Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nintendo DSi XL Release Date and Price on G4

G4 has the info you need, apparently:

    "Do you like your DS? Would you like a bigger DS? Would you like this bigger DS to be called the DSi XL and be released on March 28 for $190? Well, such a prediction would lend credence to the theory that you're a psychic freak, but I'm going to let that pass for now. You got off lucky, dude.

    Nintendo of America announced the March 28 release date this morning at their media summit in San Francisco. G4 is on-hand at the event to check out Nintendo's lineup -- stay tuned."

Thanks to TRB for the heads.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gamer Tattoo Tuesday: Modern Warfare 2

I have yet to see any photos of MW2 ink anywhere, and that's a good thing.  This game, while certainly well-made, should raise the eyebrow of any participant.  Do you really want this much realism in a war game?  This is fun for you?  Killing Nazi zombies -- good times.  Killing people whose concepts of a virtuous life differ from yours -- worth a pause. 

Seems the most eligible image for a tattoo would be the insignia of Task Force 141.

Seriously, though.  Think about it.  Do you really want some vet stopping you and commenting on this? 

"Never seen that insignia before.  What division you in?" 
"Me?  Oh I just pretend to be a soldier on my PS3."  
".... You mock everything that makes America great."

(Note -- I had no idea joystiq had posted this Nazi zombie MW2 article mere hours before I posted.  Yes, it's an archetype.)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Assassin's Creed II Screenshot Vs Reality

Here's a nice screenie of some architecture near the duomo in Assassin's Creed II.

Oh, wait.  That's a photo of real life.  Here's the screenshot.

You just try to tell me that's not amazing.  My dad starting playing AC2 a little while ago, and realized he could clamber his way up to a viewpoint not unsimilar to the view from an apartment he stayed in. I assume I'm not alone in eyeing churches a little differently after having played this game -- judging handholds and looking out for glowing feathers.  These two images speak to just how faithfully the developers recreated reality, and if I ever find myself in Venice I had better see haycarts all over the place, for my own safety.

A recent WSJ article with the SEO-friendly title "Time Travel Gets Closer to Reality" addresses this topic.

The game's producer-authors chose those years as the most eventful of the era and labored lovingly to re-create the environs as exactly as possible. They hired Renaissance scholars to advise on period garb, architecture, urban planning, weaponry and the like. They took tens of thousands of photographs of interiors and streets. They used Google Earth liberally to piece together the ground-up and sky-down perspectives through which the action flows.
Well, it worked. 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII Music -- Will You Preorder?

ViviImage by GogDog via Flickr
Now this takes giant balls of manufacted nethicite.  Square Enix sent a polite missive today, declaring that we now have an opportunity to preorder the soundtrack for FFXIII.

Experience the music from the latest chapter in the FINAL FANTASY series in a world filled with unlimited possibilities.

Composed by Masashi Hamauzu, the soundtrack is comprised of 85 tracks on 4 CDs, and includes the Japanese theme song "Kimi Ga Iru Kara" and additional song "Eternal Love". *English theme song not included song not included

Directly imported from Japan, this is your chance to own the distinct FINAL FANTASY sound that the world has been waiting for.

Seriously?   They want us to buy a the soundtrack for a game we haven't even played yet?  Their dominance over the minds of the gamer world is hard to question, but this smacks of hubris, even for them.  Have they realized they have become Shinra?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Star Trek Online Race Customization: Do They Own User-Created Content?

Fine.  Yes, I have considered trying out Star Trek Online.  I admit it.  Now, check out this little snippet from the FAQ: 

What’s more, anyone can create their own species in Star Trek Online, meaning you can tell your own story about how you came to be in the galaxy. Leave your mark on the Star Trek universe!

Yeah.  I'm going to have to go ahead and caution against this.  If you're a fan-fic person or heavy RPer and want to get your stuff out there, by all means go for it, but if you've had a cool sci-fi idea kicking around in your head for a while and think this might be a fun way to try it out before writing your novel, please don't.  If this world is the Star Trek world, and the Star Trek world is owned by CBS, can we assume that anything that happens in this world is owned by CBS?  Considering the successes Blizzard has had in this arena, I see no reason why not.  Either way, I think it is safe to assume that CBS has better lawyers than you do.  Be warned.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

World of Warcraft Achievements on Facebook – How To

You may remember a post about PS3 trophies on Facebook, in which I suggested WoW do the same.  Well, clearly the fine people at Blizzard are reading this blog and waiting for the next pearl of gamer wisdom to drop from my lips.  They couldn’t possibly have come up with this on their own.
Here’s a quick walkthrough on how to make this happen:

  • First, look for the World of Warcraft Feeds on Facebook application.  Clicky.
  • You will need to link your account, done easily enough by a pop-up window upon the entry of your Battlenet info.
  • Next, you will be see your characters – pick the one you want to boast about.
  • The fun part comes next; picking what events you want to post.  Achievements, Boss Kills, and/or rare loot (with selectable parameters!) .
Easy peasy.  The app includes a “View in 3D” option, allowing you to show off your badassed mofo in all his or her glory.

