Monday, March 27, 2006

Sony Halts the Production of Playstation Consoles

Over eleven years (since the original Japanese release date in 1994) and more than one hundred-million console sales world wide later, Sony is halting the production of their original world-dominator, the Playstation.

Well, let’s face it: you can probably count the number of gamers who don’t own a Playstation (or a way to play PSX games in the form of a PS2) on one hand, and if they haven’t bought one at this rate, then they’re probably not going to own one anytime soon. Still, the PSX had an amazing run, even if the games have been on the decline for a few years now (save for the countless piece of trash budget games we have been seeing released these past few years). I wont forget all the great times I’ve had with the little grey machine that good, and mines been in storage for a few years now (my PS2, with its back-word compatibility, takes care of playing the old, black bottomed PSX discs). R.I.P. Playstation.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

God of War: What Almost Could Have Not Been

David Jaffe’s God of War, arguably the biggest action game of 2005, almost never saw the light of day after several complications (including one of David’s bosses, Shuhei Yoshida, saying that the game was just another cookie-cutter action title when development first started). However, he overcame many obstacles when designing the game and it finally came to be, just the way David imagined it. However, one of David’s inspirations for why he continued designing the game the way he exactly envisioned (rather than backing down to what lead programmer of the game, Tim Moss, wanted to do with it) was a rather unlikely source: a pop singer. And it was not just any pop singer, but “dirrty” Christina Aguilera herself. Here is what David Jaffe said about this matter in a recent interview:

"I would be in spin class and there's this song that Christina Aguilera sings, and I would be thinking of Tim the whole time, because it's like a 'F**k you' song,” So I would sit in spin class and I got Tim on my mind and would think, 'F**k you, man, I'm going to make this work.'"

David Jaffe almost gave up on the whole project at one point as well:

"Always. This game has taught me more about tenacity and sticking to it than anything in my life. I never want to do it again, but I never realized the power that existed in tenacity until I did this game."

Its good to know that God of War came out exactly the way David intended it to be, and while I find Christina Aguilera’s music intolerable for the most part, its good to know that she played a role in making the production of this action game all work out (even if she probably doesn’t even know that the game exists). Also, I’m happy David Jaffe decided to go on with his project even when he was doubted by others and eventually wowed the ones he doubted

A Poor Trait of Game Journalism Is Still Wildly Found Today

“Better than Grand Theft Auto? True”.

“Who Needs Grand Theft Auto? True Crime is bigger, badder and better”.

These were two outrageous claims from Official Xbox Magazine taken from an old preview of True Crime: Streets of L.A. Even worse about this subject is that Official Xbox Magazine in a later issue actually asked the readers of the magazine why they bought this awful game, saying that their readers actually have poor taste in games.

Granted, these occurred during 2003, but over hyping games is still a common practice seen throughout all types of game journalism today.
Now, I’m not one to get caught up into the hype, but there are countless gamers who will read a preview that claims that the player’s lives won’t be complete unless they buy the game and then they rush out to pre-order it, only to be let down a few months later because the game is a rushed piece of trash. Now, there have actually been some games that have been over hyped that actually turned out good (Fable comes to mind), but if game magazines or game news sources do not give over exaggerated claims at all during previews and just present us with the game features list or the games mechanics, then the average Joe Gamer (who takes the information said in game magazines very seriously) wont have to expect anything amazing from the game at all and he can see if the game is good or not when he actually tries it when its released. To me over hyping a game and praising it without any hands on experience and then printing it on paper (or writing about it on the web) is a prime example of poor journalism, and needs to end if gaming journalists want to be taken seriously.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shamefully Bad Game Boxart Of the Moment (#2)

A plethora of game genres exist, but when it comes down to how hardcore the genre is or not, none compare to the hardcoreness that is the pinball genre. I mean, what isn’t hardcore about the intensity of shiny silver balls hitting flippers? Well, today’s box art might be that of the most hardcore pinball game of all time. No, I kid you not. Take a look at the image to the left and see for yourself if you don’t believe me. Not only is the box art incredibly detailed and imaginative, but it has what might be the most hardcore game title of all time. Appropriately titled ‘Hardcore Pinball’ (because pinball is such a hardcore game genre when it’s all said and done), Telegames (the publishers of this amazingly named game) want you to get the image of hardcore pinball gameplay , and you know what? That’s exactly the image I get. Mission accomplished, Telegames.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is Driving a Bus and Playing PSP At the Same Time a Very Good Idea?

