It seems a lot of people have been making a list of their favorite games from the last year, and since there were a few truly note-worthy releases such as Braid and Gears of War 2, there is obviously a good deal of overlap. I've decided to skip the games, since my picks are pretty much in line with what others have, and instead list the five cars that made the biggest impression on me in 2008.
As with anything, peoples opinions will differ. I have long veered away from the incredibly and ridiculously high powered rockets such as Lamborghini's and Ferrari's (that's not to say I don't love to drive them in say, Forza 2), instead my focus seemed to shift in 08 on a car that I can see myself driving everyday, but that of course offers great performance. With that said, I need to make a quick mention of the Ferrari California, which as of this writing is beginning to be sold on the West coast I believe, while the car didn't make the list, it's notable in the fact that Ferrari is gearing the car towards more of what I am looking for, a car that you can drive everyday comfortably, but has more than enough performance if you need it.
Some other honorable mentions go out to the the Nissan GT-R, which is an impressive piece of engineering (that could pretty much smoke any other car on this list), but the styling of the car completely throws me off, and the lack of any interiors specialties that other cars on this list come standard with is disappointing. Two other cars need mentioning, the BMW 135i which is new for 2008 in the states, is a smaller BMW that has plenty of power but can be just as expensive as the 3-series if you start adding features that should be standard for it's starting point, but with a 0-60 time of 4.7 it can hold it's own. Then there's the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR, which is actually one of the slowest Evolution's in recent history, however this car has one of the best all-wheel drive platforms you can find, and while the performance doesn't exactly match something like a WRX, I always preferred the Mitsubishi.
Anyways, on to the list.
5. Honda S2000 CR
Price - $37,995 (Though I've seen them for $32,500)
I'm probably going to sound hypocritical here, since for a price of around $35,000 you get pretty much no standard features. I know someone who's bought a 4Matic C300 for that price, and that comes with heated seats! I'm not joking when I say that you need to add AC as an option, but this is a track car through and through. The CR designation stands for Club Racer, and by shedding the retractable top in place for a removable hard top Honda reduced weight, and by adding more aerodynamic body panels plus spoiler, the CR is stated to be 2 seconds faster around a track than it's standard S2000 brother. Plus, one has to admit that for a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder car that outputs 236 BHP, a low 5 second 0-60 is impressive. More impressive is when you can go through an exit ramp at 60 and still feel fully in control.
Seen in games such as: Forza Motorsport 2 (non CR), Project Gotham Racing 4 (DLC), GRiD (DLC)
4. Maserati GranTurismo S
Price - $110,000
Ahh Maserati, Ferrari's little brother. The car itself doesn't look too outragous, but it offers a nice blend of performance and sweet interior luxery that would make any drive enjoyable, and the extra back seats, which aren't huge, are a nice addition.
I actually haven't seen this car in any games, if anyone knows where it could be found, let me know. I know that the older one was in Test Drive Unlimited but that's about it.
3. Jaguar XKR Coupe
Price - $87,000
The new style Jaguar has recently incorporated takes more than a few cues from Aston Martin, and it shows, this car can look right at home in a James Bond movie. A 420 BHP V8 lies under the hood, and again the extra back seats are a welcome addition to such a high preformance vehicle, and while this is definitely a statement car like the Maserati above, you'll make that statement for a lot less money. Plus coming standard with a 6-CD changer, and a touch screen navigation system always sweatens the deal.
I don't think this is in any games.
2. BMW M3 Coupe/Sedan
Price - $56,500
The M3 is pretty much a legend in it's own time right now, with the new installment BMW threw in a V8 capable of turning out 414 BHP through it's rear-wheel drive configuration. This car has out performed every car in it's class that's been thrown at it, be it an Audi or Mercedes. Plus with BMW's new dual-clutch transmission (but real cars are manual, wah wah wah, whatever...) getting the 4.5 0-60 is more precise as ever. Tuners are already building this car up to be a monster, capable of outrunning it's bigger brother M5. The option for a 4 door sedan is welcomed, especially since it actually has a decreased drag co-efficient believe it or not, well not that the any driver would really notice such a change.
I believe that this is in the new Need for Speed, not that you should actually play that game.
1. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
Price - $56,300
Let's get something out of the way. I know that the M3 outperformed the C63 in road tests. I know the general consensus is that the M3 is a better track car as well as a daily driver, no argument there. But to me, the C63 AMG is simply a more fun car. AMG somehow managed to get 451 BHP out of a naturally aspirated V8 (and it shows, with a gas mileage of 12/19). For such a heavy car, one that weighs about 300 pounds more than the M3 coupe, it manages an incredible 4.2 0-60 time, with Car and Driver being able to test it at 3.9. But with so much power, comes a draw back, which to me makes it a more interesting drive. The C63 is a beast, one that you have to control, the tires will spin, you will go sideways, you will be happy that you made it to your destination alive, and you'll probably have a lot more fun. The M3 may be more capable, but it comes off as complacent compared to this car. Plus some of the aftermarket things you can get for this car can skyrocket the horsepower to an unholy 580, no joke, as well as stiffening the suspension. Just do a search for Renntech.
