest experience to date for our hero. The checkpoints in each stage seem to be placed further apart than normal, so one mistake could send you back quite a ways. Tornado Man will provide even the best Mega Man player with a challenge.

The stages, robot masters and general flow of the game is all ace. The game plays just as Mega Man 2 did back in the day, which means the Mega Buster cannot be charged like in parts 4-8 and there is no slide. The platforming elements are better than ever. As mentioned above, Mega Man is known for having an amazing soundtrack. Mega Man 2 still has the best music in a game ever, but 9 provides quite a show for the ears.

You are also given 50 challenges to complete while playing through the game. Some are fairly easy such as defeating 100 enemies or killing a specific robot master in under a certain time. Others are completely insane and were clearly added by crazed programmers. I'd love to shake the hand of anyone that can complete this game without getting hit.

My lone gripe with the game is the downloadable content that will be releasing soon. The game itself is only 10 dollars (800 MS points, 1000 Wii points), but Capcom will release 8 dollars worth of downloadable content over the next couple of weeks. This includes the ability to play as Protoman, two harder difficulty modes and more. Capcom should have included everything in the main game and released for 5 dollars more. That said, everything else about Mega Man 9 is quite good and I'd recommend it to anyone that enjoys the series.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Steal on Steam

For you PC gamers out there, the Rockstar Games Collection on Steam is a cool 30 bucks this weekend. The set includes Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Max Payne, Max Payne 2, Manhunt, Midnight Club 2 and Wild Metal. You can also buy the games seperately or in series packs. Steam is Valve's (Half-Life) digital distribution gaming service.

I picked up the Grand Theft Auto pack for 15 dollars, mainly to give San Andreas a whirl for the first time. After all, I need something to get me warmed up for Saints Row 2 next month. I highly recommend the Max Payne titles if you are a fan of shooters. Bullet time is one of the coolest features in the genre, and the game as a whole is ace. You'll have to forgive Max for talking like a 1400s literature book though.

I'll be posting a roundup in the next couple of days of the games I've been playing over the past month or so. Why not jack some virtual cars at a reduced price until then?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Been kind of hectic round here lately

Sorry for the lack of updates, guys. I do my best to balance work and whatnot- not long after I got finished with the elections, I had to work on a massive Sunday project. So I got a little lazy.

But not as lazy as these Google folks describing their wonderful new Google phone....

Settle down now. Katrina says T-Mobile will be carrying these so we may be getting one when they come out. The Apple products are also starting to lose some of their charm. (I think my Ipod is neat, but I don't feel I have as much flexibility with my music as I'd like.)

And for anyone who wants to use android- there's a $10 million pile waiting out there for some crafty developers.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So, Microsoft wants to play?

Apparently, Microsoft has made the arcade version of the XBox 360 the cheapest next-gen console on the market. This in an attempt to cut in to the Wii's market share. While industry experts seem confident that the move will work, I ask this question: Don't XBox 360s break? A lot? I'd be tempted to invest $199, just to own some XBox-exclusive titles, but I fear the console would fail me after a month. Still, the laws of supply and demand predict that Microsoft will sell more units, but I don't imagine they'll make a big dent in the Wii.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mannowdog chronicles

My friend Tim, a.k.a. Rickilake, texted me this morning and asked if I wanted to get on "World of Warcaft." He's riding out Gustav in Mobile but thankfully the storm appears to have weakened.

I had a devil of a time gathering materials for my engineering skills last night, and there's some things I have to attend to. I need to basically configure everything on my inventory into whatever I can make so I can get my engineering up. I'm also a few points shy of being able to mine True Silver, a rare ore I spotted on a hillside in the Badlands.

We're about to complete a timed quest in Tanaris. Then I'm hoping we can run an instance and find some better gear.

"My Word Coach"

I played "My Word Coach" for the DS off and on for the weekend- a weekend which included a brief visit and a quick exodous from New Orleans. Evacuate- To leave a place under threat.

There are some good things that I can say about this game. It isn't mentally frustrating. It gives you vocabulary-buffing exercises in short bursts, setting goals per day. Nintendo, not content to let people raise imaginary puppies on its DS console, is also reaching out to the educational game market. A smart move that ads more purpose to the system.

One gripe I have with this game is one I have with other vocabulary building tools- it doesn't list the part of speech. Knowing how to use a word is just as important as knowing what it means. Granted some words have multiple uses, but would it really have been so hard to note those?

I have to dock it some points there. But assuming you can figure out how the words are used in sentence construction you will pick up some new words and become reacquainted with some old ones you thought you knew. Its a pretty reliable road-map to conversation; kind of like a GPS that needs some of the side-streets updated on its information card.

What this game really makes me crave is a title that teaches history; particularly U.S. History.

Please hook it up, Nintendo.