Aug 31, 2009

Trending Topics

What do Empire City, Washington D.C. in 2277, Arkham Asylum, and Rapture have in common? They all give off the impression that humanity is in serious trouble. This theme of a post-apocalyptic past or future seems to be one of the hottest trends in video games. The typical dark theme in a game used to involve a certain level of horror or some type of war. Now it's all about something causing humanity to go insane. Either it's a nuclear explosion, a viral infection, or simply ending up in an insane asylum. Background characters who used to be funny and uplifting have been replaced with miserable people who are either crazy or have nothing to live for. Could it have something to do with today's economy?

Empire City best represents this recession. Most of the people didn't see the explosion that changed their lives coming, and after it happened they tried their best to maintain. Sure there were people that saw it coming, but maybe they were more informed about the situation than others. Cole is kind of like President Barack Obama. People either love him or hate him, but either way their looking at him to fix the situation. President Obama might not have any superpowers, but he's arguably the most powerful person on the planet.

Do the apocalyptic themes make you feel better about today's economy? The amount of people playing games has gone up for many reasons including the number of people unemployed. It might add fear to a persons outlook of the future since games like Fallout 3 predict devastating nuclear explosions and such. One could only hope for a better tomorrow and try to do something about it today.

Aug 30, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum was released last Tuesday so you know I had to be on that. My funds are nowhere near where they are going to be, so I had to rely on Blockbuster. I'm so glad I didn't buy this game. It's a good game, but it's not great. I beat it in a day and a half. I wanted to finish it as fast as possible, but a day and a half is too fast for $59.99. The last game I crammed to finish was No More Heroes, and that took me 4 days. I also enjoyed playing it for the whole 4 days. The first step in Batman: AA is getting used to being Batman. If you a fan of Batman your going to have a great time because I would say this is the closest you'll get to actually being him. His movement is different from any other game I've played this generation.

The fighting annoyed the hell out of me. I wasn't impressed when I saw the demo. The fighting looked slow and easy. As I played through the game the fighting is slow and easy. Punch With Square, Counter with Triangle, Stun with circle. That's the basics. The gadgets and moves you learn throughout the game add more spice to the fights, but it felt repetitive on day one. Especially since in most places you couldn't use stealth to either attack or avoid them.

The stealth was my favorite aspect of the game. Stealth kills take looking at the situation as a whole and figuring out how to handle it. If there was an option to use stealth the whole time this game would have been a classic. The Riddler's clues were also fun. I caught myself ignoring the story looking for clues. The clues were cool because they did different things. Some came with character bios, while others opened new challenge modes. I found about half of his clues by the time I finished the story. The story is forgettable, but it's pacing kept me going. The Character Bio's helped me in understand how the Batman universe works.

I would recommend playing Batman: Arkham Asylum. Take your time with it. I tried to write about it right after I beat it. I couldn't because my brain had so much to process. Took me 4 days to finally be able to write something. It's all good though. My last words about Batman: Arkham Asylum are it's a good game, but it's not on my list for Game of The Year.

Get Me Outta Here!!

The drought is over ladies and gentlemen. I've spent the past week catching up with my Wii and PS3. I started it off with Punch-Out!! Great game. 1987 would be proud. It's funny what updated graphics can do to a game. The game felt fresh to me even though it's based off a simple premise. It's remarkable. Kept me entertained all weekend.

I then decided to play the PS3. The only game I own for my PS3 is LittleBigPlanet. It's the only game you should own on the PS3. Unlike games where the only update you get is downloadable content that usually costs money, this game evolves everyday for free. There's over a million user created levels. I had problems with my network connection so I wasn't able to sign into the Playstation Network. I spent hours attempting to ace levels. For those that don't know that means going through a level without dieing. No Lives Lost. Judging by the pic on the left, I don't think I did all that bad. Next stop was Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Aug 20, 2009

You Never Go Away

Call of Duty has come a long way from it's days as a PC first person shooter set during World War 2. The transition to the current generation of home consoles helped set itself apart from other series such as Battlefield and Medal of Honor. After increasing success with it's four sequels, the series has its eyes on creating the best selling game of all time when Modern Warfare 2 is released in November. Whether or not that happens is up to consumers, but is this the peak of Call of Duty's success?

