Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Suprising New Hardware in Next-Gen Consoles

PlayStation 3 and Nintendo WiiHow long has it been now since we first got our hands on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3? If memory serves me right it has only been three rather short years since our lives were filled with motion controllers and blu-ray playing consoles and already there are rumors scurrying all across the web about the newest installments for each console and some of the new hardware each one may be bringing to the table.

Lets start with Sony. According to a report found in the Japanese press, Sony is apparently working on a multi-core design for the PlayStation 4. The PS3 currently runs on a Cell architecture which is one of the reasons the console is hard to develop for. Early on some of the different choices Sony was looking at were Intel's Larrabee and a modified version of the Synergistic Processor Unit. However, that is all over with now as it appears Sony is working with multi-core designs. However, I don't think this is anything to get to heated over yet because Sony also announced that a new handheld is due to come out before the PS4. The PSP2 isn't supposed to come out until 2013 so there is still a bit of a wait.

Switching gears over to Nintendo, rumors have already begun to surface for the Wii 2 as well. It seems that the powers that be over at Nintendo and the suits over at Intel have been discussing hardware to power Nintendo's new console. Word on the gaming street is that the two companies may be talking about using a GPU/CPU combo for the Wii 2, similar to Larrabee. We could very well see Intel powering the new console from Nintendo whenever it comes out.

It seems the only people not discussing a new console just yet is Microsoft. Microsoft still believes that there is a vast untapped potential in the Xbox 360 and that it still has a lot of kick still left in it. With the introduction of Project Natal, among other things, we may very well see the Xbox 360 go up against a PS4 or Wii 2 before we see an Xbox 720 or something like that give it a go.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Spike Video Game Awards 2009

Spike VGA 2009The popular, male oriented television network Spike TV has once again hosted their annual awards show dedicated entirely to everything encompassing the video game market. A host of celebrity presenters gave out awards ranging in categories from Most Anticipated Game of 2010 and Best DLC to Best Handheld Game and the coveted Game of the Year Award.

But aside from awards, the Spike VGA's played host to a plethora of new, never before seen premiers of some new and totally amazing looking games. Never before seen clips of games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Halo: Reach, Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, Star Wars : The Force Unleashed 2, Green Day: Rock Band and tons more.

While the game premieres are cool and all, what everybody was gathered for was the awards, so here is the full list of all the awards given out and their winners:

Most Anticipated Game of 2010: God of War III

Best DLC: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Best Downloadable Game: Shadow Complex

Best Voice: Jack Black as Eddie Riggs in Brutal Legend

Best Cast: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Best Performance By A Human Male:
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine: X-Men Origins Wolverine

Best Performance By A Human Female: Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Best Game Based on a Movie/TV Show: South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!

Best Graphics: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Best Original Score: Halo 3: ODST

Best Soundtrack: DJ Hero

Best Music Game: The Beatles: Rock Band

Best driving Game: Forza Motorsport 3

Best Team Sports Game: NHL 10

Best Individual Sports Game: UFC 2009 Undisputed

Best Multiplayer Game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Best RPG: Dragon Age: Origins

Best Action-Adventure Game: Assassin's Creed 2

Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter IV

Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Best Handheld Game: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Best PC Game: Dragon Age: Origins

Best Wii Game: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Best PS3 Game:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Best Xbox 360 Game: Left 4 Dead 2

Best Independent Game Fueled By Dew: Flower

Studio of the Year:
Rocksteady Studios

And now the moment you have all been waiting for. The most coveted award for any game developer on the planet. No matter how big or how small the awards show is, winning the award for Game of the Year is always an honor. So, if I can get a drum roll please, the winner of the Spike TV Video Game Awards for Game of the Year goes to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

In my personal opinion, I believe most of the titles are deserving of their award. Have a different opinion? Let us know by leaving a comment on the comment boards.

Source: Spike TV

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Picking The Game Console That Fits Your Needs

game consolesDeciding on what game console you want to purchase can be a difficult process. Sometimes the price or the brand or the games available for that system can influence your decision. I just want to present some facts, so that you are able to make a confident decision on a system that best suites you.

So as of now, Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s Playstation 3, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are the consoles you have to choose from. They are all very different and unique. Which you consider the best all depends on your preferences. The Wii and the 360 have not changed their looks since their release, while the PS3 has slimmed down a bit. The internal capabilities of all of the different systems are constantly changing though. Microsoft has initiated a new interface for the 360, the PS3 has featured some minor upgrades and added Netflix this year, and the Wii has had a few improvements and continues to release a steady stream of games. The most welcoming change is the fact that each of the game consoles has dropped in price. Considering how expensive these systems were when they were first released, these consoles are relatively reasonably priced.

Nintendo Wii
The Wii was launched in 2005 and was highly scrutinized for being underpowered compared to its competitors. Quickly people began eating their words. The simple, straightforward gameplay, motion-based controller, and affordable price made the Wii a huge success. The Wii currently leads sales in the gaming world. This is the best possible system families, kids, and casual gamers.

For those who aren’t looking for crazy intense gaming, the Wii offers a variety of fun games. The Wii Sports Resort was added to the Wii Sports family recently and includes archery, fencing, and wakeboarding. Included with the Sports Resort package is a small sensor that attaches to your Wii remote and increases motion sensitivity. The Wii definitely displays the best motion-sensitivity technology and remains the best-selling systems available today for a reasonable price of $199.

Sony Playstation 3
Earlier this year, Sony released the PS3 Slim. This is a thinner, lighter, more energy-efficient version of the original PS3. PS3 has many features that are not included in the other game systems. It features an integrated Blu-ray player and supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and DLNA. As mentioned above, it also has recently added Netflix streaming. Another incredibly important detail would be the price drop from its original $500 price tag to $299. It is obvious that the PS3 is definitely the most feature-filled system on the market.

Microsoft Xbox 360
Now when considering the 360, you must choose between the regular Xbox 360 and the Elite Xbox 360. The Elite ships with a 120GB hard drive, an HDMI port, and a wireless controller for $299. Looks wise, the Elite 360 is a more sophisticated black opposed to the regular white 360.

The $199 price tag on the Xbox 360 Arcade gives it an up on the PS3. It is the least-expensive Xbox on the market. Now with this low price, Microsoft was forced to remove the internal hard drive of the 360, which is a huge sacrifice. If you are looking to be able to play games and enjoy the New Xbox Experience though, the 360 Arcade could be the best system choice for you.

Now what do I think? Personally, I have played and enjoyed all of these systems. I was very skeptical about the Wii, but it really is a lot of family fun. The PS3 is probably my favorite console, but that is most likely because I constantly utilize its Wi-Fi capabilities. The Xbox 360 is a fantastic system to play on too. I think really you have to make your decision based on your own personal preferences or what your budget allows. No matter what you decide, your going to have a great time with your new game system.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fitness Changing the Face of Video Games?

Fitness Changing the Face of Video Games

Are fitness games changing the face of video games? That's what the Associated Press is saying. According to a recent article, the country's largest sports retailer now carries Wii console games. The Sports Authority struck a deal with Nintendo last month and now you can find your Wii games right there between your soccer equipment and your treadmills.

Just a few short years ago, selling video games in a sports store would have been unheard of, but with the new wave of fitness games on the market, the pairing doesn't seem that unlikely. The craze started with the release of Nintendo's "Wii Fit." The motion controller and balance board made it possible to turn games into exercise and "exergames" has taken on a life of its own as a new genre in the video gaming world.

Gaming isn't just for teenagers and bachelors anymore, everyone's mom, aunt and grandma is working up a sweat with their Wii's. According to industry analyst Anita Frazier, sixty, seventy, and even eighty-year-olds are playing fitness games. And of course, this has game publishers working to cash in on fitness game craze, as well.

Electronic Arts, THQ, Ubisoft, and Majesco Entertainment have all come out with their own brand of exercise games, each with their own gimmick. But the biggest competitor to Wii Fit is Ea Sports Active which stars Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer, Bob Greene. "Before I made this commitment to do this project with EA Sports, I'll be honest, I was skeptical," Greene told the Associated Press. "What kind of workout can you really get? I looked at what was already on the market at the time. To me, it was mostly just slow movements and relaxation, which is a great part of overall well-being, however, it didn't actually challenge you."

Other games have celebrity names behind them as well. Jenny McCarthy is the famous face on Ubisoft's "Your Shape," a game that incorporates a digital camera to scan the player's body shape. And "The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels is the face of Majesco's "Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010."

So, do these games actually help players lose weight or tone up? That hasn't been determined but a study by the American Council on Exercise called the Wii Fit a "very very mild workout."