For some strange reason, it seems like any time something goes wrong in the gaming industry, the culprit relating to the problem is either Electronic Arts or the Grand Theft Auto series. Well, it looks like once again Grand Theft Auto is the cause of a problem in today’s otherwise perfect society (cough!), though Rockstar Games or Take Two Software is not to blame for this incident involving a man and a bus in England.

No, a man did not steal a bus and go on a murderous rampage (although that would make for an interesting story) and blame Grand Theft Auto for what he did, but instead was big enough of an idiot to play ‘Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories’ on his PSP while on the job. Yes, at times where he was driving the bus and at bus stops and traffic stops. The passengers were made aware of this when they heard screams and gun shots coming from the bus driver’s portable system.

It’s obvious that Steve Allock (the bus driver) is a very dim-lit person mentally if he’s going to be playing Grand Theft Auto while on the job. Its good that this bus driver was fired, as this was a huge safety hazard, but even better news is that no one was hurt during this incident. Now, if only the driver could think of a good way to sue Rockstar for this, because it’s obviously GTA’s fault somehow. Just remember: the game did it, not you, and that’s your ticket to easy money (or an excellent way to attempt to get some quick cash).

Monday, March 20, 2006

Review: Fable

Platform: Xbox
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Big Blue Box
Release Date: September 2004
Genre: Action RPG

If you can get past some broken promises and massive amount of hype this game has received,
then you'll be able to enjoy one of the most captivating and compelling games the Xbox has seen in its lifetime.

What thoughts come to mind when someone mentions the word ‘Fable’? For many gamers it may be ‘A disappointing Xbox title’ or ‘Peter Molyneux making promises and not delivering them’. For many the fact that Fable has not lived up the hype has ruined their ability to simply enjoy a terrific action-RPG. However, if you can get past some broken promises and the massive hype this game has received, then you’ll be able to enjoy one of the most captivating and compelling games the Xbox has seen in its lifetime.

You begin the game as a young child, and as you progress throughout the game, you grow older and how you look and how NPCs react to you is based on the choices you make in the game. Fable’s moral system, one of the key selling points of the game, works well here, and is a refreshing change of pace compared to the norm. It gives the game a special flavor and makes the experience more intriguing, and you’ll probably want to play thorough the game more than once just to see what could have been done if you performed a task the good way or the evil way.

The combat system in Fable is deep and highly-satisfying, and I would love to see an online hack ‘n slash title use this system in the future as its core gameplay element, even though lag might prevent this from happening any time soon. Every time you kill someone or something, good or evil, innocent or not, you get green orbs, which are basically experience points. You can cash in on these points by buying new abilities, as some of the new things you can buy with these points (such as magic abilities) are a feast to behold.

The absorbing soundtrack in Fable is beautifully orchestrated and fits in great with the games
visionary world an environments. Hearing the games music may send a chill down your spine in certain moments of the game. The characters dialogue is well-done and is fully British. Many of the things that come out of the character’s mouths are humorous, even though the dialogue is repetitive if you interact with the same characters over and over again.

For a game that was supposed to be open-ended and gigantic in size, however, Fable falls a bit short. Despite the original claims by the main developer, Fable has somewhat straight-forward, linear game design and the world in which you play in is not nearly as large in size as I had hoped it would be. As long as this game took to come out, I still think that a few more months in development could have produced a more worth while game that was larger in scale.

Even with Fable’s nuisances, the experience around it is worthwhile enough for you to overlook them, and you might not be surprised if you end up playing this game through a couple of times just because its such as satisfying experience overall. Fable could have been much more, and it does not live up to the hype, but for what it is it is a great title, and will be remembered as one of the most memorable experiences of last generation.

Rating: 9.2 (out of 10)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

GBA Player's Choice titles to hit the U.S. in May

Although Nintendo ran a “Player’s Choice” line of games for the original brick Game Boy, reducing the prices on games for the system at about $10, the Player’s Choice value line for Game Boy games has been mysteriously absent for two generations now (Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance). Well, Nintendo will be finally fixing that. In May, Nintendo will release three of their best-selling GBA titles, ‘Super Mario Advance’, ‘Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island’, and ‘Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga’ for ten dollars less than the usual retail prices.

