VGA World Premieres: A Showcase of EA Changing Face?

Alright, so now that the VGAs have come and gone (and stirred up their GOTY controversy on the internet forums), let's take a look at the better part of the show:  the sweet snippets we saw for upcoming titles.  The list of games featured in these "world premieres" (click on link for all the trailers) are as follows:
  • God of War III
  • Brutal Legend
  • Fight Night Round 4
  • Dante's Inferno
  • Uncharted 2
  • Mafia II
  • Watchmen: The End is Nigh
  • Terminator Salvation
  • Gears of War 2 DLC
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned DLC

Now, personally...this wasn't a half-bad lineup of stuff to show for me to get ridiculously psyched!!!  While I laughed at the Watchmen trailer and couldn't help think how BAD that game looks...and the fact that Terminator Salvation might as well be renamed to "Gears of War: John Connor Edition", the rest really excited the hell out of me.  Yes, that even included Mafia II for some reason, even though I HATED the first game...and I wasn't a big fan of the first Uncharted, but the trailer was exciting nonetheless.

So, here's the question of this blog is to raise a question:

Which 2 of the list really caught your eye and made you go "FUCK YES, I'M READY FOR IT NOW!"?

For me, it was easy to pick - Fight Night Round 4 and Dante's Inferno.  I know, they seem like very opposite picks.  

See, I'm a HUGE fan of the Fight Night series, stemming all the way back to when it was Knockout Kings on the PS1.  That franchise has NEVER disappointed me, and I don't think Round 4 is going to be anything less than awesome.  I watched a handful of videos before seeing this trailer, and the technology and changes they are adding to Round 4 just make it sound like a better package.  The addition of the R.E.A.L. AI system sounds like it won't just be a pure walk in the park anymore, but instead offer a bit of challenge.  The fact that they are factoring in someone's reach and body build as a statistic to each character means that some strategy will come into play.  I thoroughly hope they do some changes to the Total Punch Control system, as it was okay...but sometimes rather difficult to get the punches you wanted at the times you needed them.  I'm hoping for a better career mode as well.  While Round 3 offered a decent one, it was extremely one-sided and had no depth.  They could easily add some drama and spectacle to this franchise and make it TRULY spectacular beyond what it has already offered for so long.

Conceptual cover art for Irrational Games' The Lost
As for Dante's Inferno, it's a concept that I've been behind for a while.  I've posted a few times in other threads about how it pisses me off that Irrational Games (which is now known as 2K Boston, the guys who made Bioshock) was never given the right opportunity to release The Lost.  This was a game they had been working on for Crave Entertainment, later ended up knocking the game down to a budget title, and then outright cancelled it and sold the rights off to an Indian developer.  What remained of the game was changed around (such as leaving behind the idea that these rings of Hell were very much like a Nazi concentration camp) and released in India as Agni, Queen of Darkness.  However, when you are talking about a developer that made amazing games like Freedom Force, System Shock, and SWAT 4, it just seems RIDICULOUS that you wouldn't get behind them making a truly unique kind of game.  Now, here we are some years later...and EA has Redwood Studios following up their amazing surprise hit Dead Space with a game based on a premise that has always either failed or sunken deep into development Hell and cancellation.  With the recent talk from EA CEO Ritticello about how he won't greenlight games unless they have a strong multiplayer component, it seems odd that he is greenlighting yet ANOTHER game that seems like it will feature NO multiplayer at all.  Could this simply be because the Redwood guys are onto something?  I mean, just looking at Dead Space catches the eye...but once you put it in motion, you realize that there is potential for that formula to work in MANY different story concepts.

Now, when most people think of EA, sequelization and franchise-builder comes to mind.  However, looking at their recent lineup of games, it would seem a bit...mixed up right now.

  • Brutal Legend
  • Dante's Inferno
  • Dead Space
  • Mirror's Edge

I remember the last time that this happened:  it was in the Genesis days...and they were making amazing games.  You couldn't say a bad thing about EA.  Everything they touched turned to gold.  While many will complain about the different mishaps and random patches of bullshit that EA has pulled over the last decade, it seems as though Ritticello is doing EXACTLY what he said he would do:  turn the image of this company around.  He's highlighted original IPs, given them HUGE marketing boosts, and even went so far as to take Double Fine's latest into their home.  If this were three years ago, or even two years ago...nothing of the sort would've happened.  Not only am I proud to say that I like EA, but it makes me excited to think of what they have in store for E3.