Even so fitness game sales are climbing. EA Sports Active has sold over one million copies since its May release and the Wii Fit has sold over eight million copies. The sequel to the Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, sold over 440,000 copies in October of this year. Next year, the exergame market won't belong to Nintendo alone. Microsoft and Sony are planning to launch motion controllers for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in an effort to compete with the Wii.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Brings Pink and Blue Wiimotes to America

Pink and Blue WiimotesBack in October, all of us Americans sat in envy as we watched folks over in Japan sit down and enjoy some good ol' family fun on the Wii with their brand new blue and pink Wiimotes. Yep, while us yanks were still furiously swinging about our plain white and black Wiimotes, Wii fans in Japan were adding a dash of color to their lives.

We tend to look on in envy sometimes at the technology Japan gets and we don't. But that is no longer the case with these Wiimotes as Nintendo as revealed that they will begin shipping the blue and pink Wiimotes all over the US starting February 14th, Valentines Day.

Some people may be surprised that the Wiimotes are not making it in time for Christmas. But considering the Wiimotes are pink and blue, the typical colors for his and hers, it isn't surprising to see them coming out on Valentine's Day as they would appear to be a perfect Valentine's Day gift for that special Wii-loving someone in your life.

Both the blue and pink Wiimotes will come bundled with the Wii MotionPlus attachment and protective jacket. Nintendo is marketing these new Wiimotes with the notion that if coupled with the black and original white Wiimotes, every person in the party could have their own unique colored Wiimote. One thing that was a little disappointing was the fact that Nintendo does not plan on releasing nunchuks in matching colors as they did with the black Wiimotes. But nevertheless, the blue and pink Wiimotes are sure to be hot items come this February. Pricing hasn't been confirmed but the Wiimotes should cost the same $40 as the others.

Source: Engadget

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Friday, December 11, 2009

10 Great Wii Game Ideas For Christmas

10 Great Wii Game Ideas For Christmas

There weren't a ton of big fall releases for the Wii this year, and that could leave parents of Wii-addicted children and teenagers scratching their head as they shop for Christmas gifts. Never fear, there are still some Wii games out there and here is a list of ten that any Wii gamer, no matter their age, would love to see under the tree on Christmas morning:

1. DJ Hero - There are so many music games out there but for some people, rock music and playing the guitar (which most of the games are centered around) can get a little boring. DJ Hero allows you to be the DJ and let's you work the turntables instead of the guitar, to play several different genres of music.

2. Lego Indiana Jones 2 - There are lots of games in the Lego series now but some say the second Indiana Jones game is the best one yet. Get the most of both worlds (films and legos) as the game centers on all four movies, focusing on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

3. New Super Mario Bros - Has there been a more popular game series than Mario Brothers? For the first time in ten years, Mario is back. Packed with nostalgia and innovation, the new version of Super Mario is great for older gamers who played the game back in the day.

4. Wii Fit Plus - This may not be what your kids want from Santa but it may be what mom wants to help jumpstart her new year's resolutions. If you liked the Wii Fit, Wii Fitt Plus is the new and improved version.

5. Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics - Gamers' favorite plumber takes on gamers' favorite hedgehog in some good old-fashioned Winter Olympic fun. What more could you ask for? This game is fun for the whole family and a Wii gamer favorite.

6. Dead Space Extraction - Steve Boxer of the UK Guardian calls this game one of the best of the year. It seems more like something for Xbox or Playstation, as it's one of the few dark adult games for the Wii.

7. Muramasa: The Demon Blade - This game has been out for a few months and developed a very strong cult-like following. With great visuals and sound, this Japanese ninja, role-playing game is great gift for anyone looking for some adventure.

8. Tony Hawk: Ride - Tony Hawk games have been popular for years and this yet-to-be-released one is no exception. It comes with a new skateboard-shaped Wii control and may very well breathe new life into the franchise.

9. Spore Hero - Spore Hero is a simple game but has a few pleasant touches. If you like to customize characters, this one is great. Based on Will Wright's original version, this evolution-themed game is great for kids, but adults will enjoy it, too.

10. Rabbids Go Home - The Rabbids franchise is a spinoff from Playstation's Rayman and is supposed to be much better than the predecessors. It has been very well-received by gamers and called "ambitious" and "inspired" by critics. This action-adventure game would make a great surprise Christmas gift.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Uncharted 2: Possibly the Best PS3 Game Ever Created

uncharted 2Honestly, it’s difficult to find much fault with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. It delivers an impeccably well done sequel and delivers a new standard for all third-person action adventure games to follow.

It is the follow-up to the 2007 adventure of Nathan Drake, who is a treasure hunter, small time thief, and all around lovable rogue. We last followed Drake on his quest to discover the lost treasures of El Dorado. Now we find ourselves being drug along on a expedition to find the fabled Cintamani Stone. This hunt takes Drake from Istanbul to Tibet as he races to find the legend stone before the evil, psychopathic, warlord Zorin Lazarevic and his army.

The fantastic script, voice quality, and overall direction of the game gives Uncharted 2 a very movie-like feel. You easily develop an attachment to the real-to-life characters and will quickly become enveloped by the addictive game. Every single one of the 25 levels (except a level featuring a heist in Istanbul) includes a staggering amount of twists and turns that allows Uncharted 2 to keep its movie-like qualities. You rarely have to suffer from the feeling of aimlessly walking from A to B that typically is found in most games. Now, it’s not like there are huge ridiculously unbelievable events occurring throughout the entire game. There are plenty of smaller, more-reactive based events too. This creates a very welcome balance that allows the game to move on in a smooth fashion. This was accomplished because whenever Nate is walking from here to there he will stop to chat and interact with other characters and react to specific proceedings. This fills any instances when you have to walk between events.

uncharted 2Naughty Dog, the company that developed Uncharted 2, did an absolutely incredible job revitalizing the third-person action/adventure gameplay ideas. The game is infused with a multitude of scripted events, tied to fantastic cut scenes, that keep the gamer hooked. Some say that Uncharted 2 is one of the most gameplay-focused, cinematic games that has ever been created. The game moves with a flawless liquidity that gives it such action movie-like qualities. It is fascinating the way that Naughty Dog was able to incorporate the cinematic qualities while still creating an amazing game with an intriguing yet plausible storyline.

A lot of the game is consumed with combat, but there are also plenty of platforming and puzzles. There is a fantastic selection of weapons to choose from throughout the game which is important as Nate must always be on his toes and on the lookout for Lazarevic’s soldiers. The covering system has been compared to that of Gear’s of War. You can easily duck behind a multitude of objects and move flawlessly between the different objects. Melee combat is made simple by having only one button to punch and one button to counter. Although this may sound like melee combat could become repetitive, the rhythmic based attack system and varied attacks can sometimes be more fulfilling than the games that require the pressing of many buttons for up-close combat.

uncharted 2Uncharted 2 also now features the ability to play the game from a stealth-like position. As you are hiding behind objects, you can creep around behind an unsuspecting guard and break his neck, which is a new addition to Drake’s abilities. He can also hang from ledges and pull guards over banisters to throw them to their death. Now the one disappointing level mentioned previously could have given Nate the ability to put his stealth to work, but unfortunately, the gameplay does not allow for this. The Istanbul museum heist level, which takes place early in the game, is very clinical in nature. The level is a predetermined mission failure, which can be frustrating. This level simply does not fit with the otherwise outstanding features if the game, but hey it’s only one level!

The excellent variation of combat, big scripted events, platforming, and puzzles is presented seamlessly and keeps the game fresh from the start to the beginning. The game as a whole offers an average of between 10-12 hours of gameplay, which seems like the perfect length for Drake’s adventurous tale. From the very start, Uncharted 2 grabs your attention and makes you never want to put down your controller. Even after you’ve beat the game, it’s entertaining enough to make you want to play it again, and if not, there is always the online multi-player mode that I think should keep PS3 owner happy for quite some time. This game has everything a gamer could ever want. With the combat, puzzles, platforming, fantastic storyline, and online play there really is nothing else that you could want or need in a game. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is simply incredible.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
It's been eighteen long years since Super Mario World was released for Super Nintendo and believe it or not, that was the last Mario side-scrolling game released for a home console. After that, along came the 3D Mario 64 and it seemed as though the old games were a thing of the past. Fortunately, the wait is over. Nintendo has brought back every bit of nostalgia from the old Super Mario Bros and combined it with exciting new features that make Super Mario Bros for Wii one of the most anticipated games of the year.

One reviewer called it a "greatest hits" album of games, because the final product is a combination of many previous Mario Bros. games. It is also said to be much like the New Super Mario Bros. that was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS.

It follows the basic story of the old Super Mario Bros. World game. Peach is kidnapped, Mario and Luigi must save her while fighting Koopa Kids, Fire Chomps, Shy Guys, and Goombas along the way, as well as some new enemies such as giant caterpillars and flying monsters. But one major difference is that you can play the game with four players on screen at once, sort of like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. That said, a number of reviewers have said it falls flat as a single-player game.

