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9:55 PM on 05.14.2008

Korg DS-10 Synth release date announced.



Haven't heard to much about this since newsof it first broke...but I've been looking forward to the Korg DS-10 Synthesizer.

According to Play Asia it's set to come out in Japan on July 25th.

Did I preorder it?

You bet your sweet ass I did!!!

NICE!!!!   read


6:42 PM on 05.07.2008

California Extreme dates announced...soothes the bitter sting of CGE 2008 being canceled!

The California Extreme Website has just been updated!

A whole weekend of free to play Classic Arcade games.

You can check out my post for more information by pushing the nerd hoggin up the twilight zone pinball machine out of your way so someone else can get some time with the silver ball.

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5:04 PM on 05.02.2008

E3...dead for reals this time?

A few sites have reported that several big name publishers will not be going to E3 this year...worse yet they're dropping the ESA all together!

Oogle these boothbabes to get my take:


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6:53 PM on 04.29.2008

Breaking free from MySpace...

So I finally started up my blogger blog in earnest. I'm slooowly porting over all my MySpace blog posts so I can put that one to bed.

For those of you on here who are my friends and want to keep up with more than just my video game playing habits I suggest you check it out. Once I get the pod cast up and running I'm going to try to publish it through there as well (anyone else want to get in on the ground floor...let me know I'm looking for a couple of interested parties to be on the show...we'll see where it goes.

Anyway to whet your appetite I'm going post the huge bunch of pictures I took at E3 2006...yeah I know it's a little dated...but might be interesting to see what I saw as an "industry insider" and it was technically the birthday of Destructoid so it's relavant.

Enjoy:










































































































































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12:17 PM on 04.01.2008

The next time your grandma starts talking about those violent video games, shame her by waving her large text crossword book in her face and snearing, "Look at YOU Grandma! You've been a gaming addict for 70 years!"

Alright, let's get the justifications out of the way first. I know that Destructoid is a Video Game blog...but I think that as gamers most of us like games in all forms. Be it good old fashioned D&D or Trivial Pursuit or Poker or pinball or whatever, so I think there's room for "gaming related" posts. And that's what this is going to be.

Neatorama has a fascinating article up today about the history of the crossword puzzle. In fact they have also posted the world's first ever crossword puzzle which was written by Arthur Wayne and published in the New York World magazine in 1913.

Now I'm a big Crossword fan, going so far as buying the New York times Crossword Puzzle game for the DS. Which if you have a big commute and have maxed out all the classes in Puzzle Quest, is a highly recommended DS time passer.

The most fascinating thing about this post is the sense of Deja Vu I got when reading about the so called "Crossword Craze" of the 1920s. Take the following excerpt:

Some folks were driven over the edge by the craze. In 1924, a Chicago woman sued her husband for divorce, claiming "he was so engrossed in solving crosswords that he didn’t have time to work." The judge ordered the man to "limit himself to 3 puzzles a day and devote the rest of his time to domestic duties." In 1925, a New York Telephone Co. employee shot his wife when she wouldn’t help with a crossword puzzle. And in 1926, a Budapest man committed suicide, leaving an explanation in the form of a crossword puzzle. (No one could solve it.) Eventually, the craze died down. It took The New York Times to revive it.

It's like EverCrack wives and Chinese MMO-ers skipping bathroom breaks but 80 years ago.

It's so interesting to see how the more things change the more things stay the same. It's like now a days if you heard someone talking about "crossword addiction" it'd be laugable. Here's hoping that in 80 years the idea of "video game addiction" and "video games teaching you to kill" will seem just as quaint to our grandkids as this article is to us today.   read


4:50 PM on 03.31.2008

Come n' Get yer retro game rarities!

Over the weekend, while cleaning the kitchen, I finally got around to listening to a couple of episodes of retrogaming radio.

This show is so great. It has extremely in depth editorials (such things as "what was the greatest "pack in game" ever?") and well reasoned reviews of retro games and of course virtual console / XBLA / PSN releases.

Each episodes also includes a couple of segments that I found to be totally fascinating and unlike anything I'd heard on other retro gaming themed podcasts.

The first is called "hardware flashback". In the show I listened to it had this old timer from somewhere in the south judging by his accent who went on for about a half hour discussing the intricacies of restoring old pinball machines. Totally fascinating. I mean this is all information that exists on the internet in some form or another, but this was the first time I'd heard it presented in such an informed and passionate manner. I could have listened to a two hour pod cast with just this guy going on about the difference between the audio interfaces of williams pinball machines verses stern pinball machines. Just amazing.

The second segment was called "Chasing the Chuck Wagon" and is a reference to the obscure Atari 2600 cartridge that was a Purina Dog Chow adver-game released in the early 80s which is now something of a collectors item. This segment is presided over by a collector from southern california who not only goes over his recent finds at swap meets and yard sales...but also puts these items up for bid on his web site. And not some exorbitant ebay prices either, this guy sells these items for the swap meet prices he paid for them. For instance he was selling a color dreams game which he claims would fetch 100 bucks on ebay for the five dollars he bought it for. Bottom line, that is awesome. A retro gamer collector who appreciates collecting and community over hoarding and making a fast buck. Just really really admirable.

