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4:29 PM on 07.17.2009

BioShock 2 Release Date Battle Begins!



The announcement of BioShock 2's delay has definitely pissed me off. It was one of the games that I was dying to get my hands on this holiday. After a recent visit to my local GameStop, I saw this preorder list in a big binder. Pictured above, I discreetly took a picture with my super sweet cell phone that has GameStop listing BioShock 2's release date as January 4th, 2010. So, it is missing the holidays by one and a half weeks. Kind of sucks, but, also made me kind of happy.

Happy, that is, if this date is indeed correct. At least it is not too far away from the holiday season. Just thought I'd share my find in case you guys hadn't already seen or heard about it.

However...I decided to put my unique, one of a kind, web research talents to use. Amazon.com, which is selling it for $3 off if you preorder it (apparently), has a published January 31st release date on their website. I took a picture for your pleasure.



I scampered over to Best Buy's website to see what they believed to be this highly anticipated game's release. They were a little behind, however, and still published a November 3rd, 2009 release date. C'mon guys, get with the program LOL M I RITE?? Here's a picture of their fail:



So, what's it going to be? I'd like to go with GameStop's prediction because it's the earliest! I wonder what makes retailers publish whatever the fuck release date they feel like? Is it wishy-washy-ness from the publisher or what?

This is exactly what I hate about the preorder business. All these retailers want to make money now, so they'll throw up release dates for whatever date they want. I mean, God of War III has been preoderable (from GameStop at least) for a long time, and the release date just keeps getting pushed back.

Just also want to make it noted: All pictures were captured today, July 17th, 2009. Seems a little early to be loosing your hair over a game that won't come out in 6 months lol?

Anyway, I am excited to see who wins the battle. Pretty sure Best Buy already lost. Keep the practice, guys!   read


10:41 AM on 07.16.2009

Marcus Fenix Apparently Has a Diary



Okay, well, not really. But, in case you did not know, there is a wonderful lady who has taken it upon herself to write books in the Gears of War universe! I stumbled across the first book (pictured on the left) while I was looking for Discworld novels at Borders that I had not yet read (which is a tough feat... I've read pretty much all of them). Having played Gears of War and Gears of War 2 and loving the crap out of both experiences, I had to buy this book. I finished this book four days later because it was [/i]that[/i] good. It was like my Harry Potter experience all over again. A book that just couldn't be put down! And, it offered a pretty awesome insight to the main characters.

If you like to read or if you like the Gears of War universe, pick this shit up! The best part is... there's a second book coming! From author Karen Traviss, the second book will only retail at $15 according to the press release on the official Gears of War website and will be available on July 28th.

The first book is a prequel to the first game, although the very beginning didn't seem to match up. It must have been a prequel to Gears of War 2 because in the book, Fenix has already been broken out of jail and his association with Hoffman is edgy because of what happened. The second book will pick up where Gears of War 2 left off as Fenix and his buddies escort survivors from Jacinto to a safe haven.

I am anxiously awaiting the announcement of Gears of War 3. It has to be coming!   read


8:23 PM on 07.12.2009

Remove GameStop stickers LoL

So, I always hear people bitch about GameStop's stickers on their used games and the shit residue they leave when they unsuccessfully try to peel the buggers off. So, I decided to create a little how-to video to show these kids how to remove these stickers because, to be honest, I am so sick and tired of reading and hearing about how GameStop sucks ass because they put tons of stickers all over their shit. I am mostly sick and tired about the bashing because plenty other retailers do it too.. Play N Trade, for example, uses stickers the size of a pornstar's dick on their games.

So, without further ado, here is the video how-to.

[embed]139547:20571[/embed]

There you have it. Now you know how to remove stickers without using chemicals like Goo Gone and if you are too lazy to do this and still complain, you should be dressed in a cheddar suit and thrown in a pit of rabid rats.   read


2:29 PM on 07.08.2009

Power in My Hands, part II

Power in My Hands, part 2 is the continuation of an inFAMOUS fan-fiction short story, viewing an event in Empire city through the eyes of an EMT who viewed himself as morally sound... and still does... for now. Power in My Hands, part I can be viewed here: http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/zgerhard/power-in-my-hands-136161.phtml


In dire circumstances, boys become men. We do things we told ourselves we never would. Then, our dire circumstance arrives and we headstrong individuals stick to our guns. We stick to our guns because the circumstance is not quite dire - only the closest we have come so far. My threshold broke last night.

I dumped the Reaper's body in the river. I had no limitations. Everyone saw. Nobody cared. I just hope I have made a bigger impact to these peoples' lives. This thug won't even be remembered by his own mother.

The AK-47 that Mr. Light Socket gave me hung over my shoulder. I decided it was a necessity to survive and vowed I would not let the power overcome me. The power, the control of whether a person lives or dies was nothing to take lightly. My patients weren't disturbed by the weapon's presence; I still felt uncomfortable wielding it though.

With my feet dangling off the edge of my gas station's roof, I watched all the citizens buzzing about, wandering with no purpose, like college students, except there was no party down the block.

