2010 August

August 31, 2010

Xbox Live Price Hikes

Yes thats right ladies and gentlemen… Microsoft has announced that they will be increasing Xbox Live subscription fee’s in several countries including the United States.  Below is a list of countries in which the price increases will be taking place and the amount of the increase.

August 30, 2010

The DS gets a price drop…and Goldensun gets a date.

Nintendo announced this morning that the DSI and the DSI XL will be getting a $20 price drop. The lite holds at 129.99, the DSI at 149.99, and the DSI XL at 169.99. This is what Cammie Dunaway had to said via Kotaku,

                                            “We know shoppers want to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Our new Nintendo DSi prices make it easier than ever for consumers to access the tremendous variety of games, applications and social tools on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL systems.”

This sounds to me like Nintendo clearing out their stock of DS’s during the holiday season to make room for the 3DS coming early next spring. Nice time to get one if you haven’t already, but if your thinking about upgrading there really, at this point in time, is no reason to.

Nintendo hit us with one more piece of juicy information this morning, Golden Sun Dark Dawn was given a release date, November 29th. So one more game I have to get during the Christmas rush, oh gaming industry you know how to drain my wallet dry.

August 29, 2010

The hot pursuit of these great rides…

Hey I am back from my little hiatus; moving and then planning to move again, plus full time work can be a mess. Anywho, some news broke today that a German site has uncovered the whole list of cars for Criterion games new Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Here is the list of car porn you will be seeing later this year.

 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
• Alfa Romeo 8C Spyder
• Aston Martin DBS
• Aston Martin DBS Volante
• Aston Martin One-77
• Aston Martin V12 Vantage
• Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro
• Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro
• Audi TT RS Coupé
• Bentley Continental Supersports
• BMW M3 E92
• BMW M6 Convertible
• BMW Z4 sDrive35is
• Bugatti Veyron 16.4
• Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport
• Carbon Motors E7
• Chevrolet Camaro SS
• Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
• Chevrolet Corvette Z06
• Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
• Dodge Challenger SRT8
• Dodge Charger SRT8
• Dodge Viper SRT10
• Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR
• Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
• Ford GT
• Ford Police Interceptor Concept
• Ford Shelby GT500
• Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake
• Jaguar XKR
• Koenigsegg Agera
• Koenigsegg CCX
• Koenigsegg CCXR Edition
• Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni
• Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
• Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder
• Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
• Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640-4
• Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SV
• Lamborghini Reventón
• Lamborghini Reventón Roadster
• Maserati GranCabrio
• Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic
• Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S
• Mazda RX-8
• McLaren F1
• McLaren MP4-12C
• Mercedes-Benz SL65 Black Series
• Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition
• Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss
• Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
• Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION X
• Nissan 370Z Coupe
• Nissan 370Z Roadster
• Nissan GT-R SpecV (R35)
• Pagani Zonda Cinque
• Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster
• Porsche 911 GT3 RS
• Porsche 911 Targa 4S
• Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
• Porsche 918 Spyder (Concept Study)
• Porsche Boxster Spyder
• Porsche Carrera GT
• Porsche Cayman S
• Porsche Panamera Turbo
• Subaru Impreza WRX STI

66 cars and alot of head turners. I am really excited for this iteration of the the NFS franchise to get it’s much needed and deserved reboot, plus the fact Criterion has a outstanding racing pedigree. The last Hot Pursuit was in the early years of the previous generation of consoles, one game I put alot of hours into. The game drops November 16th. Anyone excited or have a car they would have liked to see that didn’t make the cut?

August 27, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game Review

Ok I haven’t defeated the 7th evil ex yet, but I have had plenty of play with this to tell you guys not to miss out on this. Recently released on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live is the new 2D side scroller arcade game based on the graphic novel and movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Now let me start off by saying I am a fan of the comics and the the movie so this was a real treat for me. However you don’t need to be a fan to love this game.

