This year two eagerly awaited games will come to the gamers: Mass Effect 3 and Gears of War 3. Notice what they have in common? For years now some of our best loved and most powerful franchises have run their course with many of them being touted as "intended to be a trilogy" in some sound byte or talking point when interviewing their designers. Now this is not the case of them all, but this is the predominant theme in some of the top franchises. Others have greater ambitions and are still chugging along nicely (I'm looking at you Elder Scrolls and Fable), and don't bring up Halo, thats a whole different breed of creature on its own right, spread across multiple platforms and developers.
At the core though, some of our beloved games and franchises that started their trek on current gen consoles are now reaching their peak, so to speak. After these two titles some other well loved friends of ours are due, having recently passed their Sequel milestone in the last year or so. It kind of makes you sit back and think... what's next? I mean new games and new hits pop up all the time, but some of the core titles in the current gen world are entering their twilight, soon to have their swan song. Maybe they will branch out into offshoots, spinoff, prequels, who knows. As long, though, as they are not owned by Activision it is safe to assume however that their core story arcs are tying off before they move on to new things, if any at all. That makes me a bit sad and nostalgic, like when I watch a series finale of a beloved TV show.
What about you guys? How do you feel about certain franchises (potentially) ending? Are there ones you hope will close out graceful and leave you with a good memory, or are there ones you hope endure until every last bit of life has been squeezed out of them?
So this weekend is wondercon, the San Francisco branch of Comic Con. The one thing I was more excited about than anything else (even hot girls in spandex outfits!) was the chance to really put my 3DS's StreetPass through its paces. I suspected there would be a healthy dose of 3DS owners there, and I was right.
I have to say, Nintendo really improved on the whole peer to peer encounter thing that they first tried with the original DS. I really liked it on the old system, but it was fairly impractical. You had to have the game you wanted to enable it on loaded up, at a specific screen, and then put to sleep in that mode. A lot of finagling had to take place to get things ready and you can only enact it with one game at a time. With the 3DS the biggest improvement, to me at least, was that you can enable streetpass for multiple games simultaneously even if the game isn't even in your unit at the time. It's always on all the time, whether your system is sleeping or actively gaming.
I threw my 3DS in my messenger bag on sleep mode with both SSFIV and the normal Mii StreetPass enabled, and headed down to the event. I learned a few things from this little experiment. Firstly, if you are out at an event where you expect a LOT of activity, like Wondercon or PAX or E3, check your system often. Each type of StreetPass (Mii, SSFIV, etc) seems to have a 10-encounter limit per title. Once you max out, it stops accepting any new encounters until you clear our your queue. If you don't load it up and clean it out, you might miss out on a lot of activity. Secondly, you can only use Miis you have encountered for the mini RPG or the Puzzle game if no one new has arrived yet to "push them off" the list. In my case, I acknowledged the 10 new visitors, and then closed the unit and went about my business, completely missing out on the puzzle pieces they had and the fights they could have done for me. Both of these issues I am sure have perfectly logical technical design reasons/limitations behind their implementation, and I am ok with them now that I understand them, just wish I had known it sooner. (Then again I never bothered to thumb through that massive King James Bible sized manual so the fault is my own really.) Finally, in the case of Super Street Fighter IV, those mini figure battles have to be processed in the Log in order to accumulate the points earned. Sadly there is no way to speed through it, and sitting down and watching through all those battles is fairly time consuming and annoying. Fortunately though you can let up to 20 of them sit in your log before it fills up and you need to clear some out.
All in all, this weekend totally made owning a 3DS right out the gate all the more enjoyable. I was thinking all week how awesome StreetPass would be come E3 or PAX, not at all thinking about Wondercon. I'm glad I got to experience this now, as to get a better idea for how I plan to approach those other events this year once I have a fair amount of various games loaded up for StreetPassing, so as not to miss out on anything awesome. Most importantly, I want to point out that at the end of the day, after logging 30 or so SSFIV matches (and watching them all) and about 50 Mii exchanges (and clearing that queue 4 or 5 times) I ended the day with about 50% battery life. Considering how fast this thing drains, and how comparatively crappy its over all battery life is, thats fairly reassuring.
So who likes multiplayer matches where you get to kick the #@%! of the guys who made the game? Nothing says "I LOVE YOUR GAME DUDE!" like spanking around the very folks who spent the last few years of their life on it! This saturday the 12th you can do JUST that in Dead Space 2!
At 11am PST and again at 3PM PST Saturday the 12th you can play against the DS2 Devs on Xbox LIVE! (and playstation network as well!). The best part? Forget those silly "viral achievements" that some games have, instead kill us and you get a special "Viral Suit" delivered to your inventory automagically!!! (The viral suits available are going to be a "Viral Blue", and a "Tiger Striped Viral White")
Checkout the list below of the Gamertags to be on the lookout for (including yours truly!), just send us an direct game invite and we will try to join in for a match or two. Just be warned random folks have flooded our inbox with friend requests to dont be offended if you cant add us as a friend, we still love you anyways!
