Archive for July, 2007

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Ace Attorney Music Fans Rejoice!

July 26, 2007

Ace Attorney Soundtrack

You don’t see game soundtracks released in the US very often, which is a shame.  But for fans of game music, Capcom announced via their forums that two Ace Attorney soundtracks were coming our way.

http://www.capcom.com/BBS/showthread.php?t=16010

“Gyakuten Saiban Meets Orchestra” will be released as “Ace Attorney Meets Orchcestra” and “Gyakuten Saiban Meets Jazz” as “Ace Attorney Meets Jazz.”  Let’s hope this brings about more game soundtrack releases and doesn’t end up as a failed one-off experiment.

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Mass Effect: Revelation

July 25, 2007

 Revelation

I just finised reading Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpyshyn, the lead writer of the upcoming Mass Effect video game by BioWare.  I heard about it when reading E3 2007 coverage, as the book was given out free to some attendees.  I think Mass Effect is one of this Fall’s most exciting game releases, so I figured I’d pick the novel up while I had some reading time and give it a shot.

The story is a prequel to the video game, taking place mostly in the year 2156, about 27 years before when the video game starts.  It involves an Alliance soldier named David Anderson and his involvement in an investigation of what happened to a top secret military base.  His involvement leads him into political intrigue, a “will they or won’t they” relationship, and several encounters with the major baddie of the video game, an alien agent named Saren, who is conducting a parallel investigation, with an entirely separate motive.

Overall I think it was a good read.  I think the characters could have maybe been fleshed out a bit more, as there were a few familiar clichés, but I think it does a good job of setting up the video game without giving away too much of what is to come.  The major races of the game are all represented, and the backdrop for what is to come is nicely set up.  From what I have seen and read of the upcoming game, I wouldn’t call the novel a “must read” before getting the game, but if you are excited about the upcoming game and want some background/context to it beforehand, give this book a read.  You will definately have a better grasp of the Mass Effect universe, as well as what appears to be its major villian, Saren.

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Weekly Rant #3: “Hardcore gamers” Part 2

July 25, 2007

Hardcore gamers are hard to satisfy

Fast forward to the “current gen.”  The “hardcores” don’t know what to do.  The Wii is an enegma.  It’s not a graphical powerhouse.  It’s not built to download movies and tv shows.  And yet it’s been sold out since launch.  The PS3 costs too much and pushes Sony’s proprietary disc format.  Nothing in its launch lineup screams “Buy me!”  The hardcore already has an Xbox 360, and there is no big reason to buy a PS3.

And yet, the fanboy-isms continue.  The Wii is “two Gamecubes duct taped together.”  The Wii is “like a lollipop, and I’m too old for lollipops” (ie it’s a kiddy system).  There is a “Wii game drought,” even though last time I was at Best Buy, there were 41 different Wii games displayed, compared to 29 PS3 games.  

Just last month, the hardcores at E3 were complaining that they didn’t think that Nintendo was focusing enough on the hardcore gamer, because they continue to try to expand the market with things like Wii Fit.  Never mind the possibilities of the Wii Balance Board for other games like snowboarding or skateboarding or whatnot.  Nevermind the fact that they announced release dates for this year for Metroid Prime 3, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Super Mario Galaxy.   Here’s a link to a Joystiq article on the hardcore gamer’s reaction to Wii Fit:

http://www.joystiq.com/2007/07/23/feedback-fallout-nintendos-wiifit/

If Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live initiative ultimately succeeds, will Xbox owners deride Microsoft for not focusing solely on the console gamer?  Or will they praise Microsoft for adding a complimentary product that isn’t for everyone, but strengthens their position as a whole, and brings more people into the fold?

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Wing Commander Arena

July 21, 2007

I loved the Wing Commander series back in the day.  I think I played through and finished all of them.  So when I heard that an updated Wing Commander was coming to Xbox Live Arcade, I was really excited… until I saw the video above.  A 2d space fighter with 3d graphics??  Where is my 3d cockpit view.  Even WC3 was true 3d I believe, and that was 12 years ago.  So much for “next gen.”

Electronic Arts recently made the game manual available in .pdf format, and I have to say that it’s great.  It harkens back to the awesome manuals that came with the Origin games.  It’s just too bad all that loving retro detail was not put into the actual game.  [Update 7/22:  EA is reporting that Wing Commander Arena will be available on XBLA this Wednesday for $10.]

