Archive for November, 2010

Xbox Live Black Friday Deals

Posted: November 23, 2010 by Tim Utley in Video Game Deals

Starting today through Friday Xbox Live is having a sale on a wealth of content.  In addition to what is on sale now there will be more content discounted on Black Friday (which I will be posting).  They have avatar items and Zune movies on sale as well, so check out your Xbox 360 for them.  Listed below is all the videogame related content on sale now.  As always I hope you find something that you are looking for.

Xbox Live Arcade Games:

  • The Secret of Monkey Island: SE – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Puzzle Quest 2 – 800 MSP ($10)
  • Serious Sam HD – 600 MSP ($7.50)
  • Zombie Apocalypse – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Portal: Still Alive – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Voodoo Dice – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Megaman 10 – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Magic the Gathering – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Madden NFL Arcade – 400 MSP ($5)

Deal of the Week – Hasbro Games

  • Connect 4×4 – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Jenga – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Pictureka – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Sorry! Sliders – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Boggle – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Sorry! – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Battleship – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Connect 4 – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Scrabble – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Yahtzee – 400 MSP ($5)

Game Add-ons

  • Splinter Cell Conviction – Deniable Ops: Insurgency – 400 MSP ($5)
  • Rockband 3 – Lady Gaga Pack 1 – 280 MSP ($3.50)
  • Rockband 3 – Nirvana Pack 1 – 640 MSP ($8)
  • Rockband 3 – Nirvana Pack 2 -240 MSP ($3)
  • Alan Wake – The Signal – 320 MSP ($4)
  • Trials HD – The Big Pack – 240 MSP ($3)
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Videogame Buffet…How hungry are you?

Posted: November 23, 2010 by Tim Utley in Editorials

The title of this article might be slightly misleading so let me clarify things quickly for you.  Videogames follow an evolutionary life cycle like most other forms of art.  The next cycle that we will be encountering is one where videogames come packaged to us incomplete for the lack of a better term.  This might sound terrifying to most, but I believe this come as a remedy to those to don’t utilize games to their fullest extent.

Most gamers including myself don’t always get their moneys worth out of a game.  Some will only play a game’s single player portion or only partake in a games online multiplayer.  Any way you swing it, you are not getting what you pay for.  So why not pay less and buy up to what you will use.

Ushering in a new era of gaming

In a recent press release from THQ, they will be pioneering this new frontier of videogames.  Their first title to do so will be their newest entry into the MX vs. ATV franchise.  The game will hit retail at a lower price point (rumor has it between $30-$40).  If you are content with the “content” on the disc at purchase you have what could be an enjoyable experience without any extraneous features.  But for those who want online multiplayer or more content for their single player experience will have the option to purchase that content that will more than likely already be available on the disc (a la Resident Evil 5).

This could be huge for the industry because with Gamestop’s stronghold on the used game market publishers are looking for a way to push more new copies of their titles.  Gamers usually gravitate towards used games because they are the same product for a cheaper price and sometimes get them even cheaper through discount cards or promotions.  But that could all be solved with this new strategy.  Imagine with the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise you could get the game brand new for $30 dollars just because all you want is the multiplayer.  Or with the next installment of Bioshock you could say screw the multiplayer I just want the single player experience.  This strategy of the digital buffet will become the norm with videogames mark my word.  These companies are not oblivious to what there customers do with their games.  Activision knows that a large majority of the people that play Call of Duty will never step foot into a single campaign mission.  This trend will take time to catch on, but when it does be prepared to see a lot of companies following in THQ’s footsteps.

Black Friday Deals, All week at Amazon

Posted: November 22, 2010 by Tim Utley in Video Game Deals

Today Amazon is offering a smorgasbord of deals in their Black Friday Deals Week page.  You can find deals for all major platforms ranging from game discounts to discounted accessories.  Vanquish for Xbox 360 and Ps3 is on sale for $44.99, but it is a Lightening Deal so jump quickly.  You can get there from here.  Like always I hope you find something you are looking for.

In the next day or two I will try to have more comprehensive Black Friday coverage from other outlets as well.  Happy trails.

Saturday Specials at Amazon

Posted: November 20, 2010 by Tim Utley in Video Game Deals

Amazon is running another day of specials in their Prelude to Black Friday.  Today’s specials are accessories.  They have an abundance of accessories discounted today for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, and DS.  Get to Amazon from here for some great accessory deals.  It hasn’t popped up yet, but I am pretty sure that today’s Lightening Deal is going to be either the Nyko Perfect Shot or the Wii Zapper.  Check out Amazon and you might find something that you are looking for.

