Wednesday, July 25, 2007

360 bringing it home (again), a new memory trend, and more!

Microsoft is 'bringing it home' yet again, this time from Comic-Con 2007 July 26-29 in San Diego.

Xbox LIVE® has partnered with Warner Bros. to bring home Comic-Con to you on Xbox LIVE. Go to Xbox LIVE Marketplace and watch the panel discussions, see the footage, and download exclusive themes and trailers, all for a limited time.

So hopefully there will be some cool trailers, and new demos in the next couple days to see. Xbox360fanboy has already had a press release that show attendees that go to the 300 screening will be entered to win one of 10 exclusive 300 themed Elite consoles, this I'm sure to tie in with the release next Tuesday of 300 on HD DVD/Blu-ray/DVD (it sure looks sweet, but I'm still holding out hope for that yellow one).

Charlie Oscar Delta, the website for the new Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare game has a opinion poll going where you get to state which of the 5 'concept' covers you prefer for the new game. The interesting thing about this is all of the covers all include a new icon between the ESRB rating, and the developer logo.

Storage required!

There is a rumor going around that there will be a new 'Core' bundle soon that will add a 64MB memory card in the package, maybe this is helping fuel that speculation? I was thinking this was something new, but after some 'googling' (I know its a word, but my spell checker doesn't) I found that Football Manager 2006 (a European release) required the hard drive, as did Final Fantasy XI of course. I recalled reading an article where Rockstar development mentioned that putting GTA IV on the 360 was a challenge because of DVD based media, and no guarantee of a hard drive. So if a game developer can require the hard drive, why not GTA IV? Hell everyone with a core would be snatching them up.

I forgot to mention last time that I had found Sarcastic Gamer site, where they have put up some great parody songs focusing on gaming culture. I highly recommend I hate this ... (Wii Song), and No freaking games (PS3 Song). The Johnny Cash Red ring of fire knockoff was pretty funny too (only because it hasn't happened to me (knock on wood)).

I just found eBay auction for the first (in the wild) Simpson's 360, already at $1,900 and the auction doesn't end until the 30th.

The Hollywood Reporter has a story (rumor?) up, that Microsoft plans to announce a $50 price cut coming in August on the 360. They were unsure if it was across the board (Core, Premium, and Elite) or just on select models, and of course MS denied the claim. It would make some sense right before the barrage of AAA titles start hitting the middle of August.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moore's new tattoo, reved up new demos, and Rockstar bullying the 360!

Well it seems as E3 2007 was the last we'll see of Peter Moore speaking for Microsoft he stepped down Tuesday to become President of EA Sports. No clue if that Halo 2, and Grand Theft Auto IV tattoos will do him any good in his new position.

Two new demos screeched onto the marketplace today, the first Juiced 2 Hot Import Nights a honker weighing in a just over 1 GB. I don't know what to think on one hand the graphics were alright, wet neon soaked streets that had neat glow to them although all of spectators felt 2D (a problem in the first Juiced I seem to recall). On the other controlling the car felt lame, it wasn't hard to drive it just didn't feel like you were doing anything. There is no sense of speed what-so-ever even when nitro boosting it never felt like my car was moving.

On the European LIVE marketplace they got a FlatOut Ultimate Carnage demo, and since you can create a Euro account, just like a Japanese one I downloaded it to give it a spin. It has three available levels including 2 race modes, and a 'destruction derby' mode each with one available vehicle. The graphics were easily a step ahead of Juiced:HIN although I don't know if I would rate them above Burnout Revenge on the 360. I guess the game has already been available in Europe since the end of June (with really decent reviews I might add), and is kin to FlatOut 2 which explains why I remembered playing the first race level, because it was on the Xbox version of 2. The first FlatOut game, while it included racing, seemed to be more of a physics demonstration with the human darts , bowling, and distance throwing. This version really seems to melded more with the 'Burnout' type game play in the racing which by no means is a bad thing, but I'm so jazzed for Burnout Paradise it felt like a weak imitation. It seemed to be a lot tougher than 'Burnout' where I can easily finish races (not always in first, but finish at least) here I couldn't keep up with the checkpoints to even finish the race. The shining part of the demo though was the 'destruction derby' mode which was a cramped supermarket parking lot, I enjoyed it a lot and judging from the amount of people that ask for demolition derby games I think it will be a big hit. when it ships in the U.S. in September.

