Thursday, December 8, 2011

For the Republic!

Dust off your lightsabers and polish your thermal detonators.  The most anticipated MMO RPG of all time – Star Wars:  The Old Republic is nearly here. 

Although most producers and developers don’t like release dates to go as scheduled, this game is NOT likely to experience any last-minute delays (knock on wood).  December 20 will see the U.S. release, and Star Wars fans everywhere are writhing with anticipation.

Developed by BioWare and published by EA and LucasArtsOver, has already achieved 2.4 million registered players.  This magnitude is clearly indicative of a game that may be too big for its britches. 

With over 720,000 beta testers, 78,000 newly created guilds and 9 million hours of gameplay, players are obviously ready to unleash the Force. 

Hopefully, developers are aware of the game’s notoriety and are prepared to deal with clogged servers, impatient consumers and heavy criticism.  Either way, hurry and pre-order before it’s too late!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Game Rentals are Killing Developer Sales

Blockbuster. RedBox. GameFly.  All these videogame rental venues have an unfortunate consequence for developers:  they don’t make them any money. 

Used games come at a fraction of the initial retail price.  Once a game is traded into a retailer, it profits no money toward the companies that produced and distributed the game.  All the money for used game sales goes to the retailer.  This is convenient and economically practical for avid gamers, as today’s games are more expensive than ever, and new titles are released multiple times a week.

At $60 plus tax for each new game release, gamers are more frequently trading in old games or renting in order to save some cash.

So, while gamers can save a few bucks by doing this, it’s also providing companies a reason to sell more new copies.

In the past couple of years, downloadable content has become ever-popular.  Games are more frequently being released with “online pass” codes that are only available for new copies. 

Although frustrating for those that can’t afford hundreds of dollars a week in new games, this method of “exclusive content” is a way for companies to generate more revenue while discouraging the sales of used copies.

If consumers can’t afford it, they won’t buy it.  Maybe if games weren’t so expensive, companies would see more new purchases and less trade-ins.

Monday, July 25, 2011


The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) earlier today announced that it filed a motion to the U.S. Supreme Court for reimbursement of $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees from the State of California.

The motion follows the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of ESA in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association. On June 27, 2011, the Court ruled that a 2005 California law regulating the distribution of computer and video games was unconstitutional, and violated protected expression, upholding the decisions of both lower courts. The decision was a landmark victory for the First Amendment rights of video game creators, parents, and consumers.

“We look forward to moving forward and working together to raise awareness about the valuable tools and information available to parents,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “From the start of this misguided legislation, then-Governor Schwarzenegger and specific California legislators knew that their efforts to censor and restrict expression were, as court after court ruled, unconstitutional and thus a waste of taxpayers’ money, government time, and state resources.”

In the motion to recover its attorneys’ fees, ESA argued that “California persisted in defending a law that Plaintiffs warned the Legislature was unconstitutional before it was passed; that was previously found to be unconstitutional by the district court and a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit; and that is similar to at least eight other laws invalidated as unconstitutional prior to the time that California sought certiorari in this case.”

Gallagher stated that the video game industry still welcomes the opportunity to work with legislators in raising awareness about the Entertainment Rating Software Board (ESRB) video game rating system and other tools, like parental controls, that the industry voluntarily provides to parents. That information helps parents make informed choices about the entertainment for their families. The ESRB independently rates computer and video games and was lauded by the Federal Trade Commission as the gold standard of entertainment ratings systems.

The U.S. video game trade association also noted its commitment to partnering with retailers in enforcing the ESRB system.  In a recent study, the FTC found that the vast majority of children (about 87 percent) who tried to buy M-rated games were prevented by retailers from doing so — a figure higher than any other entertainment industry.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Killing Floor

Killing Floor is a cooperative, survival-horror shooter developed and published by Tripwire Interactive.  It runs on the heavily modified Unreal Engine 2.5, and is only playable on PC and Mac.

 It was released May 2009, and was one of the highest-selling games on Steam shortly after its release.  It is currently available on Steam's Summer Deal for $7.50.  This amazing deal comes complete with all the additional content (DLC) offered, including all the character costume packs for significantly reduced prices.

The basis of this game's appeal is in its simplicity.  You can't help but enjoy it, despite its miniscule redundancies and obvious imperfections.  Players find a server, team up, and commence through ten waves of increasingly difficult fights, culminating in a fight with the top specimen, the 'Patriarch'.

On the surface, Killing Floor appears to have much in common with Nazi-Zombies from the Call of Duty series.  The 'zombies' (specimens) can sniff you out - wherever you hide, and it's up to you and your teammates to formulate a survivable strategy.

