Monday, November 2, 2009

Ode to Arcades: My Best Arcade Experience



Everyone knows that arcades are not as widely used today as they once were in this country. There was a time when every town had at least one arcade, it was the place where kids and adults alike could go and enjoy their favorite games in an atmosphere all its own. I've talked about my love of the arcades of yesteryear before in this blog, bust mostly talking about how they came and went. Today I want to make it a bit more personal.

When I was growing up in urban South Florida, there was a fairly large arcade only about a mile from my house called BigFoot's Arcade. BigFoot's Arcade was a constant throughout my childhood, the place where I went when I got good grades, the place where I first went to talk to girls, the place where my friends and I would go during Summer - reading comics, drinking Lemonade, and playing all the latest games til closing time.

I have many memories of that beautiful place, with all its electronic sounds assualting my ears, its strobing lights dazzling my eyes, the calls and whistles of exuberance and defeat. My favorite being the day the planets must've aligned, because for that single day I was a Mortal Kombat GOD, untouchable.

Pitchers have no-hitters. I had a no-loss. It started off like any other arcade day, I waited for my turn in Mortal Kombat 2. Arcade etiquette dictated that if a person won in a fighting game, they usually had to keep playing, taking on all challengers. That winner could quit if he wanted to, but it was generally frowned upon if he did. He was supposed to keep playing until he lost or until his party had to leave.

So I waited for my turn and played the winner at the time. And I beat him. Easy. And then I beat the next challenger, and the next challenger. Then the next and the next. Before I knew it I garnered a large crowd, and the sun had long since gone down. There were few people who still wanted to challenge me and finally someone stood up to face me right when the owner of BigFoot's Arcade announced that would be the last game of the day. He looked confident. Perhaps he had seen a flaw in my strategy? A minor tic he could exploit?

I picked Sub-Zero, he picked Scorpion, and the battle began. The guy was good, I will give him that. I lost my first round easily, he got a perfect on me. I almost lost my cool, but I game him my classic combo:
Sweep:


Freeze:


Roundhouse Kick:

I beat him and life was good.

Real good.

The crowd cheered and the arcade closed and for that single moment, there wasn't a better Mortal Kombat 2 player in the world. That was easily my best arcade experience. What's yours?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rare to produce Project Natal FPS?



Remember the video game company Rare? You know, the guys behind Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Donkey Kong Country, and the stellar Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64.

Well of all the companies out there, Rare announced that they are working on a first person shooter venture for the much anticipated Project Natal software from Microsoft.
Get a FREE $250 Gift Card to GameStop!



In case you forgot, Project Natal was the groundbreaking motion technology Microsoft demoed at E3 this year. The technology allows for full body movement to be captured in a game, without the need for any controller or peripheral. What's more, Project Natal allows you to scan your own real world items (like a skateboard) to be used in a virtual game. Microsoft claims that Project Natal will be bundled with every Xbox 360 in the future, and that the technology will take the motion control craze started by the Nintendo Wii to new and exciting heights.

And now we know an FPS by the heroes of yesteryear, Rare, is in development. I wonder how you play a first person shooter without a controller? With your fingers?
Get a FREE $250 Gift Card to GameStop!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is the Wii 2 on its Way?



Late-breaking news! MaxConsole.net claims they have an exclusive insider leak into the specs of the brand spanking NEW Nintendo Wii 2!

MaxConsole says they're getting their information from Logic-Sunrise.com, a site that they say has brought them exclusive "insider" information in the past. According to the leak, the Wii 2 will have Blu-Ray support, with a secondary purpose of curbing piracy, an issue the Nintendo Wii has contended with since its launch. What's more, the new Wii is going to sport 100% High Definition 1080p graphics, the likes of which will rival the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360!
Get a FREE Nintendo Wii!!

The leak claims the console will be announced relatively soon and that it will go on sale sometime late next year. And the very best news? MaxConsole also says there will be an incentive program that will allow consumers that already own the Nintendo Wii to trade it in for a discount towards the new Wii 2! Nintendo fans rejoice!!

Get a FREE Nintendo Wii right now!

Friday, October 23, 2009

New PS3 Blog!