According to IGN Stranglehold blog they have finished a demo and sent it off to Microsoft for approval. Hopefully that means we will get to try it out real soon.

Take 2 and Rockstar announced today that they were releasing Bully: Scholarship Edition on the Xbox 360 and Wii. It will contain everything from the PS2 version of Bully and have new additional content, unfortunately no release date was given.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Buzz Krusty Squishee'os... Movie bonanza, and Clyde R.I.P?

I got my Simpson's paraphernalia from Kwik-E-Mart. If you remember 11 of the 7-Eleven stores nationwide transformed into Kwik-E-Mart for the month of July to promote the the Simpson's movie opening this month. My boss was taking a trip to Denver so I had him go by and grab me some Simpson's themed goodies. I'm now in possession of a 6-pack of Buzz cola, one box of Krusty O's, and a squishee cup. :) Too bad they couldn't find anyone to bottle some Duff beer.
Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart Schwag

I was bored yesterday so I decided to hit the theater and catch up on some flicks. First off I went to License to Wed which for some reason I was thinking was Chuck & Larry then it started and I realized it was the one with Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, and John Krasinski. This was alright since I had seen the preview, and thought it looked funny (even though I was associating a completely different movie with the title). Basic boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl story that you've seen over and over again. They fall in love decide to get married and find that they have to complete Reverend Frank's (Williams) 'marriage course' to make sure they are truly compatible. There is enough laughs sprinkled throughout to elevate it to 'romantic comedy' and a touching if not predictable ending.

I then decided to switch gears and watch 1408 which I've meant to see, and heard mostly positive word of mouth. I really enjoy John Cusack and would venture to say as he is one of my favorite actors which started with Sure Thing, and Better off Dead followed by Say Anything, Grosse Point Blank, Serendipity, and Identity as most of my favorites. 1408 is based off of a Stephen King short story and follows the 'adventures' of a writer Mike Enslin who travels to paranormal spots and writes about them. He is really hardened and has lost faith in spiritual and supernatural occurrences, when he gets an anonymous dare to stay in room 1408 at the Dolphin hotel in New York. The hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson) does his best to persuade Mike not to stay, but loses out because he needs the last chapter for his latest book. It turns into more of a supernatural ghost story later in the movie, and while the there are some decent 'jump' and shiver scenes overall at the end I felt let down. It's not that its a bad movie by any means, but it did not propel itself past okay.

I was thinking the Simpson's Play & Win contest went from July 2ND - July 19Th, but after putting in my daily entry today I realized it was through the 17Th of July. So I can now officially quit playing Clyde everyday, winners won't be announced till after July 29Th so my fingers are crossed! On a related note, those of you on my friends list will see my new homemade gamer pic. I found a great shot of the pink frosted donut from the movie and took a picture of it with my LIVE vision cam. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

E3 conferences uncorked, and giddy WoW happiness!

Well E3 2007 officially kicked off Wed. in Santa Monica, but Microsoft shot out early holding their press conference Tuesday evening at 10:30pm (doodah time), 8:30pm in Cali.

