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May 7, 2013

Electronic Arts to make Star Wars titles for Disney

 

EA and Disney have announced that EA will be making core audience Star Wars titles. EA will be bringing titles to the PC, consoles, tablets, and more. There are no titles announced at this time, nor is the fate for Star Wars First Assault, or Star Wars 1313. President of EA labels, Frank Gibeau, did drop a few studio names that could make future Star Wars titles, these studios include Visceral, DICE, and Bioware. Bioware has already done a Star Wars title with The Old Republic. Gibeau also stated that “These imaginative teams will make games that may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories. Powering it all will be the the Frostbite 3 development engine”. So we will have new original games on a great looking engine, this is intriguing. Battlefront 3 with the destructibility and vehicle combat of Battlefield would be a fever dream. I know that EA is not everyones favorite company, but this could possibly be redeeming; as long as we don’t get microtransactions ad nauseum. Once we hear more on what EA has planned for any future Star Wars titles, we will update. Anxious? Nervous? Think this is a bad idea? Let us know below.

May 2, 2013

Reminder: Saturday is Free Comic Day!

 

I just wanted to remind everyone in the States that this coming Saturday is Free Comic Book day! Free Comic Book Day happens on the first Saturday of May every year. The event started back in 2002 and has been continued ever since. I got to go to my local comic shop last year and had a great time and picked up some decent comics. Now there are specific titles they give away, its not just walk in and take what you want kind of deal. The official list can be seen here. The day is a day of appreciation to the fans that have kept the industry alive and to try and bring new people to this wonderful and creative art form. Now, it is only in participating comic shops, and typically isn’t in some where like a 7/11 that has a small rotunda of comics. To find out where you can get your hands on some free comics this Saturday, you can use the tracker here. I am a huge fan of comics and everything related to them. I was lucky enough to grow up during the Animation Renascence of the early 90’s and getting to see comic based shows like Batman TAS, Spider-Man, and X-Men fulled my love as a kid. Comics may have art that accompanies them, but at their core they are stories, they are reading material. One thing I try to push with younger ones in my close family and friends is to read, and comics are a great way. Books at times can be hard for those that have a harder time comprehending something, or don’t have active imaginations, I feel comics could help with that. The words and stories are reinforced through a visual art to help support understanding. To tie this in with games, there are several games like Gears of War, Mass Effect, and Halo that live on and tell stories through the pages of comics. With Marvel and DC producing large budget movies right now to critical and commercial success, what better time to sit down and catch up or teach children about these heroes. So check the locator, find your local shop that is participating, and enjoy comics. I’ll be at my local shop bright and early and I give my best to this event and the comic industry. “Excelsior!”

March 19, 2013

John Riccitiello Steps Down at Electronic Arts

 

Yesterday, John Riccitiello announced that he will be stepping down as EA’s CEO. He was hired as EA’s CEO back in 2007 and the company, while publishing some very good original IP’s under his tenure, the company has been struggling as of late. Chairman Larry Probst will be the acting executive until a successor is named. According to GameSpot, current COO Peter Moore, and EA Labels President Frank Gibeau are the leading internal candidates. Moore was at Microsoft from 2003 to 2007 which was in my opinion the height of the Xbox brand, Moore was also at Sega during the gamer praised Dreamcast era. Moore seems to know what works and how to make gamers happy. Not that Don Mattrick is doing a bad job, the 360 continues to put up impressive numbers, but the happy casual crowd can only carry you so far, and loosing exclusives can be costly. It will be interesting to see how EA moves into the future after this departure.

March 7, 2013

Stacks of Games Sitting Around Collecting Dust?

 

As Gamers, we know the second hand market very well. Every Game Stop, Best Buy, Toys R Us, and now even Target sell used games. What if you could get more for your games, CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-Rays, and never have to leave the comfort of your home? Music Magpie has the solution. Musicmagpie.com is a quick and easy solution to getting rid of stack of unwanted media. Music Magpie recycles your unwanted media instead of turning it around and selling it to the guy behind you at a store. With the media they received and recycled last year they could stretch it from Mississippi to Alaska. Don’t think that just because they recycle your media instead of reselling it that you would get less. I did a comparison with Amazon, since Game Stop normally rips you off, to see how Music Magpie’s trade in value stacked up, here is the list of items I had by my computer I decided to try:

 

Halo 4 Original Sound Track – CD

Amazon – $0

Music Magpie – $1.56

 

Wipeout 2048 – PS Vita

Amazon – $2.50

Music Magpie – $5.43

 

Fire Emblem: Awakening – 3DS

Amazon – $22.00

Music Magpie – $19.98

 

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie – Blu-Ray

Amazon – $3.45

Music Magpie – $1.99

 

Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection – PS3

Amazon – $4.00

Music Magpie – $7.74

 

Tomb Raider – Xbox 360

Amazon – $15.75

Music Magpie – $28.00

 

Total

Amazon – $47.70

Music Magpie – $64.70

 

If you sold your unwanted stuff to Music Magpie, you could have easily paid off Bioshock: Infinite and never left your house. Music Magpie ships all this from you to them for free, just like Amazon does. You can either use UPS or the Postal Service to have your goods sent to Music Magpie. Once they receive your discarded media they will send you a check, not  a gift card, for the amount. Best of all your unwanted media is turned into other products and help reduce the damage to the planet.