Players earn money by defeating zombies and surviving waves.  Between each wave, a trader offers some assistance in the form of flamethrowers, shotguns, shields, grenades, and an assortment of automatic rifles.  Players are able to 'trade' their money for more advanced and practical weaponry, in order to even the odds.  Players can also trade equipment, in order to keep the teams' weaker links goal oriented and ready to assist.

Killing Floor has won several awards since its release.  Voodoo Extreme's Reader Choice Awards nominated the game 'Overall Best PC Game of 2009', 'Best PC Shooter of 2009', and 'Best PC Game Expansion of 2009'.

Steam's Summer Sale will not be going on much longer, so I urge game fanatics to take advantage of their exceptional deals.  With some games discounted as much as 80%, Steam is truly setting high standards for competition.  While consoles are breaking the bank and picking the pockets of their devoted customers, the Steam powerhouse is providing more fun at considerably less expense.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Uncharted Bundle

Why spend so much money on pieces of games?  Release titles rarely include the entire game, with DLC becoming more and more common as games continue to contain less and less inaugural gameplay.  This not only affects gamers wallets, but also their affinity towards buying newly released games.

Bundle packs are becoming the more economic way to play old games.  Titles like 'Gears of War', 'Fallout' and 'God of War' are currently released with 'Game of the Year' editions that include all of the combined extra content for a fraction of the price featured upon initial release.  Disenfranchised gamers can abuse this privilege to save some money, and still experience the entirety of awesomeness that developers had originally intended en masse.

Soon enough, Uncharted star Nathan Drake will have his very own bundle pack.  This will include both games; Uncharted 1 and 2, and will also include a PS3 theme and avatar.  Although this release has (so far) only been announced for Europe, the States should see their bundle very soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Team Fortress' Uber Update

Team Fortress 2 has become a supremely renowned first-person shooter.  Developed by Valve and released almost 4 years ago, it still has a tremendous following.   This is due, in part, to the plethora of updates and additional content that TF2 has seen since its release.
With an update agenda that is second to none, the cartoon-influenced, Steam-powered multiplayer action is persistently being overhauled with supplementary features like weapons, wardrobes and abilities.  The gameplay has truly changed dramatically, for better or worse, in the past 4 years.
Valve recently announced an Uber update that is described as "the most ambitious update in the history of Team Fortress 2".  Complete with new maps and class packs (including new weapons and attire), this is sure to rebound disenfranchised players and garner a whole new demographic!  Can the popularity of this game hold strong for another four years?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A New Kombatant Approaches!

The Bloodthirsty Skarlet will join Mortal Kombat's colorful cast of killers!

Originating as a coding glitch for Kitana in Mortal Kombat 2, Skarlet is familiar to die-hard fans of the series.   As of June 21, she will be available on the X-Box Live marketplace for 400 Microsoft Points ($5).
The magnitude of her moves, which apparently involve even more blood-splattering techniques, are sure to blend seamlessly into the current maelstrom of Midway mayhem.  With Skarlet's exceptionally brutal and blood-spewing move set, it's difficult to tell whose blood you're covered in!  Watch her story!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gears 3 Special Edition Console

For the past couple of years, Microsoft has made a tradition of correlating highly anticipated release titles with matching accessories to boost hype and sales.  This became particularly common with the Halo series - as controllers, headsets, other accessories, and even consoles themselves would don a plethora of designs and illustrations taken from the game's universe.

This was also seen with the Call of Duty series, and is becoming universal with today's more action-packed shooters.

Microsoft recently announced  a special edition Gears of war 3 console and controller package.  The console itself features a 320 gB hard drive, and will be accompanied with 2 limited edition controllers.  Including a headset, and a copy of Gears of War 3, it will be available September 20 for $399! 

If you are happy with your console, then the controllers are available separately for $59 a piece.

Check out some awesome Gears 3 gameplay!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Zelda turns 25!

Nintendo revealed their concept for Zelda's 25th birthday at E3 this year, and it includes quite a few new adventures for our little green-clad friend, Link.

This year, they will be shipping a new Zelda title for each platform!

This Zelda promotion kicked off June 7,  when Link's Awakening was released for the Gameboy Color.

Nintendo's 3DS will see an enhanced Ocarina of Time.  This rendition will include many additional gameplay modes;  including the Master Quest, boss challenges, and helpful hint movies for the game's more frustrating puzzles.

In September, a new Four Swords title for the DSi will become available for FREE, and will feature the familiar 4-player co-op gameplay. 

Lastly, the Nintendo Wii will find a new Link adventure in Skyward Sword.  The game will utilize the Wii's MotionPlus system, with a revised sword-fighting and targeting design.

Nintendo, and Zelda series fans alike are sure to get their fill of adventures in celebration of 25 years of one of video game's most celebrated and well-known characters.  Nintendo promises that there is still 'more to come'.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Solid Snake Reborn

Konami is a leading Japanese video game developer and publisher.   Founded in 1969, it is responsible for some of today's most legendary and notorious games, including the Metal Gear series, DDR, Castlevania, Contra, TMNT, and hundreds others.  They've been around for a long time, and their games have experienced the highs and lows of technological advancements.

