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11:17 AM on 02.06.2008

Activision steals the Ghostbusters' equipment, retool it as Rock Band lights and smoke

From Xbox 360 fanboy:

Darkseide just been tipped us off that rather large pre-order boxes of the ever famous (and ridiculously overpriced) Rock Band Stage Kit have been popping up in various game stores the world over. The pics, which can be viewed in their own gallery below, not only further prove that the Stage Kit will add light and smoke effects to your Rock Band fun, but we now have an actual image of what the device will look like. And, to us, it looks like a hybrid between a police spot light and the robot from WALL•E. But that's just us. Take a look over the $99 Rock Band peripheral, weigh the pros and cons and imagine how much cooler your Rock Band sessions would be with a plume of smoke rising from the floor.

Adds Walter Peck, EPA agent: "The people think they're seeing ghosts and call these bozos, who conveniently show up to get rid of the problem with a fake electronic light show."   read

6:29 PM on 01.31.2008

LOST is back!

Will anyone else be watching the return of Lost tonight? For those of you who aren't into Lost, the season finale was EASILY the best summer movie of 2007. It was that good. If you have any interest in getting in on the best show on TV right now, Netflix the first season. I've shown just the pilot episode to friends and they were hooked.

Also, this:

[embed]67932:7497[/embed]   read

6:09 PM on 01.30.2008

COD4: Halo 3 isn't the only XBL game that's filled with retards.

Call of Duty 4 is a war game. No shit. It's not surprising that the current occupation of Iraq comes up. It's usually at this point that you lose a shitload of respect for the guy with the 22-3 K-D spread as he spews bowelful of dogshit from his mouth. Yeah, some people have their reasons of why America is still in Iraq, which is fine, but don't insult yourself/those over there/those who died there. The other day one dipshit said, "we killed what, like a couple hundred thousand of them, and only three thousand of us? That's not too bad."


Here, I'll post it again, this time in bold: "We killed what, like a couple hundred thousand of them, and only three thousand of us? That's not too bad."

Way to turn 3,000 dead American souls into a numbers game, dickhead. And hey, the holocaust wasn't too bad because it was only six million dead. It could have been more, you know. And it's not like the dead Iraqis are all a bunch of conniving, heartless bastards, either.

I also hear a lot of talk from players saying that they really want to join the service. I hope this asshole's one of them. I hope he goes over there and fucking dies. Sure, you can call me a hypocrite for defending the dead and then condemning this person to death, but comments like that prove to me that this idiot isn't even human.

Anyway, enjoy Call of Duty 4 for the awesome game that it is, and if you hear any of this crap in your headset, be sure to call them out on it. They need it.   read

2:46 PM on 01.29.2008

Criminally Underrated: Aladdin (SNES)

For those of you who were still crapping in your own pants in 1992, let me explain that Disney's Aladdin was FUCKING HUGE. It made a shitload of money, thanks to the fact that it was one that boys and girls alike to enjoy (though I am ashamed to admit I liked The Little Mermaid as a kid. Also check out the NES game, it's actually damn good.).

It's great. Shut it.

So after playing a summer of stuff like Star Fox, Doom, and Link's Awakening (Check out my other blog post for that overrated... thing), seeing Disney's Aladdin for the Sega Genesis in the latest issue of Game Players was mind blowing. Hand-drawn graphics! A level inside the Genie's lamp! You can make the guards' pants fall down! Even though I loved my Super Nintendo and was a devout Nintendo fanboy (although early screens of Sonic CD and Sonic 3 made my mouth water), I had to have a Sega Genesis. It went on my Christmas list, making Christmas '93 a rather uncertain year. Both SNES and Genesis under one roof? I felt greedy and fat.


Come Christmas Eve, I had trouble sleeping (I still do on that night). For the first time ever, I snuck downstairs to confirm my hopes. There it was: the Sega Genesis 2 and Disney's Aladdin. Oh, and a six button pad as well! Bonus! I ran back upstairs only to meet my very upset mother at the top of them. Yeah, she was pissed.

Not that I cared. Aladdin was great and my sneaking down stairs was worth it to end that purgatory of uncertainty I had that night.

But this is about the SNES's Aladdin! I actually played this game before ever thinking about sneaking down any stairs. I rented it with my expectations in check after reading the latest Nintendo Power and discovering that this was not the Genesis game. There were no hand-drawn graphics, the Genie's level had no Column A (or Column B, for that matter), and there were no chubby guards hilariously losing their pants. A fun game, but it wasn't what I was looking for at the time.

Fast forward a decade later and beyond, where I'm still dragging out my old systems and basking in their beauty. Among the Zeldas and the Duck Tales, I played both Aladdins (I borrowed the SNES version from my aunt and have yet to return it.).

