Saturday, September 30, 2006

KC Reflections, best Mexican food ever, X06, and 100 movies in October.

Trip to Kansas City went well last Thursday even though we didn't end up with much time. I had printed out directions to Dave & Busters since I wasn't sure where it was, it turns out that Mapquest's directions were a little off having me turn the wrong direction in the last step. The Legends Mall it turns out is a new shopping mall located near the Kansas Speedway race track (Cabela's, Great Wolf Lodge, and Nebraska Furniture Mart are close by too).

We found Dave & Busters after driving around the mall for a bit. The food was excellent (as it was in Denver), and we got the $15.99 Power Lunch special ($10 play card/lunch entree). It looks like D&B pretty much carry the same games at each location, with the exception of 2 Nascar simulator's (most likely due to the proximity of the race track) at the KC location, as well as a roof-top bar. After a couple hours of fun & games we decided to walk around the mall, finding the smallest GameStop ever, it has to be smaller than the Towne East EB Games location locally. I did get a kick out of the Legends store directory listing... Why did they name it GameStop only to refer to it as EB Games? :)

GameStop (NOW OPEN) EB Games specializes in the sale of video game hardware and software, PC entertainment software, and related accessories. EB Games is known for having high-demand titles in stock, maintaining a strong commitment to customer service and providing highly knowledgeable sales associates who are passionate about games.

The next stop was Nebraska Furniture Mart, this place is HUGE two floors of furniture, computers, video games, appliances, carpet, audio/video, CD's, a Quiznos, and a coffee shop. We were there for an hour and didn't finish the first floor, let alone even get to the second floor. Imagine Furniture Row, Best Buy, Ultimate Electronics, Circuit City, and more doubled.

The only downer on the trip was the KC airport, for some reason I found it really confusing to get around (probably didn't help that it was dark out, and I've never been there). My mother-in-law's luggage didn't make it back with her (although I heard they called today saying they had found it and shipped it to her), but she arrived (about 30 minutes late) in good spirits even though she spent most of the day flying.

I had heard from a friend that Abuelos was really good, and decided Friday to try it out. WOW! I had the Fajita Chimichanga, Shrimp chowder, and a very excellent Island Margarita (maybe that's why the food was so good...). I know that's not it, as my wife and kids really liked their meals too.

X06 is over but the Microsoft press conference had some juicy tidbits (although most of the stuff from the Neoseeker post didn't materialize). The HD DVD add-on is $199.99 including a universal remote, and King Kong HD DVD for a limited time. The trailer for Halo Wars (RTS based on the Halo universe) looks awesome, as does the gameplay footage from Assassin's Creed, and Gears of War (check out Xbox360fanboy has links to all of the above.). The only demo we got in Bringing it Home was WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 (whoppee!) although there were a bunch of new videos added.

DVDTalk forum is having its "2nd Annual October Horror Movie Challenge" where the goal is to watch 100 horror movies in 31 days. I didn't do this last year, but I followed the thread and it looked like a lot of fun. While I don't think I'll hit 100 movies (3 per day is a stretch) I'm aiming for 31, and my list will be here if you want to follow along. :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kannnssaass CITY! Bye TGS, Hello X06, and more.

I'm headed to KC tomorrow, volunteered to pick-up my Mother-in-law from the airport (she took a trip to Germany). I'm off anyway and will be able to spend the day up there, Dave & Busters here I come. :)

Well the Tokyo Game Show has come to an end meaning that the first part of "Bringing it Home" on XBox Live is over too. There wasn't any stellar content put up, but we did get some cool demos (F.E.A.R., Lego Star Wars II, and Fusion Frenzy 2) if you hadn't tried them yet. Major Nelson reflected on his trip, but there wasn't a lot of big news. Moving on around the globe, X06 in Barcelona, Spain starts tomorrow, and Microsoft's press briefing starts at 6:00pm BST (about 11 am here in doodah). Neoseeker forums had this post where someone got 'leaked' information on Microsoft's planned announcements, and lineup. Most of the info is just rumor at this point, as there was not a credited source for the info, Xboxic, and Kotaku have posted their feelings on the rumor post which is worth a glance.

