Crazy can't begin to explain it.

So, this morning has been bananas...and I hate bananas. You've heard the news, Giant Bomb and GameSpot are getting back together. As someone who grew up reading the writing of both Gerstmann and Davis, this is incredible news. Not to mention that I work at GameSpot and will be sharing the 3rd floor with them.

I am in a weird position. As someone who has only been an employee of GameSpot.com for about 8 months, I'm still new and I don't know a lot of the inner history here. When the guys came into the office (just about an hour ago), it was weird seeing the older people here begin to hug each other. It was like seeing relatives reunite for the first time in a long time. Being the new guy, I've stood to the side and let them all have this moment. I'll have my chance to introduce myself and get to know them all better. I am going to learn a lot being around these talent individuals.

The next few weeks will be really strange but at least everyone on the GameSpot side of things, we're all looking forward to what the future holds.

Stay tuned because it will get even better!

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Weird, non-gaming related, request

Hello All.
 
I'm really sorry for not blogging in ages, times have been tough with a frantic work schedule coupled with some really incredible games that I am trying to play. I am coming to you all today in the hopes that you can help a person out. Don't worry, this is not any sort of 'please donate me money' requests. It's actually part of a contest.
 
I have recently submitted a video for a Canadian Travel contest entitled 'Best Travel Job Ever' and in order for me to get the attention of the judges, I need votes.
 
If you would be so kind, would you head over to http://besttraveljobever.com/carlos and vote for my video. 
 
The actual voting is fairly simple, just register your e-mail (you don't have to actually participate in the contest, unless you want to and live in Canada) then vote. You can vote once a day for up to three videos.
 
I am trying to break into the top 25 but I can't do it without the help of others. I have already sent out numerous requests to family and friends around the world but the more help I can get the better. Even if you don't like my video, please vote anyway or at least comment that you don't like it. Any sort of attention is great.
Once again, the site is http://besttraveljobever.com/carlos. Help a fellow gamer out!
 
Thanks in advance and if I do happen to win, I'll be sure to give a shout-out to all those who helped!

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Top 10 Console (and Downloadable) Games of 2009

 Just Missing Out:

Assassin's Creed II
Dead Space Extraction
inFamous
Street Fighter IV
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
 


10. IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey

Sometimes there are games that come out of left field. For me, this WWII air combat title fits the bill. I never knew what to expect but after the first few training missions I was hooked. A great looking game coupled with excellent controls and tons of content, console fans who have been eager for something to take to the skies, this is the one to play.

 
 

 
9. Fat Princess

Typically I tend to stay away from online only games. It can be sometimes really difficult to get involved unless you are willing to invest the time and energy to get good at it. Thankfully, Fat Princess is the perfect title for those looking to just have a bit of mindless fun. This team based action title has something for everyone. Not good at fighting, then be a healer. Can't shoot an arrow to save your life, well your team needs someone to collect supplies. For those who enjoy Team Fortress, playing this is an absolute must.
 

 
8. Killzone 2

The game that had so much hype associated to it is typically destined to fail. Thankfully, Killzone 2 met its expectations and was worth every penny. Having played and only partially enjoying the original, this follow up gives FPS fans one incredible journey with great shooting, frantic action and a good mix of enjoyable and frustrating moments. Certainly looking forward to where this series goes to next.

 
 
 
 
7. Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City

Having already owned the PS3 version of GTAIV, getting the opportunity to play any of the exclusive content for the 360 was not possible. That changed with RockStar releasing both The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony in one perfect package along with all the fantastic multiplayer options. If you are in the same boat as me or just want more GTA content, this is a purchase you need to make.

 
 

 
6. Borderlands

Never judge a book without actually reading through a few chapters. This was the case for me when playing Borderlands. What started off as a frustrated experience quickly changed into spending time trying to see what else I could do. There aren't many games that can keep me playing after a poor first impression, but Borderlands did that. It takes a bit of time to get into the groove but once you've hit it, you will have a hard time letting go.

 
 
 
5. Shadow Complex

Nostalgia is always a nice thing, so when you have a game that brings of memories of your youth it is certainly worth mentioning. This fantastic action game that reminds you of the days of playing on your SNES is something that was such a pleasure to play. From the opening moments to every discovery, regardless of size, will keep you wanting more. Again, more games like this need to made that can be enjoyed for about the same cost of going to the movies and last 3 times as long.

