Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quick Xbox Preview Thoughts

Last night when I returned home from the bane of my existence that is my job I booted up the XBOX to play some BF 1943. I was greeted by an auto-update message basically telling me that I had been accepted into the XBOX update preview program.

The update actually took about three minutes (my connection was running really slow last night) which surprised me because for all intents and purposes the update is not big by any standard.

After browsing around for a while I ended up buying a Fable 2 shirt from the Avatar Marketplace (give me a break, it was green and adorable) and I had found that I had been an XBOX LIVE  gold subscriber (under a few different gamertags and I had also had XBL a separate time before that) for 5 years.

I also noticed that if I press the "X" button when a disc is in the tray, it will eject. This may have been there before but if not, it is a cool little addition that I will use in the future.

I did not yet get to play with Netflix parties or the revamped Netflix app so those thoughts will come later.

Seriously though, the Fable shirt is hella awesome (I'm pretty sure that is a Hobbe drawing on there).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Game Diary: July 29, 2009 - Bet You Guess What This Week Is About

And the answer is............World of Warcraft! I really haven't had much time to play much of anything lately. Nate and I keep trying to meet up to play some Battlefield 1943, but alas, things just aren't lining up right. I've been wanting to and meaning to finish Battlefield: Bad Company considering how close I am, but I still haven't felt inclined to do so. My gaming tendencies typically depend on what time my girlfriend is or isn't working and she's been working about the same hours as I have been working and she always trumps playing games.

I got to do my typical World of Warcraft play this weekend. I average about a level a week with my playing habits. This weekend I dinged 66. I'm working slow, but surely, up to 80. I finished up quests in the glorious Zangermarsh and moved onto Nagrand. I'm really enjoynig playing BC content and discovering all these new worlds. Really revitalizes the game for me after about 4 years of playing essentially the same content. It makes me even more excited to move onto Wrath content in the (hopefully) near future. I had reached Outland and BC content on my very first toon (Walker) a few years ago, so I knew what to expect once I got Christilena there, but I haven't stepped foot in Northrend yet, so it will be an entirely new experience.

BC content has been really fun though. Nagrand looks like it'll be a blast. I haven't started any quests there yet, but just getting to the closets Horde city made me excited. As soon as I stepped into the world, I was instantly reminded of the African safari. Definitely a lot different feel then any other world on WoW that I've been in.

Hopefully this weekend I can sneak in some 1943 with my WoW time. I'm also itching to play some L4D again after listening to Rebel FM talk about L4D2. I'm also itching to play every video game I currently own and have yet to finish. These include: Fallout 3, Oblivion, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty 5, Crysis, Grand Theft Auto 4 and The Sims 3. I also feel inclined to purchase Age of Empires III and play that again. AOE was easily one of my favorite games growing up. It's sad to think that Microsoft shut down the studio that made those fantastic games.

Game Diary: July 28, 2009: What war are you in soldier? Edition (Battlefield: Bad Company and 1943)


"I'm here Sarge, in the pacific circa 1943!"

"AGAIN SARGENT!... we need you to help us take all of these flags on this... uh... golf course dammit!"

"But I am only a private over here and the planes are much more fun to fly."

Alright, enough lame dialogue... that is obviously not the profession I should be in.

I have been fighting some ill advised internal war on which Battlefield game that I should be playing at any given moment. I am trying to only play 1943 with friends (not working, it is too addictive) and I have been playing Bad Company at every other turn.

I love the guns and classes in Bad Company but the feel of 1943 is amazing and the Air Superiority game mode is tons of fun.

What I love most about the Battlefield games in general are the in game rewards. They keep you playing in between achievements and a lot of the time they have me not even thinking about the achievements. The longevity of the 1943 achievements, patches, postcards, etc. are nothing when compared to all of the same from BC.

This leads me to believe that there is going to be a lot more content to download in the future or that this will truly be an arcade version of the Battlefield series. Just so you know, I am severely doubting the later.

Last but not least... we (I) have this to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Behemoth shows the world "Game 3" but is the world ready?

The Behemoth are known for their beautiful, hand drawn, and seductively funny games. This is the impression that one is given from this studio even though they only have two games on the market. These two amazing games are Alien Hominid HD and Castle Crashers. Both games released to critical and commercial success and now they are looking to do it again.

The game is currently going under the title - hopefully a working one - Game 3. There is nothing to say about the game's story, if there is one, at this moment but what we do have is this interview interjected with gameplay to better enlighten us on the specifics of this game.

