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2:18 PM on 08.06.2008

Avatars are to be featured exclusively in family games

I hate avatars...

...Well now that we've broken the ice, I've got some good news. The oh-so-cute avatars that will be making an appearance on our Xbox 360's in the coming fall update will only be featured in games that are rated by the ESRB as E10+ and below. Eric Kilgorn of Microsoft stated that avatars will not be appearing in games that are marked as violent, innapropriate, or otherwise Teen, Mature, and Adult games.

I'd say this is good and bad news. The good, is that the hardcore fans won't have to see their avatars as much, but on the other hand, we can't be taking our anger out in GTA IV by shooting our friend's avatars with RPGs. It's too bad.

This isn't the first time I've expressed my hatred for avatars and I wish they would not exist entirely. But, it is good to see that I can ignore my avatar on my 360 just a little bit more by buying much more innapropriate games.

[via Xbox 360 Fanboy]   read

4:12 PM on 07.15.2008

E3: An Open Letter to Microsoft

I've just returned home from work, knowing little about what was announced as of the first official day of E3. But I was able to fully take in all of Microsoft's juicy announcements and other gameplay debuts at their press conference yesterday. All in all, I think Micrsoft did a great job yesterday. Sure the new Peter Moore replacement isn't Peter Moore, but I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough.

What I'd like to talk about is what was more surprising to me than it may have been for others. It is of course, this entirely revamped New Dashboard Update coming this fall, featuring Avatars. Avatars (as Microsoft says) are a means to make gamers feel they can be more connected to their console and feel like it's a lot more welcoming. You don't have to hear me say that they're clearly going for a Mii-esque look to their console. I understand that, Microsoft. The competition is rough, but seroiusly, you MUST stick to your own audience.

Microsoft clearly has been taking aim at family oriented play in such upcoming games like "Scene it!" or "You're in the Movies," but you know what Microsoft? I've been a fan of you since the Xbox and I have to say that when I saw the demonstration of "You're in the Movies," I felt like you were completely wasting my time. You started out great, featuring two highly anticipated titles with their debut gameplay on your very own stage! But why, why must you try to connect yourself with an audience that most defintely has already attached itself to another system.

I own Xbox 360, PS3, and the Wii. And I'll tell you why. Each one offers a different experience. While the Xbox 360 and PS3 are mainly used for my action and more hardcore games, my Wii is used for casual fun and when I have friends over or if I want to play with my family, were definietly going to pull out the Wii. What I'm saying is, family fun and casual gaming is not your strong suit. I bought the Xbox 360 because I know it's going to offer the hottest titles, the most exciting titles, and the games that I want to play. Don't get me wrong, I can always go for some Wii Sports, but I'm a hardcore gamer, and I'm always looking to my Xbox 360 and my PS3 for that type of satisfaction.

Your main competitor is the PS3. And by the way, the last thing I want to do is start a fanboy war here, but it's true. Xbox 360 and PS3 are offering the same sort of hardcore entertainment for the hardcore gamers. So Microsoft, I really need you to just focus on competing with the PS3 and leave the casual gaming to the Wii. I understand, the Wii is making incredible ammounts of money by doing what they're doing and you want in on that! I get it! But I'm really just trying to help you realize that you've lost that battle. Wii wins for the casual gamers. Wii is getting publicity because it can be fun for everyone, and the Xbox 360 will never achieve such satisfaction for casual gamers.

Additionally, the new Dashboard update is whack, apart from your new deal with Netflix and Live Party, the whole new interface is crap. It's plain. It's boring. Way too much white space. I love the dashboard the way it is, and yes, I know it's still going to be around when you press the Guide button in the game, but the new main Dashboard design is far from acceptable. You have turned my happiness of turning on my hardcore gaming machine, into a system where I have to be greeted with a fake image of myself standing next to my gamertag.

I love you Microsoft. But this whole thing is just letting me down.

[Pics from Giantbomb]   read

10:13 AM on 06.26.2008

Molyneux hints at October release of Fable 2?

Due to some hardcore matlocking skills (well not really...), gamers finally believe they have a month in which Lionhead has decided to release their game Fable 2. In the latest Lionhead Studios Video Diary (which can be viewed at the end of this post), Molyneux can be seen sitting at his desk, boxing in and, well, doodling around the word "October."