 

 
4. FIFA 10

Soccer is my sport so a quality game is something I have to have. It has been years since I have played a game in the series that made me absolutely enjoy every match I played. Thankfully, this not only made me feel so good during every match, win, lose or draw, but the amount of content available will keep any fan occupied for months. EA has been looking for ways to push the series forward and next year's version will need to really go farther to better this one.

 
 
 
3. Dragon Age Origins

Upon first inspection, Dragon Age Origins was merely a game that I had no real interest to. Having not played any BioWare title until this year, I could care less about their pedigree. That quickly changed after playing through Mass Effect early on this year and getting to sit and listen to the BioWare Doctors talk about Narrative quickly changed my mind. If you enjoy free flowing RPGs that give you the ability to do so many things, then this is the only game you need to play. Having played both the game on the PC and PS3, you should most definitely go the way of the Personal Computer but even if that isn't a viable option, RPG fans will enjoy every waking moment.

 
 
2 . Batman: Arkham Asylum

The last really fun Super Hero title that I enjoyed playing was the first Spider-Man title for the PSOne (released by Activision). Since then, it has been really difficult to find one that kept me wanting to play through the entire story. Arkham Asylum changed that from the opening moments with its fantastic story that mirrors the comics, the excellent combat that expands as you progress and plethora of side objectives available. This is the way other Super Hero games need to be made and will be the gold standard for years to come.

 
 
 
1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I will not lie, until recently my favorite PS3 game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. My expectations for the follow-up were high and those demands I had were met and surpassed from the opening scene. Among Thieves shows just how far cinematic experiences have gone in the gaming world. This is an incredible story with great action sequences, stunning cast of characters and so much more. The transition from cut-scene to actual gameplay is so seamless you will often question if you're playing or watching. Yes, there are most certainly moments that will challenge you if you don't enjoy a challenge then you shouldn't be playing video games. Even if you have not experienced the first game in the series, you can easily pick this up and enjoy it. I loved every minute of my time with this and hope to find the time to go back and relive it again.
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Top 5 Portable Games of 2009

Just missing out:

LocoRoco 2
Mario vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge

5. Resistance Retribution



Many people said that translating a shooter onto a portable system could not be done, the guys at Sony Bend knew otherwise. With the success of their Syphon Filter series, they took the same formula and put into this quasi sequel to the popular Resistance: Fall of Man series. Along with strong shoot and great level designs, there was a lot of reasons to play through the game more than once and the multiplayer mode was also quite enjoyable.

 
 
 

4. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

When a game can not only entertain you but educate you at the same time, you have something truly special. The Professor Layton in North America is still miles behind the Japanese series but this follow-up is just as enjoyable as the first with an great and engaging story. More than 150 different puzzles that will challenge you but never to the point of frustration. Here's hoping the 3rd game in the series gets to us sooner rather than later.

 
 
 
3. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Who said a violent game is not possible on a portable Nintendo Console? Chinatown Wars takes the series in an interesting direction with fantastic results. Combining a cool story, great missions and some interesting touch screen mechanics, this is the total package. Any GTA fan will love it and those who missed the days of the series origins are only punishing themselves by not playing this.

 
 
 
 
2. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

It doesn't take much to release a quality Legend of Zelda title, so having one on the DS is no surprise. While fans did have their reservations and felts some parts of Phantom Hourglass were disappointing, Spirit Tracks fixes almost all of those issues and gives us such a fantastic experience. The fact that both Link and Zelda must work together puts this up there as a must-place for any fan of the long running series.

 
 
 
 
1. Patapon 2

There are games that when you first look at them you will respond with 'WTF!', the orginial Patapon was most definitely that game. Combine rhythm with strategy and you have yourself one unique experience. This follow up took everything that made the first so special and doubled it and threw in a bit more flavor. What is so great is that even with all its content, more than 30 hours worth, this only will cost you 20 dollars. For those looking for a PSP game to play, if this isn't already in your collection it should be.
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My Dreamcast Retrospective

 

The 10 year anniversary of the Sega Dreamcast is close approaching and I wanted to go back and reflect on my own saga with the system over those last ten years. To be honest, although the system only was in production for a few years, I have had quite an interaction with it. Since it was a part of my life over this last decade I wanted to share those memories with everyone.