I just now noticed that both of my choices from that batch of trailers are coming from EA, and three of the trailers that were featured are from them as well.  I'm not trying to uncredit God of War III at all.  I KNOW that will be amazing.  However, it just doesn't excite me the way that Round 4 and Dante's Inferno do.

So how about you guys?  What trailers just made you exclaim "HOLY SHIT, YES!!!".

Since Everyone Else Is Doing It: My Top 10 of 2008

I'm going to do this a little different than everyone else.  I'm not numbering my fucking selections.  I don't think I could honestly pick a #1 game this year, as there were honestly too many fucking good ones!!!  So, I'm going to keep this basic, short, and simple...just to conform for once and see how it feels.  In no particular order:

  • Dead Space
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Gears of War 2
  • Fallout 3
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Grid
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Civilization Revolution
  • Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
  • Saint's Row 2

Whine and complain all you want.  Those are the games that I have continued to come back to time and time again, and they are ALWAYS good.  I already know that someone is going to complain that MGS4 isn't on the fucking list, and for good fucking reason:  I didn't like it.  I also didn't like Little Big Planet.  As a matter of fact, I didn't really like anything on the PS3 AT ALL this year, other than Resistance 2.  However, MGS4 is a "love it or hate it" game, and I've loathed that franchise for a while.  It's just not my kind of, and I don't understand all the fascination.  LBP wasn't a game, but more a set of tools to create games that are dull and uninteresting after a while because you realize that you can't keep all the COOL SHIT up on the servers.

So, there ya go.

Chess Club Massacre - Episode 3: It's All Yellow, Baby

Some folks in an apartment in Waco, Texas hunker down to talk to you about the latest in music, movies, and games so you don't blow your money on the wrong products.  You'll also get some rants, rambles, and a few laughs (hopefully).  In true Texas fashion, this is all done with alcohol and pizza involved as well!


On this week's episode, jakob187 and bellybear are joined by special guests lenin and dice to review:
  • Punisher: War Zone
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still

In the meantime, they rant about Mickey Rourke, the Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, and lenin becomes national flamebait by saying Jessica Alba is NOT hot. **P.S. - We are absolutely aware that we need to work on the mixing and the low-end hum in the podcasts.  It's a problem that we are continuing to work on as we progress forward.  Hopefully, we'll have the hum gone next week...and we'll have our computer interface available to play with sometime soon as well.  Be patient, patient...**



Have A Black Tooth Grin and Getcha Pull!!!

Getcha pull, muthafucker!!!
I can't even believe that I ended up on the wrong day with this.  I thought it was the 10th, but it was really the 8th.  What's that mean?
Two days ago and four years past, the world of rock 'n' roll had a tragic day set in stone, as Dimebag Darrell was murdered in cold blood over stupid shit.  As a Texan, there is more than just pride and respect here.  There is statesmanship.  This was a man who was dedicated, outgoing, and more than almost anyone out there, the kind of person that knew where he came from and never took that for granted.  He brought a lot of life and great times into peoples' lives the world over as the guitarist for Pantera, but more than that, he was the kind of rock musician that almost anyone would've loved to hang out with.

Everyone has a story about Dimebag, and each one is special.  When I was going to tech school in Phoenix, AZ, I was lucky enough to see Pantera perform on their last Ozzfest tour during the release of their last album, Reinventing the Steel.  My friend Travis was in attendance, and it was a day of memorial for him already.  His friend Mark had been killed by a drunk driver in a car accident, and he had been so excited to finally get to see Pantera, his favorite band.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  Travis and a couple of other folks with him had shirts made for Mark, and they wore them to the show so Mark could be there in spirit.  To see Pantera live was unlike any live show ever.  As Pantera devastated the crowd with an amazingly played set, Phil (the lead singer) noticed a guy holding up a shirt.  He got on the mic:

"Hey, what's that?  What's that guy holding up?  Tell him to come up here...make some room, muthafuckers.  Come on up here, man."

He was talking to Travis.  Travis got on the stage with Phil, and he told the audience about the tragedy him and his own friends had been through that week.  Phil grabbed the shirt from him.

"This was your friend?"