It looks like the answer to all of the people who want Super Smash Bros. on the XBOX platform. Whist that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is not what I have come to expect from this studio. The hand-drawn characters look as cuddly and cute as ever but I am not sure if I will be a fan of the game if it does not add a story portion. I have never been that big a Smash Bros. fan so this will either make or break the beat em' up style of gameplay for me.

Please save this game for me Behemoth dudes.

Mass Effect is coming to the comic universe with Mass Effect: Redemption

I consider myself to be a casual fan of comic books so naturally when my favorite video game of this generation has a comic coming out based upon its universe it is natural for me to be ecstatic about it and thus find the need to let you know about it.

Mass Effect: Redemption will fill in some of the gaps between the first and the second game and will specifically follow Commander Shepard and Dr. Liara T'Soni after they become separated from the Normandy and its crew.

The first issue hits shelves January 6, 2010. Mark your calendars I am sure it will not be as disappointing as Mass Effect Galaxy was.

In addition to the Mass Effect comic news The Guild is also coming to comics - also by Dark Horse - and it plans to follow the Guildies on some of their in game adventures.

Fat Princess vs My State

Good GOD, some people in my state are pretty ridiculously stupid. "Kids are going to see a game about a fat princess and want to be one." YEAH. OK.

BRB, I was jut playing Sam and Max, and now I want to become a rabbity thing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

DJ Caruso Set To Make Dead Space Movie

The original title of this blog post was "DJ Caruso Set To Ruin Dead Space For Me." Another appropriate title would be "Matt Complains And Is Very Rude To A Movie That Doesn't Exist Yet." Take that for what you will, but I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about this. Remember Eagle Eye, the movie that told you your cell phone was evil? Remember Disturbia, the movie that couldn't just admit that it was Rear Window? Well, the guy who did those movies is now going to adapt Dead Space into a feature film, and I couldn't be more sad.

A little while ago, I wrote up a review of the Dead Space movie that was created by the team for the game. For those that remember, I very much hated it. I thought that it takes away from the magic and mystery of the game by spelling everything out for you. The whole sense of mystery is what I felt made the game a truly suspenseful experience. Sure, I love survival horror, and I love space, but the story is nothing to snub your nose at either. You get to see brief glimpses of what happened and only at the end do you realize how it all pieces together. With the animated movie, I felt they were saying, "Ok, idiots, here's how it went down." When it comes to Hollywood films, they treat the audience like idiots even more than that animated movie did, so you can only imagine the kind of dumbed down experience that DJ Caruso will bring into the mix. You also might remember that our main character doesn't really have a face due to him being in a suit the whole time, so you can probably just chuck that out the window. That and he spends the entire game alone and not speaking, so how's that for a main character, eh? Do I smell an Oscar??

I'll admit - I'm being pessimistic. Let's face it, though - there isn't much to look forward to with this. Video game feature film adaptations as a whole are boring and usually miss the point. Wing Commander, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Doom - all fun games to play. But when you watch the movies, you're robbed of the whole experience of the game. Add a cruddy director into the mix, and what can you really expect from this? Heck, DJ Caruso is attached to the hip with Shia Lebouf, so ten bucks says Shia gets tapped to play the main character, spends half the movie say "No! No no no! NO! No n-no no no!" and the other half being an insecure and stuttering joke of a hero. I honestly see nothing to get excited about with this movie, but I don't ever really get my hopes up for videogame films. Even with Sam Raimi behind a World Of Warcraft movie, I think to myself "What's the point?" Ok, he can direct "olde-timey" ancient medieval war epics (Army of Darkness), but can a game with no central plot line that is based around a large scale user experience make a film? There's a back story, sure, but is World Of Warcraft the movie going to be anything like World Of Warcraft the game? Nope. Is Bioshock the movie by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring) going to be anything like Bioshock the game? Nope. So, even if DJ Caruso wasn't the director of Dead Space, would I be excited? Nope.

People like me will whine and moan until the cows come home. It's inevitable. Could we be wrong? Sure! It's not likely, but I'll admit to the possibility. Dead Space could be the greatest videogame adaptation the world has ever seen and could completely rejuvenate DJ Caruso in my eyes. But with his past history, it's hard to get excited over something like this. Dead Space as a game is a brilliant little sleeper hit, and I fully endorse everyone giving it a once over. I had so much fun playing it late at night with all the curtains drawn and the lights out. The movie will never match that experience though, and no film ever will. Too many random factors go into games which help make it a more real and horrific experience. As AI gets better and we have crazy directors in our games (like Left 4 Dead and it's randomly placed zombie hordes), we get more immerse experiences that no movie will ever reach. Ever. DJ Caruso's Dead Space may very well end up a brilliant horror film (doubt it) but no matter what, at the end of the day, the game will always be better.