Plus, one thing that really stands out for this car compared to the M3, is that it comes with features such as Premium Sound, integrated hard-drive, iPod connectiviy, etc standard. Add those to the M3 and you're looking a price that is almost ten grand more. With that said, if someone is buying these cars for these prices I doubt that would really matter as much as I think.
There it is, my top 5. It will be interesting to see how the economy will affect sales and production of future cars. Maybe the horsepower race is over as we know it. Maybe it's all about being green now, but I like to think that there will always be a sizeable part of the population that will crave that feeling you get only when traveling in excess of 100, and hopefully those people will fuel these types of high performance cars for many years to come. There's something to be said about the roar of an engine that you can't get with a Tesla.
I just ordered Tales of Vesperia and Infinite Undiscovery this past week, which got me thinking about the onslaught of games that will be released in the coming months.
Everyone has a list, and here is my most anticipated 360 games of the coming months:
10. Rock Band 2 - September 15th
Considering I've played the original Rock Band more than any other game in the past eight months, and I haven't bothered with the achievement points, so I'm pretty excited about the sequel. I've read so many people claiming "You play the songs once and you have nothing else to do. Unless you want to pay for all the downloads. Fail.", which is all good I guess, but as countless people know, you get a good group of friends together and start passing around different instruments, going for gold stars, making complete fools of yourselves on ridiculous songs, and this game takes on a life of its own. With so many bands making their debut, as well as a crazy amount of variety this time around, September 15th will be a day I probably won't sleep.
9. Baja: Edge of Control - September 22nd
I'm a sucker for off road racing games. Back in the Dreamcast days, hours upon hours would be spent with 4-Wheel Thunder and I will willingly admit that Monster Truck Madness was one of my favorite PC game in the 90's. With the new generation of hardware, it's pretty incredible to see what people are doing in terms of racing dynamics. DiRT and Motorstorm were the first to show the potential that was available if some quality time was put into a title, now Baja takes it one step further with amazingly expansive environments and some pretty cool sounding game modes. I can easily see myself sitting down for the whole endurance event in this game.
8. Tomb Raider Underworld - November 18th
I only got into the Tomb Raider games with the release of Legend a couple years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least, since I came in not expecting much. Underworld hopes to blend the action of Legend with the adventure elements of Anniversary, recent hands on previews said the games was still in quite an unfinished state, so hopefully the product is cleaned up before November, but they might release an unpolished product. Heres hoping for the best.
7. Battle Fantasia - September 16th
Ummm...I'm just happy these crazy Japanese games are coming over to the states for the 360. A nice change of pace if you ask me.
6. Midnight Club: Los Angeles - October 7th
I love the racing games! The amount of cars promised is pretty cool, and the detail shown in the city is pretty impressive as well, going for a somewhat stylized realistic look instead of the uber-over-designed look of Need for Speed cities. With games like this, it's the event choices that make or break it in the end. No one want to drag race the same strip of road eighty times to unlock the newest car or challenge, but with the variety of cars offered I'm sure the developers will have plenty of options available to them.
5. Fallout 3 - Octover 28th
Now this is post apocalyptic done right. With a game of this caliber and pedigree, a lot is expected. But at the same time, not much has to be said. I think everyone is looking forward to this one with some skepticism, but just as much excitement. Time will tell.
4. Gears of War 2 - November 7th
Much like the previous entry, this game speaks for itself at this point. More of everything hopefully means way more fun. Oh, and why does Cliff B. wear the tightest t-shirts he can find?
3. Need for Speed Undercover - November 18th
It seems like Electronic Arts finally realized what Need for Speed needs to be. If one remembers, from the very first game in the series circa '95, cops would pull you over if you drove to fast and recklessly. Somewhere along the line the games started to lose there way, then came a sign of the past blended in perfectly with the present when Most Wanted made its debut. I mean Carbon wasn't bad, but Pro Street was questionable at best. Need for Speed was never about the racing, let's be honest, it was simply about going fast through sweet environments. Anyone remember Hot Pursuit? That game had so many shortcuts and different approaches to the race that to me it still is the pinnacle of the series. It even let you play as the cops in multiplayer which opened up it's own set of craziness. Plus I swear whoever designed the Pontiac Solstice got inspiration from the secret car in the game, El Nino. Undercover better not break my heart, because I already have high expectations.