Personally, when I watched the video diary yesterday, I was paying close attention at what he was writing and, due to his poor penmenship, I thought nothing of it. But when Eurogamer asked Lionhead to comment on this "hint" that was given out during the video, they had no comment.


Well in all honesty, it could be Molyneux just messing with our heads and just boxing in the month in which he's going golf with Santa Claus. We'll never know, E3 is write around the corner and we might even see an official announcment about it's release then.

Fun Tidbit: Peter Molyneux and Geoff Keighly have a $100 bet where Keighly believes Fable 2 will not release this year.

[via Xbox 360 Fanboy]

[embed]92365:12602[/embed]   read

10:11 AM on 06.15.2008

Blast from the Past: Nintendo 64

For the past few days, I’ve been completely inactive on Destructoid for two simple reasons: Lost Odyssey, and my love for a new Nintendo 64 Emulator I found. I’m not here to talk about the fact that emulators are the greatest thing ever (which they are) but that I have been replaying my childhood for the past few days on this emulator. I’m just going to go through a few games that I’ve really been playing, my impressions/reviews of them, and how fantastical they are. But first, let me quickly sum up what the Nintendo 64 means to me.

The Nintendo 64 was the very first system I actually owned. I played the shit out of my babysitter’s Super Nintendo but I never owned it, no matter how many countless hours I spent playing it. My dad got me and my brother the Nintendo 64 for the Holidays in 1996 when I was just six years old, but I remember bringing it home and playing a helluva lot of games. I wouldn’t say my “Start of the Affair” would be a Nintendo 64 game (that honor goes to Wolfenstein 3D) but it was definitely the system that introduced me to the idea, “I’m going to be playing video games for a very long time.”

That quick summary doesn’t even cover how much I love to have the sudden urge to whip out my Nintendo 64 from my basement and play some Goldeneye or anything else. But since my recent discovery of a fantastic N64 emulator, I’ve been able to play it comfortably from my computer whenever I want (as well as play games I never owned). I just plug in my USB Xbox 360 controllers and get to work. Here’s a few games that I’ve been playing the most out of all of the ones I have on here, and my thoughts on them.

Winback: Covert Operations
Developed by Koei

In my opinion, one of the most underrated games of all time. This game was hard. And while the emulation was pretty shitty, (large blue boxes would float across the screen very slowly) I still managed to enjoy myself and get the gist of the entire experience.

You play Jean-Luc Cougar, a secret agent who’s sent on a mission with a team to infiltrate a laser satellites command center which, to no one’s surprise, threatens the entire world. In the first minute of the game, the helicopter that is going to take you to the landing point is shot down, forcing your team to jump out of the plane, separating everyone. Throughout the game your meeting up with your other team members, who usually die a few minutes later (I’m not kidding, you practically witness your entire team die in the game).

The gameplay is fantastic. It’s the first game that allowed the player to have the whole hide and shoot gunplay. Hide behind and object, pop up, shoot, come back down. I should probably mention I found this game to be very difficult with its lack of checkpoints and sometimes clunky controls. The game is really great which offers a pretty solid storyline, and one of the first games that actually made me feel sad when I saw a team member of mine standing next to me get shot in the head.
Here’s a piece of trivia I just read on Wikipedia:
“As a homage to the game, one of the dog tags that can be obtained in Metal Gear Solid 2 is of Jean Luc Cougar's. Cougar’s dog tags can only be found in the original version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, not Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. His dog tags can be collected while playing the Plant Level on very easy. His tag ID number is 26.”

Blitz 2000
Developed by Midway

You’ve played this game. Why am I talking about it? Because it’s fucking awesome. The late hits, the insane catches, and the fact that the computer player intercepts your passes 2938 times in one game just adds together to make one bitching (and frustrating) game.

I always enjoy a good game of competitive Madden, but I would prefer a game of Blitz any day. The pace of it is so fast and perfect that after you finish one game, you want to play another. The thing that pisses me off is that the computer is so fucking hard to beat. No matter how hard I try, they always seem to intercept my throws at least twice a game.