Although this is very good news for those who haven’t picked up these portable classics yet, I still find the announcement a little weak. While $20 is a fairly good price, it isn’t a huge price drop compared to the ones we have seen on the main consoles. $10-$15 would be much better price points for these titles, but oh well. Nintendo would still move units on these even if it was a $2 price drop (Or maybe even a price increase. Have you checked out eBay lately? Morons have been shelling out more than $60 for copies of Classic Super Mario Bros. on the GBA). I’ll also finally be able to pick up Yoshi’s Island for a reasonable price (I simply refuse to pay $26 for a used cart-only copy at the local game store). Oh, and be prepared to hear lots of bitching from the hardcore collectors about that yellow Player’s Choice bar that’ll probably be slapped on the packaging once these games hit the shelves in their newly-reduced prices, but in the meantime, check out mine and PDoor3's rather ugly mocked-up image of the box-art in the upper left corner on this article.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Nintendo Taking the "Bare-Bones" Approach With Revolution Online Play

When Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo’s Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, was asked about how online play would work on the Revolution in a recent Electronic Gaming Monthly interview, this was his response:

“I would think it’ll be similar to the DS. Again, that’s been part of our plan in creating an environment that is more friend and peer-to-peer based, versus simply, “I wanna go take on everybody” for certain types of games”.

Although the DS wi-fi online play was a good start for the company’s first for tray into the online gaming realm, I was hoping that the Revolution’s would be much improved over the stripped-down, bare-bones approach that the DS was going for. Hell, I was hoping that Nintendo would improve the DS online experience down the road, but its not looking that way right now. Sure, it’s a simple an easy way to get
connected, but compared to the established PC online experience and Microsoft’s mighty Xbox Live, it just doesn’t compare. I think Nintendo should be taking great strides to be getting itself up to date in the online realm, because despite the comments they have said before about online play “not mattering”, judging by the huge success of Xbox Live (and even the partial success of Sony’s online efforts with Playstation 2), today’s players definitely want it in their gaming. Plus, if I wanted to exchange friend codes and to only play online with certain people, why wouldn’t I just play with them in the comfort of my living room? Nintendo is looking in the wrong direction with their online plans, and to keep up with today’s gamers and to make the Revolution more appealing to a larger range of people, they’re going to have to take online gaming in a more serious manner in the next-gen.

Oh, and if you can't read the caption I had written underneath white-trash Mario, here is what it says:

"Thanks alot, Nintendo. Since you're not taking online play seriously, Mario hasen't been taking himself seriously, either - and look at what has happend to him!".

Monday, March 13, 2006

Does Apple Got Game? iThink Not!

Like most video game publications, Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) annually runs an article or a joke to do with April Fools’, but unlike most of the other game magazines, its not a parody of the magazine itself (see: Gamepro’s ‘Lamepro’ or Game Informer’s ‘Game Infarcer’ spoofs in the April issues of those two magazines).

Best known for the infamous ‘Sheng Long’ code April Fool’s joke had countless people across the world trying to unlock this mystery Street Fighter II character in arcades, this year they’ve done something that some people might not find too obvious to be a fake.

EGM ran a somewhat-convincing one page news article on the iGame, Apple’s first foray into the gaming market. A sleek, milky-white portable gaming system similar in appearance and design to other music-playing iPods on the market. Only thing is, this potentially-expensive iGame has the ability to do it all – play games, listen to music, transfer files, etc. You would transfer games to it via iTunes the same way you would transfer mp3s to your normal iPods, and the game selection would feature a diverse selection of titles, games styles and generations, ranging from classic, out of print retro games from yesteryear to tomorrow’s Xbox 360 hits in portable form.

That is, if this was real.

One instant giveaway that this is not real is that EGM would be the initial news source on this matter (even before Apple and Tech sites on the internet itself!). Game magazines are notorious for their news being outdated (this month EGM is just reporting on the DS Lite, something we gamers knew about for awhile now). Another is that in the picture in the magazine, it gives you a screen capture of the page in which you would download games from. The only thing is, in the retro section it shows such horrendous games such as ‘Total Recall’ (one of the first horribly-rated games in EGM) and ‘Hydilyde’. Also, in the new release section it lists ‘Dragons Lair 3D’, which may not be as obvious as the other mentioned titles but is still a giveaway nonetheless, considering when it was released on consoles in 2002 it fared horrible review-wise and it sold awfully.

Nice try this year, EGM, and this will probably be the best joke this year out of any video game publication, but you still just can’t fool good ol’ Ross.