I pulled out my bottle of water. Clean, drinkable water was almost impossible to find now. I stocked up on as much as I could, taking from the river before the people inevitably soiled it. Now I am no better, though, polluting the river with the scrumptious corpse of a thug. In dire circumstances, you become someone you didn't plan to be. I took a big swig of the luke-warm water. It was refreshing nonetheless. I screwed the cap on, but some how managed to catapult it out of my hands to the ground below. Fuck.

I hung from the roof, letting my legs dangle before dropping. I made it a point not to roll, not sure how my new friend AK-47 would feel about that. Instead, I bounced awkwardly forward and slid an uncomfortable bit on my palms.

"Sweet!" I heard a grizzly voice behind me. An old man, a... passerby, for lack of a better word, grabbed my bottle. I got to my feet as fast as I could.

"That's mine," I said as sternly as possible. I was not very intimidating, however, even as I glared coldly into the old man's blue eyes.

"I found it," the old man replied. "There are no rules anymore."

Attired with my AK-47 apparently did not make me an intimidating image either. With one swift upper torso jolt, I swung the rifle from my back into my hands. The man turned and ran as fast as his run-down body would let him. Empire City had gone so far down the shitter, these crazies would put their life on the life for a drink of water. We really were in the animal kingdom now. He could have just asked, I thought. I would've given him a sip. Instead, I raised my rifle and took careful aim as best as I knew how and rested my finger on the trigger.

One heartbeat later, I lowered my vehicle of judgment. What the hell was I doing? I was an EMT. A medic playing doctor. I wanted to help these people. That was my goal and here I am, ready to pull the trigger and plow a common scavenger to death with bullets. He's just trying to get by like everyone else. Fuck.

"You're a fucking pussy," a witness yelled over. "I would've wasted the fucker," he added and laughed. Questionable people walked the streets night and day, and I was not surprised. Most people in this city would not even hesitate before pulling the trigger. Survival of the fittest was the primary law now. Down on the streets was a questionable place to be for a long period of time. Unless, of course, you wanted to mingle with these questionable people. My rooftop clinic was safe - for the most part. Most peoples' bad ideas vaporized when they spotted the sick and wounded patients resting. The Reapers were the only bastards so far heartless enough to attack it. Still, I carried my new found toy just in case circumstances changed. Anything was possible now. For instance, I can lay waste to this prick calling me a pussy. o, now was not a dire circumstance. Now was a time to show my true character. I help those in need. I let my guard down and walked away from the street punk. I watched him walk away from my rooftop. I wonder if he will live to see tomorrow? No one ever knew.

I had scavenged a pad lock and key from a now defunct hardware store. Most people hit the grocery stores first. I used the lock to secure a box - a box I filled with bottles of water for myself and my patients. I had it all rationed out, but this recent theft had me digging in earlier than I wanted. Taking this water felt wrong. It was for my patients primarily. IT was like tapping into your kid's college fund for that much needed vacation. Still, if I didn't make it, none of these poor bastards would either. Tapping into their... our water supply early was a necessary evil. Damn, I feel important.

I crawled on an empty cot and listened to my patients' coughing and labored breathing. In time, they'd make it okay. I knew that for now. I hugged my AK-47 like a teddy bear. You know, just in case.

It took a while to get used to sleeping outside - especially among my own patients. It would be a while more until I got used to sleeping with a tool of destruction. Didn't even know how many bullets I had left. But, if whoever I pointed it at didn't know either, did it really matter?

Barely fallen asleep, I heard a person climbing up on my roof. It had happened before, but in light of recent events, I got a little nervous and clutched my rifle, pretending to be fully asleep. I listened intently to my intruder's movements - breathing quickly and moving just so. The person made his way over to me faster than I anticipated and clutched my shoulder. To my surprise, that's all he clutched and he shook me while urgently whispering "doctor!"

"Yes?" I asked, fully opening my eyes. I recognized him as a previous patient. A scavenger had broken a few of his fingers and knocked him out cold while stealing a loaf of bread from him. I invited him to come see me any time he needed help. Almost regret that invitation now.

"A man, a man needs help!" He raised his volume and pointed with his crooked fingers. "Just two blocks down!"

I shushed him. "There are sick people here."

"Sorry," he urgently whispered. "Please, come!" It wasn't unusual for people ot request my help late at night - but every time I wanted to tell them they got the wrong guy. Kind of hard to fake being one of the only doctor-capable persons in a five block radius. But, after a few moments of being awake and seeing our desperate surroundings, I got a second wind for I remembered why I did what I did.

I rolled out of my cot, awkwardly managing the AK-47 at my side. "Lead the way," I said.

"Name's Simon," he whispered before taking off. I guess I should've remembered, but keeping a distance from my patients was a priority. I had enough to deal with; I didn't need to make friends with dying men.

The streets were just as dead at night as they were during the day. Garbage littered the streets and the citizens of Empire City were littered among it. It was all right, though, because everyone ignored you. It wasn't like before the blast when every homeless person begged you for anything and wouldn't shut up until you gave them something, anything. No one really had anything to give anymore.