Hey everyone! I'm going to be leaving Gaming Goodies behind for the time being and focusing on my new PS3 exclusive blog that you can find here:

http://p-s-three.blogspot.com/

Make sure to check it out!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frightfully Good: Dead Space


Continuing on with my Frightfully Good Games series in lieu of the holidays, I present EA's stellar 2008 survival/horror title Dead Space. Taking place in the distant future on a mining ship traversing the stars, you play as Isaac, the ship's engineer. Your ship runs into altercations out in open space and after a series of crashes and explosions your crew goes off to see what's wrong with the ship. As the engineer, your duty is with the ship's interior, making adjustments and repairs. It's then that you realize that something got onto your ship after the crash, some things that are now in the ventilation system, rummaging through the supplies, and terrifying the other few workers on the ship.

                                        
One of the things that made Dead Space so terrifying was who you were playing as. Isaac is no Master Chief. He's no fighter, no hardened general. He has no military training, no survival training, and doesn't know any martial arts. Isaac is only an engineer, just a regular worker like the rest of his crew. Therefore the only weapons at his disposal are the regular (if not futuristic) tools of his profession. Soddering tools, cutting tools, futuristic saws, these are the only things you have with you. EA put a great deal of work into the creatures that populate this nightmare, and in doing so created the game's primary fighting mechanic. Whereas in other games, a pistol shot to the head is usually the best way to take down a baddie, the monsters of Dead Space has to be dismembered. That's right, dismembered. Because a shot to the face won't slow them down, you have to twist your cutting tools to chop off arms, legs, appendages, and (of course) their heads. It's a gruesom and wildly satisfying combat mechanism.

The combat is great, but the overall atmosphere is just as important. As the title suggests, you don't often hear any ethereal music to try and heighten the tension, often all you hear as Isaac walks through his battered ship is...nothing. Silence. There'll be the squeezing of vapors through ventilation, the sliding of doors, the click-clack sounds of the monsters inside the walls of the ship. But when you step out onto the outside of the ship, into literal dead space, the absolute silence is the eeriest feeling of all. Dead Space is a wonderfully crafted nightmare, a title whose polished strengths easily outweighs any minor flaws, and the best part is...


Dead Space is available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Windows PC. If you haven't played this amazing game yet, get ready for one terrifying ride.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frightfully Good: F.E.A.R.



It's that time of year and the Halloween festivities are just starting to pick up speed. As the leaves are changing and falling, and the weather gets colder and colder, maybe you'd like to get into the spirit of things with a few frightfully good games? The horror genre is a wide and wonderful genre in gaming, spawning a number of great and memorable titles. Although there are examples of these horror games in the past, as technology gets better and graphics become more realistic, these days developers can dish out some truly horrific titles. And these days the budgets for video games rival those for blockbuster films, so it only makes sense that horror, and its many subgenres like survival/horror, will be extremely popular. One of my recent favs is the F.E.A.R. series, that first made its debut on PCs in 2005, and then on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2006.

As the name suggests, there's a great deal to be afraid of in the title. In the game, you played as a member of the First Encounter Assault Recon, a special government task force that investigates paranormal activity. You face a number of "super soldiers" who are at the command of a terrifying "girl" named Alma, seen above. The game's story is unravelled bit by bit as you play so you'll just have to play it to find out just what Alma is. F.E.A.R. takes a lot of cues from Japanese horror films, where they're more concerned with the "psychology of fear" rather than things that jump out at you. That being the case there are some real "OH MY GOD" moments in this title, and the atmosphere can get EXTREMELY terrifying. Long dark hallways, lights that flicker as you walk by them, sounds that come from behind you, strange things happening in the corner of your eye. What's more Alma has the power to give your character horrifying hallucinations, from thinking you're seeing something you're not, to actually creating things you're forced to fight. The effect is tremendously entertaining.


A sequel to F.E.A.R. came out earlier this year called F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. Alma has grown up and the tricks she'll play on your character as you play are just as mindblowing as the first. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is also for the PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. Pick it up and have a scare!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Borderlands Review



As I said before, Borderlands is one of my most anticipated titles of the year. Gearbox, the company behind it, has taken a big risk with the direction, the art, the release window, and the premise of this game and I think they will be rewarded in spades. Well Borderlands is out today! And the reviews have been pouring in and they are extremely positive. Included is a section of the GamePro review for Borderlands, who felt it was a great title that suffered from a few minor flaws.