Today, at an E3 press conference, Konami made waves with a huge announcement.  Apparently, Konami will be remaking, rebooting, and remastering several of its earlier well-known franchises for today's generation of consoles.  Included in the list of franchise overhauls was the Metal Gear series and Zone of the Enders.

Fans can expect to see a revamped, more HD version of Solid Snake this November on the XBox 360 and PS3, and will include Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, and Metal Gear Solid:  Peace Walker.  The games will all feature, new graphics, art, audio, achievements, and a plethora of fresh experiences.

Check out the hour-long, pre-E3 interview for upcoming Konami titles!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heart of the Swarm

Heart of the Swarm is an upcoming expansion to be released for StarCraft 2.  It includes the 2nd of 3 campaigns, following the Wings of Liberty expansion, and will precede the Legacy of the Void.
It is set for an as of yet unannounced 2011 release.  It will feature new characters, skills, and a refreshingly unique campaign, with 20 new missions.

StarCraft II:  Wings of Liberty holds the record for the fastest-selling strategy game, totalling more than a million units in one day.  If the fans were pleased enough, then Blizzard should expect to break that record.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dead or Alive: Too Hot for Europe?

Dead or Alive is a fighting game series produced by Tecmo and was first released in 1996.  Its reception was greatly acclaimed, as it put an emphasis on fast-paced fighting, a 3D perspective, and a quick reaction-speed requiring countering system. 

Anybody that's familiar with the Dead or Alive series is also privy to the rather..  voluptuous animation and suggestive attire of its constituents.  Well, as graphics get more and more realistic, they also have the potential to get a little explicit.  Apparently, several European governments: including Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have ceased all shipment of the new Dead or Alive: Dimensions due to it's graphic content. 

Apparently, a few of DoA's feminine fighters are under 18.  This constitutes a big taboo, given their scantily clad and near-nude 'armor'.  This unfortunately propels this game into a realm of child pornography under their regional laws.

Nintendo has cancelled all DoA releases in the aforementioned countries in order to avoid legalities.  The characters in the game are only as old as the developers say, so if they were to change the ages to 18, wouldn't that alleviate the problem?

I've seen the beauties of DoA, and I don't think they look like teenagers...  Do you?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hunted: The Demon's Forge

Hunted:  The Demon's Forge is a co-op action game developed by inXile Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks.  It is a multi-platform, third-person co-op action fantasy powered by the Unreal Engine 3.

Check out the E3 2010 Trailer!
The game is set to release May 31.  The game will feature tactical mechanics and two-man strategies, with the players abilities and skills designed to work together.

The gameplay will feature Baldur's Gate-style action; complete with dark magic, dungeons, skeleton warriors, and endless hordes of evil minions.  However, the perspective is similar to Resident Evil 5.  Overall, it looks like it would be fun if you had someone to play with, either on the same console or over a network.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jax Beach Console Doctors

It's time for a Jacksonville, FL retail highlight.

JaxConsoleDoctors has been in Jacksonville, Florida since 2005.  Owner Kyle Grant has been persistently helping disconcerted gamers everywhere by offering quality electronic console repairs.  From the more common, simple console shortcomings to the arcane, inexplicable defects, Console Doctors truly fits the niche.

Fixing broken and awry consoles had previously been an intimidating and discouraging ordeal.  Warranties are a limited adherent - they run out, and are only partially beneficial.  Also, the time that it takes to ship a system out and wait for its return can take weeks.

Console Doctors offers excellent repair service that takes 1-3 days.  Another offer is console swapping;  for as low as $60, a defective or broken console can be traded for a brand new one! 

Console Doctors is located at 6653 Power Ave, Suite 13.  Jacksonville, Fl 32217  near University and Phillips.  Call the Jacksonville location at  (904) 302-4962.  Owner Kyle Grant can always be found there and is anxious to assist new customers. 
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When your console breaks down, you don't have to!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Battlefield: 1943

Electronic Arts has their hands in every video game genre imaginable.  And they're constantly creating new genres.  Avant-garde and seemingly omnipotent, EA has grown into the largest video game publisher in the world.

Battlefield 1943 is an X-Box Live Arcade game downloadable on the X-Box Live marketplace.  It takes the familiar combat of World War II era first person shooters, and relocates it to tropical, pseudo-paradisiac Pacific Islands.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday Night Combat: All Week Long!

