Thursday, July 29, 2010

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty…Worth the Wait?

starcraft IILast Monday at about 11:45 at night, I found myself standing at the mall in line for a game that I knew very little about. For months, I’d been hearing from my boyfriend and his friends about how wonderful StarCraft was, but I had never seen it in action. They had been literally counting down the days to the sequel’s release for weeks. I had promised my boyfriend that I would go with him to pick up his pre-ordered copy of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty at midnight. The moment it was in his hands, we rushed back to his house to start installing the game. Once I finally saw the game in action, I understood why he and his friends had been so psyched about its release.

The original StarCraft was released in March of 1998. Since then, fans have been promised a sequel for years. There were rumors, release date hints, and pushbacks about one of the most highly anticipated video game sequels ever, but finally the wait is over. StarCraft II was released this past Monday on July 27th, 12 years after the original StarCraft’s release.

The story of StarCraft II picks up four years after the original game. The hero, Jim Raynor, continues to fight against the Dominion that rules the galaxy’s outer planets. There are still the three different races found in the original: the Terran (humans), the Zerg (insect-like army), and the Protoss (humanoid aliens). The Zerg are now on the run from the Terran, but you quickly discover that the Zerg are not as weak as they lead the Terran to believe. Jim Raynor is forced to deal with not only the Dominion forces but also the Zerg and the Protoss.

Blizzard did a fantastic job with StarCraft II, which after 12 years that’s to be expected. It is an amazing RTS game that allows you to oversee the offense, defense, and various stages of production of military units. There is no set strategy when it comes to StarCraft II. It’s all up to you. You decide how you want to accomplish your goals.

There are a total of 26 different missions. Every time you finish a mission, you will have the choice of three or four different missions to move on to. Missions consist of anything from defending refugees from Zerg attacks to learning more about your enemies and their weapons to searching for artifacts for the mysterious Mobius organization. In between missions, you will be stationed on the Hyperion spaceship. There you can visit the lab, upgrade armor, go to the bridge to select your mission, or speak to crewmates to gain insight about current events.

So how are the graphics this time around you might ask? Well Blizzard went with 3D polygonal graphics. Compared to God of War III and Red Dead Redemption, I don't feel that StarCraft II has the most amazing graphics. Now, I'm not saying the graphics are bad, because some of the cut scenes actually have fantastic quality, but during gameplay the graphics are good but not incredible. Fortunately, Blizzard is kind enough to build their games in a way that doesn’t require gamers to go out and buy a new graphics card. You can basically play StarCraft II on any kind of computer which is nice. All you need is a 2.6 Ghz Pentium IV and a 128MB PCIe Nvidia GeForce 6600 GT or ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card. That’s not too hard to find.

Yes the game is $59.99, but for those who love StarCraft or RTS games, it will definitely be worth it. The online multiplayer mode keeps the game fresh and replayable. Multiplayer allows you to fight against the CPU or other online players in four-versus-four matches. There are four different difficulty levels, and there are achievements to players can compete for.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is amazing. According to my boyfriend and his friends, it is everything that fans hoped for. The story is great, the strategy is enticing, and the gameplay is just what everyone was hoping for. Hopefully, it won’t take another 12 years for Blizzard to release the next installment in the StarCraft series.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Petitions Across the Nation for Video Game Restrictions

california video game restrictionCalifornia proposed legislation that would put restrictions on the sale of video games to minors, and just recently, eleven more states have band together with California to push for this restriction.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas have all decided to back California’s proposed legislation concerning violent or mature video games. The states are hoping to take the bill all the way to the Supreme Court. Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, is fully supporting the bill because he feels that the video game industry lacks self-regulation. He says, “Protecting children from digital danger requires proactive parents but they need and deserve help. The video game industry should act responsibly and agree to sensible self-imposed restrictions that block children from buying the most violent games. I am calling on the video game industry to follow the leadership of the motion picture industry, which sensibly stops unattended children from viewing violent or graphic movies.”

There already are some precautions that are in place in order to prevent the sale of violent or graphic video games. There are ESRB ratings that give games a letter rating of E- for everyone, T- for teen, and M-for mature. These ratings allow parents to have some idea of the maturity level of the content in the game. There is even a short list on the back of the game’s case of why the content is rated E, T, or M. There is also a corporate law that requires GameStop employees to ID people buying rated M games.

Mature rated games made up a little over 17% of the video game sales from last year. The legislation that California introduced proposes that there be a ban on the sale of certain video games to minors. It’s an attempt to protect kids from games that encourage gamers to commit violent acts of homicide or rape, decapitate people with shovels, burn people alive with gasoline, or urinate on people to make them vomit.

