Jun 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

The Ride has Ended

1999. The year I was introduced to the art of skateboarding. One of my friends had bought Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the PlayStation. I was blown away by the half pipe in the first level. I spent hours there trying to land a 1080. The series was in a league of it's own, and proved it's dominance by releasing a new Tony Hawk game every fall.

As each Tony Hawk game was released the formula started to become stale. I stuck with the series until Tony Hawk Underground 2. I returned to it for Tony Hawk's Project 8 because it was the first one that was ready for the new generation in my opinion. While I enjoyed the better graphics and the faster loading times, the game had felt like it had run out of ideas a long time ago. That became apparent in Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. This game included missions where you have to knock out bullies by running them over with your skateboard. Not a lot of fun if you ask me. It's sad because you would think that on the year where they had some real competition, Activision would at least try to show that they wanted to win.

EA released the game Skate in September 2007. a month later Activision releases Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Tony Hawk's series gave mainstream appeal to skateboarding games. Skate capitalized on that by making skating more realistic. Tony Hawk always had an arcade approach to skateboarding where it valued landing ridiculous tricks and the high score, while Skate values the simulated experience of skateboarding.

With Skate being the new king of skateboarding games, Tony Hawk went back to the drawing board. They didn't release a new game in the fall of 2008 which had some people wondering if the franchise was done. Not at all as Tony Hawk: Ride is due to be released November 17, 2009. They decided to go the route of the Nintendo Wii and add motion sensing to the series. A new skateboard peripheral is used instead of a regular control which raises the price of the game to an estimated $119.99.

I'm starting to think Tony Hawk is out of touch with gamers. I understand the craze about motion sensing right now, but motion sensing up to this point has been directed more toward the casual audience. The casual audience is the biggest group of consumers right now for the gaming industry, and if sales are all you care about over making a good game then good luck with that one. If Tony Hawk: Ride is aimed toward the casual audience then way to turn your back on the die hard fans who helped keep the series alive...
and what's up with adding a skateboarding peripheral? Did the success of all of the Guitar Hero games make Activision think that is exactly what the Tony Hawk series needed? If I wanted to skate I would go outside, ride a skateboard, bust my ass, and go back in the house. If this peripheral makes me fall and get hurt, it better be fun. The higher price tag is not the way to go for a game trying to make a comeback these days. Maybe Tony Hawk should retire happy at the fact that his series led the way for something new and fresh.

Jun 21, 2009

My Expensive Habit

What does the 360 in XBox 360 stand for? Could it be the amount of accessories Microsoft intends to release before they neglect it. Maybe if I take the "360" for face value, it would mean a turn around for Microsoft in the gaming industry.

Microsoft probably hopes you'll turn around.

Turn around and drive back to the store to buy more accessories before you even take your new "360" out of the box. As of right now I bought the Wireless Network Adapter, 2 controllers, and 3 months of Xbox Live. That roughly retails for $220 in the United States. That's got me thinking.

How much would an Xbox 360 cost if it were fully loaded?

Microsoft Xbox 360 Fully Loaded
  1. Xbox 360 Elite $399.99
  2. 3 Wireless Controls $149.97
  3. Messenger Kit $29.99
  4. Wireless steering wheel $99.99
  5. 1 Year Xbox Live $49.99
  6. 2 Quick charge kits $59.98
  7. 2 rechargable batteries $23.98
  8. Wireless headset $59.99
  9. W-less Network Adaptr $99.99
Grand total of $973.87

The only thing I need now are games. Guess I'm not so surprised highlights at E3 were mostly about new accessories.

Curious about how much it would take for a fully loaded PlayStation 3? Me too...

Sony PlayStation 3 Fully Loaded
  1. 160GB PlayStation 3 $499.99
  2. 3 Dualshock 3 controls $164.97
  3. Playstation Eye $34.99
  4. Bluetooth Headset $49.99
  5. Wireless Keypad $49.99
  6. Blu ray Remote $24.99
  7. Logitech G:25 racing wheel $299.99
  8. Sony HDMI/USB Cable Pack $59.99
Grand Total of $1184.90

I think I went past the point of no return...

Nintendo Wii Fully Loaded
  1. Nintendo Wii $249.99
  2. 4 Motion Plus $ 79.96
  3. 3 Nunchucks $ 59.97
  4. 3 Wiimotes $119.97
  5. 4 Classic Controls $79.96
  6. 3 Wii Wheels $44.97
  7. 2 Zappers $49.98
  8. Component Cables $34.99
  9. WiiSpeak $29.99
Grand Total $744.78

Price Cut Anybody?

Jun 16, 2009

Sonic The Hamilton

If you don't know the clown wearing the shirt with Sonic the Hedgehog I'm not surprised. His name is Charles Hamilton aka Sonic the Hedgehog and he's a rapper signed to Interscope records. Alter ego's could be a good thing. They could help the people get a better understanding of an artist. That's cool and all, but I have a question for Mr. Charles Hamilton.

When was the last time you played a video game?

Out of all of the names you could have stolen for your alter ego, you chose to go with the mascot who hasn't made a good game since at least 2001. Other rappers aren't going to make fun of you for that. No not at all. You probably would have been considered a strange nerd back in the 90's, but almost 20 years later you look crazy. Maybe you should take off your pink headphones and do your research. You would have had more street cred if you called yourself Princess Peach. Oh yea that's right the rap game is too insecure about it's sexuality. That's a shame.