Now get out there and tell some animals you love them!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three (More) Literary Works Worth A Play-Through

You really must get over to this blog and read the author's response to the hope-chest which EA's Dante's Inferno has ope'd.  5 books he'd like to see made into games, albeit with tongue firmly placed in cheek.  He asks "Which great works would you like to play through?", and I, of course, live to serve.

Around the World in 80 Days, Jules MF Verne  Play as intrepid adventurer Phineas Fogg as he saves beautiful women, dodges lawmen, and sails across the Great Plains.  Think Uncharted, but with more gentlemanliness.

Utopia, Sir Thomas More.  The city-builder title.  Convince the citizens they are happy while you take their children away and enslave all the criminals.

Histories, HerodotusCall of Duty + 300 - naked dudes = awesome.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Five Question Friday: David Cumbo, Cinematic Layout Artist at Insomniac

In this latest installment, we get enjoy the musings of one Mr. David Cumbo.  David currently works for Insomniac as a cinematic layout artist (aka "cutscene guy"). 

#1 -- You've been working in the VG industry for a while now (Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, etc.).  What piece are you most proud of?

-I worked on Ratchet: Future 1 and 2, and Resistance 2.  Of those, I think we did the best work on Ratchet Future 2, which is good since it's the last game we did.  The quality of the work produced was higher and the story was more cohesive.

#2 -- How does directing a cut-scene cinematic compare with directing a movie?  

-Game cinematics are made through a variety of means.  Most typically, they use game assets rather than custom models.  Often, the game models are up-res'd to accommodate close-ups and various cinematic needs.  We're limited in many ways compared to film production.  We need to work within the confines of the game engine and its custom cinematic tools.  In addition, all assets to be animated need some degree of rigging to allow the engine to recognize their movement.  We need to think creatively to get around all these limitations.  Maybe we want a close up but the model is too low-res so we need to figure out a different shot.  Our cinematics are frequently located in spaces shared with gameplay.  Since fun gameplay is our highest priority, we may need to make different choices in the scenes.  In film, temporary adjustments can be made to get the shot working and then moved back.  Other than the aforementioned limitations, the creative nature of making a movie is identical to animated film production.

#3 -- What game are you most jealous of not getting to work on?  Why?

-Insomniac made Spyro the Dragon.  I think I would've enjoyed that one.  Don't know why, I just think the characters are cool and a good story can be set in that world.  I remember digging the original game in high-school.

#4 -- What old game deserves a reboot?
-Of Insomniac's?  I suppose Resistance is a sort of advancement of Disruptor, but I think the sci-fi world in that game is interesting and could use a modern lift.  Of course, Spyro was awesome.  But hey, as far as my favorite lost series?  Day of the Tentacle... Earthworm Jim... Jet Force Gemini...

#5 -- What are you playing now?

-To be honest, I don't play an awful lot of games outside of work since I have to sit at a computer screen all day ;)  BUT, I have recently been playing Banjo-Kazooie: N & B.  That game is amazingly creative.  I've always been a huge Rare fan.  The game allows you to beat its challenges in many different ways by constructing your own vehicles to tackle them from different directions.  It's like playing Mario, but instead of figuring out what they want you to do, you think about what has to be done and make your own way of doing it.  It really is impressive how much depth they put in the vehicle creation interface.  One of the bravest and most underrated games in the industry today.  The last game I finished was Haunting Ground on the PS2.  Lots of fun.  I love that type of twisted story and I'm fascinated by games that put you in a powerless role rather than trying to make you feel like a BADASS all the time.  Before that, Silent Hill Shattered Memories, which, other than Silent Hill 2, has the best story I've ever experienced in a game.  It was beautiful.

Thanks David!  And keep us posted on your latest!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wallpaper Wednesday: Gray Fox

And while we’re on MGS, how about a little Gray Fox?


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gamer Tattoo Tuesday: Metal Gear

Ah, MGS; the game which taught us that a cardboard box and a pack of smokes is all it takes to be a super-ninja-spy-dude.  If one wants to sport a some ink from the game, though, what are your options?
The FOXHOUND logo?

Um, no.
Maybe a bit of the cover art?
If your local tattoo guy is Yoji Shinkawa, maybe.

Now, this guy’s got it right.  The Kojima Productions logo.
Simple, bold, and 100% rad.