When the Dreamcast was first made playable to the public I was hooked. I remember going to the EB and Compucentre in the local mall in my hometown (the mall was Rideau Centre in Ottawa, Canada) and see crowds of teenagers hovered around the console's kiosk. Both stores had the system on display and both had different games for people to try out. Although Compucentre used a specific Sega Cabinet, the guys over at EB decided to set-up theirs on a separate TV and would often change games every few days to show off the variety of games available for the system.

At the time, I was working at the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell combo restaurant at the mall so I often was able to spend the 10-15 minutes before work attempting to play whatever was on display. I clearly remember watching kids gawk over Ready 2 Rumble, Sonic Adventure and Soul Calibur and even challenging with the Fishing game which now escapes me. It was so nice as the system was clearly better than what else was available on the market. I really wanted to get the system, but of course as a high school student buying one was very difficult.

At that time, the Cdn dollar was really poor in comparison to the US dollar. The Cdn dollar was worth about 65 cents US so that essentially meant that stores in here initially sold the system for roughly 299.99, a hundred dollars more than the US 199.99 price tag. Because of that high price point and the fact that the PlayStation had dropped to a much more affordable price of roughly 199.99 (this was when it was roughly 129.99 USD), I decided to go that route and buy Sony's console instead.

I never regretted my purchase of the PlayStation, but that didn't stop me from still playing the Dreamcast whenever I had the opportunity to. Although none of my friends owned the system, I still had all the videogame stores focusing a lot of attention on the system. Whenever a new title was released, from Crazy Taxi, Jet Grind Radio, Metropolis Street Racer and others I always had the opportunity to try them out and think to myself '...if I could afford this, I would buy one.'



It wasn't until one random day sometime in 2001 (pretty certain it was late in the year) when I finally managed to purchase a Dreamcast. This was already at the time when the system was slowly dying away and stores were reducing the price to get rid of them. While walking through a Future Shop (Canada's original Best Buy) I saw them selling the Dreamcast with 3 games for about 99.99. It was a Sports Bundle, but not the Black Dreamcast one, and considering I am a sports fan, it wasn't a hard sell for me.
 
I didn't bother to purchase anything else at the time since I wanted to just take the system home and give it a spin. During that summer I had saved up a crap load of money and traded in my PlayStation and nearly all my non-essential games to get the heavily expensive PlayStation 2 (bless that horrible exchange rate at the time). This was also the first time I was the owner of two systems at one time (now I own every current system), so I was a little eager at the idea and unsure how I would juggle the two. Once I decided to simply connect the Dreamcast through my VCR, I was set and began playing. It did not take long for me to fall right back in love.

Although I couldn't save my games at the time, I was playing as many games of NFL and NBA as I could. I absolutely loved the way both games felt. NFL was really enjoyable but it was NBA's weird free throw mechanic that I still remember today. For those unfamiliar, what Visual Concepts did at the time was have you gently press on the controller's trigger buttons to line-up two arrows over the basket. It was weird at first, but if you were steady, sinking free-throws was a breeze.

After falling in love with what I had in my basement, I went hunting for games and other items for the system. It started by purchasing a VMU so I could save my games and then I began trying to buy games. Although the system was affordable, games had become hard to find. I went all over the place trying to find games like Ready 2 Rumble, Phantasy Star Online and others but unfortunately I couldn't find any of those. Generic games and those that did not satisfy my taste buds but were readily available, but I wanted a game that was deemed 'A Must-Own Dreamcast' title. After all my searching, there was only one key Dreamcast title I managed to find and buy and that was Shenmue.



I know Shenmue has gotten its fair share of slack over the years, but I still remember it fondly for what it was...a game unlike anything else at the time. Yes, some aspects of it I didn't like, such as the relatively short time in the day to do things, but it was still a blast  and a game I will never forget.

Even with my love for the system,  I was still relatively young and dumb and wanted the best that was available. I would later trade in my Dreamcast and the small collection of four games to help me purchase an Xbox, which was impressing me at the time with Splinter Cell and the Jet Set Radio Future/Sega GT bundle that was on sale. I didn't think the trade would affect me, but deep down I regretted getting rid of the system.

I knew I was 'heart-broken' when in late 2004 I began to reminisce about the Dreamcast and how much I really enjoyed it when I owned it. I was making 'good' money at my current job so I began to spend cash more freely. I was able to afford school still and had plenty of expendable cash so I thought about looking to buying the system yet again, but finding one was now a problem. No stores carried them and even those places that did offer used systems were often in really poor condition or over-priced. Thankfully eBay existed and I began looking online for people selling new and used Dreamcast units.

