Archive for July, 2008

30
Jul
08

“…all you need is a little push”

I actually just started writing this thinking that I actually wouldn’t have much to talk about but there’s a flood of things bubbling to the top of my mind pool.

first up, I guess a general update is in order.  Since E3 there’s not been much to talk of, when I’ve been in the mood to play some games, which is a rare occurrence these days,  W.o.W has been the flavour of the month and I’m nearly up to level 28 – again shows how much I’ve spent playing.  “Why?” you ask, full-time employment over summer coupled with the complete lack of competent management has left me extremely frustrated and (due to recent elevator problems) completely exhausted.  I’ve also noticed that full-time employment is turning me into a complete dick and it’s something that’s alarming me, I’ve never wanted to be in that catagory.  So if things continue to get worse I may actually leave.

Artists impression of a very angry Mark

The only repsite from ‘Mad Mark’ (as I’m now known in various circles or after today ‘gimpy penguin’) seems to be during the many trips to the cinema over the last few weeks.  Cinema Sunday has been a regular thing and I’ve seen ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and more recently the excellent ‘Wall.E’ and ‘The Dark Knight’.

I cant recommend Wall.E enough, it has taken my top spot on my list of favourite Pixar movies.  Considering the amount of dialogue in the movie and the fact that the main protagonists are robots the emotional connection that’s made with characters is delightfully suprising, so much so that I felt myself almost welling up at the end of the movie.  Almost.

I'm not crying! There's... something in my eye! *sob*

The Dark Knight on the other hand is the years opportunity to do some major geeking out.  It is awesome!  I’ve seen it twice so far and I’m also seeing it in Imax tomorrow night.  Hells yeah!!  Heath Ledger plays a fantastically chilling portail of the joker that could have been literally taken from the pages of ‘The Killing Joke’, there also seems to be a bunch of easter eggs thrown in there – not quite as many as the hulk (Captain America talk anyone?) but there’s a few in there.

Should probably mention that I’m actually listening to something outside the genres of metal or rock music at the moment too.  Right now I’m listening to band called ‘Flowbots’ which could really be described as a more varied version of Rage Against the machine and listening to the album a few times now, there are striking similarities to them.  I’d urge you check it out.

No word yet on my postgraduate course, but I’ll update as appropriate.  however, that could be a while seeing as I’ve now just realised that I’ve got a 3 day weekend with Soul Calibur 4 being released on Friday.

Oh shit!  And before I forget, a massive that you to my neighbour (and awesome cinema buddy) Rhona who showed up at my door at 6:30am on my birthday with a homemade brownie.  That was the sweetest thing ever… no pun intended.

 

Peace

Mark

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15
Jul
08

Sony E3 2008 Press Conference

Live Blog (Keep Refreshing for Updates)

– Feeds are up and running, we’ll be ready to kick things off in a few minutes.

– Here we go!

– Press conference kicks off with a montage of old and new games, MGS, Killzone, Madden, Guitar Hero, Star Wars, PSP stuff.

– Jack Tretton takes the stage.  E3 takes 2 years off his life aparantly.  He hopes to get ‘our blood pumping’, mentions Solid snake, Kratos and Sackboy.  “This year will be the year of the PS3”, talks about previous iterations of the platform and product lifecycles.  Claims that all platforms have a “ten year vision”, obviously he’s never dealt with the PC market.  Folding at home talk now, its broken a Guiness World Record.  Blu-ray talk, PS3 is a future proof.  MGS4 isn’t possible on any other platform.

– Games talk now,  recap of this years releases.  75 exclusive titles coming.

– PS3 focus.  Resistance 2 in game walkthrough appears on screen.  A giant skyscraper size monster tears through the streets and pics up the player, throwing him to a nearby building.  fight leads through and over buildings, the monster tearing up everything in sight.  demo ends.

– The games director is now on the stage talking plot and scope of the game.  “its all about Scale”, we’re about to see a new trailer (all in game).  A destroyed city shows and a giant robotic spider and giant airships in the sky.  Impressive looking.