And goddammit, the SNES version is actually the better game.

Graphically, this game doesn't touch the Genesis version. It also lacks a bit of the spirit of the movie. Genesis Aladdin was a prime example of Genesis games having more "tude" than SNES games. Stylistically, SNES Aladdin was pretty vanilla.

Not hilarious.

Still, it succeeds in every other category. The gameplay is much more fluid on the SNES, featuring a rather acrobatic Aladdin that made bopping on heads fun again. It really felt like you were playing the "One Jump Ahead." There's also the controversial blanket. By pressing the R button, Aladdin holds a blanket over his head mid-jump to slow down his speed. Many have said this breaks the game and makes it easier, but it's not like it's mandatory.

That shit is mindblowing!

And hey, minigames are more fun in this one. Actually, I should say they're just much more forgiving. The slot machine-ish formula of Genesis Aladdin was fun, but sweet fucking Christ did Jafar show up way too often, which ended the bonus match. The SNES version was simply a wheel that had to be stopped at the right time, but at least it didn't piss me off.

Not fun/fun

And fuck, the music! Yeah, this isn't fair to compare, as the Genesis has a pretty crummy sound chip and Aladdin very much fell victim to this. It had plenty of those trademark low-pitch notes that made it sound like your TV was farting (and is what the music from Sonic Spinball is entirely comprised of) and some of the non-music from the movie gets pretty repetitive. Anyway, SNES Aladdin is made by Capcom, so of course the music is going to be great. The music in the "Whole New World" level is probably one of the best-sounding compositions on the SNES. Graphically, it's also one of the most beautiful levels on the system.


Unfortunately there are only three bosses in the game, but the last two (Jafar and Snake Jafar) beat the shit out of the Genesis version. Thanks to Mode 7 graphics, the floor you stand on actually is a part of the boss. It slithers up and down and completely throws you off while trying to fuck Snake Jafar's face up.

Also mindblowing.

Finally, I should point out that as a kid, I found the crummy cutscenes in Genesis Aladdin to be pretty disappointing. What was far more damning was the ending. No palace going back to normal, no Genie in a goofy hat, just Aladdin and Jasmine kissing for a solid five minutes as the credits roll. This ending is a prime example that the Genesis wasn't really a system known for its substantial game endings. The SNES version is much akin to the great Super Star Wars series where the cutscenes weren't exactly taken from the movie, but redrawn. The cutscenes are very well-rendered and aren't just talking heads.

Y'all want crack?

So this concludes my first "Criminally Underrated" review. Don't get me wrong, I love both games to death. In fact, I love Aladdin. It's my favorite Disney movie, and I have the soundtrack on my iPod. And if you can only read this because you skipped this entire review to post a message expressing your hate towards me, read the review. Better yet, play both games and see for yourself which game you like more without having the fanboy goggles on.

Also, Aladdin From Compton.   read

11:45 AM on 01.29.2008

The list of GOTYs

Courtesy of MTV:

The 2007 GOTY Winners

The Associated Press picked: “BioShock”

Destructoid picked: “BioShock”

Gamasutra picked: “Portal”

Game Daily picked: “Call of Duty 4″

Game Informer: “BioShock”

Gamepro picked: “DUHRRRRRRRRRRR" (Just kidding, it was "Call of Duty 4"

Gamespot picked: “Super Mario Galaxy”

Gamespy picked: “Call of Duty 4″

Game Trailers picked: “Super Mario Galaxy”

IGN picked: “Super Mario Galaxy”

Joystiq picked: “Portal”

Kotaku picked: “Super Mario Galaxy”

The Los Angeles Times picked: “BioShock”

The Rocky Mountain News‘ Brian Crecente (aka editor of Kotaku) picked: “Call of Duty 4″

MTV Games picked: “Super Mario Galaxy”

MTV News (aka me) picked: “Desktop Tower Defense”

The New York Times picked: “Mass Effect”

Playboy picked: “BioShock”

The San Francisco Chronicle picked: ‘BioShock”

The Spike TV Video Game awards picked: “BioShock”

Time magazine picked: “Halo 3″

UGO — just barely — picked: “BioShock”

X-Play picked: “BioShock”

Yahoo picked: “Super Mario Galaxy”

lol @ Time Magazine   read

10:07 PM on 01.24.2008


Don't care if this isn't game related or old, the whole world needs to see this shit, starting with Destructoid.


6:22 PM on 01.24.2008

EA transforms into SUPER PISSED!

From Kotaku:

In a single line text message sent from her Blackberry, Teri VanHorn, producer of Fox News' Live Desk with Martha MacCallum, blew off Electronic Arts' detailed call for correction over the error strewn report the show did on Mass Effect earlier in the week.