Lonely Planet:
Rolling around the open areas as a lone wolf is certainly enjoyable-solitude accentuates the tension of dangerous situations, especially when you can hear the phenomenal soundtrack instead of your raucous pals-but it's just not the best way to play. With nobody to cover your flank and no one to pull you out of the muck when you run into trouble, the single-player mode becomes a lonely experience.
Play Borderlands on your FREE PS3 Slim!

Ding!:
Everything fell into place perfectly based on our agreed roles and there's an addictive quality here that's on par with Diablo, where the constant promise of new doodads and skill tree bonuses were enough incentive to keep you up way too late. The back of the box brags about "BAZILLIONS" of guns to discover, and given the visual and statistical variety of each weapon I stumbled across I'm not willing to challenge Gearbox's hyperbolic chest-beating just yet.



Let's Do That Again!

There's no doubt that Borderlands has its faults but everything that exists around those sticky spots is incredible. The fun I had with the rock-solid gunplay and extensive role-playing elements was considerably amplified by each additional player. Borderlands is an absolute blast that I'll go back to again and again, even if my friends aren't around to help out. Considering how great of a time I had in Pandora, though, I expect they'll be around for a while too.

PROS: Co-op loot-scavenging rocks; great graphics, style and music; RPG/FPS hybrid is outstanding


CONS: Single-player suffers from co-op focus; the story is interesting but it feels a tad shallow
(Source)
 

 
There you have it! Get some friends together, free up a weekend, and plunder the lost planet of Pandora to your looting and shooting heart's content! Borderlands comes out TODAY for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Windows PCs will get it on the 26th.
 
Play Borderlands on your FREE Xbox 360 Elite!

Monday, October 19, 2009

33 Best PS3 Games

Financially speaking, the Playstation 3 may just be catching its stride. With the release of the PS3 Slim, a cheaper and slimmer version of the PS3 (and with a 120gig harddrive) is selling like hotcakes. But believe it or not, just because you might just be catching wind about the Playstation 3, doesn't mean it hasn't been popular. And it also doesn't mean there hasn't been some amazing games for the system. GamePro was kind enough to compile a list of the best games on Sony's little console-that-could. You can see the whole list of thirty three titles here, but I'll just show you the top five:
5


Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

4


Grand Theft Auto IV

3


Bioshock


2


Fallout 3

1


Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

A lot of very big titles. You should check out the rest of the list for some more amazing games that have only recently been given the credit they deserve. And with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves out last week already being called the Game of the Year, the PS3 hype train has yet to reach max speed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Retro Revolution

Look at this image:

This is Mega Man. Now, is this sprite of Mega Man from before or after 2008?
The answer?
Both!

As you're no doubt aware, there's been quite a retro revolution taking place in the gaming world over the past few years. Franchises long forgotten are breathed new life, like the recently announced Rocket Knight. Once a 16-bit adventure on the Sega Genesis, now re-imagined in "2.5D". Not quite 2D, not quite 3D. Like so:
 
Some developers, however, push the retroness to the extreme. Like when Capcom released Mega Man 9 last year. It wasn't with new graphics, wasn't with some new mixture of dimensions; it looked EXACTLY like it did in 1987. Even the box art for the game looks like something that was popular during the time of Tron and He-Man:

It's a risky move. In the age where HD gaming has pretty much become the norm, for a developer to make something only the oldest of gamers would truly appreciate, speaks of their committment to the fanbase. And Mega Man 9 sold PHENOMENALLY, recreating a whole retro revolution in the gaming industry. Resurrecting old franchises is nothing new, but resurrecting them in the same style they were first created is as hardcore as it gets. And now there's even the advent of NEW franchises done in OLD graphics, with animations and color schemes that harken back to the games of yesteryear. A recent example is the not yet released game Half-Minute Hero for the PSP, that looks like something straight out of 1993:


And yet, Half-Minute Hero is already being lauded by critics as a mini masterpiece. I don't know about you guys, but for a gamer like me that's been a fan of this industry since 1988, I would LOVE to see more of these. My most beloved old franchise?

