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It's about time!

Well everyone, I think it's about time this place grew up a little bit. So I went out and got an approriate domain name, and I am moving this site to Wordpress. Blogger has been nice enough to let me have this for free for awhile, but I know Wordpress much better and it runs well on my server.

So I will be setting it up over the next week or so and then try to import the close to 1000 posts from here to there. Should be interesting. By doing this it will allow me to have way more control and add and change pieces as I see fit.


Soul Caliber IV - With Darth Vader and Yoda!

Sorry, I will have to be getting the Xbox 360 version of this game so I can play as Yoda! I still have my Nightmare figure from the first game, I wonder if they will put out a set for this one as well?


Top Spin 3 from 2K Sports

Here is a little widget so you can check out Top Spin 3 from 2k Sports. I've always really enjoyed tennis games on consoles so hopefully this one will be good too. I'll have a review of it up as soon as I get a chance to play it.



CALL OF DUTY 5 Trailer

I cannot wait for this game, but I am a true COD lover. Wait, that's not meant to sound like that. I am talking about the game, not the fish.


Updates from My Gaming Life

Like most of the internet community, I haven't played WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne in a while. I last played competitively (read: seriously) on the East Coast about a year ago in an arranged 3 man team with two buddies from University. I was pleasantly surprised to find this update to the game when I went back and played on battle.net last week.

It occurred to me that FT was really the last game I was actually holding onto the disc for. The reason was that because battle.net required updates frequently enough to make a no-cd fix more inconvenient than not. But apparently even Blizzard has seen the light now. The use of a disc for anything beyond installation is truly a dead concept nowadays and I couldn't be happier dancing on its grave.

Normally I'm wary of anything that WIRED's gaming department starts fawning over, but theExperimental Gaming Projecthas many good hours of fun awaiting you. This screenshot is from one of the more popular games, Tower of Goo. Though the phrase"experimental"seems to mean that many of these things aren't really games. As opposed to actually breaking new ground in terms of gameplay, they're just offering you something that you haven't seen before. That said, whatever these are, they're amusing.

Tower of Goo, for example, I take as an allegory for humanity. You try to build goo up as high as possible, but inevitably it will wonkily collapse...leaving a taller and sturdier base for you to once again start building up from. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Until next time.


Nintendo - Pixels to 3D


Tech Pimpin'

Now, I don't usually like to write about gear and gadgets unless I'm being paid off. And I'm not. Unfortunately.

But because a number of very cool things have recently fallen into my possession, I feel the need to endorse them a little bit because...well...they'refriggenawesome.

I have to link toThinkGeekforthis awesome device: the static electricity eliminator.Now, ten bucks might seem a little expensive for a key chain type product, but hell, I'm thinking about getting ten of them period. Basically, you touch this darling to things that you KNOW (or even think may...) give off a static shock and it will safely absorb it. As someone who works in a carpeted room with lots of electronics, this thing has been a godsend. It works on everything from light switches toUSBports.

Between not having the work with that feeling of dread around things you know will shock you (moments like that doorknob from Office Space) and the demented satisfaction you can get in actually destroying the static...it really could be the single best invention of the modern era.

Also, a little known deal is going on right now at Barnes& Noble.com, who have recently partnered withGameStopto try and get into the video game business. If you buyUnreal III for PCfrom them, you get a free copy of Unreal Anthology with it. For fifty dollars, that is crazy. Unreal Anthology includes UT2004 as well as all the old schoolUnreals. You really can't ask for more quality shooter action. I was literally about to pick up a copy of the Unreal Anthology for my girlfriend's computer and even eBay had me paying around twenty dollars for it. To get it for free with a reasonably priced UT3, both brand new with keys? Move over Orange Box.

I'll have a full report onUTIIIin a little bit, but for now, let me just say one of the biggest problems, is that there's not enough people playing online...so get on it already!


5 Stupid Things About FABLE: The Lost Chapters

I'd like to kick off what I hope will become somewhat of a series, with a game everyone can enjoy, Fable. It's made friends with both console and PC gamers, and it's generally considered to be very good, if not a must-play.

Also, my girlfriend has been playing this game non-stop. Add that exposure onto the fact that I've beaten the game three times myself - once as a bad character, once as a good character, once as a do-whatcha-feel-like character - and I feel like I know this game inside and out.

