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8:29 AM on 01.30.2009

Gamers Guide To Surviving Super Bowl Sunday

I get it. You like video games and sports are lame. Sometimes we have to do things that we otherwise wouldn't consider. Like spending money on games for other people around Christmas, informing a girl of all the diseases your carrying after an evening of unprotected (and awesome!) sex, or grocery shopping. Fuck grocery shopping.

Well this Sunday is one of those times. It's what separates us from the rest of the world. It's why when they say football, and you see a skinny fruit-cake kicking a ball around, you just start laughing. You see that thing between your legs? Well if it twitches every time you see a picture of Megan Fox, guess what? Your obligated to watch the game on Sunday. If it twitches every time you see a picture of Brad Pitt, you still have to watch the game on Sunday, but big men in tight pants should be enough to hold your attention anyway.

Here's a few helpful hints to get you through the day:

1 - Drink.

Its superbowl fucking sunday. you should not be at home. if you are at home, your friends should be coming over. if your only concept of friends is a list of people on your xbox, well then clearly your doing it wrong and have bigger issues at hand. super bowl sunday is like mardi gras, without tits and beads (unless you watch the game at your local strip club, in which case, a winner is you).

the typical beverage of choice is beer. i recommend going with something familiar, because you should be drinking a lot of it. now is not the time for magic hat #9. your beer should come in cans, so it can be placed in a helmet that rests atop your head gloriously (also useful when gaming).

2 - Eat.

Super Bowl food is awesome. You get chips, lots of glorious chips. You get sandwiches so long, that it typically takes two grown men to carry them into the house. You get hot wings! If your a vegetarian, well i guess there's the carrots and celery that come with the wings. Just substitute all the good food with more beer, and your heading down the right track.

3 - Watch the commercials

They're usually pretty funny. I mean, the Super Bowl brought us Terry Tate, office linebacker, clearly the greatest thing on earth.

4 - Halftime

You might get to see a nipple. You never know! Granted, they're kinda oldish nipples, and they adorn odd jewelery, but boobs are boobs. Be on high alert.

5 - Profanity!

As gamers, we often get frustrated. I have a theory that gamers are some of the most eloquent of folks when working with profanity. Find out which team your buddies are supporting, and demonstrate your trash talking superiority.

See thats not so bad. A few hours out of your life once a year, and you get to bond with family, and bro's alike. Hell, you might even meet a girl. Girls that like football tend to be competitive. Girls that have a competitive nature tend to enjoy playing video games (even if they won't admit it, but fire up wii bowling and she'll show you whats up). Head out. Eat, drink and be profane. Your games will still be there when your done.   read

9:04 AM on 01.23.2009

Well... that's a first (Shaun White Snowboarding, 360)

Snowboarding is very near and dear to me. I worked in the industry for over 10 years, and despite not getting the 50 days a season i used to, i still head to the mountains every chance I get. With Amped 3 being the only viable snowboard title for this generation up to this point, i was eager to get my mittens on Shuan White. It was touted as being a more realistic experience than the SSX series, and comparisons to the realism of Skate were thrown around when the game was receiving press. Consider my interest piqued.

The game delivers a hand full of mountains which you can explore at your leisure, or you can complete challenges given to you by the flying tomato himself. While its nice to be able to do all the tricks right out of the gate, and head anywhere you want, you will need to play the career aspect in order to unlock new boards (which increase player stats), or to unlock special 'focus' powers. Herein lies the problem. The career challenges are lamer than Nick Cages acting (not the bees!). 'Hey, i'm off to europe, but before i go, i need you to find me 12 euro's', informs Mr Tomato. So you're off collecting, in a snowboard game. Fun stuff. If you like tedious, boring exploration, and a GPS system that really doesn't give you much of a clue as to where your heading. On numerous occasions, i find myself riding past the euros, having to get off my board and walk in the direction of the euro, only to encounter a cliff that i can't ascend, or to find that the euro is atop some ridiculous structure that's only accessible from a certain hit on the mountain. Collecting, in a snowboarding game, lame. No problem, i take my lumps, find the miserable fucking euros, and once again run into the burton/taget branded tomato. 'Hey, thankns for the euros. I'm off to Japan, can you find me some Yen?'. No, no mr white, i can't. Get fucked. This is the lamest career mode ever.