RIVER CITY RANSOM.

Do it Nintendo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let's Play Together

The Nintendo Wii has gotten the reputation of being a kiddy console, something Nintendo has struggled with for ages. But it also has the reputation of being one of the main companies concerned mostly with multiplayer gaming, with getting everyone involved and playing together. It's not only a good business move (more players equates to more money), but as people are looking for ways to stretch their gaming dollar a bit, they're also looking for the most bang out of their games. I recently talked about how single player gaming might be on the decline, but that doesn't mean gaming is dead. Gamers these days are interested in ways of playing together, and enjoying gaming with friends and loved ones. Here are some hot multiplayer games coming out this year from Nintendo and all the other big names.
Get a FREE Nintendo Wii Mario Bros. Bundle!

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Mario and all his pals come back for another big adventure, and it even comes with four player co-op. This makes it the very first "true" multiplayer Mario game, something the old-school Mario fans will no doubt love. You can take control of Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Yoshi and many more, utilizing each of your individual skills to triumph over the evil Bowser. Hey, everyone knows Mario games are fun, no matter what kind of gamer you are, because...it's Mario. Enough said.


Borderlands
From Gearbox, the team behind the stellar Brothers in Arms series, comes a new IP called Borderlands. Set on a distant world called Pandora, the harsh atmosphere and lack of resources plunges the planet into chaos and lawlessness. You take control of one of four characters, all with their own stories and own reasons for being on Pandora, and all searching for an alien treasure that could make them rich. This is actually my most anticipated title this year, because of a lot of reasons. Open world, procedurally generated weapons in excess of 7 Million (that's right, 7 million plus weapons), vehicular combat, unique characters, and FOUR PLAYER CO-OP! It really doesn't get any better than that. It's available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.


Left 4 Dead 2
Although it looks like a movie poster, it's actually the highly anticipated sequel to last year's groundbreaking effort Left 4 Dead. Again, we have four player co-op, this time against the hordes of "infected" zombie-like creatures who come at you from every angle. Four friends can take part in this zombie apocalypse, running and gunning your way through the Southern Bayou as try to make your way to safety and sanity. Boasting all new campaigns, new guns, new modes, new zombies and a newly improved "director" engine to keep you guessing, Left 4 Dead 2 looks like a sure hit this Fall. Available for PC and Xbox 360.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Toy Drop

Remember a couple of years ago when Furbie dolls were the biggest thing to hit America? What was the allure of those things? They were short, campy, creepy, furry mutations with a beak and terrible piercing eyes. Have you forgotten? Behold!

Still creeps me out to this day. But as creepy as I found them, they sold like hotcakes, to the point where McDonalds actually started offering them in Happy Meals. But kids, and some adults, are all into the newest toy crazes. Life's not all about games you know, all of us know kids who would probably rather play with a toy train than Super Mario Bros. (or maybe not). Either way, with the holiday season looming over us once again, and our economy still in the dumps, parents are looking for the new toys that will drive their kids crazy that won't break the bank either. Here's some I recently found that I'm thinking of getting my nephews and nieces:

Rubiks Touch Cube: The old regular Rubiks cube we knew as kids is just too easy for the young ones of today! They need a flashy electronic one! So instead of twisting it around, you slide your finger across the colors to switch them around. Looks like fun...in a hollow, digital way. Either way it's a whopping $149.99! Better go look for the duddy old plastic ones.

Ni-Hao Kai-Lan: Kids are just so much smarter than we ever were. Their cartoons are actually teaching them another language! When Dora The Explorer becomes old hat, we have the just as adorable Kai-Lan who teaches Korean while entertaining. And these toys are a healthy $14.99.
 Zhu Zhu Pets: You thought the furryness was over?! It never went away, it just got a little less frightening. Zhu Zhu Pets, from what I can tell, are just furry toy pets, something along the lines of a gerbil or guinea pig, without all the messes, smells, sounds, and...life. Don't be fooled though, these pets are consistently on Amazon.com's top ten most sold products, and Wal-Marts across the globe are selling them for around $8, but they can't seem the keep them in stock. Will it just be Furby 2?!?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Review



Not too long ago I talked about two wargames that will be released soon that really had me excited: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. They're the bigwigs in the war genre right now, but I often forget that there are lesser known but just as dedicated war games out there with their own unique take on the genre. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is the unofficial sequel to Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis that was released back in 2001. It is known for its intense difficulty and committment to war realism. I played Operation Flashpoint: CWC a long time ago and was giddy to find that headshots were automatic kills, something the other, more popular war games don't actually do. I respect Kotaku's review system, instead of giving it an arbitrary number, they break it down into things they liked and things they hated. Check it out a portion of that review:
Get a FREE $250 Gift Card from GameStop!