Scott Pilgrim is a throw back to the old school arcade style figting games. Good ol’ fashion fighting in the streets, grabbing objects for weapons, and throwing them at your enemys. Anyone who played anything like Final Fight or Streets of Rage will get a feeling of nostalgia. Throughout the game you collect change that the bad guys drop which can be used to buy items for healing or upgrading your stat line. Also as you play you will see tons of little details which pay homage as well as poke fun at video games in general. And nothing is more fun than experiencing all of this with 3 of your friends, as the game supports a 4 player co-op with 4 characters to choose from.

Now while this game is really fun and addicting it has a few annoyances. The big one is the fact that the co-op is not over Xbox Live or the Playstation Network. It has to be played off one system with all your buddies crowded around the TV (however, it does bring out the old school feel since we didn’t have online multiplayer for games like this in the glory days). Another problem we ran into was throwing objects. While it’s an effective way to keep your enemys at range, it can also be your allies worst nightmare. I say this because while you cannot punch or kick your allies, you can accidentally chuck a baseball bat into the back of their head causing them damage. Or if you miss everyone completely, you have the chance of the item hitting the wall and bouncing back at you (which hurts). Another issue is one of the moves you unlock during gameplay. The grapple. Again effective to throw enemies, but done wrong you can be tossing you friend instead.

Now honestly all those problems can be fixed with a patch and I hope they do it. Online co-op would be a great move. This game brought hours of fun and laughs for me and my friends. I would highly recommend getting this. Even if you just download the demo (which is the entire first level) you will get hooked. Even after beating this I see a few trips back to try other characters and show it off to other friends. So I give Scott Pilgrim vs The World Game a rating of 8/10 with a moderate replay value.

August 27, 2010

Poisonville, beta bites

Playboy is a brand recognized all over the world for its glamourous magazine and fashion products. However, they have started a new gaming label, which is at least a step toward a younger demographic. Their first game is now in the open beta testing phase and I’d say it’s far from being ready for this stage of development. They call it Poisonville which isn’t much of an imaginative title for a game like this. In my opinion, there are already too many games that look and feel just like this already on the market. It’s an MMO where you play a man who just escaped from jail.

There are a number of problems with this game starting with the graphics. On high settings you at least have a decent look for the environment but this is pop up browser game so it doesn’t have the backing of a properly built client, and with this much going on visually, a client is needed. But, most people don’t want to download a client, so you run into a pickle.  Not only are the graphics lacking, there is a large amount of clipping that lets you walk through much of the items in your environment.

Gameplay is based on gang activity and completing objectives, like all the other MMOs of its kind. Having all these other people in the game though ends up getting you killed on your first mission before you can even get to the objective. As more players show up, this will get worse. I recommed they close down the beta and do another month or two on developing the look and feel before release of an open beta. Also, maybe equip new players with a better weapon so they don’t get handled by the older players once they start. But, I’m not on the dev team so I can’t make these decisions. I understand the desire to get the game out and show the world, but don’t show a half-assed version of the final product for a beta, it’s supposed to invite new players, not turn them away.

I wouldn’t suggest wasting your time on it but if you’d like to give it a try, we’d love to hear your comments. To Playboy, stick to what you know, or bring in some knowledgeable alpha testers before releasing it to open beta. I wouldn’t be proud of this as a project manager.


August 24, 2010

Malware May Have Caused 2008 Plane Crash

While this isn’t really gaming related, Malware makes a big impact on the modern computer world and this really goes to show how devastating Malware can be. 

Authorities investigating the 2008 crash of Spanair flight 5022 have discovered a central computer system used to monitor technical problems in the aircraft was infected with Malware.

An internal report issued by the airline revealed the infected computer failed to detect three technical problems with the aircraft, which if detected, may have prevented the plane from taking off, according to reports in the Spanish newspaper, El Pais.

The flight of 172 crashed shortly after take off and left only 18 survivors putting the death toll at 154 passengers. 

