Thursday, December 31, 2009
Really enjoyed my day off today, and looking forward to the other one tomorrow. Need to sit down and play Fallout 3 for about 5 hours (that would clock me in at about 50 hours total) and I still don't think I scratched the surface. I'm going to try to see Sherlock Holmes, or Avatar tomorrow to kick off the year right.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
"Gertrude proudly display's her new DSi XL. She says that she couldn't have bought it on her fixed income, if not for the AARP coupon, and of course her Hoveround!"
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Let's start with PC games. I picked up Trine when it hit retail back in early September. I'd heard about it back when it was released on Steam in early July when various podcast were praising it. It was slated to be on PSN, and the 360 marketplace as well, but the PSN date kept getting pushed back further, and further while the 360 disappeared all together. Trine is a platform/adventure game with physics where you control one of three characters the Thief, Knight, or Wizard switching at will to overcome enemies and obstacles in the levels. It has since finally come out on PSN, but plays extremely well on the PC with my 360 wired controller, and looks gorgeous.
The other PC title I grabbed was Torchlight a Diablo clone, not at all surprising since it comes from the designers behind Diablo 1, Diablo 2, Fate, and Mythos. If you take the play style of Diablo, follow the graphic style of WoW, add a pet and you have Torchlight. It's amazing how much it feels like Diablo while playing I even think the music sounds similar while wandering around in the mine. The developers are supposedly now working on an MMO version of Torchlight that is supposed to be done in 24 months.
Console wise I finally opened Fallout 3 about 3 weeks ago, and started playing only to throw away the first 4 hours of play to start over the next day. I am probably now about 12 hours in and haven't even made it out of the first town you come to outside the vault. I'm enjoying the 'atmosphere' a lot more than I did in Oblivion so I think that's why its more approachable. I also picked up Midnight Club L.A. complete edition because I really wanted to drive a Dodge Charger/Challenger around, but they are high dollar cars in game, and me and racing games don't mesh well.
I also picked up a couple demos Left 4 Dead 2 on 360 which I've already played through at a show a couple months ago. It's L4D with new people and some new enemies. I'm not all that enamored with it, but that could be because I picked up the first one and still have only 1 chapter completed. I'll take this opportunity to say Co-op sucks, I don't like pick up groups (you never can guarantee a good experience) and everyone else on my friends list isn't playing anymore. This is probably why most of my MMO gaming was always solo too, and why I won't be picking up Borderlands because I've heard single player is pretty dull.
I also grabbed the God of War III demo, and Bayonetta demo for the PS3 system. GoW III is actually pretty cool even though I haven't played any of the others in the series. I have pre-ordered the God of War 1 & 2 collection for the PS3 both games upgraded to 720p on one blu-ray so I'm hoping I like them. Bayonetta is pretty neat it's just that I've never been a fan of the Devil May Cry gameplay style so I don't think I'll be getting this one either.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 comes out next Tuesday so I won't be playing much at all except that if it follows CoD 4 lead.
Black Friday is creeping up on us, and some of the ads have already leaked. K-mart has a few good games for $20 off, and a few $8.99 blu-rays. Wal-mart already has an ad posted for Saturday Nov. 7 only including a 360 arcade for $199.99 and you get a $100 gift card with purchase. That's a pretty good deal if your in the market for a newer version of the console, or a Christmas gift. I'll keep tabs on the Black Friday deals, although last year Amazon price matched all of the blu-ray/game sales so I didn't have to fight the crowds, hopefully they do the same this year.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
There has also been changes in the 360 camp (maybe Microsoft's fortune teller was predicting Sony's future) the Elite model has been repackaged, dropping the included HDMI cable. The current thought/speculation flowing through the Internet is the Pro (60GB unit) will be discontinued, and the Elite will drop to $299.99. Hmmm... $299.99 for a 360 w/120GB drive or a PS3 w/120GB drive for $299.99, I think even I can tell the future. :)
Well the summer doldrums on the video game front are finally drawing to close (unless your a big fan of sports games), the kids have gone back to school, and the AAA titles are on the horizon again! There has been a demo of Batman Arkham Asylum on the PS3 kiosk around town for at least the last 3-4 months, but is was only a playable "challenge map", pitting Batman against waves of enemies. I will be the first to admit the graphics were impressive, but the beat-em up style would get old really quick. Luckily for me, when I got back from hellish road trip 2009© a new demo had graced the PlayStation Network, and 360 Marketplace. I was concerned that it would be the same kiosk demo, but was informed it was actually a game play level and worth checking out. I've stated it before, a game demo can swing my opinion on game 180° or cement my devotion (Bioshock...) more than anything else. I've played through the demo 3-4 times now, and while I still fell the combat is 'button mashy' the game looks great, and there is enough stealth/puzzle (they call it detective mode) game play to satisfy me. I went out and pre-ordered the game after deliberating over which version to get for a couple hours (360 achievement's FTW), so next Tuesday!