Under $20 Specials at Amazon today

Posted: November 19, 2010 by Tim Utley in Video Game Deals

Amazon is running another set of deals today as a part of their Prelude to Black Friday.  Today is similar to Tuesday’s deals whereas all the titles in the deal are under $20 dollars.  Here is a link to the deals page.  Happy trails and hopefully you find something that you were looking for.

Being wrong has never been so much Fun

Posted: November 19, 2010 by Tim Utley in Editorials

Microsoft's Kinect, Controller-less gaming

Most people don’t like being wrong, but for me it usually is an enlightening experience.  A little over a month ago I wrote an article bashing Microsoft and Sony’s entry into motion gaming.  I have had a chance to use both new interfaces over the past month.  My sentiments about Sony’s Move hasn’t changed, it is still just a Wii knockoff in high-definition.  On the other hand Microsoft’s Kinect delivered a completely new gaming experience to me.  I was pleasantly surprised with how fun the Kinect was.  I took Kinect Adventures and Dance Central for a spin and enjoyed every minute of it.

Move over DDR

As it stands right now Kinect won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who are looking for something different will find something truly unique.  Not only was I impressed with the software I played, but the new interface for the Xbox 360 Dashboard was something that I was very impressed with.  The new Kinect integration is the closest thing to Minority Report that we will see in gaming for years to come.  Simple and fluid hand gestures is all it takes to navigate the Kinect Hub.  The voice recognition software is incredibly accurate, but the thing that stole the show for me was Kinect’s facial recognition software.  After you set up a Kinect ID, you can simply walk in front of your Kinect and it signs you into Xbox Live.  You might be thinking that the facial recognition is finicky, but it is creepily accurate.  A friend and myself took turns walking on and off camera to test its precision and it didn’t hiccup once.  My only remaining gripe with Kinect is the amount of space it requires.  With a required minimum of 6 feet in front of your television it will be some time before I can pick this hardware add-on up.

I was wrong about Kinect and will probably be wrong about many other things in the future.  I don’t regret writing my article because at the time I had an opinion and a poorly formed one at that.  The beauty of being wrong is you get a chance to make it right.  I hope i did Kinect justice with this follow-up.  If you have had a chance to play Kinect or have an opinion on it provide some feedback in the comments section.

Activision: Success over Innovation [UPDATE]

Posted: November 18, 2010 by Tim Utley in Editorials

Newest Call of Duty, but is it really new?

Another year and another major blockbuster success for Activision.  The latest iteration in the popular Call of Duty franchise entitled Call of Duty: Black Ops is smashing records left and right.  A reported $360 million in its first day and $650 million in its first week crushing its predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Kotick Tales: He could probably do this in quarters

The massive popularity of this franchise has lead to subsequent after subsequent annual release since 2005.  In the early goings newer iterations felt like just that, new iterations, but I haven’t felt like I have played a new Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare.  Treyarch has been piggy backing on Infinity Wards controls and engines since they were brought on to develop new COD titles.  With that being said, I do enjoy the Treyarch entries into the franchise, but why are the always plagued with problems.

Black Ops has a memorable campaign to say the least, but with drastic difficulty spikes and with faulty linear progressions (Khe Sanh mission, enough said) I don’t think I will be visiting the campaign multiple times like I have in other versions of the franchise.  But where most of my grievances lie are in the multiplayer arena.  I understand that the game has only been out for a little over a week, but the multiplayer is fucking broken.  I have the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game and both experience variable performance issues.  The Ps3 version being the more downtrodden of the two has huge connectivity and frame-rate issues.  I was playing a TD match on the map “Grid” and there were 6 host migrations before the game even started and when the game actually began it was dropped to a connection error.  Little quips like not being able to see headset icons really dampens the experience because I don’t know whom I can communicate with.  The party system is also performing poorly.  You start a party to play with your friends, but if the servers have other devious plans for you, you will spend the match killing your friends because you were put on the other fucking team.  Another fun thing is when I join a game and I get disconnected and put into theater mode, that makes perfect sense right?  As far as the frame-rate is concerned many others including myself have witnessed huge spikes when the action elevates.  This is a problem because when you are playing a game with gunfire and explosions reaction time is crucial, but when I can’t move or reposition my weapon getting stabbed becomes my normative fate.  Treyarch’s servers need to ditch the whole “mind of their own” bullshit and get some serious patchage going on.  These patches have been rumored around on the web for a few days now, but I have not seen any change.