I don’t think that this is a bad idea at all. My only thought is that if a kid wants a certain “restricted” game, they will get it one way or another. It’s really the parents job to monitor what types of games their children are playing, but this legislation could definitely help parents out a little bit, so I hope to see this bill soon become a law.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WarMouse Meta: Gaming Solution or Annoyance?

warmouse metaThere has always been a struggle between mouse and keyboard when it comes to which a gamer prefers to use. A keyboard offers tons of buttons but no smooth, easy movement control like a mouse, and the mouse unfortunately doesn’t offer many options for interaction. It’s pretty much impossible to play a computer game without using both a keyboard and mouse, but WarMouse Meta is changing all of that.

WarMouse Meta is a gaming mouse that is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. It features 19 different buttons and a joystick. This mouse is unlike any mouse that you have seen before. Now you will have to adjust to the WarMouse since its nothing like a regular mouse, but it could really be useful if you take the time to figure it out. It could definitely be frustrating for those who aren’t intense gamers, but for those who are serious about gaming, the WarMouse Meta could be just what you’re looking for. If you're ready to go keyboard-less while gaming and don't mind spending a little bit of time adjusting to the gaming mouse, WarMouse could be quite useful. One other thing to take into consideration is that the WarMouse isn’t cordless. That is something that could bother some people.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

"Michael Jackson: The Experience" Announced

Michael Jackson: The Experience Announced

Rumors about a new Michael Jackson-themed video game have been swirling for quite some time and today, Ubisoft Entertainment announced that the game will be called "Michael Jackson: The Experience" and that it is tentatively scheduled to be released in November, 2010. The game will be available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, DS, and PSP. The game was first announced at the end of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.

There is no word as to which Michael Jackson songs will be included in the game, aside from "Beat It" and "Billie Jean."

As for gameplay, players will have the opportunity to "take center stage like Michael Jackson himself, and relive some of his most iconic performances." Even though the soundtrack hasn't been announced, you can be sure it will include many of Jackson's classic songs, and fans will be able to test their vocal skills. The image of the player will be projected onto the screen and you can watch your hands-free performance. But it's not just about singing, as could be expected with a game featuring the King of Pop, it's all about dancing, too. Up to four players can jump in and out of the game at any time.

So, what would Michael Jackson think about the game? The Co-Executors of his estate think he'd be thrilled with the idea. Said John Branca, "Michael always pushed every limit when it came to technology to give his fans unforgettable entertainment experiences, whether it involved his videos, his recordings or his concerts. Now, with this interactive product, we have the chance to bring Michael, the artist, into households around the world in a perfect match of Michael’s artistry and the family entertainment which he always highly valued. Kids, their parents, extended family members and friends will now have an opportunity to all come together and experience Michael’s music and dance in an innovative, exciting and fun way."

John McClain added, "No artist can energize a dance floor in the spirit of fun like Michael Jackson. His God-given gifts for music and dance are something new generations of fans will appreciate even more. This game is a natural extension of what he would be doing today to raise his artistry to even greater heights for his fans of all generations. It is a game that the entire family can experience and enjoy together and this is something that would please Michael tremendously."

Though a lot of details haven't been made known yet, it's clear Ubisoft plans to market the game as "family-friendly." Jackson, who died last year, is considered one of the most iconic entertainers of all time. During his time in the music business, he won 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards, had 13 number one hits in the United States, and sold 750 million records. His album "Thriller" is the best-selling album all time in the world and he is the best-selling male solo artist of all time.

Check out these related stories:

1. DJ Hero

2. Band Hero Releases Pop Song Playlist

3. Audio Equipment Rentals for a Perfect Production

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Set to Be Released This Year

star wars force unleashed 2The game that sold over 1.5 million copies less than a week after its release is back for a second round. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 continues breaching the gap between the Star Wars: Episode III and Episode IV movies. Starkiller is back again, this time as Darth Vader’s fugitive apprentice, determined to discover who he really is and to reunite with his one true love, Juno Eclipse.

Starkiller is the very unlikely hero that sparks the flames of the rebellion that formulates in the galaxy. He’s back with bigger and better Force powers and a new dual light saber combat style. Haden Blackman, the executive producer and writer of the game, said, “We wanted to do things a little bit differently. Our animators wanted to redo all of the combat animation anyways, and if they were doing that then we might as well give him a second Lightsaber. It also had to do with customization: I love the idea of having one green saber and one blue saber, or one red saber and one purple saber. At its very heart, it’s a gameplay decision. We want the character to be much flashier, have much bigger, more sweeping moves and be able to do area attacks.” Starkillers attacks will be much more realistic in Force Unleashed 2. As he hacks away at enemies wielding his two light sabers, heads, arms, and legs will fly.