I jogged behind Simon, dodging and hurdling small piles of trash. I could hear the wailing of a man in the distance.

As I got closer, I saw the figure, the wounded man. He was lying on his back clutching his abdomen. Many stabbing victims came across my path and all for the same reason: someone wanted something that didn't belong to them and they wanted it real bad. Problems arose when the other party involved refused to give up the object of interested, most commonly food or water. I was almost in such a situation.

I mentally prepared myself as I hurried down the last block. I saw the man grabbing his gut and assumed an abdominal stab wound. Stop the bleeding - I had old t-shirts neatly ripped into squares. Clean, for the most part. Cleaner than anything I could get a hold of now. Back in the day, that was enough - stop the bleeding and let the surgeon at the hospital worry about removing the weapon and closing the reopened wound. But, hospitals didn't exist here anymore. Had to seal the wound as soon as possible and hope for the best. Some made it, some were unlucky - a disruption in the bowls was especially lethal without the proper resources.

I quickly knelt down by the man upon arriving by his side and immediately recognized him. Thief. Without my water bottle - most likely what put him in this situation. Ironic. At least my AK-47 would have been a quick death. If I could aim.

For the first time in my entire career, I did not want to help. I stared at the old man. A broken bottle protruded from his stomach and he was in a puddle of his own blood. He might make it, but my will to interfere in any way had been sucked out of me.

"My bottle of water was stolen twice, wasn't it?" I sternly asked, my consideration for his life thrown out the window. It was a big bottle of water, and there was no way an old man could walk down the street for a long time without anyone attempting to claim it for their own. Unless he hid it, which, by the looks of it, he did not do. His eyes opened wide and his wails for help diminished. He looked terrified for he recognized me and recognized his mistake; to have stolen from the one man who could help you. You watch your neighbor's back and they watch yours. That was a ground rule of society. As soon as you made the decision to only be out for yourself, we became a part of the animal kingdom. But, like before, I again remembered why I did what I did. Someone had to keep the civility.

I reached for my old t-shirt bandages in my messenger bag and my hand bumped into my rifle. I revisited last night. I remembered how shocked I was to suddenly have this power over human life in the palm of my hands. As I pulled the broken bottle out of the man's abdomen and padded his wound, I pondered the choice I had just made.

Control over whether or not someone lives or dies was no longer new to me. Turns out, I've had such power in my hands for a long time.   read


5:49 AM on 06.21.2009

Censor This! FU

I hate Jack Thompson. I hate Cooper Lawrence. I hate dolts who think violent video games skewer kids' perception of reality. That's your job, Mom and Dad. And my favorite part is that everyone and their mothers gets up in arms about violent video games and the images on the video game cover boxes.

Why is it then that I see this upon going to CNN.com to get news? A place I have been getting news since I was a freshman in high school nine years ago.

I saw this heartwarming image...



Kind of reminiscent of the Left 4 Dead cover, isn't it?

Why isn't CNN being attacked for this audacious display of violence just as much as video games are being bashed? At least I have the choice not to purchase a game if I think it looks violent. Going to CNN.com for news... well, I didn't really have a choice. It was just BAM! The bloodied hand of a dying protester in Iran. Awesome.

One of the reasons I am repulsed by this image is because I know this is real. It is similar to when those gunmen attacked in India and the pictures of bloodied train stations were posted on this same news website. My parents did a good job of making me understand the difference between fake and real. I am a pacifist in all regards, I hate guns and weapons and I oppose warfare and all that good junk. However, I love killing bitches in Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, BioShock, Mass Effect, Grand Theft Auto, and such violent "killing machine trainer" video games. You know, because pushing X to reload is incredibly similar to reloading an actual AK-47.

I am just incredibly peeved that parents can relinquish their responsibilities, blame video games, especially when images like this are posted on easily accessible news websites that kids most likely regularly visit for research and info for classes.

Now, I am not that upset at the picture - I could care less - I am not that uptight. It's just the conflict of interest in the censorship. I hate it.

/rant   read


4:52 PM on 06.18.2009

Swedes poke Blizzard about StarCraft 2!

So, two Swedes (the only Swedes who have a game show in that over thar country) managed to poke designers of StarCraft 2 with some interesting questions at DreamHack.

As I was listening to this interview (mostly because I am fortunate enough to be fluent in Swedish:P) I was again reminded why I love every game this company develops. It has something to do with the "we won't release the game until its ready" but more... it has to do with their passion to put together an experience to tell a story. The designers reminded the crowd again and again how the multiplayer part of the game was separate from the campaign and that the campaign had almost zero relation to multiplayer: playing the campaign would not prepare you for Battle.net and the campaign even allowed for features and such that would never make its way into multiplayer because they were so intent on creating an experience that could tell a story. And, folks, that's one of the reasons yours truly likes to play videogame: the story.