Before buying the Dreamcast, I never purchased anything from eBay. I created an account years before with the thought of maybe one day buying or selling something, but that day didn't come until I won a bid for a Dreamcast. Being so glad that I 'won' I didn't bother to check all my vitals and simply paid using PayPal to get the system.

When I first registered my eBay account I was living at one address but at the time of the purchase I had moved. I completely forgot about this fact until it was nearly a month and I did not get my Dreamcast. When I e-mailed the person I bought it from and he sent me an shipping confirmation I noticed the address he shipped to was wrong. I began to worry  that the people who now lived at my old place would either refuse the package or 'steal' it.

I drove to my old place and explained the situation. They promised me that nothing had arrived but that they would contact me once they did. I was relieved but still a little concerned. It was already a month and regardless of the seller shipping from the Seattle area to Ottawa it should not have taken as long as it did. Thankfully, the people who now lived in my old place dropped by our new home and gave my sister the pick-up slip. I quickly drove to the local post office, paid the custom brokerage fee and was finally the owner of a Dreamcast for the second time.



When I knew I was getting the system I went out and started hunting for games. During this time I only managed to buy four games: Crazy Taxi, Tony Hawk 2, Resident Evil Code: Veronica and of course, Shenmue. It was nice to be able to go back and re-enjoy the games that I loved for so long. I was a fan of Crazy Taxi in the arcade while Tony Hawk 2 was over-played by me when I originally had it for the PlayStation. I continued to hunt for games to get but finding ones in good condition in Ottawa was a tough request. I wanted to buy games through eBay, but often the prices were too high or the added shipping costs made a worth while purchase seem like a rip-off.

I moved to Vancouver in 2007 and when I did, I could only manage to fit a PlayStation 2 Slim in my luggage. Because of that, I was forced in leaving both my Dreamcast (which I did play with from time to time) and my 360 with at my mother's place. While I ended up replacing my 360 with one purchased here, I always wanted my Dreamcast back in my possession. It wasn't until 2008 when a family friend, flying to Vancouver, managed to bring it with them. It was pretty funny since the suitcase that they had for me essentially only contained the Dreamcast (in it's original box) and a few bottles of alcohol (I had quite the collection back in Ottawa). I really thought getting it cross-country would be a problem, but that was not the case.

I still have the Dreamcast to this day but unfortunately I have not given it the attention it deserves. I have been tempted to plug it in and play a quick game or Crazy Taxi or experience Code: Veronica again, but due to time constraints I have not. At the time of this writing, my Dreamcast is still in its original box, neatly put away in my closet. It wouldn't take me long to un-box it and start playing.



The Dreamcast has been a part of my life for a good part of the last ten years and I can honestly say I still love reading related content and often head over to eBay to see if any tempting purchases are available. I always wanted to buy something that would allow me to either play non-NTSC games (eg. Shemue 2) or games that are affordable online (eg. through places like PlayAsia and/or eBay). I am planning on take it out of the closest in the lead-up to official 10 year anniversary and playing it for a bit, I might even go back and play through Shenmue from start to finish.

I didn't want to go back into the history of the unit itself as it's already been done time and time again, but I wanted to show just what its affects have been on me. I hope this leads others to reflect on their experience with the system. Do you remember the launch date and struggling with FF VIII fans at your local game store? Were you like me and ended up buying it twice? Are you one of those few people who continues to play their Dreamcast on a regular basis? There are certainly great stories out there. Let's remember the good days of this once great system; hopefully at the same time, those who never experienced the Dreamcast will understand why exactly it was such a cult favorite.

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E3 Highlights

My first Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone and while it has been claimed to be the best one in years, it's memorable for so much more. Not only did I get to experience so much as a videogame writer I got to see what I can expect from myself as a person.

I was able to learn what is required from a successful member of the press.