Call of Duty 2 was introduced to the Xbox 360 in November of 2005. A sequel has been released every year under Activision's inFamous business model. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2007 proved to be a breath of fresh air to the series. The new setting and weapons gave way to a higher level of success for the series. Last year we went back to World War 2 with COD: World at War. I think the step backwards helps Modern Warfare 2's chances at the top spot since it's had some time away from the spotlight to be missed. If Modern Warfare 2 becomes the best selling game of all time, how much time will it take before we see another Call of Duty? If it's by Activision's business model about 365 days, which doesn't feel like a long enough time to be missed. Then again Guitar Hero is doing fine, and Tony Hawk did ok until the series ran into the ground. Most of the top selling series are still relevant today because they take time off between releases.

Imagine if a new Grand Theft Auto was released every year. Every odd year it's set in Liberty City, and every even year its set in Vice City. That would mean this years Grand Theft Auto would be set in Liberty City. Do we deal with it because we love the series so much, or would we say enough and demand for something fresh? The sales of the series probably wouldn't be as strong as they are, unless the controversy around each release is what draws so many people to the series. Modern Warfare 2 has had it's fair share of controversy, so maybe it will keep the series alive in the future. Switching back and forth from World War 2 and Modern Warfare could keep the series going, but for how much longer? First Person Shooters already have it hard enough trying to stand out in an overcrowded market. Will the name keep the series going 5 years from now? I doubt another Call of Duty game will be able top the success Modern Warefare 2 has in store. The sales will probably stay strong, but its probably all downhill from there. Unless the series takes a break....

Aug 19, 2009

Super Smash Time

Nintendo is arguably the most recognized brand in gaming. It's run through five home consoles has introduced the world to a bunch of memorable characters. These characters have had their fair share of adventures, but rarely do they all come together in a game. It seems like whenever they do come together it's to smash. Super Smash that is.

Super Smash Brothers is an interesting series. A sequel seems to appear every time Nintendo releases a console, but it doesn't seem to change much. Sure there's more characters and stages, but I've been holding forward and A to do some serious damage since the Nintendo 64. Why does Nintendo get away with bringing back old franchises? I understand Punch-out!! is a good game and all, but does nostalgia allow you to look away from the fact that it's pretty much the same game that was on the NES? Let's look at another old franchise that was remade on a Nintendo system, Resident Evil for the Gamecube. That was a classic remake of a classic game. The developers didn't stop with better graphics. The game introduced new gameplay mechanics, and added more to the original story. Sure it's a third party remake, but you can play it on the Wii.

Where would Nintendo be without their established franchises? All Nintendo has done this generation is sell units. If Mario didn't blast off to another galaxy and Link wasn't playing in the dark, where would Nintendo's adventures lead us? Do they want us all to be Wii Fit and nothing more? The Gamecube was all about the first party exclusives. That gave it an edge over both Sony & Microsoft who only published games developed by other people. Sure most of the Gamecube's 1st party games were sequels, they still introduced new series like Animal Crossing and Pikmin. Wii Play does not sound like a series. When the next generation comes will these games still exist? Probably, but lets hope Nintendo hasn't lost it's edge as a creator of original masterpieces...

Aug 18, 2009

The Next Step

It's official. The PS3 Slim is coming in September for $299.99. This news might not come as much of a surprise to many, but what does this mean for the PS3 in the long run? Can it make a huge comeback from last place, or is this generation going down as a rough patch in Sony's history? Time will answer all of these questions, but how much time is left for the PS3? It might be less than we think...

The average life of a Playstation is about 5 1/2 years. That would mean that "leaked" pictures of the Playstation 4 would probably start to show up by next years holiday season. People from Sony have been saying that the PS3 is on a 10 year life plan, which can be both good and bad. On one hand if the next 6 years show a steady growth in sales, the first 4 could be overlooked as growing pains. On the other hand if the competition moves forward, the PS3 would probably be considered last generation given that it had been around so long. Unless the PS3 is ahead of it's time.

In Sony's history, the slim version of a Playstation usually shows up when it's lifecycle is more than halfway over. Maybe the PS3 is trying to go out with a bang. The fall lineup of PS3 exclusives look strong, and a price cut for the PS3 in September could only help sales of these games. The more people you get hooked to what your doing now, the bigger your next move will be. Maybe that's what Sony has in store for us...