As for the rest of the game, its ok. The controls do work, but the boards they start you off with aren't really powerful enough to take advantage of the mountains. As mentioned earlier, i am probably not going to delve back into the realm of collecting foreign currency. The game looks pretty good sitting still, but some of the trick animations, especially if you go from an air to a rail can be a bit sketchy. I also remember reading that the game would cater to all riding styles. I'm a big fan of the backcountry, and while i can ride there, there is nothing added to the gameplay to make it rewarding. There is the concept of a near miss, for people taking clean adventurous lines through trees, but the feeling of carving does not translate to the gameplay. I was hoping the trigger buttons would be for edging, recreating the feeling of picking a line and having to manage getting from edge to edge cleanly to cut up the woods, but this was not the case. Movement was still controlled by the analogue sticks, and lets just say its far from exciting.

Now here's the kicker. THE LOADING SCREEN IS MORE FUN THEN THE ACTUAL GAME. Yeah, you read that right, this is the first time i've had more fun watching the game load then actually playing it. during the load screen, you have control of your rider in an endless superpipe. the controls work perfectly for halfpipe riding, and its actually a ton of fun. the mechanics just don't translate well to riding the rest of the mountain. not sure where ubi dropped the ball on this one, but consider it dropped. Well, at least there's Stoked in a few weeks, we'll hope for the best.   read

10:02 AM on 01.21.2009

getting ready to skate too.

a little something to tide you over til later today.


also, chris haslam is simply filthy. honestly, this guy pulls stuff that is more ridiculous than anything your landing in a video game.

[embed]118774:17125[/embed]   read

10:48 AM on 01.12.2009

Skate2 demo impressions from a blatant skate fanboy

Hey, you read the title, you clicked the post. I love skate. They could have put a turd on trucks and chances are, i'd be pretty psyched. Thankfully, this game is not a turd on trucks. Over the weekend, i can safely say among all my incomplete retail titles, nothing got as much attention as this demo, despite its hair pullingly short time restraint.

The demo is pretty good stuff, quickly introducing you to the world of skate, and showing off 2 of the new mechanics that the people have been clamoring for. The first you experience, is life off the board. I've heard people complain that walking is 'clunky'. Really? I can go up the stairs, you know what i do when i get up the stairs? I get back on my board (the game is called skate, not walk. If i wanted to play a clunky version of walk, i'd throw Mirror's Edge back in). The mechanic does what it promises, and outside of running up a flight of stairs to retry a rail, i don't see myself using this feature a lot, but its there and it works.

The second new mechanic that the demo introduces is the ability to reposition objects. The area provided for the demo is not the greatest for this mechanic. Sure there's a rail and a few kickers that can be repositioned, and it works as promised. There just wasn't any rearranging that really got me excited. What can you do? I'm sure there are parts of San Vanelona that are really just put this mechanic to good use, and i look forward to exploring it more.

Then there are a few more new features, that are not really introduced through the tutorials, but a little time in the trick list, and there available to you. The first was inverts. If your approaching the top of something with some vert, hold the RB and a direction, and your doing inverts. Honestly, i've never been a huge fan, especially when there are epic grinds and monster airs to pull, but this integrates flawlessly with the existing controls. Takes nothing away, adds something new, its a winner in my book. If your trying to get your speed up on a half pipe, its a nice little variation you can throw in just for kicks.

Also new to the fold is the somewhat selective control over the behavior of your legs, with respect to cruising, popping ollies, landing, etc.This is when the game gets to be quite a bit of fun. Though not easy to pull of, we can finally do some no complies, boneless, fastplants, etc. I had a ton of fun with this. Though maybe not as rewarding as popping a huge trick, riding up a fun box and fast planting off the top is just good times. Basically, you crack your ollie, grab, remove a foot by holding the A/X button and your player will land on his foot and shove off, rather than land directly on the board. It looks cool, feels cool, and its a great way to stay in shape. If your riding around, and charge the A/X buttons simultaneously, you'll charge up for a hippie-jump, which is basically just hopping off the board, while the board continues to roll. The timing is tricky, but watching your board glide under a rail while you sail over it is very satisfying.

The new play mechanics really pay off, and i look forward to seeing what the rest of the city has to bring to the table. I'm not too psyched about having to 'unlock' parts of the city to make it skate-friendly, but hey, blackbox hasn't let me down yet. Fingers crossed.

For other action sports fanatics, we are getting stoked 1 day before Skate2. Hopefully it's better than Shaun White, b/c i'm itching for a quality snowboard title.   read

10:24 AM on 01.06.2009

the best games you've never played: Intelligent Qube

The best games don't always have to have epic stories, gigantic explosions, and glorious HD graphics. Sometimes the best games are the ones that are easy to pick up, quick to learn, and difficult to master. Puzzlers have always been one of my favorite genres, especially when time is a factor, and this game does it better than most. When i purchased my first PSX, i threw all my money down on the console, and was left to twiddle with the demo disc packaged with the console for longer than i wanted to, fortunately, there were some serious winners on the disc, and IQ stood above the rest.