Some of the highlights include:
A Black 360 system for the holidays, in all regions. (I like my white 360, but choices are nice although Spice would have been a better choice. Besides other system colors, what happened to our holiday bundle (system/PGR3/marketplace points/etc.) that all the other regions got?

A launch price and date for the HD DVD add-on $199.99 US with universal remote, on November 24th 2006 (I like Japan's bundle with two movies included, but the price is okay with me considering a stand alone player would cost $400+).

Halo 3 native 1080p, with 50-64 multiplayer matches. (Wow! Don't think anywhere close to that, but it would be impressive.)

Alan Wake shown, and playable on the floor. (I saw a demonstration of this at E3 2005 and it looked phenomenal then. Looked like a Stephen King novel, turned into survival horror.)

Rare to show off Killer Instinct also playable on the floor. (I pumped a lot of quarters into KI, and KI2 at the arcade, really enjoyed the characters and theme of the game.)

The following demos are supposed to hit with the second half of "Bringing it Home" on the Marketplace.

Splinter Cell Double Agent multiplayer (Cool)
Crackdown (Not interested so far)
Forza Motorsport 2 (Doubt it, since it's pushed to next year)
Sonic the Hedghog (This was supposed to be a TGS demo)
Viva Pinata (Interested to see if it captures the Animal Crossing feel)
Need for Speed Carbon (Cool)
Call of Duty 3 (Really Cool)
Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (Football?? no it's Soccer)
Mass Effect (Most sites seem to feel this one will be a no show)

All in all it looks like we have the opportunity to see some good stuff if even 75% of this turns out legit.

Watched Heroes last night on NBC, and I liked it. It's a fantasy series that ask what if ordinary people awoke one day with extraordinary powers? In the previews for the next couple weeks it looks like this is almost going to be a comic book/superhero type series. You can check it out again tonight they are re-running the pilot episode again (excuse me it's an encore presentation.).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tokyo, more 360 HD, not Wii-mpressed, and more.

Well the Tokyo Game Show kicked off today (9/20) and runs until Sunday (9/24). Like this year's E3 Microsoft is hosting a big blowout of demos, videos, and information through Xbox Live calling it 'Bringing it Home'. MajorNelson has a list of today's content, some of which is localized to Japan (but you did set-up your foreign account already, didn't you?).

Some early news from the Microsoft press conference shared via Kotaku includes info that the HD-DVD add-on will hit Japan on November 22, 2006 for 19,800 yen (~about $169.00 US), and even better a new fall dash update will allow the console to display 1080p games, and movies! Now, unfortunately I'm not one of those that have a 1080p capable display, but it's good news none the less. One more thing that the PS3 no longer has an edge over the 360 in.

The more I hear (and see) about the Wii has left me unimpressed. Before E3 this year I was stoked for the system, but since then the impressions of people that played it at E3, and the Leipzig show have left me cold. I think that the $250.00 price tag is too high especially when they throw in a game that is multiplayer centric, but only include one controller. This is even more peculiar when Japan doesn't get the game (WiiSports) as a pack in, but when sold separately comes packaged with an extra controller(!?) for the same price as a normal game. At this point in time I won't be getting one at launch, unless the demo units (hopefully) available before launch totally blow me away. 1UPYours podcast last Friday (9/15) they have a lively discussion on the Wii information, well worth the listen.

