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game - hawg

games, games and more games...and me

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Xbox 360 launch team gets cooler Xbox 360s than we do


PSP adds more features, none of which invole games...

The Sony PSP got a new firmware update that lets adds pop casts and wma support. Yeah, that's nice and all but anything new on the gaming front? Didn't think so. It's not that I have anything against the PSP but I just haven't been compelled to get one. eh.

Xbox 360 about more than just games

News like this just tickles my fancy. I believe this points to a whole new area of gaming about to be split wide open. The casual gamer will finally get their due. I mean, Gauntlet  and Smash TV  for crying out loud! I'm all over it. Well, I will be all over it once Halo 3 gives me a reason to get an Xbox 360 that is. It seems like the Xbox 360 is doing a pretty good job at being about more than just games. There the whole Live Marketplace and Arcade aspect, the Media Center aspect and all that goodness. I'm almost tempted to almost think abot buying one just so I don't have to burn cds and dvds to get what's on my pc in my living room. I wonder how, or if, Sony is planning something to combat the Live Marketplace. I hear somewhere that they wouldn't be doing an Xbox live-type service so maybe they won't.

IEMA responds to ESRB's F rating

The National Media Institute released a report recently that blasted the ESRB rating system, stating that they're secret undercover shoppers were able to buy all kinds of bad 'M' rated games. They gave the ESRB these grades:
  • Ratings Education: C+
  • Retailers' Policies: B
  • Retailers' Enforcement: D-
  • Ratings Accuracy: F
  • Arcade Survey: B-
  • Industry's 10-year cumulative grade: D+
    F for accuracy? Have they played these games? How are they not rated properly? Should GTA be given a differnet rating? Should Spongebob? I digress, the IEMA president released a statment doubting their polling methods and paints them as not doing their job properly. A statement I agree with.

    Save Reading Rainbow!

    Reading Rainbow needs our help! Apparenlty the show (which has won 24 emmy's mind you) is in jeporady of being axed. You know you all watched it as kids (and even as adults, guilty as charged!) so do what you kind to spread the message. What are kids supposed to do until they're old enough to buy GTA and Halo if they don't have this show to tell them what to read! Save the Rainbow!
    man, i can never get enough of that theme song, "take a look, it's in a book, reading rainbow!!!"...

    Microsoft to keep shipping Xbox 360s to retailers

    Looks like Microsoft is shipping Xbox 360s out to retailers weekly. does this mean you'll get on for christmas? Probably not.

    Friday, November 25, 2005

    Farewell n-gage

    Nokia isn't going to be building anymore N-Gages basically because they think they (or apparently anyone else) weren't ready for the gaming goodness that is (or was) the Nokia N-Gage. Farewell old friend acquaintence we hardly knew...we....hardly knew ye.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    10 mil Xbox 360s by the end of 2006

    Xbox honcho Peter Moore gives us a look into how successful Microsoft is hoping the Xbox 360 will be. He apparently told gamespot that MS is hoping to have sold 10 million sleek machines by the end of 2006 . This is all well and good but I'm still holding out for Halo 3.

    Gametrailers.com goes corporate

    MTV has bought Gametrailers.com

    Halo 2 still kicks ass on Xbox 360

    In case you were worried, Halo 2 still kicks ass on the Xbox 360. It looks and works pretty much the same. The only noticable difference, you may have problems hopping into some Xbox Live games:

    Halo 2 on Xbox 360 did deliver its own set of problems. At one point during the hour-long session, each on of our team members was simply unable to join the session. Associate Editor Jon Miller, who used a new retail Xbox 360, was unable to ever get on and play. He switched the controller, switched the game, switched the cables, TV, player names, what have you. He eventually played split-screen with me, which temporarily solved the problem. Several times other players couldn't even see the game session, but that happened democratically -- at some point during the session each one of us was unable to join a session.
    Also not good, the fact that some Xbox 360s seem to be overheating for people. I wouldn't say it's "widespread" but it can't be fun to be them right now.

    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    They got nothing on you Hans

    I think your setup is way better than thiers. You're such a pioneer and trend setter.

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Metal Spartans rock

    by way of Bungie's Weekly Update...

