Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Activision Drives the Guitar Hero Franchise Even Further Into the Ground

Although I was never a huge fan of the series, I once thought that the Guitar Hero games were decent rhythm titles that provided a good amount of fun. However, with Activision releasing countless spin-offs with negligible improvements and song lists that decline in quality with each new edition I quickly lost interest in the Guitar Hero games.

It looks like Activision is going to milk the series even further in 2009. Although we're all aware that they're going to be releasing Guitar Hero Metallica for consoles this upcoming spring, it looks as if they have their third DS title already planned for release next year as well. The ESRB has confirmed the existence of Guitar Hero: Modern Hits for the Nintendo DS for a 2009 release. This will mark the third time Nintendo's ultra popular portable has seen a Guitar Hero title in less than a year.

After playing the mediocre Guitar Hero: World Tour on the 360 and deciding that the series has lost its appeal I can't say that I'm excited for another title in this series, especially a dumbed-down portable off-shoot. In the end, though, I really can't blame Activision for rehashing the same one-trick pony ad naseum. The sales are certainly there, and the public seems to be eating these sequels up. However, this is a series I see heading down the same route as Tony Hawk (another Activision property that was milked beyond belief) where the franchise is eventually run so far into the ground that the public will eventually lose interest.


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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kakuto Chojin and the Banned Game Blues

Does the name ‘Kakuto Chojin’ ring a bell? No? A forgettable, banned, dereritive 3D Xbox fighter doesn’t come to mind? Wait, forgettable… oh, that’s it. If not for its questionable content that led Microsoft to take Kakuto Chojin (pronounced cock-toe-choe-gin…yes, really) store shelves, we wouldn’t even be bringing this laughable 2002 fighter up today.

So, why was this third-rate Tekken clone banned from retail stores? Was it because of the generic character designs? The lifeless stages? The overly shiny, unrealistic visuals? Nope, none of that – a controversial religious chant found in Kakuto Chojin was the reason Microsoft rushed to rid this title off of every game store shelf a few months after it was released. Kakuto Chojin featured a level with a background sound effect featuring a passage from the Quran being repeated over and over.

Due to generally poor reception and inadequate original sales, Kaktuo Chojin was never re-released back onto the market. All copies of this game were ordered to be destroyed or returned to Microsoft. Despite being an extremely rare find in the B&M market outside of flea markets, Kakuto Chojin is readily available online for under $5 on auction sites like Amazon. Not even game collectors want anything to do with what is one of the bottom-tier fighters of the last generation, despite its cancellation and limited print run.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

EGM - Going the Way of the Dodo?

Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) is one of the longest running gaming magazines in North America. While most print video game-based magazines went down under over the past few years (starting around 2005, when Xbox Nation, an independent Xbox Magazine, was among the first of many gaming publications canceled) EGM and a few others (such as GamePro and Game Informer) managed to survive.

EGM may be the next American gaming publication to get the boot, however. UGO Entertainment is reportedly a potential buyer of Ziff Davis' 1up Network, but they're apparently not the least bit interested in acquiring EGM with it. Add to the fact that Ziff Davis has been having a difficult time selling ad space for EGM lately and you have a recipe for a scrapped magazine.

While EGM has certainly gone downhill since its 2003 redesign (each proceeding year after that we would find a more watered down magazine that lacked overall substance), it's still disappointing to see veteran magazine such as this possibly go out the door. The future doesn't look bright for print media, and it doesn't help that the quality of most established magazines today are far below what they were years ago.

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