The heroes that were introduced in WarCraft 3 were an awesome addition to the RTS series. I am saddened, however, to know that they will not introduce this same hero system into StarCraft 2. They actually intentionally avoided it and, according to the interview, did it so to better allow battles of a grand scale and allow multiple battles to take place in a more balanced setting. The designers mentioned that when the hero was involved in a battle in WarCraft 3, the focus was always on the battle with the hero, and the hero pretty much decided the win. They wanted large battles in StarCraft 2 and they wanted multiple battles to take place. With a hero system, this would not happen as the focus would always shift to the battle(s) involved with the hero. I think.

One of the Swede interviewers mentioned that they were disappointed by WarCraft 3's soundtrack because it sounded too synth-like and lacked a melody. Good news on the front: the designers confirmed that StarCraft 2 will have full orchestra recordings for an epic soundtrack. This is pretty sweet. I smell GameStop pre-order bonus!

Blizzard is releasing each race's campaign as a separate game. When this was first announced, people all over were calling shenanigans that Blizzard just wanted to make as much money as possible a la Lords of the Rings trilogy. However, these lead designers explained that when they were initially creating the missions to tell Jim Raynor's story, the missions and the story grew, and it grew so large that there was no way they could pack it all in one game. Now, the multiplayer will be ready to rock upon the first chapter's release for all those hungry for Battle.net, but whether or not changes will be implemented into the multiplayer with each successive chapter is not yet known. The designers claim that they will have to assess the community's response to the first game before they can make any decisions. Good answer!

The beta is "not even quarters" away the designers say, and they added that their goal is to have the game release this year. I am crossing my fingers. This game has been on the to-do list for way too long. Eleven years to be exact.

The full video interview can be seen here: http://www.press2play.tv/Spel/vrldsexklusiv-starcraft-2inter-802.aspx

Yes, there are subtitles!

So, definitely saving up for a new Alienware laptop so that I can play this and Diablo III. Excitement commence!   read


1:06 PM on 06.14.2009

Power in My Hands

[Power in My Hands is an inFAMOUS fan-fiction short story, viewing an event in Empire city through the eyes of an EMT who views himself as morally sound... for now]



“Thank you, doctor,” the man whispered as I cleaned out his stab wound. I threw him a fake smile before bringing my focus back to his damaged body.

“I had half a loaf…” the man whispered again. “Stabbed for a few slices…”

The man was impaled rather deeply in his abdomen, but the knife fortunately missed all the important organs. I stopped the bleeding. For now.

“Try not to talk too much, or walk. Just rest,” I told the man. “You will have a scar once this heals. I can’t stitch this up for you.” The man laid on the gurney in silence.

If he had been stabbed a few hours earlier he may have had better luck, but victims of similar assaults were flooding into my make shift clinic and supplies were rather hard to come by. That’s usually the case in a post-terrorist attack and quarantined city. I don’t think life will ever return to normal in the Neon or anywhere else in this forsaken city.

I applied a heavy bandage to the man’s gut. “Just rest and you will be fine,” I reassured him.

“Thank you, doctor,” he said again.

I walked away from the man and moved through my small maze of gurneys I had set up atop the roof of an old gas station. The homeless wandered below. Hell, we were all homeless now. Mixed amongst them were the slightly stronger, probably robbing and pillaging. The other half of the slightly stronger were trying to protect what was left and some were still debating which course of action was best to take.

The gas station’s roof was like my safe island among a sea of anarchy; anarchy that will eventually yield the results of a survival of the fittest contest. After that, who knows what will happen? At this point, waiting for the government to step in and help felt like a lost cause. It had been days, and the only thing the government had given us was an armed barricade and lethal doses of bullet rain for anyone trying to escape. At least I had my island. Of course, I had seen this so-called terrorist flying around town. Stan Lee’s idea of Spider-Man is apparently not that far-fetched. After what has happened in the past couple of days, nothing would surprise me anymore. My wife was probably cheating on me. Whore.

Gunshots will always startle me, though. A small group of Reapers, the bloody gang of drug dealers trying to own the place via AK-47s, decided to show up, guns blazing. The medicine I stockpiled to help sick people must’ve garnered their interest.

I threw myself down on the roof as the gang approached, yelling and firing in the air. Their scare tactic was working. I could hear my patients’ fear as their breathing turned to hyperventilation. Who knew what these sick bastards were going to do? The scariest part was that we all knew what they were capable of doing. In a selfish move for my own safety, I slid off the roof as stealthily as I could and dove behind an overflowing dumpster. If I live to see another day, I can help save more people, though it will be at the expense of my current patients’ lives. Funny how that works, and how in times like these, you always find a way to justify your actions. I wasn’t even a real doctor – just an EMT. But, I’m a quick learner I thought. I’m making the right choice.

I watched the scavenging bastards ungracefully climb up to the roof of the defunct gas station. I was certain I had gotten away unseen. In any case, the Reapers wore such large hoods and masks that it was a miracle they could see at all.