    You aren't going to be getting an Xbox 360 till 2006

    If you didn't have the foresight to pre-order you're Xbox 360 6-8 months in advance, I wouldn't count on getting one until 2006 (unless you're willing to pay over $500 for one, I'm not). I don't know of many stores that weren't doing the pre-order thing but I wonder if they would have taken all the preorders they have if they knew the shortgae was going to be this bad. Hmm, food for thought. Many WalMart stores are only going to be recieving single-digit shipments while other major retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City (who had some pre-order slots open today via their website, causing all kinds of technical havoc) aren't looking much better. I would say wait until the frenzy dies down and pick one up for Halo 3...you know it's coming.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Shadow of the Colossus was an awesome rental

    An awesome rental for me at least. I've never had a chance to drink the Ico kool-aid so I didn't have any level of expectations walking into this one. The only reason I picked it up, for better or worse, it because the colossi looked friggin kewl. For that reason alone, I scooped it up alongside Bewitched (not the best movie) and rented my way to gaming bliss for a few short days.

    Now that I think about it, maybe renting it wasn't the best thing to do. I had to keep it a couple of days past the due date since I was so close to finishing it. For that reason, I wouldn't buy it. I got to the last colossus within 7 days, playing every night (1-3 hours). I was hooked. Playing the game is like going from one boss fight to the next. I LOVED that. I hate having to drudge through 30 minutes of low-level bad guys just to get to the not-always-worth it boss fight. You go from boss to boss, each one being different. Now granted, a few of the colossi are a bit similar but not so much so that you would think the developers were running out of ideas.

    The colossi themselves are jus flat out, jaw dropping. It was a bit exhilarating fighting the first few colossi since I didn't quite know what to expect. I calmed down on about day 3 or four. The neat thing about battling these colossi is that it's not your typical "shoot here for 10 minutes to kill the boss" strategy. Killing most (all I guess) of them involves a bit of strategery (yeah it's a word, ask will ferrell). Not so much that you'll be combing through a strategy guide every ten minutes to figure it out but enough to make you feel a little bit better about yourself when you figure out how to take'em down. I must admit I did get stumped a few times and did consult a guide or two (thank you gamespot) but that was just because I was under a deadline, a deadline in which I ended up extending since the game turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be.

    The story was very subtle. You get the intro movie with no backstory, two brief cutscenes(each after defeating a number of colossi) and then the ending. I heard the ending was great but the fear of a $75 late fee drowned out my need to see it through. I spent a few days on the last boss but gave in eventually. It was a bit trickier than I expected and I couldn't devote as much time to it as it needed. Oh well.

    Despite no finishing the game, I still had a blast. It was quite engrossing and the feeling of isolation your get from all the time spent riding your trusty steed from colossi to colossi really digs into you. The riding itself never got too repetitive since the locales varied quite a bit. The horse steering took some getting used to for me at first since it's like real life horseback riding. The sucker won't stop on a dime or go from 0-60 at the drop of a hat. It was frustrating at first but I grew into it. The first colossi is more of a tutorial that hips you to the jumping and hanging mechanics. The hanging and climbing is crucial to master since you'll need to do so to defeat each colossi. Once you get the hang of it, it's cake though. The graphics are good but not next-gen good. Sometimes they look a little eh but considering the lack of load time once the game starts, it shouldn't bother you too much. The framerate was solid and the colossi always looked good.

    All in all it was a damn fine rental. Was it good enough for me to plop down $50+ to pick it up retail, no. I won't buy it just to beat the final boss. I would rent it again though. If (or most likely when) I do, I would be sure to return it on time. I swear.

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Mario Bros. theme gets classical

    Found via http://del.icio.us/popular/system:filetype:mp3, the London Symphony Orchestra's interpretation of the Super Mario Bros. theme. Make me feel smarter when I listen to it and probably gives me an air of sophistication when I blast it in my cube. rock on. 

    The Xbox 360's launch day lineup

    According to TeamXbox, this is the "the strongest launch lineup in the history of video game consoles is announced...". Bias much? Anywhoo, the Xbox 360 launch day lineup looks pretty good in a "18 is better than 5" sense but how will these games stack up? I've heard the King Kong demo was pretty nice but since my local WalMart got bad demo disks, my fellow Colorado Springers and I never got a chance to see the hardware in some serious action. Call of Duty 2 looked nice (it also looked more like a glorified Xbox game) but I'm not frothing at the mouth, hoping to score a place in line on the 21st. For now (or until Halo 3), I'll wait for some price drops. Here's the full list, corny one-line descriptions and all:
    1. Kameo™: Elements of Power™ (Microsoft Game Studios)
      Go on a journey full of magnificent exploration and innovative morph-into-monster action.