I bought Project Sylpheed for the Xbox 360 before leaving on vacation, and I can’t wait to try it out when we get back.  It looks like the closest thing available in the forseeable future to get my true Wing Commander fix.

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Game Impressions

July 20, 2007

One thing I thought would be fun to do on this blog was offer up my impressions of the games I’m playing. I buy and play new games regularly, and I often have people asking me what a certain game is, or what it’s like, or how it plays, etc.  This type of information is available on a myriad of gaming sites, but if people want to know what I think, I’m happy to oblige.

I don’t want to get into some kind of arbitrary scoring mode.  I don’t know what the difference is between a 7.5 and an 8.0, and if I did, it would only be my opinion anyway, so I’m going to avoid the whole mess.  I’m just going to write what type of game it is, how it plays, and my impressions, and let the reader decide if the game is right for them.

There are two pretty good commentaries on gaming reviews I saw recently, one from about a year ago by Gabe of Penny Arcade, and one from a recent issue of The Escapist.  If you’re intestested, I’ve provided the links below.

Penny Arcade – I Review A Review

The Escapist – To Hear Ourselves Review

Hence I use the word “impression” instead of “review.”  Game Impressions will be a fairly regular segment on my blog, but it’ll be based on what I’m playing, so that will set the schedule.  My first Impression, coming soon, will be on Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

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Super Mario Papercraft

July 20, 2007

Super Mario Papercradt

I’ve always been a little obsessed with papercraft.  Not origami.  I’m talking about paper models, of buildings, or boats, or monuments, or whatever.  The kind that you cut out with an X-Acto knife and glue together piece by piece.  I built a ton of them when I was a teenager, and now I have so many interests, I have a lot I’d like to do but never get around to.  Maybe when the kids are older, I can get them interested and we can do them together.

Anyway, every once in awhile I see people that put their homeade projects online, and I save the files to print on hard card stock and build.  Here’s a link to Nerd-Craft, who has a fun couple of Super Mario dioramas.

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Weekly Rant #2: “Hardcore gamers” Part 1

July 18, 2007

Brace yourself… it could be a long one.  In fact, I think I’ll split it into parts.

I’m not sure what kind of gamer I am.  In terms of “next gen” console, I own a Wii and a 360.  I have both a PSP and a DS Lite.  I also own a slew of older consoles and handhelds, such as a Gamecube, PS2, N64, Dreamcast, NES, Atari 2600, DS Phat, Gameboy, Game Gear, and on and on.  I keep all my games, strategy guides, etc.  I play WoW regularly and was once part of a raiding group that had Nefarion on farm status (pre-BC).  I listen to 6-8 gaming-oriented podcasts a week.  I watched all of the big 3 press conferences at E3 last week.  So am I hardcore?  I don’t think so.   So what is a “hardcore” gamer?

Harcore gamers are system fanboys.

My definition of hardcore is basically revolves around the “fanboy.”  You know, the one who comments relentlessly on Joystiq or (insert favorite gaming blog here) that his console is the best because of blah blah blah, and that one sux because of blah blah blah, with no real basis for their beliefs.  The PS2 fanboy, from the last generation, epitomizes this.  The Ps2 was wonderful, in their eyes, because there were over 8,000 titles release for it worldwide.  It was cool, slim, black.  It played DVDs.  The Gamecube, on the other hand, was a kiddy console.  It didn’t have as much 3rd party support.  It couldn’t play DVDs.  It was… gasp… purple!

Forget the fact that between 2001 and 2006, Gamespot awarded their “Game of the Year” award to a PS2 title once (2001-Grand Theft Auto III), while at the same time awarding it to Gamecube titles three times (2002-Metroid Prime, 2003-The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and 2005-Resident Evil 4).  Forget the fact that a ton of those 8,000 PS2 titles were bargin bin schlock (Deer Hunter anyone?).

That’s not to say that there wasn’t any legitimacy to their arguments.  Nintendo didn’t cultivate 3rd party support as well as they should have.  They are in the strange position of having 1st party titles that are almost too successful, intimidating 3rd party companies.  They stuck with the concept of an odd format for their games, which didn’t hold as much data as other consoles.  But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have anything to offer, no matter what your dude friends said.

End of Part 1.

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