For the first time G4TV was going to televise the big 3 live, so I hurried home Tuesday evening and got ready for the show. It started off pretty good a musical act (that went on a little too long) and then the introduction of Peter Moore. He came out and started his spiel then G4 cut to a commercial break. I was like WTF? I thought well maybe they were just setting up a tape delay and would pick it back up when we came back, nope didn't happy. We instead come back to see the Mass Effect logo on the big screen with a voice over saying "Welcome back to the live Microsoft E3 conference where they just showed a new Mass Effect trailer!" Great rub it in, bitch. I proceeded to watch the hour and half presentation (of which I probably missed 10-15 minutes because I was watching G4's shitty commercials. Not to mention that evidently they didn't teach the camera op how to zoom in, because when they would start a montage on the screen the shot was from the very back of the venue with the big screen taking up a 1/4 of my screen. I didn't think they could go down any further until about the end of the show when they started showing a new Halo 3 trailer and cut out 15 seconds into it. :( I fired off an angry e-mail after the travesty, and thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have to watch the Nintendo, and SONY conferences since I had to work.

It seems that overall (after reading up on the other two yesterday) that for the first time none of the companies went to far out on a limb to show big titles that were scheduled later than the end of 2007. Microsoft announced at the very beginning that everything they showed would be out by the end the year (and later let that rule slide so they could show the Resident Evil 5 trailer). Probably the biggest shock (although it was meet with a timid audience response) they announced a Halo 3 edition 360 that looks to be 'gunmetal' green with brass highlights, and a matching controller. The specs on the site show it has a HDMI port, but only a 20GB hard drive and the normal 'premium' compliments, no word on price yet.

The SONY conference big highlight was the announcement of a 'new' redesigned PSP hitting in September/October of this year. Slimmer, lighter, faster, longer battery life and new colors, including a Star Wars bundle with a white shell and Darth Vader silhouette on the back. I've also heard that the Killzone 2, and Metal Gear Solid 4 trailers are really good, but I haven't got around to watching them yet.

After a couple days of questing, and killing I finally had enough gold to buy my World of Warcraft mount! Yes indeed I hit level 43, and passed the 90 gold threshold about the same time. I'm now broke again, but I have a horse. :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

PS3 price cut, no, yes, maybe? and it gets phat!

Well as I posted a couple days ago it looks like the PS3 price drop is indeed true, although SONY initially denied the claim. Now according to an AP story on KOTV not only is the 60GB dropping to $499.99, but

Sony Corp. announced a revised PlayStation 3 console Monday with a bigger hard drive for storing downloaded content such as video games and high-definition movies.

The new $599 PS3 increases the system's storage capacity from 60 to 80 gigabytes and also includes a retail copy of the online racing title ``MotorStorm,'' a company spokesman said.

Starting Monday, the current 60 gigabyte model will cost $499 _ a $100 price drop.

So we're getting a $100 off the 60GB, but for $100 more you get 20GB of extra storage and a $60 game? It seems like their taking Microsoft's pricing structure into effect $40 for 20GB of space, plus full price for a game? Umm, yeah no thanks.

I have been thinking over the $500 price point on the 60GB mainly as a Blu-ray player (I love my HD movies), and that would open up a bunch of other studios (Disney, Lionsgate, and Sony/Columbia that don't support HD DVD right now). Plus it would really puff up my queue on Netflix, with all the additional movies I'd like to see, and combined with the 5 free Blu-ray disc offer I would be set. Since I already own Resistance Fall of Man and both Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it's only a matter of time before I pick one up...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My 360 is safe (again), Simpsons no love & Kwik-E-Mart, plus the PS3 plumetts

Microsoft issued a press release today that upgraded the 1 year warranty (at launch was a 90 days, then last year was upped to 1 year) to 3 years on all Xbox 360 consoles. The 3 year only covers the 3 flashing red lights of death, but still makes me feel a little more comfortable knowing that my launch unit will be protected until November 2008. Since the red ring of death is the major problem with most systems I'm happy. :)

The Simpsons movie is coming, and the cross marketing is in full swing. I was ecstatic to see that Microsoft had announced a contest to giveaway 5 of those lovely yellow Xbox 360's that I posted a while back. The only catch is to get entered you have to play Cloning Clyde, and after digesting the official rules I found that you had to play a multiplayer match on Xbox Live to get entered (once per day, for 17 days).