1. Do not make yourself look like a fan. If you happened to have seen images from E3 you there is one clear fact that separates the Gaming Press from Gamers, shwag. The Press knows not to walk around with huge Inflatable Wiimotes from Nyko or wearing Ninja Turtles headbands. Yes, companies will give you promotional material, but you know the difference between taking it and putting it away and flaunting it. No one will take you serious when you're asking them about a game when you're wearing a Battlefield 1943 T-Shirt. The same goes with the people you see. This is my opinion, but as a new writer in the field, I still view myself as a fan and at E3 I saw many people I wanted to go up and talk to. I saw writers like Jeff Gerstmann, Jeff Green, Robert Ashley, Ryan Scott and Dan Hsu (Ryan and Dan sat beside me during the Miyamoto Panel) but I didn't try to disturb them and go 'Oh man, I really love your writing...' They are there working, just as I am. Maybe when I cover PAX in September I will be more inclined to chit-chat with them considering the relaxed environment, but during E3 hours, it just didn't seem right.

2. You will not have time for everything. Even with essentially three full days attending E3, I did not manage to get to play everything that I would have liked to have. I wanted to sample the God of War III demo, but the line-up was too long, the same goes for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Even with Press credentials, the line-ups are too long and scheduled meetings are always more important.

3. Promptness is appreciated by all. Just like in the real world, if you are scheduled to meet with a developer or studio, be sure to get their early. It's just common sense. They'll appreciate it and more often that not, they will be willing to start the meeting earlier and/or show you more.

4. Treat the little studios the same way you would treat the big boys. This works both ways. During my time at E3 I had interviews with many 'smaller' studios such as Koei, Tecmo and Ignition and even had sessions with Bethesda, Eidos and Electronic Arts. I made sure to treat every meeting the same way. Just because a smaller studio doesn't make the marquee game does not mean they deserve less respect. More often than not, it's those smaller studios that will be willing to give you more details about their products because they are in the same boat as you (that is if you are covering the event for a smaller site like I was).

5. Cleanliness is Key. I hate to admit it this, but the stereotype that most videogamers are unhygienic was extremely evident here. When I was at PAX last year I made this same comment and E3 continued to solidify that. With all the problems we have with Swine Flu and other airborne bacteria, make sure that you are proper when attending such an event. Wear clean clothing, wash your hands when you leave the washroom and just be sure to careful with what you touch. I will give props to Sony in their PSP office that their guys were constantly wiping down PSP and PSP Go units. It might have been more to keep the units clean, but every time they wiped a unit, unnecessary bacteria was taken away.

6. Just because you have covered E3 certainly does not make you a journalist. E3 might be the Mecca of videogames, just being there doesn't make you a journalist. It's what you do afterwards. If you were a member of the press but you didn't actually interview companies or attend any of the closed room sessions, then you are more an enthusiast than anything else. It's going to be the coverage you do in terms of previews, hands-ons and interviews that will set you apart.

There are certainly other things that I learned but I don't want to go on and on about it.

Since I managed to get hands on impressions on a bevy of upcoming games, I want to give my highlights on some of the games I actually got to play for a few minutes. Here now is my list of 'Favorite Games from E3 that I actually played'

Nintendo DS - Scribblenauts

I heard about this game last year on an IGN Podcast but thought nothing of it. Then when so many people on Twitter (specifically Area 5's Matt Chandronait) were mentioning it, I just had to find out where it was and go check it out. On Thursday, as soon as I got into the doors, I ran towards the Warner Brothers Interactive booth and began playing it. I was lucky enough to have the Lead Designer Matt Cox talk to me about the game for a few minutes before he was stolen away from me by the Joystiq guys but from the moment he started telling me what to do I was in love.

If you haven't heard about Scribblenauts, the objective of the game is to assist the lead character Maxwell collect 'Starites'. In order to do so, you need to specific objects to do so. In some cases you might need a ladder to climb a tree or in another you might want to have a snorkel to swim underneath. To obtain the items necessary, all you have to is write it and it appears. If you want that ladder, just type in 'ladder' on the keypad and one will appear. Feel like being creative and destroying the tree to get the 'starite', then right bomb or dynamite and place it by the tree and watch it explode. There are thousands of different ways each level can be completed and this creativity alone will make this game one to watch later this year.

(Honorable Mention: Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box)

Nintendo Wii - Sin and Punishment 2

One of my favourite games from the Xbox was Panzer Dragoon Orta and I really enjoy on rail shooters because of the frantic action that are associated with them. After playing through the one of the characters demo (the boy character Isa) I knew that this will be an incredible game.

I never played the original but after going through this, I seriously want to go pick up a Regular Controller for the Wii and download it from the Wii Store. S&P2 is filled with beautiful visuals, stunning sounds and a lot of variety. The game is extremely easy to pick up but offers plenty of challenges. I am a bit disappointed that this has been overshadowed by other marquee Nintendo titles, but I do feel that this will ultimately be one of those games that will appeal to the hardcore gamers that have complained they are not loved.