Loved



Damage System: Getting shot in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising can have a lasting impact on how you play the missions. Besides headshots killing you instantly, you can get tagged in the legs, the chest, the arms, the head. Injuries show up on a little version of your character on the screen, if you don't fix yourself up fast (or have a medic do it) you'll eventually bleed out. And even when you do patch yourself up you still won't be able to run sometimes. The end result? More cautious gameplay, more thinking before you move. Perfect for this type of game.

Difficulty: Played on the average setting, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a brutal, unforgiving experience. If you don't pace yourself, using tactics and squad commands, you're going to be shot down in seconds. And those one-shot kills you land can happen to you too, so don't stand in one place for too long.

Realism: From the whine of bullets and full body damage modeling to the relatively open map, which allows for just about any sort of approach you want in a map, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising plays more like a training exercise than it does a run-in-gun shooter.



Hated


Save System: Managing and creating save points in a game can be an art. Too many and players will just trudge through the game, regardless of loss of life, knowing that they can respawn feet from where they dropped. Too few and you have Dragon Rising, which has you play for 30 to 40 minutes, cross vast tracks of terrain, take out multiple units and then die only to do it all over again. The save points improve as you near the end of the game, but the beginning is brutal and unnecessary.

Line of Sight: When a single shot can kill you instantly and save points are stretched between unforgiving distances of objectives and terrain, having a game that can't render an enemy on the horizon doesn't just look bad, it guts the action. In almost every map I played there were enemies who phased in and out of existence as they wavered on the edge of what the game could handle showing me, making sniping a near impossibility.

Brain-Damaged Friendlies: Your squad mates can be life-savers, helping you flank enemies or patching you up after you've taken a shot to the chest. But man can they be stupid. It's shocking how many times my men came to patch me up and then just stood over me with a med kit in hand, watching me die, or refused to mount a vehicle, or walked directly in front of me while I was shooting. Or the one time I had to restart a section of a mission because my squad had commandeered a jeep, drove to the other side of the map with it and then refused to join me at the extraction point. In a game so reliant on squad, this level of artificial intelligence problems is unacceptable.
(Source)

Sounds good, but doesn't seem to pull off a lot of the things that made the original so noteworthy. Oh well, Modern Warfare 2 is next month! Whooo!

Get Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising with a FREE $250 Gift Card to GameStop!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fighting Games...The Genre Arcades Left Behind



It's the summer, you're twelve years old, and you have a pocket full of change you bummed off of your parents. You step into your local arcade and are instantly dazzled; lights are flashing, 8-bit sounds are beeping and blooping in your ears, people are laughing, crying, and cheering in every direction. You're here for fun and laughs, for friends and camaraderie, but mostly, you're here for what everyone else is here for: recognition. And the best way to get recognition in the inclusive fast-paced world of arcades? Fighting games.
Play Street Fighter IV on your FREE Xbox 360 Elite!
Before fighting games were relegated completely to consoles, the true allure of the genre came from besting a physical opponent you've only just met in front of dozens of your peers, perhaps most of them strangers as well. It was the closest thing a geeky suburban kid could get to street cred, and the respect one gained from these competitive bouts were just as real as any sports hero would get. It was a great pasttime, one that required a great deal of time and effort, and skill, to be a champ. I had many great summers in such places.



But the fighting genre has taken a serious back seat, and competitive gaming is now mostly done online to virtual opponents half the world away. It's still fun, but a lot of the passion is gone. And as the world becomes more casual, the gaming pool wider, and production costs increased, fighting games simply don't hold sway in the gaming community as much as it once did. Arcades left them behind and the young ones don't seem to care for it.