"Then he didn't miss a fucking thing, brother.  He's here with us right now."

He tosses the shirt over to Dime, which Dime then puts on and starts up the opening riff to "Cemetary Gates".  Phil announces that they are changing their set up a little bit for Mark.

It sent goosebumps down my spine, as even after listening to hundreds of performances of that song live, the different renditions on albums and soundtracks...I have NEVER heard Dime play that song with so much emotion.

That is what we ended up missing out on.  Whether you dig metal or not, and whether you care or not, Dimebag Darrell was the kind of dood that would give the shirt off his back (and did on several reported occasions) to anyone just for the Hell of it.

On December 8th four years ago, a dood that I looked up to growing up and made me wanna learn how to shred an axe was gunned down by a supposed fan who thought he was the reason that Pantera broke up...

...and nothing can replace him.

So celebrate this life and your own with a Black Tooth Grin and getcha pull!!!

Chess Club Massacre - Episode 2: Sidewalk Salad

Some folks in an apartment in Waco, Texas hunker down to talk to you about the latest in music, movies, and games so you don't blow your money on the wrong products.  You'll also get some rants, rambles, and a few laughs (hopefully).  In true Texas fashion, this is all done with alcohol and pizza involved as well!


On this week's episode, jakob187 and bellybear review:
  • Transporter 3 starring Jason Statham
  • Guns 'n' Roses' new album, Chinese Democracy

In the meantime, they rant about Black Friday, old action heroes being updated, the proposed story for Beverly Hills Cop 4, and MUCH MUCH MORE!!!  (also, as a P.S., jakob187 would like to apologize for his mental retardation when trying to talk about football.  He promises to never talk about sports in a podcast again...unless it's golf...because he loves golf.)



iGames Warhammer Online Video Contest is having a video contest right now for the PC MMORPG Warhammer Online.  Six gaming centers from across the nation have entered into the competition, one of which happens to be an entry that I made for Lansharx Gaming Center, where I work.  Part of the contests' judging points is based on (and I think it's stupid, but whatever) public views.  So, I figured I would share the playlist with you guys.  Leave your comments, ratings, and such (but don't be assholes, please).  All of these game centers spent quite a bit of time prepping and getting ready for this stuff, most with little to no equipment to actually make a video.



Chess Club Massacre 11/28/2008 - Episode 1: The Dirty Hawk

Some folks in an apartment in Waco, Texas hunker down to talk to you about the latest in music, movies, and games so you don't blow your money on the wrong products.  You'll also get some rants, rambles, and a few laughs (hopefully).  In true Texas fashion, this is all done with alcohol and pizza involved as well!

CHESS CLUB MASSACRE 11/28/2008 - Episode 1: The Dirty Hawk

On this week's episode, hosts jakob187, bellybear, and poofox review:
  • Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond movie
  • Kanye West's new album, 808s and Heartbreak
  • Left 4 Dead, the new game from Valve
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the new game from Ed Boon

In the meantime, they rant about the Star Trek trailer, "Citizen Soldier", last week's AMAs, the over-usage of "Lil" and "Young" in rapper names, Bond in years past, and MUCH MUCH MORE!!!


Also make sure to add us if you are on MySpace.

Blacker Than The Blackest Black - Friday is Coming Soon!!!

I've never been to a store on Friday of African-American Descent*.  As a matter of fact, I've done everything in my power year after year to AVOID it.  I never seem to have money around that time, and more often than not, I have no desire to wait around with a crowd of people trying to get in a door for an item.

Until this year...

I recently bought a computer from my cousin for $150.  Nothing super special, just an HP to do some movie editing and music stuff with it.  It already has a copy of Cakewalk Music Creator on it, which is the primary reason I got it.  Nonetheless, he's selling it to me without the monitor.  So, with Friday of African-American Descent* coming around, and the fact that I've actually got cash to spend for Black Friday, I decided to check out the ads.  Best Buy was my first place, and after finding what I wanted, it's the only place I'll be going.

Acer 19" widescreen flat-panel
This sweet little thing comes in at a total cost of $99.99 plus tax.  Definitely worth spending my money on.  The response time is eh (5ms), but it's a nice 700:1 contrast ratio and 1440 x 900 native res.