(Honorable Mention: Muramasa: The Demon Blade, New Super Mario Bros. Wii)

Xbox 360 - Just Cause 2

The first game I got to see behind closed doors was Eidos upcoming Just Cause 2 and I have to say that what I at first thought would be a gimmick could turn into a feature that will be copied by many others in the future.

The key aspect of Just Cause 2 is the use of your parachute and grappling hook to play the game. Both items are available to use at just about anytime and both are important in completing the game's 60 missions. Let's say you're battling it on the roof of a building, you can quickly jump off and paraglide yourself to another spot on the map. Another use could be when you're on top of a speeding car; you can hop off of it and use the parachute to avoid an explosion.

The grapple works on so many levels as well. On top of the being able to use it in conjunction with the Parachute, you can use to grab enemies or weapons or combining two enemies together. Again, the use of both can do so many different things.

As long as the game doesn't make the use of both too much of a necessity, I can see this being yet another satisifying title for Action-Adventure fans.

(Honorable Mention: Samurai Showdown: Edge of Destiny, Need for Speed Shift, Mass Effect 2)

PlayStation Portable - Motorstorm: Arctic Edge

Fans of the PS3 Motorstorm series will feel right at home when they pick up Arctic Edge. The game feels and plays nearly identical to what we've become accustomed to on with the PS3 controller. The game moves fast and sound really good. I did notice some graphical issues in a few minor spots, but other than some clipping issues and collision detection problems, this looks like it's heading in the right direction. It certainly won't be able to replicate the PS3 version tit-for-tat, but it will be pretty damn close. Racing fans will be really happy on the PSP later this year.

(Honorable Mention: Gran Turismo PSP, Dissidia: Final Fantasy)

PlayStation 3 - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I will not deny it, I am a massive Uncharted Fan and ever since the first announcement I have been waiting patiently to play and thankfully I got my opportunity to see it, touch it and love it. On the show floor we got the opportunity to play both the Multiplayer and Co-op modes and both are extremely fun to play. Thankfully, if you own inFamous, you already have the same opportunity to experience the Multiplayer Beta so there is no need to explain myself here. This will not only be one of the best titles for the PS3, it quite possibility could be the best game of 2009.

(Honorable Mention: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2)

Things I am glad to have seen:

1. Being able to attend the Shigeru Miyamoto Panel
2. Sitting in the second row during the Sony Press Conference
3. Crossing paths with Hideo Kojima
4. See a few games well before the rest of the public will
5. Trying out the PSP Go and not enjoying it

Things I wish I got to do:

1. Attending Private sessions with Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft (If I was a Senior Editor then I would have)
2. Taking more pictures with Booth Babes (I had work to do)
3. Playing God of War III and Splinter Cell Conviction
4. Either showing up a day earlier or staying at least a day longer. I would have either liked to have spent more time on Monday or being in LA on Friday once everything was done. The more time in LA would have allowed me to see a bit more.

1 Comments

E3 2009

Last night a Staff Writer for a gaming site I freelance for asked if I was planning on attending E3 this year. That e-mail followed a few hours later with a request that I go. Now I am put into a tough situation and looking for advice.

Before the e-mails, I had no intention on going nor did I even think about it. I was already asked by the site to cover two other events this year (GDC Canada and PAX) so going to E3 was never a thought considering the staff writers were already planning on going. Now that it seems that I am needed in LA, I am really contemplating taking the flight down to attend the event. There are just a few problems with this. First off, I would have to pay my own flight to LA. A flight from YVR (Vancouver) to LAX would set me back around 500 dollars plus a hotel room for a few days. Second, I would have to take time off my regular full-time job to do this. While I have plenty of vacation days available, I was trying to save them for a trip either to Brazil, Spain or Sweden later this year. I know I would only take 3-4 days off work, but considering my plans for a longer trip, I would need those days. Lastly, this wouldn't be really a vacation as I would be working twice as much as I already do. From all the 'horror' stories of the hectic schedule at E3, it's like working 18 hour days.

But at the same time, I see this as a great opportunity for me to interact with others in the press and the industry; making contacts and getting my name out there. I think that alone is worth everything, but I am still bogged down by the other issues. I have time from now until June to save up for the flight and my expenses; I am even trying to see if Freelance Business trips are tax deductible. The fact that I also get to see and possibly sample some of the biggest titles for the rest of the year and for 2010 is another factor that cannot be ignored.