2. Prince of Persia - Q4 2008
No solid release date that I could find, but I'm guessing late November early December if it comes out this year. It could easily be delayed till January or February. I love the concept of fighting only one enemy at a time, much like the original Prince of Persia (not Sands of Time). The art style is pretty slick as well, lots of lush colors in sweeping arrangements make it look like a painting at times. They have to release more information soon I'd expect.
1. The Last Remnant - November 20th
I must have watched the trailer dozens of time on Xbox Live. From the guy with the crazy eye, to the cast of various characters and intriguing storyline, the game looks to fill the void that was left with the depressingly disappointing Lost Odyssey.
Back in the day, I had a copy of FF VII (PC), I played it and was quite enjoying myself. Then the game started to drag for me, suddenly the characters I used to care about such as Cloud and Tifa became more and more flat. Sephiroth seemed kind of just weird to me, and I never got behind his whole "look" (never understood the goth kids at school at the time either, no offense to anyone out there I respect your views and what not). I pretty much stopped playing the game right around the middle of the second disc. Right after the amusement park area. Now people may say that I should have kept playing, but at that time I guess it was never meant to be.
A few years later I got a used Playstation for very cheap and played through Xenogears and Chrono Cross. I also had a copy of Final Fantasy VIII, I began playing it and actually didn't like it as much as I like seven at the start. I figured it would simply fade as well.
But a strange thing happened, I kept playing. Why? Maybe it was some of that magical power the series has that turns normal human beings into savage fan boys who can hear no wrong about their favorite characters and games. I was slowly growing to like these characters, I actually wanted to know what would happen to these band of different personas and their antics. Only Panzer Dragoon Saga before had me that compelled and drawn into the characters in a game. Skies of Arcadia was awesome as well, but you pretty much knew what was going to happen in that game and were playing more for the fun environments and crazy monsters\situations.
Then the Playstation died, well let me be more specific, the memory card died, then the PS1 died. I got it used so I shouldn't really complain, but so many hours gone to waste kind of killed my morale. Then i had college stuff to get ready for, I simply didn't have the time.
But I never forgot FF VIII, every few months or a year I would almost look up a FAQ and just read the story, but something always stopped me. Maybe I would play it after all.
With the announcement of FF 13 on 360, I knew it would be easier to play the new fantasy without shelling out a few hundred bucks, but I also didn't want to jump in at 13. I played a little ten at a friends house before, but Tidus always annoyed me.
Then today, I'm sitting here, moderating images and a FF VIII image comes up with the gallery labeled as PC screenshot. Hmm, I forgot it came out on the PC. I heard some shady things about the PC version, but what the hell, I have an old laptop that would run this game (I'm running Linux as of now on my main computer). So I took the plunge, and found an old copy online real quick and ordered it before I had second thoughts.
I know 13 and 8 aren't related (are they?) but I didn't want to play 13 as the first fantasy all the way through (I almost played all through 4 actually on an emulator back in high school I just remembered haha) I figure I can finish this over the rest of summer, and finally figure out what happens to Squall and Rinoa, and maybe then I can have a better view of the series.
So I ran the New York City Half-Marathon this weekend. This is the second time I did it, the first being last year.
The weather this year was much worse than last. Where as before it was a little hotter, at least the air was dry. This year we had 90% humidity, which pretty much meant running through Central Park was more or less like running through a steam room.
I was able to beat my last year's time by three and half minutes, which is good, but last year I didn't feel like I was literally about to implode onto myself after the race. I also didn't pace myself very well this time, going way too fast the first third of the race, and then pretty much dying once we got out of Central Park and down into Times Square. I couldn't enjoy any of the bands playing on the sidelines or people screaming because the only thing I could think of was the pain in my legs and how much my chest hurt from the humid air. In retrospect, I drank too much water before the race. So here's a tip, drink Gatorade or something instead, I obviously didn't have enough sodium and felt like I had to puke the entire race because of it. I was also stupid and only took water during the fluid stations, they had Gatorade and I probably should have taken more of that.
Luckily in the last mile I saw someone who passed me earlier on and was able to catch up to him. We pretty much sprinted the last half mile and I was barely able to pull ahead in the last 100 meters or so. At the finish line my sight went all blurry and white on the edges and I lost focus, they got pictures of everyone at the finish, and when they post those up I wanna see how miserable I looked. My sister ran the race also, and when we met up right after the race, she just looks at me and say "Are you O.K? You don't look so good?" She looked like she could run another race, which I don't doubt since she has ran a full marathon before (not something I plan on doing anytime soon).
With all these long distance races they give you a chip to tie to your shoe to record times, and after the race Nike makes this sweet graph, mine is below. For comparison, last year I got 1024th or something out of the field. The race lets in around 13,000 people with the majority running around 2:00, a lot of people do this race just to qualify for the NYC ING Marathon, since this is one of the races you can do to guarantee entry to that race, and they usually do it as another run, not an actual race, if that makes sense.