Flight School

Videos of gamers unboxing early copies of Batman: Arkham Asylum have been showing up lately. The Special Edition includes special things like a straight jacket. Maybe we all are a little crazy, but exactly how crazy does one have to be for the opportunity to play an early copy of a game? If it's more than a little bit. Sign me up...

I wonder how long early copies exist before being released. The Prestige Edition of Modern Warfare 2 has been getting unboxed long before the boycott against Activision began. How does one get the privileged of playing an early copy? Rappers have been tweeting about playing Madden 2010 weeks before it hit stores. Early copies of Madden 2010 were donated to a submarine crew being deployed before it's release date. It's safe to say one must be a strong individual in order to get one. Knowing the right people must help.

If you could spend more money to buy an early copy of a game, would you do it? I'm not sure if I'd even spend $59.99 for a game that's in stores today. I just got a subscription to GameFly and my que is set for the upcoming months. Having to wait weeks to play a new release has yet to be determined, but it will in due time. I'm hoping to never have that problem...

Aug 16, 2009


If you asked me if I would have bought a PlayStation Portable back in 2005, I would have laughed in your face. I feel that a portable system should have it's own identity. It shouldn't be the portable version of something that already exists. The Nintendo DS is a different piece of hardware compared to the Wii. I've always seen the PSP as a portable PS2. When Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories were rereleased on the PS2 that made my bias against the PSP even worse.

I ignored the PSP until best leaked secret of 2009's E3 showed up on the web. Pictures of the PSP Go show a redesigned version of the original. I've always felt like the PSP was too big to be a portable system in the 21st century. PSP Go solves that problem by going for more of a stylish approach. Stylish accessories are great for a person whos always on the go. Guess it's safe to say the war between the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP will follow us into the next decade. Will the PSP Go help bridge the gap in sales between the Nintendo DS? Guess we'll have to stay tuned to find out...

My allegiance with Nintendo's portable's probably had something to do with me ignoring the PSP. The Pokemon series is the reason why I've owned every Nintendo portable system since the Gameboy Color. That type of loyalty to a series is something I'm not sure I could find on the PSP. There's only one way to find out. I used to ignore PSP's games because they all seemed like spinoff's to popular games on the PS2 and PS3. Metal Gear Solid: Peach Walker looks like it's going to be great. Since I waited 4 years to get a PSP, there's a lot of good games just waiting to be played. If you've ignored the PSP, maybe it's time to pay attention when the PSP Go drops in October. Guess there is a perk for being patient afterall...

Aug 14, 2009

Don't Sleep on the 360

There's been a lot of talk about a possible comeback from the Playstation 3. The exclusive titles coming in this fall, and the rumors of the slim model keep hope alive for the PS3. Last place is never an easy thing to swallow, especially when your used to being in first. Does Sony still have a chance at winning this console war? It has a long way to go that's for sure.

What about the Xbox 360? Sales of the 360 have been the most steady with sales not going lower than 175,000 units all year. July 2009's hardware sales have the 360 a little less than 50,000 units away from the Wii. It's clear the fire Nintendo set around the world is starting to be put out. Studies showing it being the least played console, and the lack of blockbuster titles isn't helping the Wii's reign on top. Sure, the top selling game on one console for July is Wii Sport's Resort, but it was bundled with an accessory which seems to be the Wii's inFamous strategy for video game sales. One things for sure. This war is not over...

The lack of blockbuster titles contributes to the decline in sales for the past few months. Gamers have shown time and time again that if you give them what they want, they will gladly pay for it. It's not like the music industry where the gamble of a blockbuster title is greater because of things like the internet. If sales of video games were like the music industries sales, then people should be worried. The top selling album this week sold a whopping 76,000 units. NCAA Football 10 sold over 600,000 units in 17 days. Madden's out today, which kicks off the launch of blockbuster titles for the rest of the year. Something tells me sales are looking up for the future...

Aug 13, 2009

The Summer Blockbuster

Madden 2010, the biggest game of the summer, is going to be available at midnight. The Madden series is the dominant football series out there. Every August fans of the series get treated to a new installment of the franchise. Madden is not my cup of tea, but I give respect where respect is due.