So, that's gonna be my big thing this week.  This will definitely help me to get my Warhammer Online video edited together in the privacy of my own home, and overdubbed with voiceover, in time for Monday's video contest deadline over at iGames.  I'm prayin' for that big money, folks.  $1500 first prize, and even if I get fifth, that's worth $200 bucks.  I'll get half of whatever we win (my boss gets the other half since it's his gaming center).  The last video I did for our launch party of Civilization Revolution, which was rather basic, put $250 in my pocket...and I'm going a bit more conceptual with this new one.

I'm also hoping that, with this new monitor in my place, I'll finally be able to start doing some of the things I've wanted to do for a while.  Me and my cousin, bellybear, are going to start doing a weekly or bi-weekly show where we discuss music, movies, and games...and with the Music Creator program, I should be able to start doing a regular podcast.

The other big thing is that with the free camcorder that I got from my boss + this computer + all my editing software, I might FINALLY be able to do the one thing I've wanted to do forever:  make a movie and submit it to SXSW.  I don't even really care if I made a movie and it didn't get picked for show, but it would be nice to just make one and finally say "I did this".  It's the same way that I finally bunkered down with bellybear and started writing some music that ended up getting recorded, despite the fact that it was in my mom's dining room.  lol

So, what about you guys?  Are you goin' out to get some doorbusters on Friday of African-American Descent*?  What are you lookin' at?  Pictures encouraged, as always.

Until next time, piece.

*EDIT - Thanks to HandsomeDead for correcting my utter racism.  How could I DARE call it Black Friday?


WOOT! MK vs DCU!!!

We just got a copy of MK vs. DCU in the store today, so I'm gonna get to play it finally without having to go out and rent it.  I'm really hoping and praying that this game rocks my socks off so I can go out and spend some dough on it.

I'll have some opinions and a user review out sometime this week, I'm sure.

Oh Gravedigger, When You Dig My Grave...

...could you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain?

I've put down Left 4 Dead (which I posted a user review for finally) over the last couple of days, mostly due to the fear that my head might explode from how fucking awesome that game really is.  I haven't felt that energized and psyched about playing a game since Vagrant Story back in the day, and before that, it was Duck Hunt!  Nonetheless, it means that I've been doing the usual achievement whoring.  What has that led to?

Writing you guys an achievement guide for Call of Duty: World at War, of course!!!  You're welcome.  It's not completed as of yet.  I still need to get video footage done for the Death Cards (although rather vivid descriptions are already in the guide), as well as a video showing all the tower and bunker locations on "Blood and Iron".

This leads me to offering a follow-up of my previous World at War blog.  The campaign just hasn't sat well in my stomach so far, and I haven't really been able to pinpoint it...but then something hit me.  I plugged in my copy of Dave Matthews' Some Devil (great album to relax to).  "Gravedigger" is the first track on that album, and man...the tone in it just really fit how I felt about World at War's story.  It made it all come together for me.  There's just this underlying sadness in World at War that wasn't in the previous games.  I was already pissed about World at War going with this edgy M-rated route when all the other games were rated T for Teen...and it worked perfectly fine for them.  Okay, Call of Duty 4 was M-rated, but it was for language mostly.  There's not really any gore in that game.

I understand that WWII wasn't all pretty and non-bloody, but at the same time, the CoD series has always had magnificently well-done single player campaigns that tell amazing stories.  World at War...doesn't do that.  While war is nothing more than senseless violence for the most part, this game's campaign really DID feel like absolute senseless violence...and that's just not very Call of Duty, now is it?  I mean, I can't find one single character in the entire campaign that I honestly LIKE.  I never really felt like anyone was doing anything truly heroic, but there was this great passage at the beginning of "Downfall" that ***SPOILER*** Reknov is reading from Chernov's diary after he is killed at the end of "Heart of the Reich", and I thought that it was kind of insightful:

April 30, 1945 - When he first spoke of Demetri, Reznov told tales of a hero...someone we should all aspire to be like.  At times, I have seen him show mercy, but at others, act with complete brutality.  I do not understand him.  Perhaps heroes need not question their actions.

So now, I look back at the campaign and dirty as I felt playing that game, and as downtrodden as I was by the end of it all, was I actually doing heroic things?  I mean, I didn't really enjoy the campaign at all from a technical standpoint, but it felt like Treyarch really grabbed me by the balls with a story that didn't impact me until a day or two later, all because of Dave.