I want to enjoy Black Ops, but these huge technical and performance issues just revert my behavior to that of a caveman (occasional grunt and thigh slap).  I find myself screaming obscenities at my TV and my friends probably think i have anger management issues.  My allocation for frustration is reaching its quota and I need a remedy in the form of a serious patch.  Treyarch let me play your game again, pretty please.

[UPDATE]

I just turned my PS3 on and there was an update for Black Ops.  Don’t get to excited because it doesn’t seem like it has fixed any of the issues that i have addressed.  It actually locked my system up twice and dropped me from 3 games with the error “no suitable host found”.  I’m hoping that my next update or post will bring better news.

Whats on Amazon today

Posted: November 18, 2010 by Tim Utley in Video Game Deals

Today marks another daily deal at Amazon.  Today they have select Collector’s editions on sale (some are not even marked down).  If you haven’t already scored these games you can do so for cheaper and actually get some extra stuff for the same price.  Get to Amazon from here.  Lastly the Lightning Deal today is Halo Reach Legendary edition for $74.99 (that is a good price for the extra content).

Deal Titles:

  • Alan Wake CE
  • World of Warcraft Cataclysm CE(not marked down)
  • Dead Rising 2 CE – Ps3 and Xbox 360
  • Demon Souls w/Artbook and soundtrack (not CE, but those extras were originally only included in the deluxe edition of the game, worth the asking price)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Prestige Edition – Ps3 and Xbox 360 (not marked down)
  • Club Penguin CE
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow LE – PS3 and Xbox 360
  • Lunar: Silver Star Harmony LE
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Hardened Edition – Ps3 and Xbox 360
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition – Xbox 36o
  • Starcraft 2 CE (not marked down)
  • Aliens vs. Predator Hunter Edition
  • Mafia 2 CE – Ps3, Xbox 360, and PC
  • Final Fantasy XIV CE – PC
  • Star Trek Online CE

[UPDATE]

I forgot to mention that there are more titles under the Xbox 360 blade on the deals page today.  Maybe you might find something you were looking for, who knows.

Buy 2 get 1 free on Amazon

Posted: November 17, 2010 by Tim Utley in Video Game Deals

Another day another Deal on Amazon.  Amazon is running a buy 2 get 1 free today on select Ps3 Greatest Hit titles.  Also Heavy Rain is the Lightning Deal today.  Check it out here.

Deal Titles:

  • Little Big Planet:GOTY
  • God of War Collection
  • Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
  • Infamous
  • Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
  • Ratchet and Clank Future: Crack in Time
  • Killzone 2
  • Resistance: Fall of Man
  • Resistance 2
  • MAG
  • Gran Turismo 5 Prologue

Bringing it back in HD…or close enough

Posted: November 17, 2010 by Tim Utley in Editorials

With the previous generation of consoles in our rear view what better way to introduce classic franchises to a new audience than remastering them in HD.  Nintendo is taking the “close enough” approach by taking older properties and re-envisioning them on the DS or the Wii.  Such titles as New Super Mario Bros. DS/Wii and the forthcoming Donkey Kong Country Returns deliver that nostalgic gaming experience, just with better graphics and slightly tweaked gameplay mechanics.

Sony on the other hand is going all out with HD collections of their hit PS2 franchises.  The immense success of the God of War Collection has ignited a fire that Sony will not soon extinguish.

Riding the success of the GOWC, a compilation of the hit platforming series Sly Cooper that was just released received some of that sweet HD love  and next year the Team ICO collection will be hitting shelves with HD face lifts of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

Two Games that Everyone needs to play

Sony is on to something with these collections are they not?  Great games made ever better with updated graphics and PSN Trophy support and an affordable price point.  With the majority of these compilations clocking it at only $40 bucks they truly deliver more bang for your buck than most retail games costing $20 more.  Sony isn’t the only ones taking the helm of these rebirths, Ubisoft has also announced a HD compilation of the Prince of Persia titles from the PS2 and has hinted at a possible compilation of the Splinter Cell games.  Lastly, a Mortal Kombat HD Arcade Kollection is in the works for the PS3 as well.

So you have probably noticed that i haven’t mentioned anything about Microsoft.  Well there isn’t much to say.  Aside from there Rare properties, Microsoft has made it known that HD remakes are not a priority to them right now.  That is disappointing to hear because the original Xbox had a slew of titles that are much deserving of a makeover.  Not to mention that if a Halo HD collection was made and made properly (Xbox live support for 1 and 2) it would eclipse any title in sales that stood in its way.

Great games are great games no matter the time period.  The companies that take the time and realize the potential for compilations can deliver classic titles to a new generation of gamer who maybe missed out on latter.  The approaches Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft will take will be different, but in the end they will be doing service to the people that keep their wallets fat, us.