    2. Perfect Dark Zero™ (Microsoft Game Studios)
      Plunge into a world of corporate espionage and conspiracy as perfect agent Joanna Dark.

    3. Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios)
      Life begins at 170 mph with the ultimate roster of the hottest supercars in existence.

    4. Call of Duty 2 (Activision)
      Experience the cinematic intensity and chaos of epic WWII battles in this Xbox 360 exclusive.

    5. Need for Speed™ Most Wanted (Electronic Arts)
      Out-race rivals and evade coordinated police pursuits to become the most wanted street racer.

    6. Peter Jackson's King Kong™ (Ubisoft)
      Battle for survival on Skull Island as Jack Driscoll and even play as the mighty Kong himself.

    7. Madden NFL 06 (Electronic Arts)
      Get ready for the most incredibly lifelike and best looking football experience ever created.

    8. GUN™ (Activision)
      Journey through the Wild West in an immersive story of betrayal, greed, and revenge.

    9. Condemned: Criminal Origins™ (SEGA)
      Pursue serial killers lurking on the periphery of humanity through squalid urban environments.

    10. NBA 2K6 (2K Sports)
      Create your own player and guide him through all of the facets of an elite NBA career.

    11. Ridge Racer™ 6 (Namco)
      With more than 130 cars and 30 courses play all-new online modes, plus downloadable content.

    12. Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (Activision)
      Enjoy unlimited skating and BMX biking in the vast wasteland of Los Angeles with no load times.

    13. QUAKE™ 4 (Activision)
      Take the battle to the heart of the Strogg home planet as Earth's only hope for victory.

    14. Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06 (Electronic Arts)
      Battle through five classic periods of golf with Tiger Woods and legends like Palmer and Nicklaus.

    15. Amped 3 (2K Sports)
      Get ready for a fat helping of boarding culture and huge snowboxes loaded with killer gameplay.

    16. FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup™ (Electronic Arts)
      With 72 teams and 1700 players, it's a soccer lover's dream as you advance to the World Cup.

    17. NHL 2K6 (2K Sports)
      Hockey is back, so strap on your skates and take your favorite team to the Stanley Cup finals.

    18. NBA Live 06 (Electronic Arts)
      Feel the emotion and intensity with freestyle superstars and more physical play.

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Shadow of the Colossus

    I recently picked up (well, rented) Shadow of the Colossus and gave it a whirl. Good game. I'll post up a review sometime this weekend. Basic synopsis, it's good, not great(graphically at times) but it gave me what I dig, constant big boss fights.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Halo script gets reviewed!

    One hell of a way to start a monday morning...Movie site LatinoReview got their hands on the actual Halo script and they give us some details on what we could expect from the flick. Why should you believe anything this site says? Becuase they have been pretty good about getting scoops in the past and they are just flat out good. What did they think of Halo? They say it rocks hardcore. The reviewer doesn't even have an Xbox and has never played Halo but this script set him all a twitter (my words, not his). I'll be damed if it doesn't sound way cool though. He covers what the first act entails and some pieces of what you can expect in the rest of the script. Sounds like we'll be seeing everything from the 12 ft tall Hunters to the seemingly ALBINO MASTER CHIEF. By the way MC is written about in the script, he seems to be possibly albino. Which is good for the albino movement since albinos have been getting bad raps in some recent movies, those naughty twins in the matrix movies, Silas from the DaVinci code etc... Here's a script snippet:
    MC removes his helmet – his skin is bleached white and his head his shaved to the scalp.
    In the script, we never see his face though. What's cool is that they're very faithful to the script, MC is seven feet tall and all that jazz. I hope we don't get a "name" playing the part of MC since that'll just be distracting. But I digress...The coolest part of this whole script review is the Master Chief's first line of dialog in the whole flick...
    The door to the Cyro-Storage chamber cracks its seal, and then rises open. The Spartan lunges forwards, reflexively, snapped into consciousness. The two engineers jump back. MC reaches out to place a hand either side of the Cyro-Chamber, then steps out. He takes a moment as he surveys his surroundings. Looks to the left, then his right. Then down at the two men. He towers over them and they seem to shrink under the blank gaze of his visor as he speaks his first words on page 10 of this script. "What are my orders?".
    That's token Master Chief right there. Wakes up and is ready to kick some covenant ass. Damn this movie is going to rock...


