Dark Room Surprise

So I emerged from a dark room where I've spent the last two days playing a very exciting soon-to-be-released video game to hear all about Nintendo's new stuff from the rest of the guys.

I don't have much to say about it other than...

I hope Punch-Out!! is more than just a nostalgia trip.  I don't need King Hippo in order to have a good time. They could have just put Glass Joe and Bald Bull in it and filled the rest with new fighters. I'd be OK with that.

Nintendo should revive Echo Delta while they're at it. Sorry if that seems random. The original S&P and Echo Delta were both shown at the same Space World convention in Japan, so one always makes me think of the other. I remember Echo Delta--which was canceled even though it was essentially finished--as being a pretty good little underwater shooter type thing on the N64.

Oh, and totally indifferent about the new DS, at least until they come up with some insane game that utilizes both cameras in a unique way. Even then, it doesn't immediately seem like a must-have, even considering my insane hardware urges.

Total whirlwind week this week. I was in Los Angeles for four hours on Tuesday doing an episode of Bonus Round, had some special guests over on Wednesday morning (I believe you'll be able to see and hear the results of said visit tomorrow), and then I rushed into SF for the aforementioned dark room and video games. You'll get to see an interview shot in said poorly-lit room in early November.

Holy crap, it's October already.

Holy crap, we leave for Tokyo on Monday morning! That means that by Tuesday night, Tokyo time, I will have done the following:

  • Played Guitar Freaks
  • Eaten a beef bowl from the... I believe it's called "Don Don."
  • Played Tekken 6
  • Looked at airsoft guns
  • Considered buying several Transformers
  • Inadvertently ended up in the pornography section of a store that also sells anime-themed figurines
  • Drank a Pocari Sweat
  • Drank an Aquarius
  • Drank a C.C. Lemon
  • Drank another C.C. Lemon
  • Informed Ryan that he is not to purchase C.C. Grape if he sees it (do they even still make it?)
  • Seen something wholly confusing on Japanese television
  • Lament about how I should really try to learn the language

Between here and Thanksgiving lie some pretty amazing games and, I assume, a lot of late nights as we play and review the games we feel you absolutely must know about. Can't wait. It's easy to complain about how much work there is and everything, but I totally live for this time of year.

Digging it.

It took me an hour or two of fumbling around until I got a feel for it, but I'm really liking Warhammer so far. The Public Quest stuff is smart and fun, and all the achievements and titles and little stuff that keeps unlocking is interesting, too.

I really feel like the beginning of the game could be a little more clear about things, though. Aside from reviewing Auto Assault, I don't think I've played an MMO since I gave up on World of Warcraft, and that was a loooong time ago. A lot of my MMO skills came back pretty quickly, but the game could probably use a little more hand-holding up front.

Actually, it could use some more instruction about trade skills, too. That stuff (I went salvaging/talisman making) is just sort of thrown out there without much guidance. Maybe I need to dig through the in-game help function and it'll have details there. Seems like the Tome of Knowledge should have more about the mechanics of the game, maybe? It seems to have just about everything else you'd want to know.

Also, they split a couple of servers yesterday to deal with high populations on some of the "old" servers. Instead of doing, like, free character transfers or whatever, they cloned all the characters between the servers. So I was left with a level 5 Marauder on two servers. Faced with the choice of waiting in a server queue for 30 minutes or playing immediately, I decided to try out the new server. Played that for several hours, and now I don't want to go back to my original server--which is a bummer, because I think most of the people I hit that server to play with are probably going to stay there. Oh well.

The new server was also mad empty. I was doing a Public Quest by myself last night. Hopefully once the new servers aren't so new they'll get some more players.

Zombie Game Company Wants Brains (But is free to play!)

I was cooling out in a Best Buy the other day, waiting for a dude to go in the back and find me a copy of TNA iMPACT! when I was startled by a familiar logo.

Acclaim? Run!!!!
I believe I even jumped a bit when I saw this $25 game time card for any of Acclaim's games sitting on a hook surrounded by other, similar cards. It's one thing to know that the Acclaim name has been resurrected into a new company, but it's another to actually see it out there in the real world.