The largest hurdle seems to be hotel accomodations. At this moment, I think finding a hotel in LA for the event might be difficult. I am going to see how much a hotel room would cost for those few days. In fact, I am going to see if any of my buddies from Vancouver want to tag along to LA for those days. They wouldn't be able to attend E3, unless I managed to 'sneak' them in, but they could use the time to sight see. I've been to LA before, so this wouldn't be a huge thing for me to do again. Again, the cost would be a problem for them.

I need to make a decision before tomorrow evening. I have already registered myself with the ESA, I just need to have the site e-mail them my credentials to prove that I do in fact work with them. I am very much leaning towards going but I do have my reservations. If you were given the opportunity to attend the largest event in the industry, would you do it? Any advice or tips about this would be much appreciated.



2 Comments

Let Try This Again

So I posted a Blog a few hours ago mentioning that people should Twitter the site I freelance for (Game Focus) since we're giving out free XBLA and Steam codes, but apparently that is considered advertising.

So, I am going to post that you should follow my twitter feed (http://www.twitter.com/markodjordjevic) since I always have cool things to say. You never know what I might mention. Also, if you're looking to follow specific people in the industry, I have tons of people on my list.

Again, if I get modded for this, expect me to be a bitch and post links of other people Blogging about themselves. Since I am technically advertising myself.

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Showing Off Your Trophies

I along with a few others that I know are Trophy Addicts, but we haven't had the opportunity to show them off. Sony is finally giving us that ability starting tomorrow with the introduction of Online Trophy Profiles.

Yes, this is clearly a late thing and something that Xbox has been doing really well for a long time (day one) but I am glad that Sony has finally caught up with that ability. I am anxious to post my Level 6 Trophy Status and be able to easily compare my collection with my friends.

Head over to the PlayStation Blog to see further details!

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Games for 2009 - Where are my 360 Games?

Looking towards 2009, I decided to think more about the games I am looking forward to and I came to this weird conclusion, I have no games* that I really want for my 360. Please note that while I 'technically' do have a game I want, it's not officially announced and a 2009 release is unlikely.

Let's take a look at the games I am anxious for

1) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. 
I wrote about my love for the original and my anticipation of the sequel on my freelance site www.gamefocus.ca to the point that Naughty Dog caught wind of it and mentioned it on their Twitter Feed (Sweet!).

2) Mass Effect 2
This game, while a 360 game has yet to be officially revealed nor is it scheduled for a 2009 release. I really want this, but I doubt it will come out this year.

3) Street Fighter IV
I pre-ordered the PS3 Special Edition since I prefer the PS3 controller for games.

4) Infamous
I don't know too much about this game, but I do think it looks good. Hope to hear more about it

5) God of War III
Another game I love, but I don't know if it will come out this year. If it does, great!

Other games include:

  • Killzone 2 (after seeing that intro I am tempted to drop some cash on it)
  • Dssidia: FF (FF fan that is I)
  • Patapon 2 (I loved the first, but I bought the Japanese version last year, so I already own it)
  • Tekken 6 (another PS3 purchase. In fact, I am a larger Tekken fan over Street Fighter, but I spent more money on SFIV in Japan than I did with T6)

So as you can see, while there are some multiplatform games, I can't figure any 360 exclusive titles that I want to get. The biggest and closest title to this list would be Halo: ODST, but I was disapointed with Halo 3 Singleplayer Storyline. I am tempted to get Fable II, but that's a 2008 game. I can't get Lost and the Damned since I bought GTAIV on PS3, so while that would have been something I am anxious for, I can't get it unless I buy GTA IV used and then buy L and the D. I really do not have good hopes for Halo Wars (again, I wrote that in my Game Focus article), so I have my reservations and a run through the demo will have to really win me over.

Am I alone on this? Are there 360 exclusive titles that I really want to get but just forgetting about? Would Alan Wake count considering how little information there is? I didn't like Crackdown, so would Crackdown 2 change my mind? I've determined that unless a game has exclusive and worth-notice DLC, if it is released on both platforms, I will buy it on the PS3. Heck, I bought Left 4 Dead on the PC because I just found it to be more satisfying.

If you're an Xbox follower and know of some games I am missing or should focus on, please let me know.

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