– Little Big planet now.  “not just a new game, its a new experience”.  On stage demo starts, sackboy appears on screen and is customised with a boston top.  The level is designed to be a powerpoint presentation – Sony is leading industry expansion.  Starting in 2008 there will be distribution in latin America.  “Greatest Hits” selection: Motorstorm, fight night, Resistance, Assasins Creed, Oblivion and Ninja Gaiden Sigma.

– Focus switches to PS2.  Titles are still coming to the platform, montage coming of games.  Tiger woods, star wars, Singstar, Yakuza 2, Madden.  More games than the entire Nintendo conference, on the PS2!!

– Buzz coming to PSP and PS3 (along with DLC on PSN).  Singstar and Singstore talk.  PS2 bundle with lego Batman as it is the “ideal entry point system”.

– Playstation Network talk now, this should be interesting.  Single User ID coming (ala a Gamertag), the same whichever console you log into.  Playstation Store stats, 20M pieces of content downloaded.  Ratchet and Clank Downloadable game coming to the PSN, more episodic content style ~ shorter game and cheaper price ($15).  Trailer definately has a Pirate theme to it.

– montage of new PSN games: Ratchet and clank,  Crash Commando, Fat Princess (lol, wut!?), Pixel Junk Eden, Pain Amusement Park, Flower, some zombie game & Ragdoll Kung Fu

– GT5 talk and GT-TV, trailer shown ~ shows all programs such as Top Gear and racing footage avaiable for download.  Behind the scenes footage of car manufacturing and supercar reviews, seems pretty neat if you were a car nut.

– Community focus now, trophies and expansion are coming… no Home? ah wait, here it is – the Beta will be “coming eventually”.  You’d think 2 years would be enough developing for a lobby system.  Talk of product sponsors in Home.  Trailer shows off some of the aspects, looks like second life.

– VOD talk, list of networks and studios that have signed up.  Once content has been purchase it can be put on ‘multiple deviices’ such as PSP.  Cue on stage demonstration of how the system works.  Alot of ‘Corporate Partner talk’ lots of on screen advertising for movies, sections for trailer (with the ability to full screen).  Talk of “how long it takes to download”  Bad area Jack, move away!  VOD will launch tonight, that’s a pretty big announcement.

– PSP now.  Entertainment packs coming aimed at the younger audience with Jack and Daxter, will they stop playing their DS’s long enough to care.  New resistance coming to PSP, thats pretty unexpected! Trailer hits, the game will arrive next year.  PSP games montage now: Star Wars, Madden, Loco Roco 2, NBA, Super Stardust Portable, Lego Batman, Patapon 2, Buzz & Valkyria Chronicles

– Back to PS3, they love google for some reason.  Sony online game DC Universe online talk and the agency do we get a trailer?  Jim Lee!! Jim Lee takes to the stage, does some one armed push-ups (not joking).  Jim Lee loves the MMO and 20 hour camps as a Paladin, the Legendary Thread guys were probably the ones applauding there.  Trailer hits for DC online, looks awesome.

– 80GB PS3 will be the primary focus of the companys product line, no mention of BC though.  Video Praise from developers, Treyarch, EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda.  No mention of how difficult the archetecture is to develop for.

– montage time again: LBP, Motorstorm, MGS4, Qunatum of Solice, Socom, Ghostbusters, Soul Calibur, Resistance 2, The Agency, Naruto, Mirrors Edge, RE5, Singstar, Guitar Hero, NBA, Buzz, Killzone 2 & Fallout 3.

– Next year talk, God of War 3 trailer incoming.  Very Short CG trailer doesn’t really give much away.  Infamous trailer now, a comic book style opening followed by in game footage showing an expansive cityscape looking about on par with GTA4.

– New title incoming, “not possible anywhere else”, seriously, does this guy know about PC!?  A game called MAG is announced.  256 player battle… is that a good thing or a bad thing, anyone who’s played a quake 40 player match will tell you that more players is not necessarily a good thing.  The game has long term and short term goals with an ongoing campaign.  CG trailer is shown.

– And thats it folks conference is over.

Back tomorrow for some more write ups.

