Midnight in the Game Crazy of Hyde Park

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 3, 2008 by Pvt. Eyes

Alright, alright: I haven’t written in awhile. But the truth is, I haven’t gamed that much. You know, “life” – it gets in the way of things sometime, blah blah. Maybe that’s just a pathetic excuse that I throw out to make myself feel better about lack of time spent sitting in front of the TV. Needless to say, my reservations about Smash Brothers multiplayer were true. It wasn’t fun. I sold it back. Yeah I was horrible at it, but at this point in my gaming career, I’m valuing just a few things:

1)”Pickup and play”-ability: On a scale of 1-10(high) – Fun had while playing/Time taken to learn (or in some games’ cases – unlock Sonic and Solid Snake). If this number is even close to 1, i’m not going near it. Later Smash.

2) Multiplayer – Rock Band has confirmed the type of multiplayer gaming I enjoy and its the kind where I sit with friends on the couch. Talking over the internet is one thing, but personally I’d rather game with people and have a laugh. Or in the case of Pro Evolution Soccer, continually get my ass kicked as my roommate and I unsuccessfully attempt to win the European Championship with Portugal. We’re so bad that we had to call Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Pauleta out of retirement and we’re yet to advance past the quarterfinals. Rock Band side note for today: I picked up a mic stand and let me tell you, there is nothing better than rocking the Boston pack with that mic stand.

I’ve always been a big proponent of the Midnight Launch whether its in movies, books or games. I suppose this fits in with the type of multiplayer gaming I enjoy: there’s something that’s always exhilarating about grouping together with a bunch of other people in anticipation for the same new experience, even if X-Men III is inevitably terrible.

This week was a good week for Midnight Launches. Saturday night was Mario Kart Wii. I was surprised when I learned my local Game Crazy was doing a midnight launch for this, but I decided to check it out. My roommate, Robert, who has been victimized by many a Midnight Launch during his friendship with me, got dragged along again and it turns out we were the only ones in the store. We talked to the guy, Ken, behind the counter and he complained to us that Game Crazy only had 6 preorders for Kart but word came down from high that they needed to do a midnight launch. I picked up the game and an extra Wii Wheel and went back and hit it up. Mario Kart and I have a long history together and though I was a little distressed by the lack of Boo from the outset, the game is awesome so far. The wheel’s fun to use, though it is a bit weird at times, but here’s my review for the game: Its freaking Mario Kart. Enough Said

Update:

On monday night it was back to Game Crazy for the launch of GTA IV. As I explained to Robert, who was again along for the good times, GTA provides some of the moments that I can directly point to as turning points in my gaming career. I mentioned here before (link) that I bought a PS2 to play GTA III, but never before have I been struck by the total experience of the game world that Vice City threw at me within the first 10 minutes of playing. “I remember doing one of the very first missions,” I told Robert, “and you have to pick up this car in an alley. It was raining and you jump in the car, which was a piece of shit and the radio starts playing. It was Billie Jean and right at that moment I knew: this game was important.” Loads more people were at the Game Crazy for this one and I didn’t get out of there for 45 minutes.

One midnight launch that I didn’t make it out for was Iron Man, though I did manage to see it on Friday. Not much to say there. I suppose it was a good time, but it actually made me less excited to see The Dark Knight. The superhero movie is becoming more and more tired with every incarnation and at this point it seems impossible that any of these movies could do anything new.

For me, “doing something new” is never a criteria for having a good time whether its playing a game or watching a movie. Example: the two games this week, which are what they are because of a formula they’ve created and stuck to. But it’d be nice to get an injection of new with that balance of old and in the movie theater, as far as comic book movies are concerned, there is none of that these days.

GTA IV thief nabbed in my own backyard.

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 1, 2008 by Arya

Well, not literally in my back lawn but almost as good – the police got this kid in my own sunny San Diego. Not satisfied with virtual police pursuit alone, Dennis Richard Fiel allegedly sprayed several unfortunate Mira Mesa Gamestop employees with a can of mace, grabbed a couple copies of GTA IV (released on Tuesday), and bolted.

Instead of laying low for a while to dodge some pigs like we all know GTA’s protagonist Niko would, Fiel decided to go celebrate his heroic exploits at his favorite local Japanese BBQ joint. Bad move – the cops, who had been searching for him on the ground and in the air, nabbed him almost instantly. They found the can of mace and the games still in his truck.

