Archive for March, 2010

Game Room: Day 1.

The launch of Xbox 360’s Game Room was more of a sputter than a rousing success. They fixed the “Can’t load the service” issue, but as of this writing, leaderboards are still not fully working, challenges can’t be sent out properly, and I’m getting some really weird “now you see them, now you don’t” issues with the room items. The items appear and disappear, won’t let you place them in every theme room, and specific theme items can’t be placed in what would be their matching room counterparts.

I really hope an update comes soon.

That said, now that I’ve seen the service in action, I can make comparisons. This is the Steam service for retro console and arcade games. I grew up on this stuff, and it takes me back. One of my favorite features is actally placing a number of arcades in a room. Those who grew up in the arcades know those ambient hums and beeps that built up into a symphony of digital music. It’s a cool effect, and it made me dewy-eyed and nostalgic.

I bought a few games: Adventure, Combat, and Yar’s Revenge for the Atari 2600, and Crystal Castles for the Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft’s Game Room.

I’ve been on a small retro kick of late, in no small part to the potential of Game Room.

I have a spot spot for the Atari 2600, Intellivision and arcade games of old. They had such a cool feel to them, and I’ve actually ordered a few of those old game catalogs from Atari 2600.com. For you younger gamers, video games back then actually came with small books with the full library of games from said company (Atari, Activision, Mattel, Coleco, Imagic, Parker Bros., etc). They had full artwork, talked about games, accessories, upcoming games…. The closest thing some may remember are posters from the NES/Master System days which did essentially the same thing. This died out towards the end of the 16-bit era, and it’s one of the things I miss the most from the old days.

I’m rambling a little bit, but this is part of the “old game nostalgia” for me past emulations and compilation discs that we see today.

Game Room has some potential, if they choose to do things properly. But there are a few factors that will likely gauge its success.

* How are they going to re-release games that are already Read the rest of this entry

The Metroid Drink.

I saw this on Kotaku recently, and it amused me:

While I think using raspberries would be a more “authentic” addition to this concoction, just don’t start playing Oblivion after drinking a few rounds of these.

I picked up Final Fantasy XIII this last week for the 360. Overall, I’m enjoying it. The battle system is different, but still accessible, the graphics are beautiful, and I like the main characters, which is always a make or break situation with me when it comes to these titles. If I don’t like the cast, I usually don’t finish the game. I have a feeling that I’m going to see this one through to the end, and I look forward to when the game “opens up” like the reviews say, as I’m in a fairly linear part of the game.

One thing I don’t get, however, are the “PS3 Vs. 360” graphic debates. Such debates are not lost on me, having been there for the SNES and Genesis days. This is also the first multi-platform Final Fantasy main entry, so there is actually a basis of comparison.

Back in the 16-bit days, some titles were easy to spot for the “superior” version. The SNES version of Mortal Kombat II, for example, won out due to its better sound quality and more robust color palette. Going back ever farther, “Atari 2600 Vs. Intellivision” had some Read the rest of this entry

Transformers G1: Awakening: Post-Script

For as obvious as the license would be in application to video gaming, there’s simply no real “good” Transformers games.

One of the few exceptions is Atari’s Transformers title on the Playstation 2 some years back, and the new War for Cybertron looks promising, though that’s more on High Moon Studio’s credentials than Activision’s predilection for taking great franchises and grinding them into oblivion. But for all of the games released, you would think someone could get the concept right.

I’m not a huge Transformers fan, per se. I really enjoyed the old ’80’s show, and yes, I got teary eyed at Optimus Prime’s fate in the original movie (not those horrible Michael Bay abominations that barely pass for cinema) when I was a kid. But even in light of my lack of major fandom, I always wanted a game that could do the concept of robots turning into vehicles justice. How could that not make for great action gaming?

Imagine my surprise when I played an iPhone game based on the old ‘bots from my youth.

While not an action game, it’s a surprisingly competent RTS game. The game itself is filled with authentic musical cues and transformation noises, Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Drink and Game.

A friend of mine sent me this link about the perils of drinking and gaming.

Since I’ve played a fair bit of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (aka “The “Never-Ending Story”), I can appreciate the humor in this, but holy crap, what a blackout this guy must have had to have done all of this without remembering.

A quick post, but amusing all the same.

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