As I mentioned above, Force powers have definitely been upgraded as well. Blackman said, “Kick ass with the Force was our mantra.” All Force powers have been redesigned and reconfigured to be more responsive. “Force grip, in particular - which was one of our favorite powers from the first game - went through a lot of revision in order to make it more accessible, to make it easier to target what you want to target,” stated Blackman. Also, new force powers are being introduced this time around. Jedi Mind trick is a new and highly anticipated power. It gives Starkiller the ability to turn enemies into you’re allies, confuse Stormtroopers so that they throw themselves to their deaths, or even turn enemies into to mobile bombs by infusing them with Force energy. Force powers are much more interesting to say the least. Also another great addition to Force power abilities is Force Fury. Force Fury is where Starkiller’s attacks and Force power uses build up to unlock a certain amount of time where his abilities and powers are exponentially increased to allow him to vanquish enemies almost effortlessly.

There are so many things that are going to make this sequel even better than the first game that sold over 7 million copies. With the new combat style, new and improved Force powers, new costumes, new enemies, and the anticipated new Force Fury ability this game is set to be amazing.

There is no release date for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 yet, but representatives have said that it is to be released sometime in 2010. Honestly, I can hardly wait until its released. I’m sitting on pins and needles. This game looks absolutely incredible, and I can guarantee that the day it is released I will most definitely be in line to purchase my copy.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer 2010 Wii Games

Summer 2010 Wii GamesWhen people think of the Nintendo Wii, they don't just think of it as a video game. Many see it as a way to not only have fun and be entertained, but to help get themselves in shape as well. Nintendo of America recognizes that and is ready to encourage Wii-players of all ages, shapes and sizes to get out and play with the first-ever Wii Games: Summer 2010."

The national competition begins July 16 and will kick-off at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. It ends in Los Angeles, with a national championship in Los Angeles on September 3-5. During the time between July 16 and September 5, the competition will include actual in events in 24 United States markets. Players will have the opportunity to compete for top scores, and get together with other gamers for tons of fun and Wii games!

Wii Games: Summer 2010 will have opportunities for kids, teens, adults, seniors, and whole families. The focus of the events will be the following five sports: basketball and bowling (both of which can be found in Wii Sports Resort), Hula Hoop from Wii Fit Plus, the platforming adventure from New Super Mario Bros, and high-speed racing from Marko Kart Wii. From mid-July to mid-August, tournaments will be held every weekend at Six Flags parks in Texas, Georgia, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. There will also be more events at sixteen various shopping malls across the nation. Prizes will be awarded.

Those who qualify will travel to Los Angeles to compete in the event's national championship. Prizes such as Nintendo systems, games, home entertainment packages, a cruise, trophies, and national exposure will be awarded to those who win. Shawn Johnson, Olympic gold medalist and Dancing with the Stars winner, will serve as the Wii Games: Summer 2010 Ambassador. She will be appearing at several events. Said Johnson of the event, “I play Wii games with my friends and family all the time“I play Wii games with my friends and family all the time. I’m looking forward to watching people from all over the country coming together to have fun and compete.”

Wii games such as Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus have become very popular amongst people looking to improve their health and Nintendo has used that to help increase awareness about good health. The company is working together with the American Heart Association, as well as USA TODAY for the "Family Fitness Challenge." The Wii Games: Summer 2010 is the just the latest in a long line of projects.

So, you ready to participate? The Games will be open to both two- and four-player teams. Categories will be organized by age with a teen, adult, and super adult category, plus categories where adults can play with younger children and family members. Your best scores from all five sports will be combined to determine your total scores. Best of all, if you can't make it to an event, you can participate online. And if you're not looking to compete, you can still have fun. Attendees at events can participate in noncompetitive games such as Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Punch-Out! All events are open to the public.

For more information, visit

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Play My Dolphin, Win $10,000

Play My Dolphin, Win $10,000

Want to win $10,000? If you're a fan of WiiWare Games' "My Dolphin," your chances of doing that have become a lot easier. The Dolphin Trainer World Championship Hit contest will provide one lucky winner with the $10,000 grand prize. All you have to do is get the highest score in the game, making you the "best dolphin trainer." For every 50th (50, 100, 150, etc.) place, $100 will be awarded.

To enter the contest, you'll need to email your nickname, score, and a photograph of your ending screen with the score from the game to Anyone can apply between the dates of June 15, 2010 and August 31, 2010.

Announcements about the winners will be made on July 1, August 2, and August 20, allowing contestants to see who is the "middle ranking best 10." Upon completion of the contest, the winner will be notified via email.

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