The 3-D graphics (on the 2-D game) and the ability to zoom the camera in and out so that players can play different parts of the same level are pretty nice additions. While the multi-player aspect can be tons of fun, it can also be tons of chaos. Another player can knock you into a bottomless pit or accidentally kick a turtle shell at you, unexpectedly. You can play with or against your friends. A cooperative mode allows you to work together to pass levels, while a competitive mode (Coin Battle) has each person working to find as many coins as possible.

In cooperative mode, when a player dies, he floats back to life in a bubble and his fellow players must pop it to release him. If everybody is dead, no one can pop the bubble and the level fails. And since it's aimed more at being a multi-player game, levels are more open and linear than previous Mario Bros games so that each player can find their own personal space.

The game is also said to be fairly difficult. This should be great news for old-school gamers who were looking for a new challenge where Super Mario World left off, but not such great news for the casual gamers who are just looking to waste a little time. However, once a level is failed several times, a Super Guide appears and plays the level for you, allowing you to move on to the next one.

Sing-player mode can be fun, but it's nothing like Super Mario World or other games from the past. The game also requires motion at some points, which means using the Wiimote on its side. Something a number of reviewers say makes the game slightly uncomfortable and adds nothing to the overall experience.

All in all, it seems to be a fun game to play with friends but if you're wanting to spend hours alone, unwinding with a challenging game, this may not be what you're looking for. Either way, this $50 game is sure to find its way under many Christmas trees this year, as gamers look to appreciate that nostalgia that is the 2D Super Mario Bros. franchise.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friiboard, a new accessory for your WiiFit Balance Board

For fans of snowboarding and skiing games on the Wii, a new clip-on accessory is available to challenge your abilities and your injury resistance.

Its basically curved piece of plastic that you clip on to the bottom of your WiiFit Balance Board. It allows you to rock from side to side, and forward and backwards, to give you a more realistic feel while playing games such as Shawn White Snowboarding or Tony Hawk.

It sounds like a great idea, and for those who are experienced enough with snowboarding and skateboarding away from video games, you know, like outdoors, it may be a perfect match. But for novices or those who have little to no balance skills, you may want to stay away from this one until you are confident you won't be taking a header into your TV. The unimpressive $45 price tag is a bit steep too, especially considering its merely a piece of plastic.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2010

With the new year approaching, its time to look ahead to some of the more anticipated video games set for releases in 2010. While this list might look more like a blockbuster movie schedule than a list of games, we assure you that 2010 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for gaming. You might even consider attempting time-travel just so you can play these games sooner.

10. Castlevania – Lords of Shadow

This title looks to reinvigorate the Castlevania series and judging from the trailer, it might do exactly that. From the looks of it Lord of Shadow seems to have taken some notes from God of War, but can we honestly say that's a bad thing? This game will be a must have for any Castlevania fan.

9. Sin and Punishment 2

Anyone who played the original Sin and Punishment on N64 knows just how much fun it was. Sin and Punishment 2 comes as a 3rd person shooter from Japan that may just give the Nintendo Wii the push it needs.

8. Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator is back with its unique appeal of being able to play all 3 races. Expect an overwhelming sense of dread while playing as a marine in dark and unknown corridors, a refreshing ability to wreak absolute carnage while playing as an alien, and of course, the satisfactory feeling of successfully hunting down your prey as the elusive predator. Did we mention that multiplayer will incorporate all three classes in an all out brawl on various planets and facilities?

7. WoW Cataclysm

Chances are if you play WoW you've already been drooling over this expansion for months and have a special place already set on your shelf for this game. If you don't play World of Warcraft please, for your own sake, turn away and never look back. This expansion includes two new races (Worgen and Goblin) and of course new dungeons, raids, and areas to explore.

6. Bioshock 2

Taking place 10 years after the original Bioshock, Bioshock 2 looks to expand on the original. The players can now take control of the infamous Big Daddy and even step outside of the underwater city called Rapture. Oh, and there will be multiplayer too.

5. Rage

Rage is Id Software’s first original game in over a decade, and the first to use the new Tech 5 game engine. Rage is set in a post-apocalyptic world and looks to be a unique blend of first person shooter and racing game. Ironically this sounds pretty damn refreshing.

4. Diablo 3

Does anything else even need to be said apart from the fact that its freakin' Diablo 3?!? This time time around there will be three playable classes each with their own unique set of abilities, strengths and weaknesses. The classes are Witch Doctor, Barbarian, and Wizard. Be warned though, this game looks to be every bit as addicting as WoW and may cause you to lose your job, friends, and maybe even your apartment. But on the bright side at least you'll have fun doing it.

3. Metroid: Other M

What happens when you combine one of the most beloved action games of all time with the brilliant minds at Team Ninja. Metroid Gaiden? Ninjatroid? No. The answer is non other than Metroid: Other M. This may just be the best Metroid game ever created, which is truly saying something.

2. God of War III

God of War III resumes exactly where God of War II ends and will deliver on all the brutal hacking and slashing we came to love in the previous games. If you own a PS3 you're in luck as this game will only be available on that system. Hell, it might even be worth the buy just to shove it in all your friends faces who own an Xbox360.

1. Starcraft II

The original Star Craft is arguably one of the best games ever made, so it is not surprising that real time strategy fans went absolutely crazy when Star Craft II was finally announced. Its been over 10 years since the last installment in the Starcraft series and Blizzard has managed to up the ante with improved graphics, all new units, and even customized deaths for every unit. Expect to relive everything you enjoyed in the first Starcraft from the compelling story and campaigns to the brutal all out battles we learned to love. If Blizzard doesn't push this game back for 4 more years then this game will be a shoe in for game of the year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Will New Wii Paid Video Service Bump Sales?

nintendo wii video serviceThe Nintendo Wii is definitely still keeping its footing in the video game world. Recent survey statistics and a new stream of revenues insinuate that Wii is doing well and will only do better this Christmas season. Survey data from an online wish-list and gift-giving site called Lottay show that the Wii and all its games and accessories will definitely gain some more momentum.

The Wii and everything that goes along with the game system were wished for over twice as much as the PS3 or Xbox 360. Now a wish does not mean that the product will necessarily be bought for the hopeful recipient, but since there is a shortage of super exciting gifts this holiday season, the Wii and other less-new products should be able to be successful in sales.

Although Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said just a few weeks ago that the Wii game system hadn’t been as strong as they imagined, Cammie Dunway, who is the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America, seems to remain extremely positive about the current sales and the future sales of the holiday season.

In the U.S., Nintendo’s focus for the Wii has been more on games and accessories for the system instead of additional services like the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live, which gives users access to Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm.

Now in Japan, the Wii console is much more sophisticated that it is here in the U.S. Nintendo previously launched an advertising program to the Japanese systems that turns family time with the Wii into a somewhat commercial endeavor, and it also introduced a catering channel that allows users to order food from a variety of assorted vendors right through the console and have it delivered to your door.

Just this weekend, Nintendo has added a variety of interactive services, with a paid video download service for Japanese consoles. The new service, “Theater No Ma,” offers a range of movies, anime, and a variety of other downloadable content from providers such as Walt Disney and Sesame Workshop.

Services such as this have been available in the U.S. for quite some time but not so much in Japan. Nintendo researchers were able to find out that 87% of Japanese Wii users have their console hooked up the biggest screen in the house which is normally in the living room. This will cause the new video downloading system to most likely appeal to Wii users because of the ease and location of the TV and console. Nintendo hopes that this new paid service will bring in more revenue and bump their sales statistics up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Assassin's Creed II Now Available

assassin's creed iiAssassin’s Creed II was released on November 17th, and there has been some major hype and advertising for this game. I was watching the OSU football game last weekend and I probably saw the Assassin’s Creed II commercial at least seven times, and this commercial is not just some little snippet of the game, it is a long intense preview that makes you want to go right out and buy it. Assassin’s Creed II looks like the kind of game that you just can’t stop playing.

Although the original Assassin’s Creed was quite popular, it can’t even touch the brilliance of the sequel. The second installment takes you on a bloody romp through Renaissance Italy that keeps all the aspects that were loved from the original game while righting all the issues that it had. It has developed into a fully featured open world action experience. Every detail added to the game has enhanced it in ways that make this game so much more intriguing than its predecessor.

The plot of Assassin’s Creed II mixes together elements of many different things including lots of historical fiction and some Matrix qualities. The game was developed and crafted by some of the most skillful hands in gaming development. This is seen vividly in the games environments, animations, and art. The sequel build on its predecessor’s basis, but blows the first game completely out of the water.

All of the questions and loose ends with the first Assassin’s Creed are addressed and answered throughout the game. The game itself begins right where the predecessor ended with the kidnapped bartender Desmond locked away in a cell in Abstergo. Desmond’s captors, the Templars, are after his valuable genetic memories. The magic that can be found in modern technology permits Desmond to relive the feats of his ancestors, who were indeed Assassins. Because of the family lineage that Desmond is a part of, he is stuck right in the middle of the war between the Templars and the Assassins.