The Batman:AA demo kinda overshadowed the other release I was looking forward to, Wolfenstein came out this week for 360/PS3. It was weird that Batman:AA was 2 weeks out yet reviews were already all over the web, Wolfenstein was a week earlier, but no reviews could be found. They started hitting Tuesday morning, and weren't great... 73 from Game Informer, and 75 from IGN, with the current metacritic score sitting at 78. I enjoy the mythos of the series, so I picked it up anyway, having played the original Wolfenstein 3-D on PC ages ago, and the more recent Return to Castle Wolfenstein on Xbox. I'm only about an hour and half in and the first thing this game reminded me of was Prey on the 360, an eerie feeling of déjà vu, not that I mind because I really enjoyed Prey though. My only worry so far is at that 1 hr 1/2 mark it shows my overall progress at 17% complete meaning it may only be 6-7 hours long, but there are 'collectible' items to replay the levels for so that may keep me going.
More demos are flowing now also, Lost Planet 2 co-op demo level from E3, Mini Ninjas, and Dirt 2 are currently downloading to my 360 so impressions coming later. The new NXE dashboard update has hit also with
overpriced classic 360 'Games on Demand', avatar marketplace, and some Netflix enhancements. 'Games on Demand' lets you download full Xbox 360 games to your hard drive ranging in price from $19.99-$29.99, I'm of the opinion that these are a little high considering most of them can be bought brick & mortar for the same price. Not to mention you could pick up a used copy for even less, get a printed manual, case, and disc that you could resell down the road when you beat the game, or what if you don't like it? Remember this clause (There are no refunds for this item.) on every piece of download content from the marketplace?
The avatar marketplace lets you accessorize, and dress your avatar (for a price). They include themed shops (Bioshock 2, Assassins Creed 2, Halo ODST, etc) where you can buy toys, t-shirts, outfits, and more. The lower end stuff (t-shirts, hats) run 80 MS points ($1.00), the accessories and outfits can run up to 400 MS points ($5.00). I had a friend buy the Star Wars lightsaber, and was cracking up listening to the last episode of ListenUp! where they spent 5 minutes wondering who would buy this stuff (the light saber specifically) even though I did purchase a t-shirt for $1.00. I've been giving him a hard time since last week so why stop now?
On the positive side they have also stated that games can have unlockable avatar clothes, and items. I think this could be extremely cool, buy Game XYZ beat a certain level and you get a Game XYZ t-shirt for your avatar. The only game known so far to do this will be the Xbox Live arcade 'Splosion Man and only after an upcoming update. It seems like they are tied to achievements so if you've already finished the game (and got those achievements) you will get them when the update hits.
I dropped my Netflix account a while back so I don't know about the enhancements included. I noticed today though someone on my friends list today was watching a movie, and instead of the red Netflix box, it showed they were watching Grosse Point Blank (excellent choice!).
Lastly, I had been contemplating for a month getting an Ipod Touch 2G (retiring my 30GB Zune). I had been reading about the Ipod generations on various web sites, and forums, and came to the conclusion that I would better off waiting until September when hopefully/maybe Apple announces the third gen Touch (equivalent to the IPhone 3GS - the phone of course). Then Microsoft sends me the announcement about the upcoming ZuneHD with HD video (720p) playback to a TV/Monitor, and probably the biggest draw to me HD Radio. Decisions, Decisions...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It wasn't all bad the first night we stopped in Hays, KS. found they didn't have any rooms so we drove on to Wakeeney. The second day we made it to Rawlins, Wyoming (which in my mind was probably the high point). Rawlins is home to the Wyoming Frontier Prison, which we toured the next morning. The prison has a interesting history, and I found they had made a horror/thiller movie there Prison in 1988. I've been looking for a copy ever since we left, and it's never been put on DVD here (the guide informed us that the movie pretty much tanked), so I'm going to have to import a copy from Europe to see it. The third day we finally made it to Ogden, Utah. Notes of interest the first leg, Wyoming is a very desolate place, Kansas may be flat but at least there are fields, plains, trees, a varied color palate. Wyoming is brown, sure every once in a while there will be a
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Houston trip went well, no bad chalupas this time around. We ended up stopping in Shreveport, Louisiana one night. Not long enough to really do anything, but long enough I can say I've been in Louisiana now. I bought a GPS unit off eBay a while back, and used it for most of the trip (comparing it to Mom & Dad's AAA route info), and found it to work pretty well. I'm technically never "lost" because it knows where I am, and it's only mislead me once (and that was in Kansas City a couple of months ago).