Under the more topic, there is a new DS download station (Volume 3 for those of you keeping track) that includes demos of Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2, Elite Beat Agents, Danny Phantom : Urban Jungle, and Clubhouse Games. Right now all of these are new(!) titles, so this is really amazing. I've been disappointed in the earlier download stations because most if not all of the games were already released. I see a demo as a preview, an interactive coming soon trailer if you will. They are supposed to peak my interest, and wet my appetite so that when the game is released I'm eagerly awaiting it. When the demos show up a month or so after the release I don't care anymore, if I wanted it I've already bought it, and if not by that time I'm not interested in trying the demo because I've already made up my mind. Back to the download station, I've tried Mario vs. DK2, and Elite Beat so far and really enjoyed both, Mario Vs. is almost like a Lemmings game, and Elite Beat is the U.S. sequel(??) to the Japanese Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!
rhythm game is fun, although the demo is kinda short. I hear that Danny Phantom is actually like R-Type, and the guys at DualScreen Radio really like Clubhouse Games.

Closing on the new house was today, so I'm farther in debt. :) That's not a bad thing though because I'm excited to move, and both kids are looking forward to changing schools (okay maybe only one, but they both are excited to be getting new rooms.). Work right now is kinda strange because of vacations, and meetings so I'm working different shifts, and don't have a weekend available to move yet. We will try moving bits at a time, but I don't know how fast we'll actually be living there.

The new TV season is in full swing, and there are a bunch of new shows demanding my attention, as well as some favorites. I'll be updating the sidebar list in an effort to track the stuff I watch regularly. Amazing Race (#10 again for those counting) started Sunday night, this season Phil promised the racers things they hadn't seen before, and we got the first one less than 30 minutes in when the first team was eliminated before the first legs pit stop. I find it hard to like any of the teams this time, but I'm going to say that Erwin & Godwin the Asian brothers will be winning team followed by Tyler & James the rehab models, and Rob & Kimberly bringing up the rear.

I'm still playing Saint's Row even though someone came in the other day and ruined the ending for me. :( There is a lot of upcoming releases in Oct/Nov that I'm looking forward to so I need to work through it a little faster. Microsoft announced their 'platinum hits' lineup for the 360, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Need for Speed : Most Wanted would be dropping to $29.99 in early October. For NFS:MW this is a good deal, but the other three? Come on, they've been on sale for that price (or lower) already?! Call of Duty 2 for the 360 has sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. alone and it's not a 'platinum hit'? I'm a little disappointed by the price also, I mean $29.99 is 50% off new retail for 1 of them, but the other 3 were $49.99 to start with which is only 40% off (disregarding the fact earlier about sales and so forth). I realize that more of the titles will come from the $60 price point (since Microsoft only has out what 4 titles...) down the road, and maybe $19.99 is too low, but I think $24.99 would have been a happy medium (yes, I'm cheap).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Soon, you can touch the Wii!

Gamespot has this news article up detailing the Nintendo Wii launch in the U.S. The console will be available on November 19th (two days after the PS3 launch for those of you wondering) for $249.99. It will come with a pack-in game Wii Sports which is a compilation of Tennis, Golf, Baseball, and Bowling. Eurogamer has linked to videos from the Japanese press conference showing off the Wii's menu system.

The more I think about it releasing the Wii 2 days after the PS3 is probably a really good idea. Sony's 400,00 units will easily be gone in two days, and all of those people looking will be finding stacks of Wii's. Nintendo isn't trying the 'worldwide launch' meaning that Wii's will be plentiful in the U.S. since it doesn't launch in Japan until the first week in December.

Edit update, USAToday has confirmed the release info, and here is a link to the Japanese press conference on Nintendo Japan (in English with slides, and videos.).

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dashboard lights, and big news .

MaxConsole has a story with a picture of a new 360 dashboard update that should hit sometime in November.

Joystiq's big news turned out to be craptacular! It seems it was a press release from IBM stating that they had been shipping their Broadway chip (used in the Wii) since July. Whoopee.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

PS3 woops, big next-gen news, and more Row. has an article where Sony announces that they will not do a world wide launch (PS3 to be delayed in Europe until 2007), and only 400,000 units will be available in the U.S. at launch.