The game begins with springing Desmond from his imprisonment and taking him to the secret hideout of the Assassins to give him a proper introduction. At the hideout, Desmond learns that the Assassins possess the same technology to relive the past as he does. This technology was used against Desmond in the previous game to forcibly make him reveal the locations of powerful artifact that were located in 12th century Jerusalem. In this game, Desmond decides to learn from the Assassins by staying in the 15th century and living life through his ancestor, Elizo Audituerre de Firenze.

Gamers are introduced to Elizo at the time of his birth for a brief but significant moment. Next it flashes forward to the time in his life when he was a womanizer, a street fighter, and the son of a wealthy banker. The game moves onward to reveal a revenge plot that will easily draw in the player.

assassins creed iiAt the game’s start, there are many tips and techniques interwoven in the gameplay to allow you to catch onto the basic moves of the game. In one of the early mission, the gamer is introduced to their character’s ability to climb over nearly any surface found in the game. In Assassin’s Creed II, the players character’s movement speed has been greatly increased to allow for less frustrating gameplay.

The stealth feature on the game, that is used quite often, allows the player to utilize quick action or a dense crowd to escape. This lets you have a more realistic kind of gameplay. When there are people after your character, there are still hiding places that you can easily hide. The easiest way to divert foes in the game is to hire thieves, mercenaries, and whores to cause a distraction. Also you can throw coins in the street to create a mini-riot.

If you feel like taking a more aggressive approach and fight instead of hiding then you open up some different options. There’s a huge selection of weapons that you can either permanently purchase at a store or temporarily steal off of an adversary.

The creation of a monetary system in Assassin’s Creed II adds quite a few positive changes to gameplay. Your character receives money when they complete quests, find treasures, or pickpocket someone. You may utilize this money to purchase new armor, weapons, or upgrade your home base.

The structure of the game allows the player to decide which missions they choose to go on and even includes a map that allows you to see which missions will allow you to advance further into the game. The side missions that could be so agonizing to go on in the previous game have been updated to include relevance and not become repetitive.

The entire game takes 18 hours to complete on average and has been designed to keep your attention all the way through. The game itself just has so much more to offer than the original Assassin’s Creed. The gameplay is exciting, unique, and incredibly detail oriented. Even if you never played the first game, it doesn’t matter. You will still fall in love with this game. It is definitely worth your time and money. Assassin’s Creed II is superb.

Friday, November 20, 2009

15 Year Old's Traumatic Xbox Incident

15 year olds xbox traumaSo I am still currently a teenager for just a few months. I know that we can be difficult and at times unreasonable, but I never thought that rebellion could go this far. A fifteen year old boy, who lives in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, experienced severe trauma when his parents decided to punish him by taking away something near and dear to his heart…his Xbox.

At 12:50 p.m. on Sunday, November 15th, 2009, this young man grabbed the phone and called 911. He intended to question the police as to whether or not his parents had the right to withhold his precious game system from him. After making the call though, the fifteen year old decided to hang up before posing his question. Naturally, the police made their way over to the boys house to see what was going on. Once the boy explained the reason for the call, the police were quick to explain that it was most definitely within his parents rights to confiscate his Xbox, and it would probably be in his best interest to listen to what they said if he ever wanted to get it back.

So just a word to the wise, you better be on your best behavior because if you aren’t and your parents decide to punish you by taking away your game system, the police will give you no help whatsoever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

MySims Agents for Wii Review

Electronic Arts' Sims franchise has been one of the most popular gaming franchises ever, and now they're taking it to the Wii in MySims Agents. MySims Agents has been called an "entertaining yet fairly simplistic game." It's not packed with lots of action but it requires a lot of brainpower.

The goal of the game is to become a special agent. To do this, you take on assignments and foil evil plots created by Morcubus, the corrupt CEO of MorcuCorp. How does this work? Essentially, you send your agent through a variety of settings, looking for clues and usually tools you'll discover throughout the game. As you move throughout the game, you can even recruit other agents with other talents, personalities, and interests, and put together your own "crime-busting dream team.

Create your agent and send him or her to tough cases in exotic places, from an icy mountain top to an ancient temple. You'll need your brain and your gadgets to solve mysteries, track footprints, pick locks, hack into computers, follow leads and collect clues. You'll also need to jump and balance your way through tricky situations. Your headquarters can be customize to your desire, and you'll need to equip it to maximize the skills of your team.

The game is fun but requires patience as it's not very action-packed and can be tedious. Also, once you beat the game, it replays exactly the same, down to every detail. It's a one-player game, though you can save a number of different accounts for different players, and is played mostly using the Wii Nunchuk to direct your character around each level. The graphics are bright and vivid, making it fun to watch.

You may not get a physical workout, but the game is sure to work your brain with puzzles that require completing and deductive reasoning skills needed to find clues and solve mysteries. Parents and teens may get bored with the game, but it's great for younger children who are just beginning to read. The directions are simple and easy to follow, as are hints and clues you receive instructing you on what to do next.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Xbox Live Users Banned By Microsoft

xbox live bannedWith so many illegal downloading sites out there, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to download those couple songs or watch that pirated movie or maybe even download that new game that you don’t feel like paying over $50 for. Well, you may want to reconsider things if this has become a habit of yours.

Giving into the temptation to download pirated games may have just cost over 1 million Xbox Live users the ability to continue to utilize the service. It has been said that Microsoft has banned over 1 million service users due to the fact that they altered their Xbox consoles to be able to play pirated versions of games.

Just this week, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released. Pirated versions of the game had popped up before the game was even released, and it is believed that the developers at Activision might have encouraged Microsoft to initiate the ban.

Although the gamers who have had a ban placed on their Xbox Live service will not be able to play any online games, they still have full capabilities to play any kind of game offline. Microsoft has still not been clear as to whether this ban is permanent or if users will be able to return to Xbox Live later on down the road. They did release a statement saying that their "commitment to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay for the more than 20 million members of the Xbox Live community remains a top priority. All consumers should know that piracy is illegal and modifying their Xbox 360 console violates the Xbox Live terms of use, will void their warranty and result in a ban from Xbox Live. We can assure you that if an Xbox Live member follows the Xbox Live terms of use, purchased a retail copy of Modern Warfare 2 and played the game on an unmodified Xbox 360, no action will be taken."

On the Xbox support page, there is now a list of circumstances from the Xbox Live Director of Programming that detail what could cause a user to be banned from Xbox Live.

This new ban set down by Microsoft is not something to be taken lightly. Users could be banned for days, weeks, months, or maybe permanently. This means they won’t be able to go online at all. So before doing something that you think could be considered questionable, you might want to consult the Xbox Live Terms of Use instead of waking up to find yourself banned from Xbox Live forever.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The Biggest Loser" for Wii Review

Last month, THQ released "The Biggest Loser" for Nintendo's Wii. Following the success of the Wii Fit, exercise and fitness games are becoming increasingly popular. Combine that excitement with one of the most popular shows on television, one that has motivated millions of people across the country to get up and get fit and live healthier lifestyles. So, is "The Biggest Loser" game as motivational as the show? Is it sure to become the next Wii fit? Let's take a look.

To begin the game, you have to create your own personal fitness program. After creating your own persona, you choose which contestant from the show you are most like and then you can decide if you'd rather work with Bob or Jillian, the show's two trainers. Next you'll decide what you'd like to gain from your fitness program. Are you looking to lose a little weight or are wanting an educational game that will lead you to a healthier lifestyle?

After setting up your profile, the game takes you to your homepage where you can see how many calories you're allowed per day. There is also a place for tracking how many calories you've already consumed. Keeping track of calories for weight loss is one of the game's high points. The game also provides you with a number of recipes that are varied to your taste and lifestyle.

You can also take part in a variety of exercises using the Wii Balance Board. Depending on how well you do, you will earn points, much like you do in other Wii fitness games. But in the end, it seems as though the game is more efficient at helping you maintain your fitness program, verses allowing you to use it as a tool for working out.

The game excels at education, but as far as actual exercise, you'll probably be pretty disappointed. If you really want to lose weight, you're not going to do it with this game alone. However, if you are just starting out, this game will compliment your fitness regimen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guitar Hero World Tour on Major Sale at Walmart

guitar hero world tourWalmart has just recently announced a sale that should definitely spark some interest in the gaming community. Guitar Hero World Tour Band Kit for XBOX 360 has just dropped from the original price of $199 to $79.99, a savings of $119.01. This deal absolutely shocked me and made me want to run out and grab one. The kit includes the game software, a wireless mic, the wireless drum set, and a wireless guitar.

Guitar Hero World Tour is following the footsteps of many other games that have been available since the outbreak of band centered games. It does a great job of fixing any of the issues you might have faced with the previous Guitar Hero games and makes sure to feature things that make it stand out from any of the Rock Band games.

