Tuesday, June 30, 2009
- The Conduit gets reviewed and Kotaku hits on a lot of the same points I noticed when playing the game at E3,
- Leigh Alexander goes in depth on the study of controllers and,
- Game Trailers posts a new Bonus Round.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
What makes Peggle so special? Why do people play Peggle? Plainly put, Peggle makes the player feel empowered. The average shot will rack up tens of thousands of points and the game lets you know this through big sound effects and colors. The final shot that clears the last orange peg is accompanied by a drastic zoom in. As the peggle ball nears the last peg, slow mo raises the drama. Near misses will have a player smacking their forehead. But you're never afraid of trying again, because when you do finally clear the board, Beethoven blasts and fireworks fly. This all adds together to make you feel like you've gotten the highest score imaginable. Players who want to get a little deeper into the game will want to check out their stats and attempt to increase their score.
While my That's the Name of the Game review might not carry a numerical score, don't forget that when I originally reviewed the game here at PLAY READ WRITE, it received a 5 out of 5.
You can read the full article at http://www.bscreview.com/2009/06/thats-the-name-of-the-game-peggle-for-the-iphone/
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Word has spread fast about Barnett's work, and for good reason. His impressions of these landscapes can transport frequent visitors directly into the game world, all without having to launch Team Fortress 2, or Half-Life 2. Barnett also painted a view within the fictional Liberty City from Grand Theft Auto IV, which is in turn an "artist's rendering" of New York City. An impression of an impression, if you will, still has a strong effect.
Barnett has been a long time gamer, "since [his] dad brought home an Atari 2600. [He's] been gaming a very very long time. It was just one of those things--love at first sight," but his painting has been a pickup hobby for a shorter period of time. "[I've been painting] since around 2001, when the internet bubble crashed. I started mostly to amuse myself! I'd taken a few art classes, but hadn't trained to be a painter," he said.
Barnett said he was interested in doing impressions of any 3D game, but that he lacked interest in painting "grim space marines or brown-gray hallways or elf kingdoms or hordes of zombies." It seems that Half-life 2's stark realism and Team Fortress 2's cartoon stylings captured Barnett's imagination in just the right way.
"I got a new video card a while back but after I'd started painting. The afternoon light in Call of Duty and Half-Life 2 just blew me away, and that's when I decided I'd paint from video games," Barnett said. He's also spent countless hours in Team Fortress 2.
"Well, I knew I was going to paint [TF2] almost immediately, since I'd had the idea for video game paintings a long time before and I look at each new game I play under that light. But I've put in well over 100 hours, with pyro, engineer, and spy being my top classes. It took a while to get the hang of playing spy, but 5 backstabs in a row make one feel like a magnificent jerk."
When asked about what work he was interested in doing in the future, Barnett said "Next round, I'd like to try some sci-fi-based game scenes, just for the goofiness of using a 100-year-old style to paint science fiction. And more portraits."
You can see more of Barnett's work at his site http://jamesbarnett.net/.
Who knows? Maybe he's right, and that added functionality will blow all other systems out of the water. Or maybe he's completely off his mark. Such is the balance of analysts in the video game industry.
I can see where he's coming from. Microsoft originally sold the Xbox to those who would buy consoles, toys at prices upwards of $300. Now that they've gotten millions of these units under TVs and hooked up to the internet, they've begun to add functionality and accessbility for the rest of the family. 1 vs 100 is a good example of adding content and things to do that don't necessarily require twitch gaming skills like Halo 3. Project Natal is another step in a direction that opens the Xbox to a market that includes the entire family, not just the 16-25 year old males.
Where is it all going to bring us? I think that the next step in this console evolution will come in the next generation of the Xbox. It will still be marketed heavily to gamers, but it'll also come along with tons of features for everyone in the house. Maybe it'll also include DVR capabilities. Time will tell if Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm were the biggest announcements of E3 2009, but lets be honest. If the future turns out the way we've postulated here, you know you'll be looking at the Project Natal reveal over those other features.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
- Bioshock 2 is promoted with some very amateur art (charming!),
- SSFIITHDR is on sale this week,
- Goro comes out of hiding, possibly preparing for his next big role,
- the concept of a Mel Brooks' video game tickles my fancy.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
- TF2 sounds are always funny, especially when paired with America's Funniest Videos,
- the Assassin's Creed 2 footage I've drooled over many times got broken down,
- someone customized their desktop to fit a Halo HUD,
- easy achievements are given the list treatment (which is always good for gamerscore padding).
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Having cleared the adventure mode, which does do a good job of presenting the overall Peggle experience, Challenge mode is a godsend. Granted I only bought the game for ¢99 while it was on sale last week, I would have been disappointed if all I got was a path through all of the puzzles and a quick play mode.
While adventure mode introduces the special abilities that green pegs will grant you as you solve puzzles, challenge mode is where you'll have to put them to use. Some of the challenge maps require you to hit a larger number of orange pegs (which are the pegs you have to clear in order to clear a map), or score a large amount of points on a map, each section gets progressively harder. The challenge here is the real value. Each map can be taken in small bites so it'll take plenty of rides on transit for a player to clear one of these challenge modes.
