Friday, January 30, 2009

We've got a winner! 3-D blood, 360 demo goodness, and other tidbits...

It seems as though I won a trip to the Call of Duty: World at War tournament finals through work. I get to visit San Diego for 3 days/2 nights, and watch the tournament finals aboard the U.S.S. Midway aircraft carrier February 27th. I've been to the San Diego airport twice, I actually got outside once on a shuttle (from one terminal to another) but that's my knowledge of the area.

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

Circuit City goes bye-bye, and EGM too...

Well it's official Circuit City called it quits today, according to that Yahoo story they will be closing the doors on the remaining 567 stores. Circuit City filed bankruptcy protection back in November when it closed around 155 stores claiming "Those being closed are said to be underperforming, or are no longer a strategic fit for the company." Evidently they were courting two possible buyers, but were unable to complete the sale, and were working on a liquidation plan.

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 and have started the RebelFM podcast so I'll start there.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Movies, and Fable II...

I decided to keep track of how many movies I watched this year, so I updated the sidebar starting January 1st, 2009 with Mamma Mia. Most of my influx has been blu-ray disc from Netflix, but I did go see a sneak last night of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Truthfully from the previews I didn't expect much, if anything, from the movie mostly thinking it would be a slap stick comedy.

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

Happy New Year!! WoW no more, gaming now, and Zunepocalypse!

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. :)