Thursday, May 7, 2009

Microsoft Aquires Big Park Studios

Microsoft announced today in a press release that they had agreed to aquire Big Park Inc. or Big Park Studios. From the press release:

BigPark was founded in 2007 by a group of industry veterans who led the creation and growth of two hugely successful software companies, Distinctive Software Inc. and Electronic Arts Canada. BigPark's founding team is composed of business leaders with over 80 years of collective experience in the video game industry, having produced or overseen blockbuster franchises including "Need for Speed," "FIFA Soccer," "NBA Street" and "SSX."
The only reason that this looks interesting to me is I might see a first party Microsoft sports franchise in my lifetime Ala Sony's MLB: The Show series of games. I would perhaps kill someone (in Halo)... for a good baseball game on the 360. That is the only reason I am even posting this.

Please Microsoft, I love baseball more than most things and if you can bring me a good baseball game I would be forever indebted to you.

It's not a lie.

I was playing X-Men Origins: Wolverine and I found this. I just felt it needed to be shared.

(Note: If anyone is wondering how to find this and get the achievement for it (The Cake), it's in the Sentinel level when you're searching for John Wraith. Right before you find Trask is where it's located, so if you reach him, back track a little bit. In the big room where you have to freeze yourself while on a track, move the teleporting device all the way to the right to find GLaDOS' fabled treat.)

(Other note: It's also possible to find the Hatch from LOST on the first level (achievement: Found!), and Frostmourne from World of Warcraft (achievement: WoW!) in the Alkaline Lake level. For Desmond's hatch, simply keep your eye open for a wall that looks flimsy, as if made out of wood. Hack it up and go through it. For the Lich King's runeblade, wait until you fight two W.E.N.D.I.G.O.s, and after you pass them keep an eye open for a "secret" passage on the right.)

3D Realms Shutters Doors, Economy Touches My Childhood (I Feel Violated)

This is probably a news story that most PC gamers, my age (24) or older, will find disheartening. I am not sure that it really affects the console generation but if this news hurts you in some way then we are all in the same boat.

The developer 3D Realms has announced that they are shutting its doors citing financial reasons.

While it is sad to see any developer this one touches my childhood. The game that I loved and the one that they were always most famous for was Duke Nukem 3D. It was the game I was all about after I had exhausted all of Wolfenstein 3D, a game that 3D Realms published. Over the past twelve years or so they had become the black sheep of game developers touting Duke Nukem Forever since 1997 as their next big thing. Now it looks like a strong possibility that we may never see this game and even if we do will it have been the developers original vision. Many have called Duke Nukem Forever "vaporware" and as of yesterday evening it is looking to be true.

There are no other reports other than 3D Realms are shutting their doors because of financial reasons. Great job economy (looking for a scapegoat here, sorry) you managed to come out and touch my formative years. I am feeling violated.

The lighter side of this news is that a Duke Nukem Trilogy is still coming from Apogee and Deep Silver.

Let's pour one out for all of the people who lost their jobs and wish them a speedy recovery.

[Ed note: Last night after reading this news at one in the morning the 3D Realms site was still up and running and as of right now I personally cannot get the page to respond.]

PC Gaming Diary #1: It's a Game Within a Game!

My roommate walked by my desk last night and simply stated "You are multitasking like crazy, are you playing two games at the same time?!" Well, in fact I was.

I've spent most of my recent days playing World of Warcraft. I own a good amount of games, but the one that usually consumes the most of my time is WoW. I have been playing for going on 4 years now and I have yet to level a character to 80. There was one point in time prior to the Burning Crusade expansion that I did in fact reach the maximum level at the time (60), but since then I have been a bit behind the pack.

Yesterday I leveled my latest toon (a female, retribution speced, blood elf paladin on the Skullcrusher realm) to 59. WoW involves a lot of non action at times. When you fly from city to city you have no control over your transport and are sort of left in limbo. Usually I'll alt-tab out of the game and do some web browsing or some chatting, but in the past month Pop Caps games has released two add-ons for World of Warcraft; Bejeweled and Peggle. You can customize the add ons to automatically open up when you get on a flight path and automatically close when you are done. You can also customize it to automatically open and close in other occurrences such as death, but I just chose the FP option. Bejeweled plays as it would normally play, although as points increase you also gain levels in regards to your Bejeweled skills. Peggle offers extra WoW specialties such as leveling and earning talent points that can be used to your liking (very similar to TPs in WoW itself). I tend to spend most of my FP time (which can sometimes take up to 15 minutes depending on where you're traveling) playing Bejeweled, mostly because I find it more simplistic then Peggle. I haven't quite caught on to the Peggle buzz yet as I find the game to be mostly luck. Maybe I just haven't realized the strategy behind it yet. It's fun though and props to Pop Cap for the add ons. It adds an entirely different level to playing World of Warcraft as well as casual gaming.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gears of War 2: All Fronts Collection Coming to Retail in July