Joystiq (and other news sites) have an article that they say there will be some big(?) next gen news they can pass along at 12:01am Eastern (11:01pm here in doo dah).

I'm enjoying Saint's Row a lot (so much so that I'm seeing Blue Honda's here in town and yelling West Side Rollerz suck!). Some people are really creative when creating their gang persona I've seen the following examples of Mr. T, and Chuck Norris. :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Circuit City ask you to bend over, dancing cows, the Eagles baby, and 1upyours!

Okay Kotaku posted this a couple days ago. It seems that one California Circuit City store is charging the low price of $28.99 to install the free backwards compatibility update to your Xbox 360. :( Ummm... yeah.

Finally got around to using my 'raincheck' tickets at the drive-in. If you remember we got half way through Cars before the unpredictable Kansas weather decided to flair up about 2 months ago. We went to Starlite last night, as did a lot of other people, and watched Barnyard, and Invincible. I really liked both the movies, Barnyard had looked funny in the previews, and didn't disappoint. It's one of those animated features that includes enough 'adult' jokes that parents don't get bored to tears sitting through it. I was shocked at the end to find it was a Steve Oedekerk film, whose Kung Pow still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Looking at that credit page on IMDB it seems he actually writes some pretty decent stuff (minus all the stupid 'thumb' features).

The second feature was Invincible based on the true story of Vince Papale. A part-time bartender that got to play in the NFL after a new head coach held open tryouts for the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles. Excellent movie, sure its a overused premise 'root for the underdog', but I really enjoyed it. Highly recommend it if your a football fan, and enjoyed others in the genre like Rudy, and Radio.

I've found another podcast that I enjoy and added it to my listening que. I listen to DualScreenRadio regularly (whenever there is a new episode), and Major Nelson's podcast on occasion (depending on that week's show). Well I found the 1UP Yours podcast a couple weeks ago, and have listened ever since. Great round table group of usually four members who talk smack, and share their opinions on a lot of current gaming issues.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

On the Row, bonus content, road trips and mini-marts.

Finally got around to playing Saint's Row last night for a while. Finished a couple of missions, but was mainly just running around trying to find the hidden CD's. Jumped on top of the elevated train and went around the map like I did in the demo (looks better now with all the textures present). Found out this really isn't for kids (I knew that already, but some of things that come out of their mouths...) so I don't know if I can let my daughter watch me play anymore.

Looks like the EB Games/Gamestops may get the bonus content earlier than September 15th like the insert in the game stated. Depends on when they get the updated 360 demo disc, but you might want to check your local store (and take your memory card). The disc has the Funky Fresh Pack available for download which includes clothes, tattoos, and probably more. These items show up when you go into a store in the regular list with an * next to them, but all cost only $1.00 in game to purchase. I've already added some new drawers (tiger stripe), and a couple tats to my homie (a spider, and biohazard symbol), also changed my shirt out to the Gamestop bonus one (call #42637867 on your in-game cell phone).

The new demo disc also has 4 new keys for Dead Rising which unlock 4 more outfits in the game, 4 unlockable cars for Ridge Racer, Adidas, and Kameo theme packs are also included. This disc also has several demo LIVE arcade titles available including Zuma, Wik, and I think two others.

I would have had more time to play Saint's Thursday, but a friend called because he had purchased an Tetris arcade cabinet on eBay, and wanted me to ride along to Edmond, OK to pick it up. So once he found out he could get it, we hit the road about 2pm for fun and adventure. This really isn't funny until you consider he drives a Geo/Chevy Tracker just picture it...

+= ???

It took us a while to get it properly strapped down including 200 Ft. of rope and 2 2x4's, but we made in back in one piece as did the machine. I found that Edmond is really nice it looks like a newer area with very nice houses. I seen my first Wal-mart neighborhood Market which was really strange, it's like a smurf supercenter. They are basically grocery stores with some additional items that you wouldn't normally find in a grocery store. My guess is this it what the Dillon's at Rock Road and Central is trying to be.