Archive for November, 2010

Pac-Man: Championship Edition: DX: Post-Script.

Long-time readers know that I love some serious Pac-Man. To me, it’s one of the top “pure” gaming experiences (Tetris being the other, and I could argue the original Super Mario Bros.).

I’ve largely played the majority of these, from maze chases to platformers. My favorites remain the original, Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man World, and the first Pac-Man: Championship Edition. I’m still waiting for Namco to get its priorities straight and just release a compilation of all the Pac games so I’ll have them all in one place, but that’s another discussion.

This year, the yellow ball has gotten two sequels (plus that ugly looking party game with the hideous character redesigns, and that miserable looking cartoon). While I’m yet to play Pac-Man: Battle Royale… a sequel to Championship Edition? What could possibly be left to do?

Pac-Man: Championship Edition: DX is utterly insane. It takes everything from the last update, and makes it faster, waking sleeping ghosts around the maze to create an out of control ghost train that shadows Pac-Man like an angry rainbow. When the tables are turned with an energizer…. Pac-Man goes on an out of control eating spree that destroys everything in Read the rest of this entry

My Adventures With Kinect.

I’m so far behind on topics I want to discuss. I hope to catch up around the holidays, but hey, that’s where I am right now, so just giving you guys a head’s up.

I got to try the fabled Kinect, the latest entry in the “Motion Control War”, where Microsoft proudly proclaims “Where You Are The Controller”. A friend of mine picked it up, and invited me over to check it out, so here are my impressions of how it works, and does it surpass what the Wii does?

I played Kinect Sports, which is obviously Microsoft’s take on Wii Sports. Let’s be honest: All of these early Kinect offerings are what are the most popular on Wii: Party games, mini games, etc. While I understand the logic behind this, I don’t agree with it. Nintendo is starting to show signs of slowly stepping away from it, and while these genres drew in the Wii crowd, I’m sure it will get some here. Thing is, Wii’s motion control comes with the system. Kinect is a $150 upgrade.

But the proof is in the tech, and to its credit, it’s intriguing. Very much so. I Read the rest of this entry

"Hardcore" Gaming Survey.

I was asked by my newest visitor/reader “NinSage” to share an online survey about the definition of “Hardcore” gaming.

It’s an interesting thought, the whole concept of “hardcore”. I actually do consider myself as such because of various reasons, which include: Working in the gaming industry for nearly a decade, I research and collect older games and consoles for fun, my collection is fairly huge and diverse in genres and companies, I’ve attended several gaming conventions for business and fun, and I own an arcade machine. Those are a small sampling or reasons why I feel I am “hardcore”. It has nothing to do with HD, or playing gritty space marines in FPS games. If that’s the general consensus of the term, than I am certainly not that, though I have frequently participated in both.

“Hardcore” to me means more to do with competition, both as a team and against each other, ability to succeed and progress in the game, the style and bravado one can bring to the game while doing it, and of course, racking up massive points in doing so. Honestly, the games that frequented the arcades and consoles 20-30 years ago, as well as Read the rest of this entry

Wii: Four Years Later.

It seems crazy to think that it was back in 2006 when my buddy Steve and I camped out overnight at a Target in the freezing cold in a out of the way area of San Diego for my Wii. The mad rush, the pushy customers who just wanted to sell one on eBay….

It’s been an interesting four years watching the evolution of this system. It was the first system that pushed motion controls as a viable alternative to traditional controllers. It’s the first Nintendo system that has (if somewhat still half-heartedly) attempted online play and downloadable content. On a personal note, it is also the first Nintendo system that has ever failed on me not once, but multiple times (oh, the save data loss and missing Miis still sting).

It’s been a weird system, to be sure. Most systems usually do not start with a rush of shovelware, which later evolves into a slew of solid gaming content. But the Wii has been “backwards” from the beginning. The graphically weakest. The one that stood outside of the console wars, not matching feature for feature the online communities, leaderboards, social content, and reward Read the rest of this entry

Haunted House (2010): Post-Script.

For those of you familiar with my gaming interests and likes, the original Haunted House for the Atari 2600 was a personal favorite of mine (and still played on Game Room). It remains one of my “Top 5” Atari 2600 titles (along with Adventure, Pitfall!, River Raid, and Yar’s Revenge), and I was a bit shocked when Atari announced a true sequel to the 2600 game this year. Curious, but cautious, I waited for the day to see this game, and with little (to no) fanfare, it has finally arrived. Does it need to remain regulated to the past, or is it worth another visit to the old Graves Mansion?

Yes, back in the day, those blocky Atari 2600 games actually had stories in their instruction manuals, and detailed ones to give a full background to foster one’s imagination for those primitive visuals. Haunted House, for its time, actually has a decent scare factor. The game can still make me jump now and then at times, which is a testament to its effectiveness.

So here we are with the new game, playing the grandchildren of the original hero. Surprisingly, there are more than enough references to the Read the rest of this entry

Batman: The Brave And The Bold: Post-Script.

Considering that I completed this some time ago, I’d be remiss in saying I’m a little late to the game (as it were) for this write-up.

Batman as a video game icon has had it very good of late, same as the Wii as been enjoying a nice stable of traditional 2D side-scrollers. Fortunately, both of these tropes remain in full effect in Batman: Brave and the Bold.

I personally think the show this game is based on is brilliant. Younger Batfans may not get the seemingly “corny” references, and that it doesn’t seem as “authentic” as Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. If you were a fan of Batman before the last decade’s two great films, you’ll “get” this show so much better. It references art styles, storylines, comic covers, the 1960’s TV show…. It is rife with Batman history, and easily the most loving homage to the character that I have ever seen.

In that respect, the video game is a loving homage to the show which lovingly homages the Batman mythos.

This is four new episodes of the show, complete with Batman and ally taking out a random villain, the show’s opening title, and then springing directly Read the rest of this entry

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