Monday MUpdate: Me vs. 1 vs. 100 vs. Maradona vs. Elvis

Have you heard? Did you see? Were you there? 1 vs 100 now offers prizes!! Oh em gee, stop the presses! Or, you know, whatever the Internet uses. Stop the tubes?

Anyway. This weekend when I logged on to my XBOX Live! dashboard, I noticed that 1 vs 100 had a nice little note up that said you could actually win prizes today, and I was very excited. I'd stopped playing it after the first few weeks because I didn't care about just racking up points like everyone else. I figured I'd wait until I had a good reason to play, and that was for a prize! I quickly logged into the game and joined the crowd, and soon I found myself as an actual player in the 100! How exciting, right?!

Well, to cut a long story short, I didn't get my prizes. The prize that I would have won is about 160 Microsoft points and the game Puzzle Quest, and that would have been super to have and all, but since 1 vs 100 is still in Beta and is still buggy, guess what happened? XBOX Live! frakked up, and all of a sudden I got booted out of the game to the dashboard. Not just to the lobby, I was sent all the way back to my Sam and Max themed dashboard! I couldn't even log back in, either, because for some reason all but three channels had disappeared! I had my Welcome channel, my personal channel, and my Friends channel, but the rest was gone! I had to reboot my XBOX to get back into the game, and by that time I was eternally crowded, and that was really unfortunate because in one round I managed to get all the questions right up to the last 20 people! I would have won so much! It was brilliant too because the last question that made everyone else in the crowd die was "What size are 45 rpm records?" 7 inches! Duh! Who on Earth has 10 inch records, people. Seriously.

I'll come out and say it flat: I think that 1 vs 100 is probably the coolest thing the XBOX team has done in a while. I don't care about Facebook and Twitter on the box, and I don't care about avatars and paying for clothes. Heck, those that have my gamertag know that my avatar looks nothing like me to the point of absurdity and impossibility. However, 1 vs 100 is the first thing that XBOX has done where I feel they've created a true and unique experience that isn't offered by any other system and won't be offered by any other system. The Prime Time Channel idea is absolute GOLD for them! I want to see more games like this because it's easy to casual game it as well as bring in people who aren't big gamers. Nate, Kara, and I - we could potentially sit at our consoles for days if the game is right. But our significant others? No way. They'll play games every now and then, but if they never played a game it probably wouldn't bug them. When you get something like 1 vs 100, though, I've seen that it makes them more interested in playing.

This is something I'd like to somewhat call the Wii Technique. The Wii obviously didn't create this, but it's their biggest selling point - you don't have to be a gamer to enjoy or even want the Wii. Whenever I end up being suckered into using this machine, it's always in a "party" atmosphere (like last time I played on the 4th of July). When you're in a large group doing something simple, it's easy to get everyone involved. 1 vs 100 is a basic concept everyone can get behind - trivia. You're all playing to see who can answer the most questions right, and you get to laugh and joke while you're playing because you don't need to spend every waking moment staring at the screen worried that some n00b is going to frag you. The same works for another popular XBOX game in my friends group: Scene It! We just play it - if you win, you win, and if you lose, everyone gets to make fun of you! ("You thought that quote was from Shrek?! It's CLEARLY from Training Day!") The Wii capitalizes on this but is ridiculed by people like me for lack of any other form of substance. If I want to pay 2-300 dollars for something like that, I might as well just buy a butt-ton of paint thinner and start sniffing glue! (Too much?) But now, on XBOX Live!, we have a free game where there are actual benefits to playing, and most of all, it's insanely fun.

So kudos to you, XBOX. You may have robbed me of my Puzzle Quest (which I, admittedly, probably would have played once and then never though of again), but you have positively enriched me in so many other ways that it doesn't matter. Hopefully we'll get more games soon. I can't think of any game as involving as 1 vs 100 to the large market they have (when I was playing, there were over 30,000 other players) because most game shows involve 1-3 people playing at a time. Deal or No Deal (or as Michael Showalter calls it, Money or No Money)? Jeopardy? Wheel of Fortune? None of that works as well as 1 vs 100. Looks like it's time to invent a game, guys!

One last note - Marvel vs Capcom 2 comes out on XBOX Live! This Wednesday! As I said months ago when it was first announced, I was putting $20 away just for that. Did you think I was joking? Nope. Dead serious. In fact, I have a fresh crispy 20 dollar bill in my pocket right now, and I'm having it placed directly towards the purchase of Microsoft Points. So, if anyone wants to play with me, feel free to log in and find me Wednesday night. I'd be more than happy to go a few rounds with any n00b.