But with any playable game, there always seems to be nagging issues. Whether it's just OK, great, or even must-play classics. There is invariably stupid stuff that makes you wonder who beta tests this stuff. And it's in that spirit, I'd like to present, 5 Stupid Things About Fable. Since I have to encompass the whole game,serious spoilers do await ye. You've been warned.

5.Not being able to play Lady Grey like a suckah.Once you marry Lady Grey you can't expose her treachery to the world. This game is supposed to be open-ended for frag's sake. If you don't at least compete with Thunder to marry her then you can't get every silver key. I had to reload back ten save slots and over hours worth of game time just to get even with her. And you can't even kill her! I've managed to beat children to death in this game with my bear gauntlets and yet you can't take down the one nasty wench who deserves it.

4.The hidden treasure quest. Now, I'll admit. The whole thing is supposed to be a bit of a joke, since the holy grail turns out to be a bloody frying pan. But the weapon is still unique (it's still not the best, see #3) in that it's strong, fast, and can hold more augmentations than any other weapon in the game...unless of course you manage to solve the puzzle without all the clues. I actually played by the rules and figured out where to dig this thing up with only three clues during my first run of the game. The guild master acknowledges that I've done so without needing all the extra help...and the weapon is totally nerfed to be useless? What kind of logic is that? I mean really, what the hell? I'm punished for solving the riddle?

3.The best weapon in the game is sold next to red potions. In this game there's a sword stuck in a stone, swords hidden in treasure chests with multiple locks, and a sword that your arch rival and evil lord nemesis hunts your family to unlock the power of...and yet the best weapon in the game is bought in an item shop that you reach midway through the game. It's pretty ridiculous that you have nothing to look forward to from that point on, especially since the game makes such a big, dramatic deal out of the others. What a gyp.

2.The aging system. Dear lord, what a disaster. I don't see how anyone could play through all the main missions (forget about the side quests!) without ending up looking like a seventy year old man. Invariably, all of my characters became aged to a ludicrous degree before the game was even half over. You simply age way, way too fast. And this wouldn't be so much of an issue if it weren't for the fact that 99% of the other characters don't age at all! It's both sad and unintentionally hilarious/frustrating when Thunder mocks you as"boy"towards the end of the game since you've somehow magically aged to be his senior.

1.The free will choices.Most of the choices in this game are mind-bogglingly contrived. A simple yes or no, good or bad to be found at the same specific places in the game. This in itself wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that they've all been pre-designed to have minimal effect on the storyline. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Forget about trying to make a different set of choices because each choice is contained within itself and never affects another choice. In other words, bland and predictable. If you choose not to kill your sister, she suddenly decides to follow her own path and you never see her again. Choose not to kill Whisper and she decides to take an extended vacation...that's right you never see her again. Choose to kill Briar Rose - the only person capable of helping you reach your nemesis - and instead of having to do something else or some other quests - yes, that's right, Jack of Blades just blunders in with a voice over containing instructions on what to do. What?! Are you kidding me? Gah, that is so stupid.

Don't cry Fable, I'm only hard on you because I love you. Plus, there's always Fable 2 right? I hope you boys from Lion's Head are reading.


Microsoft showcases big Xbox 360 titles for 2008

It's almost to the point where there is not enough time to play all the games that come out. Right now I am going strong with Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect and Devil May Cry 4. There are so many coming out this year that I want that I might just have to find more time to play games :)

Confirmed to be arriving this year for the Xbox 360 were a number of high-profile titles, including Too Human, Halo Wars, Ninja Gaiden 2, and Fable 2. A lot of attention was given to Ninja Gaiden 2, in particular, as Tomonobu Itagaki himself came on stage to demonstrate a GDC-specific build of the game. He also announced a North American release date for the title—June 3, 2008—as part of the June worldwide release plans.

-read more-


Call of Duty 4 + veteran difficulty = win

Call of Duty 4, I think I like it

I am going to say something surprising here. I like Call of Duty 4. OK, that may be an understatement, and most people should already know that.

But I am not talking about the on-line part of the game, which is good but I am starting to tire of it. And this is coming from someone who played thousands of Call of Duty 3 matches on Xbox Live, mostly on the poisson level. I mean spending an entire night playing on just that level and never got bored of it. There just seems to be less... something. Maybe it's the players, maybe it's leveling system, but there seems to be no teamwork or tactics used at all. Anyway, maybe that another post.

Call of Duty 4 single player mode? What's that?