One aspect of Guitar Hero that is awesome is the ability to extensively customize your avatar and guitar. Not only can you choose hairstyles and clothing, but also you can go so far as to change the angle of their chin or the size of their skull. You are also given the ability to choose the dances that your character does before and after the game. All of these customization give you the ability to really create an avatar with personality. You can also customize your guitar is various ways from the body to the color to the strings.

Now one of the things that I always consider when I’m looking at all these band games is the songs that they feature. So, I included a complete song list from Guitar Hero World Tour.

* 311 - “Beautiful Disaster”
* 30 Seconds To Mars - “The Kill”
* Airbourne - “Too Much Too Young”
* The Allman Brothers Band - “Ramblin' Man”
* Anouk - “Good God”
* The Answer - “Never Too Late”
* At The Drive-In - “One Armed Scissor”
* Beastie Boys - “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
* Beatsteaks - “Hail to the Freaks”
* Billy Idol - “Rebel Yell”
* Black Label Society - “Stillborn”
* Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - “Weapon of Choice”
* blink-182 - “Dammit”
* Blondie - “One Way or Another”
* Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - “Hollywood Nights”
* Bon Jovi - “Livin’ On A Prayer”
* Bullet For My Valentine - “Scream Aim Fire”
* Coldplay - “Shiver”
* Creedence Clearwater Revival - “Up Around The Bend”
* The Cult - “Love Removal Machine”
* Dinosaur Jr. - “Feel The Pain”
* The Doors - “Love Me Two Times”
* Dream Theater - “Pull Me Under”
* The Eagles - “Hotel California”
* The Enemy - “Aggro”
* Filter - “Hey Man, Nice Shot”
* Fleetwood Mac - “Go Your Own Way”
* Foo Fighters - “Everlong”
* The Guess Who - “American Woman”
* Hush Puppies - “You're Gonna Say Yeah!”
* Interpol - “Obstacle 1”
* Jane's Addiction - “Mountain Song”
* Jimi Hendrix - “Purple Haze (Live)”
* Jimi Hendrix - “The Wind Cries Mary”
* Jimmy Eat World - “The Middle”
* Joe Satriani - “Satch Boogie”
* Kent - “Vinternoll2”
* Korn - “Freak On A Leash”
* Lacuna Coil - “Our Truth”
* Lenny Kravitz - “Are You Gonna Go My Way”
* Linkin Park - “What I've Done”
* The Living End - “Prisoner of Society”
* Los Lobos - “La Bamba”
* Lost Prophets - “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)”
* Lynyrd Skynyrd - “Sweet Home Alabama (Live)”
* Mars Volta - “L'Via L'Viaquez”
* MC5’s Wayne Kramer - “Kick Out The Jams”
* Metallica - “Trapped Under Ice”
* Michael Jackson - “Beat It”
* Modest Mouse - “Float On”
* Motörhead - “Overkill”
* Muse - “Assassin”
* Negramaro - “Nuvole e Lenzuola”
* Nirvana - “About a Girl (Unplugged)”
* No Doubt - “Spiderwebs”
* NOFX - “Soul Doubt”
* Oasis - “Some Might Say”
* Ozzy Osbourne - “Crazy Train”
* Ozzy Osbourne - “Mr. Crowley”
* Paramore - “Misery Business”
* Pat Benatar - “Heartbreaker”
* R.E.M. - “The One I Love”
* Radio Futura - “Escuela De Calor”
* Rise Against - “Re-Education Through Labor”
* Sex Pistols - “Pretty Vacant”
* Silversun Pickups - “Lazy Eye”
* Smashing Pumpkins - “Today”
* Steely Dan - “Do It Again”
* Steve Miller Band - “The Joker”
* Sting - “Demolition Man (Live)”
* The Stone Roses - “Love Spreads”
* Stuck In The Sound - “Toy Boy”
* Sublime - “Santeria”
* Survivor - “Eye of the Tiger”
* System of a Down - “B.Y.O.B.”
* Ted Nugent - “Stranglehold”
* Ted Nugent’s Original Guitar Duel Recording
* Tokio Hotel - “Monsoon”
* Tool - “Parabola”
* Tool - “Schism”
* Tool - “Vicarious”
* Trust - “Antisocial”
* Van Halen - “Hot For Teacher”
* Willie Nelson - “On The Road Again”
* Wings - “Band on the Run”
* Zakk Wylde’s Original Guitar Duel Recording

The gameplay is basically the same as the other Guitar Hero games and includes all the original levels of difficulty. Although this game was released over a year ago, Guitar Hero World Tour is a fun game for all and at Walmart’s new low price I think it would make a great Christmas present for any band-loving gamer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tony Hawk RIDE Uses Realistic Skateboard

Tony Hawk: RIDE Coming Soon

On November 17, 2009, Tony Hawk: Ride (the tenth game in the Tony Hawk Franchise) will be released in North America for Wii, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. Players will be able to use the new skateboard peripheral that comes with the game as though they are actually riding a skateboard. It is shaped like a real skateboard, only slightly smaller, and has infrared sensors, which help detect motion. Players will be able to turn, lean, hop, and perform other actions that will appear realistically in the game. The controller takes four AA batteries.

This will be the first hands-free game in the popular Tony Hawk series. Tony Hawk Pro Skater was released in 1999 and since then, the franchise has made over $1.1 billion in sales. Eletronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst, Jesse Divinich says the game will not just attract Tony Hawk fans, but new gamers as well, "By adding the peripheral, you open yourself up to a broader consumer base. Look at Wii Fit.

The game will feature the following pro skaters: Tony Hawk, Mike Vallely, Cara-Beth Burnside, Stevie Williams, Rodney Mullen, Christian Hosoi, Daewon Song, Dustin Dollin, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, Steve Nesser, Nyjah Huston, Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez Jr., Alex Olson and Mike Mo Capaldi. Players will have the opportunity to play levels in Southern California, Chicago, New York City, Tokyo, Spain, and Frankfurt, Germany and participate in speed races, trick competitions and half pipe performances.

In a statement, Hawk, himself, said of the game, "This is the game I've always wanted to make. Playing on the board is unlike any other game, and I'm excited for everyone to have the chance to feel what it's really like to experience the true feeling of skateboarding."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More on The Dark Side of Disney's Mickey Mouse

epic mickeyMickey Mouse is the symbol of Disney’s happy-go-lucky, dream-filled company. The Mickey that we have known has been helpful, funny, and happy, but this is not always how the beloved mouse has behaved. Back in 1928 when Mickey was introduced to the world, he was not a very well behaved mouse. Today, one of the most well known video game designers would like to hone in on that darker side of Disney’s ever popular character.

The Deus Ex franchise is currently developing a new game called Disney’s Epic Mickey that will explore a side of Mickey that many of us have never seen. Warren Spector, the game’s designer is excited with the chance to “re-imagine” Mickey Mouse.

The expected release date for Disney’s Epic Mickey is fall 2010. The adventure-platform game will be created exclusively for Nintendo’s Wii. The story of the game will focus on a world created by the sorcerer from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and contain a series of forgotten Disney creations and characters. Oswald, who was one of the earliest character created by Walt Disney, is one of these lost characters. In the game, Oswald becomes jealous of Mickey’s exploding success, so Mickey demolishes Oswald’s comfort zone within the cartoon wasteland. After his outburst, Mickey is forced to face the consequences of what he has done.

Although this may seem rather dark for our favorite cartoon mouse, we are still reminded throughout the game that our hero Mickey is a mouse who solves problems by changing the world around him and positively interacting with the people and places he comes into contact with.

epic mickey 2Spector started up his company, Junction Point, in 2005. Disney quickly bought the company and commissioned Spector to start on the Mickey Mouse game. He was thrilled to work with Disney because he has been a fan of them all his life and admits to being an animation freak. When Disney first approached Spector with the idea of a Mickey Mouse game, he immediately told them that he wasn’t into designing games for kids. Disney was quick to explain that they were going for a whole new kind of Mickey that would appeal to a different kind of gaming crowd. On hearing this, Spector was in.

Spector says that he hopes that this game will reinvent people’s perception of the much-loved mouse. He hopes that he will now not only be a cuddly adorable character that children around the world love, but also a hero that teens and adults can appreciate. Mickey will now be able to go back to his more mischievous side with this new game but while still learning from any mistakes that he might make. After saying this, Spector makes sure to clarify that they are not making Mickey evil by sticking a sword or gun in his hand. He is simply able to make mistakes.

I personally am very intrigued by this new idea that Disney is developing. The thought of a new kind of Mickey Mouse is something that certainly has caught my attention. I can’t wait to hear more about this game and eventually give it a try. Epic Mickey definitely sounds like a game that will be worth looking more into.