E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) was held the first week of June this year, and was back closer to the spectacle of older E3's. I went in 2004, and 2005 and contemplated going back this year, but didn't know what to expect this time. There wasn't all that many ground breaking announcements, as some had already 'leaked' (PSP Go), and others were companies trying to copy Wii's motion control (Xbox Natal, and Sony's 'magic wand'). Out of everything announced the game that has me hyped the most is Scribblenauts for the DS. This game sounds phenomenal, your given a puzzle, and to solve it you write in any word, then that object drops into the world. Check out videos for it as it's kind of hard to explain, but it looks like so much fun.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I found that we were going by another Fry's so we had to schedule a stop at the Dallas location. This one has a "cattle farm" motif with a herd of steers outside and wooden fence rows, with cows and cowboys inside. They were running a special on the 360 HD DVD add-on $39.99 plus Bourne Identity, and Bourne Supremecy (as well as the King Kong packaged inside. I didn't find anything that my HD DVD collection needed as I've gotten spoiled with the Dillon's finds a couple months ago, and the 7-8 I picked up at Fry's in San Diego. I did find a couple sale Blu-rays that I grabbed, and Eternal Sonata for the 360 for $20.00.
This year the hotel is a stones throw from Relient Stadium, and the Astrodome.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
We picked up the puppy on March 1, 2009 as he would be 6 weeks old on the 4th of March. My daughter decided on the runt of the litter, he was all black except for a solitary white stripe down his chest, I joked that he looked like a backwards skunk. He was part terrier, jack russell terrier, and chihuahua and a little smaller than a cantaloupe when we brought him home. My daughter named him J.R. short for jack rabbit, because when he would play he would 'hop' around rather than walking.
Here it is five and half weeks later, and J.R. is no longer with us. I came home this afternoon and my daughter said that he had a seizure, when I came in my wife was on the phone with the vet. She took him to the vet only to find that he had fluid on the brain that wasn't draining right, I guess a birth defect that happens in chihuahua's from time to time. She called and said the vet gave him some medicine to ease any pain he was in, but there wasn't anything that could be done. She asked if I wanted her to bring him home for the night to say goodbye, but I couldn't bear to think about it.
Rest in piece J.R. born January 21, 2009 passed away April 9,2009. We only knew you for a short while, but hope you know how much fun and happiness you brought into our lives. We will miss you.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
(Note: I started writing this up before the Oscars aired Sunday 2/22, but finished it Tuesday night so I know the outcome.)
This year there were 5 nominated live action shorts, 5 animated shorts, and 4 short documentaries. Four out of the five live action shorts this year were 'downers' so my pick will be the only one that wasn't bleak "Grisen (The Pig)" A man in for 'butt' surgery finds solace in a simple painting of a pig on his hospital room wall. My second choice would have to be "Manon on the Asphalt" a young woman takes off on her bicycle and gets hit by a car, then thinks about what will happen to her friends, and family. The winner though was "Spielzeugland (Toyland)" a holocaust drama focusing on a mother, her son, and their Jewish neighbors who were going to have to go faraway to 'toyland'. Ick.
The animated shorts were a happier mix, although I had already seen "Presto" the Pixar short was paired with "Wall-E" during it's theatrical (and DVD) release and was just what you expect from Pixar. My favorite though was "Oktapodi" the mis-adventures of a male and female octopus, followed by "This Way Up" the mis-adventures of father and son pallbearers trying to get the deceased to graveyard. While definitely not politically correct (I'm sure there was something offensive to everyone) it was entertaining. The winner however was "Le Maison en Petits Cubes" a old man reminisces about his past, and would have been the very last pick on my list. I don't like the watercolor/painting art style they employed nor the subject. :(
The short documentary field is never one of my favorites, overall I'm not a fan of documentaries, but I can handle the short subject ones most of the time. This year there wasn't really any standouts here. My pick would probably be "Smile Pinki" (if I had to choose) doctors in India performing free operations on children with cleft lip deformity. I guess the second pick would be "The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306" a look at Martin Luther King's assassination. Whoo! I got one right. The Oscar went to "Smile Pinki".