What I am liking right now is the single player mode. I know most people like me burned through it on regular just to get a feel for the game and then went right into the on-line mode and have not bothered to play the missions again. If this describes you, then I think you are missing out.

Here is how you fix it. Throw in your Call of Cuty 4 disc and choose single player. I know it is going to feel weird after playing 50+ hours of on-line but you can do it. Now choose the veteran difficulty. Now try to beat the game. Not so easy this time around is it?

The game totally changes and you get to see so much more of the levels. Plus you are going to have to think. No more running into battle, no more spray and pray. This time around everyone is smarter and harder to kill. Their aim is almost perfect. Throw a grenade at them and they will throw it right back if you haven't cooked it enough. You are going to die. Alot.

But this is the way it was meant to be played. Some warnings though. The levels are going to take you a lot longer. The frustration level in some parts is going to be very high. If you are prone to throwing your controllers, have a few spare ones handy.

Call of Duty 4 Veteran Tips

  1. If you suck at these games, don't even try Call of Duty 4 on veteran difficulty
  2. If you have anger or frustration problems, don't bother
  3. Cook your grenades, they will throw everyone of them back at you
  4. Most of the time, stick with your squad, they will take bullets for you
  5. Don't forget your flashbangs, sometimes they will be the only thing that works.

So have you beaten Call of Duty 4 on veteran difficulty yet? Do you have any tips you can add for those still trying to beat it?


Guitar Hero III for PC Awfully Out of Tune

Some would argue that if God had intended man to play Guitar Hero on PC that he would have included a damn current-gen wireless controller with the package.

Those people are probably right, but the die-hard PC gamer that I am, I was willing to overlook the wired X-plorer controller (complete with the bloody X-box logo on it!) that came with the PC set.

What I couldn't get past was the constant crashes, the poor online community, and the overall glitchy feel to the game. Even with patches, painful calls to tech support, and more hours spent troubleshooting software/drivers/hardware that I care to think about right now, I still couldn't get this nightmare of a port to work correctly. I had to finally send it back for a full refund. Get this - GameStop was willing to make an exception to their no returns on PC merchandise after hearing my story. Yes, it was THAT bad. GameStop.

So what did I learn in the last month and a half? You know, besides praying that Aspyr is never put in charge of any gaming product that you love.

PC gaming is not dying. It's being murdered. And it's crap like this that's killing it.

See, I generally get the reasoning behind all the money going into console gaming. Because it's cheaper and easier than building a gaming PC, you have a much wider audience to release to.
But then instead of treating the PC as a smaller, but unique market, developers are just looking at it as an afterthought. And it shows in the quality.

The exception is when games are developed specifically for PC. That's why Valve has actually been the one beacon of light with their Orange Box. Think of how sad a statement that is. The PC game of the year by most standards isn't even a single friggen game. It's just a collection of games that are fun...and work.

You have to give some kudos to 2k for the simultaneous-platform release of BioShock. It looked and played great on PC. Even if it was barely changed for platform specifics.

RockStar has also bucked the trend, but they don't really count since their background is in PC. You know GTA4 is going to rock for PC, but you also know that it's going to be six months late. Is that that price you have to pay for quality?

I guess so because otherwise the PC is left out in the cold. Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Halo 3, etc. It's beyond me why the biggest console games aren't immediately given quality PC ports, but with every half-ass attempt that goes by, the enthusiasm for doing so must dry up a little.

Yes, I know. There's still Crysis and Call of Duty 4, but it's not enough. I need to game at maximum efficiency and ports like Guitar Hero III are ruining my attempts.

I also realize there's a good argument to be made about why any self-respecting gamer would want to play the Guitar Hero series. I don't have a real answer for you, except that it's like when a buddy of mine played the Sims 2 for a couple of weeks straight to be elected mayor and become a self-made millionaire. To remind the non-gamer gaming community who's boss around these parts. Plus, okay, it's fun too.

Oh, and you know why I really, really have the urge to play Guitar Hero III right now?

Because I can't.


Pirates, Ninjas and Zombies... Oh my!


Trying to kill Dead Rising?

Anyone who knows me knows I love the game Dead Rising by Capcom, even though the whole'text is too small'thing. Well now the people who own the right to dawn of the dead are trying to sue them. They should die.

"It appears as though the ongoing squabble between Capcom and and the owner of the film rights for Dawn of the Dead (both versions), which started back in 2006, is far from dead. The MKR Group, who owns the rights for both the original George A. Romero classic, as well as the 2004 remake, is planning to sue Capcom for copyright infringement based on its game Dead Rising. To combat this, Capcom is reaching out to the US courts to prove that they did not copy the films."

