Archive for March, 2010

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Game Impressions: Bioshock 2

March 31, 2010

Introduction

Few games make an actual lasting impression on me.  I may enjoy them immensely at the time, and remember them fondly, but press me for details and I won’t be able to produce many.  The original Bioshock is one of those rare gems that captivated my imagination and has stuck with me.  I love the concept, the art deco look, Big Daddies and Little Sisters and madness and mayhem under the sea.  I think my appreciation of it actually rose from the time I wrote the Game Impressions on it to present.  So it was with both longing and trepidation that I approached the release of Bioshock 2.  Could the Electro Bolt plasmid strike twice?

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CAG Wish List Wednesday

March 30, 2010

I never win anything… unless it comes from Cheap Ass Gamer.  Long time readers might remember that I won an Xbox 360 Elite from their CAG Fund for Child’s Play 2008 Charity Raffle Extravaganza.  Well I won something again last week.

CheapyD has made a lot of improvements to the website over the last year or two (thanks to the coding brilliance of Super Programmer John), like collection lists, a game marketplace, a trade-in value tracker and so forth.  One of the new items is the wish list, which you can use to keep track of the games you want to get, and can be used to match up potential trades with other CAG’s.  CheapyD has been promoting this feature on the website and on the CAGcast podcast via a contest called Wish List Wednesday, where every Wednesday two CAG’s are chosen at random to win an item $60 or less from Amazon from off of their wish list.  Well I was one of the two winners last week!  I heard it announced Thursday on the CAGcast podcast about a half hour before getting PM’d about it.  I picked the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Hardened Edition, which arrived at my door today.  Thanks CheapyD!

If you haven’t already, go register on cheapassgamer.com and add some things to your wish list.  Check out the other features when you’re there, and look me up!  You find me listed as Zark7 (some other person that hasn’t been active since 2005 has ZarkSeven… the nerve!)

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APPraisal: Comet Racer

March 29, 2010

The iPhone / iPod Touch excels at small little game apps that didn’t cost much to make, and don’t make you feel bad for tossing down a buck or two to give them a try.  Comet Racer is one of those apps.

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The Arcade Ambiance Project

March 27, 2010

I saw an article the other day on Kotaku about the Arcade Ambiance Project.  I finally got a chance to check it out, and wow, what a fun idea.  Andy Hofle decided that the room containing his MAME cabinet lacked a little of that crowded arcade sound you may recall (if you’re old enough!) from days gone by, and set about to recreate it.  The result are 4 long .mp3 files, with sounds you might have heard in an arcade in 1981, 1983, 1986 and 1992.

It’s been around for 5-6 years now, but somehow escaped my attention.  If it’s escaped yours as well, go check it out and download the free tracks for yourself.

Now, if I only had a MAME cabinet.

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Papercraft Friday #79: SSBB Mario

March 26, 2010

Photo by TouchFizzyGetDizzy

Paperkraft.net posted a model this week of one of the most detailed paper Mario models I’ve seen, created by Ignatius.  He’s modeled in his classic pose from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Definitely not for the beginner papercraft modeler, but it appears to be well worth the effort for the experienced modeler and game enthusiast.  Awesome!

Not keen on this one?  Want more?  Check out other Papercraft Friday posts.

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Robert Culp: 1930-2010

March 25, 2010

I just read that Robert Culp died yesterday.  While I can’t say he was my favorite actor of all time, I can say that I’ve seen him in so many things that I’m glad to have known him through his work.  I’m sure you are to0.  Not sure?  Maybe you remember him as:

Kelly Robinson in I Spy

Bill Maxwell in The Greatest American Hero

Debra’s father Warren Whelan in Everybody Loves Raymond

Bob in the movie Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

“But I’m a gamer, not a movie or TV fan.”  Ok, how about as the voice of Dr. Wallace Breen in Half-Life 2.

Personally I’ll always remember him for starring in three episodes of the classic series The Outer Limits, including one of the best known episodes “Demon With A Glass Hand” (pictured above), written by Harlan Ellison.

If you look at his imdb page, you start to wonder what he wasn’t in.  Classics like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bonanza, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gunsmoke, and Get Smart.  Not to mention classic game shows he appeared in like Hollywood Squares and Match Game.  Comedy things like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and Saturday Night Live.  70’s and 80’s shows like Love Boat, Columbo, Police Story, Hardcastle & McCormick, The Cosby Show, Highway To Heaven, Matlock, Jake and the Fatman.  90’s shows like Wings, The Nanny, Lois and Clark, Lovesome Dove.  Even more recent things like The Dead Zone series and Robot Chicken.  And that’s just a small sample.  You’d have to work hard not to have seen him in something.

Some of the flash-in-the-pan stars of today can only dream of having his body of work.  He may be gone, but his legacy lives on.

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Game Impressions: Mass Effect 2

March 24, 2010

Introduction

I remember the gaming Fall of 2007 very well.  Bioshock came out on August 21st.    Metroid Prime 3: Corruption came out on August 27th.   Halo 3 came out September 25th.  The Orange Box came out on October 7th.  Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out November 5th.  The first Assassin’s Creed came out November 16th.  Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune came out on November 19th.  Finally, on the same day as the original Rock Band came out, Bioware’s Mass Effect came out on November 20th.  In the span of exactly 3 months, 9 blockbuster titles came out.  It’s enough to make a gamer shout for joy and sob on his joystick all at the same time.

Of those titles, a few had a big effect on me.  I named Portal my Game of the Year, followed closely by Bioshock at #2.  Mass Effect was #7 in my Top 10.   While that might not seem high on my list, a quick look at my achievements shows that I started the game on November 21st, 2007 and completed it on December 5, 2007.  It doesn’t appear by the achievements that I played every day, but in that 15 day span I visited every planet, completed every side quest, and finished the game in just over 40 hours of gameplay.  Given the number of games I buy and never play, or start and never get far into, the fact that I spent 40 hours in 2 weeks on Mass Effect during that crowded Fall season says something about how much I enjoyed the game.

Still, I didn’t really wait with bated breath for Mass Effect 2.  In fact, as soon as it was announced that it would be coming in January, after the holiday release season, I sort of put it out of my mind.  When January came, I saw it on the list of upcoming titles, and it came back to the forefront of my consciousness.  I started reading Mass Effect: Ascension.  I played Mass Effect Galaxy.  I got the first issue of the Mass Effect: Redemption comic.  And I pre-ordered Mass Effect 2 from Gamestop.com, with free shipping.  As the date approached, my anticipation rose and rose, until I regretted that free shipping option I picked.

Thankfully, my game arrived the day after release, and I fired it up that evening.  So do I think Mass Effect 2 is a worthy successor to the original Mass Effect?  Was my heightened anticipation rewarded?

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