Mark

15
Jul
08

Nintendo E3 2008 Press Conference

Live Blog (Keep Refreshing for updates)

– feeds are up, things seem to be going smoothly, so here’s hoping for a good conference.

– and its 5pm, we should be starting… but that wouldn’t be the nintendo way would it.  Saying that, people are actually in the building, it took sony an hour to get their show to start last year.  The Wii remote actions are more acurate and has a greater identification of distance.

– Picture montage, here we go people!  Cammie Dunoway takes the stage, no Reggie!?  She’s talking about parenthood, holdiay snaps… yay.  She keeps smiling… it’s creepy.

– First game is demo’d “Shawn White Snowboarding”, Shawn White is on the balance board.  He’s a snowboarder.  Cammie takes to the balance board, she’s actually not too bad at the game.

– Iwata is back.  He’s talking about his prevous E3s and the people who thought nintendo were on their way out of the industry.  Never realised they would be selling “bathroom Scales” around the world (shows a balance board).  Powerpoint ensues.  Iwata talks about graphics, the mario and Zelda teams are “hard at work on new titles”.  Talk of the expanding userbase, pictures on grannys and mums playing games appear on the screen.  “games are no longer just bought for holday Gifts”, DS is selling at rate of 200K a week in Europe.

– Guitar Hero III on Wii is selling better than on any other platform.

– Nintendo are always trying to create new paradigms, he leaves the stage.

– video roles, Animal Crossing creator talks about the first game.  Animal Crossing: City folk is announced.  As well as the town area there is also a city, MMO?  Miis can be used, mail other people with pictures.  Wii Speak announced, sits on the TV and acts as a Mic.

– Reggie hits the stage. “Animal Crossing hits this year”.  NPD discussion ensues.  Lifetime global sales.  Reggie sure loves his powerpoint.  Hardware sales of Wii (No gamecube on that slide I notice).  Software sales now, Wii has a ‘sales advantage’, wonder if Wii Sports is included in that.

– Reggie is now talking about 3rd parties.  ‘More developers, more options’.  They are only going to show 3 new games:

– Star Wars clone Wars is shown, cue people playing with Wii remotes with fake excitement.

– Rayman Raving Rabbids, more mini-games, exactly what Wii needs.

– Call of Duty: World at War, shown being played with the wii zapper.  Co-op mode on a single screen.

– Cammie is back, handheld discussion now.  DS is the home of girl gamers.  Talks about a new Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades and Spore.  The feed freezes… grand.  New GTA heading to DS this winter.  GTA: Chinatown Wars.

– DS is being tested to use GPS services, people are using it for other things including as a cooking book.

– Reggie is back, talking about Wiimotion+.  Wii Sports: Resort is shown with the new controller.  Cammie comes back to play a mini-game called “Disk-dog”.  Reggie doesn’t like cute.  A new Waverace style minigame is shown.  Sword dueling mini game shown, registers ‘any angle’.  This looks like it’s the next Wii boxing, Reggie destroys Cammie.  Cammie wins round 2.  Wii Sport coming next spring.

– New game incoming by the ‘holiday season’.  Wii music I guess, guy on stage playing the drums using the balance board and the controller.  Shiguru Miyamoto appears with a Wiimote, on screen he’s playing the Sax.  Shigsy talks about development, should point out that this is not a new game – remember this was announced along with the Wii.  No symbals or notes, just requires miming for the Sax.  He’s now miming a guitar and now a large drum.  The Drums, includes lessons, wonder what Harmonix are thinking.  You can create a music video and can have 4 player simulanous play.  Although the demo now has 6 people.  Mario theme is played… badly.  The group takes a bow and leaves the stage.

– Reggie is back, sounds like he’s wrapping things up.  Cammie is back too, there’s only one place where 3rd party games can be found alongside Nintendo stuff… really!?  I thought that was kinda obvious.  Reggie: “Fad is not applicable”.

– conference is over, thankfully.  That wasn’t the best I’ve seen.

– Roll on Sony, See you at 7:30

Mark

15
Jul
08

E3 2008: Day 2

After yesterdays internet melting announcement that Final Fantasy XIII is coming to the Xbox 360, I’m back (albeit incredibly hungover).