You can check out Music Magpie for all the details and check to see what your stuff if worth with their easy value estimator. If you have an Android or iPhone you can also check out their free app, which will let you scan barcodes to make your recycling even easier.

March 4, 2013

Gaming in Stereo: Varying Degrees of Unreal

 

As we get closer to the closing of this console generation, there is one prominent engine that has dominated the landscape Unreal 3. Unreal 3 has done everything from Gears of War, to the Batman Arkham series, to the Borderlands franchise, to Mirror’s Edge, to the Mass Effect series, Tom Clancy titles including End War, and even fighting games like Mortal Kombat (2011). The engine is widely universal and has made for some astonishing games and vistas. Today we look at two tracks that come from two games that are powered by the Unreal 3 Engine and that are different in almost aspect. One was the Unreal 3’s powerhouse. Any time Epic Games showed off something new they added to the engine it was displayed in Gears of War. I chose Gears of War 2’s soundtrack, it was when the series really came into its own, and has the best soundtrack of the series. The other game is a far cry from the world of Sera. There is no destruction, there are no giant monsters, and there are no large men in massive armor. The second game features a beautiful white, clean city. It features a strong, not over sexualized female protagonist. The game implores you to run and not get into fire fights. The world of Mirror’s Edge is a beautiful, serene cityscape; but below the white beauty lies corruption. I was trying to find games using the engine that were black and white, pros and cons of violence; and yet, despite those traits show the versatility of the engine and what it has accomplished of this past cycle.

 

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Gears of War 2 – Hope Runs Deep – Steve Jablonsky

Gears of War 2 is by and far, the best of the Epic Games series. I thought, out of the trilogy, 2 had the best story; Gears 3 became a little wonky and tried being Halo. Technically, it wasn’t the most sound, Gears 3 was. It wasn’t the most innovative for the genre, Gears 1 was. Though Gears 2 was the game I put in, by far, the most amount of time. Gears of War 2 also did something a little different with the soundtrack. The first game in the series was composed by Kevin Riepl, who had previously done Unreal Championship and Unreal Tournament 2003. Gears of War 2 saw a Hollywood composer take the reigns, Steve Jablonsky. Jablonsky’s style was immediately noticeable. The big, deep brass, the large chorus, the little technical sounds here and there, it felt like a Hollywood production. There is something else noticeable about the soundtrack, it sounds very similar to his other work on the Transformer movies, but it works in both places. One has large men in mechanical armor doing battle with huge evil creatures, and the other has huge mechanical robots beating the snot out of one another. Hope Runs Deep was the title track for the second entry and while it keeps the noticeable ambiance and familiar harmonies from the first title, it is cranked up to 11. It feels like the first game was an experiment and since it worked it got all the funding Microsoft could throw at it in terms of production. The same could be said about the latest Halo title. Enjoy!

 

 

Mirror’s Edge – Introduction – Solar Fields (AKA Magnus Birgerrson)

My love for this series in no kept secret here. I play though the game yearly since 2008 as a reminder that when the reigns are let go, there are new and creative ideas to be had in this industry. Everything about the game captivated me; the setting, the very different protagonist, the parkour, and the emphasis on the character not the fights. The game ran on the Unreal 3 engine despite DICE having their own engine, Frostbite. Mirror’s Edge was in development before Frostbite was finished, explaining the use of the out of house engine. To obtain the very bright white city with bold color contrast, a new lighting solution was developed for the game by Illuminate Labs and DICE. This was something new and out of the blue from the Battlefield developer. From 2008-2010 was the experimental years of EA, were we saw titles like Brutal Legend, Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space, Dragon Age: Origins, Need for Speed: Shift, and The Saboteur. Though most were not commercially successful, they were as different as this title track from Mirror’s Edge. There is hints of Lisa Miskovsky’s “Still Alive” amongst the electronic elements. Parts of this track played during the menus and gave the same serene sense of beautiful white surroundings. Even if DICE and EA never produce another Mirror’s Edge, we still have the experiment that gave this writer hope that not everything the gaming industry produces as of late can be copy and pasted year after year on the same brown backdrop. It’s is my breath of fresh air I breath in once a year and let my mind envelope the fantastic soundtrack. Enjoy.