Epic Games and Microsoft Game Studios are going to be doing the right thing by me on July 28, 2009 by releasing the All Fronts Collection. Here's why:
The collection includes all of the Gears 2 DLC to date, along with Dark Fronts, a collection of seven new multiplayer maps...
In order to make the pack worthwhile to those who've already downloaded the majority of the Gears 2 DLC, the package also contains an introduction from Cliff Bleszinski for "Road to Ruin", a collectible poster, a strategy guide, and a custom Xbox Live theme.
As you may or may not know I have not yet made the leap into GOW2 DLC. It has come out too rapid fire for my tastes and I have not played in a while so I was just waiting until I was ready.

Like I said, I will be ready on July 28 when I can have all that is listed above for only 20 bucks. In my opinion that is a steal. Is anyone else excited by this?

[Via Kotaku]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Game Diary - May 5, 2009: Pegs Unite!

For the past few days I have been a "casual" gamer. What happens in these instances is that I tell myself that I do not have enough time to play anything like COD4 or The Dishwasher and I convince myself that it is okay to play some Peggle instead. [Ed note: One should note that it is never a good idea to talk yourself into playing Peggle as a good idea.] As a result I usually end up spending more time playing Peggle than I would have played the other two aforementioned games. Last night alone I played for at least an hour and a half. By casual gaming standards that is a long time to be spent on one game.

So for the past few days I have been trying to get the 'Cool Clear' achievement and I have not had a lot of luck. It seems like a relatively easy acheivement to get (hit the last orange peg and then the last blue on one ball), especially when playing one of the earlier stages but it was escaping me for several days.

I say 'was' because I finally got it last night, on accident, but I got it nonetheless. I was actually expecting to fail as I had been doing but the ball bounced in such a way that I got it on a stroke of luck (now wishing that I had that instant replay). I now plan to work my way through all of the challenge levels but I know that it will take a while so I will do that "casually" over the coming months.

The only other thing that I have been playing is The World Ends With You. I have been "stuck" on Day 5 of the second week for about a week now because I have decided to really "grind" and level up my character and all of his pins (I would go into explaining all of this but I really think that if you looked it up for yourself you would be better served). That is going well and I hope that as a result of doing this it will make the games harder bosses easier to beat (probably not).

I also think it is time for me to return to Fallout 3 soon because the Broken Steel DLC has finally come out and I can now play all of that DLC I bought and gain some new levels for it.

Lastly, and more as a side note, I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and that was fantastic. If you are as much as a geek as I am, you will love it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday MUpdate: Uncaged Edition

In case the title is not indication enough, my game for this week is the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie tie-in game. On May 1st, the game came out and a demo for it popped up on XBOX Live!, just in time for the release of the movie. I, being the comic book reading nerd that I am, downloaded it as soon as I could and sat down to play it with little to no expectations. We've had Wolverine games before (such as X2: Wolverine's Revenge), and they have never been much of anything to write home about. Right off the bat, however, Wolverine sets out to prove that it is nothing like the games of the past.

The game opens with an absolutely brutal cutscene in which Hughverine fights off several attackers with absolutely no detail spared. An initial fear of mine is that Wolverine's naturally blood lust would be toned down so that a younger demographic could find the game accessible, but as soon as Wolverine had a whole blown through him and I watched the wound heal, full view of his organs and all, I got excited. As the actual gameplay started, it thankfully turned out that it wasn't just the cutscene that had all the cool brutal features of being the best at what he does. You can pick people up and impale them on a stick or pipe jutting out of the wall. You can pounce on someone and punch their face in to a bloody pulp. You can do to these people stuff you've only dreamed of seeing in a Marvel MAX series. It's a great feeling.

So to say that I recommend the Wolverine game to Wolverine and gamer fans alike is to put it lightly. This is not the deep and moving storyline you've been craving. This is the bad ass kill 'em all game you've been looking for that isn't called God Of War. It's loads of fun and definitely worth at the very least a rental so you can run around slicing and dicing. At it's very basics, it's just a fun and gorey action game.

Aside from the Wolverine game, I'd recommend the Wolverine movie itself, and you can read my review for that in another blog I write for, Multiversity Comics. I've also been plugging away at Chrono Trigger still, but to a much lesser extent now that I have Wolverine. I do have a lot more free time now that most TV shows are over for this season, though, so I guess when I'm not filling that free time with TV show catch ups and movies, I can play more. I'd really like to give Final Fantasy IV a shot, and I just heard news about a steampunk DS game called Nostalgia that's coming out. There's also a game called Borderlands that Kara told me about, it looks to be the next post-apocalyptic/Final Fantasy epic. It'll never replace the Fallout series in my heart, but I am definitely looking forward to this game, especially with all the new screenshots that they have debuted.

That's it from my front.