Microsoft had some seriously good stuff on show, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Gears 2 and Rock Band 2 being some of the most exciting.  But there was info released after the conference that seems pretty interesting too; in the near future MS is going to offer developers to use full install, meaning that you can completely install a full retail game on your HDD and completely cut out disk spinning.  However, you have to have the disk in the machine in order to confirm copyright protection, even though this still seems like a neat idea.  I just need to get myself a bigger HDD.

Today is expected to be a busy day of announcements aswell, to kick things off we have the Nintendo press-conference and then following up with the sony one straight after.  So stay tuned around 5pm for another Live Blog.

Mark

14
Jul
08

Microsoft E3 2008 Press conference

Live Blog  (Keep refreshing this page for updates)

– All feeds are dead… this could be interesting

– IGN seems to work, we are GO people!!

– comtinous inovation with xbox 360 and new social experiences… where’s this going?  New dashboard, 3D magic software and guess what!? Mii’s!

– Here we go!

– Talk of “Big franchises”, powerpoint ensues.  “XBox can deliver to everyone”… talk of casual?  The new Wiimote perhaps!

– Trailer hits, Fallout 3 is shown “where will you be when the atomic bomb hits” This trailer is crazy! Patriotic american high school film style.  Live demo with Todd Howard (trailer will be online and on Live shortly).  Shows the game after leaving the vault, we are shown a destroyed Washington DC, a hovering robot and now the pittboy (the games inventory).  Demonstration of the real time and turn based combat with a headshot and a grenade… todd just ripped a guys leg off with a shotgun.   We are shown different enemys and new weapons, “the game will differ depending on how you play” choice seems to be an integral part of the game.  Todd Blows up a helicopter and ends the demo.

– Exclusive DLC for Fallout 3 on XBL

– Resident Evil playable demo!!  Demo starts Chris Redfield in a house in africa… killing black people.  Call out the racsim police!  ONLINE CO-OP multiplayer!  Shows a new female character.  Chris now helps the new character by sniping from a distance while the other is in the fray.  New variation on the chainsaw weilding enemy… demo ends

– Just one more thing… columbo style.  Its a release date.  A world wide release of Friday the 13th March 2008!

– Here comes crazy pete behind fable 2.  Opening movie is shown.  A sparrow flies over an expansive snowey environment… if this is real time then its looks awesome!  Now we’re talking, a real time demo, oh and Peter says “Fable 2 is finished”.  Co-op system works without any lobbys, worlds and characters are dynamic and unique to each player depending on the path you take.

– October 2008 release!

– Gears 2 trailer!! Sweet jesus!  Here comes Cliffy B, live demo incoming.  2 player co-op about to be shown.  A flaming human city is shown,  reapers and the hammer of dawn shown too.  New enemies, this looks incredible btw, not a frame hitch in sight and the draw distance is infinately more improved than Gears 1.  Brumack appears, looks like we get to fight one finally 😀  Marcus and Dom attempt escape through a flaming mansion.

– November 7th relase.

– VOD talk… meh.

– Innovation talk and talk of “new social experiences”, new update info!  3D dashboard and a new 3D avatar system developed by Rare!  For use in games, unlock stuff through achievements, this could be good.  New Uno!!

– XBLA talk.  Geometry Wars 2, hits next month!  New Galaga.  Portal: Still Alive, oh yes!! and… some South Park incarnation.

– XNA coming in the fall along with the dashboard update.  Along with Netflix, Exclusive deal too.  Good call MS!  Movie sharing… gonna need some big bandwidth for that!

– Shane Kim and his big ol’ list of games.  Banjo Trailer shown, new footage… I want!  Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise trailer now, new Pinata shown and new gardens.  Pinata Vision, better get your cameras folks.  WOAH WOAH WOAH!! Shane!! Orignal Banjo-Kazooie on XBLA!

– trailer for ‘Scene it 2’ shown along with fake excitment.  WOO!! *high fives*

– Vision games… a movie game, “You’re in the Movies”, that requires actions. “act like a clown” …oh dear, these guys are going to get slaughtered on GAF.  Yeah!! Swat those bugs!  Dance fool, DANCE!!  OH wait, the game edits it all together.  Thats actually pretty cool, in a horribly embarasing kind of way.