Towards those ends I thought I'd link to this guys website Chasing the Chuck Wagon (dot) com. There's not a lot up there right now, but there are a few retro game items, like a Saturn system and some older Atari games.

I just really like the idea of a site for buying and selling retro games that isn't filled with the speculative bullshit you see on ebay. God knows I wouldn't mind picking up a couple old Atari games here and there if I didn't have to pay out the ass for them. Hopefully traffic for this site will pick up and we'll start seeing some good games coming through this site.   read


12:09 PM on 03.31.2008

Red ring fairy visited me this weekend.

Yesterday was a pretty good day over all. Had a great bike ride with PK and Becca. Two hours went to farmers market and got some nice marinated tri tip. Came home...had some margaritas and made tacos...it was great.

Then we decided to play some drunken rock band. And wouldn't you know it, after a year and a half of faithful service my Xbox red ringed on me. I thought it might be due to the patch for rock band I had just downloaded as I remember that the bioshock patch I downloaded had also brought up the red rings...but clearing the cash and starting the box up without a hard drive had brought it back to life. that was four months ago, so I figured it had just been a glitch.

Well no such glitch this time. I tried everything. But it is just dead dead dead.

So I've got a Microsoft coffin on it's way to my house as I write this. I just hope I dont' run into any of the DRM issues that some of my friends have had with XBLA games.

I don't think Becca could easily forgive Microsoft if they took away her Puzzle Quest.   read


7:40 PM on 03.28.2008

Does anyone else think that Play magazine is basically just full of shit?

Those guys are the biggest fan boys in the world.

I just got done reading through the previews in a Play magazine that was on top of a pile of game mags here at work, and it's like fucks sake...is every liscensed platformer going to "redefine" the genre? Is every game with a fucking female protagonist really doing that much to "undermine genre conventions"?

! I'll tell you right now...with all this talk lately about the value of game reviews, I know that the higher the review score in Play...the less I want to buy the game in question.

And let's not even get started on the girls of gaming magazines. God what a bunch of fapping fan boys.   read


2:44 PM on 03.28.2008

Commodore 64 Games coming to UK Wiis tomorrow!!!

According to what appears to VC Reviews , the Commodore 64 is coming to Wiis in the UK tomorrow!!

This seems sort of strange since the C64 was nowhere near as popular in the UK as the Spectrum or the Amstrad...so for them to get it first...well it'd be like if America was the first to get support for the MSX emulator on VC before Japan.

International Karate and Uridium will be the first two games available for the C64 VC.

I really really hope that Retroforce Go gets a few new members who can actually talk about these games (I love those guys but to hear the Phantasy Star podcast next to the Retronauts Phantasy Star podcast...it was sad...it was like listening to my mom talk about video games...I mean come on...they talked about the sega network like they had never even heard of it.)

Seems like no retro centric podcasts really get classic micro computers. Which is too bad. Maybe podcastle...but I never listen to that so, I could be out of the loop.

But shit. There is so much GOLD in the c64. So many great games. The CID chip music alone is worth downloading some of these games.

I can't wait. When it comes out in the US I'm going to try to do some posts on each game and its history etc. This is really exciting.   read


5:51 PM on 03.04.2008

Video Games and Story Telling

During GDC there were a couple of articles about storytelling in games.

I won't attempt to truncate or provide analysis on these forums and seminars and interviews. But the sense I get from all this talk and group think is that in general there seem to be two popular methods of conveying plot, thematic messages, and character development in modern video gaming.

The first method can be described as telling the story between the interactive segments of a game. This could be labeled teh "Cut Scene" method and it seems that a trend is forming to pin this type of story telling on games that can trace their lineage to the japanese school of game design (J-RPGs, SHMUPS, and Platformers).

The second method can be described as immersive "in world" storytelling. This method attempts to convey all of a games plot, character development and themes through NPCs or found objects within the game world. Usually this type of game play is attributed to more Americanized Genre's like First Person Shooters (Bioshock, Half Life, Portal) and American RPGs (World of Warcraft, Oblivion, ETC).

Of course I'm generalizing here. There's a lot of grey area, like the Grand Theft Auto Games, which I think do a pretty good job of conveying a lot of the story (such as it is) "in game". There are still establishing cut scenes...but a lot of the action in the missions helps to convey plot and character development. Additionally you have games like The suffering and to a lesser extent Halo which have cut scenes but also have characters you can interact with and objects in the game world that help the gamer connect with and better understand the world and their character's place within it.