This is my first time playing Peggle, but I've heard so much about it that some things are kind of weird through self-discovery. First, the aesthetic of the game is sure to scare off some core gamers, but beyond there is a lot to the puzzles and mechanics of the game. Its kind of like a strange turn on pachinko wrapped up in a candy bar wrapper. Second, the scoring really empowers the player. Everything comes together to make you feel like you did an awesome job. I think this factor is what makes it the most casual friendly, despite the very real difficulty some of the puzzles present. My guess is that no matter how many times a player will have to attempt at clearing a map, they'll remember the EXTREME FEVER finish. Lastly, lining up shots can be really disappointing, or really rewarding. In my mind this is a cost/benefit that will either keep players interested or turn players off. In my case, I'll keep coming back to fine-tune my shots. Slightly more casual players might not like how easy it is to fail miserably. Even so, not clearing a map isn't the biggest loss in the world.
Before playing it, I might have turned my nose up at Peggle, but now I can say that Peggle is for everyone who likes to have fun and can look past a colorful nonsensical exterior.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It was sad. I left my old face plate on the 360 and my hard drive is sitting next to my computer. I suppose I'll have to finish up Half Life 2 Episode 1 and Episode 2. I'm getting to the end of Episode 1 after a long period of not playing. The goddam darkness is too hard to play through.
I also borrowed Final Fantasy Tactics A-2 from a friend and I'll be playing a little DS in the mean time.
I guess it'll be good to be without the 360 for a little bit, only because when I get it back it'll be nice. I'm hoping it comes back before my trip to Colorado. The instructions say that when its returned they'll attempt to deliver it three times before they send it back to the service center. I don't know what kind of a mess that'll make out of everything though.
Monday, June 8, 2009
- a countdown list of awful video games manages to squeeze in Castlevania 64 (not something you usually see on terrible video game lists),
- Iwata lets slip news on an unreleased handheld, maybe a Game Boy iteration,
- Kotaku runs down the different titles announced at E3 and their targeted release years,
- and this Brutal Legend trailer continues to build excitement.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
- PLAY READ WRITE touches down at E3,
- we scope out the media room,
- a Red Steel 2 preview gets written up,
- we preview New Super Mario Bros. Wii,
- The Conduit's multiplayer looks good/plays well,
- we see things at E3,
- Split Second gets previewed,
- we hear tell of a Brutal Legend,
- Mass Effect 2 is shown behind closed doors,
- the first day gets written up,
- we play Left 4 Dead 2 on the show floor,
- business gets done at E3,
- we're twittering along with everyone else at #E3,
- notes are passed on The Beatles Rock Band,
- we take on the criminal underworld and post impressions,
- Halo 3: ODST is behind closed doors and we get some extra details,
- we feel for the Bayonetta model (our feet hurt too),
- the bigger audience gets in on The Beatles Rock Band,
- the cool kids eat lunch,
- we don't have any strong feelings either way about Army of Two 40th Day,
- Alan Wake makes a strong impression behind closed doors,
- and we start the long process of wrapping up,
- Muramasa is a good reason to own a Wii,
- Bayonetta impresses PLAY READ WRITE.
Now we're in a museum level and a cinematic has the characters loading up on weapons. A officer enters, when you decided to continue taking the weapons you slap the gun out of your face. The gun goes off and the bullet recochets through the officer's head. Finally they're showing us the weapon customization, which they're calling "Lego for guns."
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I saw MTV Games and Harmonix present this band-specific iteration of Rock Band today at E3. They had constructed a set made to look like the famous Abbey Road recording studio. Inside, we sat in rows as the developers took the stage. They introduced the game and walked us through the menus. They explained some key features and tweaks they had made to the typical Rock Band title to make it more accessible to new players attracted by The Beatles moniker. No-Fail Mode is on automatically so that brand new players aren’t scared away their first time. And new players will definitely be making their way to Rock Band.
You can read the full article at "http://www.bscreview.com/2009/06/thats-the-name-of-the-game-the-beatles-rock-band/"
Tomorrow is the last day, but that doesn't mean there isn't more to see, more news to read, or more for me to write. See you tomorrow.
Firefight demonstration is up next. All four players share from a common stock of lives. There's no set time or wave limit. Enemy waves are random, in this example there are enemy tanks and grunts. Total team points are displayed along with your own personal points. Joe says that the game isn't really open world like grand theft auto, but instead it's like a non-linear mission model.
Later: Batman was pretty much everything I expected it to be. We've already seen and heard so much about the game that there couldn't have been too many more surprises. Actually, I would be more excited about the game if the Joker maps were going to be playable at all on 360. Maybe they're timed exclusive, in which case I'll probably pay more attention when the 360 release is more imminent. Until then, the controls were smooth, not so intuitive, but that's kind of a good thing. It means that there is a bit of complexity to the brawler, which will hopefully keep it from being boring. The sneaking around was kind of fun too. Like I said, I was discovered but hoping over the railing and then grappling to the ceiling got me back in my cover of shadow. Batman will ship later this summer.