Thankfully, in recent years, a few titles are still garnishing praise. Street Fighter IV, released in the States this year, has enjoyed tremendous success. Soul Calibur IV, released last year, was also a commercial success. And Tekken 6 is poised to storm the fighting scene in just a few weeks. Although their popularity has diminished, the competitive fighting game is still going strong, and this video from the EVO tournament shows just how intense these battles can be:


Friday, October 9, 2009

Indie Games...Pushing the Envelope



Game development is an expensive endeavor. One of last year's biggest games, Gears of War 2, had a $12 million development budget, well over the cost of the development of, say, Star Wars. And personally, I thought Gears of War 2 was a great game, well worth the development costs and just as many thrills as a similarly priced Hollywood film. But what about the little game developers? The guys whose vision might just be a bit too extreme, too unconventional, to get the financial backing of a major game publisher?  Well then they make it indie, baby!

Get a FREE 120gig PS3 Slim!
If you're anything like me, the term "indie" conjures up thoughts of strange fashion statements, apathetic youth, and confusing ideals. But in the gaming world, it's awesome! Generally you can find some very amazing ideas, things totally outside of the realm of jumping or shooting, that have the potential to push the idea of gaming to the edge. Take, for example, the 2005 indie title Fa├žade. It's an interactive story where you type in anything and the game characters respond. Observe:

Amazing stuff, eh? This is a free game that you can download here. But indie developers, like any developers, need to make money. And offering a game for free isn't going to make you money. Luckily, we have the likes of the Playstation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade, WiiWare, and Steam, to bring indie titles to the limelight. Just like last year's HUGE indie title, Braid, whose interesting time mechanics totally changed how a simple platforming game could be played.

What new delights await the gaming community? Find out at IndieGames.com.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Is Single-Player Gaming Dead?


Believe it or not there was a time when gaming wasn't as social of an event as it was today. Lots of games were single-player experiences and that's the way we liked it. We jumped into a world, spent hours there, and didn't feel socially irresponsible after doing so. If you were itching for social gaming, you went to an arcade, and it would satisfy every multiplayer itch you could possibly have. But those days are long gone, arcades are all but vanquished from the West, and solo gamers are looked down upon. Kotaku's Michael McWhertor has an interesting article about it.

There is some cause for concern for the solo-only player. Massively successful games like Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Valve's Left 4 Dead offered shorter campaign modes in favor of a more robust multiplayer feature set. And StarCraft fans may be more than perturbed about the late release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, already sliced into three campaigns, largely due to delays with Battle.net, Blizzard's multiplayer service.



If more publishers and developers follow suit in shifting more focus to multiplayer, will the lone wolf suffer?


The addition of multiplayer to games that have relied on their single player strengths is done for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is that the game buying public has simply come to expect it as a series sequelizes and evolves. It's an oft-demanded feature from the community, even in series that tend to be strictly single-player.

Personally I don't expect games to be multiplayer, and sometimes I really don't want it! But the gaming atmosphere has changed drastically over the last twenty years, could multiplayer games now be considered the norm?
[Source]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nintendo's "Kind-Code"...Game Killer or Killer Game?



Not too long ago, Nintendo revealed a new mode in their upcoming Wii game New Super Mario Bros. that would essentially guide novice players through a level they found too hard. Immediately the gaming world exploded, cried foul, rioted, and lambasted Nintendo with the greatest of insults. And perhaps rightfully so. The idea that there was an option in a game that essentially played the game for me would make some gaming vets believe that the video game developer has catered so wholly to the casual crowd that they don't even care about making the player finish on their own. A game killer indeed, right?

Well new information has come up, some that sheds more light on the new mode. Officially called the "Super Guide", the mode only comes into effect when a player dies 8 times in a level. The mode will use Luigi to show the player how to get past a difficult portion of the game, allowing the player to pick up at any time and continue playing. Lastly, one can choose whether or not to enable the game mode. Not so terrible, right? It gets even more not...terrible. Sources say that the inclusion of the "helper" mode gives Nintendo the ability to make New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii even more difficult than usual! Since the lowest skilled players are already taken care of by the system, Nintendo can make the rest of the game as hardcore as they'd like, ensuring that the "core" gamers won't be left out in the cold. On the contrary, they will be more challenged than ever before in a Mario game. Cool beans, eh? Check out the video to see the game in action:


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Uncharted 2...What's the Big Deal?