Did anyone play Blitz: The League? I played the demo on XBLM and it was complete shit. I couldn’t stand playing it.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Developed by Lucas Arts

One of my favorite Star Wars games to date. If any people with epilepsy want to try this game on their emulator, don’t bother. I’m positive you’ll have a seizure because I have two ROMs and they both constantly are blinking while the game is going on. But I digress, this game is fucking awesome.

The story pretty much follows a bounty hunter named Dash Rendar, who’s slightly less badass than Han Solo. To be honest, I don’t really understand the story. I get how it’s going on parallel to the episodes 4, 5, and 6 but frankly, there are missions that almost seem completely unrelated to each other that I just don’t really know. What I’ve figured out is that there’s a guy who’s trying to get rid of Darth Vader as well as destroy the rebellion and Rendar kills him in the end. It sounds awesome when I say it, right?

What matters most is the gameplay, which is awesome. There’s pretty much three different types of levels. One is aerial where you’ll be placed in the Hoth Battle, in the middle of an asteroid field, or at the end of the game, destroying this huge clusterfuck of a machine that (like I said) I have no idea what it’s going to do. The second is on a swoop bike slamming into enemies that are on their way to kill Luke Skywalker (note that this is just one level in the game). And the other is in 3rd person killing bitches, which is used throughout most of the game.

The gameplay is a lot of fun, allowing multiple weapons, crazy boss fights (including a HUGE squid monster underwater) and even giving you the power of having a jetpack. You’ll see some familiar faces, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia, and even a boss fight against Boba Fett and Slave 1.

This emulator is awesome, and the fact that I can actually play it on a Xbox 360 controller is really easy to handle. Hope you enjoyed the read, I’m going to go play Diddy Kong Racing.   read

8:41 PM on 06.05.2008

Take-Two announces Bioshock 3...just three months after announcing Bioshock 2

According to an article at IGN, at a recent financial conference, Take-Two's chairman Strauss Zelnick states that there are already plans for Bioshock 3...before there has been any info or content released for Bioshock 2.

Furthermore, Zelnick stated that the 3rd game in the series would be released alongside the movie based on the franchise directed by Pirates of the Carribean director, Gore Verbinski.

Just under three months ago, Take-Two had formally announced Bioshock 2 which would be released in Q4 of 2009.

That's a long ways away. Now if I do the math right, Bioshock came out in August of 2007. So there would be about 2 years in between the original and the sequel. If we project the same amount of time in between Bioshock 2 and 3, we should expect to see some screenshots around the time of the Mayan predicted apocolypse.

I'm actually excited to hear news about the Bioshock movie because it sounds like it has got some heavy hitters backing the project. Nontheless, I'm prepared to be dissapoitned because well...I'd rather not talk about movie based games.

Your thoughts?

[Source: IGN]   read

9:52 PM on 05.29.2008

GTA IV Stunt Video will blow you away


To be honest, with the new physics engine in GTA IV I really thought that it'd be much more difficult to pull off insane stunts in the game. I couldn't have been more wrong. The above video is by far the best stunt video I've ever seen in the GTA series.

The more incredible stunts in the video are when the guy jumps out of helicopter, seemingly about to fall to his death, only to fall into a very small pond or pool in the middle of a suburban area. Insane. it, I have nothing more to say.   read

9:43 PM on 05.26.2008

This map is why I love Forge in Halo 3


I gotta say, a few weeks after Halo 3 came out I was thinking I would be seeing a lot more maps that really blew me away but it didn't really. People were still mainly focused on just playing the damn game so I got a little overboard on that part. But this video changes all that.

The map you see above is a forge map called "The Falcon" which is based in the Halo 3 map Avalanche. Now, you may be wondering, why "The Falcon?" Well I'll tell you why. There's a huge freaking ship made out of crates and huge boxes floating in the center of the map, and you guessed it, the ship is called "The Falcon."

The map is basically designated for Capture the Flag. The attacking team starts a little ways away from The Falcon with a huge arsenal of weapons to choose from. The defending team is tucked safely away in The Falcon in a somewhat average sized room where the flag stands. Now you may be thinking that the fact that they made a ship out of a bunch of crates and such in Forge is amazing, what's even better is the little things.