Madden gets my respect for bringing the spirit of gaming back. Summer is usually quiet for gamers. We'll get noteworthy games up until the beginning of June. After that it's games based off of Hollywood blockbusters and downloadable content to look forward to. What better than a game of football to get gamers ready for the fall? Let's look at an aspect of Madden's dominance.

Madden reminds me of the 3 best selling games on the Nintendo Wii, Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit. They have all sold millions of units for starters. These games also bring out the competitive side of gamers. The purpose of these games isn't to go on a quest and experience a world of adventure, it's all about winning. Whether your standing on the Balance Board or throwing a pass to the wide receiver, you want the high score.

Once the NFL season ends, I notice a trend with my friends that own Madden. They still play the game, but not as much. They usually save it for when somebody wants to play against them. The same can be said about the Wii games I've mentioned earlier. A friend will come over, see that you have a Wii, and want to play you in a game of tennis. I don't consider myself to be a casual gamer, but that seems to be my approach to playing the Wii. Wii Sports is fun, but playing it by myself feels like taboo these days. The only 2 games I own on the Wii are Wii Sports and Wii Fit. I'm not alone in that category. I guess I'm not surprised the Wii is the least played console out there...

One Small Step...


Aug 12, 2009

Guess My Writing Doesn't Suck Afterall...

I've got GameSpot's Member Spotlight for the week.

Check it out

Slim PS3. Thick Rumors...

Rumors about a slim PS3 have been going around for months now. Today a "leaked" picture from a future Best Buy ad was posted online showing the PS3 Slim being available September 6th for $299.99. I believed it at first, but the closer I look at it, the more I'm starting to believe it was Photoshopped. The white outline around the PS3 slim get's me for starters. The biggest red flag for me is the description. 160 GB hard drive, 4, USB Slots, and backwards capability. My PS3 only has 2 USB slots, and Sony got rid of backwards capability (Good Riddance) like a year ago. Why bring it back? If that were the case Sony should just give away the PS3 Slim it'd be so under priced.

Do you think the latest rumor helps or hurts the PS3's chances of catching up in this war? I think if the PS3 Slim shows up costing more than the $299.98 pictured on the right it could hurt. The PS3 has been overpriced since day one, and the overall sales of the PS3 shows it. It has an edge over the Xbox 360 because of it's Blu-Ray Player, but $399.99 for a console that's almost 3 years old is ridiculous. Especially when it's closest competion, Xbox 360, is $199.99. If you wanted Blu Ray with your 360, you could buy an Insignia Blu Ray Player for $149.99. You could use the extra $49.99 to buy a decent game. Even if Sony is real about their intention of using the PS3 for 10 years $399.99 is still a ridiculous price for hardware, when it's software is $59.99 a piece.

We all know one day the PS3 will get slim and have a lower price, but what does that mean for the bulky PS3's that would still be available? Do their prices stay the same, or do they drop as well? Wouldn't it be cool if they were available for a smaller price than the slim PS3? We all know the PS3 Slim will be the new hotness when it arrives, if I meant saving money I would go with an older PS3. The rumors should be cleared up next week in Germany at GamesCom. Guess we'll just have to deal with the rumors until then...

Aug 10, 2009

Do Winners Ever Cheat?

If you use a strategy guide to help you through a game. Is that considered cheating? You had to put in the effort to finish the game, but does knowing extra information make you a cheater? Would you rather enter cheat codes to finish a difficult game, or struggle your way through it? Does it matter if somebody cheats their way through a single player experience? To each their own if you ask me.

I've used cheats in the past, but none to the extent that I took Pokemon Blue to. I was determined to find me a Pikablu, or any Pokemon that was outside of the original 151 listed in the game. To do that my first step was to buy a GameShark for my Gameboy Color. When you turn on the game with the GameShark attached to it, the first screen you see is a warning saying that this a bad idea. I didn't care I played anyway. After about a month I "caught" all 151 pokemon. It was time for me to find a Pikablu. I would go from forum to forum looking at rumors as to how to catch one. There were stories about Bill's secret garden, Underground Caves, and Secret Gyms that were to be discovered with a GameShark. After trying each and every code I could find I will say that none of the rumors are true for Pokemon Blue...