March 4, 2013

Statement by T-Shirt

 

I am a big fan of showing what I like and think via my clothing. I have three large stacks of gaming/nerd tees that is the main part of my wardrobe. Being able to wear what I want while I sit here and type this is a huge perk, I could be in my underpants, I could have pants on. I enjoy shirts that have people wondering wear I got it at, and most of the time, it comes from small start ups like the people over at Brains and Hips. Brains and Hips is a small start up over at Skreened, at the moment. They are in the process of creating their own humor based site (Brainless Humor) that will let the team of editors help their community contribute. Their shirts are based on humor and nerdy tags and come in a variety of colors. Here are some of my favorites below.

 

 

Those are just a few of my favorites from their line. There is plenty more to be had over at Brains and Hips. I have been looking for a new Street Fighter shirt for the EVO Tournament in July, I may have to pick that up. Once The new site has been launched I will update and keep everyone posted on where they can find out how to contribute to the Brainless Humor community.

 

 

March 1, 2013

Today’s hadouken is brought to you by the letter H

 

I am a fan of fighting game mash ups. Marvel vs. Capcom, SNK vs. Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken, Mega Man X Street Fighter, and my favorite Blankachu. Blankachu took two things I hold dear from my childhood, Street Fighter and Pokémon. What if someone took two things they hold dear and mashed them together in poster that’s good enough for Cookie Monster? You would have Matt Crane’s awesome Kickstarter project.

 

Crossing Street Fighter and Sesame Street, the project hopes to raise $1,000 for the creation of 18”X24” posters of this awesome artwork. The project is off to a good start with already raising $732 of the asking $1,000. Matt started the crossing of these two franchises back in 2009 on his deviantART page with the Ernie/Ken crossover. Matt had been doing single character art until this Kickstarter project. The Kickstarter, depending on what you contribute, can net you this great artwork. $20 or more nets you the 18”X24” poster of Super Sesame Street Fighter, plus a digital art sketch book (PDF), and official wallpaper JPEG (1920X1200). $60 or more and you get all the above times four. $100 or more you get an original pencil drawing of the Super Sesame Street Fighter art signed by Matt, the poster, sketch book, and wallpaper. Donations do start at a $1 which will get you the wallpaper sent to you via email. All art, from the wallpaper to the posters, have an estimated ship date of April. There is as of this writing, 21 days left on the kickstarter, more than enough time to fully fund this fantastic fan art.

 

Matt’s art has been seen on sites such as Kotaku, Destructoid, and Seth killian’s Capcom-unity page. We at TheGamersBlog, are proud to have Matt’s artwork on display as well. The Telly/Zangief cross over is my favorite, I love the eyes. Head over to Matt’s deviantART page to check out the poster art, plus much more of the Super Sesame Street Fighter art. Below is a link to Matt’s Kickstarter project, and help support this remarkable fan art. Rock the Asphalt has never a truer meaning than with this art. Thanks Matt, for sharing this great project with us.

 

Super Sesame Street Fighter Poster Kickstarter

 

Editor’s note – I know we have some readers that are not in the States; unfortunately the posters are only being shipped within the States due to cost issues. You still can donate the starting price of $1 and receive the JPEG wallpaper. More can be found about this on the Kickstarter’s page.

February 22, 2013

Weekend Round-up

 

Something I though I would try this week and see how it goes. This is the weekend round-up of everything that happened at thegamersblog, this week. Also just a note of what we are playing this weekend and to have a little weekend chitchat about games or whatever. Anyway, here we go.

 

A look at classic games featuring Dune II.

Our preview look at Crysis 3 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengance. 

Bungie’s announcement of their new title Destiny. 

MMORPG Update featuring Survarium.

Final Fantasy XIII was featured on Gaming in Stereo.

We are still really bummed out about THQ closing it’s doors and the loss of franchises.

Mass Effect is getting a final send off DLC pack next week, Halo 4 will be receiving the Majestic Map Pack next week as well. 

Everything covering the announcement of the PlayStation 4 is right here here, here, and here.

A look at the history of the PlayStation though video. 

 

For the weekend I will be playing Happy Wars most likely. I had Brad “Thsoundman” and my brother download the free to play game and I created monsters in the process. There is a Mass Effect 3 Operation in effect for this weekend as well. I may jump into that and save some credits for Tuesdays new multiplayer DLC. Dragon’s Dogma is still on my back log pile as well as several others I really need to give some attention to. Since I multitask during online gaming, some more Wipeout 2048 and Crashmo, both of which I am loving immensely. Any gaming plans for the weekend?

