Monday, January 28, 2008

Imitation, 360 minibits, Blu-ray additions...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so they say. Passing the intersection of Harry & Oliver I did a double take seeing the red/white neon 'GameShop' sign, it sure looked like the GameStop logo. After further review it seems that 1 letter, and a color swap is indeed the only difference between the two signs, someone must think they have a good idea. I wouldn't be surprised if it's just additional store front for the A-Ok Pawn shop that owns the building, although it may be a totally separate operation.

On a semi-related note the Game X-change at Harry & Rock Road had a notice up that they were closing at the end of January. Both of the west locations would remain open, and they hoped to have another east side location before the end of the year. I've been in the new 'way west' location two or three times now, and never seen much there (product or people), maybe they'll get the east side inventory.

Hopefully you picked up your free copy of Undertow last week, it was Microsoft's 'apology' for the Christmas downtime of Xbox LIVE. I played around with the tutorial level a bit, it looks pretty, but didn't really grab me at all. There were some new demos up on LIVE over the last couple weeks, The Club was originally available in Europe only (now it's up in the U.S. also), a shoot' em up brawler where everyone is thrown together and last man standing wins. Think Running Man (with Arnold the governator) and you get the general idea. It's was fair, definitely not a purchase for me though, maybe if I hear some good buzz after it comes out, and it's under $20.

Next up was the much ballyhooed Devil May Cry 4, ummm okay, evidently I'm not the target audience for this one either. I never played any of the PlayStation titles, and never felt like I was missing out. I know there are a lot of people hyped for this so I hope they enjoy it.

Then there was Turning Point Fall of Liberty a WWII 'alternate reality' FPS. I've read some about it, and it seemed to have a neat storyline, so I was eager to try it out. It looks pretty good, but it controls like Hour of Victory unfortunately. It has that same weird slow motion turning that really killed HoV when I tried it, way to sluggish. Hopefully the final game will fix it, or have some way to tweak the settings to make it playable because I really think it could be good.

The best demo I've played lately was out way back in early December, Culdcept Saga is a great mix of a trading card game, and a board game. I really enjoyed Magic the Gathering TCG, and this fantasy based game really struck a cord, it comes out next week at $40 I think, and will probably be my next purchase.

I've expanded my blu-ray collection quite a bit (tripled it, actually) when I ran across some used titles at work. I couldn't afford to pass them up even though I don't have a player yet... (tax refund where are you?). I also ran across a website for retail employees where you can take some video courses (about 20 minutes of effort) over blu-ray technology, and earn a free blu-ray movie. There were only 5-6 to choose from, but they were decent titles, and who complains about free?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cloverfield, the PP bowl, and Blu envy.

I saw Cloverfield Friday night. When it was first mentioned to me I didn't even recognize the name, and had to watch a trailer to figure out what it was about. Turns out Cloverfield is a monster movie produced by J.J. Abrams (also producer of LOST, and Alias TV shows). The entire movie is shot 'handycam' style, it's basically a personal video diary of the events that take place to a group of friends.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, although I do have some gripes. There is a lot of action, suspense, and a healthy dose of comedy (mainly from the guy running the video camera Hud) all from a PG-13 film. My biggest compliant is I wish there was more back story in the film, it clocks in at a measly hour and a half, I think another 30 minutes would have done wonders. I guess some of the 'back story' can be distilled from the viral marketing web sites that were up before the movie launched, but if you didn't see this you shouldn't be left at a disadvantage. All in all it reminded me a bit of The Host a Korean monster flick that came out here last year (I mentioned it back in February 2007).

The final round of NFL playoffs are this afternoon, I'll predict now that Super Bowl XLII is going to be the PP Bowl, Patriots vs. Packers with New England taking it all.

I am really leaning towards picking up a PS3, those blu-ray discs are calling to me. After Warner's bomb shell at CES the HD DVD outlook doesn't look as bad as some were predicting (no other major studios dropped in Warner Bros. wake ie. Paramount and Dreamworks are still on board). There is so much stuff available on blu that I would like to see, and have the freedom of choice in case one format does dry up completely, that I think a PS3 is in my (tax refund) future. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Year new updates, and so much more.

Wow didn't realize it had been so long since my last update, thought about it a couple times in December, but as you can see I didn't follow through. :(

Christmas in retail is an adventure, and with the new position at work it was a little more stressful than I remember year's past being. I survived though most of the time dealing with people that I swear probably only leave their houses in December each year (and never step foot in a video game store the other 11 months).

While November was a really (really) heavy release month for new game titles, the last 2-3 weeks of December, and so far the first two weeks of January didn't see anything worthwhile come out. I'm still playing Call of Duty 4 (online multiplayer only, although I did finish the prologue mission in single player) a lot. I hit level 41 last night (Colonel I) out of 55 before going into prestige mode and starting over at 1 again. :) I picked up a used Wii system (my 2nd, I had one around launch and figured out there wasn't anything I wanted to play on it) just after Christmas mainly because Nintendo likes to butter us up with freebies. Time will tell if I actually start using it regularly this go around, or if it ends up being ignored again.

CES kicked off in Las Vegas earlier this week, and one of the big blu-ray announcements was leaked last week, Warner Bros. had decided to go format exclusive on blu-ray. Rumors have followed saying Paramount will follow suit (thanks to a drop out clause in their contract with HD DVD), and I read today Universal may also. Time will tell, but the future is getting very 'hazy' for HD DVD. I am surprised to see a lot of early adopters dumping their collections on eBay already at fire sale prices. The players still work, and the movies you have already purchased will too why get rid of them at 25% value just to have to repurchase them in a different format? I'm not complaining because it looks like I can pick up some eBay HD titles on average of $10 bucks each. Microsoft has restated they are open to the possibility of an external blu-ray drive (for the 360) if that's the way the war ends. So I wouldn't really need a PS3 after all. :)

You may remember a picture I posted last year of a awesome triple monitor set-up for PC, well that is so passe now. Alienware has a prototype unit on display at CES running at 2880x900 this baby will look nice on my desk.

Back in early December I had found that The Reluctant Agent was coming out on DVD. This awesome made-for-tv movie was originally called Double Your Pleasure (which I guess now sounds like a porn film) in 1989 when it was released. The cool thing about it other that being a dual role by Jackée, is me. The summer of '87 I spent in California with a friend that lives there, and as it would happen his 'job' at the time was an extra. All those people you see in the background of your favorite movies, and tv shows they're paid to be there (and keep there mouth shut). He was able to get me three gigs while I was out there a day long shoot at The Forum for Born on the 4th of July, Two days work on a superhero tv show called Once a Hero it was to be episode 4, the show was canceled after 2, and finally one day on Double your Pleasure. I remember there only being 7~10 extras plus the crew, and actors so not more than 25 people total. We had a catered lunch with swordfish steaks, mmmmm... Anyway it had been ages since I had my VHS recording of the show so the DVD find was awesome. Check out the dude at the counter in the light blue/green shirt (with glasses).