Premise is simple, there is a grid. A bunch of blocks start at one end and start rolling toward the other. These blocks can be captured by marking a square on the grid, and then deselecting it at the appropriate time. There are some special cubes thrown into the mix, like forbidden (black) cubes, which are not to be captured, as well as green cubes, which when trapped, will capture all cubes surrounding the spot on the grid which it occupied. the kicker is, that all green cubes must be initiated at the same time. sounds simple, but like all the best games, the difficulty really ramps up.

there are other subtleties, like rewarding a player with a perfect round (all grey and green cubes captured, while allowing forbidden cubes to pass) will increase the length of the grid by one row. you are allowed to miss a certain number of cubes, but when that allotment has been exceeded, the last row of the grid will begin to fall off. the game ends when the player falls off the grid. at the end of each round you are given a numeric score which is than translated to an IQ.

the game is great. as you get familiar, rather than just capture the cubes, you try to grab them all in as few manuvers as possible. perfect rounds are incredibly rewarding. this game is due for a revival, the psp's library is scarce, and this is one of those titles that screams portability. i guess not too many copies were produced, b/c its currently fetching around $80 on ebay. the perfect game to make your legs fall asleep on the toilet.   read

10:47 AM on 12.23.2008

what's NXEt?

aside from dyslexia, the arrival of the NXE and netflix paints a promising future for xbox 360 owners. in a recent article on Gizmodo, Shane Kim makes mention of wanting to bring Hulu to Xbox Live. Makes sense to me, Hulu gets more revenue through advertising, and Xbox Live has one spiffy free media player. I'm hooked on Hulu since losing my DVR, it's a great way to catch up on shows you've missed with minimal advertisements, for free. Kim goes on about how the XNE experience is about bringing fleshed out services to the console's OS, not not simply 'dropping in a browser' and seeing what works.

here's what would make me a happy 360 owner.

Pandora for live.
Pandora changed the way i listen to music. No longer do i listen to albums. I just plug in a band i wanna listen to, and they provide me with hours of epic new music, some of which i never heard before. i loves it. i'd love it on my 360. i'd really love to be able to stream my pandora playlists as the soundtrack to games that allow for custom soundtracks. make it happen.

not simply because i want more videos, but b/c it makes sense. if you could record and upload videos directly to youtube from your 360, i'm sure Vision Cam sales would go up substantially. As would terrible videos of people cursing out newbs for t-bagging them relentlessly on Halo. but this isn't from a quality standpoint as much as practicality.

ever since XNE was launched, gamertag motto's appear to be changing more frequently. maybe its the cute text bubbles over the avatar. who knows? but give the users the ability to link twitter to their avatar. b/c nothing is more important than the last time you pooped, or how you cut your sandwiches.

I enjoy kongregate's facebook app, it shows my friends what i'm playing right on my wall. why not up the ante and have xbox live and facebook interact? Better yet, recommend people i may know directly from live and let me friend them.

What would you like to see added to the NXE?   read

10:09 AM on 12.15.2008

squiggles! a survival guide to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom

So, if you imported Tatsunoko vs Capcom, or plan on importing, brace yourself for some squiggles. This is not the most import friendly title, menu screens, character names, all in squiggles. It's hard to find all the information your gonna need in one place, so here you go.

1 - ummm... this menu is not in english.

The Shoryuken wiki will break down the menus and their navigation, as well as break down the gameplay basics for ya. Good place to start.

2 - hat and cape man. hat and cape duck girl. lego. who the fuck are these people?

Tatsunoko character list with names and images.

3 - great! do you know Karas' moves?
Move's list from arcade cab.

There you go, all you need to get started.