You enter the Falcon via teleporter on the roof (as well as another about halfway between the starting point and the ship) which connects to one in the room with the flag, but there are also three other teleporters on the corners of the room that lead to little passage ways with every gun in the game. Pretty snazzy, eh?

My personal favorite part, is that if by some means the attacking team grabs the flag and somehow gets it off the ship through the clusterfuck of rockets that must be going off, the defending team have multiple ways to chase after them. There are some Mongooses (Moongosi?) tucked safely away in the corner of the room, which have a small opening for you to easily drive out to the outdoors and make chase. On the backside, you can jump down a little opening to grab a warthog which also has an opening to easily go out and chase after the SOB that just took your flag. But if you're looking for some major firepower, there's a Scorpion tank on the bottom of the ship that you reach via Gravity Lift on the ground.

This map is unbelieveable and I really think we should try this out on FNF sometime.   read

9:25 PM on 05.24.2008

VIDEO: Liberty City Obituaries


As a follower of the GTA IV obsession over the past couple weeks, I find the above video to be a real knee-slapper. To be honest, it's just a montage of some great Niko deaths in Liberty City as well as a little bit of time dedicated to some great driving on sidewalks.

My policy is not to just post random videos without some solid reasoning behind it, but fuck it. This video is seven kinds of funny.   read

2:23 PM on 05.22.2008

NEW! 12 Minute Spore Creature Creator Demo


Well the release of GTA IV has come and gone and while I'm still playing the crap out of it, it's time to find a new game to drool over in the meantime. And what better game than Spore. As I posted with my last blog, the Creature Creator is being released June 17th, 3 months before the full retail game so you can start populating the world before you even get your hands on the final game.

The above video is a 12 minute demo walkthrough with Jason Ocampo (formerly of Gamespot) who is the Editor-In-Chief of IGN PC creating his very first creature on the near final build of the Creature Creator. He makes possibly one of the ugliest (while somehow adorable) creatures I have ever seen made in the game.

The game looks incredible and I can't wait to get my hands on it. A demo is also being released along side the Creature Creator on June 17th. The demo is completely free, while the Creature Creator is going to be $10 (or at least I'm 99% sure) via the Spore official website. And for those of you who are wondering, you CAN use the creatures you make in the creature creator when you pick up the retail version of the game which is supposed to hit shelves on September 7th.   read

6:43 PM on 04.26.2008

Spore Creature Creator and Demo coming June 17th

From the genius mind of Will Wright brings us to his next awesome fantastic awesome new project, Spore. We already know ALL about this game and how it will give you the power to take a tiny little spore and keep building and building until you have the power to conquer the galaxy. Yeah, it sounds hot.

We also are all aware that it's hitting shelves in September, but Wright has said in previous interviews that they will be releasing the Creature Creator a couple months before the release date so they can populate the servers with the user created species. It has recently been announced that not only will the Creature Creator be hitting the interwebs June 17th, but also a full fledged demo.

To crush some of your dreams, the Creature Creator will be available on the Spore website for the low low price of $9.99. But of course, the demo will be open to everyone who has a simple internet connection and will cost the very very low price of free.

[via The Feed]   read

4:40 PM on 04.14.2008

When did gamers get so nerdy?

Im here to explore as to why and when gamers got the stereotype that if they play video games everyday, they are nerdy. Why were gamers stuck with such a label? Why not intelligent, artistic, or even dead sexy?

Its safe to say when the NES came out in 1985 in the US and you got it for Christmas, you were easily the coolest kid on the block. Hundredsno, thousands of kids would come across the land to see top of the line technology. Imagine, no longer do you have to take your lazy ass out of your home to a nearby arcade because now you can just walk into your family room and play some Bible Adventures.

Some of the features were things people had never seen before in such a small box. Not only could you have regular games like Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. but you could play some Duck Hunt with a badass light gun. Unbelievable.

This attitude continued onto Nintendos other successful platforms such as the SNES, Virtual Boy (besides the fact it burned out peoples retinas), and the N64.

In my opinion, I believe this whole nerd phase began right around the releases of the PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox. These platforms offered an uncanny amount of realism to your home television and many people who had grown up on the NES and SNES now had jobs and didnt quite have time for these new consoles. Additionally, people who loved the simple arcade like games such as Space Invaders or Missile Command on some of the older consoles found these new 3D games like Metal Gear Solid and Halo a little too technical and lost interest.