This wouldn't be a problem since I have live, and plunked down the 800 points for Clyde (which isn't a bad little platform game) the first day of the contest. My problem came when I started playing and found that no multiplayer games existed on LIVE, evidently it turns out that Clyde (which hit the LIVE arcade 7/19/06) is somewhat of a has been. I logged on about 4 times that first night in the span of ~5 hours, and finally about 12am our time found 1 ranked game, I got stomped rather quickly but got my entry anyway. Yesterday afternoon I actually found a couple games going where both participants knew about the contest so word is spreading. I have added about 4 new friends to my list so hopefully someone will be on to play with everyday to get my entry.

20th Century fox also enlisted at least 11 of the nations 7-Eleven stores to 'transform' into real life versions of the Kwik-E-Mart. My boss sent me this link which goes to a flickr gallery of the new Kwik-E-Marts. Unfortunately the closest ones are Denver or Dallas, although since I know someone going to Denver next week I *expect* a six pack of Buzz cola, and a box of Krusty O's. :)

In other big news today Kotaku picked up on Speedy1961's DVDTalk weekly ad posting for Circuit City which eluded to a $100 price cut on the 60GB PS3 system. Then later this afternoon Gamedaily posted 'retail' confirmation of the price drop on 7/12/07, this coupled with the Blu-ray promotion where you get 5 free BR movies with player purchase (PS3 counts!) makes it an appealing deal.

The 'official' word from SONY will most likely come on July 11th when they hold their E3 press conference. Which reminds me that Microsoft is also 'Bringing it Home' again this year through Xbox LIVE we'll be able to get demos, videos, and other goodies from E3.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer movies more than meets the eye...

I went and saw Transformers last night and must say it was explosive. :) It definitely was a Michal Bay film, not a lot of character development just enough to move the story to the next action sequence. I'm not saying that as a bad thing.

There seem to be a lot of people that dislike Michael Bay films, they are all flash and no substance, a popcorn flick. I can say that I have liked all of his directorial efforts including Bad Boys 1&2, the Island, and especially The Rock to name a few. As long as you know what your going to get going in how could you be disappointed? I know that it's not going to be the next Oscar winning drama with a deep intertwined story with rich character development, shit is going to blow up, a lot.

First Live Free, Die Hard, and now this I thought this summer might fizzle after Spiderman 3 but luckily things have taken a 360 degree turn. I haven't seen Pirates 3 yet, but I heard it was good also so maybe just Spidey was the bad apple? I still have Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Rush Hour 3 to look forward to before the end of August. Summer '07 is shaping up pretty nicely.

Monday, July 02, 2007

KC with Dave, Furniture, Cheesecake, Books and more.

Since I had the time off, we (a couple friends, my wife and daughter were available the same day) planned a outing to KC last Thursday. We went up that morning, and stopped by JCPenny Outlet (always a favorite stop), and the Oak Park Mall (which we commented is a really nice mall noting that the leather chairs would be so torn up at Towne East/West). Lunch was at Dave & Busters, and then we went over to Nebraska Furniture Mart (I still love that place), and my friend wanted to stop by the Cheesecake Factory (since he enjoyed it so much in Denver) before we came home (this time I had the Carmel Apple Streusel). It was around 6pm so we hit the dinner rush although we didn't have to wait very long, as the KC location seems to seat a lot of people. We've never ate a meal there (just desert both times) and while the prices seemed a little high, the portions we seen other people with were huge. It was rainy and overcast all day, but we had fun.

Since I hadn't been to work last week I hadn't been up Rock Road, and when I went by Friday I was surprised to see that the Macaroni Grill building was a pile of rubble in the span of 2 days. I found out that Barnes & Noble is building a new supposedly really large building there that will replace both 29th & Rock, and Kellogg & Rock locations eventually.

I caught Nancy Drew last week (my daughter wanted to go) and it wasn't too bad. It actually had a decent mystery although it felt like a TV special rather than a full feature film, at least you wouldn't be totally bored as an adult. I'm looking forward to Transformers, and hopefully will see it tonight so I'll report back then.