Monday, November 2, 2009

DJ Hero

DJ HeroWe have all lived the life of a guitar hero and even a band hero but now we can add one more hero title to our repertoire, being a DJ hero. We've all been to the dance club and seen the DJ up in his mysterious box magically making insane beats for us to dance to and many of us have wondered just exactly what goes on up there. Well thanks to Activision we can now live the life of a DJ and see just exactly what it is they do.

DJ Hero takes a more simple approach to Activision's hero line. In this game you scratch your way through different tiers of songs in order to unlock new mixes, different characters and special costumes which are won by how many stars you get on your song, just like Guitar Hero. Aside from all the unlockables, DJ Hero focuses mainly on music. Gamers have always been fascinated by the track lists on all the different Guitar Hero games but DJ Hero has one of the uniquest set of songs seen in any music game. The only type of songs missing from this game are country songs, but I don't see that being a problem for anybody interested in this game.

The massive track list is comprised of 102 licensed songs but the best part is that these songs have been mashed up to create 93 mash-up songs that are 100% unique to this game. The mash-ups themselves are extremely creative. You will see mash-ups like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, 50 Cent and David Bowie or the Beastie Boys with Blondie. The in-house DJs at Freestyle Games, developers of DJ Hero, created most of the mixes themselves although a lot of mixes were created by famous DJs like DJ Shadow and Grandmaster Flash.

The visuals of the game are also very impressive. In the Guitar Hero games you were treated to close ups of the band members on stage and the occasional crowd shot. However, in DJ Hero, you get sweeping, dynamic camera shots of the club goers dancing around and close ups of the DJs scratching away. One of the best features about the more recent Guitar Hero games was the ability to create your own rock star. Yet in DJ Hero the ability to create your own DJ isn't an added feature meaning you won't be able to create an animated version of yourself to throw in the club and scratch the turntables with. The good news is that there are a ton of characters that you can unlock and play as like DJ superstars Z-Trip and Daft Punk.

Considering this game is about DJs and turntables, that means there is a new peripheral you will have to master and that comes in the form of the turntable. The turntable comes in two parts. The first is the record scratching side which is essentially a rotating circle that resembles a record with three colored face buttons on it that resemble those on the Guitar Hero controller. The second part of the controller includes the cross fader, effects knob, euphoria button (which acts as DJ Hero's star power) and the basic native buttons for whichever system you have the game for. Unlike some of the Guitar Hero controllers, the turntable peripheral feels very sturdy and is very fun to use. Granted, the controller will seem weird to you at first, especially if you have never set your sweaty hands on an actual turntable before. But the good news is that Grandmaster Flash helps you through a nice tutorial so you can get the hang of it. Plus the "beginner" and "easy" difficulty levels live up to their names.

One feature in the game that will help more inexperienced players is the ability to never fail a song. That's right, instead of failing the sound just cuts out and you don't earn as many stars which is all the punishment you will receive. One thing that DJ Hero doesn't have is a practice mode. In the Guitar Hero games, you could always go into a practice mode and slow down portions of the song to practice the particularly difficult parts. Some of the songs are hard and you will wish that you had a slowed down practice mode as you get deeper into the track list.

Just as in Guitar Hero, DJ Hero has it's own version of Star Power which it calls Euphoria. You earn Euphoria the exact same way you earn Star Power, by perfectly hitting every note in a string of glowing notes. Once you enter Euphoria, your score multiplyer doubles and the cross fader goes on automatic, switching for you. If you want to drive your score up even more then you will have to use the effects dial to tweak the sounds during special Effect Zones which adds a personal touch to every song.

This game appeals to all levels of gamers. The easy difficulties and earlier songs appeal to those of you who aren't as handy with fake instruments to jump in and play and the more advanced tracks, especially on the expert difficulty level, will test even the most hard core rhythm gamer. If you are adept at Guitar Hero or Rock Band then you will most likely get the hang of this game pretty quick.

There is a multiplayer mode in DJ Hero. You can hook up dual turntables and scratch it out with a buddy or you can link in a guitar as your second controller allowing you to scratch and mix it up while your friend rocks out. with the concept of playing rock music on a guitar is getting old for some gamers, DJ Hero offers up something refreshing an original. The simple concept of the game will appeal top more gamers and the developers definitely left some things to be desired for a sequel. DJ Hero is definitely a game you will be wanting to try this year. While the game itself is pricey, coming in at $120 for the game and turntable peripheral, it may be worth it. DJ Hero is now available in stores for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii.

Source: IGN

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Modern Warfares Last Stand for Dedicated Servers

If you have been following the release of Modern Warfare 2 then you've probably come across the droves of outraged pc gamers who are demanding answers from Infinity Ward. On October 17th, 2009, less than a month away from the highly anticipated release of Modern Warfare 2, Robert Bowling AKA Infinity Wards community manager announced over a live podcast that there would be NO dedicated server support for Modern Warfare 2. Instead, a new matchmaking system called IWnet will be implemented. In response to this bombshell, a Dedicated Server Petition for MW2 was created in which over 170,000 people have already signed. Despite these large numbers, Infinity Ward doesn't even seem phased as they have released no official response to the issue.

With the release of Modern Warfare 2 just around the corner (Nov 10, 2009), many devastated PC gamers are losing hope that their cries will be answered. In spite of all this, Angry Employee has taken up the cause for Dedicated Servers and has launched a campaign that they hope ALL fraggers across the world will embrace. The concept, that all PC gamers across the world will unite and come together as one on the 10th November 2009(MW2's Official release date), and send IW a message of exactly what they are doing in removing dedicated servers.

The Plan? A PC COMMUNITY PLAY DAY COMBINED WITH A 24 HOUR DEDICATED SERVER SHUT DOWN. What the plan entails is to create a large amount of traffic to Infinity Wards master server via a large number of PC gamers simply logging on and playing in dedicated servers. When the clock hits midnight on November 10th, the community as a whole will turn off their dedicated servers. The goal being that this large traffic build up will ensure that when the clock hits 00:00 Nov 10th there will be massive connection losses at IW's master servers. As each country and continent follows suite Infinity Ward will see for themselves exactly how we feel about no dedicated servers.

How can you participate in this event? Overall Traffic to the master server and people being online is the key. If you are working, leave your home PC in a dedicated server in spectate mode. If your home all day but can't frag, you guessed it, leave your home PC in a server and in spectate. If you have purchased or are currently renting a dedicated server, try and populate your server and be sure to turn off your server when the clock reaches midnight.

This may very well be the PC communities last chance to show Infinity Ward how widespread our ill feelings are towards no dedicated server support. Blurt this message out wherever you can and help spread the word. Whether its in forums, news papers, chat rooms or in game. Wherever you are and whatever your doing, try and make this day count for something.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sports Resort Leads Wii Sales, Wish Lists

Sports Resort Leads Wii Sales, Wish Lists

As the holiday season rolls around, video game sales are expected to rise and one of the most requested games across all the major gaming platforms is Wii Sports Resort. In a survey of 1,005 consumers ages 8 to 17, conducted by retailer Game Crazy and children's magazine Weekly Reader, Sports Resort and guitar Hero 5 topped the list as the games boys and girls want to see under the Christmas tree this year. New Super Mario Bros. (which will come out in November) and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games were also popular amongst the kids. Both games were developed for the Wii and Nintendo's handheld consoles. It probably goes without saying that the Wii was also voted the most popular gaming console by survey participants.

Not surprisingly, Wii Sports Resort, which was released in the United States in July, is also currently leading Wii's North American sales. The game comes with the Wii MotionPlus device and is the sequel to the Wii Sports game that comes packaged with the Wii console.

Sports Resort takes place at a beach resort on an island called Wuhu Island. The game features a number of sports including swordplay, wakeboarding, frisbee, archery, basketball, table tennis, golf, bowling, power cruising, canoeing, cycling, and air sports. Games are played by holding the Wii Remote or Nunchuk as though you are actually participating in the real-life version of the game. The Wii Motion Plus device allows for greater accuracy. For example, in Table Tennis, a player can now add spin to the ball. Most sports allow up to three to four players and can be played by sharing on Wii Remote, however for more than one player to take part in the canoeing game, all players must have their own controller.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Netflix Streaming on the PS3

Netflix Streaming on PS3PS3 owners rejoice! Or don't rejoice if you either A.) Don't care or B.) Hate Netflix but either way Netflix streaming is coming to your PS3. In a recent press release from Netflix, we have gathered all the details about the partnership. One of the best things about this feature is that fans and subscribers of Netflix can enjoy tons of movies and tv shows through the internet on-demand without having to pay any extra cost other than their Netflix subscription cost, which can be as low as $9 a month. Xbox 360 owner's have that added Xbox LIVE subscription fee which runs $50 a year.