I guess by me snapping that picture and writing this, I'm proviing that the decision to use the same logo as the old Acclaim made good business sense. But, in a way, isn't the new Acclaim just hitching its wagon to the awful games and bad times that people experienced with the old Acclaim, too?

If I buy this card, will I be able to play a new free-to-play MMO version of BMX XXX or something?

If you're the sort of person who likes to use Digg...

I'm a bit curious to see if diggin' up any of our stories will do anything meaningful for us. I have to admit I've never been a heavy user of digg, so I'm not sure how many diggs is meaningful or whatever. But I tossed up a link to the Age of Booty preview that ran tonight, as I'm quite excited about how it turned out. Vinny did a great job with the video and it was actually a fun little thing to put together all around. Looks like Capcom's into it, too.

So if you're into this digg thing, here's a link.

I guess.

Between losing my progress multiple times and the online being completely boned, I'm totally crushed by Castle Crashers. What should have been a moment of triumph for all that is Behemoth has ended up making me totally sad. It's like I'm afraid to play the game now, because I'm worried that I'll lose my progress for a fourth time.


The Great Outdoor Fight

This arrived in the mail today:

Some have said he was weaned on chicken milk and cocaine

This is the latest and greatest book from Achewood, capturing the strips and some of the surrounding fiction regarding the Great Outdoor Fight. I am extremely excited about said product, even though I've already read the strips. It's a well-made book, for sure. Plus? It smells nice. Chris Onstad, the creator of Achewood, has a really impressive writing style that is rife with slang and structure that immediately gets in your head.

Some have said that I am a good talker, and I guess I've gotten pretty decent at it over the years. But given the choice, I'd rather talk like Ray Smuckles or his crimey, Roast Beef.

Either Works

I've seen a lot of people talking mess about Jenny McCarthy, but I totally don't get it. It's not like Kari Wuhrer was some serious, kick-ass actress or anything when she was in a C&C game. I'm sure Jenny McCarthy will do just fine.


New Genres or Themes?

Hey everyone. Now that the site's been up and kicking for a few weeks here and many of you have gotten used to using it, I wanted to see what you thought about our list of genres and themes. Are we missing anything? If so, make a case for it in the comments section for this post and we'll take it under consideration. Thanks!

(Bonus points if anyone can come up with good, easy-to-understand terms for arcade-style shoot-'em-ups without using "'em-ups" or "shmups.")


1 - Action
4 - Adventure
34 - Baseball
22 - Basketball
26 - Billiards
29 - Bowling
20 - Boxing
37 - Brawler
13 - Card Game
15 - Compilation
6 - Driving/Racing
31 - Dual-Joystick Shooter
8 - Educational
9 - Fighting
32 - First-Person Shooter
27 - Fishing
24 - Flight Simulator
21 - Football
28 - Golf
39 - Hockey
35 - Light-Gun Shooter
17 - Minigame Collection
19 - Music/Rhythm
30 - Pinball
41 - Platformer
18 - Puzzle
12 - Real-Time Strategy
5 - Role-Playing (RPG)
11 - Shooter
7 - Simulation
23 - Skateboarding
33 - Snowboarding/Skiing
40 - Soccer
3 - Sports
2 - Strategy
25 - Tennis
36 - Text Adventure
14 - Trivia/Board Game
38 - Vehicular Combat
10 - Wrestling
41 genres


22 - Abstract
4 - Alternate Historical
16 - Anime
6 - Comedy
13 - Crime
9 - Cyberpunk
5 - Dating
15 - Egyptian
11 - Espionage
2 - Fantasy
1 - Horror
21 - Management
17 - Martial Arts
14 - Mayan
12 - Modern Military
18 - Post-Apocalyptic
3 - Sci-Fi
10 - Steampunk
19 - Superhero
8 - Vietnam
7 - World War II
21 themes


Some notes:

Remember, the main purpose of organizing by genre is so you can click on that genre and get a list of games that qualify. Same for themes. Now, keeping that in mind, some notes...

- Added Western and Adult as themes.