Jeff Brown, Electronic Arts' vice president of communication, told Kotaku that the producer told him to contact Fox News' public relations department, which apparently now deals with factual errors in their stories.

Brown told me he wasn't surprised, but that EA will continue to "step up when someone maligns our creative teams.
"They need to understand there are 100 people in Edmonton, Alberta who dedicated years to making that game. They've got names, faces and reputations - and they've been slandered. We're angry about that."

He added that yesterday's reaction was not a one off, "it's a policy directive from Riccitiello. Anyone who tells lies about our creative teams is going to get a fight."

It's great that the ice in EA's veins is being used for good. They should totally start publishing more thematically challenging games (starting with Mass Effect 2 and 3).   read

12:49 PM on 01.24.2008

Gamers defend Mass Effect on Amazon of all places

Sometimes, gamers can be pretty awesome.

Quote of choice:
"I'm also quite disappointed that Mrs. Lawrence would use sex appeal (the cover) to sell her book. Whether she realizes it or not there are a lot of kids in book stores today that will see this and get the wrong impression.

Image means a lot Mrs. Lawrence, and you are damaging the youth of America."

It gets even better with the user-submitted images:

Okay, the cake thing is officially funny again.   read

8:55 PM on 01.23.2008

Why I don't like Link's Awakening

This is my first blog post and I'll probably get lots of hate for it, but it's something I've been itching to admit since 1993.

By the time this game rolled around, I was still playing Link to the Past, a game I got well over a year before. I was obsessed with this game. Yeah, Star Fox and Street Fighter II took up a lot of my time as well, but LttP was the goods. In my opinion, a Zelda game has yet to surpass it (don't want to hear it Ocarina fans). Either way, the summer of '93 was a summer that continued my love with gaming peppered with my introduction to gangsta rap.

This is bliss.

So when I got my 50th issue of Nintendo Power and saw not only a beautiful gold cover, but that there was going to be a new Zelda game and the first to be on the Game Boy! I was stoked. I daydreamed what the game would be like. I damn near memorized the lyrics to the awful Link's Awakening rap ad.


Then I actually got the game.

For me, the game kind of fails because of the system it's on. The Game Boy just didn't have the power to really live up to the hype of its predecessor. See, what really attached me to LttP was the terrific feeling of exploration. Sure, I did plenty of that in the first two Zeldas, but LttP was much deeper. There weren't just caves with old people inside. There was houses, one different from another, a Death Mountain that was littered with secrets, and all the extra items and other assorted secrets that weren't needed to complete the game. Link's Awakening didn't have that.

After crashing on Koholint Island and finding my sword, I was ready to explore. Then I found the holes I couldn't cross. Then I found the rocks I couldn't lift. It seemed each powerup is there to make the world slightly more open. Yes, this is a hallmark of all of the Zelda games, but not to such a limiting degree. By the time I got the feather that makes me jump and the bracelet that makes me lift shit (real exciting treasures by the way), there wasn't much to explore.

Dear feather, you were kinda cool in Super Mario Kart. You're fucking shit in this.

Speaking of items, another limitation of the Game Boy was the shortage of buttons. As a result, you can only hold two items at once. Sure you can only hold one item in LttP and the original Legend of Zelda, at least you were still fucking able to hold your sword and shield. It's not much fun to go to those goddamn rocks or the goddamn bottles and have to remember to go to your menu and equip the bracelet. Oh, and when you're done lifting something, be sure to re-equip your sword or shield. Annoying.

It's not that Link's Awakening is total crap. I like the story, and dig the Wind Fish in his omnipotent trippy goodness. The Mario references (the Chain Chomp, the Yoshi doll) are great, and being able to steal from the store was awesome. Hell, the music is damn good for the Game Boy, offering a neat take on the Zelda theme. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep me from quitting somewhere between the second or third dungeon any time I try to revisit it. I completed it nearly 15 years ago, and that's enough.


It's these hardware limitations that keep Zelda from working on the Game Boy. It's also these limitations that kept me from trying the Oracle games. (On the other hand, The Minish Cap is a terrific, beautiful little game. I'm struggling with Phantom Hourglass, as it's a little too light for me.) Sure, you can give me shit by explaining to me that this was the best they could do with the Game Boy, and I could respond to you by saying that it didn't keep the Game Boy Mega Man games from completely sucking.

If this was in color, was on the NES, and had Mega Man sans helmet on top of a building, this would be awesome.

Anyway, sorry for such a different opinion. Maybe I'll do a blog defending Zelda II, a game that I loved until the fucking Wii deleted my game save, but that's for another time.   read

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