The infection could of entered the plane in a number of different ways include to a VPN connection, USB drive or an infected file already on the system.  It only takes one file to infect and compromise the system and if their aren’t standards set in place to prevent this type of attack it’s likely to happen again. 

“Any computer that is connected to a network is vulnerable to a malware infection,” O. Sami Saydjari, president of Cyber Defense Agency, told TechNewsDaily. “Standards have not been set to protect critical infrastructure.”

This type of development is going to make me a little more paranoid when I happen to fly on occasion.  In a world that is increasingly dependent if not entirely dependent on computer systems is this type of incident likely to repeat itself?  This type of attack could take terrorism to a whole new level if all the individual has to do is infect the central computer system with a USB drive.

August 23, 2010

New Neverwinter Nights Game In 2011

Speculate no further, Atari and Cryptic announced today Neverwinter, an all-new online game based on Wizards of the Coast’s D&D brand and set in the fantasy universe’s iconic city. Neverwinter is expected to launch for the PC in late 2011.

While the game will share many of the same locations as Bioware’s original Neverwiniter Nights, it will tell a somewhat different story of a once mighty city that has been decimated by a century of hardship and civil war due to an unclear succession of leadership compiled on top of a plague that has been claiming the lives of many of the lands denizens.

While this game will require you to connect to a server to play, cryptic stopped short of calling it a MMO.   Gamers will be able to choose from five D&D character classes.  Gamers will then be able to join five man squads made up of other online players.  Players will also be able to do a single player piece where they can recruit NPC’s into their group and go forth and venture out to complete quests and explore dungeons. 

True to form, new title will still allow players to craft their own in game storylines and quests by using an in game content-generation system known as forge.  There are currently no new details available on Forge. 

For those who enjoy D&D novels the game will be released alongside a trilogy of books by R.A. Salvatore which are set in the forgotten realms.  The books will tie in with some of the game’s main characters, monsters and storylines. 

Judging by the information we have this game really gives off a Guild Warsesq type of feel.  The recruiting NPC’s into your group and travesing the land and being able to do the same thing with other people really feels like guild wars is almost the exact same thing done in guild wars.  Should be intersting to see how this game differentiates itself.  The one thing I have not found yet is if this game will require a monthly fee to play.

August 16, 2010

Best Buy says “God Squad” Car Violates Trademark

A Catholic priest from Wisconsin has been told that he is in violation of a trademark owned by electronics giant Best Buy, and could face legal action if he does not comply with a cease-and-desist order issued by the retailer’s legal department. “

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Father Luke Strand (center) has been given a cease-and-desist order for driving around a black Volkswagon Beetle with “God Squad” stickered on the side.  Best Buys legal department claims that it violates their trade mark of their well known, highly overpriced and underqualified tech support team ‘Geek Squad’. 

In a statement from Best Buys Legal team “”This was a really difficult thing for us to do because we appreciate what Father Strand is trying to accomplish with his mission. But at the end of the day, it’s bad precedent to let some groups violate our trademark while pursuing others,” Paula Baldwin, senior manager for public relations at Best Buy.

Father Strand claims the vehicle is nothing more then a conversation starter and that when people see it they generally laugh and then it helps lead them into a discussion about their faith and salvation.

While I am all for protecting one’s trade mark I do think this is crossing the line.  What happens if this angers the church and they put their Legal team behind the church?  Last I checked the Catholic church was no small entity.    Personally I think you’d have better luck taking your machine to the God Squad and asking for a miracle then you would taking it to some of these unqualified techs they have on their staff.

Best Buy said it is working with Strand to come up with a new logo for his car. 


August 13, 2010

Dawn of War FPS in the Works

I’ve been a fan of the Dawn of War serious for quite a long time now and this morning I learned that they are developing a FPS for it.  Space Marine as it’s called puts you in control of a… Space Marine in a Gears of Waresq style game.  I’m very excited for this title and if judging by the trailer alone is enough then this game is going to be bad ass. 

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