- Breaking shooters out based on the way they scroll doesn't seem right. Breaking Bullet Hell shooters out from the calmer stuff also doesn't seem right to me. Breaking static-screen shooters out from scrolling ones also doesn't seem right. To me, the meaningful split is separating games like Contra from R-Type, not separating Space Invaders from Xevious.

- Games that you would want to tag as "Futuristic" typically fit into the Sci-Fi theme.

- Game attributes like Co-Op and Online will be covered by a separate game attributes section that will also cover fields like Supported HD Resolutions, Number of Players, ESRB Descriptors, and so on.

- Isn't Turn-Based Strategy covered by Strategy? It stands to reason that any game that isn't would probably be tagged as an RTS to begin with.

- I'd rather not get into the practice of "camera angle = genre" if at all possible. FPS seems like the only reasonable exception. "Third-Person Shooter" as a genre seems like a bad idea.

- "Sandbox" is too open of a term to qualify as a game's theme or genre. That should probably be a concept page... or is it just one of those weird marketing terms for something that comes automatically with an association to the "open-world" concept?

- Diablo-style "hack 'n' slash" games are already covered. Select both Action and RPG.

- What should we call games like Wing Commander and Blazing Angels? They're essentially the same, but is putting one in space and one in WWII enough to make them different genres? "Space Simulation" is the typical term for Wing Commander games, but I feel like we can do better than that.

- Due to our (my) rampant dislike of "beat-'em-up," we've gone with Brawler to cover those games.

- Using "Arcade" as a genre or modifier ("Arcade Sports" or "Arcade Racing") is an aging crutch that is becoming more and more meaningless as time goes on. We need a better way to say "not-sim" if we want to make that differentiation.

- "Stealth" and "Stealth Action" games are really just action games that contain stealth. Should probably be covered by a concept page.

- "Button Mashing" is a game mechanic, not a theme/genre.

Playing this weekend?

I want to play more Braid. Thinking about playing it with a walkthrough. I don't really need to solve in-game puzzles to feel good about myself, and after watching Ryan play the game over the past couple of days, I've already seen most of them get solved. I just know if I don't play through it soon, I'll never play through it. Lots of games coming out over the next few months.


Training for Tokyo

Check out this sweet Google Maps street view of Akihabara. Saw it on Kotaku, who saw it on Gizmodo, apparently.

I didn't go to Tokyo Game Show last year, and I'm really looking forward to getting back to Japan later this year. The street view of the map is pretty cool, though it's probably only really cool if you've been there and sort of know how to navigate. If you head north from the starting position (which starts you out staring at the Club Sega arcade near the train station), you'll see most of what there is to see, including the Mister Donut. This is the same doughnut shop that caught fire a couple of years back and had to be rebuilt.

Super Potato is on a side street behind the Club Sega. If you head down the alley next to the arcade and hang a right onto the next street, you should see it on your right before too long.

Akihabara isn't quite what it used to be for a variety of reasons. For one, many of the great used game shops have shut down or reduced the amount of stock they keep in favor of more porn. Second, once you know where Super Potato is, it becomes less about finding obscure, rare stuff. Because they have it all. It used to be about scouring bins of random, awful Japanese Saturn games in search of something that catches your eye. But Super Potato is a one-stop shop, where the only thing holding you back is your inability to read Japanese and find the games you're after by looking at the spines of jewel cases.

I used to bring an extra, empty suitcase with me to Tokyo and I'd still have trouble fitting everything I picked up. The last few years, though, there hasn't been nearly as much to bring home. That's mostly because I've picked up most of the Japanese stuff that I'd want. I still keep my eyes open for Neo Geo carts when I'm there, but I have just about any AES cart that I'd ever want. For the past couple of years I've toyed with the idea of getting into arcade boards. I bought some CPS2 stuff there once. But I don't currently have any way to play any of that stuff, so I should really see about getting a versatile cabinet instead of buying more random boards. Either way, that won't stop me from visiting G-Front while we're there.

But really, I'm just excited to hook up a beef bowl and spend time in smoke-filled arcades. And, you know, go to TGS, of course.