“Where’s the drugs?” I heard a grizzled voice shout from the roof top. Then a few gunshots. A gurney flung from the roof. I would most certainly have become a dead man had I stayed up there. Luckily I got away unseen – or so I thought.

I heard a crackle – like lightning – in the distance and then the terrorist was behind me in a split second. I froze.

“What’s going on up there?” He asked me, his voice marked by a distinct anger and frustration. I’d heard mixed stories about this human light socket – the TV hijacker claimed he was a terrorist, the cause of the blast that sunk our city to the pits, but nearly every soul I ran into had nothing but praise for him. He seemed well-intentioned right now.

“Reapers pillaging my clinic,” I finally replied, getting my head back in the game. “Probably looking for my meds, but they’re shooting up the place while they’re at it.”

He glanced up at the roof and told me to stay put. He flung himself up on the roof like a gymnast and proceeded to exercise his electrical powers on the Reapers. With a few strikes of lightning from the terrorist’s palm, the drug dealers fell from the roof, fried like a pig roast. It smelled great, too. There was nothing I could do to save those poor souls; they were victims of their own circumstance. Our so-called terrorist friend was dealing some brutal vigilante justice, but he spared one man. One heavily beaten and burned man, trapped to the pavement by what looked like sparkling electrical hand cuffs. I felt our light socket friend had the situation under control and it was safe to expose myself. I caught myself – I told myself never to refer to him as a terrorist again. He just saved my life and my clinic. Mr. Light Socket felt more appropriate. For now.

“You really think your gun-toting, crack head bastard children can prance around here doing as you see fit? I will kill all of you,” Mr. Light Socket growled as he stepped on the back of his prisoner’s head. I swear my home had turned into a comic book. What I can only describe as electrified Wolverine claws shot out of the man’s hands as he raised his arms, ready to strike.

“Wait!” I shouted, presumable saving the bastard Reaper’s life. I couldn’t let him get executed like this.

“What?” Mr. Light Socket growled at me.

“You can’t just off him like that!” I pleaded. It felt wrong… somehow. In this anarchic quarantine excuse for a society, the execution I was witnessing still just felt wrong.

Mr. Light Socket walked up to me, his nose inches from mine. “Let me understand you. These low lives pillage your clinic, shoot up your patients, and you want me to let him go so he can come back and do it again?”

I had no answer. Without thinking, I replied. “If we murder him, we are no better men. Can’t you haul him off to prison?”

He laughed. “Prison? You think there’s anything left of a prison now? Let alone people willing to guard it?”

I just stared back. I knew how dumb my question was the minute it left my lips.

“The choice is yours,” he said and pointed to the trapped Reaper's AK-47 lying on the ground. "Pick it up."

I reached down and picked up the rifle, feeling as if I had no choice but to obey the man's command.

“My binds will wear off in a while and he will be free to do as he pleases," he said. " Of course, you hold the power in yor hands, the choice to stop him from inflicting chaos and pain on countless people again or to let him run back to his gang banger family. The choice is yours.” And then he turned and walked away. I couldn’t reply. I have never held so much power in my hands before.   read


6:14 AM on 06.14.2009

One Man's Hope of the New Console Generation

With Microsoft's Project Prenatal EyeToy or whatever launching with a brand new console, I must weigh in on my hopes of the new upcoming console generation. We all know that Sony won't be in a quick hurry to release anything as they are still waiting for their PS2 to finally die. I hope it's soon.

When Blizzard let slip that they were collaborating with Microsoft on the next generation of consoles because Blizzard felt the games they put out are not compatible with the controls of what today's consoles are capable of, I was excited. Are they trying to figure out a way to mash up a console and a PC's controls as to create a masterful system that will conquer all? A mix of a PC and an Xbox? I am game! But then they announced Project Natal. What the hell? I really hope that as the launch of this new system approaches, they figure out a way to let couch potatoes use this camera controller. The first thing I want to do when I come home from a long day at work is to get into my boxers, sit my cheeks into a comfy chair, relax, sip on gin n juice, lay back, and play a sweet game. The last thing I want to do is start waving my arms around like an idiot. Hence why my Wii has five feet of dust on all sides. If I wanted exercise, I would just play real basketball, not pretend on TV.

I glanced over my small PC game collection that has survived over the years. On this little shelf I noticed that both my Max Payne and Max Payne 2 were missing. I lent them to this kid a year ago and the kid no longer lives here. Dammit. I saw WarCraft, WarCraft II, and WarCraft III. StarCraft. Diablo and Diablo II. You see where my fascination with Blizzard comes in now? I was eleven when I first got my hands on the original WarCraft: Orcs & Humans on four floppy disks. Good times. I saw Half-Life and reminisced about playing Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike, Public Enemy, and various other HL Mods I cannot recall, but one definitely included a sheep rocket launcher. I think? Good times. I found Master of Magic, a game I hold near and dear and still cannot fathom to this day why another game like this has not been developed (though a game scheduled for release in 2010 called Elemental: War of Magic does look promising). Syndicate Wars was also laying on my shelf. Such a sweet game. Jagged Alliance and Jagged Alliance 2.