 

February 22, 2013

Dump Bin Diving: Wipeout 2048

 

Today we highlight our first Vita game. I have spanned this segment over all platforms except for the Vita, well today that changes. We are going to take a look at my favorite Vita game at the moment and one that holds some sentimental value, Wipeout 2048. I love the Wipeout series ever since I played it on a demo disc for the PS1. Wipeout has spread over the years, hitting consoles in every generation; from the PlayStation to the Nintendo 64, to the Sega Saturn, to the PlayStation 2 and PSP. The series latest console entry Wipeout HD and Fury add-on were only available from the PSN, and was a recreation of the PSP titles. Wipeout HD upon release was stellar and today still sets a high bar for console graphics. Running at a blistering 60 fps and in full 1080p, showed what the PS3 was capable of in it’s early days. Wipeout 2048 is the last game to come from SCE Studio Liverpool, the long Wipeout franchise developer. After 2048, its unclear where the series will go but if this is the last one, well then I am at least happy I have the pleasure of playing it.

Wipeout 2048 is a prequel in a sense, showing off the early days of the anti-gravity racing. The tracks still look futuristic as ever with a wide variety between the 10 new tracks. The new machines are broken up into 5 different corporations and 4 different classes, speed, fighter, agility, and prototype for a total of 20 machines. The single player campaign spans over 3 years of the Anti-Gravity Racing Championship, consisting of time trials, races, combat races, zone races, and prototype races. There is a full multiplayer suite as well, consisting of custom made races and competing in an online campaign. The game looks great, though downgraded from 60 fps to 30 fps, and has an incredible sense of speed. The Vita’s analog sticks feel great when racing and the game has a good difficulty curve the series has been known for. There is cross-play available so you can play the game on the PS3 as well. Speaking of the PS3, if you happen to have Wipeout HD bundle and Wipeout 2048, you can download the Wipeout HD bundle to 2048 making it three games in one. You get the Wipeout 2048 campaign, the Wipeout HD campaign, and the Wipeout HD Fury Campaign all in one game. The Wipeout HD bundle add on looks and plays great; other than loss in frames per second, there is barely any loss in graphical fidelity. The game is great on its own merits, but if you have the Wipeout HD bundle, it was free as part of the Sony Welcome Back program after the PSN breach, then this game triples it’s self. I do have other games for my Vita, but Wipeout continues to be rested snugly in the game card slot. Thank you Studio Liverpool, for a great swan song.

 

Is it worth it: For a paltry $20 you can have one, if not the best, racer on the Vita right now. If you own a Vita and the Wipeout HD bundle on the PS3 then there is no excuse why this shouldn’t be in your collection. If you have a Vita and PlayStation Plus, it is included with the instant games collection and should be on your memory card by time you are done reading this.

 

Wipeout 2048 – is available on the PSN as part of the Instant Games Collection included with your PlayStation Plus membership. It is also the cheapest on the PSN for $17.99. I purchased mine at retail for $19.99.

 

Dump Bin Div­ing is posted every Fri­day. It is a look at games that are with in a $20 bud­get, that may or may not be worth your time and hard earned money. The games maybe down­load­able or disc based.

 

 

February 7, 2013

DICE Summit 2013: Gabe Newell


 

 

The DICE Summit of 2013 is going on right now. For those of you that don’t know DICE stands for Design, Innovate, Communicate, and Entertain. This summit is brought together by The Academy of Interactive Art’s and Sciences and is going on it’s 12th year, this year. This year they had Keynotes from Gabe Newell of Valve, Glenn Schofield of Sledgehammer Games, David Cage of Quantic Dream, and Julie Uhrman CEO of Ouya just to name a few. Gabe Newell’s Keynote was particularly intriguing and I wanted to share it. I like, how towards the end of the Keynote, he talks about user generated content and how stores need to be user generated. I would love to see a store front whether it be on Steam, or if the home consoles embraced user content, that would compile user content in an easy to find, easy to purchase fashion. To some one like me that is more console savvy, it would make finding mods for Empire at War a lot easier, or finding some texture packs for Skyrim to really make it shine. I agree with what Mr. Newell states, there is some user content that is better than what the developers give us. One last thing I want to touch on is he states console transitions are awful and I agree. The Wii U just launched a few short months ago and even I had a weird time with it. I loved the technology, but the idea of, wow, now my Wii is obsolete now I have to buy new hardware, new games; making a transition to a new controller and interface can be a bit daunting. Yes, technology progresses, but there has to be better ways then a five year cycle of in with the new, throw the old away, rinse, and repeat. His keynote is at the top of the article the rest of the keynotes can be found right here.

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