April 25, 2007

Jack's back . . .

It never fails. When there is a tragic shooting involving a young male, Jack Thompson is there pointing his finger. Before any details are released on the case, Jack has it solved. He knows what drove the shooter to do his horrendous act. He knows what his motivation was. He even knows how he acquired the "skill" to pull it off.

The answer/culprit/scapegoat? Videogames of course! It is soooo obvious. So simple.

I've written about Jack before (HERE). As a gamer, my opinion of him is clear cut. I think he is out of his mind. Simple as that. With the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech., I am glad to see that some people in the media are finally starting to see through his web of lies and realize that he is full shit.

He appeared on Chris Matthew's Hardball a few days after the shooting and Chris didn't want any of his crazy talk. (LINK)

MSNBC had a great article on the subject as well. (LINK)

And Bill Harris did a great write up (one of many) on his blog. (LINK)

I long for the day that Jacky boy here just disappears. When all media outlets realize that there is no merit in any of his spiel and that his is just using all these tragedies to get on his soap box and get attention. I do hope that day is near.

April 12, 2007

GH II Pricing Petition

Yesterday, Red Octane released the first batch of downloadable songs for GH II. 3 different sets, each containing 3 songs. For 500 points, or $6.25. That's over $2 a song!

There has been immediate debate by the gaming community. How long must we be raped by over-priced Marketplace content?

An on-line petition has gone up. I urge everyone to sign it, even if you don't care about GH II. Lets band together here guys.

Link to petition

April 09, 2007

PC Gaming is it really Dead?

If we are honest with our selves, the current next gen consoles are essentially PC gaming machines with the ability to connect to our large beautiful HDTV's from the convienence of our family room couches. With the upcoming May 7th update for the xbox live dashboard, which will now include msn instant messenger support. The convergence of these two gaming platforms is coming closer to fruition. PC gamers for the longest time have had the ability to play games in high resolution, while listening to their own music, chat via instant messenger, download game demo's, etc., all via one machine. For some strange reason Microsoft does not want their next gen consoles compared with PC's, why? Microsoft has now just finally agreed to release a keyboard attachment to its controller. It is time for Sony and Microsoft to admit they are reinventing PC Gaming right under the noses of the PC game makers. The problem with all these PC like features coming to the consoles is this, most homes have just one HDTV. Can you hear the arguments now? Mom !! Terri is IM'ing her friends using the television and I want to watch a movie !!! While Johnny Jr. wants to play Halo 3, get the picture. Don't get me wrong I would love the conveniences of surfing the net from my television, but the reality is most homes do not have the money for multiple HDTV sets.
So to answer the question, is PC gaming dead, the answer is yes and no. The value and convenience of PC's being used a multiple electronic entertainment machines cannot be matched by any of the current consoles today. Until the prices for HDTV's drop and game makers stop making minimal PC's called consoles, I believe we will see pc gaming around for a long time. Lets not forget about Laptops which are combined HDTV's with consoles. These laptops are now cheaper and more powerful than ever before. I see game consoles morphing into the gaming PC's for the family room. With the future of current PC gaming going to the convenience of laptop computers.

April 08, 2007

Free Bird

Guitar Hero II is fantastic. But I knew that. I've been paying the series since its debut on the PS2. What I meant is that the 360 version is fantastic. There are some unlucky gamers experiencing technical difficulties with their guitar controllers, and they have my sympathy, but my controller has been working flawlessly.

I beat every song in the PS2 version of the original game on Expert difficulty. And I made it through all but one in GHII on Expert. All but Free Bird. I have been struggling with it since the PS2 version and that carried over to the 360 version. The song is absolutely brutal. So tough in fact, I was convinced I would actually never be able to pass it at the hardest difficulty.

But yesterday . . . I did. I was so ecstatic, that I had to take a snap-shot of my acomplishment (because I do not know if I will be able to pass it again). And not only did I pass it, but I passed it with a 4-star rating. I was shaking when I was done. My heart racing.

That may sound dramatic, but for those that have not played this game (and especially this song), I ask that you try it on Expert and tell me it is not insanely difficult.

Anyway, here is my moment of triumph.

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Note: I have tried this song twice again on Expert since beating it . . . and have failed both times. I'm real happy I took that pic. :)

360 Keyboard attachment

Gamespot had some "leaked" photos of a new qwerty keyboard attachment for the 360 gamepad. The story has since been pulled, but the pics are below.

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I think it looks pretty sweet!

The new Spring update is supposed to incorporate MSN messenger to your friends list (or something like that), so this attachment seems like a good idea.

Count me in.

April 07, 2007

E for All

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Well look at that. Americans are finally getting a Videogame Show open to the general public. I hope all major Publishers sign-up.

In the meantime, I'm going to have to try and convince Powerpuff that we need to attend.

Click on the picture for more info.

Symphony of the Night

I purchased Castlevania: SotN when it became available in the Marketplace. Up until I picked up Guitar Hero that was the only game I was playing on my 360. This is by far, the best Live Arcade game available. The depth of this game, and sheer value, is light years ahead of what is currently available in the Arcade. And the 800 MS points it costs is a slap in the face to any other game available for more, because none come close to matching SotN.

