Thursday, April 30, 2009

I have to admit, this made me cry a little:

Tavis: Thank you. What do you make of this Guitar Hero?

Prince: Oh. (Laughs.) Well, I ain't mad at them. I hear it made, like, $2 billion and they came to us and offered us a very small portion of that. But I just think it's more important that kids learn how to actually play the guitar. It's a tough instrument -- it's not easy. It took me a long time, and it was frustrating at first. And you just have to stick with it, and it's cool for people who don't have time to learn the chords or ain't interested in it, but to play music is one of the greatest things.

To create something from nothing is one of the greatest feelings, and I would -- I don't know, I wish it upon everybody. It's heaven.

---------------------

Gahh, there.could.have.been.A.GUITAR.HERO.PRINCE!!??

I would never have left my house for a week...seriously. This would have been one of the most compelling releases on the format for me, EVER.

Sigh, Prince who is a very reclusive artist appeared on Tavis Smiley for a 35 minute interview which is almost unheard of. It was actually really interesting and well worth a look/listen.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aww yeah!!



We all knew it was coming, we all were hoping it is coming and it is happening this summer!! The other great news is that there is a PSN timed exclusive demo THIS THURSDAY!

Woot, and it is not a straight port, it is a very enhanced port:

. It’s based on the Dreamcast code base – While the PS2 and Xbox versions of MvC2 were great, there are a few niggling issues in them that have caused the competitive community to continue using the Dreamcast version of the game. We wanted to bring you the very best version of the game, so we listened to the community and started with the Dreamcast.

2. There is online – With the game being developed by Backbone, we are using largely the same, critically acclaimed net code that we used in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix and with that will come our player match quarter mode/lobby system that has proven so popular. Naturally leaderboards and some form of stats tracking (details to be provided at a later date) will also be in the mix. So on the net code side, you’re pretty much assured the best fighting game net code ever created for consoles.

3. HD upscaling options – Given that most people play Xbox 360s and PS3s on HD TVs, it’s important to help make the game look better. We’ve refined our real-time sprite filtering to use even more advanced techniques and we’re providing two upscaling options for the sprites… one we’ve termed “Crisp” the other we’ve termed “Smooth”. It’s a matter of personal preference for which one you’ll enjoy more. For purists, if you’d like you can use the “Classic” setting, which leaves the sprites completely unfiltered. Because the filtering is applied in real-time, you can change these settings on the fly, mid-match if you choose. Our producer will be showing you some comparison screenshots in the coming days to better clarify the differences. The backgrounds in MvC2 are all 3D, and when rendered at higher resolutions look fantastic. The original textures and assets from the Dreamcast were actually much higher quality than the Dreamcast could really display at the time and when shown in HD, the impact is really quite amazing.

4. Widescreen – Again, with most people playing on HD displays, we wanted to figure out how to implement widescreen support. To do so, the camera field of view was widened (which we’re able to do because of the 3D backgrounds effectively running off the “edges” of the 4:3 scenario) and there are a few camera tricks that minimize any impact on the gameplay. Play area is unchanged, and this is not a zoom and crop like HD Remix was. To put it simply, the gameplay area will be in a 4:3 field, while the viewing area will be widescreen. At the same time, for purists and competitive play, a 4:3 option (with vertical bars on the left and right) still exists.

5. No unlocking – While we love giving people unlockables in games, for this outing, there’s not a lot of surprises in terms of what characters are in the game. All 56 characters will be unlocked at the start for immediate play, again great for tournament play where players won’t need to mess with save game data or hacked versions (/shame).

6. Music Options – We love MvC2 but the original “jazzy” music has long been criticized even by ardent fans. Independent music volume controls and support of custom soundtracks on PS3 and 360 we deemed an important feature. Purists will still have what they love and fans of customization are also served.



Monday, April 27, 2009

What is it about hot girls and sci-fi that excites us so much? Recently on 30 Rock Salma Hayek's character was discussing her dark secret and revealed this t-shirt:

Of course we know this is related to Battlestar Galactica, one of the best sci-fi shows Eva! The dark secret was actually that she killed her first husband, but I like to think the dark secret is that she is a big science fiction geek!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Those who know me know I am a huge comic book fan, specifically Batman is one of my favorite all time characters. I am not talking jump on the bandwagon Batman movies or even The Dark Night Returns (which was amazing!), I mean 25+ years ago when I was scraping my allowance together to buy comics.

The Joker has always resonated with me, I have dressed as him for Halloween, I have even read 'the best Joker stories ever told' (not bad). So when I heard that The Joker in Batman Arkham Asylum would be voiced by the great Mark Hammil (he played the Joker in the Animated series, he is a surprisingly gifted voice actor) I was very excited.

Well add to that excitement! An ad was leaked in Playstation Home showing this poster:


Woot, PS3 exclusive Joker specific content! Sign me up and this guarantees I will be buying the PS3 version...the game already looks amazing, this was just icing on the cake.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Graarrr...Fable 2, just finished it and God help me it was the worst ending sequence EVER!!