Unfortunately this act is classified as a felony, or else we could all be making Grand Theft Grand Theft Auto jokes for years to come.

Source: Union Tribune

Donovan less dominant on digital turf

Posted in News with tags , , on April 29, 2008 by daggius

Landon Donovan is the force behind the LA Galaxy’s “sucking less than last season” campaign, with a hat trick last weekend in the Galaxy’s 5-2 win over rival Chivas USA and two goals the previous week (including MLS goal of the week) and two goals the week before. The man is on fire. What’s also amazing is that he finds time amidst his professional sports career to game. Thats right, according to the interview below, he’s been enjoying virtual sports such as Fifa and Madden for “like twelve years straight”. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop him from taking an apparent drubbing from some tub with a shit-faced grin. It’s unnerving how intent that guy is on e-shaming Donovan (instead of basking in the man’s veritable awesomeness). Seven goals in three games. Holy shit I’m glad he’s on my fantasy team.

Beloved video game and pop-culture characters brought to life: nightmares may ensue.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 29, 2008 by Arya

In response to some fake-brought-to-real pieces done by Pixeloo (see after the jump), artist Marcus Blättermann has created a rendition of what Bowser would look like if he existed in reality (or whatever our collective existence can be called). A couple of these works are pretty frightening, so beware. The Pixeloo pieces aren’t so much what the characters would look like if they were real people, but rather what their proportions would look like with real-life textures (you’ll see what is meant by this shortly).

Bowser (by Blättermann)

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Rockstar’s Midnight Club series takes on the clusterf*$k urban sprawl that is Los Angeles.

Posted in News with tags , , on April 22, 2008 by Arya

…And by take on I mean near-flawlessly recreate the city. Given the…how can I put this…less than favorable way in which L.A.’s urban “planning” has created the ever-growing metropolis we know today, this seems like an incredibly daunting task. Well, rest assured, not only is the virtual Los Angeles in this game startlingly accurate – it also looks damn good.

As someone who has lived in L.A. and experienced the good and, of course, the bad that the City of Angels has to offer, I can honestly say that the most appealing aspect of this game to me would be driving at 130 miles per hour on the 405 at any time of day I fucking please. A Los Angeles with no traffic and no shitty air quality (although I’m unsure if Rockstar is going to release a peripheral that periodically shoots a delightful spurt of carbon monoxide in your face to give you the true L.A. driving experience) sounds like an unbelievably awesome thing to experience, whether virtual or real.

In case you can’t make out the above billboard, it says San Diego Fwy North (which happens to be my hometown) and Sepulveda Blvd (which happens to occasionally host L.A.’s finest working women). The game is slated for a September release on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

It’s time for everyone’s favorite casual blog reading: an excruciatingly long but life-altering tech editorial.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2008 by Arya

Now is a time marked by transition in the entertainment industry. The old advertising model is providing diminishing returns. Upfront bids have been consistently down for the first time in their history. Traditional forms of media such as CD releases for music and cable television for broadcast programming are being supplanted by web content, streaming video, video on demand, DVR, and a rapidly growing catalog of other emerging forms of digital media. It is with these emerging media that we can expect a new model to gradually materialize. While advertising will undoubtedly remain as a player, it will not be the sole revenue-generating mechanism as before.

Among the major consequences of this shift is a rising need for both entertainment groups and business corporations to find new ways to partner in order to build brands and fund projects. Likewise, artists are in need of new ways by which to distribute their content, as the old ones are providing rapidly declining returns and are riddled with piracy issues.

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Futurama movie: worse than “American Dad” series

Posted in Reviews with tags , on April 18, 2008 by daggius

The Futurama movie “Bender’s Big Score” features one unfunny joke after another, which does nothing to aid a terribly forced and uncreative plot.  The team’s first delivery mission is to a nude beach planet, as if showing some cartoon-character skin is going to make up for crappy humor.  The characters themselves are insulting oversimplifications of their TV-series selves, with Leela doing “hee-ya” karate kicks for no reason and Hermes starring in pointless limbo scenes (with no acknowledgement of his tumultuous limboing past).  The 15 minutes of this crap I watched before giving up in disgust were a complete disgrace to the good name of Futurama.  If only I got around to watching it 5 months ago when it came out I could have warned more people NOT TO WATCH IT!  Whoever pinched off this loaf of a movie better be satisfied because now Futurama’s probably going to get cancelled AGAIN.