The shorts this year, while mostly entertaining, didn't seem to have a lot of zing or pizazz. I may be getting jaded setting through them for the last 10 years (my first trip to the library was 1999 I believe), but there's always hope for next year. :) <RANT ON> Nitpick time... This was my first experience with the Warren Old-town theater, I was impressed by the seating and the amount of leg room in each row, although I soon realized that was for the serving staff to get around. OK, now I realize I was there for 5 hours (way longer than the average movie running time), but once they started serving it was a never ending parade of servers coming around with their little glowing pads taking orders, and then a few minutes later delivering the food/drinks. I don't know about most of you, but I go to theater to watch the movie (you know on the screen), not the dorks milling throughout the auditorium. Get your lazy ass out of the chair walk to the concession stand, and buy your popcorn, drinks and candy. You do realize it's a movie, right? Your supposed to go eat your meals before or after the show, if you can't wait that long for a hamburger you have other problems too. I'm assuming it's this way at every show there so I can easily cross that theater off my attendance list. Luckily I've yet to run into this at the 13Th Avenue Warren, but I also don't pay extra to sit in the balcony. <RANT OFF>
It seems as though the speculation was correct, Major Nelson posted this morning that the Resident Evil 5 Limited Edition 360 console was coming out day and date (March 13) with the game. This 'elite' model will be red (like the controller that came out for the holidays last year) in color, include all the normal items (120GB/Headset/Composite/Component/HDMI cables) plus the RE5 game, download code for a RE5 theme, and a download code for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Considering SSFIITHDR sells for 1200 ms points ($15.00), and RE5 is $60.00 that means your actually paying $325.00 for the system (minus another $3.12 if the theme is one of the newer 'premium' 250 ms point ones), not too bad. I'm really pondering the notion of 'upgrading' to one, not that I need too, but I figure its just a mater of time before my refurb eventually fails. This would get me the newest Jasper chip set (supposedly), an HDMI port, the LE color, and I was planning to get RE5 anyway. Hmmm...
I tried the Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. demo a while back, and was actually surprised how much I liked it. The graphics were beautiful as the two training missions in the demo take place in Rio De Janeiro complete with the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado Mountain. Jet fighter games aren't one of my preferences, but I was pleased to find how easy it controlled, I didn't crash every 5 seconds, and I was able to pull off some cool looking moves. This seems to be exactly what other people don't like about the game though, on one of the podcast I listen to they seemed to dislike it because it didn't feel like a flight simulation, and it wasn't 'realistic' at all. To each his own.
Friday, January 30, 2009
I talked a friend into watching My Bloody Valentine 3D yesterday at the Warren. I was a fan of the 1981 original, and had been reading about the new version for a while. I read a couple good reviews, and have listened to a couple podcast talk positively about the new 3D version of the film, so that peaked my interest. You have to understand the last 3D films I saw were during the 1979-1984 3D fad, the likes of Friday the 13th Part 3, Jaws 3-D, Andy Warhol's Frankenstien, and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. The 2 screen Fox-Garvey theater downtown was host to all the 3D shows at the time, not to mention the 'Chop-Chop' weekends as we liked to call them when they would show 2-3 martial arts movies.
I haven't kept up on advances in 3D technology lately as I haven't seen any of the recent releases which was re-ignited by Polar Express 3D's IMAX release back in 2004. There has been a couple other animated features released in 3D, but last summer's Journey to the Center of the Earth and now My Bloody Valentine 3D are the first full length non-animated features shot in RealD Cinema. You get a set of heavy duty plastic 3D glasses to view the feature with, which were large enough to fit over eye glasses, and look like polarized sun glasses there was the faint Red/Blue tint that was noticeable when looking at the 3D glasses. Overall I didn't find them too uncomfortable, although the main feature only ran 101 minutes.
The coming soon trailers ran, then we instructed to 'Put on your 3D glasses now' screen which proceeded the Dolby Digital 3D trailer (which was freaking amazing in it's own right), then the non-3D THX trailer leading into the feature. This movie starts off with what has to be the most bloody 10 minute 'prologue' ever, if you think the first 5 minutes of Ghost Ship were gory, you haven't seen anything. Sure the film makers took every opportunity to shove something in your face, but I was really impressed at how much the rest of the movie was three dimensional, seriously, it was like looking through a window at the action taking place whether they were aerial shots of scenery, interiors of buildings, or the cramped mine tunnels. A very gory slasher flick, neatly wrapped up at the end, and open to a sequel (duh.). ***1/2
It's been quite a while since I saw the original, I don't know if it's aged well, but I will always remember it being an above average slasher flick. Lionsgate just recently put out an uncut remastered DVD of the original, I guess there were numerous cuts to original to get down to an R rating, and until recently was the only way you could see it. I need to go back and revisit the original to see how closely the remake followed the story, if at all.