The cheat codes finally caught up to me on the day I needed Pokemon Blue the most. I had been talking to a friend at school for months about battling him. All of my pokemon were Level 100 thanks to an unlimited supply of rare candy. How could I lose? We finally set a date to battle each other in school. I didn't sleep much the night before. I was too busy thinking about what Pokemon he would use, and the moves I would use to destroy them. I woke up excited the next morning ready to win a Pokemon battle. I get out of bed, turn my Gameboy on, and find that my file had been erased. I stayed home sick that day...

Ever since then I've kind of lost my mojo when it comes to cheating in games. Don't get it twisted, I definitely cheated my way through last generations Grand Theft Auto trilogy, but the extent of how I cheat has changed. I haven't bought a GameShark since the Gameboy Color and I don't plan on doing so. I don't think there's anything wrong with cheating in a game. I just think it takes away from the overall experience. What do you do when you run out of bullets and your low on health? You wouldn't know if you had unlimited ammo and health. Cheating makes a game too easy for me. It's kind of like being in the passenger seat of a nice car. Yea your along for the ride, but the best you can do is tell the driver to turn left or right.
Cheat codes helped shape my perspective on life. I feel like if everything came too easy, I'd find myself pretty bored. Sure I would have plenty of things to do, but my sense of accomplishment wouldn't be there. I take pride in the things I've accomplished. I don't think I'd enjoy as much as I would if I took my time and played by the rules. They say cheaters never win, but do winners ever cheat? Maybe...

Aug 9, 2009

Boycott Activision?

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is going to cost £55 in the United Kingdom. That converts to $91.81. That's a lot of money for a video game. Activision Blizzard's CEO Robert Kotick was recently asked about this and said something along the lines of if it were up to him he would make the price higher. That has caused a bunch of gamers to get upset, and talk about a boycott against Activison has been going around ever since.

We all know Modern Warfare 2 is going to sell millions of units regardless of whether you buy it or not. If I were going to protest it I wouldn't buy it right away. I probably wouldn't buy it at all. It's not like it'd be hard to find on the internet. I know people who only play Call of Duty, and I bet they wouldn't mind paying extra for it. Even though paying $91.81 plus tax is serious these days. As far as I know, the price increase only affects the European Market.

As far as the CEO's comment, we should ignore his judgement for reasons that seem pretty clear to me. I'd say he's not feeling the brunt of what's going on today. Activision's stock is feeling pretty good these days. He's probably not the only CEO who feels this way. Don't let it bother you too much. He's entitled to his opinion just as much as you. If you don't like it. Don't listen to him. It's simple. At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide whether or not your going to buy Modern Warefare 2. It's not my cup of tea, but it's probably going to be an excellent game. An overpriced excellent game if you live in Europe...

Top of the line

I look around at other blogs about video games, and I'm starting to notice a trend. Most of the posts I see are about old news, crazy rumors, or lists. News is important, rumors keep the fire burning, but why so many lists? I really don't care about your top 10 masturbation sessions or your top 8 MyFace friends. The readers deserve better quality in blogging. Gamers have taste. They invest their time and money to the luxury of video games. Why don't blogs represent the quality and elegance that goes along with this luxury?

That's where I show up. I won't feed my readers with lists. I'd rather not write anything. The news I care about mostly is release dates and deals on games because this recession is serious. This industry needs more cool people to steer it in the right direction, because it is not on course. All I see is a bunch of clowns that claim to be more real than you. If I wasn't a gamer, most of the blogs out there wouldn't convince me to ever pick up a joystick.

Aug 6, 2009

Tough Love

Fuck the Wii. That shit is so wack. Somewhere far along this road Wii lost our soul... to a motion control. What the fuck happened to making hardcore games Nintendo? I won't buy a game just because it has a lot of blood and swears in it. If I wanted that I'd go see a Rated R movie. It's a lot cheaper these days...

Fuck the Xbox 360. That shit is so wack. Microsoft's Red Ring of Death is inFamous. Who releases a product knowing most of the units are defective? I'm guessing they're trying to go green. This billion dollar fuck up feels like Microsoft's version of recycling...

Fuck the PS3. That shit is so wack. Where the fuck is the price cut Sony? Your piece of shit has been overpriced ever since it hit the market. Stop being a bitch and lower the price. If it wasn't a birthday present, I wouldn't break my wallet just to use the Dualshock 3. It's not that serious.