I actually was getting into Fable 2, I had a family going on in a town, I was covering many more side quests and I was digging the look of my character....except that as she got tougher she looked like a bodybuilder (as you level up strength skills you get beefier). I don't think the designers knew how to show a physically strong female. The males look rugged and tough, the females look like transvestite weightlifters.

But I digress...the final sequence ends in no battle whatsoever and the end game has little payoff. There was no great cut scene, my reward of choice (you have three - a selfless choice, a selfish but nice choice and a greedy one...I chose the selfish but nice) gave no real discernible value or visual/mental payoff.

Games like this are far too common and should not be allowed...every time I have thought of a game story/design I always think of the ending near the beginning of the process. In this case much effort was made in the personalities of towns, villagers, NPC's and your dog but the story elements were VERY lacking.

I think games like this need to start hiring writers to write a full story during development with a mandate that all key points must be demonstrated and the ending needs to have some serious impact in order to satisfy the gamer. I was very unfulfilled after completing the main quest. Most of my remaining missions need massive amounts of gold (buy properties and explore them). So I will leave it off for some time and accrue revenue from my properties (love that part of the game).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not sure how I feel about this version of Harley Quinn...

On the one hand it is the voice actress from the cartoon (same as Batman and the Joker use the cartoon voice actors) and she seems as spunky as we know and love.

On the other hand the model looks too bulky and the costume doesn't feel right.

Still looks great and I cannot wait to play this game...Mark Hammil as the Joker FTW!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh Nos! Hilarious!

Glee! I had forgotten that there would be a Final Fantasy XIII game on the PSP - Final Fantasy Agito XIII. It is using the battle system from Crisi Core (which is a VERY good thing) and looks to be using the engine (which is also a VERY good thing).

The game looks really compelling and do I see cards in the trailer? Hmmm....I can only hope the characters all play differently a la Final Fantasy VI.


A great trailer was released, a little small but I love the art style and tone...very excited for this and hope to hell we see it this year.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So I am a gadget head and frequently cycle through phones. I don't go for traditional phones or trendy ones. My first non-standard phone some time ago was the Motorola V80 which was a really cool swivel phone with some cool tricks.

My next phone was a pretty cool Motorola Rizr phone. More functional and professional then the V80 and a pretty slick matte blue color. I love this phone, but it is just too limited.

I needed a smartphone, but one with a large screen and a full keyboard. But I also need a cool looking phone. That was a tall order and with a decent tax return in hand I started researching it and decided on the HTC Touch Pro. This is a great phone with more functionality and features then you can shake a stick at...some highlights:

Processor - Qualcomm® MSM7201A™ 528 MHz
Operating System - Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
Memory ROM - 512 MB
RAM - 288MB
Keyboard - Slide-out 5-row QWERTY keyboard
GPS - Internal GPS antenna
Connectivity - Bluetooth® 2.0 with EDR
- Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
- HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0, audio jack, and TV Out* in one)
Main camera - 3.2 megapixel color camera with auto focus and flash light
Second camera - VGA CMOS color camera

And much, much more. After 7 unsuccessful bids on Ebay I finally won one. I'll have it in less then a week and I am very, very excited.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been incredibly busy at work and home. I have been doing some portable gaming, but last night was my first time back on the consoles in over a week. Played some Fable 2 last night and I have to say the Plot Twist of 10 years passing was really weak and the aftermath was very casual...oh you are back? Great! Even my wife in the game was made happy with some compliments and a jewel!

Most of what I have been playing though is a severely broken game...Dungeons and Dragons Tactics for the PSP. The game has so many things it does well:

-Real rules, real feel. The game nails the rules of D&D and makes you have to think about the actions you perform
-Classes feel right. My mage needs to stay in the rear, the Cleric is deadly to undead and my fighter is a tank.
-Traps, chests, loot and monsters. The thief is essential, the monsters are challenging and it is a blast to get loot.
-Levelling is so much fun. I always loved the customization in D&D, here when you level you really tailor the character to what you want them to be.

Unfortunately the game, as mentioned, is broken, it has such greatness but many things hold it back and make it somewhat painful to play:

-The interface is truly horrible. Too large a font, too many trees to navigate through, confusing inventory management, awkward equipment screens all hamper the playing of the game. If they had employed a radial menu (Neverwinter Knights) and a paperdoll equipment screen (any proper RPG) things would have been much nicer.
-Graphical issues. The engine is capable but there are some huge missteps. There is no transparency option on the environment, trees, buildings and other assets often block your view and the awkward camera makes it hard to figure out what is going on. The game is way too dark as well, no brightness option makes it hard to determine a course.
-What am I doing? Sometimes there is little direction and you get turned around in a mission. Add that to the stilted movement options and missions can drag.

While the core game is great the interface and graphics issues make it a game that most people will avoid. It is a shame as it is a deep, complex and fun (if you are patient) take on the D&D Universe.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bahahahaaaa, Blizzard is the king of April Fools, they had three huge jokes, but the best one isn't really the joke. In one of the screenshots for their 'new' game mode in WoW called the Dance Battle System there is some really, really amusing text in the chat area. Expand the picture to see it.