-read more-


A look at Spore

This game just looks like it will either be absolutely fantastic, or a complete bore. I know I will be playing it to find out myself, anyone else going to pick it up?

It's been a long wait, but Spore is nearly here. Will Wright, one of the game industry's most fertile minds and the creator of the groundbreaking SimCity and The Sims, said Tuesday that his biggest project yet will be released worldwide Sept. 7.

Even though the premise sounds daunting (the game was originally called SimEverything), Wright said that it is first and foremost a casual game that everyone can enjoy."From the outset, I wanted to make something that Sims gamers wouldn't be freaked out by,"he said."People who play for creativity and expression, I think, are the largest untapped part of the market."

-read more-


A Word Is Worth A Thousand Pictures

I just found this site, and it looks alright. Although I do not play anything besides RTS games on a computer, I think I will continue to check it out. What do you think about this site? Link is to an article I liked disscussing graphics vs. narrative.

"This wordthink originally appeared in the Escapist. It’s an exercise in tackling the graphics vs narrative argument, which perhaps occasionally lapses into cliche. As you’ll see as you read through, I don’t necessarily agree with all my arguments - it was written in an attempt to create a thesis which would generate opposing antitheses. Together,we can reach synthesis. Discuss."

-read more-


The Origins of Your Favorite Video Game Friends

Ever wondered why Mario is, well… Mario? Just like you and I have a story of how we came into existence, so do our two-dimensional video game favorites. Here’s a tribute to some of our faithful flat friends with whom we all have logged many an un-moving hour.

-read more-


Who is going to be hacked first?

While I do admit I am a big Xbox fan, I was always curious to see what would become of the more open platform of the PS3. As most of us love to get things for free, I think having to pay for things like gamer pictures and backgrounds on Xbox Live is completely unacceptable. But I can see how locking down the Xbox 360 has advantages (not just money) as well. They can ensure that all content is safe for everyone and no jackass can ruin it for everybody.

Although I will say it again, having to pay for gamer pictures and themes is pure crap and a total money grab. I am sure there are tons of people that would be willing to make them for free.

Anyway, that is not what this is about. It got me thinking about how Sony is going the other way and making the PS3 very open (Very un-like Sony BTW). Which I think can be good in some ways, but what copying games? With an open system and a huge hardrive, it is going to be way easier for people to be able to play'backup'copies of PS3 games.

I think the Wii and the Xbox 360 will be able to defend against this longer as since it is more difficult, why bother when you can just concentrate on hacking the PS3.

So what will happen once they figure out how to play downloaded'back-ups'straight from the PS3 hard drive? I think they may start selling alot more consoles, but I don't think it will be a good thing for the game sales. Once people can download it for free, why would they bother paying?

I guess we will have to wait and see, but this generation of gaming sure is turning out to be an interesting one.


Review of Devil May Cry 4

OK, I was going to just put the intro paragraph here so you could peek at it before going to read the whole review over at Ars, but this paragraph in the middle seems much more important. Go ahead and read it over, I'll wait...

"The women of Devil May Cry kick as much butt as the men, and in fact Dante's old friend Trish makes an appearance in the game. Of course, all the women have huge, heaving breasts that jiggle across your screen if a warm breeze hits them, and one fight sequence seems to focus almost entirely on a woman's crotch. In one scene a woman leans over a desk, and both Dante and the camera leer at her breasts, right before the camera actually zooms in on her butt. Luckily, her skirt is cut away to reveal her underwear. She apparently knew where that camera would be, and wanted to put on a show.

Fantasy is fantasy, and big-breasted women share the same exaggerated proportions as heavily muscled men in games like this, but the whole thing is so juvenile it becomes almost embarrassing. In the world of Devil May Cry, women take the sword to work and leave the underwear at home.

Wait until you see how one boss character lures you into a fight. Here's a hint: it involves twins. Sadly, I probably just sold more than a few people on the game."

I'm sorry, but where is the problem here? This is a Capcom game after all. You were expecting something else from them? Don't try to pretend like you don't like it. You are no more advanced than the rest of us guys. Unless of course you have lost your penis, then I am sorry for your troubles, but don't take it out on the rest of us. In short, we like boobs. OK, now go read the full review.