Around this shift in generation of gamers is right about where the nerds started playing video games.

Games were no longer mindless and easy to play (some were, but few). Many required some serious thought on how to maneuver through the world with a more complicated control style and difference in HUD and interface. With realism, comes a lot more things that you must look out for. Whether its where your enemies are flanking you from, or other cars on the race track trying to pass you, some games required serious focus and attention.

So doesnt it make sense? Smart kids, AKA nerds, are good at video games because they are able to take everything in that is going on and able to make quick decisions on what to do next. Well, yes and no. Sure many nerdy kids played video games, but wasnt that a way to escape school from kids who constantly made fun of them? In some ways yes it was.

What people seem to forget is that video games are just damn fun. Whats so hard to understand about that? If you enjoy doing something, arent you going to do it again? Especially if it offers something new and fresh every time you try it.

Im not saying being nerdy is a bad thing. Hell, I usually consider myself a nerd for the exact reasons Im listing here, but I think its wrong that if someone were to tell another person that they play video games, that person is instantly typecast as a nerd.

Lets say for instance, you enjoy reading books. Books seem nerdy, right? So why dont people who read get typecast as a nerd? Oh I get it, if you read, youre intellectual, not a nerd. Makes sense. Not really. In some ways, video games can offer a serious amount of reading (have you heard of a game called Final Fantasy?) and other kinds of mind strengthening exercise. Hell, theres a game out now that is solely based on making you smarter, and you wouldnt imagine it, but its fun. (Thank you Dr. Ryuta Kawashima)

Its wrong to stereotype gamers as nerds (or if your Jack Thompson, cold-blooded killers) because games offer one of the best forms of entertainment in history, not to mention a multimillion dollar industry. Gaming is not a lifestyle, its a damn hobby. And thats all it will ever be. Sure we hear about the World Series of Games and people getting paid to play games, but honestly, I would be surprised to see someone start playing in the World Series of Games because it pays the bills. They start because they think its fun.

As I stated earlier, Im not implying being nerdy is bad, Im merely bringing up the fact that gamers are not all nerds. This isnt a write-up to bring about a change. My voice just needs to be heard.   read

5:04 PM on 03.31.2008

Why dont consoles come with two controllers?

I got the idea for this after listening to last weeks RetroforceGO! and Dyson brought up for maybe one second, Remember when consoles came with two controllers? And you know what? Yes, I do remember. What happened to that? Why cant we play with our friends?

Please, have a seat and keep reading. No, not there. Yes, there.

I dont remember when I last didnt have to buy an additional controller with the system I was purchasing. Back in the day, it was always me and my brother going out to buy an N64, PS1, Gamecube, etc. and since it was the two of us, we ALWAYS had to buy a second controller.

If I could reference RetroforceGO! again, I have to agree with Chad when he was happy that the Wii continued the box-in game with Wii Sports. Yes, that was awesome. Sure later versions of the 360 had Need for Speed Most Wanted, Forza 2, whatever in them, but nothing came with it on its initial release date. And I totally agree that all companies should continue to do that but thats never actually gone away like the dual controllers in the box have. Im already trailing off, but my blog post is not about in-games, its obvious we should include a game with the system.

I know there must be a lot of people who dont buy a second controller when buying a game system but all the friends I have thats the first thing they buy with the system (and of course a game). When you get a next-gen console, or any new console, the first thing I do (and I would think a lot of other people) is call up some friends and invite them over to play it. What the hell am I going to do? Hey guys, watch me play my awesome system and be super jealous! No, I want my friends in on the action killing some bitches.

Same goes with online. If you got a friend over and you see another one of your friends is on Xbox Live or Playstation Network, youre going to be like hey we should totally join his game and play with him. But none of that will happen if you dont have a second controller.

Yes, it may be a bit costly for the companies to include two controllers with the system, but it would be an incredible business move. Well we can get the Xbox 360, but the PS3 comes with two controllers which is a pretty good deal. Or vice versa. Its simple, all companies want to be as customer friendly as humanly possible so theres NO reason for them not to start packaging two controllers in the box.

Cmon M$, Sony, and Nintendo, its not so hard.   read

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