-visually, this game impresses.
-sound-wise.. umm.. it's a Vs. game. expect bad J-Pop.
-chun li is amazing.
-i haven't played enough, but the characters do feel a little unbalanced. but when you are familiar with someone, i guess they're easier to play as.
-yami is cheap as fuck.
-the controls are tight, i've been playing with a cube controller so far, even with the analogue stick, the game is pretty spot on.

so yeah, if you were looking forward to this game, you won't be dissapointed. if your on the fence about it, but like the vs. series, i recommend it. if your unsure about it, or not a big fan of fighters, you can pass on it and not feel too guilty. the game is great for multi.. even if your friends aren't as experienced in capcom fighters, the new button layout and fairly simple combat system makes it pretty pick up and play friendly, while still rewarding to those that want to go deeper into the combat system. thumbs up for sure.   read

9:47 AM on 12.05.2008

hey shmup fans and psp owners..

this is quite the week! for $9.99 a piece you can pick up Super Stardust Portable and Everyday Shooter. This may be old hat to some of you folks with your big bad bluray boxes, but i ain't got one yet, and this was my first chance to get my grubby paws on these critically acclaimed titles. I've yet to pick up Everyday Shooter (i've seen it played, and it intrigues me, but i figure i'll space them out a bit, so i can actually get use out of my psp for more than a week or so).

Super Stardust portable makes me very happy. which is odd. considering the original required the use of 2 analogue sticks, and here i am playing it with a nub and some face buttons. which says tons about the developers who worked on this title. they nailed the controls. basically, you move the ship with the nub, and fire with the face buttons. holding a face button will fire a steady stream in that direction (holding 2 will fire horizontally), while quickly tapping the face button will produce the spread goodness you usually get from a little right stick waggle. sounds a little confusing. took a round or two to get used to, but it works and works well. another change from the ps3 version is that instead of flying around spherical planets (sweet!) your play field is your typical square, but the ends wrap, so if you fly as far up as you can, you come back through the bottom, but this is all seamless, so it kinda feels like flying around planets, i guess. either way, the game looks good, at times the tiny screen makes it hard to tell power-ups from other enemies, and enemy fire (there's a lot going on meng!) but its far from unplayable. there are 3 modes to choose from, arcade (fight through all the planets til ya die), planet something (try to get your high score on one planet), and then ummm.. impact mode, in which you cannot fire, and instead use your boost to attack enemies. simple gimmick, but lots of fun, as colliding with enemies prolongs your boost. when your done boosting, you have to avoid enemies for about 15 seconds (think pacifism in geo wars) until your boost is refilled, then the chaos picks back up. oh yeah, the planets are broken up into 4 waves, complete with boss battles. they're not too varried (i.e. boss one reappears as boss 3 only your fighting 2 of them, same for bosses 2 and 4), but they provide a good challenge.

for $10, do it. you won't regret it. i think there's global leaderboards as well. anyways, i'm happily impressed and surprised.   read

9:40 AM on 11.14.2008

is building hype worth the raping?

so its no secret. lots of us enjoy left 4 dead. valve fans, fps fans, and hardcore gamers have all been chomping at the bit to get their dose of co-op zombie shooting. they've got the press eating out of their hands, the fan's clamoring over the demo, and clearly developers are taking note. i don't think Horde is a happy coincidence. I don't think the tacked on OMG Zombies (or whatever its called) in World at War is a happy coincidence either. both of these games are AAA titles, and will fall into the hands of lots of casual and hardcore gamers alike. while L4D may review incredibly (which it looks like it will), as a casual gamer, what motivation do you have to purchase this game when you have a game like world at war with a similar mode tacked on? probably not much.

so while hype is a great way to get people talking about your name. keeping it on the tip of thier tongue. getting the pre-order money from the hardcore, in this case it may have backfired. anyone else notice this? you think console sales of L4D will suffer because of it? should developers shorten their hype-cycle? letting the cat out of the bag a year or two before release may prove to be deadly in this case, and while L4D may have the AI director, i don't think the casual gamers will take note.   read

9:33 AM on 10.27.2008

impressions on Street Fighter IV (console) and SF2 HD Remix

Along with the always awesome DTOIDNY crew, i ventured into Brooklyn this weekend for Capcom's Fight Club event. Where we got our grubby little mits on the console builds of street fighter 4 (both ps3 and 360) as well as what was looking like a very close to final build of HD Remix.

Upon entering the charming bodega that was setup to host the fights, we were greeted by 2 360's running the HD remix. Each console equipped with Hori goodness as not to take away from the amazing. The game looks stunning. You've seen the stills, and the animation is just silky smooth. The pacing and controls stay true to the formula, and i think many street fighter fans are gonna be in heaven. I only played one match, and used balrog, but observed quite a few others, and all the characters are looking smooth. if you have had high hopes for this game, you will not be disappointed. we didn't get to experience the online play, but as with all fighting games, i think its safe to assume it'll be lousy, but who cares? fighters are meant to be enjoyed next to the sad sack you are pummeling.