I still own my original copy of SotN for the Playstation. And it is the original release, not the Greatest Hits follow-up. I remember playing through that game back in '98 and having a great time. I completed about 198% I believe. Since then though, I haven't touched it. For a short time I contemplated playing through it again on the PS2, during a time when no good games were coming out, but I never got around to it. Now that it has been released on Live Arcade, with Achievements and slightly enhanced visuals, I decided to give it another go.

And wow, I think I am enjoying the game more this time around than the first time I played it. I am completely hooked. It truly deserves its title as one of the greatest game of all time.

The game controls perfectly and the progression and advancement of your character is fantastic. There is nothing better than coming accross a new weapon, item, or special ability. Or backtracking to an area previously visited with new abilities in hand and reaching previous inaccesible areas. It is fantastic!


Forgot to mention it, but I caught a matinee show of 300 about two Fridays ago. It was fantastic. Great looking film, extremely graphic, and very entertaining. Genard Butler also tore it up as King Leonidas. Great character.

I recommend everyone catch it in theaters (or better yet, an IMAX if you are lucky enough), because visually the movie is amazing.

GRAW II minor issues

I have a two minor issues with GRAW 2 that I want to get off my chest. I had them with the first one too and I was hoping they would have been addressed for the sequel. These are minor gripes that don't affect gameplay, but I am anal and they bother me enough to single them out with a post.

First up, I can't believe that Ubisoft still has not fixed the fact that your character does not really reload his gun. Sure, he goes through the animation of removing a clip and placing a new one, except no clip exchange is ever made. I know, who cares right? Well, I f'ing care! This is supposed to be the "next generation". GRAW 2 is a gorgeous game. Your character model is huge and very, very detailed. When you go up against cover you have a great, close-up view of him, and he looks great. It is because of all those facts that this "small" problem is actually pretty big. Talk about killing the mood and making you remember you are just playing a game. It is actually comical to watch your character reload while in cover and seeing him just pretend to remove and place a clip. C'mon Ubisoft, it cannot be that difficult to do. Does it affect gameplay? No? Does it hinder my enjoyment of the game? Believe it or not, yes. Not enough for me to knock an entire point of its score mind you, but any aspect of a game that jars me from the game world so abruptly is definitely a negative.

Also, I still get the feeling that my character is sliding all over the ground when walking. The only time I actually "feel" like he is taking actual steps is when he is at a full sprint and the camera pulls back a bit and it begins to shake some. Other than that, I get the impression that my character is just sliding across the floor on skates. Don't like it.

Note, both these gripes are with the single-player game.

That's it. See how anal I am?

April 05, 2007

Guitar Hero II

Thanks to Bill Harris over at Dubious Quality I was able to snag me a copy of Guitar Hero II for the 360 this past Saturday, a full four days before the game's release. First time I've ever been one of those lucky bastards that gets a game early and begins to post pictures on message boards and bragging about it. Of course, I was too busy playing the game to do such a thing myself.

For fans of this series, the 360 is a MUCH better looking version of the game you know and love. Seriously, I did not think the jump to 360 would make that big of a difference visually, since Guitar Hero does not really rely on graphics much, but wow. I urge anyone to play the 360 version for a few days and then go back to the PS2 version. I tried this and could not believe how utterly AWFUL the PS2 version looked in comparison.

The second big difference is the guitar controller. The new X-plorer 360 controller felt a bit odd to me at first, after playing with the SG on the PS2 for so long. My first day resulted in a lot of errors from me misjudging the fret button distances, etc. Now, after three days with it, the controller feels fantastic. Much better and "sturdier" than the SG one on the PS2.

The other new additions you'll immediately notice on the 360 are achievements and the online leader boards. The achievement list appears to be pretty well implemented. Some are going to be insanely tough, like getting 5 stars on all songs on Expert. Just thinking about Free Bird on Expert makes me think that achievement is going to be downright impossible for me.

The leader board is probably my favorite feature for the 360 version (aside from future downloadable songs that is). It is great to be able to check how you rank with other players. As of this writing, my best ranking was in Sweet Child of Mine, in which I was ranked 15th out of over 1000 gamers. I'm sure by the time I check again, I would have dropped down significantly. I only wish you would be able to view a replay of the top 10 or so players. PGR 3 lets you watch full lap replays of the best times. Even the Gran Turismo PS3 demo lets you view replays of the top lap times. I gotta think that allowing players to see a bunch of colored notes on a screen is easier to do than full race replays. I hope Red Octane adds this in the future.

I still have a lot more playing to go, since I just started a new Career on Hard. Expert is where the game really shines though, so I can't wait to tackle that and see how I rank. Here's to hoping we see Downloadable Guitar Hero 1 songs soon!!!

Now, if you have not yet done so, go out and buy this game now!

April 03, 2007

Blog Under Construction

Tanis and I have been tossing around the idea of making changes to our blog, even possibly creating a new title. (Here is a new template I am trying)