Why a Beatles game? Because it's the Beatles, adding the Beatles is great mixer.
Starting with I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Ed Sullivan set, there's a special background during overdrive, animation and graphics looks great, full of life. 3 mics allow harmony.
Damn they're good, 5 stars, before the break and 360,000 points. Colors are all around less neon. Song ends at 490,000. Trying to give feedback so you can see how you're doing. Shows scores on harmonies. There are different markers for the different vocalists. You don't get penalized for one person doing awfully. They're trying to get the game as accessible as possible to accommodate the new players coming to the game for The Beatles brand. Quick play mode has everything unlocked right away. The menus are all newly stylized for The Beatles too and they all look good.
Day Tripper is up next. Good to know I'm not the only one who has trouble with rolls on drums. The drums look great with the face plate. Definitely replacing the old Rock Band 1 drums. Clearly they've references footage of The Beatles performances. 5 stars and 395,747. All Rock Band instruments are compatible. Kick scrim is well made, the demonstrator pretends to kick it. Abbey Road is the first full length album. All You Need Is Love is a timed exclusive for Xbox Live.
The studio-only songs won't be performed in front of in game audiences. Instead they'll take off into "dreamscapes." beatlesrockband.com/press USSR invokes lots of Russian imagery. It's crazy but it works: why is Beatles Rock Band fun? Because it's the Beatles. I'm not even playing and I'm having fun.
More to read on play experience later.
Playing the game was about as fun as watching it. Really, when you see The Beatles Rock Band, you have to ask yourself "What is the selling point of this game?" Obviously the answer is The Beatles, their music, their culture, their likenesses. That is what this game is all about. They have made changes to allow for the new players who are drawn by the license, but its still Rock Band through and through. Don't like the Beatles? Obviously you won't be buying.
The guitar controllers were a little different from my first generation plastic instruments, but I'm sure they're pretty near to the feel the Rock Band 2 instruments give off. You'll be seeing The Beatles Rock Band later in the year and expect the Rock Band/Pepsi promotion to put The Beatles Rock Band at the fore front as well.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
- Molyneux brings Milo alive through Microsoft's Natal,
- Left 4 Dead 2 details begin to flow as the demo is running on the show floor,
- Halo 3: ODST tries to justify its price tag,
- a new APB trailer is shown and my excitement continues to grow for an MMO (and I am not a fan of MMOs),
- Kotaku helps us play along at home,
- and Day 1 gets summed up by all of the usual suspects.
Even though I had never played the first Mass Effect title, Mass Effect 2's presentation still left a strong impression. The first half focused on the way dynamic conversation will affect the story line and cinematics, while the second was a sort of graphical tour de force.
In the opening, the demonstrators confirmed that Commander Shephard was not dead, but then illustrated many different ways that he could die over the course of Mass Effect 2. The demonstrators took us through a few fire fights and then dove into the dynamic conversation.
Conversation choices were presented on screen while the cinematics played through and facial animations conveyed the drama in each scene.
Before too much story could be spoiled, the demonstrators brought us to a new scene in which the ship Shephard and his crew are on is aflame and about to crash into a planet. The fire and camera movement conveyed a lot of action and intensity, but this was starkly contrasted by the vacuum of space when Shephard stepped out into an exposed part of the ship. Breathing played over the blue setting and invoked a feeling of being lost in space. By the end of the scene, Shephard was still in the ship when it was being fired on again. Is he going to be dead this time?
The developers stressed that Mass Effect 2 would center around a suicide mission and that it would take a lot of preparation to avoid ultimate death. The demonstrator wanted to express that although Shephard had made it through to this sequel, it is entirely possible for the characters to die in this sequel.
Brutal Legend was a lot of fun, and had some surprises.
The player is Eddie Riggs, a roadie whose belt transports him to an alternate dimension when it gets a little blood on it. The model is very clearly inspired by Jack Black and the voice fits. Its good that he's only voicing the character though because I can't really stand Jack Black in reality.
After crash landing in this alternate dimension, Eddie finds "The Separator" and then his guitar. The Separator is an ax that serves as the primary weapon. The guitar takes on new abilities, like that of striking enemies with lightning or blowing them up with fire. The guitar does overheat though, so you can't overuse it. Little details make the game come to life, like Eddie shaking his fingers after the guitar overheats.
You battle through numerous enemies and the jokes fly. Finally you come to an arena where you find a set of notes that act like Ocarina of Time's songs. In this case you awaken a boss character that you have to defeat with your hot rod.
Possibly most surprising about the demo was that the game world is actually an open world with specific landmarks that will take you on further missions against the forces of evil.
Little story was revealed but we did see Ozzy Osbourne team up with Eddie in a mission through hell. The jokes flew here and it seems like Brutal Legend will be a title full of life, humor, and color. Look out for it later this year (if Activision's law suit doesn't stop it from being published).