The Resident Evil 5 demo finally made it to the US if you missed the Japanese release a while back. I tried it again, and still didn't make it past the chainsaw guy :( without dying. I'm still not sold on the co-op aspect as I probably won't be playing with another person, and I'm not sure how good the AI will be. Kane and Lynch supposedly sucked balls if you were not playing with a human co-op player as the AI would do stupid things during the course of the game.
The F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origins demo (single-player) was up last week also so I tried it out. It reminded me of what I liked about the first one, the opponent AI where they'll come in a room, flank you and take up positions behind cover. I haven't finished the first F.E.A.R. so I don't think I'll grab this at launch but I may pick it up down the road.
Friday, January 16, 2009
While I'm not a big CC shopper, I'm sad to see that this leaves Best Buy as the only electronics/computer specialty retailer in the area. CC usually had some good 'door buster sales' to get you in the door, although I can't say I bought anything over the advertised specials usually. The silver lining is maybe the local store will have a decent 'going out of business' sale, and I can pick up some cheap games/blu-rays. :)
Last week Ziff Davis sold the 1Up Network to UGO where they promptly canceled the 1Up family of podcast (1Up Yours, Legendary Thread, Lan Party, etc.), and stopped publication of EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) magazine. I'll be hunting for some new podcast now to fill the void left on my Zune with something new, some of the 1Up people landed at Eat-Sleep-Play.com and have started the RebelFM podcast so I'll start there.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I liked Kevin James in King of Queens, although I wouldn't say it was a series I watched regularly I would catch new episodes every once in a while (plus syndicated showings). Thirty minutes in I was thinking that so far the only redeeming quality was the 80's soundtrack, but then it took an upward climb and finished out decent enough. The story revolves around Paul Blart (Kevin James) a mild-mannered security guard who has a crush on the new kiosk operator Amy, and a 'Black Friday' heist that naturally Paul has to come to the rescue and save 'his' mall. Why this movie didn't release in November is one of those great life mysteries, I'm guessing because the 'Black Friday' part isn't really pushed to the forefront. Overall enjoyable and funnier than I expected although the first 30 minutes is kinda slow once the heist kicks in it's pretty good.
I finally started playing Fable II the other day, when I seen the Knothole Island content was I out I figured it was time to give a whirl. I'm not too far in yet trying to go through good, but every once in a while I'll fire off a spell in town by accident. :( I don't how much that effects my good/evil standing, but hopefully it's not too harsh.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
First off Happy New Year! everybody. I know it's been a while since my last post, but the Christmas holidays seemed more chaotic than last year. Finally, that rush is over and I've got some time to unwind again (yeah!).
I gave up on WoW last year. I bought the expansion pack in November and played pretty heavy, but towards the end of December I realized I had played 1 day that month. I know part of it was work just not having time to play, but that one time I did login there wasn't anything I wanted to do. I made it a little over 2 years starting just before the launch of Burning Crusade, and shutting off my account December 25th (I guess my Christmas present to myself).
I got really into Animal Crossing City Folk in December. The Wii version is almost identical to the DS game (in fact you can transfer your DS game to the Wii) with additional shops in the city, holidays are back, and you can use the Wii mic (if you bought it) to talk to other people playing (that also bought it).
Listening to a couple podcast peaked my interest in Valkyrie Chronicles for the PS3, so I gave the demo a shot (which I had downloaded a while back but never played), and found it really good. It's a weird strategy/RPG/action hybrid that was originally slated to be a Xbox 360 title, but supposedly SEGA thought that it would be better received by Japanese gamers, and since the 360 isn't all that successful in Japan they switched it to a PS3 exclusive. I finally tracked down a used copy right after Christmas but haven't had a chance to play yet (hopefully later today).
I finally got around to opening my copy of Little Big Planet last night, and played the first couple of levels (seem to be the same ones from the beta). I unlocked my first "trophies" last night on the PS3 thanks to LBP, one in game (placing a sticker), and the other for dressing my sackboy (red boxers, and a pumpkin head).
Did you get hit with the Zunepocalypse yesterday? If you had a 30GB Zune and turned it on after midnight December 31st you probably did. I knew my battery was almost dead so I plugged it into the computer before leaving the house yesterday, when I got home I wondered why it was sitting on the loading screen showing the logo and progress bar. I frantically tried resetting it, but couldn't get it to respond to anything. So I started searching on the net only to find it was happening on a global scale users everywhere were reporting the same problem. It turns out that evidently some bad code for how the Zune handles leap year was to blame, Microsoft finally issued a release saying that if you just let the battery drain, and plug it back in after midnight on January 1st all would be okay. I'm happy to report that indeed seems to be the case as my Zune is charging comfortably right next to me. :)