For the past two weeks we've had a ping pong tournament here at work during lunch.
And this past Tuesday, there I stood, in the finals, me and one lone competitor facing off in a match of guts, wits, and crazy small plastic balls spinning randomly on a green table top.
It was a best of three match, with games being played up to 21.
Game 1 - It was close up until 9-6, then I was able to pull away and seal the victory 21-11.
Game 2 - I knew not to take my competitor lightly even after that first game, and in this game he got serious. He took the early lead 6-4, and then it was a battle till 15-15. I capitalized on my top spin serve to edge ahead 18-17. If this series went to 3 games I thought I'd be in trouble, it was 19-19, I took a gamble on a huge backspin return on his serve and it paid off. 20-19, I decided not to take it easy, catch him off guard and attack early in the point. I returned to his back hand early off the bounce on his serve, causing him to hit it a bit high, I then did a top spin forehand. He returned, another, he returned. I knew if I went for too much I'd hit it out. So I let off on the third one. He was expecting another top spin shot and hit the ball long. It was over. 21-19.
A bit over dramatic, maybe, but right before the match the organizer of the tournament announced that the winner would get a $100 Best Buy gift card, the runner up $50. You can't buy a new video game with $50. Cliche: Losing was not an option.
I've played ping pong for a while now, but this is the only time I've actually won any sort of monetary prize from it. Very cool.
On another note, while looking for a cool picture to put in this post I found this ridiculous looking paddle, I then proceeded to buy it. It will ship from the UK so it will probably be quite a wait, but still that thing looks crazy!
Also this weekend, the 29th to be precise, I will be running my second half-marathon. Not a full 26 point whatever miles, but 13. If it wasn't for my friend this summer, I wouldn't half trained nearly as much as I did. He had a personal goal of getting into a lot better shape this summer, and always proposed the activity of running. One thing is for sure, running with someone else is infinitely less tiring and boring than alone. Not to mention you have a lot more willpower to simply keep going. If it wasn't for him, I would be sitting at home most days thinking: "Should I run or play some more Unreal Tournament III...Unreal!"
I want to beat my last year's time by at least 5 minutes, which sounds kind of difficult but a recent run this past week kept me in good spirits since I was able to run at a faster pace longer than I thought. I won't post the time of last years race yet, but Monday I'll post both times if I beat it :) .
It's always fun to be in New York and I can't wait to go down tomorrow. It always seems like a massive mall to me, because whatever you need, you're probably never more than five blocks away from anyway. Luckily we got a hotel room that's 3 blocks to the east of the starting line, which is on the west side of Central Park near the center. That means an easy morning to get to the start, but it also means ending very far from the hotel since the finish line is at Battery Park about 6 miles south (West Side Highways is the home stretch).
It should be fun, too bad I can't rack up crazy submission points this weekend, but with the length of the queue, I don't really mind. I've pretty much stopped submitting until all my other stuff goes through.
I know they've said that submissions will be moderated on the order that they are received, but this is obviously not the case since images and changes I've submitted way back when are still not moderated while more recent ones have been.
However, through all this you have to remember the absolute RIDICULOUS amount of content they are probably receiving right now, even with all the man power and time they're putting behind it there will be delays. I don't think there's any reason for people to get so up in arms about whatever x amount of submissions that have yet to be moderated, eventually the people who truly want to add great content to the site will have over 1,000 points and be able to make live edits.
Does it really matter how fast you get there? To some of you maybe, and well, I guess that's your own problem to figure out. I mean the site is only barely half a week old at this points, with any new release of anything, there will be bugs and some problems. I'm sure they're hard at work on resolving all of them.
You are all warriors to go through so many submissions, and I salute you!
It's amazing to see so many people already join Giant Bomb, it's only the middle of the week and the user count is approachin 15k!!
That said, Giant Bomb is poised to become one of the greatest resources for games on the Internet, period. However that can't happen if everyone tries to edit the GTA IV page or Halo 3. Dig deep into your vast video game knowledge and pull out information about those obscure games you loved to play way back when, because you know one day someone will search for that game, and low and behold there is some great information to be found.
This site has a bunch of games, most that have yet to be touched. So get out there and start contributing to make this the definitive source for game information, no matter what game it is.
It's probably been said countless times today, but honestly, this site is by far one of the coolest creations on the web. The fact that it functions more like a desktop application than a standard website is sweet unto itself, but Giant Bomb is the most complete use of "Web 2.0" that has probably been assembled on this scale*.
With so many great people already here Giant Bomb has a sweet life ahead of it. I hope in a few years, we can all look back at how it all began and know that each one of us had something to do with helping the site grow.