Come to think of it Charles Hamilton and Sonic do have some things in common. They were both homeless at some point in their lives. They both show they have the strength to survive which is good. They are also very familiar with failure. That's pretty much where the similarities end between the two. Sonic knows what mainstream success feels like, he represents a character that is sure of himself, and he's definitely not an arrogant prick.

Have you ever thought about copyright infringement Charles Hamilton? It's bad enough you attempt to take credit for making other people's beats. Let's not forget the fines you could get for the samples you use that will never be cleared. Has Sega told you how they feel about your alter ego? It's pretty clear why they wouldn't do anything now, but let your luck change and I bet you'll find out. Hopefully they don't laugh their way into your pockets.

I say that to say this. Charles Hamilton step your game up. Do you want the joke to be over so soon?

Jun 10, 2009

Back to Reality

There's nothing better than a new Sims game to remind me just how out of touch I am with the PC gaming world. The first thing I thought when I picked up my case of the Sims 3 was

"Wow the CD cases have become a lot thinner since the Sims 2."

Forget Prototype. I'm playing the Sims 3.


Jun 8, 2009

Reviews of a Prototype

Tomorrow we see the release of Prototype. This game looks as if it's attempting to take the shine off of inFamous. I'm thinking about bringing it to the lab, but there's only 2 reviews out there for it. It's making me think this game is going to suck. It's like movies. Usually studios keep movies that suck from being screened to critics to save the bad press for after a movies opening weekend.

Here's to hoping the critics are too busy enjoying it to write a review...

Jun 3, 2009


The image of being squeaky clean and good is so superficial. We're human after all which means there's a part of your heart that's pure evil. Deny it if you want, but those fucked up thoughts you have throughout the day are not a coincidence. I'm not saying everybody should run around and be evil. That would suck.

What I'm trying to say is be evil in inFamous. I had evil karma on my first run through the game and it's annoying playing it over as a good guy. The game is intended to be played as a good guy first which is nowhere near as fun as being a bad guy. As far as the story goes between being good or evil, I've hardly seen a difference.

That was a major disappointment to me. I thought changing karma would affect the story, but all it did was give Cole blue electricity, a very boring personality, and this clean image which is strange in the destroyed world of Empire City.

Empire City itself is pretty cool. You can climb anything, you can't go inside any of the buildings, and if you walk on the street your more than likely going to get shot by reapers.

The game IS fun while it lasts though. The combat is really fun and it didn't feel old as the game went on. The platforming to me was the best part of the game. Climbing buildings gets very strategic as the game goes on which I had fun with. The story is forgettable, but the relationship you have with other characters kept me interested.

If you have a PS3 check this game out. If you only play through it once I'd recommend making evil choices the whole time.

Jun 2, 2009

The Motion in the Ocean

Microsoft's inFamous strategy of going first this generation seemed to be pretty effective at this years E3. They're vision of the future involves no controller which kind of trumps the PlayStation's Motion Controller.

The controller doesn't have a catchy name. For the sake of this article, lets call it the vibrator. The vibrator is cool though because it has the ability to change into various things during a game such as a baseball bat, crossbow, and a golf club to name a few.

Sony took a different route in declaring it's jump into the motion control phenomena. They tried to show the connection the vibrator has with the gaming community as a whole. Instead of showing a video of a family playing with the vibrator, they had a guy who represents the 18-35 demographic play with it live on stage. They didn't bring out a big name to tell you not be afraid of it. Instead they told you that yes it's for the casual audience, but the possibilities are endless.

Sure you can build blocks, paint, and play dominoes, but Sony is hoping to enhance other aspects of gaming with the vibrator (it really needs a catchy name.) They insist that a controller is necessary for motion sensing because some genres require buttons such as a first person shooter. It would be kind of weird to use your arm to aim and not be able to press something to pull the trigger is what Sony's thinking. They're also hoping the vibrator can also enhance other genres such as sports games and real time strategies to name a few. I guess we'll have to wait until the next decade to find out just how important motion is as the PlayStation Motion Controller is slated for a Spring 2010 release.

Jun 1, 2009

The Mainstream Revolution

"The only experience you need is life experience."

Judging by the rumored late 2010 release of Project Natal, it's not looking like much life experience is left for the Xbox 360. Before you know it, GameStop will no longer accept Xbox 360 games for trade in, and the 360 itself will be disowned by Microsoft. Hopefully Project Natal goes with it.

The Nintendo Wii brought this mainstream revolution with it which is exactly why it's winning the console war right now. They made the controller look like an everyday remote control, added a motion sensing to it, and made games so simple anybody could play. Microsoft ups the ante by removing the controller and replacing it with a camera that tracks your movement. They even brought out Steven Speilberg (I thought he was all about the Wii) to back this up.

The thing that's funny to me is that games have always been known as a lazy persons sport. Not saying that the people who play games are lazy, but sitting on the couch and staring at a screen doesn't climb high on my list of physical activities. Project Natal looks like a pretty physical EyeToy. The girl that was showing how it works at Microsofts E3 press conference seemed a little tired after she finished playing Richochet.

Ever been told that you need more friends? Project Natal's got you covered. Meet Milo, your new best friend. It's cool because now your imaginary friend can now be seen by rest of the world. No more setting up tables and saving seats for your friend. Guess you don't have to leave the house now. Xbox has got you covered...