But, there is some bad news. In order to enjoy the delightfullness of the Netflix streaming, users will be required to insert a special Blu-ray disc into their PS3. This disc will enable Netflix streaming through the Blu-ray's BD Live functionality. This is something you do not have to do with the Xbox 360 or other Blu-ray players which already have the Netflix option built-in. BD Live can be slow and clunky at times but it does work better on the PS3 than it does on typical Blu-ray players. There is a catch to the special disc however. The press release said that the disc would be needed initially so this could hint at a future software update that will add Netflix as a built-in feature.

Many people have been waiting for this feature to come to the PS3. The 360 has already had it for some time and PS3 owners were getting antsy. We are seeing more and more innovations coming to both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Netflix is now on both consoles and there is always Twitter and Facebook.

But, despite having the seemingly annoying disc to contend with, Netflix streaming has been envied by PS3 owners since it was released on the Xbox 360 and I'm sure they won't mind the disc all too much. According to Netflix, the feature will be available to all PS3 owners by the end o f the year. As an added bonus to all Netflix subscribers who own a PS3, the special required disc can now be reserved.

Source: G4TV

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Band Hero Releases Pop Song Playlist

Band Hero Releases Pop Playlist
Band Hero doesn't come out until November 17, but that hasn't stopped gamers from taking to the internet to speculate about what kind of music the game will feature. It's been described as "Guitar Hero Goes Pop" and with a previous mention of Taylor Swift headlining the game, many were left wondering if it would be a little Teenybopperish.

Well, some news about the game was released this week and while the music is definitely more pop than Guitar Hero, it's not just stuff that appeals to fourteen year old girls. There's something for the 80's fans, the 90's fans, and some current music, as well. (See the entire playlist below.)

In addition to the list of songs featured in the game, it was made clear that the songs would be importable to Guitar Hero and vice versa for a small fee. Players will have the opportunty to create the band they've always wanted with any combination of guitar, drum and vocals.

All 65 songs from the Band Hero Playlist:
3 Doors Down - "When I'm Gone"
The Airborne Toxic Event - "Gasoline"
The All American Rejects - "Dirty Little Secret"
Alphabeat - "Fascination"
Aly and AJ - "Like Whoa"
Angels & Airwaves - "The Adventure"
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals - "Steal My Kisses"
Big Country - "In a Big Country"
The Bravery - "Believe"
Carl Douglas - "Kung Fu Fighting"
Cheap Trick - "I Want You To Want Me (Live)"
Cold War Kids - "Hang Me Up To Dry"
Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On"
Counting Crows - "Angels of the Silences"
Culture Club - "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me"
Dashboard Confessional - "Hands Down"
David Bowie - "Let's Dance"
Devo - "Whip It"
Don McLean - "American Pie"
Duffy - "Warwick Avenue"
Duran Duran - "Rio"
Evanescence - "Bring Me To Life"
Everclear - "Santa Monica (Watch The World Die)"
Fall Out Boy - "Sugar, We're Goin' Down"
Filter - "Take A Picture"
Finger Eleven - "Paralyzer"
The Go-Go's - "Our Lips Are Sealed"
Hilary Duff - "So Yesterday"
Hinder - "Lips Of An Angel"
Jackson 5 - "ABC"
Janet Jackson - "Black Cat"
Jesse McCartney - "Beautiful Soul"
Joan Jett - "Bad Reputation"
Joss Stone - "You Had Me"
Katrina and The Waves - "Walking On Sunshine"
The Kooks - "Naive"
KT Tunstall - "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
The Last Goodnight - "Pictures Of You"
Lily Allen - "Take What You Take"
Maroon 5 - "She Will Be Loved"
Marvin Gaye - "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "The Impression That I Get"
Nelly Furtado - "Turn Off The Light"
N.E.R.D. - "Rockstar"
No Doubt - "Just A Girl"
No Doubt - "Don't Speak"
OK Go - "A Million Ways"
Papa Roach - "Lifeline"
Parachute - "Back Again"
Pat Benatar - "Love Is A Battlefield"
Poison - "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue - "Kids"
The Rolling Stones - "Honky Tonk Women"
Roy Orbison - "Oh Pretty Woman"
Santigold - "L.E.S. Artistes"
Snow Patrol - "Take Back the City"
Spice Girls - "Wannabe"
Styx - "Mr. Roboto"
Taylor Swift - "Love Story"
Taylor Swift - "Picture To Burn"
Taylor Swift - "You Belong With Me"
Tonic - "If You Could Only See"
The Turtles - "Happy Together"
Village People - "YMCA"
Yellowcard - "Ocean Avenue"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Project Runway Coming to Wii

After years of attempting to appeal to a female audiences with fashion-related games, it looks like Atari Inc. has finally come up with best idea, yet. The hit TV show "Project Runway" is being made into a Wii game and it will be available next year.

"Of all the brand opportunities out there, we thought 'Project Runway' was the leading fashion brand. The audience is building, the talent is recognizable. It reaches such a broad audience," Atari CEO, Jim Wilson, told Variety.com.

Fans of Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn and the gang will have the opportunity to virtually "make it work" as players will be able to participate in their own home version of the show. Aspiring fashion designers will take part in various tasks and challenges that are similar to those on "Project Runway," though the details on what types of activities and how they'll translate to a game aren't yet clear. And just like on the show, players will have the ability to model and show off their fashions, by "walking the catwalk" using the Wii Balance Board. The game is said to include over 200,000 combinations of shoes, clothes, makeup and accessories. Players will also have the opportunity to photograph their designs.

"Project Runway" is a reality show, currently in its sixth season, airing on the Lifetime Television Network. It is hosted by supermodel, Heidi Klum. Fashion Designers looking to make it big compete in various competitions each week with various themes, restricted time limits, and often restricted materials. At the end of each show, their creations are judged by a panel of fashion experts and a contestant is eliminated.

The game will most likely come out as a series, with the first one to be released in spring 2010.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


FIFA 10Sports games take a lot of flack from gamers and reviewers and such. If you don't do something that is hands down better than the previous year's game, then you shouldn't even bother putting it on a store shelf. But it isn't always the easiest thing to do, outshining the previous installment. However, despite the difficulty, a few games have been able to succeed. NHL 10 was better than NHL 09, as was NBA Live 10 over NBA Live 09 and now FIFA 10 can be added in the group as well.

With sports game, gamers are always wanting some big, mind blowing new addition or stunning graphics to enhance the game. While FIFA 10 doesn't quite have those large improvements, it does manage to improve on every traditional aspect of the sport.

The first and foremost difference in the game is the tempo and feel of the game. FIFA 10 is immensely smoother and faster paced than it's 09 counterpart. While the play in FIFA 09 was very smooth and fast to begin with, FIFA 10 just takes it to the next level. The player movement is much more fluid than the 09 game and the added features to what you can do on the field also helps a lot. For example, physical play has been given an upgrade. In FIFA 09, you could bump and push a little to get the ball, however in FIFA 10, physical play is much more intense. Now you can actually fight for the ball for longer than 3 seconds, pushing back at your attacker. Also, player sizes are also used better. A large veteran defensive player can easily throw a light weight attacker off the ball, granted he can keep up with his speed. Another great feature is what I like to call the "jump over" maneuver. In 09, when a player attempted a slide tackle, if they got the ball or were close to it your player would either fall or stumble and lose possession of the ball. In 10 your player, if the slide tackle is poorly executed, will pass the ball around the defender and jump over him, continuing the play. This was slightly prevalent in FIFA 09 though FIFA 10 has greatly improved on the feature.

The AI intelligence has also been greatly improved. Defenders will now clear the ball better than just randomly booting it around. They will attempt to put the ball in logical locations given the opportunity. The goalie AI has also been greatly increased. Goalies now do a much better job of getting rid of balls and making the save. Goalies now jump and punch the ball out if necessary and are better on stopping second chance goals. If your goalie blocks the shot back into play and the attacker goes for a follow up shot, your goalie will work harder to get into position and dive back to block the shot. The improved goalie AI is definitely a refreshing take on the goalies of 09. While good, the 09 goalies were severely limited in their abilities.

Dribbling has been given a nice upgrade. There is no more eight-direction dribbling like that seen in FIFA 09. The eight-direction dribbling greatly limited your abilities. Now you can move in any direction as well as switching the ball from your strong to weak foot depending on your angle and you can also pull off even more spectacular dribbling moves, should you be brave enough to attempt them. If you take this and add it to the improved physical play, you get a feeling of soccer authenticity that almost uncanny.

The Virtual Pro mode is a fantastic feature. It starts off sort of the same way as the previous Be A Pro mode (which is still included). You make a player and customize his attributes to your play style and sculpt his looks to your liking. You can even upload a picture of your own face and design a character that way as well. Virtual Pro differs from Be A Pro in one major way. Instead of being confined to a Be A Pro match where you are stuck using your noob player, you can now use our created player in any game mode. He can be used in the all new practice arena and work on drills and scrimmages, take him in a Play Now match, or take him into manager mode. You can also take him online and play in a Pro Club Championship with tons of other Virtual Pros. Along with the player creation is the ability to create custom set pieces and player runs. Creating your own unique play is a definite plus and will make for some very interesting and competitive player v.s. player matches.