– Guitar Hero World Tour coming up.  “Guitar Hero” *waits for woop… doesn’t come* ouch.  Feed dies.  Bollocks!  Exclusive music talk, it begins.  Van Halen, Metalica… REM(!?)

– Music game from Microsoft, this must be Lips.  It is!  Woah! it takes music from music devices!?  There’s gotta be a catch, buy a Zune maybe!?  Duffy takes the stage to sing, feeds die, the internet rejoices.

– Rock Band 2!  The set list… cant see on the feed it’s too small.  No doubt it’s awesome though.  GnR, Bob Dylan, AC-DC!!  20 bonus tracks too, 100+ songs and a platform strategy, DLC from Rock Band 1 will work with 2.  All your RB1 tracks can be exported on the RB2, awesome!!

– President of Square enix takes the stage.  He likes Microsoft apparantly.  Last remnant on PC!  Jeff Green must be happy! 😀

– wait… Square enix guy is back.  FFXIII is coming to 360!! The internet just exploded!  I dont think anyone saw this coming!!

conference is over.  I’m off to see whats left of the internet and then get heavily drunk.  Back tomorrow.

Mark

14
Jul
08

E3 Blogs a go-go!

While I’m not actually going to be at E3 this year, I’ve decided to do a live blog for the conferences with my opinion on any announcements that will be made.

So check back about half past 6 for the Microsoft conference (Nintendo and Sony being tomorrow) and if you cant wait that long there’s a Too Human demo up on Live to keep you occupied.

Enjoy

Mark

02
Jul
08

Games for Windows, Time for a New Start?

Back in 2006 Microsoft took the E3 stage to tout the launch of its new PC gaming platform ‘Games for Windows’ that would work with its Vista system and ‘seamlessly integrate gaming between the PC and Xbox 360’.  2 years on and the GFW platform is in a state of disarray, key products that were supposed to be system sellers turned out to be flawed (ala Shadowrun and Hellgate: London) or suffered from the excessive system requirements required to play; something that while Crysis arrived to critical acclaim sold handfulls due to needing an entirely new system to play.

The problem seems stem from Microsofts commitment to both platforms and as a hardware manufacturer for the Xbox meaning that costs needed to be covered more on the console side of things, especially seeing as the PC is normally made up of components from various manufacturers.

Indeed, the sentiment that “PC gaming is dead” always appears to surface on message boards from time to time and it seems it’s not just the users that are up in arms about it, today on 1up the COO of Blizzard Rob Pardo has stated that Microsoft needs to do more to improve its Games for Windows service.  This is something I couldn’t agree more on, PC gaming is suffering from piracy and is in dire need to some form of structural shift and the only company that seems to have taken this on wholeheartedly has been Valve.  I’ve written about how important Steam is to gaming and software distribution before (infact it made up a considerable part of my honours dissertation).  yet, resorting to full digital distribution is something that I dont think either the retail industry nor the gaming industry itself is ready for.

So what can Microsoft do?  Well if I were at Microsoft (and thats where I want to end up) I would be giving the entire GFW brand a reboot at this years E3, start showing the big titles; Diablo III, Wrath of the Lich King, Left 4 Dead, Far Cry 2 etc.  There needs to be simultaneous launching of games on both the GFW and Xbox platforms, even if this does sacrifice sales on the Xbox in certain regions (1up.com).  Microsoft needs to stop keeping quiet about GFW, admit it was wrong and put its full weight behind the platform… or at least that’s what I would be doing.

I guess we’ll see if anything happens come July 14th

Mark




Welcome

I'm Mark Gibson & this is another one of my blogs where you're likely to find musings of daily life, gaming & just plain rambling.

Currently Playing:
Modern Warefare 2
Borderlands
Forza 3


Currently Watching:
South Park


Currently Listening to:
Cage - Depart From Me
Flobots - Fight With Tools


Currently Reading:
The Wheel of Time (again)


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