The most compelling argument I've heard for this split in story telling techniques is the advancement of technology. It has been said that as games progressed in terms of their audio visual fidelity they became far better at conveying story in and of themselves. Where as in the days of 8-Bit and Arcade games the crude graphics did not lend themselves well to complex story, which usually led to text heavy games, and eventually grandiose cut scenes that served to further add wow factor.

Additionally for some gamers cut scenes were seen as a reward for finishing a level. In other games (like twisted metal or Silent Hill) an alternate cut scene might be reason enough to play through an entire game several times.

But which method is better? Is one really better than another?

My girlfriend hates cut scenes. She furiously button mashes her way though them. She hates useless talking and text. Because of this she has a strong dislike for J-RPGs and simply can't understand what I see in the Pheonix Wright Games.

I've always liked cut scenes. Mostly because I ascribe to the school of thought in which a cut scene is a "reward" for beating a level. It's kind of like a break in the action.

But that isn't to say I didn't LOVE BioShock or Half Life. Those games were totally great. But would they really have been any less enjoyable if they had had Doom 3 style cut scenes?

I don't think so. The core gameplay was so good that if I would have enjoyed them. Now would they have been as good if all the story elements had been stripped out of the game and placed in cut scenes instead? I think they would have suffered. I loved how in bioshock you could pick up the diary's and listen to them while yo ucontinued to walk around and interact with the game. Total Genius. Wouldn't have worked if all that stuff was in a cut scene that my girlfriend was skipping through. The diary's was like the best of both worlds. I could nerdily listen to every single diary and my girlfriend would never have to stop filling splicers full o' lead.

But it's kind of hard to imagine a game like Devil May Cry without cut scenes. I mean I can 't image conveying Dante's over the top personality with out the camp cut scenes.

Would it ahve worked to have NPCs running around talking to a silent Dante a la the humans do to Gordan Freeman in Half LIfe? I think something would have been lost.

And what about games like House of the Dead or Ikaruga. In an arcade style game I don't want a bunch of NPCs yapping at me...I just want to play. In both of these games the brief cut scenes let me stretch my fingers and take a breath.

So how bout you? What types of story telling do you prefer? Do you ascribe to this whole Japanese cutscene vs American Silent Protagonist theory?   read


5:00 PM on 03.04.2008

Japanese Microsoft Points called "Gates"?



My dad is kind of a history buff. All his life he has dreamed of heading to the east coast for an exhaustive tour of Civil War battle fields. To most people this sounds like an incredibly boring waste of a couple of weeks. But I understand where the old man is coming from.

Like him I too harbor a dream to visit a location that those in the general public might regard with disdain and disapproval. Like most video game hobbyists (I assume including anyone reading this post) I would like nothing more than to spend a week trolling through the Junk Shops, Game Stores, and Arcades in Japan's Akihabara Denki Gai.

The place sounds awesome. I've been keeping up with the Akibablog in my RSS feed ever since it started being simultaneously reposted in English. Most of the time it's pretty NSFW so I have a tendency to quickly scan through the posts with my finger hovering over the delete button. But to day I stumbled upon this post.

Seems innocuous enough. I guess (based on the Babel Fish quality english translation) that the story is about the "success" of idolmaster leading to a big bump in the purchase of Microsoft Points.

But the funny thing is that in Japan, their not called Microsoft points. They appear to be called "Gates" points. Which I have to say is kind of cool. Well not so much cool as maybe kind of qwerky and kitschy. It's almost like "Oh cute, in Japan Bill Gates is like the Mario of the Xbox." And then my brain starts making logic leaps like Bill Gates staring in a series of platformers and cartoonish sports sims. Which would eventually lead to a cart racing game with Bill Gates, Robbie Bach, and J. Allard. Maybe even an unlockable Peter Moore for old times sake.

Does anyone know if this is true? Are Microsoft points called "Gates" in Japan?[img]   read


1:03 PM on 02.01.2008

Slippery when wet!

[img]http://kotaku.com/assets/images/gallery/9/2008/02/thumb1280x1280_2235243520_42c33e7ae7_o.jpg[/im
g]

I'm sure these have been up other places to, but I stumbled across this
gallery over at Kotaku.

I haven't played any other tomb raider games besides the original and Legend on Xbox.

After seeing the screen shots in Play and now these, I must say it looks great. It seems like we live in a time
when screen shots are not very compelling. I usuall need to see video, or better yet a playable demo.

But these shots take me back to the 90s when EGM screen shots were enough to get me salavating for a
game years before it would see the light of day.

Here's a couple more stolen from Kotaku to save your clicking finger some trouble.

[img]http://kotaku.com/assets/images/gallery/9/2008/02/thumb1280x1280_2234467147_e64b564ae6_o.jpg[/im
g]
[img]http://kotaku.com/assets/images/gallery/9/2008/02/thumb1280x1280_2234487813_a8bc4fb495_o.jpg[/im
g]
[img]http://kotaku.com/assets/images/gallery/9/2008/02/thumb1280x1280_2235291998_6735aa76d7_o.jpg[/im
g]   read


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