Monday Night Combat (MNC) is an increasingly popular third-person shooter published by Microsoft. available on X-Box Live Arcade and PC's Steam Network.  It was developed by Uber Entertainment, and released August 11, 2010.
Monday Night Combat begs the question:  What is the future of competitive gaming?  Well..  it's lethal.  It's class-based.  And it's kill or be killed.  It fuses the fast-paced, class-based shooting of Team Fortress 2 with the strategic macromanagement of any Tower Defense game.  It offers "gameshow-like challenges and rewards to produce an action experience unlike any other".  The cartoon-style gameplay offers a stark contrast to the multitude of more realistic war-time shooters.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Minecraft: Turn Hours into Minutes!

Einstein stated that things should be ''as simple as possible, but not any simpler."   If Einstein played video games, he might not have shared that frame of reference.  Although, as far as first impressions go, Minecraft looks about as simple as video games get. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The E3 Strikes Back

As summer burns closer, so does the desire for E3.  The Electronics Entertainment Expo is returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Last year, the LACC hosted an enormous, three-day event that housed hundreds of exhibits, and thousands of fans.

The annual entertainment trade show, presented by the Entertainment Software Association, is considered to be the 'ultimate expo in the video game industry', with little room for argument.

After an overwhelming 70,000 attendees in 2005 and 60,000 attendees in 2006, the expo was unfortunately limited to invitation only guests and legitimate members of the media.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Super Mario Frustration

Super Mario Forever has become the most flagrant and formidable ROM hack of the original Super Mario Bros game.  The hack became ubiquitous through the website, a Japanese gaming site.

The video then made its way to various gaming sites and forums.

The popularity that ensued was, in part, due to the narration of someone attempting to beat this ridulous mod.  It was released as 'Super Mario Frustration', and has become an intenet sensation.

This is the comic relief of Mario.  The narration is hilarious, and the complexity of the gameplay itself is hopelessly entertaining.

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                                                 Laugh!  I demand it!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Alien Swarm

With over 1100 games and counting, Valve is cranking out all types of games for all sorts of PC players.  Economy got you down?  Free games from Steam!

 Alien Swarm is a Sci-Fi co-op shooter from the Valve Corporation.  This game first appeared as a mod of Unreal Tournament 2004.  It's success was the driving force behind this 2010 remake.  The same team was hired by Valve to produce it, which is free to download on the Steam network.

This game is a top-down shooter; much like the first Grand Theft Auto, Gauntlet Legends, and (more recently) Zombie Apocalypse.  It features a fresh new look:  new graphics, weapons, and equipment.   There are tons of items to unlock, achievements to liberate and strategies to forge.

Characters are featured with class-specific abilities and signature weapons.  Up to four Steam friends can join a match.  Helping each other is optional though, as survival strategies make it perfectly possible to weld a door shut on a former companion and leave him for alien food - if not to save a few seconds as you make a mad dash for the exit.  Dirty tactics are still tactics.

Alien Swarm also features an SDK (Software Development Kit) that is equally as free as the game itself.  This program allows users to completely customize the game - creating their own levels, aliens, weapons, and even characters.  Over time, more and more custom features will be added.  In the same way that Counter Strike:  Source was modded, this game too will share a uniqueness among games that other platforms can't offer:  user-developed software.

From the developers who brought Half-Life, visit their site and download Alien Swarm for free!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

OMGPOP! is a popular, Flash-based social gaming site. 

Individuals can connect to OMGPOP through most social networking sites, like AIM and Facebook.  Best of all, it is FREE to sign up and play!  Friends and players from all around the world can connect and challenge each other at a number of games.

The atmosphere at OMGPOP has a propensity for nonchilante, easy-going gaming.  It is a very clean and respectful gaming venue that doesn't house the typical, over-competitive e-thugs you would normally find online. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Be A Hero.... Battlefield Heroes

In 1982, Trip Hawkins founded Electronic Arts, an American video game developer, marketer, and publisher.  By 2000, they were one of the major third party video game publishers.
They run the gambit of video game genres;  from Adventure Pinball to Zany Golf,  Tiger Woods to Space Hulk, you'll be hard pressed to find a genre that doesn't involve EA.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Buffy the.. Zombie Slayer?

Seven years of slaying vampires can get monotonous and predictable.  Scary things aren't supposed to have emotions.  Brain-dead zombies are perfect fodder for hot babes to take out their blood lust.

Today, May 3, saw the release of  Treyarch's new Call of Duty: Black Ops DLC, entitled 'Call of the Dead'.  This game features a brand new Zombie survival map with four new All-Stars picking up the guns.  Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street), Danny Trejo (Machete), Michael Rooker (Walking Dead), and the femme fatale Sarah Michelle Gellar (TV's "Buffy The Vampire Slayer").

Hollywood takes the time to organize a chrome cast of vixens and vigilantes to lend their voice talents in a spectacular homage to the Godfather of Zombies, George A. Romero.  George has promised to make a cameo during the course of the game, but will most likely not be signing autographs.