EA Sargonas <-- Hey that's me!
This past weekend I celebrated my 30th birthday at Destructoid HQ. (Actually my birthday was this past wednesday, but who wants to get smashed on a weeknight?!?). It was thrown in grand style, true to the nature of our "family" and I invited over 175 people. (Far less showed up of course, but it was still EPIC!)
Photos from our valiant photographers are still being sorted though, (and I am filtering out the embarrassing ones!) However there is one that needs to be shows RIGHT NOW. For 3 days I was not allowed into our kitchen at home while my room mates Wedgewu (Regina) and SSN626391689 (Clarence) worked on my cake. I've known for a month they had something epic planned, but I had no idea it would be like THIS. SSN is an extremely talented artist, and those skills translate beautifully to Fondant and other cakery bits. Just see for yourself. Also check out the look on my face when I saw it!
The basics of the cake, to the best of my understanding, is that Mario was sculpted out of rice krispie treats, and then coated in butter cream to smooth it out. After that they covered it in fondant. He was pinned together with toothpicks, and then mounted on top of the brick block, which was made of layered Lemon and Strawberry cake, covered in fondant as well. For those who dont know, fondant is sort of like edible play-doh, made mostly out of sugar. Its used to make cakes have that smooth, dry, uniform coating that you cant get with icing.
I want to thank my roomies, the Destructoid crew, and all of my friends and my adoptive family out in SF. You guys have made turning 30 not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I am truly lucky to have so many awesome friends, and it means a *lot* to me that you all took time out to be apart of celebrating this with me!
So.. Day two involved quite a bit of driving. This was basically Armando's fault. His intel was a bit off on his brothers arrival time into L.A.
We were told 3pm, so to kill time a few of us jumped out of the van's side door commando style on the side of Figerurora and Neiro sped off. We took a lot of shots of the exterior of the LACC, and after grabbing some stylish shots of the banners, we figured "what the hell" and snuck into the hall. The trick is, act like you SHOULD be there, and none of the build crews running around thought a second thing of it. We grabbed some bad ass shots of the banners in the lobby which by now are plastered all over D.toid, walked back outside, and hopped back in the van like we owned the place.
The the fun.
We drove all the way to LAX. And as we are circling the airport we get a call from Armando's twin brother Enrique just about 3pm. "Hey guys, I just touched down in texas, on my way to LA!"
So we just piled in the car and headed off to Playa del Rey, right down the road about a mile and kicked it at the beach for 45 minutes or so. It was fun, and it was downright magical for HuskyHog and R3y, as seen in this picture.
So at the conclusions of our beachfront shenanigans we loaded up in the van and drove all the way back downtown to our hotel room. About 3 blocks away Hamza gets a message across twitter from one Mister Jim Sterling.
"Just landed at LAX"....
So we unload the van and I hop back in with Niero (so he can jack the carpool lane) and we head on back down to LAX where we picked up Jim and our friend Olly who was already in the area just chillin, and came back to Home Base.
The rest of the night was just fun filled escapades of El Pollo Loco, SNES, shooting some video footage, and cracking WiFi. (Oh yeah and I watched "X-men Origins: Wolverine" in spanish.) Also epic quotes were had by all, including this little gem from mister sterling regarding xbox live's Major Nelson:
"He looks like Gary Busey's less crazy handsome brother."
So yesterday was a wild trip down to LA. The trip should take 6 hours give or take, and we were due to roll out of Dtoid HQ at noonish. We arrived in LA around 10:30. You do the math. ;) Rest assured all that extra time was filled with wild times and good shenanigans. For a recap of the actual trip check out Husky Hogs c-blog. I think the highlight was when Ben Perlee won a race of Mario Kart, then fist pumped the air in celebration, only to jam his knuckles into the ceiling of the van and scream in pain.
Now the hotel. The hotel is Special. (Capitalization intentional). Julio and I have a room to ourselves that we're sharing until more folks roll in Sunday and Monday. As to the room, well. It's comfy, its clean, and it does the job. But it also has more tags than a blog post. Allow me to elaborate, just look at the pics below, then come back to this spot :)
Yep, thats right. Julio and I's room appears to get a lot of scandalous intimate rendezvous in it. Also, it would appear that our very own Hamza has been here before as well! (I wonder who the lucky lady was, and what she cost?)
And finally, the crem de la creme. A bonafide phone number!
Go ahead, call it. We did :D
I think the best highlight though, was last night. We had the windows open, and so did the couple in the room above us. Apparently she likes to be spanked, hard. We know this because she told us, as well as everyone else who was within ear shot, in between her lusty moans and screams.