-Read Full Review-


Call of Duty 4 kicks award shows butt

So, here is the list of winners from the Interactive Achievement Awards (part of the D.I.C.E. summit). Also included are bonus comments by me! What do you think?

Overall Game of the Year: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare(Agreed)

Console Game of the Year: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare(Agreed)

Computer Game of the Year: The Orange Box(Do people still play games on computers?)

Outstanding Innovation in Gaming: Rock Band(Never played it)

Handheld Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass(Never played it)

Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year: World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade(I don't have time for these types of games)

Cellular Game of the Year: Skate(Never played it)

Role-Playing Game of the Year: Mass Effect(I love BioWare)

Racing Game of the Year: Motorstorm(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Game Design: The Orange Box: Portal(Never played it)

Adventure Game of the Year: Super Mario Galaxy(Worst game of the year)

Sports Game of the Year: Skate(Never played it)

Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year: Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars(Low Power? Again!?!)

Action Game of the Year: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare(Agreed)

Family Game of the Year: Rock Band(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Animation: Assassin’s Creed(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction: BioShock(Bioshock was ok)

Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering: Crysis(Never played it)

Outstanding Character Performance: The Orange Box: Portal(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Story Development: BioShock(Bioshock was ok)

Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering: The Orange Box: Portal(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare(Hell yes!)

Downloadable Game of the Year: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition: BioShock(Bioshock was ok)

Outstanding Achievement in Soundtrack: Rock Band(Never played it)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design: BioShock(Bioshock was ok)


House Cleaning

Hi. I am cleaning up so this place may look different every time you visit until the end of February. If you have any ideas, comments, concerns or questions, please go ahead and drop us a line.

cramitwithwalnuts at gee male dot com ( got it? )


For Gamers, the Wii really does suck...

I'm sorry to have to say it, but it does. I cannot understand why all these other gaming writers are praising the Wii and Nintendo right now. Just because there are still shortages does not mean it is any good. It means Nintendo is either horrible at manufacturing, or horrible at forecasting. It's like they are saying they can't beleive people are buying so many of these things, even they don't think it's that good.

Seriously though, I have tried many games for it. I play Wii sports. When it's too cold or too late to go outside for some excercise. All the other ones are just not that good. Zelda was boring, the story did not get me involved at all. I did not care about any of the charecters so why even bother?

And Super Mario Galaxy. What a over-hyped piece of junk. Just because it's Mario does not mean it is good. I took that one back the next day.

So I thought I would try and pass it off to my son. He's only 12 and he should like this thing right? He uses it to play gamecube games. He has also tried other games with me, and the novelty wore off just as quick for him.

This thing is for little kids, old people and Nintendo Fanboys. Anyone who has gaming as a hobby will quickly tire of this thing, and go back to Xbox 360 or PS3.

Perhaps when they were naming it, they meant'Wee'as in for little kids and something got lost in translation.

Not to mention the truckload of crap games that Nintendo has allowed to be produced for the Wii. Whoever is in charge of allowing things like Ninja Breadman to actually be produced and sold should be drug out into the street and beaten with rubber hoses. What are they thinking? And why do these things NOT register with all the Nintendo fanboys? Do they really think truckloads of these crappy games are good?

I do think this thing could be good for two things. Party games, and excercise games. The motion controller would be great for either of these. Mario Party and other games like Wii sports.

I am sorry to have to write this, but really, nobody else seems willing to say anything bad about Nintendo or the Wii. But for Gamers, it really does suck...


3 new titles coming to Xbox originals Feb 11

On Feb 11, 3 new game will be joining the Xbox originals line-up. The games are Ninja Gaiden Black, Sid Meier's Pirates! and Black. I did play the pirates game for quite awhile and remember enjoying it.

All of them are pretty good choices and will be available for 1200 points each.


Don't you wish your arcade was hot like mine?

What would every gamer out there do if they had the cash and a spare 2400 square feet of space? Do what this guy did, and make there own arcade. Me = want.
-read more-


Peruvian Riot Police: Ass-kicking Armour

I wonder if we can order these suits of armour? Apparently the designers of the Peruvian riot police armour read a lot of comic books. Very nice.
-read more-


A trip down memory lane: A look back at some great games.

This is a nice read if you are around 30ish as it talks about some pretty old games. It was a nice trip down memory lane, I loved playing Zelda 2: the adventure of Link. I think I played that more than any other game on the NES.
-read more-


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