(Oh, and big thanks goes out to Joystick for supplying me with the EGM scans). I did a little searching around the net and it appears that I'm not the only one who was not fooled.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Japanese Pick Their Top 100 Favorite Videogames of All Time

Our friends in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japón, have voted on their top one-hundred favorite video games of all time. Based upon votes from readers of Famitsu Magazine (by far the most popular video game magazine n Japan), I pretty much knew to expect an over-abundance of RPG’s to make the list. It’s doubtful that very many people here will agree with this list in all its entirety, and even I have some bones to pick with the Japanese (Not one, but two games from the Dynasty Warriors series making the list? I mean, most of them are pretty much the same, and none of them deserve to be on any top game list), but nevertheless, here it is:
1. Final Fantasy X
2. Final Fantasy VII
3. Dragon Quest III
4. Dragon Quest VIII
5. Machi
6. Final Fantasy IV
7. Tactics Ogre
8. Final Fantasy III
9. Dragon Quest VII
10. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
11. Dragon Quest V
12. Far East of Eden II
13. Sakura Taisen
14. Dragn Quest IV
15. Final Fantasy V
16. Xenogears
17. Dragon Quest II
18. Sakura Taisen III
19. Kingdom Hearts
20. Street Fighter II
21. Super Mario Bros.
22. Final Fantasy VIII
23. Toki Meki Memorial
24. Final Fantasy IX
25. Final Fantasy VI
26. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
27. Valkyrie Profile
28. Chrono Trigger
29. Kingdom Hearts II
30. Dragon Quest
31. The Legend of Zelda III
32. Final Fantasy X-2
33. Resident Evil
34. Dragon Quest VI
35. F-Zero
36. Sakura Taisen II
37. Mother II
38. Mother
39. Virtua Fighter
40. Dragon Quest V Playstation 2 Edition
41. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
42. Metal Gear Solid 2
43. Animal Crossing Wild World
44. Tales of the Abyss
45. Ogre Battle
46. The Legend of Zelda
47. Virtua Fighter 2
48. Mysterious Dungeon 2
49. Sonic the Hedgehog
50. Metal Gear Solid
51. Pokemon Red Version and Pokemon Green Version
52. Y's 1 and Y’s 2
53. Romancing Saga
54. Toke Meke Memorial
55. Super Robot Taisen Alpha
56. Resident Evil 2
57. Tales of Eternia
58. Digital Devil Saga: Shin Megami Tensei II
59. Shin Megami Tensei
60. Final Fantasy II
61. Super Mario World
62. To Heart II
63. Final Fantasy
64. Puyo Pop
65. Family Stadium Pro Baseball
65.2. Fun Time With Japanese Toilets
66. Wizardry
67. Hokkaido Murder Mystery
68. Fire Emblem
69. Super Mario Kart
70. Dynasty Warriors 4
71. Monster Hunter
72. Best Play Pro Baseball
73. Grandia
74. Resident Evil 4
75. GT4: Gran Turismo 4
76. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
77. Super Monaco GP
78. Torneko Mysterious Dungeon
79. Tales of Destiny
80. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Edition
81. Dynasty Warriors 3
82. Final Fight
83. Monster Hunter Freedom
84. Final Fantasy Tactics
85. Minster Hunter G
86. Mysterious Dungeon 2
87. Kung Fu
88. Toke Meke Memorial
89. Tales of Destiny II
90. Kamaitachi No Yoru
91. Sakura Taisen IV
92. Tales of Rebirth
93. Sim City
94. Saga 2
95. Pro Baseball Family Stadium ’87 Edition
96. Tetris
97. Secret of Mana
98. Gradius
99. Super Mario Bros III
100. Resident Evil 4 Playstation 2 Edition
  • As expected, a total of zero Xbox games made the list.
  • As for the picture of the toilet at the top… Its one of those weird-looking Japanese toilets with more buttons than it probably really needs (damn, do they run their houses on these things? We’re happy enough with simple flushers…). I could have posted a picture of the Japanese flag or something, but that would be boring, so I decided to post a picture of a Japanese toilet instead, especially since some people will who read this will probably think this list belongs instead of Pro-Gamer. Oh, and thank Blogger for the odd centering and paragraph forms.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

God of War to Get the 'Greatest Hits' Treatment

God of War, one of the most highly acclaimed games available for the Playstation 2, will be getting the ‘Greatest Hits’ treatment by mid-April.