Metacritic gives it an astounding 97%.

Adam Sessler, host of G4's X-Play, calls it "the best single player experience I have ever played".

Bold words. For the past few days the gaming world has been abuzz with reviews pouring in from all the most trusted sites for this Playstation 3 exclusive, and they've all been stellar. I don't know about you, but stuff like this generally makes me skeptical. No game is perfect, not even the oft praised Ocarina of Time, and I want to know what reviewers didn't like about the game. For example, Michael McWhertor of Kotaku fame said that the multiplayer was fun, but not genre defining, which doesn't sound perfect to me. What's more, from all the reviews I've been reading, the single-player is still as linear as the first, and I was almost sure this was an age when open world "sandboxes" reigned supreme. Obviously Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is, like its predecessor, trying to bring a cinematic flair to a genre that's probably been needing one for a long time. Blockbuster movies are not "choose-your-adventure", they're linear rollercoasters that are meant to keep you guessing. From what we've seen, Uncharted 2 follows this movie example quite a bit, with co-op added to the mix:
Play Uncharted 2 on your FREE PS3!


You have to admit, that looks like fun. That looks like stupid fun. I guess I'll just have to wait and see for myself if the hype is justified or not.

Monday, October 5, 2009

PS3 "Real Triggers"

I'm not sure if everyone else has already seen and purchased these, but I've only recently been turned on to them and they're great. IGN has a review on the peripherals here. Basically, there are a lot of people out there who want a PS3 but have a problem with the controller's triggers. And that's understandable, while certain games feel fine with the "marshmallow" triggers, other games, like shooters, don't seem so hot. But now there's a new peripheral called the "real triggers" that allows PS3 owners to transform their old duddy triggers into hot FPS fraggin' ones! Observe!:


Get a FREE PS3 Slim for your new Real Triggers!

Warfare Comes Home

Back in 2005 I was a Battlefield 2 fiend. I thought there was nothing greater than getting a squad with five of my friends, hijacking a tank and barreling through the Pakistani desert, recklessly swerving past enemy land mines,emptying clips and grenades at pursuing vehicles. It was pure fun. But it had one major flaw; there was no story to it, no single-player of any kind. There was once a time when war games belonged almost exclusively to those small fraternity of PC gamers who had rigs powerful enough to run them. At that time, cinematics wasn't at the forefront of game design and a war game that was entirely multiplayer was seen as a norm of the industry.
Get a FREE Xbox 360 Elite to play Modern Warfare 2!

But things have changed. When consoles once again took center stage in the video gaming world, suddenly there was a much wider audience exposed to these types of games, and the jump in technology allowed developers to create truly cinematic masterpieces that could rival Hollywood. And in recent history, one of the gaming franchises that have managed to garner critical and commercial acclaim for its story AND multiplayer was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Thankfully, a sequel was planned, is in the works, and has a BRAND NEW TRAILER! Observe:


Amazing stuff isn't it? The entire online world is buzzing with the intensity of the new trailer, and who could blame them? If looks could kill, half of the people on the Internet would be dead from the beauty of this beast. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is slated for release on November 10th, only a month away! And it's available for PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3! But what about those of us who loved the Battlefield series? Have we been cast aside, relics of a bygone era, destined to abandon those wonderfully entertaining multiplayer war games of yesteryear? Of course not! Battlefield Bad Company 2 may be coming out much later than Modern Warfare 2 (March of 2010), but that doesn't mean it still won't kick ass. Check out this awesome trailer showcasing the frantic action you can expect next year!:

Destructable environments? Air strikes? A bevy of vehicles at my disposal? Count me in. Warfare has finally come home, and it's looking brilliant!
Get a BRAND NEW Playstation 3 Slim for FREE!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gender and Video Games

I used to love G.I. Joe action figures as a kid. My father, new to the United States, felt it was a great way to get me to appreciate this wonderful country by emulating those who defended it. Many hours were spent creating war strategies; making forts behind mounds of sand and mapping covert operations around ant hills. Feeding Cobra to my dog. Sigh. When I was young, G.I. Joe toys used to look like this:


And now they look like this:


See a difference? Growing up in an increasingly cynical youth culture, I've heard the old adage about the portrayal of women in the media a lot. I've heard about the model photos, the "sex sells" ads, and of course, how video games continue to perpetuate an unrealistic standard of beauty. And I'm not saying I disagree. I mean, not to pick on them, but Platinum Games' new heroine Bayonetta, is a butt-kicking scenester, complete with thick rimmed black glasses, pale skin, a beauty mark...and a suit made out of her own hair. Her design was very intentional, and the undeniable sexuality of her character is far from accidental. All the way down to her butt. Yeah.