But, most of these games would never transpose their controls in a decent way on a control pad such as the one the current systems are sporting. A recent DS port of the original PC game Jagged Alliance turned out to be downright awful (though, I sincerely believe if this was developed for the PSP it would have been much better - the power of the DS is laughable).

Obviously most of these games greatly benefited from having a mouse and keyboard but since the release of Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution, I don't buy it. Except for FPS games, of course. The accuracy and speed of a mouse will always prevail over a controller joystick, but that's another argument. Sid Meier excellently brought a game that should've only worked on the PC to the consoles. He definitely spearheaded the most underrated revolution in the game industry last year. I know 4X games are a niche, but so are JRPGs, and there is no reason that developers shouldn't jump on this opportunity to create some stunning console games - remakes of Lord of the Realms, Jagged Alliance series, Master of Magic (rooting for this one!!) - or bring in new IPs in this category. When you break it down, 4X games are just giant tactics games (which have been successful on consoles as primitive as the GBA).

There is a PS3 controller - the SplitFish FragFX - that looks innovative, though as the linked blog suggests, it will probably never gain widespread support. It does look kind of awkward and is most likely tailored to FPS games entirely, though if such a controller were more of the norm, developers such as Blizzard could most likely create games such as WarCraft (the RTS, not MMO) and Diablo on the consoles that could be controlled in very much the same way as the PC games are. If they bundled the game with the controller? Yahtzee!

I'm lifting my morning cup of Starbucks in hopes that the new console generation will embrace these... for lack of a better word... PC-tailored games and finally bridge the gap between these two conflicting groups of gamers.

PC games reigned superior for a long time - the high resolution allowed high-def graphics before high-def was a word, the mouse and keyboard controls allowed pretty much any game to use any scheme imaginable, and with the ability to actually program your own control scheme, this was true. Consoles have always felt very limited and it wasn't until recently (as the PC games market died severely) that I sucked it up and bought into consoles.

Let's see more of these games popping up instead of our arms as we pretend to play tennis in our basement. Suck it, Milo.   read


8:22 AM on 06.10.2009

Zak Plays: inFAMOUS!!!!11one.eoneon

The weeks before inFAMOUS was released, I would easily mistake inFAMOUS for Prototype and vice versa when I was just glancing at the trailers. And I always thought that Cole (from inFAMOUS) looked a little too much like the apprentice from Star Wars: the Force Unleashed, especially with the lightning powers.

Having played inFAMOUS, I now am convinced Cole is from a galaxy far far away. He can shoot lightning from his hands much like the Emperor, he can use a force push power much like any decent jedi, and he can deflect incoming grenades and such with these powers.

Cole feels like a mash up of heroes. He can climb any surface and fall from any height unscathed, not entirely unlike Spider-Man. He has the powers of a jedi. He can acquire a power called "Gigawatt Blades" which are basically electric Wolverine claws. And he talks like Max Payne, which is awesome. This mash up works very well, though, and not once while playing do you think "damn, this would be better suited as a Spider-Man game," or something similar. The whole collection of abilities works incredibly well.

Gamers excited for God of War III could find a temporary fill in this game also as the gameplay bares a striking resemblance to that of the previous God of War games in that you gain experience points for killing enemies, finding blast shards (that give you the ability to hold more energy, or mana), and performing stunts or special kills. You can then use these experience points to upgrade Cole's powers. Some of Cole's powers can only be unlocked if you are good or if you are evil, so you will definitely get a different result playing through the game a second time. Replay value? Check!

A big emphasis of this game was to give the player a choice to be a hero or antihero, saving Empire city or destroying Empire city. At times, you will be bluntly confronted by a choice. For example, a police officer comes to you for help because his station is being attacked by the Reapers (the token bad guys), and Cole says to himself, "I can either step in between now and help save the police station, or I can wait until the firefight's over and deal with whoever's left." So, you can either step in and help save the police station and get good karma, or you can wait for the two warring parties to duke it out, and get bad karma. You can also do as you please as you roam around the city - you can kill pedestrians for fun, or you can leave them alone. You can find injured civilians and heal them, or you can be a real dick and restrain them and execute them. All of these actions contribute to your karmic rating.

A lot of people complained saying that these karmic moments and choices are too black and white and that you never get to pick anything in between or know Cole's true motives and such. I have to disagree - the true motives and such are from you, the player. And the choices are black and white because there is no gray area. As with the police station example mentioned earlier, what gray choice could you make? Wait til only half the firefight is over? Opt to bring the police officers refreshments instead of fight? The black and white choices work very well in the situations they present.

The graphics for the game are the only real disappointment. Being a PS3 exclusive, I was hoping to see more eye popping visuals and detail. The city is pretty big and the view distance is rather generous and the environment, for the most part, is rather detailed. However, the character models look a little like this game was supposed to be a launch title. This is painfully obvious every time you start a mission and the camera zooms in on a character asking your for help. If the characters looked like those in Killzone 2, that would grab anyone's attention, but unfortunately, they do not look that good. I did expect more out of a PS3 exclusive. If you were a fan of Max Payne's comic book cut scenes, you would definitely be sucked into inFAMOUS's story.