This has been one of the most well-received Playstation 2 games both critically and by players, and I have always wanted to give it a try as I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. From what I’ve seen it looks incredible, and for a mere twenty dollars I’ll be glad to finally pick it up and give it a try.

Now when will Sony finally drop some of their other first-party titles from last year in price (such as the best-selling racing simulation Gran Turismo 4)? It’s certainly been a long enough wait, and I never pay full price for videogames (as I like my stuff cheap).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Marc Ecko: What a Newcomer and a Nobody Has to Say About Gamers and the Industry

Marc Ecko, best known for urban-fashion clothes, has recently put out a (you guessed it) urban graffiti-based videogame called ‘Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure’. His game has been getting mixed reviews thus far. What does Mr. Ecko have to say about this?

“I would say there are gamers that have a predisposition to have a bug up their ass for anything urban. The fact that there was a black character on the cover of this game, right away there was a dismissive ness that this was just another “GTA: San Andreas,” that’s number one. Number two; this is the end of a console cycle when there is a law of diminishing returns. The code is as polished as you can make it on a no-hard-drive console like the PS2. So, there are technical limitations that people just can’t understand. There are guys that have a predisposition to be slaves to the code, rather than be slaves to the branding, products or experience. At the end of the day, it’s going to be the consumer who decides and not whether the camera makes a difference”.

And then the man went on to call gamers ‘pissy’ in the same NY Metro article:

"It’s totally different. It’s completely the opposite. If you think that the fashion industry is filled with divas, no, the worst divas are the guys who got wedgies in high school. Game divas are the worst divas than a guy reviewer in a Helmut Lang suit standing in the second row of a show. Those guys are easy compared to the pissy gamers."

Marc Ecko has a lot to learn about the video game industry, besides his claims being inaccurate and false. I never once in a preview of review heard it being claimed as just another “GTA San Andreas”, and if he’s going to blame this games future sales (if they’re poor) on having a “black character in an urban game”, then he needs to take a look at the sales charts.. Why would another urban hippity-hoppity game called ’25 to Life’ sell well with three African-American characters on the cover?

I personally think this whole ‘urban game’ trend needs to stop. Every month there’s some new ‘hip-hop inspired ‘hood’ game being released. Maybe Marc Ecko’s game is better than most of the other urban games out there, but to the average impulse-buying mall shopper (who he claims to be targeting) this will make no difference because all the urban games will look the same to them in the store.

Also, not to mention, maybe it’s not a good idea insulting the target demo graph of your product (especially if you’re a newcomer and a nobody to the game industry). As the old saying goes, ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds’.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Microsoft Announces 'Best Of' Platinum Hits Games

Looking for Platinum Hits versions of Platinum Hits games with a whole new title added to the already crazy-cool name of Platinum Hits but still as much game for $10 less (say that four times fast)?

Well, I’ll now explain it in a comprehendible way. Microsoft is releasing new ‘Best Of’ versions of the already best-selling Platinum Hits Xbox games for $10 less than their already reduced rates of $20. The best-selling Platinum Hits and the ones getting the reduced-price treatment are as follows:

  • Counter-Strike
    Project Gotham Racing 2
    Soulcalibur II
    Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon
    Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder
    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3
    Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
    Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
    Fuzion Frenzy
    The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
No extra content has been added to any of these re-releases, but for a mere $10, if you have been eyeing these titles for awhile but haven’t picked them up yet, then there hasn’t been a better time than now.
  • I’ll probably pick up a copy of Fuzion Frenzy, the underrated Xbox-launch party game that everyone knows by the demo that was included in Halo. Hey, Fuzion Frenzy was more fun that Nintendo’s mediocre Mario Party 5 (which was a case of the same ol’, same ol’ for the aging series), and it’s now a hell of a lot cheaper, too ($10 vs. $40, respectively).

Who Woulden't Pay $31 For an Old Budget RPG?

It’s a well-known fact that Gamestop’s prices on games are usually generally more than what you would pay at EBGames. But this is ridiculous. ‘Eternal Eyes’, the game that was released as a budget RPG in October 2000 (for $9.99), is going for $30.99 used on! Now I’ve heard of overpricing, but wow…. This is ridiciolous! What makes it even worse is that when this game frequently pops up used on, it goes for a mere ninety-nine cents!

Click here the check out Gamestop’s shameful pricing for an old game, if you must!

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