But guys see a lot of images in gaming too. There was a time when long eared archers who didn't wear pants were the norm, whereas now, with the aide of the Unreal 3 engine, the likes of Marcus Fenix riddle the gaming universe. Doesn't look good does it?
Get a FREE Playstation 3! (if you're not a sexist)

But here's the facts: I'm a young twenty-something who will never EVER look like Marcus Fenix. My girlfriend does NOT look like Bayonetta (or Lara Croft for that matter), and I don't expect her to ever do so. And from what I can from all the relationships I know of, there just aren't many women out there who expect guys to look like Fenix (or to have guns with chainsaws on it). Yet we can all play these games, full of these images, and not have it affect our realistic expectations of beauty. And Gears of War 2 was all kinds of fun. I mean, if you play games right now you're not automatically a sexist right?
Right?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Let the GAMES (and toys) Begin! (again)

As you can see, I haven't posted here in a VERY long time. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with the site, so I took some time off from it to figure it out. So now I'm back, with lots of new offers, free stuff, and all the gaming and toy news I can think of. You never know what I'll find so be sure to stick around!

And first up on our menu:


Beatles Rock Band! Everyone's talking about it, everyone loves it, and Ringo Starr has finally become a popular Beatle! I kid, everyone loves Ringo. And everyone knows when you're smacking those Rock Band drums, trying to emulate Ringo's solo from Get Back, you'll fall for him too. Check out this video of someone doing just that!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Battle Wages On: Halo Wars Review









Play Halo Wars on your FREE XBox 360 Elite.

Review:

A strategy game based on the Halo universe, Halo Wars immerses you in an early period of the storied Halo universe, allowing you to experience events leading up to the first Halo title. With the guidance of Serina, a spirited artificial intelligence (A.I.) persona, direct legions of UNSC soldiers, Warthogs, Scorpions, and more, each group having its own strengths and uses in battle. Adventurous commanders can also call upon ancient Forerunner technology, if they are fortunate enough to find it hidden throughout the battlefield.

In campaign mode, command the armies of the UNSC warship Spirit of Fire, with familiar and new UNSC units in its initial encounters against the Covenant, an alien coalition threatening to obliterate mankind. Covenant forces are also waiting for you to lead them into battle in multiplayer skirmishes via the New Xbox Experience. Call upon an arsenal of new and familiar Covenant units such as Grunts, Elites, Ghosts, and even Scarabs to defeat foes on the battlefield.

Get a FREE XBox 360 Elite.

Features:

  • Groundbreaking Xbox 360 strategy game: Since inception, Halo Wars was explicitly designed to bring a typical PC genre to console gamers. Commanding armies is easy, controlling troops and units effortless, and epic battles are smoothly handled using an intuitive user interface. Halo Wars represents the true next-generation experience, combining a masterful control scheme with the award-winning strategic gameplay only developers Ensemble Studios can provide.
  • Strategic command of armies in large-scale combat: Gamers are in command of the battlefield, playing as either of two unique civilizations: UNSC or Covenant. Counter and crush your opponent by tactically fielding the superior army. Choose among leaders possessing elite skills that can turn the tide of battle. Use various combinations of leaders and units, and create countless strategies tailored to your preferred playing styles.
  • New take on a legendary world: Experience the early battles between the UNSC and Covenant, in a time predating Halo. Join the crew onboard the Spirit of Fire, a Phoenix-class colony ship converted for UNSC military use, and guided by the A.I. persona Serina. Discover an ancient artifact during a journey to the planet Harvest, the first planet to be attacked by the Covenant. And then get ready for the wars.
Play Halo Wars on your FREE XBox 360 Elite.