Voice acting for the important characters is well done. Voice acting for the side missions and such is up to bar, but bland and, if you are in the right mood, will make you giggle. Also, your comic side kick Zeke will say the dumbest things, which is great. The one annoying sound in the game has got to be Cole's shoes. Every time you run, it sounds like he's running on something rubbery and metallic. Its indescribable and also rather annoying if you focus on it. Thankfully you spend most of your time dangling from buildings and hopping from power lines and such so that you don't have to dwell on it.

The game offers three difficulty settings, and the hardest difficulty will definitely give you a challenge as you can easily become overwhelmed by Reapers everywhere. They are like a plague and, sometimes, they will be out of reach of your lightning strikes but still in reach of their AKs and they will snipe you down from a distant rooftop before you even know what happened. If you are not careful, it is easy to be overwhelmed by these guys.

All said and done, inFAMOUS is a must have for any PS3 owner, not only because its exclusive but because it is a ton of fun, has a ton of missions and activities available for completing, and the story is intriguing. I've been hooked on this came since it's release and it is the reason Red Faction Guerrilla and Prototype have yet to be opened.   read


12:38 PM on 05.12.2009

Zak Plays Raiden Fighters Aces



Raiden Fighters Aces for Xbox 360 is a re-release of the old classic arcade shooters Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters 2, and Raiden Fighters Jet. When I first saw this game on the shelves, I was quite curious why this game got the physical disc treatment and why it wasn't shuttled onto the Xbox Live Arcade like so many other classics such as all the Sonic the Hedgehog games or Ikaruga. I didn't really mind, though, since I would much rather have a physical copy I can snap in half when I get frustrated.

The gameplay hasn't changed much. If you are familiar with the old Raiden games, then this is really nothing new for you. A Game Clips feature has been added where you can save demos (or, at least, that's what we called them back in the day when we recorded ourselves playing Doom 2) or Game Clips to show off your best runs through the game, and you can also view other players' Game Clips over Xbox Live. Of course, this game also includes the leaderboard rankings and what not so that you can engage in the worldwide competition to have the highest score. Let me tell you, it's hard enough being the best 40 year old virgin at your local arcade, but to go against all of them in the whole world?

If you are not familiar with the old Raiden games, let me break it down to you, diggie wiggie style. Ya got to pick yo' plane and shoot up a bunch-a-bitches. Ya can pick up homies to fight with you, or as the game calls them "slaves" (Hmph!) and ya can get beefier missiles, lasers, and such so when ya be firin' yo piece, ya got so many bullets mang, they cover the whole dang screen! And tell all the bitches you da best by gettin' more points and pickin up recognition bling, aka medals! Rinse and repeat, dawg.



The graphics have a small makeover from the old original games.



The old game had that great grainy thing going on.



Not even close to being next-gen, but definitely removing what falling out of the ugly tree does to you. One disappointing aspect that was also exercised in Sonic's Ultimate Sega Genesis Collection is that the resolution for these games don't change. They makeover the graphics, fine tune them a bit here and there, but the resolution seems to be unaffected. I say this because there's a big blue Raiden Fighters banner on either side of the actual game screen. You are using only one third of the screen to play. It would be nice to see the developers push to really recreate the game so that it had a much more next gen appeal. I am playing on a giant flat screen TV, I want to use every damned pixel I paid for!

When you get far in the game, upgrading all your weapons and have two slave ships fighting underneath you, it gets a little tough to see where your ship is amongst all the bullets flying and the dozen or so enemies circling around on the screen, so this game definitely requires your undivided attention. Look away for one moment, lose focus for one second, and you are toast.

The sound was also given a minor upgrade. The original game sounded, well, you know, 8-bit. The sound now resembles what a wanna be producer would try to create in a trial version of Fruity Loops before giving up on this career and settling for bagging groceries at Stop n Shop so he can afford his weekend rave excursions. The music really hasn't changed save for a minor quality upgrade in sound, but it is still the same stress inducing, simple, hard and furious techno. The explosions and gun sounds definitely appeal to the ears more now.

The choices of different ships help extend the replay value as each ship has different capabilities, speeds, bombs, etc.



But, like in the arcade, the fact that you cannot save your game makes it tough to pick this game up again and again as you have to replay the same levels again and again. The only data this game saves are your scores and the game clips, if you so choose. Don't see this as a huge downer, though, as picking this game up when you have a few moments to spare and you just want to shoot crap, this game will never fail to deliver a casual splurge on your destructive side. Kind of like playing CoD 4 online or Counter-Strike. It's the same crap every time, but it's just fun.

This game also comes loaded with fun options. You can play the game in sepia tone, photo negatives, monotone, make the game look like its on an old projector, and so on. There are many color effects options to pick from. You can also ask the game to emulate varying amounts of scan lines, and also change the games FPS. And that's frames per second for all you first person shooter nuts!