onto street fighter 4. the basement of the bodega was illuminated by the lights of about 15 samsung LCD's cranking out the goodness. A good spread of 360's and ps3's lined the walls with various control options, so that you could get a feel for how the game's gonna play when you finally get it into your house. i only played the 360 versions (not intentionally, they just had the shortest lines). first with the dpad, which was kinda lousy, but i managed to take down a couple fights using akuma. there was no slowdown, and everything looked great. it was my first SF4 experience, and it was very natural. no real learning curve. the game handled like street fighter, the pacing and distance of the attacks will be familiar to any fighting vets. after that, i tried the game out with the Hori sticks, and it was much better. unfortunately, so was Devon Riley, who handed me my ass using Balrog. its ok, delicious cookies make the pain go away. i think capcom had the cookies b/c they knew there would be a lot of people crying in the corner. i watched a few rounds on the ps3, and i couldn't tell the difference, both builds were running with no slowdown, and all the gamers were satiated.

to me, i think the best thing about the whole experience was just being in a room with so many fighting game fans. it took me back to the days of going to video fantasy and waiting to get my rounds in. people discussing combos and focus moves, sharing tips, cheering on the fighters, talking trash, it rekindled a feeling that i had long forgotten. online gaming is no substitute for being in the presence of other entusiastic gamers.

i walked away itching for more. i can't wait to have this game in my home. capcom knows how to make a fighter, and they definitely didn't drop the ball on this one.   read

10:28 AM on 10.23.2008

i see your pandora, and raise you one EVO

not all open source platforms become vaporware dammit! with the moderate success of the gamepark handhelds, it looks like a market is surfacing for the gamer whose not afraid to do it themselves. the next entry to the market may well be the proposed EVO Smart Console.

it's a linux based platform not unlike the successful handhelds, but this bad boy is designed to compete with traditional home consoles. it'll set you back about $600, but the mfg claims it'll be about $250 after rebates. you know, if the thing ever does actually come out.

here are some specs:
* Processor -- AMD Athlon 64x2 5600 clocked at 2.9GHz
* Graphics processor -- ATI HD 3200
* Memory -- 2GB DDR2
* Display -- supports 1080i and 1080p/HDCP resolution; ATI HD 3200 Chipset
* Video codecs -- H.564 VC1; MPEG2
* Video output -- DVI; HDMI
* Storage -- 120GB or 250GB hard drive, plus online cloud storage (10GB free)
* Peripherals -- CD/DVD ROM; biometric scanner
* Networking -- 2 x 10/100 Ethernet
* USB -- 2 x USB 2.0
* Dimensions -- 11.8 x 2.6 x 10,7 inches (300 x 65 x 273mm)
* Operating system -- Fedora 8 with option to convert to Linux-based

they plan on releasing a digital distribution platform so the DIY crowd can make some moolah peddling their wares. there's also talk of cloud storage, not sure if you'll be able to run games stored remotely, but you get 10G free with the option to upgrade. guess we're gonna have to wait a while for more concrete details, but i think its a novel idea and wish them the best of luck.

wanna buy? do so here.   read

8:44 AM on 10.21.2008

nintendo: pioneers of DLC (cereally)

Guess what console was the first to offer some form of DLC. The XBOX right? With the launch of the Xbox Live service, people where finally able to pay $5 and get some Pacmans. Wrong! How about the SNES back in 1995. Shenanigans you cry. I did too. But we're both wrong.

Behold the Satellaview, in all its glory. It was only released in Japan, but after first hearing about this elusive add-on, i had to go home and flip over my SNES. Guess what? There's a little connector on the bottom i never noticed. Not sure if it was intended for the Satellaview to grace our shores, but i don't remember any peripherals released here that used it.

So what was the Satellaview? It's actually named the BS-X, which stands for broadcast satellite transfer. it was basically a receiver that plugged into your snes and allowed you to pull content off a satellite broadcast and save it to the equivalent of a flash cart. When you purchased the receiver you also received an 8 megabit flashcard to store your titles. They ranged from remakes of classic games, down to new titles designed specifically for the service.

Another very cool feature was interactive layers added to games, such as streaming audio. The catch was, that at the time, you could not store the audio on the included cards, they would be broadcast similar to a standard radio show. So you'd have to game between certain hours of the day to have this functionality added. Really cool stuff. Way ahead of its time, and definitely not what you'd expect from a company that seems to have botched the online gameplay of today to a point that makes most gamers mutter words that start with F and end with K.

I could rewrite the wiki, but i'm not going to, i'll just link to it here. Just a little something i knew nothing about, hopefully you learned something today too :)


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