Graphically, FIFA 10 has made small yet noticeable changes. Stuttering during instant replays has been fixed and the framerate also holds up better in Be A Pro gameplay. You also want to play this game with the volume cranked up to 11 because the crowds are loud and proud for their teams. Not quite as good as the real ones and not quite as violent, but still very entertaining.

Speaking from personal experience, this game is hands down one of the best sports games on the market. Its stand out improvements over last year's installment coupled with the amazing new features are what really drives this game into the spotlight. If you are a soccer fan or a fan of FIFA 09 then there is no reason whatsoever for you not to play this game. Definitely one of the must have games on this year's holiday wish list. You can get your hands on FIFA 10 right now if you live in the UK but if not then you have to wait until October 20th when it is released nationwide for the Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, PC, PSP, Nintendo DS and PS2.

Source: IGN

Monday, October 12, 2009

Epic Mickey Bringing Disney's Dark Side

Epic Mickey Bringing Disney's Dark Side
This month's issue of Game Informer magazine has got gamers and Disney enthusiasts in a tizzy. The magazine features an exclusive cover story and they have even set up a website where they will make exclusive announcements over the course of this month about what is rumored to be a single-player, Wii-only game (though recent reports say the game will also be available for Play Station 3 and Xbox 360). According to the website, they will be posting stories, videos, images and details exploring the process behind the design and creation of the project.

October 5th's announcements brought news that Warren Spector will be developing the game. Who is Warren Spector? Just one of the biggest role-playing game designers of all time, of course. He's probably best known for Deus Ex and its sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War. In 2007, Disney Interactive acquired his Junction Point Studios and Epic Mickey has been rumored to be his first Disney project. While gamers may know Spector's name, they probably don't know that he is slightly obsessed with Disney. An interview with Game Informer Magazine reveals that Spector owns a second home filled with rare Disney memorabilia. Who better to work on this game?

The game probably won't be released until the fall of 2010, meaning players will have to wait an entire year, but that hasn't stopped rumors and internet chatter. The game promises to be dark - not your average Disney - and some say it will take place in a dark world of forgotten Disney characters ran by Oswald the Rabbit - Disney's original character creation before Mickey Mouse. Oswald is supposedly jealous of Mickey's fame an has called on The Phantom Blot to help get his revenge. The Blot covers the world with sticky black ink and it is up to Mickey Mouse to restore order and return things to normal by painting, mending and clearing obstacles.

Check out this month's Game Informer Magazine for more details.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wii Fit Plus... for Dogs?

Wii Fit for...Dogs?
Perhaps your pooch needs to lose a few pounds? Forget the special diet dog food or those extra walks around the block, Nintendo's new Wii Fit Plus has just what you're looking for. Okay, so maybe it doesn't exactly work that way - there are no exercises for dogs - but you can weigh the family pet and make a little doggie avatar if you desire!

Wii Fit Plus, the sequel to Nintendo's extremely popular Wii Fit, was released on Sunday and measuring your dog's fitness level is just one of many new additions. With the new game/workout system, you can master kung-fu, work through an obstacle course, lead a marching band, and learn new yoga poses, all for $19.99 (unless you need the original Wii Balance Board, then you can expect to pay $99).

The new version of the Wii Fit combines all of the old activities with 15 new games and six new strength-training and yoga exercises. The game also features a personal trainer who can recommend exercises based on your time constraints and what you desire to improve upon. You can also customize your own routine. New users can create a new profile or if you are an original Wii Fit owner, you can keep your old one, making the transition seamless.

Another neat addition for those serious about getting in shape is the calorie counter. Upon completing an exercise, a calorie counter pops up on screen, showing how many calories you burned during an exercise. The game is said to be a complete mind and body workout, helping you "burn calories while achieving inner peace."

In September, Nintendo dropped the Wii retail pice from $250 to $200 making the popular console even more appealing, even to the most casual gamers and most likely making it a popular holiday gift item, once again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dead Space Extraction

Dead Space ExtractionRelease Date: September 29, 2009

When the original Dead Space premiered on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC back in October of 2008, it was a game with one goal in mind, and that was to scare the crap out of you. Well for most gamers, that is exactly what happened as they walked the haunted, bloody halls of the USG Ishimura. But not only were gamers scared senseless, they were also treated to a very enjoyable and unique game that quickly grew to one of the better games of the year. This new game, Dead space Extraction is the Wii's shot at the game that brought so much entertainment to 360/PS3/PC owners. Coming from the newly developed EA Visceral Games and third party developer Eurocom.

Dead Space Extraction is not out to create a reformed version of the original game for Wii owners. Where horror was a top priority in the original game, it comes in at a nice third place priority in Extraction behind action first and story a very close second. Dead Space Extraction is also a stand alone game from the original, with it's own story line and characters. In the original Dead Space, players stepped into the shoes of Isaac Clarke, and engineer who is stuck on the USG Ishimura trying to survive while also trying to figure out what happened to the crew and where the monsters trying to kill him came from.

Dead Space Extraction is a different game for the Wii. It is an action shooter with a large effort on narrative, uncommonly seen in the various Wii games. This game is an origins story, putting you in the shoes of a small team that takes refuge in the ship from the original game. The game begins with a colony on the planet Aegis VII. The colony excavates a strange marker and then everything goes down the toilet. After the disaster, a small team looks to find sanctuary on the USG Ishimura. which was responsible for excavating the marker. If you loved the first game, then you must play Dead Space Extraction. From the very beginning of the game you know the ending, the crew is screwed and that's that. You know nobody survives but what you don't know is how it happens, where it happens or when it happens.

The gameplay is unique, jumping you from different player to player. Everybody on the ship dies, including the character you are currently controlling, so absolutely nowhere in Extraction are you safe. The story adds components from the first game like direct narrative, audio logs, video logs and text logs to advance the story. There is a strong cast of characters who have the occasional cliche moment or silly line, but these lines are balanced pretty well with the lines that really work. However, the action is where this game really takes off.

Dead Space Extraction pounds you with action from every angle. The game gives you 9 unique guns to help rip your way through the hordes of enemies. Each weapon has a secondary fire which actually doubles your arsenal. Players are also equipped with a default pistol which also has a secondary fire. Just as in the original, you can upgrade your weapons in Extraction. However, the upgrade system in this game is a little more basic then the one we saw in the original game. The stasis feature is also back and, in this game especially, a necessity. The stasis system uses an auto refill mechanic to keep you armed. Using stasis you can fire at an enemy and keep them in stasis for 10 second intervals. Telekinesis is also an essential part of the game. Using the aim-and-click features of the Wii-mote to grab things such as supply boxes. You can also use telekinesis as an offensive weapon, using it to throw things like crates, explosive barrels and even enemy projectiles back at enemies.

Extraction also adds in a ton of new additions to the game. Things like free look moments, mini-challenges, and hijacking challenges helps to make this game the classic Dead Space transformed into a "light gun" shooter instead of a cheap spin-off created to cash in on a popular game. But, if the thing you loved most of all about the first game was the scary themes, then you may be slightly disappointed with Extraction. This game puts a lot into the action and the story but doesn't have many scares along the journey. This game is fun all the way to the end, it just isn't that scary.

If you are a hardcore gamer, then you may want to jack the difficulty up as high as possible because the game has a tendency to take it easy on the player. The battles, including the boss fights, may appear to basic for the more hardcore gamer. Then again, the Wii isn't a console many hardcore gamers are rushing out to get. However, Dead Space Extraction is one game you'd be hard pressed not to enjoy. It is definitely one of the best light gun shooters on the market and is definitely on of the best games on the Wii to date. The strategic dismemberment, which was the core gameplay mechanic of the original Dead Space, feels more at home on the Wii and it also gives a bigger sense of reward when systematically blow of the limbs of an attacking enemy.

Co-op play is also an enjoyable experience more so than it is in other light gun games. There are certain co-op moments and challenges like the hijacking challenges, where one player repairs a vehicle and the other blasts away the incoming monsters. In co-op, you will have to switch between repairing and shooting with your teammate which pressures both players equally. There is also a lot of depth in this game. A majority of shooters lack depth and variety. However, that is not the case in Extraction's 8 hour campaign and 10 different challenge modes. Dead Space Extraction also comes with the full motion comic book that was created to help promote the first game.

The game looks great, sounds great and plays great. It is definitely one of the best light gun games out and most certainly one of the best games for the Wii. Fans of the original game re sure to find pleasure in this title as well and Wii owners who have been craving a good action shooter with a good story are going to be drawn to Extraction very quickly. This is a game that everybody should pick up and try. You can get your hands on Dead Space Extraction tomorrow, September 29, 2009.

Source: IGN