    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    Using Sony's rookit-installing DRM software to hack World of Warcraft

    I thought this was pretty funny. Use Sony's overzealous DRM software to protect your World of Warcraft hacks from Blizzard's overzealous overzealous "big brother" software. What a tangled web of of anti-comsumerism we weave...

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Business Week interviews Shigeru Miyamoto

    Check it out here.
    Do you remember how you came up with Super Mario Bros.?
    It started with a simple idea. I thought: "I wonder what it would be like to have a character that bounces around. And the background should be a clear, blue sky." I took that idea to a programmer, and we started working on it.

    Mario ended up being too big, so we shrank him. Then we thought, "What if he can grow and shrink? How would he do that? It would have to be a magic mushroom! Where would a mushroom grow? In a forest." We thought of giving Mario a girlfriend, and then we started talking about Alice in Wonderland.


    Hack your Xbox 360 (well...when you get one anyway)

    The system isn't even out yet but for you enterprising modders out there just itching to void your warranty, fear not! Here's how you can change the LED light on the Xbox 360 controller you don't have. There's even some video.

    Reviving Tomb Raider

    Some developers involved with the upcoming Tomb Raider game speak on how they're hoping to bring Laura back to her former glory . This scared me a bit:
    "When we set out to do this we looked carefully at the original Tomb Raiders. What made them popular? Why did people like them? The accusation that we are looking at her heritage is correct. But I think we have brought modern day expectations to bear. We've gone for a more cohesive experience in terms of the game's systems, level design and story. Those things are more tightly interrelated than anything on the series before."
    I think the previous games weren't fun. The control scheme sucked and in turn, the whole game slagged on from level to level. I don't recall playing more than 2-3 levels before I got bored. It seems like they really want to make this work so I guess I can give them the benefit of the doubt. I just hope the pace if faster, I don't have time for camera-zooming her hot bod. Give me some gameplay!

    Amped 3 may be Xbox 360 launch title?

    Looks like Amped 3 might be available to the 10 people who are going to be picking up their Xbox 360s on launch. Amped 3 looks like it'll be a pretty nice (if a bit typical) snowboarding game. What I'm digging about it though is the art direction and kewl way the artistic style is integrated into the game. Nothing too groundbreaking but it still looks all cool and retro-funky. Digg on it here.

    Love Spam

    Couldn't we all use some of this kind of spam?

    EA to bring Simpsons to next-gen consoles

    Do people still play simpson games? [gamesindustry.biz]

    Nintendo may never release Revolution tech specs?

    I guess their kind of saying, in a way, that they're "Revolution" won't be as revolutionary in terms of hardware. Nintendo of Europe's marketing director Jim Merrick states that Nintendo may never release the Revolution's technical specs. I say they wouldn't have to, as soon as ars technia gets their hands on one I'm sure they would rip that machine to shreds (watch them get down on the video iPod) and fill us hungry for stats. In another way, it's kind of refreshing that they won't be giving us the specs. Merrick also mentions that there won't be any game footage without the game being playable. So basically, no Sony-style smoke and mirrors. No showing us fancy demos or "in-game" footage without people being able to actually sit-down and play it themselves.  It'll be interesting to see how this campaing works out for them. Will being so different from the crowd polarize consumers or set them up in a division of their own?

    The Xbo 360 at my local WalMart

    So they hooked it back up again and, when I got to it, the Call of Duty 2 demo was running in-game. I picked up the sweet-as-buttah controller and had my way with it for a few minutes. It was pretty immersive with all the screaming and yelling from my comrads and such. My little demo only lasted for a few more minutes though. When I tried to get the king kong demo I got stopped dead, the game hung on the loading screen. That stunk, word has it that it's pretty decent and I've seen tons of Kameo and Call of Duty already, King Kong is the only playable demo left. Maybe the disc is scratched or something, if that is the case MICROSOT GET A NEW ONE TO COLO SPGS WALMART ASAP. My sanity depends on it.

    First Xbox 360

    Even though it contains no gameplay, i think it effectively gets their whole "play together" idea across. It's a pretty cool ad acutally. Check it out here.