For $19.99, you cannot go wrong. Add these games to your collection!   read


5:22 PM on 04.15.2009

What I Want To See: Cannon Fodder Comeback!

Because war has never been so much fun. I have very fond memories of this game. When I was a child the age of seven or some such age close to that, my parents were split up and lived in two different countries. I stayed with my mother in Sweden and my dad frolicked in the USA. He would visit for one week every year - Christmas - and he took me to a toy store and let me pick out a game. Cannon Fodder and Vectorman for the Sega MegaDrive (how the hooligans across the ocean called it) were my two choices. My dad conned me into choosing Vectorman. This game was great and I still play it to this day. An American copy, though, of course. All of the original incriminated evidence was left behind in the big move to get the family back together again.

Anyway, Cannon Fodder still holds a very dear memory because of what had happened. A few weeks after Christmas, I rented Cannon Fodder for the MegaDrive and completely fell in love with this game also. Then, when the family got back together and we moved to the states, I found a copy of Cannon Fodder for the PC at a KB Toys for a mere $4.99. Being 11 at the time, I puppy-eyed my way to get my parents to purchase this game for me and I played the living crap out of this game.

I have since then tried to recreate my experience. DOS Box, an MS DOS emulator, has been installed on more than one occasion to get an abandonware copy of this game running.

I recently grabbed the theme song off the web (yes, 8-bit music, but the melody is soooo good) and my interest in this game was reinstated again, like it is almost every six months. I wiki'ed this game and found quite an extensive entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannon_Fodder - and saw that Codemasters had snubbed this game from being produced on the PSP! And, that this project was also canned for the PS2.

I almost shat my pants. If this game was on the PSP, I would own a PSP right this very second. I'd go out and spend the money on a PSP and this game because this game is just that great.

So what is it that I want to see after rambling on and on about a game probably no one has ever heard of? I want to see this game make a comeback. I want to see this game get released on the PSP. I want to see this game get the makeover the "new" Super Mario Bros. on the DS got. I want to see this game getting the same treatment as Street Fighter IV.

I think there are a lot of truly great games that are very old. This should, however, be a money pot waiting to be cracked. Rebuilding these games for the next-generation would no doubt land a handful of successful games on the market. That, and they are so old that the majority of people won't ever realize that the game is a remake, but it is also young enough that people like me with vivid memories would pick it up for nostalgic purposes.

Shiskoombao!~   read


4:36 PM on 04.07.2009

What I Want To See: Need For Speed Classic

So, I've been on a Need For Speed binge lately. I've started playing Underground 2, Most Wanted, and Carbon all over again. I also went and saw the new Fast & Furious movie which was, to be honest, very disappointing a did not have as much street racing and car stuff as I had hoped coming from what looked to be the only true sequel to the first one. Awful acting and disappointing Hollywood hype aside, submerging myself into the Need For Speed universe and sports cars in general gave me an idea. Mostly because my dad has a 1971 MGB in his garage, but still.

Need For Speed: Classic. Remake an NFS game (preferably Underground or Underground 2) in the 1960s. Some of the sweet classic cars you would be able to unlock and deck out (of course, having a visual customization system very similar to the one in Carbon, but better. You know, like in Forza 2) I think would be fun to race around in. Well, 60mph isn't exactly racing, but fun nonetheless. Maybe throw in some cheesy, awful, 1960 greaser storyline.

Anyway, I feel compelled to showcase some possible car options for this game if EA were to ever take the franchise in this direction. I especially want to show my favorite...the Porsche.


And some classic super cars, such as an old Alfa Romeo.


Or an old Lamborghini.


I realize that this will probably not be a big money-maker for EA. Who wants to zoom around an old town in an old car? If people saw that the end game cars are the older super cars, such as the Lamborghini or Alfa Romeo or an old Ferrari, I think it may peak people's interest. Imagine starting out with a slow MGB and working your way up to zip around in a sweet Lamborghini that you probably didn't know existed? Of course, the game would need the trademark Need For Speed block of cheese excuse for a story which, I must admit, I would like a lot more if there was a little more to them. Maybe hire an actual writer for this project and you could probably spit out something along the lines of the Italian Job meets the Fast and the Furious in a reverse time warp zone.

I would much rather see Need For Speed continue its arcade racing style than go the simulator route, which it is doing with its new iteration, Need For Speed: Shift. Racing simulators get frustrating for those who don't know a lot about cars, but still enjoy racing around. When playing Forza 2, I had fun. That was, until, I had to actually tune my cars and mess with the gear ratios and damper height this and that and everything that made me put Gran Turismo down. Yes, Gran Turismo for the PlayStation. I don't want to get so technical because I don't know much about cars and if I did, you bet I'd be working on a real car and not a game.

I want to see Need For Speed come out with a classic car version of its entertaining arcade racing style instead of the racing simulator that it is now working on. Need For Speed: Pro Street was an awful entry in the series, and Undercover did little to make up for that. Shift, I fear, will just throw the franchise deeper in despair.   read


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