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About
Name: Mat
Location: Portland, Oregon
Age: 25
Systems: PS3, Xbox 360, GC, DS Lite, PSP Slim, PC
Games Playing: Final Fight: Streetwise (XBOX)
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Singstar (PS3)
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In high school, I would read pc gaming magazines like a mofo, reading reviews about games my 486 66 Mhz PC could never play in 1999 (no, that's not a typo). Out of these, the cream of the crop was Computer Gaming World, a magazine with such a host of excellent writers, the most amusing of which was Jeff Green. He had a back page column called Greenspeak and since all the game reviewers had their photos next to their columns, it felt like the readers had an opportunity to "know the writers" in a time before gaming websites were more mainstream.

While I never read much of the articles on 1UP, I listened to their podcasts and enjoyed GFW Radio, a podcast focused on PC gaming hosted by Jeff Green. His crazy voices, silly sense of humor, and pointed commentary on games was the main reason I tuned in and I am sad to read on his blog that will be leaving the 1UP community of sites and moving on to work for Maxis on the Sims franchise. He will be missed, but I'm sure his humor will show up in The Sims 3 or an expansion some way or another--then again, he might just be in a marketing job at Maxis, and I could be wrong entirely.

Anyone else read CGW or GFW back in the day or enjoy his podcast?

Ripples--Jeff Green's Blog Entry about leaving 1UP (Scroll down a little bit to read the entry).








Based on king3vbo's advice, I decided to give Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic a second spin on the 360. I have enjoyed some BioWare games in the past, particularly Icewind Dale, but found the quests on the first planet of KOTOR a bit of a slog.

Getting to rescue a captive Jedi after a Flash-quality racing minigame was when the game was finally starting to feel like the Star Wars I remember. The Jedi Chick mentions you are Force Sensitive and probably are eligible for Jedi training, but then the game puts you on another quest to get codes to leave the scumbucket excuse for a planet.

I'm totally stuck at a point where I'm in a Sith Base and have to battle a Jedi. Credits are in short supply and it is a hassle to wander back and forth to purchase enough healing items to survive. The game is too hard since there is no healing spell at the beginning, but I'm assured things do get better. I've reloaded a zillion times and died even more. The Force is not with me.

Is it because I am playing KOTOR wrong? Too many years of playing JRPGs have made it so I approach console RPGs with a certain mindset-KOTOR is geared towards the PC RPG style of gameplay. Anyone else have this kind of issue with the game?








Growing up as a skinny nerd, one of my favorite things to do was to play Star Wars games. Back then, there were good titles: X-Wing(tm): Alliance(tm), Super Empire Strikes Back(tm), and Dark Forces(tm): Jedi Knight(tm). As the prequels got released, more titles were released of lesser quality: Star Wars(tm): Episode 1-Battle for Naboo(tm), Star Wars(tm): Masters of Teras Kasi(tm), and so on. All the recent press of Star Wars(tm): The Force Unleashed(tm) got me excited, so I downloaded the demo only to be disappointed. Sluggish controls, respawning enemies, and a fairly uncreative environment (an Imperial base) were enough to get me to cancel my preorder of the game.

To be fair, the demo did a few things right. An original score has enough of a John William's flair and the graphics and physics feel appropriately as they would long ago in a galaxy far, far, away. It did have a brief tutorial on how to Force Grab (tm) and Force Shove (tm) things at other objects, but other subtleties to the controls weren't explained. A 3 second loading screen of the 360 controller explaining the function of 20 buttons isn't enough to show someone the ropes in a demo. As I controlled the secret Jedi Apprentice through his mysterious mission, tossing Stormtroopers (tm) into TIE Fighters (tm), I realized I don't really give a shit about Star Wars anymore. I've played too many games exploring metallic bases, slicing up robots and enemies whilst solving simple environmental puzzles to open doors.

Maybe I drank too much of the hype Kool-Aid (tm), but I was expecting a demo of this game to truly knock my socks off and make me feel like a kid again. Guess it's time to reread one of the Timothy Zahn novels again.

Am I the only person with negative opinions from the demo or not? Anyone?








Long time no blog--working full time and going to night school kind of does that to you sometimes. Regardless, like a dork, I woke up at 1:30 AM this morning to purchase a remake of a game that holds a very special place in my heart: Bionic Commando: Rearmed. Much like the original, it is a damn hard game. Fans of the NES classic should run out and download this now, but those who aren't used to insanely hard side-scrollers of yore should stand clear.

Unlike the recent Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP, the 3D rendered character in a 2D environment works well due to bright, high-contrast colors. The techno remixed music and amusing translation help round out the experience. One additional mode features Challenge Rooms, which work as a hard version of Metal Gear Solid-style VR Missions. I have yet to try the local only Multiplayer.

Let me stress this again--Bionic Commando: Rearmed is hard. I died 4 times trying to beat the first level on Normal Difficulty. Bosses now have a puzzle mechanic that must be solved in order to dismantle them to cause any real damage, which is an improvement. So far, this game has lived up to my expectations. Does it live up to yours?










Too Human is an upcoming 360 game in the Diablo vein that has received its fair share of controversy. After an arduous development period lasting nearly a decade, a demo of the game is up for grabs. A crafty narrative blend of Norse mythology, Starship Troopers, and solid "loot the monsters" gameplay is brought down by a finicky camera, sluggish menu system, and graphics reminiscent of a launch title. Fans of Titan Quest and its ilk will enjoy this, but Too Human is unlikely to bring newcomers into the fold.

First impressions aren't exactly helped when the opening cut-scene looks identical to one in Mass Effect, except with sloppy textures and unsubtle lighting. Melee combat appears to have some depth and the two-stick control scheme works better than one expects. The initial monster designs appear to be little more than palette swaps, but the quirky narrative is what kept me playing to the end. Changing the camera to a Far Away or Isometric view clears up some of the camera issues, but also makes the game look that much less visually appealing.

This was better than I was expecting, but not amazing by any means. I could see how multiplayer could help things out, although having only 2 players co-op is a dissapointment.

Anyone else play this demo and was surprised (or not) by it?










With the recent Dark Knight movie coming out, my memories drifted to one of the first SNES titles I owned--Batman Returns, a Final-Fight clone featuring the Caped Crusader himself.

Apart from a few Batmobile levels, the game features an impressive MIDI rendition of Danny Elfman's dark score from the film and follows the movie's plot really closely. You get to wail on many clowns, fight the Penguin and Catwoman, and smash enemies into background objects (windows, posters, and brick walls). Some levels go into a side-scrolling mode, making gameplay a bit like Kung-Fu at times.

Bosses in the game are pretty cheap. An early fight with Catwoman gives you little room to move around and Catwoman's fast moves can slice up the slow Batman in a flash. One nice touch is that you get to see an expanded ending depending on which difficulty you beat the game at--I was able to get to the final Penguin boss on the highest difficulty mode, but couldn't defeat him.

If you like beat-em-ups, Batman Returns is worth finding--and, over 10 years later, it still remains one of the best Batman games (not saying much, considering the competition).